Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 23 January 2022

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The Monday masthead shows the Port of Mombasa
The Tuesday masthead shows the Port of Apapa (Lagos)

The Wednesday masthead shows the Port of East London
The Thursday masthead shows the Port of Durban Sugar Terminal
The Friday masthead shows the Port of Durban T-Jetty
The Saturday masthead shows Port of Durban Container Terminal
The Sunday masthead shows the 
Port of Port Durban Container Terminal by night





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MSC Eyra departing Durban. Picture by Keith Betts, in Africa Ports & Ships
MSC Eyra departing Durban. Picture by Keith Betts
MSC Eyra. Picture by Kieth Betts in Africa Ports & Ships
MSC Eyra departing Durban. Picture by Keith Betts
Kapitan Kozlovskiy (MSC Eyra). Picture: Derek Sands / Shipspotting in Africa Ports & Ships
Kapitan Kozlovskiy (MSC Eyra) at Tilbury. Picture by Derek Sands / Shipspotting

One of the older container ships to be seen in South African waters in recent years is the 21,370-dwt MSC EYRA (IMO 8201648), which is shown here departing from Durban after a call lasting just one day, which is not entirely surprising considering her container capacity is a mere 1438 TEU.

Size is not everything of course, although age, it appears, often is, as photographer Keith Betts has promptly declared the ship to be his ‘Ship of the Month’ – a bold statement considering January wasn’t even halfway through when the ship called and sailed. He did add the proviso “so far” however, showing his experience in these matters.

MSC Eyra was built in 1982, thus placing her as in her 40th year, which is not bad going for any busy container ship, and MSC Eyra has been busy over those years, with a number of different and varied operators and involving a number of name-changes. She began life, and ship’s DO have lives, they ARE living pieces of steel and machinery, the same as with steam locomotives, with every one having their little differences each with quirks and characteristics. But before becoming too carried away and nostalgic, let’s stick to some basic facts.

MSC Eyra was built in East Germany at the shipyard of Warnowerft in the district of Warnemunde in Rostok. It seems the ship immediately entered service with the Russian Baltic Sea Shipping Company, one of the older and since 1982 more successful shipping companies dating back to 1835. The newbuild was named KAPITAN KOZLOVSKIY with Leningrad as her homeport and sailing under the USSR flag, although together with her sister ships, Kapitan Gavrilov and Kapitan Kanevskiy, also built in 1982, and Nikolay Tikhonov(1983) and Tikhon Kiselev (built 1984) they operated with a fair degree of non-interference from the Soviet authorities on a service between Europe and South-East Asia, with a port rotation of Hamburg-Bremerhaven-Gothenburg-Rotterdam-Antwerpen-Tilbury-Havre-Jidda-Singapore-Bangkok-Manila-Hong Kong-Taiwan-Singapore-Keelung-Penang-Jidda-Hamburg). The fleet was also traded on the open charter market.

In 1995, with the Russian economy now in tatters, BSC began selling off some of its fleet. In that year Kapitan Kozlovskiy was renamed briefly CGM Le Cap, and later that year Miden Agan. In 1997 she became Maersk Toronto – which lasted until June 2000 when the ship reverted to the name Miden Agan, until February 2004. In that year MSC acquired the ship and named her MSC Eyra.

Today a ship with the capacity of MSC Eyra would be considered mostly for feeder-type duties, or on isolated trade lanes where traffic is minimal but necessary. Her registered nominal owner is shown as NSM Eyra Shipping, care of Niki Shipping of Athens, Greece who are also her ship and commercial managers. MSC Shipmanagement of Limassol, Cypress are the ISM managers, which provides a hint or two of the convoluted world of ship owners and operators. What we can say with certainty is that MSC Eyra is flagged in Panama.

MSC Eyra is 203 metres in length with a beam of 26 metres. When she sailed from Durban in the past week she was bound for Abu Dhabi where she is due on 26 January 2022. In our pictures below we see the ship departing from Durban, and we include a ShipSpotting shot of her in her Balt-Orient line colours.

MSC Eyra.       Pictures by Keith Betts and Derek Sands




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Mauritius waters: Wakashio wreck removal: Team completes offshore operations

Technical operations to remove the wreck and all the associated debris from the Wakashio, offshore of Point d’Esny, Mauritius, were concluded on 16 January. The final actions of the wreck removal team were to recover sections of ship debris that were lying up to 500 metres from the stern section, it was reported this week. Readers of Africa Ports & Ships will recall the grounding and total loss of this Japan-owned, Panama-flagged bulker in July 2020.

The whole wreck removal operation has not been without its challenges. The exposed, shallow water, high energy location was difficult for the team and the crane barge to operate at and provided numerous technical challenges.

Impressive craneage

Nonetheless, the impressive and unique crane barge, Hong Bang 6, has proven to be the right tool for the job. Once sea conditions allowed, the crane barge and its powerful grab, with a massive 5,000 ton closing force, were able to dismantle the wreck and remove the wreck piece by piece. The tenacious team of Lian Yuangang DALI Underwater Engineering have worked hard over the past four months to bring this special mission to a successful conclusion.

As the wreck was declared a total loss and the authorities in Mauritius had issued a wreck removal order, the Owners and their protection and indemnity insurer, Japan P&I, turned to specialist marine consultancy firm brand MARINE CONSULTANTS (bMC) based in Germany and operating worldwide.

In October 2020, bMC was requested by the vessel’s owners and Japan P&I to assess the available options, to carry out the difficult task of the wreck removal and give its expert opinion on the options. Following an in-depth review of all possible methods and suitable equipment, bMC was convinced that Hong Bang 6 would prove to be the most effective tool available.

That has now been shown to be the case. The consultant bMC has remained in Mauritius since the initial incident, giving uninterrupted assistance to the Owner and insurer.

Following conclusion of the offshore recovery operation, senior bMC consultant Captain Ajay Prasad commented: “The removal of the aft section of the Wakashio from this location was always going to be a tough task, and it certainly proved to be so. The key for us was to identify the fastest method for the removal of Wakashio and we are pleased that removal works were completed safely after just 30.7 days of crane operations at the worksite.

“The sea conditions at the site have been difficult as expected. Added to that, the team have had to manage logistics in this remote location and considering some of the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, it has added another layer of problems for us all to solve. But, after a huge effort by the whole team, we are there.”

The project suffered setbacks, such as delays in assets arriving at the work site which pushed the removal into a two-season operation. But there have been some exciting times too.

Adeline Goh, Naval Architect of bMC said: “Getting the main engine of the Wakashio out was a real buzz. After months of planning and countless hours of modelling and calculations, to see the 600 ton engine safely sitting on the deck of the Hong Bang 6 was a proud moment”.

Local support

The project was very well supported by local companies: POLYECO and IMMERSUB, also by CELERO and SAMLO.

What remains now (as at 20 January) is the shore side dismantling of the scrap metal at the shore base in Port Louis, to allow transport of the metal by road to a smelting and production facility operated by SAMLO. The shore side works can be expected to take approximately one more month. Hong Bang 6 will soon be a feature of the past in Mauritius waters. It will be collected by a semi-submersible heavy lift ship in the coming days that will transport it back to China.

A great job done

Captain Dennis Brand, Managing Director of brand MARINE CONSULTANTS, recently arrived in Mauritius to witness first-hand the final stages of the project.

He summed up his thoughts: “I am proud of the whole team here and I thank them for all their efforts. Lian Yuangang DALI have done a great job. So have every one of the contractors working on the project. The Mauritius people and numerous Island companies have lived and breathed this project with us. Without their support and patience, the job would not have been possible, and I am glad that things can go back to normal now.”

Paul Ridgway

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Added 19 January 2022


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WHARF TALK: anchor handling tug – BOKA GLACIER

The anchor handling tug Boka Glacier in the harbour at Cape Town. Picture is by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The anchor handling tug Boka Glacier in the harbour at Cape Town. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

It’s been a busy old time at the bespoke Dormac engineering quay, located at Berth 501 in the Ben Schoeman Dock in Cape Town harbour. Recent activity has included a Pipelayer, an Antarctic supply vessel, a Tristan da Cunha supply vessel, a large stern trawler and not one, but two large anchor handling tugs. The latter two being from the same company and, to the tug aficionado, one of them looked vaguely familiar.

On 8th January at 07h00, the large ocean towing vessel BOKA GLACIER (IMO 9344796) arrived off Cape Town from Port Louis in Mauritius. She entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded directly to the Dormac 501 berth in the Ben Schoeman Dock, a clear sign that she required a little bit of engineering support, or to fix a maintenance issue.

Boka Glacier is the second Boskalis tug to call at Cape Town this year. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Boka Glacier is the second Boskalis tug to call at Cape Town this year. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2006 as the fourth of five sisterships, by Niigata Shipbuilding at Niigata in Japan, ‘Boka Glacier’ is 75 metres in length and has a deadweight of 3,567 tons. She is powered by no less than four Wärtsilä 6L32 6 cylinder 4 stroke main engines, each producing 4,080 bhp (3,000 kW) and driving two, nozzled, controllable pitch propellers for a service speed of 14.5 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes two Caterpillar 3408C generators providing 370 kW each, and an emergency generator providing 124 kW. She has two CHO oil fired boilers. For added manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster providing 825 kW, and a stern transverse thruster providing 736 kW.

The tug was in port for maintenance purposes. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The tug was in port for maintenance purposes. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built as a long distance ocean towing vessel, with full anchor handling capability, ‘Boka Glacier’ has a bollard pull of 205 tons. She provides 384m2 of deck space for anchor handling operations, and she has two fire monitors capable of pumping 1,200m3/h, which gives her a FiFi 2 capability. She operates with a crew of 12, but can carry an additional 24 personnel when undertaking towing operation, or when on other special contracts that require extra crew.

Owned and operated by Royal Boskalis Westminster NV of Papendrecht in Holland, ‘Boka Glacier’ is managed by Boskalis Offshore Fleet Management, also of Papendrecht. For those observers who think she looks vaguely familiar, ‘Boka Glacier’ and her four sisters were built for Fairmount Marine BV of Rotterdam, and she and her sisters have been regular callers at Cape Town, and other South African ports, throughout their careers.

The ample accommodation area (for 12 regular crew) and bridge of Boka Glacier. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The ample accommodation area (for 12 regular crew) and bridge of Boka Glacier. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She was launched as ‘Fairmount Glacier’, and had an unmistakable, though ugly, colour scheme of green, white and orange. Her then owners, Fairmount Marine, were purchased by Royal Boskalis Westminster in 2014. By 2019, all five of the sisters had been repainted into Boskalis grey, and had a name change from ‘Fairmount’ to ‘Boka’, in line with all other members of the Boskalis fleet.

As well as many long distance ocean tows made by ‘Boka Glacier’, her capabilities have also had her being involved in many salvage operations. In February 2014, at the request of Tsavliris Salvage, she steamed for 1,720 nautical miles at full speed, into the middle of a stormy North Atlantic Ocean, to take the disabled bulk carrier ‘Cassiopeia Star’ in tow. The tow covered a further 1,950 nautical miles and ‘Boka Glacier’ delivered her charge back to the safety of the port of Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands.

The vessel's large well deck. Picture by 'Dockrat' , in Africa Ports & Ships
The vessel’s large open deck. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Prior to that in January 2012 she was mobilised out of Cape Town by Five Oceans Salvage, and proceeded to Maputo, in Mozambique, where the bulk carrier ‘Akiba’ had gone hard aground. It took two attempts by ‘Boka Glacier’ to free ‘Akiba’, and she was towed back to Richards Bay to discharge her cargo. Once complete, ‘Boka Glacier’ towed her to Durban where ‘Akiba’ was drydocked for hull repairs.

One of her earliest, and most poignant, salvage operations was in 2009, when she was used in the search for the missing Air France airliner in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Brazil. Air France flight AF447, an Airbus A330-200, disappeared at night and in bad weather. Using acoustic listening devices called Towed Pinger Locators, provided to ‘Boka Glacier’ by the United States Navy, she tried to locate the Underwater Locator Beacons of the missing airliner, but without success. The wreck of the airliner was discovered later, and partially recovered.

Boka Glacier alongside at the Dormac repair quay. Picture by 'Dockrat' , in Africa Ports & Ships
Boka Glacier alongside at the Dormac repair berth. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her normal role of ocean towage has seen her regularly calling at Cape Town for bunkers whilst in the employ of the oil and gas industry. These include when she towed the FPSO Cidade de Anchieta, from a Singapore shipyard to Brazil, or when towing the FPSO Pazflor, from a South Korean shipyard to Angola. Her last visit to Cape Town was in January 2021 when she called for bunkers when towing the FPSO Carioca, from a Chinese shipyard to Brazil.

The last visit of ‘Boka Glacier’ to South African waters was in April 2021 when she called at Ngqura. On this current call at Cape Town, her two day maintenance call at Dormac ended on 10th January at 13h00, when she sailed from Cape Town, bound for Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil.

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Africa becoming patrol boat country

Penguin's Flex Fighter patrol craft. Picture: Penguin Shipyard, in Africa Ports & Ships
Penguin’s Flex Fighter patrol craft. Picture: Penguin Shipyard

Africa is increasingly becoming a haven for patrol boats, small and easy to man and inexpensive to operate. Even South Africa has managed to get in on the play, with a small number of inshore patrol boats being currently fitted out at a shipyard in Cape Town.

These will replace the ageing former strike craft based at the South African naval base on Salisbury Island in Durban, of which several were converted at a Durban shipyard to enable them to carry out the duties of offshore patrol boats.

In fact small less-costly to operate patrol boats are far more suitable even for a country with a rich naval heritage such as South Africa. With modern local naval requirements, having an effective fleet of patrol boats makes much more sense than large blue-water ships that spend most of their time either undergoing expensive repairs and overhaul, or moribund and out of service in the dockyard.

In West Africa it is truly patrol boat territory, with oil platforms at sea to guard and pirates and other criminal gangs rife along many parts of the long West African coast.

Ghana is the latest to receive a batch of these small, fast and highly manoeuvrable craft – in this case four new Flex Fighter patrol boats that will go into service with the Ghanaian Navy in protecting the country’s emerging oil installations.

The four craft arrived recently from the Singapore Penguin Shipyard carried as deck cargo on the heavylift vessel, BBS NILE, and have been discharged onto the quayside at the port of Takoradi, which is the closest seaport to the offshore oil installations and close to the Western Naval Command at Sekondi.

The vessels have been named Volta, Densu, Pra and Ankobra and will take over duties of protecting the oil and gas infrastructure from civilian-owned vessels.

Each aluminium-hulled boat is 40 metres in length and is powered by three Caterpillar C32 main engines each developing 1,450 hp, capable of providing a top speed of 28 knots. They are fitted with 360 degree wheelhouse ballistic protection (STANAG Level I), machinegun mounts with gunner shields forward and aft, and cabins and amenities for 12 security personnel, according to the Penguin Shipyard specification. Up to 54 people can be carried in seated positions.

Closer to South Africa, Mozambique is the recipient of two Indian-built Solas Marine fast interceptor boats that were delivered during the recent visit to Maputo by the Indian tank landing ship, INS KESARI.

INS Kesari arrived in the Mozambique capital on 25 December, making the handing over seem something of a Christmas gift. The Indian ship also carried 500 tons of food for distribution among drought-stricken areas. The 16-metre craft, T310 and T 311) were handed over at a ceremony held in the port two days later.

Solas Marine is situated in Sri Lanka and has supplied about 80 vessels in all to the Indian Navy in recent years. The two now handed over to the Mozambique Navy are not new, having come from service with the Indian Navy.

Utilising a water-jet propulsion they are capable of reaching a top speed reported as 45 knots. The cabins are armoured against light-arm fire and the craft are themselves usually armed with a machine gun.

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Added 20 January 2022


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Morocco Belt & Road deal opens Chinese gateway to Mediterranean

With the signing of an agreement between Morocco and China for a Belt & Road Initiative project, which includes several joint ventures and increased Chinese investment, the way is open for China to exploit a gateway linking Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.

With Morocco’s Tanger Med container port now having become the biggest and busiest container transshipment terminal in the whole of Africa (see report above), an indeed the Mediterranean region, China will be able to take advantage of the link between Africa and Europe while possibly focusing less on other African ‘gateways’.

A total of five North African countries, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco have signed a Belt & Road memorandum of understanding (MoU) but Morocco is the first to sign the actual implementation of the plan, with its specific cooperation and projects involving China on a specific timetable.

The plan includes the two nations creating joint ventures in the energy industry, and more Chinese investment in Morocco’s health, financial and agricultural industries.

According to Associate Professor, Zhang Yuyou, at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at China’s Northwest University, cooperation between the countries would focus less on the resources trade and more on Morocco’s geographical advantages.

“In the past, China’s cooperation in the region was mainly with resource-rich countries, but Morocco is an exception. The cooperation between the two countries can create a less resource-based cooperation model,” said Zhang.

He said Morocco could be used as a transit point for China to link Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, citing the example of Chinese car part makers in Morocco being able to sell parts directly to Europe at low cost. “Morocco is China’s important potential bridgehead in the Mediterranean,” he said.

Morocco retains geopolitical and historical ties with Europe that dominate its trade. source: South China Morning Post

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IN CONVERSATION: Airline tie-up for Kenya and South Africa: possible rewards, and risks

Eric Tchouamou Njoya, University of Huddersfield

Africa has 357 airlines, the top 10 of which carried more than 60% of traffic. This reflects the fact that many airlines on the continent are very small: some have as few as two aircraft. Between them the airlines carried 95 million passengers in 2019, according to Routes, an online source of information on route announcements.

Airlines operating on the continent face particular challenges.

Firstly, the industry has to contend with huge disparities in economic and air transport development. There is also an uneven distribution of international air passenger traffic across regions and within countries. The traffic is predominantly centered in a few hubs in North, East and South Africa; and in the large and medium-size cities.

Other challenges include high costs of operation, market protectionism as well as safety and security concerns.

There are very few profitable African airlines. In 2020, only the Ethiopian Airlines made a profit in the continent. And with financial woes compounded by COVID-19, it is likely many more airlines will go under.

Two of the continent’s biggest carriers – South African Airways and Kenya Airways – are under financial stress. Both have made significant losses over the past few years and lost market share and destinations to competition. South African Airways came close to being wound up, but for its part Kenyan Airways reported losses of $333 million for the 2020 financial year.

In November, the two national airlines signed a Strategic Partnership Framework, formalising their plan to set up a pan-African airline in 2023.

In my view the partnership will only succeed if certain conditions are met. The two most important ones are that, firstly, there must be strong national and political agreement and will. But, secondly that the tie-up must be driven by the private sector.

My recent research on Air Afrique’s failure found that the airline was doomed by conflicting national objectives and some of the 11 participating countries were unhappy with what they called a subordinate role.

The case for a partnership

A range of academic studies show that alliances affect the production costs of participating airlines through economies of scale (by means of joint operations of air and ground services), increased traffic density (through network expansion and additional traffic feed) and scope (through increased reach and efficient connections).

Joint ventures, have been, and will continue to be, the key in the future development of airline business. Air France and KLM are good examples why airlines are better off working together. Both have experienced significant growth since getting together in 2004.

Some of alliance arrangements may lead to a reduction in costs and increased efficiency. But they do not necessarily lead to a reduction in competition in the market.

Apart from these benefits, an alliance between South African Airways and Kenya Airways would be good for a number of reasons specific to Africa.

Firstly, it would help them overcome some of the existing market challenges, such as market access restrictions, increased competitions from major non-African airlines such as Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Europeans carriers.

Secondly, the alliance could take advantage of a return to pre-COVID travel levels. The International Air Transport Association anticipates a full return to 2019 air traffic levels in late 2023.

And it’s estimated that air transport will grow on average by 3.2% over the next decades in Africa and by 4.8% if African States implement the Single African Air Transport Market.

Thirdly, it would enable them to create and encourage a market services specialisation among airline operators. Airlines may specialise on feeder services and fly destinations with smaller demand and catchment areas. An example of this type of specialisation include the interlining agreement between Ethiopian and Airlink.

In my view, the cooperation deal would also improve the financial viability of the two national airlines. They could pool maintenance services and reduce costs by pooling purchases, sales and financial transactions. It would boost customer volumes if cost savings were passed on to customers by means of lower fares.

Introducing services in the South African market would be a great addition for Kenya Airways and vice versa. With their hub-based model, (a hub is a central airport that flights are routed through), cooperation will help to boost the route networks of both airlines across Africa.

Why alliances fail

Many alliances don’t achieve the desired outcome. Examples include KLM – Alitalia, and the European Quality Alliance which brought together Air France, SAS and Swissair.

Alliances fail for various reasons. Studies show that ineffective governance, insufficient quality of alliance members and internal competition in the alliances are the most common reasons.

Other studies show that more than 50% of strategic alliance fail due cultural differences, mistrust or poor operational integration.

In the case of Africa, the two airlines have to contend with the fact that there isn’t a single African air transport market. Most of the continent’s 54 countries have their own national arrangements or have under-performing state-owned airlines, resulting in protectionist policies.

There is hope that this will change. The Single African Air Transport Market, which by November last year had been signed by 35 countries, envisages a share aviation space. This would enable eligible airlines from one African state to fly into another using only a prior notification procedure.

But there’s a great deal of work that still needs to be done for this to become a reality.

A number of other factors could stymie the proposed alliance.

A big one is the governance structure, which is the oversight required to make and implement decisions essential to the success of an alliance. Elements of governance include legal form, communication structures, cultural differences, trust and commitment.

Yet another factor will be the extent to which the two governments allow efficient decision making to happen. Airline managers should be left to select a course of action – and then to get on with it. This could be difficult given that the state owns substantial stakes in South African Airways; same case with Kenya Airways where the Kenyan government’s share holding is 48.9%.

Other factors include trust, transparency and communication about what both airlines do together and what they don’t do together. Establishing trust and ensuring that both airlines understand each other’s goals and objectives and that they are the same is key.

Recipe for success

A strategic alliance is similar to a marriage. In most cases there is no perfect match. To be successful partnerships must be nurtured and well managed. Mapping out all the stakeholders that are relevant to the story and are going to help the partners achieve the key performance indicators set out in the alliance is paramount.

In my opinion, setting clear performance measures is important, as they will set the partners on a path that is measurable.The Conversation

Eric Tchouamou Njoya, Senior Lecturer in Air Transport, Department of Logistics, Marketing, Hospitality and Analytics, University of Huddersfield

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

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Added 20 January 2022


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Revised version of ‘Shipping Industry Guidance on Pilot Transfer Arrangements’ is released

A correctly-rigged pilot's ladder. Picture: ICS, in Africa Ports & Ships
A correctly-rigged pilot’s ladder. Picture: ICS

Shipping Industry Guidance on Pilot Transfer Arrangements, Third Edition

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has issued an updated guidance, the Shipping Industry Guidance on Pilot Transfer Arrangements to remind seafarers and companies of the vital importance of adhering to the rules and established procedures concerning the provision of safe boarding arrangements for pilots.

Marine pilots have the right to decline to board vessels offering defective boarding arrangements, which can result in serious delay. Pilots are also entitled to report defects in boarding arrangements to port state control authorities, which could lead to a full port state control inspection with the risk of delay and financial penalties.

Cover in Africa Ports & Ships

A pilot who has climbed a correct ladder, well rigged, and attended by an officer and a deck party will be in the right frame of mind to give their best attention to the safety of the vessel.

The ICS together with the International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) have produced this guidance in collaboration with industry partners; Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), International Group of Protection and Indemnity Clubs (IGP&I), International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA), INTERCARGO, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and The Nautical Institute.
A new section outlining the International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidance on combination embarkation platform arrangements has been added in this new edition.

Produced in response to industry concerns over pilot safety, it covers provisions for a trapdoor arrangement in combination ladders, and the minimum size of the opening and rigging procedures, based on guidance from the International Maritime Organization.

Compliant combination ‘trapdoor’“The consensus among the maritime stakeholders we spoke to for this updated pilot transfer arrangements guide was that the ladders themselves are fine – the issue is how they are rigged and whether crew have undergone the right training to ensure the safest operating procedures are applied,” said Gregor Stevens, Senior Marine Advisor at ICS.

The updated guide comes after Captain Simon Pelletier, Chairman of the International Maritime Pilots’ Association, urged the IMO to prohibit a dangerous pilot transfer ladder arrangement linked to a fatality in New York on 30 December 2019.

Compliant combination ‘trapdoor’ in Africa Ports & Ships
Compliant combination ‘trapdoor’

In his letter to the IMO on 17 January 2020, Captain Pelletier highlighted the case of Captain Dennis Sherwood, aged 64, who fell to his death while boarding the Maersk Kensington containership as it arrived at the Port of New York and New Jersey. He was using a combination arrangement of a pilot ladder and an accommodation ladder, the typical set-up when the ship’s point of access is more than nine metres from the water.

For this arrangement, Captain Sherwood had to climb through a trapdoor in the platform of the accommodation ladder. This requires a pilot to pull themselves up through the trapdoor while twisting to get a secure footing on the platform.

Captain Pelletier added that this “controversial” trapdoor arrangement had long been considered unsafe by pilots. He also urged all flag states, port states and ship operators to do whatever it took to “get rid of this arrangement immediately”.

The ICS/IMPA pilot transfer arrangements guidance complies with the IMO convention on minimum safety standards in shipping (SOLAS), making it an essential reference tool for all vessel crews around the globe.

Within the guide, seafarers and companies are reminded why it is vitally important to adhere to the rules and established procedures for safe boarding arrangements for pilots.

The Shipping Industry Guidance on Pilot Transfer Arrangements,
which can be accessed    HERE
accompanies the ICS Bridge Procedures Guide, Sixth Edition.

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Added 20 January 2022


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Work commences on construction of the new port of Ndayane, Senegal

As dignitaries assemble the foundqation stone of the new port at Nfayane is ceremonially laid, in Africa Ports & Ships
As dignitaries assemble the foundation stone of the new port at Nfayane is ceremonially laid.  Picture: DP World

With the laying of the first ceremonial stone, work has commenced on building the new port of Ndayane in Senegal.

Ndayane is situated about 50km from the existing port of Dakar and is the largest port investment by DP World in Africa, as well as the largest single investment ever made in Senegal.

Construction will be over two phases costing more than US$ 1 billion for the development of the port.

The stone laying ceremony follows the concession agreement signed in December 2020 between DP World and the Government of Senegal to build and operate a new port at Ndayane.

The ceremony was attended by His Excellency, Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, as well as a number of Presidents of institutions, members of the Government of Senegal, and local communities.

“As the leading enabler of global trade, we will bring all our expertise, technology and capability to this port project, the completion of which will support Senegal’s development over the next century. We thank President Sall, his government, and the Port Authority for the trust and confidence placed in us,” said Sultan bin Ahmed Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DP World.

Phase 1 of the development of the port will include a container terminal with 840 metres of quay and a new 5km marine channel designed to handle two 336m vessels simultaneously, and capable of handling the largest container vessels in the world.

The terminal will increase container handling capacity by 1.2 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year. In phase 2, an additional container quay of 410 metres will be developed.

DP World’s plans also include the development of an economic/industrial zone next to the port and near the Blaise Diagne International Airport, creating an integrated multimodal transportation, logistics and industrial hub.

President Macky Sall called the creation of the new port vital for economic development, saying that Senegal will have state-of-the-art port infrastructure that will reinforce the country’s position as a major trade hub and gateway in West Africa.

“It will unlock significant economic opportunities for local businesses, create jobs, and increase Senegal’s attractiveness to foreign investors,” the president said. “We are pleased to extend our collaboration with DP World to this project, which has already delivered great results with the operation of the container terminal at the Port of Dakar.”

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WHARF TALK: seismic survey vessel – BGP PIONEER

Seismic survey vessel BGP Pioneer eases away from the berth in Cape Town harbour, ahead of sailing from the port for St Helena Bay. Picture by 'Dockrat;', in Africa Ports & Ships
Seismic survey vessel BGP Pioneer eases away from the berth in Cape Town harbour, ahead of sailing from the port for St Helena Bay. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Just as the idiotic, and ignorant, furore created over the intentions the Shell oil company, and of the seismic survey vessel ‘Amazon Warrior’ appear to be dying down, so another potential nemesis for the comfortably, middle class, uninformed, armchair eco-warriors arrives in South African waters to begin a similar programme.

On 16th January at 03h00 the seismic survey vessel BGP PIONEER (IMO 8709951) arrived off Cape Town from Tema in Ghana. She proceeded directly into Cape Town harbour and berthed at the Eastern Mole in the Duncan Dock, which is the regular berth for short stop bunker callers. Once she had stored, and taken on bunkers from bunker tanker ‘Southern Valour’, by 16h00 that same day, only 15 hours after arrival, she sailed for the St. Helena Bay area, up the Cape West coast.

Looking at the stern of BGP Pioneer, from which the streamers will be deployed once the ship is conducting her survey. Picture by 'Dockrat', featured in Africa Ports & Ships
Looking at the stern of BGP Pioneer, from which the streamers will be deployed once the ship is conducting her survey.  Alongside can be seen the bunker tanker, Southern Valour.   Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 1988, which makes her 34 years old, and originally built as a Norwegian deepsea stern trawler, called Sjøvik, ‘BGP Pioneer’ was converted into a Seismic Survey vessel in 2007. She was built by the Vard Soviknes Verft AS shipyard at Sovik in Norway. She is 84 metres in length and has a deadweight of 2,314 tons.

She is powered by a Wärtsilä Wichmann 12V28B 12 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 5,384 bhp (3,960 kW), driving a Wichmann, nozzled, controllable pitch propeller for a transit service speed of 11 knots, and a towing speed of 5 knots.

Here's a look at the bows or front of the ship. Picture is by 'Dockrat', in Africa Ports & Ships
Here’s a look at the bows or front of the ship. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes two Caterpillar 3516B generators providing 1,800 kW each and one Caterpillar 3412AT generator providing 635 kW. She also has a Caterpillar 3406C emergency generator providing 315 kW. To aid manoeuvrability, ‘BGP Pioneer’ has a Brunvall transverse bow thruster providing 373 kW.

Owned by BGP international, of Tianjin in China, ‘BGP Pioneer’ is operated and managed by Hilong Geophysical Co. Ltd., also of Tianjin. Her true ownership is that of the state owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and her BGP acronym is for the CNPC subsidiary, Bureau of Geophysical Prospecting. The logos of both Chinese state entities are represented on the funnel of ‘BGP Pioneer’. Until 2006, BGP were only active in land based seismic operations, only entering the maritime seismic world with the acquisition of ‘BGP Pioneer’.

A more general view of BGP Pioneer while alongside the berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa Ports & Ships
A more general view of BGP Pioneer while alongside the berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her 2007 conversion from a stern trawler, to a seismic survey vessel, was to enable her to be used for high capacity acquisition of large 3D offshore projects. Her conversion required her to be fitted with sponsons for stability. She can tow as many as six, 6,000 metre long, streamers when conducting seismic surveys.

She can carry 57 persons, and has an endurance of 50 days. For logistical support, ‘BGP Pioneer’ has a 21 metre stern helideck that is capable of taking one of the largest offshore helicopters currently in service, the Sikorsky S-92A.

And the accommodation area of the vessel. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
And the accommodation and bridge area of the specialist vessel. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Over the past year, ‘BGP Pioneer’ has worked extensively in West African waters, as well as being previously in Cape Town in both February and March 2021, and has been a visitor to South African waters many times over the past ten years. BGP activities in Africa are highlighted by the fact that they have offices located in 13 African countries, namely Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Congo, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia.

The contract that ‘BGP Pioneer’ will begin shooting shortly, is on behalf of Searcher Seismic, of Perth in Australia, in conjunction with PetroSA. Searcher Seismic have already acquired almost 100,000 km of 2D seismic data in South African waters over the years.

BGP Pioneer in Cape Town harbour prior to departing for St Helena Bay and the West Coast. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa Ports & Ships
BGP Pioneer in Cape Town harbour prior to departing for St Helena Bay and the West Coast. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The current 3D seismic survey will take place on the Cape West coast of South Africa between the Orange River Mouth, on the border of South Africa and Namibia, and Cape Columbine, located just north of Saldanha Bay. The survey will cover 10,000 km2, and is in water depths of over 2,000 metres, up to 20 km offshore, and is expected to take up to 55 days to complete.

After this survey is completed, ‘BGP Pioneer’ is expected to move to the Cape South coast to conduct a 2D seismic survey in the Outeniqua Basin and its sub-basins. These are Bredasdorp, Infanta, Pletmos, Gamtoos, Algoa and Southern Outeniqua Basins. This survey is expected to cover 22,000 km2 of 2D seismic.

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Benin to digitise and safeguard its coastline

The container terminal at Cotonou, one of West Africa's busiest. in Africa Ports & Ships
The container terminal at Cotonou, one of West Africa’s busiest   Port of Cotonou

Norwegian technology company Vissim has been awarded a contract by the Government of Benin to deliver a coastal monitoring system designed for improved environmental monitoring and safer passage along Benin’s coastline and ocean area.

The contract is funded by Export Finance Norway with the ultimate objective of increasing international trade between Norway and Benin.

Benin Minister of Defence, Fortunet Alain Nouatin and Finance minister, Romuald Wadagni co-signed the contract with Vissim’s CEO, Per Henæs.

“For us, this system means that it will be easier to conduct safe trade with Benin, with the positive social development it entails,”Wadagni said.

“In addition, we create fertile ground for new investments that are conditional on a safe coastline and ocean areas, such as tourism and energy infrastructure. We also appreciate that Export Finance Norway offers competitive financing to facilitate our technology purchase from Vissim.”

Vissim is a software developer and turnkey sensor and infrastructure provider for advanced marine optimisation systems around the globe. The company is headquartered in Horten, Norway.

“We will essentially digitise the coastline and ocean area offshore Benin, plus the country’s busiest port, Cotonou. This enables the authorities to enhance protection of the local environment, combat illegal fishing, improve maritime safety, optimise port efficiency, and thereby contribute towards lower greenhouse gas emissions from shipping,” Per Henæs said.

24/7 operating window

The core of Vissim’s technology is a specially designed software platform which through input from millions of data points creates situational awareness of the geographical area and increases understanding of maritime safety, security and efficiency. Vissim has delivered similar systems to authorities in Thailand and Egypt, plus to numerous offshore wind farms all over the world.

Centre left is Per Henæs, CO of Vissim. Centre right is Benin’s Minister of Defence, Fortunet Alain Nouatin, in Africa Ports
Centre left is Per Henæs, CO of Vissim. Centre right is Benin’s Minister of Defence, Fortunet Alain Nouatin

The system provides a real time overview of marine traffic and factors affecting it, such as weather, wind, wave height, tidal conditions and more. It also integrates data from CCTV-cameras, the automatic vessel identification system (AIS), weather stations, VHF radio traffic, and drones. The system, including all sensors, will be operational in all weather conditions, around the clock.

“Our software takes all this data and converts it via machine learning to an easy-to-understand overview that is displayed on large screens. Both the ministries of environment, fisheries, customs, coast guard, harbour authorities and police authorities can benefit from the solution,” Henæs said.

The ministry of environment can utilise the system to monitor asd prevent oil spills and illegal sewage discharge from vessels, while the ministry of fisheries can detect and prevent illegal fishing. Customs can check that vessels arriving in Benin are cleared and thereby prevent smuggling. Harbour authorities can ensure safer entry and departure and more efficient port logistics. The police can utilise the system to prevent piracy, which can be a problem for vessels that are moored in the Gulf of Guinea.

Sensor sites and control room

Vissim’s scope of work includes delivery of four sensor sites along Benin’s coastline. Each of the coastal monitoring base stations will be equipped with CCTV, radars and technology that can detect oil spills. The equipment will cover the entire coastline and up to 25 nautical miles offshore. The company will also supply drones that are equipped with advanced cameras.

Vissim will also deliver infrastructure such as servers and large screens to a 500 square metre control room that is located in Cotonou, Benin’s largest port and the country’s economic capital.

According to the contract, all equipment should be installed and operational within 15 months after contract signing, meaning by April 2023.

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Port of Pemba to handle Mozambican graphite exports

The little port of Pemba, situated in a giant deepwater natural bay many times larger than the bays of Durban or Richards Bay, in Africa Ports & Ships
The little port of Pemba, situated in a giant deepwater natural bay many times larger than the bays of Durban or Richards Bay.   Supplied

The Port of Pemba, the most northerly true port on the Mozambique coast, has succeeded in attracting the export of graphite from the district of Balama.

This was announced in Mozambique last week by the chairman of the Board of Directors of the state-owned company Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), Miguele Matabele.

“The port of Pemba will respond to the opportunities presented by the Balama graphite, and everything is being done to ensure the project comes to fruition,” Matabele said.

He disclosed that the graphite would be bagged and containerised at the dryport currently under construction on the outskirts of Pemba in an area known as ‘Ten Percent’. The dry port will have a storage capacity of 2,000 containers and warehousing for 20,000 tons of the product.

Matabele said the port of Pemba “will have to respond to the graphite of Balama and everything is being done so that this project is effectively carried out.”

CFM is making investments in the Port of Pemba to provide it with the capacity of handling 480,000 tons of general cargo.

Australia’s Syrah Resources

Australia’s Syrah Resources operates one of the world’s largest graphite mines in the Balama District of Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique. The mine is situated along the main road linking Cabo Delgado and neighbouring Niassa provinces, which ironically was last year upgraded by a Chinese company.

In December 2021 it was learned that Elon Musk’s Tesla motor company had signed an agreement with Syrah to source the graphite necessary for the batteries that power Tesla electric cars. Tesla manufactures almost a million electric cars annually and will source its requirements in graphite for the lithium-ion batteries from the company’s processing plant in Vidalia, Louisiana, in the USA, which in turn will acquire graphite from the Syrah mine in Balama, Mozambique.

The Tesla plant currently sources graphite from China where the company also manufactures and sells about 450,000 Tesla cars annually.

It is believed the move to acquire Mozambican graphite is aimed at Tesla’s intention of ramping up capacity in order to make its own batteries while reducing dependence on China. Graphite is a critical component in lithium-ion batteries.

It’s been revealed that Tesla plans to acquire 80 per cent of what the Balama plant produces — 8,000 tons of graphite per year — commencing in 2025 providing the material meets Tesla’s standards. According to the agreement. Syrah must prove the graphite meets these standards.

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IN CONVERSATION: Protected marine areas should serve nature and people: a review of South Africa’s efforts

South Africa has an impressive record of marine biological research in protected areas, but the country needs to pay greater attention to the human aspects.   Doug Lang

Judy Mann-Lang, Oceanographic Research Institute (South African Association for Marine Biological Research); Bruce Quintin Mann, Oceanographic Research Institute (South African Association for Marine Biological Research), and George Branch, University of Cape Town

Marine protected areas in South Africa and across the world have an identity crisis. For some, they’re the answer to all marine conservation challenges. They prevent habitat destruction and unsustainable resource extraction, and provide resilience against climate change.

But to others, they epitomise all that is wrong in conservation. They can deprive people of livelihoods and rights. People may lose income, food and social opportunities.

The middle of the road is hard to find.

Yes, marine protected areas are a critical tool in ocean conservation. Without them, humanity stands to lose biodiversity and economic opportunities. Oceans are critical in everyone’s survival.

And yes, in some cases marine protected areas have deprived people of livelihoods and rights. An example is some communities living in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.

So how can both people and nature be accommodated?

Conservationists and managers need to understand the complex interactions between people and protected areas. These areas have social, ecological and governance objectives. An understanding of these must be integrated into their management to enhance benefits to both people and the environment. When human and biological considerations are uncoupled, it leads to frustration and anger, which undermines conservation efforts.

The research

Our recent paper addressed this challenge. Our aim was to better understand the effectiveness of South Africa’s marine protected areas.

There are currently 41 marine protected areas around mainland South Africa. They protect a total of 5.4% of its ocean territory. Extensive ecological research has shown that, together, they provide some protection for a large percentage (87%) of the marine ecotypes found around South Africa. But while we know quite a lot about the ecological effectiveness of marine protected areas, far less is known about the social and economic effects.

This gap in knowledge is not restricted to South Africa. Worldwide, it’s only recently that socio-economic issues have been considered more formally. But there’s increasing evidence of the close correlation between the ecological performance of marine protected areas and local social factors. The evidence highlights the importance of building social and economic considerations into the planning, design, implementation and monitoring of these areas.

First we analysed the notices that declared marine protected areas, and their management plans, to see whether social and economic objectives were part of their purpose. We then reviewed academic literature published between 1985 and 2020 about the social and economic effects of South African marine protected areas.

Our analyses showed that most marine protected areas declared before 2019 didn’t include any specific objectives directly related to people or their needs. But more recently declared areas all have either social or economic objectives, or both.

We also found that social or economic research had been undertaken in less than half of the country’s 23 coastal parks. This means that their managers know very little about the people who stand to benefit or lose from a protected area.

Most previous studies have focused on the negative impacts of protected areas on adjacent rural communities, on aspects of tourism, or on topics related to resource use. International research shows that there are many other tangible and intangible effects.

There may, for example, be improved catches from the spillover of fish into adjacent exploited areas. Employment opportunities may arise in and around the protected area. The area may provide ecosystem services.

On the other hand, there could be management expenses, decreased access to resources, and loss of income from fishing. Social opportunities could be reduced.

South African research has seldom explored these and other less tangible effects, such as existence or heritage values, or impacts on a sense of place.

Perceptions about the value of marine protected areas

We used the well researched Tsitsikamma marine protected area
as a case study. It’s South Africa’s oldest marine protected area, established in 1964.

The park had a positive economic impact on the local area, bringing tourism spending and a large proportion of the local jobs. But local fishers felt restrictions on their access infringed their rights. They said they understood the need for conservation, but they disagreed with the need to close the entire park to fishing. And they continued to fish illegally. Issues of identity and culture were closely linked to access to coastal resources in this area.

This case study highlighted the very different perceptions people have of the value of marine protected areas. Perceptions range from open hostility to enthusiastic support. Intangible social, cultural and spiritual benefits or losses are critical considerations when determining the effects of protected areas. Although difficult to measure and quantify, their importance may outweigh more tangible benefits or losses.

Importantly, they largely determine the effectiveness of any conservation endeavour. Without a better understanding of people, why they do what they do, and how to communicate more effectively, many of the challenges facing conservation management will remain unsolved.

Way forward

We recommend a few ways to build this understanding.

  • Develop a clear methodology to enable stakeholders to collaboratively identify current and possible future ecological, social and economic effects.
  • Find ways to enhance tangible benefits associated with protected areas.
  • Support social science research into the effects of each marine protected area on multiple stakeholders at multiple scales (local, national and global).
  • Expand training curricula for managers of marine protected areas to cover the socio-economic effects.
  • Improve communication about marine protected areas with a wide range of stakeholders and decision makers.

While South Africa has an impressive record of marine biological research in protected areas, the country needs to pay far greater attention to the human aspects. We hope these recommendations, based on international and local information, will help to build a more collaborative approach to research, planning and management.The Conversation

Judy Mann-Lang, Conservation Strategist, Oceanographic Research Institute (South African Association for Marine Biological Research); Bruce Quintin Mann, Senior scientist, Oceanographic Research Institute (South African Association for Marine Biological Research), and George Branch, Emeritus Professor, University of Cape Town

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

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NAVAL NEWS: Chinese & Russian Navy ships enter Indian Ocean

Three Chinese naval ships, the guided missile destroyer HOHHOT (161), the guided missile frigate YUEYANG and the supply vessel LUOMAHU have departed from China bound for patrol duties in the Gulf of Aden / Somalia region.

Dubbed the 40th Chinese naval escort taskforce, they departed from the naval base in Zhanjiang in Guangdong Province last Saturday (9 January 2022) and will no doubt call at the Chinese naval base at Djibouti, and will replace the 39th escort taskforce.

The purpose of the taskforce is to escort Chinese and other ships through waters in the southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast. Although piracy is no longer the threat it once was, ships in this area have experienced suspect approaches and are also subject to interference by vessels operating out of Yemen where a civil war continues to rage.

The ships are equipped with two onboard helicopters and carry an unknown number of special operation forces.

Chinese Navy supply vessel Luomahu in Cape Town, September 2017. Picture by Ian Shiffman, in Africa Ports & Ships
Chinese Navy supply vessel Luomahu in Cape Town, September 2017. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Russian Navy enters Indian Ocean

A Russian task force has also sailed for the Indian Ocean, having departed from the Russian Pacific Fleet a couple of days before the New Year.

The task force comprises the Guards Order of Nakhimov missile cruiser VARYAG, the large anti-submarine warfare ship ADMIRAL TRIBUTS and the large sea tanker BORIS BUTOMA.

The three ships have already transited the Strait of Malacca and entered the Indian Ocean, according to the Russian Navy press office.

While passing through the Sea of Japan, the East China and South China Seas, the warships’ crew carried out a series of scheduled ship damage control drills, including timed operations to gather emergency groups, don fire-fighting outfits, search for and seal a notionally burning compartment and repair a notional hull breach.

During their long-term deployment, the Russian naval ships are scheduled to call at the ports of several states, including the Republic of Seychelles. This port call will mark 105 years since the Imperial Russian Navy’s armoured deck cruiser Varyag called at Port Victoria in the Seychelles Islands.

During its long-distance deployment, the Russian naval task force will hold scheduled drills, including international manoeuvres as part of a group of combat ships in various parts of the Indian Ocean.

The report has not revealed the other countries and ports scheduled for visits but we can assume India is included.

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NAVAL NEWS: French Navy ship Champlain arrives in port of Durban

FS Champlain, the French Naval patrol ship, which arrived in Durban on Monday, in Africa Ports & Ships
FS Champlain, the French Naval patrol ship, which arrived in Durban on Monday   French Navy

Making its first port visit to South Africa this year is the French Navy offshore patrol ship FS CHAMPLAIN (A623) which arrived in Durban on Monday, 17 January for a five-day visit.

The ship, which is based at the island of La Reunion, is currently on an almost three-month patrol in the Southern Indian Ocean. She will remain in Durban until Friday when she continues her patrol.

This mission is part of France’s Indo-Pacific strategy, as the country will hold a Ministerial Forum on Indo-Pacific cooperation next month.

The 2,000-ton FS Champlain, a D’Entrecasteaux class patrol vessel, has a crew of 35. This class of ship perform a range of low-intensity, high-endurance missions in the French exclusive economic zones (EEZ), operating from from overseas bases of which La Reunion is one.

FS Champlain, in Africa Ports & Ships
FS Champlain   French Navy

The ship has a relatively low maximum speed of 12 to 15 knots, but is able to operate for 30 days without resupply. The design is aimed at a high availability of 200 days at sea per year to perform duties related to sovereignty, law enforcement and logistical missions such as policing illegal fishing, traffic and mining; assisting distressed ships; search and rescue; and contributing to the logistics of overseas territories like Mayotte or Eparses islands surrounding Madagascar.

France holds the largest EEZs, totalling one million km² in the Indian Ocean and 1.7 million km² in the Southern Ocean.

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New multi-purpose ship loader installed at Richards Bay Bulk Terminal

The new ship loader at Richards Bay was first noticed when arriving in the port of Durban from Richards Bay on 11 January as deck cargo on the heavylift vesse, IMKE. Affter a short visit the vessel sailed back to Richards Bay, as seen here in this photo taken by Trevor Jones, in Africa Ports & Ships
The new ship loader at Richards Bay Bulk Terminal was first noticed when it arrived in the port of Durban as deck cargo on the heavylift vessel, IMKE. That was on 11 January but after a short visit the vessel sailed back to Richards Bay, as seen here with the Imke in the Durban port channel.   This picture by Trevor Jones

Ship loader will handle increased export chrome, magnetite and coal volumes

The Richards Bay Bulk Terminal is back in the news again, having taken delivery of a new multi-purpose ship loader as part of its capacity creation initiatives.

This latest investment of over R124 million is aimed at contributing towards improved loading rates at the terminal. It will also aid the handling of increased volume throughput of strategic export commodities in line with forecasted demand.

“This ship loader introduces an opportunity for maximum use of underutilised berth capacity and it comes as a crucial time where the economy is recovering,” says Thulasizwe Dlamini, Acting Managing Executive at the Richards Bay Terminals.

Here the ship loader is being lifted off the ship and onto the berth in the port of Richards Bay, where it will enter service with the Bulk Terminal. Picture TPT, in Africa Ports & Ships
Here the ship loader is being lifted off the ship and onto the quayside in the port of Richards Bay, where it will enter service with the Bulk Terminal.  Picture courtesy TPT

He pointed out that the existence of the loader was especially significant as cover for periods where similar equipment underwent scheduled maintenance.

The ship loader has a capacity of 3000 tons per hour at a density of 1900 kilograms per cubic metre and its design has met all the legal dust emission requirements as per the environmental impact analysis.

“The loader forms part of three capacity related initiatives that will see us handle more export chrome, magnetite and coal volumes,” said Dlamini.

He said converting one of the import berths is another, as well as adding a new conveyor route. “These combined form part of turning around the Richards Bay terminals and offering superior value to our customers.”

The Richards Bay Terminals operate in one of South Africa’s deep-water ports and boast 13 berths combined where over 20 dry bulk ores, minerals and break bulk consignments are handled.

– trh

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WHARF TALK: bluff-bowed – KK MARLIN

The LR1 tanker KK Marlin in Cape Town harbour for the first time. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The LR1 tanker KK Marlin in Cape Town harbour for the first time. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The arrival of any new ship into any South African port is always something to look forward to. Generally, the newcomer is a container vessel, a pure car and truck carrier or a specialised vessel. Very rarely is it a tanker, let alone a large LR1 tanker, and one that allows you to see the innovations that are now even applied to tanker bows, let alone those modern environmental innovations that are not visible to the observer, but contained within her hull.

As far back as the last day on 2021, on 31st December at 20h00, the LR1 tanker KK MARLIN (IMO 9835939) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage, from Sohar in Oman. She went to anchor and remained there for over a week, awaiting her turn to enter port and discharge her needed refined fuel products. On 8th January at 09h00 she finally entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded to the long tanker berth in the Duncan Dock to begin her cargo discharge. Her arrival at Cape Town was her maiden call at any South African port since she entered service less than six months previously.

Built in 2021 by the Tsuneishi Shipyard at Zhoushan in China, ‘KK Marlin’ is 228 metres in length and has a deadweight of 77,452 tons. She is powered by a single Mitsui MAN-B&W 6G60ME-C9 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 18,583 bhp (13,668 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

The tanker KK Marlin arriving in the Port of Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa Ports & Ships
The tanker KK Marlin arriving in the Port of Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of three sisterships, her high IMO number gives some indication that ‘KK Marlin’ is a new vessel. She was delivered to her new owners only in July 2021. She came from the Chinese yard of the Japanese Tsuneishi Shipbuilding company. She has 12 cargo tanks and a cargo carrying capacity of 92,000 m3. As a security measure against piracy, every window, and port hole, on her accommodation block is fitted with burglar bars, including those surrounding the bridge.

The bluff bows of the new tanker, a modern innovation based quite closely on a much older shape. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The bluff bows of the new tanker, a modern innovation based quite closely on a much older idea. For those readers who have queried the building shown in the background, this is the Transnet Port Authority building including Port Control offices which are situated at the top of the building.  Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Owned by Chijin Shipping of Tsuneishi in Japan, whose houseflag she displays on her funnel, ‘KK Marlin’ is operated by VLOC Maritime 02 HK Ltd. of Hong Kong. VLOC Maritime is a group of companies operated as a joint venture between China Merchants Energy Shipping of Shanghai in China, and the Beijing based leasing arm of the International Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). She is managed by V Ships Asia Group of Singapore.

The accommodation and bridge area of the tanker referred to in Mr Gates' article. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The accommodation and bridge area of the tanker referred to in Mr Gates’ article. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is a ‘Standard LR1’ design of the shipyard, but marketed as the ‘Big MR’ from the design bureau of the parent company of Tsuneishi Shipbuilding in Japan. Her marketing is because, although of LR1 size (i.e. having a deadweight of between 55,000 and 79,999 tons), she is designed to have a draft typical of the smaller MR1 tanker (i.e. having a deadweight of between 35,000 and 54,999 tons), which enables her to enter those ports that would normally be denied to LR class tankers.

The tanker KK Martin seen in the Duncan Dock prior to moving into the adjacent tanker basin. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The tanker KK Martin seen in the Duncan Dock prior to moving into the adjacent tanker basin. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her accommodation block was designed to reduce wind resistance, and the modern design of ‘KK Marlin’ includes a unique hull form, which reduces wave resistance, and which is paired with Tsuneishi’s exclusive fuel-efficiency technologies that improve ship performance. Her fuel efficiency comes from her ‘MT-FAST’ energy saving device, which is a set of fins arranged ahead of her propeller, which gives her a 3-5% improvement in fuel consumption. She also has the Tsuneishi designed ‘TOP-GR’ energy saving propeller.

The tanker is now in the basin and about to go alongside the larger of the two berths. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The tanker is now in the basin and about to go alongside the larger of the two berths. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Complying with the IMO Type II and Type III carriage requirements, ‘KK Marlin’ also complies with the harmonised Common Structural Rules (CSR). Her environmental credentials include compliance with the NOx Tier III emissions control regulations, and SOx emissions. She is also fitted with a Ballast Water Management System (BWMS), and her fuel tanks are also double skinned to prevent reduce the risk of any oil pollution.

Practically alongside, the tanker will commence discharging her cargo of petroleum products. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Practically alongside, the tanker will shortly commence discharging her cargo of petroleum products. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of the interesting features on ‘KK Marlin’ which the casual observer might not spot, is that she has a double Plimsoll Line. More better known as an International Load Line, a double load line is quite an unusual feature on any vessel, and is normally due to the vessel having to operate temporarily with a greater freeboard in accordance with the International Load-Line regulations. This is usually due to many ports having special requirements for maximum draft, and deadweight, for vessels calling at them. Draft marks are often associated with the load line.

KK Marlin's Plimsoll Line. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa Ports & Ships
KK Marlin’s Plimsoll Line. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In very simple terms, the Plimsoll Line is a reference mark, located on a ship’s hull to indicate the maximum depth to which the vessel may be safely immersed, when loaded with cargo. This depth will vary with a ship’s dimensions, the type of cargo to be carried, the time of year, and the water densities encountered, both in port and at sea, around the world. The letters seen on the load line marks of ‘KK Marlin’ have the following meaning:

* TF – Tropical Fresh Water
* F – Fresh Water
* T – Tropical Seawater
* S – Summer Temperate Seawater
* W – Winter Temperate Seawater

The other mark, which in the case of the ‘KK Marlin’, is LR which indicates that her classification society is Lloyds Register (LR) of London.

Samuel Plimsoll (1824–1898) was a member of the British Parliament in Victorian times, and who was concerned with the regular loss of ships, and their crews, due to vessel overloading. In 1876, he persuaded Parliament to introduce a law based on the Unseaworthy Ships Bill, which mandated marking all ship’s sides with a line that would disappear below the waterline if the ship was overloaded. The line, which came to be known as the Plimsoll Line, is to be found amidships on both sides of a vessel hull, and remains in use on all cargo vessels to this day.

Although this is the first visit of ‘KK Marlin’ to a South African port, she had previously paid a visit to Southern Africa, when she called at Maputo, in Mozambique, in September 2021. On completion of her discharge at Cape Town, she sailed on 12th January at 03h00, bound for Fujairah in the UAE.

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Mombasa’s new salvage & harbour tug is delivered: Also three new STS cranes

The new Mombasa-based Kenyan salvage and harbour services tug, Mwokozi II, which has arrived at Mombasa, in Africa Ports & Ships
The new Mombasa-based Kenyan salvage and harbour services tug, Mwokozi II, which has arrived at Mombasa   KPA/Med Marine

Kenya’s port of Mombasa has acquired a new multi-purpose tug costing $16.65 million and capable of performing salvage work at sea off the Kenya coast in addition to handling ships of increased sized now calling at the port.

In addition the port’s container terminal has benefited from the delivery of three new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes which arrived from Japan. These are being placed in service at the port’s second container terminal.

The tug which was built in Turkey by shipbuilder Med Marine to a Robert Allan Ltd RAstar 4200 design is among the most powerful tugs available from the Canadian design team. With a length overall of 42 metres, the tug, which has been named MWOKOZI II, has a bollard pull of 120 tonnes.

Mwokoxi II, in Africa Ports & Ships

According to Muhammet Gökhan, business development manager at Med Marine, the Mombasa tug was specially built and equipped to meet the operational needs of the Kenya Ports Authority.

The RAstar 4200 (MED-A42120) Mwokozi II joins the KPA fleet to deliver ship-handling and coastal towing together with fire suppression at sea services and will be available for salvage and harbour operations.

Kenya is only the second African country after South Africa to own and operate its own tugs for standby coastal salvage and rescue services.

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IN CONVERSATION: Ocean heat is at record levels, with major consequences

Kevin Trenberth, University of Auckland

The world witnessed record-breaking climate and weather disasters in 2021, from destructive flash floods that swept through mountain towns in Europe and inundated subway systems in China and the U.S., to heat waves and wildfires. Typhoon Rai killed over 400 people in the Philippines; Hurricane Ida caused an estimated US$74 billion in damage in the U.S.

Globally, it was the sixth hottest year on record for surface temperatures, according to data released by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in their annual global climate report on Jan. 13, 2022. But under the surface, ocean temperatures set new heat records in 2021.

As climate scientist Kevin Trenberth explains, while the temperature at Earth’s surface is what people experience day to day, the temperature in the upper part of the ocean is a better indicator of how excess heat is accumulating on the planet.

The Conversation spoke with Trenberth, coauthor of a study published on Jan. 11, 2022, by 23 researchers at 14 institutes that tracked warming in the world’s oceans.

Hurricane Ida making landfall on the Louisana coast
Hurricane Ida did $74 billion in damage from Louisiana to the northeastern U.S. in 2021.
RAMMB/CIRA/Colorado State University

Your latest research shows ocean heat is at record highs. What does that tell us about global warming?

The world’s oceans are hotter than ever recorded, and their heat has increased each decade since the 1960s. This relentless increase is a primary indicator of human-induced climate change.

As oceans warm, their heat supercharges weather systems, creating more powerful storms and hurricanes, and more intense rainfall. That threatens human lives and livelihoods as well as marine life.

The oceans take up about 93% of the extra energy trapped by the increasing greenhouse gases from human activities, particularly burning fossil fuels. Because water holds more heat than land does and the volumes involved are immense, the upper oceans are a primary memory of global warming. I explain this in more detail in my new book “The Changing Flow of Energy Through the Climate System.”

Ocean heat content in the upper 2,000 meters of the world’s oceans since 1958, relative to the 1981-2010 average. The units are zettajoules. Lijing Cheng

Our study provided the first analysis of 2021’s ocean warming, and we were able to attribute the warming to human activities. Global warming is alive and well, unfortunately.

The global mean surface temperature was the fifth or sixth warmest on record in 2021 (the record depends on the dataset used), in part, because of the year-long La Niña conditions, in which cool conditions in the tropical Pacific influence weather patterns around the world.

There is a lot more natural variability in surface air temperatures than in ocean temperatures because of El Niño/La Niña and weather events. That natural variability on top of a warming ocean creates hot spots, sometimes called “marine heat waves,” that vary from year to year. Those hot spots have profound influences on marine life, from tiny plankton to fish, marine mammals and birds. Other hot spots are responsible for more activity in the atmosphere, such as hurricanes.

While surface temperatures are both a consequence and a cause, the main source of the phenomena causing extremes relates to ocean heat that energizes weather systems.

Scientists are concerned about the stability of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier, which holds back large amounts of land ice. NASA

We found that all oceans are warming, with the largest amounts of warming in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. That’s a concern for Antarctica’s ice – heat in the Southern Ocean can creep under Antarctica’s ice shelves, thinning them and resulting in calving off of huge icebergs. Warming oceans are also a concern for sea level rise.

In what ways does extra ocean heat affect air temperature and moisture on land?

The global heating increases evaporation and drying on land, as well as raising temperatures, increasing risk of heat waves and wildfires. We’ve seen the impact in 2021, especially in western North America, but also amid heat waves in Russia, Greece, Italy and Turkey.

The warmer oceans also supply atmospheric rivers of moisture to land areas, increasing the risk of flooding, like the U.S. West Coast has been experiencing.

2021 saw several destructive cyclones, including Hurricane Ida in the U.S. and Typhoon Rai in the Philippines. How does ocean temperature affect storms like those?

Warmer oceans provide extra moisture to the atmosphere. That extra moisture fuels storms, especially hurricanes. The result can be prodigious rainfall, as the U.S. saw from Ida, and widespread flooding as occurred in many places over the past year.

The storms may also become more intense, bigger and last longer. Several major flooding events have occurred in Australia this past year, and also in New Zealand. Bigger snowfalls can also occur in winter provided temperatures remain below about freezing because warmer air holds more moisture.

If greenhouse gas emissions slowed, would the ocean cool down?

In the oceans, warm water sits on top of cooler denser waters. However, the oceans warm from the top down, and consequently the ocean is becoming more stratified. This inhibits mixing between layers that otherwise allows the ocean to warm to deeper levels and to take up carbon dioxide and oxygen. Hence it impacts all marine life.

We found that the top 500 meters of the ocean has clearly been warming since 1980; the 500-1,000 meter depths have been warming since about 1990; the 1,000-1,500 meter depths since 1998; and below 1,500 meters since about 2005.

The slow penetration of heat downward means that oceans will continue to warm, and sea level will continue to rise even after greenhouse gases are stabilized.

The final area to pay attention to is the need to expand scientists’ ability to monitor changes in the oceans. One way we do this is through the Argo array – currently about 3,900 profiling floats that send back data on temperature and salinity from the surface to about 2,000 meters in depth, measured as they rise up and then sink back down, in ocean basins around the world. These robotic, diving and drifting instruments require constant replenishment and their observations are invaluable.

Argo floats keep tabs on ocean changes around the world.
Howard Freeland, 2018, CC BY-ND

[Understand new developments in science, health and technology, each week. Subscribe to The Conversation’s science newsletter.]The Conversation

Kevin Trenberth, Distinguished Scholar, NCAR; Affiliated Faculty, University of Auckland

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

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Hunger crisis in Horn of Africa: FAO launches $138 million plan

A man collects water from a water tank in Kenya. ©FAO/Patrick Meinhardt, in Africa Ports & Ships
A man collects water from a water tank in Kenya. ©FAO/Patrick Meinhardt

More than $138 million is needed to assist rural communities affected by extended drought in the Horn of Africa, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on 17 January, launching a comprehensive response plan for the region.

Threats and limitations

A third consecutive year of poor rains is posing a major threat to food security in countries already facing natural resource limitations and conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and locust invasions during 2020-21.

FAO fears that a large-scale hunger crisis could break out if food-producing rural communities do not receive adequate assistance timed to the needs of the upcoming agricultural seasons.

Millions at risk

The bulk of the funding under the FAO Horn of Africa Drought Response Plan $130 million, is urgently needed by the end of February, to provide critical assistance to highly-vulnerable communities in the three most impacted countries: Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia

Projections indicate that some 25.3 million people will face ‘high acute food insecurity’ by the middle of the year.

Should the scenario materialise, FAO said it would place the Horn of Africa among the world’s largest-scale food crises.

Now is the time 

FAO report in Africa Ports & Ships

In the words of Rein Paulsen, the agency’s Director of Emergencies and Resilience: “We know from experience that supporting agriculture at moments like this is hugely impactful – that when we act fast and at the right moment to get water, seeds, animal feed, veterinary care, and much needed cash to at-risk rural families, then hunger catastrophes can be averted.

“Well, the right moment is now. We urgently need to support pastoralists and farms in the Horn, immediately, because the cycle of the seasons waits for no one.”

Paulsen warned that the clock is already ticking as the lean season, which just started, has been marked by limited grazing opportunities for pastoralist families whose livestock will need nutritional and veterinary support.

Meanwhile, families who rely on producing crops will need seeds and other supplies in time for the planting season that begins in March.

Water and seeds

The FAO plan targets 1.5 million of the most at-risk rural populations in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

For pastoralist families, support will include providing animal feed and nutritional supplements, as well as mobile veterinary health clinics, to keep their livestock healthy and producing milk; transporting water to 10,000 litre collapsible water reservoirs set up in remote areas, and upgrading existing wells to run on solar power.

Crop-reliant families will receive seeds of drought-tolerant early-maturing varieties of sorghum, maize, cowpea and mung bean, and nutrient-dense vegetables. The UN agency also aims to arrange for pre-planting land-ploughing services and access to irrigation, as well as training on good agricultural practices.

Extra income

Locusts swarm in the Nugal region of Somalia. © FAO/Haji Dirir, in Africa Ports & Ships maritime news
Locusts swarm in the Nugal region of Somalia. © FAO/Haji Dirir

Cash for work programmes would allow able-bodied households to earn extra income by helping to rehabilitate irrigation canals, boreholes or other agricultural infrastructure.

Those not able to work due to health or other reasons will receive unconditional infusions of cash. FAO said that providing rural families with extra disposable income gives them the means to buy food at market while they wait for their harvests to come in.

Fishing craft for Somalia

In Somalia, the FAO plan calls for the provision of boats, equipment and training to help coastal communities who do not typically fish, to secure a new and much-needed source of nutrition, building on existing programmes to promote the diversification of livelihoods in the country.

FAO said if fully funded, the plan would allow for the production of up to 90 million litres of milk and up to 40,000 tonnes of staple food crops in the first part of 2022, putting over one million highly food insecure people on a safe footing, for at least six months.

The FAO report: Drought in the Horn of Africa Rapid response and mitigation plan to avert a humanitarian catastrophe January–June 2022 is available HERE

Paul Ridgway

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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Wilhelmsen takes majority stake in Ahrenkiel Tankers

Atlantica Bridge, one of the five tankers taken over by Wilhelmsen Ship Management (Barber). Picture courtesy: Shipspotting, in Africa Ports & Ships
Atlantica Bridge, one of the five tankers taken over by Wilhelmsen Ship Management (Barber). Picture courtesy: Shipspotting

Wilhelmsen Ship Management has returned to the tanker market by taking a majority stake in Hamburg-based Ahrenkiel Tankers.

Wilhelmsen left the tanker market back in 2009, worried then about safety and regularity standards in the tanker market. It acknowledges that much has changed since then with an improved regulatory regime for tankers and a couple of years ago revealed an intention of returning to the sector.

The transaction will result in Wilhelmsen Ship Management taking over the management of five tankers. Wilhelmsen Ship Management will gain 80% ownership of Ahrenkiel Tankers under the deal, with the remaining 20% to be held by existing owners MPC Capital Group.

Ahrenkiel Tankers will be rebranded as Barber Ship Management.

Carl Schou, CEO and president of Wilhelmsen Ship Management, IN Africa Ports & Ships
Carl Schou, CEO and president of Wilhelmsen Ship Management

It marks the first step by Wilhelmsen Ship Management after its earlier decision to re-enter the tanker segment following a decade-long absence, while also reviving the Barber name that originally formed the basis for the company’s present ship management business.

“This acquisition is a clear statement of our intent to expand in the tanker segment,” says Carl Schou, chief executive officer and president of Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

“Ahrenkiel Tankers has developed a strong reputation for reliable tanker management and represents an ideal fit with Wilhelmsen Ship Management given our common values of environmental responsibility and safety, aligned with a high level of competence,” Schou adds.

“We now look forward to growing in the tanker segment by applying our management expertise that has been proven over many years with a track record of safe, sustainable and cost-effective operations.”

Barber revisited

Wilhelmsen Ship Management was originally named Barber Ship Management Ltd when it was first incorporated in Hong Kong in 1975.

Wilhelmsen Ship Management exited the tanker market in 2009 with the sale of its former subsidiary International Tanker Management (ITM) but reversed this decision two years ago due to the improved regulatory regime for tankers.

Barber Ship Management will now serve as Wilhelmsen’s new specialised management arm for the tanker segment following the transaction, effective from 1 January this year.

“The tanker market is a very different sector today from what it was more than a decade ago in terms of quality and safety, with much better regulation on the competence side, and this has given us the confidence to mark our re-entry into the business with this key acquisition,” Schou says.

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Poor King Coal, falling demand and little sympathy

Richards Bay Coal Terminal, in Africa Ports & Ships
Richards Bay Coal Terminal    Picture: Transnet

Spare a thought or two for that lumpy black commodity that makes our hands and faces so dirty. It’s being said the boom days for coal in South Africa and much of the world, are over. At the recent UN Climate Change Conference of the parties (Cop 26) held in gloomy Glasgow, coal became a dirty word – and no pun there.

Even with healthy prices our coal producers are on a sticky wicket and in fading light – and if that is not bad enough, Transnet keeps letting the side down badly with no-balls when it comes to getting the stuff to Richards Bay for export.

And to cap that, Transnet said during last year it has no intention of going ahead with further development of a major rail extension into the Waterberg and Botswana. This because, in Transnet’s infinite wisdom, the state-owned monopoly has decided that the sentiment is so strongly against coal that demand will fitter away and by 2050 nobody will want much if any.

To make matters worse, even local demand is under pressure. Time was when every house or hut in the townships and rural districts burned coal for cooking purposes. That is now to a large extent no longer the case and domestic demand is decreasing, but now even our whipping boy, Eskom, is coming under increasing pressure to close down or modify its coal-fired power stations.

If the indicators were not obvious by now they should be after China announced it would no longer build new coal-fired projects abroad, including power stations. Ouch. It would not, however, close its own domestic coal power plants, so at least coal can still be exported there for some time to come.

Nor, it is thought, will India move away from the use of coal in the foreseeable future, which is good, because about half of South Africa’s exports of coal goes to that sub-continent. But India, with a still insatiable demand for the commodity, is expanding its coal mining operations in places like Mozambique, which will have the ability to further hurt South African exports to India.

In the past 12 months coal prices rose to a more than pleasant US$180 per ton fob at Richards Bay, an increase from the $80/t of January 2021. Prices are currently sitting around the $165 /t mark, which might have been great for the exporters of coal except our rail system keeps letting the side down by proving incapable of railing contracted volumes to the port.

According to Exxaro chief executive Mxolisi Mgojo, speaking at the half-year results in August last year, exporters of coal had lost about 9 million tonnes of coal exports in just the first half of the year, which was a fall of 30%. He called it “one of the worst export rail performances for the industry.”

Another exporter, Thungela had this to say in its results statement: “The Group’s ability to move coal to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal was severely hampered by TFR underperformance. The rail coal line operator’s performance challenges are attributable to theft of infrastructure (e.g. overhead power cables, signalling and tracks) and equipment failures mainly related to locomotives.”

Environmental pressure

One thing that isn’t going to change is the environmental pressure against the use of coal, which can be seen in this country in the debate over new and existing power plants. Nor should we expect much improvement from the local rail service, not unless there is a radical rethink by Transnet leading to the sinking of substantial investments into infrastructure and maintenance necessary for returning the Richards Bay Coal Line back to being one of the leading and most impressive heavy-haul railways in the world, fully capable of transporting coal to the port.

Vale and Moatize in Mozambique

In related news it is reported that Brazil’s Vale has agreed to sell its Moatize coal mine in Tete Province in Mozambique. The sale is to Vulcan Minerals, who are part of India’s Jindal Group. The sale will be going through for a total of US$ 270 million.

The Jindal Group is already active in the Tete Province at the Chirodzi Mine.

Vale, which spearheaded mining activities in the Moatize region, indicated last year that it wanted out of its Mozambique operations. The Brazilian conglomerate, which also runs a substantial fleet of bulk carriers including some of the largest in the world, was responsible with the Mozambique state in rehabilitating the Tete or Sena Railway, from Tete to Beira via Sena on the Zambezi river.

After it was realised that this line was incapable of carrying the volume of cargo that was being planned, and with volume limitations at the port of Beira, the company in 2010 took a majority investment in connecting Moatize with the Central East African Railway in Malawi, which in turn connects to a railway, now part of the Nacala Logistics Corridor, running from Malawi to the deepwater port of Nacala, where a coal terminal and jetty has been developed.

In 2017 when the line was officially declared completed the Nacala Logistics Corridor saw an average of 22 coal trains operating each day along the 912 kilometres of track.

– trh

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WHARF TALK: Cape Town only visitor – CSCL AFRICA

The large 8,468-TEU CSCL Africa calls at Cape Town during her Asia - West Africa - Asia rotation and is one of the largest box ships able to call at the port. Picture by 'Dockrat'
The large 8,468-TEU CSCL Africa calls at Cape Town during her Asia – West Africa – Asia rotation and is one of the largest box ships able to call at the port. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

Most folk are probably very well aware of all of the identities of the major container vessel operators operating out of South African ports, and could also probably name them all. That said, what is not known is that a lot of these container vessels, actually belong to a less well known container company, which charters out their entire fleet of 125 vessels, ranging from feeder 2,500 TEU vessels, to the large 14,000 TEU vessels. This company has container vessels operating in full charterer house colours for major shipping companies such as MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, ONE, COSCO and MOL.

On 10th January at 09h00, the Neo Panamax container vessel CSCL AFRICA (IMO 9286011) arrived from Singapore, and unlike most of the current container vessels arrivals off Table Bay, did not go to anchor, but entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded directly to the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) in the Ben Schoeman Dock to begin her discharge of containers.

On her arrival CSCL Africa is shephered by three harbour tugs that will also assist her with berthing at the container terminal. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa Ports & Ships
On her arrival CSCL Africa is shepherded by three harbour tugs that will also assist her with berthing at the container terminal. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2005 by Samsung Shipbuilding at Geoje in South Korea, as one of five sisterships, ‘CSCL Africa’ is 334 metres in length and has a deadweight of 101,612 tons. She is powered by a single Doosan MAN-B&W 12K98MC-C 12 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, providing a colossal 96,875 bhp (72,240 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 25.2 knots. To get an idea of the size of this particular MAN-B&W engine, it weighs 2,089 tons, is 26 metres in length, 10 metres in width and 15 metres in height.

Her auxiliary machinery includes four MAN-B&W 6L32/40 generators providing 2,880 kW each. She has a Kangrim CHO oil fired boiler, and a Kangrim Economiser exhaust gas boiler. She has a container carrying capacity of 8,468 TEU, and provides 700 reefer plugs.

The accommodation and bridge section of these late-generation large container ships are typically tall and narrow, unlike those of the older smaller vessels. With these it's all about packing more containers on board. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The accommodation and bridge section of these late-generation container ships are typically tall and narrow, unlike those of the older smaller vessels. With these it’s all about packing more containers on board. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Owned by the Seaspan Corporation of Hong Kong, ‘CSCL Africa’ is operated by COSCO Shipping Development of Shanghai in China, and managed by Seaspan Ship Management of Vancouver in Canada. She is chartered by China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL), in whose full colours she sails, and who are one of the two major Chinese shipping entities that were merged by the Chinese Government in 2016 to form the large COSCO shipping company.

Taken on charter by CSCL in April 2019, initially for 33 months, this has now been extended to a twelve year charter at a daily rate of US$29,500 (ZAR452,671). Despite her CSCL colours, ‘CSCL Africa’ is actually currently sub-chartered to CMA CGM, to run on their Asia-West Africa service, and she is one of twelve container vessels, all of a similar size, that maintain the service.

Unusually, for a scheduled container service linking South Africa, only Cape Town receives a call on this particular service, with both a northbound, and a southbound call. The port rotation being Qingdao- Shanghai- Ningbo- Nansha- Tanjung Pelepas- Singapore- Cape Town- Walvis Bay- Pointe Noire- Luanda- Cape Town- Singapore – Qingdao.

CSCL Africa moves into the harbour before turning into the Ben Schoemann Dock which bhouses Cape Town's container terminal. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa Ports & Ships
CSCL Africa moves into the harbour before turning into the Ben Schoemann Dock which houses Cape Town’s container terminal. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Despite her published schedule showing that ‘CSCL Africa’ was due to be in Cape Town for one day only, her time alongside was more than doubled, and she finally sailed at Midnight on 12th January, bound for Walvis Bay.

It is quite likely that ‘CSCL Africa’ will be seen quite a few more times, both in Cape Town, and in African waters on this particular service, as CMA CGM have currently published her future scheduled voyages as far forward as August 2022.

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CMA CGM reshuffles its Mozambique service to Asia

French container line CMA CGM is reshuffling its Mozambique shipping service with Asia.

The ports of Maputo and Beira will continue to have a weekly direct service (MOZEX), but the port of Nacala will be provided with a transshipment service via Colombo, utilising CMA CGM’s ASEA 1 and NOURA services.

The MOZEX port rotations will become:

Singapore – Tanjung Pelepas – Pointe des Galets (Reunion) – Maputo – Beira – Port Louis – Singapore

CMA CGM as indicated the changes have become necessary on account of local (Mozambique) port congestion.

The first transshipment sailing involving ETA’s at the ports of Nacala and Colombo with the vessel GLACIER BAY (voyage 0NLA4N1MA) is:

Colombo WB: 12 January 2022
Nacala:              3 March 2022
Colombo EB:  17 February 2022

Nacala service in Africa Ports & Ships

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FLNG Coral Sul arrives on station off northern Mozambique. Flotel CSS Temis secured

Coral Sul at the builder’s yard in Geoje, South Korea, with most of her modules fitted and completed. The FLNG has now arrived off Mozambique.   Eni

The Eni inspired FLNG (Floating Liquefied Natural Gas) vessel, CORAL SUL (Sul means South), has arrived on station in Area 4 of the Rovuma Basin off the northern Mozambique coast. This followed delivery from the Samsung Heavy Industries’ yard at Geoje in South Korea.

Mozambique state-owned Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), Galp Energia Rovuma and KOGAS Mozambique each have 10% stakes in the project, with the remaining 70% held by a joint venture consisting of Eni, ExxonMobil and CNODC. BP has signed a 20-year contract to buy production from the Coral Sul for the next 20 years.

According to Oxfam, Mozambique can expect to earn around $11.6 billion from Coral Sul FLNG over its lifespan. Eni believes the state will earn $16 billion, while the Mozambique Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy has forecast a more optimistic $24.5bn. The Eni-operated field contains an estimated 16 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The 432 metre long, 66 metre wide vessel, which departed Geoje on 16 November 2021, is expected to enter into production in the second half of this year. Coral Sul cost around US$ 7 million and will be able to liquefy 3.37 million tonnes per year.

The 220,000 ton vessel was towed to the Mozambique coast by three ALP Maritime support vessels, ALP Sweeper, ALP Keeper, and ALP Striker which will remain on station with the FLNG.

After mooring and hook-up is completed, Coral Sul will operate in waters of around 2,000 metres depth, manufacturing LNG from gas extracted offshore with LNG tankers coming alongside the FLNG to load cargo.

The flotel Temis at another location. Temis has been contracted to the Coral Sul project for at least 200 days from February. Picture Jorn-Arne Pedersen / MarineTraffic, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The flotel Temis at another location. Temis has been contracted to the Coral Sul project for at least 200 days from February. Picture Jorn-Arne Pedersen / MarineTraffic

Flotel secured for Coral-Sul

Meanwhile, it is reported that the flotel vessel CSS TEMIS (IMO 9693135) has been contracted for the Coral Sul project, for an initial period of up to 200 days including options. The contract commences from February 2022.

The 500-passenger flotel will be used for accommodating up to 400 people working on board the FLNG.

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Mombasa’s new Kipevu Oil Jetty nears completion

The new 770-metre long Kipevu Oil jetty at Mombasa, In Africa Ports & Ships
The new 770-metre long Kipevu Oil jetty at Mombasa    KPA

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier in January paid a visit to the site of the new KShs 40 billion (USD352 million) offshore Kipevu Oil Terminal, one of the largest of its kind in Africa.

The construction of the 770-metre long jetty, which is 96% complete, is being fully funded by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) with construction undertaken by the China Communications Construction Company.

When complete in April this year, the offshore facility will be able to load and offload tankers of up to 200,000 deadweight carrying all categories of petroleum products including crude oil, white oils and LPG.

Speaking during the inspection, President Kenyatta, who was accompanied by visiting Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Wang Yi, said the new jetty will enhance supply and ensure price stability of petroleum products in Kenya and the region by replacing the 50-year old onshore Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT).

When operational, the new offshore jetty will save the country in excess of Shs 2 billion annually in demurrage costs incurred by oil shippers from vessels queueing outside the harbour and is expected to contribute to a significant reduction in fuel pump prices.

“Once complete the new facility will be able to reduce not only the cost of fuel but also to ensure that Kenya is able to consistently have an adequate supply of fuel for our needs and development of our people,” the president said.

He said the old Kipevu Oil Terminal was unable to meet the demands of an increasing population and a growing economy.

“We needed this facility to be able to cater for those demands and China was there when we asked for partnership in developing it,” he said. “They were there ready to work and walk with us hand-in-hand and that indeed is what we call a friend. We do not need lectures about what we need, we need partners to help us achieve what we require”.

According to Kenyatta the various infrastructural projects implemented with the support of China had strengthened Kenya’s economy. He highlighted the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) which he said had kept the Kenyan economy ticking during the slowdown occasioned by the global Coronavirus pandemic.

He pointed out that the SGR had significantly lowered the cost of cargo freight, saying the price of transporting a container of tea from Nairobi to Mombasa had reduced from Shs 60,000 by road to Shs 17,000 on the modern railway line.

“Many said there was no need to improve the railway linking Mombasa to Nairobi and ultimate to Kisumu, Malaba and our neighbouring countries. Today millions and millions of Kenyans have benefited through the reduction in cost of travel between Nairobi and Mombasa.”

The Lake Victoria Port of Kisumu which has recently undergone dredging and refurbishment in anticipation of increased lake traffic, in Africa Ports & Ships
The Lake Victoria Port of Kisumu which has recently undergone dredging and refurbishment in anticipation of increased lake traffic   KPA

Visits to Naivasha and Kisumu Shipyard

President Kenyatta has also paid impromptu visits so far in January to other infrastructure developments including Naivasha Inland Container Terminal (ICD) and the Kisumu Shipyard on Lake Victoria.

At Naivasha he witnessed the transshipment of container cargo from the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to the Metre Gauge Railway (MGR) and took a train ride from Naivasha to Longonot.

He praised the partnership between Kenya Railways and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) for the successful execution of the SGR to MGR container cargo transshipment project.

From Longonot railway station, President Kenyatta flew to Kisumu Port where he toured the Kisumu Shipyard and inspected the ongoing construction of the MV Uhuru II wagon ferry, the dry dock and slipway.

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IN CONVERSATION:  State capture report chronicles extent of corruption in South Africa.  But will action follow?

This state capture report can be a defining factor in the future prospects of South Africa, and in particular with the state-owned entities such as Transnet National Ports Authority, Transnet Port Terminals, Transnet Freight Rail and Transnet Pipelines, each of which have featured directly and indirectly in the overall enquiry and which are of direct concern in the maritime, transport and logistics field.  For this reason we re-publish with permission the following opinion piece.

Richard Calland, University of Cape Town

No self-respecting theatre critic would dream of reviewing a three-Act play during the interval at the end of the first Act. But that is what one is compelled to do after South Africa’s State Capture Commission released Part 1 of its inquiry report. This is more so because those implicated by its findings will be doing all they can to undermine the credibility of its reports.

And in keeping with this dramatic theme, spoiler alert: My view is that deputy chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chaired the commission, has nailed it.

In response, many will ask the question: has he really? And, even if he has: so what?

In light of the apparent weaknesses in South Africa’s state capacity and institutions, there is understandable scepticism as to whether the government has the technical capability, let alone the political will, to implement the many recommendations that are emerging from the painstaking labour of the deputy chief justice and his small band of support staff and lawyers.

President Cyril Ramaphosa described receiving the report as a “defining moment” in South Africa’s history. It could yet be so. But only if the work of the Commission leads to decisive action and systemic reform.

Without this the Zondo Commission will merely have been an exercise in catharsis – not the first steps to delivering justice and accountability.

The hearings themselves, and the extraordinary range of evidence that was adduced before the Commission, certainly provided catharsis, but also ‘truth’. For those with open eyes, the denuding of democratic state legitimacy was uncovered and the key protagonists – both perpetrators and victims – identified.

The democratic state was captured; key institutions were looted as vast sums of public money were stolen. Former president Jacob Zuma and his motley network of exploited and exploitative allies were responsible.

That much is abundantly clear from just part one of Zondo’s report. Now they must be held fully to account. Justice will need to be done.

What is in it

Zondo was appointed to chair the Commission almost four years ago in January 2018. This was after then-President Zuma had tried and failed to prevent it from being established as a part of the remedial action required by then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her October 2016 ‘State of Capture’ report.

The Commission’s first hearing was six months later. Thereafter it sat for more than 400 more days, interviewing 300 witnesses and yielding 75,000 pages of transcription.

In all, 1,438 individuals and institutions have been implicated, according to the introduction to the document published on 4 January.

Given the cost of the inquiry – and the 1.7 million pages of evidence – a further question arises: was it worth the time, effort and expense?

Having read through the 874 pages of this first part, a number of notable features emerge.

First of all, it is lucid and cogent, despite the regrettable absence of an executive summary. The public will have to wait until the publication of Part 3 of the report at the end of February to review the executive report.

Despite this unusual inversion, the executive report will still matter a great deal, and will require skilled wordsmithery if it is to provide the public with a clear story line. This will, in turn, help ensure that the report remains ‘alive’ in the public eye and does not get pushed into the background by other events – as has happened with similar reports in the past, such as the Asmal report on Chapter Nine institutions as well as the Farlam report on Marikana massacre.

To allow the report to gather dust would be a huge waste of the investment in the Zondo Commission.

Despite the absence of an overarching narrative summary, each chapter of part one presents an intricate and fascinating account of how three public entities – South African Airways (SAA), the government’s information arm (GCIS) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) – were systematically ‘captured’ with criminal intent, and how misinformation, both through the diversion of public funds to a puppet-media organisation, The New Age, and the subversion of GCIS, was used to try and cover up what was going on.

There were notorious key ringmasters, some well known already. These include Zuma, former SAA chair Dudu Myeni and Mzwanele Manyi, Zuma’s current spokesman and the man who was helicoptered in to head GCIS after the incumbent Themba Maseko was summarily dismissed, according to the report, at the behest of the Gupta family.

But, now, a much wider cast of accomplices and useful idiots are exposed.

Private entities, such as the consulting firm Bain, where the evidence of whistleblower Athol Williams is applauded by Zondo, were also deeply complicit.

Secondly, it reads like a legal judgment, which is how it should be. The concern was that Zondo might fail to grasp the nettle and either shirk the most difficult issues or fudge its findings – as the Marikana massacre report did, on the core issues such as police culpability in the murder of the miners. He has not.

Assisted by some trusted former judicial colleagues, but under his attentive eye, Zondo has recognised the need to be both specific and precise. As a mountain of evidence was combined and the report constructed, the strategy was to provide a sound basis for prosecutions. The dots have now been joined.

A vast database of evidence can now be placed at the disposal of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, and the National Prosecuting Authority.

In due course, no doubt, the legal coherence and rationality of the report will be tested in court. There will be numerous judicial review applications that will seek to obscure the picture and delay justice. It may be another four years before the whole process concludes – the completion of the Commission’s work is just the start.

Thirdly, flowing from the findings, part one of the report offers concrete recommendations. Some recommend that certain implicated persons are either investigated or prosecuted. In other instances, the report addresses institutional failings or legal gaps.

So, for example, in chapter 4 of this first part – on public procurement – Zondo recommends that a new institution be created to which whistleblowers can go (a Public Procurement Anti-Corruption Agency), and, furthermore, that the new agency have authority to negotiate a financial incentive for potential whistleblowers.

These are very concrete recommendations. They should be taken seriously, but they are not uncontroversial, and will require further debate.

Nonetheless, what Zondo is doing, in addition to providing the evidential bedrock so that those responsible can be held criminally to account for their abuse of power, is setting out how the governance system needs to be strengthened. By the time part three is published at the end of February, a substantial reform agenda will have been laid out.

The end game

Even with two Acts of this play to go, it is reasonable to conclude that Zondo has played his part. Now it will up to the government to deliver, and for the public, civil society and the media to ensure that it does.

But there will be many more twists in the plot. There will be lawfare, attempts to subvert the criminal justice system, which is still recovering from state capture. The power struggle within the governing African National Congress in the run up to its five-yearly national elective conference at the end of this year will be even more bloody as a result.

If the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the moral compass of the nation, then Zondo is constructing an ethical map. How South Africa navigates its course in the coming years will define its long-term future.The Conversation

Richard Calland, Associate Professor in Public Law, University of Cape Town

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

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Sandock Austral Shipyards reaches agreement with leading tug designer Robert Allan Ltd

A Robert Allan-designed RAstar tug in action. Picture: Robert Allan Ltd, in Africa Ports & Ships
A Robert Allan-designed RAstar tug in action. Picture: Robert Allan Ltd

In a significant development, Durban-based shipbuilding and repair company, Sandock Austral Shipyards (SAS), is now able to offer clients a range of state-of-the-art high-performance tugs.

This follows the signing of a important agreement with Robert Allan Ltd. – a firm of internationally recognised Naval Architects based in Vancouver, Canada. Since 1930 Robert Allan Ltd has built a reputation for innovative designs for vessels of all types, from high-performance tugs to ferries to sophisticated research vessels.

The naval architect firm offers independent professional marine design and consulting services, supported by the latest in computer-aided design technology. They are strongly committed to ensuring that all vessels built to their designs offer the highest standards of safety and operational integrity for their owners and for the crews that work on them.

The agreement with Robert Allan Ltd. will allow SAS immediate access to a host of their designs along with the confidence from the well-established Robert Allan Ltd. brand.

Sandock Austral Shipyards SAS in Africa Ports & Ships

Charles Maher, the Head of Marketing and Sales at SAS said Robert Allan Ltd. was chosen as a partner due to their extremely strong global presence with well over 1000 Robert Allan designed tugs that are operating in the world.

He said Robert Allan Ltd has a wide range of vessels available that it has developed and built-in conjunction with other shipyards across the world. “Initially, we will be concentrating on their range of Azimuth Drive Tugs (ASD) which we will bring to a much wider audience,” Maher said.

Jim Hyslop, Director of Project Development at Robert Allan said they were excited to enter into this new agreement with Sandock Austral Shipyards. “We are looking forward to our designs becoming more prevalent in the African market, backed by the proximity, familiarity and quality that SAS offers to its African clients.”

According to Maher, Sandock Austral Shipyards operates on a global scale with suppliers, service providers and clients.

“This significant partnership with such a prestigious naval architect design house, to provide clients with state-of-the-art designs, with quick turnaround times and already in production designs, releases a lot of risk from our company and we can enter the tender with a much higher response rate,” Maher said.

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TPT reports recovery at Richards Bay Bulk Terminal following October’s conveyor fires

MV Braverus loading magnetite at the Richards Bay Bulk Terminal, in Africa Ports & Ships
MV Braverus loading magnetite at the Richards Bay Bulk Terminal    TPT

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), the operator of the Richards Bay Bulk Terminal, is reporting a loading rate of 1,205 tons per hour on the bulk carrier vessel BRAVERUS, which completed loading 167,341 tons of magnetite on Friday (14 January) at 01h10 after a 171-hour stay.

According to TPT this is one of the early indicators of recovery at the Richards Bay Bulk Terminal following the disastrous October fires that destroyed the terminal’s conveyor belt system. See our report of those fires by CLICKING HERE

“This excellent performance comes just a few days after the terminal management team conducted thorough introspection resulting in various internal and external initiatives,” said TPT Terminal Manager, Matumule Phasha.

Phasha said that an unprecedented partnership with one of TPT’s customers, South 32, has resulted in them combining existing resources to repair a damaged ship loader which has resulted in improved loading rates, heightened employee morale and the need to offer customers more value.

He said the terminal now runs a focused operation on every vessel, treating each call as an individual transaction. Ongoing customer engagements have also resulted in initiatives that are currently contributing to operational improvements.

“We have increased the number of gangs (operational teams per shift) from nine to 13 by identifying drivers who had been promoted to administrative positions internally. This way we move more volumes in less the time. We are also refurbishing more skips internally making use of our Durban technical resources to save us the time of processes associated with going to market,” Phasha said.

The fires in October last year saw the terminal turn to a skip operation to move some cargo to vessels in place of the two conveyor belt routes which were badly damaged in the fire. While there remains some challenges, the collaboration with customers and feedback received has set the terminal’s turnaround plan in motion.

The Richards Bay Bulk Terminal has also concluded plans to employ technology as a way of better monitoring its fleet of operational equipment, diesel use and the movement of commodities in the terminal environment. “The technology will enhance productivity,” said Phasha.

The terminal is located in South Africa’s major bulk port and handles over 20 varying commodities ranging from magnetite, chrome and coal to sulphur, alumina and vermiculite. The terminal is totally separate from the independently-operated Richards Bay Coal Terminal.

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WHARF TALK: SA Port Statistics for December 2021

The Port of Richards Bay Break Bulk and Dry Bulk terminals, in Africa Ports & Ships
The Port of Richards Bay Break Bulk and Dry Bulk terminals    Picture: Transnet

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

December saw a decrease in volumes across most areas of the eight South African Ports when comparing December 2021 with the same month of 2020. The only exception is motor vehicle imports and exports where there was a small increase.

Total tonnage handled at the 8 ports in December was 22,197,179 tons while containers handled amounted to 326,297 TEU.

The number of vessels calling at South Africa’s ports continues to decrease although the gross tonnage remains steady, a pointer to larger ships remaining a factor.

Further details are available in the tables below and in the link provided for comparison for December 2020.

The details in the tables below show port cargo throughputs, ships berthed and auto and container volumes handled together with bulk and dry bulk volumes.

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

For comparison with the equivalent month of the previous year, December 2020 CLICK HERE

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

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

Port Statistics continue below

The Port of Durban RpRp terminal, looking towards what was once known as the Point Docks, in Africa Ports & Ships
The Port of Durban RoRo terminal, looking towards what was used to be called the Point Docks    Picture: Transnet

Figures for the respective ports during December 2021 are:

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

PORT December 2021 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.781
Durban 6.965
Saldanha Bay 4.794
Cape Town 1.478
Port Elizabeth 0.990
Ngqura 1.033
Mossel Bay 0.053
East London -0.104
Total all ports 22.197 million tonnes

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

PORT December 2021 TEUs
Durban 221,318
Cape Town 65,117
Port Elizabeth 8,141
Ngqura 30,327
East London -1,284
Richards Bay 110
Total all ports 326,297 TEU

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

PORT December 2021 CEUs
Durban 46,137
Cape Town 2
Port Elizabeth 7,066
East London 4,650
Richards Bay 0
Total all ports 57,855 CEU

SHIP CALLS for December 2021

PORT December 2021 vessels gross tons
Durban 220 8,372,256
Cape Town 125 2,994,218
Richards Bay 116 4,874,726
Port Elizabeth 65 1,578,579
Saldanha Bay 46 3,731,742
Ngqura 42 1,747,929
East London 17 504,933
Mossel Bay 14 94,743
Total ship calls 644 23,899,126
— source TNPA, with adjustments regarding container weights by AP&S
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WHARF TALK: multi-purpose offshore vessel – BOKA PEGASUS

The multi-purpose vessel Boka Pegasus on her berth in the Duncan Dock, Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The multi-purpose vessel Boka Pegasus on her berth in the Duncan Dock, Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

It is not unusual for major shipowners, known for their activity within a certain sector of the shipping industry, to diversify into another sector, whether by expansion of their own fleet, or simply by acquisition. Examples being both Maersk Line and Bibby Line, expanding from established liner services, by moving into the offshore oil and gas market. One of the lesser known recent examples is the great Dutch dredging operator, Royal Boskalis Westminster BV, who have moved not only into the ultra heavy lift sector, but also into the offshore sector.

On 11th January at 06h00, the multi-purpose offshore vessel BOKA PEGASUS (IMO 9495210) arrived in the Table Bay anchorage from Walvis Bay in Namibia. After a short wait out in the anchorage, she entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded into the Ben Schoeman Dock, and went alongside berth 501. This is the bespoke, specialised, Dormac repair quay, which indicated she had arrived for some work to be undertaken by Dormac.

Built in 2013 by the PT Batamec Shipyard, at Batam in Indonesia, ‘Boka Pegasus’ is 91 metres in length and has a deadweight of 3,695 tons. She is powered by two MaK 16M32C 16 cylinder 4 stroke main engines, each producing 10,228 bhp (8,000 kW), driving two Scana, nozzled, controllable pitch propellers to give a service speed of 10 knots.

Boka Pegasus betthed at the Dormac repair quay in order to prepare for her next task of acting as the stand-by vessel for the NS Qingdao off St Helena Bay. This picture is by 'Dockrat' , in Africa Ports & Ships
Boka Pegasus berthed at the Dormac repair quay in order to prepare for her next task as the stand-by vessel at the NS Qingdao discharge taking place off St Helena Bay. This picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes two Cummins QSK-60 generators providing 1,800 kW each, and a Caterpillar C18 emergency generator providing 465 kW. For additional manoeuvrability she has a centreline, azimuth thruster providing 800 kW, two transverse bow thrusters, each providing 880 kW, and two transverse stern thrusters, each providing 800 kW. This makes ‘Boka Pegasus’ a DP2 vessel, and her great manoeuvrability is due to the fact that she was designed by Sandvik as a Type VS491 CD deepwater anchor handling, and ocean towing vessel.

One of four sisterships, ‘Boka Pegasus’ is suitable for large offshore installation projects and FPSO mooring operations. She has the ability to operate with a stern ‘A-frame; which enables her to undertake heavy seabed ploughing, and boulder obstacle clearance. She has a large stern, working deck area of 810m3 for anchor handling work, and she has an impressive bollard pull of 257 tons for ocean towing voyages. She has accommodation for up to 60 persons. For salvage work, she is equipped as a FiFi2 firefighting vessel.

Owned by Hai Jiao 1307 Ltd. of Singapore, ‘Boka Pegasus’ is chartered to Royal Boskalis Westminster NV, of Papendrecht in Holland, who took her on a three year bareboat charter in February 2019, for a period of 36 months, with an option to buy her. The charter matures soon. She is managed by Boskalis Offshore Fleet Management BV, also of Papendrecht.

She has been operating around Africa for more than a year, supporting offshore oil and gas projects in Congo (Pointe Noire), Angola (Luanda), Namibia (Walvis Bay) and was operating off Durban in May 2021 when she completed the anchor leg replacement of the SAPREF Single Point Mooring (SPM) buoy. She had called into Cape Town twice before in this last year.

Boka Pegasus was in Namibian waters when the message calling her to Cape Town was disclosed, in Africa Ports & Ships
Boka Pegasus was in Namibian waters when  she received the message calling her to Cape Town 

In December 2019 ‘Boka Pegasus’ was brought in to successfully refloat the grounded products tanker ‘Blue Star’, which had gone hard aground northeast of the Spanish port of La Coruña, located in the northwest of Spain.After two days alongside the Dormac repair quay, ‘Boka Pegasus’ sailed from Cape Town at 16H00 on 13th January, bound for St. Helena. Except that this was not the South Atlantic island of St. Helena, but to the anchorage at St. Helena Bay, north of the port of Saldanha Bay. She was being brought in by SAMSA to act as escort and safety standby vessel to the 57,000 ton Supramax bulk carrier ‘NS Qingdao’.

In mid-October, the ‘NS Qingdao’ had arrived at Durban, from Gwangyang in South Korea, with a cargo of ten bulk products, three of which are listed in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) code. The list of bulk solid chemicals carried reads like a chemistry students nightmare, and for the student of Dangerous Goods carriage, they are listed as Sodium Metabisulphite, Magnesium Nitrate Hexahydrate (IMDG UN Code 1474, Class 5), Caustic Calcined Magnesite, Electrode Paste, Monoammonium Phosphate, Ferrous Sulphate Monohydrate (IMDG UN Code 3077, Class 9), Zinc Sulphate Monohydrate (IMDG UN Code 3077, Class 9), Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Sulphite and Calcium Chloride.

On October 27th, ‘NS Qingdao’ was required to leave Durban harbour in haste, as her cargo had started to emit toxic fumes, as a result of a chemical reaction due to rainwater being allowed to react with a part of her cargo. Such an occurrence raises many questions about applied risk assessments, and working procedures, when working a cargo plan of known dangerous goods.

Ships of this tyoe usualy have a large open deck available for heavy loads when necessary. Picture by 'Docktat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Ships of this type usually have a large open deck available for heavy loads when necessary. Picture by ‘Docktat’

The result was that the applied wisdom of the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the South African Government Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) made the decision that the vessel had to be taken out to sea to allow the cargo to be ventilated. This was later amended that NS Qingdao had to be taken to a safe anchorage some 850 nautical miles away from Durban, to St. Helena Bay. She was escorted to St. Helena Bay by the AMSOL vessel ‘Umkhuseli’. (See Africa Ports 23rd September 2021 for a report on ‘Umkhuseli’).

A selection of Chemical Experts, Hazmat Specialists and Emergency Response Teams were placed aboard NS Qingdao, and the initial decision on arrival at St. Helena Bay was for the reacting cargo to be offloaded into skips, taken ashore for chemical neutralization and then buried in special landfill. The amount of cargo to be discharged was initially 1,500 tons.

However, a further decision was taken that the cargo should instead be dumped at sea. The DFFE issued a dumping permit, and a location some 150 nautical miles offshore from St. Helena Bay was chosen as the dumping site. The ocean depths in this location are in excess of 3,000 metres. The operation is expected to take until March to complete, and so far a total of 1,000 tons has been dumped.

SAMSA brought in ‘Boka Pegasus’ as the safety standby vessel, as she was perfectly equipped for the role, and she is currently escorting NS Qingdao out to the offshore dumping ground, from St. Helena Bay. The reason for bringing in ‘Boka Pegasus’ was because Umkhuseli was required to return to the PetroSA offshore operation, south of Mossel Bay, where she is required to continue with providing contracted offshore support to the FA Platform located there.

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Nigeria’s ports: IMO supports electronic data exchange

Picture: IMO ©, in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture: IMO ©

IMO is supporting the Government of Nigeria in its efforts to develop a Port Community System (PCS) for electronic data exchange for its ports complex. This was reported by the IMO media service on 10 January.

From January to June 2022 it is understood that IMO will work with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA*) to conduct a detailed needs assessment mission. The assessment team will conduct analysis of the current situation and put forward recommendations on the governance, business model, technology and identify any gaps to be addressed. This will ensure that Nigerian ports benefit from an effective operational country-wide PCS to enhance the economy of the country.

Picture: NPA ©, in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture: NPA ©

Port Community Systems are neutral platforms that allow the exchange of electronic information between various stakeholders, have become an increasingly important part of simplifying cross-border trade.

The assessment mission is the second phase of a project which began in 2021 with a series of IMO-led webinars (between August and November 2021) which aimed to raise awareness among Nigerian stakeholders about key aspects of a PCS. This series identified opportunities and challenges for developing a national PCS in Nigeria.

More than 60 senior management participants attended from Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the country’s Customs service, immigration, health services, agricultural services and Ministry of Transportation, as well as port terminal operators, shipping companies, ship agents, importers and exporters.

Picture: NPA ©, in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture: NPA ©

* The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is a Federal Government Agency that governs and operates the Ports in Nigeria. The major Ports include; Lagos Port Complex and Tin Can Island Port Complex both in Lagos State. The Calabar Port Complex in Cross River State. The Delta Ports in Warri, Delta State and the Rivers Port Complex and Onne Port Complex both in Rivers State. The ports’ operations are carried out under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transportation. It also operates in collaboration with other Government Agencies.
The Head Office of the Nigerian Ports Authority is located at 26/28 Marina, Lagos, Nigeria.
For more see

Paul Ridgway

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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MSC has exclusivity on bid to acquire Bolloré Africa Logistics

Some of Bollore Africa Logistics operations in Africa, in Africa Ports & Ships
Some of Bollore Africa Logistics operations in Africa

In December the Bolloré Group announced that it had received an offer from the Mediterranean Shipping Company Group (MSC) to acquire 100% of Bolloré Africa Logistics.

The offer comprises all of the Bolloré Group’s transport and logistics activities in Africa, on the basis of an enterprise value, net of minority interests, of €5.7 billion.

MSC has exclusivity on its bid until 31 March 2022 to enable the Geneva-based shipping and logistics company to carry out an additional due diligence phase and to conduct contractual negotiations, and to submit a put option.

The offer concerns the the Bolloré Group’s port, rail and logistics entities in Africa, as well as the port concessions in India, Timor Leste and Haiti. Bolloré Logistics elsewhere in the world and Bolloré Energy are not included.

Completion of the sale would require the approval of regulatory and competition authorities, as well as of certain counterparties of Bolloré Africa Logistics.

The Bolloré Group is studying this offer, which protects jobs and preserves its projects and commitments on the continent. The Bolloré Group remains strongly involved in Africa, with Canal+, the leading pay-TV operator in French-speaking Africa and a major shareholder of MultiChoice, the leading pay-TV operator in English-speaking Africa.

The Group will also continue to develop its activities in numerous sectors such as communication, entertainment, telecoms, and publishing.

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Dachser – Freight and cargo insurance – a neglected safety net

Dachser warehousing in Africa Ports & Ships

by Detlev Duve
Managing Director, Dachser South Africa

As logistics involves a network of different partners, goods may pass through multiple transfers, different service providers and various modes of transport en route to the end destination. Most of the time, freight is transported by air or sea without issues. However, all transport carries an element of risk – and it’s important to know that your goods are not automatically covered against damage, theft or loss by liability insurance alone. The additional combination of both freight and cargo insurance provides an essential safety net. Due to the complexity, this should be applied for by an experienced partner in logistics.

Liability coverage protects the carrier or freight forwarder, but does not generally cover damaged cargo. The carrier or freight forwarder can only be proven liable if damage or loss occurs through clear mistakes or negligence during transport. The extent of the carrier of freight forwarder’s liability is however limited, and the maximum amount of compensation they are required to pay usually will not equate to the value of the shippers goods or products.

With good freight insurance in place, you do not need to prove that the carrier or freight forwarder damaged your shipment, you simply must submit a claim stating the damage, with your proof of value and loss. While liability coverage must always be in place, insurance for freight shipments is not a legal requirement. However, just as one wouldn’t drive an uninsured car, going without freight insurance can simply be too risky. Unlike car insurance where policies are more standard, freight insurance is complex and specific contracts should be drawn up in each case by experienced brokers. Each policy is going to cover different types of damage, materials, claims, and deductibles.

Detlev Duve, Dachser managing director in South Africa, in Africa Ports & Ships
Detlev Duve, Dachser managing director in South Africa

Even if your forwarder is liable, compensation provided by freight insurance will still only cover a small percentage of the value of your goods. As freight insurance cover is calculated on the basis of the weight of the goods, the same amount would be paid out for one kilogram of platinum as it would for one kilogram of paper. Enter cargo insurance, which can be taken to cover the full value of a shipment while it is in transit, protecting the customer. Confusing freight insurance and cargo insurance and assuming that shipments are covered by freight insurance for their full value in the event of loss or damage can be a costly error.

Where the responsibility lies for goods in transit depends on whether you are the shipper or the buyer, and on the sales agreement governing the terms of transportation. The International Commercial Terms of 2020, or Incoterms® are rules governing the sale of goods around the world, including shippers’ liabilities and responsibilities. An international sales agreement should always include one of the Incoterms® clarifying where responsibility for cargo insurance lies between buyer and seller at the different stages of transit, and when the risk passes from one party to the other.

Commonly used Incoterms® include:

EXW (Ex Works): The buyer bears the risk and insurance costs from the export customs clearance stage, through to receipt of goods.

FOB (Free On Board): The seller is responsible for risk and cost until the goods are loaded onto the cargo vessel or aircraft. At that point, the risk and cost transfer to the buyer.

CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight): The seller accepts risk up to the point the goods are loaded onto the cargo vessel or aircraft. The seller also pays the cost of insurance until the goods reach the port of discharge. The buyer shares the cost at the port of discharge and has sole responsibility for cost and risk from then onwards.

Whether you’re an importer who has paid for goods prior to receiving them, or an seller who has not been paid at the time of shipment, cargo insurance reduces your risk of financial impact if the goods are lost or damaged during transit. As with freight insurance, cargo insurance claims can be invalidated if not made within specified timeframes, and the submission of claims should be carefully managed.

Cargo insurance can also expedite the release of your cargo should an accident occur, although your goods may not be damaged. Should particular accidents occur to the vessel, all parties share in the loss equally, under the General Average principle. By purchasing insurance, your insurance company assumes this responsibility and expedites the release of your cargo.

As a logistics specialist in Africa, Dachser South Africa is responsible for coordinating almost every aspect of our customers shipment. It makes sense for us to handle the cargo insurance too as a value-added service. Dachser South Africa has partnered with a specialist in freighting insurance as part of our commitment to our customers. We negotiate contracts, pay the premiums and submit claims on behalf of our customers, managing correspondence until a settlement is reached. Shipping to unfamiliar destinations that do not have well-organised infrastructure can add to the risk factor. While damage and loss is rare, it can be very expensive, making insurance costs money well spent.


A family-owned company headquartered in Kempten, Germany, DACHSER is a leading supplier of logistics services worldwide. DACHSER offers comprehensive transport logistics, warehousing, and customer-specific services in two business fields: DACHSER Air & Sea Logistics and DACHSER Road Logistics. The latter consists of two business lines: DACHSER European Logistics and DACHSER Food Logistics. Comprehensive contract-logistics services and industry-specific solutions round out the company’s offerings. A seamless shipping network—both in Europe and overseas—and fully integrated IT systems ensure intelligent logistics solutions worldwide.
Thanks to some 30,782 employees at 387 locations all over the globe, DACHSER generated revenue of 5.6 billion euros in 2020. That same year, the logistics provider handled a total of 78.6 million shipments weighing 39.8 million metric tons. Country organisations represent DACHSER in 42 countries, including South Africa.
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Bolloré Ports’ Congo Terminal tops one million TEU

Congo Terminal at Pointe Noire. Picture courtesy Navis, in Africa Ports & Ships
Congo Terminal at Pointe Noire. Picture courtesy Navis

Less than two years since new infrastructure as installed at the Congo Terminal at the port of Pointe-Noire (February 2020), the target of exceeding one million TEUs in a year has been reached.

The inauguration then of new infrastructure and equipment included extending G dock to 800 metres in length and the construction of the 700-metre long D dock and a depth alongside of -15 metres. These developments enabled the port to welcome ships of over 14,000 TEU capacity, while the introduction of equipment including six new STS cranes and 18 RTGs saw an average productivity rate in excess of 60 movements an hour being achieved.

Celebrating the achievement of one million TEU in 2021. Picture: Bollore
Celebrating the achievement of one million TEU in 2021. Picture: Bollore

Importantly, the average waiting time for ships to dock at the terminal was reported to have fallen slightly under 24 hours.

The Congo Terminal has now achieved another landmark, of handling in excess of one million TEUs during 2021, joining just a small number of sub-Saharan Africa ports to achieve this mark.

Congo Terminal, a concession of the Port Autonome of Pointe-Noire, is operated and managed by a joint venture that includes Bolloré Africa Logistics, A.P. Moller A/S and Socotrans.

During 2021 Congo Terminal handled a total of 1,003,734 TEU.

“This result attests to the success of the partnership between Congo Terminal and the Port Autonome of Pointe-Noire, said Séraphin Bhalat, director of the Port Autonome of Pointe-Noire. “Now that we have broken this symbolic level, our goal is to become a transhipment hub helping the national economy and subregion grow and an eco-friendly smart port.”

New Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes for the Congo Terminal at Pointe Noire, in Africa Ports & Ships
New Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes for the Congo Terminal at Pointe Noire

Since 2012 the terminal operator has also carried out construction works, having built storage areas covering more than 32 useable hectares, a multi-modal logistics area of 4.5 hectares connected to the Congo–Ocean Railway, and a technical workshop dedicated to maintenance operations.

It also uses the Navis N4 operating system for managing and automating operations in the terminal.

As an employer, Congo Terminal supports local recruitment and currently employs over 900 Congolese as well as more than 1,500 temporary workers. The company also develops its employees’ skills and says it is committed to promoting gender equality, especially in technical jobs like STS cranes operators.

Congo Terminal is also rolling out environmentally-friendly solutions through the provision of electric buses and electric towing vehicles powered by lithium-metal-polymer batteries.

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A new daily rail service from the Port of Felixstowe

A new daily rail service has been introduced at Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe on England’s South East Coast. This new service, reported on 10 January, is operated by GB Railfreight for Maritime Transport and connects the port with Birch Coppice in the Midlands. It is the fifteenth operated by GB Railfreight and the twelfth daily rail connection from the port to destinations in the Midlands.

Commenting on the latest addition to the port’s roster of rail services, Robert Ashton, Operations Director at the Port of Felixstowe, said: ‘Increasing the proportion of traffic moving by rail is an important part of our strategy to offer the widest possible range of sustainable transport options through the Port of Felixstowe. We are investing in new plant and equipment as part of our own drive towards net-zero and are working with partners, including GB Railfreight and Maritime Transport to help others remove carbon from their supply chains.

‘With three dedicated rail terminals at the port we offer more rail services to more inland destinations with greater frequency than any other UK port.’

Julie Garn, General Manager Intermodal, said: ‘Working closely with Maritime Transport and the Port of Felixstowe, this new service will play an important part in alleviating some of the pressure facing the UK supply chain. Increasing the number of services from Felixstowe is an efficient and environmentally friendly way to meet growing consumer demand, with an average freight train removing up to 76 HGVs from the road.’

John Bailey, Managing Director – Intermodal and Terminals, Maritime Transport, added: ‘We are thrilled to launch this new service with GB Railfreight. Our investment in new routes, new equipment, and our terminals enables us to provide the most advanced logistics solutions, and reflects our drive to deliver increased resource at a time when the industry is facing huge challenges. We have achieved unrivalled success in the intermodal sector in a very short period of time, but we are only at the start of a journey that will continue to see us challenge the industry norms and accelerate modal shift.’

New cargo-handling equipment due

As part of its commitment to reducing carbon, the port recently placed an order for 48 battery-powered terminal tractors and 17 zero-emission remote controlled electric rubber-tyred gantry cranes.

Destinations served by rail from Felixstowe

The destinations currently served by rail from the Port of Felixstowe are: Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Teesport, Birmingham, Birch Coppice, Doncaster, East Midlands Gateway, Hams Hall, Wakefield, Ditton (Widnes), Rotherham, iPort Rossington and Cardiff.

About Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe

Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe is strategically located on the UK’s South East coast and within easy reach of major ports in North West continental Europe.

As the UK’s first purpose-built container-handling facility, it is also the largest and busiest container port in the country. With three rail terminals, it also has the busiest and biggest intermodal rail freight facility in the UK. The latest phase of development, Berths 8&9, provides additional deep-water capacity for the world’s largest container ships.

About Hutchison Ports

Hutchison Ports is the port and related services division of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited. Hutchison Ports is the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator with a network of port operations in 52 ports spanning 26 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.
Over the years, Hutchison Ports has expanded into other logistics and transport-related businesses, including cruise ship terminals, distribution centres, rail services and ship repair facilities.

Paul Ridgway

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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MSC Orchestra resumes cruising in SA waters 

MSC Orchestra arriving in Durban on 2 December 2022, at the start of her summer cruise season in South African waters. Picture is by Trevor Jones in Africa Ports & Ships
MSC Orchestra arriving in Durban on 2 December 2022, at the start of her summer cruise season in South African waters. Picture is by Trevor Jones

The MSC Cruises ship MSC ORCHESTRA, which arrived in South Africa early in December with the intention of carrying out a summer season of cruises from Durban and Cape Town, has recommenced its schedule after the early part of the planned cruises out of Durban had to be cancelled.

The ship in fact completed only one cruise from the new Durban Cruise Terminal, sailing to Mozambique on 6 December 2021 but on her return it was learned that a number of passengers had contracted Covid-19 and had to be quarantined.

Following that unfortunate start and with the fourth wave and the Omicron variant reaching towards its peak, MSC Cruises wisely cancelled further cruises until the fourth wave of the virus showed signs of waning, leaving the ship on her berth opposite the Cruise Terminal.

After a month of idleness, MSC Orchestra began embarking passengers on 9 January 2022, before sailing that evening at 19h39, bound for Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, where she is currently carrying out a schedule of coastal cruises. After calling at Port Elizabeth on 11 January, she continued her cruise to Cape Town where she arrived on Thursday 13 January to find the wind was affecting ship working, which delayed her entry into port by 7 hours, docking eventually at 12h46.

Her first cruise from Cape Town is to Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth, with the ship due off Mossel Bay on Saturday 15 January. According to the Southern Cape port, she is carrying 1,000 passengers and 925 crew. Much too large to enter the port, passengers were ferried ashore in the various craft carried on the ship for this purpose.

After a day at anchor in the bay, MSC Orchestra was due to sail later on Saturday at 18h00 (this report prepared on Friday 14 January), with a second visit to P.E. scheduled for the following day (Sunday).

Mossel Bay port manager, Dineo Mazibuko said that cruise ship tourism is aligned with Transnet National Port Authority’s vision of transforming the port into a Smart People’s Port. “The cruise season provides a big boost for not only Mossel Bay’s tourism economy but also the Garden Route District at large.”

At Mossel Bay, where the cruise ship MSC Orchestra is too large to enter the port, the vesssel has to anchor outside in the bay with passengers going ashore on excursions being ferried, in Africa Ports & Ships
At Mossel Bay, where the cruise ship MSC Orchestra is too large to enter the port, the vessel has to anchor outside in the bay with passengers going ashore on excursions  having to be ferried

She said the TNPA is also working closely with the relevant stakeholders to position the Port of Mossel Bay as a tourist port.

“The Mossel Bay Waterfront will help with making the Port of Mossel Bay an even bigger attraction on this beautiful coastline, with a mixed-use waterfront that could include retail, commercial and industrial facilities.” Mazibuko added.

Long term plans for Mossel Bay include developing a facility that will enable cruise passengers to disembark directly onto the quayside, instead of arriving by ferry. The port manager said the port was planning to officially welcome MSC Orchestra, its Captain and its crew by handing over a plaque and a gift to the vessel captain, Captain Ciro Pinto.

Other cruise ships booked to call at Mossel Bay are the Europa 2 on 12 February, followed by Silver Whisper on 26 February – provided these ships continue with their schedule cruises to South Africa.

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Toxic cargo from NS Qingdao being dumped out at sea off West Coast

NS Qingdao when sailing as Mare Trader. Picture by Fleetmon. Pictures further down courtesy of Dr Holling, in Africa Ports & Ships
NS Qingdao when sailing as Mare Trader. Picture by Fleetmon. Pictures further down courtesy of Dr Holling

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) advises that salvage work, involving the removal of contaminated cargo from the bulk carrier NS QINGDAO (IMO 9567439) off St Helena Bay, is continuing.

Readers will recall that the ship was required to leave the port of Durban on 23 October 2021 after its cargo of chemicals suffered a reaction and began releasing toxic fumes into the atmosphere above Maydon Wharf. It was originally said that rainwater came into contact with the cargo while the hatches were open.

Hot spot on NS Qingdao Image: Dr Holling
Hot spot on NS Qingdao Image: Dr Holling

After exiting the port the ship was instructed by SAMSA to sail to St Helena Bay on the West Coast, where the removal of the cargo could take place in safety.

SAMSA reports the vessel is currently anchored off St Helena Bay and an emergency dumping permit has been obtained from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to dump the reacting cargo at sea.

The intention is to dump approximately 1500 tonnes of cargo 250km from the closest point to land and in excess of 3,000 metres of water. The dumping operation is expected to be concluded on the 15th of March 2022.

To date more than 1000 tonnes of the cargo has been taken out of the vessel and it is expected that the remaining hotspots will be removed and dumped by that date.

Earlier it was stated the cargo was to be taken ashore to an approved site on the land but that has obviously changed.

Method used to extract cargo from hold on bulker NS Qingdao. Picture: Dr Holling, in Africa Ports & Ships
Method used to extract cargo from hold on bulker NS Qingdao. Picture: Dr Holling

NS Qingdao has no obvious structural damage, and she will return to the closest port after the dumping operation is complete and her cargo is stabilised. An investigation will also be conducted to determine the reason for the cargo reaction.

Structural specialists will also conduct an assessment to ensure that the integrity of the vessel is intact before allowing her to sail onward to her destination.

Meanwhile the AMSOL tug UMKHUSELI has been withdrawn as the safety stand-by vessel and replaced by BOKA PEGASUS – see Wharf Talk report above.. SAMSA says the operation is weather dependent to ensure that the highest levels of safety standards are maintained throughout the operation.

The owners, insurance and salvors are continuing to work with the South African authorities on this matter.

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IN CONVERSATION: South African movie dives into the complexity of poaching

Still from the film Sons of the Sea.   Indigenous Film Distribution

Marieke Norton, University of Cape Town

What does salvation look like? When a person lacks options, this may not be a straightforward judgement to make. Is salvation an unearned windfall, or doing what’s legal?

The award-winning South African film Sons of the Sea pivots on questions like these. It explores the moral universe of forced choices through the narrative of Mikhail and Gabriel, two brothers from Kalk Bay, a fishing village near Cape Town. Mikhail is the older brother and a small-time abalone poacher. Gabriel is set up as his opposite: he completed school, plans to study further, has a good job at a local hotel and is in a relationship with a responsible young woman. Mikhail lives life according to somewhat looser morals – associated here with active criminality.

When a foreigner dies in the hotel where he works, Gabriel finds a stash of dried and packaged abalone, an amount that represents a fortune if it can be sold successfully. The brothers steal the valuable marine snails, setting off the well-known crime movie spiral into uncontrolled events.

As a counterbalance to the brothers, we encounter Peterson, an official with the local government department that deals with marine resource extraction. We are given clues about Peterson to indicate a man in a desperate situation – a widower with a young son and problematic mother-in-law, financial troubles and an inherited ethos of living off the land. Without giving away the story, suffice it to say that the lucre of the abalone lures all three to a dramatic resolution.

Sons of the Sea trailer.

Abalone, or perlemoen (Haliotis midae), is a shellfish that was once abundant along South Africa’s Western Cape coast. Illegal extraction rose steeply in the 1990s, for a number of reasons. It is highly sought after as a delicacy and status symbol. This made it valuable to the established black marketeers who saw the newly democratised South Africa as an expansion opportunity.

A number of coastal communities were left disappointed by the fishing rights processes that they had been relying on to reverse a century and more of colonial and apartheid exclusion from the formal fishing sector. When it became clear to these communities that they would not gain access to fishing resources, many took to “protest fishing”. This opened the gap for more intentionally criminal elements.

While it has its roots in the idea that the sea belongs to the people of the Cape, the reality is that poaching is devastating these communities and the ecology on which they wish to base their livelihoods.

The complex poaching world

Sons of the Sea is beautifully filmed, with close-ups and lingering shots of the Atlantic, the Great African Seaforest and the fynbos-covered hills at the southern tip of Africa. The land and sea help determine what actions the characters take. Switching between them echoes the idea of salvation as ambiguous, preventing clear distinctions between who is good and who is bad.

When I talk to people about my research into marine resource law enforcement in the Western Cape, I often encounter two perspectives: a conviction that all illegal fishers are criminal poacher-gangsters; or that poaching is a noble response to the enduring legacy of colonial and apartheid exclusions of people of colour from the ocean space and resources. The reality is usually far less clear cut.

What I argue – in line with other work on different kinds of illegal resource extraction – is that the decision to poach is not a decision, but a destination on a journey that is often fraught with loss and exclusion. Many divers have died in rough seas or when trying to evade law enforcement. Unless you are the kingpin or the merchant, poaching is a dangerous choice which could see you dead, in jail or embroiled in gangsterism.

My research has repeatedly shown me that South Africa’s coastal communities are under-resourced to the point of precarity. The inter-generational cycle of poverty leaves one with few choices. The dithering by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment on implementing policy for small fisheries means that poaching is often the only option. It is not simply a choice between legality and criminality, it is often between starving or not.

To stop poaching, communities must be nurtured – in some cases regenerated – to provide young men like Mikhail with options. In the film, he is not simply criminal – he is trapped by the legacy of exclusion that reserves the sea for others. As a young man of colour, who did not finish school, he is in a bracket that currently suffers from 40.2% unemployment. He has no hope of getting a legal fishing licence, or a regular job with prospects. So why would he turn away from the one thing that provides without taking?

Two men sit in a room and talk
Roberto Kyle and Brendon Daniels.   Indigenous Film Distribution

We see this complexity of intention and motivation not only in the two brothers, but also in the character of Peterson. Woven throughout the backstories of these characters is loss of loved ones, lack of resources and the desperation to get out of the economic hardships that prevent their futures from being realised.

Choices and motivations

Sons of the Sea presents the shifting landscape that compels the characters to revisit their choices and motivations as events unfold. What is the right choice changes, and is never the same for two characters at once. Throughout the first part of the film, we see Gabriel practising a speech under his breath, checking his notes as he prepares for this future in which he is centre stage, being listened to. He drops it, and Peterson finds it at the scene of the crime. As he reads it, so do we as the audience:

All world processes are made up of two forces.

It is clearly intended as the central idea of the film. This is vital, as the fight against poaching is a misnomer. The only constructive, longterm counter to illegal fishing and the abalone black market is a world in which young people are not preoccupied with salvation, with saving themselves, but one in which they do not need saving.The Conversation

Marieke Norton, Lecturer, Course Convenor and Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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Three small South African marine surveillance satellites blast into space on board SpaceX Falcon rocket

A Falcon 9 rocket launches its payload into space from Cape Canaveral in the USA
A Falcon 9 rocket launches its payload into space from Cape Canaveral in the USA

America’s SpaceX, which is the brain-child of SA-born and schooled Elon Musk, blasted into space orbit on Thursday 13 January, carrying among others, three satellites that will provide the means of monitoring shipping (AIS) along the South African coast.

The Maritime Domain Awareness (MDASat-1) satellites were produced at the French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI) at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) with financial input from the Department of Science and Innovation.

The launch, which was broadcast live via YouTube, went off flawlessly, with the booster rocket returning to the landing platform at Cape Canaveral in an impressive landing. It was the 10th time that this particular booster had assisted a Falcon 9 rocket into space, returning under automatic control safely each time.

The positioning of the three SA-built satellites means that the country will no longer be dependant on third party Automatic Identification System (AIS) information on shipping sailing in South African territorial waters.

Watch now the launch of the Falcon 9 carrying among others, three South African marine surveillance satellites [4:57]

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