Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 23 October 2021

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The Monday masthead shows the Port of Apapa
The Tuesday masthead shows the Port of East London
The Wednesday masthead shows the Port Durban Sugar Terminal
The Thursday masthead shows the Port of Durban T-Jetty
The Friday masthead shows the Port of Durban Container Terminal, North Quay Pier 2
The Saturday masthead shows the Port of Durban Container Terminal by night
The Sunday masthead shows the Port of Durban Multi-purpose Terminal




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Cape Tainaro Picture by Trebvor Jones
Cape Tainaro. Picture by Trevor Jones

In Africa PORTS & SHIPS this week:  CAPE TAINARO (IMO 9706205) seen arriving in the port of Durban earlier in the month. Under charter to what appears to be MSC, the ship is owned by a company registered as Hyde Maritime Co, a Cyprus-based shipping organisation. The management of the vessel falls under the well-known and respected Costamere Shipping Co SA of Athens, Greece.

The 330-metre long, 40.3m wide ship of 134,869-dwt has a container carrying capacity of 11,000 TEU and a reported current draught of 15.2 metres. After concluding her cargo working in Durban the ship moved to the Eastern Cape port of Ngqura to continue working cargo before sailing again on 14 October, bound for an expected arrival in Las Palmas on 25 October 2021. From there she will proceed to Europe.

Built in 2017 the container ship is flying the flag of Malta.

Cape Tainaro (perhaps better known as Matapas or Matapan) is in the Mediterranean at the end of the Mani Peninsula on the coast of Greece. A French-built stone lighthouse built in 1882 signals to passing ships that they are sailing past the southernmost tip of mainland Europe. – trh

The above picture is by Trevor Jones

Added 17 October 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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WHARF TALK: SA Port Statistics for the month of September 2021 are now available

The project cargo type heavy load vessel JUMBO VISION (IMO 9153642) arriving in Durban earlier in October from India's port of Chennai, the former Madras. Jumbo Vision's call at Durban was to take bunkers - she is now en-route to Le Trait in France via Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. Although described as a heavy-load vessel, Jumbo Vision, like most ships of her type, is rather small, with a gross weight of 7,966 tons, a deadweight of 6,993-dwt and a length and breadth of 110 metres x 21 metres. This picture is by Keith Betts
The project cargo type heavy load vessel JUMBO VISION (IMO 9153642) arriving in Durban earlier in October from India’s port of Chennai, the former Madras. Jumbo Vision’s call at Durban was to take bunkers – she is now en-route to Le Trait in France via Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. Although described as a heavy-load vessel, Jumbo Vision, like most ships of her type, is rather small, with a gross weight of 7,966 tons, a deadweight of 6,993-dwt and a length and breadth of 110 metres x 21 metres. This picture is by Keith Betts

Port statistics for the month of September 2021, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

For perhaps the first time this year there has been a solid upturn in container volumes handled at South Africa’s ports, with all container ports performing well against earlier months. Ordinarily this should have occurred two months earlier and represents a late start to South Africa’s ‘peak season’ as the year winds down.

The continuing reduction in numbers of ship calls (down by more than 130 compared with September 2020) and approximately 2 million tonnes less cargo, mostly bulk, handled year-on-year is another indicator of the troubling state of South Africa’s economy.

Container volumes in September peaked at 451,310 TEU for the month, compared with 370,875 in 2020, providing some positive news for once. The port of Durban came though strongly with 281,594 TEU handled (225,039 TEU in 2020) and helped propel Durban to having the highest volume of all ports at 8.277 million tonnes for the month.

Richards Bay and Saldanha followed with 7.131mt and 6.024mt respectively. Cape Town also experienced a good month at 1.674mt handled (1.393mt in 2020). Full details in the tables below and the link provided for 2020.

These details showing port cargo throughputs, ships berthed and motor vehicle and container volumes handled can be seen in the tables below.

Statistics involving motor vehicles are measured in vehicle units. These include imports and exports, earth-moving and other ro-ro or wheeled vehicles each qualifying as a single unit and are rated as at an average of one tonne each.

For comparison with the equivalent month of the previous year, September 2020 LOOK HERE

These statistic reports on Africa PORTS & SHIPS are arrived at using an adjustment on the overall tonnage compared to those kindly provided by TNPA and include containers recorded by weight; an adjustment necessary on account of TNPA measuring containers by the number of TEUs without reflecting the weight, thus leaving the SA ports undervalued in volumes in comparison with others.

To arrive at such a calculation,  Africa PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13.5 tonnes per TEU, which probably does involve some under-reporting.  Africa PORTS & SHIPS  will continue to emphasise this distinction, without which South African ports would be seriously under-reported internationally and locally.  – trh

Port Statistics continue below…

The long quay and general cargo berths at the port of Saldanha, with the iron ore terminal berths in the far distance
The long quay and general cargo berths at the port of Saldanha, with the iron ore terminal berths in the far distance    Picture:  Transnet

Figures for the respective ports during September 2021 are:

Cargo handled by tonnes during September 2021, including containers by weight

PORT September 2021 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.131
Durban 8.277
Saldanha Bay 6.024
Cape Town 1.674
Port Elizabeth 1.217
Ngqura 1.338
Mossel Bay 0.066
East London -0.142
Total all ports 25.868 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during September 2021
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT September 2021 TEUs
Durban 281,594
Cape Town 76,471
Port Elizabeth 23,302
Ngqura 61,888
East London 7,792
Richards Bay 3,551/td>
Total all ports 451,310 TEU

MOTOR VEHICLES RO-RO TRAFFIC (measured by Units- CEUs) during September 2021

PORT September 2021 CEUs
Durban 45,765
Cape Town 11
Port Elizabeth 14,237
East London 45
Richards Bay 1
Total all ports 60,059 CEU

SHIP CALLS for September 2021

PORT September 2021 vessels gross tons
Durban 238 8,516,088
Cape Town 141 3,678,579
Richards Bay 111 4,789,440
Port Elizabeth 67 1,971,116
Saldanha Bay 50 3,436,173
Ngqura 51 2,678,382
East London 11 307,948
Mossel Bay 16 59,002
Total ship calls 685 25,436,728
— source TNPA, with adjustments regarding container weights by AP&S
Added 21 October 2021

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WHARF TALK: heavy-lift cargo vessel – BRUCE

The multi-purpose heavy-lift general cargo vessel BRUCE (IMO 9741140) which arrived at Cape Town from Jurong Aracruz in Brazil on 11 October. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The multi-purpose heavy-lift general cargo vessel BRUCE (IMO 9741140) which arrived in Cape Town from Jurong Aracruz in Brazil on 11 October. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

We often forget how lucky we are in South Africa to have the maritime infrastructure, expertise, and qualified manpower to handle any engineering and maintenance problem that can turn up at the door. Shipowners, and especially ship crews, are doubly pleased that South Africa is not only a maritime engineering hub, but sits perfectly on the crossroads of all major shipping routes.

There can be nothing more reassuring to a Captain, or a Chief Engineer, when crossing the South Atlantic, or South Indian Oceans, or transiting down the West, or East, coasts of the African continent, that the problem they are presented with, and for which they are unable to fix themselves, will be fixed by calling into a South African port.

The result is many calls of vessels, of all shapes and sizes, who simply need the engineering knowledge, and professional assistance to fix a serious problem, or who need the workshop facilities, and local mechanical skills, to fabricate a critical repair, most of which simply cannot be found, with few exceptions, virtually anywhere else in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Bruce on the berth at the Landing Wall in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Bruce on the berth at the Landing Wall in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 11th October at 06h00 the multi-purpose heavy-lift general cargo vessel BRUCE (IMO 9741140) arrived at Cape Town from Jurong Aracruz in Brazil. She proceeded directly into the Duncan Dock and berthed at the Landing Wall, and a sure sign that repairs were required, and local intervention by Cape Town marine engineers was needed. A clearly damaged bulbous bow may have been a clue as for her reason to call in at the Cape, at such short notice.

Built in 2016 by Shandong Huanghai Shipbuilding at Rongcheng in China, Bruce is 148 metres in length and has a deadweight of 12,370 tons. She is powered by a single Jiangsu MAN-B&W 5G45ME-C9.5 5 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 6,628 bhp (4,800 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 12.6 knots.

Picture by 'Dockrat'
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three MAN D2842-LE301 generators, providing 590 kW each, and a single MAN D2866-LXE20 emergency generator, providing 200 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg Mission OC composite boiler.

One of four Ecolift 500 sisterships, Bruce has two holds, serviced by two NMF electro-hydraulic 250 ton cranes, which can lift 500 tons when used in tandem. She has a container carrying capacity of 838 TEU, with plugs for 50 reefers. An unusual fitting to the vessel, is that Bruce clearly seems to have, what appears to be, a spare accommodation ladder, stored high up on the aft side of her accommodation block.

Bruce's accommodation section. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Bruce’s accommodation section. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Owned and operated by Nordic Hamburg Shipping (NHS) GmbH of Hamburg, Bruce is managed by Nordic Hamburg Shipmanagement GmbH, a subsidiary company of her owners.

Prior to arriving at Cape Town, Bruce was en-route from Jurong Aracruz, bound for Singapore. Whilst not obvious, there is a distinct connection between the two ports. The word Jurong, in the Jurong Aracruz port name, will be ringing bells in some folk, as Jurong is the name of a large shipyard complex in Singapore, owned by Sembcorp Marine, also of Singapore.

The front of the accommodation block and the ship's bridge above. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The front of the accommodation block and the ship’s bridge above. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Use of the word ‘port’ to describe Jurong Aracruz, is actually a misnomer, as Jurong Aracruz is actually a specially constructed shipyard, with a repair quay, and a protective breakwater, that is located in a fairly isolated spot in Espirito Santo state, within the Aracruz municipality.

Work on the ‘port’ was begun in December 2011, and not completed until 2014 when it came into operation. The whole port and complex was built by Sembcorp Marine, who were already market leaders, in the construction of FPSOs and Offshore Support ships for the oil and gas industry, based in Singapore.

Picture by 'Dockrat'
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The port complex is capable of handling any vessel, or structure, with a maximum draft of 16 metres. It has a quayside, which is 1 kilometre long, and Jurong Aracruz is able to repair, upgrade, modify, outfit or construct drillships, semi-submersibles rigs, jack-up rigs, production platforms, supply vessels, and to complete FPSO integration, and topsides module fabrications.

Jurong Aracruz have already completed one FPSO for a Brazilian offshore client, and are currently in the process of completing a second FPSO, destined for the offshore Santos Basin. Whilst the focus of the shipyard is on the oil and gas industry, Jurong Aracruz are also fully equipped to take on standard merchant vessel repair projects of any type.

The port complex is supported by a floating sheerlegs crane, which has a lifting capacity of 3,600 tons, and is the largest vessel of its type anywhere in Latin America. There are on-site steel fabrication workshops, with ancillary facilities for piping and outfitting. A floating drydock, whose dimensions will be 380 x 120 metres, will also be constructed for the use of the complex.

The reason for Sembcorp Marine choosing this location, for a bespoke offshore orientated shipyard, was to tap into Brazil’s thriving offshore industry, and to offer the same services to the offshore oil and gas industries in the US Gulf of Mexico, and those of West Africa.

The damaged bow of the ship Bruce. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The damaged bow of the ship Bruce. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The engineering requirements, and hull repairs, required by Bruce in Cape Town were completed on 15th October, and at 23h00 she departed from Cape Town and, once again, resumed her voyage to Singapore.

One can only surmise that the requirement for a specialised heavy-lift, multi-purpose, vessel to be calling at Jurong Aracruz, and then sailing directly to Singapore, was that she may have been chartered to either bring in, or take back, project freight for the Jurong Shipyard in Singapore, on behalf of the parent company, Sembcorp Marine.

Added 21 October 2021

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Operating INMARSAT’s Global Xpress satellite communications services in India

Inmarsat banner

On 20 October Inmarsat confirmed that its strategic partner BSNL has received the necessary licences to deliver Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) mobile broadband services in India.

Under BSNL’s Inflight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC) licence from the Indian Department of Telecommunications, GX will be available to Indian customers across government, aviation and maritime business, it is understood.

This announcement means that India’s airlines will be able to deploy GX for in-flight connectivity within India and throughout the world, while India’s commercial maritime companies will be able to enhance significantly the digitalisation of their vessels for more effective ship operations and crew welfare services.

BSNL’s license will also see the GX service offered to government and other users. There will be a phased introduction of services for customers and partners.

Rajeev Suri, Inmarsat CEO
Rajeev Suri, Inmarsat CEO

Rajeev Suri, Inmarsat CEO, commented: “Today is a significant day for Inmarsat and our valued, long-term partnership with India, which was a signatory to the founding treaty establishing Inmarsat in 1979.

“Inmarsat is delighted to make the world’s only global high-speed mobile broadband Ka-band network available to the Government and businesses in India through our partner BSNL.

“We are committed to India and the company has been a trusted partner for the Indian government for four decades.

“Today’s announcement, which we share proudly with our friends at BSNL, will help to underpin the further economic growth that we all wish to see in India.”

It is understood that the service will enable Indian domestic airlines and international airlines flying over India to provide the world’s fastest inflight connectivity. Furthermore, we learn that the service on offer will give an edge to the Indian Government, including its defence forces.

Inmarsat recently unveiled plans for ORCHESTRA, the communications network of the future, which will bring the company’s existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellite networks together with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G to form an integrated, high-performance solution, unmatched, it is claimed, by any existing or planned competitor offering.

ORCHESTRA allows capacity to be boosted in high-density areas such as at airports and sea ports, eliminating network hot spot congestion.

Paul Ridgway, Londn Correspondent Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Reported by Paul Ridgway

Added 21 October 2021

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USS Herschel ‘Woody’ Williams completes visit to Maputo

Navy ship USS Hershel 'Woody' Williams berthed in Maputo Harbour. Picture US Navy
Navy ship USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams berthed in Maputo Harbour. Picture US Navy

The American Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB 4) has completed a three-day visit at the Mozambican port of Maputo and following her two-week stopover at Cape Town for necessary maintenance.

The unusual ship’s arrival in Maputo was for a scheduled port visit, and marked the first port visit by a U.S. Navy ship at the Mozambique capital since 2011.

During the three-day visit, Navy sailors engaged with officials from the Mozambican military and government and conduct a Navy-to-Navy exchange.

“Our ability to conduct this level of military cooperation is a testament to the strength of the strategic partnership between our countries,” said Dennis W. Hearne, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique. “We share a common interest in ensuring the security, safety, and freedom of navigation in southern Africa, which is critical for Mozambique’s prosperity.”

Left-to-Right: Senior Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique Lt. Col. Fergal O’Reilly, Captain Chad Graham, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Dennis W. Hearne, and Lt. Commander Miguel Montalvo greet USS Hershel “Woody” Williams at the Maputo Port on October 15, 2021. Picture: US Navy
Left-to-Right: Senior Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique Lt. Col. Fergal O’Reilly, Captain Chad Graham, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Dennis W. Hearne, and Lt. Commander Miguel Montalvo at the Maputo Port on 15 October 2021.    Picture: US Navy

Capt. Chad Graham, commanding officer of the navy ships said his crew had been very excited for the opportunity to visit Mozambique, experience their culture, and make a positive impact in Maputo during their time there. “Partnership with Mozambique is a point of pride for the Navy, as cooperation enhances our commitment to safety and maritime security in the Western Indian Ocean,” he said shortly after arrival.

USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, which has been visiting a number of ports and countries on this cruise, is the first warship permanently assigned to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. During her current cruise the ship has conducted a full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests, security, and stability in Europe and Africa.

Added 21 October 2021

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Oceana’s Commercial Cold Storage goes green with solar panel roof

Oceana Neptune (IMO: 8670899), one of the Oceana Group fleet fishing vessels. Picture MarineTraffic / Ivan Mouton
Oceana Neptune (IMO: 8670899), one of the Oceana Group fleet fishing vessels. Picture MarineTraffic / Ivan Mouton

Aiming at a net zero emission target by 2050, Africa’s largest fishing company, Oceana, has charted an ambitious course and has just reached a notable waypoint on that voyage.

Commercial Cold Storage (CCS), an Oceana Group company, has just completed a R4,47 million project to install 478,72kWp of solar power on the roof of its Paarden Eiland facility.

The system, which comprises 1,088 solar panels covering 2,154m2, will generate 749MWh per year or enough electricity to provide power to 75 average households.

Ina Botha, CCS executive director, says that as well as reducing demand on the national grid, the renewable electricity will save 741 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

She explained that while CCS ensures its temperature-controlled storage is as energy efficient as possible, large facilities storing fresh produce which can require temperatures to be as low as minus 60oC, use a lot of electricity.

“Not only will this investment pay for itself over the next 3 years but will also take the Group closer to achieving its carbon neutrality goal.”

Oceana’s Carbon Neutrality Project aims at reducing emissions by 50% over the next nine years, before reaching its zero emissions in 2050.

Group CEO, Imran Soomra, said the project is a first but important step towards achieving Oceana’s environmental sustainability goals. “Our future plans include mega renewable energy projects, particularly along the west coast, which will have a lasting, positive impact on the communities in which we operate,” he said.

Added 21 October 2021

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Bolloré considering the sale of its Africa logistics assets


The French afternoon newspaper Le Monde is reporting that French logistics group Bolloré is giving consideration to selling its logistics assets in Africa.

Bolloré has declined to comment.

The assets of Bolloré across a wide swathe of Africa include port terminals, port handling, maritime agencies, and rail transport. Bolloré has a strong presence in French-speaking West Africa but also has interests in East and Southern Africa, including South Africa. These assets have an estimated value of between €2-3 billion.

The report suggests the French company’s freight forwarding side of the business in Africa is not included in an potential sale.

Le Monde quoted “corroborative sources” for its information. It said Bolloré Africa Logistics had a turnover of €2.1 billion in 2020.

According to the French newspaper, Morgan Stanley is sounding out potential buyers on behalf of Bolloré. AP Moller-Maersk, CMA CGM, DP World and COSCO are each being considered as potential buyers.

Agence France Presse approached AP Moller-Maersk who declined to comment other than pointing out that it is “constantly exploring opportunities to connect and simplify its customers” supply chains.

Bolloré Africa Logistics is said to be the biggest transport and logistics operator in Africa and employs over 20,000 staff across more than 47 African countries and a few others worldwide. It operates solely or in joint ventures 16 container terminal concessions, seven ro-ro terminals, two timber terminals and one river terminal. It is also active in port management and operation, and has a network of 74 African agencies in 32 countries and three rail concessions including the subsidiary Sitarail.

Added 20 October 2021

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MSC Cruises announces plans to restart cruising in South Africa

The popular MSC Orchestra, coming back to South Africa in December
The popular MSC Orchestra, coming back to South Africa in December    MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises on Wednesday (20 October) announced the resumption of cruising in South African and Mozambican waters as from 6 December and extending into May 2022. This follows approvals published in the most recent Government Gazette.

The following is the full announcement.


First sailing scheduled for 6 December from Durban

MSC Orchestra to offer 2- 3- 4- and 7-night cruises around South Africa and to Mozambique


MSC Orchestra, a popular ship for South African holidaymakers, will homeport in Durban and Cape Town for the local 2021/22 season and offer 2, 3, 4 and 7-night voyages up to 11 May 2022. The vessel has recently undergone a major refurbishment programme and replaces the MSC Musica that was originally earmarked for South Africa in the upcoming cruise season.

MSC Orchestra will welcome guests on a total of 41 local cruises from both Durban – with embarkation at the soon to be inaugurated KwaZulu Natal terminal – and Cape Town providing South African cruisers with a wide choice of options to suit their holiday needs.

Highlights include Pomene Bay in Mozambique – a marine safari experience complete with its own beach club, Portuguese Island and other destinations in Southern Africa.

MSC Cruises plans to implement stringent health and safety measures on board MSC Orchestra and all destinations that the ship will call. These measures are based on an industry-leading protocol it introduced in August 2020 for the wellbeing of passengers, crew and the destinations served by its vessels.

The MSC Cruises’ protocol has safely protected hundreds of thousands of guests since its introduction and is currently implemented on 12 MSC Cruises’ ships operating in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

We are now eagerly awaiting the relevant authorities in South Africa to issue specifics of their health and safety guidelines which can be built into its own protocol, as required.

Ross Volk, MD of MSC Cruises South Africa
Ross Volk, MD of MSC Cruises South Africa

Ross Volk, Managing Director, MSC Cruises South Africa, said, “We are delighted to have received confirmation and approval from the government that cruising and with it our local season can proceed. I believe that our return to sailing will provide a welcome boost to the South African economy in terms of direct and indirect employment, as well as offering safe and relaxing cruise holidays.

“We have worked co-operatively since last year with all of the relevant authorities, ports and destinations to demonstrate that our new health and safety protocol can ensure the wellbeing of guests, our crew and the communities that MSC Orchestra will visit during the season. We now look forward to receive details of the health and safety guidelines that will allow us to finalise our protocol for the start of our sailing programme.”

MSC Cruises currently plans to welcome on board both guests who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as well as unvaccinated, but will amend its position subject to the requirements of either the South African government or any of the other countries that MSC Orchestra is set to visit during the season.

The South African government to date has not mandated passengers be fully vaccinated before a cruise holiday nor have other countries in MSC Orchestra’s Southern Africa itineraries made it mandatory for travellers to be fully vaccinated.

MSC Cruises, however, strongly urges its guests to be fully vaccinated before their voyage for their own well-being and that of other passengers, the ship’s crew and communities in the destinations that MSC Orchestra will visit.

All passengers – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – will be required to take a COVID-19 RT-PCR test within 72 hours of their cruise departure and provide proof of a negative result in order to board.

Unvaccinated guests over the age of 18 years will additionally have to undergo an antigen lateral flow test at the embarkation port costing R300 per person.

MSC Orchestra
MSC Orchestra    MSC Cruises

All guests will be required to have an insurance policy to cover COVID-19 related issues such as cancellation, interruption, repatriation, quarantine and medical assistance and related expenses. Guests can choose MSC Cruises’ new Hollard COVID-19 Protection Plan that will provide coverage before, during and after their cruise. In collaboration with Hollard Insurance, the plan covers cancellation charges as well as medical and related transport expenses. For further details on what the cover entails CLICK HERE.

Health screening of all guests in the cruise terminals will include a temperature check and a health questionnaire.

Guest embarkation flow will be managed by assigning guests with a specific arrival time, which will be indicated on their cruise ticket. The guests will be asked to respect the timing and will not be allowed to enter the terminal until their time slot, in order to comply with the local social distancing regulations.

MSC Orchestra is equipped with a 24/7 Medical Centre staffed by professional doctors and nurses and has a contingency response plan agreed in collaboration with the relevant authorities ashore.

Additional health and safety measures include extended sanitation on board and the wearing of face masks in indoor public areas or where social distancing cannot be guaranteed.

To find out more about the embarkation requirements and the health and safety measures


With MSC Orchestra’s sailings set to commence on 6 December, MSC Cruises regrettably has had to cancel its originally proposed Southern Africa voyages during November. The planned 14-night New Year’s Eve cruise during the coming season has also been altered into three 4-night cruises and one 2-night sailing as a result of a lack of available ports in the original itinerary.

All guests whose reservations are affected by the cancellation are eligible for a future cruise credit voucher to the value of their current cruise package as well as compensation in line with the length of their cruise.

MSC Cruises was the first major line in the world to resume operations in August 2020 when MSC Grandiosa began cruising in the Mediterranean Sea.

The restart was achieved thanks to the application of MSC Cruises’ industry-leading health and safety protocol – which will be implemented in South Africa – that was developed with the support of international medical experts, as well as working in close collaboration with local, regional and national authorities in the countries where its ships operate.

For further details on existing bookings, guests should contact their Travel Advisor or visit the MSC Cruises website at

Added 20 October 2021

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WHARF TALK: award-winning fish reefer – IBUKI

The 2013 award-winning fish reefer Ibuki in the Duncan Dock at the port of Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The 2013 award-winning fish reefer Ibuki in the Duncan Dock at the port of Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Despite the recent conclusion of the major 2021 fruit export season in South Africa, it does not mean the end of visiting reefers. In fact it never does, as fish reefers frequent South African ports all year round, and especially in Cape Town, where the deepwater fishing boats of the Far Eastern tuna and squid fleets are regular callers.

Despite fish reefers that call not being considered as newsworthy, and often not as attractive, as the fruit reefers, occasionally one of them is not only newsworthy, but internationally award winning.

On 12th October at 10h00, the fish reefer IBUKI (IMO 9666481) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage, and after a five hour wait, she entered Cape Town Harbour and proceeded, initially, to G berth in the Duncan Dock to await her cargo of frozen fish.

This was the fish reefer Ibuki arriving in port to transship cargo from waiting fishing vessels. Picture by 'Dockrat'
This was the fish reefer Ibuki arriving in port to transship cargo from waiting fishing vessels. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She had arrived from the ‘High Seas’ after having previously departed Cape Town on 3rd September, ostensibly to rendezvous with various deep-sea tuna fishing vessels, in order to conduct transshipments of their frozen cargo. Her area of operations had been international waters, in both the South Atlantic Ocean, and the South Indian Ocean.

After loading some frozen fish cargo at G berth, she subsequently shifted down to E berth, where she conducted transshipment loading of frozen tuna from some of the Japanese, and Taiwanese, tuna fishing vessels that were waiting for her arrival in Cape Town.

On completion of these transshipments, she sailed from Cape Town at 09h00 on 15th October, with her destination set for Port Louis, in Mauritius, where she would continue to take shipments from further tuna vessels operating out of that port.

Ibuki. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Ibuki. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2013 by Kyokuyo Shipyard at Shimonoseki in Japan, Ibuki was the first of three sisterships built for her owners, and is 134 metres in length and has a deadweight of 7,314 tons. She is powered by a single Makita MAN-B&W 7L35MC 7 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 6,102 bhp (4,550 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 16 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes four generators providing 2,670 kW, to provide sufficient power for her four hold freezer capacity of 8,043 m3, or the equivalent of 280,000 square feet. She has a single vertical Tortoise oil fired boiler.

When built, Ibuki was claimed to be the world’s largest Ultra Low Temperature Reefer (ULTR), capable of freezing down her whole cargo to -50°C. Her design was also environmentally advanced, in that she has a water ballast free system, to ensure that no transfer of seawater from one part of the world, to another, can take place. Additionally, her refrigerant is one that has zero ozone depletion.

Ibuki's accommodation block and funnel area. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Ibuki’s accommodation block and funnel area. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With all of these advanced environmental and ecological criteria built into her, and the fact that her ULTR design made her the most advanced reefer in the world, meant that Ibuki was named Significant Ship of the Year in 2013, an award and accolade bestowed on her by the London based Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA).

Owned by Yamane Sangyo KK of Imabari in Japan, Ibuki is operated by MRS Corporation of Tokyo, and managed by Shinko Kaiun Company, also of Tokyo. As a fish reefer, she currently holds registration approvals from the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

All three commission approvals remain in force until December 2022, and give authorisation which allows Ibuki to conduct transshipments at sea. With ICCAT, she is authorised to receive high seas transshipments from tuna and pelagic fishing vessels from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China and even two Namibian vessels.

The tug assisting Ibuki in her manoeuvring towards her appointed berth is the ubiquitous Enseleni. Picture is by 'Dockrat'
The tug assisting Ibuki in her manoeuvring towards her appointed berth is the ubiquitous Enseleni. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

As part of her approvals, and in order to control Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, she is only authorised to offload her fish cargo in Cape Town, Port Louis, Kaohsiung, Busan, Yokosuka and Shimuzu. On all voyages she carries independent observers to monitor, and report, on all port calls and high seas transshipments.

This was not the first visit of Ibuki to Cape Town this year, but unlike this current visit from the ‘high seas’, she had previously arrived in August, from Kaohsiung and Yokosuka, and again in February where she had arrived from Kaohsiung, Yokosuka and Shimuzu. On both of these previous voyages her Taiwan and Japanese port calls were to offload her frozen fish cargo, originally picked up in this region, and discharged as per her commission approvals.

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Credit Suisse & Russian bank VTB Capital agree to pay $480 million to US & UK authorities over Mozambican ‘Hidden Debt’

Credit Suisse Group AG has agreed to pay nearly $475 million to U.S. and U.K authorities, including nearly $100 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission, for fraudulently misleading investors and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in a scheme involving two bond offerings and a syndicated loan that raised funds on behalf of state-owned entities in Mozambique.

According to the SEC’s order, these transactions that raised over $1 billion were used to perpetrate a hidden debt scheme, pay kickbacks to now-indicted former Credit Suisse investment bankers along with their intermediaries, and bribe corrupt Mozambique government officials*.

The SEC’s order finds that the offering materials created and distributed to investors by Credit Suisse hid the underlying corruption and falsely disclosed that the proceeds would help develop Mozambique’s tuna fishing industry.

Credit Suisse failed to disclose the full extent and nature of Mozambique’s indebtedness and the risk of default arising from these transactions.

Armando Guebuza, president of Mozambique at the time the shady Ematum deal was engineered
Armando Guebuza, president of Mozambique at the time the shady Ematum deal was engineered

The SEC’s order also finds that the scheme resulted from Credit Suisse’s deficient internal accounting controls, which failed to properly address significant and known risks concerning bribery.

“When it comes to cross-border securities law violations, the SEC will continue to work collaboratively with overseas law enforcement and regulatory agencies to fulfill its Enforcement mission,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

“Our action against Credit Suisse today is yet another example of our close and successful coordination with counterparts in Europe and Asia.”

Anita B. Bandy, Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, said that Credit Suisse provided investors with incomplete and misleading disclosures despite being uniquely positioned to understand the full extent of Mozambique’s mounting debt and serious risk of default based on its prior lending arrangements.

“The massive offering fraud was also a consequence of the bank’s significant lapses in internal accounting controls and repeated failure to respond to corruption risks,” she said.

VTB Capital

A London-based subsidiary of Russian bank VTB separately agreed to pay more than $6 million to settle SEC charges related to its role in misleading investors in a second 2016 bond offering.

According to the SEC’s order, the second offering as structured by VTB Capital and Credit Suisse allowed investors to exchange their notes in an earlier bond offering for new sovereign bonds issued directly by the government of Mozambique.

But the SEC found that the offering materials distributed and marketed by Credit Suisse and VTB Capital failed to disclose the true nature of Mozambique’s debt and the high risk of default on the bonds.

Filipe Nyusi, current president of Mozambique & Minister of Defence when the 'Hidden Debt' was incurred.
Filipe Nyusi, current president of Mozambique & Minister of Defence when the ‘Hidden Debt’ was incurred.

The offering materials further failed to disclose Credit Suisse’s discovery that significant funds from the earlier offering had been diverted away from the intended use of proceeds that was disclosed to investors. Mozambique later defaulted on the financings after the full extent of “secret debt” was revealed.

The SEC’s order against Credit Suisse finds that it violated antifraud provisions as well as internal accounting controls and books and records provisions of the federal securities laws. Credit Suisse agreed to pay disgorgement and interest totaling more than $34 million and a penalty of $65 million to the SEC.

As part of coordinated resolutions, the U.S. Department of Justice imposed a $247 million criminal fine, with Credit Suisse paying, after crediting, $175 million, and Credit Suisse also agreed to pay over $200 million in a penalty as part of a settled action with the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority.

VTB Capital consented to an SEC order finding that it violated negligence-based antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. Without admitting or denying the findings, VTB Capital agreed to pay over $2.4 million in disgorgement and interest along with a $4 million penalty.

Hidden Debt Trial *

The “Hidden Debt” trial is currently being held in a Maputo prison with 19 people charged with blackmail, forgery, embezzlement and money laundering. Among the accused is Ndambi Guebuza, the son of the former president of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza.

The reason why the trial is being held in the Maputo prison is because of the dozens of lawyers, witnesses and up to 250 journalists accredited to the case, which revolves around three Mozambican state-owned companies, ProIndicus, Ematum and Mam, who borrowed €1.76 billion mainly from Credit Suisse and the Russian bank VTB to finance maritime surveillance, fishing and shipyard projects.

Father & son, Armando and Ndambi Guebuza
Father & son, Armando and Ndambi Guebuza

The case has attracted great interest not only for the extent of the alleged corruption but also because of the involvement of government officials and others close to government. Both former President Guebuza and current President Filipe Nyusi have remained unnamed so far although both held high office at the time. Ndambi Guebuza is suspected of having acted as a ‘facilitator’ for his father, and President Filipe Nyusi was in charge of the Defence Ministry at the time.

Among the accused is the former head of the security services, Gregorio Leao.

Another senior government official under suspicion is former Finance Minister Manuel Chang, who allegedly received several million in bribes. Chang was arrested in South Africa in late 2018 as he attempted to leave the country. Both the United States and Mozambique have asked for his extradition. He remains under arrest in South Africa.

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Port Sudan protests result in US$83 million monthly losses in livestock exports

Port Sudan port and container terminal. Picture: YouTube
Port Sudan port and container terminal. Picture:  Screenshot from YouTube

Radio Dabanga reports that protests that have resulted in the closure of the port and roads in and out of Port Sudan have resulted in the loss of US$ 83 million in just one month just from the non-export of livestock.

Minister of Livestock, Hafiz Abdelnabi, issued a statement to this effect on Monday (18 October) saying that the losses arise from missed revenues of local fees from livestock exports. He estimated this to be the equivalent of US$ 83 million in just one month.

According to Abdelnabi the local quarries are crowded with livestock unable to be exported. He said this amounted to at least 150,000 head.

The protest action across eastern Sudan is the result of the High Council of Beja Nazirs and Independent Chieftains who opted for these actions to put more pressure on the Sudanese government to cancel the Eastern Sudan Track protocol in the Juba Peace Agreement.

Earlier in September participants at a Peace, Development and Justice Conference, organised by the High Council of Beja Nazirs* and Independent Chieftains in Sinkat in Red Sea state, demanded the right to self-determination for eastern Sudan.

A group of 22 tribal chiefs subsequently rejected “any direct involvement of the Native Administration in politics, which would be political action under a tribal cover and which would create discord and confusion in eastern Sudanese society.”

Sudan and South Sudan, served by Port Sudan on the Red Sea and now semi-shut due to political protests... Picture: CIA
Sudan and South Sudan, served by Port Sudan on the Red Sea and now semi-shut due to political protests.   Picture: CIA

The conference was not the first attempt to challenge the eastern Sudan track accord, signed in Juba in February this year by the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance as part of the comprehensive peace agreement for Sudan.

In mid-September protesters began blocking the main roads in Red Sea state, including the Khartoum-Port Sudan highway and the railway lines. These actions have effectively prevented the seaports from remaining fully active.

In return activists in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, filed a lawsuit against the Beja leaders citing the undermining of the civil state authority, fermenting hatred, and sabotaging the national economy.

Sudan’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure has acknowledged that the unrest has cost the Sudanese treasury “large sums”.

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Gordhan’s assurance to agricultural sector about Transnet and exports

Cirrus being packed for export
Citrus being packed for export

Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, has moved to assure the agricultural sector that Transnet’s primary objective is to ensure the export of agricultural goods in the face of the ongoing global supply chain and logistics crisis.

He said shipping, storage, logistics and manufacturing issues continue throughout the world, as the knock on effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, its subsequent lockdowns and resultant closures of large scale manufacturers and related industries begin to take hold.

Gordhan was speaking during the conference held last week of one of the country’s biggest farmers’ organisations, Agri SA.

“The logistics issue is one that impacts on you as exporters. From a Transnet point of view, setting up a logistics sector to support the kind of growth and extremely good crops that sub-sectors within the agricultural sector have experienced in the recent past and the encouragement of exports, is a primary objective,” he said.

Pravin Gordhan
Pravin Gordhan

The Minister said his department will be engaging with Transnet to ensure that it ramps up its services.

“We will continue to ask our colleagues at Transnet to make more facilities available, and also to increase the efficiency of the logistics system far more substantially than might have happened until now,” Gordhan said.

He said the agricultural sector provides “an important opportunity for growth” in the country’s economy and that it is the “cornerstone” of the country’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

Last month, Statistics South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product numbers showed that the sector has contributed at least 0.2% to GDP growth due to scaled-up production.

“There are many opportunities that are available to us as a country and as an economy. The agricultural sector has an important place within the GDP of this country, although it might be numerically low but the potential is quite great,” he said.

Gordhan said Transnet is looking at new innovations in the future, which would benefit those who use its services.

“These could involve private and public partnerships, it could involve concessions in relation to branch lines, terminals – both inland and in respect of ports [and] the ownership of wagons by different sectors of our economy. These are new areas which should be up for further engagement between Transnet and [the agricultural sector],” he said.

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Kenya enforces mandatory rule of using the SGR to deliver containers to Nairobi

Kenya's SGR freight train (containers) at Naivasha
Kenya’s SGR freight train (containers) at Naivasha    KR

Despite the opposition of clearing agents in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya authorities are enforcing the rule that all containers destined for Nairobi or further inland must be carried by the standard gauge railway (SGR) to the Nairobi Inland Container Depot where they can be cleared through Customs.

The ruling has been in place for some time, practically since the SGR opened, but was relaxed in the face of strong opposition by Mombasa-based clearing agents and traders.

Others joining the protest include road transporters who find themselves deprived of a lucrative source of income.

Those most affected by this arbitrary ruling are the operators of container yards and warehouses, known in some quarters as ‘godowns’, as well as customs clearing agents.

According to the rule, all containers addressed to inland destinations such as Nairobi, must be placed on the daily SGR freight trains and transported to the Inland Depot where they will be cleared. Previously it was possible to customs clear containers in Mombasa, prior to them leaving for inland by either road or rail.

Rail traditionally carried less than 20 per cent of all containers heading inland. That was until the advent of the SGR and heavy pressure by government for rail to be used instead.

It is reported that at times containers imported by Mombasa traders have also been placed on the train to Nairobi, where they are cleared at the inland terminal, from where Mombasa traders have to pay to have the cargo returned – also on the train.

SGR container train leaving Mombasa for inland
SGR container train leaving Mombasa for inland    KR

It’s a sure way of making sure the SGR, built by the Chinese with Chinese loans, earns additional and much needed revenue.

The SGR, while technically and operationally performing to a high standard, has become something of a financial embarrassment for the government which is faced with hefty loans it is struggling to repay. In addition, the railway has not extended beyond Naivasha, a shortish distance inland from Nairobi, instead of extending to the Uganda border.

Had the railway continued as far as the Uganda border, it would have earned a lot more revenue from traffic going across border to neighbouring countries.

Unable to secure further loans from the Chinese Exim bank, Kenya Railways has resorted to refurbishing the metre gauge ex-colonial railway renamed as Rift Valley Railway, which will continue the journey from Naivasha to Kisumu on Lake Victoria and the Malaba on the Uganda border, but requiring transshipment of cargo from the standard gauge to the metre gauge.

The Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) are among the stakeholders concerned with the situation of having to pay for containers to be railed to Nairobi. They fear the ruling will cripple employment in Mombasa, a city and port heavily reliant on the transport and logistics sector.

The KTA says that if the Mombasa godowns close and road transporters lose much of their long-distance business, it will cost up to 42,000 jobs.

Mombasa politicians say they intend taking raising the matter in parliament once again.

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WHARF TALK: General Purpose IMO class 2 Chemical Tanker – MED ATLANTIC

On a cloudy overcast day the chemical tanker Med Atlantic arrived in Cape Town to take bunker at the port. Picture by 'Dockrat'
On a cloudy overcast day and Table Mountain partly hidden under its table cloth, the chemical tanker Med Atlantic arrived in Cape Town to take bunkers at the port. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Quite often a vessel enters port and, especially if she is on a quick bunker stop, there is no clue as to what she is carrying which helps to paint a picture of her current voyage. Just as often, all it takes is a thorough research sweep, on the internet, which can provide all the clues you need to fill in the missing gaps that, and provide possible answers to those questions that the fleeting visitor raises.

On 14th October at 10h00 the General Purpose (GP), IMO Class 2, Chemical Tanker MED ATLANTIC (IMO 9410533) arrived off Cape Town, inbound from Dumai in Indonesia, but rather than go to the Tanker Berths, she proceeded to the Eastern Mole which is the usual berth for those transiting vessels that require bunkers and stores only. It was also noted by the observer that the Senior Bridge Officer, overseeing the berthing with the Transnet Harbour Pilot, was female.

Med Atlantic's accommodation block. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Med Atlantic’s accommodation block. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Fully laden on arrival, and down to her marks, which indicates Med Atlantic was not heading to pick up a cargo, but rather in the process of delivering one. As those who operate within the International Dangerous Goods carriage arena know, there are dozens of potential cargoes that a chemical tanker can carry. The conundrum was to work out what Med Atlantic might be carrying on her way through Cape Town to elsewhere.

As a confirmation that bunkers was her reason for entering port, the bunker tanker Al Safa came alongside Med Atlantic shortly after her arrival, and proceeded to transfer the required amount of bunkers ordered. Within ten hours of arriving, and by 20h00 that evening, the bunkering operation was complete, and Med Atlantic sailed from Cape Town, bound for Paranagua in Brazil.

One of two sisterships, and classified as a Type 2 Chemical Tanker, Med Atlantic was built in 2011 by the Med Marine Shipyard at Eregli, located on the northern Black Sea coast of Turkey. She is 170 metres in length and has a deadweight of 26,234 tons. She is powered by a single MaK-Caterpillar 8M43C 8 cylinder 4 stroke main engine producing 9,783 bhp (7,200 kW), driving a controllable pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

The rear of the accommodation block giving a view of the tanker's funnel. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The rear of the accommodation block giving a view of the tanker’s funnel. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 1,219 kW, and an emergency generator providing 200 kW. She has a single CHR exhaust gas boiler, and two CHO oil fired boilers. With 14 cargo tanks, the cargo carrying capacity of Med Atlantic is 29,501 m3.

Although able to carry either fuel, chemical, or vegetable oil products, her classification as an IMO Type 2 Chemical Tanker, is based on her ability to carry chemical products with markedly severe environmental and safety hazards, and which require significant preventive measures to forestall any escape of such cargo. Type 1 chemical tankers have the ability to carry the most dangerous of chemicals, and Type 3 are able to carry less dangerous chemicals than a Type 2 Chemical Tanker.

Nominally owned by Sea Tankers 4 Ltd. of Valetta in Malta, Med Atlantic is operated and managed by YMN Tanker Maritime Management of Istanbul in Turkey. In February 2012, whilst under her previous, London based, management company, Med Atlantic was issued with a Personal Injury Lawsuit, under the auspices of the Admiralty Court of the New Jersey District in the USA. The lawsuit was filed by World Fuel Services (Europe) Ltd of London.

The port of origin for the current voyage of Med Atlantic gives some clue as to what cargo she might be carrying as a GP tanker. Dumai Port, in Indonesia, is located on the eastern shores of the island of Sumatra, facing the Malacca Strait, and is the largest port in Indonesia for the export of Palm Oil, in both crude and kernel forms.

Med Atlantic was in port for a short 10 hours, time enough to take on bunkers for her crossing to Brazil. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Med Atlantic was in port for a short 10 hours, time enough to take on bunkers for her crossing to Brazil. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

According to the latest statistics available, Palm Oil accounts for 40% of the port’s annual exports, with over 4 million tons of Palm Oil exported throughout the world, at a value to the local economy of US$5.74 billion (ZAR83.28 billion).

Within this figure, Palm Oil exports from Dumai to Brazil were worth US$146 million (ZAR2.12 billion), with virtually all Palm oil cargoes destined for the port of Paranagua.

It is probably safe to say that, with Med Atlantic being a Type 2 GP tanker, and arriving fully laden from Dumai in Indonesia, with her final destination port being that of Paranagua in Brazil, that she is almost certainly carrying a full cargo of Palm Oil.

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The UN Second Global Sustainable Transport Conference


14 to 16 October 2021

The second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference took place from 14 to 16 October to provide an opportunity to focus attention on the opportunities, challenges and solutions towards achieving sustainable transport worldwide.

This follows the first Global Sustainable Transport Conference, held in 2016 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and indicates a way forward for sustainable transport to help achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change in the Decade of Action.

New York-Beijing

On 14 October by virtual link from UN HQ in New York Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed delegates to the Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference in Beijing. He expressed his profound gratitude to President Xi and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for their generosity in hosting the Conference.

When economies were brought to a standstill at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the most dramatic impacts were felt in the transport sector — starting with job losses. Global road transport activity went down by half. Air traffic demand in 2020 was just one third of the previous year. While this translated into fewer traffic accidents, improved air quality and a rapid drop in greenhouse gas emissions, those temporary gains have not been sustained.

Massive declines in the use of public transit — a lifeline that enables essential workers and those living in poverty to earn a living — threatened its financial viability. Some essential transport workers in cities, and seafarers trapped on ships, were forced to work in unsafe and inhumane conditions. Communities, economic sectors and even entire countries that depend on tourism faced enormous losses in revenue. In some small island developing States, tourism represents as much as 80% of exports — which disappeared overnight.

And as a deeply uneven recovery gets under way, the world has seen further disruption to global supply chains. The interconnected nature of transport, global consumption, trade and the economy is clear.

The Covid-19 pandemic showed that transport is far more than a means of getting people and goods from A to B. It is fundamental to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement — which were badly off-track even before the pandemic hit.

UN S-G Antonio Guterres

Emissions from ships

In the Secretary-General’s words: ‘We must act together, smartly, and quickly, to make the next nine years count. Transport, which accounts for more than one quarter of global greenhouse gases, is key to getting on track. We must decarbonise all means of transport in order to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 globally.

‘We know how to make this happen. First, we must accelerate the decarbonisation of the entire transport sector. Let’s be honest. While Member States have made some initial steps through the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization to address emissions from shipping and aviation, current commitments are not aligned with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. In fact, they are more consistent with warming way above 3°C.’

The priorities are clear: zero emission ships must be the default choice, and commercially available for all by 2030, in order to achieve zero emissions in the shipping sector by 2050; companies must start using sustainable aviation fuels now, in order to cut carbon emissions per passenger by 65% by 2050.

Secretary-General Guterres added: ‘I reiterate also my call for half of all climate finance, in support of developing countries, to be allocated to adaptation. We must funnel both public and private resources towards sustainable infrastructure in developing countries to drive a recovery from the pandemic that accelerates progress across the Sustainable Development Goals.’

He went on to say that countries have much to learn from each other. The next nine years must see a global shift towards renewable energy. Sustainable transport is central to that transformation. There is still a long way to go, but he said he has been encouraged by some of the commitments made by Governments, local authorities and the private sector, in the context of this Conference and in the lead-up to COP26 and he looked forward to seeing them implemented.

This Conference was an important opportunity to galvanize action by all to build the sustainable transport systems needed for a green, inclusive and equitable future.

For more information

See the background paper to the conference: Sustainable transport, sustainable development. Interagency report for second Global Sustainable Transport Conference. 2021

Also…. See also in full the Secretary-General Guterres’s speech at this event.

Paul Ridgway, Londn Correspondent Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Reported by Paul Ridgway
London, based on material
kindly provided by:

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Bolloré Ports orders two Gaussin port tractors for port of Freetown, Sierra Leone

A Gaussin AMP 75T HE electric port tractor similar to those being supplied to the Freetown Port Terminal in Sierra Leone. Similar machines are also in service at the Côte d’Ivoire port of Abidjan.
A Gaussin AMP 75T HE electric port tractor similar to those being supplied to the Freetown Port Terminal in Sierra Leone. Similar machines are also in service at the Côte d’Ivoire port of Abidjan.n Bollore

Bolloré Ports has placed an order with engineering company Gaussin to supply two AMP 75T HE electric port tractors to the Freetown Port Terminal in Sierra Leone.

The AMP 75T HE electric port tractors are specifically designed for use in hot climates. The order includes four Powerpack HE and a 6×4 multi-load station.

Gaussin claims its APM port tractor is the only electric port vehicle on the market capable of operating without interruption, as a result of its ‘battery swap’ system which allows batteries to be changed in just a few minutes.

As the machinery is fully electric it will allow Bolloré Ports to reduce its carbon footprint as well as save on maintenance costs.

“We are honoured by the confidence Bolloré Ports continues to have in Gaussin’s expertise and technology,” said Christophe Gaussin, CEO of the Gaussin Group.

“This new order, the third one from Bolloré Ports, also attests to the commercial success of the APM 75T equipped with batteries from Blue Solutions, the model now deployed in Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.”

He said Gaussin and Bolloré Ports share the same commitment to carbon-free port logistics.

“Gaussin’s technology is fully in line with our ground-breaking Green Terminal process, which aims to significantly reduce our carbon footprint,” said Philippe Labonne, CEO of Bolloré Ports. “It was therefore a natural decision to continue our collaboration with Gaussin through this new order.

“The success of this French partnership is also proof that pooling skills to fight against the effects of global warming can lead to concrete actions to effectively and sustainably fight against global warming while improving operational performance.”

Labonne added that the purchase directly contributes to Bolloré Ports’ Green Terminal process, which was launched earlier this year with the aim of reducing its carbon footprint throughout its operations.

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MOL and partners look to ammonia to power ships and machinery

MOL container ship
MOL container ship   MOL

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has revealed its intention of powering its ships of the future by way of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MAN Energy Solutions (MAN) and Mitsui E&S Machinery, Ltd (MES-M) to order ammonia fueled main engines to power MOL’s vessels.

Ammonia is one of the top candidates as a next-generation clean fuel that does not emit carbon dioxide and MOL is hoping to utilise this clean energy to power its vessels by using the ammonia fueled engine that is currently under development by MAN ES.

The agreement between the three parties concurs with the ‘MOL Group Environmental Vision’ which sees the Japanese shipping line, together with its partners and stakeholders, seeking ways of resolving environmental issues to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and to deploy net-zero emissions on ocean-going vessels by 2030.

Ammonia is becoming one of the top candidates for next-generation clean fuel as it does not emit any CO2.

Horisont Energi and Koole Terminals B.V.

Koole Terminals
Koole Terminals, Rotterdam    Supplied

Horisont Energi, a leading independent liquid bulk storage company, and Koole Terminals, have announced the signing of a MoU to collaborate on the development of a terminal and storage facility at the Port of Rotterdam.

According to the agreement, Horisont Energi and Koole Terminals will explore the establishment of a strategic and collaborative relationship for storage of ammonia produced and shipped from Norway to Rotterdam.

The agreement will also cover technical and commercial conceptual models for storage of ammonia products, services solutions and technologies for further distribution, to meet forecast demand in Northwest Europe.

Koole Terminals has a storage capacity of over 4.1 million cubic metres and is connected to several transport modalities (i.e. ship, truck, rail and pipeline) with direct pipeline connections to core clients.

“As Horisont Energi and our partners work towards developing Europe’s first world-scale clean ammonia project, it is essential to establish relationships with key storage, handling and transport partners in the region, to ensure our clean ammonia can reach all potential clients,” said Bjørgulf Haukelidsæter Eidesen, CEO of Horisont Energi.

Horisont Energi recently announced a cooperation agreement with Equinor and Vår Energi, the two largest offshore oil and gas producers in the Barents Sea region, on the joint development of the Barents Blue project, Europe’s first large-scale production facility for blue ammonia.

The Barents Blue project is based on using natural gas, clean water and renewable energy to produce clean ammonia, which is a key industrial gas used globally in the fertiliser and chemical sector and is a very efficient hydrogen carrier, making it one of the most promising fuels for decarbonisation of parts of the maritime sector.

During the production process at the Barents Blue ammonia plant, more than 99 percent of the CO2 will be captured and permanently stored in the offshore Polaris reservoir below the seabed offshore Finnmark. Koole Terminals will play an important role in facilitating and supporting the distribution of ammonia from the Barents Blue production plant in Hammerfest, Northern Norway.

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Dry Bulk exports affected by Richards Bay fire: Durban Grain Terminal latest fire victim

The long grey shed of the Woodchip Terminal with the Grain Terminal to its right. The latter is the latest terminal to be affected by fire damaging its conveyor belt system.
The long grey shed of the Woodchip Terminal with the Grain Terminal to its right. The latter is the latest terminal to be affected by fire damaging its conveyor belt system.  Picture:  Transnet

Transnet issued a statement on Monday evening (18 October) advising that investigations were underway with a Board of Inquiry having been set up to determine the cause of fires which broke out at two of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) over the past two weeks.

The latest of these terminals to be affected is the Grain Export Terminal at Durban’s Maydon Wharf, which has now also experienced a fire in its conveyor belt system.

It seems inevitable now that thoughts will be turning towards the likelihood of sabotage, given the insurgency events involving destruction of infrastructure and looting over the past few months in KwaZulu-Natal.

This latest disruption to bulk exports at the port follows delays with coal deliveries arising from sabotage along the Richards Bay heavy-haul coal railway involving copper theft and vandalism. According to the CEO of leading coal exporter Exxaro, Mxolisi Mgojo, this has resulted in a loss of 9 million tons of coal exports between January and June this year.

Further Action Will be Taken

Transnet says – in what is surely an understatement – “Should it be found that any of the incidents were as a result of operational negligence on the part of any Transnet employee, further action will be taken.”

The Richards Bay fires occurred on two consecutive Wednesdays, 6 and 13 October during nightfall, with considerable damage caused to the conveyor belting network at the terminal.

Significant progress has been made in restoring operations at the port, with five of the seven conveyor belts having been fully restored and now back in operation. With the remainder of the conveyor belts, the port has deployed manual handling to ensure continuity of operations.

It is understood that Foskor’s sulphur import conveyor system was completely destroyed and will have to be rebuilt from scratch. Likewise the Grindrod export coal belt was also put out of commission with an impact on coal exports from the TPT-operated terminal.

The Richards Bay Coal Terminal is situated elsewhere in the port and is not affected.

Another facility that suffered damage, although it is considered operable, is the Silvacel woodchip conveyor route.

Last week Transnet reacted by shutting down all conveyor systems in the interim. Since then, as reported above, they have since reopened unaffected conveyors.

Transnet also declared force majeure on the affected terminal while engaging with stakeholders. “The terminal is engaging with its affected customers and is in the process of putting the necessary contingencies in place as some routes are operational,” said TPT’s acting chief executive at the port, Jabu Mdaki.

He said the cause of the fire remained unknown with a then preliminary investigation underway. Expert assessors and investigators were onsite establishing the extent of the damage, he said.

Maydon Wharf Fire

At the port of Durban’s Maydon Wharf Precinct, there are currently two conveyor belts, one handling grain and the other woodchip. The conveyor belt affected by the fire was that of the Grain Terminal, fortunately after it had completed loading a grain vessel.

Since this fire the terminal has been working around the clock to ensure that the belt is restored and back in operation by the time the next grain vessel arrives at the port on 26 October 2021.

On Monday afternoon (18 October), Transnet met with the leadership of the agricultural industry, and says it will be working with them to ensure support for a bumper grain season.

Meanwhile, a technical team has also been deployed to assess the extent of the damage with fire investigators working to establish the root cause at both ports.

Transnet National Ports Authority, as the landlord, has issued TPT with letters of notice for TPT to ensure that all affected areas are safe before any operations can resume.

Business Continuity Plans have been invoked and Transnet says it will continue to work with all impacted stakeholders to minimise disruptions and ensure that repairs are concluded as quickly as possible.

The company says it welcomes the support it has received from industry during the restoration of operations, and remains in constant communication with all customers.

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WHARF TALK: Multipurpose general cargo ship – ARA ROTTERDAM

The general cargo vessel ARA Rotterdam on the berth of the Landing Wall in the Duncan Dock of Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The general cargo vessel ARA Rotterdam on the berth of the Landing Wall in the Duncan Dock of Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

In South Africa, Richards Bay and Saldanha Bay exist almost exclusively for the export of minerals and ores. In Australia, the huge ports of the Pilbara region, Port Hedland and Dampier exist solely for the export of Iron Ore. On the Australian east coast, Mackay and Newcastle were developed mainly for the export of coal.

However, there are many more such ports around the world, and some are small and nigh-on brand new. For it is the mining industry, worldwide, that has provided the reason for the construction, and development, of most new ports, the majority to be found in isolated locations.

On 13th October at 06h00, the multipurpose general cargo ship ARA ROTTERDAM (IMO 9240471) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage from Punta Rincon in Panama. She remained in the anchorage until the early afternoon, and at 14h00 she entered Cape Town harbour and went alongside the Eastern Mole in the Duncan Dock. A berth normally reserved for bunkering purposes, and for taking on fresh stores.

ARA Rotterdam alled for bunkers, having arrived from Punta Rincon in Panama. Picture by 'Dockrat'
ARA Rotterdam called at Cape Town for bunkers, having arrived from Punta Rincon in Panama. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2002, ARA Rotterdam had her hull built at the Okean Shipyard, in Nikolaev in the Ukraine. This was then towed around to the Damen Shipyard, at Bergum in Holland, where she was outfitted and completed, prior to entering service. She is 143 metres in length and has a deadweight of 10,643 tons.

She is powered by a single MaK 9M32C 9 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 5,874 bhp (4,320 kW), driving a controllable pitch propeller for a service speed of 12 knots. Her auxiliary machinery includes three Caterpillar 3412C generators, providing 350 kW each.

ARA Rotterdam's accommodation block. Picture by 'Dockrat'
ARA Rotterdam’s accommodation block and funnel. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has two holds, serviced by two Liebherr 60 ton cranes, which are capable of a 120 ton tandem lift. Her cargo capacity is 518,900 ft3, and her container carrying capacity is 667 TEU, with 60 reefer plugs provided.

Owned by the ARA Group NV of Werkendam in Holland, ARA Rotterdam is both operated and managed by ARA Ship Management BV, also of Werkendam.

ARA Rotterdam in Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat'
ARA Rotterdam in Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her port of origin, Punta Rincon, is situated 120 miles west of Panama City, and was only inaugurated as a port in 2015. A single berth, with protective breakwater, was built to allow construction materials, and project freight to be brought in for the purposes of developing an open cast copper mine, and building a power station to provide the mine with its electrical needs.

Once the mine was opened in 2018, a further seaward pier berth was built, which included a shiploader, and the first of the copper concentrates export cargoes was shipped out in June 2019. The mine is Canadian owned, and operated by Cobre Panama. The port supports the ongoing needs of the mine, and its associated infrastructure, and serves no other purpose.

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Port of Beira reintroduces bulk copper exports

Beira's general cargo terminal
Beira’s general cargo terminal.   Picture Cornelder

The port of Beira, gateway to Zimbabwe and several other landlocked SADC countries, has returned to exporting copper in bulk form from these neighbours as an answer to the current ongoing challenges involving the Covid-10 pandemic and the use of containers.

This was announced by Cornelder, which manages and operates the port.

“Bulk transport is an effective alternative to transporting copper containers out of Beira,” the Dutch-owned concession-holder at the port announced.

It described the operation thus far as successful, with 15,000 tonnes of copper cathodes loaded between 30 September and 5 October 2021, with the vessel sailing in the early hours of 6 October.

“The cargo logistics service providers at the port and the Beira corridor, which connects the city by road to the Machipanda border with Zimbabwe, are committed to maximising the potential of bulk cargo transport to alleviate the current container crisis and will continue to offer this solution.”

The port of Beira is one of the main exit points for copper produced in inland countries in southern Africa without direct access to the sea.

During the 2018 and 2019 financial years, the port handled more than 270,000 tonnes of copper from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC).

The Mozambican port of Beira's Container Terminal. Copper exports, once exported via containers, are now being increasingly handled in bulk
The Mozambican port of Beira’s Container Terminal. Copper exports, once exported via containers at this facility are now being increasingly handled as bulk cargo    Cornelder

The growth continued in 2020: “Exports from DRC increased by 116 per cent, and those from Zambia had a growth of 88 per cent.

Cornelder said the total amount of copper handled exceeded 500,000 tonnes transported via containers during 2020 and is now being constrained by the impact of Covid-19 on logistics networks.

“As such, the port and corridor members have taken important steps towards reintroducing bulk copper loading in Beira, almost two decades after they switched to the containerised loading system.”

The cargo agent Access World and ships agent Terra Mar Logistics participated in the operation together with Cornelder.

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UK: New First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff

Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key KCB CBE has been appointed First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff. This was announced by the Ministry of Defence on Friday, 15 October.

“I am delighted to congratulate Vice Admiral Sir Ben on his appointment to First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff,” said Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. “Sir Ben Key is an exceptional military officer and I have no doubt he will be outstanding in his new post.

Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key
Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key

“As the current Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben was one of the key architects of the incredible Op Pitting rescue mission, which weeks ago saw the successful evacuation of over 15,000 British nationals and Afghans from Kabul.

“Every day the threats to the UK and its allies multiply, that is why this Government has made the biggest investment in the Armed Forces since the Cold War, so that we can modernise to meet that threat head on.

“Under Vice Admiral Key’s leadership, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, are in excellent hands.”

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, added: “I am very pleased to welcome Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key as the next First Sea Lord. As a previous Fleet Commander and the current Chief of Joint Operations, he will bring a wealth of operational experience to the role. He will continue the modernisation of the Royal Navy to help ensure we can meet future threats and deliver for the Nation.

“We live in a period of enormous change and I am delighted to be working with Sir Ben in my new role as Chief of the Defence Staff to ensure the Royal Navy and the rest of Defence are a global force delivering for Global Britain.”

Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key, said it is an honour and privilege to be selected as the next First Sea Lord. “I am excited at the prospect of leading the exceptional sailors and marines of the Royal Navy through the exciting challenges we have ahead.

“I look forward to building on the transformation work of my predecessor Adm Sir Tony Radakin and continuing the ambitious modernisation laid out by the government in the IR *.

“I have seen close up, as the Chief of Joint Operations, the impact our increasingly globally deployed Navy has had. I am determined we continue to deliver on these opportunities, working with allies and partners around the world in support of the government objectives.”


Paul Ridgway, Londn Correspondent Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Reported by Paul Ridgway
based on material kindly provided by Ministry of Defence

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Piracy Report: Iranian Navy chases off Gulf of Aden pirates

Iranian Navy frigate ALBORZ (72), currently on patrol in Gulf of Aden region
Iranian Navy frigate ALBORZ (72), currently on patrol in Gulf of Aden region

According to the Iranian Chief of the Navy, an Iranian naval ship on escort patrol in the Gulf of Aden prevented a pirate attack on two Iranian commercial ships sailing together.

The would-be attack is reported to have occurred on Saturday 16 October 2021 as the small convoy transited the Gulf, a region notorious for piracy in past years.

“Navy commandos were successful in repulsing this morning the attack by pirates against an Iranian commercial convoy in the Gulf of Aden,” said navy commander Admiral Shahram Irani. He was being quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

“The destroyer ALBORZ was escorting two oil tankers when they were attacked by five pirate ships,” the admiral said, adding that the Iranian warship fired shots, forcing “the attackers to leave the area.”

In its comment on this report, Dryad Global had this to say:

“If confirmed this would be the 6th reported approach within 2021. Details regarding the incident remain sparse and thus it remains impossible to confirm piratical intent by the approaching vessels. Approaches against vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden remains the foremost reporting theme within the area however thus far there have been no incidents that have tangibly compromised vessel or crew safety. The low volume of incident reports alongside an absence of persistent and sustained approaches, or attacks against smaller vulnerable vessels would strongly indicate a low piratical threat within the area.

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To the Editor: US Military flights into Cape Town

Image 1. Picture by Jay Gates
Image 1. Picture by Jay Gates

In the article about USS Hershel Woody Williams receiving USAF support with a C-17 flight into Cape Town, I note that the article goes on to state that this is the first US military flight into Cape Town since 2003. This is not accurate.

Image 2. Picture by Jay Gates
Image 2. Picture by Jay Gates

Attached are three photos from my own collection, and taken by me, when I was Head of Airside Safety and Compliance at Cape Town International Airport. The photos were all taken in September 2010. They show the following:

Image 3. Picture by Jay Gates
Image 3. Picture by Jay Gates

1. As per the article, a NATO SAC C-17 Globemaster III, from Papa Air Base in Hungary, departing Cape Town on 27th September 2010.

2. A USAF C-130J Hercules of the 143rd Airlift Wing, Rhode Island Air National Guard, from Quonset Point Air Station, also departing Cape Town early on 27th September 2010.

3. A USAF C-5A Galaxy of the 105th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard, from Stewart Air Station, arriving at Cape Town on 11th September 2010.

Not shown, as I cannot find my pictures are a USAF C-32 (Boeing 757 ‘Air Force Two’) from the Presidential Flight, from Andrews Air Base, which brought Michelle Obama to Cape Town in June 2011. She also had a C-17 accompanying her with the Presidential Limousines etc.

There have been many more US military flights since that time.

Jay Gates

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Record, almost obscene, profits by container lines

Statistics coming from maritime research consultancy Drewry indicate a relook and revised projection of profits likely to be earned by container lines at the end of 2021.

This combined profit of US$150 billion, according to the analyst, will have been generated by the container lines in the second year of operations under the mantle of a restrictive Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier in July this year Drewry had forecast combined profits of around $100 billion but has since found reason to revise these numbers upward.

“Stronger than expected spot rate movement in 3Q21 and a longer supply chain recovery timeline are behind the upgrade of the outlook,” Drewry explained.

Individually, the major shipping lines have forecast improved earnings for the year based on a record second quarter.

As the year ticks down there remains an unprecedented demand for container ships, regardless of record amounts being paid for vessels on short-term charter, and leading to tariffs once considered impossible. Meanwhile, newbuilding continues unabated, albeit for mainly ultra-large ships, and nor is this demand likely to end soon, say the analysts.

Shippers using containers can expect a continued period of inflationary prices for containers on ships for at least another couple of years, many experts believe.

Container lines have already shown that they can afford to pay anywhere between $40,000 and $80,000 a day or even more to charter a ship and nevertheless generate record profits, based on the outlandishly high rates on containers that shippers continue to pay.

Nor will newbuildings alleviate the situation in the short term. Most orders for newbuildings are for very large box ships, of which the large majority will not be delivered until 2023-24. Thus 2022 will see more mid-size container ships being chartered for record prices.

The problems and challenges raised by these high prices on ships and cargo do not rest on the water only. Land-based operators have their own set of challenges, with an accumulation of empties to accommodate, congestion at the terminals and on the roads outside, in some areas insufficient trucks and crew, and general security issues, particularly here in Africa.

South Africa remains largely a backwater in global terms and is not affected on the scale experienced in west coast US ports and those in northern Europe and the UK. But it is equally as serious in a country that once aspired to lead the continent in port and logistic practice.

Instead we find ships having to bypass ports in order to maintain sailing integrity, not a result of overcrowding or a lack of infrastructure at the ports, though that is made the excuse, but because of general inefficiency and poor maintenance.

These local problems persist despite lower volumes of imports and exports, whether it be containerised, breakbulk or in bulk. In a country once considered to be the powerhouse of the sub-continent, South Africa continues in an economic doldrum and is fast descending into just another African backwater in the eyes of others, remaining as if dispirited by a lack of leadership to take it out into improved sailing conditions. – trh

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Walvis Bay receives two new visitors as port appeal widens

Maersk Sophia. Picture by Jerzy Nowak / Shiptracker
Maersk Sophia. Picture by Jerzy Nowak / Shiptracker

The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) and Port of Walvis Bay played host to two noteworthy callers at the port last week, both of some significance to the growing appeal of the south-west African port.

The first to dock at Walvis Bay was the general cargo ship TOP ELEGANCE (IMO 9767900) which arrived on 12 October after a voyage lasting one month from the port of Longkou in China and calling at Malaysian ports en-route.

The 190-metre long ship, built in 2019 and a deadweight of 48,500 tons, was carrying 8330 tons of mining equipment for local and Zambian mines.

Top Elegance is, according to Namport, due to sail on 22 October for Luanda in Angola.

The second ship worth mentioning is the large, 335-metre long container ship, MAERSK SOFIA (IMO 9308637), which arrived in port on 13 October from Luanda.

The Singapore-flagged container ship, built in 2007, was in port at Walvis Bay to handle a total of 1,172 TEUs – 1,020 for discharge and 152 to be loaded. The ship berthed at the new Container Terminal and sailed from the Namibian port of Friday 15 October 2021.

This was a considerable improvement to the time spent at her previous port of call, Luanda, where she arrived at the port anchorage on 22 September. After 11 days at anchor the 102,861-dwt vessel went inside to berth at the container terminal and remained there from 3 August until 16h30 on 11 October, an 8-day stay in port.

Maersk Sofia is now en-route to Singapore.

The Walvis Bay Container Terminal
The Walvis Bay Container Terminal    Namport


Other ships scheduled to call at Walvis Bay from Friday 15 October are the following:

15-Oct CSCL Africa 334m Container
16-Oct Maersk Amazon 334m Container
17-Oct Cypress 336m Container
19-Oct GH Meltemi 213m Container
20-Oct Northern Jupiter 333m Container
21-Oct Kyparissia 255m Container
22-Oct Eleni T 261m Container
25-Oct Green Mountain 200m Multipurpose
25-Oct Maria Da Paz 101m General Cargo

*  Check out Africa PORTS & SHIPS regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENTS page for Walvis Bay, AVAILABLE HERE

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WHARF TALK: Apparition or patron – PATRONUS

The Handysize bulk carrier PATRONUS which arrived in Cape Town harbour from Buchanan, Liberia. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The Handysize bulk carrier PATRONUS which arrived in Cape Town harbour from Buchanan, Liberia. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The majority of bulk carriers that call into Cape Town are generally in the Handymax to Ultramax size bracket (40,000-65,000 dwt), and are usually delivering cargo. Occasionally, something smaller calls in, and not necessarily to discharge anything.

On 25th September at 06h00 the Handy bulk carrier PATRONUS (IMO 9320324) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage from Buchanan, in Liberia. After a short three hour hold offshore, she entered Cape Town harbour and was taken to the Landing Wall in the Duncan Dock. A sure sign that she required shoreside assistance for an engineering issue not able to be resolved at sea.

Buchanan, her port of departure, is a small two berth harbour used almost exclusively for the export of iron ore, tropical hardwood logs and palm oil. Her previous port to Buchanan was Greenville, also in Liberia, which also has a thriving tropical hardwood log export trade. The draft of Patronus would indicate that iron ore was not the cargo she was carrying.

some repairs found tp be necessary and which could not be carried out while at sea. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Patronus had called not to work cargo but for some repairs found to be necessary and which, it appears, could not be carried out while at sea.  The tug in this scene is Enseleni.  Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After being alongside for a week, and receiving the necessary repairs, Patronus sailed from Cape Town on 2nd October at 10h00, bound for Chittagong, in Bangladesh. Interestingly, again the role of the Pilot Launch, on departure, was undertaken by BLUE JAY, one of the harbour work boats, and again not by any one of the official Pilot Launches.

Built in 2007 by Cochin Shipyard, at Cochin in India, Patronus is 179 metres in length and has a deadweight of 30,587 dwt, placing her in the Handy bulk carrier bracket. She is powered by a single STX MAN-B&W 6S42MC7 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 8,568 bhp (6,389 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 13.5 knots.

Here the handysize bulker has begun her departure from port. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Here the handysize bulker has begun her departure from port. Picture by ‘Dockrat

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar 6N18(A)L-EV generators providing 550 kW each, and an emergency generator providing 100 kW. She has a single composite Kangrim MC083P32 boiler. With three holds, served by four 30 ton cranes, the cargo carrying capacity of Patronus is 41,392 m3.

Owned by Universal Navigation Pte Ltd. of Singapore, Patronus is operated by Universal Navigation Pvt. Ltd of Karachi, in Pakistan, and managed by Marine Fleet Management, also of Karachi, and a subsidiary of Universal Navigation. She came under the ownership of her current owners only in June this year.

Interestingly, for those who think that there are people in the South African maritime industry who currently hold jobs for, which they are wholly unsuited, and are only there due to political connections, then fear not, as it is not just a local problem. The port of Buchanan, from where Patronus had come from, has a similar problem, but appears to be trying to deal with it.

Another scene of the bulker moving across Duncan Dock prior to exiting the port at Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Another scene of the bulker moving across Duncan Dock prior to leaving the port at Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In July, both the Port Manager and the Finance manager of Buchanan Port were arrested for alleged financial impropriety, and accused of transferring over US$300,000 (ZAR4.5 million), from Port income, to their own private bank accounts in both Liberia and the USA. Both were suspended, without pay, by the National Port Authority of Liberia.

There had already been mounting pressure for the removal of the Port Manager, due to his lack of experience, and his lacking any requisite qualifications, required to adequately manage, and steer, the affairs of the port of Buchanan.

Patronus' accommodation block. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Patronus’ accommodation block. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Ironically, based on his arrest and suspension, his only background was that he has studied Criminal Law at a local university. It was said that he had little, or no, knowledge of the workings of both port and marine activities. His appointment was made directly by President Weah of Liberia, based solely on the recommendations of the governing political party.

The Buchanan Port Manager has subsequently absconded from Liberia, and fled to the United States, via Sierra Leone, without permission, and before he could be brought to court.

As well as her calls at two Liberian ports, Patronus has also called at Arzew, in Algeria, back in April. This is also not her first call at a South African port. You have to go back to shortly after she entered service, when she called at Durban in May 2007, where she was subject to her first ever Port State Inspection, under the auspices of the Indian Ocean MoU.

Patronus sailing from Cape Town, bound for India. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Patronus sailing from Cape Town, bound for Bangladesh. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The etymology of Patronus is an interesting one, as there are two definitions of the word Patronus. One is a Latin word meaning a patron, from Ancient Roman society. The other is more recent, and well known by aficionados of the Harry Potter series of books and films.

According to author J.K. Rowling, a Patronus is an apparition, and takes the form of an animal guardian, which acts as a shield, and protector, between the conjuror and the Dementor. I wonder which one the shipowner was thinking of, when the vessel was purchased in June this year, and required renaming?

Added 17 October 2021

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USS Herschel ‘Woody’ Williams completes maintenance repairs in Cape Town

USS Herschel 'Woody' Williams which has undergone maintenance repairs while in Cape Town harbour
USS Herschel ‘Woody’ Williams, US Navy’s Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB-4), which has completed maintenance repairs while in Cape Town harbour

USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, the US Navy’s Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB-4) which arrived in the port of Cape Town on 25 September SEE HERE ) to undergo some general maintenance after an exhausting programme of visits to ports around the continent of Africa.

To assist with the maintenance program for the ship, what is understood to have been the first Naval Logistic Support flight into Cape Town in support of a US naval warship took place involving a C-17A Globemaster III aircraft. The necessary repairs and maintenance were concluded on time.

Africom reported as follows:

South Africa is an important partner of the United States in promoting peace and security in Africa. Both South Africa and the United States rely on maritime shipping, and free and secure sea-lanes for economic prosperity.

During the scheduled port visit, Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (HWW)completed a 14-day maintenance period in Cape Town’s cruise terminal. The ship received preventative and preservative repairs to the flight deck safety nets, mission deck, freeboard and superstructure, as well as the insulation and lighting fixtures.

The VR work packages, comprised of two separate work packages, one for Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center and one for Military Sealift Command including varying work items for each, solicited to multiple potential contractors within U.S. Africa Command area of operations, was completed on, or ahead of schedule. This marked a milestone for maintenance in new and unchartered territory for the U.S. Navy.

This maintenance availability also prompted the first Naval Logistic Support flight into Cape Town, South Africa, in support of a U.S. Naval War Ship. The last military flight to land in Cape Town was in 2003.

The U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet Readiness and Logistics team and U.S. Embassy to Pretoria, coordinated this critical logistic support through the Strategic Airlift Capability’s multinational Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW), based out of Papa Air Base, Hungary. The C-17A Globemaster III with a Hungarian insignia owned by the 12 Member Nations of the Strategic Airlift Capability, is operated by 12 NATO and Partnership for Peace nations including the United States under the Strategic Airlift Capability program.

“I am so proud of the incredible cooperative efforts between our partners in South Africa, HAW, and our team to enable this milestone resupply flight for HWW,” said Rear Adm. Michael Curran, Readiness and Logistics, NAVEUR-NAVAF.

Technicians at work of the US Navy Expeditionary Sea Base

“The accomplishment of the mission and level of coordination between the teams was nothing short of outstanding. This flight demonstrated what can be accomplished with our friends when we bring our collective capabilities together.”

The HAW is the first multinational military airlift unit in the world that provides worldwide airlift response capability for the 12 member nations. Operations can include national support to the European Union, NATO, United Nations operations, or national military, peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations. In this case, the military flight carried approximately 26,000 pounds of critical medical and general material as well as mail and other items required to continue mission tasking in the southern border of the U.S. Africa Command and NAVAF area of operations.

Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams previously visited Cape Town in February to resupply fuel and promote maritime security through a persistent presence in African waters. USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams is the first warship permanently assigned to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility.

“As the only ship permanently assigned to AFRICOM, much of what we do is geared toward continuing to build ties with partner nations in Africa, and exploring how we can work together,” said Capt. Chad Graham, commanding officer, Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams. “This maintenance period was a perfect example of that, where we received mission critical repairs from a South African company, and benefitted the local economy.”

The ESB ship class is a highly flexible platform that may be used across a broad range of military operations. Acting as a mobile sea base, they are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to support missions assigned.

The US Navy said South Africa is an important partner of the United States in promoting peace and security in Africa. Both South Africa and the United States rely on maritime shipping, and free and secure sea-lanes for economic prosperity.

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OCEA awarded tender for second Nigerian hydrographic survey vessel

Drawing of the 35-metre hydrographic vessel for the Nigerian Navy. Image OCEA
Design drawing of Nigerian Navy OCF 115 hydrographic urvey vessel. Image : OCEA

French shipbuilder OCEA said last week that it has been awarded the tender for the supply of a 35-metre hydrographic research vessel type OCEA OSV 115 SC-WB.

OCEA has become a principal suppier of naval vessels to Nigeria over the years, with a total of 18 vessels of all types delibvered in the past eight years. Among these was the 60-metre hydrographic survey ship NNS LANA, type OSV 190, launched in September 2020 – to see that report CLICK HERE.

The new multi-purpose survey vessel, type OSV 115 SC-WB, is a hydrographic and oceanographic research vessel from the auxiliary vessels range. The vessel will operate in support of NNS LANA and will assist in enabling the Nigerian Navy to complete the surveys its maritime territory.

The new vessel will engage in the following missions: oceanographic/hydrographic operations, oil spill operations, general patrol, search and rescue, and diving support.

NNS Lana, Nigeria's new 60-metre hydrographic survey vessel which was delvered in April this year.
NNS Lana, Nigeria’s new 60-metre hydrographic survey vessel which was delvered in April this year

The vessel’s onboard equipment includes a multibeam echosounder, a single beam echosounder, water sampling, storage and analysis equipment, and a wet laboratory.

She will also carry a 5.6 metre hydrographic boat fully equipped for surveys in small and very shallow waters.

The new vessel will have a crew of 12 personnel including any passengers and is designed for a top speed of 12 knots with a maximum cruising range of 3,000 nautical miles at 10 knots.

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Vaccine supply chain misery – no one is safe until we’re all safe

No one is safe until we're all safe

It was announced by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) simultaneously in London, Berlin, Bern and Brussels on 14 October that 376 trade unions, representing over 12 million transport workers from 118 countries around the world, have penned an Open Letter to governments who oppose removing Intellectual Property (IP) restrictions on Covid vaccines, accusing them of compounding supply chain crises and inflicting what is regarded as economic self-harm.

Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights: TRIPS

These many unions wrote to leaders of the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and the EU Commission demanding that they end their opposition to a temporary intellectual property waiver on Covid vaccines, treatments and diagnostics proposed to the WTO, known as the TRIPS waiver
TRIPS waiver, otherwise as the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, see here:

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) delivered the letter to the leaders ahead of the second day of the WTO’s TRIPS Council meeting in Geneva on 13 and 14 October.

Need to speed up global vaccination

A waiver system, it said, is vital to speed up the global vaccination roll out without which the IMF has warned that US$5.3 trillion could be further wiped from global GDP in the next five years.

This follows from IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva saying that the most immediate obstacle to full recovery is the great vaccination divide, and Professor Sarah Gilbert, the Oxford vaccine creator warning a failure to provide vaccine access to poorer countries risks the rise of dangerous new variants and that the priority must be to vaccinate as many people as possible and as quickly as possible.

It is understood that today, less than 3% of people in low-income countries have received a single dose.

“It’s schizophrenic that these three countries and the EU are blocking universal access to vaccines and lifesaving tech whilst simultaneously claiming to be solving the supply chain crisis.” said Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary.


“These politicians seem hell bent on socio-economic self-harm to further line the pockets of Pfizer, Moderna and BioNTech billionaires. It is utter madness; these leaders are holding the recovery of rest of the world to ransom. They need to follow the leadership shown by the US, recognise the unprecedented circumstances, stand up to Big Pharma and support the waiver.”

By the correspondence the transport industry put world leaders on notice that the global transport system faces the imminent threat of collapse unless governments take coordinated action to end the global humanitarian and supply chain crisis.

Transport leaders from IATA (aviation), ICS (shipping), IRU (road) and the ITF called for urgent leadership to increase global vaccine supply by all means at their disposal in order to expedite the recovery of these industries.

Seafarers’ difficulties

It is well-known that the UK is still recovering from the impact of a nationwide fuel shortage caused by a lack of HGV drivers. Two years of inconsistent and inhumane travel bans have stopped seafarers being able to get go afloat and come ashore on leave, which has added intense pressure to already crumbling global supply chains. And in the weeks after the rise of the Delta variant in the UK, in early 2021, airlines were forced to cancel over 70% of their scheduled capacity between the UK and Germany due to new travel restrictions.

Cotton added: “Throughout this pandemic transport workers have brought citizens home, transported key workers to work, and kept critical supply chains moving. But the inequality in access to vaccines and treatments globally is an existential threat to transport workers’ personal safety, but also to the resilience of supply chains, and reinvigoration of the global economy.

“Every day of delay means more deaths, more lives lost, and more setbacks to the recovery of our industries and economies. You have no more excuses. You must pass the TRIPS waiver without delay. Our lives and our livelihoods depend on it.”

A TRIPS waiver would require a unanimous mandate from all WTO member states. Of all 164 members, the UK, Switzerland, Germany and the EU are actively opposed. The European Commission recently overruled the EU Parliament to oppose the TRIPS waiver.

The unions also announced the launch of a petition to lobby the governments of UK, Switzerland and Germany, as well as the European Commission, to end their opposition to the TRIPS waiver.

Paul Ridgway, Londn Correspondent Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Reported by Paul Ridgway

Added 17 October 2021

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MSC leads the way by fully adopting standardised depot codes

MSC terminals and depots

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has become the first major container carrier to fully adopt the BIC Facility Codes (BFC) for all depots globally.

As a result, all MSC’s depots are now identifiable with a 9-character BFC, taking the company another step further along the digitalisation path.

The transition process was completed across 2021, enabling every MSC depot globally to be included.

BIC Facility Codes were created through a major harmonisation project conducted in November 2020 by the Bureau International des Containers (BIC) with the assistance of the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA).

Active collaboration from DCSA member ocean carriers and several of the largest leasing companies means that more than 17,000 container facilities in 192 countries can now be easily identified for supply chain events without ambiguity, with enhanced addressing and latitude/longitude coordinates.

“MSC has been a vocal proponent of harmonising facility codes since the DCSA was founded and has provided significant support to this project,” said Andre Simha, Global Chief Digital and Information Officer for MSC.

“Adopting the BIC Facility Codes is a great example of a variety of digital workstreams at MSC coming together to make strides for the digital future of shipping,” he added.

MSC Depots

The BIC manages the database and offers an open API (Application Programming Interface – a connection between computers or between computer programmes) to allow trading partners to ensure their IT systems are kept up to date.

There is a lack of a common language throughout the industry, adding extra steps to the already complex and fragmented shipment journeys from end to end. This leads to inefficiencies and time-wasting procedures, causing uncertainty or delays.

A standardised language brings simplicity, improves efficiency, and provides certainty for multimodal or multi-carrier transportation that allows for future growth opportunities. In day-to-day interactions, this will lead to smoother communication, increased data clarity and accuracy, and a simpler and more efficient process throughout.

“The digital transformation of the container shipping industry is underway,” said DCSA CEO Thomas Bagge.

“DCSA and its members are creating the framework for it, and we invite all stakeholders to become part of this transformation. Adopting baseline standards such as location code standards is a mandatory step in establishing an interoperable digital foundation which will simplify current complexities. Ultimately, customers, stakeholders and the entire industry will benefit.”

Added 17 October 2021

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Transnet declares Force Majeure at Richards Bay Bulk Terminal

Following two devastating fires in the conveyor line system belt routes at the Port of Richards Bay Bulk Terminal, Transnet has declared force majeure.

The latest fire was on this Wednesday night 13 October, exacty a week after the first fire on 6 October and in the same conveyor network.

The fire was contained within five hours after the terminal isolated the electrical power to the routes to ensure that firefighters were able to extinguish the fire at speed.

There were no injuries to any of the employees, service providers or customers on site although emergency services were called to the scene as a standard precautionary measure.

By Friday evening the cause of the fire remained unknown and a preliminary investigation is currently underway. Expert assessors and investigators are onsite establishing the extent of the damage.

There is some speculation that sabotage was the cause but there is as yet no proff that such is the case.

Transnet says the terminal, operated by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), is engaging with its affected customers and is in the process of putting the necessary contingencies in place as some routes are operational. It said further details will be provided as more information becomes available.

Added 16 October 2021

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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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