Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 9 August 2021

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Monday 9 August is a Public Holiday in SA – our next News edition will appear on Tuesday 10 August – updates and breaking news may be added to the current edition.

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

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The Sunday masthead shows the Port of Cape Town
The Monday masthead shows the Port of East London West Bank
The Tuesday masthead shows the Port of East London
The Wednesday masthead shows the Port of Durban Container Terminal by night
The Thursday matshead shows the Port of Tin Can Island, Lagos
The Friday masthead shows the port of Tema (Ghana)
The Saturday & Sunday mastheads show the Port of Saldanha
The Monday (9th) masthead shows the Port of Richards Bay Coal Terminal




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Bahri Yanbu, Picture by Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Bahri Yanbu
Bahri Yanbu, Picture by Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Pictures by Keith Betts

We’ve featured several of these attractive Saudi-flag ro-ro vessels in the past, Bahri Jeddah and Bahri Tabuk being two of at least six in the fleet.  Now we have a third to add, BAHRI YANBU (IMO 9626534), which arrived in Durban port during June 2021. Built in 2014, she has a gross weight of 50,714-tons and is 225 metres in length and 32m wide.

Although flagged in Saudi Arabia (Dammam) the ship is managed by a Dubai-based shipmanagement company, Mideast Ship Management. Since departing from Durban on 24 June Bahri Yanbu has crossed the South Atlantic to call at Salvador in Brazil before proceeding to Houston in Texas, USA and is now due in Wilmington, on the US east coast, on Monday 2 August.

Pictures are by Keith Betts

Added 1 August 2021


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 welome.





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Trucks set alight on N2 between Ermelo and Piet Retief

Watch short video from Twitter of the Ermelo district trucks burning on Wednesday.

The long-distance trucking industry is back on full alert following the torching on Wednesday night of three trucks and a bakkie on the main road in Mpumalanga between Ermelo and Piet Retief.

Police said they were not sure of the circumstances because the vehicles were already alight wen they arrived on scene. Nor was there any sign of the drivers who are presumed to have fled the scene.

The police have opened a case of incitement to commit public violence.

Social media reports say that protesters were present and threw rocks at passing vehicles. Motorists were urged to avoid driving on this section of highway.

The incident has led to speculation that stopping and setting fire to the trucks and bakkie is a continuation of the protests and insurrection of mid July. Elsewhere there are suggestions that safety in the affected areas of KZN, parts of Mpumalanga and Gauteng are not yet safe from further actions of unrest.

Meanwhile, Kwanalu, the agricultural union of KwaZulu-Natal has called on the authorities to remove the Mooi River toll plaza elsewhere, on account of the numerous incidents of trucks being stopped and burnt at the plaza.

Added 5 August 2021



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Nigerian Chamber of Shipping becomes full ICS member

Andy Isichei, President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, who will now sit on the Board of ICS , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Andy Isichei, President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, who will now sit on the Board of ICS

Andy Isichei, President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, who will now sit on the Board of ICS
The Nigerian Chamber of Shipping on Monday 2 August became a full member of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

The Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, formed in 2002, has grown to not only represent the country’s domestic shipping industry but also all stakeholders in Nigerian maritime, including ship owners and operators, port and terminal operators, shipyard and dry dock owners service operators in the oil and gas sector.

“We are delighted to welcome the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping as a full ICS member,” said Guy Platten, Secretary General of ICS. “This continues our goals to have a broad and truly global shipping community. We look forward to strengthening our connections and collaborations within the Nigerian maritime industry.”

Andy Isichei, President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, expressed gratitude to ICS and stakeholders within and outside Nigeria that supported them in attaining the new membership status.

“For us at the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, we recognise the significant position Nigeria holds as a maritime country, consequently, we consider our admission to full membership of ICS, as a call to higher responsibility and commitment to the goals and ideals that ICS represents,” said Isichei.

He said that the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping will embrace this new position with enthusiasm, and will leverage its unique African experience to build a bridge between ICS and African Ship owners and operators with a view to broadening ICS’s geographical sphere of influence.

“African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) creates a great opportunity for inter and intra African Trade despite existing challenges to shipping within Africa,” he added.

Andy Isichei will represent the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping on the ICS Board. The Nigerian Chamber of Shipping has been an Associate Member of ICS since 2019.

Added 5 August 2021


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WHARF TALK: BROTONNE BRIDGE makes it  into port

After a week outside the K-Line/ONE vessel enters the port of Cape Town to work her cargo of containers at the container terminal. Picture by 'Dockrat' and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
After a delay of a week outside port, the K-Line/ONE vessel Brotonne Bridge enters the port of Cape Town to work her cargo of containers at the container terminal. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The ongoing problems associated with the ransomware attack on the TNPA IT systems continues to rage and is affecting container terminals around the South African coast. Currently, there are six container vessels loitering in, and around, the Table Bay anchorage with three container vessels working at the Cape Town Container Terminal in the Ben Schoeman Dock, and one alongside at the Multi-Purpose Terminal in Duncan Dock. An already inefficient system is simply made worse by the malicious computer hack attack.

On 26th July at 23h00 the container vessel BROTONNE BRIDGE (IMO 9486116) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage from Ngqura, and like many of her consorts she remained at anchor for the good part of almost a week before entering Cape Town harbour on 3rd August at 17h00 where she went alongside 602 berth in the Ben Schoeman dock to begin cargo operations.

The container ships of K-Line are all named for famous bridges in the respective countries in which the Japanese shipping company has an active interest. This picture is by 'Dockrat' which features in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The container ships of K-Line are all named for famous bridges in the respective countries in which the Japanese shipping company has an active interest. This picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2010 by Samsung Shipbuilding at Geoje in South Korea, Brotonne Bridge is 270 metres in length with a deadweight of 58,430 tons. She is powered by a single Samsung MAN-B&W 8K98MC-C 8 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 48,986 bhp (36,529 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller to give a service speed of 24.3 knots.

One of five sisterships built to the Samsung 4500 design, Brotonne Bridge has a container carrying capacity of 4,526 TEU. She is owned and managed by Seaspan Ship Management of Vancouver in Canada. When built she was taken on a twelve year, fixed-rate time charter by Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd., better known as the famous ‘K’ Line of Tokyo.

Another view of Brotonne Bridge arriving in port at Cape Town. Can anyone guess which famous South African bridge was honoured by having one of the K-Line ships named after it? Answer on Tueday. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Another view of Brotonne Bridge arriving in port at Cape Town. Can anyone guess which famous South African bridge was honoured by having one of the K-Line ships named after it?   Answer on Tueday.  Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

K Line, who operate the vessel, and who are one of the three partners in the Singapore based Ocean Network Express (ONE) container service, have assigned her to the ONE South Africa Service (South). As with all K Line box ships, she is named after a famous bridge, namely the 320 metre long, fan designed, cable stay bridge that crosses the river Seine, west of Rouen in France.

The ONE SAS (South) service port rotation is Kaohsiung (Taiwan) – Xiamen (China) – Hong Kong – Nansha (China) – Shekou (China) – Singapore – Port Klang (Malaysia) – Durban – Cape Town – Port Klang – Singapore – Hong Kong – Kaohsiung.

Added 5 August 2021


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Xeneta container rates alert: shippers stunned as long-term rates surge by almost 30% in a month

In the latest report from Xeneta, a leading benchmarking and market intelligence platform, the month of July saw the container shipping industry enter uncharted waters, as long-term contracted rates surged by their largest ever monthly increase, climbing by close to one third.

According to Xeneta’s latest Long-Term XSI® Public Indices – which crowd sources real-time rates data from leading shippers – the global index recorded a staggering jump of 28.1%, blowing the previous record (a 11.3% rise in May 2019) out the water. The benchmark now stands 78.2% higher than in July 2020, up 76.4% in 2021 alone.

An industry in overdrive

Patrik Berglund, Xeneta CEO, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Patrik Berglund, Xeneta CEO

“This is a truly breath-taking development,” comments Patrik Berglund, CEO of Oslo-based Xeneta. “We’ve seen a combination of high demand, under capacity and supply chain disruption (in part down to COVID and port congestion) driving rates ever higher this year, but nobody could have anticipated a hike of this magnitude. The industry is in overdrive.

“Reports suggest that more than 300 vessels have already been ordered this year to try and redress the balance. However, these obviously won’t come on line for some time, so it’s difficult to see – unless something radical transpires – any relief on the immediate horizon for the shipper community. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Record performance

The XSI® delivers unique market intelligence to help stakeholders understand the market and get optimal value for their businesses in contract negotiations. In July it revealed unprecedented shifts, with rates in Europe leading the way. The import benchmark here spiked by a massive 49.1% driving prices to an all-time high (the spot market set the course for the jump, with Freight All Kind, FAK, rates surpassing USD 13,000 per FEU). Imports now stand a towering 120.3% up year-on-year. Exports also recorded their largest ever monthly increase, although by a more ‘modest’ 16% (up 39.8% since July 2020).

The Far East indices followed suit, with a record breaking 24.2% rise in exports (110.4% up year-on-year) while imports edged up, relatively speaking, by a still impressive 7.3% (43.2% higher than in July 2020). In the US, the XSI® revealed a 17.7% surge in imports – representing another all-time high – taking the benchmark to 61.2% above July last year. Exports also demonstrated strong gains, with an 11.1% climb (up 12% year-on-year, but 18.4% since the start of 2021)

Knock on effects

Despite what Berglund describes as “a crazy market” he notes that the majority of Xeneta users shipping large volumes report long-term contracts are mostly being honoured by carriers. This, he says, is better than the beginning of the summer, when the fear of rolled cargoes and broken agreements was front of mind for a stressed shipper community.
“However,” he states, “bear in mind that volume flexibility is totally gone, with shippers committing to maximum quantities to secure positions onboard. Furthermore, all around the world, but especially in the US, shippers are playing safe and building buffer agreements to ensure they’re covered for the holiday season. As such a ‘bullwhip effect’ is coming into play, as shippers order more to protect against delayed shipments and rollovers, further disrupting the supply chain. But, of course, who can blame them – they see it as the only way to stay ahead and make sure Christmas is saved.”

What next?

Xeneta banner in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Xeneta points to a glut of newbuild orders from key shipping lines scrambling to meet demand and secure market share – with, amongst others, COSCO believed to be have contracted 10 containerships, ranging from 14,092 TEU to 16,180 TEU, and Yang Ming understood to be mulling 24,000 TEU vessels.

“But shippers need short-term solutions, with greater reliability, easier negotiations and more sympathetic rates soon, rather than the promise of long-term relief,” Berglund stresses. “We’re already seeing some taking matters into their own hands, chartering vessels and joining with purchasing associations like XSTAFF, which supports CULines, in attempts to free themselves from the grip of traditional carriers. But that’s clearly not for everyone.”

Jostling for position

“It’ll be interesting to see how established players react to the red-hot market. Fortuitously, Evergreen ordered a dozen 24,000 TEU vessels back in 2019 and some will touch down this year, eventually boosting the firm’s capacity by 18%. There’s also word that Taiwanese carrier Wan Hai may re-enter European trades with its smaller vessels to take advantage of attractive rates. So, changes are on the horizon, but how significant will they will be in terms of the overall picture?”

He concludes: “For the time being carriers have the fundamentals firmly in their favour and are enjoying time in the sun, as illustrated by recent earnings reports from major players such as from Maersk and Hapag Lloyd.”

To get the full XSI® Public Indices report for the long-term market, please CLICK HERE

For daily XSI® short-term market rate movements over 12 main trade lanes, SEE HERE

Added 5 August 2021


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Lagos ports traffic gridlock remains a ‘major headache


The port of Apapa in Lagos, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The port of Apapa in Lagos   Picture NPA

The ongoing gridlock of trucks on the roads leading to the ports of Apapa and Tin Can in Lagos remains a major headache for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). That’s the word from Acting Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, who says that the congestion outside the port gates has defied solutions for more than ten years.

He said the NPA should be giving priority to Nigeria’s export cargo but instead was having to be concerned with traffic gridlocks around the ports.

This was despite some measures introduced to minimise the congestion. Unfortunately there was human interference with the manual manifest and call-up system causing them to be ineffective.

“We have brought in ETO [electronic call-up system] to ensure smooth inward and outward movement of cargo from the port. The idea was to ensure that all trucks coming in are supposed to move from trailer parks to Lilly Ponds (inland container terminal) then to the port.

He said the trailer parks were supposed to have deployed physical and electronic infrastructure but that was not happening. “When I was appointed, I gave them an ultimatum to ensure that those items were installed as quickly as possible,” he said.

The NPA had since taken other measures which showed some improvement and a better flow of traffic but the major hindrance remained the road.

“The Tin Can corridor is bad,” he said. “We have had discussions with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to ensure that the construction company deploys its gadgets to start construction around that area.”

Bello-Koko said the NPA has complained about multiple checkpoints which the NPA has tried to reduce. These led to various cases of extortion from touts who are referred to as ‘area boys’ and who find ways to divert the trucks, which he said further increased the traffic congestion.

The stakeholders needed to buy into the ETO system, the acting CEO said. “We have had Town Hall meetings with stakeholders to let them understand that this is a system that we are not going to change. The world has gone automated, so we need to reduce human interference.”

The port of Tin Can, also in Lagos, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The port of Tin Can, also in Lagos   Picture NPA

“We discovered a building not far away from Apapa gate where one can get a number plate printed in less than 20 minutes. This number can be used to get an ETO ticket. We have told the security agencies; they have raided the building and investigations are ongoing.

Bello-Koko said there were also saboteurs among NPA staff. The company was taking action, he said, and some staff have been placed on suspension to enable a proper investigation. Other staff have been transferred to different ports.

“We have made it clear that we shall not tolerate saboteurs in the system no matter where they are coming from,” he said.

To ensure the success of the ETO system there had to be multiple trailer parks outside the port precinct. He said that after advertising a number of parks had been provided with the necessary infrastructure including uninterrupted power supply for the automated systems and automatic gates, CCTV and internet access.

“We advertised and people showed interest in providing the parks that NPA will use for the ETO. We gave them what was needed for them to qualify.

Bello-Koko said some trailer park operators have commenced operating, but others not. Those that haven’t were being given a few more days and any park that by then fails to meet the requirements will be delisted and replaced.

Added 5 August 2021


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CRUISING: MSC Cruises restarts American cruising out of Miami

Yesterday, Wednesday 4 August the cruise ship MSC Meraviglia became the latest MSC Cruises ship to return to cruising when she sailed out of PortMiami in Florida.

The line intends having more than half of the MSC Cruises fleet back at sea by the end of the current northern summer. This follows an initial restart in the Mediterranean in August 2020, followed by the return in recent months of more of its ships cruising across the waters of the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, the UK and the Red Sea.

Now it’s the return of cruising from U.S. ports to the Caribbean. This is after tens of thousands of guests have enjoyed a cruise at sea on an MSC Cruises ship since last summer, all under the protection of the brand’s innovative and successful health and safety protocol which is also being implemented on cruises out of U.S. ports.

Following her sailing yesterday, MSC Meraviglia is currently on her first 4-night cruise visiting Nassau, The Bahamas and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, where the ship will stay overnight allowing guests an extended stay to discover the Company’s new private island destination.

Named the Best New Cruise Destination, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve offers passengers more than two miles of white sand beaches in an eco-friendly 64 square mile marine reserve.

MSC ships dock at the island from early morning into the evening and in some instances overnight. Guests can spend a full day enjoying activities for all ages including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, thrilling wave runner rides and more. To learn more about the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve CLICK HERE

MSC Cruises in the U.S.

MSC Meraviglia is now sailing 3- and 4-night cruises and will add 7-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises starting 18 September 2021.

MSC Divina will become MSC Cruises’ second ship to return to cruising from the U.S. with three-, four- and seven-night itineraries beginning 16 September from Orlando (Port Canaveral) – a new homeport for MSC.

Delivered just last week as the largest cruise ship ever built in Italy, MSC Seashore – MSC Cruises’ newest flagship – will arrive to her new homeport in Miami on 18 November 2021 immediately following her inaugural season in the Mediterranean.

As an evolution of the awards-winning Seaside class, the ship will bring guests closer to the sea than ever before with 140,000 sq.ft of outdoor space, the most of any MSC Cruises ship in the U.S., numerous outdoor bars and dining, pools and deck area for relaxing and sunbathing, as well as a variety of brand new spaces for guests.

You can see more about MSC Seashore HERE

Health & Safety Protocol

MSC Cruises introduced an industry leading health and safety protocol on board each ship, which includes universal COVID-19 testing at embarkation; regular testing of crew; physical distancing; mask-wearing; enhanced sanitation measures and more. In the U.S., MSC Cruises will welcome both vaccinated and not fully vaccinated guests on board with additional requirements for guests who are not fully vaccinated.

This comprehensive protocol has been key to the company’s successful global restart, tried and tested since August 2020 when MSC Cruises was the first major international cruise line to restart cruising.

South African Cruises

The question frequently asked in South Africa is when will cruising return in these waters, especially the well-established and popular MSC Cruises along the South African coast and to Mozambique, and the answer from MSC Cruises in SA is that a response is expected from NATJOINTS “very soon”. Watch this space!

Added August 2021


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IMO building support for fishing safety in the Pacific region

Picture: courtesy ©IMO, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture: courtesy ©IMO

IMO Member states in the Pacific Region were part of an active discussion exploring the national and regional benefits of ratifying and implementing the 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA), which aims to boost safety for fishing vessels and their crew.

A webinar at the end of July was the latest in a series of virtual events aimed at engaging decision-makers from maritime administrations and fishery authorities on the topic. It was organised in cooperation with the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Pacific Community (SPC) Secretariats.

Joseph Westwood-Booth, Senior deputy director for IMO’s Maritime Safety Division commented: “While a number of factors may have contributed to the bad safety record of the fishing industry, there can be no doubt that the lack of an effective internationally binding regulatory regime for the safety of fishing vessels plays a significant part.”

He added when opening the webinar: “The 2012 Cape Town Agreement will provide a much-needed mandatory regulatory framework for the safety of fishers, help combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and create more sustainable working conditions in the sector.

“Upon entry into force, the IMO agreement will act as an additional legislative pillar, supporting the important measures in place via the STCW-F Convention, ILO’s Work in Fishing Convention and FAO’s Agreement on Port State Measures.”

Safety standards

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement sets out minimum safety standards for vessels of 24-metres length and over that are flagged with a contracting State. It will come into force 12 months after being ratified by at least 22 States, with an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels meeting the length requirements operating on the high seas. To date (early August) it is understood it has 16 Parties have ratified.

Details of the CTA

Among other important issues, the webinar participants were given insight into the major principles of the Agreement, ratification process, the effects of fisheries management policies on fishing safety, benefits of ratifying the Agreement from labour, insurance, search and rescue, and marine environment perspectives.

Furthermore, the webinar featured positive impacts of the Agreement on combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Two panel discussions took place with speakers from UN Specialized Agencies, Member States and industry representatives, which were followed by question and answer sessions with engaging discussions.

Participants agreed a statement encouraging States to become a party to the Cape Town Agreement.

The next regional webinar, currently planned to be the last in the series, will be held on 19 and 20 October for Asian stakeholders. Details can be found by CLICKING HERE




Reported by Paul Ridgway

Added 4 August 2021


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WHARF TALK: What’s in a name? MP THE LAW

In January this year another of the company ships in MSC service called locally, MSC Brady, as shown here departing from the port of Durban. This picture is by Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
In January this year another of the company ships in MSC service called  in South African ports, MP The Brady, as shown here departing from the port of Durban. This picture is by Keith Betts

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Following on from ships with apparent daft names, we occasionally see a ship arriving in port not only with an apparent daft name, but sporting what can only be described as a hideous attempt at going green, and a retrofitted scrubber unit that the designer has not even bothered to try and blend into the existing superstructure.

On 27th July at 10h00 the container vessel MP THE LAW (IMO 9401776) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage from Lomé in West Africa. As a result of the usual port congestion at the container terminal, exacerbated by the malicious hack into the Transnet IT systems which slowed operations down even further, she remained out at anchor for over five days and entered the Ben Schoeman Dock on 1st August at 17h00 and went alongside Berth 601 to begin her onload.

The MSC container ship, MP The Law, arrived in the port of Cape Town from West Africa on Sunday, 1 August 2021. This picture is by 'Dockrat' and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The MSC chartered container ship, MP The Law, arrived in the port of Cape Town from West Africa on Sunday, 1 August 2021. This picture is by ‘Dockrat’

For the last week there have been a minimum of five container vessels remaining off Cape Town port limits every day, with three vessels alongside, as a result of the IT ransomware systems attack at TNPA.

Built in 2009 by the Hanjin Subic Shipyard at Olongapo in the Philippines, MP The Law is one of two sisterships built to a Hanjin 4300 design. She is 259 metres in length and has a deadweight of 52,315 tons. She is powered by a single HHI MAN-B&W 8K90MC-C 8 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 49,028 bhp (36,560 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller to give her a service speed of 24.5 knots.

Conspicuous was the ship's scrubber unit, tacjed on behind the final and looking every bit like an afterthought. Picture by 'Dockrat' featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Conspicuous was the ship’s scrubber unit, tacked on behind the funnel and looking every bit like the afterthought that scrubbers are. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generator sets providing 1,950 kW each, and a single emergency generator set providing 150 kW. She has a Saacke composite boiler. The container carrying capacity of MP The Law is 4,360 TEU and she has 326 reefer plugs.

Her nominal owners are MPF Investco S7 LLC, which is a trust company linked to New Jersey in the USA, and her managers are NSC Holding GmbH of Hamburg. She is operated by MSC of Geneva and currently utilised on the MSC India-Africa Service (IAS).

The sheer size of scrubbers introduced to remove harmful particles from the smoke emission on ships can be seen here. Picture by 'Dockrat' and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The sheer size of scrubber units introduced since 2020 to remove harmful particles from the smoke emission on ships can be seen here. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her American trust origins give a hint as to what the origination of the name of MP The Law might be. Her sistership is called MP The Brown and she has fleetmates with the names MP The Belichick and MP The Brady. To aficionados of American Football, these are all names linked to players and coaches of one of the greatest modern NFL teams of the current age, namely the New England Patriots.

When MSC decided to open a new weekly container service to link India with Africa, it was MP The Law that launched the IAS schedule with the first sailing on 24 January 2021 from Mundra in Pakistan. The port rotation of the IAS is Mundra – Nhava Sheva (India) – Colombo (Sri Lanka) – Port Louis (Mauritius) – Tema (Ghana) – Lomé (Togo) – Cotonou (Benin) – Cape Town (SA) – Durban (SA) – Jebel Ali (UAE) – Abu Dhabi (UAE) – Port Qasim (Pakistan) – Mundra.

The view of the container ship MP The Law after she has passed furter into the harour at Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat' and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The view of the container ship MP The Law as she passes further into the harbour at Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As with many vessels today, depending on the trade they are engaged on, or the desire of the owner, or the wishes of the charterer, many vessels are going ‘green’ with the retrofitting of scrubber units to remove the sulphur content out of the vessel’s exhaust by literally ‘washing’ the exhaust with water as it leaves the vessel. In some instances, the naval architect achieves a retrofit of the scrubber unit that blends it into the vessel to minimise the effect, in other cases it is encased as an extension to the existing funnel, and worse of all it is simply tacked onto the vessel with no attempt to hide what it really is.

In the case of MP The Law it is this latter description of a tacked on addition, and her scrubber unit is akin to an agricultural silo building on stilts, that has been slapped on behind the funnel. Yes, it is functional, and yes it probably does the job that it is intended to do, but it is nothing short of ugly and achieves nothing more than yet another vessel that passes the ship lovers eye and evokes a cry of ‘What the?”

Added 4 August 2021


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Marsa Maroc sells 35% of its shares to Tanger Med

Tanger Med port - the container terminal, busiest in Africa, is at upper left, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tanger Med port – the container terminal, busiest in Africa, is at upper left    Tanger Med

Marsa Maroc (Société d’Exploitation des Ports), the state-owned port and terminal operator in Morocco, has announced it has sold 35% of its capital share to Tanger Med for an amount of 5.48 MAD with the 2020 dividends attached.

The transaction, which remains subject to the clearance of regulatory conditions, is being carried out under the framework of the ongoing public sector reform, initiated under Royal Guidelines. The announcement said the Morocco state shall pursue its policy of supporting various strategic sectors, in particular through state owned enterprises.

Tanger Med and Marsa Maroc, while remaining independent of each other, will implement a strategic partnership allowing them to develop synergies and empowering Morocco with a strong group able to meet the logistics challenges of the national economy.

This partnership will also enable Moroccan industrialists, importers and exporters, with a more efficient and competitive service offering, in the context of the dynamic reconfiguration of international logistics corridors.

Tanger Med is an industrial port hub encompassing Tanger Med Port 1, Passengers and Trucks Port, Tanger Med Port 2, and more than 2,000 hectares of logistics, industrial and commercial activity zones. Tanger Med has ranked as the biggest and busiest container port in the Mediterranean and in Africa, handling 5.8 million container TEUs in 2020.

The Financial Times ranked it as the second most attractive economic zone in the world.

Marsa Maroc has a presence in nine Moroccan ports, with its service offering including stevedoring, warehouse and storage, port logistics services as well as services to ships.

Added 4 August 2021


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IMCA signs GoG Declaration on the Suppression of Piracy

Allen Leatt, Chief Executive of IMCA - IMCA proud to be among the list of signatories, features in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Allen Leatt, IMCA Chief Executive – IMCA proud to be among the list of signatories

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has become the latest signatory to the ‘Gulf of Guinea Declaration on the Suppression of Piracy’ drafted by a taskforce of stakeholders from across the shipping industry in response to growing concerns and increasing attacks in the West Africa region.

The declaration has been signed by organisations across the maritime industry including flag state administrations, ship owners, charterers, and shipping associations representing all sectors of the industry. IMCA has signed on behalf of the offshore marine contracting industry, as many of its’ members regularly work in the region and some have been subjected to attacks. A copy of the Declaration can be read by CLICKING HERE.

IMCA has released a security bulletin to members, urging them to seriously consider signing the Declaration. By signing up, they commit themselves to – among other things, tangibly supporting antipiracy law enforcement as mandated by international law, including international treaties, (e.g. the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)); and encouraging non-regional naval forces providing a capable incident response capability to complement regional coastal states’ antipiracy law enforcement operations.

Allen Leatt, Chief Executive of IMCA said that IMCA is proud to be among the list of signatories to this important Declaration. “I encourage our members to give it serious consideration. The violence, scope, and sophistication of piracy attacks remains a significant threat to offshore operations in the region. Everybody deserves to be safe while carrying out their work. Seafarers and offshore crews deserve no less.”

A short film SeafarersDeserveSupport has been produced by BIMCO which touches on the issue, and highlights the fact that in 2020 135 crew members were kidnapped. IMCA is encouraging members to share this widely within their organisations, and will feature on their website and via social media.

IMCA holds consultative status with the IMO and participates in all its’ meetings including those addressing the issue of piracy. IMCA actively supports IMO’s efforts to suppress piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.


IMCA represents the vast majority of offshore marine contractors and the associated supply chain in the world, with members from over 60 countries. It publishes an extensive technical library of guidance documents on operational good practice, safety promotional materials, timely information notes and safety flashes. Members benefit from a technical structure comprising four main divisions covering Offshore Diving, Marine (including an Offshore Renewable Energy Committee), Remote Systems & ROVs, and Offshore Surveying.

These are supported by a committee structure focused on: health, safety, security and the environment; competence and training; lifting and rigging; marine policy and regulatory affairs; and contracts and insurance. The association’s global coverage is organised into five geographic regions: Asia-Pacific, Europe & Africa, Middle East & India, North America, and South America.

Further information on IMCA and its work is available from

You can email them at

Added 4 August 2021


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The Future is Here: DHL orders 12 all-electric cargo aircraft

DHL Express, one of the world’s largest express service providers, and Eviation, the Seattle-area based global manufacturer of all-electric aircraft, made history this week when they revealed that DHL is the first to order 12 fully electric Alice eCargo planes from Eviation.

DHL aims to set up an unparalleled electric Express network and make a pioneering step into a sustainable aviation future. Eviation’s Alice is leading the race to develop fully electric aircraft that will enable airlines – both cargo and passenger – to operate a zero-emission fleet.

Eviation expects to deliver the Alice electric aircraft to DHL Express in 2024.

“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” says John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express. “Therefore, our investments always follow the objective of improving our carbon footprint. On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal of zero emissions.

DHL a Pioneer in Aviation Industry

“Founded in 1969, DHL Express has been known as a pioneer in the aviation industry for decades. We have found the perfect partner with Eviation as they share our purpose, and together we will take off into a new era of sustainable aviation,” Pearson said.

Alice can be flown by a single pilot and will carry 1,200 kilograms (2,600 lbs). It will require 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour and have a maximum range of up to 815 kilometres (440 nautical miles). Alice will operate in all environments currently serviced by piston and turbine aircraft. Top speed will be around 220 knots.

The aircraft’s advanced electric motors have fewer moving parts to increase reliability and reduce maintenance costs. Its operating software constantly monitors flight performance to ensure optimal efficiency.

The two propellers, which are mounted on pods near the tail, are powered by Magnix 650 electric motors. Magnix, a Seattle-based company, achieved aviation success in May last year when it sent the largest all-electric aircraft in history on its first flight.

According to Eviation, Alice will make its first flight later this year and will enter service by 2024.

There are several companies developing all-electric motored aircraft. They include Airbus,Embraer, Boeing-backed Zunum Aero, Wright Electric an Ampaire, among others. Even NASA is developing its own all-electric aircraft, the X-57 Maxwell.

“From day one, we set an audacious goal to transform the aviation industry and create a new era with electric aircraft,” Eviation CEO, Omer Bar-Yohay said.

“Partnering with companies like DHL who are the leaders in sustainable e-cargo transportation is a testament that the electric era is upon us. This announcement is a significant milestone on our quest to transform the future of flight across the globe.”

Ideal for Feeder Routes

The aircraft is considered ideal for feeder routes and requires less investment in station infrastructure. The Alice can be charged while loading and unloading operations continue, ensuring quick turnaround times that maintain DHL Express’ tight schedules.

Congratulating Eviation on the innovative development of the fully electric Alice aircraft, Travis Cobb, EVP Global Network Operations and Aviation for DHL Express, said this was, with Alice’s range and capacity, a fantastic sustainable solution for DHL’s global network.

“Our aspiration is to make a substantial contribution in reducing our carbon footprint, and these advancements in fleet and technology will go a long way in achieving further carbon reductions. For us and our customers, this is a very important step in our decarbonisation journey and a step forward for the aviation industry as a whole.”

Eviation’s Alice all-electric aircraft is on track for its first flight later this year.

“The next time you order an on-demand package, check if it was delivered with a zero-emission aircraft like DHL will be doing,” said Eviation Executive Chairman, Roei Ganzarski. “With on-demand shopping and deliveries on a constant rise, Alice is enabling DHL to establish a clean, quiet and low-cost operation that will open up greater opportunities for more communities.”

DHL decarbonising operations

The DHL Group is is investing a total of 7 billion euros (Opex and Capex) by 2030 in measures to reduce its CO2 emissions. The funds will go in particular towards electrification of last-mile delivery fleet, sustainable aviation fuels and climate-neutral buildings. Eviation is believed to have orders for 150 aircraft from various operators.

On the way to the zero emissions target by 2050, which has already been in place for four years, the company has committed to new, ambitious interim targets. For example, as part of the renowned Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), Deutsche Post DHL Group is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Not all plain sailing for Alice

The development of the all-electric aircraft has, as might be expected, encountered a few hiccups along the way. In January last year one of two prototype Alice aircraft experienced a fire during ground testing at Prestcott, Arizona. The fire was said to have been caused by a ground-based battery system and was extinguished by an on-hand Prescott Fire Department crew.

New Design

The illustration shown above is of the re-designed Alice aircraft, which has evolved around two 640-kW magi650 electric propulsion units from sister company MagniX. Several other features on the original prototype have been dispensed with, gone are the tailwheel landing gear, butterfly tail assembly and three pusher variable-pitch propellers on the wingtips and tail.

Added 4 August 2021


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Fire in Durban-bound container ship Seaspan Lahore narrowly averted

Thanks to some quick action by the Sri Lankan Ports Authority (SLPA), a potential container fire on a container ship whose next port of call is Durban, has been safely averted.

The port of Colombo has already experienced a recent catastrophic container fire on the feeder ship X-PRESS PEARL (IMO 9875343) at anchor outside port, without wishing to have another. X-Press Pearl burned for several days before sinking. You can see that report

The latest fire and chemical spill risk involved the Hapag-Lloyd operated SEASPAN LAHORE (IMO 9301811) and a container on board carrying nitric acid in drums. According to Sri Lankan news reports this container was to be discharged at its next port of call, which is the port of Durban where the ship has an ETA of 10 July.

The Seaspan Lahore had arrived in Colombo from the Indian port of Mundra. Shortly after sailing from the Indian port a chemical leak was noticed from one of the containers. The ship’s master immediately notified the ship’s agents, Hapag-Lloyd Lanka, who notified the Harbour Master at Colombo, the vessel’s next port, as well as the port’s container terminal.

Among those inspecting the container with the nitric acid are SLPA Chairman Capt. Nihal Keppetipola, Harbour Master Capt. Nirmal Silva, SAGT CEO Romesh David, and Hapag-Lloyd Lanka CEO Lalith Witanachchi. Picture: SLPA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Among those inspecting the container with the nitric acid are SLPA Chairman Capt. Nihal Keppetipola, Harbour Master Capt. Nirmal Silva, SAGT CEO Romesh David, and Hapag-Lloyd Lanka CEO Lalith Witanachchi. Picture: SLPA

Following a careful and thorough study of the storage plan, and the various commodities in adjacent containers on board the Seaspan Lahore, the port authority decided to berth the vessel on arrival, then rework the containers and to repack the barrels of nitric acid into a fresh container for onward carriage. The container held 650 drums of the nitric acid.

When opened the bottom of the container was found to have been partially eaten away by the leaking acid, which is a strong corrosive and potentially flammable.

With the port fire brigade present the containers were reworked successfully and the container carrying the leaking chemical isolated. Had the reworking been delayed by just one more day, there would have been a strong chance of a fire onboard the ship, the chairman of SLPA, Captain Nihal Keppetipola, said.

He added that it had been made possible only by the local agent for the ship notifying the port authority well in advance. source: Daily FT

Added 3 August 2021


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WHARF TALK: Among the unusually named ships is FREIGHT MARGIE

The LR1 tanker Freight Margie has arrived in port at Cape Town with a cargo of fuel to discharge. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

There are times when you see a vessel with an unusual name, and you look at that name and think “What the?” Most merchant vessels are designed and built to carry freight, and there is no reason to believe that oil products cannot be seen as freight. But who is Margie?

On 30th July at 2200 the LR1 Panamax tanker FREIGHT MARGIE (IMO 9275763) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage and remained there until late the following morning when on 31st July at 10h00 she entered Cape Town harbour and went alongside the tanker berth in the Duncan Dock. She was another arrival from the Italian oil refinery at Sarroch on the island of Sicily, the third in as many months.

The tanker with the unusual name is being manoeuvred into position to go alongside the tanker berth in Duncan Dock. Picture is by 'Dockrat', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The tanker with one of the more unusual names for a ship, is being manoeuvred into position to go alongside the tanker berth in Cape Town’s Duncan Dock. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2004 by Daewoo Shipbuilding at Geoje in South Korea, Freight Margie is 228 metres in length and has a deadweight of 70,313 tons. She is powered by a single Doosan MAN-B&W 5S60MC-C 5 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 15,139 bhp (11,289 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14.6 knots. Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 900 kW each. She has 12 cargo tanks giving her a cargo carrying capacity of 81,078 m3.

More manoeuvring to position the Frieght Margie correctly. Picture by 'Dockrat', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
More manoeuvring to position the Freight Margie correctly. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Owned and managed by Perseveranza SpA di Navigazione of Naples in Italy, Freight Margie is operated by Ships Surveys and Services Srl, who operate from the same address. As a spot market tanker, she is not a regular visitor to African waters, although this visit to Cape Town is not her first African sojourn in recent months. As recently as June this year she delivered a cargo of refined products to Lagos in Nigeria.

Freight Margie's stern. Picture by 'Dockrat', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Freight Margie’s stern, revealing her port of registry to be Napoli. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On a previous voyage to South African waters, back in early July 2017, Freight Margie was at the centre of a medical emergency. On 6 July, whilst lying at anchor off Durban some 7 miles off the port entrance, she requested immediate medical assistance reporting that the ship’s master had collapsed and was unconscious onboard the vessel.

Our final look at the tanker Freight Margie. Who is she, one wonders? Picture is by 'Dockrat'Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Our final look at the Freight Margie, now safely on her tanker berth. Who is she, we wonder? Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) launched their rescue craft ‘Megan II’ from Durban Station 5, accompanied by Netcare paramedics. On reaching the vessel, the paramedics declared that the Italian master was deceased, from a suspected cardiac arrest. The paramedics stayed with Freight Margie and she berthed later that day at the Island View terminal. The body of the deceased Captain was taken ashore and placed into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.

Added 3 August 2021


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NSPCA says it ain’t over, we’re appealing High Court ruling on live animal exports

The livestock carrier Al Messilah, chartered by Al Mawashi to carry 76,000 live sheep to Kuwait and Oman, which were loaded in East London harbour. Picture by Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The livestock carrier Al Messilah, chartered by Al Mawashi to carry 76,000 live sheep to Kuwait and Oman, which were loaded in East London harbour. Picture by Shipspotting

The National Council of SPCA’s has denied a recent news report which claimed that the NSPCA has failed in its fight to ban the export of live animals from South Africa by sea. The NSPCA said the report was false and that it had been paid for as sponsored content.

The dispute concerns a Kuwaiti live export company, Al Mawashi, which every year since 2019 has exported over 100,000 live animals across the equator from South Africa to the Middle East with the permission of the South African Government. “The NSPCA has fought against this since day one and continues fighting for the protection of our animals today.

“Our legal application against Al Mawashi consisted of two parts. Part A sought to prevent Al Mawashi from exporting live animals until the judgement of Part B of the application is handed down. In 2020, Acting Judge Dukada ruled in favour of Al Mawashi and allowed them to continue exporting our animals before Part B could be heard. Part B of our application, which is yet to be heard at the Makhanda [Grahamstown] High Court, seeks to prevent the export of live animals by sea north of the equator, to be banned in toto.”

The NSPCA said that earlier this year it requested leave to amend its notice of motion from application proceedings to trial-based proceedings for Part B. This request was dismissed by Judge GNZ Mjali on the 15th July 2021.

“The ruling of Judge Mjali speaks only to the format of our application. It is NOT a final ruling on Part B of the application.

“Once again, the NSPCA will be appealing the ruling of our courts.

Added 3 August 2021


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Vehicle sales & exports affected by civil unrest, port cyber attack and COVID-19, reports Naamsa

Car Carrier Ro-Ro vessel Hoegh Trotter in Durban harbour - imports and exports through the port were adversely affected during July. Picture by Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Car Carrier Ro-Ro vessel Hoegh Trotter in Durban harbour – imports and exports through the port were adversely affected during July. Picture by Keith Betts

After a robust and encouraging June report, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) described the hugely anticipated new motor vehicle sales for the month of July as reflecting a mixed bag of statistics due to a number of factors.

These include: the recent economic disruptions caused by unrests in Kwazulu-Natal and certain areas across the Gauteng Province, the cyber-attack on Transnet operations which led to a force majeure which in turn impacted negatively on vehicle export and import operations, as well as the adjusted Alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions which lasted for more than five weeks.

These, said Naamsa, curtailed the good progress made in the automotive industry’s rebound during the first six months of the year. As a result, export sales recorded a huge decline of 8,381 units, or 33,1%, to 16,931 units in July 2021 compared to the 25,312 vehicles exported in July 2020.

Aggregate domestic sales in July 2021, at 32,949 units, reflected a modest increase of 544 units, or 1,7%, from the 32,405 vehicles sold in July 2020.

The July 2021 new passenger car market at 20,575 units had registered an increase of 1,719 cars, or a gain of 9,1%, compared to the 18,856 new cars sold in July 2020. The car rental industry supported the new passenger car market during the month and accounted for 11,9% of car sales in July 2021. Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses at 10,266 units during July 2021 had recorded a decline of 899 units, or a drop of 8,1%, from the 11,165 light commercial vehicles sold during July 2020.

Sales for medium and heavy truck segments of the industry also reflected a weak performance and at 587 units and 1,521 units, respectively, showed a decline of 113 units, or 16,1% in the case of medium commercial vehicles, and, in the case of heavy trucks and buses a decline of 163 vehicles, or a fall of 9,7%, compared to the corresponding month last year.

The July 2021 exports sales number at 16,931 units reflected a huge fall of 8,381 vehicles, or 33,1%, compared to the 25,312 vehicles exported in July 2020. Encouragingly, for the year-to-date, vehicle exports, however, were still 47,3% ahead of the same period last year.

Civil Unrest & Port Cyber-Attack

In addition to the adjusted Alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions being in place for most of July 2021, the civil unrest in the country along with the cyber-attack on Transnet, left a major scar on the country’s economy. The ABSA Purchasing Manufacturers’ Index [PMI] reflected that the magnitude of the monthly decline was worse than during the hard lockdown in April 2020.

Mikel Mabasa, NAAMSA CEO, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mikel Mabasa, NAAMSA CEO

“The devastating economic impact and unintended consequences of these actions not only caused a setback in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic but could prolong the economic recovery process and also have a lasting impact on the country’s challenges of dealing with poverty, inequality, and unemployment,” said Mikel MABASA, Naamsa CEO.

“Physical damages to assets and property, lost sales orders as well as the cancellation of new developments in the automotive industry are estimated at well over R3 billion. Businesses and consumers already had to brace themselves for the significant price hikes in key living costs such as electricity, fuel, and municipal rates and taxes during July 2021,” Mabasa said.

“However, South Africans once again showed their goodwill and social solidarity during these challenging times. With the calm returning to KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the country moving to adjusted alert level 3 lockdown restrictions and the accelerated roll out of the vaccinations, the gradual recovery in the new vehicle market is anticipated to continue for the remainder of the year.”

Export Momentum Grinds to a Halt

The upward momentum in vehicle exports also grinded to a halt during the month as the civil unrest well as the Force Majeure declared by Transnet after the cyber-attack, which took effect from 22 July and resulted in many operations having to be conducted manually, caused massive logistical challenges on the N3 highway and at all the country’s major ports.

Vehicle exports and imports as well as vehicle production and the delivery of automotive components could take some time to normalise. It is always unfortunate that these mindless actions, which lasted only a few days, could potentially affect the image of an industry as a reliable manufacturer and supplier of quality vehicles and automotive components to world markets, which took several decades to establish, said Naamsa.

Some facts about the SA Automotive Industry

* the automotive industry contributes 4.9% to GDP [2.8% manufacturing and 2.1% retail];
* in 2020, the export of vehicles and automotive components reached a record amount of R175.7 billion, equating to 13.9% of South Africa’s total exports;
* the industry accounts for 18.7% of the country’s manufacturing output;
* vehicles and components are exported to 147 international markets;
* we are the country’s 5th largest exporting sector out of all 104 sectors;
* the manufacturing segment of the industry presently employs in the order of 110,000 people across its various tiers of activity [from component manufacturing to vehicle assembly];
* combined with the industry’s strong multiplier effect, the industry is responsible for approximately 457,000 jobs across the South African economy’s formal sector. Source: Naamsa

Added 3 August 2021


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Tanzania VP urges greater us of Mtwara Port

The Vice President of Tanzania, Dr Philip Mpango has urged shippers in Mtwara and southern Tanzania to use the Port of Mtwara when importing or exporting their goods.

Dr Mpango was visiting the port during a five-day visit to the southern regions to inspect the progress made following the construction of the new 300-metre long berth which has a depth alongside of 13.5 metres.

Mtwara is the biggest port in Tanzania’s southern region and is situated not far from the Mozambique border of Cabo Delgado province.

The port is also closest to Tanzania’s offshore oil and gas offshore developments within the greater Rovuma Basin – the Rovuma River forms the border between the two countries.

The vice president emphasised that all cargo to and from the region, including cashew nuts and farming requirements, should now be transported through Mtwara port.

In June, President Samia Suluhu Hassan issued instructions that the TPA and the Mtwara regional authorities should ensure that transport cashew nuts were transported via Mtwara port.

The directive covered the neighbouring countries of Mozambique and Malawi and the Tanzanian districts of Lindi and Ruvuma.

President Samia also ordered a review of the tariffs and levies with the aim of attracting more customers to use the port services.

This is the older, 380-metre long berth which remains in service at the Port of Mtwara, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
This is the older, 380-metre long berth which remains in service at the Port of Mtwara   Picture TPA

Turning his attention to the Mtwara port, Dr Mpango called on the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to ensure that port workers provided timely and quality services to all customers.

Management was to see that the port was properly equipped with the necessary infrastructure and equipment to enable an excellent service, he said.

Mtwara’s Regional Commissioner, Brig General Marco Gaguti, has been authorised to oversee the management of the port and to ensure the government funds injected in the expansion and construction of the berth yielded required results.

Mtwara port is situated within a large natural harbour and previously had the capacity to handle ships of up to 40,000-tonnes deadweight. The first berth measures 380 metres in length and is supported by an adjacent yard for cargo of 40,000 square metres.

The second berth of 300 metres length handles vessels of up to 65,000-dwt and is backed by a yard measuring 79,000m2. This has increased the port’s cargo handling capacity from 400,000 tonnes per annum to 100,000 tonnes.

Added 3 August 2021


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WHARF TALK: the lay ship LV NORTH OCEAN 105


First sight of the Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 was when she entered port on July 2021. Fortunately someone was on hand to quickly take a photograph. Picture by Steve McCurrach featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
First sight of the Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 was when she entered port on July 2021. Fortunately someone was on hand to quickly take a photograph.     Picture by Steve McCurrach

Pictures by Steve McCurrach, Trevor Jones & Keith Betts

A recent arrival at the Port of Durban has attracted much attention among those who keep track of the comings and goings of ships in port. This was the McDermott’s lay vessel (LV) NORTH OCEAN 105 (IMO 9433183), a highly specialised vessel involved with the laying and maintenance of flexible and rigid piping used GENERALLY with the oil and other offshore industries.

Steve McCurrach's second photograph shoows a slightly different angle, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Steve McCurrach’s second photograph shows a slightly different angle

Delivered in April 2012 from the Metalships & Docks shipyard in Vigo, which is situated on the northwest coast of Spain, the vessel was initially owned jointly by the firms of Oceanteam Shipping (25%) and J Ray McDermott AS (75%) both of Norway, the latter being then an affilate of the Houston, USA-based company known as McDermott.

In 2017 when Oceanteam faced financial pressure and a need to restructure, the vessel was acquired fully by McDermott who continued operating the ship, while the cash injection no doubt assisted Oceanteam to a more secure standing.

After a few days at the Point LV North Ocean 105 moved across to the Pier 1, berth 104 position where she currently remains. This picture is by Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
After a few days at the Point LV North Ocean 105 moved across to the Pier 1, berth 104 position where she currently remains. This picture is by Keith Betts

In the jargon of the industry LV North Ocean 105 is described as a fast-transit, dynamically positioned vessel with an advanced reel-lay system capable of rigid and flexible pipelay in up to 3,000 metres of water.

The ship is equipped with a 2.975 tonne reel payload, a pipelay tower with 400-tonne tensioner and tilting angles from 40 to 90 degrees, a 450 tonne and 150 tonne capacity A&R winch system, capable of pipe abandonment or subsea lowering to a depth of 3,000 metres, and two portside AHC main cranes of 100 and 400 metric tons for subsea lifts and construction supports.

A side-on view of the piep-laying vessel, by Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A side-on view of the pipe-laying vessel, by Keith Betts, with the container shoreside cranes of Pier 1 beyond

LV North Ocean 105 was the second lay vessel within the McDermott fleet of the North Ocean series which was jointly owned, the other being CSV North Ocean 102, which operates with a 7,000 ton horizontal lay system. That particular vessel had successfully performed several underwater power cable installations including the Statoil Gjoia Power Cable and the BritNed interconnector power-cable for ABB.

LV North Ocean 105 has an overall length of 132.4 metres (144.6 m with tower protrusions) and width of 31.4m with a max 6.85-metre draught. She has a deadweight of 11,280 tons and is registered in Valetta in Malta.

This is a similar view of the ship to that shown above but comes from the camera of Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
This is a similar view of the ship to that shown above but comes from the camera of Trevor Jones

LV North Ocean 105 has a total deck area of 2,000m2. Her power is provided by 4 x 3,330 kW Wartsila main generators, an emergency 1,000 kW Caterpillar generator and a 1,600 kW Wartsila aux generator. The ship’s propulsion on her main propellers are provided by two Kongsberg 3,500 kW Azipull thrusters, 2 x 1,500 kW tunnel and 1 x 1,500 kW bow thruster. The vessel has a speed of 11 knots.

Dynamic Positioning is handled by a Kongsberg K-pos 21 system.

LV North Ocean 105 has airconditioned and heated accommodation for a total of 129 persons, with 15 single and 57 double berth cabins all with en-suite toilets. There are two hospital beds on the ship, two recreation rooms, a gym, sauna, conference room, helicopter reception, client offices and the usual galley, mess room and laundry.

And finally this view of LV North Ocean 105 on berth 104 in Durban harbour. Picture is by Trevor Jones an featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
And finally this view of LV North Ocean 105 on berth 104 in Durban harbour. Picture is by Trevor Jones

The vessel carries two lifeboats each for 70 persons fully enclosed, a life raft according to class and one rescue boat. Her helideck is compatible with a Super Puma or Sikorsky S-92 helicopter.

Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 arrived in Durban after a 25 day voyage from the port of Kakinada in India and at the time showed her next port of call as being Kribi in Cameroon. After a few days at the Point docks however, she moved across to Pier 1, berth 104 where maintenance appears to being carried out. – trh

Added 2 August 2021



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Another great historic ship that sailed into South African waters – HMS CHALLENGER

HMS Challenger - a painting by William Mitchell. Picture: Wikipedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
HMS Challenger – a painting by William Mitchell. Picture: Wikipedia

Story by Jay Gates

A recent article in Africa Ports (28th July) made mention of the pioneering voyage of HMS Challenger in the late 19th Century. This was yet another great historic ship that called into South African waters, created a new scientific discipline and had a closer, personal, connection to Cape Town than most people realise.

Captain, later Admiral, Geirge Nares of the Challenger
Captain, later Admiral, George Nares of the Challenger.  Picture: Challenger Reports

One of the greatest pioneering scientific voyages took place between 1872 and 1876, a voyage of four years that circumnavigated the world and covered 68,890 nautical miles in the pursuit of oceanic discovery and exploration. The ship was HMS CHALLENGER, and the voyage is universally known as the ‘Challenger Expedition’.

Launched on 13 February 1858 at the Woolwich Dockyard on the River Thames, HMS Challenger was one of ten Pearl class Corvettes built for the Royal Navy. She was 67 metres in length and had a displacement of 2,171 tons. Her sail plan was that of a three masted full rigged ship, and originally she carried 20 x 8 inch muzzle loading, smooth bore, broadside guns. She also had auxiliary steam power and had a 2 cylinder trunk engine developing 1,460 ihp (1,080 kW), driving a single screw to give a service speed under steam of 10.7 knots.

In 1870, under the auspices of the Royal Society, HMS Challenger was withdrawn as the flagship of the Australian Station, and converted into a scientific vessel with the removal of 18 of her guns, and the ships spaces being augmented by additional cabins, laboratories and a dredging deck. Under the command of Captain George Nares, HMS Challenger sailed out of Portsmouth on 21st December 1872 on her four year voyage of oceanic exploration. She carried 21 Officers, 6 Scientists and 216 crew, giving her a complement of 243 men.

HMS Challenger in Table Bay, December 1873. Picture: Wikipedia and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
HMS Challenger in Table Bay, December 1873. Lithograph from chapter frontspiece of the 1884 book ‘The Cruise of Her Majesty’s Ship Challenger’ by Lt. WJJ Spry RN

By October 1873 she had reached Tristan da Cunha, where she rescued the two Stoltenhoff brothers, Frederick and Gustav, who had been marooned on Inaccessible Island since 27th November 1871. Sailing from Tristan da Cunha on 19th October 1983, HMS Challenger sailed directly for South Africa and arrived in Simons Bay on 28th October 1873 at 16h00, where she took on fresh stores and began a small refit with the assistance of the Naval Dockyard at Simonstown.

Commander John Fiot Maclear. Picture: Wikipedia/Natural History Museum, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Commander John Fiot Maclear. Picture: Wikipedia/Natural History Museum

In early December, on completion of her refit, she sailed around the Cape and headed for Cape Town where she anchored in Table Bay. The intention of Captain Nares was for HMS Challenger to enter the newly opened Albert Basin, so as to give the inhabitants of Cape Town the opportunity of a free run aboard the vessel. However, the Dockmaster refused docking permission for this request as he was concerned that a vessel of the size of HMS Challenger would cause potential damage to the jetty, and the bollards, if a Southeasterly wind picked up, which was likely at that time of year.

Her time spent at Cape Town was special for the Commander of HMS Challenger. Second In Command to Captain Nares on the vessel was Commander John Fiot Lee Pearse Maclear. If his surname sounds familiar to Capetonians, it is because Commander Maclear was the second son to Sir Thomas Maclear, the Astronomer Royal at the Royal Observatory at Cape Town. The highest point of Table Mountain is Maclear’s Beacon, named after the illustrious astronomer.

Born in Cape Town on 27th June 1838, John Maclear joined the Royal Navy as a Cadet at Simonstown, initially serving on HMS Castor which was the flagship of the Cape Station. He had a long and distinguished naval career, rising to the rank of Admiral in 1903. He was also responsible for writing several of the Admiralty Sailing Directions. He married Julia Herschel in Cape Town, who was the sixth daughter of the other illustrious Astronomer at the Cape, Sir John Herschel, whose name was given to Herschel Girls’ School at Claremont, in Cape Town.

HMS Challenger's officers, Capt Nared at centre, Maclear seated at left, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
HMS Challenger’s officers, Capt Nared at centre, Maclear seated at left. Picture: Wikipedia/ NOAA

After a few days at anchor in Table Bay entertaining guests afloat and shore, HMS Challenger completed a compass swing in the bay and then sailed back to Simons Bay, to complete storing and finish any outstanding items of her refit. On 17th December 1873 HMS Challenger was ready for sea and sailed from Simons Bay for Marion Island. She arrived at Marion on Christmas Day and sailed for the Crozet Islands and Kerguelen Island on 27th December. On 16th February 1874, sailing almost due South, she crossed the Antarctic Circle at Longitude 78 degrees East, and became the first steamship in history to do so.

The figurehead from HMS Challenger. featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The figurehead from HMS Challenger

Her cruise ended back at Portsmouth on 24th May 1876. From starting out with 216 crewmen, HMS Challenger had only 144 by the end of the voyage. The losses were a mix of death by natural causes, death from illness and injury, desertions and crew leaving the vessel for other commissions. She then became a training vessel at Harwich until 1878 when she was placed into reserve at Chatham until 1883. She was them put in use as a receiving hulk on the River Medway until 1921 when she was scrapped. The only part of the vessel that still survives is her figurehead, which is on display at the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton.

Of a voyage of 1,250 days, HMS Challenger had been at sea for 713 days, and in that time had made some great discoveries. She had discovered the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, she had sounded the deepest part of the world’s oceans when she discovered the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench of the Pacific Ocean, and she had discovered the Challenger Plateau off the east coast of New Zealand. She had also discovered over 4,700 oceanic species which were new to science.

Her voyage was the first true marine science expedition, and it laid the groundwork for an entirely new academic and research discipline, which today is known as Oceanography. The discoveries and work of HMS Challenger was considered so historically important to the advancement of science, that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) named one of their Space Shuttles after her.

Added 2 August 2021


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SA Navy patrol ship SAS MAKHANDA arrives in Pemba

SAS Makhanda P1569 in Pemba Bay, northern Mozambique, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SAS Makhanda P1569 in Pemba Bay, northern Mozambique    SAN

The SA Navy patrol ship SAS MAKHAMBA P1569 has arrived in the Cabo Delgado port of Pemba in northern Mozambique to provide maritime support for the SADC forces that are also beginning to arrive in the region.

This is not the first time that one of the former navy strike craft, now converted to offshore patrol ships, has been seen in Pemba Bay – under Operation Copper these and other naval vessels from South Africa have undertaken patrols in the Mozambique Channel with Pemba Bay being their base to operate from.

However, on this occasion it is assumed that the presence of the naval vessel is in support of the SADC forces assembling in Pemba to engage in support for Mozambique military and police in countering the active insurgency from Islamist forces who have taken control of the small harbour town of Mocimboa da Praia and who earlier this year overran the other harbour town of Palma.

With the insurgents having made use of marine craft in their attacks on both Mocimboa da Praia and Palma, it became necessary that Mozambican and SADC forces would require a naval presence in the area. Mozambique has a number of small inshore patrol boats but nothing with the range and fire power of the former strike craft of the SA Navy, which will strongly reinforce this area of the combat zone.

There has been no announcement from the SA Navy but it may be assumed that SAS Makhanda will be carrying a number of the maritime reaction group on board for purposes of boarding and searching any suspicious craft it may encounter.

In addition to the navy ship, units of the South African, Botswana and Zimbabwe armies have also arrived, where they are assembling at Pemba before deploying to the northern part of the province bordering with Tanzania. The latter country is also to provide military support to the SADC forces. Soldiers from Angola will also be deploying to Mozambique.

Armoured vehicles including Casspir armoured personnel carriers from 43 SA Brigade, which is based at Wallmannsthal, Gauteng, were seen passing through the border crossing at Komatipoort on Saturday, on the long 2,500km journey to Cabo Delgado.

Several Hercules C130 transport aircraft have been flying special forces and supplies out of Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria to Pemba. A reconnaissance aircraft of the SAAF has also taken up duties at the Pemba airport from where it will conduct coastal and inland surveillance.

Meanwhile, Rwandan troops who deployed earlier and who are not part of the SADC contingent, have engaged with insurgents while patrolling several roads and villages near Palma, reportedly killing about 30 of the insurgents. The exact relationship between the SADC and Rwandan units is not clear and will provide for an interesting ‘side show’ in the coming months.

The Mozambican government appeared reluctant and delayed calling for the assistance of its fellow SADC states but welcomed with alacrity the assistance of Rwanda, which is not a member of SADC, claiming the Rwandans are more experienced in counter-insurgency work. An acrimonious political relationship between South Africa and Rwanda has only exacerbated the matter.

The SADC forces will remain in Cabo Delgado for a minimum period of three months. The SADC intervention forces are under the command of the SANDF’s Major General Xolani Mankayi, with a Botswana general acting as his second-in-command.

Added 2 August 2021


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IATA data on air cargo shows strongest growth since 2017

Cargolux B747-44F aircraft. Picture: Wikipedia Commons, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cargolux B747-44F aircraft. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

Data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for global air cargo markets for June shows a 9.9% improvement on pre-COVID-19 performance (June 2019). This pushed first half-year air cargo growth to 8%, its strongest first half performance since 2017 (when the industry posted 10.2% year-on-year growth).

IATA said that as comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, all comparisons in the data released are to June 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern, unless otherwise stated.

Global demand for June 2021, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), was up 9.9% compared to June 2019.

Regional variations in performance are significant. North American carriers contributed 5.9 percentage points (ppts) to the 9.9% growth rate in June. Middle East carriers contributed 2.1 ppts, European airlines 1.6 ppts, African airlines 0.5 ppts and Asia-Pacific carriers 0.3 ppts. Latin American carriers did not support the growth, shaving 0.5 ppts off the total.

Overall Capacity

Overall capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), remained constrained at 10.8% below pre-COVID-19 levels (June 2019) due to the ongoing grounding of passenger aircraft. Belly capacity was down 38.9% on June 2019 levels, partially offset by a 29.7% increase in dedicated freighter capacity.

IATA said that underlying economic conditions and favourable supply chain dynamics remain highly supportive for air cargo.

The US inventory to sales ratio was at a record low. This means that businesses have to quickly refill their stocks, and typically use air cargo to do so.

The Purchasing Managers Indices (PMIs) – leading indicators of air cargo demand – show that business confidence, manufacturing output and new export orders are growing at a rapid pace in most economies. Concerns of a significant consumer shift from goods to services have not materialised.

Air Cargo versus Container Shipping

The cost-competitiveness and reliability of air cargo relative to that of container shipping has improved. The average price of air cargo relative to shipping has reduced considerably and scheduling reliability of ocean carriers has dropped, in May it was around 40% compared to 70-80% prior to the crisis.

“Air cargo is doing brisk business as the global economy continues its recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

“With first-half demand 8% above pre-crisis levels, air cargo is a revenue lifeline for many airlines as they struggle with border closures that continue to devastate the international passenger business. Importantly, the strong first-half performance looks set to continue,” he said.

SAA Cargo loading, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPPING maritime news
SAA Cargo loading

June Regional Performance

Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for international air cargo increase by 3.8% in June 2021 compared to the same month in 2019. International capacity remained constrained in the region, down 19.8% versus June 2019. Even though demand remains high, the region faces moderate headwinds from the lack of international capacity and manufacturing PMIs that are not as strong as in Europe and the US.

North American carriers posted a 23.4% increase in international demand in June 2021 compared to June 2019. Underlying economic conditions and favorable supply chain dynamics remain supportive for air cargo carriers in North America. International capacity decreased by 2.1% compared with June 2019.

European carriers posted a 6.6% increase in international demand in June 2021 compared to the same month in 2019. International capacity decreased by 16.2% in June 2021 versus June 2019. Manufacturing PMIs are very strong in Europe indicating that market dynamics remain supportive for air cargo carriers in Europe.

Middle Eastern carriers posted a 17.1% rise in international cargo volumes in June 2021 versus June 2019, boosted by strong performances on the Middle East to Asia and Middle East to North America trade routes. International capacity in June was down 9% compared to the same month in 2019.

Latin American carriers reported a decline of 22.9% in international cargo volumes in June compared to the 2019 period. This was the worst performance of all regions and a weakening of performance compared to the previous month. International capacity decreased 28.4% in June 2021 compared to June 2019. This weak performance is mostly due to local airlines losing market share to carriers from other regions.

African airlines’ international cargo demand in June increased 33.5% compared to the same month in 2019. This was the strongest performance of all regions, but notably on small volumes (African carriers carry 2% of global cargo). International capacity in June decreased by 4.9% compared to the same month in 2019. source: IATA

Added 2 August 2021


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MSC towage division takes delivery of Sanmar-built tug for Portuguese port

Med Antares, the tug supplied to MSC Tugs by Sanmar. Picture: Sanmar, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Med Antares, the tug supplied to MSC Tugs by Sanmar. Picture: Sanmar

Tugboat builder and operator Sanmar has delivered an escort/offshore tug named MED ANTARES to MedTug SA, the towage company of the giant container shipping line MSC, which will operate at the expanding port complex at Sines, Portugal.

Based on the RAstar 2800 series design by Canadian naval architects Robert Allan Ltd, Med Antares is a state-of-the-art escort/offshore terminal tug powered by two MTU 16V4000 main engines, each producing 2240kW at 1,800 rev/min and driving Schottel SRP 1515 FP thrusters to achieve a bollard pull (BP) of 75 tons both ahead and astern.

Measuring 28.2m LOA with a moulded breadth of 12.6m and extreme draft of 5.52m, Med Antares benefits from its unique-to-class sponsoned hull form, which has been proven to enhance escort forces along with the tug’s foil-shaped escort skegs. Roll motions and accelerations are less than half those of comparable sized ‘standard’ tug hulls.

Built in 2019, Med Antares is the second tugboat from its own fleet that Sanmar has sold to MedTug, which took delivery of the 2017-built 70 tonnes BP tug MED ALTAIR earlier this year. RAstar 2800 design tugs are intended for escort operations in weather and sea-exposed areas where a high standard of sea-keeping is required.

Port of Sines, which is already the largest by volume port in Portugal, containing multiple specialist terminals, is expanding with the construction of its new Vasco da Gama terminal, named after the 15th century explorer who sailed from the port. The terminal is due to be completed in 2024.

The versatile Med Antares also has a remotely operated fire pump with a capacity of 2,800m3/hour powered by a dedicated CAT C32 diesel, giving it a fire-fighting capability to Fi-Fi 1 standard. Deck equipment includes a Data Hydraulic DHC 5000 H40 hydraulic driven 400mm diameter capstan, a Data Hydraulic DTH 90-135, SWL 90T tow hook and a Palfinger PK11001(M)A marine grade hydraulic knuckle-boom/folding boom type crane.

Crew comfort and the need for a safe working environment were paramount in the design and construction of Med Antares, with special care given to resilient mount all engines and essential equipment including hydraulic pipes to reduce noise. The tug has been fitted out to a very high level of quality, comfort and safety suiting the requirements of European flag authorities such as Norway, Germany, Italy and the UK.

The captain and engineer cabins are above deck with in suite WC and shower. The mess, lounge and separate galley are also above deck, while below there are three double cabins for crew with WC and shower and a laundry.

Added 2 August 2021


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Transnet lifts force majeure as ports begin the recovery phase

Durban Container Terminal, Pier 2 with Pier 1 upper left, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Durban Container Terminal, Pier 2 with Pier 1 upper left  Picture: Transnet

Transnet is lifting force majeure at its container terminal operations at the ports of Durban, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, with effect from Monday 2 August.

Transnet said on Friday it believed it was now in a position to service its customers and meet all contractual obligations reliably.

The declaration of force majeure was applied retrospectively to 22 July after Transnet’s IT network was hacked, leaving the company’s NAVIS N4 terminal operating system compromised and having to be shut down.

After restoration of the NAVIS operating system towards the end of the week the remaining systems were being brought up in a staggered manner, to minimise further risks and interruptions, it was announced.

Transnet described the hacking as a cyber attack – the word among Transnet personnel suggested that a ransomware attack had caused the problem.

Although Transnet terminals resorted to manual working this led to inevitable delays, with resultant congestion following on from that caused by the week on civil unrest in KZN and Gauteng, during which the Durban and Richards Bay terminals as well as much of the railway network connecting the two ports to the hinterland were shut down.

While this was happening, Transnet Port Terminals continued applying the berthing principals of the container operations contract in the container terminals. It said this was the most practical way of normalising operations and maintaining a complimentary port schedule for shipping lines.

TPT revealed at the weekend that at Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 it was achieving an average of 160 container moves an hour against the target of 150 moves.

That’s the equivalent of 3,840 TEU a day, about half of what the port normally would handle.

The Durban terminals continued functioning although not at full speed, as was the case with waterside and landside operations. The recently applied truck booking system was reactivated.

Much publicity was given to frozen import meat supplies and other perishables trapped in the port of Durban and at risk of going rotten unless quickly evacuated. During the unrest the delivery of citrus to Durban for export was curtailed with some export citrus from Mpumalanga and Limpopo reported as having been diverted to Maputo.

Ships continued to arrive in the South African ports and be handled, though operations may have been slow on account of the cyber attack. Here is the car carrier, HOEGH TRIDENT, which arrived in Durban on Thursday 29 July to discharge and load motor vehicles at the car terminal. Picture is by Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Ships continued to arrive in the South African ports and be handled, though operations may have been slow on account of the cyber attack. Here is the 26-year old car carrier, HOEGH TRIDENT (IMO IMO 9075709), which arrived in Durban on Thursday 29 July to discharge and load motor vehicles at the car terminal. Picture is by Keith Betts

Since then the arrival of reefer ships has continued seemingly without disruption, and Transnet said it was facilitating the evacuation of urgent containers for the automotive, FMCG and agricultural sectors.

The Bulk, Break Bulk, Automotive sectors which include Iron Ore, Coal and Manganese, cars and some of the agricultural commodities that use the General Cargo system (GCOS) switched immediately to manual. This resulted in minimal operational disruptions in these operations across the port system.

There is no evidence of any significant number of ships diverting to ‘other’ ports.

Generally there has been satisfaction with the way in which Transnet responded to the cyber attack and with the process of recovery and contingency planning to what could have become an overwhelming catastrophe, particularly as it occurred immediately following the civil unrest, leaving questions as to whether there was a connection.

Those questions need to be asked and examined. Included with the inevitable speculation has been the suggestion that the cyber attack came from one of a number of ransomware cyber gangs operating out of Russia or some Eastern European country – ‘Death Kitty,’ ‘Hello Kitty,’ and ‘Five Hands, are a few that have been mentioned.

Bloomberg News reported having had sight of a ransom note on Transnet computers, claiming the encryption of company files, financial reports and general documents and advising the firm to visit a chat portal on the dark web to ‘enter negotiations’.

It shouldn’t be forgotten or overlooked that former president, Jacob Zuma, now in jail on a contempt of court judgement, has a long and close association with Russia and such an attack could well have been retaliatory in nature, even if triggered from within South Africa.

According to Noëlle van der Waag-Cowling, cyber specialist at the Security Institute for Governance & Leadership in Africa at Stellenbosch University, ransomware gangs often acted on behalf of other states or third parties.

The ransomware attack on Transnet’s IT infrastructure that caused activity at South Africa’s ports to slow to a crawl was an act of cyberwarfare, Rapport and its sister paper City Press reported.

As a research officer at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria has written, “the fact that this attack targeted critical infrastructure elevates it to a matter of national security.”

No matter the background and causes of this latest disruption to the country’s important maritime logistics chain, when combined with the disruptions during the week of unrest the damage to the economy has been immense and long-lasting. Don’t forget that South Africa’s ports were recently rated as among the worst in the world – a rather harsh and perhaps unwarranted judgement. That leaves a mountain to climb, of gaining recognition that South Africa’s ports are on the mend and have improved since the previous evaluation. – trh

Added 1 August 2021


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ONE provides for South African children
Free transport of educational materials

Students are happy to receive the books, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Students are happy to receive the books   ONE

It was announced from Singapore at the end of July that Ocean Network Express (ONE) had transported educational materials for children free of charge to support the non-profit organisation Together with Africa and Asia Association, otherwise known as TAAA1, a specified non-profit organisation*.

ONE Japan loaded educational materials including donated English books, maths sets and soccer balls for children in one TEU, shipping them on 25 April from Yokohama to Durban in mv Allegoria. The container arrived at the local TAAA South Africa office on 18 June and the educational materials were delivered to schools in remote areas of South Africa by TAAA staff.

Children taking time to choose their favourites, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Children taking time to choose their favourites   ONE

According to TAAA, rural schools in South Africa are constantly in short supply of educational materials and they have been severally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many children are missing school due to school closures and attendance levels are low with many students not returning. Moreover, even if the students do turn up to school, the teachers are sometimes absent, so classes cannot be held.

Co-operation between the TAAA and ONE has provided emergency education support through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under such circumstances, ONE has been able to provide an environment where South African children can study and read books at home during school closure through the free transport of educational materials. It is hoped that the arrival of these educational materials will drive engagement with the children and further support their studies.

It is understood that ONE will continue to engage in social contribution activities, using its global network to support worthy causes.

* This organisation provides comprehensive school education support in poor areas of Africa and Asia. More information can be found on their website HERE




Reported by Paul Ridgway

Added 1 August 2021


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WHARF TALK: A unique trawler – NIKKO MARU No.1

The trawler Nikko Maru No.1 in Cape Town for maintenance and any necessary repair, having been at sea since December 2020. Picture by 'Dockrat' featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The trawler Nikko Maru No.1 in Cape Town for maintenance and any necessary repair, having been at sea since December 2020. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The South African fishing industry is quite diverse in its use of fishing methods in targeting almost every species that has a commercial value. Along with the large Far Eastern fleets utilising South African ports as their home base away from home base, spotters get to see most almost every different type of fishing vessel operating in almost every different fishery, including those in Antarctica.

One fishing vessel that uses Cape Town as its home base is quite unique, insofar as it is the only vessel of its type based in South Africa, and is known as a Deepwater Pinnacle Trawler, a description that no other vessel operating either from South Africa, or sailing under the South African flag, can lay claim to.

Arriving back in Cape Town on 19th February at 16h00 from the Southern Indian Ocean, the stern trawler NIKKO MARU No.1 (IMO 8707032) entered the Duncan Dock and went straight to K berth to offload her precious frozen cargo. She had been away from Cape Town since early December 2020.

Here the trawler is manoeuvred into position by the Cape Town harbour tug, Umbilo. Picture by 'Dockrat', featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Here the trawler is manoeuvred into position by the Cape Town harbour tug, Umbilo. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She then entered into a period of lengthy maintenance when she shifted over to the Landing Wall. After a period there de-storing and completing some minor maintenance, she moved just along the wall and entered the Sturrock Drydock for a hull survey, and to gain a new coat of paint on her hull, emerging in a pristine state in June. From the drydock she was shifted across to berth 502 in the Ben Schoeman Dock, which is the berth utilised by Dormac to conduct project engineering work, and major maintenance, which is where Nikko Maru No.1 lies today.

Built in 1987 by Niigata Shipbuilding at Niigata in Japan, originally to exploit the North Pacific Pollack fishery, Nikko Maru No.1 is powered by a single Niigata 8M40CFX 8 cylinder 4 stroke main engine producing 2,900 bhp (2,134 kW), to give her a service speed of 13.8 knots. Her bridge design is also unique for a modern vessel, as all of her bridge windows are round portholes, which gives her the look of a vessel built in the United States during WW2.

The stern or trawl section of Nikko Maru No.1 Picture is by 'Dockrat' and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The stern or trawl section of Nikko Maru No.1 Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes two Yanmar M200AI-EN generators providing 750 kW each, which goes towards the power required for her seven plate freezers ability to freeze 45 tons of fish per day, with a frozen hold capacity of 888m3, or 600 tons of frozen fish.

Despite her Japanese name, Nikko Maru No.1 is owned and operated by Orafco Limited of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, and she is managed by Flantrade of Cape Town. Her unique fishing designation is because she is one of only four trawlers, worldwide, whose owners are members of the Southern Indian Ocean Deepwater Fishers Association (SIODFA). SIOFDA vessels only operate in international waters on the many ridges, knolls, hills and seamounts found throughout the fracture zones which criss-cross the tectonic plate boundaries of the South Indian Ocean.

Operating on those deepwater mid-ocean ridges located within FAO fishing Area 51.3a and 51.3b, located between 30 degrees and 45 degrees South, and 40 degrees and 50 degrees East, Nikko Maru No.1 trawls in waters between 600 metres and 1,200 metres in depth, and due to the topography of seamounts and the general difficult nature of the seafloor found in the fracture zones, her bottom trawls are limited to only a maximum of 20 minutes at a time.

Nikko Maru No.1 is known as a Deepwater Pinnacle Trawler, and not without reason - Read the story to understand why. Picture is by 'Dockrat' featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nikko Maru No.1 is known as a Deepwater Pinnacle Trawler, and not without reason – Read the story to understand why. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

All of the fishing areas in this region of the South Indian Ocean are to be found in international waters, and are regulated by the South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA), which has ten nations as signatories. Yet, despite the resource being both on its doorstep, and adjacent to the South African territorial waters of Marion and Prince Edward Islands, surprisingly South Africa is not a signatory to this agreement. SIOFA maintains jurisdiction over fishing operations for non-tuna species within the agreement area.

The demersal target fish species of SIODFA vessels are the Orange Roughy and the Alfonsino. The Orange Roughy catch is almost exclusively exported to the USA and Japan, and the Alfonsino to Japan. The fishery is FAO monitored, and uses independent observers, and the SIODFA members are extremely conscious of the need to responsibly manage the exploitation of the resource, and to ensure its future sustainability.

So much so that they have entered voluntarily into an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), called the Seamounts Project, and SIOFDA have set aside 11 seamount and mid-ocean ridge areas throughout the South Indian Ocean, and which covers over 300,000 km2 of seafloor, as areas that will not be fished at any time by any of the vessels under SIODFA management. The area of the South Indian Ocean that Nikko Maru No.1 fishes in is also considered to be an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Area (EBSMA) by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Nikko Maru No.1 on berth 502 in the Ben Schoeman Dock, which is the berth utilised by Dormac to conduct project engineering work, and major maintenance. Picture by 'Dockrat' and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nikko Maru No.1 on berth 502 in the Ben Schoeman Dock, which is the berth utilised by Dormac to conduct project engineering work, and major maintenance. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As part of the SIOFA requirements to control IUU activities, and as back-up for the UNDP Seamount Project, Nikko Maru No.1 carries not one, but two, Automatic Location Communicator (ALC) devices to ensure that she remains only within the agreed seamount areas when fishing. Both ALC sets are contained within sealed and tamper proof units, and the satellite antennas are also housed within sealed and tamper proof domes.

The High Seas constitute about 64% of the Earth’s surface area, and very little of this area is either accessible, or exploitable, by deepsea fishing methods. The South Indian Ocean seamount fishery was first exploited back in the 1970s and 1908s by units of the huge trawler fleet of the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 the fishery was ignored until the turn of the century when South African managed vessels began exploiting the fishery. The SIODFA was formed in 2006 by the existing operators of the fishery, with Nikko Maru No.1 being based in South Africa and Namibia for most of SIOFDA’s existence.

Added 1 August 2021


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Women in Maritime new association inaugurated:
West and Central Africa

IMO Women in Maritime Africa featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Galvanizing women in the maritime industry

Diversity and maritime security were in focus at the inaugural event for the Women in Maritime of West and Central Africa (WIMOWCA) according to a briefing from IMO on 30 July.

Women in Maritime took centre stage at the inauguration of the Women in Maritime of West and Central Africa (WIMOWCA), the newest IMO-supported regional association for women in the maritime sector (WIMA).

In the words of WIMOWCA Interim President, Sylvia Asana Dauda Owu: “The objective of WIMOWCA is to harness the potential and contribution of women in West and Central Africa to ensure the sustainable development of the maritime industry in Africa.”

She continued: “Women, as you are all aware, form over 51% of the world population and the same is true for Africa, as such they cannot be left out in any global effort to confront the challenges we face today in the global maritime industry. Sustainable maritime development would require inclusive participation of all, men and women, if we are to succeed in our endeavour in that regard.”

Accra, Ghana event

The hybrid event was held on 23 July at the MT Addico Conference Hall in Accra, Ghana and livestreamed to a global audience.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said in his keynote speech: “For sustainability and success in the modern world, shipping needs diversity in the workforce and we need women to drive the decision-making processes.

“We are on the right path and progress has been made. However much still needs to be done to help the maritime industry progress toward gender equality. WIMOWCA is a welcome addition to the global network of WIMAs. This special event provides a unique opportunity to discuss and celebrate two topics: women in the maritime community, and Africa as a maritime continent.”

Already established widely

Seven other WIMAs have already been established across Africa, Arab States, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific, supported by IMO’s long-running Women in Maritime gender programme. Between them, the WIMAs count more than 700 participants from across 152 countries.

Individuals joining the newest WIMA, which will focus on Anglophone West and Central Africa, will have access to similar collaborative and networking opportunities and access to IMO sponsored training through the WIMAs.

IMO Women in Africa is featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
IMO Women in Africa

Network of Professional Women in the Maritime and Port Sectors for West and Central Africa (NPWMP-WCA), which was launched in February 2007 in Benin focuses on Francophone West and Central Africa.

For the total list of WIMAs on the IMO’s Women in Maritime page readers are invited to CLICK HERE

Ghana’s Minister of Transport, the Hon Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, emphasised in his speech the role that women would play in the African perspective of the Blue Economy: “The Blue Economy has quite rightly been described as the New Frontier of the African Renaissance.

“Our continent is indeed a big island, with 38 coastal countries. Over 90% of Africa’s international trade, imports and exports are conducted by sea. The potential runs into many trillions of dollars and promises to combine enormous economic growth for our respective countries.

“Inclusive development is one of the surest ways and sustainable means to harness the full potential of Africa’s blue economy. Women must be at the heart of this agenda.”

The inaugural WOMOWCA event also featured a panel discussion on The impact of maritime insecurity on shipping in the Gulf of Guinea, challenges and the way forward, which provided a regional perspective on the situation.

Development partners

Additional presentations from development partners touched upon the work of the U S Naval Forces Europe and Africa Women’s, Peace, and Security Working Group in West and Central Africa, the IMOGEN IMO Member States delegates’ gender initiative and the importance of galvanizing women in the maritime industry.

For the full programme, visit the event page HERE

IMO’s Women in Maritime programme has been running for more than 30 years, supporting women in both shore-based and sea-going roles. (To read more readers are invited to SEE HERE

Women in Maritime – IMO and WISTA International Survey 2021

IMO and WISTA International have launched the Women in Maritime – IMO and WISTA International Survey 2021 to examine the proportion and distribution of women working in the maritime sector, from support roles to executive level positions. Member States and companies/NGOS are invited to fill in the survey to provide essential baseline data.

For NGOS/Companies survey: Women in Maritime – IMO and WISTA International Survey 2021 readers are invited to CLICK HERE

For Member State survey: Women in Maritime – IMO and WISTA International Survey 2021 readers are invited to CLICK HERE




Reported by Paul Ridgway

Added 1 August 2021


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Swiftnova Engineering raises the bar in excellence with welding certification

Specialist fabricator, SwiftNova Engineering (SwiftNova) has been certified with ISO 3834-2 Comprehensive by accreditation body TUV Rheinlund AG.

Marcus Twine, CEO of SGM Technical featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Marcus Twine, CEO of SGM Technical

The certification is a globally-recognised welding quality requirement which signifies the company’s competencies relating to the welding process from design phase to final handover. The certification provides client confidence in that the fabricator complies with an internationally-recogised welding quality management system which is assessed and audited independently of their existing quality management system. This ensures a high-quality product output.

SwiftNova’s ISO 3834-2 certification covers the fabrication, installation and repairs related to pressure equipment such as pressure vessels, steam boilers, pressure piping, hydrocarbon storage tanks and includes ship repairs, structural fabrications and installations. The company has an extensive list of approved welding procedures in their portfolio which covers the latest edition codes of ASME IX; AWS D1.1; EN ISO 15614-1 and EN ISO 15609-1.Their competent and qualified staff, including their International Welding Engineer (IWI), are continuously working on the innovation of arc welding processes in their organisation.

“Having started as a family-owned business in Mossel Bay, we have over the years perfected our craft and positioned ourselves as specialist fabricators for the oil & gas and petrochemical industries,” said Danie Otto, Director of SwiftNova.

“This certification, together with our ISO 9001:2015 quality management system certification, puts us in a better position to provide the best certified quality products and services in our field of expertise while complying to customer statutory and regulatory requirements. We are extremely proud of our ISO 3834-2 achievement as it serves as confirmation of our endeavours to be recognised as global competitors in our industry, he said.”

This achievement comes off the back of another significant certification for SwiftNova; that of being certified as a Level 1 B-BBEE Contributor which came into effect during May 2021. Otto added, “This past year we’ve seen lots of positive change and are confident we will see the fruits of our labour. My team and I are dedicated to the sustainability of the business and with the support of the other sister companies within Sturrock Grindrod Maritime (SGM) Technical, we will exercise agility so we can succeed.”

In December last year, Hesper Engineering as the ship repair company in the SGM Technical Division, acquired a 51% shareholding in SwiftNova Engineering. There had been a synergy between the companies in the past and an opportunity arose which suited both parties.

“The decision to acquire shareholding in SwiftNova Engineering was driven by their track record and reputation in the oil and gas and petrochemical markets as well as their work ethic and company culture,” explained Marcus Twine, CEO of SGM Technical. “We saw great potential in aligning our businesses and realised there was a pool of skills we could draw across to our other technical companies within the group.”

SwiftNova was established in 1982 by Mr JDT Otto who decided to seize the opportunity of the development of the oilfields in Mossel Bay. Danie Otto took over the business in 2004 after completing intensive training and gaining experience in related fields to assist with business expansion. Their clientele includes state-owned entities such as PetroSA, GTL and Logistics & Offshore/Onshore, oil majors Shell SA, Total, Astron Energy, Engen SA as well as internationally renowned shipping companies.

SwiftNova Engineering along with its sister companies Hesper Engineering, NovaMarine and UCD, make up the SGM Technical Division within Grindrod Limited. SwiftNova offers EPCM, construction, fabrication, piping, ship repair and plant maintenance services from their workshops and office in Mossel Bay and have fabrication support from Hesper Engineering in Cape Town and Saldanha as well.

Added 1 August 2021


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Modular onshore beacons for marine infrastructure

Modular onshore beacons for marine infrastructure, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Manufactured of galvanised and painted steel Almarin’s ALT 3 modular beacon has recently been established in the east dock in Marina Empuriabrava, Spain    Almarin

Logistics in marine works are frequently more expensive than the equipment installed. This is certainly true with marine aids to navigation equipment in locations with difficult access, where occasionally placing equipment with helicopters is the most cost-effective solution. At a much smaller scale installing beacons at the end of inaccessible moles or piers poses the same challenge. The equipment may cost a few thousand euros and the logistics tens of thousands per hour.

To address this issue Almarin has developed modular steel towers. Each component is light enough to be transported and assembled by two people however each is strong enough to resist the harsh marine environment.

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




Reported by Paul Ridgway

Added 1 August 2021


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Israeli-connected tanker Mercer Street attacked by drone in Gulf of Oman

Mercer Street sailing from Durban on an earlier occasion, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mercer Street sailing from Durban on an earlier occasion    Keith Betts

An oil products sailing in the Gulf of Oman last week came under attack by what is believed to have been an aerial drone, killing two crewmen.

The 49,992 dwt MERCER STREET (IMO 9539585) was sailing in ballast from the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam bound for Fujairah in the UAE when what appeared to be a drone attack took place. The resulting explosion left two seafarers dead, one from the UK and the other from Romania. The UK citizen is reported to have been employed on the ship as a guard.

Scene of the attack on Merscer Street, 29 July 2021, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Mercer Street was about 60 miles north of Al Masirah island when the vessel came under sudden attack in the early hours of Thursday morning. There are reports that a missile, possibly two, was fired from a drone, with at least one striking the ship, which is Japanese owned and operated by an Israeli firm.

The US Navy responded to the call for assistance and escorted the 182 metres x 32m tanker to ‘a safe position’

The attack is being reported as a tit-for-tat in the ongoing exchanges between Israel and Iran, in which several vessels have been targeted while sailing in either the Persian or Omani gulfs.

Mercer Street is Japanese-owned though registered to a Singapore address, and is managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, whose chairman is Israeli businessman and ship operator, Eyal Ofer.

The strike against the Mercer Street is seen as a significant escalation of the shadowy warfare taking place between Israel and Iran.

Added 1 August 2021


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NSRI called out to perform medical offshore evacuations, at Durban & Stilbaai

NSRI Station 5's rescue craft Alick Rennie at sea. Picture courtesy NSRI, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
NSRI Station 5’s rescue craft Alick Rennie at sea. Picture courtesy NSRI

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has been involved in another two patient evacuations from vessels at sea in the past week.

Station 5, Durban

One of these was offshore of the port of Durban, when NSRI Station 5 based at Durban was placed on alert to prepare for the medical evacuation of a 33 year old Filipino crewman, suffering a medical condition, from a bulk carrier motor vessel approaching Durban.

According to Tim Edwards, NSRI Durban duty coxswain, this was at 22h16 on Wednesday 28 July. The vessel involved, which identity has not been disclosed, was obviously some distance from the port for it was almost 24 hours later at 22h11 on Thursday 29 July that the NSRI duty crew, accompanied by two Netcare rescue paramedics, launched the sea rescue craft Alick Rennie and rendezvoused with the motor vessel approximately 8 nautical miles off-shore of the port.

In swells of between 1 and 2 metres the paramedics transferred used the pilot’s ladder to board the ship. After assessing the patient, he was transferred to the sea rescue craft and then in the care of the paramedics, the Alick Rennie returned to the harbour where the patient was taken by ambulance to hospital where the seafarer is expected to make a full recovery.

The evacuation by sea was complete at 23h43.

Station 31, Stilbaai

Nadine Hansen, NSRI Stilbaai duty controller, reports that on Friday, 30 July at 12h53 the Stilbaai duty crew were called on to evacuate an injured local fisherman from a fishing vessel 20 nautical miles off-shore of Stilbaai.

The sea rescue craft Breede Rescuer was launched and on arrival at the fishing vessel two NSRI medics went on board the vessel to assess and provide immediate treatment to his injuries.

Following this, and secured into a Stokes Basket stretcher, the patient was transferred onto the Breede Rescuer which returned to the NSRI Stilbaai sea rescue base, from where he was transferred by ambulance to hospital. Hansen reported that the injured fisherman is expected to make a full recovery.

The operation was completed at 15h41.

Added 1 August 2021


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