Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 30-31 January 2021

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

Stay Well, Stay Safe, Stay Patient, don’t become one

Advertise in Africa PORTS & SHIPS. For a Rate Card email us at


Join us as we report through 2021



These news reports are updated on an ongoing basis. Check back regularly for the latest news as it develops – where necessary refresh your page at

Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return

Front Page: MSC IRENE


The Saturday & Sunday mastheads show scenes of the Port of Cape Town




News continues below

Front Page: MSC IRENE


MSC Irene at Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Irene at Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones
Picture by Sascha Grimm / VesselTracker, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture by Sascha Grimm / VesselTracker

The container ship MSC IRENE is seen under the ship-to-shore cranes in Durban harbour at that point when most of her cargo has been discharged and prior to taking on her cargo of export boxes. The ship is deployed on MSC’s Far East – South Africa service and is currently in the port of Ningbo in China. The 162,867-dwt MSC Irene was built in 2010 and has an overall length of 366 metres and a width of 51 metres. Owned and operated by MSC, she is flagged in Panama. The upper picture is by Trevor Jones, the lower courtesy Sascha Grimm/MarineTraffic, showing the vessel with a substantial load of containers.



News continues below


Bulk Carrier Rowayton Eagle which has been boarded earlier on Saturday, 30 January, by pirates 200 nm off Ghana. Picture courtesy Peter Ferrary / Shipspotting
Security intelligence company Dryad Global reports that another ship, the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier, ROWAYTON EAGLE (IMO:9575216), has been boarded 200 nautical miles off the coast of Accra, Ghana.

The 200-metre long bulker, operated by Eagle Bulk Shipping, acquired the vessel earlier in 2020 from Greenship Bulk Trust, the seventh of nine Crown Ultramax dry bulkers. Eagle Bulk Fleet operates with a fleet totalling 47 ships.

The boarding by pirates took place in position 02 55.0N 001 56.6E at 04h24 UTC on Saturday, 30 January 2021 and the situation on board is unclear, although it is reported that all crew have mustered in the vessel’s citadel.

However, as was shown last week with the boarding of the Turkish container ship, MOZART, the pirates were able to breach the ships citadel using explosives. One seafarer was killed and 15 others abducted by the pirates, leaving a crew of just three on board. See that report HERE“>.

AIS tracking suggests that Rowayton Eagle had been stationary in that position since 27 January and is now underway. It is unclear why the vessel was stationary at the time.

As Dryad Global reports in its analysis of this latest pirate attack is the 7th offshore incident this year (less than one month) and the third recorded offshore boarding. Total incidents throughout West Africa in 2020 showed a partial increase of 12% on those of 2019.

“Incidents involving failed approaches showed a significant increase within 2020 with 25 such incidents recorded against 10 in 2019. Unsuccessful attempts at boardings are likely to increase desperation, particularly with incidents deep offshore distant from shore lines,” Dryad says.

Added 30 January 2021


News continues below



Map of Mayotte and the Comoros in the Mozambique Channel. opposite the Rovuma Basin, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Map of Mayotte and the Comoros in the Mozambique Channel. opposite the Rovuma Basin

The insurgency taking place in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique has forced French oil giant Total to look at setting up its logistics base on the Mozambique Channel island of Mayotte (a French possession), rather than on the Afungi Peninsula near the port town of Palma in Cabo Delgado.

That’s according to a report in Wednesday’s Carta de Mocambique and quoted since by AIM.

Total heads the consortium which is developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) gasification plant on the peninsula, which is well advanced. With an investment estimated at 23 billion US dollars, the two gas liquefaction plants that Total and its partners intend to build on the Afungi Peninsula will be the largest foreign investment ever in Mozambique.

According to Carta de Mocambique the Total Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Pouyanne, has been negotiating with the Mayotte authorities to base its offshore operations on the island, and to store equipment there.

The island of Mayotte is about 500 kilometres from the Cabo Delgado provincial capital of Pemba. It has a relatively deep water port, a small naval base and a fully functioning hospital complex.

One drawback is that the runway at Mayotte is only 1,930 metres long – not long enough to accommodate the large aircraft Total may wish to use. But French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to extend the runway to 2,600 metres before his term of office ends in 2022.

The report says the subcontractors who work with Total are reluctant to relocate to Mayotte. Nonetheless, Total has asked them to assess the cost of moving some operations to Mayotte.

This was how the developers and the Mozambique Government saw the potential of the Pemba Logistical Base, a ambitious project in which they sank investments without any guarantee or cointracts from likely clients. Now Total is reported to be looking at its logistics base on the island of Mayotte, and the Pe,ba Base is unilkey to reach its full development as shown here. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
This was how the developers and the Mozambique Government saw the potential and final development of the Pemba Logistical Base, a ambitious project in which they sank investments without any guarantee or contracts from likely clients. Now Total is reported to be looking at its logistics base on the island of Mayotte, and the Pe,ba Base is unilkey to reach its full development as shown here

The news of this development is possibly a further nail in the coffin of the Pemba Logistical Base, and is also an indication of the concerns felt by Total with the ongoing conflict around the area of its mainland operations.

In 2014 the then President Armando Guebuza inaugurated the Pemba project, intended to provide integrated port and logistics services for the hydrocarbon companies operating in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of Cabo Delgado, and their suppliers.

However, neither Italy’s ENI nor Anadarko, Total’s predecessor on the project, showed interest or made commitments to use the Pemba base.

The company Ports of Cabo Delgado (PCD) has a 30 year lease on the base. PCD is owned 50 per cent by Mozambique’s National Hydrocarbon Company, ENH, and 50 per cent by the national port and rail company CFM. PCD then subleased the Pemba base to ENH Integrated Logistics Services (ENHILS), which is a partnership between ENH Logistics (a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of ENH) and the Nigerian company Orlean Invest.

Construction of the base went ahead with the first phase being completed in early 2020. This included a 300-metre pier and the production and assembly of underwater equipment facilities. But there were no customers and no ships have called.

As both Carta de Mocambique and AIM point out, it is unlikely that the Pemba Logistical Base will become viable without the support of Total, which is now showing interest in setting up at Mayotte.    sources: AIM & Carta de Mocambique

The town and port at Pemba in northern Mozambique, before any work commenced on Phase One of the Pemba Logistical Base, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The town and port at Pemba in northern Mozambique, before any work commenced on Phase One of the Pemba Logistical Base
Added 28 January 2021


News continues below



FS Nivôse conducting a similar search and seize exercise, with the Panther helicopter aloft, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
FS Nivôse at sea, with the Panther helicopter aloft.  The frigate arrives in Durban tomorrow (Friday 29 January 2021)

According to a report from the island of Réunion, which is home to the French Navy Indian Ocean Base, the well-known frigate FS NIVÔSE has intercepted a stateless dhow on which almost half a tonne of narcotics was discovered.

The interception took place in the Mozambique Channel not far off the Mozambique coast.

The location of the interception is believed to be a well-used route used to smuggle drugs by sea into Mozambique from where they are transported overland into South Africa or shipped via Mozambique ports elsewhere across the world.

The interception took place on Sunday 24 January, when the surveillance frigate FS Nivôse of the French Armed Forces in the Southern Zone of the Indian Ocean (FAZSOI) was engaged in ‘a mission of sovereignty […] to the French Southern and Antarctic Lands via a route renewed due to sanitary constraints, passing in particular through the Mozambique Channel,’ a French Armed Forces communiqué revealed.

FS Nivôse seen here on another search and seize mission this time in the Arabian Sea in 2011, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
FS Nivôse seen here on another search and seize mission this time in the Arabian Sea in 2011

Early on Sunday afternoon, the watch aboard the Nivôse detected the presence of a dhow apparently without nationality and considered to be suspicious. “Alerted, the operational controller of the frigate then envisaged an intervention in close coordination with the maritime zone commander, who authorised the boarding of a Nivôse team to conduct a flag investigation. Thanks to the intimidating action of a Panther helicopter, the dhow complied with orders to stop, and the boarding team embarked and secured it,” the communique recounts.

A search of the stateless dhow, which lasted over four hours and into the evening, led to the discovery of a cache drugs hidden in bales which tested positive for methamphetamines and heroin. In total 444 kilograms of methamphetamines and heroin, valued at more than €40 million, was discovered.

“Faced with this discovery, the Prefect of Reunion, government delegate for State action at sea in the southern maritime zone of the Indian Ocean (ZMSOI), decided, in conjunction with the public prosecutor of Saint-Denis, to implement a procedure of dissociation and seizure of the narcotics. The weighing, carried out on board the frigate at the end of the night, tallied a total 417 kilograms of methamphetamines and 27 of heroin,” the French Armed Forces communiqué stated.

Following this discovery and capture, FS Nivôse resumed her patrol in the Mozambique Channel. source: Imaz Press Réunion & FAZSOI

FS Nivôse is due to arrive in Durban on Friday, 29 January 2021 for a short visit, departing on Sunday 31 January 2021. UPDATE: FS Nivôse has been delayed and will arrive in Durban on 1 February.

Added 28 January 2021


News continues below

first step towards exiting coal production


Vale's opencast coal mine at Moatize in Tete province, Mozambique, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Vale’s opencast coal mine at Moatize in Tete province, Mozambique

Brazil’s Vale S.A. has signed a ‘Heads of Agreement’ (HoA) with Mitsui & Co to acquire the latter’s stake in Moatize and the Nacala Logistics Corridor (NLC – the railway from Moatize to the port at Nacala), this being Vale’s first step to exit the coal business.

The HoA allows both parties to structure Mitsui’s exit from the Moatize coal mine and the Nacala Logistics Corridor as the first step towards Vale’s divestment of the coal business.

The company has committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050 and reducing 33% of its scopes 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.


According to the agreement Vale will acquire Mitsui’s stakes of 15% in the Moatize mine together with 50% in the equity and all of its assets and liabilities. These include the Nacala project finance, consisting of approximately 2.5 billion US dollars of outstanding balance.

The parties’ objective is that Mitsui’s exit can be completed throughout 2021, subject to the execution of the definitive agreement and usual conditions common to this sort of transaction.

Vale says the new wholly owned company will only mine high quality coking coal, and is targeting the mining of 15 million tonnes this year and 18 million tonnes next year.

Consolidation of the Project Finance will imply that approximately US$ 300 million per year in operating expenses at the Moatize mine, associated with the Nacala Corridor tariff and which currently impact the Coal Business EBITDA, will be reclassified to financial expenses, debt amortisation, sustaining capital and others, with an equivalent increase in the Coal Business EBITDA.

Future refinancing of the Project Finance and simplification of the structure will lead to potential annual savings of approximately US$ 25 million.

Divestment in Moatize and NLC

On completion of the acquisition of Mitsui’s stakes, Vale will begin the process of divesting its participation in the coal business, which will be guided by the preservation of the operational continuity of the Moatize mine and the NLC, through the search for a third party interested in those assets.

It is considered likely that the mine and the Nacala railway and port operations will be acquired by either a Chinese or an Indian company. India’s ICVL acquired the Rio Tinto mine in Benga, near Moatize, in 2014 where it mines mainly coking coal. A second Indian company, Jindal, owns another mine in the region.

China, the world’s largest steel producer, currently finds itself in a situation where, for mainly political reasons, it is seeking to replace Australian coal. India is the world’s second largest importer of coal behind China.

Benga coal mining scene in Tete province, near Moatize, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Benga coal mining scene in Tete province, near Moatize

Operational improvement initiatives

To produce sustainable results at the Moatize mine, Vale has introduced two initiatives – a new mining plan and a new operational strategy for the coal processing plants.

The new mining plan prioritises ore bodies of better quality and has a better stripping ratio, which is expected to result in a better product mix and cost reduction, as an outcome of investments made in the last thee years in an intense drilling campaign, aiming a better knowledge of resources and reserves.

The two processing plants will be revitalised and adapted to a new flowsheet, which has been under implementation since November 2020. Once fully executed, Vale expects to resume the ramp-up, reaching a production rate of 15 million tons per year (Mtpy) in the second half of this year and 18 Mtpy in 2022.


Over the past 15 years Vale has worked in partnership with the Mozambique and Malawi governments in the implementation of the Moatize mine and the 912 km of the NLC to serve coal transportation, in addition to the revitalisation of general cargo operations and passenger transportation. These investments represent a relevant legacy to the countries and are an important vector for local development.

Vale says it will continue to support the project’s ramp-up and maintain all its commitments to society and stakeholders, including obligations already committed to regarding labour rights and resettlement.

According to Vale, the HoA signing is an initial step towards Vale’s divestment from the coal business, and is in line with its discipline in capital allocation and the simplification of the company’s portfolio, and reinforces its commitment to the Paris Agreement, as well as Vale’s ambition to become a leader in low carbon mining.

The news from Vale represents another blow to Mozambique and its aspirations of economic growth based on miniNg activities and an approaching gas bonanza from the Rovuma Basin. The latter is in the process of being impacted by terrorist activity and now uncertainty hangs over the coal mining ventures together with the relatively new Nacala railway.

Added 28 January 2021


News continues below

IN CONVERSATION: Discovery of two giant radio galaxies offers fresh insights into the universe


The two giant radio galaxies found with the MeerKAT telescope. In the background is the sky as seen in optical light. Overlaid in red is the radio light from the enormous radio galaxies, as seen by MeerKAT.  I. Heywood (Oxford/Rhodes/SARAO)

Jacinta Delhaize, University of Cape Town

Two giant radio galaxies have been discovered with South Africa’s powerful MeerKAT telescope, located in the Karoo region, a semi-arid area in the south west of the country. Radio galaxies get their name from the fact that they release huge beams, or ‘jets’, of radio light. These happen through the interaction between charged particles and strong magnetic fields related to supermassive black holes at the galaxies’ hearts.

These giant galaxies are much bigger than most of the others in the Universe and are thought to be quite rare. Although millions of radio galaxies are known to exist, only around 800 giants have been found. This population of galaxies was previously hidden from us by radio telescopes’ limitations. But the MeerKAT has allowed new discoveries because it can detect faint, diffuse light which previous telescopes were unable to do.

Our discovery, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, gives astronomers further clues about how galaxies have changed and evolved throughout cosmic history. It’s also a way to understand how galaxies may continue to change and evolve – and even to work out how old radio galaxies can get.

The giant radio galaxies were spotted in new radio maps of the sky created by one of the most advanced surveys of distant galaxies. The team working on it has included astronomers from around the world including South Africa, the UK, Italy and Australia. Called the International Gigahertz Tiered Extragalactic Exploration (MIGHTEE) survey, it involves data collected by South Africa’s impressive MeerKAT radio telescope. MeerKAT consists of 64 antennae and dishes, and started collecting science data in early 2018. It will ultimately be incorporated into the Square Kilometre Array, an intergovernmental radio telescope project spearheaded by Australia and South Africa.

The galaxies in question are several billion light years away. The discovery of enormous jets and lobes in the MIGHTEE map allowed us to confidently identify the objects as giant radio galaxies.

Their discovery means that a clearer understanding of the evolutionary pathways of galaxies is beginning to emerge. This is tantalising evidence that a large population of faint, very extended giant radio galaxies may exist. This may help us understand how radio galaxies become so huge and what sort of havoc supermassive black holes can wreak on their galaxies.

What’s new

Many galaxies have supermassive black holes in their midst. When large amounts of interstellar gas start to orbit and fall in towards the black hole, the black hole becomes ‘active’: huge amounts of energy are released from this region of the galaxy.

In some active galaxies, charged particles interact with the strong magnetic fields near the black hole and release huge beams, or ‘jets’, of radio light. The radio jets of these so-called ‘radio galaxies’ can be many times larger than the galaxy itself and can extend vast distances into intergalactic space. Think of them like jets of water from a whale’s blowhole, a thin column extending into a cloudy plume at the end.

We found these giant radio galaxies in a region of sky that’s about four times the area of the full Moon. Based on what we currently know about the density of giant radio galaxies in the sky, the probability of finding two of them in a region this size is extremely small – only 0.0003%. So, it’s possible that giant radio galaxies – those that emit the beams, or jets of light described above – may actually be more common than we previously thought.

These aren’t the first radio galaxies astronomers have discovered. Many hundreds of thousands have already been identified. But only around 800 have radio jets bigger than 700 kilo-parsecs in size, or around 22 times the size of the Milky Way. These truly enormous systems are called ‘giant radio galaxies’.

Our new discoveries are more than 2 Mega-parsecs across: about 6.5 million light years or about 62 times the size of the Milky Way. Yet they are fainter than others of the same size. That’s what makes them harder to see.


We suspect that many more galaxies like these should exist, because of the way we think galaxies should grow and change over their lifetimes. And that’s one question we hope this discovery can help to answer: how old are giant radio galaxies and how did they get so enormous?

Now, telescope technology is making it possible to put these and other theories to the test. MeerKAT is the best of its kind in the world because of the telescope’s unprecedented sensitivity to faint and diffuse radio light. This capability is what made it possible for us to detect the giant radio galaxies. We could see features that haven’t been noticed before: large-scale radio jets coming from the central galaxies, as well as fuzzy cloud-like lobes at the end of the jets.

Two massive satellite dishes are pointed up towards the night sky
South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope.   South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO)

The fact that only very few radio galaxies are so gigantic has always been a bit of a mystery. It is thought that the giants are the oldest radio galaxies, which have existed for long enough (several hundred million years) for their radio jets to grow outwards to these enormous sizes. If this is true, then many more giant radio galaxies should exist than are currently known. And that’s important because radio jets can influence the star formation of their host galaxy. Essentially, they might ‘kill’ their galaxy by blowing out all the gas and preventing the formation of new stars.

Read more:
Radio galaxies: the mysterious, secretive “beasts” of the Universe

The MIGHTEE survey continues, and we hope to uncover more of these giant galaxies as it progresses. We also expect to find many more with the Square Kilometre Array: construction of this transcontinental telescope is due to start in South Africa and Australia in 2021 and continue until 2027. Science commissioning observations could begin as early as 2023.

The Square Kilometre Array is also expected to reveal larger populations of radio galaxies, revolutionising our understanding of galaxy evolution.The Conversation

Jacinta Delhaize, SARAO Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cape Town

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

Added 28 January 2021


News continues below



CMA CGM Jacques Saade, the first of the Group's fleet of LNG-powered container vessels, seen here at Rotterdam, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
CMA CGM Jacques Saade, the first of the Group’s fleet of LNG-powered container vessels, seen here at Rotterdam

Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, announced during a visit to Egypt this week that his group had entered into a long-term partnership with Egyptian authorities for the operation and management of Pier 55, the Port of Alexandria’s upcoming multi-purpose terminal.

This partnership will also include the development of logistics solutions, digitalisation and the training of younger generations in maritime and logistics, as well as other Egyptian investments.

The terminal, covering an area of 560,000 square metres and with a quay length of over 2km, will have a capacity of around 1,5 million TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) and will facilitate the deployment of the Group’s larger vessels.

Operations are planned to start in 2022. In Egypt, the Group currently employs almost 300 people and calls at six ports, linking the country to the rest of the world. Each year, Group’s vessels cross the Suez Canal more than 700 times.

Strengthening strategic presence in the Mediterranean

The Alexandria Pier 55 project further strengthens CMA CGM Group’s strategic positioning and expertise as a container terminal operator in the Mediterranean with terminal capacities of almost 7 million TEUs. These terminals include:

Marseilles-Fos, in the south of France
Seville, a niche terminal at the heart of the Andalusian area
Malta, a leading transshipment hub in the Mediterranean
Thessaloniki in Greece, a gateway for Southeast Europe
Lattakia, the historic Syrian leader in container traffic

At the crossroads between Africa, Asia and Europe, the Mediterranean represents a major area for the development of CMA CGM’s operations in maritime transportation, port operations and logistics.

LNG vessels in Mediterranean

CMA CGM said it will deploy on its service between Asia and the Mediterranean LNG-powered vessels of 15,000 TEUs by the end of 2021. Marseille-Fos has been chosen to bunker these new LNG vessels, making the Mediterranean a major area for the development of the use of LNG.

Added 28 January


News continues below

Thome signs up to Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change

Ensuring the stability of crew changes on a global scale is vital. Photo: Thome ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Ensuring the stability of crew changes on a global scale is vital. Photo: Thome ©

The Thome Group has signed up to the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change which recognises that stakeholders from across all sectors of the maritime industry have a shared responsibility to ensure that the current crew change crisis is resolved as quickly as possible.

The Declaration was signed at the Global Maritime Forum’s 2020 Virtual High-Level Meeting currently underway at Davos from 25 to 29 January.

The signatories of this declaration believe that the most effective way of addressing the crew change challenge and building a more resilient maritime logistics chain, is by working together across the value chain with industry stakeholders, organisations and with governments to implement solutions that work in practice.

Key issues to resolve include:

* Recognise seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to COVID-19 vaccines

* Establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practise

* Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes

* Ensure flight availability for seafarers between key maritime hubs

Said Claes Eek Thorstensen, Executive Vice Chairman of the Thome Group: “It is only by joining forces and working together towards common goals that we will be able to resolve this ongoing crisis.

“Seafarers are the lifeblood of the maritime industry and it is our duty to help them by working together to resolve the outstanding issues caused by the pandemic. It is clearly unacceptable that crew are having to work beyond their contracts due to travel restrictions and various government directives which are preventing crew changes.

“If we all pull together we can resolve this crisis and put in safeguards that will allow crew changes to happen in a COVID secure way which is acceptable to all governments and port authorities. Our ultimate aim is to repatriate the crew whom are overdue for relieve. It is an unacceptable situation and we must do everything we can to resolve this situation as quickly as we can.”

Simon Frank, Thome’s CHRO added: “We have been working hard to try to get some stability for crew changes – which even in these uncertain times could help our seafarers have confidence in being safely repatriated at the end of their contracts or with embarkations when beginning a new one. We expect the Neptune Declaration to be a strong enabler to help with this stability.”

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway

Added 27 January 2021


News continues below

Tristan da Cunha: World’s most remote inhabited archipelago becomes model of sustainability


Tristan da Cunha: The world's most remote inhabited archipelago becomes model of sustainability, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tristan da Cunha: The world’s most remote inhabited archipelago © Thomas/supplied

Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic, with just 245 inhabitants and an MSC certified lobster fishery, has a new Marine Protected Area to keep its waters sustainable.

Before dawn two experienced fishermen on the island of Tristan da Cunha will observe the weather. If it is deemed fair, they will sound a ‘dong’ to announce a fishing day.

On hearing the call, plumbers, electricians, mechanics and other members of the government will go to the MSC certified fish factory. Post office workers, supermarket staff, clerks and retirees then follow in the evening to help pack the prized lobster catch.

Life on the world’s most remote inhabited archipelago is dominated by the weather. Buffeted by storms from the Southern Atlantic, Tristan’s four volcanic islands sit some 1,510 miles west of Cape Town. Fishing in small, seven-metre island boats can only take place when the weather is fine, which is limited to 30 to 40 days a year.

Without a landing strip, the British Overseas Territory can only be accessed by a week-long boat journey. The island harbour is only accessible for around 90 days of the year and, under Covid-19 restrictions, visiting crew and passengers from all vessels must be tested and wait 14 days before disembarkation.

With a current population of just 245 people, only the main island is permanently occupied.

In 1961, a lava flow threatened its main settlement, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, forcing the islanders to evacuate and reside in the UK for two years.

Adorning the island’s flag are two rock lobsters, illustrating the pivotal role crustaceans play in the life of Tristanians. The fishery, which processes the temperate rock lobster species, is a mainstay of the island economy contributing 80 per cent of the territory’s revenue.

“Looked after, the island will always have a future,” declares Chief Islander James Glass. “This is why we look after the fishery so well.

“Over the years I have seen fishermen do harmful practices that have made me want to work towards a sustainable fishery. I and the islanders believe that you should only kill what you need and can use.”

Marine Protected Area

Four years ago, Tristan made a commitment to the UK government to help implement its target to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

This November the island announced that almost 700,000 sq km of its waters would become a Marine Protected Area (MPA), the fourth largest such sanctuary of its kind in the world and the biggest in the South Atlantic.

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a video praising Tristan for doing its part to “close more than 90% of its waters to harmful human activity”.

“We’re glad that we could help the UK in some way,” says Glass with understatement. “We are a small community and I think we’ve been quite lucky that the British government has looked after us so well, so if we can help them beat that target that is all well and good.”

A Marine Protected Area or zone offers varying levels of protection by regulating fishing, diving and boating, particularly those who carry out illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) activities. To tackle the underlying problem of overfishing, MPAs should be combined with sustainable fishing practices so the problem is not simply moved from one place to another.

Tristan does this and more. According to Hugh Jones, principal fisheries manager of Control Union, the assessment body which confirms whether the Tristan fishery meets the MSC Fisheries Standard, the “independent research has shown that the marine environment in the fished area of Tristan had biomass comparable to or greater than many of the MPAs around the rest of the world”.

Tristan da Cunha archipelago with MPA and fishing zones © Becky Moriarty for MSC, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

MSC certification opens up new markets

Tristan began exploring MSC certification in 2008, with independent assessors confirming its status in 2011. “It added value to the product and many markets only want products with the MSC label on,” opines Glass.

The archipelago is used to dealing with adversity. In 2001 a hurricane wrought devastation, leaving the island without electricity for six days. Seven years later, the fish factory burned down before being rebuilt to EU standards. Last year, a storm severely damaged Tristan’s main administration building, police station, post office and school.

“We’ve had quite a few disasters,” says James matter-of-factly, “but the Tristanians are a resilient people. We come together as a community and we make it work.”

Endemic to the Tristan da Cunha island group, the rock lobster is “sold as a sashimi-grade product,” says Michael Marriott, the MSC’s senior program manager for Africa, the Middle East and South Asia (AMESA).

Markets open up

Popular in the US, Japan and Australia, markets have opened up in the European Union as well following MSC certification.

Marriott says there are “sporadic wildlife interactions” with seabirds from the main vessel.

The most recent assessment report found there was zero bycatch because the small amount of other fish – such as octopus – can also be kept and used as food in a sustainable way.

“Tristan is one of the few MSC certified fisheries that currently has no conditions on its certification,” says Marriott. “All certified fisheries are deemed sustainable, but the Tristan
fishery is amongst a handful that is achieving best practice across all performance indicators.”

Around 400 tonnes of lobster are landed each season which runs between the 25 August and the 30 April.

The Tristan small local boats are allowed out from the 1 July. This is because they only work during daylight hours with no gear allowed to be left overnight, to avoid catching egg-carrying lobsters.

Since entering into commercial fishing in 1949 the archipelago has controlled a 50-mile zone around the four islands that is closed to other fishing methods. This area acts as a buffer between the lobster fishery – which only goes out to a maximum of around six miles – and other commercial fishing in the wider ocean. (At the southern Gough Island the zone was reduced to 40 miles in November 2020).

Three types of gear are used in the fishery: powerboat traps, hoop nets and monster traps.

Box traps are deployed from small boats around all four islands, hoop nets are deployed from powerboats at Tristan only, and monster traps are deployed from the main boat at the three outer islands.

A standard mesh size of 70mm is used on all the traps. All three gear types are open – so lobster entering the traps can also exit at will by the same opening. There is therefore no risk of ghost fishing by lost traps, and no need for escape gaps to release undersized lobster.

The fishery has also successfully addressed how it operates to reduce the risk of seabirds accidentally being harmed when they encounter the fleet.

Ovenstone concession

Tristan has a royalty agreement with South African-based company Ovenstone Agencies (PTY) Ltd which, since 1999, has operated the lobster fishery under a sole concession granted by the government.

Ovenstone operates a vessel from Cape Town to fish around the three outer islands which include Gough Island, Inaccessible Island and Nightingale Island. Lobster caught by this vessel is processed on board to EU standard.

A fleet of small boats, operated by Tristan fishermen, is used to catch the quota allocated to Tristan, the only inhabited island in the archipelago. The catch from these small vessels is processed at the factory situated on the main island.

Ovenstone provides eight voyages a year from Cape Town carrying lobster, cargo, medical supplies and passengers to and from Tristan. “From our perspective, it feels like we are in partnership with the islanders,” says Dorrien Venn, a director of Ovenstone Agencies.

James Glass pictured with two temperate rock lobsters. © James Glass, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

‘You could call it Utopia’

“The first time I went there in 1998 I witnessed how people had made a life for themselves. Most Tristan residents were self-sufficient and getting on fine without that direct connection to the outside world.

“Back then there was one radio and one telephone. While there is WiFi, British Forces TV and WhatsApp now, there is still a big sense of community where everyone looks after each other. A lot of people don’t want to leave the island because of that. You could call it Utopia for some.”

Until October of this year, Ovenstone’s main fishing vessel was the MFV Geo Searcher. That month the 70-metre vessel sank off Gough Island

– see those news reports CLICK HERE

and   HERE

Possible future harbour location on Tristan da Cunha. Picture: featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Possible future harbour location on Tristan da Cunha. Picture:

A second support vessel, the MFV Edinburgh, has been reconfigured to catch the remaining quota for the 2020-21 season.

“It is a setback,” says Venn, “but we will get through it. The main thing before anything else is that there were no human casualties. We will get through the season and make sure we land the full quota. We are going flat out to find a replacement fishing vessel.”

The pandemic has hit sales of lobster into restaurants. “Obviously our revenue will be down this year,” says Glass.

“Tristan is not a prosperous island and it will have an economic impact but we don’t have any debt. We don’t have a lot of money to spend either, but we will get through this.”

Added 27 January 2021


News continues below



A freight train is flanked on either side by passenger trains of Ethiopian Railways, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A freight train is flanked on either side by passenger trains of Ethiopian Railways

News reports in December revealed that Ethiopia’s well publicised electrified standard gauge railway (SGR), built with Chinese capital and engineering, has not performed to its full potential, for a variety of reasons.

The result was that the 753-km long railway, that provides Ethiopia with its only railway link to a seaport, lost 114 million birr in the first quarter of 2020 alone – more recent results not being available.

One of the main causes of the Ethiopian Railway Corporation’s (ERC) poor performance was said to be a result of theft and vandalism.

This led to the speed limit of the trains being reduced from 80 km per hour to 50 km per hour because of damages to the railway infrastructure.

According to Tilahun Terefe, head of the corporation’s rail safety and transport department, the trip from Addis Ababa to Djibouti now takes 18 hours, six hours slower than the schedule calls for.

The railway, built by China Rail Engineering Corporation and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation at a cost of US$4 billion, of which 70 per cent was funded by way of loans from China’s Export-Import Bank (EXIM), opened on 1 January 2018. At that time it was hailed in many African circles as “Africa’s first electrified railway” – a claim full of enthusiasm and pride but missing the mark by about 93 years.

In 1925 South African Railways, as it was then known, introduced electrified railways to South Africa in 1925, on the Glencoe-Mooi River section of the Natal main line between Durban and Johannesburg. This was rapidly extended across several other sections including other sections of the Natal main line.

Ethiopia obtains between 90 and 95 per cent of its imports and exports through the port of neighbouring Djibouti. Currently the railway is carrying about 25 per cent of that traffic. In the first quarter of 2020 the railway carried 462,000 tons of freight, consisting generally of fertilisers, minerals, wheat and other grains and general cargo.

The Addis Ababa - Djibouti railway map, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Addis Ababa – Djibouti railway map.   Mapwork Deutsche Welle

Railway authorities in December called a meeting involving local and affected communities, as well as security forces including the Ethiopian police, with a plea for cooperation in preventing theft and vandalism.

The sections of line in the Sebeta, Lume, Adama, Bosot, Fentale, Mieso, Bordode to Dewale regions were worst affected. The vandalism and theft has resulted in accidents leading to the death of several people and hundreds of domesticated animals.

According to Ethiopia’s Transport Minister, Awel Wegris, local community members lack awareness of the national economic importance of the railway and the resultant cost to the economy when damages occur.

As is the case in another of Ethiopia’s neighbours where a lengthy SGR has gone into operation, Kenya, the volume of traffic being hauled has not yet come up to expectations. In Ethiopia this led to China having to restructure some of the debt including extending the repayment period by 20 years.

Added 27 January 2021


News continues below

ClassNK updates ‘Guidelines for Remote Surveys’


Tokyo – Leading Classification Society ClassNK has released ‘Guidelines for Remote Surveys Ver. 2.0’ including a class notation requirement for the ship with advance preparation for remote surveys.

ClassNK has been working on the advancement of surveys using digital technology in line with its R&D roadmap and Digital Grand Design 2030, and published ‘Guidelines for Remote Surveys’.

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

ClassNK logo on display in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Added 27 January 2021


News continues below

IN CONVERSATION:  Attacks at sea aren’t all linked to piracy. Why it’s important to unpick what’s what

Nigerian Navy Special forces pretend to arrest pirates during a joint military exercise with the French navy.  Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

Dirk Siebels, University of Greenwich

Pirate attacks against merchant ships off the African coast have been reported regularly over the past decade. And despite measures to suppress it, Somalia-based piracy remains a concern. On the other side of the continent, the Gulf of Guinea is now viewed as presenting a much more serious piracy problem.

Last year a record 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents, according to the International Maritime Bureau. The cluster of attacks in November and December has once again led to alarming headlines about the Gulf of Guinea being the world’s piracy hotspot.

But an increase in officially reported attacks does not necessarily mean that the actual number of attacks has increased. And individual cases must be analysed carefully. Attacks against small cargo ships trading solely in the Gulf of Guinea, for example, are often linked to criminal disputes or other illicit activities at sea. These incidents are very different from random attacks targeting merchant ships in international trade which are solely aimed at kidnapping seafarers to collect a large ransom and are, therefore, a profit-driven crime.

Similarly, reports about suspicious approaches against merchant ships off Somalia are still frequent. Most are related to smuggling operations between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula or simply to everyday fishing activities.

Pirate attacks may grab most headlines, but maritime security is important for wider reasons. Illicit activities at sea limit the potential benefits of economic activities linked to the sea – what’s referred to as the “blue economy”. This includes maritime trade, fishing activities, offshore oil and gas production or coastal tourism. Also, criminality at sea and on land are closely linked. Government agencies need to recognise this if security is to be improved.

Read more:
Gulf of Guinea: fighting criminal groups in the Niger Delta is key to defeating piracy

Many problems, few resources

Piracy remains arguably the most visible symptom of insecurity at sea. But coastal states also have other reasons to be concerned about it.

Illegal fishing, for example, has a direct impact on coastal communities where artisanal fishing is one of the few opportunities to earn a living. Smuggling on maritime routes even affects government income directly. Virtually all African countries rely heavily on customs revenues. When fuel, cigarettes or agricultural goods are smuggled, no import or export duties are paid. Less money can then be spent on schools, roads or hospitals, as my research has shown.

Governments are also concerned about drug trafficking or weapons smuggling at sea, underlined by international agreements which have been adopted by the majority of African coastal states.

Limited monitoring of maritime trade allows for a steady flow of pharmaceutical products – including fake drugs – into Africa as well as lucrative exports of unlicensed timber or illegal wildlife products.

Despite the widespread impacts, maritime security has only come into the political focus over the past decade. African countries have initiated international meetings about it. The African Union adopted a maritime strategy in 2014 and held a follow-up summit in Togo’s capital Lomé in 2016. But progress has been limited. National governments have largely failed to take concrete actions. Strategies aren’t supported by financial and human resources.

Even Ghana, where a comprehensive maritime strategy has been under development for years, is still unable to provide reliable funding for patrol boat operations.

The way forward

Some examples highlight that it is possible to provide more security at sea. In West Africa, Nigeria is leading the way with its $195 million Deep Blue project, scheduled to be fully operational in the coming months. This project is primarily aimed at better surveillance and enforcement across the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, an area that stretches out up to 200 nautical miles (around 360 kilometres) from the coastline.

Benin, Gabon and Tanzania have partnered with environmental organisations like Sea Shepherd to combat illegal fishing in their waters. Such non-traditional partnerships may help overcome short-term challenges and focus on urgent problems.

But it’s necessary to build capacity for the long term.

In many African countries, the blue economy could help to increase economic growth and development, although it should not be limited to economic gains. Acknowledging the needs of local communities and environmental sustainability are equally important. Investments can yield direct benefits which are five times higher than the initial outlay, according to a recent study. And the inclusion of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on ocean resources could strengthen efforts to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Read more:
Lift for maritime sector in Kenya and Djibouti after fall in piracy

Despite some alarming headlines, there is no evidence to suggest that the coronavirus pandemic has had an immediate impact on security threats at sea. But growth forecasts have been slashed and governments are unlikely to prioritise spending on navies and other maritime agencies.

Security concerns on land are much more immediate threats, and even relatively limited stimulus packages are another burden for government budgets.

A closer analysis of sea piracy is important for law enforcement and longer-term prevention whether these are solely aimed at pirates or at organised criminal groups. It is also important for shipping companies because it affects the threat assessment when attacks are linked to criminal activities and aimed at specific ships rather than random targets.

Short-term solutions for long-standing problems are impossible. Even small steps, however, are important to improve maritime security in the medium to long term. That would be in line with the AU’s maritime strategy which highlights the blue economy’s potential contribution to economic growth and development across the continent.The Conversation

Dirk Siebels, PhD (Maritime Security), University of Greenwich

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

Added 27 January 2021


News continues below

Fatalities within the fishing sector remain low for two consecutive years – SAMSA


The South African fishing vessel Harvest Krotoa (IMO 8709949) went aground on rocks at Plankies Bay, to the north of Fondeling Island, Langebaan, on 17 May 2020. After evacuating the crew the vessel began to float on the tide and returning crew were able to move the vessel to safety, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The South African fishing vessel Harvest Krotoa (IMO 8709949) went aground on rocks at Plankies Bay, to the north of Fondeling Island, Langebaan, on 17 May 2020. After evacuating the crew the vessel began to float on the tide and returning crew were able to move the vessel to safety.

The number of fatalities in South Africa’s commercial fishing subsector have significantly reduced over the last few years. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has reported in the Marine Notice 3 of 2021.

The Marine Notice was issued by SAMSA on 21 January 2021.

According to the notice a total of four fishermen lost their lives in three separate commercial operational incidents at sea:

* One fisherman lost his life when a small fishing boat capsized in large swells outside Paternoster.

* One fisherman lost his life near Paternoster when a small fishing vessel lost power and the crew attempted to row ashore. An oar was lost and a fisherman who jumped overboard to retrieve the oar was separated from the vessel in strong winds.

* Two fishermen lost their lives when a small fishing vessel capsized in the surf off Rooi Els. Three fishers managed to swim ashore. One fisherman’s body was found in the surf and another fisherman was missing.

The numbers recorded in 2020 were the second lowest fatalities in two successive years involving commercial fishermen since 2017, the last year since double-digit deaths of fishermen were last recorded in the country after 13 fishermen lost their lives – most of them (nine) having occurred in the Port Elizabeth coastal area during a single incident.

SAMSA is charged with the responsibility of recording operational incidents within the fishing sector. In addition SAMSA offers trauma counselling, assistance with securing UIF, COID and insurance and the facilitation of social grants though is Seafarer Welfare Office. SAMSA also offers community and workplace seminars at no cost to the fishing industry on HIV/AIDS awareness and alcohol/substance abuse.

Added 26 January 2021


News continues below

49th South African Motor Launch Flotilla: hidden by history


ML-382 Fairmile B of the 49th SA Motor Launch Flotilla on trials off Simon's Town, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ML-382 Fairmile B of the 49th SA Motor Launch Flotilla on sea trials off Simon’s Town

The recent edition of Africa Ports & Ships newsletter was, as usual, an excellent read. The article on the RN Eastern Fleet The Eastern Fleet and the Indian Ocean, 1942–1944: The Fleet that Had to Hide by your London correspondent reminded me of a lesser known element of the Eastern Fleet, and one that was entirely made up of South African Naval Force Officers and Ratings.

This was the 49th (South African) Motor Launch Flotilla, made up of 8 Fairmile B motor launches, all built in South Africa, and operating in one of the forgotten wars of the conflict. It is a part of South African maritime and naval history that very few people know about.

The 49th ML Flotilla operated from 1943 to 1945, commanded by a SANF Officer, initially in the Persian Gulf in mid 1943, but from January 1944 they made up a unit of the Allied and Commonwealth Forces, operating against Japanese forces in Burma where they achieved considerable successes in this little known Far East theatre of war. The 49th (South African) ML Flotilla operated in a hostile and difficult tropical environment against a very determined enemy along the Arakan Coast of Burma.

The Fairmile B launches, of which 650 were built, were quite heavily armed with a variety of 40mm Bofors, 20mm Oerlikons, 3lb QF Hotchkiss, 6lb HA/LA and double mounts of twin Vickers 0.303 Machine guns and they were very fast at 30 knots. A total of 34 Fairmile B Motor Launches were built in South Africa, with 8 of them being assigned to the 49th (South African) ML Flotilla. The builders were:

Louw & Halvorsen (Cape Town): ML380, 381, 382, 383, 829, 830, 846, 847, 848, 854, 855.
Cape Government (Cape Town): ML891, 892, 893, 897, 898, 899, 900.
Thesens (Knysna): ML831, 832, 852, 853, 894, 895, 896, 4001, 4002, 4003, 4004.
Williams (East London): ML850, 851.
South African Railways (East London): 849, 856, 857.

The 1st Division of the 49th (South African) Motor Launch Flotilla, consisting of ML380, 382, 383 and 829 departed Simonstown on 7 March 1943 and made an incredible open ocean voyage to the Hormuz Strait at Khor Kuwai via the SA coast, Madagascar, Tanganyika, Kenya, Somalia and Oman, arriving on 15 May 1943. They operated in the Persian Gulf region until late 1943 before transiting to Chittagong as their forward operating base close to the Burmese border, arriving in late January 1944.

The 2nd Division of the 49th (South African) Motor launch Flotilla, consisting of ML381, 831, 832 and 846 departed Simonstown in early November 1943 and made an even more audacious open ocean crossing direct to Chittagong via the SA Coast, Madagascar, Seychelles, Diego Garcia, Maldives, Ceylon and the Indian coast, arriving in Chittagong in late January 1944. The combined 1st and 2nd Divisions eventually operated from Teknaaf on the Burmese border before eventually operating from Akyab in Burma itself

The 49th (South African) Motor Launch Flotilla made a very effective fighting force and for over 18 months operated along the Arakan coast of Western Burma supporting the Allied ‘Forgotten Army’, attacking Japanese forces and bases, disrupting their supply lines and successfully harrying and destroying the Japanese war effort wherever they met it.

At the end of the war in 1945 they handed over their South African built Fairmile B Motor Launches to the Royal Indian Navy, and the Officers and Ratings of the South African Naval Force were repatriated back home to South Africa. They were the only independent South African naval force that operated in the Far East theatre.

Attached are two shots from the new book ‘Tavern of the Seas’ by Phil Short, and co-authored by myself, that shows the Fairmile B motor launches ML380 and ML382 of the 49th (South African) Motor Launch Flotilla training in False Bay prior to their departure from Simonstown at the start of their epic open ocean voyage to India.

ML-380 Fairmile B launch off Simon's Town in False Bay, shortly before departing across the ocean, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ML-380 Fairmile B launch off Simon’s Town in False Bay, shortly before departing  for the Persian Gulf in 1943

Book details are as follows:

TAVERN OF THE SEAS – The unseen years 1935-1955
Compiled by Phil Short with Jay Gates

Published March 2020 by Historical Media cc, Tokai.
ISBN: 9 – 780994 – 66766
Distributed by Protea Book Distributors, and available from selected bookshops including certain Exclusive Books. Price approx R300.

The book consists of mostly full page photographs together with accompanying text opposite and covers the ‘missing years’ between 1935 and 1955 when very few photos of Cape Town’s harbour were taken – these being among the few exceptions having been taken by a former port engineer. The photographs and story of the 49th (South African) Motor Launch Flotilla form just a part of the book.

Jay Gates
Cornwall, UK

Added 26 January 2021


News continues below

IN CONVERSATION:  Why the Indian Ocean is spawning strong and deadly tropical cyclones

An aerial view of the damage from flood waters after tropical cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique’s Sofala province.    EPA/ Emidio Jozine

Jennifer Fitchett, University of the Witwatersrand

The Indian Ocean has made its mark on the global news cycle this year. In March, tropical cyclone Idai made headlines as one of the most severe storms to have made landfall in Mozambique. Current estimates indicate that more than 1,000 people died. This makes it the most deadly tropical cyclone ever to have made landfall on the southern African subcontinent.

Until Idai, tropical cyclone Eline, which struck in 2000, was the most devastating tropical cyclone to make landfall in Mozambique.

After Idai, Eline was the strongest – though not the deadliest – cyclone to have hit the southern east African cost. This ranking as the strongest was soon after challenged by tropical cyclone Kenneth, a category 4 tropical cyclone that made landfall over the border of Mozambique and Tanzania six weeks after Idai.

Kenneth, in many regards, took the region by surprise. The storm was the northernmost tropical cyclone to make landfall on Mozambique, and the first to make landfall on Tanzania. It occurred very late in the season. Most cyclones in the region occur from January to March. It was also unusual for the Mozambique Channel to experience two severe tropical cyclones that made landfall within one season.

The third major cyclone to emerge out of the Indian Ocean came a few weeks after Kenneth, when cyclone Fani, a tropical cyclone on the border of Category 5 intensity wind speeds, hit the east coast of India. Category 5 tropical cyclones were only first recorded in the North Indian Ocean from 1989 so, again, this storm is unusually severe in the context of the longer historical records.

These high intensity storms have been tied to the very warm sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean. Temperatures of 30°C are occurring more often and over longer periods of time. This is a result of gradual warming on a global scale, which has resulted in a net increase in ocean temperatures.

Warmer ocean temperatures allow stronger storms to form. These conditions are exacerbated by global forcing mechanisms including El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole, which concentrates warm ocean waters in smaller geographic areas.

High intensity storms have been a frequent feature along the coast of the US throughout recorded history. Their increased frequency in the Indian Ocean should be raising alarm bells because countries like the US are much better equipped to help people prepare ahead of time, and to handle the fallout.

Measuring intensity

Tropical cyclone intensity is classified according to the Saffir Simpson scale. Categories are measured on the basis of the sustained wind speed and the storm’s central pressure. Each category is accompanied by estimates of the likely severity of damage and possible storm surge height.

Tropical cyclones form and intensify due to a combination of seven primary climatological conditions. Among other things, these include warm sea surface temperatures, high humidity levels and atmospheric instability.

For a storm to intensify, these conditions have to be maximised while the storm remains over the ocean.

Tropical cyclones require a sea surface temperature of 26.5°C to form, while the highest intensity storms require much warmer sea surface temperatures of 28-29°C. This is important because it’s one of the reasons why southern Africa is experiencing more intense tropical cyclones.

The South Indian Ocean is warming rapidly. This means that regions that previously experienced the temperatures of 26.5°C that facilitated tropical cyclone formation are now experiencing temperatures as warm as 30-32°C.

Simultaneously, regions further from the equator which didn’t previously have sufficiently warm water for tropical cyclone formation, with sea surface temperatures of 24-26°C are more regularly experiencing the threshold temperature. This increases the range in which these storms occur, making storms like tropical cyclone Dineo, which made landfall in February 2017 in southern Mozambique, more common.

These very warm sea surface temperatures are not a factor of global scale warming alone. They’re further influenced by a range of global and local forcing mechanisms. These include El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode. For this particular cyclone season, scientists are seeing the strongest impact from the [Madden-Julian Oscillation].

This is a band of moisture in the tropical regions which moves eastward over a 30 to 90 day period. The strong Madden-Julian Oscillation is also affecting tropical cyclones in Australia.

Comparing storms

Ranking storms on the basis of their Saffir Simpson classification is not always the most valuable measure. That’s because it can’t take the characteristics of the location of landfall into consideration.

This results in two key shortcomings. First, it doesn’t take the flooding potential into account. This is difficult to identify for a particular storm, because it’s not only a function of how much rain is experienced and over what period – or even the height of storm surge – but also the nature of the region of landfall.

Lower-lying, relatively flat areas are more prone to flooding than higher elevation regions or those with rugged topography. This is part of the reason that Idai caused such severe flooding. Some regions will have better suited storm water infrastructure. And when flooding does occur, some regions are better able to warn and evacuate people to prevent or minimise the loss of life.

Another factor which determines the devastation resulting from a tropical cyclone is the population density of the area of landfall. The higher the population density, the more people who are at threat of losing their life, their homes and livelihoods.

This also means more people who would need to be evacuated in a short period, and more people who need shelter until the storm’s immediate effects have subsided. This is why Idai and Eline resulted in far greater losses and fatalities than the stronger intensity Kenneth, and why the total damage from Fani is projected to be particularly devastating. We need to start measuring storm destructiveness in addition to climatological metrics.The Conversation

Jennifer Fitchett, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, University of the Witwatersrand

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

Added 26 January 2021


News continues below

Black Sea and Mediterranean fish stocks:
First glimmer of hope in decades


Picture courtesy FAO, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture courtesy FAO

Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries are turning the corner on overexploitation
Major report issued

A new report from the FAO shows that while most fish stocks remain over-exploited, the number of stocks subject to overfishing has decreased for the first time in decades. This was announced from FAO HQ in Rome in mid-December.

Readers are invited to see the full report HERE

After decades of increasing human pressures on the Mediterranean and Black Sea marine ecosystems and fisheries resources, the latest data suggest that a corner is finally being turned on overexploitation of the region’s vital fish stocks.

The State of Mediterranean & Black Sea Fisheries 2020 report featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The State of Mediterranean & Black Sea Fisheries 2020

According to a new report on the State of Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries (SoMFi 2020), released on 14 December, while 75% of fish stocks remain subject to overfishing, this percentage fell by more than 10% between 2014 and 2018. Exploitation ratios are down by a similar proportion. Taking into account newly assessed stocks, the number of fish stocks with high relative biomass has doubled since the last edition published in 2018.

The SoMFI report is published biennially by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) – an FAO statutory body which operates under FAO Governing Bodies. The report has been produced by FAO staff within the GFCM Secretariat with the collaboration of select experts and on the basis of the data sent by fisheries administrations along the Mediterranean and Black Sea as well as the analysis carried out by the technical statutory bodies of the GFCM.

While most of the stocks remain over-exploited it is understood that this is the first time in decades that the GFCM has been able to report some positive trends.

Important examples of improvement amongst priority stocks include European hake, which is displaying signs of recovery in the Mediterranean, and Black Sea turbot, which has seen a decline in its exploitation ratio as its spawning stock biomass has continued to rebuild over the past four years.

In the words of Abdellah Srour, GFCM Executive Secretary: “Thanks to the commitment of GFCM members and experts to addressing existing challenges, for the first time we can say that some positive signals are finally emerging in the sector” said. “While we know there is a lot more work still to be done before the region’s fisheries are on a sustainable footing, we are pleased that we have begun to reverse some of the most worrying trends.”

Islem Ben Ayed, President of the Tunisian Association for the Development of Artisanal Fisheries said: “Sustainable management does not just benefit the fish stocks. The sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries means sustaining jobs, ensuring healthy food and maintaining cultural heritage in our coastal communities for generations to come.”

Black Sea turbot fish Picture: Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Black Sea turbot fish. Picture: Wikipedia

A positive shift towards sustainable fisheries

Last November, ministers from the region reiterated their political commitment to achieving the objectives of the MedFish4Ever and Sofia Declaration to pursue an even higher level of ambition within the future GFCM Strategy (2021-2025) and to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14.

Some notable successes have been achieved now that national and regional management measures have had time to take effect. Ten multi-annual fisheries management plans are now in place, involving more than 4,000 fishing vessels.

Socio-economic impacts of fisheries in the region

The report reveals the considerable extent to which Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries contribute to regional economies by generating direct revenues, driving wider spending, and providing crucial jobs. The overall annual economic value of fisheries in the region is estimated at US$9.4 billion.

Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries provide 225,000 onboard jobs and are estimated to contribute livelihoods to a total of 785,000 people. In parts of some countries including Tunisia, Croatia, and Morocco, close to one in every 100 coastal residents is a fisher.

While small-scale fisheries make up most of the industry representing the overwhelming majority of fishing vessels (83%) and fishing-based jobs (57%) in the region, their share of the region’s total catch is only 15%.

Small-scale fishers generate less than 30% of total fisheries revenue, have uncertain livelihoods, and are most vulnerable to unforeseen problems or crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. They need more state support and a stronger social protection framework including access to unemployment insurance, the report says.

The report also offers valuable insights into the state of current workforce in fisheries in the region. The sector is rapidly aging: almost half of workers are over 40 and only 17% are under 25 – a situation requiring proactive measures in order to ensure that a skilled workforce remains available.

In addition, the report highlights that building the resilience of fisheries will be evermore critical in the face of increasing pressure on the marine environment from climate change and human activities. The new publication serves as a valuable tool to guide action towards the sustainable future.

About GFCM

GFCM is a regional fisheries management organisation operating under the framework of FAO, whose competence extends over all marine waters of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Its main objective is to ensure the conservation and the sustainable use of living marine resources, as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture.

GFCM Members include 23 contracting parties (Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, European Union, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey) and five cooperating non-contracting parties (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Jordan, Moldova, Ukraine).

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway

Added 26 January 2021


News continues below

Infinity Maritime announces broker ecosystem with world leading ship brokers


Infinity Maritime embraces the maritime ecosystem from banks to brokers, digitising environmentally friendly vessels. They have now announced collaboration with world leading maritime brokers Maersk Broker, SSY, Arrow and BRS.

Infinity Maritime, which aims to be the first platform to provide alternative maritime finance through digitisation enabling fractional ownership of cargo ships, such as dry bulk carriers, tankers and container ships, has announced a new collaboration with four major ship brokers.


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

added 26 January 2021


News continues below

Hapag-Lloyd MIAX service disrupted by pirate attack on Mozart


Hapag-Lloyd's chartered vessel Mozart, seen here arriving at Durban on an earlier schedule, which was attacked by pirates at the recent weekend, and is now unable to complete her voyage to Cape Town.  Pictire by Barend J van Rensburg / MarineTraffic, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hapag-Lloyd’s chartered vessel Mozart, seen here arriving at Durban on an earlier schedule, which was attacked by pirates at the recent weekend, and is now unable to complete her voyage to Cape Town.  Picture by Barend J van Rensburg / MarineTraffic

Container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd says the pirate attack on their chartered vessel MOZART (IMO 9337274) – see that report HERE – has resulted in the vessel being unable to continue her MIAX voyage from Lagos to Cape Town.

The 39,499-dwt Turkish-owned ship was boarded by armed pirates carrying explosives. Although the crew quickly followed procedure by taking refuge in the ship’s citadel – apparently a spare cabin – this was breached by the pirates using the explosives – the first time this has been recorded in the Gulf of Guinea region and a disturbing development.

One of the crew was killed in the action and others injured, some from being ill-treated by the pirates. The pirates also ransacked the ship and severely damaged its navigational ability, before leaving the vessel along with 15 of the crew, taken for ransoming purposes.

With important parts of the ship’s bridge destroyed, the Mozart is unable to complete her scheduled voyage without significant delay.

Hapag-Lloyd says it is supporting the vessel owner to free his crew as well as finding a swift solution for all customers impacted by this tragic event.

Added 26 January 2021


News continues below



The eMendi Building with the port of Ngqura beyond, TNPA's future head office. Picture TNPA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The eMendi Building with the port of Ngqura beyond, TNPA’s future head office. Picture TNPA

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) confirmed today (Monday, 25 January 2021) reports at the weekend that it is relocating its head office and personnel from Johannesburg and Durban, to the Eastern Cape port at Ngqura.

The decision to relocate to Ngqura comes within months of the appointment of Pepi Silinga as TNPA Chief Executive. Silinga arrived at Johannesburg in September last year after a long career as CEO of the Coega Development Company, which is located next to the Ngqura port.

According to TNPA the decision is one of ongoing cost-saving and efficiency initiatives, which will be achieved by consolidating its various corporate offices – currently split between Johannesburg and Durban – into one at the eMendi administration building within the precinct of the Port of Ngqura, some 22kms from Port Elizabeth.

“Relocation of a head office of any large organisation is a significant business decision that is preceded by serious strategic considerations,” Transnet said in its statement.

“The relocation of a Sea Port Authority’s head office from a landlocked city, closer to its operations, ensures that TNPA serves its customers at the point of execution, while bringing about savings of approximately R25 million a year from lease agreements,” it said.

According to the statement it “it bears reiteration that the strategic decision for the Head Office of TNPA to locate at one of the SA’s ports dates back over 10 years, which decision was not implemented, for reasons unrelated to the interests of the Port Authority and/or its customers.”

In 2000 Siyabonga Gama was appointed CEO at TNPA and during his almost five years with TNPA the decision was taken not to relocate. Both Cape Town and Durban were under consideration for the move but ultimately TNPA head office remained located in Johannesburg.

The 10,000 square metre eMendi building, completed at a cost of R255 million in 2017, is currently under-utilised and has the opportunity to significantly deliver cost-savings for Transnet, says TNPA.

The building, erected for a port with three container berths and a general cargo quay, currently houses staff from both TNPA and Transnet Port Terminals. It is a short distance from the CDC head quarters where Silinga was in charge of the successful Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) since the inception of the Coega project in 1998.

Transnet is currently reconfiguring the building into a layout suitable for accommodating the TNPA Head Office resources.

“Transnet sees the consolidation of TNPA in the Eastern Cape as an important contributor to the revival of that province’s economy, as it increases the ease of doing business,” the statement continued, while referring to a record citrus export season just past.

The company said it has begun a consultation process with staff and organised labour, with a view to completing the move by 31 March 2021.

Added 25 January 2021


News continues below



Mango Tree Group's large dredger at work near Kisumu removing water hyacinth, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mango Tree Group’s large dredger at work near Kisumu removing water hyacinth

Dredging of Lake Victoria in the region and approaches to the Kenyan port of Kisumu has commenced and is likely to take six months to complete, according to local reports.

The immediate aim is to enable a full resumption of maritime trade to and from the port at Kisumu. The lake in the area of the port has not only silted up but has had sections blocked by hyacinth growth. Good rains in the catchment area over the past year or more has however helped by deepening the lake after a lengthy period of drought that saw water levels drop dangerously.

It is reported the Kisumu port area will be extended by a further 400 metres as a result of the dredging programme and will result in the larger lake vessels once again making use of the port in safety. This will permit more ferry-type vessels to dock in the port than previously, up to ten as quoted by ODM opposition leader, Raila Odinga.

One of the Kenya lake ferries, UHURU in the dock at Kisumu undergoing maintenance, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One of the Kenya lake ferries, UHURU in the dock at Kisumu undergoing maintenance

The dredging of the port and a re-focus on lakeside maritime activity is largely a result of an emphasis by most of the East African countries, notably Kenya and Tanzania, on restoring their railway networks including the creation of new railways built to (European) 1435mm standard gauge.

In Kenya, however, construction of the SGR came to a halt near Naivasha, still some considerable distance from both Kisumu and the land border crossing with Uganda at Malaba.

Kenya however has responded by refurbishing its older colonial-era metre gauge Rift Valley Railways, whose tracks extended to both the Malaba border and from Kisumu to Butere, north-west of Naivasha, although this latter section is undergoing refurbishment to gain maximum efficiency.

The connection between the Kisumu port and the railway is an important one, and will be used to transship freight from the railway onto ferries for onward delivery to Ugandan ports such as Lake Bell and also to the eastern DRC.

Kisumu at the height of the water hyacinth problem, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Kisumu at the height of the water hyacinth problem

The dredging is being carried out by a 70-metre, 5,000-ton dredger on charter from Uganda’s quaintly named ship building and maintenance company, Mango Tree.

The dredging project is being overseen by the Kenyan Navy.

It is also reported that smaller feeder ports including Homa Bay, Kendu Bay, Karungu Bay, Muhuru Bay, and Sio Port will also undergo rehabilitation.

The number of vessels docking at Kisumu in 2020 was 41, an increase from the 19 handled the previous year. source: The Star (Kenya)

Added 25 January 2021


News continues below

Making life easier for the haulier post-Brexit

Davies Turner office in UK featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Davies Turner reveals a winning hand with new customs suites

There has been a great deal of media coverage about the significant increase in customs processing work after the end of the (Brexit) Transition Period.

Leading UK forwarding company, Davies Turner, which is now in its 151st year, has invested heavily in new staff and infrastructure to help meet the demand and has opened a new, innovatory customs services floor at its regional freight hub at Dartford.

This, together with similar, slightly smaller centres at some of its other UK freight hubs including Avonmouth and Manchester, houses one of the company’s newly created national customs processing teams set up in 2020 in preparation for the end of the (Brexit) Transition Period.

Davies Turner director Alan Williams says that the new development allows the forwarder to increase numbers in the office by 30%, whilst still observing Government rules on social distancing, adding: “We have recruited over 30 new people and it will allow us to dramatically scale up the number of customs clearances that we perform.”

The new centre will not only house customs clearance activities but will also include a training suite to increase the number of staff at the forwarding company that have customs processing experience and qualifications.

Davies Turner operates an apprenticeship scheme with entrants spending time in all departments, giving it a skills base that is not permanently assigned to customs clearance duties but that can be tapped into with very little notice meaning it is well placed as a business to deal with the challenges now facing the freight sector.

The Dartford customs suite has been fully partitioned in line with Government Covid guidelines and each booth is fitted with two computer screens to allow staff to check company and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) information simultaneously. “This means that they can be more productive – and proactive,” says Williams.

Davies Turner will be able to offer customs clearance services at every UK site and it also plans to offer a 24-hour service.

Williams added: “Despite the fact that the UK and EU agreed a free trade deal, customs clearances have been required for both imports and exports from 1 January, so we have been planning for a major upsurge in activity.”

But, as Williams says, the freight industry is nothing if not adaptable: “At the end of the day, everything is a process. When regulations like C-TPAT* in the USA or the Verified Gross Mass rules came in, it was said that everything would grind to a halt, but trade has kept on flowing. It will be the same with customs clearance.”

* Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.

See related report in earlier issue EU-BREXIT trade accord, nearly there
Added 25 January 2021


News continues below

IN CONVERSATION:  South African scientists who discovered new COVID-19 variant share what they know

Health care workers and patients in the temporary outside area Steve Biko Academic Hospital created to screen and treat suspected Covid-19 cases in Pretoria.  Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Willem Hanekom, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Tulio de Oliveira, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Late last year the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA) led by the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) identified a rapidly spreading new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The new variant, called 501Y.V2, raises critical questions – including whether current vaccines and treatments will still be effective.

With the support of the South African Medical Research Council and the Department of Science and Innovation, a group of leading South African virologists, immunologists, vaccinologists, infectious disease specialists and microbiologists has since formed a consortium to address specific scientific questions surrounding 501Y.V2. The knowledge they generate will be shared with policy makers and developers of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments. The Conversation Africa asked the consortium for the latest update on their work on 501Y.V2.

What’s the science behind the search?

Viruses classically change continuously, bit by bit. A changed virus is called a “variant” of the original virus; the essential core of the virus remains the same.

Changes in the virus’s genetic code are called mutations. The new variant, called 501Y.V2, has acquired 23 mutations, when compared with the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. Importantly, twenty of the mutations cause amino acids changes and eight are located in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.

When the mutations or genetic changes are beneficial to the virus, they persist. The changes may allow the virus to survive better or be transmitted more efficiently.

We know that similar variants with many mutations have emerged independently in the UK and Brazil too. South Africa has particularly good research capacity to pick up variants and teams of researchers have actively been looking. Furthermore the NGS-SA consortium followed a tip from clinical staff at a private hospital in the Nelson Mandela Bay in the country’s Eastern Cape province. Clinicians were seeing unusual high numbers of COVID-19 cases. This possibly explains why this variant was picked up here so quickly.

Read more:
Nigerian scientists have identified seven lineages of SARS-CoV-2: why it matters

Why is this variant worrying?

The concern is that 501Y.V2 may spread much more efficiently between people, compared with other variants of SARS-CoV-2.

The mutations of 501Y.V2 have included changes to a part of the virus known as the spike protein. This virus spike protein hooks onto the human cell via a “receptor” to gain entry into the cells: this is how infection starts. The virus then starts multiplying inside cells. It ultimately gets released by the cells and can go on to infect more cells.

The changes in the spike protein of 501Y.V2 are likely to enhance its binding with human cell receptors, allowing easier infection and greater replication within the host. This may result in greater amounts of virus in an infected person, who can then infect other people more easily. The ultimate result could be quicker spread among people.

Scientists have observed that 501Y.V2 has quickly become “dominant” among multiple variants that have been circulating in the South African population. This strongly suggests the new mutations of this variant offer a transmission advantage. In some regions of South Africa, more than 80% of viruses currently isolated from infected people are now 501Y.V2.

This is likely to mean that most people who are now infected have a coronavirus that is more easily transmissible.

The new variants identified in the UK and Brazil have many similar mutations and potentially similar outcomes. Research confirmed greater transmissibility in the UK.

In addition, new research from South Africa shows that 501Y.V2 may escape antibodies generated from previous infection. This means that antibodies from people who were infected with previous variants may not work as well against 501Y.V2.

The research team used blood plasma from patients who had COVID-19 in the earlier surges to see if antibodies in their blood could neutralise, or make ineffective, 501Y.V2. They found that these patients’ antibodies were less able to neutralise 501Y.V2 relative to previous COVID-19 variants in South Africa. About a 6 to 200-fold higher plasma concentration was needed to neutralise 501Y.V2 in a lab setting.

Meanwhile, research from a different group in South Africa comes to similar conclusions. The team tested the antibody response from blood plasma samples from 44 people who had prior infection with earlier variants of COVID-19. They found nearly half of the plasmas tested could not neutralise 501Y.V2 – in a lab setting.

This data is a cause for concern. But more work needs to be done before we can categorically say what this means for people’s immunity against 501Y.V2, as well as the implications for vaccines designed for the earlier variants. This is because our immune response to infection and to vaccines involve components beyond just antibodies.

Does this variant cause different symptoms or more severe disease?

This is a topic of ongoing research. So far, clinicians and scientists working in the frontline have not observed any differences in symptoms in people infected with the new variant, compared with people infected by other variants. It therefore does not appear that the virus will make people more ill, or lead to more deaths.

At this stage, it also appears that the new variant causes a similar spectrum of disease – older people, men, and people with certain other medical conditions do worse.

The clinical management remains exactly the same: oxygen therapy when people need it, steroids (like dexamethasone) for people with more severe disease, and blood-thinning medication to prevent blood clots, a common complication of COVID-19. The main therapy that has been proven to reduce deaths is dexamethasone, which targets the overactive immune response to the virus, not the virus itself.

Are current vaccines likely to protect against the new variant?

Research is under way. Until shown to be otherwise, it is reasonable to expect vaccines to be effective against this variant as has been shown in clinical trials to date.

Vaccines protect us by causing an immune response against the spike protein of the virus. The vaccines present the spike protein to the immune system, which recognises it as foreign – an invader – and makes an immune response to the protein. When the body later encounters the actual virus, the immune response is ready to recognise and destroy it before it causes illness.

Part of the immune response is the generation of antibodies. Antibodies bind to the virus, making it non-infectious. We know that some parts of the spike proteins in the new variant have changed and so the antibodies created by the vaccines may not recognise them as well as before. But it’s likely that the vaccine-induced antibodies will also recognise other parts of this target spike protection. In addition, other arms of the immune response induced by vaccines, such as the T cell response, also important in controlling viruses, could also compensate.

The ongoing research falls into two categories:

First, blood from people who have received COVID-19 vaccines is used to see whether the antibodies in this blood, induced by the vaccine, can neutralise the virus in a test tube. If they do, the vaccine is still likely to work as well against 501Y.V2 as against other variants.

Second, researchers are studying which variants were present in people who took part in vaccine trials and still developed COVID-19 disease. If more 501Y.V2 is identified compared with other variants, it is likely that the vaccine does not work as well against 501Y.V2.The Conversation

Willem Hanekom, Director, Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), University of KwaZulu-Natal and Tulio de Oliveira, Director: KRISP – KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform, University of KwaZulu-Natal

This article is republished for its wide and general interest to our readers from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Added 25 January 2021


News continues below



DNV's new logo, minus the GL, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
DNV’s new logo, minus the GL

DNV GL, the assurance and risk management company, will change its name to DNV on 1 March 2021.

The move comes after a comprehensive review of the company’s strategy as it positions itself for a world in which many of DNV’s markets are undergoing fundamental change. The present name has been in place since the 2013 merger between DNV (Det Norske Veritas) and GL (Germanischer Lloyd).

According to DNV GL, the name simplification is a natural consequence of a successfully completed merger and of having operated as a fully integrated company for several years now.

DNV's Remi Eriksen featuing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Remi Eriksen

Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO, said, “We merged two leading companies with complementary strengths and market positions, and combining the two names was the right solution in 2013. However, it was not a name that rolled off the tongue, and many customers already refer to the company as DNV.”

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

Added 25 January 2021


News continues below



Carnival Mardi Gras which was set to make her debut in US waters, FEATURING IN aFRICA ports & ships MARITIME NEWS
Carnival Mardi Gras which was set to make her debut in US waters

The ongoing waves of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced a further delay to a resumption of cruising by Carnival Cruising, which has announced delays for the US, Europe and in Australia.

Carnival is pausing its planned cruising in US departures until 30 April, and canceling Australian operations until 19 May 2021.

In addition, Carnival has canceled the European itineraries for CARNIVAL LEGEND (IMO 9224726) which were to begin this May through until 31 October 31, 2021, and has delayed the start date for the 180,800-gt MARDI GRAS (IMO 9837444) from Port Canaveral, with the first cruise now set for 29 May 2021.

Affected passengers have been advised and are to be offered a full refund or alternatively a future bonus cruise credit and an on-board credit package.

“Our guests and travel agent partners continue to express their loyalty to Carnival and their desire to get back on our ships as soon as they can, and we are heartened by the booking demand and activity we continue to see,” said said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

“We are certainly committed to welcoming them back as quickly as possible, but unfortunately we have determined it’s going to take a while longer, and the situation in Europe will also impact Mardi Gras’ departure to the U.S. and Carnival Legend’s itineraries in Europe.”

Added 25 January 2021


News continues below

EU-BREXIT trade accord, nearly there


Aerial view of European lorries parked at Manston Airfield while their drivers awaited Covid-19 tests to allow them entry back into Europe. Photo: MoD Crown Copyright 2020 ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Aerial view of European lorries parked at Manston Airfield while their drivers awaited Covid-19 tests to allow them entry back into Europe. Photo: MoD Crown Copyright 2020 ©

Post-Brexit qualms

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


report by Paul Ridgway

Let me recap

A UK-wide referendum was held on 23 June 2016 and the questions asked were:
Should the UK Remain a member of the European Union and Should the UK Leave the European Union? The result was 51.89% Leave, 48.1 % Remain.

Negotiations began a year later for the departure invoking Article 50 which is the instrument allowing a member state to decide to withdraw from the EU, according to its own constitutional requirements.

You will be familiar with the news over the months which followed as we saw two general elections and three prime ministers and felt an awful lot of hot air generated and blood spilt.

To cut a long story short on 23 January 2020, the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 received Royal Assent. This was the legislation that implemented the withdrawal agreement negotiated by the UK and the EU.

At 23h00 on 31 January 2020, the UK left the EU and entered a transition period. At 23h00 on 31 December 2020 the transition period ended and the United Kingdom left the EU single market and customs union working with a 1,246-page trade deal signed, sealed and put into action with, it has been said, many loose ends trailing.

A summary of the terms will be found HERE

Students of these times of negotiation may wish to see a valuable briefing paper drawn up by the House of Commons Library and available here: CBP-7960.pdf

Counting down the days

What followed from mid-December 2020 was a race to get trucks through the port of Dover and across the Channel with urgent Christmas supplies before the transition period ended and to evade any likely tariffs and duties as well as the documentation expected therewith.

At the same time as this race was under way the French Government imposed restrictions on all arrivals from the UK in respect of Covid-19 after a mutant variant of it had been detected in London and the southeast. Testing was put in hand and drivers had to wait to produce negative test results, or otherwise go into quarantine until they did. More than 10,000 trucks were stacked up in and around Dover and at nearby Manston Airfield. Hundreds of members of the Armed Forces were deployed to boost testing efforts in Kent to help get hauliers across the Channel.

While significant progress was made, with hundreds of vehicles having already departed the UK, there was a requirement for an increase in testing as more vehicles continued to arrive every hour up until Christmas Day. Lateral flow devices were used to test hauliers and provide results within the hour with the necessary negative test result allowing them to continue on their journey into France.

As well as delivering testing soldiers supported welfare efforts ensuring lorry drivers and other travellers were as comfortable and safe as possible during these difficult times. They delivered food parcels and water to those waiting as well as those providing logistics support to the wider welfare operation.

According to the Daily Mail projections from the Cabinet Office anticipated cross-Channel freight to rise rapidly following a New Year slowdown. This is not an unusual trend.

The Times reported that tailbacks stretching for miles would be expected if drivers were not equipped with the correct Customs documentation or had negative Covid tests which the French demanded.

Plain sailing, yes but a mountain of paperwork is to be completed at the port of entry. Photo: Ambrose Greenway © as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Plain sailing, yes but a mountain of paperwork is to be completed at the port of entry.
Photo: Ambrose Greenway ©

Bureaucratic delays

Although the two sides struck a free-trade deal in December, avoiding trade tariffs and quotas, the departure from the single market and customs union has resulted in bureaucracy and hold-ups. There may now be tariff-free trade but there is certainly a need for extensive documentation, for example relative to export plant health phytosanitary requirements as well as veterinary health demands. Reports were received of vehicles being turned back because papers were not in order.

In the early days of January lorry traffic did lull after Brexit as stockpiles on either side of the Channel had been prepared by nervous traders but now those supplies were dwindling and traffic picked up again but the next few weeks will be a trial.

As one commentator said: “There could be more disruption as trucks come through that are not prepared with paperwork or drivers who have not been tested for Covid. There will be more issues. Then we could see some of these lorry parks starting to fill up again.”

The Road Haulage Association estimated that of the 2,000 outbound lorries a day through Dover and the Channel Tunnel in the week ending 10 January 20% were turned back. Problems are expected to surge as these numbers increase to the normal 6,000 vehicles a day.

Around half of the turn-backs were down to post-Brexit paperwork deficiencies and another half because drivers did not have the negative Covid test demanded by the French.

Britain’s ports were already under huge pressure before 1 January after Covid shattered the system for shipping goods around the world with one report of tailbacks for more than a mile built up outside a Customs facility in Ashford, Kent, with many vehicles forced to wait for days.

Ministers, who drew up plans to allow supermarket lorries to bypass queues at the Channel ports amid fears of food shortages in the UK, were concerned that demand would result in gridlock at the border again.

Logistics UK (formerly the Freight Transport Association) commented on reports of disruption to Northern Ireland-Great Britain trade. Speaking on 8 January about reports of disruption to NI-GB trade, Elizabeth de Jong, Director of Policy at Logistics UK, commented: “Issues which have occurred at the GB/NI border are due, in part, to businesses not having a full understanding of the new border requirements for moving goods to and from Northern Ireland. With only five days from the announcement of a new trade deal with the EU to the end of the Transition period, some confusion is inevitable, but it is now vital that government steps up communication with industry to ensure that loads can be dispatched with the correct paperwork and declarations.

“Logistics is adaptable and resilient and wants to do the best for its customers. However, the logistics sector cannot prepare alone: traders, transport companies, government agencies – both here and in the EU – all need to make sure that their processes and understanding is sufficient. Freight from GB to NI has seen particular challenges: the GVMS system used for all GB-NI freight was only fully launched on the 23 December, while guidance on GB to NI freight providing a grace period for parcels and post was published on the 31st December.”


The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations wrote in strong terms to the Prime Minister about the Government’s portrayal of the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement as a success on fisheries. Export of fish and shellfish into the EU has been impeded by a range of border issues and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has formed a new stakeholder group to address the mounting crisis and feed conclusions to a higher level.

Delays of up to 96 hours have been encountered at the border. Such delays are obviously fatal to the business of selling a perishable commodity like fresh fish and live shellfish.

Failure to remove obstacles at the border has implications for everyone in the supply chain from fishing vessels facing a fall in first-sale prices, to upmarket restaurants in Paris and Madrid who are being denied access to the high-quality fresh fish and shellfish that their reputations have been built on.

Despite the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU reached on Christmas Eve, there is mounting concern over the export of fish to Europe, centring on obstacles in Calais and Boulogne. The first consignments of the year from Cornwall hit a mountain of bureaucracy, and similar problems are being faced in relation to prawns exported from North Shields (NE England) and with direct landings into The Netherlands.

One report indicate that one consignment of fish had been delayed 48 hours with attendant loss of quality. There were fears that the customer would reject the whole consignment on arrival. Buyers have warned fishing vessels owners that purchases at first sale markets will soon be impacted if clear export routes across the narrow straits, compliant with the new customs regime unable to be quickly established.

In conclusion

It was sad to hear of one remark from a commentator of a potential exporter that “…he should have filled in the form properly”. That does not help anyone. It seems to me as an observer that in the negotiations of the final month before the accord was signed there was no public indication of what was to come. It is inconceivable that Whitehall (that is the Government) had no clue of the likely outcome and losses of trade and took no steps to warn the various trade federations.

Reported by Paul Ridgway

Added 24 January 2021


News continues below

WHARF TALK: Cape Town shipping remains active


The general cargo vessel Pijlgracht which arrived in Cape Town on Friday to take bunkers, before sailing for South America. Picture: courtesy Vesselfinder, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The general cargo vessel Pijlgracht which arrived in Cape Town on Friday to take bunkers, before sailing for South America. Picture: courtesy Vesselfinder

Report by John Hawkins
Cape Town

Shipping at the Port of Cape Town has been active this past week, although there doesn’t appear to be too much cargo moving in and out of the port, as most vessels spend about 36 hours at anchorage then in and out of port between 12 and 24 hours.

The port’s system of allocation is similar to that in use in Durban for some years – if you nominate an arrival date and arrive on time, your ship comes straight in, give or take a few hours. If you are early or late, you stay out till your time comes, no jumping the queue, and if late, you go to the back of the line.

On Sunday morning (24 January 2021) the port was left with three container ships berthed in the container basin, and one smaller vessel ,the CITY OF HONG KONG discharging at the container berth in Duncan Dock.

At anchor another four vessels, with the KOTA LANGSAR having arrived from Durban on 15 January 2021 at 12h15 whilst the latest the KOTA LAWA, arrived at anchor Sunday morning (24th) at 09h47.

Two vessels of interest, the PIJLGRACHT arrived with a cargo of pipes * on Friday 22 January 2021 from Tianjin at 08h00 and was berthed immediately at the bunkering berth, and sailing at 18h00 the same evening for Punta Arenas in Chile.

  • CORRECTION:  A reader Mr Brett Bachmann has correctly pointed out that Pijlgracht was not carrying any visible pipes as depicted in the above file picture but three new pusher tugs normally used on rivers to push barges.  This was our error, not that of correspondent Mr John Hawkins

On Sunday 24 January the gas tanker with the unusual name of SONANGOL ETOSHA arrived off the Atlantic seaboard from DAHEJ in India, received supplies and has now moved off the West Coast and at the moment is off Yzerfontein. She is scheduled to return to Cape Town on Monday 25 January just after 07h00.

Added 24 January 2021


News continues below

Biden must not let the Indian Ocean slip away like the South China Sea


Indian navy destroyer INS Kolkata, right, steams alongside U.S. destroyer USS Sterett during the annual Malabar exercises conducted in the Indian Ocean in November 2020: further deepening ties with India will be a major priority. (Handout photo from the U.S. Navy), featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Indian navy destroyer INS Kolkata, right, steams alongside U.S. destroyer USS Sterett during the annual Malabar exercises conducted in the Indian Ocean in November 2020: further deepening ties with India will be a major priority. (Picture: U.S. Navy released)

Report By Dryad Global
Authored by James Crabtree
Associate professor in practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore

Joe Biden’s list of inauguration pledges were long and largely domestic. But as he grapples over the coming months with his new administration’s many conflicting priorities in Asia, the United States President must focus attention on one lesser-heralded area: the pressing need for a new approach to the Indian Ocean.

Biden ought to be well aware of the risks of poorly formed maritime policies, given the many mistakes made over the South China Sea during his time as Vice President. Back in 2012, the Obama administration faced a tense standoff between China and the Philippines, as vessels from both nations massed around a disputed reef called Scarborough Shoal, not far off the Filipino coast.

U.S. officials, including Kurt Campbell, Biden’s recently appointed Asia czar, brokered what they thought was a resolution. Yet ultimately that deal did little to stop China pressing ahead with an island-building campaign that would change the region’s geopolitical balance, leaving the U.S. impotent in the face of Beijing’s determination.

The risk in the Indian Ocean is more subtle. A literal repeat of Chinese island construction is not likely. But China’s islands of influence are nonetheless growing across a region that stretches from Malaysia to Mozambique. Beijing now has a military base in Djibouti, as well as port projects with potential military uses in a host of other nations, from Myanmar to Pakistan. Expanded influence remains a priority for Beijing, hence its efforts befriending island nations from Sri Lanka and the Maldives to the tiny Comoros off the African east coast.

Those seeking to balance China’s sway should be well placed, at least in theory. India is the region’s dominant player, by dint of geography alone. The U.S. has long played a major role, even if the focus has often been dragged north by ties with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Japan, Australia and France are all important actors, and all sceptical about growing Chinese influence.

Yet there remains a risk of poor coordination, insufficient resources and distraction. Beijing offers up everything from military equipment to infrastructure and vaccines. When smaller Indian Ocean nations seek partners, for instance to balance their traditional relationship with India, China looks like a good bet.

Biden’s new Asia team recognises this. Campbell’s appointment as the National Security Council’s Indo-Pacific coordinator will reassure many in the region. He is a known quantity and has a deep background in South Asia. Yet U.S. policy is still likely to remain focused on China and its immediate neighborhood, in effect fighting the last war, not the next. The Indo portion of the Indo-Pacific could well become a sideshow.

Kurt Campbell, featured in report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Kurt Campbell’s (pictured) appointment as the National Security Council’s Indo-Pacific coordinator will reassure many in the region.

This is problematic as the Indian Ocean becomes an increasingly important focus for a new era of great power competition. It remains economically vital, acting as a conduit for roughly four-fifths of global seaborne trade. But it is strategically up for grabs too, with no dominant player and plenty of space in which rival regional powers can and will seek to increase their influence.

This is not to say that the U.S. lacks ideas, at least in terms of its military presence. Last November Trump’s outgoing Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite floated the idea of recreating the U.S. 1st Fleet, to be based either in or close to the Indian Ocean. At present the U.S. Navy operates seven fleets, including the 5th Fleet based in the Middle East. The 1st Fleet was originally retired in the 1970s.

The rollout of this notion did not augur well, however. Braithwaite hinted the new fleet could be based in Singapore, much to the surprise of Singapore itself, which issued a terse statement. In general, the plan did not seem to have been well-coordinated with U.S. partners in the region. It is now in limbo.

At base, the Indian Ocean is a test case for the kind of role Biden might seek in Asia. “The U.S. should encourage new military and intelligence partnerships between regional states, while still deepening those relationships in which the United States plays a major role,” as Kurt Campbell put it himself, in a co-authored Foreign Affairs essay, published just before his appointment. Rather than acting bilaterally, Biden should try to place “a ‘tyre’ on the familiar regional alliance system with a U.S. hub and allied spokes,” he argued.

This is the right idea, although fabricating and fitting that tyre remains a complex task, and one for which the U.S. has little practice. Washington’s economic influence across Asia is declining, meaning it must work more closely with other nations like Japan and India, and especially so in the Indian Ocean.

Its military power remains formidable, but even there keeping pace with China means both doing more itself and helping its partners do more too. Further deepening ties with India will be a major priority, for instance via direct military cooperation in areas like anti-submarine warfare.

Even so, learning this new role must remain critical if the U.S. is to maintain regional influence during the course of Biden’s first term. If it fails, the Indian Ocean — like the South China Sea before it — risks quickly drifting toward Beijing.

Source: James Crabtree is an associate professor in practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He is author of “The Billionaire Raj.” Nikkei Asia, via Dryad Global

Added 24 January 2021


News continues below



Rift Valley Railway (operated by Kenya Railways Corp) diesel-hauled passenger train at Nairobi. Further inland from Naivasha Kenya remains dependenton the metre gauge RVR trains, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Rift Valley Railway (operated by Kenya Railways Corp) diesel-hauled passenger train at Nairobi. Further inland from Naivasha Kenya remains dependenton the metre gauge RVR trains

In a significant boost to railway efficiency, Kenya Railways has re-introduced 518 refurbished railway wagons for the metre-gauge Rift Valley Railway (RVR) operation.

Approximately 330 standard gauge (SGR) wagons are being developed for containerised traffic.

Rift Valley Railways (RVR)will take on the responsibility of transferring cargo from the standard gauge railway terminus to the north of Nairobi, onto the narrow metre gauge RVR trains to take the cargo further to the Ugandan border at Malaba and to the Kenyan port city of Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Refurbishment of the metres gauge wagons became necessary once it was clear that financing of the SGR had come to an end with the Chinese Exim Bank with holding further loans.

Th 330 new SGR container wagons are nevertheless part of Kenya Railways’ expansion plans, aimed at improving efficiencies and increasing the container traffic along the SGR from the port of Mombasa.

The increase in wagon availability amounts to an additional five trains a day, thus boosting Kenya Railways’ ability to move containers to and from the Mombasa port.

Of the more than 500 metre-gauge wagons recently refurbished, 282 have been converted for containers while the balance will be used for conventional cargo. An additional 200 wagons are currently being prepared.

One of the Kenya Railways standard gauge freight trains, operated by Afristar, hauling a load of containers, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One of the Kenya Railways standard gauge freight trains, operated by Afristar, hauling a load of containers

Currently Afristar, the Chinese-led Africa Star Railway Operation Company operates an average of 11 trains a day, both ways, between the port at Mombasa and the Nairobi Inland Container Depot, The SGR however stretches further inland to the Naivasha Container depot further inland.

A metre gauge railway of the RVR carries the containerised and general cargo further to the Uganda border at Malaba, or to the port at Kisumu. From Kisumu cargo is carried across the lake to Ugandan and other destinations using lake ferries.

However, work remains underway to connect Naivasha with the metre gauge railway at Longonot to the south-east of Naivasha, and with refurbishing sections between Nakuru and Kisumu.

Uganda currently handles about 80 per cent of all transit cargo from Mombasa. South Sudan, DR Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda are responsible for the balance.

Meanwhile it was revealed that KR was on track to have handled slightly more than 400,000 TEUs for 2020. For the first quarter the railway handled 96,294 TEU, in Q2 it handled 100,284 TEU and Q3 the number was 115,760 TEU, showing a progressive increase quarter by quarter.

A total of 1.14 million TEUs has been handled by the SGR since the launch of freight services in January 2018.

Meanwhile, the Madaraka Express, the passenger service of the SGR operations, has transported over 4.86 million passengers since its launch in June 2017, with 1,311 days of safe operations. source: The Star (Kenya)

Added 24 January 2021


News continues below



MSC Grandiosa, set to return to service in the Mediterranean from today, Sunday 24 January 2021, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Grandiosa, set to return to cruising operations in the Mediterranean from today, Sunday 24 January 2021

Following a ministerial decree of the Italian government advising that cruises can return to operation under the protection of specific health and safety protocols, MSC Cruises has announced that its flagship, MSC GRANDIOSA, is returning to sea as from today (Sunday 24 January 2021).

The flagship will resume her planned weekly cruises leaving every Sunday from Genoa, Italy and calling at the other Italian ports of Civitavecchia (for Rome), Naples, Palermo as well as Valetta in Malta. Embarkation will be available from each port in Italy.

The resumption of cruising under strict protocols follows a path developed with and authorised by the Italian health, transport and safety authorities last summer. Since then and until a sudden suspension of cruising operations, MSC Cruises carried over 30,000 guests on board two of its ships based out of Italy.

These were suspended from November 2020 coinciding with the advent of Italy’s second wave of the Covid pandemic. This was after MSC Cruises became the first major cruise line to resume sailing following the global shutdown of the industry in March last year caused by the pandemic ashore.

MSC Grandiosa, the Company’s flagship, set sail on Sunday 16 August from Genoa in Italy with guests on board for the first of her 7-night voyages in the Western Mediterranean.

Details about MSC Grandiosa’s itinerary can be found by CLICKING HERE

For details on other available ships and itineraries, go HERE

The MSC Cruises protocol is based on nine key elements, many of which have been adopted by other cruise companies, the Cruise Lines Industry Association and international airlines and airports.

1. Testing of all guests at least twice per voyage
2. Testing of all crew at least three times before embarkation and weekly on board
3. Only protected shore excursions, as organised ‘social bubbles’
4. Ventilation with HVAC fresh air
5. Contingency response that does not burden local health infrastructures
6. Isolation space on board and tracking and tracing including close contacts
7. Masks
8. Physical distancing – aided by reduced capacity of the ship
9. And COVID-19 prevalence monitoring

MSC Orchestra, stationed at Durban awaiting resumption of local cruising

South African cruising

There is still no indication when cruising in South African waters will be permitted to resume. MSC Cruises’ ship MSC ORCHESTRA remains based at Durban awaiting the opportunity to resume cruising operations.

Added 24 January 2021


News continues below

RightShip and INTERCARGO: An important new quality standard for the dry bulk sector


DryBMS logo as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

To be governed by new NGO

RightShip and INTERCARGO announced on 21 January the launch of an important new quality standard for the dry bulk sector, DryBMS. The standard will be governed by a new NGO to be established later this year and will support the improvement of safety in the dry bulk segment.

Both RightShip and INTERCARGO have strongly and consistently advocated the need for significant improvements to dry bulk safety standards. In August 2020 both organisations combined their expertise to create a single framework for the whole industry.

Supported by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and BIMCO, DryBMS now exists as a simple set of best practices and key performance indicators and raises the bar on safety, environmental and operational excellence.

RightShip’s CEO Steen Lund says that he is confident that such a programme will be supported and adopted: “We are proud to launch DryBMS to the industry. The standard is a product of extensive collaboration with many stakeholders within the dry bulk sector.

“We believe that this ensures the program will be supported and adopted across the industry as a whole. The rapid delivery of the initial consultation document means that we are a step closer to providing consistent, meaningful safety expectations for the dry bulk industry.

“Handing the standard over to a new and independent NGO will ensure the standard is protected and governed with the industry’s best intentions at heart.”

Dimitrios Fafalios, Chairman of INTERCARGO agrees: “This is an important step, not only for the industry, but for the sector as a whole. We are all collaborating in a scheme that is being developed by the industry and for the industry, which will deliver a truly robust standard with the buy-in of those that the industry relies upon to implement and support it.”

RightShip and INTERCARGO are grateful to the joint secretaries, project managers, the industry experts, as well as the observers from ICS and BIMCO, for their great support leading up to this important milestone.

“We cannot achieve the best possible result without input from a broad range of maritime organisations. Each viewpoint helps us gain a comprehensive insight into the needs and wants of our industry,” added Fafalios.

“We would also like to recognise the leadership and contribution of David Peel, Martin Crawford-Brunt and everyone who played a role in this collaborative effort for the past two years,” said Lund.

DryBMS logo as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

David Loosley, Secretary General & CEO of BIMCO, commented: “Safety, of people, environment and assets is the primary focus of DryBMS, but the anticipated cascading effect is operational excellence which will benefit all stakeholders. We very much support this collaborative industry effort to develop a single standard and congratulate the efforts of RightShip and INTERCARGO in bringing this initiative to fruition.”

Guy Platten, Secretary General of International Chamber of Shipping, said the ICS was pleased to have worked closely with RightShip and INTERCARGO to bring this important new quality standard to the dry bulk sector.

“Shipping has, and always will, adhere to the highest possible standards and best practices. The introduction of DryBMS is yet another example of the industries continued efforts to raise the bar on safety, environmental impact and operational excellence.

Interested parties are invited to sign up for the DryBMS newsletter to receive regular updates regarding the development of the NGO and the finalised standard.

The final draft version of the standard is now available to download on the DryBMS website HERE and the team will continue to review feedback sent to

About RightShip

Established in 2001, RightShip is the world’s biggest third-party maritime due diligence organisation, providing expertise in global safety, sustainability and social responsibility practises. Founded with the mission to drive operational improvements in the global shipping industry, more than 3,000 people
use RightShip’s due diligence, environmental and inspections services to help them manage risk and improve overall maritime safety standards.


The International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO) represents the interests of quality dry bulk shipowners, with close to 2,400 registered ships out of more than 11,000 ships in the global dry bulk fleet, corresponding to over 25% of the global dry bulk fleet basis deadweight.

INTERCARGO convened for the first time in 1980 in London and has been participating with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since 1993. INTERCARGO provides the forum where dry bulk ship owners, managers and operators are informed about, discuss and share concerns on key topics and regulatory challenges, especially in relation to safety, the environment and operational excellence. The Association takes forward its Members’ positions to IMO, as well as to other shipping and international industry fora, having free and fair competition as a principle.

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway

Added 24 January 2021


News continues below


Second ship approached but pirates flee after fired fired on


Container ship Mozart which has been boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. Picture: Vesselfinder, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Container ship Mozart which has been boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.   Picture: Vesselfinder

The latest report by security experts Dryad Global indicates that the Liberian-flagged container ship MOZART (IMO 9337274) of 39,399-dwt has been approached and boarded by armed pirates.

The boarding took place on Saturday 23 January 2021 98 nautical miles north-west of Sao Tome as the vessel was sailing from Lagos to Cape Town, in position 01 04.13N 005 04.22E.

UPDATE Saturday 23 January 2021: 

Dryad Global reports in an update that the citadel was breached and 15 crew were taken with one crew member killed (nationality of crew member not confirmed).  Three crew members were left onboard the Mozart

Dryad Analysis

This incident is an exceptional incident for both its severity and distance from shore. This is the furthest offshore incident recorded in West Africa.

The 222-metre long vessel becomes the 5th offshore incident and the 2nd boarding in the Gulf of Guinea HRA in just over three weeks of this year.

According to reports the crew remains safe and has mustered in the vessel’s citadel but this situation is ongoing.

MSC container ship MSC Elsa 3 – shots fired at approaching pirates


MSC Elsa 3, a container ship that was approached by suspected pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. After a shot was fired in their direction, the pirate boat veered away and left the scene. The ship and crew remain safe. Picture: Fleetmon, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Elsa 3, a container ship that was approached by suspected pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. After a shot was fired in its direction, the pirate boat veered away and left the scene. The ship and crew remain safe. Picture: Fleetmon

In a second incident that took place at 12h00 on Friday 22 January, a pirate skiff approached the MSC ELSA 3 (IMO 9123221), a container ship owned and operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company.

The 22,994-dwt ship appears to be carrying armed guards and as the small boat approached a warning shot was fired in its direction, following which the would-be pirates turned away.

There was no harm done to any of the MSC Elsa 3’s crew who are all safe, as is the ship.

Based on the experience of the Somalia coast in the north-western Indian Ocean, where piracy was once rife with ships being captured and held to ransom along with their entire crew, the only method of bringing things under control came about after merchant shipping introduced armed guards on board while transiting through at risk regions.

In addition naval ships of the European Union and a US-led coalition along with other supporting forces from as far apart as China, Japan and Iran, helped to bring piracy under an effective control.

Unfortunately, in the Gulf of Guinea there is rampant corruption ashore in Nigeria and several other countries, with suspected vested interests involved in the actual piracy and ransoming of crew. This prevents a similar approach from being effective, or so it appears, unless international shipping interests can bring about sufficient pressure to make the necessary changes.

Added 23 January 2021


News continues below




Cyclone Eloise position on Saturday 23 January 2021. Image courtesy JTWC, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cyclone Eloise position on Saturday 23 January 2021.       Images courtesy JTWC

In our latest update the news is that Tropical Cyclone Eloise 12S has come ashore just to the south of the port city of Beira in central Mozambique and is tracking west-southwestward at 9 knots with the eye deteriorating as the storm system moves further inland.

As at 06h00 on Saturday 23 January Cyclone Eloise was at position near 20.4S 34.0E, with sustained winds of 75 knots gusting to 90 knots.

Cyclone Eloise 12S is expected to continue tracking west-southwestward and can be expected to weaken as it continues overland. Heavy falls of rain can be expected to continue accompanying the cyclone/storm.    source: JTWC

End of update – added 23 January 2021

Earlier Report below

Cyclone E;oise situation as at 22 January 2021. Imagery courtesy JTWC, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cyclone E;oise situation as at 22 January 2021 at 05h30. Imagery courtesy JTWC

According to a report by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), Tropical Cyclone Eloise (TC12S) was situated near position 18.0S 40.1E, located approximately 265 nautical miles north of Europa Island (Mozambique Channel) and tracking west-southwestward at 13 knots over the previous six hours. This was based on a report dated at 21h00 on Thursday, 21 January 2021.

Described as having a very broad core circulation but with flaring closer to the centre, there were indications that the system may have begun a consolidation and intensification, which is not good news for those on the mainland near the port of Beira.

JTWC indicated that the cyclone would make landfall near or just south of Beira, with a considerable amount of rainfall that can be expected.

Wave height was reported as 18 feet. Maximum sustained winds were reported as being 45 knots gusting to 55 knots.

At the current trajectory the cyclone is unlikely to affect KZN in South Africa other than perhaps from some rain in the north of the province. However, Limpopo as well as parts of Zimbabwe and Botswana may expect to be affected by the remnants of the storm system as it moves inland. However the situation can change at short notice.

However, the Port of Richards Bay Harbour Master’s office has issued the following statement as of this morning, 22 January 2021:

Port Information Update: Weather Predictions – Tropical Storm Eloise

As a result of the predicted strong winds gusting from Tropical Storm Eloise, the office of the
Harbour Master of the  Port of Richards Bay might take a decision to evacuate some of the vessels which are on berths more exposed to strong winds. “All ships are advised to keep a good
watch and put additional moorings to ensure safe mooring of their vessels.”

The port authority warns of strong winds gusting more than 45KT is expected from this
Sunday until Monday.  “Wind speed is expected to start moderating towards mid-night.
There may be excessive rain and heavy winds gusting between 166-213km/h”

Graphic showing expected path of Tropical Cyclone Eloise, dated 21 January 2021 @ 21h00

Added 22 January 2021




News continues below


in partnership with – APO


More News at

News continues below


Request a Rate Card from


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.

News continues below


QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section.

Naval News

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories here in the general news section.



“Life is not about having everything. It’s about finding meaning in everything.”

– Joel Randymar




For a Rate Card please contact us at

Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome. Email to


Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.
Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.P O BOX 809, CAPE TOWN, 8000, SOUTH AFRICA