Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 3 October 2021

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The Monday masthead shows the Port of Cape Town Elliott Basin
The Tuesday masthead shows the Port of Cape Town Dry Dock
The Wednesday masthead shows the Port of Cape Town Tanker Basin
The Thursday masthead shows the Port of Cape Town Duncan Dock
The Friday masthead shows the Port of Cape Town from V&A Waterfront
The Saturday masthead shows the Port of Cape Town
The Sunday masthead shows the Port of East London West Bank




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Stavanger Pioneer by Keith Betts
Stavanger Pioneer departing from Durban, 22 September 2021
Stavanger Pioneer by Keith Betts
Pictures by Keith Betts

The Norwegian chemical and oil products tanker STAVANGER PIONEER (IMO 9835044) is seen leaving Durban on Wednesday, 22 September, bound for Paranagua in Brazil where she is due on 6 October. The ship had arrived in Durban from South East Asia.

Stavanger Pioneer is owned by a Norwegian company, Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab AS (DSD), based in (where else) Stavanger. DSD is also the ship and commercial manager with Wallem GMBH & Co in Hamburg the ISM manager and operator.

The 49,999-dwt tanker was built in 2019 and has a length of 183 metres and a width of 32 metres. Her current reported draught is 12 metres.

The above pictures are by Keith Betts

Added 26 September 2021  Africa Ports & Ships


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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Port of Mossel Bay: Celebrating over 500 years of Maritime Heritage

The Port of Mossel Bay on the Cape South Coast
The Port of Mossel Bay on the Cape South Coast  Picture:  Transnet

As we closed off Heritage Month yesterday (30 September 2021), the Port of Mossel Bay on the South African Cape South Coast has been celebrating over 500 years of rich maritime heritage which commenced on 3 February 1488, the date when Portuguese explorer and navigator, Bartolemeu Dias, landed in the Munro Bay. Of course Chinese or other seafaring explorers may have called here even earlier but the 1488 date makes the Port of Mossel Bay the first recorded Harbour used regularly along the South African coast by European seafarers journeying to the East.

Since then, the Port of Mossel Bay has been instrumental in the positive advancements of three major industries in South Africa, namely, Oil and Gas, Fishing, and Tourism. These industries play a significant role in not only the sustenance of the South African economy but also in the alleviation of poverty and the protection of livelihoods in our local communities.

Mossel Bay Port Manager, Shadrack Tshikalange, said the Port of Mossel Bay can be described as dynamite in a small package. “We are the smallest in the port system, however, we have managed to immensely contribute to not only the maritime industry but also the South African economy.

“We have cemented ourselves as a force to be reckoned with and we enthusiastically look forward to our future as a port and other industries we can infiltrate for the greater benefit of our country,” he said.

Fishing Industry:

The Port of Mossel Bay Ship Repair Facility, which, according to Du Plessis (1976), was built during World War I and commissioned in 1919, primarily serves the fishing industry. Fishing operations form part of break bulk commodities at the port and are among South Africa’s critical business continuity services aimed at ensuring food security for all citizens. The facility enables loading and off-loading of vessels as well as vessel repairs which create on average 20 employees per vessel.

The planned rehabilitation of this facility is in line with the Port of Mossel Bay’s commitment towards achieving the strategic goals of Operation Phakisa, which include efficiency and economic improvement by providing technologically modern facilities, increasing the volume of and size vessels handled per year and creating employment opportunities.

This will also help stimulate local and regional supply chain opportunities due to increased vessel handling and the provision of a mechanism for the expansion of employment and training opportunities in ship repair and heavy mechanical industry sectors.

Tourism Industry:

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) plays a major role in sustaining the South African economy through various tourism boosting activities and strategic partnerships that present each port city with an opportunity to enhance and amplify efforts to market the region as a tourist destination of choice.

Over the years, a number of cruise ships have docked in the Bay and passengers are transported via ferries to the walk-on-moorings in the port from where they can visit and explore the town.

As part of the Port Development Framework, a cruise ship precinct with a fully functional facility that can cater for berthing, disembarking and welcoming of passengers will be developed. This will not only cement the port as a tourism pillar in the city but will also lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs.

The leasing of buildings located in the port’s Recreational Area to restaurant owners and other tourist attractions also contributes to the ports efforts of boosting the Tourism Industry.

Oil and Gas Industry:

TNPA’s contribution into the oil and gas industry ties into government’s efforts to develop the “ocean economy” through the second phase of its Operation Phakisa and it is a demonstration of its full confidence in the significant role that ports can play in the advancement of the oil and gas industry.

The Port of Mossel Bay is one of the key role players that significantly contributed to two Oil and Gas exploration projects, namely:

1. Brulpadda exploration, which was the first successful exploration in Mossel Bay with the discovery of payable gas condensate in Lower cretaceous reservoirs.
2. Luiperd exploration project which successfully led to the discovery a massive gas find that includes a small amount of oil in the Luiperd prospect, located 175km off the southern coast of Mossel Bay.

Despite being the smallest of the commercial ports along the South African coast, the Port of Mossel Bay is the only port that operates two off-shore mooring points within port limits and the port’s location and capabilities makes it a leader in servicing the oil and gas industry. source: Port of Mossel Bay

Added 30 September 2021 Africa Ports & Ships

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WHARF TALK: For a change, a Handysize tanker – MTM AMSTERDAM

MTM Amsterdam at the Cape Town tanker berth discharging her cargo of sunflower oil. Picture is by 'Dockrat'
MTM Amsterdam at the Cape Town tanker berth discharging her cargo of sunflower oil. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

With the constant arrival and departure from South African ports of tankers from the MR1 (>35,000 dwt) size, up to LR2 (>80,000 dwt), the arrival from deepsea of a smaller, but fully loaded, Handysize tanker (> 25,000 dwt) is a noticeable event, and raises the question of what she is carrying that has caused her to have come so far.

On 20th September, at 16h00, the small Handysize combination chemical tanker MTM AMSTERDAM (IMO 9776444) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage, from Varna in Bulgaria. After a 36 hour period at anchor, whilst awaiting a berth, she finally entered Cape Town harbour on 22nd September at 05h00 and went alongside the small Tanker berth in the Duncan Dock.

The tanker's cargo was loaded at a Black Sea port. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The tanker’s cargo was loaded at a Black Sea port.   Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2018 by Kitanihon Shipbuilding at Hachinohe in Japan, as one of two sisterships, MTM Amsterdam is 145 metres in length and has a deadweight of 21,176 tons. She is powered by a single Mitsubishi Akasaka 5UEC45LSE-1 5 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 6,662 bhp (4,900 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14.5 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes four generators providing 1,730 kW, and she has a Miura exhaust gas boiler. She has 16 cargo tanks and a cargo carrying capacity of 21,992 m3.

Owned by Kotobuki Kaiun of Tokyo, MTM Amsterdam is operated by MT Maritime of Southport, Connecticut, in the USA, whose funnel colours she displays, and she is managed by MTM Management of Singapore. She is classed as a chemical tanker by her owners.

MTM Amsterdam. Picture by 'Dockrat'
MTM Amsterdam. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

A relatively small handysize tanker coming all the way from the Black Sea, indicates an unusual cargo destined for Cape Town, and so it is. She is carrying a full load of sunflower oil, used widely in the food industry, and also used as a component of Biodiesel.

In actual fact, her voyage from Bulgaria, with such a cargo, should not be viewed as unusual, as Bulgaria is the world’s seventh largest producer of sunflower oil. The nation is also the largest producer of sunflower oil in the whole of the EU, with 37% of the total bloc production.

The port of Varna, in Bulgaria, has two bulk liquid terminals that specialise in the storage of export sunflower oil. One such terminal, Oiltanking, also has a direct working arrangement with Grindrod Calulo in Cape Town, who specialise in providing storage facilities for both edible oils and biofuels.

The view of the ship's accommodation section. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The view of the ship’s accommodation section. Picture by ‘Dockrat’


The Varna Devnya Oiltanking facility has two tanks, providing 12,000 m3 of biofuel storage, with direct pipeline access to two of their own berths. These berths are both capable of handling Handysize tankers up to 30,000 dwt. Additionally, Oiltanking provides a railway siding, to provide the added ability of loading the sunflower oil, by pipeline, directly from the railtanks, to the ship loading berth.

MTM Amsterdam sailed from Cape Town at 05h00 on the 25th for Durban.

Added 30 September 2021 Africa Ports & Ships

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IN CONVERSATION: How illegal fishing off Cameroon’s coast worsens maritime security


Maurice Beseng, University of Sheffield

In Cameroon there is growing awareness that there’s a direct relationship between illegal and unregulated activity in the fisheries sector, and maritime security in the waters off the country’s coast.

Like most countries along Africa’s Atlantic coast, addressing illegal fishing and fisheries crimes is challenging for Cameroon. Earlier this year the European Commission called out the country for failing to control vessels engaged in illegal fishing under the country’s flag. It also pointed to weak governance, including poor knowledge of the scale of illegal fishing.

In a recent research paper I looked at how Cameroon’s fisheries sector allows for unscrupulous actors to use fishing activities and fishing assets to engage in criminal activities.

I also sought to assess the implications for Cameroon’s maritime security. I analysed existing research and media reports, talked to military officers and other state agents, representatives of fishing community organisations and civil society actors.

My study shows both artisanal and industrial fishing vessels being intercepted and used for smuggling fuel, arms, other contraband and illegal migrants.

This affects national security greatly. The Cameroon navy is increasingly wary that fishing vessels are being used to smuggle weapons into Cameroon from neighbouring countries, particularly Nigeria. In addition, confrontations between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea’s Navy officers over fishing rights in the Campo border settlement – and continuous tension between Cameroon and Nigerian authorities over illicit fishing activities in Bakassi peninsula – are important national security concerns.

Efforts to combat fishing and fisheries crime must recognise the relationship between the sector and maritime security. And there must be efforts to ensure cooperation with locals as well as non-state actors. These include fisheries-based community groups and civil society organisations.

Cameroon’s dependency on fishing

Millions of Cameroonians depend on fisheries for their livelihoods.

In a report, the Ministry of Finance says that the fisheries sector contributed 3% of Cameroon’s US$39 billion gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. It is projected to stay the same in coming years. Marine capture fishing operations account for 83% of fish production in the country. Nearly 80% is from marine small-scale fisheries. This supports the livelihoods of millions of Cameroonians especially women who mostly depend on fish trade for their livelihood.

Read more:
Cameroon can’t afford to continue ignoring crime in fisheries sector

.Fishing equally constitutes an important part of the socio-cultural system in coastal communities building social cohesion.

But the fishery sector faces numerous challenges. One is illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and fisheries crimes.

In my paper I map the extent of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and fisheries crimes off the country’s coast. I noted that these activities are a threat to Cameroon’s blue economy development, marine safety, ocean health and human resilience, and by extension national security.

My research

I found that in both industrial and artisanal sectors, illegal and unregulated fishing issues include:

  • violation of fishing zones,
  • use of prohibited chemicals,
  • fishing in breeding grounds,
  • non-declaration of catch data,
  • landing of catch in foreign ports and poor regulations and ineffective enforcement of existing laws.

Alongside these are criminal practices that are directly related to fishing such as corruption and document fraud. Some actors use the fisheries sector and its assets for crime. This includes drug and arms trafficking, illegal immigration and human rights abuses.

I also found that both industrial and artisanal fishing is dominated by foreign vessels and crew. An estimated 70 industrial fishing vessels that operate in Cameroonian maritime area come from mainly China and Nigeria. Some operate in partnership with Cameroonian entrepreneurs though details of such alliances are murky.

Meanwhile over 80% of artisanal fishers come from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Togo. Fisheries officers are concerned that this foreign dominance exacerbates illegal fishing and fisheries crime practices. This is because they explore their transnational social and economic networks to enhance illicit activities. For instance, small-scale fishing entrepreneurs bring in workers from their countries of origin, sometimes illegally. They are sometimes subjected to poor working and living conditions and have no labour protection.

Illegal fishing and fisheries crime leads to depleting fish stocks. Illegal catches by foreign industrial vessels alone rose from 2,300 tons in the 1980s to 95,000 tons in the 2000s. These estimates mask the true scale of the problem especially as the number of industrial vessels fishing illegally has increased in recent years.

The same is true for the economic cost of illegal fishing and fisheries crime. A recent study estimated that illegal fishing leads to a tax revenue loss of between US$9000 to US$14000 per year. According to a government estimate, the overall cost of illegal fishing alone is about US$33 million a year.

Depleting fisheries means small scale fishers struggle to access enough fish. The lack of fish and dwindling fishing activities means small-scale fisherfolks have to seek alternative livelihoods. A lack of opportunities in fishing communities also breeds discontent.

The way forward

To address illegal and unregulated fishing, endemic governance challenges, that have plagued the sector for decades, must be resolved. There must also be recognition of the link between illegal fishing and fisheries crime.

I identify a number of steps that need to be taken.

There needs to be effective regulation of who fishes, where and when in Cameroon’s maritime area.

Regulation of how fish is processed either for local consumption or export is equally important.

Ensuring transparency along the Cameroon fisheries value chain – from vessel registration to market – is also essential. To achieve this the Ministry of Fisheries and Animal Industries must ensure transparency in matriculating licensing fishing vessels and in monitoring control and surveillance of fishing operations.

All industrial fishing partnership agreements must be transparent. To this end a national open registry system must be set up. And the government must do more to involve Cameroonians in the sector. It took a step in the right direction by promoting and facilitating the greater involvement of local people in fishing activities.

The transnational nature of fisheries crime practices requires inter-agency cooperation both within Cameroon and other countries. Understanding the social networks and economic partnerships of the various agencies will help focus resources to tackle actors and their illegal proceeds.The Conversation

Maurice Beseng, Research associate, University of Sheffield

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

Added 30 September 2021  Africa Ports & Ships

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WHARF TALK: Research vessel – PELAGIA

The Dutch research vessel Pelagia, in Cape Town for bunkers. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The Dutch research vessel Pelagia, in Cape Town for bunkers. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic curtailed a worldwide programme of Antarctic and Oceanographic research, as Government, Academic and Scientific Organisations were forced into cancelling long planned international cruises. Cape Town, as the Gateway to Antarctica, saw Antarctic expeditionary callers reduced to eight vessels in this latest 2020-2021 season. Compare this to twenty two expeditionary callers during the 2007-2008 season.

Cape Town also acts as the Gateway to the South Atlantic and South Indian Oceans, and is the preferred port of call for Oceanographic and Fisheries research vessels undertaking international scientific missions around Southern Africa, and into the Southern Ocean. In the 2007-2008 season there were eleven callers, compared to just a paltry two in this last season.

On 26th September at 06h00 the Dutch Government Oceanographic Research Vessel PELAGIA (IMO 9001461) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage from Mindelo, located on Ilha de São Vicente, in the Cape Verde Islands. By 10h00 that morning she had entered Cape Town harbour and was berthed at the Eastern Mole where she was scheduled to take on 100 tons of bunkers, and fresh stores, before continuing with her cruise.

Pelagia in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Pelagia in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 1991 by the Verolme Shipyard at Heusden in Holland, Pelagia is 66 metres in length and has a deadweight of just 525 tons. She is a diesel-electric vessel, and is powered by two main engines, one a Caterpillar 3508B DITA V8 4 stroke engine producing 1,148 bhp (856 kW), and the other a Caterpillar 3512B DITA V12 4 stroke engine producing 1,368 bhp (1,020 kW).

Her propulsion is provided by three electric motors of 660V, providing 1,000 kW each, driving a fixed pitch propeller to give her a cruising speed of 9 knots. Nominally, Pelagia has container carrying capacity of 9 TEU, but these are all positions for fully equipped scientific laboratories, which are interchangeable depending on the scope of the research voyage, and come from an available choice of 23 such fitted container laboratories that can be utilised.

Owned, operated and managed by the Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee (NIOZ), Pelagia is the largest research vessel in Holland. NIOZ is better known in English as the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, who were founded in 1876, and are based at Den Hoorn, on the Dutch Wadden island of Texel.

Pelagia. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Pelagia. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Operating under a pool arrangement with other Dutch, British, German and Spanish research vessels, Pelagia is also part of the Pan-European Ocean Facilities Exchange Group (OFEG), which is a working group encompassing 70% of all European research vessels, and available for common use amongst members.

On this voyage via Cape Town, she is positioning to Port Louis in Mauritius, to begin a series of three research cruises led by the German Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Ruhstoffe (BGR), or better known in English as the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, based in Hannover.

Known as the INDEX 2021 project, the three cruises will be investigating seabed areas of the Central Indian Ocean Ridge, and the South East Indian Ocean Ridge, to conduct both geophysical and geological research into hydrothermal vents.

The research ship is now on her way to Mauritius and the start of her current expeditionary voyage. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The research ship is now on her way to Mauritius and the start of her current expeditionary voyage. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On completion of these cruises in early January 2022, Pelagia will be heading back to Cape Town, prior to repositioning back to Europe, and to Palma de Mallorca in the Mediterranean. Her research cruise from Port Louis back to Cape Town, will be under the leadership auspices of NIOZ and will be a transect cruise, in a straight line between 30 South 65 East, and 42 South 15 East. This cruise is known as the AQUA Project and will be conducting Hydroacoustic and Chemical Oceanography research.

Operating with a crew of 25, which includes 11 ships crew, 12 scientists and 2 NIOZ technicians, Pelagia sailed from Cape Town on 26th September at 18h00, after completion of her bunkering operation, bound for Port Louis in Mauritius. She is scheduled to return to Cape Town on 16th January 2022.

Added 30 September 2021  Africa Ports & Ships

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Xeneta container rates alert: long-term ocean freight rates now up over 90% year-on-year


Xeneta’s Long-Term XSI® Public Indices today revealed yet another monthly hike in long-term ocean freight rates, with global container prices climbing by 3.2%. The development follows a 2.2% increase in August and an unprecedented 28.1% jump in July, leaving rates now standing 91.5% up year-on-year.

What’s more, comments Oslo-based Xeneta, there is little evidence to suggest a weakening of market fundamentals – meaning there could be more pain in store for shippers, with colossal profits looming for carriers.

“This year has seen a unique convergence of COVID-19 disruption, port congestion, strong demand and maxed-out capacity, and that has stoked the flames of record-breaking rates,” explains Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund. “The global supply chain is under immense pressure and desperate shippers have no choice but to pay up to secure deliveries, or at least try to, ahead of key trading periods such as Christmas. It’s a crazy market out there.”

Strategic shifts

While Berglund notes that the carriers are “sitting pretty” in this situation – here he points to Maersk recently upgrading its EBITDA estimate from USD8.5-10.5bn to a stunning USD22bn-23bn – he also says shippers are trying new strategies to circumvent one-sided negotiations and retake a sense of control.

Xeneta banner

“This year we’ve seen the emergence of larger retailers chartering their own vessels to ensure both reliability in the supply chain and a degree of cost control,” he notes. “September saw yet another major shipper resort to what some see as a drastic measure, with the John Lewis Partnership partnering with an as yet unnamed freight forwarder to take on its own ships. This is a direct response to a market in overdrive, but one wonders if this type of approach could signify a new way of working, in the long-term, for shippers sick of being held to ransom.”

Unsustainable success?

For the time being, however, Xeneta says carriers are calling the tune, with major newbuild capacity injections still some way off (around 400 container vessels have been ordered so far in 2021), while a 7-8% growth in global container volume is anticipated. With such a lop-sided playing field carriers are aiming to secure elevated rates by locking customers into more long-term contracts (now 60% of Maersk’s bookings) and hedge future revenue. Some leading players are even offering multi-year deals, with the benefits of additional volume options, or stable, guaranteed shipments.

“Shippers are treading carefully in this regard,” says Berglund, “but there is some appetite for longer-term commitment – raising the question of whether both parties might look beyond the traditional tender?”

He continues: “Another change of approach is exemplified by CMA CGM’s bold, recent move to freeze spot rate increases from now through to February. However, with rates already so high there’ll no doubt be many shippers viewing this as ‘crumbs from the rich man’s table’… and let’s see if any freezes do take hold within the broader carrier community.

“One thing is certain though; something has to be done. Current carrier profitability levels are not sustainable, nor are they in the carriers’ long-term interests. With such high-profits the seed is sown for challenges to the status quo, with new industry entrants or more direct cargo owner action, such as chartering. The carriers simply don’t want that.”

Regional perspectives

Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund
Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund

The latest XSI®, which is based on crowd sourced real-time rates from leading shippers, delivers an in-depth regional breakdown of market fortunes for key trades – with fortunes being the operative word. In Europe imports on the XSI® rose by 3.9% in September, meaning the benchmark has appreciated 132.5% year-on-year. Exports also increased, edging up by 1.3%, now 51.7% higher than this time last year.

In the Far East imports fell for the first time since March, but only by 0.7%. This still leaves the index 49.8% up year-on-year. Exports continued to power along in the right direction, with rates showing a 5.1% increase, up 126.8% against September 2020. Meanwhile, in the US imports rose by just 0.6%, although strong recent growth leaves the benchmark 67.3% up year-on-year. Exports grew by the same margin, with the index now a (relatively modest) 20.7% up against this point last year.

Stay informed, stay flexible

Berglund concludes: “Port congestion remains high, especially in key hubs such as LA, Long Beach, New York and Hamburg, and equipment is in short supply. Seen against strong pre-festive season demand, and stubbornly high spot rates, it’s difficult to see much relief on the horizon for shippers.

“As ever, we’d advise all parties to avail themselves of the latest market intelligence to help guide them in negotiations, while retaining a flexible strategic approach to take advantage of any opportunities that do emerge. It’s a tough market out there… and probably will be for some time to come.”

Companies participating in Oslo-based Xeneta’s crowd-sourced ocean and air freight rate benchmarking and market analytics platform include names such as ABB, Electrolux, Continental, Unilever, Nestle, L’Oréal, Thyssenkrupp, Volvo Group and John Deere, amongst others.

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

To see daily XSI® short-term market rate movements for 12 main trade lanes, SEE HERE

Added 30 September 2021 Africa Ports & ships

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AVIATION: SAA reactivates partnership with Emirates and creates MoU with Kenya Airways

SAA Airbus

As South African Airways (SAA) takes back to the air it is turning towards activating partnerships with other airlines to boost connectivity and expand customer options.

It’s been disclosed that Emirates and SAA are working closely to reactivate their long-standing partnership with the aim of improving customer experience and providing more value to travellers when flying on both carriers. The move comes as SAA restarts flights to six African destinations.

The two airlines will initially kick off with a reciprocal commercial arrangement. The agreement includes SAA coded and Emirates-operated routes between South Africa and Dubai on a single ticket, enabling travellers to seamlessly check-in their bags to their final destinations from 1 October. Emirates will also place the SAA code on major trunk routes between South Africa and Dubai.

“The partnership between Emirates and South African Airways builds on our shared commitment to providing customers more schedule choices and increased connectivity across Africa and through our growing network,” said Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Airline.

“We value our nearly 25 years of successful partnership with SAA and we are working hard to take more positive steps forward to continue to grow our relationship and provide our customers with even more connectivity in the future.”


SAA’s Interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo said that the two airlines share the same vision of seamless, efficient, and excellent customer service with connectivity to multiple destinations. “We are confident this partnership will lead to the addition of more route and destination options, particularly across Africa as we both recognise the economic, trade and tourism potential the continent has and our key role as enablers.”

The Emirates SAA partnership started in 1997, and over the last ten years more than a million passengers have flown across the joint network of both airlines, which grew to 110 destinations prior to the pandemic.

With the restoration of the SAA partnership, Emirates’ footprint across South and southern Africa offers customers more options across the continent.

SAA and Kenya Airways: planning Pan-African Airline Group

It was also announced this week that South African Airways, having returned to local service and now commencing regional services, is in the process of signing a memorandum of co-operation with Kenya Airways with a longer-term view to co-starting a Pan-African Airline Group that in time will enhance mutual growth potential by taking advantage of strengths of the two airlines’ busy hubs.

“As well as being a strong local carrier, part of our broader growth strategy is to become a major player in regional travel and this joint memorandum with Kenya Airways, one of the continent’s strongest and most respected carriers, will do just that,” said SAA interim CEO, Kgokolo.

“Part of SAA’s core remit is to be a significant enabler of business and trade in Africa and it’s through a strategic understanding like this that real progress will be made in advancing South Africa and the continent’s growth.”

Kenya Airways’ CEO, Allan Kilavuka, highlighted the partnership’s significance in turning around the fortunes of both KQ and SAA. “The future of aviation and its long-term sustenance is hinged on partnership and collaboration. Kenya Airways and South African Airways collaboration will enhance customer benefits by availing a larger combined passenger and Cargo network, fostering the exchange of expertise, innovation, best practices, and adopting home-grown organic solutions to technical and operational challenges,” he said.

The planned cooperation is intended to help improve customer experience by offering a wider range of choices and destinations. The cooperation will also help in the standardisation of product and service offering that is in line with current global aviation trends.

Kgokolo believes the memorandum will also help the tourism sectors in both countries in time creating the most formidable airline in Africa, benefiting from at least two attractive hubs in Johannesburg, Nairobi and possibly Cape Town.

The next step is for both parties to set up a joint working group to further discuss the memorandum and to put in place systems to achieve their joint stated objectives.

Added 30 September 2021   Africa Ports & Ships

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Saldanha Iron Ore Terminal on planned maintenance shutdown

Saldanha Iron Ore Terminal
Saldanha Iron Ore Terminal  Picture:  Transnet

The Saldanha Iron Ore Terminal, operated by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) at the Port of Saldanha, commenced its planned annual 10-day maintenance shutdown as from Tuesday this week (28 September 2021).

The shutdown is in keeping with its maintenance schedule agreed with bulk customers.

Maintenance works during this period include inspection, repairing and replacement of critical equipment, ensuring its electrical, mechanical and structural integrity.

Also forming part of the works are tippler drums, transfer chutes, dust plant filters, bucket wheels, fire suppression checks, servicing of and the replacement of 8.1km of steel cord conveyor belts by doing 25 hot vulcanized splices.

The terminals handle about 60 million tonnes of iron ore annually from the Northern Cape mines, which is exported worldwide.

The landside part of the Iron Ore Terminal at Saldanha
The land-facing side of the Iron Ore Terminal at the Port of Saldanha    Picture: TPT

“With the undertaking of an exercise of this nature,” said Andiswa Dlanga, TPT Managing Executive of Saldanha Terminals, “our planning is aimed at minimising safety incidents and ensuring that our operations resume within the stipulated time.”

She added that this took commitment and dedication from the team in seeing the project through to success.

The TPT terminal has allocated over 90% of the total spend to Small Medium and Micro-Enterprises (SMME). There is also an element of skills transfer for terminal employees to ensure the upkeep of critical operating equipment.

Engagements with customers and industry were ongoing. Internally, the Saldanha Terminal is on a drive to further emphasise the requirement for adherence to COVID19 standard preventative measures during all execution of work.

The Saldanha Iron Ore Terminal is is one of 16 Transnet Port Terminals and is Africa’s largest iron ore facility and South Africa’s only dedicated iron ore terminal. The deep water port and terminal supports the handling of an average of 25 Cape sized vessels per month.

Added 29 September 2021 Africa Ports & Ships

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Kalmar to supply Mombasa port with reachstackers and forklift trucks

A Kalmar medium forklift truck
A Kalmar medium forklift truck    Picture: Kalmar

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has placed orders with Kalmar, part of Cargotec, for three forklift trucks and eight reachstackers.

The orders in two tranches, on behalf of the Mombasa Container Terminal, are scheduled for delivery in the 1st quarter of 2022.

Mombasa, as the principal port on the East African coast, is the main gateway not only to Kenya but also its neighbouring landlocked neighbours, Uganda, Rwanda, Eastern DRC, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Kenya’s ports are owned and managed by the KPA. The Mombasa Container Terminal has an annual throughout in excess of one million TEU.

KPA’s diverse equipment fleet includes Kalmar terminal tractors, forklift trucks, reachstackers and rubber-tyred gantry cranes. The latest orders follow orders for four Kalmar Gloria reachstackers delivered in 2020 and a total of 50 Kalmar terminal tractors, delivered to KPA in 2019 and 2020.

Kalmar Gloria reachstacker
Kalmar Gloria reachstacker   Kalmar

The reachstacker order comprises four Kalmar Gloria reachstackers and four reachstackers for empty and semi-laden container handling, while the forklift truck order comprises two medium machines and one heavy machine.

“We took delivery of our first Kalmar reachstacker in 2005, and it is still running flawlessly,” said Eng. Julius Tai, Head of Terminal Engineering at KPA.

“Over the years Kalmar has always been willing to listen, adapt and provide us with solutions that meet our requirements without compromising on capacity. We are very much looking forward to welcoming these new machines to our fleet at the start of next year.”

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TFR door not yet slammed shut to coal line extension to Botswana

A task team has been established between Transnet Freight Rail and the Botswana Department of Transport to look into increasing the export of coal to South Africa from Botswana. This would entail the building of a rail extension in Limpopo province that in addition to supplying the South African domestic market, would conceivably connect with the Richards Bay Coal export line.

According to a statement issued after the meeting, the task team consisting of representatives from TFR, Botswana Railways, and the Botswana Chamber of Mines, will examine the viability of the 43km extension of the Waterberg line, and determine key project enablers such as the funding mechanism.

It had been stated previously that an extension of the railway from South Africa into northern Botswana for the purpose of hauling coal would not go ahead.

In July Transnet Chief Executive Portia Darby was quoted as saying Transnet intended abandoning plans for the extension into northern Botswana. She said that Transnet saw the need for coal to “fall off a cliff” from around 2037 and Transnet had taken the decision to limit TFR’s annual coal export rail capacity at 81 million tonnes.

“We will not increase the capacity on the Waterberg coal line beyond the six million tons that we have already announced. We have indicated to Botswana that we will not be extending the North-East Corridor line to the border,” she told the mining publication, Miningmx.

Botswana currently supplies South Africa with less than 450,000 tons annually for its domestic market. A 43km extension of the Waterberg line would avoid a 550km detour while assisting with maintaining viable volumes on the underutilised northern line.

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China introduces loadshedding – its way

China has its own unique way of doing things, often on a grand scale that other nations might regard as unthinkable.

So it is following an injunction from President Xi Jinping for China to set a target for carbon emissions to peak by 2030, and to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2060.

This was followed by the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s economic planing agency, releasing a ‘dual-control’ plan to restrict energy-intensive activities and consumption.

As a result, reports The Loadstar, factories in at least ten Chinese provinces have either cut output or closed temporarily this month.

The report said that by Friday last week, at least 10 publicly listed companies told the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges their factory output had been hit by the power cuts, and their 2021 earnings could be adversely affected.

The provinces affected include Jiangsu, Guangdong and Zhejiang – among the most industrialised in China with their factories producing steel products, plastics, home appliances, chemicals and textiles. All three provinces had received ‘red ratings’ for missing consumption targets.

The provinces are also home to China’s busiest ports, Ningbo, Guangzhou, Nansha, Yantian and Shekou. Add to that Jiangsu province which lies along the Yangtze River Delta and its container exports are usually processed by Shanghai or Ningbo.

Loadstar comments that as this is the peak season for container shipments to US and European retailers, the new moves could exacerbate delays in receiving shipments at the ports, especially when the power cuts last beyond the end of September. And congestion on the US west coast has held up shipments, with some 70 ships waiting outside Los Angeles and Long Beach due to surging imports and insufficient trucking and land-based logistics.

Similar delays may affect imports into sub-Saharan Africa as well, at least in the short term.

Like South Africa, most of China’s electricity supply is coal-fired and, although the affected industries can use renewable energy as a substitute, the take-up will not happen overnight, even though the government has been investing heavily in wind energy, r4eports The Loadstar.

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WHARF TALK: why the need for more attention at Cape Town? – LV NORTH OCEAN 105

Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 arriving in the port of Cape Town on 20 September, after an extended stay in Durban. This picture is by 'Dockrat'
Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 arriving in the port of Cape Town on 20 September, after an extended stay in Durban. This picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The Reel Pipelay vessel with the self-explanatory descriptive name, LAY VESSEL NORTH OCEAN 105 (IMO 9433183) made an unexpected arrival in Cape Town in order to receive yet more engineering input from the Dormac facility in the port.

Prior to arriving in Cape Town, Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 has first arrived in Durban back on 24th July, and spent 53 days alongside, at various locations within the port, including the Dormac facility at the Bayhead, receiving required upgrades and necessary maintenance.

The pipelaying vessel on the quayside at Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The pipelaying vessel on the quayside at Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Maintenance completed, she sailed from Durban on 15th September at 13h00 and proceeded to the Durban anchorage, where she remained at anchor for just over one day, before setting sail for Cape Town on 16th September at 15h00.
Arriving at the Table Bay anchorage on 19th September at 20h00, she stayed overnight at anchor and entered Cape Town harbour on 20th September at 15h00, proceeding directly to the Dormac repair quay at berth 502 in the Ben Schoeman Dock.

The interesting question is why she needs further attention from Dormac in Cape Town, after spending time in Durban getting the engineering attention provided by Dormac in that location.

Full view of the Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 in Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Full view of the Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 in Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

A full technical description of the specifications of this stunning pipelay vessel was given in a separate article, written during her stay in Durban, and published HERE in Africa PORTS on 2 August. Readers are invited to avail themselves to this article, in order to gain a picture of the operational complexity, and the capabilities, of Lay Vessel North Ocean 105.

Her capabilities were utilised prior to her arrival in Durban, on her previous contract. Contracted by India’s state owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) back in 2018, Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 was assigned to the ONGC deepwater project in the Krishna Godavari Basin, located some 37 miles to the South East of the port of Kakinada, in the State of Andhra Pradesh, off the East coast of India.

Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 on her berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 on her berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The contract called for the installation of subsea umbilicals, risers, and flowlines (SURF), in water depths ranging between 300 metres and 3,200 metres, linking up to 34 deepwater trees, with Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 laying the majority of the Subsea production System (SPS).

This subsea award represented the largest single subsea contract ever awarded by ONGC. It was signed by McDermott of Houston in the USA, who are the owners of Lay Vessel North Ocean 105, and was scheduled for completion and delivery in 2020, for the natural gas component of the project, and 2021 for the oil component of the project.

In April 2021, prior to starting the project, Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 was required to go into drydock at the Hindustan Shipyard at Visakhapatnam, for seven days, for repairs and upgrades.

The complexities of LV North Ocean 105's onboard machimnery and equipment is clar from this photo of the ship taken in Durban in July, prior to the vessel moving to Cape Town for continuation of her repairs and maintenance. This picture is by Trevor Jones
The complexities of LV North Ocean 105’s onboard machinery and equipment is clear from this photo of the ship taken in Durban in July, prior to the vessel moving to Cape Town for continuation of her repairs and maintenance. This picture is by Trevor Jones

For the duration of the project she operated out of the port of Kakinada for purposes of bunkering, storing and completing crew changes. She also operated out of the port of Kattupali, in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, where her umbilicals, risers and flowlines were loaded from a facility within the port.

The length of the scheduled time alongside in Cape Town, receiving the necessary maintenance, is not known, and neither is the location of her next contract, but presumed to be either West Africa or Brazil. This is not the first time that Lay Vessel North Ocean 105 has visited Cape Town, as she called in during August 2014, as well as during January 2017.

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How to cushion consumers from high maritime freight rates

A container ship in the port of Valencia, Spain. Picture: Jan Hoffmann ©
A container ship in the port of Valencia, Spain. Picture: Jan Hoffmann ©

By Jan Hoffmann
Head of Trade Logistics, UNCTAD

Containerised shipping underpins the transport and delivery of global manufactured goods, including inputs, parts, components and consumer goods.

On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, the cost of shipping containers has reached historical highs (see figure).

The cost of shipping one standard 20-foot container from Shanghai to Brazil, for example, is today nearly five times higher than the average of the last 12 years.

Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI), weekly spot rates. 18 December 2009 to 23 July 2021, selected routes.  Source: UNCTAD, based on data provided by Clarksons Research Services
Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI), weekly spot rates. 18 December 2009 to 23 July 2021, selected routes.  Source: UNCTAD, based on data provided by Clarksons Research Services

The surge in freight rates and surcharges in container shipping are occurring in tandem with reduced service reliability, a key performance metric for shippers and supply chain managers.

Factors straining maritime supply

A set of COVID-19 pandemic-induced factors have combined to cause the strain on the maritime supply chain currently underway in the liner shipping industry.

First among them is the unexpected and unprecedented swift rebound in containerised trade enabled by an early and rapid recovery in China. This is coupled with massive policy support measures in the United States and Europe that supported household income and expenditure, growth in e-commerce and increased pharmaceutical and home-office purchasing requirements.

UNCTAD 2020 Review
UNCTAD 2020 Review

Second, the turnaround time for containers, trailers, and ships in ports and intermodal transport links is slower than normal, as ports, transport providers and shippers have to comply with health regulations and social distancing.

Third, supply capacity is not growing fast enough to catch up with demand and the ability of ports to adjust is more constrained than that of shipping lines.

These factors have exacerbated congestion in key ports and shipping nodes, increased delays, reduced visibility of shipments, increased fees and surcharges, added blank sailings, increased overall shipping costs and amplified trade frictions.

One positive development is the high profitability for liner shipping operators.

What does this mean for the consumer?

The high freight rates have a direct impact on the import price of goods, and to the extent that costs are passed on to the consumer, also on the final price in the shop.

Just to get an idea of the order of magnitude, and the range of values, the spot freight rates can be compared to indicative retail values.

Depending on the type and value of goods, the current level of freight costs is equivalent to values between 0.35% of the retail value for high-value clothes and 63.55% for low-value high-volume furniture.

How long will this last?

How long will it take freight rates to return to earlier low averages? There are several medium- and longer-term trends suggesting freight rates will likely remain higher than the previous long-term average for several years.

For more than a decade, liner shipping companies had confronted very low freight rates. To survive, unit costs needed to be reduced. To reduce unit costs, carriers invested in ever-bigger (economies of scale) and newer (more fuel-efficient) ships.

However, the older ships were not scrapped, and the overcapacity remained, keeping freight rates low. This situation has now changed to a market with no overcapacity, and although the current order book for new ships is growing again, it takes time to build these ships.

Smaller and more vulnerable economies already pay more for shipping. UNCTAD has extensively assessed the determinants of international maritime transport costs.

Our analysis shows that small and vulnerable economies are also confronted with higher international transport costs.

For example, a typical small island developing state pays on average twice as much for the transport of its imports than the typical developed country.

The reasons include diseconomies of scale, lower levels of port and trade facilitation performance, higher distances and trade imbalances – situations where ships arrive full but return mostly empty.

What can be done?

Carriers, ports and shippers were all taken by surprise by the pandemic, and the subsequent shortage of empty containers observed since late 2020 is unprecedented. No contingency plans were in place to pre-empt the lack of availability or to mitigate its negative impacts.

Given current trends, several months will likely pass before this disruption can be absorbed across the maritime supply chain and before the system resumes smoother operations.

In the meantime, there are three key considerations for policymakers, to help reduce the likelihood that similar situations will occur in the future:

Trade facilitation and digitalisation for resilient supply chains. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of resilient supply chains. Customs officials, port workers and transport operators have recognised the need to reduce physical contact, while at the same time keeping ships moving, ports open and cross-border trade flowing.

Some of the trade facilitation solutions proposed by UNCTAD contribute to facilitating trade and transport while protecting the population from the virus. Many of the measures depend on the digitalisation of trade procedures, including in maritime transport.

Tracking and tracing. The recent shortage in containers and maritime equipment took stakeholders by surprise. Monitoring of port calls and liner schedules, along with better tracing and port call optimisation, are among the issues covered by the growing field of maritime informatics.

UNCTAD is monitoring developments through the Review of Maritime Transport series, dedicated publications and online statistics. Policymakers need to promote transparency and encourage collaboration along the maritime supply chain, while ensuring that potential market power abuse is kept in check or prevented.

Competition in maritime transport. Carriers have earned high rates of return during the pandemic, with double-digit operating profits for some container carriers in 2020.

Shippers have emphasised that they don’t have access to empty containers for exports and face blank sailings, as well as high freight rates, and competition authorities are investigating potentially abusive behaviours.

While there are several reasons that may explain the shortage in containers and ship supply capacity, including the disruptive nature of the pandemic and associated restrictions, it’s also important to ensure national competition authorities can monitor freight rates and market behaviour. Policymakers should continue to strengthen national competition authorities in maritime transport and ensure they are prepared to provide the requisite regulatory oversight.

In conclusion, it’s critical to ensure strengthened and improved collaboration across the maritime supply chain, with all players working together to enhance efficiency, transparency and reliability, while maintaining a profitable operating environment for liner shipping companies, ports and inland transport providers.

* This commentary is based on ongoing work for the Review of Maritime Transport report,

source: UNCTAD

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Nigeria Ports Authority boss says Nigeria is poised to become West Africa’s maritime hub

Lagos Ro-Ro Terminal. Picture NPA
Lagos Ro-Ro Terminal. Picture NPA

Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Acting Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, says the NPA is poised to leverage Nigeria’s status as Africa’s biggest economy to actualise the country’s maritime hub status in the region.

This will be achieved through investments in modern deep seaports that would attract very large merchant vessels with the attendant multiple socio-economic benefits, as well as boost port revenue performance.

Bello-Koko was speaking last week at the first retreat for the reconstituted board of Directors of the Authority, with the theme ‘Expanding the Frontiers of Service Excellence’.

A lot has been done to actualise these aspirations, he said. In the last few months most of the identified constraints to efficient movement of cargoes to and from port locations have been resolved, Bello-Koko said.

“Nigeria accounts for about 70 percent of cargoes imported into West and Central Africa and the country controls an impressive stretch of the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria’s rich aquatic endowments and her border with landlocked nations makes development of deep seaports a huge potential revenue earner for the nation.

Earning Hub Status

“The move towards earning the status of hub in the region is in line with our new vision statement which was adopted at the recent NPA Management retreat, ‘To Be The Maritime Logistics Hub For Sustainable Port System In Africa’,” he said.

Describing the board retreat as very timely, he said that it signposts a unity of purpose and shared vision, where the executive management is working closely with every section, unit, department, division and directorate, to embrace an all-inclusive strategic outcomes for the NPA with the requisite buy-in of the Board.

He appealed to the Board for an understanding of the executive committee’s limitations in carrying out some of the goals and objectives, which he said the Board must have noticed while touring the ports ahead of the retreat.

Nevertheless, he highlighted recent interventions that led to significant improvement in terms of ship and cargo dwell time at the port. However, some of the benchmarks still to be achieved remain dependent on outside forces requiring concerted inter-agency actions.

These, he said, face systemic administrative constraints and bureaucracy, including conflicting directives from the agencies operating within the port value chain and reporting to different supervising ministries with jurisdictional overlaps and duplication of functions.


He told the Board that in addition to revenue from traditional port operations, the NPA is seeing to expand revenue streams. “Unlike the practice in our sister francophone countries where government funds dredging of ports, we are responsible for funding ours which put a lot of strain on our resources and capacity to invest in critical port infrastructure,” he pointed out.

“We are facing decaying port infrastructure, for example sections of the quay aprons or walls at Tin Can Island, Onne, Delta and Calabar ports are collapsing and require huge funds to repair them.

“With the increasing pressure to remit more revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federation, it has become very difficult to have sufficient funds to attend to these decaying facilities, hence the need to explore alternative funding sources outside the traditional port service offerings.”

Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko (standing right) addressing participants at the NPA Board Retreat in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Picture: NPA
Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko (standing right) addressing participants at the NPA Board Retreat in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Picture: NPA

Bello-Koko pointed to prime real estate which the NPA owns and which could serve as alternative funding sources outside the regular budget.

“NPA has a lot of high value landed properties in Onne, Snake Island, and Takwa Bay that are designated free trade zones and mostly allocated but with poor arterial road network and other infrastructure to make them attractive for private investments which would bring good revenue to the Authority and Federal Government.

“Management will need the support of the Board to drive the process of alternative revenue sources to actualise the lofty aspirations of the Authority,” he said.

Financial Institutions

Bello-Koko advised that correspondences had been opened with some multilateral financial institutions to access long term low interest credit for port infrastructure upgrades and expansion.

The Acting MD also touched on efforts by the management to make Nigerian seaports more business friendly. “We have been able to deploy technology to address the perennial traffic gridlock that has been frustrating the conduct of business around the Lagos ports corridor. A software application code named ‘eto’ is gradually restoring sanity to trucking business despite the initial teething problems and resistance by vested interests hitherto profiting from the chaos.”

Truck Terminals & Barges

The Authority has accredited 33 private truck terminals within the Lagos area, in addition to the Lilypond Truck Transit Park and Tin Can Island Port Truck Transit Park, to ensure trucks do not park indiscriminately on the access roads and would only be allowed to transit to the port after obtaining electronic tickets via the ‘eto’ call-up platform.

The Authority is collaborating with the Lagos State Government to ensure enforcement and compliance with the e-call up system, he said.

Other solutions being implemented is the push to link all seaports to the national rail network as well optimise the use of the inland waterways through the transfer of cargo or containers via barges.

Currently, the Authority is streamlining barge operations to ensure efficiency, safety and cost effective cargo delivery for increased port revenue.

Bonny Deepsea Port

In his address he included acknowledging recent steps taken by the Ministry of Transportation and the NPA towards the timely execution of the new green-field deep seaport to be built in Bonny, Rivers State.

The Bonny seaport project, boosted by two major railway projects, would massively transform the economic landscape of the country, particularly the South South and South Eastern regions.

Meanwhile, on the South Western axis is the Lekki Deep Seaport which should be operational next year.

The two port projects will usher a new vista of economic prosperity and further consolidate the country’s status as gateway to the African economy, he noted.

Added 28 September 2021 Africa Ports & Ships

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Maersk sells its container factory business to CIMC

Container logistics company A.P. Moller – Maersk is to sell its Maersk Container Industry, a leading manufacturer of refrigerated containers (reefers).

The agreement to sell was signed on Monday this week (27 September 2021) in which Maersk Container Industry (MCI) will be acquired by China International Marine Containers Ltd (CIMC), headquartered in Shenzhen, China and listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

MCI will become part of a market leading company in the container equipment industry. CIMC will take over MCI’s entire organisation and assets which include the reefer factory in Qingdao, China, as well as its R&D and test engineering facilities in Tinglev, Denmark.

“We believe that we in CIMC have found a good long-term owner of MCI. The divestment of MCI is part of A.P. Moller – Maersk’s business transformation, where focus is on being an integrated container transport and logistics company creating customer value across the entire supply chain,” says Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands in A.P. Moller – Maersk.

“While strengthening the synergies between the core businesses of our global integrator offering, we have reviewed the strategic fit of MCI and decided to find a new home for MCI that can ensure that the company continues to grow its reefer business through continued development and committed investments from a new owner. We have had a close relationship with CIMC for more than 30 years and we look forward to continue that partnership,” she added.

MCI has been a part of the company for more than 30 years, having been founded by Maersk in 1991. Over the years it has transformed into a business focusing entirely on manufacturing refrigerated containers and in 2020, the company delivered its most profitable result since its foundation.

The CIMC manufacturing plant in China
The CIMC manufacturing plant in China

According to Mr Mai Boliang, Chairman and CEO of CIMC, CIMC wants to continue MCI’s trajectory of increasing sales and investing in new product development and believes that bringing MCI into its group will allow it to accomplish this.

“By leveraging technology and innovation we want to create a new growth platform within cold chain. I look forward to welcoming MCI as I am very impressed by the company’s results and innovation. I am convinced that by combining MCI’s talented people and technologies with our global refrigeration business we will create an exciting future together as a key partner for our customers,” he said.

The value of the transaction is USD 987.3 million on a cash and debt free basis (Enterprise Value). The agreement for CIMC to acquire MCI is subject to regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in or before 2022.

Until closing, CIMC and MCI will remain two separate companies and continue to run their businesses as usual.

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WHARF TALK: Another cargo of palm oil – BOW SAGA

Bow Saga on her arrival in the port of Cape Town with a cargo of palm oil. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Bow Saga on her arrival in the port of Cape Town with a cargo of palm oil. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The arrival of a chemical tanker, rather than a products tanker, always indicates that the cargo she is carrying is something out of the ordinary, despite most of this type of vessel having the ability to carry combinations of chemicals, bulk liquids or fuel products.

On 20th September at 11h00, the Chemical Tanker BOW SAGA (IMO 9215309) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage from Carteya Guadarranque in Spain, and spent the next five hours at anchor. By 16h00 that day she had entered Cape Town harbour and went alongside the tanker berth in the Duncan Dock.

The chemical tanker Bow Saga entered harbour at 16hoo on 20 September - picture is by 'Dockrat'
The Odfjell chemical tanker Bow Saga entered harbour at 16hoo on 20 September – picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Her voyage began in Rotterdam, prior to completing her loading in Spain, and as with her sistership Bow Sky in July, it is thought she also delivered a cargo of Palm Oil, and again as with Bow Sky, she sailed on 22nd September at 05h00, bound for Durban. As well as having many uses in food manufacturing, Palm Oil is also one of the many derivatives used to produce Biodiesel.

Built in 2007 by Stocznia Szczecinska Nowa at Szczecin in Poland, Bow Saga is 183 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 49,449 tons, which puts her into the category of MR2 tanker if utilised for the carriage of fuel products. She is powered by a single Cegielski Sulzer 6RTA58TB 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 17,340 bhp (12,930 kW) to drive a controllable pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three MAN-B&W 6L28/32H generators each providing 1.260 kW, and a single MAN D2866TF emergency generator providing 218 kW. She has an Alfa Laval Aalborg AV-7 exhaust gas boiler, and an Alfa Laval Aalborg AQ-18 oil fired boiler.

Bow Saga preparing to go alongside one of the port's two tanker berths. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Bow Saga preparing to go alongside one of the port’s two tanker berths. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As a chemical tanker, Bow Saga offers a variety of options for the carriage of liquid cargoes, and for that purpose she has 40 tanks with a maximum cargo carrying capacity of 52,243 m3. Her 40 tanks range in capacity from 350m3 to 2,650m3, and allow her to carry a mixture of IMO Type I, II and III chemicals, petroleum products, vegetable, animal and fish oils, and molasses.

Owned by Odfjell Chemical Tankers AS, of Bergen in Norway, Bow Saga is operated by Odfjell Tankers AS, and managed by Odfjell Management AS, also of Bergen. This is not the first visit to South African ports by Bow Saga this year, as she called in at both Durban and Richards Bay back in July. Since March, her sisterships Bow Sun, Bow Sky and Bow Summer have visited South African ports on no less than 10 occasions.

Once alongside she would commence discharging her cargo into the appropriate harbour tank. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Once alongside she would commence discharging her cargo into the appropriate harbour tank. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 2nd August 2010 Bow Saga had departed Jebel Ali in the UAE, bound for Europe, and was transiting the Gulf of Oman, and sailing westbound within the International Recommended Transit Corridor, when she had the misfortune to come under a sustained attack by seven Somali Pirates, in a skiff, who fired automatic weapons at her accommodation block and bridge, damaging windows.

On transmitting a MAYDAY call, the Spanish Navy vessel SPS Victoria (F82), a Santa Maria class frigate, operating anti-piracy patrols for EUNAVFOR, deployed her SH-60 Seahawk helicopter to the scene within ten minutes of the attack taking place. The pirates attempted to flee, but the SH-60 fired warning shots at the skiff, which stopped. Shortly afterwards, a boarding team from SPS Victoria searched the skiff, discovered weapons aboard, and arrested the pirates.

Bow Saga's accommodation block. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Bow Saga’s accommodation block. Note the semi rigid ship’s boat. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 5th August 2010, the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) called for the prosecution of the captured pirates, who were being held onboard SPS Victoria. INTERTANKO appealed to both Spain (Seizing State) and Norway (Flag State) to co-operate to the fullest possible extent in forcing the repression of piracy, as per Article 100 of the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).

INTERTANKO requested that the pirates be either prosecuted by one of the two states involved, or be extradited to face justice. As such, the request was made to have the pirates prosecuted on the basis of customary international law, or to have them transferred, under extradition, to face prosecution in another state willing to undertake the process.

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Protests close Port Sudan seaport and the city’s airport – UPDATE



In an update to the report published yesterday (see stories below) it is reported that South Sudanese oil exports have resumed after protests interfered with pipeline flows.

This news was reported by South Sudanese Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth.

He revealed that exports from Sudan’s southern neighbour began flowing on Monday, 27 September, after protests had disrupted operations.

In our report of yesterday we informed that a delegation of Sudanese council members had visited Port Sudan to address those who were protesting in the port city and blocking access to the port.

The Sudanese government delegation went to Port Sudan on Sunday for talks aimed at pacifying protesters who have succeeded in blocking the port and airport in the coastal city.

The delegation was seeking ways at reopening oil exports.

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TPT introduces truck booking system at Cape Town port terminals

Container trucks at the Cape Town container terminal
Container trucks at the Cape Town container terminal    Picture:  Transnet

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has introduced a mandatory truck booking system at the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) and Cape Town Multiurpose Terminal (CTMPT).

The mandatory booking system folllows the introduction of similar booking systems in place at the Port of Durban.

According to Managing Executive of the Cape Terminals, Wandisa Vazi, “There are many challenges introduced when trucks all call at the terminal at the same time unannounced hence our roll out of the mandatory truck booking system which we are pleading with industry to fully exploit.”

She added that this initiative would ease the congestion often experienced on Duncan Road and the central business district.

The CTCT and CTMPT handle an average of 1,400 trucks per day. Using the terminal operating system NAVIS, customers will now be able to book their containers online. They are also able to input the correct data and track the cargo beyond having ensured container security from the gate to the yard and then to the vessel.

Cape Town Container Terminal. Picture: TNPA
Cape Town Container Terminal. Picture: TNPA

Employed globally as a way of reducing truck turnaround times, the truck appointment system will enable transporters to book delivery slots 48 hours in advance or cancel a booking within two hours prior to the time slot. Training is under way for all transporters to ensure their ability to manage day to day troubleshooting.

In February, the terminals introduced another initiative to reduce congestion – railing containers from the Belcon Inland Terminal that would have otherwise been transported on road. “We are currently averaging 260 containers per week in partnership with our sister division Transnet Freight Rail,” said Vazi, adding that all initiatives in place were a response to customer and community concerns.

CTCT and CTMPT are the latest of the network of 16 Transnet Port Terminals to employ the mandatory truck booking system after the three Durban Terminals. The system in Cape Town will go live on 5 October 2021.

Considered best practice in the container sector globally, a mandatory truck booking system not only offers operational efficiency but financial value for both the terminal operator and the customer since waiting times are drastically reduced.

Added 27 September 2021 Africa Ports & Ships

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Inchcape briefing: A wide range of MSI services

Experience and credibility are key elements of Inchcape’s Marine Survey and Inspection services. Credit: Inchcape Shipping Services
Experience and credibility are key elements of Inchcape’s Marine Survey and Inspection services.  Picture: Inchcape Shipping Services

Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) has established a strong presence across the Middle East and Africa including in the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Kenya and Mauritius. The company is now expanding further in Africa and South Asia by establishing a presence in Tanzania, Nigeria, Rwanda Djibouti, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, it is reported.

According to Atul Shukla, Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) area manager for Marine Survey and Inspection (MSI) in the Middle East and Africa: “Fuel is liquid gold for ship owners.” This point with others was made in a briefing from ISS on 27 September.

Reliable supply of bunker fuel with the right quality, volume and price remains a risky business and a small discrepancy can prove extremely costly, especially when running a large fleet. As we well know fuel accounts for a large proportion of vessel operational costs and a bunker quantity survey (BQS) is necessary to verify the amount of fuel delivered is correct, or provide information in the event of a dispute, and to take fuel samples for laboratory analysis.

Atul Shukla, Inchcape’s area manager for Marine Survey and Inspection in the Middle East and Africa. Picture: Inchcape Shipping Services
Atul Shukla, Inchcape’s area manager for Marine Survey and Inspection in the Middle East and Africa.      Picture: Inchcape Shipping Services

Survey credibility

ISS has advised that fuel samples must be compliant with MARPOL’s International Convention for the Prevention of Air Pollution from ships and therefore fuel quality has become a priority for owners as they pursue more sustainable solutions.

Single point of contact

Inchcape has expanded its team of BQS surveyors working out of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates and is now rolling out a similar service at other UAE locations including off Ras Al Khaimah and Jebel Ali.

Provision of these services is supported by an in-house team of master mariners, chief engineers, claims adjusters, mechanical engineers and naval architects, backed by Inchcape’s global network of expertise. Inchcape is already well established as Lloyd’s Agents in the Middle East.

The company is also the regional claims adjuster for a leading insurance provider and the average agent for French insurance market CESAM in Abu Dhabi. In addition, it acts as the correspondent and surveyor for the majority of the International Group P&I clubs and represents a number of hull and machinery underwriters.

Prestigious projects

Inchcape has provided marine warranty survey services for a number of prestigious projects with high-value cargoes including transport of the spindle-and-hub section of the Dubai Eye (Ain Dubai).

Other projects under its scrutiny have been the Dubai Trolley and Doha Tram as well as, in the oil and gas sector, deliveries for an LNG project in Canada and an oilfield scheme in Iraq, among others.

The comprehensive package of MSI services provided by Inchcape ranges from breakbulk port captain entailing surveys to determine the condition of cargo at load and destination port, crane/wire inspections and inspections for hatch cover integrity to hull and machinery surveys and vetting of vessels and crew to determine efficiency.

Mitigating risks

Another key service area is underwater hull surveys facilitated by Inchcape’s fleet of battery-driven ROVs, which is both safer and more cost-effective than deploying divers to determine the condition of a ship’s hull.

This can also have a beneficial environmental effect by identifying biofouling of the hull that can result in more drag in the water, thereby increasing a vessel’s fuel consumption.

Paul Ridgway, Londn Correspondent Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Reported by Paul Ridgway

Added 27 September Africa Ports & Ships

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WHARF TALK: tanker with a sticky cargo – MAERSK BRIGIT

Maersk Brigit in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Maersk Brigit in Cape Town harbour.   Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Maersk container vessels are a regular sight at the major ports of South Africa, and there is one Maersk MR2 products tanker on long term charter to a South African based oil major, and seen regularly delivering fuel products to all ports around the coast of Southern Africa. So the arrival of another Maersk products tanker, smaller than an MR2, but with a load picked up in another Southern African port makes one wonder what product she is delivering.

On 22nd September at 08h00 the Handysize products tanker MAERSK BRIGIT (IMO 9340582) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage from Beira in Mozambique and, after a working day spent at anchor, entered Cape Town harbour at 16h00 to proceed to the tanker berth in the Duncan Dock. Her offload period alongside was relatively short, and she sailed from Cape Town at 22h00 on 23rd September, bound for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.

Maersk Brigit. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Maersk Brigit. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her voyage had started at Maputo in Mozambique, where she loaded an unusual cargo destined for discharge in Cape Town, namely 5,000 tons of molasses. The molasses came from the AGRIMOL Molasses Terminal, located in Maputo harbour, where AGRIMOL has its own dedicated 246 metres long berth. The berth has its own pipeline linking directly to the molasses storage facility.

Built in 2006 by the Guangzhou International Shipyard, at Guangzhou in China, Maersk BrIgit is 175 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 29,017 tons. She is powered by a single Dalian MAN-B&W 5S50MC 5 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 9,588 bhp (7,150 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller, giving her a service speed of 14 knots.

Maersk Brigit. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Maersk Brigit.   Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built as one of eight ‘B Class’ Handysize product tankers for Maersk, her auxiliary machinery includes two MAN generators providing 780 kW each, and a further MAN generator providing 650 kW. She has 14 cargo tanks, and has a cargo carrying capacity of 30,919 m3.

Owned by A.P. Moller of Copenhagen, and operated by Maersk Tankers, also of Copenhagen, Maersk Brigit is managed by Maersk Tankers (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. This is not her first call to an African port this year as, back in July, she had previously delivered cargoes to both Toamasina in Madagascar, and Mombasa in Kenya.

As with her fleetmate MAERSK ALTUS, which is also a regular visitor to Cape Town, and currently providing a long term shuttle service from Island View Terminal in Durban, bringing fuel supplies to ports from Walvis Bay to Beira, Maersk Birgit was also operating a similar service, from Durban, to all ports on the South African coast between late 2016, and early 2018.

Maersk Brigit. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Maersk Brigit.   Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In late 2008, during the height of Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean, Maersk Brigit made news headlines when her owners in Denmark hired a Tanzanian Navy patrol vessel to escort her on the final leg of a voyage, from South East Asia to East Africa.

To avoid the piracy conflict zone, Maersk Brigit was directed to navigate around the southern tip of Madagascar, and up the Mozambique Channel, where the Tanzanian vessel rendezvoused with her, and escorted her to her cargo delivery port of Mombasa. It was considered to be a ‘one off’ arrangement, not repeated, and Maersk insisted that they had only paid the Tanzanian Navy for the crew costs, and the fuel used, and for nothing else.

Added 27 September 2021 Africa Ports & Ships

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DSV opens Africa’s largest integrated logistics centre

DSV has consolidated its Gauteng operations in South Africa into a new, centralised facility which is the largest of its kind in Africa. Situated near O.R. Tambo International Airport the DSV logistics centre consists of approximately 130,000 m2 of consolidated warehousing and offices buildings.

The new DSV logistics centre was officially inaugurated at a virtual ceremony last Thursday (23 September 2021).

“The inauguration of DSV Park Gauteng once again underlines DSV’s strong commitment to South Africa and our will to grow the business in the region,” said CEO of DSV Africa, Keith Pienaar.

He said the DSV Park Gauteng consolidates several smaller offices and warehouses around Johannesburg into one large, modern logistics centre.

“The foundation of our values and culture is to promote an inclusive workforce and sustainable business practices. One consolidated facility will enhance collaboration and offer truly integrated supply chain solutions for our clients and customers.”

YouTube video of DSV’s new logistics centre in Gauteng [4:07]

A large-scale and modern logistics facility

The sprawling complex houses a logistics warehouse of 79,000 m², a cross-dock facility of 41,000 m² and office space of 10,000 m². DSV’s divisions Air & Sea, Road, Solutions as well as the Shared Services function will be inhabiting the new logistics centre while other specific units such as Healthcare and parts of Mounties and Solutions will continue out of their current specialised facilities.

Pienaar said a large-scale modern logistics centre captures the essence of DSV’S consolidation strategy to create larger and more efficient facilities and enabling DSV to have many of its business units together under one single roof.

Brian Almind Winther, DSV’s EVP and Head of Group Property, said the new facility has been packed with solutions such as an innovative sorter that can handle 13,000 packages every single hour.

“Throughout the whole building process, we have also utilised our global experience to construct buildings where sustainability and resource optimisation have been fundamental in all processes,” he said.

Building for the future

Innovation, sustainability and employee safety are key to the design of the buildings. The implementation of biometrics, solar power, translucent roof sheeting, recycling stations, LED motion lighting, boreholes and water filtration systems ensure that the facility is aligned to DSV’s global strategy of sustainable operations, reducing our impact on the environment.

Wellbeing of employees

The wellbeing of employees has been an important consideration in the design of the new premises. Features include:

The DSV Active Wellness hub and a high-tech gym
A canteen, which caters for all dietary requirements and offer take home meals
A coffee shop
Stylish meeting pods, phone booths and other private break-away areas
Relaxing outside break-out areas surrounded by gardens and water features.

Local community

Construction and development saw DSV working closely with contractors and the local community to ensure they were included in the development of DSV Park Gauteng. DSV has sourced vehicles and created opportunities for people from the local community to work on site.

Through DSV’s Enterprise Development Programme, DSV partnered with accredited training service providers to provide various skills training courses to 117 candidates. Courses included driver training (15 candidates), electrician (31), introduction to PC training (Outlook, Excel and Word) (30), introduction to PC training (Power Point) (15), electrical apprenticeship (10) and trade skills / construction courses (16).

DSV Park Cape Town

To further improve the infrastructure nationally in South Africa, DSV is also building a consolidating logistics centre in the Western Cape called DSV Park Cape Town. This site will be located near the Cape Town International Airport, and close to the harbour and industrial and commercial hubs.

Added 26 September 2021 Africa Ports & Ships

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Protests close Port Sudan seaport and the city’s airport

A Sudanese government delegation was sent to Port Sudan on Sunday for talks aimed at pacifying protesters who have succeeded in blocking the port and airport in the coastal city.

The delegation is headed by council member Shams El-Din Kabbashi and includes the foreign, interior and oil ministers.

The delegation is also seeking ways at reopening oil exports that have been halted.

At the port in Port Sudan protesters have succeeded in stopping most operations after demonstrators blocked the main road connecting Port Sudan with the rest of the country. Since Friday 24 September 2021 operations at the main container terminal and the oil export terminals have been brought to a halt.

The main road from Port Sudan to the capital Khartoum remained blocked.

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said coup plotters were trying to take advantage of the situation in different towns by closing ports and roads.

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday 21 September an attempted coup by a group of military officers failed.


The protests in Port Sudan include claims by the Eastern Sudan Beja tribes who feel marginalised as a result of a 2020 peace deal with rebel groups.

The ministerial delegation from Khartoum is planning to meet with the High Council of Beja Nazir and Port Sudan’s security committee to discuss these grievances.

Sudan is led by a transitional government that will continue until elections planned for early 2024.

The transitional government consists of representatives of the army, the Forces of Freedom and Change alliance, and armed movements that signed a peace agreement with Khartoum on 3 October 2020.

Port Sudan is of critical importance to the economy of Sudan, as it handles about 90 per cent of the country’s foreign trade. Since the U.S. lifted economic sanctions against Sudan in the last year of President Trump’s term in office, the country’s exports have increased by 70 per cent.

Meanwhile, attempts have been made to improve efficiency at the country’s main port. In June this year HPC Hamburg Port Consulting was brought in to assist in reducing vessel waiting time and increasing equipment availability at the South Port Container Terminal (SPCT).

The SPCT terminal has a handling capacity of one million TEU but averages around 450,000 TEU at its best. A 20-year concession to operate the terminal was awarded in 2018 to International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI), the Philippines-based terminal operator, but following extensive protests by port workers the concession was cancelled by the Sudanese.

Added 27 September 2021  Africa Ports & Ships

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Seafarer access to medical care now a matter of life and death

Picture: IMO ©
Picture: IMO ©

Joint Statement by IMO and ILO highlights need for prompt access to medical assistance for vital key worker seafarers

On 24 September the Secretary-General of the IMO and the Director-General of the ILO issued a joint statement calling for port and coastal States to facilitate the prompt disembarkation of seafarers for medical care as a matter of ‘life or death’: to prioritise seafarers for Covid-19 vaccination; and to designate seafarers as key workers, recognising seafarers’ valuable contribution to world trade.

In the joint statement (Circular Letter No.4204/Add.42), IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and ILO Director-General Guy Rider said seafarers are facing difficulties in accessing medical care and highlighted the: “…moral obligation to ensure seafarers can access medical care ashore without delay, whenever they need it, and to extend medical assistance on board should the need arise by allowing qualified doctors and dentists to visit ships. It is also important that a medical assessment be conducted prior to administering any treatment, which could include telemedicine assessment provided by international health providers.”

The Secretary-General and Director-General, respectively, continued by saying: “Receiving such care can be a matter of life or death for seafarers who fall ill while working on ships. The international community should do its utmost to support those who have maintained the global supply chain under pandemic conditions over the last 18 months and keep carrying on often despite enormous personal hardships.”

The joint statement noted that: “…almost 14 months after issuing the Recommendations for port and coastal States on the prompt disembarkation of seafarers for medical care ashore during the Covid-19 pandemic (Circular Letter No.4204/Add.23), seafarers are still struggling to access such care when needed. Advocacy from Member States, the maritime industry, social partners and seafarers themselves has once again brought the plight of seafarers to the fore.’

Remembering the MLC

As enshrined in ILO’s 2006 Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006), it is incumbent upon Member States to ensure seafarers on board ships in their territory are given access to medical facilities ashore, should they require immediate medical care, including dental care (See the Resolution concerning the implementation and practical application of the MLC, 2006 during the Covid-19 pandemic, adopted by the Special Tripartite Committee of the MLC, 2006 in April 2021).

The legal obligation to render assistance to seafarers in distress, including medical assistance, is also an intrinsic component of IMO conventions, namely the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS); the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR); and the Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL).

The joint statement once again urges Governments to recognise the strategic importance of the maritime sector and, in line with UN General Assembly resolution A/75/17 adopted on 1 December 2020, to designate seafarers as key workers and to treat them as such by providing access to medical care.

Circular Letter No.4204/Add.35/Rev.7 contains the current list of IMO Member States having notified IMO that they have designated seafarers (and other marine personnel, as appropriate) as key workers.

To prioritise seafarers

Governments are urged to prioritise seafarers in their national Covid-19 vaccination programmes, in accordance with the WHO SAGE Roadmap for Prioritising uses of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Context of Limited Supplies, as updated on 16 July 2021, and to offer WHO-approved Emergency Use Listing (EUL) vaccines to ensure their vaccination status is recognised internationally.

The list of WHO-approved EUL vaccines is accessible HERE

The ILO and IMO heads also encouraged Governments to recognise the role other marine personnel play in facilitating global trade and, wherever possible, to also vaccinate them on a priority basis.

Information received by IMO and ILO indicates that 24 countries have thus far answered the clarion call by implementing seafarer vaccination programmes, or signalling their intent to do so, in designated ports within their jurisdictions.

CLICK HERE for a list of these countries and their constituent ports.

The joint statement said: “We are extremely grateful to these countries but urge more to step forward to accelerate, in particular, the vaccination of seafarers serving international shipping. Government agencies, industry, labour and seafarer welfare groups continue to work assiduously to facilitate and/or deliver vaccines for seafarers. However, much remains to be done. We shall continue to work with our sister UN agencies, Governments and industry bodies to address the ongoing needs of seafarers and to safeguard their basic rights, so that they may continue to facilitate the global economy.”

Paul Ridgway, Londn Correspondent Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Reported by Paul Ridgway

Added 26 September 2021 Africa Ports & Ships

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New senior appointments by TNPA

The Mendi Building at Ngqura, headquarters of TNPA
The Mendi Building at Ngqura, headquarters of TNPA and overlooking the port of Ngqura and Algoa Bay.  Picture:  Transnet

On Wednesday last week (22 September) we published news of the appointment of the Port of Durban’s new Port Manager, Ms Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana – SEE HERE. She transfers from the Port of Cape Town to take over responsibility for the country’s busiest port as from 1 October.

Four other senior appointments at Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) have also been announced. According to TNPA the appointments followed extensive interview processes and consultations and are in line with an approved executive structure aimed at capacitating and delivering TNPA’s new operating model.

Mr Anthony Ngcezula becomes General Manager: Commercial Services, with effect from 27 September 2021.

Anthony Ngcezula

Ngcezula has extensive experience in property development and management, and strategic leadership and governance,
having worked in reputable financial institutions and in the banking sector including being directly involved in business transformation.

In his most recent role as Chief Executive Officer at the Johannesburg Development Agency, he was responsible for managing a capex budget of R1.3 billion and a complement of 112 employees. His profile includes setting up and leading the Property Management Directorate and housing department in the City of Johannesburg.


Mr Menzi Mbina is appointed as General Manager: Risk & Regulatory, effective 1 October 2021.

Menzi Mbina
Menzi Mbina

Menzi is an admitted attorney with 22 years of working experience and has occupied various senior leadership roles in public sector entities. His specialties and knowledge areas include public sector laws and regulations, corporate governance, contract, and commercial law as well as commercial litigation.

He joins TNPA from the Coega Development Corporation Pty Ltd (CDC), where he served as the Unit Head Legal & Risk and Company Secretary for nine years. A key highlight of his career was negotiating a concession agreement for the construction of the Central African Republic logistic bases for the storage of goods and the conduct of customs operations in Douala and Kribi.

He also successfully negotiated a Tripartite agreement for the appointment of the CDC as an implementing agent to negotiate and operate the Tshwane Automotive SEZ.

Ms Miranda Nyathi becomes Head: Information & Communication Technology – Digital Transformation, with effect from 1 October 2021.

Miranda Nyathi
Miranda Nyathi

Her IT experience is largely in Corporate South Africa, working with some of the country’s leading brands including PPC-Cement, Pivot Sciences and T-Systems.

In her most recent role at the Standard Bank Group, where she worked as a Lead, Information Technology (IT) Security Practice Development, where she accumulated extensive experience in assessing the bank’s technology utilisation and optimisation of the most expensive technologies used in IT Security.

Ms Thecla Mneney, General Manager: Infrastructure, effective 1 October 2021.

Thecla Mneney
Thecla Mneney

Mneney has experience of over 20 years, gained in various roles across diverse industries in both the public and private sectors. She has worked in engineering roles at different companies including Steffen Robertson & Kirsten Consulting Engineers & Scientists (SRK) and Bigen Africa.

In her most recent role as Head of Project Management at Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), she was responsible for overseeing and coordinating the project management function.

She is not new to TNPA, having served as the Deputy Chief Engineer between 2018 and 2021, and occasionally acted as Chief Engineer and GM: Infrastructure. Mneney is a professional engineer registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa.

Added 26 September 2021

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USS Hershel 'Woody' Williams arriving in Cape Town from Walvis Bay. Picture by 'Dockrat' appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams arriving in Cape Town from Walvis Bay. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The arrival of any warship, from any nation, at any South African port, always attracts great interest, despite the fact that some warships look anything but warlike, or even look like they might be warships. What is equally nice is that this visit is from a major naval power, despite it being the only warship from that nation to have visited in a space of a year, albeit twice.

On 25th September at 10h00 the United States Navy ship ‘USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (IMO 9804306) arrived from Walvis Bay, in Namibia, and entered Cape Town harbour. She berthed at E berth in the Duncan Dock, and was escorted into port by two armed Namacurra harbour patrol craft, of the South African Navy, namely craft Y23 and Y24.

The Expeditionary Mobile Base also called at Cape Town earlier this year. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The Expeditionary Mobile Base called at Cape Town earlier this year and has visited a number of other ports around Africa. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of the Lewis B. Pullen class of support vessels, known in the United States Navy (USN) as an Expeditionary Mobile Base, USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams holds the pennant number ESB-4. There are currently three active Lewis B. Pullen vessels in commission with the USN, with a further two being built. They are an improved derivation of the two Montford Point class of Expeditionary Transfer Dock vessels (ESD).

Built in 2018 by the NASSCO shipyard at San Diego, located in California, in the USA, and based on a commercial design of the Alaska class of merchant tanker, originally built for BP, USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams is 239 metres in length and has a deadweight of 71,955 tons. She cost US$498 million (ZAR7.43 billion) to build.

She qualifies as one of the more unusual looking ships to have called in ay South African port recently. Picture by 'Dockrat'
She qualifies as one of the more unusual looking ships to have called in ay South African port recently. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is a diesel-electric powered vessel, with four Morse-Fairbanks MAN-B&W 6L48/60CR 6 cylinder 4 stroke main engines, producing 8,690 bhp (6,480 kW) each. Propulsion is provided by two Alstom 6.6 kV electric propulsion systems, driving twin propellers, with twin rudders, and giving her a service speed of 15 knots. She is capable of a maximum speed of 20 knots.

The vessel is named after Hershel Woodrow Williams, of West Virginia, who is the sole surviving American serviceman of the Second World War, and the the recipient of the highest American award for bravery, namely the Congressional Medal of Honor. A member of the United States Marine Corps, he received his award after gallant action on Iwo Jima in the Pacific theatre in 1945. The story of his valour which gained him his Medal of Honor is worth a read on its own.

Another view of USS Hershel 'Woody' Williams as the ship is taken to her berth at the Cruise terminal
Another view of USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams as the ship is taken to her berth at the Cruise terminal

Originally intended to be a support vessel of the Military Sealift Command (MSC), she originally entered service on 22nd February 2018, as the civilian manned United States Naval Ship USNS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams with the pennant number T-ESB-4. However, the USN decided that the operational requirements of this class of vessel were such that they should have naval crewing and on 7th March 2020, she was re-commissioned as USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams.

The stern view of a naval ship. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The stern view of a naval ship. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She carries a mixed navy and civilian crew, and currently operates with 101 USN crew and 44 MSC crew, but is capable of accommodating a total crew of 250. She is nominally unarmed, although she has defensive machine guns and grenade launchers.

Her flight deck has four operating positions for both helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft, and she has a hangar capable of housing both Sikorsky MH-53 Sea Stallion, and Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters. She can also operate a Northrop-Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), which is a rotary drone, and can be used for reconnaissance, situational awareness, fire support and precision targeting.

USS Hershel 'Woody' Williams was escorted into harbour by two Namacurra harbour patrol craft of the SA Navy. This is a normal procedure in any South Africa harbour when a visiting naval ship calls. Picture by 'Dockrat'
USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams was escorted into harbour by two Namacurra harbour patrol craft of the SA Navy. This is a normal procedure in any South Africa harbour when a visiting naval ship calls. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As a unit of the USN Sixth Fleet, who are responsible for security and stability in both Europe and Africa, USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams is based at the USN base of Souda Bay, on the island of Crete, in Greece. She falls under the 6th Fleet Africa Command (AFRICOM) and is a constituent part of Naval Forces Africa.

She is designed for, and capable of, operating in a wide spectrum of deployment scenarios. These include special forces missions, piracy suppression, counter smuggling, maritime security, search and seizure, mine clearance, command and control, crisis response, humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Harbour tugs assisted the American ship to her berth. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Harbour tugs assisted the American ship to her berth. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

All of these requirements are considered low intensity missions, hence a mixed naval and civilian crew. High intensity operations are conducted by Marine Expeditionary Groups and Naval Support Forces. Her main peacetime naval function in AFRICOM is to show the flag, provide co-operation, and give interoperability training with other naval forces around Africa.

To support all of these missions, USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams can provide aviation facilities, including helicopter refueling and vertical replenishment, equipment staging support, troop and support staff accommodation, stores and storage facilities, workshop and repair facilities, and offer magazine space.

USS Hershel 'Woody' Williams finally comes alongside at E berth, next to the Cruise Terminal. Picture by 'Dockrat'
USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams finally comes alongside at E berth, next to the Cruise Terminal. No cruise ships likely in the near future. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

This is not her first call at South African ports, as she made her maiden call to Cape Town on 20th February this year. At the time it was the first visit to South Africa, by a USN vessel, in almost a year. Unfortunately, it occurred during a period of Covid-19 lockdown in the country, and no crew were allowed ashore, nor were any general public ship tours allowed either.

Her stay on this occasion is expected to be for a longer period than the last time, and possibly for as long as a few weeks. It is hoped that the restrictions of her visit in February will not be in place this time around, and crew shore leave, and open ship guided tours will be on offer. Her berthing at the Cruise Terminal in the Duncan Dock certainly makes the latter a distinct possibility.

Added 26 September 2021 Africa Ports & Ships

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Extra large first heavylift for Mammoet’s terminal crane at Lagos

The multicat tug that required lifting from the deck of the shi and placed in the waters of Lagos harbour. Picture: courtesy Mammoet, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Multicat tug that required lifting from the deck of the ship and placed in the waters of Lagos harbour. Picture: courtesy Mammoet

Rising shipping costs are impacting numerous sectors, but they have been impacted particularly hard among industries that normally utilise heavy lift vessels.

This factor has made some transportations unviable and also resulted in a growing need for ports with greater crane capacity, as ports now need to be able to perform the offloading of increasingly heavy items from non-geared cargo vessels.

Without this capability, entire regions risk losing out on newer, more complex construction projects.

Procurement and logistics specialist provider CAB van der Vinne needed to transport a Multicat vessel from the UAE to Nigeria. The Rebecca Multicat tugboat was originally due to be transported on a heavy lift vessel, however, following the huge increase in global shipping costs this became unfeasible and the CAB van der Vinne turned to Mammoet for a more cost-effective alternative.

Mammoet came up with an efficient solution as a result of its global reach combined with the capabilities of its fleet. This enabled the company to project manage both the loading of the Multicat in Dubai, as well as propose a solution for the offloading at Lagos.

The picture shows the Multicat tug Rebecca being lifted by the Mammort Terminal Crane
This is of the Multicat Rebecca being lifted from the ship using Mammoet’s Terminal Crane, prior to placing her in the water. Picture courtesy: Mammoet

Following the strategic partnership agreement between Mammoet and Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base (LADOL) in 2020, Mammoet installed its Mammoet Terminal Crane (MTC 15) at LADOL’s quayside to increase the project cargo capacity of the ports for industrial projects.

The MTC 15 transformed LADOL’s quayside into a high-capacity fully independent heavy lifting terminal, unlocking faster and more efficient routes for project cargo in Nigeria. With a load moment matching a 1,200 tonne crawler crane or a large floating sheerleg, the MTC 15 offers capacity for loads up to 600t to be lifted to and from any quay.

The operation began in Dubai, where Mammoet’s team in the UAE oversaw the loading of the 320t multicat onto a vessel at SAQR Port in Ras-Al-Khaimah bound for Nigeria. Once the vessel arrived at the LADOL quayside, the MTC 15 carefully lifted the multicat from the vessel, then safely lowered it directly into Nigerian waters.

The multicat vessel, destined to undertake various assignments on a dredging project in Lagos, was the largest weight ever offloaded at the LADOL base. The MTC 15 was the only crane capable to receive the cargo in the ports of Lagos from a non-geared cargo vessel.

Commenting on the successful heavy lift, Joop van der Vinne, Director of CAB van der Vinne, said: “It has been a pleasure to be part of this record breakbulk lift in Nigeria. After a long journey that started in the UAE, the Rebecca Multicat Tugboat was safely lowered onto Lagos waters.”

van der Vinne said there are only two MTC 15 cranes in the world. “With one at the LADOL quayside, customers operating in Nigeria have the opportunity to use extremely cost-effective logistics and shipping solutions.” he added.

The picture shows the Multicat tug Rebecca being lifted by the Mammort Terminal Crane
Picture courtesy Mammoet

Jide Jadesimi, LADOL’s Executive Director, Business Development described the highly technical lift as having been carried out with all stakeholders involved in perfect unison.

“The decades of experience, unrelenting hard work and constant flow of communication between the entire team meant the project worked like clockwork,” he said.

“We’d like to thank the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), whose marine division supported the project, including the timely and skilled deployment of the NPA tugboats, which were instrumental in accurately maneuvering the large cargo vessel during the heavy lift. We look forward to supporting a range of local and regional projects in the near future.”

According to Olivier Dirkzwager, Sales Manager for Mammoet West Africa, “LADOL’s infrastructure combined with Mammoet’s MTC 15 crane – a unique piece of heavy lifting equipment, unlocks smarter, more efficient routes for heavy cargo in Nigeria. The successful delivery and discharge of the multicat is a testament to that and we expect it to be the first of many more successful projects.”

The installation of the MTC 15 stands to benefit numerous industrial sectors across West Africa, ensuring that the region is able to attract general fabrication jobs as well as the complex construction projects that are in increasing demand – in Nigeria and across West Africa.

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Ever Act, world’s biggest, now on her way into service

The prototype Ever Ace at Yantian, China in August 2021, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The prototype Ever Ace arriving at Yantian, China in August 2021, her maiden voyage.   Evergreen 

Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen Marine has taken delivery of EVER ACT, hull #2359 (IMO 9893905), the second of a planned twelve A-class megamax container ships being built by Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and two Chinese shipyards.

As with its earlier sistership, EVER ACE, which was delivered in July*, the new ship named EVER ACT (IMO 9893905) has a container capacity of 23,992-TEU and is the biggest boxship currently in service.

Other dimensions of Ever Act are a deadweight of 241,900 tons, a length of 399.9 metres and a beam of 61.5 metres, enabling rows of 24 containers across.

The next four sisterships are to follow from SHI during 2021 and 2022, with the following two already named as Ever Aim, hull #2360 (IMO 9893917), and Ever Alp, hull #2361 (IMO 9893929).

The second batch of six A-class ships are being built in two Chinese yards, two at the Jiangnan Shipyard and four at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding.

Ever Act has an 11-cylinder WinGD two-stroke diesel engine, model XD92B which provides the megamax vessel commercial speeds of up to 22.5 knots.

The vessel is fitted with an exhaust scrubber to meet existing IMO emission control requirements.

Ever Ace arriving in Europe on her maiden voyage. Picture: MarineTraffic / Roger Borm, feayured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Ever Ace arriving in Europe on her maiden voyage. Picture: MarineTraffic / Roger Borm

Evergreen has positioned the first two A-class ships on the Ocean Alliance NEU-6 Far East – Northern Europe service, coded CEM by Evergreen.

After leaving the SHI’s Geoje Island shipyard in South Korea, Ever Act moved to Qingdao in China to commence loading her first cargo.

The Suez Canal Authority can anticipate even more giant Evergreen ships in its waterway.

* You can see our report of Ever Ace sailing in August HERE

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WHARF TALK: tale of tanker in a predicament – ENERGY CENTAUR

The Isle of Man-registered tanker Energy Cemtaur safely in Cape Town harbour after a tow from past Cape Agulhas. Picture by 'Dockrat' featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Isle of Man-registered tanker Energy Cemtaur safely in Cape Town harbour after a tow from beyond Cape Agulhas. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Most folk who have been to sea know how soothing, and reassuring, it is to have the steady throbbing of a marine diesel engine in the background when underway. They also know how concerning, and focusing, it is when that background noise simply stops when out at sea. Worse still is hearing the Engineer’s reporting that said dead engine is not likely to be restarted any time soon, if at all. Which leaves the worry of the indeterminate wait, under the prevailing wind and wave conditions, for a friendly tug to arrive and get you out of the mess you now find yourself in.

The Isle of Man flagged LR1 tanker ENERGY CENTAUR (IMO 9387281) was on a voyage from Mangalore in India, carrying a full load of fuel products, when off the South East Cape coast, her engine failed and her engineers could not restart it. After informing the relevant authorities of her predicament, she switched her AIS to read ‘Not Under Command’ and proceeded to drift with the Agulhas current.

The tanker Energy Centaur arriving in Cae Town behind the AMSOL tug Umkhuseli. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The tanker Energy Centaur arriving in Cape Town behind the AMSOL tug Umkhuseli. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Whilst the South African Navy Hydrographic Office put out a Coastal Navigation Warning (CNW), to warn all passing vessels of the position that Energy Centaur found herself in, AMSOL was preparing their new Anchor Handling Tug Umkhuseli to sail from Port Elizabeth at 22h00 on 20th September, and to proceed to the position of the casualty, promulgated by the CNW as being at 36° 06’ South and 19° 37’ East, well offshore and to the South West of Cape Agulhas.

On arrival at the location of Energy Centaur, the Umkhuseli took the towing bridle and proceeded on the slow 4 knot tow towards Cape Town, where they both arrived safely at 13h00 on 22nd September. With Umkhuseli at the bow and with the additional guidance of three Transnet harbour tugs, Usibi, Enseleni and Merlot, Energy Centaur was berthed safely on the Landing Wall in the Duncan Dock, where essential maintenance and repairs will be carried out.

Energy Centaur's accommodation and bridge. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Energy Centaur’s accommodation and bridge. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2008 by Sungdong Shipbuilding at Tongyoung in South Korea, Energy Centaur is 228 metres in length and has a deadweight of 74,995 tons. She is powered by a STX MAN-B&W 6S60MC 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 16,646 bhp (12,240 kW). Her cargo carrying capacity is 80,440 m3.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar 6N21AL-EW generators providing 970 kW each, and a Cummins NT855 emergency generator providing 150 kW. She has an Alfa Laval Aalborg Mission XS-2V exhaust gas boiler, and an Alfa Laval Aalborg Mission OL oil fired boiler.

One of two sisterships, Energy Centaur is owned by Blackstone Marine of Douglas, in the Isle of Man, and operated by Golden Energy Management, of Athens, whose colours adorn her funnel. She is managed by Enterprises Shipping and Trading, also of Athens, and who operate out of the same offices as Golden Energy Management.

Energy Centaur in Duncan Dock, Cape Town, overlooked by Table Mountain. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Energy Centaur in Duncan Dock, Cape Town, overlooked by Table Mountain.  Umkhuseli is at extreme left together with one of the harbour tugs. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As with most tankers that operate through the North Indian Ocean, and especially if voyaging through the Gulf of Oman, and in the vicinity of the coast of Somalia, Energy Centaur displays some necessary anti-piracy measures. In this case, it is probably the most amount of razor wire seen on any one vessel, and it is deployed in great swathes around the accommodation access points, on the boat deck, and on the catwalk separating the accommodation block from the engine room exhaust block and funnel housing.

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Synergy Group takes over Maersk tankers’ technical management business

Synergy Marine Pte Ltd, based in Singapore and a subsidiary of Synergy Group, has signed an agreement to take over Maersk Tankers’ technical management business.

Synergy Group’s position within technical management will be strengthened by the purchase, and Maersk Tankers will become a service company focused on commercial management.

Christian M. Ingerslev, CEO of Maersk Tankers, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Christian M Ingerslev, CEO of Maersk Tankers

“Maersk Tankers has been transformed from a traditional tanker company into a service company over the past few years. The agreement with Synergy Group marks the next big step on our strategic course, offering both the technical and commercial businesses optimum conditions in which to thrive,” said Christian M Ingerslev, CEO of Maersk Tankers.

“Maersk Tankers will become a service company focused on the commercial management market, delivering financially and environmentally viable solutions for shipowners.”

The technical management business, which has been part of Maersk Tankers since 1928, maintains vessels to ensure their safe, efficient and cost-competitive operation. It employs close to 3,300 people, of which 140 work onshore.

Maersk Malaga, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Malaga

Synergy Group, a leading ship manager founded in 2006 and with 14,000 seafarers and more than 1,000 shore-based employees, has been chosen as the new owner to grow and develop the technical management business.

“At Synergy, we have always strived to provide high-quality services to our ship-owning partners,” said Captain Rajesh Unni, founder and CEO of Synergy Group.

“Being considered the right owner of Maersk Tankers’ technical management business is testament to our beliefs and philosophy of working towards creating a platform for high-quality and technically adept services. The crew’s well-being is paramount, and we are committed to providing sustainably responsible services.”

Captain Rajesh Unni, Founder and CEO of Synergy Group, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Captain Rajesh Unni, Founder and CEO of Synergy Group

Under the agreement, Synergy Group will take over the entire technical management business of Maersk Tankers. This includes customer and supplier contracts, as well as the technical management of 82 vessels, including the vessels in Maersk Product Tankers.

More vessels mean access to more data, which Synergy Group will use to optimise vessel performance and reduce the environmental impact of shipping.

The majority of the employees in Maersk Tankers’ technical management business will become part of the Synergy Group, which will strengthen the company’s presence in Denmark, Singapore and India.

Following the takeover, the two companies will work together on the management of the vessels in Maersk Product Tankers. The takeover of the technical management business is expected to be completed during November 2021.

About the two companies

Synergy Group has its HQ in Singapore. Spanning across a network of 22 offices in 13 countries and employing more than 17,000 seafarers, Synergy manages a fleet of almost 500 vessels including the most complex LNG (including FSUs), LPG and vast 20,000+ TEU container ships, as well as oil and chemical tankers, car carriers and bulk carriers.

Maersk Tankers is a service company that provides commercial management solutions for shipowners in the tanker industry, operating one of the largest tanker fleets in the world. Founded in 1928, Maersk Tankers employs approximately 300 employees in Denmark, Singapore, India and the U.S. and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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French warship seizes over $5 million haul of illicit drugs

This was an earlier stop and search exercise in the Indian Ocean by the FS Languedoc that led to to discovery of drugs being smuggled into Africa., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
This was an earlier stop and search exercise in the Indian Ocean by the FS Languedoc that led to to discovery of drugs being smuggled into Africa.   Atalanta/French Navy

Not for the first time, the French frigate FS LANGUEDOC has been instrumental in the seizure of a substantial haul of narcotics being transported across the North Indian Ocean in the direction of the African coast.

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) reports that the French ship intercepted more than 1.6 tons of illegal drugs following the interception and search of a vessel suspected of smuggling. The captured drugs consisted of 1,525 kg of hash and 166kg of methamphetamine with a combined value of over $5.2 million.

FS Languedoc was conducting patrols in support of CMF’s New Zealand-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 when it stopped the motorised dhow for an inspection.

“The seizure of narcotics from a dhow in the Indian Ocean is testament to the strong partnership between CMF, the Marine Nationale (French Navy) and CTF 150, said Royal New Zealand Navy Capt. Brendon Clark, commander of CTF 150.

“Languedoc has once again demonstrated that through collaboration with like-minded partners, CMF is able to seize and destroy millions of dollars’ worth of narcotics, the income from which would otherwise be used to fund illicit activities and terrorism.”

CTF 150’s mission

CTF 150’s mission is to disrupt criminal and terrorist organisations and their related illicit activities, including the movement of personnel, weapons, narcotics and charcoal. CTF 150 conducts maritime security operations outside the Arabian Gulf to ensure legitimate commercial shipping transits the region freely from non-state threats.

CMF is a multinational maritime partnership of 34 nations that includes three task forces. It exists to uphold international rules-based order by countering illicit non-state actors on the high seas and promoting security, stability, and prosperity across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters encompassing some of
the world’s most important shipping lanes.

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Second cyber attack in a year for CMA CGM

Another cybeR attack for CMA CGM, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Another cybeR attack for CMA CGM  Picture CMA CGM

French shipping giant CMA CGM last week announced it has suffered a cyber attack on its IT system in which it said a “limited” leak of contact information related to some of its customers has been detected on one of the Group’s mobile apps.

The cyber attack was detected during a routine surveillance operation on the Application Programming Interfaces (API).

It was the second cyber attack experienced by CMA CGM in a year.

According to the shipping company, the leak concerns limited personal data of customers’ first and last names, employer, position, business email address and phone number.

Confidential information secured

Confidential information related to commercial contracts, bank details and other information with CMA CGM has remained completely secured, CMA CGM said.

“There has been no operational impact on the Group’s activities and all our operating systems are working normally. All data exchanges with our customers and suppliers have remained fully secured.

“Our IT teams have immediately developed and installed security patches on mobile apps. We have informed all relevant authorities about this incident and are working closely with them.”

The announcement warned that this type of data could be used for phishing attempts. Customers were advised to remain vigilant to any suspicious activity and to follow the following best practices to keep thei accounts secure.

Among the precautions, CMA AGM advised customers not to share their account password or any personal information. “CMA CGM will never ask them from you.

“Always check the authenticity of an email requesting you to log in to our platforms (especially if requested to reset your password) even if it seems to be sent by the CMA CGM Group.”

A dedicated team has been set up to attend the matter and to respond to queries addressed to

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Leverage trade to build sustainable food systems – WTO D-G

WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala

In a video message to the United Nations’ Food Systems Summit on 23 September, World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (pictured here) underscored the importance of international trade in building sustainable food systems.

Noting the opportunity provided by the 12th Ministerial Conference* in late November to make progress on critical agricultural issues, she called on world leaders to support and reinvigorate the trading system to ensure greater sustainability.

The DG’s video message can be seen HERE.

The United Nations’ Food Systems Summit, convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, is part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

This Summit will launch new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems.

In the run-up to the Summit, the WTO Secretariat organised on 6 July a Global Dialogue on Trade in collaboration with the UN Food Systems Summit.

In her opening remarks DG Okonjo-Iweala highlighted the vital role of trade in ensuring global food security.

Participants discussed how the trading system could be reformed to address the food needs of tomorrow and to support sustainable development.

The dialogue can be viewed by CLICKING HERE

Access to vaccines

WTO’s Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang called on the global community to increase the access of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) to the Covid-19 vaccine and to achieve outcomes at the WTO’s Ministerial Conference that will support sustainable development.

DDG Zhang was speaking at the LLDC ministerial meeting held virtually on the margins of the UN General Assembly on 23 September.

“The decisions and agreements reached at the WTO will determine the future of the multilateral trading system and its potential to keep driving development,” he said.

For more SEE HERE

Vaccine policy key to sustainable economic and trade recovery

Speaking at the virtual White House Global Covid-19 Summit on 22 September, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said sustainable economic and trade recovery can only be achieved with a policy that ensures rapid global access to vaccines.

“We have a choice,” she said. “Either we converge downwards by allowing the virus to drag us all back down, or we converge upwards by vaccinating the world.”


The 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) will take place from 30 November to 3 December 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.
MC12 was originally scheduled to take place from 8 to 11 June 2020 in Kazakhstan’s capital, Nur-Sultan, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Conference will be chaired by Kazakhstan’s Minister of Trade and Integration, Bakhyt Sultanov, as approved by WTO members in December 2019.

Paul Ridgway, London Correspondent Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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