Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 21 November 2021

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The Monday masthead shows the Port of Ngqura
The Tuesday masthead shows the Port of Ngqura Container Terminal
The Wednesday masthead shows the Port of Mombasa
The Thursday masthead shows the Port of Apapa (Lagos)
The Friday masthead shows the Port of East London
The Saturday masthead shows the Port of Durban Sugar Terminal
The Sunday masthead shows the Port of Durban T Jetty




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Porto Germeno arriving at Durban. Picture is by Keith Betts
Porto Germeno arriving at Durban. Picture is by Keith Betts

A rather sea battered container ship seen arriving in the port of Durban earlier this month was PORTO GERMEMO (IMO 9260902), which was built in 2002 and has a container capacity of 5,928 TEU. The vessel appears to be a Maersk charter and is on what is thought to be her first visit to Durban.

Porto Germeno has a length of 280 metres and a beam of 40m. After completing her cargo working at the Durban Container Terminal the ship sailed on 9 November bound for Tanjung Pelepas, where her arrival is expected on the 26th of this month.

Porto Germeno is registered in Liberia where her nominal owner is shown as Tanera Shipping of Monrovia, who are also the ship and commercial managers. The ISM manager is V Ships of Piraeus, Greece.

The above picture is by Keith Betts

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Added 14 November 2021


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





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Oil spill in Algoa Bay – latest

The bunker tanker Sea Emperor which was providing heavy fuel oil to the bulk carrier Solin in Algoa Bay when the oil spill occurred
The bunker tanker Sea Emperor which was providing heavy fuel oil to the bulk carrier Solin in Algoa Bay when the oil spill occurred.   Picture: Luiz Padilha / MarineTraffic

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said last night (Thursday 18 November) that it is continuing to monitor and investigate an oil spill that occurred during a vessel bunkering operation on the 17th of November at 13h15 in Algoa Bay Anchorage Area No1.

The bunker operation between the receiving Jadroplov bulk carrier, SOLIN (IMO 9629483) and bunker barge MV SEA EMPEROR (IMO: 9383601) was immediately stopped after noticing an overflowing fuel tank on the receiving vessel Solin.

A fast response vessel from the designated oil spill response service provider was immediately deployed and arrived on site at 13h45 to investigate the spill, deploy oil spill booms and start the recovery and clean-up operation.

The oil spill response crew proceeded to collect as much of the emulsified Heavy Fuel Oil on the surface of the sea as possible before sunset and only a thin sheen of oil remained on the water.

An aerial patrol was conducted this morning in the area, including St Croix Island, Bird Island and the coast just past Woody Cape. The purpose was to establish the movement of the oil slick and whether the slick broke up overnight, however no oil was observed from the air.

A beach inspection was also conducted from the Swartkops River Mouth, New Brighton Beach, Bluewater Bay beach towards the Port of Ngqura’s western breakwater. Additional inspections will start today (Friday 19 November) at the Eastern Breakwater and move eastwards towards the Sundays River Mouth.

It was reported that a small amount of emulsified heavy fuel oil, commonly known as Tar Balls, washed ashore along the beach between Hougham Park and Sundays River. Clean up operations are due to start in this area on Friday morning at first light.

SAMSA, Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment, Transnet National Ports Authority, SANPARKS, SANCCOB and other stakeholders are continuing to monitor the area for any affected contaminated birds, penguins and other marine wildlife. The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Beach Office is monitoring the public beaches in the Metro.

SAMSA said both vessel owners, P&I Insurer and the Maritime Business Chamber are working with the Authorities to ensure a successful outcome.

SAMSA boarded the MV Solin on Thursday morning to start a comprehensive investigation, collect evidence and interview the Master and crew. The receiving vessel will be inspected to verify that the she complies with all international requirements and standards.

The MV Solin remains detained in the port of Port Elizabeth until such time that SAMSA is satisfied that the vessel can be released.

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Added 18 November 2021 23h00


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WHARF TALK: sharing the drydock – ENSELENI & STEVIA

The tug Enseleni and fishing trawler Stevia in the Cape Town dry dock for very different purposes. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The Cape Town harbour tug and former I&J fishing vessel Stevia togethre in one half of the FC Sturrock dry dock at Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Most drydocks in South Africa are big enough for two medium sized vessels to be accommodated at the same time, or for a mid-point caisson to be inserted in order for two larger vessels to be accommodated at the same time. The latter is a common theme in the largest of the drydocks.

Occasionally, the larger drydocks can take three or more smaller vessels at the same time. What is not usual is when the drydock is shared, but the two vessels together in the same section of the drydock are there for completely different reasons. One is there to prolong life, and the other there to end its life, so to speak.

In early November the South African Antarctic Research and Supply vessel S.A. AGULHAS II entered the Sturrock Drydock, located in Duncan Dock, in order for her to complete annual maintenance requirements, surveys and to prepare for her forthcoming major voyage down to the Weddell Sea in Antarctica, and the annual resupply of the SANAE 4 base.

At the same time, the mid-point caisson was placed into the drydock to isolate the S.A. Agulhas II from the rest of the drydock. Shortly afterwards, in behind her, came the Stern Trawler STEVIA (IMO 7233773), followed by the Harbour Tug ENSELENI (IMO 9206750). The Sturrock Drydock was now full.

With Stevia's working life over, the fishing vessel is being dismantled and scrapped in the dry dock. Picture by 'Dockrat'
With Stevia’s working life over, the fishing vessel is being dismantled for scrap in the dry dock. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As is the normal procedure, the Enseleni was placed onto blocks set along the centreline of the drydock. However, what did not look right was that the Stevia was not only not placed onto centreline blocks, but she was placed onto minimal keel support blocks, and clean up against the drydock wall.

Whilst normal annual drydocking and engineering works began immediately on Enseleni, it became obvious why Stevia was placed into the position that she was. A tandem crane was positioned at the top of the drydock wall, and dozens of bottles of oxy-acetylene cutting equipment was lowered onto her deck. It was clear that she was in drydock in order to be dismantled and scrapped.

With no delay, multiple cutting jobs got underway on Stevia and within no time at all, her mainmast, trawling gantry mast, starboard side funnel and multiple deck fittings were cut away and craned out of the drydock. This was followed by the start of the dismantling of her accommodation block, with the cutting off and removal of the bridge structure.

Always a sad ending for any proud ship. Stevia has ended her days on the fishing grounds of South Africa. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Always a sad ending for any proud ship. Stevia has ended her days on the fishing grounds of South Africa. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

At the far end of the Sturrock Drydock the Enseleni had very little activity going on around her. The interest around the tug, from the observer’s viewpoint, was that her unique system of propulsion was visible, something not often seen, highlighting the reason why the harbour tugs are so manoeuvrable and seemingly able to move in any direction, at any time.

Built in 2000 by the Southern Africa Shipyard in Durban, Enseleni is 31 metres in length, with a beam of 12 metres, and a deadweight of 293 tons. She is powered by two Ruston-Paxman 6RK270M 6 cylinder diesels producing 1,867 bhp (1,392 kW), and that drive sets of multi-directional Voith-Schneider propulsion blades, which gives her such manoeuvrability, and gives her a bollard pull of up to 57 tons.

Along with her sister tug PALMIET, they were built at a combined 2000 cost of ZAR 104 million (then US$16.3 million), which at today’s exchange rate would now be as low as US$6.7 million. They were the first of the harbour tugs to be built under a joint venture with SAFbuild, who were the first BEE company to be involved in the very high-tech shipbuilding industry.

Of a British design, Enseleni received the accolade of becoming the Royal Institute of Naval Architects ‘Significant Small Ship of the Year 2000’ when built.

For the tug Enseleni her spell in the dry dock will have a happier conclusion as she returns to harbour duty fully maintained. Picture by 'Dockrat'
For the tug Enseleni her spell in the dry dock will have a happier conclusion when she returns to harbour duty fully maintained. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Owned and operated by Transnet, Enseleni was considered the largest, and most powerful, South African harbour tug in service at the time of her building, and she was built in readiness for the increase in size of container ships now calling at South African ports, namely Durban. Named after a river in northern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, she was originally intended to be operated in the KZN region, i.e. in Durban harbour, and occasionally Richards Bay harbour.

However, due to the increase in oilrigs, and other large offshore oil and gas industry assets, calling at Cape Town, it was decided by Transnet to transfer both of the new tugs straight to Cape Town instead of them entering service in KZN. Now a stalwart part of the Cape Town harbour tug scene, Enselini has been operating in the port ever since.

The other vessel in the drydock was now at the end of her long and successful service life. Built back in 1973 by the Hall, Russell and Company shipyard in Aberdeen, in the UK, Stevia is 61 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 563 tons. As built, she had a single Ruston-Paxman 8ATCM 8 cylinder main engine, providing 1,900 bhp (1,417 kW).

To conclude our story, or at least the photographic part, here is the I&J fishing vessel Stevia during her working days. Picture by Captain Hilmar Snorrason, courtesy of Shipspotting
To conclude our story, or at least the photographic part, here is the I&J fishing vessel Stevia during her working days. Picture by Captain Hilmar Snorrason, courtesy of Shipspotting

Built as a stern trawler, and a wetfish trawler, where her catch was not frozen, but merely chilled in ice, and brought back to Cape Town harbour as fresh fish, Stevia was one of a class of trawler, all built for her owner, Irvin and Johnson (I&J), all named after South African native flowers, and all built at the same Aberdeen shipyard.

Her target catch was hake, caught mostly on the Agulhas Bank and on the Western Cape coast. She had received Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for her fishing methods, and catch preservation, and was last licensed as a member of the South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA) in 2019.

In January 2020, she was listed for disposal. With her age against her (48 years), scrapping was going to be the only outcome of her retirement from fishing, and so explains her appearance, and her demise, and dismantling, in the Sturrock Drydock today.

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Added 18 November 2021


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Trawler raised from the waters of Beira harbour has surprising background

The fishing vessel that sank in Beira harbour earlier has been identified as Win Far 161, a vessel with a strange background. Picture Marine Masters
The fishing vessel that sank in Beira harbour earlier has been identified as Win Far 161, a vessel with a strange background. Picture Marine Masters

Earlier this week Africa PORTS & SHIPS published the story of a fishing vessel recovered from a watery grave in Beira harbour.

See that report HERE

A reader and former photographic contributor who lives in Florida, USA, became interested and started digging into the identity of the sunken fishing vessel, which was raised from the waters of Beira by a Dutch salvage company and then placed upside down on a sandbank.

Among the facts that Tony De Freitas uncovered is that the fishing vessel was Taiwanese-owned, though flying a ‘flag of convenience’ although still registered with her original owners in Taiwan.

On the Marine Masters (salvors) website are some photos of the capsized trawler which label the unfortunate vessel as Win Far 161 (IMO 8747214).

A bit of further research by Mr de Freitas led to a page on Wikipedia along with some articles from other websites.

It appears that Win Far 161 arrived in Beira in Mozambique on 19 January this year, after sailing from Port Louis in Mauritius on 30 December 2020. From the time taken for the five or six day crossing, the vessel had probably fished en-route, and by the end of January she was again back at sea fishing in East African waters.

Win Far 161 at the time of her involvement with pirates
Win Far 161 at the time of her involvement with pirates. Picture: Eunavfor

Built in 1995, Win Far 161 had a carrying a capacity of 372-dwt and is 56.35 metres in length and 9m wide. She carried a crew of around 30 persons.

What adds to the interest of this vessel is that Win Far 161 was captured by Somali pirates on 6 April 2009, near the Seychelles, to be used as a ‘mother ship’. Two days later four pirates from the captured trawler, operating with a small skiff, successfully boarded and temporarily highjacked the container ship, Maersk Alabama some 240 n.miles off the Somali coast.

Some hours later the four pirates left the Maersk Alabama, taking the ship’s master with them. Captain Phillips was rescued four days later when US Navy Seals sharpshooters shot and killed three of the pirates and rescued the Maersk Alabama’s master.

Meanwhile, the Win Far 161 continued in pirate hands until 11 February 2010, when a ransom was paid by the owners. During this time three of her crew died from malnutrition and lack of care by their Somali captors. Win Far 161 then returned to Taiwan on 5 March that year.

At the time of her capture the owner of the fishing vessel was listed as Hsien Lung Yin, and the operator as Win Jyi Fishery Co. Ltd, with the port of registry given as Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The vessel was engaged in tuna fishing, with a crew of 30 made up of 2 Taiwanese, 5 Chinese, 6 Indonesian and 17 Philippine nationals) for a total of 27 survivors, after 1 Chinese and 2 Indonesian nationals died in captivity.

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Added 18 November 2021


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IATF: Multilateral financiers discuss trade initiatives after Covid-19

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Multilateral financial institutions spent part of this week discussing their role in promoting trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the ambitious plan of creating the world’s largest free trade zone.

The conversation took place during a panel discussion at the Intra-African Trade Fair, currently being hosted in Durban. AfCFTA came into effect earlier this year.

Solomon Quaynor, Vice President at the African Development Bank, said between 2020 and 2021 the Bank planned to invest about $2 billion in projects related to the free trade zone, and to mobilise a further $2 billion from partners. The projects include regional infrastructure and industrialisation.

Quaynor, VP for the Private Sector, Infrastructure & Industrialization, said the African Development Bank was ready to scale up funding after prioritising the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and maintaining its triple-A credit rating.

“One of the impacts (of the pandemic) is that we had less resources to support the capital-raising efforts of the African multilateral financial institutions that we are already equity investors in. However, this is the time to turn that around,” Quaynor told the IATF audience.

Serge Ekué, President of the West African Development Bank, said the pandemic had once again proven that “cash is king” — as evidenced by the trillions of dollars made available by the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank through their asset repurchasing programs. For its part, the West African Development Bank made €500 million available to governments and the private sector to fend off the impact of the pandemic.

“Tier-one capital is critical. We need to strengthen that…From our experience, we know where the market is…The question is: How do we strengthen our tier-one capital to fully play our role?” Ekué said.


Durban Container Terminal scene  Picture:  Transnet

Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Director of the Africa Finance Corporation, said the pandemic had proven that the continent was capable of generating home-grown solutions. The AFC acted swiftly to “understand where the stresses are in our portfolio, where cash was required immediately, where projects could be delayed or deferred.

“After that, we looked at our own balance sheet. We looked at our capital structure, our own liquidity, and we did what, I think, any responsible institution should have done…and that is to see whether our rating itself stands the test,” Gupta said.

Armed with its A3 Moody’s rating, which was affirmed during the crisis, Africa Finance Corporation could approach the markets “with a serious degree of confidence.” Over the last 18 to 20 months, it raised roughly $2-2.5 billion of new cash in various forms.

“This, to me, tells us that, if we focus on what is in our control, which is project development, making projects bankable, managing the projects in terms of crisis, money is available out there…As a matter of fact, there are buckets of capital out there,” Gupta said. “There is a short-term bucket, then there is quite a large growing bucket around what I call tier-two interests, where people are interested in putting 15 to 18-year tier-two capital, and, interestingly, there is a huge bucket now under the theme of resilience and climate.”

The panel also included Emmanuel Assiak, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Export-Development in Africa, Admassu Tadesse, President and CEO of the Trade and Development Bank Group, Dr Sidi Tah, Director General of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, and Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation.

The Intra-African Trade Fair ends on Sunday 21 November.

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Added 18 November 2021


UNCTAD Flagship Report: Review of Maritime Transport 2021

UNCTAD maritime review 2021

As we well know maritime transport is the backbone of international trade and the global economy.

Over 80% of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and the percentage is even higher for most developing countries.

The Review of Maritime Transport is an UNCTAD flagship report, published annually since 1968. It provides an analysis of structural and cyclical changes affecting seaborne trade, ports and shipping, as well as an extensive collection of statistics from maritime trade and transport.

Covid-19 focus

This year’s edition (2021) of the report has a special focus on the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the industry and includes a special chapter on the challenges seafarers face in view of the crewing crisis.

UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport 2021 published on 18 November examines the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on maritime trade volumes and how the shipping crisis is affecting economic recovery and threatening the delivery of critical vaccines and food supplies.

Unprecedented pressures

This report paints a picture of unprecedented pressures in global supply chains, dramatic spikes in freight rates, significant price rises on the horizon for consumers and importers and potential shifts in trade patterns due to trade tensions and the quest for more resilience in maritime trade.

Overview; some highlights from the Review

Maritime transport defied the Covid-19 disruption. In 2020, volumes fell less dramatically than expected and by the end of the year had rebounded, laying the foundations for a transformation in global supply chains and new maritime trade patterns

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted maritime transport, though the outcome was less damaging than initially feared. The shock in the first half of 2020 caused maritime trade to contract by 3.8% in the year 2020. But in the second half of the year there was a nascent, if asymmetric, recovery, and by the third quarter, volumes had returned, for both containerized trade and dry bulk commodities. However, there has yet to be a full recovery for tanker shipping.

The rebound was fairly swift because, unlike the global financial crisis of 2009, the downturn was not synchronized across the world. In 2021, in tandem with the recovery in merchandise trade and world output, maritime trade is projected to increase by 4.3%.

The medium-term outlook also remains positive, though subject to mounting risks and uncertainties, and moderated in line with projected lower growth in the world economy. Over the past two decades, compound annual growth in maritime trade has been 2.9%, but over the period 2022–2026, UNCTAD expects that rate to slow to 2.4%.

Maritime transport navigated through the pandemic, but there was an unprecedented humanitarian crisis for seafarers.

While carriers generally managed to mitigate the shock and disruption, port and landside operations found it more difficult to adjust, and seafarers were in a precarious situation as the pandemic triggered an unprecedented global crew-change crisis.

The health risks and related travel restrictions meant that hundreds of thousands of seafarers could not return home, while an equivalent number were unable to join their ships and to provide for their families.

Hardest hit has been tanker shipping, but the impact has been less for containerised trade, gas shipments, and dry bulk commodities.

Lockdowns, travel restrictions and production cuts have compressed the demand for fuel. In 2020, shipments of crude oil, refined petroleum products, and gas together fell by 7.7%.

The impact was less, however, for dry bulk commodity trade: supported by strong demand from China for iron ore and grain, total dry bulk trade fell by only 1.5%.

Containerised trade also resisted, falling by only 1.1%. Global container port throughput fell at a similar rate and in 2020 totalled 815.6 million TEU. Logistical bottlenecks, and soaring costs, along with an asymmetric recovery, have heightened uncertainty.

container ship

In summary

In summary UNCTAD in its report sees the following priorities for action:

1. Vaccinate the world.

2. Revitalise the multilateral trade system.

3. End the crew-change crisis.

4. Vaccinate seafarers.

5. Facilitate crew changes.

6. Ensure reliable and efficient maritime transport.

7. Mainstream supply chain resilience, risk assessment and preparedness.

8. Control costs.

9. Decarbonise.

10. Climate-proof maritime transport.

To access the report SEE HERE

Reported by Paul Ridgway
Acknowledging with grateful thanks
the kind assistance of
the UNCTAD Media Centre.

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Added 18 November 2021 08h00


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The bulk carrier Solin on which an oil spill occurred on Wednesday. Picture: Fleetmon
The bulk carrier Solin on which an oil spill occurred on Wednesday. Picture: Fleetmon

An oil spill has occurred in Algoa Bay, estimated at 80 litres or more of Heavy Fuel Oil.

The spill occurred at around 13h00 on Wednesday 17 November 2021 when a Croatian flagged ship, SOLIN (IMO 9629483) was taking bunkers offshore. It is reported that a tank on board the Solin overflowed and spilled overboard into the sea.

Solin arrived in Algoa Bay from Karachi at 09h00 on the same day, 17 November. The ship is operated by Jadroplov International.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reports that oil spill booms have been deployed and some clean up operations have commenced.

SAMSA also initiated all relevant oil spill response teams as per the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan. This aims at assisting with the containment and cleanup operation following the spill.

TNPA, DFFE, SANCCOB, SANPARKS, EXTREME PROJECT ECMS SpillTech, and other stakeholders are assisting with the operation, SAMSA said late on Wednesday night.

SAMSA has detained the vessel and has opened an investigation into the incident.

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Added 18 November 2021 00h30


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Transnet tenders go digital


Transnet’s e-Tender Submission Portal has gone live. Announcing this yesterday, the port, railway and pipeline company gave the assurance that the system has enhanced security features which means “there will be no opportunity for any interference or tampering prior to tender closure on the system”.

The introduction of the e-Tender process is in line with Transnet’s vision of digitally transforming its business processes and systems.

As a result current and potential service providers will now be required to submit tender documentation electronically, via a web-based electronic platform – the e-Tender Submission Portal.

Tender boxes across all Transnet operating divisions will gradually be removed. The intention, says Transnet, is to only accept tenders via the e-Tender Portal and eradicate paper-based submissions.

The platform will provide a means for vendors to:

• Register as an aspiring Transnet tender respondent
• Authenticate themselves as an aspiring tender respondent
• Register intent to respond to a specific tender
• Upload tender documentation
• Raise questions and get a response for specific tenders


Upon submission via the e-Tender Submission Portal, all documents will be stored in a central document management repository where they will be automatically date and time-stamped.

Bid responses will have a unique identifier to enable an audit trail.

Upon closure of a tender, all submitted content will automatically be transferred to a searchable archive and be retained as per Transnet’s Document and Records Management rules.

The company said all paper-based tenders currently in the system will be processed manually. Only new responses to bid submissions, with effect from 8 November 2021, will require respondents to use the system as per the requirements of the specific RFP/RFQ.

RFPs/RFQs that will be issued to the open market can now be issued and closed by the system.

Prospective bidders are encouraged to register on the Transnet e-Tender Portal, and in future submit tenders via the following link if the tender has been advertised on the Portal:

Additional information is available by contacting Bradley Hanafey on

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Added 17 November 2021


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WHARF TALK: tug and pontoon arrive – SEA ALPHA

The dimunitive Shoalbuster type tug Sea Alfa which was in port at Cape Town briefly at the weekend, to take bunkers and supplies for the next leg of her journey to Europe, while towing a pontoon barge. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The dimunitive Damen Shoalbuster tug Sea Alfa which was in port at Cape Town briefly at the weekend, to take bunkers and supplies for the next leg of her journey to Europe, while towing a pontoon barge. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Ocean towage around the coast of South Africa is not an unusual occurrence. It can be a coastal salvage job to a port of refuge, a towing job of a derelict to the scrapyards of the Indian sub-continent, an oil and gas industry voyage delivering a large asset like an FPSO, or simply a repositioning voyage for a new owner.

In most all cases, the towing vessel is either a large ocean going tug, or a powerful offshore anchor handling vessel. Not often does one see a tow being undertaken by a small coastal tug, normally employed in areas not associated with a long multi-ocean transit.

On 13th November at 07h00 the small tug SEA ALFA (IMO 9466271) arrived off Cape Town with the flat-top pontoon barge ‘EGCM-004’ in tow. She entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded directly to the Eastern Mole in the Duncan Dock where, with the assistance of two harbour tugs, she went alongside for bunkers and stores to be taken aboard.

This is Sea Alfa on the berth in Cape Town harbour, with the port once again playing a role as 'Tavern of the Seas' Picture by 'Dockrat'
This is Sea Alfa on the berth in Cape Town harbour, with the port once again playing its role as ‘Tavern of the Seas’ Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her long voyage had started over two months earlier in September, from Shuwaikh port in Kuwait, where she had picked up her tow, and her voyage thus far had her calling for bunkers and stores at both Victoria in the Seychelles, and Pemba in Mozambique, prior to her arrival at Cape Town. Her towing speed throughout the voyage had been at the stately 5 knots.

The reason why the tug is voyaing to Europe is to tow this pontoon barge, which has been protected against illegal boarding by pirates. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The reason why the tug is voyaging to Europe is to tow this pontoon barge, which as seen here has been protected with razor wire against illegal boarding by pirates. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After a short stop of only nine hours, and on completion of her bunkers uplift, and with fresh stores all loaded, Sea Alfa sailed from Cape Town the same day at 16h00, bound for Dakar in Senegal. Her ultimate destination after Dakar, where she will once more take on bunkers and stores, is set to be Fos-sur-Mer in the South of France.

of the port's tugs. Here they start to pull the barge away from the quayside. Picture by 'Dockrat'
This shows the tug at the start of her departure from Cape Town, using the assistance of several of the port’s tugs to pull the barge away from the quayside. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her voyage passage, throughout her time in South African waters, was followed by the South African Navy Hydrographic Office (SANHO), who produced updated Coastal Navigation Warnings (CNW), warning other shipping to keep clear of Sea Alfa and her 500 metres long tow of the ‘EGCM-004’. The latest active CNW being 583 of 2021, issued on 15th November.

Built in 2008 by the Damen Koźle shipyard at Kędzierzyn-Koźle in Poland, Sea Alfa was then shipped to the Damen Hardinxveld shipyard at Giessendam in Holland for fitting out and completion. She is a Damen Shoalbuster 3009 design, which is a shallow draft workboat and anchor handling tug, designed for use in harbours, coastal waters and inland waterways.

Free of the quayside, the barge EGCM-004 is now free of the quayside and will shortly be back at sea. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Free of the quayside, the barge EGCM-004 is now free of the quayside and will shortly be back at sea. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is powered by two Caterpillar 3512BTA 12 cylinder 4 stroke main engines, producing a total of 3,344 bhp (2,462 kW) to drive two, nozzled, promarine fixed pitch propellers for a service speed of 9 knots. Her auxiliary machinery includes two John Deere 6068 TFI58 generators providing 85 kW each. She has a bollard pull of 50 tons and a shallow draft of 2.9 metres allows her to work in water depths that other tugs would not be able to access.

Nominally owned by Sea Alfa BV, of Vlissingen in Holland, where she is registered, Sea Alfa is both operated and managed by Seacontractors BV of Middelburg in Holland. Prior to undertaking her current towing voyage from Shuwaikh, she was based at the Mina Saud oil terminal port, also located in Kuwait.

the Transnet tug Umbilo, despite appearances. Umbilo is there to steady the barge as her tug moves across the harbour . Picture by 'Dockrat'
The tow is underway, though it is not headed by the Transnet tug Umbilo, despite appearances. Umbilo is there at the back of the tow to steady the barge as her tug Sea Alfa moves her charge across the harbour . Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Shoalbuster series of vessels is one of Damen’s most popular designs, with hundreds built in the last 20 years in Damen shipyards all around the world. It includes two Shoalbuster 3009 vessels built at Damen’s shipyard in Cape Town. Smit Amandla Marine took delivery of the Aukwatowa in 2015, and the Aogatoa in 2016. Both vessels support the De Beers offshore diamond mining activities, located off Port Nolloth, in the Northern Cape Province off the west coast of South Africa. Both are to be seen regularly in Cape Town harbour, when between tasks.

The open sea beckons as Sea Alfa moves into Table Bay and the South Atlantic. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The open sea beckons as Sea Alfa moves out into Table Bay and the South Atlantic. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The pontoon that was under tow, is named the ‘EGCM-004’, and was purchased in the Gulf region back in February 2021, by the French civil engineering company Eiffage Génie Civil Marine (EGCM). The pontoon was given to the HEISCO shipyard at Shuwaikh port, in Kuwait, to overhaul and bring up to full seagoing condition. Her return to Fos-sur-Mer, in France, is for her to be used in a major EGCM offshore engineering project. She is registered in Marseilles.

A flat-top pontoon, ‘EGCM-004’ has dimensions of 77 x 27.5 x 6 metres, and her arrival in Cape Town showed her to have been prepared, with basic anti-piracy measures, for her voyage, both through the Gulf of Oman, and through the upcoming Gulf of Guinea. Clearly visible are lengths of razor wire placed along the whole length of her hull, with access to her deck by way of what appeared to be a frayed, and damaged, pilot ladder.

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From WTO The World Trade Report 2021
Economic resilience and trade

WTO Report 2021 cover
WORLD TRADE REPORT 2021 front cover

Highlights from the World Trade Organization’s ( ) latest report indicate that the Covid-19 pandemic and the prospect of increasingly frequent and more intense natural and man-made disasters raise important questions about the resilience of the global economy to such shocks.

Issued in 16 November the 2021 edition of the WTO’s World Trade Report at 212 pages examines why the interconnected global trading system is both vulnerable and resilient to crises, how it can help countries to be more economically resilient to shocks, and what can be done to make the system better prepared and more resilient in the future.

Exposure to risks

Due to its interconnected nature, international trade can increase an economy’s exposure to risks and contribute to the transmission of shockwaves. At the same time, it can bolster economic resilience, particularly when backed by domestic policies and effective global cooperation.

As a driver of economic growth, trade can generate the resources and knowledge needed to prepare for crises. It can also help countries recover by facilitating the provision of goods and services needed to cope with a crisis.

Policies aimed at increasing economic resilience by re-shoring production and unwinding trade integration ultimately reduce economic resilience. Conversely, trade diversification can contribute to economic resilience by allowing countries to be less dependent on a limited number of importers, exporters and sectors.

The World Trade Report 2021 shows that a more open, inclusive and predictable trade environment is needed to promote diversification and contribute to economic resilience. The WTO already plays a key role in making economies more resilient by promoting lower trade barriers and greater transparency in trade policies. Further international cooperation at the WTO can strengthen the mutual supportiveness of trade openness and economic resilience so that the world is better prepared to deal with future crises.

About the WTO

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments.

The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.


When time permits watch a webcast [1:27:06 ] by YouTube of the presentation of the World Trade Report.

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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Ghanaian OSV Flat Confidence contracted by Tullow Oil for support in Jubilee and TEN fields

Map indicating the location of the TEN and Jubilee fields off Ghana. Map courtesy: Tullow
Map indicating the location of the TEN and Jubilee fields off Ghana. Map courtesy: Tullow

Tullow Oil plc announced this week that it has exercised its right of pre-emption in relation to the sale of Occidental Petroleum’s interests in the Jubilee and TEN fields in Ghana to Kosmos Energy.

Tullow is also developing its support of offshore oil and gas industry activities in Ghana by taking delivery of the AHTS offshore support vessel FLAT CONFIDENCE (IMO 9720902), following successful Offshore Vessel Inspection Database (OVID) testing on 5 November 2021.

The firm, active in several areas of Africa, embarked on an initiative to develop the local Ghanaian capacity of the oil and gas industry through the adoption of the marine sector in 2020. The company’s aim was to create opportunities for indigenous Ghanaian companies to own and operate vessels to support the oil and gas industry, and upscale the capacity of Ghanaian personnel in the marine sector.

Pre-emption summary

Turning to the pre-emption on the Deep Water Tano (DWT) Block interest indirectly acquired by Kosmos Energy Post completion, Tullow says it is anticipated that its equity interests will increase to 38.9% in the Jubilee field and to 54.8% in the TEN fields.

The additional equity interests are expected to add c.10% to daily Group production and the associated incremental cash flow will help to accelerate Tullow’s debt reduction. The consideration is expected to be circa US$ 150 million (if pre-emption by other Joint Venture (JV) Partners is fully exercised), which will be subject to closing adjustments.

Tullow will fund this transaction through existing resources

“This is a value accretive, self-funded opportunity for the Group which will increase Tullow’s daily Group production by c.10% and generate additional cash flow to help accelerate debt reduction, said Rahul Dhir, CEO of Tullow Oil.”

“Increasing our operated stakes in the Jubilee and TEN fields underscores our commitment to investing in and delivering our Ghana Value Maximisation Plan. This opportunity fits well with our strategy to focus on maximising value from our producing assets.

“We look forward to constructive conversations with our JV Partners and the Government of Ghana as we finalise the transaction.”

In the event that both Kosmos Energy Ghana HC and Petro SA do not pre-empt, Tullow would pre-empt the entire participating interest which would increase Tullow’s equity in the DWT block by 11.05%. The consideration to be paid by Tullow in this event would be c.$206 million, subject to closing adjustments.

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Ramaphosa calls for the promotion of trade between African countries

The International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban
The International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban    Picture ICC

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa (pictured below), accompanied by former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, received African Heads of State and Government at the Intra African Trade Fair 2021 (IATF) being held in Durban.

Speaking at the opening of IATF on Monday (15 November) the president said the promotion of trade between African countries is critical if the continent is to change the distorted trade relationship that exists between African countries and the rest of the world.

The week-long event, hosted by the South African government in conjunction with African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), provides a platform for linking international buyers, sellers and investors, as well as allowing participants and visitors to profile and share market information and investment opportunities in support of intra-African trade and the economic integration of the continent.

President Ramaphosa said Africa can no longer have a situation where it exports raw materials, only to import finished goods made with those materials.

“We can longer have a situation where the resources of Africa provide employment and add value in other economies, while so many of our people live in poverty and conditions of underdevelopment.

“By promoting trade between African countries, we are strengthening the continent’s industrial base and ensuring that we produce goods for ourselves and each other,” the President said.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the frailty of African economies and more importantly, it sent a powerful message to the continent about the dangers of over-reliance on external sources to meet its growing demand for food, medicines and other essential supplies.

President Cyril Ramaphosa

“It clearly demonstrated that Africa needs to produce its own food and medicines, to strengthen continental supply chains, and to invest in infrastructure and capacitate African institutions,” he said.


To illustrate the extent of the challenge, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that Africa imports about 94% of its pharmaceutical and medicinal needs from outside the continent at an annual cost of US $16 billion.

Accelerating economic growth across Africa

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has the potential to accelerate economic growth across the continent and create opportunities for entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises, as well as large corporations to flourish.

According to Ramaphosa, the AfCFTA will provide new export opportunities for ‘Made in Africa’ products and enable member countries to trade with each other without tariffs or other hindrances.

“All of this will help the continent to absorb the 10 to 12 million African youth looking to enter the job market annually. The AfCFTA should therefore be underpinned by strong and ambitious rules of origin, requiring a very high level of value-add here on our continent.

“We need, as Africans, to resist the temptation to simply become transhipment centres, adding only limited industrial value in Africa,” he said.

AfCFTA, the President said, will unlock more value and give effect to the dream of African development if it promotes complementary trade between countries.

“It is about using the combination of the continent’s raw materials and industrial capacity, finance, services and infrastructure to produce quality finished goods to local and global markets. It is about creating a market large enough to attract investors from across the world to set up their production facilities on the continent,” President Ramaphosa said.

He called on leaders to unite and leverage platforms such as the Intra-African Trade Fair to mobilise all African governments, together with social partners, to work tirelessly to address youth unemployment.

He said half of Africa’s people are women, and they are the dominant actors in the informal sectors of Africa’s economic landscape.

“Despite this, women only generate about a third of the continent’s combined GDP. It is important that the Intra-African Trade Fair gives special attention to African women in business, recognising their great potential as drivers of economic change across the continent.”

The President urged the continent to find ways of attracting more investment into economies, and encourage African businesses to invest in each other’s countries.

“This requires that we improve the ease of doing business in our countries and provide protection for investors through strong and independent legal systems that will ensure the sanctity of contract, and fair and expeditious legal processes,” he said.

“The hour of action is now, and countries must work with speed to resolve any outstanding issues around the AfCFTA, and take the necessary steps towards domestication.”

President Ramaphosa reiterated that South Africa stands ready to work closely with all African countries to forge more balanced, equitable and fair trade relations among African nations.

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The neo-Panamax tanker on her berth in Cape Town habour, with Table Mountain in the background to the city and port. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The neo-Panamax tanker on her berth in Cape Town habour, with Table Mountain in the background to the city and port. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates

ictures by ‘Dockrat’

As with anything in life, the more you see something that doesn’t look right, the more that it does look right. And so it is with newly built, scrubber equipped, tankers with their enormous square funnel casings that hide the scrubber unit. After seeing so many arriving in just a few days, they no longer look incongruously out of scale to the vessel they are attached to, but instead, their funnel size now looks quite normal.

On 10th November at 17h00 the LR1 Neo-Panamax tanker HAFNIA SHANGHAI (IMO 9830290) arrived in the Table Bay anchorage from the Mediterranean port of Sarroch in Italy. She remained at anchor overnight, before entering Cape Town harbour at 09h00 on 11th November and proceeded to the long Tanker Berth in the Duncan Dock.

Hafnia Shanghais' enormous 'factory installed' funnel unit dominates in this iamge of the tanker at her berth. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Hafnia Shanghai’s enormous ‘factory installed’ funnel unit doesn’t appear out of proportion in this image of the tanker at her berth. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

An Eco-design tanker, built in 2019 by Guangzhou Shipyard International at Nansha in China, Hafnia Shanghai is 228 metres in length and has a deadweight of 74,999 tons. She is powered by a single MAN-B&W 6G60ME-C9 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 21,564 bhp (16,080 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 15 knots.

The accommodation block and funnel area of the tanker. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The accommodation block and funnel area of the tanker. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of six sisterships built for her owners, with all of the class named after Chinese cities, Hafnia Shanghai was built at a cost of US$38 million (ZAR582.3 million). She has 12 cargo tanks with a cargo carrying capacity of 86,084 m3.

The 'other' angle of the accommodation and bridge section of the ship. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The ‘other’ angle of the accommodation and bridge section of the ship. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The ownership of Hafnia Shanghai is slightly convoluted, as she is nominally owned by Vista Shipholding II Ltd of Singapore, who are a part of Vista Shipping. Vista Shipping is a joint venture between Hafnia, who are the vessel’s parent company, based in Hellerup in Denmark, and CSSC Shipping, who are the leasing arm of parent company China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), who own the shipyard where Hafnia Shanghai was built. She is operated and managed by Hafnia Tankers Singapore Pte Limited, of Singapore.

Hafnia Shanghai in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Hafnia Shanghai in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Operating on the spot market, and chartered within the Hafnia LR1 Pool, based in Singapore, Hafnia Shanghai loaded a large parcel of 60,000 tons of unleaded petrol, for discharge at Cape Town. Her loading port of Sarroch in Sardinia, also known as Porto Foxi, is located 20 miles south of the main city of Cagliari, and is the location of the SARAS refinery.

Hafnia Shanghai. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Hafnia Shanghai. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

SARAS have a refining capacity of 300,000 barrels per day, and the refinery produces 20% of Italy’s refined petroleum products. Her integrated port has two jetties capable of berthing up to 13 tankers at any one time, and it also provides 4.3 million m3 of bulk liquid storage facilities. There have been a number of tanker arrivals from this oil terminal in recent months.

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Marine Masters refloat Beira fishing vessel in upside down position

Harbour tugs are in assistance with the refoating of a fishing vessel that sank in Beira harbour, and to ground the vessel on a suitable sandbank. Picture: Marine Masters
Harbour tugs are in assistance with the refoating of a fishing vessel that sank in Beira harbour, and to ground the vessel on a suitable sandbank. Picture: Marine Masters

This is a bit late in coming to our attention but remains relevant in being reported here.  It turns out that a commercial fishing vessel that sank in the Port of Beira has been raised in an upside down position, grounded like that on a sandbank for which Beira is either famous or notorious, and will be broken up.

The successful salvage of the vessel took place in September when Dutch-based salvage contractor and consultant Marine Masters was brought in to attend to a fishing vessel that had capsized and sunk in the Beira harbour.

On arrival at the port the firm’s first task was to remove the diesel oil from the fishing vessel using their own specific hot tap equipment. Once this was accomplished, the fishing vessel was parbuckled and refloated in an upside-down position.

By refloating the vessel in an inverted position Marine Masters avoided expensive heavy lift equipment which was not available in Mozambique. As a result, this solution became time and cost-effective.

The local authorities granted permission to beach the vessel in the upside-down position for further disposal.

Marine Masters provided the hot tap equipment and salvage team to remove the diesel oil and to refloat the fishing vessel. Other salvage equipment was sourced locally.

The successful conclusion to this potentially problematic wreck removal received the support of local authorities, companies, and contractors who played a part in achieving a successful completion of the job.

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Lord Mayor’s Banquet: Guildhall

London: Lord Mayor's Show
London: Lord Mayor’s Show.   Picture: reproduced with grateful thanks to the City of London Corporation ©

Address by the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor Vincent Keaveny

On 15 November, the new Lord Mayor of London, Vincent Keaveny, urged City businesses to be the “force for positive change in society” as he set out his stall for his year in office which began with a ceremony in 12 November and was followed by the pageant of the Lord Mayor’s Show the following day (illustrated).

Vincent Keaveny outlined his People and Purpose: Investing in a Better Tomorrow theme in a speech to business and political leaders including Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at Guildhall on 15 November.

In his address to guests he said: “Fewer than one in ten management roles in financial services sector are held by Black, Asian, or other ethnic minority people.

“Our research found that employees from less privileged backgrounds take an extra year to progress through each stage of their careers despite no evidence of poorer performance.

“I know that’s wrong, you know it’s wrong and I want to put an end to it.”

He also called for a greater focus on investment which delivers a social return, saying:

“I am deeply proud of the City’s work on leading the conversation on investment for the ‘E’ in ESG. As Lord Mayor, I want the City to lead the next conversation, to lead the work on the ‘S’ in ESG. (Environmental, Social and Governance)

“By focusing on people – wherever they live, whoever they are – and investing in greater social purpose, we can help bring prosperity to every person in the UK and attract and retain capital, firms and talent to this great country.”

During his speech, the new Lord Mayor pledged to build on steps taken, including those at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, to ensure the UK remains “the competitive global centre for sustainable finance”.

He also announced a Global Impact Investment Summit, to be hosted by the Lord Mayor in the City next year, which will aim to set standards for impact investment and unlock more capital for social infrastructure projects.

About the Lord Mayor

Vincent Keaveny is a partner at international law firm, DLA Piper LLP. He advises banks and companies throughout the UK and Europe on banking and finance matters. Vincent was Master (2014/15) of the City of London Solicitors’ Company and is a member of the Court of the Woolmen’s Company. He served as Sheriff of the City of London in 2018/19.

About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.

Of shipping and London

Here are many businesses concentrating on maritime law, insurance, freight markets, ship owning and much more. At an international level London is the home of several international maritime organisations, for example the International Maritime Pilots’ Association, the International Chamber of Shipping as well as IMO.

Considering Lloyd’s unique insurance market, London is an unrivalled concentration of specialist underwriting expertise and every day, more than 50 leading insurance companies, over 200 registered Lloyd’s brokers and a global network of over 4,000 local cover holders operate in and bring business to the Lloyd’s market.

There is a short introductory video HERE

A 23-page Pocket Book Guide is available.

Elsewhere in insurance London is home to the International Group of P&I Clubs.

The thirteen P&I Clubs which comprise the International Group between them provide marine liability cover (protection and indemnity) for approximately 90% of the world’s ocean-going tonnage.

To learn more readers are invited to see the video link – CLICK HERE

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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Bambo-1 well drilling commences offshore The Gambia

Drillship Stena IceMax whch has arrived on station at the FAR Bambo-1 interest off The Gambian coast to commence drilling for oil. Picture: Pinterest
Drillship Stena IceMax which has arrived on station at the FAR Bambo-1 interest off The Gambian coast to commence drilling for oil. Picture: Pinterest

Drilling has commenced on the Bambo-1 exploration well in Block A2 offshore of The Gambia coast, FAR Gambia has announced.

The drillship deployed to this exploration is the STENA ICEMAX (IMO 9517575) which arrived on site on Friday, 12 November 2021. After completion preparations, Stena IceMax has successfully spudded the well.

The Bambo-1 well is located approximately 85km offshore The Gambia, in 930 metres of water depth and is planned to be drilled to a depth of approximately 3,400 metres. The drilling campaign is expected to take approximately 30 days.

A discovery could lead to The Gambia’s first oil production.

The well is designed to drill into a series of vertically stacked targets with a combined estimated recoverable, prospective resource of 1,118 mmbbls. The chance of geological success for the various horizons is calculated to range from 7 per cent to 36 per cent.

“We are very excited to be drilling offshore The Gambia again and I thank our co-venturer Petronas and the Government of The Gambia for their support during a challenging period of uncertainty and delays,” said FAR’s Managing Director, Cath Norman.

“We’re looking forward to working safely and efficiently with our trusted partners at Exceed and Stena. The well will be run as a tight well, and we look forward to announcing drilling results at the appropriate time.”

FAR Gambia is a subsidiary of Australia’s FAR Limited. FAR has a 50 per cent working interest in the A2 and A5 blocks, while joint venture partner, PC Gambia, which is a subsidiary of Petronas, holds the remaining 50 per cent interest

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CMA CGM introduces $1000-dollar overweight surcharge on Nigerian containers from China

CMA CGM container ship at berth
CMA CGM container ship at berth   Picture  CMA CGM

French ship operator CMA CGM has introduced a US$ 1,000 per TEU Overweight Surcharge (OWS) on dry cargo in containers inbound to Nigeria from China.

The surcharge came into effect as of 8 November 2021 loading date for 20ft (6 metre) containers with a gross weight equal to or above 20 tons.

This applies from China ports to Apapa, Nigeria but one assumes will equally apply to Tin Can and Onne, the three Nigerian ports where CMA CGM makes 22 monthly calls through six line services.

In Nigerian currency (Naira) this amounts to cargo owners having to find an additional N410,000 per TEU – or R15,240 per 20ft in SA Rands at today’s rates.

And ordinary people bear the brunt as the costs in the shops rise while the shipping lines happily declare record profits ‘off the clock’.

Nigerian clearing & forwarding agents said they had yet to see any confirmation of the new surcharge despite it already having come into effect and CMA CGM having published its announcement on its website.

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Durban Cruise Terminal to set the 2021 cruising scene

This is an artist's depiction of the new and as yet unnamed Durban Cruise Terminal, as she appears already, just weeks away from her official opening on 6 December 2021
This is an artist’s depiction of the new and as yet unnamed Durban Cruise Terminal, as she appears already, just weeks away from her official opening on 6 December 2021.  Looking from the east or beachfront side.

The new Durban Cruise Terminal, which has been under construction in the Point Waterfront precinct opposite B Berth on the Point, is due to be officially inaugurated with a grand opening on 6 December 2021, the day that the cruise ship MSC ORCHESTRA sails from Durban on her first cruise for the 2021/22 season.

The R200 million terminal is being built for the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Consortium (KTC), of which MSC has the majority share. Hence it is only fitting that a MSC cruise ship will be in Durban on the day and about to recommence cruising for South Africans.

It’s understood that invited guests will be arriving from all over South Africa and overseas, including Mr Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises.

MSC Orchestra
MSC Orchestra

MSC Orchestra, the only MSC ship to sail in South African waters this season, sailed from Sicily for South Africa at the recent weekend and will be arriving in Durban from via the Atlantci and Cape of Good Hope. It’s not known whether she is carrying passengers on this delivery voyage – prior to the advent of COVID-19 the positioning voyages proved highly popular with passengers.

The ship will be arriving in Durban several days ahead of the terminal opening, on 2 December at 08h00. She sails on her first voyage to the Mozambique coast at 20h00 on Monday 6 December at the start of a series of mostly three or four-day cruises to Portuguese Island and Pomene.

The ship will also undertake a number of cruises out of Cape Town before this slightly truncated season ends in May – pandemic waves permitting of course!

From an opposite perspective, the new Durban Cruise Terminal
From an opposite perspective, the new Durban Cruise Terminal, as seen from the city side or the west

Over 50 ship arrivals planned

Currently there are 52 arrivals listed for the port of Durban between December and 17 May, when INSIGNIA brings down the curtain.

Among the cruise ships that have scheduled arrivals in Durban, and which will make use of the the new cruise terminal, are the following: MSC Orchestra; Norwegian Jade; Azamara Pursuit; Europa; Silver Whisper; Seven Seas Mariner; Europa 2; Silver Explorer; and Insignia.

Others may still be added

There has been much uncertainty whether the cruise ships would be able to return to South Africa this soon, owing to strict COVID-19 protocols and restrictions. Right now it seems all systems are go and the ships are on their way, with MSC Orchestra heading the fleet to become the first to arrive.

It will be a fitting welcome to the new cruise terminal which will become an icon in Durban Harbour for many years, even generations to come.

Terry Hutson

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Grindrod returning to partnership with Maersk in coastal and regional logistics

Horizon, one of OACL's container ships operating a coastal service on the southern African coast. Seen here in Durban. Picture by Shabeer Dhooma
Horizon, one of OACL’s container ships operating a coastal service on the southern African coast. Seen here in Durban. Picture by Shabeer Dhooma

Almost twenty years ago (June 2002) Durban-based Unicorn Lines, owned by Grindrod, merged with the AP Moller-Maersk subsidiary, Safmarine, to introduce a coastal service known as Unifeeder. At that time six chartered vessels operated a liner service between Luanda in the west and Mombasa on the east coast and calling at most of the South African ports.

Inevitably this operation included landside logistics that quickly developed. Grindrod, the parent of Unicorn Lines later bought out the Safmarine half share and Ocean Africa Container Lines (OACL) replaced Unifeeder with six ships initially.

On Monday 15 November it was announced by Grindrod that Grindrod Limited has agreed to merge the South African container logistics businesses of Grindrod Intermodal (GIM) and Ocean Africa Container Lines (OACL) with AP Moller- Maersk’s (Maersk) inland container terminals.

The transaction is subject to obtaining regulatory approvals, including required competition law approvals. Maersk is acquiring a 51 per cent share in the merged business, same as before.

Grindrod’s own intermodal facilities are located nationally, providing the landside logistics to support the container feeder service operated by OACL. Its container vessels ship regional and domestic cargo for international carriers such as Maersk.

Due to the nature of the South African coastal service, Maersk has remained a Grindrod customer for many years and over time the Grindrod Intermodal business has become an extension of Maersk’s service offering to its customers, providing end-to-end logistic solutions.

This includes from the farm, to cold storage, to the port and on to global markets.

According to Grindrod, the merger will provide new and existing customers with access to a seamless and broader range of logistics and service offerings, from the point of origin to the final destination – incorporating transportation by road, rail, or sea, warehousing, container depots, and traditional logistics.

The proposed joint venture will bring together operational expertise, skills, and capabilities and increase the infrastructural capacity and geographical footprint, says Grindrod, adding that future investment in assets and infrastructure is anticipated, which will promote further development of the South African economy.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Grindrod in this proposed joint venture, so that we can offer our customers even better value and true end to end integrated logistics solutions in South Africa,” said Maersk Southern Africa & Islands MD, Jonathan Horn.

“We will have a far greater ability to seamlessly integrate solutions between ocean and the landside whilst weaving into our organisation an increased capability and experience through colleagues from Grindrod, who has long held a strong reputation in the landside logistics space.”

Xolani Mbambo CEO Grindrod Freight Services, said both organisations are passionate about understanding customers’ requirements and then finding cost-effective and efficient routes to market.

“Our combined service offering will provide further flexibility and will ultimately contribute to making a positive difference in South Africa’s trade with the world,” he said.

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WHARF TALK: a tanker named – ENERGY ATHENA

The MR2 products tanker Energy Athena at her berth in the Cape Town tanker basin. Note the huge funnel casing indicating that an exhaust emission srubber is included in the installation. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The MR2 products tanker Energy Athena at her berth in the Cape Town tanker basin. Note the huge funnel casing indicating that an exhaust emission srubber is included in the installation. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Newbuild vessels are always keenly anticipated. Every now and again a new vessel arrives at a South African port for the very first time. Not a first caller based on years of ocean wandering, but a vessel whose paintwork is still unmarked by scuff marks, and who shows no signs of rust, and one still working up in her first year of commissioning and entering into service.

On 11th November at 11h00, the MR2 tanker ENERGY ATHENA (IMO 9891440) arrived off Cape Town from Ngqura, and proceeded directly into harbour to berth at the Tanker Berth in the Duncan Dock. Her voyage to South Africa had begun at the Indian port of Kochi.

As with other recent tanker arrivals, her arrival draught gave a hint that Ngqura was not her only discharge port on the South African coast. On arrival from India, her first port of discharge with a parcel of refined products was at Richards Bay, prior to her next call at Ngqura.

Another view of the tanker's overlarge funnel - an appearance we may as well get used to as more and more ship have scribbers fitted - either during buiding or retro fitted. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Another view of the tanker’s overlarge funnel – an appearance we may as well get used to as more and more ship have scribbers fitted – either during buiding or retro fitted.   Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her third, and final, parcel discharge on this voyage was completed in less than 24 hours, and at 11h00 on 12th November Energy Athena sailed from Cape Town harbour but, unusually, went directly to the Table Bay anchorage, prior to proceeding full away on passage.

Built in 2021 by STX Shipbuilding at Jinhae in South Korea, Energy Athena is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 49,812 tons. She is powered by a single STX MAN-B&W 6G50ME-C9.6 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 13,839 bhp (10,320 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Entering service only in April 2021, Energy Athena is another of the popular STX ECO-design Medium Range (MR) IMO II/III class of product tankers. The scale of her funnel, in relation to her accommodation block, gives away the fact that, as built, she is equipped with an exhaust scrubber unit. Her current voyage to South African ports is the first time she has left the Pacific Ocean, and the first time that she has entered and crossed the Indian Ocean.

In case you weren't sure where this ship was, here's Energy Athena with Table Mountain as the backdrop. Picture by : Dockrat'
In case there was any doubt about this ship’s location, here’s Energy Athena with Table Mountain providing the backdrop. Picture by :Dockrat’

One of three sisterships, Energy Athena is nominally owned by Oriental Fleet Tanker 16 Limited, of Athens, and is operated by Golden Energy Management SA, also of Athens, whose houseflag adorns her large funnel. She is managed by Enterprises Shipping and Trading of Athens. All three companies share the same office address in Athens.

Located on the southwest coast of India, in the State of Kerala, her loading port of Kochi is another Indian city, possibly better known by its colonial name of Cochin. Some other Indian ports also better known by their former city names are Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Kolkata (Calcutta) and Mangalaru (Mangalore). The port of Kochi itself, despite its name change, is still managed by the Cochin Port Trust.

Another view from the starboard side of Energy Athena on the tanker berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Another view from the starboard side of Energy Athena on the tanker berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For the import of crude oil, destined for the Kochi refinery, there is an offshore Single Point Mooring (SPM) linked by pipeline directly to an onshore tank storage facility, which is linked directly to the refinery. For product export, Kochi port has two tanker berths, suitable for both MR and LR tankers, with both berths linked directly to the refinery by pipeline.

The Kochi Refinery itself is operated by the government owned Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), and has been in operation since 1966. It currently refines 310,000 barrels per day, and produces mainly refined fuel products for export.

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Port of Felixstowe makes major decarbonisation investment

Felixstowe, one of the UK's major ports involved with the Africa trade. Picture by: Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe ©
Felixstowe, one of the UK’s major ports involved with the Africa trade. Picture by: Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe ©

Coinciding with COP26 in Glasgow, Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe announced a major investment in new equipment to help decarbonise its operations. The UK’s largest container port has placed orders for 48 battery-powered terminal tractors and 17 zero-emission Remote controlled Electric Rubber-Tyred Gantry cranes (ReARTGs).

The new two-wheel drive tractor units, to be supplied by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co Ltd (ZPMC), will be the first electric tractors at the UK’s largest container port. ZPMC are working with their partner Shacman to develop the battery-powered tractor units.

The ReARTGs, which will be fitted with the latest semi-automation technology, will be supplied by Konecranes Finland.

Commenting on the investment, Chris Lewis, Chief Executive Officer at the Port of Felixstowe, said: ‘This order represents the latest part of our plan to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. In total, replacing 48 diesel-powered tractor units and 17 conventional RTGs with new electrical equipment will save 6,662 tonnes of CO2 and 59.38 tonnes of NOx emissions every year.

‘We have reduced our carbon footprint by 30% since 2015. That has been achieved through a range of measures including the first phase of our programme to phase out diesel-powered yard cranes. These latest acquisitions will help drive further substantial reductions in the future and help us to reach our target of a further 20% reduction over the next 5 years.’

Clemence Cheng, Managing Director Hutchison Ports Europe and joint chair of Hutchison Ports Group Sustainability Committee, commented: ‘Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and Hutchison Ports is committed to playing its part by minimising the impact of port operations on the environment. Promoting a culture of technological innovation and adoption of alternative fuels is a key strand of our strategy. This investment takes us another step nearer to our goal.’

Upgrade of HV power

To support use of the new equipment the port will be upgrading its High Voltage (HV) electrical power distribution network and installing new electrical infrastructure to support the ReARTGs and ten charging stations for the battery-powered terminal tractors.

The port is examining ways to build on the steps it has already taken to eventually reach net-zero. It is working with partners, including Ryse Hydrogen, to explore the use of hydrogen powered port equipment and with Cranfield University, Sizewell C and EDF, the Port of Felixstowe is involved in one of the projects selected to receive support from the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

Feasibility into a net-zero port

The project involves a feasibility study into the potential for Freeport East, which includes the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich International, to become a net-zero port and a net-zero energy hub for third parties and the adjacent region.

Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe is strategically located on the UK’s South East coast and within easy reach of major ports in North West continental Europe. As the UK’s first purpose-built container-handling facility, it is also the largest and busiest container port in the country. With three rail terminals, it also has the busiest and biggest intermodal rail freight facility in the UK. The latest phase of development, Berths 8&9, provides additional deep-water capacity for the world’s largest container ships.

About Hutchison Ports

Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe is a member of Hutchison Ports, the port and related services division of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited. Hutchison Ports has a network of port operations in 52 ports spanning 26 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.

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

To access Hutchison Ports’ Sustainability Report for 2020 readers are invited to SEE HERE

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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IN CONVERSATION: Climate finance for a transition away from coal: a chance to change history in South Africa


Emily Tyler, University of Cape Town

In the opening days of the COP26 international climate conference, a financing partnership was announced between South Africa and a consortium consisting of France, Germany, the UK, the US and the European Union (EU). The partnership aims to support South Africa’s just transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy and society. Essentially a just transition is one where no one is left behind.

The partnership mobilises an initial R131 billion (US$8.5 billion) over the next three to five years. Some of this in the form of grants and some is concessional debt finance (cheaper than commercial debt).

The partnership is intended to enable a range of outcomes. One is to speed up the process of moving away from carbon in the electricity system. South Africa’s power generation depends mostly on coal and the country has committed to reducing emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. It has recently updated its nationally determined contribution to the international emission-reduction effort. Importantly, the finance will support the workers and communities who will be affected as the country moves away from coal.

Another aim is to support a sustainable solution for the South African power utility’s debt and ensure its long term financial sustainability in the context of power sector reforms.

Finally, the partnership will channel finance towards the development of the electric vehicle and green hydrogen sectors.

A task force including national and international partners will develop the specifics of the support over the coming year.

The announcement made international headlines and is highly significant for many reasons. The finance offer is large; it has a strong element of justice; it’s not just about a few individual projects; and it’s for a country that has long been shaped around its dependence on coal.

This partnership represents an important opportunity for South Africa at a critical juncture if it is approached strategically and if the domestic politics can be managed. A failure to engage the partnership strategically will squander the moment, resulting in an incremental outcome that won’t unlock the just transition the country so desperately needs. A failure to tame the politics would put the entire flow of finance at risk.

Significance of the finance

Pitched at an initial US$8.5 billion, the partnership has the potential to be one of the largest individual climate finance transactions to date. Large Green Climate Fund transactions hover closer to the US$1-3 billion mark.

Its justice element is important. It has an explicit focus on supporting those who face immediate transition impacts, such as the approximately 80,000 coal miners and the communities who depend on them.

The partnership envisages that the climate finance will enable an energy sector transition, which is different to the usual focus of climate finance on individual green projects.

Finally, the partnership is significant because it has been announced despite South Africa’s coal legacy and influential incumbents. The country has spent over 100 years building an economy whose competitive advantage is based on coal as its primary energy source. My research reflects on how much flows from this. The legacy of coal is evident in physical infrastructure, the way the energy sector is organised and the form of energy sector institutions. It influences the way finance flows and power sector contracts are written. And there are powerful groupings who have vested interests in keeping it all this way for as long as possible.

Read more:
South Africa’s power grid is under pressure: the how and the why

Ironically it is this legacy that enables South Africa to offer the world significant and globally cost-efficient emission reductions as it changes course. South African electricity is the most carbon intensive in the world. Because renewable energy is now the cheapest form of power supply, decarbonising the country’s electricity supply by accelerating the phase down of the coal fleet will yield a large volume of emission reductions at very low cost, especially compared to more expensive emission reduction options in other sectors and countries.

But the political and institutional challenges to realising this transition are very real.


The global target of achieving an average of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is an enormous challenge. It requires rapid and disruptive change as economies and societies globally are decarbonised within three decades. But technology and finance are already driving the transition. This can be seen in the massive decline in the cost of renewable energies and the accelerating shift of financial portfolios to green investments. Global capitalism is now oriented towards a low carbon economy.

As a small open economy, South Africa can neither resist nor control these forces. And the country is in a vulnerable starting position as one of the world’s most carbon intensive economies. There is not much time to avoid being economically marginalised as wealthier and nimbler economies mobilise around net zero goals. South Africa will need all the support it can get to keep up with the pace of change.

Fortunately, as studies by the National Business Initiative and Meridian Economics-CSIR show, accelerated electricity decarbonisation has two big pluses. It is the cheapest way of providing a reliable electricity supply to the economy. And renewables have the shortest lead time to build. So they are the quickest and cheapest way to lift the country out of its current power cut woes.

Read more:
Myths and truths around South Africa’s recent renewable energy auction


The just transition partnership announcement has achieved both a political space and an implementation platform (the taskforce) to start working out the support details. These details include the type of financing instruments, what the finance will be used for, the mix of grant and debt, and financing terms and conditions. An initial scope of supported actions, financing sources and terms will be identified within six months, with a full partnership work programme and investment plan outlined within a calendar year.

Currently, there are many views on what the details could look like. These include Eskom’s Just Energy Transaction, Meridian Economics’ Just Transition Transaction and the Presidential Climate Commission.

The taskforce will have to work out how to:

  • ensure that alternative, attractive and sustainable economic livelihoods are created in the regions that have depended on coal
  • prioritise spending on activities that will help to fundamentally re-orientate South Africa’s energy sector as opposed to only achieving incremental change
  • ensure that the grant and concessional finance components of the partnership are used to leverage rather than crowd out commercial investment
  • achieve a transition pace aligned with South Africa’s international climate commitments.

Read more:
South Africa’s troubled power utility is being reset: CEO sets out how


But if the technical details are formidable, a recent address by the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, demonstrates that the domestic politics are even more so. In direct opposition to Ramaphosa’s vocal support of the partnership and decarbonisation trajectory, Mantashe argued that South Africa should continue to exploit its coal resources, suggesting that the partnership is an attempt to pressurise the country to conform to an international agenda that is not in the country’s best interest.

Despite the economic realities of a global energy transition well under way, and the increasingly obvious technical, economic and social failings of South Africa’s coal-based energy system, the political challenges to leaving the coal legacy path are clear.The Conversation

Emily Tyler, Honorary Research Associate African Climate and Development Institute, University of Cape Town

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

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2021 Remembrance Day in Whitehall and with the Fleet

In Whitehall on the forenoon of 14 November, from right to left is Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter; First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Ben Key; Chief of the General Staff General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston.  Pictures: MoD Crown Copyright 2021 ©MOD

Members of the Royal Family with the Armed Forces led the National Service of Remembrance to commemorate the brave servicemen and women killed in all conflicts.

More than 700 members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force took part in the service at the Cenotaph in Westminster.

This year also marked the centenary of the Royal British Legion. The charity has supported members of the Armed Forces community for 100 years, supported by generous donations to the annual Poppy Appeal.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter joined members of the Royal Family and the Prime Minister at the Cenotaph.

Again on 14 November, while deployed on Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21) HMS Queen Elizabeth marked Remembrance Sunday with a service on the warship’s Flight Deck.

The service saw the ship’s company as well as the embarked staff and squadrons muster to pay their respect for all those who have gone before them. The service was led by The Reverend Ralph Barber, Chaplain HMS Queen Elizabeth. The service saw wreaths laid by Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, Captain Ian Feasey, Commanding Officer HMS Queen Elizabeth and Brigadier General Simon Doran US Marine Corps, Senior National Representative to the CSG.

Queen Elizabeth is the deployed flag ship for CSG21 which will see the warship along with the Strike Group work with over 40 countries from around the world. The Strike Group is operating and exercising with other countries Navies and Air Forces during the seven month deployment.

Reported by Paul Ridgway

* In South Africa Remembrance Day was similarly observed with due ceremony at many of the cities and towns around the country, involving units of the SA Army, Air Force and Navy where possible. In Durban the annual parade including the two minute silence took place in front of the Cenotaph in the Town Gardens. at 11am local time- trh

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News from the coast: MSC Trieste in difficulty off Cape South Coast – SA Amandla in attendance

MSC Trieste, which is under tow behind the standby tug, SA Amandla. Picture courtesy of Fleetmon
MSC Trieste, which is under tow behind the standby tug, SA Amandla. Picture courtesy of Fleetmon

MSC Trieste

The Cape South Coast is proving to be a problem area for several ships in recent weeks, with a number of vessels experiencing difficulties and having to be towed to a friendly port and keeping the AMSOL standby tugs SA AMANDLA & OSV Umkhuseli busy.

The latest in this group is the MSC container ship MSC TRIESTE (IMO 9484479) which became incapacitated off Plettenburg Bay.

The 154,633-dwt MSC Trieste, built in 2011, departed Singapore on 29 October bound for Tema in Ghana, where she was due on 16 November. On arrival off the South African southern Cape coast, she became immobilised after having experienced what appears to be propulsion problems. She went to drifting until the arrival initially of a small tug that remains standing by to assist.

SA Amandla meanwhile sailed to the assistance of the casualty ship and is reported to have taken up a stern tow of the stricken box ship and is heading for the port of Saldanha, which has deep water to cater for the 16 metre draught ship to enter and berth.

MSC Trieste has a length of 355 metres and is 48.46 metres wide. She has a container capacity of 13,050 TEU.

The AMSOL offshore service vessel and tug UMKHUSELI which has already undertaken several rescue missions since arriving in South Africa. Here the ship is leaving Durban, with the cowlless Control Tower on the Bluff overlooking the scene. Picture by Trevor Jones
The AMSOL offshore service vessel and tug UMKHUSELI which has already undertaken several rescue missions since arriving in South Africa. Here the ship is leaving Durban, with the now unimpressive cowlless Control Tower on the Bluff overlooking the scene. Picture by Trevor Jones

NS Qingdao & Umkhuseli

In other news involving an AMSOL tug, the recently acquired Anchor Handling Tug Service Vessel (AHTSV) UMKHUSELI remains on standby off St Helena Bay north west of Saldanha Bay in support of the bulk carrier NS QINGDAO (IMO 9567439) which experienced a chemical reaction after its cargo came into contact with rain water while cargo working at Durban’s Maydon Wharf 14.

Concentrated toxic fumes were released into the atmosphere and as a result, the Transnet National Port Authority in consultation with SAMSA, DFFE and other stakeholders curtailed all discharging operations and ordered the vessel to leave the port immediately in order that the hatches could be ventilated offshore.

SAMSA subsequently directed the 56,745-dwt vessel to sail to a protected anchorage under the escort of the AMSOL tug UMKHUSELI, with that anchorage being St Helena Bay off the Cape West coast. Read our earlier report on this HERE

Umkhuseli last Monday made the short journey to Cape Town to load equipment and stores before returning to Saldanha Bay to provide safety standby and support as Qingdao’s cargo is discharged into skips and taken ashore to a safe dumpsite.

Tema Ship-to-Ship fuel transfer operation

It was reported last week that AMSOL Ghana successfully carried out a Ship-to-Ship fuel transfer operation with the LNG Carrier VASANT 1 (IMO 9837066), under charter to the Tema LNG Terminal Company.

AMSOL reports that the Tema LNG Terminal is the first LNG receiving terminal in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Ship-to-Ship transfer was led by the tanker CLENSTON (IMO 9514494) under the command of AMSOL Ghana’s Captain William Lara, and involved the transfer of 1,500 tonnes of Low Sulphur Marine Gas Oil (LSMGO) to the Vasant 1.

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WHARF TALK: scrubber included tanker – SEA TIGER

The large size of the exhaust emission scrubber is clearly evident in this picture of the tanker Sea Tiger arriving in the port of Cape Town. Picture is by 'Dockrat'
The large size of the exhaust emission scrubber casing is clearly evident in this picture of the tanker Sea Tiger arriving in the port of Cape Town. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The arrival of any vessel that has a Scrubber Unit fitted is always a source of debate. A great deal of the retrofitted vessels are not going to win any aesthetic awards for graceful appearance. Some retrofits are merely clumsy, i.e. needs must, and others have an attempt to try and blend the new in with the old, and not always successfully.

However, the modern requirement for Scrubber Units to be fitted, to ensure the award of charters with those companies that demand it, as a result of routes they may be employed on, is such that many tankers are now being built from new, with a Scrubber Unit as an integral part of the ship’s design. The obvious clue to look for is the sheer size of the funnel casing to house the unit.

One such scrubber equipped vessel, the MR2 products tanker SEA TIGER (IMO 9834870) arrived off the Table Bay anchorage, from Port Elizabeth, on 9th November at 10h00, and went to anchor for just under a day. The next morning, at 08h00 on 10th November, she entered Cape Town harbour and went alongside the Tanker Berth in the Duncan Dock.

Sea Tiger arrived in port at Cape Town on 10 November. The harbour tug leading her in is Umbilo. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Sea Tiger arrived in port at Cape Town on 10 November. The harbour tug leading her in is Umbilo. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her arrival draught would have already given the observer the background that she had already discharged some of her cargo elsewhere, as she was certainly not fully laden on arrival. In fact, Cape Town was her fourth call on this particular voyage. With just a final parcel to deliver, she had completed her discharge within 24 hours, and at 08h00 on 11th November, Sea Tiger sailed from Cape Town, bound for Fujairah in the UAE.

Although she had arrived from Port Elizabeth, she had previously discharged a parcel of fuel at East London before that, and in fact, had made her first South African port call of this voyage at Durban. Having three SA port calls on any one voyage is not unknown, but four is very rare. The voyage itself had begun at Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia.

Sea Tiger in the Duncan Dock at Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Sea Tiger on her way to the Duncan Dock at Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2019 by STX Shipbuilders of Jinhae in South Korea, Sea Tiger is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 49,821 tons. She is powered by a single STX MAN-B&W 6G50ME-C9.5 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 10,635 bhp (7,931 kW), which drives a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 15 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar 6EY22ALW generators, providing 950 kW each, and a Doosan emergency generator. She has an Alfa Laval Aalborg OC-TCi composite exhaust gas boiler, and a Alfa Laval Aalborg OL oil fired boiler.

Sea Tiger's accommodation block. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Sea Tiger’s accommodation block. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is one of six company sisterships in her class, built to the popular STX ECO-design Medium Range (MR) IMO II/III design. When the first of the class was delivered back in 2013, it received the prestigious ‘Ship of the Year for 2013’ award from both the ‘Marine Log’ and ‘Significant Ships’ magazines.

Nominally owned by the Tiberius Marine Company of Athens, Sea Tiger is both operated and managed by Pantheon Tankers Management (PTM), also of Athens, as clearly witnessed by the houseflag logo on her large scrubber wrapped funnel.

Another view of Sea Tiger in the Duncan Dock, manoeuvring towards the Tanker Basin where she will discharge her parcel of fuel. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Another view of Sea Tiger in the Duncan Dock, manoeuvring towards the Tanker Basin where she will discharge her parcel of fuel. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has been an irregular visitor to South African ports, and Southern African waters, in the last year. She had previously visited Durban as recently as September, and had another visit to Cape Town back in April. Prior to this she had paid visits to various ports in Mozambique and Namibia early in the year.

Her port of origination, Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia, is part of the largest civil engineering project in the world today. Located in the Persian Gulf, to the north of Qatar, the Al Jubail industrial port and complex was started in 1975, and is still developing. The industrial port has a total of 19 berths for crude oil, LNG and Products, with three of the berths set aside for product export for LR and MR product tankers, such as Sea Tiger.

With assistance from the tugs, Sea Tiger is brought against the tanker berth. Picture by 'Dockrat'
With assistance from the tugs, Sea Tiger is brought against the tanker berth. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The industrial port complex has two refineries, namely the SASREF Aramco-Shell refinery, completed in 1986, and capable of refining 305,000 barrels per day. The second refinery being the SATORP Aramco-Total refinery, completed in 2014, and capable of refining 400,000 barrels per day. Both refineries specialise in the production of petroleum products.

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Film Launch: At IMO a global network for energy efficient shipping: Emphasis on Africa

Picture: IMO ©
Picture: IMO ©

From Africa to the Pacific, a host of pilot projects and capacity-building initiatives to show shipping decarbonisation in action are highlighted in a new IMO film: A global network for energy efficient shipping.

The film showcases tangible solutions in climate change mitigation in the shipping industry by use of technology in trials and pilots under the Global MTCC Network (GMN) Project, which is implemented by IMO and funded by the European Union.

The global network of Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCCs) undertake pilot projects and promote technologies and operations to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector.

COP 26 event: Africa’s shipping

The film was launched on 10 November during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) at a side event: How to decarbonise Africa’s shipping sector, which showcased efforts in the African region; explored issues around decarbonisation in ports and shipping; and provided an overview of the GMN project.

The side event, held at the Africa Pavilion, was organised by:

1.The Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure Housing, Urban Development and Public Works – Kenya.

2.The Global MTCC Network.

3.MTCC Africa.

The event was moderated by Lydia Ngugi, Head, MTCC Africa.

Other panellists and presenters were:

* Mr Hiroyuki Yamada, Director – Marine Environment Division, IMO;

* Dr Kevin Kariuki, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate & Green Growth, Africa Development Bank (AfDB);

* Madam Nancy Karigithu, Principal Secretary, State Department Shipping and Maritime, Kenya;

* Mr Anton Rhodes, Project Manager, Global MTCC Network (GMN);

* Eng Denis M Mulwa, Senior Port Electrical Engineer for Kenya Ports Authority;

* Eng Luke Samba, Marine Engineer, Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA);

* Mr Jose Matheickal, Chief, Department of Partnerships and Projects (IMO);

* Mr Mubarak Sodha, Projects Development & ICT Officer, Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA).

Reported by Paul Ridgway

YouTube video – A global network for energy efficient shipping.  [6:26]

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New SA Navy ships taking shape

Artist impression of the Stan Patrol vessel being developed for the SA Navy at Damen Shipyards Cape Town
Artist impression of the Stan Patrol vessel being developed for the SA Navy at Damen Shipyards Cape Town

Several new naval vessels intended for the South African Navy are taking shape in Cape Town and Durban, at a time when several other ships procured controversially in the early 2000s from European naval builders, languish in Simon’s Town unavailable for service.

Project Biro

At the Damen Shipyards Cape Town the third and final patrol ship with the convoluted name and acronym of Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessel (MMIPV), recently underwent a keel-laying ceremony. This vessel, which falls under Project Biro, will operate from the Durban Naval Base when completed, along with her two sister MMIPVs.

The three vessels will continue the designation of Warrior class, the classification given to the former Minister class SAN missile strike craft after they were stripped of their missile launchers and certain other equipment and refitted as offshore patrol vessels. Of these only two remain in service, SAS Makhanda (P1569) and SAS Isaac Dyobha (P1565), with a third, SAS Galeshewe (P1567) decommissioned to reserve status and on the way out.

The new patrol ships – Africa PORTS & SHIPS will  resist calling them platforms as has become the fashion in naval jargon – have been allocated names in continuance with the ‘Warrior’ concept, an act which many of the Old Salts brought up on the Minister/Warrior class may find acceptable.

The new vessels are SAS Sekhukhune P1571 which is already in the water at Cape Town’s Elliot Basin for fitting out and completion, SAS Adam Kok (P1572), whose keel was laid in August 2020, and now the third to become SAS Shaka (P1573).

They are being built to a Damen design based on the Stan Patrol 6211 series, with the Damen Sea Axe Bow perhaps the most prominent feature at first glance. Each ship is 62 metres in length and will be capable of stated speeds of 26.5 knots and ranges of 4,000 nautical miles. They will have crews of 62 persons.and will carry two RHIBs of 7 and 9 metres respectively for boarding purposes.

Artists impression of what the new hydrographic survey vessel being built in Durban for the SA Navy under Project Hotel will look like.
Artists impression of what the new hydrographic survey vessel being built in Durban for the SA Navy under Project Hotel will look like.    SA Navy

Project Hotel

In Durban, Project Hotel, the delivery of a new hydrographic survey vessel is proceeding to plan despite some funding delays. The hull of the new ship has been rolled out of the shed at the Sandock Austral Shipyard in the Bayhead and is now on the hard and visible from across the harbour, impressing observers with her apparent size, which will no doubt appear to shrink when in her natural habitat.

The 95-metre long vessel is to a Vard Marine 9 105 design similar to that of the Royal Navy’s Echo class hydrographic survey vessel built in 2002 (HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise). The contract price for Project Hotel is R1.74 billion plus additional costs and taxes bringing the total to around R2.74 billion.

This is the first Veecraft survey vessel built by Veecraft as part of Project Hotel
This is the one of the Veecraft survey vessels built by Veecraft as part of Project Hotel. Duties will include close inshore survey work

As part of Project Hotel, Veecraft Marine will supply two Survey Motor Boats, a sea boat, and an inshore survey motor boat – with the latter remaining ashore in reserve at the SA Navy Hydrographic Office.

Project Hotel is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2023.

– trh

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Boskalis trading update

Boskalis cutter suction dredger Helios
Boskalis cutter suction dredger Helios   Picture Boskalis

On 12 November Royal Boskalis Westminster NV announced from Papendrecht, The Netherlands, their third quarter highlights.

In the past quarter, projects continue to be affected to a greater or lesser extent by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. International travel and entry restrictions make it as challenging as ever to keep projects and vessels operational, especially in the Far East, where the additional costs due to Covid measures are weighing heavily on the margins of certain projects. Nevertheless, Boskalis reported that it was once again successful in executing projects in the past quarter, with a higher vessel utilisation.

Order book

The order book stood at €5.1 billion at the end of September, down from the record level at the end of June.

Over €0.3 billion worth of contracts were acquired in the third quarter. The order book is still very well filled thereby offering a solid foundation for the rest of this year and the period thereafter.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the EBITDA * level in the second half of the year will be in line with the €226 million achieved in the first half.

The financial position of Boskalis remains very solid and the net cash position of €210 million is virtually unchanged compared to mid-2021.

Operational developments

The third quarter at Dredging & Inland Infra proceeded in line with expectations.

Numerous projects in Asia (mainly in the Philippines and Singapore), Denmark and the Netherlands contributed well to revenue. The hopper fleet was very well utilised in the third quarter and the cutter fleet was also busier compared to the first half of the year. Quarterly revenue increased compared to the quarterly average for the first half of the year.

A variety of smaller projects were acquired during the quarter. In addition to numerous variation orders, new projects were primarily acquired in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. On balance, the Dredging & Inland Infra order book declined slightly compared to mid-year 2021.

Offshore energy

Within Offshore Energy, the third quarter proceeded well. Offshore wind projects in Taiwan and Europe contributed significantly to revenue within the contracting cluster.

Boskalis banner flag

In the services cluster, Marine Transport & Services contributed significantly and Subsea Services, partly due to the integration of Rever Offshore, maintained the strong performance from the first half of the year. The use of the heavy transport vessels was fractionally lower compared to the first half of the year, while the rest of the fleet (diving support-, crane-, survey-, cable laying- and fall pipe vessels) was better utilized.

During the quarter, new contract awards were largely related to the services activities (transport, subsea services and survey). On balance, the Offshore Energy order book decreased compared to mid-2021.

Towage & Salvage

Within the Towage & Salvage segment, Salvage experienced an exceptionally quiet third quarter after a financially very strong first half year. In Towage, the contribution of the towage joint ventures was in line with the quarterly operational contribution of the first half year.

Financial position

Boskalis’ strong financial position did not change significantly during the quarter. The investment programme, including the new Bokalift 2 crane vessel, is proceeding in line with expectations. With available cash and cash equivalents plus bank facilities, Boskalis now has a readily available financing capacity in excess of €1 billion.


Based on projects in execution and the order book, Boskalis is in good shape. Nevertheless, the consequences of stringent Covid-19 restrictions, particularly in the Far East, play an important role and the definitive start of the sizable project in the Philippines is of great importance.

For 2021, based on fleet planning, projects in the order book and barring unforeseen (Covid-19) circumstances, the Board of Management expects the EBITDA level of the second half of the year to be in line with the €226 million from the first half of the year.

For 2021, capital expenditures are expected to amount to approximately € 375 million, including dry-dockings and the offshore support and survey vessels already acquired earlier this year. This does not include any acquisitions.

The 2021 annual results will be published on 10 March, 2022.

* Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization.

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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‘Extraordinary’ strong financial results from Hapag-Lloyd

German container ship operator Hapag-Lloyd has joined the ranks of other principal container carriers with what they describe as an “extraordinary strong result in first nine months of 2021”.


So much so that the first nine months of the year has seen Hapag-Lloyd sail past the figures achieved for the 12 months of the previous financial year.

This has been achieved despite operational challenges thanks to persistent excess demand, a feature that other main container carriers also experienced. It is doubtful whether any of the container lines can truthfully say these results were ‘as expected’.

Hapag-Lloyd last week reported that it has completed the first nine months of 2021 with an EBITDA * of US$ 8.2 billion (EUR 6.8 billion). The EBIT was also much higher than in the prior-year period, at USD 6.9 billion (EUR 5.8 billion).

At the same time, the Group profit improved to US$ 6.7 billion (EUR 5.6 billion).

For the nine months of 2021 under review, revenues rose by approximately 70 per cent, to reach US$ 17.9 billion (EUR 15.0 billion). The rise can primarily be attributed to the higher average freight rates of 1,818 US$/TEU (9M 2020: 1,097 US$/TEU).

The company says this significant increase is mainly the result of persistently high demand for container transportation coupled at the same time with scarce capacities.

The average rates cover all trades including backhaul legs, thus being considerably lower than the market rates on the Asia to US and Europe headhaul trades.

Hapag-Lloyd ships regular callers in South Africa
Hapag-Lloyd ships regular callers in South Africa

Hapag-Lloyd reports that transport expenses climbed 16 per cent in the nine-month period, to US$ 8.9 billion (EUR 7.4 billion). This was due in part to higher costs for container handling and an increased average bunker consumption price, which stood at US$ 452 per tonne in the first nine months, up from US$ 402 per tonne in the equivalent period of 2020).

“Despite all the operational challenges, we achieved an extraordinary strong nine-month result,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd.

“However, global supply chains are under enormous pressure, which further intensified during the peak season in the third quarter. This unfortunately also creates additional operational burdens for carriers, ports and terminals – but, most importantly, for customers worldwide.”

Jansen said Hapag-Lloyd will do everything in its power to help with suitable offers and to do its part to resolve the situation through targeted investments and flexible capacity management.

Looking ahead, Hapag-Lloyd expects that earnings momentum will also remain at a high level for the rest of the year.

The earnings forecast for the entire year has been adjusted upwards as of 29 October: For the 2021 financial year, an EBITDA in the range of EUR 10.1 to 10.9 billion (previously: EUR 7.6 to 9.3 billion) and an EBIT in the range of EUR 8.7 to 9.5 billion (previously: EUR 6.2 to 7.9 billion) are now expected.

The financial report for the first nine month of 2021 is available online by CLICKING HERE

* Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization.

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Added 14 November 2021


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