Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 4 December 2021

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The Monday masthead shows the Port of Cape Town Tanker Basin
The Tuesday masthead shows the Port of Cape Town Duncan Dock

The Wednesday masthead shows the Port of Cape Town from the V&A Waterfront
The Thursday masthead shows the Port of East London West Bank
The Friday masthead shows the East London
The Saturday masthead shows the Port of Durban Container Terminal
The Sunday masthead shows the Port of Tin Can Island (Lagos)




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Kapetan Nondas. Picture by Keith Betts
Kapetan Nondas at Durban on a grey, overcast day. Picture by Keith Betts
Kapetan Nondas. Picture by Keith Betts
Kapetan Nondas at Durban. Picture by Keith Betts


The Panamanian-flagged bulker KAPETAN NONDAS (IMO 9629823) shown departing from the Port of Durban to go to anchor outside to await orders. The bulk carrier has a deadweight of 34,827-dwt and a length of 180 metres and width of 28.4m. The ship was built in 2012.
Sailing under the flag of Panama, Kapetan Nondas is nominally owned by Arvid Maritime SA, care of Karlog Shipping Co, who are also the ship and commercial managers, all based in Athens, Greece.

The above pictures are by Keith Betts

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Added 28 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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GOOD NEWS STORY: Young(ish) man scores his local cooperative a container and sewing machines

Two of the seamstresses and Wethu Ntombela who wrote the letter, with the container in the background, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Two of the seamstresses and Wethu Ntombela who wrote the letter, with the container in the background

Here’s a Good News story to close off the week, coming out of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) and concerning an entrepreneurial venture in a Durban township.

A women-only cooperative in the Chesterville* area, Siyazizamela Mama took delivery of a twenty-foot converted container and eight industrial sewing machines following a request to Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) for help in empowering township women with needlework skills.

* Chesterville – a township or village to the west of Durban, situated between Cato Manor and Westville.

According to the chairperson of the cooperative Phumzile Dlomo (65), “We would have not known how to even tender the request if it wasn’t for my neighbour’s son who wrote a formal letter on our behalf and saw the process through.”

She added that since 2009, the team of now 10 have been sewing all sorts of required items by community members – from alterations to bed linen and fitting residential curtains to tracksuits for local schools. “There used to be 12 of us but, two are late [deceased] – including my daughter. Now we are 10. It’s us gogos [grannies] and the two youths now working day and night to keep our children and grandchildren fed,” said Dlomo.

Durban Terminals Acting Managing Executive Kwazi Mabaso commended the young man who reached out to assist the women in his community. “What convinced our tight budgets in these COVID19 restricting times was the free upskilling of unemployed women of Chesterville through Siyazizamela Mama Cooperative. It’s rare to come across a sponsorship request that is not only seeking profit but the free betterment of the community at large,” said Mabaso.

He said that South Africa needed more men like Wethu Ntombela (37) who approached TPT after many years of supporting the local business. “It’s even more rare to see young men assuming the role that Wethu has and we need more Wethu’s in SA,” said Mabaso.

The beginnings of Siyazizamela Mama Cooperative can be traced back to two second-hand machines bought in a closed sewing firm in Phoenix, plugged in one of the bedrooms of Dlomo’s home where the team would sometimes sew up to 50 school tracksuits per day.

“Even though we had limited space, it never stopped us from teaching women how to sew while we were pushing our orders,” said Dlomo.

She added that the sponsored eight industrial machines that perform varying tasks from embroidery to button sewing will be of great help as orders resume again after a slump caused by the school calendar which has not been like other years.

The red container fitted with windows and tiled floors is situated on the main road near the Nkambini taxi rank, which is also adjacent to Chesterville Secondary School – a location Dlomo says is easily accessible for young and old women who want to gain sewing skills that can assist them earn a living.

“We don’t charge a cent because it’s important to build. Then when we have big orders and there are promising seamstresses, we can all club in and deliver on time,” said Dlomo.

About TPT

The Durban Terminals form part of a network managed by Transnet Port Terminals nationally. Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) is a division of Transnet SOC Ltd and South Africa’s leading terminal operator responsible for loading and offloading cargo aboard vessels calling at seven SA ports. The company provides import and export services for both domestic and global markets through a staff compliment of 9,000 across 16-sea cargo and three inland terminals. TPT’s operations target four major market sectors namely: automotive, containers, bulk and break bulk.

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Added 2 December 2021


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Algoa Bay oil spill cleanup completed

Ship-to-ship bunkering in Algoa Bay - not the two ships involved in the story below, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Ship-to-ship bunkering in Algoa Bay – not the two ships involved in the story below   Picture SAMSA

The clean-up of patches of small tar balls that were washed ashore, following the spill of bunker oil into the water during a vessel bunkering operation on 17 November 2021 in Algoa Bay, has come to an end.

During the initial response approximately 400 litres of oil was recovered from the water. The original report stated only 80 litres was washed overboard.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), SANPARKS and other stakeholders including the Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) are continuing to monitor the remaining stretch of beach for any additional oil/tar balls that may wash out. No further sightings of tar balls have been reported.

The Islands in Algoa Bay are being monitored for signs of oiled wildlife and birds by rangers from SANPARKS and SANCCOB as part of the routine operation.

To date four birds (three Cape Garnets and one African Penguin) were found to be contaminated by oil and have been captured. Two of the captured birds have died, one malnutrition and the other of a fractured leg. The remaining two are being cared for by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).

An oiled Cape Gannet that has been eluding capture by the rangers on Bird Island for nearly a week is still on the loose. Flighted wild birds can prove difficult to capture but SANPARKS rangers will keep up attempts to catch the bird. As soon as the bird has been captured it will be taken to the SANCCOB facility for rehabilitation.

The Incident Command team is in the process of demobilising and scaling down the response.

Source: South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) & the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE).

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Added 2 December 2021


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WHARF TALK: Something just doesn’t ‘stack’ up – STI AMBER

The products tanker STI Amber arrives in the Duncan Dock at the Port of Cape Town to go on berth in the Tanker Basin. Picture is by 'Dockrat'
The products tanker STI Amber arrived in the Duncan Dock at the Port of Cape Town to go on berth in the Tanker Basin. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’


Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The discussion about the aesthetic merits of retrofitted exhaust scrubber units on vessels continues. It is all about whether or not the shipowner has taken the time to try to blend the newly fitted scrubber in with the existing superstructure, has merely attached it as an extension of the funnel, or made it a stand-alone unit, which unbalances the vessel’s profile.

What is surprising is when the shipowner appears to not care less about aesthetics, or how it makes his vessel look, and simply plonks it down on deck, connects it up, and leaves the whole set-up standing exposed, almost naked, sticking out like a growth, or carbuncle, on the vessel. Attractive, and pleasing to the observer’s eye, doesn’t even come close.

On 28th November at 19h00, the MR2 tanker STI AMBER (IMO IMO: 9629926) arrived at the Table Bay Anchorage, from Durban, and remained at anchor overnight, before entering Cape Town harbour at 10h00 on the 29th November, proceeding to the tanker berth in the Duncan Dock.

An immediate feature on this ship is the lack of any cladding surrounding the obtrusive scrubber unit next to the ship's funnel. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
An immediate feature on this ship is the lack of any cladding surrounding the obtrusive scrubber unit next to the ship’s funnel. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her voyage had started at Al Jubail, in Saudi Arabia, where she had loaded a full cargo for three South African ports. After just over 24 hours alongside discharging, STI Amber sailed from Cape Town on 30th November at 1400, bound for Mossel Bay on the Cape south coast.

Built in 2012 by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard at Ulsan in South Korea, STI Amber is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 49,990 tons. She is powered by a single HHI MAN-B&W 6S50ME-B9.2 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 12,087 bhp (8,890 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14.5 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Himsen 6H21/32 generators providing 800 kW each, and a single Cummins 6CT8.3-DGME emergency generator providing 180 kW. She has an Alfa Laval Mission OC composite exhaust gas boiler, and an Alfa Laval Mission OL oil fired boiler. She has 12 cargo tanks, and a cargo carrying capacity of 53,032 m3.

STI Amber's stern and another view of the scrubber unit. Picture by 'Dockrat'
STI Amber’s stern and another view of the scrubber unit. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built as the lead vessel in a class of six sisterships, STI Amber was recognised by the Royal Institute of Naval Architects RINA), and given the accolade of ‘Significant Ship of the Year’ in 2012. At the time she did not have an exhaust scrubber unit fitted, as she would have won no prizes if she had. The scrubber unit was retrofitted to STI Amber after 2019.

She is obviously a well-run vessel, as over the past 11 years she has received no fewer than 22 Port State Inspections around the world, and only five deficiencies have been recorded in all that time, with 17 of the inspections raising no findings at all.

The tanker's accommodation and bridge section, always of interest on any ship. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The tanker’s accommodation and bridge section, always of interest on any ship. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is owned by Scorpio Tankers Incorporated, of Monaco, from where she gets the prefix STI in her name, and she carries the STI houseflag on her funnel. She is operated by Scorpio Commercial Management, also of Monaco, through the Scorpio MR Pool, and placed on the spot market, and she is managed by Scorpio Shipmanagement, also of Monaco.

The port of origin of STI Amber, Al Jubail, known as King Fahad Industrial Port, is located on the Saudi Arabian coast in the north of the Persian Gulf. The port complex was developed in 1974, and is now considered to be one of the largest industrial port complexes in the world.

Our final view of STI Amber is from across the water. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Saudi state owned oil company, ARAMCO, operates the refinery and oil storage facilities at the port complex, and the oil terminal in the port is quite extensive. It provides fifteen tanker quay berths, within the port itself, for the export of oil products, and has four offshore jetty berths for VLCC crude oil imports. All berths are linked to the refinery and oil storage facilities by pipeline.

In December 2018, whilst at anchor off the Indian port of Kakinada, lying on the Bay of Bengal in the state of Andhra Pradesh, she was boarded by thieves who stole ship’s stores and made their escape unnoticed. The theft was only discovered a short while later.

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Added 2 December 2021


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IN CONVERSATION: How we found a way to track alien marine species along South Africa’s coast

Marine alien species from all around the world can arrive attached to the hulls of vessels or in ballast water. Picture: TNPA
Marine alien species from all around the world can arrive attached to the hulls of vessels or in ballast water. Picture: TNPA

Tainã Gonçalves Loureiro, Stellenbosch University

Saldanha Bay harbour on the west coast of South Africa has long been an important point for global shipping routes. It was also the port of entry for an unwanted stow-away: the Mediterranean mussel. The species first appeared in South Africa in the late 1980s, and has spread along the west and south coasts. It has displaced native species, increased the areas covered by mussel beds, and damaged infrastructure like pipes, jetties and aquaculture equipment.

Saldanha is one of eight major maritime ports and 23 marinas and yacht clubs in South Africa through which marine alien species have entered South African waters. These aliens from all around the world can arrive attached to the hulls of vessels or in ballast water.

Scientists have identified 95 marine alien species along the South African coast. Among these marine aliens, there’s a special group known as fouling agents. These organisms attach to surfaces like a vessel’s hull, jetties, mariculture rafts and rocks.

Most fouling organisms are sedentary, such as algae, barnacles and mussels. Some are burrow-dwelling, such as worms, while others cling to surfaces, such as amphipods and isopods. Crabs, starfish and some small fishes are also included in the group.

Alongside threats to biodiversity, fouling can be a nuisance for vessel owners and harbour managers. It costs a lot of money to clean hulls and infrastructure and prevent fouling that can clog pipes and damage systems. The costs can be direct, such as lower productivity for the aquaculture industry or increased fuel demand for ships.

Some indirect costs link to prevention, management and control. Prevention is best. It requires knowing which species are present and whether they’re multiplying and establishing themselves. So it’s essential to develop a standard long-term monitoring approach.

With coordinated efforts between academics, governments and harbour managers, it’s possible to put into motion measures to track aliens before they become established, prioritise actions, and measure the effectiveness of interventions.

We started with tracking the arrival of these aliens. The Robinson Lab at Stellenbosch University developed and tested a method to monitor alien fouling species at ports and yacht clubs along the South African coast.

We showed that a simple, low-cost method can yield useful information about which species are present and the best time to intervene. The method can be used in other vulnerable locations too.

Marine alien species from all around the world can arrive attached to the hulls of vessels or in ballast water. Picture: TNPA in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Port of East London:  Marine alien species from all around the world can arrive attached to the hulls of vessels or in ballast water. Picture: TNPA

Better safe than sorry

We attached small PVC (plastic) panels, about the size of a medium sized envelope, to harbour piers or buoys close to the harbour. We left them to float in the water for two months to see what organisms would attach themselves.

Some of the units were enclosed in a cage-like structure, to stop other species, such as fishes, crabs or shrimps, from eating whatever alien organisms might attach to the panels. The materials for the entire experiment cost as little as R800 (about US$50) for the 20 units installed at each harbour site.

We tested the method at harbours in Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Saldanha Bay in 2019 and found that two months is the minimum time necessary to detect and identify invasive species.

During our trial, we detected 21 species of which 66% were invasive. The high prevalence of invasive species was alarming and reinforces the need to monitor these environments. Most of the species had been detected by researchers before but one of them, Ascidiella aspersa, was recorded only for the Western Cape and we found it in Port Elizabeth, indicating a range expansion eastwards.

These results show how important it is to establish long-term standardised surveillance. This will enable temporal and spatial comparisons of information that’s collected consistently.

Our study, coupled with previous research, shows that most fouling species reproduce all year long, but have reproduction peaks during summer and winter. The main message is that harbours should monitor what’s there at least twice a year during the reproduction peak season.

Going forward

The potential impacts of alien species are so alarming that international organisations urge countries to act locally in parallel with global efforts and coordination. The Convention for Biodiversity, a multilateral treaty among participant countries instigated by the UN’s 2030 agenda to promote the Sustainable Development Goals, requires the prevention of alien species introduction and the control or eradication of already introduced aliens that threaten ecosystems, habitats or species.

Developing a standardised long-term monitoring approach is essential for meeting national and international standards of sustainable development such as achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. For the industry, monitoring alien species is also relevant to increase competitiveness in global markets that are progressively turning their attention towards a green economy.

The method we’re suggesting can be valuable to governmental conservation departments aiming to control bioinvasions, as well as to policymakers who need to evaluate the efficacy of biosecurity protocols.

For the industry, this monitoring approach can help shipping companies, aquaculture companies, as well as managers of ports, marinas and yacht clubs that might want to pursue green certification such as the Blue Flag programme.

This efficient, easy and versatile method could decrease the potential of future invasion and losses. We recommend that this early-warning method be used widely in South African harbours and abroad.The Conversation

Tainã Gonçalves Loureiro, Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Sustainable Oceans, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Stellenbosch University

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

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Added 2 December 2021


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NS Qingdao returns to St Helena Bay to have reactive cargo removed

The bulk carrier NS Qingdao (IMO 9567439), when still named Mare Tracer. Picture courtesy: Fleetmon

The bulk carrier NS Qingdao has again anchored in St Helena Bay and the operation to remove her reactive cargo is continuing.

NS Qingdao was evacuated from the port of Durban on 23 October after her cargo suffered a chemical reaction, releasing toxic fumes into the atmosphere. As a safety precaution. the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) instructed the vessel to sail under escort to St Helena Bay and to anchor offshore to contain situation.

The decision to use St Helena Bay on the West Coast was to provide the vessel with a protected anchorage, with the advantage of being in close proximity to the Vissershok waste disposal site where the cargo could be safely discharged and neutralised.

Last week on 25 November SAMSA instructed NS Qingdao to sail offshore under tow. This was to help ventilate her No3 cargo hold after the hold was closed due to a change in weather conditions, which caused an increase in hot spots in the hold and fumes to enter the engine room through the engine room vents.

Non-essential crew removed from ship

All non-essential personnel were removed from the ship as a safety precaution, leaving NS Qingdao manned with a minimum crew onboard.

SAMSA confirmed today (Thursday 2 December 2021) that the vessel has now returned to the safe anchorage to continue the operation.

The AMSOL AHTS tug UMKHUSELI which escorted the bulker from Durban, has remained on safety standby duty and to provide offshore support. To see our earlier report CLICK HERE

The bulk cargo on board the bulker consists out of a mixture of Sodium Metabisulphite, Magnesium Nitrate Hexahydrate, Caustic Calcined Magnesite, Electrode Paste, Monoammonium Phosphate, Ferrous Sulphate Monohydrate, Zinc Sulphate Monohydrate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Sulphite Anhydrous and Calcium Chloride.

The cargo is being discharged into skips to remove all hot spots in the cargo hold to help neutralise the chemical reaction and gases under the watchful eyes of experienced salvors and chemical experts. The first two skips were discharged on Wednesday morning (1 December) in the care of SPILLTECH for transportation to Vissershok under controlled conditions.

SAMSA has issued a statement reaffirming that there is no immediate risk to any person ashore and that all persons involved in the operation onboard are using all the required personnel protective equipment.

Travel ban hiccup

The sudden travel ban restrictions (Covid-19) affected the importation of a special Inert Gas System to South Africa and a specialist excavator operator from Europe. The Inert Gas system will be used to blanket the cargo with an inert gas and prevent any further cargo reactions in the cargo.

The travel ban delayed operations slightly, however the salvage crew is optimistic that the Inert Gas System will arrive in St Helena Bay by 7 December.

The tug UMKHUSELI will remain on site to act as a static tow while the vessel is at anchor and ensure that any toxic gases are blown offshore during the operation. The ship owner is cooperating with SAMSA, DFFE, TNPA, Salvage Team and local authorities.

According to SAMSA this is a controlled event and neither the environment nor any person is at risk at this time and that all safety precautions are taken to prevent the situation from escalating.

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Added 2 December 2021


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R240 million of cocaine discovered by Hawks on MSC container ship in Durban harbour

Durban Container Terminal, the busiest in the country handling over 2.5 million TEUs annually. One of these has been found to be carrying illegal drugs from South America. In Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Durban Container Terminal, the busiest in the country handling over 2.5 million TEUs annually. One of these has been found to be carrying illegal drugs from South America.  Picture:  Transnet

The Hawks Serious Organised Crime Investigation team have had a major scoop with the discovery on board a MSC container ship in Durban harbour, of R240 million worth of cocaine.

The drug haul, in bricks weighing a total of 600kg, was hidden in large sports bags beneath wooden floor boards.

Hawks’ National Head, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, has praised his team’s recovery of the 600kg cocaine cache with a street value of R240 million.

The Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation team swooped on the ship after receiving information about an MSC vessel that was sailing from South America to South Africa transporting a container loaded with wooden flooring boards which had cocaine concealed within the consignment.

“On arrival, the container was searched. It was discovered that between the boards, there were large black sports bags, each with bricks of cocaine,” said a Hawks spokesperson.

No arrests have been made at this stage pending the ongoing investigation.

“I appreciate the efforts by the members of the DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] in disrupting the supply of drugs. With the cargo safely in good hands, we shall now be focussing on the perpetrators,” said Lebeya.

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Added 1 December 2021


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IN CONVERSATION: Nigeria and South Africa have a love-hate relationship: the continent needs them closer

Olawale Olusola, Obafemi Awolowo University

President Cyril Ramaphosa is visiting four West African countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal. The Conversation Africa’s Wale Fatade asked international relations expert, Olawale Olusola, about the significance of Ramaphosa’s visit to Nigeria and what it could contribute to enhancing the relationship between the two countries.

How important is this visit?

It is significant in a number of ways.

First, it coincides with the 10th session of the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission. This was established in 1999 to strengthen bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries. It is therefore an opportunity to assess the progress in investment and trade between the two countries.

It is also an avenue to rejig the lull in bilateral relations between the two foremost countries in Africa. In spite of the volume of trade between the two countries – US$2.9 billion for 2020 – there are still grey areas. These include operational hurdles Nigerian investors face wanting to do business in South Africa. It also includes people to people relations. This remains an issue of major concern given xenophobic attacks in South Africa. This also affects both countries’ trade interests as existing businesses in either countries could become targets.

South African companies are well represented in Nigeria but there are few Nigerian companies in South Africa. South Africa imported US$2.48 billion worth of goods from Nigeria in 2020 predominantly crude oil, and exported US$425 million’s worth to Nigeria.

It is significant too that President Ramaphosa will be visiting Nigeria first in his West African tour. He will go on to Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.

A meeting between Nigeria and South Africa is always a reminder of the cultural and social bonds that both countries have invested in over a long period, but have underutilised.

For example, Nigeria contributed to the emancipation of South Africa from the grip of apartheid. Nigeria’s civil servants paid a so-called Mandela Tax to support the Africa National Congress in fighting apartheid.

South Africa equally was at the fore front of the fight against the dictatorial regime of Sani Abacha in 1995.

This visit is important especially in an era of global economic downturn occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic. The two countries need to make efforts to promote bilateral ties given their distressed economies. Also to lead the way in promoting the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

Could the bi-national commission be made more effective?

The basic architecture for Nigeria-South Africa foreign economic relations is embodied in the activities of the commission.

When it was set up in 1999 the two countries committed themselves to fast track relations in foreign policy, culture, agriculture and health. The presidents at the time – Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki – agreed to cooperate in all multi-lateral institutions including the World Trade Organisation.

But the commission has achieved little in relation to its mandate. This, most likely, is a result of the internal struggles and challenges in politics and economies of Nigeria and South Africa.

The commission should focus on taking away barriers that get in the way of the easier movement of goods and people between the two countries. There is no reason, for example, why Nigeria and South Africa cannot implement a VISA on arrival policy. This is an arrangement Nigeria has with Kenya.

The commission could also be made into a formal structure and expanded to include the private sector and the diasporas.

How would you characterise the relationship: collaboration or competition?

Both. The relationship between Nigeria and South Africa is often characterised by collaboration — as well as intense competition. Collaboration is good and desirable but so is healthy competition or rivalry especially when it revolves around creating and innovating.

It is a love-hate relationship.

Both countries have helped foster pan-African ideals by providing effective continental leadership. They have rallied other countries to restore peace and stability in troubled African countries. Nigeria and South-Africa championed the birth of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development , the African Union and established a joint commission all in a bid to promote Africa’s renaissance.

On the other hand, a number of issues have strained their relationship. These include xenophobic attacks against immigrants, including Nigerians, in South Africa.

At other levels, the assessment of the relations is simply a function of perception and conjectures. These are often framed in the garb of hegemonic discourse. For example, Nigeria likes to project itself as the giant of Africa. It also likes to emphasise its leadership role within the Economic Community of West African States.

For its part, South Africa projects itself as a regional powerhouse in the Southern African Development Community.

The interconnected nature of the global economy, the political and economic challenges on the continent and the need for African unity dictate that Nigeria and South Africa collaborate. In doing so, they must not be seen as imperialists but as partners with other African governments.

Has South Africa done enough to deal with xenophobia?

Xenophobic attacks in South Africa have been a major drawback in contemporary African relations. South Africa’s constitution and immigration policy have as their cornerstone the doctrines of human rights. But the protection of the lives and property of immigrants in post-apartheid South Africa remains a subject of great controversy.

Following xenophobic attacks in 2019 the South African government apologised to Nigeria. But there’s more South African leaders can do. This includes engaging leaders as well as young people in open, frank, constructive and continuous conversations on the responsibility they have to respect humanity and take a stand against the type of barbarism that shaped their own recent history. They must sustain high-level political visits like that paid by President Ramaphosa

Above all, however, they must demonstrate greater commitment to addressing the social ills of poverty and inequality at the heart of young peoples’ grievances. A major cause of xenophobic attacks is the lingering socio-economic crisis and the feeling of deprivation among young black South Africans. The inequality and poverty are deeply rooted in the country’s colonial and apartheid legacy. This has been compounded by the post-1994 failures of successive administrations to transform the economy and make it more inclusive.

The South African government needs to address these. And ensure justice for victims.

Adedeji Ademola, a PhD candidate with the Department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, helped research this article.The Conversation

Olawale Olusola, International Relations expert, Obafemi Awolowo University

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

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Added 1 December 2021


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Mozambique conference calls for revival of fishing communities

African leaders and policymakers have called for strategies to harness the potential of the blue economy to achieve sustainable development. The call came at a high-level conference hosted by the Government of Mozambique on 18 and 19 November in the town of Vilanculos. The theme was ‘Investing in Ocean Health is Securing the Planet’s Future’.

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi hosted the event, attended by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ministers from other countries and leading policymakers from Africa. African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina delivered a virtual message during the opening ceremony, highlighting the potential of blue economy initiatives. “The continent has maritime zones that stretch 13 million square kilometres, encompassing territorial seas and continental shelves that also stretch up to 6.5 million kilometres. And 38 African countries are coastal,” he said.

Adesina said there was an urgent need to revive the livelihoods of fishing communities. “This can be achieved by governments and the private sector prioritising enabling policies, and providing access to modern fishing fleets, cold storage and processing facilities, and investing in infrastructure and climate advisory services to support climate-smart fishing practices.”

Leïla Mokaddem, the Director General for the Bank’s Southern Africa Region, represented President Adesina in person at the event. She said the Bank would continue to help Mozambique unlock its blue economy potential in the post-pandemic era by supporting regional approaches to coastal resilience and transboundary fisheries management in the Mozambique Channel and Indian Ocean region through the Southern African Development Community Secretariat.

Mozambique has the third-longest coastline in Africa, with enormous coastal resources that contribute significantly to the economy, including marine parks that provide social and economic benefits for about half the population.

A bulk carrier at the berth of the Nacala Coal Terminal, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
A bulk carrier at the berth of the Nacala Coal Terminal (Nacala-a-Velha)   CdN

Nacala rail and port

Mokaddem, who led the African Development Bank delegation at the conference, said the Bank was also co-financing one of the largest private sector investments, worth over US$5 billion, in regional infrastructure development, through the construction of a rail corridor and the deep water Nacala port to facilitate maritime trade and market access.

The Bank team, which included Cesar Augusto Mba Abogo, Country Manager for Mozambique, reinforced the Bank’s commitment to building resilience against climate disasters in Mozambique, one of the 10 countries in the world most vulnerable to climate change. Within this scope, Mokaddem held bilateral meetings with the Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Augusta Maita, to discuss strategic cooperation to develop the blue economy.

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Added 1 December 2021


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WHARF TALK: The cruise that wasn’t to be – EUROPA

When the award-winning cruise ship Europa arrived in port her planned cruise from South Africa to mauritius was already over, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture by 'Dockrat'
When the award-winning cruise ship Europa arrived in port her planned cruise from South Africa to Mauritius was already over, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

In late March 2020, after the Covid-19 pandemic burst upon an unsuspecting world, the South African government banned all passenger cruise ships from arriving in any South African port. After a hiatus of over 20 months, and the hope that the pandemic was coming under control, the date of the first visit by a passenger ship, scheduled to call at a South African port, finally arrived.

On 30th November at 08h00, the upmarket passenger ship EUROPA (IMO 9183855) arrived off Cape Town, from Lüderitz in Namibia, and proceeded to enter Cape Town harbour, to a water cannon salute provided by harbour tugs, and went directly to the Cruise Terminal, at E berth in the Duncan Dock. As soon as Europa was safely alongside, the bunker tanker Al Safa sidled up to her, and transferred an amount of bunker fuel across to her.

The current cruise of the Europa, numbered 2122, began in Tenerife on the Canary Islands, calling at Praia (Cape Verde), Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, and terminating in Cape Town. She was scheduled to remain alongside in Cape Town until 2nd December, when she was to begin cruise number 2123 to Mauritius, calling at Lüderitz, Walvis Bay, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Reunion and Port Louis (Mauritius).

Europa has been a welcome visitor to South Africa for many years. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Europa has been a welcome visitor to South Africa for many years. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Sadly, the timing of her arrival in Cape Town could not have come at a worse time for Europa. The identification of the Omicron variant of the Covid virus has resulted in the cancellation of all shore excursions and ship visits. There are 157 passengers due to disembark at Cape Town with the end of the cruise, with most scheduled to fly back to Europe over the next three days.

However, the outcome of this is that these 157 passengers are all being held aboard Europa until they have all been tested, prior to flying home. As such, Europa is to remain in Cape Town harbour for a further day, to allow for these tests and results to take place. Her sailing from Cape Town is now delayed from 2nd December, to 3rd December. A State laboratory has been set up in the Cruise Terminal to conduct the testing on all those passengers who are scheduled to disembark, and return home via Cape Town International Airport.

Unfortunately, this year's visit coincided with not only a surge in Covid in South Africa, but also the emergence of a new strain named Omicron, of which little is currently known. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Unfortunately, this year’s visit coincided with not only a surge in Covid in South Africa, but also the emergence of a new strain named Omicron, of which little is currently known. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 1999 by Kvaerner Masa OY shipyard at Helsinki in Finland, Europa is 199 metres in length and has a gross registered tonnage of 28,890 tons. She is diesel-electric powered, and has two MAN-B&W 8L40/54 8 cylinder 4 stroke engines, producing 5,760 kW each, and two MAN-B&W 7L40/54 7 cylinder 4 stroke

Power from her engines drive two ABB Azipod VO1600 azimuth propulsion pods, that provide a service speed of 21 knots. Emergency power is provided by a single Cummins KTA50G emergency generator, producing 1,280 kW. She has a single Unex G-160 exhaust gas boiler, and two Unex CHB-4000 oil fired boilers. She has two Fincantieri 11m2 stabilisers.

This has led to the cancelling of all cruise ship arrivals for the near future. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
This has led to the cancelling of all cruise ship arrivals for the near future. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Owned and managed by TUI Cruises GmbH of Hamburg, Europa is operated by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises GmbH, also of Hamburg. Originally known as Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten GmbH, it was a former cruise ship subsidiary of the big Hapag-Lloyd AG shipping group. In 2008, the German holiday travel company, TUI AG, integrated Hapag Lloyd Kreuzfahrten into its operations. In 2020, Hapag Lloyd Kreuzfahrten was sold to TUI Cruises GmbH, which is a joint venture between TUI AG and the Royal Caribbean cruise line group.

She was designed by naval architects Yran and Storbraaten of Oslo in Norway. She can carry 408 passengers, and she operates with a crew of 285. She originally cost US$157 million (ZAR2.5 billion) to build, and she was fully refurbished throughout in 2020, when she was out of service, and laid up, due to the pandemic.

Despite the unfortunate news that cruises were cancelled and that passengers would not be allowed ashore, Europa was greeted with a tug shower to say welcome. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Despite the unfortunate news that cruises were cancelled and that passengers would not be allowed ashore, Europa was greeted with a tug shower to say welcome. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has eleven decks, of which seven are passenger decks, with five of these decks providing 204 cabins and suites. For passenger comfort, she has four restaurants, five bars, a salon, spa, gym, casino, library, theatre and a single seawater swimming pool. She even has a dedicated sundeck for nude sunbathing.

At the time of the original Covid pandemic outbreak in 2020, Europa was in Puerta Vallarta in Mexico. On 25th March 2020, the Mexican government gave permission for all passengers to be disembarked, in order for them to be repatriated back to Germany. At the time the local authorities said that each passenger was to be fumigated as they came off the vessel.

Considered to be a cruise vessel that occupies the upper levels of the cruise experience, Europa has been given a 5*Plus rating for the past 12 years by the prestigious Berlitz Cruise Guidebook. Berlitz have made Europa the top rated cruise ship in the world for over a decade, which is an accolade that no other cruise ship anywhere has achieved.

Shortly after arrival the bunker tanker Al Safa was alongside the thirsty cruise ship. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Shortly after arrival the bunker tanker Al Safa was alongside the thirsty cruise ship. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Created to cater for the German cruise market, the majority of cruises in Europa are conducted in German, although recent cruises have been advertised, and offered, as being in both German and English, in order to widen the appeal of the vessel to more foreign tourists, especially those from the US, Canada, UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

In August 2021, Europa was on a cruise leg between Bordeaux in France, and Antwerp in Belgium, when a passenger was reported as missing, whilst she was off the Dutch island of Texel. The missing passenger was the 81 year old fashion mogul, Kai Wünsche. A major search of the area was made by Europa, two Dutch SAR helicopters, a Dutch Coast Guard aircraft, the Coast Guard vessel ‘Guardian’ and five Dutch KNRM Lifeboats. Sadly nothing was found, and the body of the missing passenger washed ashore, some ten days later, on the shores of Texel.

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New port managers appointed for ports of Saldanha, Cape Town, Mossel Bay & Richards Bay

Port of Richards Bay, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Port of Richards Bay  Picture:  Transnet

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has appointed several new port managers at four South African ports. In other news, the ports of Port Elizabeth and Ngqura are to be amalgamated into one complex and are currently undergoing a process of consolidation. The combined ports will be known in future as Nelson Mandela Bay Ports.

In the interim, Ms Tandi Lebakeng will act as the Port Manager until the process is finalised.

Port of Saldanha:

Mr Shadrack Tshikalange, Port Manager: Port of Saldanha, effective 1 December 2021. Tshikalange has vacated his most recent role as Port Manager at the Port of Mossel Bay.

Port of Mossel Bay:

Dr Dineo Mazibuko, Port Manager: Port of Mossel Bay, effective 1 December 2021. Prior to this appointment, Mazibuko served as Senior Manager: Corporate Services at the Port of Durban. She was also the New Business Development Manager at the port.

Port of Cape Town:

Mr Rajesh Dana, Port Manager: Port of Cape Town, effective 1 December 2021. Dana has vacated his most recent role as Port Manager at the Port of Port Elizabeth.

Port of Richards Bay:

Capt Dennis Mqadi, Port Manager: Port of Richards Bay, effective 1 December 2021. Mqadi has assumed his new position after serving seven years as Executive Manager for Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) and Regulatory Oversight at TNPA head office.

Prior to that Capt Mqadi has served as Harbour Master at the ports of Cape Town (2010>), Richards Bay (2007>), East London, and as a Marine Pilot at the Port of Durban, where he became the first African in Transnet port services to obtain his open unrestricted pilot’s license in 2003. He also has a B Comm degree and began his career at sea when he joined the South African Navy in 1990.

Mqadi comes from a small town in southern KZN called Izingolweni, which is on the road between Port Shepstone and Harding. See also HERE</a
Chinese ship Hong Success safe in East London harbour</a

In an additional senior appointment, Mr Bonginkosi Mthembu has been appointed General Manager in the Office of the Chief Executive, effective 01 December 2021. Mthembu joins TNPA from the Coega Development Corporation (CDC).

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News from the Coast: Cruise ships cancel Durban South African calls; Algoa Bay cleanup

The cruise ship EUROPA approaches the port of Cape Town on Tuesday, 30 November. Picture by Charles Corbett, In Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The cruise ship EUROPA approaches the port of Cape Town on Tuesday, 30 November. Picture by Charles Corbett

As the first of this season’s cruise ships arrived in South Africa on Tuesday, came news that several others due during December and January were cancelling planned calls at Durban, on account of the Omicron Coronavirus variant. UPDATE – It now appears the cancellations may involve ALL South African calls by these ships – we’ll attempt to confirm this during Wednesday.

FURTHER UPDATE –  SINCE CONFIRMED, MS Europa is disembarking some passengers to leave for the Cape Town Airport to return to Europe, while others remain on board and will sail with the ship.  Other ships unlikely to arrive, apart from MSC Orchestra for local SA and Mozambican cruising.

It appears South Africa’s 2021/2022 international cruise season is over before it starts.


The first ship to arrive in a local port is MS EUROPA which called at Cape Town on Tuesday, 30 November, arriving from Lüderitz and Walvis Bay.

This was the first cruise ship working call since the prohibition of cruise ships was enforced in March 2020, although more than a number continued to call as they were either being positioned to various parts of the world, or were being tasked to deliver passenger ship crew back to their home countries. They stopped over at Durban or Algoa Bay for bunkers and supplies.

Unless things change, Cape Town will continue receiving cruise ship arrivals, with something like 29 port calls scheduled, though this number includes repeated calls by certain of the ships. This schedule is due to continue through until 20 May, according to the port of Cape Town.

The cruise ship Europa in the Duncan Dock at Cape Town, before going alongside at the Cruise Terminal. Picture: TNPA in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The cruise ship Europa in the Duncan Dock at Cape Town, before going alongside at the Cruise Terminal. Picture: TNPA

Meanwhile, the MSC ORCHESTRA passed Cape Horn Point (apologies for the ‘slight’ navigational error) earlier on Monday, bound for Durban and the start of MSC Cruises’ 2021/2022 South African cruise season. At 20h00 on Tuesday she was passing Port Elizabeth and should arrive off Durban early on Thursday 2 December.

The ship will become one of the attractions at Sunday’s official opening of the new Durban Cruise Terminal, which will also be appropriately named at the same time. We are not at liberty to reveal this name.

MSC Orchestra will be making a total of 34 cruise departures from Durban between 5 December and 11 May 2022.

In other news concerning Durban, the port announced on Tuesday 30 November that two cruise ships, NORWEGIAN JADE and AZAMARA PURSUIT, have cancelled their scheduled calls.* – see above. This follows the outbreak in South Africa of the Omicron coronavirus variant and what may become a surge towards a fourth wave of the pandemic in South Africa.

That the Covid numbers in KwaZulu-Natal, including Durban, currently remain low, doesn’t feature in the decision-making.

Ironically, Norwegian Jade was originally listed to call at Richards Bay and only transferred to Durban when calls at the Zululand port were deemed unsuitable – for reasons not disclosed.

The number of Norwegian Jade calls cancelled are five, while three of the Azamara Pursuit calls are cancelled while another three remain, at this stage, unaffected.

Algoa Bay cleanup

The clean up of tar balls that were washed up ashore in Algoa Bay following an oil spill that occurred during a ship-to-ship bunkering operation on 17 November 2021, is continuing this week.

So far four kilometres of the approximately 8 kilometre stretch of coastline between Hougham Park and Sundays River have been cleaned.

The remaining stretch of beach is being monitored for any additional oil/tar balls or oiled wildlife by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other stakeholders.

The bulk cargo vessel Solin (IMO 9629483) has been released from detention and was permitted to sail after an Admission of Contravention and a detention fee that was paid by the vessel’s Croatian owner, who will remain accountable for all cleanup costs relevant to the oil spill.

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Nigerian Maritime Law Association queries the killing of pirates in Gulf of Guinea

HDMS Esbern Snare, Danish Navy frigate now on patrol in Gulf of Guinea, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
HDMS Esbern Snare, Danish Navy frigate now on patrol in Gulf of Guinea    Picture: Royal Danish Navy

In spite of the action having reportedly taken place in international waters of the Gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Maritime Law Association is raising concern over the killing of four pirates by the Danish naval forces, suggesting that it may not have been outside territorial waters.

The death of what the association calls ‘alleged pirates’ took place when a number of armed men, acting in the manner of pirates and manning a fast speedboat, opened fire with automatic weapons on a Danish Navy PHIB that approached them to investigate.

The RHIB, carrying a number of Danish Frogmen Corps (special marine forces) was from the Danish Navy frigate Esbern Snare, which has been on anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf since earlier in November, and was responding to reports of a suspicious vessel in the area thought to be involved in piracy.

See that report by CLICKING HERE

In the firefight, four of the men on board the skiff were killed and one was wounded. Altogether eight men including the deceased and wounded were taken on board the navy ship.

At the weekend, a statement issued by the Law Association through the NMLA President, Funke Agbor, SAN, and the Honorary Secretary, Dr Emeka Akabogu, called for an independent enquiry that would look into the precise location of the incident to preserve Nigeria’s sovereignty.

“The Nigerian Maritime Law Association views with concern, the recent news that four persons alleged to be pirates have been killed by the Danish Navy from their frigate, Esbern Snare, operating within the waters of the Gulf of Guinea.

“The Association supports all efforts to rid the Gulf of Guinea of piracy, maritime offences and all forms of criminality. It is concerned, however, about the sanctity of Nigeria’s sovereignty, application of the rule of law and respect for protocols of engagement with regard to the instant incident, which is alleged to have occurred in international waters, 25 to 30 nautical miles south of Nigeria’s territorial waters, and the emerging security regime in the Gulf of Guinea.

“The Association, therefore, calls for an independent inquiry, focused on establishing the precise location of this incident and whether there has been compliance with the relevant rules of engagement.

“The Association further calls on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to immediately kick-start the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive maritime strategy as mandated by the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act 2019, incorporating strategic security synergy between all law enforcement and commercial shipping actors.”

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WHARF TALK: more tankers for Cape Town – LEFKARA

The products tanker Lefkara on the tanker berth in Duncan Dock, Port of Cape Town. Pictue is by 'Dockrat' in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The products tanker Lefkara on the tanker berth in Duncan Dock, Port of Cape Town. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

It has been said on a number of occasions that there is a stream of tankers arriving at Cape Town, from all over the world, delivering much needed fuel supplies of every kind. Out of the bulk carrier and fruit reefer season, the arrival of tankers becomes even more acute, as they tend to be the most frequent arrivals into the port of Cape Town.

On 25th November at 07h00, the MR2 tanker LEFKARA (IMO 9399882) arrived from Durban and went to anchor in the Table Bay anchorage for a few, short, hours before entering Cape Town at 10h00 the same day, and proceeding to the Tanker Berths in the Duncan Dock to complete her discharge.

Lefkara. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Lefkara. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her voyage, prior to Durban, started at Al Ruwais in the UAE. After completion of her discharge, she sailed from Cape Town on 27th November at 04h00, bound for Fujairah. Her voyage routing was interesting, in that Lefkara was the second tanker in two days to have followed that same route. The other tanker, that arrived the day before Lefkara was also a spot market tanker.

Built in 2008 by SPP Shipbuilding at Sacheon in South Korea, Lefkara is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 49,996 tons. She is powered by a single Doosan MAN-B&W 6S50MC-C 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 10,960 bhp (8,061 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Lefkara. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Lefkara. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three STX MAN-B&W 6L23/30H generators providing 960 kW each, and a Cummins 6CTA-8.3-D(M) emergency generator providing 160 kW. She has an Alfa Laval Mission XW exhaust gas boiler, and an Alfa Laval Mission OL oil fired boiler. She has 12 cargo tanks, and a cargo carrying capacity of 53,539 m3.

Owned by Norden AS of Hellerup in Denmark, Lefkara is operated and managed by World Tankers Management Pte Ltd. of Singapore. She is traded on the Spot Market, under the auspices of the Norient Product Pool, also of Hellerup in Denmark.

Accomodation block of Lefkara, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Accomodation block of Lefkara

Al Ruwais industrial port complex, is located in the Abu Dhabi Emirate, and was only developed from 1982 onwards, and is still developing today. The refinery at Al Ruwais is the fourth largest, single site, oil refinery in the world, and is the biggest refinery in the Middle East region.

The Al Ruwais East site is capable of refining 420,000 barrels per day, and the Al Ruwais West site is capable of refining 417,000 barrels per day. Every conceivable refined fuel product, such as petroleum, avgas, LPG and diesel, as well as resulting, industrial, end products such as bitumen, pet coke and other petrochemicals are also produced at the two sites.

Lefkara in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Lefkara in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Al Ruwais industrial site is so large that it also has its own Power Station, that not only provides electricity to the surrounding industrial area, but it also powers a desalination plant that provides fresh water for the area, as well as the providing the power requirements to run two large industrial waste treatment plants.

The Al Ruwais port complex, as well as having bulk fertiliser, container and LNG berths, also provides three long jetties to provide berths for up to nine tankers at any one time. Each jetty is provided with three berths, all connected by both import, and export, pipeline networks that are connected to the refinery site.

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Future health of the seafaring community
Industry-wide collaboration sought

Charities, ship owners, charterers and other stakeholders in the maritime industry must work together to create a culture of care in maritime, according to the Seafarers’ Hospital Society (SHS). That was the message of a recent gathering in London.

Delegates also heard about the outcome of the SeaFit Programme, a joint initiative between the Society and The Fishermen’s Mission, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Delegates also heard about the outcome of the SeaFit Programme, a joint initiative between the Society and The Fishermen’s Mission

Delegates at an SHS seminar on 26 November with the title Supporting Seafarers into the Future, were inspired by the findings of the Society’s landmark study of maritime worker health initiatives, conducted by Yale University with support from Lloyd’s Register Foundation.

Chief Executive of the Society, Sandra Welch said: “Seafarers are people, not just resources, and we need to see them that way. The industry must develop a ‘culture of care’ that respects seafarers as individuals, enhances their wellbeing and improves job satisfaction. It is not just a pipe dream – it really is achievable and we want to work with them to make it happen. We’re asking the ship owners, charterers and others in the industry to join with us so we can progress these ideas and make them a reality.”

Reviewing the key findings of the research, Dr Martin Slade, Director of Yale University Maritime Research, called on delegates to ‘pick the low-hanging fruit’ and join together to make a difference to the lives of seafarers.

He commented: “Our research shows that there is significant potential to improve the health and wellbeing of seafarers but changes are needed to all aspects of the working environment. Some of those changes could be made quickly, at low cost and with minimal disruption – and they would make a real difference. Potential benefits include: increased retention rates, reduced training and operating costs, and fewer accidents and injuries – that is a win:win for all.”

The quick and easy wins advocated by Dr Slade include:

* Promoting a healthier diet through training of cooks.

* Making drinking water accessible in more locations on board to address poor hydration.

* Introducing a mentoring scheme for new cadets to support them on entering the industry.

* Providing organised physical activities on board to combat isolation, increase physical activity and improve health and wellbeing.

* Providing organised social activities that are consistent with the culture of seafarers on board to address boredom and promote cultural cohesion and tolerance.

* Providing training and awareness of noise-induced hearing loss to reduce the impact of noise on board.

* Ensuring the medicine chest is fully stocked to improve the healthcare available on board.

NL SeaFitReport in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Delegates also heard about the outcome of the SeaFit Programme, a joint initiative between the Society and The Fishermen’s Mission, with initial funding from the Seafarers’ Charity, to improve the health and wellbeing of the fishing community.

Seafit Programme Delivery Manager, Carol Elliott reflected: “The programme has been a resounding success with over 4500 interventions with fishermen and their families and tangible improvements in their health and wellbeing. We have provided a wide range of services from dental care to physiotherapy, mental health counselling to healthy lifestyle advice, all delivered at or near the quayside at times that are convenient to them. And we’ve really started to break down the barriers, enabling this traditional hard-to-reach group to talk about health concerns and seek help, before it’s too late.”

She continued: “SeaFit brand is now trusted and respected by the fishing community and by health and wellbeing delivery partners alike. So we will continue to provide key elements of the Programme into 2022 and to work with local service providers to explore how best to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the fishing community.”

The event was also a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Seafarers’ Hospital Society with speakers reflecting on its past and a panel of experts looking at how to support the health of seafarers in the future, drawing on the day’s discussions.

Panellist Natalie Shaw, Director Employment Affairs at the International Chamber of Shipping, urged everyone to act now. She concluded by saying: “We have the opportunity to act now. Let us take it and try and get people to understand what needs to be done.”

Paul Ridgway

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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Strengthened freight rates saves PIL – all Scheme debts repaid ahead of schedule

One of PIL's container ships, the 3,900-TEU Kota Sempena (IMO 9681273), seen arriving in Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones
One of PIL’s container ships, the 3,900-TEU Kota Sempena (IMO 9681273), seen arriving in Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones

The turbulence in the shipping and freight world, with rocketing freight rates that have turned around the fortunes of many container shipping companies, is be seen again in an announcement by Pacific International Lines (PIL) that it has been able to make an early payment to creditors.

This is in reference to the Scheme of Arrangement in which PIL entered as a means of restructuring in the first quarter of this year.

PIL has further said it will satisfy all Scheme obligations following the prepayment which is targeted to complete by 30 December 2021. The total amount to be repaid will be US$1 billion.

At that stage PIL says it will be “a well-capitalised company with a solid financial structure and resilience to address and mitigate the cyclical nature of the industry going forward.”

Mr SS Teo, Executive Chairman of PIL
Mr SS Teo, Executive Chairman of PIL

Mr SS Teo, PIL’s Executive Chairman, said that over the past eight months, PIL has experienced the most dramatic turnaround in its financial position.

“In addition to the market recovery, our strong business fundamentals, ongoing restructuring initiatives and the hard work of our employees have improved our overall position,” he said.

“With our healthy cash flow situation, we decided that it was only right that we reciprocate the support shown to us by our creditors and partners, and repay the debts owed to all our Scheme creditors, ahead of schedule. We believe that they would benefit from the certainty of having cash returned to them earlier than anticipated.

“By satisfying the terms of the Scheme fully with the repayment and continued financial prudence, PIL will be able to enjoy a strong standing with financial institutions, customers and suppliers. This will enable PIL to strive ahead to grow a strong business built on a sustainable capital structure.”

As part of its reviews over the past year, PIL has strengthened and focused its trade routes in China, Asia, Africa, the Middle-East, South America and Oceania.

Being a carrier established in the Asian and African markets, PIL is leveraging its strong position to roll out more value-added services. Over the past few months, PIL has added several direct services in response to customers’ needs – a direct Mozambique service; South China to India West Coast express service; and direct China to Gulf service.

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Xeneta container rates alert: “astronomical” monthly hike pushes long-term ocean freight rates up 121% year-on-year

Long-term contracted ocean freight rates rocketed by a further 16.3% over the course of November, consolidating recent gains to leave container shipping costs up 121.2% year-on-year. The latest developments, revealed in the Xeneta Shipping Index Public Indices (XSI®), stand as the second largest monthly rates rise on record, following a 28.1% jump in July this year, with all major shipping corridors experiencing significant growth. Leading carriers are, as a result, reaping breath-taking financial rewards.

One-sided contest

“When will it end?” comments Patrik Berglund, CEO of Oslo-based Xeneta. “Shippers hoping for some much-needed rates relief have been left punch-drunk by another round of hefty blows to bottom line costs. The continued perfect storm of high demand, maxed-out capacity, port congestion, changing consumer habits, and general supply chain disruption is fuelling a rates explosion that, quite frankly, we’ve never seen the like of.

“What’s more, it’s difficult to see a change of course ahead, with the fundamentals stacked very much in favour of the carrier community. In short, they’ve never had it so good, while many shippers, unfortunately, are well and truly on the ropes.”

Rich rewards

Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund
Patrik Berglund

In a stunning demonstration of this current reality, carriers released a glut of jaw dropping results over November. French giant CMA CGM posted a Q3 net profit of USD 5.6bn, with consolidated revenue climbing 89% year-on-year. Meanwhile, Cosco Shipping Holdings saw its net profit surge by a staggering 1651% over the first nine months of 2021, driven by increased volumes and higher freight rates. Revenues grew by 117.5% to USD 33.24bn.

Israeli line Zim also displayed its strength with a threefold year-on-year rise in revenues and an EBITDA of USD 2.08bn (against USD 262m in Q3 2020). The improvement was facilitated by a 174% increase in average revenue per TEU.

“With contracts continuing to be secured at high rates, and no sign of dropping demand, the carriers are understandably bullish,” comments Berglund. “Many have announced, or are already well underway with, fleet expansion initiatives and plans for new routes, so it’ll be interesting to see how this impacts on a complex rates picture. Market intelligence, like that provided through the XSI®, will help stakeholders keep up to speed with developments and secure value in tough negotiations. That knowledge is an absolute necessity right now.”

Regional perspectives

Xeneta’s XSI®, which is compiled from the very latest crowd-sourced ocean freight rate data from leading shippers, details significant gains across every single regional benchmark through November. In Europe, imports climbed by 9.1%, with the index now 143.3% up year-on-year, while exports jumped 23.7%, the largest monthly increase on record (and 85% up against last November).

Xeneta banner in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

The Far East saw similarly strong gains on both import and export benchmarks, with the previous up by 14.6% and the latter 14.5% (year-on-year hikes of 65.5% and 163.3% respectively). In the US the picture was even more pronounced for imports, which rocketed by 39.3% in November (up 122.4% compared to the equivalent period of 2020), while exports climbed by a healthy 9% (26.2% up year-on-year).

Keeping control

“2021 will be a year to remember for carriers and one to forget, if that’s possible, for the shipper community,” concludes Berglund. “What lies ahead is unclear, but we can see there’s action planned to try and ease congestion at major US ports – with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announcing the launch of six supply chain innovation teams – while newbuilds, potential new players and the growing trend of shippers chartering their own vessels might affect the current, stressed supply and logistics chains.

“Only time will tell, but for now it’s difficult to rule out further rates gains in the coming months. How big they will be is up for debate… and that’s why we’d recommend everyone to tap into the latest insights and intelligence to try and assert a level of flexibility and control in this unpredictable market.”

Xeneta’s XSI® is compiled from the very latest crowd-sourced ocean freight rate data aggregated worldwide. Companies participating in the benchmarking and market analytics platform include names such as ABB, Electrolux, Continental, Unilever, Nestle, L’Oréal, Thyssenkrupp, Volvo Group and John Deere, amongst others.

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

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

Xeneta banner

About Xeneta

Xeneta is the leading ocean and air freight rate benchmarking and market intelligence platform transforming the shipping and logistics industry. Xeneta’s reporting and analytics platform provides liner-shipping stakeholders the data they need to understand current and historical market behaviour – reporting live on market average and low/high movements for both short and long-term contracts. Xeneta’s data is comprised of over 280 million contracted container and air freight rates and covers over 160,000 global trade routes. Xeneta is a privately held company with headquarters in Oslo, Norway and regional offices in New York and Hamburg.

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IN CONVERSATION: Channel deaths: the UK has clear legal responsibilities towards people crossing in small boats

UK Border Patrol vessel. Picture: courtesy Shipspotting
UK Border Patrol vessel. Picture: courtesy Shipspotting

Mariagiulia Giuffré, Edge Hill University

At least 27 people have drowned in the English Channel attempting to cross in a small boat. There were three children, seven women, one of whom was pregnant, and 17 men.

Although a joint search and rescue operation was seemingly launched in the narrow maritime area between the UK and France (which is only 20 miles wide), the highly equipped authorities of both coastal states were not able to intervene in time to save the victims.

The British government has responded to these deaths by calling on France to take back anyone who attempts the crossing.

Speaking in parliament following the tragedy, Home Secretary Priti Patel placed heavy emphasis on the French government’s responsibility for the tragedy, which she said was “not a surprise”.

Regardless of how these people got there, the UK has clear legal responsibilities to anyone who finds themselves in trouble in the Channel. However much French authorities bolster their own efforts, the UK is obliged by multiple international conventions to maintain robust search and rescue operations in the area.

What are the UK’s obligations?

It is not legal to send boats crossing the Channel back to France. Pushbacks are illegal (regardless of whether smugglers use smaller or larger vessels to transport migrants), and states have an obligation under the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue to disembark everyone rescued or intercepted at sea at a place of safety, which can only be on dry land.

The UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants has concluded that this is because every person has a right to have their protection claim individually assessed before removal. And in January 2021, the UN Human Rights Committee established that Italy was liable for failing to cooperate in saving the lives of more than 200 people who drowned in waters that fall into Malta’s search and rescue jurisdiction, because Italian authorities had knowledge of the distress event and did not intervene in due time.

The UK has responsibilities towards people coming towards its shoreline on boats. According to Article 98(1) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, nations have a duty to provide assistance to people in distress. It states that they should “proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress, if informed of their need of assistance”.

The International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue states that a rescue operation can be effectively considered concluded only when the shipwrecked are disembarked at a place of safety.

The duty under this convention is one without qualification. Any person in distress “regardless of [their] nationality or status […] or the circumstances in which they are found” should be rescued.

Crucially in the case of the UK, Article 98(2) of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea requests states to promote the establishment, operation and maintenance of effective search and rescue services. “Every coastal state” is obliged to do this and is responsible for its violation if the inadequacy or inefficiency of its search and rescue service contributes to loss of life at sea.

Therefore, regardless of whether France boosts its shoreline patrols to prevent people from entering the water in the first place, the UK must continue to rescue people at sea.

The English Channel is a highly monitored area. On top of naval patrol, it is subject to aerial surveillance. Drones operate in the area and thermal cameras are deployed to seek out people. Once the maritime rescue coordination centre of a coastal state has knowledge of a distress event at sea, it has a duty to intervene – a duty, which exists even if the boat calls from the outside of its territorial waters or search and rescue areas.

Once a boat enters UK territorial waters, the UK’s primary responsibility for search and rescue is triggered. Nor is there any grey area when it comes to the Dover Strait – the narrowest part of the Channel across which most flimsy migrant boats travel. Here, there are no international waters. France and the UK are so close that as soon as vessels leave French waters, they enter UK waters. The UK’s primary responsibility is triggered the moment a boat leaves French waters.

A duty to work together

The UK and France also have a duty of cooperation under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the Search and Rescue Convention to prevent loss of life at sea and ensure completion of a search and rescue operation. This includes a responsibility on both sides to contact the other’s authorities as soon as they receive information about people in danger and to cooperate on search and rescue operations for anyone in distress at sea.

Despite media coverage, European countries, including the UK, are not facing a migration crisis comparable to that of 2015, when more than a million refugees reached Europe by sea. Even if they were, and even during a public health emergency, their discretion in determining how to react is not absolute.

A duty to protect life exists for governments, not only under refugee and human rights law, but also under the law of the sea on search and rescue. Whatever the political pressures at home, the UK has signed up to multiple conventions that require it to cooperate to provide prompt assistance, save lives, and deliver the shipwrecked to a place of safety.The Conversation

Mariagiulia Giuffré, Reader (Associate Professor) in Law, Edge Hill University

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

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WHARF TALK: tanker with a story – BW ZAMBESI

Interesting view of the LR1 tanker BW Zambesi. approaching the tanker berth. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Interesting view of the LR1 tanker BW Zambesi. approaching the tanker berth. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Sometimes a vessel’s name can be a giveaway as to who her owners are, especially if that shipowner is long standing in the industry. Occasionally, amalgamations and partnerships cloud ownership names with, and acronyms further muddy the nomenclature waters. Sometimes the source of the acronym is an eye opener.

On 24th November at 10h00, the LR1 Panamax tanker BW ZAMBESI (IMO 9399310) arrived off Cape Town and immediately entered Cape Town Harbour and proceeded to the long Tanker Berth in the Duncan Dock. She had arrived fully laden from Al Ruwais in the UAE. Her discharge took four days, and on 28th November at 12h00, she sailed from Cape Town, bound for Fujairah in the UAE.

The tanker BW Zambesi arrives at the port of Cape Town and is escorted in by several harbour tugs. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The tanker BW Zambesi arrives at the port of Cape Town and is escorted in by several harbour tugs. The tug in this picture is Umbilo – an appropriate choice as, like the tanker, the tug is named for one of Africa’s rivers. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her voyage across the Gulf of Oman, with its diminishing threat of piracy, shows that BW Zambesi has anti-boarding measures deployed. Along her accommodation block and around her stern, at main deck level, she has a bespoke line of plastic barriers that prevent boarding ladders, or grapples, from being used against her whilst she is underway. Also her three, usually open, deck slots on her main deck, next to her accommodation block, have been completely covered over, and sealed, again to deter boarders.

The tanker BW Zambesi arrives at the port of Cape Town and is escorted in by several harbour tugs. Picture by 'Dockrat'
A closer view of BW Zambesi. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2010 by Dalian Shipbuilding at Dalian in China, BW Zambesi is 229 metres in length and has a deadweight of 76,578 tons. She is powered by a single Doosan MAN-B&W 6S60MC 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, providing 16,642 bhp (12,240 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 15 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar 6N21AL-UV generators providing 750 Kw each, and a single SISU-Valmet emergency generator. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg exhaust gas AQ-2 boiler, and two Alfa Laval Aalborg oil fired Mission OL composite boilers. She has 12 cargo tanks, and a cargo carrying capacity of 85,609 m3.

The orange plastic devices are intended to prevent boardings of the ship by thieves or pirates. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The orange plastic devices are intended to prevent boardings of the ship by thieves or pirates. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Owned by BW Group of Hamilton in Bermuda, BW Zambesi is operated by BW Maritime of Singapore, and managed by BW Fleet Management Pte. Ltd., also of Singapore. She operates within the Hafnia Tankers Pool, out of Singapore, and is engaged in worldwide spot market trading. She is one of eight sisterships in the BW fleet, all named after rivers.

The BW Group is an amalgamation of two of the world’s great bulk shipping concerns. Namely Bergesen ASA of Oslo in Norway, and Worldwide Shipping of Hong Kong. Hence the Bergesen ‘B’, and the Worldwide ‘W’ that precedes ‘Zambesi’ in her name. The company was initially called Bergesen Worldwide, but became known as BW in 2005, two years after the amalgamation of the two companies.

These devices are clearly meant as a deterrent and are another example of the innovative measures that ship opertators have had to take in recent years. Picture by 'Dockrat'
These devices are clearly meant as a deterrent and are another example of the innovative measures that ship operators have had to take in recent years. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Bergesen ASA was founded in 1935 by Sigval Bergesen. It was taken over by Worldwide Shipping in 2003 and, at the time, it was the largest shipping company in Norway. Maritime historians will know this is the company that owned the two OBO vessels, Berge Istra and Berge Vanga, which vanished with all hands in 1975, and 1979, respectively.

Worldwide Shipping was founded in 1955 by Sir Y.K Pao. Within 20 years of its founding, it was the biggest shipping company in the world, with a fleet totaling over 20 million tons deadweight. By 1979 the Worldwide Shipping fleet was larger than the combined Merchant Navy fleets of the United States of America, and Soviet Russia.

Here's the obligatory iew of BW Zambesi with Table Mountain looking its finest. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Here’s the obligatory view of BW Zambesi with Table Mountain looking its finest. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In this day and age of regular crude oil imports to the SBM at Durban, for the local refinery, what few people are aware of is that for a period of 40 years, the US Government banned the export of American crude oil from the Gulf of Mexico, with that export ban from the USA only coming to an end in 2014.

In July 2014 BW Zambesi became the first tanker for 40 years to load a full export cargo of around 400,000 barrels of American condensate, which is an ultra light crude. The cargo was loaded in the oil terminal of Galveston in Texas, for discharge in South Korea. The cost of that first voyage, with its first export cargo, was US$1.8 million (ZAR29.3 million).

Finally the tanker BW Zambesi begins to come alongside the tanker berth where she will discharge her entire cargo. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Finally the tanker BW Zambesi is ready to come alongside the tanker berth where she will discharge her entire cargo. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The condensate cargo was purchased by the American oil trading company Westport Petroleum, who also chartered the BW Zambesi to carry the cargo. Westport Petroleum then sold the cargo on to the GS Caltex refinery, at Yeosu in South Korea. As a Panamax tanker, BW Zambesi made the trans-Pacific voyage via the Panama Canal. It was the first of three such cargoes purchased by the same company for export to South Korea.

In June 2020, whilst at anchor off the port of Merak in Indonesia, BW Zambesi was boarded by unknown thieves, who able to steal engine spares, and make their getaway without anyone on the ship being made aware of the boarding. The thefts were only discovered the next day.

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Life Saving Signals

Life Saving Signals to be used by ships, aircraft or persons in distress, when communicating with life-saving stations, maritime rescue units and aircraft engaged in search and rescue operations have been republished by the United Kingdom’s Southampton-based Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Life Saving Signals, issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

The signals may be SEEN HERE


The signals illustrated in this leaflet are those to be used by any ship or person in distress when communicating with search and rescue units. They have been agreed internationally for this purpose and it is important that seafarers are familiar with them to ensure they are correctly used in distress situations.

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS), as amended, in Regulation 29 of Chapter V requires seafarers to have access to this table.

Seafarers are advised to keep a copy on board, or if this is not practicable, at least to study the table before going afloat and this is particularly important for leisure users.

Administrations are advised to bring this document to the attention of their maritime communities.

Paul Ridgway

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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IN CONVERSATION: Omicron is the new COVID kid on the block: five steps to avoid, ten to take immediately

Though not concerning maritime or freight logistics, we include this for informational interest

Shabir A. Madhi, University of the Witwatersrand

South Africa reacted with outrage to travel bans, first triggered by the UK, imposed on it in the wake of the news that its genomics surveillance team had detected a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Network for Genomics Surveillance in South Africa has been monitoring changes in SARS-CoV-2 since the pandemic first broke out.

The new variant – identified as B.1.1.529 has been declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation and assigned the name Omicron.

The mutations identified in Omicron provide theoretical concerns that the variant could be slightly more transmissible than the Delta variant and have reduced sensitivity to antibody activity induced by past infection or vaccines compared to how well the antibody neutralises ancestry virus.

As vaccines differ in the magnitude of neutralising antibody induced, the extent to which vaccines are compromised in preventing infections due to Omicron will likely differ, as was the case for the Beta variant.

However, as vaccines also induce a T-cell response against a diverse set of epitopes, which appears to be important for prevention of severe COVID, it is likely that they would still provide comparable protection against severe COVID due to Omicron compared with other variants.

The same was observed for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Despite not protecting against the mild-moderate Beta COVID in South Africa, it still showed high levels of protection (80% effective) against hospitalisation due to the Beta and Gamma variants in Canada.

In view of the new variant, there are a few steps that governments shouldn’t be taking. And some they should be taking.

What not to do

Firstly, don’t indiscriminately impose further restrictions, except on indoor gatherings. It was unsuccessful in reducing infections over the past 3 waves in South Africa, considering 60%-80% people were infected by the virus based on sero-surveys and modelling data. At best, the economically damaging restrictions only spread out the period of time over which the infections took place by about 2-3 weeks.

This is unsurprising in the South African context, where ability to adhere to the high levels of restrictions are impractical for the majority of the population and adherence is generally poor.

Secondly, don’t have domestic (or international) travel bans. The virus will disseminate irrespective of this – as has been the case in the past. It’s naive to believe that imposing travel bans on a handful of countries will stop the import of a variant. This virus will disperse across the globe unless you are an island nation that shuts off the rest of the world.

The absence of reporting of the variants from countries that have limited sequencing capacity does not infer absence of the variant. Furthermore, unless travel bans are imposed on all other nations that still allow travel with the “red-listed” countries, the variant will directly or indirectly still end up in countries imposing selective travel bans, albeit perhaps delaying it slightly.

In addition, by the time the ban has been imposed, the variant will likely have already been spread. This is already evident from cases of Omicron being reported from Belgium in a person with no links to contact with someone from Southern Africa, as well as cases in Israel, UK and Germany.

All travel bans accomplish in countries with selective red-listed countries is delay the inevitable. More could possibly be accomplished by rigorous exit and entry screening programmes to identify potential cases and mandating vaccination.

Third, don’t announce regulations that are not implementable or enforceable in the local context. And don’t pretend that people adhere to them. This includes banning alcohol sales, whilst being unable to effectively police the black market.

Fourth, don’t delay and create hurdles to boosting high risk individuals. The government should be targeting adults older than 65 with an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine after they’ve had two shots. The same thing goes for other risk groups such as people with kidney transplants, or people with cancer and on chemotherapy, people with any other sort of underlying immuno-suppressive condition.

South Africa shouldn’t be ignoring World Health Organisation’s guidance which recommends booster doses of high risk groups. It should de-prioritise, for the time being, vaccinating young children with a single dose.

Fifth, stop selling the herd immunity concept. It’s not going to materialise and paradoxically undermines vaccine confidence. The first generation vaccines are highly effective in protecting against severe COVID-19, but less predictable in protecting against infection and mild COVID due to waning of antibody and ongoing mutations of the virus. Vaccination still reduces transmission modestly, which remains of great value, but is unlikely to lead to “herd-immunity” in our lifetimes.

Instead we should be talking about how to adapt and learn to live with the virus.

There is also a list of things that should be considered in the wake of the Omicron variant, irrespective of whether it displaces the Delta variant (which remains unknown).

What to do

Firstly, ensure health care facilities are prepared, not only on paper – but actually resourced with staff, personal protective equipment and oxygen, etc.

There are 2000 interns and community service doctors in South Africa waiting for their 2022 placement confirmation. We cannot once again be found wanting with under-prepared health facilities.

Provide booster doses of J&J or Pfizer to all adults who received a single dose J&J. It’s needed to increase protection against severe COVID. A single dose of the J&J vaccine reduced hospitalisation due to Delta variant in South Africa by 62% in South African healthcare workers, whereas two doses of AZ and mRNA vaccines in general had greater than 80%-90% protection against severe disease from the Delta variant.

Studies confirm a two dose schedule of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is superior in protecting against hospitalisation than a single dose. And if you want durability of protection, you need to boost, which can be done with another dose of Johnson & Johnson or a dose of mRNA vaccine.

The evidence is clear that the type of immune responses from a heterologous approach of AZ or JJ followed by a mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer/Biontech induces superior neutralising and cell mediated immune responses than two doses of the non-replicating vector vaccines.

Thirdly, implement vaccine passports for entry into any indoor space where others gather, including places of worship and public transport. Vaccination might be a choice currently, however, choices come with consequences. Even if vaccines only reduce transmission modestly, over and above the infections they prevent, a breakthrough case in a vaccinated individual poses less risk of transmission to others than infection in an unvaccinated and previously uninfected individual.

Fourth, continue efforts at reaching out to the unvaccinated and under-immunized. This should include the use of pop up facilities where people are likely to gather and other targeted community outreach programs.

Fifth, immediately boost high risk groups older than 65 and others who have immunosuppressive conditions. The primary goal of vaccination therefore needs to be on reducing severe disease and death. This requires targeted strategies on who to prioritise.

Sixth, encourage responsible behaviour to avoid re-imposing alcohol and other restrictions to punish all due to irresponsibility on part of a minority.

Seventh, monitor bed availability at regional level to help decide on regional action to avoid overwhelming of facilities. Higher levels of restrictions need to be tailored for when we expect overwhelming of health facilities. As hospitalisation usually lag behind community infection rates by 2-3 weeks, keeping an eye on case rates and hospitalization rates could predict which facilities in which regions may come under threat.

This would allow for a more focused approach to imposing restrictions to relieve anticipated pressure on health facilities 2-3 weeks before expected. This will not change the total number of hospitalisations. But it will spread it out over a longer period of time and make it more manageable.

Eighth, learn to live with the virus, and take a holistic view on the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic on livelihoods. The detrimental indirect economic, societal, educational, mental health and other health effects of a sledge-hammer approach to dealing with the ongoing pandemic threatens to outstrip the direct effect of COVID in South Africa.

Ninth, follow the science and don’t distort it for political expediency.

Tenth, learn from mistakes of the past, and be bold in the next steps.The Conversation

Shabir A. Madhi, Dean Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor of Vaccinology at University of the Witwatersrand; and Director of the SAMRC Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand

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

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Yara Birkeland, first fully electric & automated containership readies for service

The world's first fully automated container ship, Yara Birkeland, sailing in the Oslo Fjord. Picture courtesy Yara
The world’s first fully automated container ship, Yara Birkeland, sailing in the Oslo Fjord. Picture courtesy Yara

The world’s first fully automated battery-powered electric container ship, YARA BIRKELAND (IMO 9865049), has completed her first automated voyage from Horten in Norway to Oslo, a journey of about 100 kilometres on Norway’s south coast.

Built in 2020 at the Vard shipyard, the almost 80-metre long, 3120-dwt container ship will enter service as a feeder ship for Yara Fertilisers, operating a regular service transporting mineral fertiliser to Yara’s Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik, from where products are shipped across the world.

The actual short-sea feeder journey is not long, but every day more than 100 diesel truck journeys by road are needed to transport products from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant.

By converting to the use of an electric powered automated container ship, the product will be delivered with reduced noise and dust emissions, improved safety on local roads, and a reduction of NOx and CO2 emissions.

The vessel has been undergoing extensive testing since being launched last year and will employ an automatic mooring system and loading/unloading. Yara Birkeland will carry up to 120 TEU at a time and the company is hoping to eliminate between 36,000 and 40,000 road trips by diesel-powered truck journeys a year.

Kongsberg is responsible for the development and delivery of all key enabling technologies on Yara Birkeland including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous operations, in addition to the electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems.

The batteries are provided by Swiss Leclanche packing seven megawatt hours over eight battery rooms, the equivalent of 100 Tesla cars.

Batteries: 7 MWh
Propulsion: Azipull pods 2 x 900 kWTunnel thrusters 2 x 700 kW
Cargo capacity: 120 TEU Deadweight 3120t
Main particulars: Length over all (LOA) 80 m, Beam 15 m
Depth: 12 m
Draught (fully loaded) 6.3m
Economic speed: 6-7 knots (Max speed 13 knots)

Yara Birkeland. Picture by Tomas Ostberg, courtesy: Shipspotting
Yara Birkeland. Picture by Tomas Ostberg, courtesy: Shipspotting

Yara Birkeland has been operating with a crew but after further testing of the technology that renders the ship as fully automated, the ‘bridge’ will be removed leaving the ship’s brain to navigate and operate the machinery.

“This isn’t about replacing the sailors, it’s replacing the truck drivers,” said Yara project manager Jostein Braaten, speaking on the ship’s removable bridge.

He said that sensors will be able to quickly detect and understand objects like kayaks in the water so the ship can decide what action to take to avoid hitting anything.

The system should be an improvement over having a manual system. “We’ve taken away the human element, which today is also the cause of many of the accidents we see,” he said.

The project has received financial support from Enova, a Norwegian state-owned enterprise responsible for the promotion of renewable energy, which allocated it the equivalent of US$ 15.2 million.

While it may be some time before we see automated crewless ships plying the seven oceans, a successful outcome of this Norwegian project may lead to more electrification of river and short-sea feeder transport.

“Yara Birkeland is the start of a major contribution to fulfilling national and international environmental impact goals. The new concept is also a giant step forward towards increased seaborne transportation in general,” said Geir Håøy, President and CEO of Kongsberg.

Watch now a short YouTube video of the Yara Birkeland project [2:13]

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UECC takes delivery of world’s first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid car carrier

UECC's new hybrid battery pure car & truck carrier, Auto Advance. Picture: UECC
UECC’s new hybrid battery pure car & truck carrier, Auto Advance. Picture: UECC

United European Car Carriers (UECC) has taken delivery of the world’s first dual-fuel LNG battery hybrid Pure Car & Truck Carrier (PCTC) which should provide significant gains in energy efficiency and emissions reduction.

The vessel, named AUTO ADVANCE (IMO 9881299), is the first in a series of three newbuild pure car and truck carriers (PCTC), each measuring 169 by 28 metres and with capacity for 3,600 vehicles on 10 cargo decks. Auto Advance has been delivered from China’s Jiangnan Shipyard and is on delivery voyage to Nagoya in Japan. The remaining two sister vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2022.

Auto Advance is sailing under the flag of Madeira.

UECC chief executive Glenn Edvardsen described this as another big step forward in eco-friendly ship operations. “Having brought into operation the first-ever dual-fuel LNG PCTCs five years ago, this shows we walk the talk,” he said.

“This is also a technological milestone as the successful performance of the vessel in sea trials has vindicated our confidence in the viability of this innovative solution.”

UECC logo

Technology puzzle

LNG battery hybrid technology, together with an optimised hull design for better fuel efficiency, will enable these newbuilds to exceed the IMO requirement to cut carbon intensity by 40% from 2008 levels within 2030, says UECC.

Emissions of carbon dioxide will be reduced by around 25%, SOx and particulate matter by 90% and NOx by 85% from the use of LNG, while the newbuilds will also meet the IMO’s Tier 3 NOx emissions limitations for the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

Dual-fuel engine technology has now been combined with an energy storage system (ESS), supplied by Finland’s WE Tech, incorporating a battery package from Corvus Energy that will be charged by a permanent magnet, directly driven shaft generator or dual-fuelled generators.

The ESS, which will provide power to the main switchboard with a DC link for power distribution, will enable peak shaving for the main engine and auxiliaries to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, with a controllable pitch propeller, bulb rudder and dual-fuel boiler also part of the power system.

These vessels will require only two auxiliary dual-fuel gensets, in addition to the main engine, as the ESS and shaft generator provide a spinning reserve to eliminate the need for another genset that would normally be required.

Auto Advance banner

Smart energy management

Battery capacity is based on detailed modelling of the vessels’ expected operational profile to economise on installation, with payback time for the ESS estimated at only five years, according to UECC’s head of ship management and newbuilding Jan Thore Foss.

The hybrid solution, which has gained DNV’s Battery Safety notation, will be steered by an intelligent energy management system, supplied by Kongsberg Maritime, that will serve as a control system for overall energy production and consumption – essentially the ‘energy brain’ of the vessel.

Batteries can be most efficiently charged while at sea using the shaft generator so that they are fully charged when entering port, enabling the vessel to manoeuvre in port using bow thrusters driven solely by battery power that can also supply the ship’s other energy needs while it is docked.

“This will effectively eliminate emissions while in port and these vessels are also equipped to connect to green power from shore that is becoming increasingly available in order to reduce harmful emissions of NOx, SOx and particulate matter,” Foss says.

Operational flexibility can deliver significant fuel efficiency gains and Foss believes this, combined with a low-emissions profile, will give the vessels an advantage in the European market as EU plans to include shipping in the Emissions Trading System are set to hike costs for pollutive vessels.

UECC logo

Fuel optionality

“LNG is presently the most environment-friendly and widely available low-carbon fuel, with an estimated emissions reduction of around 25% compared with other fossil fuels,” says UECC’s energy and sustainability manager Daniel Gent.

“We are therefore taking advantage of the best available fuel solution now and combining this with hybrid technology to further cut emissions. But we are not locked into LNG and these dual-fuel engines are also ready to use alternative low-emission fuels such as biofuel, bio-LNG and synthetic LNG as these become commercially and technically viable.”

Edvardsen claims that UECC, jointly owned by green-focused players NYK and Wallenius Lines, is presently the only shipping company in its regional market segment that is investing in sustainable newbuilds.

“UECC has already achieved a substantial reduction in the carbon intensity of its fleet, but we aspire to do much more,” Edvardsen says.

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Critically ill patient airlifted from ship 45 n.miles off Richards Bay

A SAAF Oryx helicopter of 15 Squadron at the Durban Air Force Base
A SAAF Oryx helicopter of 15 Squadron at the Durban Air Force Base

At 13h00 on Saturday, 27 November, NSRI Durban Airborne Sea Rescue (ASR) crew, SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron pilots and flight crew and Netcare 911 rescue paramedics departed from the SAAF Durban 15 Squadron Air Force Base aboard an air force Oryx helicopter to rendezvous with a bulk carrier motor vessel to airlift a critically ill patient to hospital.

The emergency had been coordinated after MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) alerted Durban ASR and Netcare 911 on Friday evening to prepare for the mission.

At the time the vessel was still deep sea off the East coast of Africa and making best speed towards the South African coastline.

Meanwhile the patient’s condition was being evaluated by satellite phone by a WC Government Health EMS duty doctor, who provided medical advice for treatment on board the ship.

The NSRI Richards Bay station was placed on alert and marine communications established with the assistance of Telkom Maritime Radio Services.

On Saturday afternoon, the SAAF Oryx helicopter rendezvoused with the motor vessel 45 nautical miles off-shore of Richards Bay and an NSRI rescue swimmer and two Netcare 911 rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the ships deck.

The patient, a 34 year old Indonesian man, was transferred into the care of the rescue crew and secured into a specialised stretcher. Accompanied by a rescue paramedic the patient was hoisted into the helicopter followed by the two remaining rescuers.

Sea conditions were rough but manageable although strong winds prevailed throughout the operation.

Advanced Life Support medical procedures were applied to the patient by the rescue paramedics and the patient was airlifted directly to a Durban hospital in a critical condition.

The NSRI advises that the rescue team and all services involved are keeping the patient and his family and colleagues in their thoughts while the doctors and nurses continue with medical care for the patient.

As an indication of the complexity of such a rescue operation, the following organisations were involved with the logistics and coordination of this sea rescue:

MRCC, NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre), NSRI Durban, NSRI Ballito and NSRI Richards Bay duty controllers, Netcare 911 duty controllers, WC Government Health EMS control, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority), Port Health Authority and Police Sea Borderline Control. Source: Lorenzo Taverna-Turisan, NSRI Durban deputy station commander.

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Panic over seismic surveys off the Wild Coast

The seismic survey vessel Amazon Warrior, seen arriving at Cape Town, is at the centre of a controversy off the Wild Coast. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

While much of South Africa’s attention remains with the Covid-19 pandemic and the recently discovered B.1.1.529 Omicron variant that is already prevalent in a large number of countries, including here in southern Africa, another controversy has raised its emotive head – that of the Shell seismic survey about to be conducted off the Eastern Cape Wild Coast.

While not getting into details of the many and sometimes quite unfounded if not absurd claims levelled by those who foresee environmental disaster as the survey gets underway – that information is already readily available in many of the mainstream and activist-type publications, we suggest you take a look at a few links covering both sets of views.

If you haven’t been following this furore, start with reading an article by Sunday Times Editor-at-large & columnist, Peter Bruce, who possibly set the cat among the pigeons, found here Don’t buy this Shell on the sea shore.  Unfortunately this requires a subscription to gain full access.

Tongue in cheek, and knowing the area and its roads, we were left wondering what type of vehicle Mr Bruce drives when he visits his old hometown of Mthatha. It is here that he advises readers to avoid the Ultra City petrol station on the outskirts of the town, because it is a Shell facility and Shell is responsible for the planned seismic survey off the coast. We wonder if he questions where and how the fuel comes from that he will eventually use, or how that brand was made possible.

Read also a News24 article that summarises some of the frenzy over the plans. Shell blasted: Public outrage mounting over seismic survey on Wild Coast

The reporting on this matter has drawn a surprising amount of argument either in favour of the survey or in telling the activists to go check their facts.

In doing so the other side of the coin presents a more reasoned view. A good summary is found in BizNews, Shell’s Wild Coast adventure – other side of the sonar exploration argument, with correspondence from several quarters, but make sure you read the article by Igo Vegter, Panic over seismic surveys off the Wild Coast in that same publication.

Alternately, you can also read Igo Vegter’s article in The Daily Friend the online publication of the Institute of Race Relations.

After all that, decide for yourself.

Last word, or maybe not: Government comments

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has been drawn on the matter of the seismic survey, saying it has noted concerns about the forthcoming seismic survey which is to be conducted by Shell and Impact Africa Limited off the coast of South Africa.

Pointing out that the seismic survey has been authorised under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MRPDA), which under section 39(2) of the Act requires the submission of an environmental management plan, the department said:

“The Minister of Minerals Resources and Energy is the Minister responsible for the administration of the MPRDA.

“The department said, therefore, that the Minister responsible for environmental affairs is not mandated to consider the application or to make a decision on the authorisation of the seismic survey.

“It should be noted that since the coming into effect of the One Environment System on 8 December 2014, the application process for the seismic survey was finalised. All decisions made under the MPRDA at the time remain valid and binding, until set aside by a court of law”.

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Mozambique launches sixth hydrocarbon licensing round

On Thursday last week Mozambique’s National Petroleum Institute (INP) launched the sixth licensing round for exploration for hydrocarbons.

In this latest round, 16 new areas became available: five in the Rovuma Basin, seven in the Angoche area (off the coast of Nampula province), two in the Zambezi Delta and two near the mouth of the Savé river. In total, this covers an area of over 92,000 square kilometres, reports AIM.

Mozambique map

The process will last six months with the results being announced in October 2022.

“With this tender, we intend to assess the national petroleum potential, and the resources discovered will be made available to society to drive Mozambique’s socio-economic development,” said INP chairperson, Carlos Zacarias,

The launch ceremony, which was made available online, was addressed by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela.

Huge reserves of natural gas have already been found in offshore areas one and four of the Rovuma Basin off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado. In the south of the country, the Pande and Temane onshore fields, in Inhambane province, are already being exploited by the South Africa’s petro-chemical company, Sasol.

The politics behind the exploration and exploitation of natural gas is highly charged. Some argue that gas is a transition fuel offering huge improvements over coal and diesel, whilst others see it as impeding the energy transition by competing with renewable energy for investment.

The Rovuma Basin covers 17,000 square kilometres onshore and a further 12,500 square kilometres offshore.

Meanwhile, the Mozambique Basin, stretching from the Zambezi Delta to the border with South Africa, covers an area of half a million square kilometres. source: AIM

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Shipping needs action from IMO member states on concrete climate change initiatives

On of the more encouraging factors during the recent COP26 was to see the maritime sector being included in the discussion between governments, with international liner shipping companies, who for some time have been taking the lead when it comes to commitments as well as investments in actual technology development, being at the fore in Glasgow calling for government action.

Some promising coalitions and declarations were launched and going into the IMO MEPC 77 (Maritime Environmental Protection Committee) held in the latter part of last week, there was a positive undercurrent.

But, says John Butler, President & CEO of World Shipping Council (WSC), it is then all the more disappointing to watch the same governments that were making lofty statements at COP26 just days ago, again fail to walk the talk when it comes to real action at the IMO.

John Butler, President & CEO of World Shipping Council (WSC)
John Butler, President & CEO of World Shipping Council (WSC)

“The goal for liner shipping is clear: move away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible. The people of the world depend on trade, and we must make efficient trade possible without the climate impact of today – the sooner the better. It is a moral imperative, keenly felt by us working in the industry, as much as it is what our customers and investors demand.”

Butler said the challenge as a hard-to-abate sector is that the technology and fuels needed for a transition to zero are not yet available.

“We see the direction, and now need to drive progress towards a tipping point where the technologies for zero-GHG shipping can be applied and a clear demand picture can drive availability of and infrastructure for alternative fuels.

“That is why IMO member countries inexplicable stalling is so dangerous. We can talk all we want about the ambitions for 2050, but unless we put initiatives to drive real progress in place, we are not going to get there.”

Butler said the WSC members are among the carriers exploring and investing in alternative technologies and solutions, but this will not be enough to change the entire industry. “It also risks leaving some countries, sectors, and companies behind. A global industry is dependent on global infrastructures and global market-based measures to drive change.

“Our appeal to political leaders and regulators is to not get stuck in a cycle of ambition bidding, but to take action for inclusive change in the shipping industry. Whilst we are disappointed there was no decision, the MEPC 77 saw a notable increase in the number of nations supporting the establishment of an industry-financed research fund, pushing US$ 5 billion into R&D towards zero-GHG technologies that will be available to all nations.

“The initiative is ready to launch, has support from the Green Climate Fund, and we will keep supporting member nations working for a positive resolution at MEPC 78.”

The WSC says that zero-GHG vessels can be on the water by the early 2030s. With technologies in place, progress has the potential to be quick, especially with market-based measures to help the adoption of zero-GHG technologies and ensure the availability of well-to-wake zero-GHG alternative fuels.

“Debating ambitious targets for far-away deadlines avoids the more difficult discussions on discrete actions to be undertaken and should not be mistaken for actual progress. We need the political establishment to move from targets to action,” said Butler.

About World Shipping Council

The World Shipping Council is is a non-profit trade association with offices in Brussels, Singapore and Washington, D.C. and is the united voice of liner shipping, working with policymakers and industry groups to shape the future growth of a socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, safe, and secure shipping industry. You can read more at HERE

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Maritime security: IMO promotes a whole of government approach

IMO security training programme held in Djibouti

A regional workshop in Djibouti has promoted IMO’s whole of government approach to maritime security in the western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden area.

An event from 22 to 25 November was attended by twenty-three senior government officials from eleven Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) signatory States* at the Djibouti Regional Training Centre.

This IMO-led workshop supported the objectives of the Jeddah Amendment to promote inter-agency cooperation and whole of government approach to maritime security, focusing on developing national capability and thereby building strong foundations for greater regional cooperation.

It was reported that participants were taught relevant skills and were familiarised with the IMO model for developing a National Maritime Security Committee, a National Maritime Security Risk Register and a National Maritime Security Strategy.

Speaking at the workshop, HE Otsuka Umio, Japanese Ambassador to Djibouti, thanked IMO for developing the programme and underscored the importance of provisions of the DCoC/JA in enhancing maritime security in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

The course is funded through a Japanese contribution to the Djibouti Code of Conduct Trust Fund.

* Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, and Yemen

Paul Ridgway

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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WHARF TALK: From Cape to Rio (not quite) – NAVE ATRIA

The MR2 oil products tanker Nave Atria which recently called at the port of Cape Town. Picture by Helmut Seger / MarineTraffic
The MR2 oil products tanker Nave Atria which recently called at the port of Cape Town. Picture by Helmut Seger / MarineTraffic

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

As things go, due to the continued shutdown of the Astron Energy refinery in Cape Town, the last eighteen months has seen a plethora of MR and LR tankers arriving in a constant stream to bring in all the fuel needs that the Western Cape, and further afield, requires.

What is not a normal occurrence is when a tanker arrives that is not discharging fuel. There have been one or two tanker arrivals that simply required some shoreside engineering support, a service that Cape Town is very adept at providing. Occasionally, a tanker calls in merely to take on bunkers. Rarely has there been a tanker arriving for both reasons.

On 22nd November the MR2 tanker NAVE ATRIA (IMO 9459060) arrived at 10h00 from the French overseas territory of Reunion Island, in the Indian Ocean. She went straight to the Table Bay anchorage for 24 hours, and at 10h00 on 23rd November she entered Cape Town Harbour.

Nave Atria on the berth in the port of Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Nave Atria on the berth in the port of Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

However, she did not proceed to any of the three tanker berths in the Duncan Dock, but instead went alongside the Landing Wall. In any case, her draught, almost light ship, gave a strong clue that she had not arrived with the intention of discharging any refined fuel product cargo at Cape Town.

Although her current voyage had started with loading at both the oil terminals of Jurong Island in Singapore, and at nearby Tanjung Pelepas, across the Johor Strait in Malaysia, it was obvious that Nave Atria had discharged her complete products cargo when alongside in Reunion.

No sooner had she gone alongside her berth, when the large, Cape Town based, bunker tanker Al Safa came alongside Nave Atria and proceeded to transfer bunker fuel across to her. Once the minor engineering requirement was sorted out, and her bunkering operation was complete, all of which took less than 24 hours, Nave Atria sailed from Cape Town at 08h00 on 24th November, bound for São Sebastão in Brazil.

Nave Atria called at Cape Town for bunkers and some minor maintenance. Picture by 'Dockrat
Nave Atria called at Cape Town for bunkers and some minor maintenance repair. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2012 by Dae Sun Shipbuilding at Busan in South Korea, Nave Atria is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 49,992 tons. She is powered by a single STX MAN-B&W 6S50MC-C8 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, providing 11,510 bhp (8,466 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14.5 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 850 kW each. She has an Alfa Laval Aalborg exhaust gas Economiser boiler, and an Alfa Laval oil fired CHO boiler. She has 12 cargo tanks, with a cargo carrying capacity of 53,960 m3.

Nominally owned by Antiparos Shipping Corporation of Panama, Nave Atria is operated by Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation, of Athens, and whose houseflag she bears on her funnel, and she is managed by Navios Tankers Management Incorporated, also of Athens.

Her destination port in Brazil, São Sebastão, is located 52 miles northeast of the port of Santos. The oil terminal at the port, known as the Terminal Marine Admiral Barroso (TEBAR), is owned by Transpetro, who are a subsidiary of the Brazilian state owned energy company, Petrobras. TEBAR is the largest oil terminal operated by Transpetro in Brazil.

Here Nave Atria is seen with the bunkering tanker Al Safa alongsice, refueling her for the journey across the South Atlantic. Picture by 'Dockrat'
Here Nave Atria is seen with the bunkering tanker Al Safa alongside, refueling her for the journey across the South Atlantic. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

TEBAR has four berths, with two import berths provided for VLCC tankers, who bring crude oil direct from the nearby offshore oil production platforms in the Santos Basin, and two further export berths for MR and LR product tankers. The imported crude oil supplies a total of four major oil refineries, located across São Paulo State.

The four refineries are linked to TEBAR by two major crude oil import pipeline networks, with a further pipeline network provided for refined fuel products such as petroleum, diesel and aviation gasoline (AVGAS), to be exported from São Sebastão to third countries, or for domestic distribution around the Brazilian coast.

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Tanga port expansion pays off as bigger ships start calling

The Marshall island-flagged ultramax bulk carrier Star Fighter which became the second of the 'big' ships to call at the port of Tanga since the port expansion programme was carrier out. Picture by Pete Dixon / Shipspotting
The Marshall island-flagged ultramax bulk carrier Star Fighter which became the second of the ‘big’ ships to call at the port of Tanga since the port expansion programme was carried out. Picture by Pete Dixon / Shipspotting

The port of Tanga recently received one of the largest ships to call at the northern Tanzanian harbour, the 61,455-dwt Ultramax bulk carrier, STAR FIGHTER (IMO 9642198).

The bulker arrived from Saudi Arabia with a 50,000 tonne cargo of clinker destined for Prime Cement in the Musanze region of northern landlocked Rwanda.

The clinker is being transported to Rwanda by road transport.

The arrival of Star Fighter follows the arrival earlier in the month of a liquid bulk tanker that spent two days on her berth discharging her cargo of fuel. She was the first of the ‘big ships’ to arrive since the expansion programme for Tanga took place.

Star Fighter was welcomed by a delegation of government and port officials, led by the Tanga Regional Commissioner, Adam Malima, who were at the docks to greet the arriving vessel.

The port is now capable of handling such vessels, Star Fighter having a length of 200 metres and a beam of 32m.

Malima said the arrival of the two ships was a milestone for Tanga and that the government investment in the port of Tanga was now bearing fruit, with more such large ships expected in the future.

He said that as a result Tanga could be expected to increase its cargo throughput from 750,000 tonnes to 3 million tonnes of cargo annually.

The upgrading of the port would prove beneficial by means of increasing government revenue while stimulating small-scale business activities. The port is now able to host bigger ships, which was something not possible before the expansion took place.

The commissioner called on Prime Cement to call a meeting with Tanzanian road haulers and other transport logistic firms to negotiate how the cement company will use their trucks to move the consignment to Rwanda.

Mvayo Fabrice, the Business Operations Manager at Prime Cement said his company chose to use the port of Tanga because its geographical position makes it easier to access by road while also reducing cargo ship traffic at the ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa.

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IMF warns against limiting Mozambique’s gas developments

The FLNG Coral Sul, which is expected to be on site and producing LNG from the Eni-headed consortium in the Rovuma basin
The FLNG Coral Sul, which has completed construction and is expected to be on site offshore northern Mozambique and producing LNG from the Eni-headed consortium in the Rovuma basin   Picture Eni

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative in Mozambique, Alexis Meyer-Cirkel,advised last week against limiting the development of the country’s gas projects.

His comments came against a framework of mounting international pressure calling for a reduction of new fossil fuel developments.

Dr Alexis Meyer-Cirkel, economist with the IMF
Dr Alexis Meyer-Cirkel, economist with the IMF

Meyer-Cirkel said he acknowledged the fact that climate change introduced “obvious negative effects”, but said the consumption of fossil fuels is a global problem and was not one to be solved at the expense of one country or another.

He said Mozambique is a country that emits very little carbon in proportion to its population of 30 million people, compared to other countries in the world.

“I don’t think that any move against those investments is very sensible,” he said. Meyer-Cirkel was responding to questions from the public following a virtual presentation on Mozambique and the region’s economic outlook.

He pointed out that “the transition to renewable energy sources will take some time, and this transition can only be made with non-renewable sources, at least for a while.

“Mozambican gas is reasonably clean,” he said, compared to other non-renewable sources.

“I think that this discussion, an impediment to Mozambique developing its wealth, disproportionately penalises a country that has not contributed, like others, to the creation of the problem – and which is a poorer country.”

IMF logo
IMF logo

It is expected that during 2022 Mozambique will start exporting liquefied natural gas from the Rovuma basin, via the offshore Eni FLNG. The Rovuma basin has some of the largest LNG reserves in the world. It is forecast that gas will play a key role in the Mozambican economy in the next decade.

The IMF expects Mozambique will grow 2.5% this year, with the gross domestic product (GDP) having already grown 1.78% to September, according to official figures.

After the disclosure in 2016 of Mozambique’s US$2.7 billion ‘hidden debts’, the IMF suspended support to Mozambique. However it lent the country €104 million in 2019 in humanitarian and reconstruction support after cyclones Idai and Kenneth devastated large parts of the country.

Then in 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic was declared, the IMF provided €564 million in support to Mozambique, about half of it in a loan to be repaid “only after the production, export and tax revenues of liquefied natural gas start”, the organisation announced at the time. source: Lusa

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Nigerian railway staff suspend strike but demand action on working conditions

Nigerian railway workers who suspended a threatened three-day strike last week say they may still embark on action unless the Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC) urgently addresses the issues of contention, especially those surrounding low payment.

According to the railway workers and confirmed by the NRC, the basic take-home pay for locomotive drivers is Naira (N) 26,000, the equivalent of US$63 (R1,027) per month.

Innocent Ajiji, the President-General of the Nigerian Union of Railway Workers (NURW), said the railway staff are the most poorly paid among government employees who fall under the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

Ajiji pointed out that the minimum wage is N30,000 per month but when deductions of contributory housing scheme, pension, union dues and tax, is taken into account, the take-home salary reduces to N26,000.

One of the new Nigerian Railway Corporation's SGR locomotives operating on the Lagos-Ibadan section
One of the new Nigerian Railway Corporation’s SGR locomotives operating on the Lagos-Ibadan section.   NR

He said it was of interest that the NRC’s passengers who ride on the trains are insured. Every bit of freight carried by train is insured, “but funnily enough, those operating the trains are not insured.

“You could remember that four weeks back, there was a bomb blast on the train tracks. If something had happened to those drivers, I am assuring you that the only thing that government would have paid them is expenses allowance which is less than N1 million [$2,438 or R40,000].”

Ajiji claimed the last time the welfare of railway workers was reviewed was in 1978 but the recommendations of that review were not implemented until 1983.

He said these were the reasons the union decided to embark on a three-day strike.

However, this was suspended after meetings with the NRC board and another in the federal capital, Abuja with the management and the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

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