Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 24 April 2021

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The Saturday masthead shows the Port of Durban MPT/RoRo Terminal (Point). 




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Maersk Sheerness by Trevor Jones and appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Our Front Page picture this week is the container ship MAERSK SHEERNESS (IMO 9299939),  owned and operated by Maersk Line through its Singapore office, where the ship is also registered.  With a container capacity of 7,500-TEU, Maersk Sheerness is 335 metres in length and 43m wide and has a deadweight of 102,861-tons. Launched in 2006 on a musical note as the Mendelssohn Star, the ship entered the Maersk fleet three months later with her current name on display.  The vessel’s manager is Zeaborn Ship Management of Hamburg, Germany.

Maersk Sheerness arrived in Durban from ports in South and South East Asia.  She was built at the IHI Marine United Inc shipyard in Kure, Japan as yard number 3201. The picture is by Trevor Jones


Photographs of shipping and other maritime scenes involving any of the ports of South Africa or from the rest of the African continent, together with a short description, name of ship/s, ports etc are invited.



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Future World: Hydrogen 101: the lowdown on maritime’s fuel of the future

A growing array of ocean industry stakeholders are throwing their hats in the hydrogen ring, identifying the potential of a fuel that, they believe, could help industry, and society, move successfully towards our shared climate goals. With a breakthrough global conference on the horizon – Nor-Shipping Hydrogen Blue Talks – Fuelling the Future – leading experts gather in a virtual roundtable talk to deliver insights, intelligence and the latest news on innovations. The topics discussed here lay the foundations for the new online and physical conference, taking place as part of the Ocean Now initiative at Nor-Shipping’s Nova Studios in Lillestrøm, Norway, on 2 June.


Why is hydrogen such an attractive fuel for the maritime industry?

Stein Kvalsund (hereafter SK), CEO Hub for Ocean/Ocean Hyway Cluster: While a battery might be an excellent ‘green’ solution for shorter distances, it has limitations when it comes to high tonnage and long-range operations. Many maritime applications require a great deal of energy, and that’s where hydrogen has enormous potential.

Kai Stoltz (KS), Business Development Manager, GCE Ocean Technology: I’ll borrow a quote from our partner SINTEF: “Hydrogen has the power to lift NASA space shuttles, but is so climate-friendly its only emission is water.”

In short, it is a key piece of maritime’s future energy puzzle, with real potential to help us meet the Paris Agreement and limit global warming.

Hege Økland (HØ), CEO, NCE Maritime Cleantech: Hydrogen can be produced from renewable energy, with tried and tested production technology, and is well suited as a zero-emission alternative for larger vessels that demand more energy. I believe liquid hydrogen can be a cost-competitive green fuel, when produced at volume, and offered through an efficient logistics chain with safe, robust bunkering operations.

What stage are we at in the development of vessel technology to utilise the fuel?

Ingebjørg Telnes Wilhelmsen (ITW), General Secretary, Norwegian Hydrogen Forum: Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (FCs) for maritime transport have been demonstrated in numerous pilot vessels over the last two decades. Recently, the power range of the fuel cell systems has increased from a few hundred KiloWatts (kW) to MegaWatts (MW), making these systems suitable for car ferries and smaller cruise ships.

Interestingly, Ballard Power Systems Europe is currently in the final steps of approval for their 200-kW maritime FC module, a suitable building block for MW-sized FC propulsion systems. Such innovations have the potential to really accelerate developments and adoption.

source:, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

What stage are we at in the development of the infrastructure needed to supply it?

SK: There are numerous developments in all parts of the chain to improve efficiencies, scale and reduce the price. Internationally, government hydrogen strategies will soon lead to an explosion in investment that will result in rapid improvements in hydrogen technology.

Bjørn Saltermark (BS), General Manager Maritime Forum South and Project manager GCE NODE: Governments have to work, both nationally and internationally, to come up with a concrete plan for an adequate infrastructure to serve the maritime industry. That is lacking so far. Similarly, IMO needs to exert pressure on member states to do the same. A failure of collective planning will lead to a failure to realise the huge potential of hydrogen.

HØ: Several initiatives are underway, however there is a real need for stronger and more explicit efforts, both from individual states and the wider international community.

What support does the maritime industry need to help facilitate the adoption of hydrogen?

Knut Linnerud (KL), CEO, H2 Cluster:  It’s safe to say that an enormous amount of money is needed. At the moment it’s a typical ‘chicken and egg’ situation. However, after several false starts I believe we’re now seeing positive moves by many authorities and leading companies, with large budgets set aside and financial incentives throughout the value chain, for example in the EU. This trend should enable private companies to dare to invest in long-term adoption. In this respect, I think the egg might be about to hatch.

KS: Public funding must be tailored to support the hydrogen roadmap. Moreover, governments must ensure that important social and political frameworks are developed in collaboration with technical, economic, legal and social science expertise. A commitment to hydrogen will create new jobs, value and major opportunities for businesses, but governments must also invest in more R&D within hydrogen security, ensuring that safety follows rapid development within this field.

ITW: Public procurement should be used as an accelerator. As an example, here in Norway public agencies procure goods and services for close to 58 billion Euros a year. The Norwegian government has strong ambitions to phase in low- and zero-emission technology in the transport sector in general, and in public maritime transport in particular. They have stated that they will contribute to the requirement for zero and low emissions in future tenders for ferries and high-speed passenger boats. Hydrogen development can benefit from this approach.

Key elements include: greater cooperation across private and public stakeholders – Public-Private partnerships (of which we have several in Europe) have shown to be viable platforms to provide for rapid technology development and the deployment of innovative solutions; Public funding for risk sharing could help facilitate early movers; support to scale up the supply of hydrogen and thereby reduce the cost; working together to identify best practice, both nationally and internationally.

And this is really just the tip of the iceberg!

How important is ammonia as an alternative and why?

HØ: Hydrogen and ammonia are not competitors, they are supplementary. For vessels with higher speed and shorter regular routes hydrogen fuel cells are the best option. However, for vessels with lower speed covering longer distances, such as deep-sea vessels, ammonia will be a better choice.

ITW: Ammonia has a significantly higher energy density than pure hydrogen. That means fuel storage of ammonia will take up less space than hydrogen on-board, and/or ammonia will provide for longer periods between refuelling. For medium and larger ships, ammonia will become an attractive zero emission fuel.

SK: Ammonia (NH3) is seen by many industry players as very promising. Production of NH3 has a long history in Norway, primarily for use in the fertiliser industry. That means there’s significant existing infrastructure and competence here to build a zero carbon NH3 value chain capable of powering the ships of the future.

How can hydrogen and ammonia work with existing fuels and technology to enable the green maritime transition?

ITW: Ammonia can be converted in internal combustion engines, so retrofitting existing vessels to utilise ammonia can enable significantly reduced emissions. Some larger maritime engine and propulsion system suppliers, like Wärtsilä, have now developed ammonia powered combustion engines.

What do you see as the major challenges on the horizon?

KL: The main challenge is that the ‘power economy’ is still overwhelmingly controlled by those with the largest reserves/ownership of fossil fuels. So, there are enormously influential forces associated with the oil and gas sector, now and into the foreseeable future. This impacts upon democracies through lobbying and propaganda, while dictatorships are unwilling to turn their backs on major sources of wealth. There is an iron grip upon energy that, somehow, needs to be broken.

BS: Put simply, establishing an infrastructure for fuelling the short-sea fleet ASAP, then doing the same for the deep-sea fleet in the future.

HØ: The transition is moving too slowly to reach the ambitious goals set for shipping. It is also a major challenge to ensure the availability of new fuels such as hydrogen, building the necessary value chains. And of course, this question of availability creates an understandable uncertainty for shipowners.

Image: Nor Shipping, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Image: Nor Shipping

From your personal perspective, why are you backing hydrogen as the fuel of the future?

KL: I think it is the best solution with the potential for large-scale adoption in connection with the development of renewable energy and power grids. Batteries, I think, will also have a role to play, but not nearly as crucial in the long-term as we look to solve the climate crisis.

KS: Hydrogen is central to achieving emission-free and sustainable energy systems. For Norway, and other nations, hydrogen can contribute to both increased competitiveness, safe jobs, value creation, and reaching climate goals.

What will be your key messages for the audience at Nor-Shipping Hydrogen Blue Talks – Fuelling the Future?

HØ: The transition is challenging and we need collaboration across multiple sectors and value chains – the shipping industry must work closely with the energy sector, amongst others. In short, we have to accelerate developments, so a collective effort is imperative.

KL: Be honest with yourself when trying to find short-term energy solutions. Which solution do you genuinely believe would be best for your grandchildren…and the planet’s future?

ITW: New, zero emission propulsion solutions are now being scaled up and introduced for maritime transport. This includes both the replacement of fossil fuels and the introduction of new energy conversion technologies like fuel cells. The maritime sector is taking an active role in the transition towards zero emission operations, and we all have a part to play.

BS: To meet our ambitious climate change goals we need action now. The train has left the station! This is the future!


Added 24 April 2021


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Piracy: Contship New boarded northwest of Sao Tome

Contship New, ex Taga Bay, which is reported to have been boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. Picture courtesy Fleetmon, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Contship New, ex Taga Bay, which is reported to have been boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. Picture courtesy Fleetmon

The container ship CONTSHIP NEW (IMO 9373905) while underway, has been attacked and boarded by pirates on Friday 23 April at between 09h00 and 10h30 UTC.

The 148-metre long, 23.5m wide vessel was en route from Port Owendo in Gabon bound for Lomé in Togo and was in position 01° 29N – 004° 38E, 130 nautical miles northwest of Sao Tome island when attacked.

According to Dryad Global the crew of the vessel sounded the alarm and assembled in the ship’s citadel where the position was last reported as ongoing.

This incident follows reports of two sightings of vessels suspected of involvement in piracy on Thursday, 21 April. One of these vessels was tracked into Nigerian TTW 9 n.miles east of the SEA EAGLE Terminal (a stationery FPSO).

Second ship attacked

Dryad on Saturday 24 April reported a second vessel coming under attack by pirates this time on Saturday at around 02h20 UTC, some 270 n.miles south of Lagos.

It appears from AIS analysis that this vessel may have had AIS switched off at the time of the attack.

Details of this later approach or attack by pirates are unclear but the ship is reported to be safe and under escort at present.

Dryad Global says this is the 4th incident in the past 5 months to occur just outside of the edge of the Nigerian EEZ, and advises all vessels to avoid the area and exercise maximum vigilance and report any suspicious activity to

Added 24 April 2021


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UMLOBI – I&J’s flagship and workhorse

I&J's freeze factory trawler and flagship Umlobi, home from the fishing grounds, is at a berth on the South Arm before moving across to the usual berth on the South Arm. The picture is by 'Dockrat' and featured here in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
I&J’s freezer factory trawler and flagship Umlobi, home from the fishing grounds, is at a berth on the Eastern Mole before moving across to the usual berth on the South Arm.       The picture is by ‘Dockrat’

by Jay Gates

The South African fishing industry is vibrant, well managed and with a large export market that provides much needed revenue into the South African economy. The part of the industry that produces the majority of the export catch of Cape Hake is the demersal, or bottom trawling, sector and it is from Cape Town that the majority of this deep-sea fishing industry is based.

One of the stalwarts of this industry began fishing in local waters way back in 1910 when George Irvin and Carl Johnson set up a fishing venture together in Cape Town, known to all South Africans today as I&J.

Today, I&J operate a fleet of twelve very modern deep sea trawlers from their base on the South Arm in the V&A Dock in Cape Town Harbour. The current flagship of the I&J fleet is the UMLOBI (IMO 9135729), a name which means ‘The Fisherman’ in the local isiXhosa language.

A very busy workhorse, the Umlobi spends anywhere from a fortnight to 5 weeks at sea on her fishing trips to the Cape Hake grounds. She arrived back in Cape Town on 18 April at 14h00 after a fishing trip of 33 days. Initially berthing at the Eastern Mole, Umlobi remained there for 16 hours before repositioning back to her normal berth on the South Arm.

Built in 1997 by the Vard Shipyard at Brattvag in Norway, Umlobi is 67 metres in length with a deadweight of 1,429 tons. She was part of a record investment programme by I&J when purchased from her previous Norwegian owners back in September 2015. She is powered by a single Caterpillar 3612TA engine providing 5,096 bhp (3,800 kW).

An exceptionally well equipped freezer factory trawler, with a crew of 64 persons, Umlobi is able to freeze up to 80 tons of fresh fish every 24 hours and has a frozen hold capacity of 750 tons, with a fishmeal hold capacity of 200 tons.

The cold Benguela current that runs up the west coast of Southern Africa is a dynamic system that provides a huge biomass of marine life, with two species of Cape Hake dominating in these waters, one a shallow water species and the other being a deep water species.

On the west coast, the continental shelf is narrow and most trawling is in deep water which results in catches are dominated by deep-water hake. In contrast, most trawling on the south coast is on the wide continental shelf of the Agulhas Bank, and shallow-water hake tends to dominate, accounting for as much as 70% of hake catches.

The total allowable catch of Cape Hake for the deep-sea trawl fishery is set by the fisheries scientists of the government Department of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries and was set at 122,431 tons in 2020.

Of this catch, a large percentage of 67% of the Cape Hake total is exported to 22 countries worldwide, with the largest markets being Spain, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom with I&J utilising wide-reaching distribution networks to service both the domestic and international markets. This lucrative export market makes a contribution of ZAR6.7 billion (EUR389 million) to the Western Cape economy, and the industry supports around 27,000 jobs.

The ability to be able to export the majority of the Cape Hake catch to the EU and the United Kingdom is solely due to I&J having been awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification in sustainable seafood initiatives for the Hake fishery back in 2004, the first South African company to have been so awarded, and this certification has been successfully renewed every 5 years, with the last MSC award being given in February 2021.

Sustainability is a point that I&J make very clear in their marketing, and without MSC certification you could not export seafood products to the EU and the UK markets, as having a blue MSC label on your product assures customers that what they are buying is from sustainable and well managed resources, which is of great importance to European sensibilities..

article by Jay Gates
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Added 22 April 2021


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Cyclone Jobo 29S heading for Dar es Salaam

Trajectory of Cyclone Jobo on 24 April 2021. Image: Meteo France, and fetured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Trajectory of Cyclone Jobo project on 22 April 2021. Image: Meteo France

A seasonally late cyclone named Jobo is currently over the northern reaches of the Mozambique Channel and on a heading that suggests it will make landfall over central Tanzania.

UPDATE 24 April 2021

At 14h00 Reunion time on Saturday the epi-centre of Cyclone Jobo was situated less than 50 kilometres from the Tanzanian coast which it is expected to cross within hours a short distance to the south of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. Both places will come under the effects of the storm.

Large parts of central and southern Tanzania can also expect heavy falls of rain, which will also fall across the far northern Mozambique region south of the Rovuma river in the Cabo Delgado province. This could include the harbour town of Palma and possibly Mocimboa da Praia.

Wind speeds of 45 km/h gusting to 65 km/h are expected. The minimal-strength tropical storm was moving at 8 knots towards the coast and will move inland while dissipating in strength, though heavy rain is likely with some flooding of low-lying areas.

Earlier Report 23 April 2021

At 12h00 on Thursday, 22 April, Jobo was in position 9.9S 45.1E, approximately 558 nautical miles north-northwest of Antananarivo in Madagascar after tracking westward at 6 knots over the previous six hours.

Maximum sustained winds of 45 knots were recorded, gusting to 55 knots

The cyclone has continued tracking westwards over the previous 12 hours under the steering influence of subtropical ridging to the south. Sea surface temperatures remain high (28-29C). The moderate storm is expected to continue west-northwestwards until it makes landfall in central Tanzania, close to or directly over Dar es Salaam on late Saturday evening/early Sunday morning local time (24-25 April), based on the anticipated course.

Although it will begin weakening after making landfall, significant rain may still be expected. Wave height at noon on 22 April was 17 feet (5.2 metres

Added 22 April 2021
Updated 24 April 2021


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Cabo Delgado: Recent seizures show drugs no longer pass through war zone

A motorised dhow intercepted in the Arabian Sea in March this year by HMS Montrose, acting as a unit of the CMF naval force at the time. A large quantity of drugs were found hidden on the stateless dhow, which may have otherwise found their way into South Africa as described in the report below. Picture courtesy of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A motorised dhow intercepted in the Arabian Sea in March this year by HMS Montrose, acting as a unit of the CMF naval force at the time. A large quantity of drugs were found hidden on the stateless dhow, which may have otherwise found their way into South Africa as described in the report below. Picture courtesy of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

The United States and others continue to link the insurgency and Islamic State to the drug trade. Instead, just the opposite has happened. The insurgency has pushed the drug trade out of Cabo Delgado and south to Nampula and even Zambezia.

This is not ideological, but logistic. Heroin and now crystal meth are made in Afghanistan, taken overland to the Makran coast, shipped by dhow to the Mozambique coast, then taken by road to Johannesburg, and put in containers to send to Europe. The drugs were previously dropped along the Cabo Delgado coast, but the insurgents have closed the roads there, so the drops have moved south.

A dhow can carry up to a tonne of secret cargo. Usually the dhows stop 30-40 km off the coast, and the drugs (and other illegal cargoes) are divided up into smaller quantities and taken ashore by fishing boats. The cargoes are just dropped on the beach at an assigned place.

The beaches around Nacala seem to have become an important drop zone. On 23 March police seized 365 kg of heroin and methamphetamine in rucksacks in a Ford truck on the beach. Police believe that the drugs came ashore in small boats, and when the traffickers realised the police were closing in, they abandoned the drugs and truck and escaped by sea.

On 23 January police sized 61 kg of heroin and 5 kg of methamphetamine being unloaded on a beach near Nacala. Five people escaped but the one who was captured said the drugs were to be taken by road to South Africa.

Further south, Angoche has become a drugs transit centre. But the seizure furthest south was in Quelimane. On 18 March police seized 440 kilos of heroin, 180 kilos of cannabis and 5.5 kilos of morphine in a house in Quelimane. A Tanzanian who had been renting the house was arrested. He claimed his business in Quelimane was to buy crabs which he sent to Tanzania for export to China.

This would correspond to drugs being brought ashore by crab boats, who might have sent their catch north of Tanzania, but it also suggests that the boats hide in mangrove areas known to the boatmen because they are where some kinds of crabs are caught.

Finally, there have been two seizures on the road from Nampula to South Africa. On 7 March police seized 95 kilos of heroin and methamphetamine in Murrupula, on the N1 main road southwest of Nampula city. The drugs were found under the floor of a trailer towed by a Toyota Hiace minibus. And on 19 April police stopped a car at the Ressano Garcia border with 19.5 kg of heroin and meth. They said they had been tipped off by an informant inside the drugs gang.

Tonnes of methamphetamine are reaching South Africa, according to two new reports from Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC). Methamphetamine (meth, tik) had become the most popular drug in parts of South Africa by 2005.

In 2019 there was suddenly a new and preferred meth, known as “Pakistani meth” which comes from Afghanistan via Mozambique. This new meth is clearly different in texture, purity and synthesis base. The Nigerian product, know as “Mexican meth”, Is made from chemical precursors. The Afghani product is derived from the ephedra plant, which grows widely in Afghanistan. (Does this make it organic?)

Meth is imported with heroin, but the meth stays in South Africa, while most of the heroin goes on to Europe. So far no meth says in Mozambique where it appears to not have a market.

This report is reproduced with permission from the Joseph Hanlon Mozambique newsletter and serves to confirm our own frequent comment when reporting on the interception of drugs by naval forces of the Combined Maritme Forces (CMF) operating in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Refer also to A Synthetic Age

and….    Civil Society Observatory of Illicit Economies in Eastern and Southern Africa

Added 22 April 2021


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Hapag-Lloyd & NileDutch deploy additional vessel for Africa South America service

NileDutch's container ship Polonia (IMO 9219379) in Cape Town harbour on 5 March 2019. The ship has a deadweight of 41,850 tons, is 220-metre in length and has a width of 32m and a container capacity of 100 TEU. Picture is by Gordon Dalzell, courtesy Shipspotting, which is featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime ews
NileDutch’s container ship Polonia (IMO 9219379) in Cape Town harbour on 5 March 2019. The ship has a deadweight of 41,850 tons, is 220-metre in length and has a width of 32m and a container capacity of 100 TEU. Picture is by Gordon Dalzell, courtesy Shipspotting

NileDutch and Hapag-Lloyd aim to continue their cooperation with the shipping service between South and West Africa and the east coast of South America and are adding a third ship to provide the bi-weekly frequency as from 28 June 2021.

Currently the two lines provide a call every three weeks.

The standard rotation is as follows:

Paranagua – Itajai – Santos – Durban – Luanda

According to NileDutch, Luanda will be used as transshipment hub to other destinations in West Africa, including Lobito, Namibe, Cabinda, Pointe Noire, Matadi, Libreville, Sao Tome and Kribi.

NileDutch will operate 2 vessels: POLONIA and LODUR (3,100 TEU, geared), and Hapag Lloyd will include the NORTHERN DEMOCRAT (3,500 TEU, gearless).

NileDutch first operated a liner service between South America and West Africa 20 years ago.

NileDutch cargo from Cape Town to West Africa will be shipped through its FA1/FEWA service;

Hapag-Lloyd cargo to or from Cape Town will be connected in Durban using the line’s existing mainliner network, such as MIAX, SA2 or SAX.

Added 22 April 2021


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CRUISING: MSC to cruise 2 ships in Saudi waters during 2021/2022 season

MSC Cruises to deploy MSC Magnifica and MSC Virtuosa to region

Cruise Saudi and MSC Cruises announced today (Thursday 22 April) the launch of Red Sea cruises in the coming northern winter season 2021/2022.

The agreement, signed by Fawaz Farooqui, Managing Director of Cruise Saudi, and Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, will result in MSC Magnifica homeporting in Jeddah, the commercial hub and one of the largest cities of Saudi Arabia, as well as the second-largest port in the Middle East with a historical centre that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises chairman, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises chairman

Operating seven-day Red Sea cruises from November 2021 to March 2022, the vessel will visit a selection of ports and destinations in the region and three Saudi ports including weekly calls to the port of AlWajh, the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of AlUla.

In addition to MSC Magnifica’s Red Sea sailings, MSC Cruises’ flagship MSC Virtuosa will see her (northern) winter 2021 programme in the Arabian Gulf, enriched with calls in the port of Dammam, visiting AlAhsa oasis, another UNESCO World Heritage site.

MSC Virtuosa will call at this new destination every week from December 2021 to March 2022.

“We are delighted to work with MSC Cruises and are keen to forge a long-term partnership,” said Farooqui. “We look forward to exploring opportunities to increase the number and size of vessels operating on Saudi routes in the future.”

He said Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer visitors, and the new collaboration will open doors for intrepid travellers from across the globe to be amongst the first to experience the rich Saudi heritage and warm, hospitality. “Meanwhile, through welcoming international tourists to these emerging destinations, it will create new sources of income for local communities,” Farooqui added.

For his part, Vago said that having witnessed at first-hand the richness of the local heritage, he was impressed with Saudi Arabia’s ability to preserve its traditions and culture and make them available for the world to see.

“I am delighted that MSC Cruises will be in a position to contribute to the Kingdom’s opening to international visitors through becoming a premier cruise destination and I look forward to helping tourists from all over the world as well as from the Kingdom discover the incredible wonders that this country has to offer, including the untouched beauty of its coast line and historical sites,” Vago said.

It is expected that up to 170,000 guests will explore Saudi Arabia’s historical, cultural and natural treasures on board the two MSC Cruises ships during the season. Saudi residents will be presented with the opportunity to spend their holidays in their home country while discovering its wonders from the comfort of a cruise ship.

Passengers from elsewhere will be able to reach Jeddah via direct flight connections from the most important European and international cities serviced by Saudia, the Kingdom’s flag carrier. Flights will have their schedules modified to fit the two ships’ departure and arrival times to ensure smoother connections throughout.

Mediterranean, Northern Europe & UK

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises CEO, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises CEO

Earlier, MSC Cruises announced new and updated itineraries in the Mediterranean and across Europe for this coming northern summer, offering passengers a variety of cruise options. The ships offering these now fully confirmed itineraries will operate under the same MSC health and safety protocol that has enabled over 60,000 passengers to cruise in safety on the line’s ships in the Mediterranean since August 2020.

“We will be featuring some of our most innovative and more modern vessels in our fleet,” said MSC Cruises CEO, Gianni Onorato.

“And to make it even easier and safer for our guests to reach our ships from closer to their homes, all our itineraries will feature additional ports of embarkation. In the Mediterranean alone, MSC Cruises will offer its guests up to 15 ports of embarkation.”

Three ships, MSC Grandiosa, MSC Seashore, and MSC Seaside will cruise in the West Mediterranean, calling at Italy and Malta.

Another three ships will cruise in the East Mediterranean – MSC Orchestra, MSC Splendida, and MSC Magnifica calling in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro.

In Northern Europe waters including the Norwegian fjords, the Baltic, and UK waters, MSC Seaview will homeport in Kiel, Germany, MSC Preziosa and MSC Musica will operate from Hamburg and Warnemunde respectively, while MSC Virtuosa will sail in UK waters.

Added 22 April 2021


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IN CONVERSATION: The toll and toil it took to cleave the Suez Canal through the Egyptian desert

Lucia Carminati, Texas Tech University

For a little over a week the world’s attention zeroed in on the Suez Canal, an artificial channel connecting the Mediterranean and the Red seas across Egyptian territory. The canal offers the shortest sea route between Europe and Asia, funnelling around 10% of global trade. And so it made the headlines when a massive container ship, “Ever Given”, became wedged diagonally across the canal, creating a huge, expensive backlog of other vessels.

I am a social and cultural historian who has studied the region and the people who live there. While the economic benefits of the canal are readily apparent, its history of technical mishaps and failed ambitions is mostly buried.

The idea for a canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea was a long time in the making. The ancients must have talked about it. And Napoleon Bonaparte, who invaded Egypt in 1798, dreamed about it. Eventually, it was a French diplomat, Ferdinand de Lesseps, that vehemently promoted the scheme and was given permission to start working on it in 1854.

In 1858 La Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez (Universal Company of the Maritime Suez Canal) was formed – under the auspices of the Egyptian government – with the authority to cut a canal.

Prior to the mid-19th century, the Isthmus of Suez – the 125km strip of land that lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea – was a quiet spot. It was a hard and pebbly undulating plain intersected by ranges of hills. It was traversed by nomadic Bedouins and peripherally settled by a few fishermen.

In April 1859, works under the company began cleaving the isthmus in a north-south direction. In the following decades, this desert-like region experienced a dramatic transformation as a string of construction sites popped up. People poured in, bringing with them earth-moving equipment and livestock.

Work begins

Work on the canal kicked off in 1859. Components of locomotives, barges and dredgers, among other equipment, began streaming in from Europe. Most went to the northernmost canal worksite at Port Said, where they were assembled.

The excavation of the channel proceeded southwards. As the digging took strides, supplies were transported farther, using land and water, into the isthmus.

Along the new waterway, where scarcely a blade of grass was previously found, vegetation began to spring up.

From about 1861, there was also an influx of working animals including donkeys, horses and camels. The company vied tirelessly for control over settlements that cropped up and over their workers.

The company had a system of forced labour and started to conscript thousands of Egyptian workers in 1862. The workers, theoretically paid and fed by the Egyptian government, came from both the north and south of Egypt. They toiled alongside “free” workers, including Arabs and Europeans.

The forced labour of Egyptians formally ended in 1864 when a new ruler – Isma’il Pasha – took over and eliminated the practice on the Canal worksites. This act stalled the project and forced the company to introduce more machinery and lure more foreign workers through enlistment campaigns.

Canal labourers came from all over the Mediterranean basin, North Africa and the rest of the Ottoman Empire. Some came from as far away as the British Isles. These labourers worked in the company’s payrolls, offered services to workers, and lived off expedients such as thieving, contraband and prostitution.

The cities that would outlive the comings and goings of this particularly transient population were Port Said (founded in 1859 on the northern Mediterranean shore), Ismailia (originating in a worksite in the middle of the isthmus that dated back to at least 1860), and Port Tewfiq (founded in 1867) facing the centuries-old Red Sea harbour town of Suez.

These cities still derive some of their economy from the canal. For instance, to this day, 9,000 workers toil in ship repairs and other maritime services for the seven subsidiary companies of the Suez Canal Authority in Suez, Ismailia and Port Said. But today there is a lot more to the local economy than the canal.

A rocky start

During the canal’s early days, life in these cities had its challenges. This was partly because of uneven infrastructural development. For instance, homes and sewers in the “Arab” quarters of Port Said and Ismailia were vulnerable to natural calamities, more so than those in “European” areas.

The canal, as a whole, was a haphazard project right until the end. My research in scattered archives found that just 10 days before the canal’s official inauguration date – on November 16, 1869 – 14 dredgers were still operating. They were meant to prepare the passage for festive vessels to pass through the first section near Port Said. But rocks were still being found along the waterbed and explosives were placed to set them off. Strong transverse winds, curves, sands and opposing currents also raised concerns for the ships trying to make it through.

The potential for disaster continued long after the canal’s launch. Indeed, in the late 1880s, Port Said was still devoid of warehouses for oil or other inflammable materials. Merchants in oil had to leave their full crates on the eastern side of the canal, exposed to the weather and possible accidents.

What the canal brought in its wake

The canal changed global trade in dramatic ways. It brings US$5 billion to Egyptian coffers each year, although it is unclear who exactly benefits from that boon.

It had geopolitical implications beyond the movement of goods. The canal cities experienced bombing and siege when British, French and Israeli forces attacked the canal in 1956, after Gamal Abdel Nasser proclaimed its nationalisation.

The canal also precipitated seismic shifts in the composition of sea life.

The opposite streams – one from the Mediterranean and the other from the Red Sea – merged some time in 1866. This allowed for the migration of different marine species along the waterway and the movement of numerous invading species – from water molluscs to cholera bacteria. This resulted in a pattern of invasions with long-term and large-scale damage to ecosystems.

For instance, Red Sea species – including fishes, crabs and prawns – successfully made their way up north. The pearl-oyster, previously unknown in the Mediterranean, became abundant on the northern coast of Egypt and reached as far as Tunisia’s coasts.

The Suez Canal’s history has been forged over a century by multiple entities and people. Despite its huge influence on the global scene today, its past has been marked by colossal stumbling blocks and wild dreams which, since its inception, re-directed the course of its story.The Conversation

Lucia Carminati, Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University

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

Added 22 April 2021


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ITF confirms Ever Given crew welfare:
Egypt cannot hold Suez seafarers hostage


ITF image, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Conjoint pictures here kindly provided by ITF ©

On 18 April representatives of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF CLICK HERE ) boarded the container ship Ever Given to check on the health and welfare of the crew. The cargo vessel is currently anchored in Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal as Egyptian authorities and the vessel’s insurer argue over damages claims.

Crew in good spirits

ITF Arab World and Iran Network Coordinator Mohamed Arrachedi worked closely to have two ITF contacts in Egypt to board the vessel and perform welfare checks on the crew under his direction.

“We are pleased to inform the world that the crew of the Ever Given is in good spirits, and doing well, Arrachedi said. “The crew were pleased to see ITF Egyptian union officials, who greeted them and expressed the solidarity of the global seafaring family.”

“The crew are understandably sensitive at this moment, as they wait to see what will happen with arguments between authorities and other parties. They are eager to sail, or know that they will be able to go home and see their families if the ship cannot leave Egypt soon. They are relieved to know the ITF is on their side.”

Arrachedi said that no seafarer wages or contract violations were found by the ITF representatives, and all crew had received their wages for March. He said the crew had sufficient food provisions. The ITF delivered devices for the crew to connect to the internet.

He added: “We have been in contact with the crew and there were no welfare issues raised for the time being. We continue to monitor the situation and the crew know we are available to support where needed.”

Egypt must let seafarers go – NUSI

The seafarers are represented by the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), which has been advocating for them with employers and Egyptian authorities.

NUSI General Secretary Abdulgani Y Serang called on Egyptian authorities to allow the release of the crew as per their normal contract conclusions and to not keep crew onboard.

It has been unclear if the Indian crew will be allowed to leave via Egypt, as arguments continue between the ship’s insurer and the Suez Canal Authority. The authority is claiming USD $916 million in damages from the UK P&I Club, which insured Ever Given.

He commented: “We urge Egyptian authorities to make clear that all of the Ever Given twenty-five crew members will be allowed to leave at the normal conclusion of their contracts. We cannot have a situation where the crew are effectively being held hostage as financial negotiations that do not concern the seafarers continue between parties.”

Mr Serang said the union was prepared to fight any accusations that seafarers were to blame for the events leading to the Ever Given’s blockage of the canal. He believed that investigations would clear the seafarers’ professionalism.

Crew must be treated fairly

ITF Seafarers’ Section Chair David Heindel said the past year had been tough for seafarers and continues into this year.

He reflected: “First the pandemic and then the crew change crisis turned seafarers’ lives upside-down, especially when governments brought in blanket travel and border restrictions. Some seafarers have been trapped working on the same ships for more than a year beyond their initial contracts.

“We should remember that it was seafarers who kept the world running through the worst of the health and economic crises we faced from Covid. Many of those seafarers would rightly feel pretty angry if, after all their sacrifice, their profession is unfairly associated with an event clearly beyond their control.

“It’s time to treat seafarers as key workers with the respect they deserve – and we can start by getting each and every crew member from the Ever Given home to their families at the conclusion of their respective contracts.

“Sadly, getting home on time is a contractual right and human right that another 200,000 seafarers are still being regularly denied because of governments’ lack of understanding of maritime industries, and the need to have fresh crews onboard. We can’t inflict that punishment on a further twenty-five seafarers.”

In March, ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton confirmed on behalf of the ITF that the: “crew of the Panamanian-flagged Ever Given were not yet over-contract, and all were onboard for less than six months.”

Edited by Paul Ridgway London Correspondent of Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Added 21 April 2021


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Imperial sells its South American shipping arm

Imperial Logistics sells its South American business, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Imperial Logistics sells its South American business to focus on Africa

Imperial, an African focused provider of integrated market access and logistics solutions, and ranked among the top 30 logistics providers worldwide, says it has entered into an agreement for the sale of its South American shipping business to Hidrovias do Brasil S.A., an independent integrated logistics provider focused on waterways logistics services in Latin America. The closing date of the transaction was 16 April 2021.

The agreed maximum enterprise value for the interest in the South American Operations is US$90 million (approximately R1.305 billion) which equates to a multiple of 9.6X FY2020 reported EBITDA. The enterprise value includes an earn-out component of up to $5.0 million (approximately R73 million), which is payable dependent on water levels over the 4-year period commencing on 1 January 2021.

An Imperial warehouse featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“Imperial’s strategic intent to become a ‘One Imperial’ business and serve as the ‘Gateway to Africa’ to our clients, principals, and customers,” Imperial said in a statement.

“We are transforming from a portfolio of regional businesses to an integrated end-to-end logistics and market access business that is focused on Africa, leveraging our scale, competitive advantages and capabilities in the healthcare, consumer, chemicals, automotive, and industrial and commodities industries.

“As such, we thoroughly assessed the strategic fit of our Logistics International business and decided to exit this business in a phased approach as it is non-core. The South American shipping business forms part of this process and follows the disposal of the European shipping business, which was concluded on 31 July 2020.”

Imperial banner on display in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime newsAccording to Imperial the remaining freight management and contract logistics operations within the International Logistics business remain for sale and it was in the process of disposing of these. This was announced at the group’s F2021 interim results on 23 February 2021.

“Hidrovias do Brasil S.A. is well positioned to operate the business sustainably based on long-standing customer relationships and a highly skilled, experienced and motivated work force,” says Mohammed Akoojee, Imperial’s Group Chief Executive Officer. “We believe that this is the most suitable home for the South American shipping business and its people.”

The proceeds from the transaction will be used to optimise the financial position of Imperial, reducing its overall existing debt in the short-term and will be invested in new growth areas in line with the Group’s strategy in due course.

Watch a short video clip about Imperial Logistics HERE

Added 21 April 2021


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Cabo Delgado: Is Mozambique Safe?

In this latest blog, Dryad Global analysts Shannon McSkimming and Casper Goldman assess the future trajectory of the Cabo Delgado conflict in the commercial maritime domain and the challenges it may pose to trade within the region.

What are the implications of the conflict in Cabo Delgado for maritime security in East Africa and the Mozambique Channel?

Following the recent attacks on the coastal town of Palma in the last few weeks by Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamamah (ASWJ) insurgents in Mozambique’s troubled Cabo Delgado region, it is pertinent to assess the future trajectory of the conflict in the commercial maritime domain and the challenges it may pose to trade within the region.

During the battle for Mocimboa da Praia, insurgents used speed boats, sunk a Mozambican HSI 32 fast patrol boat with an RPG and took control of a vital port for the servicing of offshore energy projects. On 24 March 2021, a day after Total announced the resumption of construction for its ‘Mozambique LNG’ project, insurgents attacked and took control of the Town of Palma.

This resulted in the destruction of approximately two thirds of the town, the death of dozens of civilians and Mozambique security forces, and at least 7 expatriates. With a demonstrated maritime capability and intent on the part of insurgents, combined with the limited capability of the Mozambican navy, the conflict in Cabo Delgado has the potential to evolve to include a significant offshore risk element.

The conflict presents parallels to other insurgencies in the region and their maritime evolution can inform our understanding of the potential offshore trajectory of the conflict.

Who are Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamamah?

ASWJ have been active in Cabo Delgado since October 2017 following their attacks on Mocimboa da Praia. Differing from a traditional insurgency, ASWJ are largely motivated by/comprised of disenfranchised locals due to contestation of land ownership, community displacement around the LNG project development, and impacts from illegal activities both onshore and offshore particularly involving illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

Since mid-2019, ASWJ’s capability and intent to conduct more complex attacks is increasingly presenting significant long-term questions for commercial operators within Cabo Delgado. A key incident in the timeline of their expansion was the attack and subsequent capturing of the town and port of Mocimboa da Praia in August 2020, which they have held since. The US Department of State designated ASWJ a terrorist group in March 2021.

Flag of Ahlu Sunnah Waljamaca, displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news. Image: Dryad Global
Flag of Ahlu Sunnah Waljamaca

Security Response

The attack on Palma by ASWJ, which forced security forces to withdraw due to their use of heavy weaponry, is symptomatic of the wanting security response from the Mozambican government, which has sought support in the private sector.

After the Russian Wagner Group withdrew from Cabo Delgado following losses of life, the Mozambique National Police hired the South African Dyck Advisory Group (DAG). DAG trains local security forces and provides helicopter air support – which subsequently proved crucial in the evacuation of Palma.

It is understood that the Mozambican Ministry of Defence also entered a competing contract with Paramount Group which will supply at least 12 armoured vehicles, 4 helicopters, and training to Mozambican soldiers through its partner company, Burnham Global.

Reports indicate that DAGs helicopter support came to an end on 6 April, when Paramount Groups helicopters with trained Mozambican pilots were deployed instead.

Another notable security initiative is the Cabo Delgado joint Taskforce which is a cooperation between the Mozambican Ministry of Defence and Interior and French oil giant Total, aimed at securing their $20 billion LNG facilities at the Afungi peninsula southeast to Palma. Though this deal successfully securitises energy resources, it has been criticised as failing to consider the security of the local community, further exacerbating grievances.

The international community has also raised concerns over the situation in Cabo Delgado and several countries are providing modest support. Despite the involvement of these private security companies and security initiatives, ASWJ has continued to both hold and gain territory as well as cause significant loss of life, as seen in the most recent incident in Palma.

Maritime risk and parallels with other conflicts

The conflict in Mozambique is currently predominately onshore. Similarities can be drawn with elements of issues seen in Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen. In Nigeria, the attack methods used by ASWJ are similar to Boko Haram, as is their demonstrated ability to control territory. The Nigerian Federal Government and defence force has been forced to utilise large numbers of personnel and funding in an effort to counter Boko Haram, resulting in a lack of resources, focus and funding for issues offshore.

Mozambique has already committed significant resources to combatting ASWJ with limited success, there is a danger of similar sea-blindness occurring in Mozambique. As is being seen in Cabo Delgado, communities in Somalia have been affected by issues around land rights, unemployment, poverty, and illegal activities onshore and offshore that impact their livelihoods, including illegal, underreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and oil spills.

The ‘Reformed Niger Delta Avengers’ in Nigeria, faced similar struggles to Mozambique in relation to impacted livelihood as a result of oil and gas operations offshore. In this case, the group resorted to attacks against oil facilities in the region, in attempt to force the federal government and foreign oil companies to listen to their concerns and demands for inclusive economic growth of the region.

As a result, it remains a realistic possibility that as the insurgency develops large state backed flagship projects are likely to become the focus of ASWJ attacks. While traditional insurgency typically remains onshore, the specific infrastructure of LNG projects in the Cabo Delgado region is located offshore, similar to the Niger Delta.

A final potential path for the insurgency in Mozambique could mirror the nature of the threat presented by the Houthi Rebels in Yemen, whose attacks are specifically targeted against other actors connected to the conflict, such as LNG associated assets and foreign mercenaries. These elements of other conflicts display parallels to root causes and dynamics seen in Mozambique that should be considered when assessing the potential future trajectory of the conflict.

The extent to which the ASWJ insurgency gains more traction onshore is likely to inform their offshore capabilities, which could severely destabilise the maritime domain and raises serious concerns about the potential of Cabo Delgado becoming the next global hotspot of piracy.

As a result of the conflicts inherent relation to grievances regarding LNG yields, assets related to these projects are at imminent risk of being targeted. Assets at risk include offshore gas fields and installations as well as LNG tankers, offshore supply vessels (OSVs) and drilling vessels.

In the medium-term, ASWJ could adopt a similar approach to Houthi Rebels and target assets that are related to countries involved in the conflict, such as Portugal, the United States, and South Africa.

In the longer-term, ASWJ’s enhanced offshore capabilities could result in an emergence of piracy in the Mozambique channel, which is generally indiscriminate in nature, to fund their struggle. Another possibility is that piracy could emerge from the local community as a result of economic disparity and human insecurity.

The uncertainty in Cabo Delgado has already reached a threshold prompting foreign investors to reconsider their LNG projects and recalibrate to solely offshore facilities. This would limit the trickledown effect of economic benefit to the local community, further exacerbating insecurity and instability.

This report by Dryad Global is reproduced here by permission. See the original HERE

Added 21 April 2021


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WHARF TALK: Alora, a bulker with a South African connection

The Safbulk bulk carrier Alora alongside her berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat' and featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Safbulk bulk carrier Alora alongside her berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

by Jay Gates, pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Once a name well known in South African marine circles, the name of Safbulk denoted ships of the Safmarine fleet operating in the bulk trades. The Safbulk link with Greece and the shipping magnates of the Restis family is not so well known.

On 13 April at 16h00, the Supramax bulk carrier ALORA (IMO 9729025) arrived from the port of San Lorenzo in Argentina with a cargo of 15,500 tons of Soya beans, and began her discharge at C berth in the Duncan Dock.

A nice view of trucks with their trailers lining up to carry away Alora's cargo of grain. This is a scene that is repeated at most of the other harbours around the country and world. Picture: 'Dockrat' as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A nice view of trucks with their trailers lining up to carry away Alora’s cargo of soya beans. This is a scene that is repeated at most of the other harbours around the country and world. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

Owned by Marship Ventures Corporation, which is a subsidiary of Safbulk Maritime SA of Athens, Alora is operated by Safbulk Maritime SA and managed by Enterprises Shipping and Trading SA of Athens, all of whom are a part of the vast Restis Group, hence the ‘R’ on the funnel of Alora.

The bulbous bow of the Alora is prominent in this scene while furtehr along the bulker a grab is coming over the side to discharge grain into the hopper that will direct he grain into the truck or trailer beneath. Picture: 'Dockrat', appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The bulbous bow of the Alora is prominent in this scene while further along the ship a grab is being lifted over the side to discharge the beans into the hopper that will direct them into the truck or trailer positioned beneath. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

Whilst still maintaining a commercial and chartering office in Cape Town, Safbulk is now controlled by Victor Restis from Athens. The Restis family are major shipowners on the Greek shipping scene and a Restis-controlled company successfully bought out the bulk-shipping interests of Safmarine in April 1999.

As the grain is discharged into the hopper and the waiting truck, tarpaulins hung over the side prevent any accidental spillage from entering the waters of the harbour. Picture: 'Dockrat', appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
As the beans are  discharged into the hopper and the waiting truck, tarpaulins hung over the side prevent any accidental spillage from entering the waters of the harbour. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2017 at the Zhejiang Shipyard of Ningbo in China, Alora is 200 metres in length and has a deadweight of 63,008 tons, making her one of the larger of the Supramax class of bulk carriers. She is powered by a single MAN 7G50ME-9.3-TII main engine producing 12,040 bhp (8,978 kW).

A view of the trucks lining up for their turn at loading grain being imported into Cape Town. Picture: 'Dockrat' as appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A view of the trucks lining up for their turn at loading beans being imported into Cape Town. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

One of the descriptive backgrounds to the name Alora states that it means ‘My Dream’ and is of African origin, which sits well with her Safbulk heritage.

Report by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Our final scene shows one of the challenges facing the handling of grains and similar granular powder, dust resulting from the discharge process. Picture: 'Dockrat' , featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Our final scene shows one of the challenges facing the handling of beans, grains and similar granular or powdered products – inevitable dust resulting from the discharging process. When this is complete, dock workers will sweep up any residue. Picture: ‘Dockrat’
Added 21 April 2021


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Future World: Knud E Hansen design for medium-size LNG gas bunkering tankers

Knud E Hansen LNG bunker tanker design, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Knud E Hansen LNG bunker tanker design

Danish ship design specialist KNUD E HANSEN has unveiled details of the X-gas Project, a series of innovative and unconventional, medium-capacity Liquified Gas / Gas bunkering tankers. The flagship design of the project is a 126.5 metre vessel with a total cargo capacity of 9,000 cubic metres, split between two Type C tanks.

The platform, however, is highly customisable and can be tailored to accommodate a range of tank capacities, as well as various containment systems including membrane tanks.

The most unique feature of the X-gas platform is a low-profile, forward deck house. This enables the vessel to safely approach and pull alongside cruise ships with low-hanging lifeboats. This also minimises the need for ballast during cargo transfer, thereby lowering operational costs.

Lastly, the forward deck house allows for larger cargo tanks without impeding bridge visibility.

For improved maneuvering and safety, the design features two propulsion thrusters aft and two bow thrusters, as well as an autodocking system for alongside mooring.

The design features a novel and extremely fuel-efficient diesel electric power and propulsion plant consisting of one of the most fuel efficient dual-fuel 4-stroke engines available. Integrated with the propulsion plant is an Energy Storage System (ESS) with a lithium-ion battery bank that allows for engine load optimization with reduced methane slip.

LNG bunker tanker designed by Knud E Hansen, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
designed by Knud E Hansen

The batteries also provide all of the power required during cargo transfer, resulting in no emissions or exhaust in way of the ship being bunkered, an especially important feature for passenger vessels.

Boil-off gas from the cargo tanks is captured and consumed in the dual-fuel engines and the energy surplus generated can be stored in the batteries. Waste heat from the engine cooling water is converted to electric and thermal power through a number of ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) waste heat units. As a novel approach, wasted energy captured during operation can be stored in accumulators and released as required to drive absorption chiller and reduce the electrical load onboard. This approach boosts energy efficiency to a very high level.

Another unique feature of the design is an aft ‘energy bay’ that allows the vessel to provide containers loaded with fuel or stored electrical power to a receiving vessel. It also allows the vessel to provide fully charged battery banks to remote locations ashore, where current infrastructure does not allow sufficient power to be provided.

Side-on view of the LNG bunker tanker vessel design by the firm of Knud E Hansen, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Three-quarter stern view of the LNG bunker tanker vessel design by the firm of Knud E Hansen

Vessel particulars

Length (overall) 126.5 metres
Breadth (moulded) 20.5
Design Draught 5.25
Service Speed 13 knots
Ice Class 1A
Deadweight 4,775 tonnes
LNG Capacity 9,000 cubic
Crew Capacity up to 16

Knud E Hansen drawing of the LNG bunker tanker design, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Knud E Hansen drawing of the LNG bunker tanker design
Added 21 April 2021


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Pictures by Docckrat

“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”

by Jay Gates

So spoke the sailor in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ written in 1797. Whilst seawater may not be used to slake a person’s thirst, it can certainly be used to slake a forest fire.

On Sunday, 18 April, a devastating fire was started on Table Mountain, above the city of Cape Town, and soon became a rampant wildfire which threatened communities and suburbs all around the eastern fringes of the mountain. Getting firefighting personnel and equipment up a mountain to fight a raging fire is a difficult logistical exercise, and so Cape Town has a fleet of specially adapted firefighting helicopters on standby to fight any forest and bush fires that may erupt around the city and the province.

Pictures by Dockrat

The helicopters are all equipped with a 1,136 litres Bambi bucket, used to drop water on any fire from a safe height. The problem with any forest fire is having a good source of water available to fight the fire. In the case of the Table Mountain fire, the harbour of Cape Town was only a literal stone’s throw away from the seat of the fire, and the unusual sight of helicopters hovering over the waters of the Duncan Dock to take on water was a sight that was repeated all day on the Sunday.

A total of four helicopters continued their onslaught against the destructive fire, joined later by a South African Air Force Oryx helicopter employing a 2,000 litres Bambi bucket. By Tuesday, 20 April, the fire had been brought mostly under control and a huge 650 hectares (1,606 acres) of the Table Mountain National Park had been destroyed, including buildings of national historic and academic importance.

Pictures by Dockrat

The helicopters used for aerial firefighting support belong to the Working on Fire programme of the South African Government’s Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, and are operated by Kishugu Aviation who are the AOC license holders.

The helicopters used on the Working on Fire programme are the ubiquitous American made Bell UH-1H Iroquois helicopter, a helicopter well known from its gallant history in the Vietnam War.

Pictures by Dockrat

For those who don’t know, the American Army gave the helicopter the category designation of Utility Helicopter One, hence UH-1, as it was their first helicopter model that could be used for a variety of roles and purposes. If you say UH-1 phonetically, you end up with the word ‘Huey’, hence it’s famous nickname, despite the American Army always giving their helicopters the nicknames of American First Nation tribes, e.g. Iroquois, Sioux, Apache, Chinook.

Kishugu Aviation’s UH-1H version of the Huey helicopter fly over 4,000 operational hours per year, and fight over 300 forest and bush fires per year throughout South Africa. The helicopter has a two hour endurance on site and is powered by a single Lycoming T53-L-13 turbine engine, producing 1,400 shp (1,000 kW) that drives a gearbox to power the twin 14.63 metres diameter rotor blades that produce the famous ‘Huey Thump Thump’ sound.

Pictures by Dockrat

The sight and the sound of a continuous shuttle of firefighting helicopters filling their bambi buckets in the safe confines of the Duncan Dock must have been an exciting sight for all the mariners onboard their vessels lying in Cape Town harbour, and not one likely to be repeated anywhere else.

Report by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Added 20 April 2021


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Tanzania gives green light to mammoth 1445-km oil pipeline to Uganda

NTV Uganda / You Tube [4:57]

The Tanzanian government has given approval to the construction of a 1445-km long heated crude oil pipeline that will extend from the Indian Ocean port of Tanga to Uganda on the north coast of Lake Victoria.

The almost 900-mile pipeline has the potential to unlock the region to a new potential with future refineries and oil-related opportunities.

The news that Tanzania’s government had approved the project was provided by the minister for energy, Dr Medard Kalemani, who addressed journalists saying that the process that began in May 2017 was finally complete.

Contracts for the pipeline’s construction can now be negotiated with bids coming from about eight contractors, including three from China and several from Europe. The construction phase is expected to create between 10,000 and 15,000 jobs.

The announcement came a few days after the first visit outside the country by Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who visited Uganda to oversee the signing of the agreement with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.

The 1445-km pipeline will cost $3.55bn and is reported to be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world. A similar heated pipeline is under construction in Russia.

YouTube / SABC Interview and discussion on the potential of the East African pipeline below. [18:28]

Added 20 April 2021


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WHARF TALK: Helena, successor to a very famous ship

The Island of St Helena supply ship Helena now running on a very famous service. Picture is by 'Dockrat', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Island of St Helena supply ship Helena now running on a very famous service. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

by Jay Gates

The successor to a very famous ship, running on a very famous service, sailed from Cape Town on 10 April at 11H00. The general cargo vessel HELENA (IMO 9183491) currently runs a monthly scheduled service between Cape Town and St Helena throughout the year, with a call at Ascension Island on every third voyage.

The Helena had arrived at Cape Town from both Jamestown on St Helena and Georgetown on Ascension on 2 April at 19h00, and is scheduled to return to Cape Town on the conclusion of this present voyage to St Helena only on 30 April.

Built in 1998 at the Zhejiang Shipyard of Ningbo in China, the Helena was purchased in 2016 by AW Shipping Ltd at the request of the St Helena government in order to continue with the vital supply of goods to the islands.

Operated by St Helena Shipping and managed by AW Ship Management of London, she is 100 metres in length, has a deadweight of 4,979 tons and has a container capacity of 364 TEU. She is powered by a MAK 9M32C main engine producing 5,310 bhp (3,960 kW).

The vessel continues the lifeline service previously provided by the RMS St Helena, as the retirement of the passenger vessel did not remove the requirement for general cargo and breakbulk cargo to be carried to and from the two islands.

The supply vessel Helena heads off out of Cape Town harbour on another of her monthly voyages to the South Atlantic island of St Helena. Picture by 'Dockrat' , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The supply vessel Helena heads off out of Cape Town harbour on another of her monthly voyages to the South Atlantic island of St Helena.   Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The name of the ship was chosen following suggestions from the inhabitants of St Helena Island, and a final public vote on the best three names chosen by AW Shipping.

As well as discharging at the normal Jamestown Anchorage, the Helena is also fully equipped to call at the new Rupert’s Bay terminal on St Helena. The vessel’s dimensions are all based on the St Helena government requiring the new vessel to be able to utilise the jetty at the Rupert Bay facility.

Whilst primarily a cargo vessel, her owners have also made provision on the Helena for the carriage of four passengers on each voyage. Although, currently, due to Covid restrictions they are allowing only two passengers per voyage southbound from St Helena only, with no passengers whatsoever being allowed to travel northbound from Cape Town.

You will note that the owners and managers have AW in their title. This refers to Andrew Weir, who previously operated and managed the RMS St Helena. AW Ship Management was created in 2014 by a management buyout of the shipping operations of Andrew Weir Shipping.

Andrew Weir were also the original shipowning parent company of the great Bank Line, whose vessels were once regular callers at South and East African ports.

Report by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Added 20 April 2021


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Future World: Crowley’s fully electric tug with autonomous technology

Crowley's design for the US's first fully electric autonomous tug, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Crowley’s design for the US’s first fully electric autonomous tug.  Picture supplied

US company Crowley Engineering Services has completed the design of the first fully electric US tugboat with autonomous technology – providing operators a sustainable and high-performing solution for ship assist and harbour services in any port.

The Crowley design, powered by the expertise of recently integrated subsidiary Jensen Maritime, leverages a large battery system and power saving technology to operate in a fully electric mode while producing zero air emissions or greenhouse gases.

The 25-metre tug will provide 70 short tons of bollard pull, featuring an Azimuthing drive propulsion system with two 1,800 kW motors and a 6 MWh battery.

The design also supports fully customisable features to meet the vessel design requirements with the future in mind. The platform design can be adjusted for alternate power capacities suitable for a standard hybrid framework if desired. The fully modular batteries allow for upgrades as technology changes. In addition, Crowley has developed an onshore charging station to fully support charging and reliable performance at the home port.

“Crowley’s design provides operators the tugboat solution to continue serving ships quickly and powerfully, while reducing their environmental impact by eliminating a carbon footprint,” said Ray Martus, vice president, Crowley Engineering Services.

“This new design sets the standard for innovation by showing that sustainability and power can work together seamlessly in our maritime industries.”

With no exhaust stack, the tug has 360 degrees of visibility from the pilot’s station, allowing the operator to see without obstruction. The tug has also been designed for future autonomous operation to increase the safety and efficiency of the operation including integrated automation and control systems.

The intelligent manoeuvring and control system offers more efficient vessel operations and allows tug masters to focus holistically on the overall control and positioning of the vessel in increasingly busy harbours.

Details about Crowley may be found HERE

Added 20 April 2021


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100 Chartered flights between Europe & Africa for Bolloré Logistics

WARA Air Service continues to operate two to three weekly flights from Bolloré Logistics’ European hub in Liège. Picture: Bolloré Logistics, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
WARA Air Service continues to operate two to three weekly flights from Bolloré Logistics’ European hub in Liège. Picture: Bolloré Logistics

More than 4,000 tonnes of goods transported via the air bridge

Earlier in April Bolloré Logistics chartered its 100th weekly freight cargo flight between Europe and West Africa, one year after the air bridge was put in place to compensate for the restrictions on transport resulting from the Covid-19 health crisis.

Bolloré Logistics is using this service to provide end-to-end shipment of goods to their final destination via its vast integrated logistics network in Africa.

WARA Air Service continues to operate two to three weekly flights from Bolloré Logistics’ European hub in Liège (Belgium). It serves the destinations of Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Bamako (Mali), Accra (Ghana), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Conakry (Guinea), Niamey (Niger), Monrovia (Liberia) and Nouakchott (Mauritania).

More than 4,000 tonnes of goods have been transported via the air bridge, including large quantities of humanitarian aid products, health materials and equipment, medical and food products, spare parts, telecoms equipment and other everyday consumer goods.

In addition, WARA Air Service has helped to support the agricultural sector, delivering more than 110 tonnes of mangoes from Abidjan and Ouagadougou airports to Europe in 2020. This exceptional performance has been made possible by the synergies between Bolloré Logistics’ operational teams throughout the various links in the export chain.

“This service is a real solution for our customers who rely on us to take care of their transport operations to Africa,” said Dirk Jacobs, CEO of Bolloré Logistics Belgium.

“It also offers greater flexibility with genuine added value in an uncertain context that does not currently allow for a true resumption of air traffic.”

Added 20 April 2021


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Three STS cranes for DP Terminal at Port of Berbera

The three new STS cranes on board the heavylift ship Zhen-Hua 29. Picture: DP World, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The three new STS cranes on board the heavylift ship Zhen-Hua 29. Picture: DP World

DP World Berbera, a regional maritime hub in Somaliland in the Horn Of Africa, has taken delivery of three new ship-to-shore (STS) gantry cranes, as part of its current project to expand and further develop the Port of Berbera.

The three STS cranes arrived at Berbera, which faces into the Gulf of Aden, arrived at the port on the heavylift vessel Zhen-Hua 29, and were safely off-loaded in a meticulously planned exercise carried out by DP World Berbera’s management and engineering team.

The 51-metre high cranes each have a capacity of 65 tons with an outer reach of 24 rows of containers, and will be able to serve some of the largest container ships afloat today and are an indication of DP World’s intent on creating an important hub port terminal at Berbera.

The Port of berbera prior ro any improvements by the operator, DP World. Picture: Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Port of berbera prior to any improvements by the operator, DP World. Picture: Wikipedia

Berbera is a short distance from another important Gulf of Aden hub port, Djibouti, in which DP World had until recently an important stake at the Doraleh port terminal.

The arrival of the cranes follows the installation of eight new rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes at the port earlier in January this year.

“These cranes, in addition to those already installed, will further improve operational efficiencies at Berbera Port and transform it into a modern and world class facility, further strengthening it as a major regional trade port servicing the Horn of Africa,” confirmed Suhail Al Banna, CEO and Managing Director of DP World Middle East and Africa.

DP World Berbera is a multi-use port whose customers handle a wide variety of cargo ranging from general cargo, bulk cargo, RoRo, livestock and containerised cargo.

Berbera is connected with neighbouring Ethiopia by road.

DP World says it has committed to investing up to US$442 million to expand the port, and once completed it will increase the container capacity by 500,000 TEUs per year.

Added 20 April 2021


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Can Durban reclaim its place as the best-performing port in Africa?

Port of Durban RoRo Terminal, handling over half a million mmotor vehicle imports and exports annually, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Durban RoRo Terminal, handling over half a million motor vehicle imports and exports annually.  Picture Transnet

President Cyril Ramaphosa says through both operational improvements and structural reforms, the Durban Port will reclaim its place as the best-performing port in Africa.

“As part of our Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, we will continue to work tirelessly to expand infrastructure investment and transform our network industries,” President Ramaphosa said after his recent visit at the Durban Port.

In his weekly Newsletter, President Ramaphosa said if the port does not function efficiently, the entire economy suffers, from importers and exporters to consumers.

“On the other hand, if the port works well it can drive economic growth and position our country as a gateway to the region and the continent,” he said.

When he visited Durban in October 2019, many local businesses and port users raised concerns about the performance of the Durban Port.

“Shipping companies in particular expressed concern about truck congestion and waiting times, ship berthing delays and anchorage times, poor maintenance of equipment and generally low productivity in the port, the President said.

“There has been great progress over the past year in turning around the performance of the port despite the impact of COVID-19.

“These efforts are already showing results in improved maintenance of equipment, reduced congestion, quicker turnaround times and increased use of rail instead of road transport.

“Truck turnaround times have greatly improved. Similarly, the reliability of cargo handling equipment has improved to 80%, and is heading towards at least 95% to meet international benchmarks. Ship waiting times have reduced to impressive levels.

“While this is important progress, there is still much work to be done to position Durban as a world-class port and as a hub port for the Southern Hemisphere,” President Ramaphosa said.

During his visit at the Port, the President clarified matters relating to fears raised by SATU about the privatisation of the Port and stated that Transnet is not going to be privatised but partnerships are going to be forged to create more jobs.

The aim of the visit was to ensure that commitments made following the President’s meeting with port users and stakeholders in October 2019, have been implemented.

A multi-party work team has been established, together with port users, to address key issues related to port performance.

While this progress is a reflection of the hard work that is being done to reposition the port, there is still much work remaining to ensure the port system serves the needs of the economy and promotes growth.

The new management of Transnet and its operating divisions are focused on improving operational performance, increasing investment in port and rail infrastructure and ensuring adequate maintenance of equipment.

The Department of Public Enterprises and the Department of Transport, with support from Operation Vulindlela, are working to implement structural reforms that will modernise and increase investment in the transport sector.

Added 19 April 2021


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WHARF TALK: Baltic Purple: One of a lessening number of reefers

The refrigerated cargo ship (reefer) Baltic Purple is currently loading fruit at the port of Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The refrigerated cargo ship (reefer) Baltic Purple is currently loading fruit at the port of Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

by Jay Gates

South Africa is well known as one of the world’s greatest producers and exporters of upmarket fresh fruit, as anybody who resides outside of the country can testify, knowing the pleasures of biting into a fresh Outspan Orange or a juicy Cape Gala Apple, something not well known to the South African locals. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, Autumn when most deciduous fruits are harvested, and exported, occurs in the same period as what constitutes Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

That means that now is the time when exports of fresh fruit is increasing, and the majority of the harvest is loaded into refrigerated containers for export either by container ship, or by traditional reefer ship, with the occasional palletised cargo also loaded directly into reefer ships. Cape Town traditionally exports the largest amount of fresh fruit and sees the majority of the traditional reefer ships.

On 15 April at 08h00 the traditional reefer BALTIC PURPLE (IMO 9143099) arrived in the Cape Town anchorage from Dover in the United Kingdom, and by 16 April at 23h00 she was alongside the Fruit Terminal at C Berth in the Duncan Dock.

The ship arrived in port with a welcome number of empty reefer containers. There is currently a worldwide shortage of these causing concern among fruit exoprting countries. Here an emty container has been lifted off the ship using ship's own gear and will be carried away by this reach stacker. Picture by 'Dockrat' , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The ship arrived in port with a welcome number of empty reefer containers. There is currently a worldwide shortage of these causing concern among fruit exporting countries. Here an empty container has been lifted off the ship using ship’s own gear and will be moved away by the blue reach stacker. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Initially she discharged 84 empty reefer, or refrigerated, containers which were destined for the United Container Depot (UCD) at Paarden Eiland in Cape Town. UCD, which is a part of the Grindrod Group, will be cleaning the containers, servicing them and preparing them for their next cargo. The Baltic Purple will also be loading 4,000 tons of mixed deciduous fruit destined for first Rotterdam, and then on to St. Petersburg in Russia.

The lack of refrigerated containers in Cape Town is linked to the perennial issue of productivity at the Port of Cape Town, which tied in with wind and weather delays has resulted in shipowners diverting container ships away from the port and directing them to Ngqura and Durban, as they cannot afford the potential eight day delay in entering port that they often face on arrival in Table Bay.

Another view of Baltic Purple on C Berth in the Duncan Dock. The picture is by 'Dockrat' and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Another view of Baltic Purple on C Berth in the Duncan Dock. The picture is by ‘Dockrat’

A recent MSC container vessel, carrying 500 empty refrigerated containers, some destined for offload in Cape Town, was diverted by her owners and bypassed Cape Town directly for Ngqura where they were discharged. This meant that Cape Town fruit exporters were forced to truck their harvest to Ngqura and Durban to ensure that their product was loaded onto vessels destined for the Far East, which is where lack of reefer container availability is placing most pressure on this emerging export market.

Pallets of fruit on the dockside ready to be loaded into the refrigerated chambers in the holds of Baltic Purple. Picture is by 'Dockrat', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pallets of fruit on the dockside ready to be loaded into the refrigerated chambers in the holds of Baltic Purple. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

The problem of the shortage of containers, together with the ongoing port congestion problems is so acute for the Cape fruit growing industry and the fruit exporters that they now have meetings with Transnet every second day to resolve any issues that are raised in the port that are affecting the fruit export process. Having to truck their product to the Eastern Cape, in order to guarantee export to meet delivery dates for their customers, is not the answer to the fruit industry’s problem.

The Western Cape deciduous fruit harvest includes apples, pears, peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, pomegranates and, of course, table grapes. Together with Cape Citrus fruits they account for three of the top five export products, comprising 22% of the Western Cape economy, or 4% of the whole South African economy, with Cape Fruits being the 7th highest on the national export list, and the vast majority of this cargo is shipped out of Cape Town.

The palletised cartons of fruit arrive in the port by truck, from where they will be loaded straight into the reefer ship. Picture is by 'Dockrat' and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The palletised cartons of fruit arrive in the port by truck, from where they will be loaded straight into the reefer ship. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’


The good winter rains of 2020 in the Cape, together with a cool spring and a moderate summer has resulted in good crop yields, with apple exports this season expecting to have increased by 4%, and pear exports by 5%.

By late March a total of 250,000 tons of deciduous fruit had been exported, with 144,000 tons heading to the EU countries, 59,000 tons to the United Kingdom, 14,000 tons to Canada, 13,000 tons to Southeast Asia and 12,000 tons to the Middle East.

The current visit to Cape Town by the Baltic Purple is her second in recent months as she made a quick 30 hour loading stop on 29 and 30 December, where she loaded an export cargo of fresh fruit for delivery in Los Angeles.

One final view of Baltic Purple, in which can be seen an empty 40ft refer container on the ground and another on the ship;s crane and about to be placed nearby. Picture is by 'Dockrat' , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One final view of Baltic Purple, in which can be seen an empty 40ft reefer container on the dockside and another being lifted ashore on the ships crane.  The reachstacker will assist by moving them out of the way. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 1996 by the Shikoku Dockyard of Takamatsu in Japan, Baltic Purple is 154 metres in length with a deadweight of 10,432 tons. Nominally owned by Web Smart SA of Panama, she is managed and operated by Ost-West-Handel und Schiffahrts GmbH of Bremen in Germany.

She is powered by a single 2 stroke, single acting, Mitsui MAN-B&W 6L60MC main engine providing 15,600 bhp (11,473 kW) driving a fixed pitch propeller, has five auxiliary generators of 725 kW providing 3.860 kVA, and a single vertical boiler of 3.46 t/h from Tortoise Engineering of Japan.

Report by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Added 19 April 2021


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Suez Canal Authority commissions giant new dredger Mohab Mameesh

The Suez Canal Authority's new cutter suction dredger Mohab Mameesh undergoing commissioning trials on the Haringvliet.. Picture Peter de Klerk / IHC, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Suez Canal Authority’s new cutter suction dredger Mohab Mameesh undergoing commissioning trials on the Haringvliet.. Picture Peter de Klerk / IHC

After the handing over ceremony a month ago (18 March 2021), the Suez Canal Authority is ready to place its new cutter suction dredger (CSD) MOHAB MAMEESH (IMO 9869356) in service within the canal.

The timing of the CSD’s arrival could not be more propitious given the recent experience of having the canal fully blocked by the 400m long container ship, Ever Given.

Mohab Mameesh, named after a former SCA chief and costing 300 million euros ($360 million), completed commissioning tests on the Dutch coastline and Haringvliet and has since been transported by semi-submersible vessel to Egypt to commence service in the canal.

With a length of 147.4 metres, a cutting power of 4,800 kW and total power of 29,190 kW, the dredger has a cutting depth of 35 metres, rendering it capable of deepening the canal as well as widening as required. The canal’s depth is 24 metres.

Signing of the contracts at the offices of the Royal IHC for delvery of the dredger Mohab Mameesh, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Signing of the contracts at the offices of the Royal IHC

Mohab Mameesh was built at the Dutch Royal IHC shipyard as yard number 1299 and completed in 2020. She is one of the most powerful hard rock dredgers in the world. The CSD has accommodation on board for more than 70 people.

A second dredger, sister CSD HUSSEIN TANTAWY is under construction and should be ready for sea trials within a couple of months.

SCA’s Chairman and Managing Director, Admiral Osama Rabie described the MOHAB MAMEESH as a truly impressive vessel. “Many people are enthusiastic to see it performing live operations as soon as possible. We expect to achieve incredible results with this state-of-the-art CSD for many years to come,” he said.

The intended duty of the Mohab Mameesh is to maintain and improve the artificial sea-level area connecting the Mediterranean and Red seas. However, Adm. Osama Rabie, the SCA chairman, said shortly after the Ever Given grounding that the SC was considering further widening the southern section of the canal. It was in the southern section that the container ship blocked the waterway, some six kilometres north of the southern entrance to the canal.

Rabie said that if there is a 250-metre wise section that needs expansion, then it will be expanded to 400 metres. He said this would be enough to allow for the passage of the world’s largest vessels even under extraordinary circumstances.

Mohab Mameesh, featureing in Africa OIRTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mohab Mameesh

A spokesman for the SCA said later that plans exist to upgrade parts of the canal by 2023. “It includes an upgrade of the northern and southern entrances to the canal,” said George Safwat.

In 2014 the SCA carried out an upgrade involving the northern section with a parallel channel cut next to the original canal, making possible two-way traffic over this part for the first time since 1869. This helped reduce the transit time through the canal by seven hours.

The Suez Canal continues to be Egypt’s main source of revenue, contributing between US$ 5 and 6 billion a year.

The recent blockage demonstrated that the canal also has an enormous value for much of the developed world.

Added 19 April 2021


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The Kuwaiti livestock carrier Al Messilah which carried more than 50,000 live animals from the port of East London to the Persian Gulf. Picture: Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Kuwaiti livestock carrier Al Messilah which carried more than 50,000 live animals from the port of East London to the Persian Gulf. Picture: Shipspotting

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) recently highlighted the number of livestock carriers that were among the more than 200 ships that were delayed outside or stuck in the Suez Canal as a result of the container ship Ever Given going aground.

According to the NSPCA, 20 of the these ships were carrying livestock destined for customers in the Middle East, carrying between them over 200,000 live animals, mostly from Spain and Romania, “who are now also stuck in the canal after already having endured a lengthy journey from their exporting countries.”

The Council pointed out the catastrophic effect that live exports had on more than 2000 cattle on board the livestock carriers Elbeik and Karim Allah, which remained at sea for over three months at sea while fully loaded with animals. This resulted in the deterioration of the animals to the degree that when they were finally landed, Spanish authorities had to have them all euthanized.

“The NSPCA reiterates the fact that the export of live animals by sea is an archaic and cruel practise. The events in Spain and now with the Suez Canal further emphasise the importance of the NSPCAs fight against live export which we will continue until the very end,” said Executive Director Marcelle Meredith.

“We remember the victims of this callous trade whenever we bring forth an application to end the trade in our country, when we hear of live export horror across the globe and we say that we will not stop fighting, not now, not ever. Not until every ship exporting live animals in South Africa is emptied.”

Added 19 April 2021



Gulf Livestock 1, which sank off Japan during a typhoon last year with a large loss of human and animal life and which brought into focus in New Zealand the question of transportation of live animals at sea. Picture: Vesselfinder, as featured in reports and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Gulf Livestock 1, which sank off Japan during a typhoon last year with a large loss of human and animal life and which brought into focus in New Zealand the question of transportation of live animals at sea.   Picture: Vesselfinder

The NSPCA’s latest comments on the continuing practice of shipping live animals (all from the Port of East London) were made shortly before the government of New Zealand announced last week that it will bring to an end the export of live animals by sea following a transition period of two years.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the transition period would enable farmers, exporters and importers the time to adapt.

Live exports by sea represent just 0.2% of New Zealand’s primary export revenue.

Asked about the decision’s impact on trade with China, O’Connor said it was not about China, but about animal welfare and New Zealand’s reputation.

Last year a livestock carrier coming from New Zealand, GULF LIVESTOCK 1, sank during a typhoon off the coast of Japan, with the loss of 42 lives and almost 6,000 live animals on board – see that report CLICK HERE.

O’Connor said New Zealand was unable to guarantee the safety of the animals at sea “and that’s an unacceptable risk for New Zealand.”

Added 19 April 2021


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Mozambique insurgency: Ships and other craft lie idle at Pemba Bay, Pt 1

According to Mozambican reports approximately 40 vessels of different types and sizes have been impacted by the March attack on the town and harbour at Palma, over 200km to the north of Pemba.

Many of these were providing direct services to the oil consortium headed by Total, which was on the Afungi peninsula close to the harbour town of Palma. Total has effectively pulled out from the project at least for the immediate future.

There has been speculation that Total might not return but would instead write off the project after the situation in surrounding Cabo Delgado province deteriorated as a result of Islamist insurgency.

Most of the vessels affected by the terrorist attack on Palma moved to the large Pemba Bay where they have gone to anchor. Some of the operators have expressed their wish to depart completely and to proceed to Nacala in the south or even to Mombasa.

Even the sailing dhows and small boats that used to sail along the coast calling at places like Mocimboa da Praia , Quissanga and Palma are lying idle at Paquitequete beach or have sought new occupations or destinations. The island of Ibo is still visited by these craft as is Missanja, it is reported.

Paquitequete beach is to the west of Pemba overlooking Pemba Bay from where many of the dhows and small craft operate. Once just a small village, Paquitequete beach is now overcrowded with thousands of refugees from Palma and other parts of Cabo Delgado.

With the exception of Ibo Island, all official passenger routes in the centre and north of Cabo Delgado have been suspended, on instruction of the provincial maritime administration.

Added 18 April 2021


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Mozambique insurgency: Ships and other craft lie idle at Pemba Bay & Palma Pt 2

The Durban Grindrod Group also had its eyes on the harbour at Palma where it was reported (in Engineering News) that it was aiming to develop a logistics hub in Palma and be ‘up and running’ by mid-2021.

This was all focused on Total being successful with its development at Afungi and with Italian oil company Eni on the offshore gas development out in the Mozambique Channel.

Following an earlier postponement of the establishment of a logistics hub at Palma due to the insurgency, Grindrod had decided to go ahead, the report said, quoting Grindrod Freight Services CEO Xolani Mbambo.

This would have included fuel and container depots as well as engineering services. Grindrod has been operating in the area with a fleet of seven ships including chartered landing-type craft suitable for that part of the largely undeveloped coast.

These vessels were used for taking in fuel, food and water, as well as construction material.

The report also stated that the Durban company intended using the the port of Nacala, which it saw as a gateway into Zambia, Malawi and northern Mozambique, as a natural launchpad to those regions.

Mbambo’s remarks were made at the presentation of the company’s results shortly before the recent attack on Palma.

Added 18 April 2021


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WHARF TALK: Sonne on an overdue ‘rescue’ mission

The German research vessel Sonne arrives in Cape Town port on 14 April, to take bunkers and supplies. Picture is by 'Dockrat', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The German research vessel Sonne arrives in Cape Town port on 14 April, to take bunkers and supplies. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

by Jay Gates

Most research ship visits to Southern African waters are well planned in advance and well known by students, scholars and scientists within the southern African academic and scientific community, many of whom are invited by their foreign contemporaries to participate in one of the many cruise disciplines.

The Cape Town arrival of the German government-owned research vessel SONNE (IMO 9633927) on 14 April at 09h00 was as a result of a 67 day cruise that was quickly planned and entirely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with no international participation.

Every year, various research ships, including South Africa’s S.A. AGULHAS II lay fixed and floating weather buoys out in the South Atlantic Ocean in order to collect or transmit meaningful scientific data that the climate and oceanographic scientists can use to model current trends and future trends in regard to ocean and weather behaviour.

German survey vessel Sonne, arriving in port at Cape Town. Picture is by 'Dockrat
German survey vessel Sonne, arriving in port at Cape Town. Picture is by ‘Dockrat

The year 2019 was no different and European research ships, in the course of their research in this region, laid 10 fixed mooring buoys on the continental shelf off the coasts of Angola and Namibia, and two deep water buoys off South Africa’s Western Cape coast.

All of these buoys were collecting data for the Benguela Current upwelling programme, which is a crucial biomass driver for marine life along the whole length of the Southwest Africa coast.

The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 created a mass cancellation of research cruises in all oceans, and in all areas of research, mainly due to the risks involved in transferring crew and scientific personnel around the world and the closure of most borders to international travel.

This meant that none of the crucial buoys laid off Southern Africa in 2019 could be retrieved in 2020. The recovery of these buoys was becoming critical as the battery life of each buoy was reaching its failure state, which would result in the loss of the buoys and all of the stored data that they contained.

Mooring Rescue Mission

So the ‘Sonne’ was chosen to depart from her home port of Emden in Germany, purely to go and recover the moored buoys, and the voyage was given the title ‘Mooring Rescue Mission’.

Sailing from Emden on 20th March, Sonne made a transit passage directly to the sites of the two deepwater buoys located off the Western Cape coast. Once they were retrieved she proceeded directly to Cape Town where her recent call was purely for bunkers and stores. On sailing she proceeded up the west coast to Namibia and Angola to retrieve the outstanding moored buoys in those waters before sailing directly back to Emden, where she is scheduled to arrive back on 25 May.

With Table Mountain forming its usual backdrop to shipping in the port, Sonne manoeuvres into position prior to docking. Picture is by 'Dockrat', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
With Table Mountain forming its usual backdrop to shipping in the port, Sonne manoeuvres into position in the Duncan Dock prior to berthing.  Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

This current visit to Cape Town is the first major voyage that Sonne has been able to undertake since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, it was from Cape Town that the Sonne sailed on her last voyage, to return to Emden last year as the pandemic unfolded.

She had sailed from Cape Town on 7 March 2020 to undertake a geophysical and geological scientific voyage on the Marion Rise, an area of tectonic plate activity located north of South Africa’s only overseas possession, namely Marion and Prince Edward Islands in the South Indian Ocean.

The logistical travel problems of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the voyage had to be cut short and on 21 March after getting as far south as 46 South 38 East, north of Prince Edward Island, Sonne turned and returned to Cape Town, arriving on 26 March. She disembarked her sole South African cruise participant, took on bunkers and stores, and sailed directly back to Emden, where she remained for the whole of the last year.

These last two voyages are not the only such scientific cruises that the Sonne has undertaken in African waters, as she has made a further seven research cruises in the South Atlantic and South Indian Oceans since 2014, including port calls at Port Louis in Mauritius, Toliara in Madagascar, Durban and Cape Town in South Africa and Walvis Bay in Namibia.

On all of her cruises, the German academic authorities have invited participation of research scientists from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, The University of Cape Town, the University of Namibia and the Comores Bureau of Geology, as well as Government scientists and observers from Madagascar, South Africa and Namibia.

Sonne is now heading along the west coast of southern Africa to complete her mission before sailing back to Emden in Germany. Picture is by 'Dockrat'
Sonne is now heading along the west coast of southern Africa to complete her mission before sailing back to Emden in Germany. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2014 at the Meyer Neptun Shipyard at Papenburg in Germany, Sonne is 118 metres in length with a deadweight of 2,351 tons. She was launched by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, at a cost of EUR124.4 million (ZAR2.14 billion), as a multipurpose platform for marine scientific disciplines and is equipped to undertake Physical, Chemical and Biological Oceanography, Marine Geology, Atmospheric Chemistry and Meteorology, Geophysics and Bathymetry.

She is owned by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and managed and operated by Briese Schiffahrts GmbH of Leer in Germany.

As a diesel–electric powered vessel, her energy efficient engine configuration provides a maximum speed of 15 knots and comprises four Wärtsilä 9L20CR main engines each of 1,620 kW, two 2350 kW drive motors from VEM Sachsenwerk Dresden and two fixed 3.25m diameter propellers. Four generators from Anhaltische Elektromotorenwerke Dessau produce 1,555 kW, and she is also equipped with a single Caterpillar C32ACERT emergency diesel of 874 kW.

Manoeuvring assistance comes from retractable bow and stern Schottel 860kW rudder propellers and a Schottel 2990kW  Pumpjet is also installed. All systems are redundant.

SONNE sailed from Cape Town on 14 April at 21h00 for Namibian waters to continue with the retrieval of the Ocean recording buoys.

Added 18 April 2021


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Funeral of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

All illustrations MoD Crown Copyright 2021 ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
All illustrations MoD Crown Copyright 2021 ©

Only thirty people, including HM the Queen were permitted to attend under current coronavirus rules. The elaborate yet short ceremonial reflected on the Duke’s service to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and the regiments and corps of which he had been colonel-in-chief. He was Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy from 2011 to 2021 and Captain General Royal Marines from 1953-2017.

The funeral was held in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. His coffin, draped in his personal standard and topped with a wreath of flowers, his sword and cap was carried by a troop of guardsmen into the quadrangle of Windsor Castle.



Their Royal Highnesses Prince Charles and Princess Anne and other senior royals then led a procession behind the coffin, which was transported by a modified Land- Rover hearse to St. George’s Chapel, where a Royal Marine party carried the coffin inside for the service. It is understood that The Duke had created the order of service and designed the Land-Rover based on a shooting brake configuration.

A single round was fired at 15h00, followed by a further round at 15h01 marking the National Minute Silence. HM ships at sea were not requested to fire.




More than 700 members of the armed forces took part in the funeral ceremony at Windsor Castle. These included: 42 members from the Royal Navy; 96 from the Royal Marines; 507 from the Army and 89 from the Royal Air Force.



Our selection of illustrations kindly provided by the MoD news service illustrate the Royal Navy and Royal Marines aspects of the funeral.

It was reported that the Armed Forces also conducted Ceremonial Gun Fire at nine locations across the UK and in the Overseas Territory of Gibraltar to begin and end the National Minute Silence immediately before the funeral service.

Edited by Paul Ridgway London Correspondent of Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Reported by Paul Ridgway

Added 18 April 2021


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CMF NEWS: French frigate Guépratte makes large drug bust

Boarding teams from FS Guépratte approach a suspicious vessel in the Arabian Sea. A later search operation uncovered almost 1,400 lbs of methamphetamine and heroin Picture: Marine Nationale, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Boarding teams from FS Guépratte approach a suspicious vessel in the Arabian Sea. A later search operation uncovered almost 1,400 lbs of methamphetamine and heroin Picture: Marine Nationale

On 9 April the French frigate FS Guépratte intercepted and seized 1,380 lbs (626 kg) of methamphetamine worth more than US$17 million, during the latest Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-narcotics operation in the Arabian Sea.

After spotting a suspicious vessel whilst on patrol in the Arabian Sea and investigating with the ship’s boarding team, the subsequent search operation uncovered the illicit cargo, which also contained 165 lbs (75 kg) of heroin worth a further $787,500.

“This drug seizure contributes to the high level of achievements performed by French naval forces in the area. It represents another great success against the illicit traffic of narcotic drugs at sea and crowns the efficient and relentless training undertaken by my crew since September,” said Guépratte’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Guilhem Desvignes.

“I particularly want to highlight the outstanding cooperation we had with Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 which was key to this significant success,” he added.

Boarding teams from FS Guépratte undertake a search operation onboard a suspicious vessel in the Arabian Sea, during which almost 1,400 lbs of methamphetamine and heroin was seized. Picture: Marine Nationale, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Boarding teams from FS Guépratte undertake a search operation onboard a suspicious vessel in the Arabian Sea, during which almost 1,400 lbs of methamphetamine and heroin was seized. Picture: Marine Nationale

The record haul comes less than a month after Marine Nationale ships achieved five separate drug busts in a six-day period. Since assuming command of the CTF in January, the Canadian-led outfit has now seized almost 20 tons (18 tonnes) of narcotics in 11 separate interdictions by ships from France, the UK, and the United States.

“The successful seizure of methamphetamine on this scale shows how critical our maritime security operations are to tackling global issues,” said Deputy Commander of CMF, Commodore Ed Ahlgren of the Royal Navy. “It’s important we consider the downstream effects; these illicit actors will now be hampered in their other activities, including terrorism, while communities can rest easy knowing this harmful product will not be on their streets.”

Added 18 April 2021


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CMF NEWS: Egypt becomes 34th member nation of the Combined Maritime Forces

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Commander VAdm Samuel Paparo, US Navy, with Lt Gen Ahmed Khaled and their respective staff officers, 12 April 2021. Egypt has been announced as the 34th member nation of CMF. Picture: Courtesy of the Egypt Navy, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Commander VAdm Samuel Paparo, US Navy, with Lt Gen Ahmed Khaled and their respective staff officers, 12 April 2021. Egypt has been announced as the 34th member nation of CMF. Picture: Courtesy of the Egypt Navy

On 12 April 2021 Egypt became the 34th member of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), April 12.

“Today is a historic moment as Egypt enters into our enduring coalition,” said Vice Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of U.S. Naval Forces, US 5th Fleet and CMF.

“Egypt is an important partner in ensuring stability in the region, and we are honoured to welcome Egypt’s partnership in our mission focused on making the region and world a safer place.”

CMF’s area of operations encompasses some of the world’s most important shipping lanes with more than 3 million square miles of international waters, including the key chokepoints of the Suez Canal, Bab al Mandeb and Straits of Hormuz.

“Egypt brings a wealth of operational experience in the region and maritime capabilities to CMF, and now provides coalition partners on both sides of the Red Sea, a waterway of significant strategic importance accounting for 10 percent of the world’s trade,” said Paparo.

“Egypt’s membership will improve mutual awareness and ability to operate in the central and northern Red Sea.”

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Commander VAdm Samuel Paparo, US Navy, with Lt Gen Ahmed Khaled and their respective staff officers.   Picture: Courtesy of the Egypt Navy, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Commander VAdm Samuel Paparo, US Navy, with Lt Gen Ahmed Khaled and their respective staff officers.   Picture: Courtesy of the Egypt Navy

CMF was established in 2002 and the importance of maritime partnership, cooperation and coordination remains just as viable, relevant and effective today as the strategic environment is always evolving. In the maritime domain, the key elements in countering threats are like-minded partners and allies, coming together to suppress bullies, pirates and those who seek to create new norms to their own advantage.

In order to counter these challenges, CMF provides military assets to support the construct with partner nation rotations of Coalition Task Forces (CTFs) and staff to the CMF headquarters in Manama, Bahrain. The three CTFs of CMF include CTF 150 with a focus on maritime security operations throughout the area, CTF 151 conducting counter piracy operations, and CTF 152 focuses on maritime security in the Arabian Gulf.

CMF Deputy Commander Commodore Ed Alhgren, OBE, of the Royal Navy, shared, “I am excited to welcome Egypt to the CMF. From my time as the United Kingdom’s Defence Attache in Cairo, I have great respect for the Egyptian Navy and I am confident they will make a significant contribution to the construct.”

“With Egypt’s entry into CMF, this cooperation and interoperability will only grow,” said Paparo.

Added 18 April 2021


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Another Antarctic voyage complete for Vasiliy Golovnin

The Russian Antarctic supply vessel Vasiliy Golovnin arrives back in Cape Town after yet another journey to the Deep South. Picture is by 'Dockrat', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Russian Antarctic supply vessel Vasiliy Golovnin arrives back in Cape Town after yet another journey to the Deep South. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Another Antarctic voyage was completed with the arrival in Cape Town of the VASILIY GOLOVNIN (IMO 8723426) on 10 April at 11H00 after a successful 74 day voyage to resupply the two Indian Antarctic research stations, Maitri and Bharati.

The voyage of Vasiliy Golovnin did not go entirely to plan as the original voyage plan issued to the Antarctic Treaty’s Electronic Information Exchange System had her arriving in Cape Town back on 20 January to embark her scientific complement and undertake a three day cargo loading operation, prior to departing to Antarctica on behalf of the Indian National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) in Goa.

Vasiliy Golovnin on her arrival back in Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat' as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Vasiliy Golovnin on her arrival back in Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As such, she arrived in Durban back in December to undergo some hull maintenance prior to sailing for Cape Town to begin her cargo onload.

However, as with all things connected to Antarctica in late 2020, Covid put a spanner in the works and with the South African Covid variant being prevalent at the time, the Indian Government would not allow the Indian scientists to fly to South Africa.

So the Vasiliy Golovnin was ordered to depart Durban and head directly to Goa to collect both the scientists and cargo. She departed on Goa on 7 January and finally arrived in Cape Town on 26 January at 01h00, but only for a quick 21 hour stores and bunker stop and she sailed for Antarctica at 21h00 the same day.

The ship carried scientists of the Indian National Center for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) to Antarctica, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The ship carried scientists of the Indian National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) to Antarctica.   Picture is by ‘Dockrat’ 

Named after a Russian Naval Admiral who had served with the Royal Navy back in the early nineteenth century, Vasiliy Golovnin was built in 1988 by the Kherson Shipyard at Kherson in the Ukraine as the fourth of five vessels of the Project 10620 Vitus Bering Class of icebreaking multi-purpose cargo ships.

At 164 metres in length she has a deadweight of 10,764 tons and a container capacity of 298 TEU. She is a diesel-electric vessel powered by a Sulzer 12ZV40/48 main engine providing an output of 9,000 bhp.

Vasiliy Golvnin moves further into Cape Town harbour at the end of her voyage from Antarctica, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Vasiliy Golovnin moves further into Cape Town harbour at the end of her voyage from Antarctica.   Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Owned by the Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO) of Vladivostok, this is the third year in a row that the Vasiliy Golovnin has completed the resupply of the Indian research stations in Antarctica out of Cape Town.

On her return to Cape Town on 29 April 2020, two members of her crew died from Methanol Alcohol poisoning. At the end of the that voyage, completed on 4 May 2020, the bodies of the two crewmembers were flown back to Russia from South Africa.

The large accommodation area and funnel marking on the Russian ship. Picture is by 'Dockrat' featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The large accommodation area and funnel marking on the Russian ship. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

An unusual law case that the Vasiliy Golovnin was involved in was in 2005 when she was arrested in Singapore. In an unusual maritime law case, she was arrested by banks because another vessel belonging to FESCO had previously been arrested in Lomé, Togo, for illegal discharge of a cargo at another port.

However, the court in Lomé released the vessel, and so on the same day the banks had Vasiliy Golovnin arrested in Singapore in lieu of the other FESCO vessel. On appeal, the court in Singapore considered it to be a wrongful arrest and she was subsequently released and allowed to sail.

See two reports related to this story CLICK HERE

Report by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘ Dockrat’

Added 18 April 2021


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Hapag-Lloyd places huge order for dry and reefer containers

Hapag-Lloyd's 13,000-TEU New York Express (IMO 9501332) with a deck-full of containers, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hapag-Lloyd’s 13,000-TEU New York Express (IMO 9501332) with a deck-full of containers.  Picture Hapag-Lloyd

Responding to the universal shortage of containers, including refrigerated containers (reefers), the German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd has invested US$ 550 million in 150,000 TEU of new dry and reefer boxes plus 8,000 TEU of special containers.

Delivery of this order will take place during 2021.

The shipping company says that on top of the pandemic and delayed shipments due to port congestion, shippers and forwarders worldwide have had to cope with an added complication: a shortage of boxes to ship their goods. Because boxes are turning slower, shipping companies need more than the normal number of containers to carry the same volume.

Hapag-Lloyd containers appearing in report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hapag-Lloyd containers on quayside   Hapag Lloyd

Hapag-Lloyd also placed a large order for containers in 2020 but the latest order worth $550 million is one of the biggest container orders that Hapag-Lloyd has ever made.

Some of the 150,000 TEU of standard dry and reefer boxes have already been delivered this year and integrated into Hapag-Lloyd’s container fleet. But the majority of these boxes will be delivered by Chinese manufacturers in the months ahead and before the end of 2021.

The additional 8,000 TEU of special containers will consist of container to be used for over-sized and dangerous goods.

“The container shipping industry is currently seeing unprecedented demand, which has led to a shortage of containers all over the world. With its recent container orders, Hapag-Lloyd is contributing to efforts to ease the current situation and will be able to offer its customers a much better service,” says Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd.

See related report HERE

Added 18 April 2021


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Human Traffickers’ boat capsizes off Djibouti – 42 dead

42 migrants from Yemen drown off the coast of Djibouti, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
empty oceans…picture: IOM

A boat carrying migrants escaping from war-torn Yemen, capsized at sea between the Yemeni coast and that of Djibouti, the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported.

The boat was carrying about 60 people including migrants and the smugglers operating the vessel. At least 42 people are reported to have drowned.

The boat was on its way to depositing the migrants on the coast of Djibouti when the vessel capsized, early last Monday morning (12 April).

It is believed there were at least 16 children among those who drowned.

“Despite the dangers, the number of migrants arriving in Djibouti continues to increase. In March, over 2,343 migrants arrived from Yemen, compared to 1,900 in February,” the UN agency said.

This is just one of many similar incidents involving smugglers transporting refugees in unsafe boats that have met their end in this part of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Because of the threat of COVID-19 most borders in the region remain closed, often forcing migrant vessels to turn back or to chance an illegal landing on some deserted part of the coastline.

Many of those being smuggled from Yemen however are from the Horn of Africa, having landed in Yemen previously and now being forced back where they came from by the threat of the pandemic. There are said to be tens of thousands of migrants from the Horn of Africa who are trapped in Yemen and unable to move any further.

The IOM said that the conditions of migrants stranded in Yemen have become so tragic that migrants were left with no option but to rely on smugglers to return home. The IOM has called on all governments along the route to join hands and support its efforts to allow migrants to return home safely.

More than 6,000 migrants have been identified and registered for Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR), assistance to get home. IOM is calling on governments in the region to increase VHR for stranded migrants.

Added 18 April 2021


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UECC floats first of three LNG battery hybrid Car Carriers (PCTCs)

UECC's first of three LNG battery-powered hybrid pure car & truck carriers has been launched. Picture: UECC, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
UECC’s first of three LNG battery-powered hybrid pure car & truck carriers has been launched. Picture: UECC

Last Monday (12 April) United European Car Carriers (UECC) launched the first of three LNG battery hybrid PCTCs (pure car and truck carrier) at an official ceremony at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai. The remaining two vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2022.

“With the launch of our first LNG battery hybrid PCTC, we are ushering in a new era for UECC and short sea shipping in Europe,” said Glenn Edvardsen, CEO in UECC. “These ships prove that decarbonisation of the industry is possible using currently available technologies.”

The new UECC PCTCs are built to the latest energy efficiency criteria, meeting the Tier 3 IMO NOx emission limitations in place for the Baltic and North Sea. All three will be equipped with battery hybrid solutions that will enable UECC to far exceed the IMO’s target of 40 percent reduction in carbon intensity by 2030.

“The introduction of batteries is an excellent demonstration of our deepening commitment to next-generation sustainability,” Edvardsen says. Battery power on the new vessels will improve operational efficiency and further reduce emissions through peak shaving, in addition to handling partial accommodation load and driving auxiliary equipment.

UECC LNG Hybrid PCTC launcing ceremony, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
UECC LNG Hybrid PCTC launching ceremony

“Battery power also provides an option for reducing emissions while in port, a feature that more and more cities are demanding,” Edvardsen notes.

The ships are also equipped with dual-fuel LNG engines for main propulsion and auxiliaries. As more biofuels are set to become commercially available in the future, UECC plans to increase the proportion of carbon neutral and synthetic fuels in their future fuel mix.

“We aim to be in front of the move to sustainability in shipping,” says Edvardsen. “This is the motivation behind our decision to invest in dual-fuel solutions for these newbuildings.”

With a length overall of 169 metres, a width of 28 metres and a car carrying capacity of 3,600 units on 10 cargo decks, the new vessels are highly flexible, enabling them to accommodate a wide range of high & heavy and break-bulk cargoes, in addition to cars and trucks.

“UECC’s parent companies, NYK and Wallenius Lines, have sustainability in their DNA,” Edvardsen states. “We are proud to be able to take UECC to the next level of sustainable shipping with their support.”

While these hybrid PCTCs are unlikely to be seen in African waters any time soon, the above shows a start to the way forward which eventually will reach further afield.

Added 18 April 2021


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BEST welcomes CMA CGM Scandola:
The first LNG vessel in the Port of Barcelona

MSC Sandola at her berth in the Port of Barcelona, Hutchison Ports BEST terminal, as reported and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Photos per: ©

It was announced from Barcelona on 14 April that the previous day Hutchison Ports BEST terminal welcomed the first LNG-powered vessel from CMA CGM. This is understood to be the first container ship using LNG as an energy source to arrive at the Port of Barcelona.

CMA CGM SCANDOLA (IMO 9859129)* belongs to the MEX 1 service, which links Asia to the Mediterranean. The vessel is 366 m loa, 51 m wide and has a capacity of 14,800 TEU. It was built in 2020 in response to the new IMO requirements for energy transition in the maritime industry.

Hutchison Ports BEST’s CEO, Guillermo Belcastro commented: “Today, maritime transport is relatively the most efficient and sustainable mode of freight transport. Shipping lines are already investing heavily in minimising the impact from an environmental point of view and, at BEST, we are aligned with the same objective and ready to receive such ships.”

Shore power

BEST terminal is working with the Port Authority of Barcelona on several initiatives that will improve the sustainability of the terminal, such as the Shore Power project. As such, BEST will be the first container terminal in Spain to have an electrified quayside. Vessels at berth will be able to connect to electric power while loading and unloading containers at the terminal, thus reducing the carbon footprint in the Port of Barcelona.

For this reason, and because of its operational design based mainly on electric power, BEST terminal is claimed to be one of the most sustainable terminals in the Mediterranean.

CMA CGM Scandola if the first of six sister ships in her class and size, all LNG powered. CMA CGM has on order another five near sister ships, bringing the number to 11 of these neo-Panamax container ships. Reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Photos per: ©

About BEST

Hutchison Ports BEST (Barcelona Europe South Terminal)is the first semi-automated terminal in the Hutchison Ports and the most technologically advanced port development project in Spain. It is capable of serving many large vessels simultaneously and has an eight-track railway facility, the biggest on-dock railway terminal of any port in the Mediterranean, connecting it to traffic from and to Southern Europe.

About Hutchison

Hutchison Ports BEST is a member of Hutchison Ports, the port and related services division of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited (CK Hutchison). Hutchison Ports is one of the world’s leading port investors, developers and operators with a network of port operations in 53 ports spanning 27 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.

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

* CMA CGM Scandola (150,844-gt; 159,614-dwt) is the first of six sister ships built to the Standard Hyundai 15000 design, with a 14,800-TEU capacity including 1000 reefer points. Built at the Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co Ltd – Samho shipyard in South Korea as Yard No. S991, the ship is powered by a MAN-B&W 11G90ME-C10-GI main engine producing 63,031 hp (46,360 Kw) and providing the ship with a service speed of 22 knots (24 knots max). CMA CGM Scandola, named for a Corsican nature reserve, flies the flag of Malta. The ship is the first to have bunkered with LNG via a LNG tanker in the port of Singapore.

Edited by Paul Ridgway London Correspondent of Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Added 18 April 2021



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in partnership with – APO

Coronavirus – Rwanda: COVID-19 update (2 April 2021)

Coronavirus – Malawi: COVID-19 update (2 April 2021)

30 new COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus – Nigeria: COVID-19 update (2 April 2021)

Coronavirus – Kenya: COVID-19 update (2 April 2021)

Total confirmed positive cases are 136,893

Distributed by APO Group


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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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