Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 25 October 2020

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The Sunday masthead is of the Durban Island View Terminal 




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Captain Haddock sailing from Durban Picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Captain Haddock Picture: Trevor Jones

There can be only one explanation for the naming of this ship, which is that the owner has to be a comic book Tintin fan – but then who isn’t? Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi (Hergé) placed among Tintin’s associates the irrepressible but loyal Captain Haddock, an old seadog with a liking for rum who becomes Tintin’s closest friend and supporter. Perhaps more ships should be named for such loveable fictional characters, if only to liven the often dull, mundane naming that we see. The Captain Haddock (IMO IMO-9839791) portrayed here is a Greek-owned bulk carrier, built last year and registered in the Marshall Islands and managed by Niovis Shipping Co SA of Piraeus. Picture: Trevor Jones



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Peril at Sea and Salvage: A Guide for Masters

Unlike an emergency situation on land, when a ship faces a crisis at sea, Masters cannot simply dial the emergency services for instant assistance. They take responsibility for dealing with the situation, acting decisively to protect lives and prevent or minimise damage to the ship, environment and cargo.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) have worked in partnership to provide the industry with a practical guide

Perils at Sea and Sa;lvahe, prebviewed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Peril at Sea and Salvage: A Guide for Masters outlines the actions a Master should take when confronted with an emergency: from the initial assessment and immediate actions, through to towage or salvage arrangements, as may be necessary. It also explains the importance of prompt notification to relevant parties with onshore support, particularly coastal States and the company.

A section is included with recommendations for a company’s shore-based personnel.

Guy Platten (illustrated below), Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping commented: “Over the years we have seen a reduction in shipping emergencies and major incidents due to the development of regulations governing the safe operation and management of ships. Crews are regularly trained in emergency response preparedness and the industry has adopted a compliance culture.

Guy Platten (illustrated), Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping gfeatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“But, when accidents do occur, they often have a high impact, and of course they threaten the safety of personnel, ships, the environment and cargo. Whilst it is good news that many seafarers have never experienced an emergency on board a ship, it also means that they can lack the anticipatory knowledge needed to deal with an emergency. Peril at Sea has been designed to help provide seafarers – and shore-based personnel – with the decision-making support that they need.”

Peril at Sea contains information on the initial response to an incident, implementing the emergency response plan, updates and follow-up actions, and towage and salvage.

Contingency planning

It also focuses on the contingency planning a company needs to undertake to prepare for an emergency. This Guide provides clear guidance on best practices for the Master, but should also be read by anyone who might be involved in managing emergency situations on a ship, including shore-based personnel, emergency assistance service providers and training institutions.

Rob Drysdale, Managing Director of OCIMF, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Rob Drysdale, Managing Director of OCIMF

Rob Drysdale, Managing Director of OCIMF, added: “Our industry continues to evolve, and vessels are more sophisticated and technically advanced than ever before. While this has made ships and their operations safer, it has also changed how a ship’s Master responds to a crisis at sea and the level of preparation required. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that personnel both at sea and onshore are armed with the knowledge, resources and tools to manage crises and minimise harm to themselves, their vessel and the environment in any emergency situation.

“Peril at Sea is the definitive guide to preparing for and responding to incidents, accidents and emergencies at sea. Drawing upon experience from across the industry, this updated edition explains the operational and regulatory changes that have taken place since the last edition was published. I urge all Masters, crew and personnel ashore to familiarise themselves with the revised recommendations, safety management systems and emergency response protocols contained within this new edition.”

Peril at Sea and Salvage: A Guide for Masters is published by Witherbys, price £155. For further information readers are invited to visit HERE

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent of Africa PORTS & SHIPS mariitme news



Edited by Paul Ridgway


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but outlook remains uncertain

China's Qingdao port container terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
China’s Qingdao port container terminal


UNCTAD estimates show a 5% drop in world trade in the third quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, an improvement from the 19% decline in the second quarter but insufficient to pull trade out of the red.

Global trade recorded a 5% drop in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the same period last year, according UNCTAD’s new Global Trade Update published on 21 October.

This marks an improvement on the 19% year-on-year plunge recorded in the second quarter, and UNCTAD expects the frail recovery to continue in the fourth quarter, with a preliminary forecast of -3% compared with the last quarter of 2019.

Depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves in the [Northern Hemisphere] winter months, the UN trade and development body expects the value of global trade to contract by 7% to 9% with respect to 2019.

“The uncertain course of the pandemic will continue aggravating trade prospects in the coming months,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said.

“Despite some ‘green shoots’ we can’t rule out a slowdown in production in certain regions or sudden increases in restrictive policies.”

Although a 7% to 9% decrease would be a negative finish for the year, Dr Kituyi highlighted that it’s a much more positive result than was expected in June, when UNCTAD had projected a 20% year-on-year drop for 2020.

Since then, trade trends have improved primarily thanks in to the earlier than expected resumption of economic activities in Europe and east Asia.

China’s notable recovery

China has in particular restarted its economy much earlier than initially expected, and the report highlights the country’s notable trade recovery.

Chinese exports, after falling in the early months of the pandemic, stabilised in the second quarter of 2020 and rebounded strongly in the third quarter, with year-over-year growth rates of almost 10%.

“Overall, the level of Chinese exports for the first nine months of 2020 was comparable to that of 2019 over the same period,” the report says.

Chinese demand for goods and services has recovered from the decline in the second quarter. Contrary to other major economies, its imports stabilised in July and August and then grew by a substantial 13% in September.

Export growth in September was also recorded in India (4%) and South Korea (8%).

As of July, the fall in trade was significant in most regions except east Asia. But the sharpest decline was felt by the west and south Asian regions, where imports dropped by 23% and exports by 29%. The figures for July were however an improvement on the 35% fall in imports and 41% decline in exports recorded in the second quarter.

Figure 1: Trade has fallen dramatically in most regions except in east Asia and the Pacific Source: UNCTAD calculations based on national statistics. Note: Changes are year-over-year. Data excludes intra-EU trade. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritiime news
Trade has fallen dramatically in most regions except in east Asia and the Pacific
Source: UNCTAD calculations based on national statistics. Note: Changes are year-over-year. Data excludes intra-EU trade.

South-South trade shows more resilience

The sharp and widespread decline in international trade in Q2 2020 was similar for developing and developed countries. But exports from developing economies appear to be recovering faster.

Year-on-year growth of developing nations’ exports improved from -17% in the second quarter to -6% in July, while those from developed nations increased from -22% to -14%.

And South-South trade – commerce among developing countries – has shown some resilience, with the year-on-year decline sitting at 8% in July, up from 16% in the second quarter.

Trade in COVID-19 medical supplies benefit the wealthy

The report’s assessment of trade in different sectors (see figure 2) finds that the pandemic has hit the energy and automotive industries the hardest, while mitigation responses including teleworking and personal protection measures have led to strong growth in sectors such as communication equipment, office machinery, and textiles and apparel.

Figure 2: World trade by sector. Source: UNCTAD calculations based on national statistics. Note: Percentage changes in world trade are year-over-year. Changes are estimated from HS6 digits data of China, European Union, and United States. Data excludes intra-EU trade. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
World trade by sector. Source: UNCTAD calculations based on national statistics.
Note: Percentage changes in world trade are year-over-year. Changes are estimated from HS6 digits data of China, European Union, and United States. Data excludes intra-EU trade.

But UNCTAD’s analysis gives special attention to COVID-19 medical supplies, which include personal protective equipment, disinfectants, diagnostic kits, oxygen respirators and other related hospital equipment.

According to the report, exports of COVID-19 medical supplies from China, the European Union and the United States rose from about $25 billion to $45 billion per month between January and May 2020. And since April, trade in such products has increased by an average of more than 50%.

The increase in such trade, however, has primarily benefited wealthier nations, with middle- and low-income countries largely priced out from access to COVID-19 supplies, the report says.

Since the outset of the pandemic, each resident of high-income countries has benefited on average from an additional $10 per month of imports of COVID-19 related products, compared with just $1 for people living in middle-income countries and a mere $0.10 for those in low-income countries.

This means that per capita imports of medical goods essential to mitigate the pandemic have been about 100 times higher for wealthy countries than for poor nations.

Figure 3: Average year-over-year change in per-capita imports of medical supplies related to COVID-19 Source: UNCTAD calculations based on national statistics of China, the European Union, and the United States. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Average year-over-year change in per-capita imports of medical supplies related to COVID-19
Source: UNCTAD calculations based on national statistics of China, the European Union, and the United States.

“While it should be expected that the increase of per capita imports of COVID-19 products would be larger for wealthier countries, the sheer difference is staggering,” the report says.

UNCTAD warns that if a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, the access divide between residents in wealthy and poor countries could be even more drastic.

While some low-income countries have the capacity to locally manufacture some protective equipment, this may not be the case for vaccines, which require stronger manufacturing and logistics capacities.

The report therefore calls on governments, the private sector and philanthropic sources to continue mobilizing additional funds to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries and to support financial mechanisms, such as the global COVAX initiative, to provide safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries.    source: UNCTAD


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Coega Developmemnt Corp near Port Elizabeth, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The Coega Development Corporation {CDC), based in the Eastern Cape near Port Elizabeth, where it operates the 9,003ha Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ), is extending its market offering further afield and beyond the South African borders into Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR) and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under the Coega Africa Programme (CAP).


In Zimbabwe, the CDC is providing consulting services to develop the Norton (Lentsloane) and Eco-Soft Special Economic Zones in Harare, privately owned by TD Holdings. TD Holdings has interests in other businesses, which include, amongst others, Energy, Capital, Lunar Global Foods, Sunlands Eco-Estate, and Redwing Agro-City.

The Sod Turning for the SEZs is planned for November 2020. The focus is on advisory services for the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in Harare with an estimated investment value in excess of US$ 15m; SEZ and Dry Port (DP) in Norton- Harare with an estimated investment value of US$ 336m (SEZ & DP).

Central African Republic

The Coega Africa Programme further obtained a 20-year concession of Logistics Bases in Central African Republic for the development of a Dry Port for the storage of goods. The project will commence in April 2021 with an estimated investment value of US$ 30m.

Cameroon & the DRC

The CDC is awaiting confirmation of projects in Cameroon and the DRC.

These developments are positive for South Africa and CDC in particular given the recent establishment of the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“Through its African Trade and Investment Solutions Strategy, the CDC is championing the country’s enterprise for business between South Africa and the rest of the continent,” said CDC Marketing, Brand and Communication Head, Dr Ayanda Vilakazi.

“Our market development programme to the rest of the African Continent is aligned to the President Ramaphosa’s call to promote the development and economic integration of the African Continent. Moreover, the CDC is responding to the continental strategy that was set out by the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.”


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South Korea's KTX Sancheon class 120000 electric high speed trains, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
South Korea’s KTX Sancheon class 120000 electric high speed trains, built by Hyundai Rotem 

Tanzania will source new high-speed standard gauge railway (SGR) trains from South Korea, it has been learned.

The new trains will go into service on the 2,561-km SGR railway network currently under construction from Dr es Salaam and leading inland to ultimately reach…


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USS Hershel "Woody" Williams. Picture: Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
USS Hershel “Woody” Williams. Picture: Wikipedia

More than 30 ships and aircraft from 14 nations participated in a week-long exercise, which included more than 20 scenarios on combating illegal fishing, piracy, drug trafficking, and pollution, as well as rescue at sea.

Dubbed ‘Grand African Nemo’ (Grand African Navy’s Exercise for Maritime Operations 2020), and staged in the Gulf of Guinea earlier in October, the…


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HMS Montrose hunting down the motorised dhow in the Arabian Sea, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
HMS Montrose hunting down the motorised dhow in the Arabian Sea

A Royal Navy ship, HMS MONTROSE, working in direct support of a Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) operation led by CTF 150 has seized over 450 kilograms of methamphetamine, the largest seizure of its kind in CMF history.

Sailors and Royal Marines on board the Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate, captured the drugs from a suspicious vessel during a counter-narcotics operation in the Arabian Sea.

The operation, which was part of CMF’s Combined Task Force (CTF) 150’s Operation Sea Shield, was an international effort involving a number of CMF’s 33 member nations and partners.

HMS Montrose and the dhow found with a large quantity of meths drugs, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The dhow as seen from HMS Montrose

“This has been the most successful counter-methamphetamine operation in CMF history,” said Commander of CTF 150, Rear Admiral Sulieman Alfakeeh of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces. “I commend the hard work and team effort of all of our CMF partners, especially CTF 150 and HMS Montrose, who have worked together to make this historic seizure happen.”

The team of UK Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines conducted the boarding of the suspicious vessel in rough sea conditions, making boarding and conducting searches a difficult task.

The 450 kilograms of drugs were well-hidden on board the vessel and required an extensive and intrusive search by the highly trained boarding team, made even more challenging by the threat of the coronavirus.

A close-up view of the dhow caught witha large drug contraband, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The ship’s medical team were responsible for de-contaminating all personnel and all equipment, taking two hours for seven people to conduct full COVID cleaning and to process the intercepted drugs.

CTF 150 operates to disrupt and deny criminal and terrorist organisations operating in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman, to ensure that legitimate commercial shipping can transit the region, free from non-state threats.

CTF 150 is currently led by the Royal Saudi Naval Force, the second time that the country’s Navy has led the task force.

During Operation Sea Shield, the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), who was operating under CTF 150, assisted an Iranian-flagged dhow in distress. The crew provided food and water, and remained on scene until the Oman Coast Guard, could render further assistance to the stranded crew. Oman is also a member of CMF.

The Ship’s Company of HMS Montrose pose with the haul of drugs discovered hidden on the dhow. All pictures : CMF


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Ford Ranger bakkie, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) is South Africa’s top auto exporter for the month of September 2020, having exported almost 7,000 vehicles to various destinations.

Ford exported a total of 6,995 motor vehicles, while also selling 3,679 vehicles in the local market.

This is according to statistics released by…


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Transnet Pipeline System, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

A team of environmentalists has been assigned to work with Transnet after the pipeline theft incident at Bellair in Durban resulted in the spillage of crude oil that has reached Durban Bay.

This was revealed on Wednesday by KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

“We are working with all role players to implement spill containment measures to prevent damage to the environment,” Dube-Ncube said.

The MEC has undertaken to visit Umbilo River and all other affected areas in Bellair to assess the damage to the environment.

“I will ensure that all spheres of government work in an integrated manner in order to strengthen measures undertaken by Transnet as part of cleaning and rehabilitating the source of the spillage and the harbour.

“Critically, we are calling upon communities to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that those who are responsible for vandalising Transnet pipelines are brought to book,” the MEC said.

The spillage occurred on Monday night when thieves in the suburb of Bellair tampered with a section of the fuel pipeline that runs from Durban harbour to Gauteng. At the time the pipeline was in operation pumping crude oil inland.

An amount of the crude oil has spilled into the nearby uMbilo river which itself empties into Durban Harbour at the Bayhead. See our report further down this page.

Transnet has recorded over 80 incidents of fuel theft and incidents of attempted theft. They have also recorded cases of tampering with pipeline infrastructure with the intention to steal fuel.

“As it has been pointed out in various platforms, Transnet operates and maintains a network of 3,800 km of high-pressure petroleum and gas pipelines from Durban to Gauteng across five provinces.

“We have a responsibility as the people of this province to ensure that we protect this valuable infrastructure, which is critical for our economy,” Dube-Ncube said.

Transnet has appealed to anyone seeing anything suspicious along the route of its pipelines, such as bakkies or lorries parked in the area of the block valve chambers or near the pipeline markers etc and are requested to phone the toll-free number 0800 203 843.


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The Aquaculture Development Zone (ADZ) is shortly to be developed in the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Seen here from left to right CDC Acting CEO, Themba Koza, Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development and Finance, Mlungisi Mvoko and DEDEAT Manager Agro-Processing, Akho Skonjana., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Aquaculture Development Zone (ADZ) is shortly to be developed in the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Seen here from left to right CDC Acting CEO, Themba Koza, Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development and Finance, Mlungisi Mvoko and DEDEAT Manager Agro-Processing, Akho Skonjana.

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) says it expects more than 900 jobs will be created through the Coega Aquaculture Development Zone (ADZ).

The ambitious project will be funded by the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) to the tune of R206 million through the provincial stimulus fund.

Marking a significant milestone in the…


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The Kuwaiti livestock carrier Al Messilah. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Kuwaiti livestock carrier Al Messilah.     Picture courtesy: Shipspotting

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCAs) has responded to what it says is long-awaited correspondence on 15 October 2020 from the Grahamstown High Court on the ‘reasons’ for the NSPCA’s Part A application being set aside on 25 August 2020. This resulted in the livestock carrier Al MESSILAH leaving South Africa in September 2020 with some 51,00 sheep and 650 cattle.

The response from the High Court was a month later than promised, says the NSPCA.

In the interests of bring what may prove to be the end of this particular matter, here is the NSPCA’s reaction, in full, to that decision:

In his 20 pages of written reasons, Acting Judge Dukada quoted…


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The Silt Canal and Heritage site, contaminated with crude oil as a result of theft from the pipeline. Picture by Steve McCurrach, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Silt Canal and Heritage site, contaminated with crude oil as a result of theft from the pipeline. Picture by Steve McCurrach

An attempt at stealing oil products from the Durban – Gauteng pipeline on Monday (19 October) has resulted in contamination of the uMbilo river and Durban harbour, into which the river flows.

According to Transnet Pipelines (TPL) the pipeline was operational when the tampering took place in the Bellair area, a suburb in Durban, through which the pipeline passes. As a result the crude oil product spilled into the nearby river which joins the uMhlatuzane river downstream with both river flows entering Durban Harbour at the Bayhead.

When the tampering incident was detected on Monday morning, Transnet activated its emergency response plan and team, whose focus was on limiting the extent of the spillage and recovering product. By then however, the crude oil had begun entering the harbour in the area of the Silt Canal.

As a precautionary measure, a ban has been placed on fishing in the harbour area for the next seven days. Absorbent booms and fibre have been placed in strategic places along the river to prevent further downstream migration and free product is being recovered from the stream and harbour as part of the clean-up process.

In the meantime Transnet has completed repairs to the pipeline which is back in operation and thereby averting any security of supply challenges in the inland market area.

A criminal case has been opened regarding the tampering and attempted theft. According to Transnet Pipelines, there have been over 80 incidents of fuel theft, including tampering with pipeline infrastructure with the intention to steal fuel.

The costs of these incidents are significant and include the cost of product, repairs and environmental rehabilitation where the fuel theft incidents resulted in environmental damage.

Transnet Pipelines operates and maintains a network of 3,800 km of high-pressure petroleum and gas pipelines from Durban to Gauteng across five provinces.

An appeal has been issued to residents or any persons living near the pipelines or driving past, especially at night, to report any suspicious activities e.g. bakkies, fuel tankers in the area of the block valve chambers or near the pipeline markers etc. The toll free number is 0800 203 843.

As was reported here in the past week – see HERE the first successful conviction has been obtained with the guilty person receiving a sentence of 13 years. The pipeline is classified as essential infrastructure, therefore tampering, or colluding to tamper, is a Schedule 5 offence in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act, Act 18 of 2015.


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The maritime education baton held by Safmarine following its 25-year investment in the Lawhill Maritime Centre at Simon’s Town School, will pass onto Maersk as of 2021.

Lawhill Maritime Centre, Simonstown, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The Lawhill secondary-school at Simon’s Town provides students in Grades 10 to 12 with a specialised education and knowledge that prepares them for entry into maritime and related industries. For more than two decades, the industry-funded programme has greatly improved the post-school employment prospects of thousands of young South Africans, especially those from financially-disadvantaged backgrounds.

A special event was held at Lawhill to commemorate the 25 year milestone and the retirement of long-standing maritime educators, Mr Brian Ingpen and Captain Godfrey Schlemmer.

Speaking at the event David Williams, Maersk Africa Region Managing Director and Safmarine CEO, commended the school on the important role the programme has played in South African society, as well as in the transport and logistics sector.

Several Lawhill alumni are currently in command of vessels at sea while others occupy important roles ashore, including with Maersk.

Brian Ingpen, Educator and one of the founding fathers'of the Lawhill Maritime Centre, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Brian Ingpen, Educator and one of the founding fathers’of the Lawhill Maritime Centre

In the early 1990s Safmarine played a pioneering role in the formation of the maritime education programme which was started by a core team led by Mr Brian Ingpen (maritime educator and former Safmariner), Dr Peter Manser (the Simon’s Town School Principal at that time), Professor Mike Inggs (the Chairman of the School Governing Body in the 1990s) and former Safmarine Public Affairs Director, Peter James.

With their respective teams, they carefully planned the introduction of two formal maritime-related subjects at the school and, by pioneering a novel educational model, opened the door for any school in South Africa to offer the maritime subjects as part of the National Senior Certificate curriculum.

While Safmarine was the anchor sponsor – and most commendably the company remained the foremost sponsor for quarter of a century – other sponsors have joined, including The TK Foundation, Transnet National Port Authority, South African Maritime Safety Authority, AMSOL, Damen, Equinor, General Botha Old Boys’ Association, The Cape Town Sailors’ Home, and many others.

Over the years the Centre has helped thousands of students embark on careers in the industry, either at sea or ashore in ships’ agencies, clearing and forwarding, shipbroking and in transport and logistics. Many others have been successful in various fields, including Medicine and Information Technology, but yet have the essential maritime background against which the global economy operates.

Jonathan Horn, Maersk’s Area Managing Director for Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, reconfirmed Maersk’s commitment to supporting Lawhill into the future:

“Education and knowledge building are vital for society and Maersk, as our success as a company is linked to the ability of our employees,” Horn said. “Long-term success is seldom built on short-term gain and this is very true for the partnership with Lawhill. We are proud of the 25 year relationship Safmarine has had with this programme and, as Maersk, are excited to see what the future holds for this great institution.”


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stone fruit bowl, picture credit WordPress, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
picture: WordPress

With the 2020/2021 stone fruit season having commenced, the forecast and overall estimate volumes are looking much better compared to the same time last year, says Hortgro, the governing body of the deciduous fruit producers.

Good winter rains in most parts of the Western Cape during 2020, together with good winter chill and moderate spring conditions contributed to better overall fruit set of…


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Normand Pacific in No.2 dock for scheduled general maintenance in July, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Normand Pacific in No.2 dock for scheduled general maintenance in July

Ship repair activity at Gibdock [Gibraltar] has continued to be rock solid, despite uncertainties through the first three quarters of 2020 (to end of September) relating to Covid-19 and Brexit. Occupancy levels remain high, contracts continue to be agreed and scheduled dry dockings are already booked into 2021, the Gibraltar-based yard reports.

“The outlook is set fair,” said Richard Beards, Gibdock’s Managing Director, as he identified potentially greater revenue streams in LNG-related projects and renewables business for the months ahead. Beards says that Gibdock’s location at the gateway to the Mediterranean remains a key advantage but added that the repeat business included in forward bookings: “Shows that customers continue to put reliability, quality of work and on-time redelivery at the top of their priority lists.

“In 2020, being part of a tight-knit business community where fast communications enable rapid response times and the immediate implementation of any changes to health or travel regulations has also proved advantageous. We are in constant dialogue with the Port Authority, and we have frequent contact with Gibraltar Civil Contingencies, the Director of Public Health, local agents, subcontractors, hotels and transport providers.”

Beards points out that this agility and close ties with the local ship agency network mean that Gibraltar is well-established as a safe and efficient location for crew changes. He concluded by commenting: “This is an added benefit for our customers because they can rely on our safe, robust protocols and, of course, good links by air with the UK.”

Selling points of Gibraltar’s shipyard services

Gibraltar is conveniently located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and Atlantic shipping lanes. Minimal deviation may be required for ships in these waters. There is a year round dry climate ideally suited for outdoor ship-work, and there are fast transport links.

The Gibraltar Port together with its experienced network of maritime agents offer a full range of bunkering, husbandry marine services and excellent crew exchange facilities.


Gibraltar’s airport is less than 15 minutes from the yard, with a further three airports less than two hours away in Southern Spain and there is fast road access into mainland Europe.

Locally there is comprehensive infrastructure for materials, technology and commercial services.

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent of Africa PORTS & SHIPS mariitme news


Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Geo Searcher off Gough Island shortly before the sinking. Picture: Ian Lavarello, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Geo Searcher off Gough Island shortly before the sinking. Picture: Ian Lavarello


in the latest update, Thursday 10h20, SAMSA advises that all 62 survivors were successfully  airlifted onto the  SA Agulhas II  on Wednesday (21 October 2020).  The SA Agulhas II is currently on route  to TRISTAN Da CUNHA to drop the two Tristanian  survivors from where she will then proceed to Cape Town . Her ETA for TRISTAN Da CUNHA is 18h00 SA time on Thursday (22 October 2020).

ETA for  Cape Town will be advised as soon as vessel departs TRISTAN Da CUNHA.

GEO SEARCHER RESCUE UPDATE 21 October 2020, 12h45

Bad weather with gale force winds has stalled the rescue operation since Tuesday 20 October 2020. Weather forecast for the coming 24 hours is also not looking any better but is being closely monitored.

The evacuation will commence as soon as the weather subsides.

The weather is reported to possibly subside from Thursday 22 October 2020.

Update issued by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

The South African Antarctic research ship SA AGULHAS II arrived at Gough Island at 12h40 SA Time today (Tuesday) after departing Cape Town on 17 October 2020. The vessel is at the Island on a rescue mission to bring the crew of the GEO SEARCHER back to South Africa after the vessel sank late last week.

With the weather conditions unfavourable for any boat work to transfer survivors from island to vessel, it was decided that all transfers will be conducted by helicopter as it would present less risk in the prevailing weather conditions.

The first flight departed the vessel at 13h15 SA Time, however it could not land and had to return back to the vessel due to strong winds gusting up to 40 knots.

The operation will resume once weather conditions improve.

The current plan is to embark all 62 crew of the GEO SEARCHER on the SA Agulhas II before heading to Tristan da Cunha to drop the two Tristanian survivors from where the vessel will then proceed to Cape Town.

Arrival in Cape Town will be dependent on when the crew can be all safely embarked on the vessel along with weather conditions that may affect the sailing time. All indications are that it will take approximately 4 to 5 days before the vessel arrives in Cape Town.

SA Agulhas II arriving in Cape Town. Picture: the late Robert Pabst, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SA Agulhas II arriving in Cape Town from Antarctica. Picture: the late Robert Pabst


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map of northern Mozambique where armed conflict is intensifying, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The insurgency taking place in northern Mozambique took another direction last week when Islamist terrorists moved out of their normal sphere of operations by attacking villages in neighbouring Tanzania.

To gain access to southern Tanzania the terrorist group, styling themselves the ‘Islamic State’ used motor boats to move by sea from Mozambique to the mouth of the Rovuma river, which forms the border between the two countries.

They then motored upriver to a point where…


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Depiction of the completed new port of Lekki, Nigeria, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Depiction of the completed new port of Lekki, Nigeria

Construction of the main quay wall for the multi-purpose, deep sea port at the heart of the Lagos Free Trade Zone, Lekki Deep Sea Port has commenced with the driving of the first pile.

The new port, being developed by Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited, is being planned as one of the most modern ports in West Africa, offering enormous support to the burgeoning commercial operation across Nigeria and the entire West African region.

The port, under construction at the Lagos Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, will…


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Project cargo at the port of Sines, featured in Africa PORTS 7 SHIPS maritime news
Project cargo at the port of Sines

With two more major shipping leaders actively sharing information, data on nearly half of the world’s ocean container cargo is now available on a single blockchain-based data platform

This follows the news that major global container carriers Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and CMA CGM are now integrated onto TradeLens, helping ensure a more fully integrated, timely and consistent view of logistics data for their containerized freight around the world.

IBM Cloud, IBM Blockchain & Maersk

The digital platform is run on IBM Cloud and IBM Blockchain, and was jointly developed by IBM and AP Moller-Maersk.

Together with Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM will act as platform foundation carriers with a role in expanding the ecosystem and platform operations, including playing key roles as validators on the blockchain network.

The addition of these two major global shipping leaders marks a crucial milestone for the industry, which until now has often relied on paper-based trade and manual document handling, leading to increased costs and reduced business continuity.

Tradelens network of terminals

Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM and IBM, together with the expanding TradeLens network of terminals, customs authorities and 3PL and intermodal providers, are ushering in a transformation designed to benefit all network participants by making it easier to quickly and more reliably share documents and shipping data and digitally collaborate.

“Digitisation is a cornerstone of the CMA CGM Group’s strategy aimed at providing an end-to-end solution tailored to our customers’ needs,” said Marc Bourdon, CMA CGM Senior Vice President, Commercial Agencies Network.

“An industry-wide collaboration like this is truly unprecedented. Only by working together and agreeing to a shared set of standards and goals are we able to enact the digital transformation that is now touching nearly every part of the global shipping industry,” he added.

Blcochain image, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

This completes a digital transformation that has taken more than a year, requiring considerable investment in new API capabilities. An important milestone in the process was a 15-customer pilot involving more than 3,000 unique consignments, 100,000 events and 6,000 containers to ensure the TradeLens platform distributes and shares shipment data across various supply chains with speed and accuracy.

TradeLens members use the platform to connect within the ecosystem and share information needed for their shipments based on permissions, without sharing sensitive data. This makes it possible to access data from the source in near real-time, boosts the quality of information, provides a comprehensive view of data as cargo moves around the world, and helps create a more timely, secured record of transactions.

Launched in 2018, the TradeLens ecosystem now includes more than 175 organisations – extending to more than 10 ocean carriers and encompassing data from more than 600 ports and terminals. Already it has tracked 30 million container shipments, 1.5 billion events and roughly 13 million published documents.

Permissioned data sharing

For customers, the addition of CMA CGM and MSC in production can result in fewer data gaps as they do business with multiple carriers. Additionally, other members such as ports, terminals, authorities and intermodal providers can benefit from the ability to use permissioned data sharing to provide a comprehensive view of freight moving around the world.

Terminal operators who use TradeLens to improve yard planning will now also be able to access far more comprehensive data for processing multi-carrier vessels.

“TradeLens is an important initiative in the digitalisation of global shipping and logistics, with the potential to help carriers and their customers to increase transparency and reduce errors and delays, all at a crucial time when the industry is re-thinking and improving the resiliency of supply chains,” said Andre Simha, Global Chief Digital & Information Officer, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company.

“By completing the integration, we can now begin showing our customers and business partners how they can create and see value from the platform, and we hope that many of them will join it, creating an even larger and more beneficial ecosystem.”

Live on platform

Now that they are live on the platform, MSC and CMA CGM are promoting TradeLens capabilities and membership to their clients and business partners across all major geographies.

As TradeLens continuously scales, other recent additions of new ports and terminals include the Commercial Port of Vladivostock, DP World, PT Salam Pacific Indonesia Lines (SPIL), Portbase, QTerminals and Hamad Port, SSA Marine’s Manzanillo International Terminal – Panama (MIT-Panama), Shipwaves, South Asia Gateway Terminals and Yilport Holding.

For more information about the TradeLens platform, visit


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‘South Africa is a criminal environment traditionally characterised by cargo truck hijackings’

For three years, international freight transport insurer TT Club and BSI, the business improvement company, have collaborated in a damning report that highlights South Africa as a major hotspot for cargo crime, with a range of offences contributing to make moving and storing freight in the region a particularly hazardous affair compared with most other countries.

TT Club and BSI Freight Crime in South African Supply Chains, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The report, entitled ‘Freight Crime in South African Supply Chains’, and which is downloadable CLICK HERE, is made possible by fusing the threat and intelligence data and analysis from BSI’s Supply Chain Risk Exposure Evaluation Network (SCREEN) and TT Club’s insurance risk management and loss prevention insights.

South Africa ranks among the top countries in the world, and first on the African continent, for BSI’s forecasted losses due to cargo theft, underscoring the significant economic impact of this issue on the nation. Historically, there is an inverse relationship between crime and economic growth in South Africa. However, this year, due to the pandemic and the impacts of lockdowns and a decline in the economy, an additional layer was added to that relationship.

The economic decline, along with the changes brought about by a restrictive lockdown in response to Covid-19 earlier this year, left the freight sector in a vulnerable situation. South Africa is a criminal environment traditionally characterised by cargo truck hijackings. Further, cross-border truck congestion and slower freight clearance created secondary disruptions that leave cargo even more susceptible to theft and general violence. Mike Yarwood, TT Club’s Loss Prevention Managing Director comments:

“As cargo theft continues to impact business operations and disrupt supply chains in South Africa and elsewhere, it is vital that companies stay on top of potential threats and risks. Security awareness and proactive risk management actions are essential steps in creating a risk-averse supply chain. In highlighting causal influences this report also points the way to how preventative measures can, and must, be introduced and enhanced to reverse the damaging trends.”

In total, three key trends resulted from BSI and TT’s research in 2019 and 2020: thefts from facilities increased during the first half of 2020; an uptick in incidents of cargo theft occurred in Eastern Cape and Western Cape between the first two quarters of 2020; and thefts of food and beverage and medical supplies increased in Q2 2020.

The report’s authors emphasise that the understanding of cargo theft risk plays a big part in mitigating both the occurrence and impact of these incidents on stakeholders’ organisations and is crucial in building a truly resilient supply chain, with David Fairnie, BSI Principal Consultant for Supply Chain Security adding:

“Understanding the threats in South Africa, detailed in this report, and incorporating the suggested preventative measures, including screening employees, implementing security management systems, and securing parking depots, will help organisations work towards developing more secure and resilient supply chains.” source: TT Club via Theo Strauss


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Charities urge shipping companies to adopt best practice standard

In the UK the Maritime Charities Group (MCG) and the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) have called on shipping companies and training providers to make sure that any training they offer on mental health and wellbeing awareness meets the standards set out in their good practice guide.

Published in June this year, A Seafarers’ Mental Health Awareness and Wellbeing Training Standard was written by experts from the maritime and education sectors in response to the growing mental health crisis amongst seafarers. The Standard has…

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Enabled with Inmarsat and Cobham SATCOM Fleet One

Fisheries is one of the main economic activities in the Maldives, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Fisheries is one of the main economic activities in the Maldives

World Bank funding

Inmarsat, a world leader in global mobile satellite communications, and Cobham SATCOM, a market leading provider of radio and satellite communications services, announced on 15 October that they had been awarded a new contract to connect 732 fishing vessels active in the Maldives Economic Exclusion Zone to Inmarsat’s Fleet One maritime broadband services.

Cobham’s SAILOR Fleet One utilises the existing Inmarsat-4 satellite constellation to deliver the most reliable global voice calling and internet connectivity via a compact, lightweight antenna, and simple installation. The technology’s affordability makes it particularly accessible for smaller boats looking to access maritime satellite communications for the first time.

The go-ahead follows trials of Fleet One services and SAILOR Fleet One terminals from Cobham aboard 15 fishing vessels, confirming that performance exceeds specifications for a new vessel monitoring system (VMS) under the Maldives’ Sustainable Fisheries Resources Development Project to improve monitoring, control and surveillance in fisheries sector. The VMS project, agreed between Maldives-based Ooredoo and the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, is funded by the World Bank.

The five-year contract envisages the supply and maintenance of the VMS, to include Fleet One satellite communications over L-band from Inmarsat, airtime and secure communications server via Integrated Monitoring (IM) and SAILOR antennae from Cobham SATCOM installed by Ooredoo.

Fisheries is one of the main economic activities in the Maldives, second only to tourism, providing jobs to over 30% of the population.

Launched in 2017, the Sustainable Fisheries Resource Development Project was followed in 2019 by The Maldives Fisheries Act, which bans several forms of unsustainable fishing gear such as purse seine, trawl nets and gills nets and envisages granting licences only to vessels offering real time tracking and those that are registered only in the Maldives.

Fleet One will support electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) to combat Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing. The Fisheries Act also formalises fishermen entitlements to pensions, training and connectivity to emergency services.

In the words of Maldives Fisheries Minister Zaha Waheed: “The VMS project confirms the leadership role that the Maldives continues to play in sustainable fishing and in sustaining the blue economy long-term. It puts the maritime broadband infrastructure in place to monitor and manage operations, but also to support the welfare of those working at sea.

“In doing so, we have chosen technology that is reliable, scalable, progressive, cost efficient and easy to use, and a group of partners with the track records to instil confidence. Successful implementation of the project would also mean that Maldives fulfil and go beyond the requirements established through the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).”

Go-ahead follows trials of Fleet One services and SAILOR Fleet One terminals aboard 15 fishing vessels, FEATURED IN aFRICA ports & ships MARITIME NEWS
Go-ahead follows trials of Fleet One services and SAILOR Fleet One terminals aboard 15 fishing vessels

Najib Khan, Ooredoo Maldives, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, said: “We placed high importance in onboarding partners that share our values of bringing new socio-economic progress to societies through innovative technologies. The Fleet One Vessel Monitoring System ensures seamless monitoring of fishing vessels for owners and the regulator, and enables new opportunities for the crew, while assuring their safety onboard. We look forward to seeing the progression of the fisheries industry in the Maldives, supported by this project.”

According to Eric Griffin, VP of Offshore and Fishing, Inmarsat Maritime, this is another significant government-level endorsement of Fleet One’s reliability as a vessel monitoring system platform that will also deliver extensive benefits for welfare and operational efficiency in a price-sensitive market.

“The platform can also provide safety add-ons such as weather monitoring and I expect word of mouth to play a significant role where data service uptake is concerned,” he said. “Instant messaging will initially drive greater use as crew that are out of range of terrestrial networks stay in touch with friends and family or exchange information on fishing stocks.”

Meenal Rao, Regional Sales Manager APAC Maritime at Cobham SATCOM, said the Ministry shares Cobham’s aspiration to protect and enhance the sustainability of the marine environment. “We’re pleased to be able to support the Maldives’ fishing fleet in achieving this through providing connectivity that will enable each vessel to protect, monitor, and enhance the rapidly changing marine environment.”

Jeff Douglas, Chief Executive Officer, Integrated Monitoring, commented: ” The scope of this project will resonate wherever fisheries administrations seek progress on sustainability and crew welfare at scale and in an integrated way. Fleet One is over twenty times faster than traditional Vessel Monitoring Systems. For the first time, it will support crew chat, mobile banking and live video monitoring to the small and mid-sized fisheries segment.”

Integrated Monitoring is also providing Monitor – a cloud hosted platform for GPS tracking, catch reporting and electronic video monitoring – to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for use within their Fisheries Monitoring Centre in Malé.

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway


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WHARF TALK: Durban Port Bulletin News

Moshe Motlohi, TNPA General Manager appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Moshe Motlohi, Transnet national Ports Authority General Manager reports:

As all the eyes were cast on the President and Parliament of South Africa for the much awaited unveiling of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, the port leadership tuned in to establish the implications of the plan to the port.

It is still early days to say for sure how the plan will impact the port and how the port should support the plan. Having said that, it goes without saying that improving the speed and quality at which we deal with business requests from our port users will be of paramount importance. We commit to serving the customer and working towards reconstructing our South African economy.

This was once more a difficult week for the Port of Durban and TNPA team at large, as we lost our Facilities Manager, Mr Bheki Mdluli. We lost a colleague who was a visionary in port space. He had just started working on plans to revitalise dilapidated buildings in our port. We would like to once more convey our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

Maydon Wharf

Given the challenges we experienced in Maydon Wharf last week, we have started working with affected parties in finding a sustainable solution in as far as the congestion is concerned.

This process will take some time to conclude but we remain resolute in seeing it all the way through and addressing the challenges experienced in the precinct.

The Port of Durban has been elected to chair the Ocean’s economy subcommittee of the eThekwini Municipality. We would like to call on all the businesses in the port to join us in identifying areas where we can leverage in our sector in order to help our city recover and grow in all spheres.

The focus for this coming week would be to continue identifying possible staging areas for trucks destined for our Maydon Wharf Precinct.

Lastly, wrote Mr Motlohi, our country needs us, therefore let us embrace the challenge as put out by the President. Be safe and remember to keep a safe social distance, wear your mask and wash your hands regularly or alternatively use an alcohol based (70%) sanitizer.


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WHARF TALK: Durban Volume & Vessel Call Performance

Island View, the country''s leading liquid bulk terminal, with a regular stream of tankers arriving. Picture: Steve McCurrach , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Island View, the country”s leading liquid bulk terminal, with a regular stream of tankers arriving. Picture by Steve McCurrach


Container volumes remain below budget. Despite signs of slow improvement in volumes; imports and transshipments under-performed and were below budget by 7% and 17% respectively for the reporting week. Four vessels less than committed were handled at Pier 2 due to the terminal being on standby for 51 hours and working slow due to heavy winds. Under-performance of imports has been due to a decline in demand however an improvement is noted when compared to the previous week’s performance of 23% below target.

Although we see an uptick on exports of just over 4,000 versus the previous weeks units, imports fell under target in this reporting week amounting to just a mere 1,509 units landed. Low consumer sentiment tied with an uncertainty of a second wave of infections sees new car sales buying patterns very erratic.

Our Dry Bulk volumes were above budget by 13% this reporting week. This is a vast improvement from the previous week and it is due to good volumes of fertiliser imports amounting to just over 68 000 tons with sugar exports at 67,763 tons for the week.

Wheat and manganese ore also performed marginally well for the week.

Break Bulk volumes were below budget. This was due to high levels of cement handled in the previous week therefore none handled in this reporting week. Only marginal volumes of steel were handled, inclusive of project cargo.

Liquid Bulk volumes were above budget this reporting week. SBM and chemicals volumes achieved 80% and 3% respectively. This performance is attributed to the 238 481 kl of SBM volumes that were not accounted for in the previous reporting week. Three chemical vessels were handled with large parcel sizes destined for the mining, manufacturing and construction sectors.


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WHARF TALK: Small vessel sinks in Walvis Bay harbour

Walvis Bay Container Terminal , with small craft on the right, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Walvis Bay Container Terminal , with small craft on the right

There was some drama at the Namibian port of Walvis Bay on Friday (16 October 2020) when a small vessel sank in the recreational anchorage area close to the waterfront. The vessel sank at 07h40.

The vessel was securely moored and appeared to have…


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WHARF TALK: Namport reaches out to community with donation of beds

Aerial view of the port of a section of the port of Walvis Bay and the surrounding desert, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Aerial view of the port of a section of the port of Walvis Bay and the surrounding desert

Acting through its Social Investment Fund, the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) recently donated 25 single beds to the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) in Walvis Bay.

The donation is in direct response to the Authority’s commitment to joining hands with the government in ensuring that COVID-19 related patients receive…


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Pipelines, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Transnet said on Friday it welcomed the sentencing of a man welcomes today’s sentencing of a man to 13 years in jail, of which three years have been suspended, for stealing fuel from the strategic fuel pipeline.

The accused was arrested in March this year in the Vereeniging area and…


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IN CONVERSATION: Climate research is critical in Africa: how to make it more visible

Biometeorology is the study of the role of climate on plants, animals and humans.
Getty Images

Jennifer Fitchett, University of the Witwatersrand

Weather and climate have far-reaching effects on every part of life. The timing of seasons, range of daily and seasonal temperatures, the amount of rainfall – these all influence things as diverse as food production, disease prevalence and tourism.

You don’t need to be a scientist to know what good weather feels like. But there’s a scientific discipline which studies the effect of weather and climate on natural systems. Biometeorology is the study of the role of climate on plants, animals and humans. This includes the impact of day to day weather and long term climate.

Specific fields of study include the role of weather and climate on phenology in plants and animals, plant productivity and domestic animal health and performance. Phenology is the timing of biological events that occur every year, like blossoming, fruit development and leaf colouration.

In human populations, the field of study includes analyses of thermal comfort and stress, the spread of climate-sensitive disease and the impact of climate on tourism.

The discipline was formalised in the 1950s with the establishment of the International Society of Biometeorology and its flagship journal the International Journal of Biometeorology.

Biometeorological research is particularly important in Africa. The continent is projected to experience temperature increases bigger than the global mean throughout the 21st century. Changes in rainfall distribution are projected to heighten the occurrence and severity of droughts, floods and extreme climate events.

The Cape Town “Day Zero” drought, driven by a displacement of moisture corridors, was one such extreme drought. Cyclone Idai, which hit southern Africa in 2019, is one of the best examples of extreme flood events. These are projected to become more common as tropical cyclones intensify.

Read more:
Tropical cyclone Idai: The storm that knew no boundaries

The continent already experiences climate-sensitive diseases which present challenges to health systems. They include malaria, cholera, ebola, dengue and yellow fever.

Agriculture – both subsistence and commercial – is of great importance across the continent. And in many countries, climate-sensitive tourism sectors are becoming an important part of the economy.

The threats of climate change to plants, animals and people in Africa mean that the continent is an excellent place for biometeorological research. It also means that the findings of research are of critical importance in informing some of the most important policies.

Wildebeest and zebra herds running.
Wildebeest and zebra herds running towards the Mara River in Kenya: this migration is dictated by the seasons and the rains.  Getty Images

But the continent is still not well represented in academic output in this field. I conducted a review and found that research in or about African countries makes up only 3.4% of the 4,014 papers in the International Journal of Biometeorology.

Topics of African biometeorology have been included in the journal since the first issue in 1957. The number of these papers has increased since 2011. But the overall number of papers increased at the same time, so the proportion of African papers hasn’t changed very much.

The majority of papers that have been published from the African continent are on topics of animal biometeorology. These include, for example, analyses of heat stress in hens, body temperatures of donkeys and the effects of melatonin on broiler chickens.

The African country with the biggest share of the papers is Nigeria. Again, the topics are mostly about animals. Some papers are on topics such as phenology and conditions for malaria transmission.

Other countries where 15 or more biometeorological studies have been conducted are Algeria, Morocco, Ghana and South Africa.

Making up less than half the number of studies are topics like human thermal comfort and stress, human health, phenology, and plant productivity and stress.

In terms of authorship, 66% of these papers are by at least one researcher based in an African country. But only 15 African countries are included in this authorship.

How to increase African authorship

It’s possible that one reason African research is not well represented in the journal is that academics and their students aren’t aware of the subdiscipline, society or journal. The International Society of Biometeorology has been working to address this through including regional councillors in their executive. This could also be addressed in a number of ways. These include inviting more African researchers to serve as reviewers for the journal, organising African themes for the society symposiums and putting together special African issues in the journal. Each of these require engagement from and involvement of African researchers in this field.

Another key in promoting biometeorology is education at university level. The Students and New Professionals Group of the International Society of Biometeorology has been involved in developing educational content. Only one country in Africa (Uganda) currently has a biometeorology course. A handful of countries include biometeorology topics in broader courses on climate or the environment, and a small group of researchers are supervising students in these topics.

Over time a combination of these efforts will hopefully give the African continent greater representation in biometeorology research. This will improve the capacity to detect, measure and assess the impacts of climate change on natural systems and to develop effective adaptation strategies.The Conversation

Jennifer Fitchett, Associate Professor of Physical Geography, University of the Witwatersrand

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


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WHARF TALK: Placenames Along the Coast: St Helena Bay

,map of placenames along South African coast appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

St Helena Bay on the Cape West Coast is one of the most prominent names on a long and often featureless coast spreading north from Cape Town and Saldanha Bay all the way to the Namibian border. The name originates from the Portuguese explorer and seafarer, Vasco da Gama, who landed here in 1497 during his voyage of discovery to India. He gave the large natural bay, consisting of a large number of smaller bays, the name Bahia de Santa Elena.

The town of St Helena Bay, or Helenabaai in Afrikaans, lies 80 nautical miles north of Cape Town and 35 n.miles north of Saldanha Bay, while the greater bay is also close to the nearby towns of Vredenburg and Paternoster, and in the north the town and harbour of Laaiplek.

The bay itself plays host to large fishing fleets and pleasure craft while larger vessels, notably tankers or bulk carriers often anchor in the shelter offered by the bay while awaiting orders.

There are two main harbours within St Helena Bay – the main harbour is at Sandy Point (St Helena Town), with another at Laaiplek at the Berg River mouth. Because of the excellent fishing conditions in this area, including for snoek and crayfish, there are a number of fish-processing factories to be found from where most of South Africa’s fish processing takes place.

Fishing vessels in St Helena Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Fishing vessels in St Helena Bay



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Scenes like this may be the highlight of South African coastal cruising, with the likelihood of cruising to tropical islands being off the map for now, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Scenes like this may be the highlight of South African coastal cruising, with the likelihood of cruising to tropical islands being off the map for now

The 3,000+ passenger cruise ship MSC ORCHESTRA has been at anchor off Durban since March this year, apart from short visits to port for supplies and possible maintenance. At times the 92,400-gt, 294-metre long ship has gone on short journeys along the KZN coast before returning to anchor off Ballito.

With the usual start-up for a cruise season now weeks away, the question being asked is whether this summer cruise season will ever get underway or will MSC Orchestra be restrained to further lonely months…


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MSC Opera arrives in Durban on her first visit to South Africa in 2012. Picture: Trevor Steenkamp, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Opera arrives in Durban on her first visit to South Africa in 2012. Picture: Trevor Steenkamp

MSC Cruises South Africa has announced that, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the transfer to South Africa of the cruise ship MSC OPERA has been cancelled.

MSC Opera was due to undertake a summer season of cruises based mostly out of Cape Town, with cruises along the Southern African coast including to Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.

The cruise ship was…


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One seafarer kidnapped

LNG tanker Methane Princess, boarded by pirates off the port of Malabo, Equatorial Guines. Picture: Helderline, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
LNG tanker Methane Princess, boarded by pirates off the port of Malabo, Equatorial Guines. Picture: Helderline

Dryad Global reports two ships having been boarded by by what are assumed to be pirates in West African waters.

Methane Princess

One incident took place in the anchorage off Malabo, Equatorial Africa, where the LNG tanker METHANE PRINCESS (IMO 9253715) was at anchor at 05h30 UTC on Saturday, 17 October in position 3°46’57.443″N, 8°41’52.62″E, when…


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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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