Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 23 August 2020

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Front Page: YUAN WANG 6


The Sunday masthead is of the Port of Durban Container Terminal (night)




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Yuan Wang 6 Picture: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Yuan Wang 6 Picture: Keith Betts

The Chinese satellite tracking ship YUAN WANG 6 seen arriving in Durban this past week. The arrival of these impressive looking ships often precedes the launch of a Chinese missile or space rocket, at times carrying a man into space. There is usually no prior announcement of this event or of this tracking ship’s arrival in South Africa. From Durban the vessel would usually round the Cape and head into the South Atlantic, taking up position off the Namibian coast where the ship can be used both for tracking and signalling to missiles, satellites or spacecraft as they pass overhead.

On this occasion the mission is somewhat different. It was reported in the Chinese media in July that the ship had sailed from a port in east China on 13 July for multiple spacecraft monitoring missions. Yuan Wang 6 was to sail into the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans to conduct her multiple missions, the first time that one of this class of ship would perform missions in three oceans during a single voyage lasting around 100 days and covering a range of about 10,000 miles. Yuan Wang 6, which means ‘Long View’ or ‘Far Hope’ is one of four similar vessels now in service. This picture was taken by Keith Betts



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The chemical tanker Aegean II, sailing here under an earlier name, which is reported as highjacked off Somalia. Picture: Fleetmon, FEATURED IN aFRICA ports & ships MARITIME NEWS
The chemical tanker Aegean II, sailing here under an earlier name, which is reported as highjacked off Somalia. Picture: Fleetmon

A report issued by Dryad Global indicates that the chemical tanker AEGEAN II (IMO 9016911) has been attacked and highjacked by armed pirates 180 nautical miles South-West of Socotra off the Horn of Africa.

The attack took place in the evening of Sunday, 16 August but the news has only now become available. The attack took place in position 11.90622° 51.06596° when…[restrict] armed pirates boarded the Panamanian-flagged, 112 metre x 18.2 metre chemical tanker and seized control.

It is believed the pirates are Somalis – if this proves to be true it will be the first successful pirate attack in Somali waters since 2017.

It appears that six pirates boarded the ship after the vessel developed mechanical problems. Aegean II was sailing to Mogadishu from the UAE.

According to the Dryad report, the tanker had been cruising at approximately 6 kts, then slowed significantly to 1 kt, before beginning to regain her speed. She then abruptly turned due North and accelerated to a speed of 11 kts. The vessel then transited North to its current location, off Bereeda on the Eastern tip of the Horn of Africa, at the location 11.90622°, 51.06596°.

Dryad says it is likely that the vessel slowed giving pirates ‘eyes on’ to the vessel, and the ability to plan an opportunistic attack. The vessel was indicating that Armed Guards were embarked however this is not believed to be the case.

“The vessel then resumed operational status, however a window of opportunity of slowed transit speed had been created which was subsequently exploited by a pirates. The vessel can be seen to hold a number of key vulnerabilities that would make her susceptible to opportunistic attack. It is unknown what level of hardening was employed on the vessel at the time.

“So far, this incident appears to be an isolated and opportunistic piratical activity which seized on a vessel in a vulnerable situation, which had transited close to Somali TTWs. There remains a threat of piracy off the coast of Somalia which is credible and can manifest as it did in this instance, however contextually the threat is vastly reduced on regional highs in 2011,” says Dryad.

The security specialist adds that further intelligence sources also suggest that this vessel may have been seized as an act of maritime crime (not piracy), in what could have been an act with a commercial narrative. source: Dryad Global[/restrict]


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The first train has arrived at Hutchison Ports London Thamesport with primary tunnel precast rings for the Thames Tideway Tunnel project in London.

The Thames Tideway ‘Super Sewer’ will upgrade London’s current sewer network to cope with demands well into the 22nd century and reconnect the city with the iconic River Thames, it is claimed.

A total of 6,000 precast rings will initially be transported by rail from the manufacturing plant in Lincolnshire and will eventually leave the port by barge and road, destined for the main East and Greenwich sections of the Tideway project.

Commenting on the first train move, Paul Davey, Head of Corporate Affairs Hutchison Ports UK, owners and operators of London Thamesport, said: “We welcome this first train move for Tideway at our London Thamesport facility.

The first train bringing precast concrete rings for the Thames Tideway Project has arrived at London Thamesport, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The first train bringing precast concrete rings for the Thames Tideway Project has arrived at London Thamesport

“The first of many, this move demonstrates clearly London Thamesport’s prime advantages as a multi-purpose cargo handling port.

“With an excellent combination of deep-water and multimodal rail, barge and road connections to London and the South East, London Thamesport is ideally located to serve the construction sector and major infrastructure projects.”

The main works contractor for the Tideway East project, CVB, is a joint venture comprising, Costain, VINCI Construction Grands Projects and Bachy Soletanche.

Neil Grosset, Deputy Project Director CVB on Tideway East, added: “CVB is delighted to be delivering primary precast tunnel rings into London Thamesport by rail for the East sections of the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

“With approximately half the rings being loaded to barges using the port’s ship to shore quay cranes for final delivery to the TBM site in Greenwich, this will enable us to provide an efficient, reliable, robust and cost effective solution whilst simultaneously delivering a significant reduction in the CO2 levels generated from the project.”

About Hutchison Ports and Thamesport

Hutchison Ports is one of the world’s leading port investors, developers and operators with a network of port operations in 52 ports spanning 27 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.

Over the years, Hutchison Ports has expanded into other logistics and transport-related businesses, including cruise ship terminals, airport operations, distribution centres, rail services and ship repair facilities.

Hutchison Ports London Thamesport (LTP) is located on the River Medway in the heart of SE England, 35 miles from Central London. LTP provides road, barge and rail links to the UK’s important manufacturing and distribution centres and is ideally positioned to serve as a port of entry for UK-bound short-sea container traffic and multi-purpose cargoes as well as major infrastructure projects.

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent for Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Edited by Paul Ridgway


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cARGO cONNECT LOGO, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), the South African operator of 16 port and three inland terminals, recently awarded a contract to global technology company TATA Consultancy Services (TCS) to develop a logistics platform that will enable the company and the broader industry to integrate with the logistics supply chain.

Siyabulela Mhlaluka, TPT’s General Manager of Sales and New Business said…[restrict] that Cargo Connect is an online platform in the form of an application (APP) that can be considered a logistics market place.

Customers will have the ability to submit logistics related requests on the platform and allow service providers to bid and the preferred proposal will be selected.

As a key node in the supply chain handling import and export cargo, TPT will utilise the Cargo Connect application to maximise digital solutions to increase transparency and provide rapid tracking of cargo at every point of the container journey.

Mhlaluka said there is a need for a South African online platform that integrates comprehensive logistics information and facilitates the rapid identification of optimal providers for required logistics services. “In addition, cargo owners and logistics players will also rapidly receive critical information about their containers as soon as the cargo event occurs,” he said.

According to TCS Africa Client Partner and Retail Head, Subhashis Ghosh, cargo connect will be deployed to market over the next 12 months.[/restrict]


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Mauritius oil spill:
potential government failures should be investigated
– expert

Christian Bueger, University of Copenhagen

The stranding of the MV Wakashio is one of the biggest environmental disasters in the history of the western Indian Ocean. While the full scale of the disaster is not yet known, the 1,000 tons of oil and diesel that leaked close to one of the greatest marine treasures of Mauritius threatens to destroy this precious habitat. Recovery will be long and the disaster will occupy Mauritius for years to come.

Questions now arise: could the accident and the spill have been prevented? Was the country prepared? Did the coastguard and the company hired to pump oil from the stricken ship react in the right way?

Neither the government, nor the ship owner and salvage company will likely have an interest in such questions being answered. But an independent public investigation must be launched into the government and industry response to this disaster.

Read more:
Mauritius is reeling from a spreading oil spill – and people are angry with how the government has handled it

Was the country unprepared?

The government was well aware of the risk. Since the 1990s, Mauritius has received substantial capacity-building assistance to prevent an oil spill.

The country was a core beneficiary in two multi-million-dollar World Bank projects: the US$4-million Western Indian Ocean Island Oil Spill Contingency Plan from 1998 and 2003, and the US$24-million Western Indian Ocean Marine Highway Development and Coastal and Marine Contamination Prevention Project from 2007-2012.

Mauritius receives support under the UN Nairobi Convention but also several maritime security capacity building programmes in the region. As late as March 2020, Mauritius gave an update on its preparedness at an international workshop.

In a recent article we showed such capacity building is often experimental, focused too much on planning and strategy rather than implementation.

Yet Mauritius also had past experience. In 2016, a similar accident occurred. Back then the country was lucky – the MV Benita, which crashed just 7km from Grand Port, not far from where the MV Wakashio is, sat for five weeks and was then refloated with the aim of towing to India, before sinking 90km offshore of Mauritius. A major oil spill was prevented in that case.

The fact that the country lacked a sufficient amount of equipment to rapidly contain the Wakashio spill, indicates that despite all the training and experience, Mauritius was still not prepared.

Could the collision have been avoided?

Satellite evidence showed the Wakshio was on a collision course to Mauritius, hitting the reefs at Pointe D’Esny at ocean-cruising speed. Its route clearly deviated from the traffic that usually passes by the island.

The coastguard could have detected this and sent out a patrol craft. While the capacity of the coastguard is limited, would it have been possible to reach the vessel in time before it hit?

Was the reaction to the grounding appropriate?

Once the Wakashio grounded, the coastguard was quick on site. Initial containment measures were taken and booms deployed. A salvage company was contracted to refloat the vessel and pump out the 4,000 tons of oil and diesel, yet two weeks after the initial collision not much had been done. On August 6 the environmental disaster started to unfold, when the first oil spilled. On August 15, the ship split in two.

Open the video below, then use the YouTube option to view

The government indicated that bad weather was to blame for its slow response. Yet was there a discussion of alternative strategies? Did the contracted company have the right expertise to prevent an oil spill? Was there too much focus on pumping out oil and not enough on preventing a spill? How close was the crisis coordination between the government, the coastguard and foreign experts?

Oil spill start-ups, such as Harbo, claim that they could have been in the country within 24 hours after the initial grounding if they had been invited. Within 72 hours the appropriate equipment could have secured the vessel, preventing much of the consequences from a spill. Alternative courses of action for the government would have been available.

The vessel most likely would still have leaked oil and eventually split, yet the spread of the oil and the contamination of the shores may have been contained.

Why was there no response from the region?

The EU, the UK and other actors, as we show in a forthcoming book, have substantially invested in building regional maritime security architecture in the western Indian Ocean. This includes a maritime surveillance centre as well as a centre for regional operational coordination designed to provide early warning and coordination in the region for emergencies like this.

It is bad news that after years of such efforts, the regional bodies were not equipped to react and respond in order to support the government of Mauritius.

Action, not lip service

These are only some of the questions that an independent inquiry into Mauritius’ ongoing predicament will have to investigate and assess.

An independent environmental assessment will also be required. And it will be in the hands of Mauritian civil society and the global community of conservation activists to ensure that a commission and inquiry is launched urgently.

The Indian Ocean Commission or the Indian Ocean Rim Association, active in governing the regional waters, could provide a format for this. Pressure and support from India, France or Japan and other states that have already provided emergency aid will also be necessary.

This inquiry will need also to offer recommendations for how a similar disaster in the region can be avoided and the architecture upgraded to offer faster response – developing a regional facility for example. And this time, action, not lip service, should be demanded of the Mauritian government.The Conversation

Christian Bueger, Professor of International Relations, University of Copenhagen

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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Wrld Maritime Day poster featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

This year’s IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE), which was scheduled to take place in South Africa this October, has been postponed. This has been confirmed by the South African Department of Transport.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the department said the postponement was due to travel restrictions as well as other health and safety regulations aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“South Africa will…[restrict] not be able to host the WMDPE in 2020 but will instead defer its hosting of the prestigious event to the year 2021,” said the department.

In 2015, the Cabinet of South Africa approved the Department of Transport to host the WMDPE and plans were at an advanced stage to host the event in the City of Durban from 27-29 October 2020.

“With the country being in lockdown and now on Level 2 of the Risk Adjusted Strategy, international travel and mass gatherings remain prohibited. The aforementioned are key elements to hosting a successful WMDPE, as the country would require the support and attendance of various national and international stakeholders, (i.e. IMO Secretariat, Member States and other Maritime Industry stakeholders),” said the department.

World Maritime Day poster scene, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“We acknowledge the tireless efforts of all the agencies thus far and are mindful of the general industry anticipation for the IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event 2020,” said Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula.

“However, health and safety is paramount and must be prioritized above mutually beneficial engagements and bilateral discussions regardless of their urgency and importance. The South African government remains eager to welcome delegates to our shores, under much safer global conditions in 2021.”

The IMO in its Extraordinary 32nd Council Session approved the postponement of the yearly celebration of the World Maritime Day Parallel Event by host countries with South Africa now scheduled to host in 2021, subsequently the Islamic Republic of Iran will host in 2022, the Russian Federation in 2023 and the United Arab Emirates in 2024 due to the current restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new dates to host the WMDPE during the October Transport Month of 2021 will be announced in due course, the DoT said.[/restrict]


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Image from copyright IMO ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Images from copyright IMO ©

Small island nations face an existential and developmental threat from ship-source pollution endangering their vulnerable marine ecosystems and ocean economies. An effective international legal regime can help, says UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade & Development).

Often close to world shipping lanes, small island and coastal nations are at particular risk from oil spills.

Reliant on the marine environment and its biodiversity for tourism, fishing and aquaculture, islanders face an existential threat when oil spills happen in their waters.

This is why the environmental crisis unfolding in Mauritius is of grave concern.

It also brings into focus the international legal framework in place to provide support when ship-source environmental disasters strike, a new UNCTAD article says.

The seas and their use are governed by several international conventions. But some are not ratified by all countries that might benefit, and others are yet to enter into force.

This creates murky waters when oil spills happen, as not all parties have the same liability and compensation recourse, depending on which kinds of ships are responsible for the pollution and whether they have signed up to existing conventions.

“There’s a need for universal participation in the existing international legal framework, where all nations are party to agreements, so when incidents like this occur, vulnerable countries are protected,” said Shamika N Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s technology and logistics director.

She said such oil spills herald negative environmental and socio-economic consequences for developing countries, especially small island developing states (SIDS).

Ms Sirimanne added: “Sustainable Development Goal 14 calls on us to protect life below water and this means minimizing pollution at every possible turn, including putting all necessary precautions in place to manage environmental disasters like oil spills when they do happen.”

Using legal mechanisms to protect nations, blue economy

Wakashio spill in Mauritius, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Images from copyright IMO ©

Different kinds of ships are subject to different international legal conventions.

The UNCTAD article maps out all the recent and applicable legislation which would apply to Mauritius based on the fact that liability and compensation will be critical in the aftermath of the spill on two fronts: economic and environmental.

The challenge in the Mauritius case is that the legislation that would provide higher compensation to the island nation does not apply, because the ship which ran aground is from a bulk-carrier, not an oil tanker.

Oil tanker pollution is governed by a different convention to that of bulk carriers, which is covered by the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (Bunkers Convention).

It provides for a lower financial cap on liability, dependent on ship size or gross tonnage.

In the case of the MV Wakashio (101,932-gt, 203,130-dwt), the maximum compensation for economic losses and costs of reinstatement of the environment would be about $65.17 million.

If it were an oil tanker, the applicable International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds regime could have provided compensation of up to $286 million.

This is more than four times the Bunkers Convention provision and for Mauritius, could mean less financial aid to restore the environment and economic activity in the wake of the oil spill.

The UNCTAD article’s authors, Regina Asariotis and Anila Premti, emphasise the need for all countries to adopt the latest international legal instruments, given the potentially high costs and wide-ranging environmental and economic implications of ship-source pollution incidents.

What happened to the bulk carrier MV Wakashio?

The MV Wakashio, a Japanese-owned and Panamanian-flagged bulk-carrier, was sailing without cargo when it grounded on a coral reef on 25 July in an environmentally sensitive and biodiverse area off the east coast of Mauritius. The cause of the grounding is still unknown.

At the time of the grounding, the ship reportedly contained approximately 3,894 tons of fuel oil, 207 tons of diesel and 90 tons of lubricant oil on board.

By 11 August, some estimates indicated that between 1,000 and 2,000 tons of fuel oil had reportedly leaked from a breached tank and drifted into the surrounding lagoon, including areas of mangrove.

On 15 August, the ship split in two, at which point most of the fuel on-board had been recovered, according to the Japanese firm that owns the wrecked vessel.

The spill is considered as the worst in the history of Mauritius. It has endangered coral, fish and other marine life, imperiling the economy, food security, health and the $1.6 billion tourism industry in the country, already suffering from the negative effects of COVID-19.

Captain of Wakashio arrested

In related news, it is reported that the captain, named as Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, and the first officer of the Wakashio have been arrested and appeared in a Port Louis court on charges of ‘endangering safe navigation’, no doubt a preliminary to additional charges. A police report said the two men were in custody pending a bail hearing to be heard in a week’s time.




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On Tuesday 18 August the Holland America ship VOLENDAM lad a quartet of company ships to call at Durban for bunkers and supplies. Here Volendam enters the port during the early part of the morning. This picture by Clinton Wyness, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
On Tuesday 18 August the Holland America ship VOLENDAM led a quartet of company ships to call at Durban for bunkers and supplies. Here Volendam enters the port during the early part of the morning. This picture by Clinton Wyness
Volendam entering the harbour on Tuesday. Picture by Trevor Jones
Volendam entering the harbour on Tuesday. Picture by Trevor Jones
Westerdam seen from an extreme long range in order to 'capture' the cruise ship together with the Chinese satellite tracking ship, YUAN WANG 6 in the picture. Westerdam was taken to M berth while Yuan Wang 6 was on the actual cruise berth, N. Picture by Keith Betts
Westerdam seen from an extreme long range across the bay in order to ‘capture’ the cruise ship together with the Chinese satellite tracking ship, YUAN WANG 6 in the picture. Westerdam was taken to M berth while Yuan Wang 6 was on the actual cruise berth, N. Picture by Keith Betts
Westerdam in Durban harbour. Picture by Clinton Wyness, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Westerdam in Durban harbour, 19 August 2020. Picture by Clinton Wyness

This week sees a veritable parade of Holland America ships arriving in Durban harbour. The cruise ships were used to carry Holland America and associated Carnival Group staff back to their respective countries in South East Asia and India, following the sudden ending of cruising operations in March this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier it was a parade of cruise ships heading eastward, a significant number, which called at South Africa’s ports to load bunkers and supplies as necessary. We recall there was concern with the arrival of Carnival Corp ships, strangers to these shores, who required stocking up with beer and liquor and cigarettes, only to face the then recently introduced ban in South Africa on the sale of those commodities.

The matter was finally satisfactorily resolved, much to the relief of those on board the ships faced with a long fortnight or more of travel and no ciggies or beer. It had to be pointed out that the ban did not apply to the export of these items and as the ships were in transit and with no risk of the items being consumed in local harbours, the supply of these essentials were able to go ahead.

Since then several of the ships have returned to South African waters as they make their way back to the Caribbean where they will lay up until cruising resumes. Several Carnival ships have already called at Durban on these return voyages, this week it is the turn of four Holland America ships – VOLENDAM, WESTERDAM, EURODAM and NIEUW AMSTERDAM, with Volendam having called on Tuesday, Westerdam yesterday (Wednesday) and the other two due on Friday.

We ventured an opinion earlier about never seeing these ships again – this time we will not comment for fear of again being wrong. All bets are off as to the future of cruising operations. Meanwile we have the four pictures above to show the arrival of Volendam and Westerdam, thanks to the efforts of photographers Clinton Wyness, Kieth Betts and Trevor Jones.


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Below left to right: Among the women harbour masters and deputy harbour masters within TNPA are Yolisa Tibane – Deputy Harbour Master at the Port of Ngqura, Mbali Khanyile – Marine Technical Manager at the Port of Ngqura, Silindile Mdlalose - Acting Harbour Master at the Port of Saldanha, Precious Dube – Harbour Master at the Port of Richards Bay, Pinky Zungu – Deputy Harbour Master: Nautical at the Port of Durban, Thokozani Mthethwa – Deputy Harbour Master at the Port of Cape Town., features in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Above left to right: Among the women harbour masters and deputy harbour masters within TNPA are Yolisa Tibane – Deputy Harbour Master at the Port of Ngqura, Mbali Khanyile – Marine Technical Manager at the Port of Ngqura, Silindile Mdlalose – Acting Harbour Master at the Port of Saldanha, Precious Dube – Harbour Master at the Port of Richards Bay, Pinky Zungu – Deputy Harbour Master: Nautical at the Port of Durban, Thokozani Mthethwa – Deputy Harbour Master at the Port of Cape Town.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has reaffirmed its continued commitment to the advancement of gender equality in the country. August this year is being acknowledged as Women’s Month.

TNPA said in a statement issued yesterday that despite significant shifts over the years, the maritime industry remains a largely male-dominated sector. It said recent…[restrict] statistics from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) show that while many strides have been made towards growth, women only comprise 2% of the global maritime workforce, while the International Maritime Organization says only 1 – 2% of the 1.2 million global work-force of seafarers are women, with the majority of female seafarers (94%) working within the cruise industry.

To combat the lack of female representation in its own maritime environment, TNPA implemented a deliberate marine transformation strategy spearheaded by the Chief Harbour Master, Captain Rufus Lekala, who is currently serving as Acting Chief Operating Officer.

“Since the establishment of the National Ports Authority 20 years ago we were intentional in our efforts to transform the marine operations environment by recruiting and developing women and other previously disadvantaged groups,’ said Lekala.

“Today we have many women tug masters, marine pilots and harbour masters within our port system and women can also be found in technical, engineering and operational roles that were previously the domain of men only.”

According to TNPA Acting General Manager: Human Resources, Nandi Tyamzashe, TNPA has taken a number of steps to develop women in the industry through a combination of employment processes and initiatives such as the development of female maritime students at TNPA adopted schools, as well as a drive to ensure that the intake of trainees and bursary recipients for marine and engineering programmes includes women.

“Our participation in external programmes such as Take a Girl Child to Work Day demonstrates that TNPA has strategies in place to attract and develop women in the industry from grassroots level and up,” she said.

Women now make up 39.4% of mission critical jobs within TNPA’s port system. Their roles range from port managers, harbour masters and deputy harbour masters, to chief marine engineers and marine engineers, marine pilots, dredge masters, coxswains, tug masters, aviation technicians and helicopter pilots.

Of the eight commercial ports managed by TNPA, three have female port managers. Four of TNPA’s harbour masters are women (50%) as are six of the eight deputy harbour masters (75%).

The Marine Cadet programme that commenced in 2009, currently has 69 female cadets out of a total of 164 trainees (42%). Of eight Marine Operations Managers, four are women (50%), of 83 Tug Masters, 26 are women (31%) and of 88 marine pilots, 32 are women (36%).

Women are also bringing their unique touch to TNPA’s aviation department which manages its fleet of port helicopters. Of 26 port helicopter pilots, 20 were developed through TNPA’s own training and skills development programme and 10 are women (38%). TNPA also has 21 helicopter maintenance technicians, eight of whom are females (38%).

One of the most exciting sectors for TNPA is that, of the 150 engineers across the organisation, 40 are female.

TNPA says this is an aspect it continues to nurture and improve through structured learning programmes such as Engineers-In-Training and Young Professionals-In-Training with the aim of seeing an increase in female representation in this field.

Government’s transformation, skills development and employment agendas embodied in the New Growth Path and National Growth Plan, and TNPA’s own transformation agenda, are the driving force in the changing face of the country’s ports.[/restrict]


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Kenya-US free trade talks are under way: what Nairobi must get right from start

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in August 2018.
Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Elijah N. Munyi, United States International University

The United States and Kenya formally launched negotiations for a free trade agreement on 8 July 2020. With the US gearing up for presidential elections in a few months, these talks may not draw much global attention. But as a prototype for evaluating the substance of future US-Africa trade relations, a lot rides on Washington using this deal to make a bold statement of its commitment to effective North-South free trade agreements.

The US is the third most important destination for Kenyan exports after Uganda and Pakistan, accounting for 8% of its total exports. Kenya exported goods worth US$ 527 million in 2018, primarily apparels, coffee and nuts. Its imports were mainly commercial aeroplanes and other spacecraft, polymers and medicaments. Kenya has a slim trade surplus that the US will probably be keen to balance.

Washington has a penchant for using free trade agreements to signal the status of partner states as regional strategic allies. Such agreements with Morocco, South Korea, Colombia and Bahrain were all intended to signal much deeper strategic alliances beyond trade.

For the European Union and China the Kenyan agreement further signals America’s intent for commercial expansion and competition in Africa. The principal objective is to secure duty free access for American industrial, apparel and agricultural goods in Africa. Its all about making American exports competitive.

US trade officials have described the Kenyan deal as a model for other African free trade deals. Terming Kenya a “strategic partner, regional leader and commercial hub” statementsfrom both the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the US ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter highlight the seriousness with which Washington wants this deal done.

This vigour affirms President Trump’s strategy outlined by the 2018 US-Africa policy. But since the Kenyan deal is an initiative of President Trump, the palpable pressure to conclude agreement could be detrimental to Kenya’s interests. The pressure hampers Kenya more given the asymmetry of capacity between the two states.

Free trade agreements are protracted affairs which take more than a year to complete. The US-Morocco agreement, for instance, took 15 months. Talks with Peru (18 months) and Colombia (20 months) lasted even longer. The Kenya-EU economic partnership agreements took more than 10 years to conclude.

Additionally, there’s no guarantee that Trump will be in office come January 2021. For this reason, Kenya’s team in Washington should consider informally engaging the democrats in case the deal has to be concluded under President Biden.

Kenya’s negotiating objectives

It is my view that Kenya’s negotiations should be guided by four principal questions and objectives as follows:

  • Does the proximity of the November election in the US unduly compromise the quality of negotiations?
  • What are the prospects for renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2025? If extended, would Kenyan exports not covered benefit from US tariff removal?
  • Can Kenyan negotiators defend against US pressure to liberalise industrial goods under the East African Community Sensitive List and
  • Can the US extend to Kenya the “qualified industrial zones” model to bolster US foreign direct investment in Kenya?

From a political perspective, a trade agreement makes sense. It shields Kenya from the uncertainties over the extension of the African deal and the vicissitudes of political party changes in Washington. As a trade tool, the merits of a free trade agreement depend a lot on the extension (or not) of AGOA after 2025 under President Trump or Biden.

More principally, whether democrats or Republicans win in November, the extension of the Africa market access law will depend on the extent to which sub-Saharan Africa states will be regarded as important flashpoints for US-China commercial competition in Africa.

Trump is certainly more combative in wanting to nullify China’s huge commercial advantage in Africa. But a Biden presidency would be more receptive to the appeals of the US Congress Black Caucus which champions the unilateral extension of AGOA. Because of the uncertainty about the whims of the US presidency, it is in Kenya’s interest to concurrently lobby US democrats on the importance of this deal in case of a Biden presidency.

If AGOA is not extended without a free trade agreement, Kenya’s three biggest exports to the US – apparels, macadamia nuts and cut flowers – would face duty increases of 5%, 0.5% and 4% respectively. This would undoubtedly negatively affect exports.

But if it is extended, and the US-Kenya agreement ratified by Congress, elimination of duties on Kenyan non-AGOA exports (mainly minerals) will not amount to much in terms of export enhancement.

Jordanian model

Constraints to Kenyan exports to the US are not primarily tariff based. From Kenya’s standpoint, therefore, these trade talks are less about tariff and trade, than they are about attracting foreign investment into Kenya. The most useful potential outcome will be the extent to which Kenya draws manufacturing foreign direct investment from the US and other states, into its economic processing zones.

To achieve this, Kenya should negotiate for liberal rules of origin requirements. Such rules should not unduly constrain investors to use only US or Kenyan inputs for Kenyan exports to qualify for the duty free entry into the US. A rules-of-origin threshold of no more than 30% value add should be the target.

As an investment vehicle, the Kenya US agreement should be modelled on the Jordanian “qualified industrial zones model” which increased bilateral trade between the two states tenfold since its inception in 2001.

This model permits foreign owned companies situated in select export processing zones to qualify for duty free exports into the US market. With apparel as Kenya’s principal target export, the success of its negotiating dexterity will be judged on how well it integrates the inputs and outputs of its export processing zones. An agreement that considers all apparel exports “Kenyan” irrespective of ownership and input source for a reasonable duration should be the target.

Finally, the US will no doubt be keen on Kenya’s liberalisation of agriculture and services as part of its ambition to compete with the EU as preeminent agricultural exporters. Every country keeps a short list of goods that it is allowed to protect either for infant industry protection or security reasons. Kenya’s highly protected commodities include wheat, matches, rice and cement which can attract customs tariffs of up to 75% in the case of certain types of rice.

My view here is that Kenya should grant the US the same agricultural exports conditions as those granted to the EU under the Economic Partnership Agreement. But at the same time, it should defend the continued protection of the “industrial” goods in the sensitive list such as cement, natural gas and most importantly worn clothing. These should be protected for purposes of the modest infant industry already in existence in production of these products. But it could end protection for some agricultural products like wheat.

If properly negotiated the agreement has the potential to rapidly enhance Kenya’s foreign industrial investment and overall export volumes. To do so, Kenya must pay more attention to the role of this agreement as an investment attraction vehicle and not just a simple tariff centred ‘traditional’ pact.The Conversation

Elijah N. Munyi, Assistant Professor of International Political Economy, United States International University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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Maersk Line contaner vessel at Algeciras, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

In Q2 2020, A.P. Moller – Maersk improved profitability across all businesses through agile capacity deployment, cost mitigation initiatives and adaption to changed customer needs. The earnings improvement was achieved despite the sharp drop in global volumes following the COVID-19 crisis.

“As expected, the second quarter was materially impacted by COVID-19 and our focus remained on protecting our employees from the virus, serving our customers by keeping our global network of ships sailing and our ports, warehouses and inland transportation networks operating, and helping the societies we are part of fight the virus,” says Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk and continues:

“I am pleased that we despite the headwinds, continued our track record of improving earnings and free cash flow. Our operating earnings improved by 25%, marking the eighth consecutive quarter with year-on-year improvements, driven by strong cost performance across all our businesses, lower fuel prices and higher freight rates in Ocean and increased profitability in Logistics & Services.

Read the rest of this report in the TRADE NEWS section available by CLICKING HERE



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IMO helping to mitigate impacts

Images from copyright IMO ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Images from copyright IMO ©

In a briefing from IMO on 17 August it was learnt that the focus of operations on scene is now moving towards salvage and removal of the ship, as well as continued recovery of floating oil and beach clean-up.

The affected area is located in a very sensitive zone that includes the Blue Bay Marine Park, Ile aux Aigrettes, and the Ramsar sites.

IMO continues to support international efforts to respond to…[restrict] the oil spill in Mauritius, following the breakup of mv Wakashio. IMO and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) have jointly deployed an expert, who is advising the Government of Mauritius on the mitigation of the impacts on the environment and coastal communities.

The oil spill response expert has been on the scene since 12 August, providing technical advice, taking part in a number of field visits and operational meetings, and liaising with the various stakeholders involved in the response efforts.

Reports indicate that most of the oil on board Wakashio had been removed before the vessel broke in two sections on 15 August. It is estimated that more than 3,000 tonnes of fuel have been extracted, but some residue and other oil remain in the stern section.

Focus of operations on scene is now moving towards salvage and removal of the ship, as well as continued recovery of floating oil and beach clean-up.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim commented: “I would like to commend all those involved in the international efforts to support the Government of Mauritius and to mitigate the impact of the oil spill from the mv Wakashio.

“I look forward to a full investigation into the incident so that the results and findings can be brought to IMO and we can act on any recommendations.”

IMO continues to collaborate with other UN entities, including OCHA, UNDP and UNOSAT, as well as other stakeholders involved in the response effort.

Images from copyright IMO ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Images from copyright IMO ©

A number of countries, including France and Japan, are also assisting Mauritius, which has activated its national oil spill contingency plan.

Alongside IMO and OCHA, the ship owner and International Tanker Owners’ Pollution Federation (ITOPF) are also mobilising environmental and oil spill experts. The company SMIT Salvage has been appointed by the vessel owner to oversee the salvage operations.

IMO’s liability and compensation regime is partly in play for this incident.

Wakashio has compulsory insurance under the 2001 Bunkers Convention concerning all material damage and pollution claims up to the applicable limits in accordance with relevant instruments (including LLMC) and national legislation in force.

Given that the ship involved is a bulk carrier, other international conventions specific to pollution damage caused by oil tankers (such as the IOPC Fund regime) do not apply in this case.

Wakashio ran aground on 25 July off Pointe d’Esny natural area, on the SE coast of Mauritius and started leaking oil following severe weather. An estimated 3,894 tonnes of low-sulphur fuel oil, 207 tonnes of diesel and 90 tonnes of lubricant oil were on board.[/restrict]

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent for Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Bulk Connections at Durban's Island View complex on the Bluff, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Bulk Connections at Durban’s Island View complex on the Bluff. Once an all-rail operation, this bulk terminal is now almost entirely reliant on road transport – note the tipper trucks lined up waiting to discharge their loads

Traffic in the Bayhead, Island View and Maydon Wharf precincts of the Port of Durban on Wednesday, 19 August, was again free flowing after severe truck congestion on Monday and Tuesday.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at the Port of Durban confirmed that the congestion had been related to the operation of a private bulk terminal operator,…[restrict] located in Island View.

Following urgent liaison with the affected terminal’s senior management and discussions in the port’s daily virtual stakeholder operations meetings, other terminal operators volunteered to open up their own staging areas to move trucks off the road.

“I would like express our gratitude to Metro Police and SAPS for the sterling job done in ensuring that the port remained accessible during the congestion,” said Moshe Motlohi, GM at the Port of Durban.

“Also, we appreciate the spirit of joint problem solving demonstrated by other terminal operators who volunteered their skills in resolving the issue.”

In recent days tipper trucks had been seen queuing on Bayhead Road and affecting other traffic and facilities including container trucks destined for the Durban Container Terminal.

Last week severe congestion occurred in the area due to two incidents in quick succession on Monday, 10 August – an overturned container truck on Bayhead Road and a network outage at the same private bulk terminal affecting three of their truck loading bays and severely hampering their operation.

TNPA has called for all businesses in the port to revise their protocols around giving early warnings of any business disruptions so that Transnet can sensitise other port users and the public of congestion incidents.

“As the port landlord Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is motivating through the Port of Durban Decongestion Task Team for all terminals to have a booking system that will give port users full visibility of cargo handling equipment deployed and truck volumes so that they can plan when and when not to send vehicles to the port,” said Motlohi.

He said there would be a joint planning meeting with businesses in the Cutler Complex today, Thursday, 20 August.

Container terminal operator Transnet Port Terminals has also made provision for container trucks that have missed their scheduled slots in the Transnet booking system due to Bayhead congestion incidents to be accommodated in its staging area until they can be serviced.[/restrict]


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SADC offers belated condemnation

Map of Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, showing location of Mocimboa da Praia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Map of Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, showing location of Mocimboa da Praia

At the 40th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC, the organisation issued its long-awaited condemnation of terrorism and violent attacks that are taking place in northern Mozambique. SADC also pledged support for the southern African country, though not specifying what this support will consist of.

“The summit expressed SADC solidarity and commitment to support Mozambique in addressing the terrorism and violent attacks, and condemned all acts of terrorism and armed attacks,” said the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in a communique. Empty words at this stage.

The summit also received an assessment report on emerging security threats in the region and directed the Secretariat to prepare an action plan for its implementation that will, among others, prioritise measures to combat terrorism, violent attacks and cybercrime.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as the incoming chairman of SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, and it will be up to him to take the lead.

The development is the first acknowledgement by SADC of the events unfolding in northern Mozambique where an initial outbreak in October 2017 by a small group of Islamist terrorists has now escalated into open warfare by the extremist Islamists, who identify themselves as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamaa and who have now allied closely with the Islamic State (ISIS).

More recently we saw the capture of the port town of Mocimboa da Praia by this group, which is now numbered at well over a thousand, possibly thousands, including foreign groups that have arrived overland through Kenya and Tanzania, or by dhow and boat.

During the battle for the town Mozambique military forces were forced to retreat, many by sea, after running low on ammunition. There have been reports that one of the Mozambique EMATUM fast patrol boats was sunk by a RPG fired by one of the terrorists though this has yet to be confirmed. Another report said the Mozambican forces retreated by sea on other patrol vessels that had been sent to bolster defences in the north of the country.

SADC badge or logo, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

It seems that the Islamists took the town by surprise, after infiltrating in ones and two’s and then, as was described by defence minister, Jaime Neto, they “attacked the town from the inside out, causing destruction, looting and the murder of defenceless citizens.”

The terrorists issued a claim of shooting down a helicopter belonging to the South African security company Dyck Advisory Group, which is providing reconnaissance flights for the Mozambican authorities, though this has been denied. If it proves to be fact it will be the third DAG aircraft (including an unmanned UAV) to have been lost in action.

A recent report says that Mozambique has rushed hundreds of reinforcements into position surrounding the town and port which they need to recapture urgently and not just for reasons of face.

Another worrying aspect to this complex problem in the northern, largely muslim region of the country is that the situation closely follows the march of insurgency in northern Nigeria and in Mali and Central Africa.

The involvement or outside forces to counter the threat only adds to the problems and adds to the forces being brought to bear against legitimate government. Whether South Africa falls into this trap remains to be seen and it is SADC that as an organisation representing the region that needs to be seen as taking the initiative in providing much need support for Mozambique. Whether it will is another matter.

[14:26] The YouTube video of a SABC presentation discusses the history of the Mozambican insurgency as well as the impact it has on the region, and is conducted via Skype by Jasmine Opperman – the Africa analyst for the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project and by Johann Smith – a former soldier and now independent researcher of conflict zones. source: YouTube / SABC


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Port of Dar es Salaam, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Dar es Salaam, where an expansion of the car handling terminal is taking place

In a drive to increase the number of auto vehicle imports handled at the port of Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian Ports Authority together with the respective port stakeholders is targeting an ambitious port capacity of 520,000 vehicles annually.

This is on a par with the auto throughout of the South Africa port of Durban, which…[restrict] handles a little in excess of 500,000 vehicle units.

The port of Dar es Salaam currently has an annual throughout capacity of 170,000 vehicle units.

In terms of the expansionprogramme of the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Program (DMGP), the port will be targeting ships carrying vehicles destined for neighbouring countries in addition to those for Tanzania.

The Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Isack Kamwelwe, visited the port to inspect progress of the expansion works. He epressed his satisfaction with the completed vehicles yard adjacent to the newly built RoRo berth.

With yard space for 3,000 vehicles the berth will be able to handle 200,000 vehicles annually.

The minister said that together with the current handling capacity of 170,000 vehicles, another area allocated for theconstrcution of a third yard would provide for an additional 150,000 units.

“These expansions are meant to make the Dar es Salaam Port competitive by allowing big ships to dock instead of doing transshipment at the Mombasa Port, something which leads to double handling and more costs. Now all ships come directly to our port,” Kamwelwe said.

Cement by coastal shipping

The transport minister revealed that TPA has entered into an agreement with the Dangote Cement Company in the port town of Mtwara, in the south of the country, to ship cement by sea to Dar es Salaam, instead of using heavy trucks.

Dangote Cement will ship two million metric tonnes of cement annually from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam, from where the product will be delivered to the inland market and neighbouring countries using the railway.[/restrict]


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STERNPOST: Another view from London

La Corbiere Lighthouse, States of Jersey, Channel Islands. Photo:Maryanne Dutka, Sealite ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
La Corbiere Lighthouse, States of Jersey, Channel Islands. Photo:Maryanne Dutka, Sealite ©

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent for Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

By Paul Ridgway

La Corbiere lighthouse

La Corbiere lighthouse located in the Channel Islands is operated by the Ports of Jersey. In order to reduce power consumption of the light and increase reliability the organisation approached Sealite for assistance. Another goal was to increase the reliability of the lighthouse. A team from Sealite UK commissioned the project that now ensures that this Category 1 Aid to Navigation meets IALA’s stringent availability guidelines of 99.98%.

To quote Aaron Gavey, Head of Operations, Jersey Harbours: “We were impressed with Sealite’s solution which provided a modern, reliable and efficient light source whilst remaining sympathetic to the lighthouse’s heritage and significance as a local landmark, but most importantly to improve upon reliability and to continue its vital role in aiding the safety of navigation in Jersey’s waters, as it has done for nearly 130 years.”

La Corbiere Lighthouse is set on a tidal island off the extreme SW point of Jersey at St Brelade. It was built in 1873 to ensure the safety of mariners after many ships had come to grief in these hazardous waters. A rare aspect of its construction is that the outer face is of ashlar granite on an internal core of concrete.

The original light source installed at La Corbiere was a three-wick burner. For over 100 years lighthouse keepers manned the light with its paraffin vapour burner and signalled ship movements by flag, Morse Code, radio and finally by telephone. This lighthouse was automated in 1974.

La Corbiere lighthouse is unique of offshore stations in that it is only accessible at low water along a 300 metre causeway. This modernisation saw installation of 36 energy efficient LEDs capable of a range far exceeding the 18 nautical miles specified.


Remembering Operation Pedestal

Operation Pedestal as portrayed by Arthur James Wetherall Burgess (1879-1957)., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Operation Pedestal as portrayed by Arthur James Wetherall Burgess (1879-1957)

This fine painting by Arthur James Wetherall Burgess (1879-1957) is titled Convoy under aerial attack during Operation Pedestal, August 1942. It is oil on canvas, measures 20 x 30 in. (50.8 x 76.2 cm) and was recently on sale with the Rountree Tryon Gallery in Petworth, Sussex. See:

We must not forget Pedestal known in Malta as the Santa Marija Convoy (or Convoy WS. 5.21) It was a British operation to carry supplies to the island of Malta in August 1942, during the Second World War. At the time Malta was a base from which British ships, submarines and aircraft attacked Axis convoys to their forces in Libya and Egypt, during the North African Campaign (1940–1943).

From 1940 to 1942, the Axis conducted the Siege of Malta, with air and naval forces. Despite many losses sufficient supplies were delivered by the British for the population and military forces on Malta to enable resistance. The most crucial commodity in Operation Pedestal was fuel, carried by ss Ohio, an American tanker with a British crew. The convoy sailed from Britain on 3 August 1942 and passed through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean on the night of 9/10 August.

The Axis attempt to prevent the convoy reaching Malta was the last sizeable Axis success in the Mediterranean. More than 500 Merchant and Royal Navy sailors and airmen were killed and only five of the 14 merchant ships reached Grand Harbour. Union Castle’s Rochester Castle was a survivor.

While costly for the Allies, it was a strategic victory; the arrival of Ohio justified the decision to hazard so many warships; its cargo of aviation fuel revitalised the Maltese air offensive against Axis shipping. Submarines returned to Malta and fighter aircraft flown from HMS Furious enabled a maximum effort to be made against Axis ships.

Italian convoys had to steam further away from the island, lengthening their passages and increasing the time during which they could be attacked. The Siege of Malta was broken by the Allied re-occupation of Libya after the Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October – 11 November) and by Operation Torch (8–16 November) in French North Africa, which enabled land-based aircraft to escort merchant ships to the island.

Much has been written about the war in North Africa, Malta Convoys and the Merchant Navy in the Second World War. Two important titles are provided here if you can hunt them down: Richard Woodman’s, Malta Convoys, 1940–1943 published in 2000 by John Murray (ISBN 0 7195 5735 4) and Peter C Smith’s Pedestal: The Convoy That Saved Malta published in 2002 by Crécy, (ISBN 0 907579 191).


Remembering the Indian Ocean tsunami

A few weeks ago we carried news of a proposed Indian Ocean tsunami warning exercise. This takes my mind back to the huge devastation left behind by the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

In Sri Lanka alone, some 40,000 people lost their lives. The human tragedy was exacerbated by immense damage to infrastructure and essential services. As an island nation, Sri Lanka suffered loss of so many of its aids to navigation, fixed and floating, essential for the safe passage of vessels navigating the coastline.

IMO, with the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) quickly appealed to maritime organisations to support relief in the area. Trinity House, London and the Northern Lighthouse Board based in Edinburgh, reacted immediately by offering a team of engineers to undertake a survey and compile a detailed report on damage and requirements in Sri Lanka.

A reconnaissance team flew out in April 2005 to meet the Sri Lankan Navy and Port Authority personnel and a decision taken to concentrate initial work on refurbishing the two Basses lighthouses (Great and Little) and replacing buoyage at the ports of Trincomalee, Colombo, and Galle. There then followed much fund-raising effort and companies trading in the region were approached to contribute to the repair work. Initially, the Trinity House Maritime Charity underwrote the project.

The Great Basses Lighthouse was built in 1896 and the Little Basses Lighthouse in 1897. Trinity House Engineers built both lighthouses under the auspices of the then Imperial Lighthouse Service overseen by William Douglass. The picture here shows the engineer’s drawing of the Great Basses lighthouses optic made by Chance Brothers of Smethwick, near Birmingham.   Great Basses Lighthouse optic of 1872. Copyright: Corporation of Trinity House, London ©

Great Basses Lighthouse, being situated far offshore, took the full impact of the tsunami wave. However, its robust construction meant that structural damage was limited to the base of the tower. Restoration work addressed the lighting requirements and power source as well as the structural damage.

As with Great Basses, the offshore reef location of Little Basses left the lighthouse exposed to the full force of the tsunami wave, but the massive size of the tower limited structural damage to the area around the base. A similar repair and update as at the Great Basses was effected.


An interesting link with SA south of London

A charity known as the Merchant Seamen’s War Memorial Society was founded in 1920 after Havelock Wilson, the founder and president of the National Union of Seamen (NUS), recognised that there was a desperate need to support merchant seafarers. He campaigned to highlight awareness throughout the country, successfully raising funds with the support of one main benefactor, a ship owner, Henry Radcliffe, partner of the Cardiff-based company Evan Thomas, Radcliffe.

In 1920 the Henry Radcliffe Convalescent Home in Oxted, Surrey, was opened by the HRH The Duke of York and so the charity was born. The Society was effectively the fundraising arm of the charity and they worked tirelessly to secure funds to run the home.

Following the Second World War the people of South Africa collected huge funds and gave them to the NUS with instructions to build a living memorial to those seamen who gave so much to keep the supply lines open during the conflict.

In 1945 the trustees of the charity purchased an additional property in Alfold, Cranleigh, Surrey, to turn it into a second convalescent home. In addition to the convalescent home the charity also developed a training scheme in horticulture and agriculture, based at Springbok Farm, for former seafarers. This ran successfully until 1993 and thousands of seafarers were retrained for another industry.

Today the charity, now known as Care Ashore, continues to offer support to seafarers and provides both sheltered housing with support, and holidays. Those who have served in either the Royal Navy or the Merchant Navy and the fishing fleets may apply for accommodation or holiday assistance. See also:


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Ships calling at the port of Hamburg will shortly be orientating themselves towards new lighthouses. This is because the fairway is not only being deepened in the course of the fairway adjustment, but also widened between Wedel and Blankenese so that ships can cross each other on the Elbe.

This will shift the optimal course line for ships heading for the port of Hamburg. As the fairway is under water and therefore not visible, ships orientate themselves by a leading light line, which consists of a front and a rear light.

These leading lights mark the line on which the ships can navigate within the fairway. More about this project of the Hamburg Port Authority can be found in the following PORT IS WHAT WE DO video.


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Herbert Msagala at the time of his appointment as GM at the Port of Durban, featureing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Herbert Msagala at the time of his appointment as GM at the Port of Durban

The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) said in an announcement yesterday that it welcomes the Special Investigative Unit’s work at Transnet, which has led to the seizure of assets belonging to one of the company’s executives.

The department said the order – made by the…[restrict] Special Tribunal established under the Special Investigating Units and Tribunals Act – was for the attachment of assets and bank accounts linked to former Transnet Capital Projects executive, Herbert Msagala, and his relatives.

The attached assets include several luxury vehicles, property and two farms.

“The department supports the steps taken by the SIU as an important part of our efforts to clean up State-owned enterprises (SOEs), so they can be re-engineered to serve the country’s economic and strategic goals,” the department said in its statement.

The news of the seizure comes hot on the heels of steps taken by Eskom and the SIU to recoup funds lost to State Capture corruption.

A set of summons was issued two weeks ago in the North Gauteng High Court to recover funds from former Eskom executives, former board members, members of the Gupta family and their associates.

“The DPE and the SOEs reporting to it will continue to work closely with the SIU to ensure that all other instances of corruption, which have been uncovered at the parastatals, are pursued,” the department said.

Yes, but so far no arrests.

Luxury cars and house

Ahead of his appointment as CE of Transnet Capital Projects, Msagala held the position as general manager with TNPA at the port of Durban. Last October a forensic report revealed how he had, since taking the reins at Capital Projects, managed to buy six cars, of which one is a Maserati GranTurismo GT Coupé, a luxury house in Steyn City in northern Johannesburg and four other properties, which included several farms.

These were acquired in a seven month period with the Maserati and four properties being paid for in cash, while the Steyn City house had a large deposit put down on his behalf by a service provider. The report states he subsequently paid for his Steyn City home in nine installaments, all with cash.[/restrict]


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map of South Africa, faturing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

map of Ghana, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news








Business people in South Africa and Ghana began engaging in trade and investment talks that got underway yesterday (Tuesday, 18 August).

The South Africa-Ghana Trade and Investment webinar is being hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic).

The aim of the two-day webinar which concludes today is to reinvigorate and rekindle bilateral economic relations between the two countries post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s session, Deputy Minister Fikile Majola said…[restrict] the webinar will afford South African and Ghanaian businesspeople the chance to exchange ideas and information on how to increase trade and investment between the two countries.

“It is important that we continue the conversation and interaction between South African businesspeople and their counterparts from other African countries, despite the Coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown.

“This is to ensure that we continue to work with our businesses to identify new opportunities that we can explore in order to increase bilateral trade and investment between South Africa and other African countries,” said the Deputy Minister.

Majola said the session forms part of South Africa’s economic strategy for Africa, which is premised on the development integration approach focusing on advancing the priorities for Africa as set out in the country’s Re-imagined Industrialisation Strategy, and the Integrated National Export Strategy (INES).

“This is also part of South Africa’s commitment to increasing intra-African trade and investment in line with the spirit and letter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).”

Bilateral trade between South Africa and Ghana was on an upward growth trajectory before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown in South Africa.

Two-way trade between the two countries increased considerably from almost R4 billion in 2014 to R14 billion in 2019.

The webinar is being held under the theme ‘Developing Afrocentric Solutions and Forging Partnership in Response to Covid-19’.

Companies operating in agro-processing and agricultural equipment, pharmaceutical, mining, rail, textile, energy and infrastructure are participating in the sessions.[/restrict]


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Port statistics for the month of July 2020, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

Details of the port throughputs, ships berthed and container volumes handled can be seen in the Tables below.

Statistics involving motor vehicles are also included, per port and measured in vehicle units. These include imports and exports, earth-moving and other ro-ro or wheeled vehicles.

The effects of the COVID-19 lockdown and the spread of the virus continues to affect operations and ship calls at the ports and continues to be seen in the decrease in cargo and ships handled at South Africa’s ports, particularly at Durban and Ngqura. For a comparison with the same month in 2019 we provide a link below.

This situation is likely to continue for at least several more months, pointing to a dismal year when 2020 comes to an end.

For comparison with the equivalent month of last year however, July 2019 CLICK HERE

These statistic reports on Africa PORTS & SHIPS are arrived at using an adjustment on the overall tonnage compared to those kindly provided by TNPA and include containers recorded by weight; an adjustment necessary because TNPA measures containers by the number of TEUs and does not reflect the weight which unfortunately undervalues the ports.

To arrive at such a calculation,  Africa PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13.5 tonnes per TEU, which probably does involve some under-reporting.  Africa PORTS & SHIPS  will continue to emphasise this distinction, without which South African ports would be seriously under-reported internationally and locally.

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Cape Town harbour (the present V&A Waterfont harbour) as it was circa 1911 in this fascinating photograph. Idenmtification of any of the ships present will be welcome. Picture: courtesy collection of Allen Duff, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cape Town harbour (the present V&A Waterfont harbour) as it was circa 1911 in this fascinating photograph. Idenmtification of any of the ships present will be welcome. Picture: courtesy collection of Allen Duff

Figures for the respective ports during July 2020 are:

Cargo handled by tonnes during July 2020, including containers by weight

PORT July 2020 million tonnes
Richards Bay 8.213
Durban 5.325
Saldanha Bay 5.284
Cape Town 1.466
Port Elizabeth 0.913
Ngqura 0.816
Mossel Bay 0.147
East London -0.155
Total all ports 22.236 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during July 2020
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT July 2020 TEUs
Durban 188,139
Cape Town 72,331
Port Elizabeth 14,039
Ngqura 37,582
East London 1,541
Richards Bay 661
Total all ports 314,293 TEU

MOTOR VEHICLES RO-RO TRAFFIC (measured by Units- CEUs) during July 2020

PORT July 2020 CEUs
Durban 19,967
Cape Town 1
Port Elizabeth 8,342
East London 3,412
Richards Bay 0
Total all ports 31,722 CEU

SHIP CALLS for July 2020

PORT July 2020 vessels gross tons
Durban 220 8,252,564
Cape Town 164 2,888,268
Richards Bay 137 6,049,632
Port Elizabeth 74 2,123,874
Saldanha Bay 44 3,206,841
Ngqura 46 2,239,669
East London 18 505,101
Mossel Bay 27 174,350
Total ship calls 730 25,440,299
— source TNPA, with adjustments regarding container weights by AP&s


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YouTube video showing the broken hull of the bulk carrier Wakashio [1:07]

With the unfortunate Japanese bulk carrier WAKASHIO (203,00-dwt) now completely broken in two and all hope of saving the vessel well and truly gone, attention will turn to the twin tasks of salvaging the aft section of the ship that remains firmly on the reef off the east coast of Mauritius, while also dealing with the disposing of the floating mid and front section of the vessel.

Attention is also turning towards the necessary enquiry into the circumstances of the disaster, in which questions will be asked how a modern, well equipped ship could run into a reef along the eastern side of a large Indian Ocean island, despite repeated warnings issued that the vessel was on the wrong course.

Meanwhile, the rumours are accumulating along with sundry questions. The latest reports suggest that there is evidence that the crew were engaged in a birthday party on board ship and that the Wakashio was sailed closer to the island in order to obtain a strong WiFi signal.

If either of these prove to be true they will surely be chalked up as yet more ‘firsts’ in the annals of unnecessary shipwrecks.

This report incidentally was published in a local newspaper in which it was said the information came from investigators who boarded the ship to interview the crew.

Other stories include a suggestion from a leading Mauritian politician, that police should take a close look at what the vessel might have been carrying for disposal on the island, hence the vessel sailing close to the shore – too close as it turned out.

What is known from AIS records is that Wakashio was deviated from her initial course after the ship had entered the Indian Ocean from Singapore, and on 21 July when south of the Maldives she took a heading that would lead her straight to the island of Mauritius.

There were no known plans to call at Port Louis during the bulk carrier’s voyage to Brazil via the Cape.

Wakashio after breaking in two at the weekend. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The onboard party story would account for the reason why calls to the ship from authorities ashore went unanswered until it was too late.

Enter the Panamanian Maritime Authority, which initially suggested the ship was in difficulty on account of bad weather having been experienced. The problem with this version of the story was that the weather was not ‘bad’ – in fact it was fine sailing conditions along the vessel’s course. A storm was raging some one thousand nautical miles to the south, hardly close enough for the ship to alter course in order to avoid it.

Other questions being asked include why the ship’s tracking GPS did not provide warning of impending danger? If there was no-one on duty on the bridge this might provide the answer, but according to the Panama Maritime Authority (Autoridad Marítima de Panamá) that wasn’t so.

“On 14 July 2020, the bulk carrier sailed from Singapore (Offshore Terminal) to Tubarao, Brazil,” said the Panamanian statement issued on 13 August. “Everything went smoothly until July 25, when the ship faced adverse weather conditions near the coast of Mauritius. It was then, necessary to perform various maneuvers to change course due to the state of the sea. All maneuvers were supervised by the captain and first officer of the ship who were aware of the situation and weather conditions; At 19:25hrs of the same day, while on the bridge, the captain, the first officer and the chief engineer noticed that the ship stopped moving and that it was stranded, in a latitude position: 20°26.6S and longitude: 057°44.6E, notifying the parties concerned (flag of the ship, ship operators and local authorities),” the statement added.

Perhaps this counts for the understatement of the year – “the captain, the first officer and the chief engineer noticed that the ship stopped moving and that it was stranded.” Other records show that the ship was travelling at her normal cruising speed of 11 knots when she “stopped moving”.

Mauritian Coast Guard radar operators picked up the ship heading into danger from 11.5 nautical miles away, roughly an hour’s sailing distance. They report taking action to contact the vessel, without success until a few minutes before she struck the reef. Only after this happened did the master come on the radio to advise his ship was aground. There was no Mayday or distress signal given.

The Mauritian authorities have now launched a police investigation into the grounding. What should also be investigated is why it took so long for authorities and salvors to begin removing the 3,840 tons of heavy fuel oil, 207 tons of diesel and 90t of lube oil from the vessel.

The weather may have played a part in the answer to this question. About 1000 tons of heavy fuel oil leaked from the ship and much of this has gone ashore onto the island’s beaches and coves. When the vessel broke apart some 90 tons was reported as remaining on the vessel.


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Oryx helicopter of 15 Squadron, Durban overing over the deck of a tanker in Algoa Bay to airlift an injured crewman to hospital for urgent medical care. Picture SAAF/NSRI, featured in Africa PORTS & ships MARITIME NEWS
Oryx helicopter of 15 Squadron, Durban overing over the deck of a tanker in Algoa Bay to airlift an injured crewman to hospital for urgent medical care. Picture SAAF/NSRI

On Friday, 14 August, the NSRI Durban station 5 was involved with a long-range sea rescue involving the medical evacuation of a seafarer with a serious leg injury on board a tanker off Port Elizabeth.

Involving a combined joint operation coordinated by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) at Cape Town, it was arranged at 14h43 that the SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron based at Durban Air Force Base, NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and Netcare 911 rescue paramedics would prepare to patient evacuate a 36 year old Indian crewman, suffering a serious injury, off a 330 metre crude oil tanker off Port Elizabeth.

NSRI Port Elizabeth had been placed on alert on Friday morning and remained on alert with their duty controllers monitoring throughout the operation.

A SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, accompanied by two NSRI Durban rescue swimmers and two Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, departed Durban Air Force Base. Arrangements had been made for refuelling to take place at East London and again at Port Elizabeth.

After refuelling was completed in East London, on arrival at the ship out in Algoa Bay, in calm sea conditions but in darkness, two NSRI rescue swimmers and a Netcare 911 rescue paramedic were hoisted onto the vessel accompanied by a rescue stretcher.

The patient, in a serious condition, suffering a compound fracture to a leg, reportedly sustained in a fall, was taken into their care from the ship’s medical crew.

Secured into a rescue stretcher the patient was hoisted into the helicopter accompanied by a Netcare 911 rescue paramedic.

Oryx helicopter of the SAAF, 15 Squadron based at Durban, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Oryx helicopter of the SAAF, 15 Squadron based at Durban

The remaining two rescuers were hoisted off the ship and likewise recovered into the helicopter.

The patient was then airlifted to a Port Elizabeth hospital in a stable but serious condition where it is reported he is recovering following an operation.

The SAAF Oryx helicopter refuelled at Port Elizabeth Air Force Base, (15 Squadron, Charlie Flight), and on the return route to Durban a further refuelling took place at East London.

All Covid-19 precautions and protocols were observed during the operation.

Those assisting in this long-range mission were NSRI Emergency Operations Centre, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, WC Government Health EMS, Netcare 911 duty controllers, NSRI Durban duty controllers, NSRI Port Elizabeth duty controllers, the ships agent, Transnet National Ports Authority, the Port Health Authority all of which assisted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in communications, coordination and logistics during the operation.

The helicopter flight crew comprised commander Colonel Zungu, co-pilot Major Sandi and flight engineer Flight Sergeant Vuamzonke.

The operation was completed at 02h39 on Saturday morning.

Reporting by Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station commander.


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Oryx helicopter of the SAAF, 15 Squadron based at Durban, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Apapa port and container terminal, Lagos

The heads of the various maritime agencies in Nigeria have agreed to work on introducing a 24-hour operation at the West African country’s ports.

This was disclosed recently by the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh.

The respective agencies had met with NIMASA to discuss issues…[restrict] including maritime safety, security, port efficiency, intermodal transportation and possible synergies among the various organisations.

Jamoh said the heads of each agency had agreed with the principle of facilitating a 24-hour type operation at the ports, seven days a week, which he said would have a tremendous impact on easing the congestion at some of the ports.

This in turn would help with the federal government’s Ease of Doing Business initiative.

A committee has been formed that will produce a work plan for a 24-hour port system and would look to involving communities from around the port environments in planning for a smooth introduction of the service.

He pointed out that the forum of CEOs from the agencies was providing the Nigerian maritime industry with a platform to grow and contribute more to the country’s economic development.

He added that this had been the second meeting of this nature and it was already yielding positive results. Giving an example, the DG said the issue of berthing the NIMASA floating dock, which has lingered for a couple of years, has been resolved as a result of this meeting. Quite soon the dock would enter service, he stated.

“We also agreed to work with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on how the movement of cargoes from the ports can be done by rail to reduce the pressure on our roads.

“Our focus is also to ensure containers are moved by barges to dry ports outside the port environments. All these would help in the efficiency and effectiveness of our ports,” the director general said.[/restrict]


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WHARF TALK: MSC Cruises’ plans for cruising in South Africa

MSC Grandiosa, which is restarting MSC Cruises'operations in the Mediterranean as from this week. Picture: MSC, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Grandiosa, flagship of the MSC fleet which is restarting cruising operations in the Mediterranean as from this week. Picture: MSC

As the 90,000-gt cruise ship MSC ORCHESTRA continues its lonely vigil outside the port of Durban, with only occasional forays into port for fresh water and supplies, news has been obtained of MSC’s South African cruise plans for the coming summer season.

All cruises are out for 2020. The next time MSC Orchestra will embark passengers will be…[restrict] February next year.

This follows news from the international operations of MSC Cruises that it will re-engage with cruises using just two of its ships. MSC GRANDIOSA and MSC MAGNIFICA were due to commence cruising operations in the Mediterranean starting this week with a first sailing on Sunday 16 August involving the flagship Grandiosa, followed by MSC Magnifica on 29 August.

Only passengers who are residents in Schengen countries will be welcomed aboard in these initial stages.

This would be after both ships have complied with a comprehensive health and safety protocol approved by the relevant national authorities from the countries that the ships will visit in their East and West Mediterranean cruise itineraries.

See our full report MSC to resume cruising.

For South Africans it is a longer wait, until February 2021 before MSC Orchestra will re-enter Durban harbour to embark her first passengers since cruising was abruptly curtailed in March this year.

According to MSC the COVID-19 pandemic is continuously evolving and it can be anticipated that cruises should be fully operational early next year.[/restrict]

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WHARF TALK: Durban weekly port summary

The tanker ADVANTAGE SKY enters port at Durban last week to undergo maintenance and possibly a name change following the ship's recent sale at auction for an impressive US$25.25 million. See that full report Strong response to sale of tanker Advantage Sky. Pictures: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The tanker ADVANTAGE SKY enters port at Durban last week to undergo maintenance and possibly a name change following the ship’s recent sale at auction for an impressive US$25.25 million. See that full report Strong response to sale of tanker Advantage Sky. Picture: Keith Betts

Resulting from recent severe congestion experienced in the Bayhead, Island View and Maydon Wharf precincts of Durban harbour, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), acting in its capacity as landlord authority for the port, raised with all businesses in the port the need to revise their protocols around providing early warnings of any business disruptions.

To this end TNPA is having a joint planning meeting with businesses in the Cutler Complex(Island View) on Thursday this week (20 August)

It follows two incidents that occurred in succession on Monday, 10 August, the first being an accident involving a container truck which capsized on Bayhead Road. The second took place around midnight, when the Bidfreight Bulk Connections experienced a systems/network problem that severely hampered its operations and causing further backups with arriving trucks.

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WHARF TALK: Durban weekly port performance

Durban Container Terminal, under-performing against budget volumes in terms of containers, as the effects of a coutrywide lockdown remain in place together with the resultant economic slump affeting the country. The state of the Durban container terminal usually fairly accurately mirrors the South African economy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Durban Container Terminal, under-performing against budget volumes in terms of containers, as the effects of a coutrywide lockdown remain in place together with the resultant economic slump affeting the country. The state of the Durban container terminal usually fairly accurately mirrors the South African economy

TNPA reports Durban container volumes as remaining below budget. Imports were below budget by 17% and exports by 9% for the reporting week. The terminals were impacted by gusty winds although this is not the only factor in reduced container volumes.

Automotive volumes are also below budget, however they…[restrict] have improved for the first time since the nationwide lockdown in March. The port saw almost 8,000 units being handled during the reporting week. Import throughputs have improved with a total of 4,459 units landed at the automotive terminal this week and 5,000 units the previous week.

Dry Bulk volumes were below budget compared to previous weeks. Manganese and maize exports on the other hand performed well, however, TNPA noted smaller parcels of chrome exports loaded for the period. Manganese volumes handled this week reached 103,000 tons.

The picture changes in breakbulk commodities for this period, with volumes exceeding the targeted budget. “This is good news. The good performance in week 20 was attributed to the extremely high volumes of cement imports totalling 61,869 tons. Citrus exports also performed well with just over 7,000 tons handled in the week,” said the port’s general manager, Moshe Motlohi.

Liquid Bulk volumes were below budget for this reporting period. The main contributors for negative variance were single buoy mooring (SBM) and refined petroleum volumes which achieved 22% and 7% below budget respectively. Three SBM vessels were committed for week 20 and only two vessels were handled, the third vessel was still working cargo after cut off time. Refined petroleum volumes were low due to small parcel sizes handled (157,398 kl planned vs 147,155 kl handled) as result of the high volumes handled during the previous week 19*.

*The number of weeks is counted from the start of Transnet’s financial year, 1 April to end March.[/restrict]

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WHARF TALK: Cape Town weekly port summary

Port of Cape Town, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Cape Town

The Port of Cape Town reports a reduction in COVID-19 positive cases among port workers, as well as an increase in volumes handled and ships now returning to the port.

Cape Town Port Manager, Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana described this as…[restrict] evidence of what can be achieved when all stakeholders involved in the port work together seamlessly. “It has laid the platform for a new way of working going forward,” she said. “Now that operations have normalised, we will be able to work on issues that will have a far-reaching impact over the longer term.”

CTOC – which guarantees berthing for vessels on arrival – will be resuming on 20 August at the container terminal.

However, there are a few glitches. Some problems have been experienced with rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) and one crane was having a new motor fitted and was due back in operation towards the end of the week.

Asked about the long queues at Cape Town Multipurpose Terminal, Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) Sipho Khanyile said the terminal would be receiving another reach stacker, by Saturday latest, which would improve the situation.

He also advised that one harbour crane would be allocated for training purposes, while the other would remain in operation. Ships gear at G berth would be reactivated to alleviate pressure on operations.[/restrict]

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WHARF TALK: Cape Town weekly marine report

The Robinson Dry Dock, the smaller of two graving docks at the Port of Cape Town, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Robinson Dry Dock, the smaller of two graving docks at the Port of Cape Town

All marine pilots at Cape Town harbour are back on duty. The port is operating a two-tug operation and a third tug on standby. The port has one pilot boat, one work boat, and one launch available.

Berthing Services consist of two berthing gangs.

There are no current vessel delays at Cape Town. At the time of receiving this…[restrict] report (see below for latest update) six vessels were at anchorage, including two container vessels, two tankers, one general cargo and one bunker barge.

Sea swells that have been rather active in the bay over the latter part of the previous week, together with wind and rain, do not appear to have caused any delays to shipping in Table Bay this past week.

Concerning pilotage and port control, the port was 100% operational and operating the quad-shift.

Ship Repair Facility:

The port’s ship repair facilities were 100% operational, with one vessel at the Robinson Dry Dock, one vessel in the Sturrock Dry Dock, and four vessels on the Synchrolift.[/restrict]

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WHARF TALK: Cape Town Terminal report

Cape Town's Duncan Dock with the Sturrock dry dockin the foreground. Picture: DCD Marine, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cape Town’s Duncan Dock with the Sturrock dry dockin the foreground. The container basin or Ben Schoeman Dock is on the right. Picture: DCD Marine

Container Terminal (CTCT):

According to acting terminal manager, Oscar Borchards, CTOC would resume at the container terminal as from 20 August. He reported that 10,200 TEU had been handled in the week previous with six gangs working six cranes at an average rate of 28 GCH. Average SWH was 42 moves per hour.

As reported above, some problems had been experienced with…[restrict] RTG cranes and one crane was having a new motor fitted but was since been returned to service.

A request was made for improved communication to take place between the CTCT and truckers in order to alleviate congestion.

By 13h00 on Sunday, 16 August the container basin was empty, with MSC Augusta having sailed earlier for Lobito. The Duncan Dock multi-purpose terminal berths were likewise empty and there were no vessels reported at the inner or outer anchorages.

Multi-purpose Terminal (MPT):

By Thursday 11 August the Cape Town MPT was working two berths with four gangs, two mobile cranes, four straddle carriers and one reach stacker. There were at that time two vessels on their MPT berths, both having arrived that morning, with a third due later that day.

Average SWH was 16 moves per hour.

Fresh Produce Terminal (FPT):

On Tuesday last week it was reported that berth utilisation at FPT was at 35% over the past five days during which period the terminal handled three vessels, 539 tons of breakbulk and 330 containers. Average handling rate for breakbulk was 32 tons per hour.

FPT’s Nicci van Niekerk reported that berth utilisation at FPT was at 35% over the past five days. On Thursday it was reported that two vessels, 364 tons of breakbulk, 3,000 tons of agribulk and 85 containers had been handled over the past two days during which berth utilisation was at 62%. Five vessels were expected.[/restrict]

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WHARF TALK: Port Elizabeth & Ngqura report

Offshore supply vessel MV Python201 seen arriving in Durban harbour recently. The NIgerian vessel is currently at Port Elizabeth. Picture by Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Offshore supply vessel MV Python201 seen arriving in Durban harbour recently. The NIgerian vessel is currently at Port Elizabeth. Picture by Keith Betts

There has not been any news forthcoming from the Eastern Cape ports covering East London, Ngqura and Port Elizabeth, though all three ports are in operation and working ships normally. Bunkering of vessels offshore continues though it appears on occasion this is carried out within the port of Ngqura, presumably when swells reach a certain height. Confirmation required.

Of interest this last week is the arrival at Port Elizabeth of the Panama-registered offshore supply ship vessel MV PYTHON201 (IMO 9894868) from Durban, where the small workboat called briefly. Before that she called at Port Louis in Mauritius and prior to that at Singapore. Owned by Python Engineering of Warri in Delta State, Nigeria, the 279-gt vessel has been in South-East Asian waters for some time before arriving here in South Africa. The picture accompanying this report was taken in Durban by Keith Betts

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WHARF TALK: Citrus – Orange season ending early

Oranges for export, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

A report in Fresh Plaza says that South Africa’s Valencia season in the north of South Africa is winding down with lower exports anticipated from Durban within the next few weeks. It says however that the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape is experiencing a normal Valencia harvest and is just getting underway.

The original Valencia export estimate of…[restrict] 50.3 million 15kg cartons has been reduced to 48.7 million cartons for Southern Africa, which includes Zimbabwe and Eswatini (Swaziland).

Of that number, says Fresh Plaza, the northern parts of South Africa (Limpopo and Mpumalanga) will be responsible for over 34 million 15kg cartons of Valencias.

Navel oranges are now estimated at a revised 25.8 million cartons, down from 26.5 million, with the drop accredited to the drought in the Eastern Cape. Crops in the northern region and the Western Cape were normal this season.

The report goes on with lemon exports expected to reach 26.722 million 15kg cartons this season, the first time that lemons will have exceeded navel exports.[/restrict]

WHARF TALK: Drilling Rig Deepsea Stavanger returns to drill gas

Deepsea Stavanger at sea. The rig is now in South African waters, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Deepsea Stavanger at sea

As reported last Friday – see HERE – the semi-submersible drilling rig DEEPSEA STAVANGER has returned to South Africa waters to drill new prospects for French oil major Total in the Outeniqua Basin of the Southern Cape.

Accompanied by her three consorts, BOURBON RAINBOW, BOURBON CALM and NORMAND DROTT, the rig paused off Cape Town before…[restrict] continuing the journey to continue what she successfully started early last year, a successful strike revealing payable gas and light oil 175 kilometres off the southern coast of South Africa.

Deepsea Stavanger is on contract from now until the end of the first quarter of 2021, with an option to continue in operation until the end of 2022. This is the first serious and really confident drilling campaign in many years off this coast.

The first well on tap is the Luiperd-1 which is a follow up to the successful Brulpadda oil and gas discovery made in February 2019.[/restrict]

News reports from TNPA, TPT (Sipho Khanyile and Oscar Borchards), Fresh Plaza, John Hawkins, Richard Vashan, compiled by Terry Hutson


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[3:15] Video of the grounded and breaking up Wakashio

The inevitable has happened with the Japanese bulker WAKASHIO, aground on a reef off the coast of Mauritius.

On Saturday, 15 August, exactly three weeks after the ship went bows first onto a reef off the coast of Mauritius, close to Pointe d’Esny, the seas…[restrict] took their toll of the 203,000-dwt bulk ore carrier when she finally broke in two sections, the break being just ahead of the vessels bridge and accommodation section.

Earlier the ship showed signs of what was to come, with an initial crack on the port side began
extending across the deck as a separate crack appeared on the starboard hull.

Efforts by the salvors to refloat the ship failed, although they managed to take off close to 3,000 tons of heavy fuel oil, but only after another 1,000 tons had already leaked overboard and into the sea, spreading shore-wards and onto the beaches of the nearby island.

Satellite imagery on 11 August showed an area of 27 km2, mostly sea, covered by the oil spill.

Salvage efforts have now turned to towing away the forward section of the ship, which appears to be free of the reef. It is planned to take this section into deep water and sink it. The aft section, including the flooded engine room will require harder effort.

Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth called (belatedly, say his critics) for international help while local opposition leaders say the government dallied too long with efforts to salvage the vessel. Tugs that were summoned to assist were kept in port for days when they could have begun efforts at pulling the ship off the reef. By the time they went on site the weather had deteriorated and the damage was done.

It is said that too much time was taken up observing COVID-19 protocols instead of allowing the tugs to do their work.

Ordinary citizens of Mauritius responded to the oil coming ashore with both anger and a willingness to get themselves dirty by assisting with the cleanup, while the Mauritius authorities issued orders for them to stay clear and leave it to the local authorities. Instead citizens were seen packing long cloth booms with sugarcane cuttings and grass and even their own human hair and tights to be used to soak up oil as it came ashore.[/restrict]


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Satellite map of Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

IMO reported on 14 August that it was contributing to international efforts aimed at preventing an oil spill from the deteriorating floating storage and offloading unit FSO SAFER moored off the coast of Yemen. The organisation added that it was leading on the contingency planning efforts aimed at enhancing preparedness to mitigate the environmental impacts of a potential spill.

A technical expert was mobilised to develop a contingency plan based on a variety of risk scenarios, which would play a key role in improving the efficiency, effectiveness and management of emergency response operations in the event of a spill from the FSO.

It is understood that the contingency plan will outline the roles and responsibilities of key players and assist in coordinating the response. It will also clarify equipment requirements and locations of stockpiles and identify priority areas. IMO will also provide training to the relevant players. Further it was reported that the expert was currently (14 August) working remotely in close communication with all relevant stakeholders.

IMO is offering technical advice to support the joint international efforts, led by the wider UN family*, to assess the condition of FSO Safer and examine ways to secure the 150,000 MT of light crude oil currently on board.

Following recent reports of water entering the engine room, it was considered that the risk of an oil spill from the FSO Safer increased. The floating storage and offloading unit, moored off the coast of Yemen, has not been inspected or maintained since 2015, leading to serious concerns about its integrity, it was reported.

In the words of Patricia Charlebois, Deputy Director, Subdivision for Implementation at IMO: “While IMO is proactively working on contingency planning, it is hoped that international efforts will succeed in paving the way to assessing the state of the FSO and taking necessary measures, in order to prevent an oil spill from occurring.

“In the case of oil spills, prevention is always better than cure. However, should these efforts fail, we want to ensure adequate preparedness measures are in place.”

Ms Charlebois highlighted that the situation is particularly complex due to conflict in the region and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent for Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Edited by Paul Ridgway

*The UN entities involved include: OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), UN Environment, UNOPS (UN Office for Project Services) and the Office of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen.


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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

In the case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to container Stack Dates are also available.

You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by going HERE remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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