Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 5 June 2022

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The week’s mastheads:

Monday: Port of Cape Town Duncan Dock
Tuesday: Port of Cape Town
Wednesday: Port of Cape Town from the V&A
Thursday: Port of East London West Bank
Friday: Port of East London
Saturday: Port of Durban Container Terminal by night
Sunday: Port of Tin Can island (Lagos)




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OBS Venus. Picture by Trevor Jones, in Africa Ports & Ships
OBS Venus. Picture by Trevor Jones

The Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier OBS VENUS (IMO 9226750) recently called at Durban, where this picture was taken of the ship arriving in port from Luanda. The 51,535-dwt bulker is 190 metres in length and 32m wide and wqs built in 2002.

The ship sailed from Durban on 8 May bound for the port of Taicang in Jiangsu province, China, where she is due on 6 June. Taicang is located in the south of the Yangtze river estuary.

This picture is by Trevor Jones





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Poor sad Port Bell on Lake Victoria. What future has it?

The rail link into Port Bell
The rail link into Port Bell

Concern has been expressed about a seeming lack of initiative in improving and upgrading Uganda’s two main Lake Victoria ports, Port Bell and Jinja.

In the case of Port Bell the harbour area has been severely silted and only very shallow draught vessels are able to make use of the quayside.

A sunken vessel blocks part of the entrance to the port, which is in a narrow inlet of the lake and about 11km from the heart of Kampala, Uganda’s largest city and capital.

Port Bell possesses a small 2000-ton dry dock and is connected with the country’s metre gauge railway, including a rail ferry wharf to cater for rail wagons arriving on a rail ferry vessel.

However, the port lacks cargo handling equipment and traders and transporters complain of regular lengthy delays in loading and offloading of ferries due to a shortage of shunting locomotives. They complain also of a lack of good lighting which prevents cargo working after darkness.

It’s believed that Uganda is negotiating with the World Bank to help finance the rehabilitation of Port Bell, although so far no sense of urgency has been apparent.

An inland depot has been planned for Bukasa, to the west of the capital but although a start was due to be made several years ago, so far there has been little progress.

But now Uganda is coming under pressure from several of its neighbours – Kenya in particular which has spent a considerable sum on rehabilitating the Kenya port of Kisumu on the north-east banks of Lake Victoria.

Kisumu is connected by metre gauge railway to Naivasha, 76-km north-west of Nairobi and from there by standard gauge railway down to the coast at the Indian Ocean port at Mombasa. Kenya has set a path of using the rail to Kisumu and from there cargo will be moved by ship across the lake, with Uganda ports a natural destination.

Kisumu is 12 hours sailing time from Port Bell and offers considerable opportunities when competing with road traffic, which faces road blocks and delays at the Malaba border with Uganda.

In anticipation of this Kenya is completing the building of a fuel barge to carry fuel between Kisumu and Entebbe in Uganda, to the southwest of Kampala The barge will enter service in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Kenya recently refurbished an existing rail ferry, mv Uhuru which has re-entered service from Kisumu. A second ferry, mv Uhuru 2 is under construction at Kisumu while the state-owned Kisumu Kenya Shipyard has been commissioned and will repair, maintain and build lake-going vessels.

To the south in the lake, at the Tanzanian port city of Mwanza the Tanzanian authorities are building a new 93-metre long, 20m wide ferry to be named mv Mwanza. The ship has a carrying capacity of 1,200 passengers, 400 tonnes of cargo, 20 cars and three trucks and is expected to be delivered in December this year.

All of these plans and intentions depend to some extent on the ability of Uganda’s ports and facilities being available for a resurgence in lake transport, but so far things do not look promising.

In 2021 Kenya and Uganda signed an accord on revamping the metre gauge railway after the stalling of the standard gauge due to fiscal difficulties.

Kenya completed rehabilitating the narrow gauge line as far as the Malaba border with Uganda. On the Uganda side the upgrading of the old line has become a stop/start affair. Kenya’s eyes are not just on Uganda but are also looking further west to a lucrative share of the DRC market.

Success with redeveloping lake transport will go a long way to helping this, as Kenya can transport direct to DRC ports on the western banks of Lake Victoria.

Further south Tanzania has a similar goal, and with the prospects of a standard gauge high-speed railway reaching Mwanza in due time, and new ferries planned and building within Tanzania, its chances are looking good.

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Added 3 June 2022


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WHARF TALK: specialised purpose vessel – EDDA FIDES

The offshore accommodation and support vessel Edda Fides arrives in Cape Town harbour from Western Australia. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The offshore accommodation and support vessel Edda Fides arrives in Cape Town harbour from Western Australia. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ”Dockrat’

The perfect geographical position of Cape Town has always been a good place to spot Oil and Gas Industry vessels as they call in. The visits tend to be either for bunkers, when en-route to their next contract, or calling in for engineering support at the end of a contract.

It is what the observer gets to see that never ceases to amaze, in regard to the ability of the oil and gas industry to design, and build, a specialised vessel for a specialised purpose, that you are not going to see anywhere else. It amazes not just in terms of looks, visible equipment fittings, and sheer size, but also the reason, and the need, for what it was designed for in the first place.

On 1st June at 08h00 the Offshore Accommodation and Support Vessel EDDA FIDES (IMO 9456290) arrived off Cape Town from Barrow Island in western Australia, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding to the Eastern Mole in the Duncan Dock. A call for bunkers and fresh stores, whilst transiting between contacts was the likely reason for the call. The view from astern as she lay alongside the Eastern Mole was very reminiscent of a passenger ship of old.

Edda Fides is proceeding to West Africa where she will provide accommodation and other support. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Edda Fides is proceeding to West Africa where she will provide accommodation and other support. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2011 by Astillero Hijos de J. Barreras SA at Vigo in Spain, ‘Edda Fides’ is 130 metres in length and has a deadweight of 7,607 tons. She is unique in that she was the first, and only, monohull offshore vessel to be built to act as both an accommodation vessel, and a platform support vessel. She was designed by Vik-Sandvik, who are the Norwegian subsidiary of the Wärtsilä Ship Design Group of Finland.

She is a diesel electric powered vessel, and has no less than six Wärtsilä 9L26B2/A26 9 cylinder 4 stroke generators, each producing 3,923 bhp (2,925 kW). The generators provide power to drive five Voith-Schneider 32R5 EC/265-2 propulsion (VSP) units, each producing 2,500 kW each. There are three VSP units aft, and two VSP units forward.

The unusual sight on the bow of the symbol for a VSP unit - Voith-Schneider propulsion units similar to those on the latest range of Transnet tugs, including Cape Town's Umbilo and Enseleni. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The unusual sight on the bow of the symbol for a VSP unit – Voith-Schneider propulsion units similar to those on the latest range of Transnet tugs, including Cape Town’s Umbilo and Enseleni. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The manoeuvrability provided by VSP units meant that ‘Edda Fides’ has no need for any of the Transnet harbour tugs, and she berthed without any assistance. Whilst bulbous bow and bow thruster symbols, painted on vessels are well known, it is interesting to see the bow symbol for a VSP unit on ‘Edda Fides’, a symbol that is rarely, if ever, seen by the casual observer.

Utilising VSP units as her main propulsion system gives ‘Edda Fides’ a 20% fuel and emissions reduction, in relation to other forms of propulsion, and she has a service speed of 10 knots. She also has two Brunvoll bow transverse thrusters, each providing 1,400 kW each, which give her further manoeuvrability. She also has a MAN-B&W D2842 LE201 emergency generator providing 500 kW, which can be used as a harbour generator.

Port side of the vessel, presenting a 3/4 perspective of the impressive ship. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Port side of the vessel, presenting a 3/4 perspective of the impressive ship. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The five VSP units, and the two bow thrusters give ‘Edda Fides’ a DP3 dynamic positioning classification. DP3 classification means that the vessel is equipped such that a major element of the Dynamic Positioning system can fail, but the system has enough built in redundancy to allow operations to continue with no effect on the vessel’s ability to hold its position.

For her DP3 role ‘Edda Fides’ has a Kongsberg K-Pos system, whose reference systems include two DGPS systems, two Dual Radius systems, one Spot Track system and one Gangway system. Her additional reference systems that feed into the DP system, includes three Gyro Compass inputs, three Motion Reference units, and three Wind Sensor units.

Edda Fides from in front as she turns. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Edda Fides from in front as she turns. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For offshore work ‘Edda Fides ’ has accommodation for 600 persons, accommodated in 333 cabins, and if being used as an accommodation vessel, but in a shoreside capacity, she is certified to accommodate 1,000 persons. Her offshore capacity is limited by her lifeboat capacity. She carries six 100 person lifeboats, four 150 person liferafts, with a marine evacuation system (MES), and two 14 person HD 720 ASI rescue craft.

Her passenger facilities include a sauna, a gymnasium, a library, a cinema, a three bed hospital, and she even has an outside swimming pool, which is unheard of on offshore vessels. For work purposes, she has conference room facilities, and provides no fewer than 61 client offices. For passenger comfort she has both anti-roll systems, and anti-heeling systems.

Port side of the vessel, 3/4 perspective of the impressive ship. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Starboard side of the vessel, 3/4 perspective of the impressive ship. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In order to allow her passengers to ‘walk to work’ when offshore, ‘Edda Fides’ is fitted with bow mounted, heave compensated, telescopic gangway. The gangway is 42 metres in length when extended, and can operate with a heave of 5 metres. For logistic purposes, she also has a stern mounted helideck capable of operating the Sikorsky S92A, which is currently the largest offshore helicopter type in service.

For platform support purposes, she has a working deck space of 1,400 m2, and can carry a deck cargo of 1,500 tons. She also has a covered hangar style workshop with a deck area of 240 m2. Her main deck crane is a TTS 60 ton knuckle boom crane, and she also has two 15 ton deck cranes. For emergency support, she is classified as a FiFI2 vessel, and has two large fire monitors capable of discharging water at 1,200 m3 per hour.

Edda Fide has accommodation for between 600 and 1000 persons depending on her position at sea or in harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Edda Fide has accommodation for between 600 and 1000 persons depending on her position at sea or in harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built at a cost of €150 million (ZAR2.5 billion), ‘Edda Fides’ is owned by the Østensjø Group, of Haugesund in Norway. She is operated by Østensjø Rederi AS, and she is managed by Edda Accommodation Norway, both also of Haugesund.

Her arrival in Cape Town, from Western Australia, was at the end of a charter she performed on behalf of Equinor, for the Chevron Wheatstone platform, located 225 kilometres offshore from Onslow, on the northwest coast of Western Australia. Wheatstone is Australia’s largest natural gas project, and the gas production from Wheatstone is piped directly to a purpose built onshore gas processing facility, built for the Wheatstone project, and situated 7 miles outside of Onslow.

The size of the ship can be judged from this angle of her alongside. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The size of the ship in terms of height can be judged from this angle of her alongside. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The gas field reservoir is expected to have a 30 year life cycle, and the Wheatstone platform is the largest offshore platform ever installed in Australia, weighing in at 37,000 tons, and sitting in a water depth of 70 metres. The onshore gas facility has a single LNG berth, for loading export LNG tankers. All of the export LNG from Wheatstone is contracted to be exported to Japanese and South Korean electricity providers.

The Onslow gas facility is also connected to the domestic Dampier-Bunbury gas pipeline which, at 1,540 kilometres in length, is the longest pipeline in Australia. It ships enough natural gas to be able to supply 4.3 million homes in Western Australia.

The stern of the vessel, looking not unlike an older passenger ship. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The stern of the vessel, looking not unlike an older passenger ship. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On completion of her call in Cape Town, ‘Edda Fides’ is expected to be sailing for the maritime border of Senegal and Mauritania. She is next due to go on contract for Saipem, and be assigned to the BP Tortue gas field, which is located across the median that separates Senegal and Mauritania. The gas field is currently under development and is due to go online in 2023.

The Tortue field sits 115 kilometres offshore, and is located in a water depth of 2,830 metres. The four subsea wells are all tied back on an 80 kilometre long subsea pipeline, which stretches back to the continental shelf, where a Floating Production and Storage Offshore (FPSO) unit is anchored in 120 metres of water.

The stern of Edda Fides. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The stern of Edda Fides. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

At the FPSO, the gas is pre-treated and both water and condensate are removed. Also, any impurities in the gas are also removed. The treated gas is then reinjected back into another subsea pipeline that runs for 35 kilometres back to a point 10 kilometres off the coast. Here, a man made offshore LNG processing, and export facility is being constructed.

A one kilometre breakwater has been built in waters that are 30 metres in depth, in order to protect an offshore berthing facility that is being built here. The facility will have a permanently berthed Floating Liquid Natural Gas (FLNG) unit, which is a specially converted Moss LNG tanker, able to chill and liquefy the incoming gas.

The Moss LNG tanker will be able to store 125,000 m3 of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG). The offshore facility also has a single LNG export berth, for inbound LNG tankers to load the stored LNG for export. The Tortue gas field reservoir has a projected life cycle of 30 years.

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Added 3 June 2022


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It’s official – sale of DAL to Hapag-Lloyd is approved

DAL Kalahari, the sole ship in the DAL container fleet, now taken over by Hapag-Lloyd. Picture by Keith Betts in Africa Ports & Ships
DAL Kalahari, the sole ship in the DAL container fleet, now taken over by Hapag-Lloyd. Picture by Keith Betts

It’s official! The sale of German container line business of Deutsche Afrika-Linien (DAL) to fellow German company, Hapag-Lloyd, has been approved by all the relevant antitrust authorities and is now final.

Announcing this yesterday (Thursday 2 June 2022), Hapag-Lloyd said the acquisition of the Africa container specialist division of Deutsche Afrika-Linien (DAL) supports its strategy to further grow in the South African market.

The framework of the purchase was signed in March this year.

“We are very pleased with the closing of the transaction and looking forward to welcoming the DAL colleagues,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd.

“With their broad experience and market knowledge, they will significantly support us to further grow in Africa, which remains an important strategic market for us.

“We will now fully integrate the DAL’s container liner activities into our business.”

He said that DAL is a valuable addition, particularly for the service offering from and to South Africa, which allows Hapag-Lloyd to offer their customers a better network and additional port coverage in this region.

With its long history, DAL is an established liner shipping company for the transportation of containerised cargo and operates with four liner services between Europe, South Africa and the Indian Ocean (SAECS).

Headquartered in Hamburg, the Africa expert is represented with own offices in Germany and South Africa as well as through third-party agents in 47 countries worldwide. Their liner business (including agencies) employs more than 150 people.

DAL owns a 6,589 TEU container ship (DAL KALAHARI (IMO 9400095) and operates a container fleet of around 17,800 boxes (owned and leased), which will be taken over as part of the acquisition.

Hapag-Lloyd said the integration will be moving at a swift pace, with full commercial integration is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2022.

This is Hapag-Lloyd’s second Africa-focused acquisition. In 2021, the company acquired Africa-specialised carrier NileDutch, which significantly strengthened the carrier’s presence and service offering to and from West Africa.

This growth-oriented strategy was also underlined by several new office openings in Africa in 2021 and 2020.

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Spanish & French vessels fishing illegally in the Indian Ocean

Purse seine fishing vessel. Picture by Blue Marine Foundation in Africa Ports & Ships
Purse seine fishing vessel. Picture by Blue Marine Foundation

Spanish and French fishing purse seine vessels have been fishing illegally in the waters of several African states as well as in Indian waters.

That’s the claim from Blue Marine Foundation, an NGO dedicated to marine conservation, which said it has uncovered evidence of unauthorised (i.e. illegal) fishing by EU vessels, specifically French and Spanish purse seine fleets, which have been operating in the waters of several developing Indian Ocean countries.

The report also highlights small amounts of reported catches in the Chagos Archipelago marine protected area and in Mozambique’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) where no vessels flagged to any EU country could have been authorised to fish.

It says investigations by itself and Kroll Investigators, as well as OceanMind, highlight fishing activity “on the part of Spanish and French-owned purse seine vessels in the waters of Somalia and India with no evidence of access agreements authorising the fishing.”

The reports were published to coincide with the start of the 26th Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) which was held during May in Seychelles. Members of the regional fisheries management organisation met to discuss new conservation and management measures for the region and the sustainability of its fish stocks.

These overfished stocks include Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna which it says have been overfished since 2015. Scientific studies suggest it requires catch reductions of up to one third if stocks are recover by 2030, yet the EU, which has been described as the region’s most rapacious yellowfish harvester, was proposing that no further reductions be made this year.

“In addition to the EU’s so-called Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs), which subsidise EU vessels to fish in the waters of third countries (often at a fraction of what it would otherwise cost), there also exist opaque and highly controversial private access agreements made between fishing companies and coastal state governments.


“Blue Marine, together with global investigations firm Kroll, has compared the fishing activity identified by OceanMind in the territorial waters of coastal states to an analysis of the access agreements (both public and private) that exist in the Western Indian Ocean.”

It says this comparison has highlighted potential noncompliance with national and international regulations by Spanish-owned vessels which appear to have spent time fishing in the waters of both India and Somalia without authorisation.

Blue Marine states that a source close to the Indian Head of Delegation confirmed that no permissions or licences were issued to any Spanish-flagged purse seine vessels.

“Another source with links to the Somali ministry of fisheries confirmed that no licences or permissions were granted to any purse seine vessels to operate in the Somali EEZ in 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020, when fishing was identified.

“The generally opaque nature of access agreements raises additional questions around the compliance of these EU-owned fleets in the waters of several other coastal states, including Mozambique where no private agreements could have been legally issued because of the dormant SFPA in place.”

The study commissioned by Blue Marine Foundation and based on publicly-available data reported to the EU and published online by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, shows evidence of fishing by Spanish-flagged vessels in the waters of Somalia in 2017 and 2018 and India in 2018 and 2019.


Yet Europeche (Association of National Organizations of Fishing Enterprises in the European Union), claims that “No fishing took place from EU vessels in any coastal state waters without agreement in place.”

Blue Marine counters by saying that there is evidence to suggest that some of these fleets are fishing in coastal states’ waters without any kind of authorisation. “We call on the European Commission to investigate these instances as a matter of urgency.”

Speaking ahead of the IOTC meeting, Jess Rattle, Head of Investigations at Blue Marine Foundation, said that decision makers should be led by science at the meeting of the IOTC, “rather than by greed, self-interest and short-term gain at the expense of the health of tuna stocks and the livelihoods and food security of coastal communities.”

AIS Switch-offs

The report also claimed that Spanish-flagged purse seine vessels operating in the Western Indian Ocean “went dark” by switching off their AIS (Automatic Identification System) for an average of three quarters of the two-year study period.

The report said that: “Importantly, the study found that significant fishing activity was undertaken without the associated use of AIS. This comes just weeks after an admission from a representative of prominent Spanish fishing association, AGAC, that AIS could indeed be switched off for commercial advantage.

“In addition to being inconsistent with EU law, going dark for commercial advantage also jeopardises crew safety.”

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Added 3 June 2022


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Contracts signed to build 2,000km high-speed Egyptian railway

Picture: Siemens Mobility in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture: Siemens Mobility

A consortium of Siemens Mobility, Orascom Construction and The Arab Contractors have concluded a contract that will result in a 2,000-km long high-speed railway to handle both passenger and freight across Egypt.

Siemens will provide the locomotives for the freight trains, four-car regional trainsets and eight-car high-speed passenger trains.

Africa Ports & Ships has previously reported on these plans but now the contracts have been signed.

The new rail network will connect a total of 60 towns and cities across the North African nation using trains that can travel at speeds of up to 230 km/h. The project will be designed, installed, commissioned and maintained over a period of 15 years.

The contract was entered into with the Egyptian National Authority for Tunnels (NAT), which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport of Egypt.

Siemens Mobility has the lion’s share of the contract worth €8.1bn, with an initial contract of €2.7bn for the first line.

Altogether there will be three lines – the first being the ‘Suez Canal on Rails’ as it has been dubbed and which was previously announced. This consists of a 660-km line between the port cities of Marsa Matruh and Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast and Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea.

The other two lines are a 225-km section between the world heritage archaeological sites in Luxor and Hurghada on the Red Sea, and a 1,100-km line between Cairo and the small town of Abu Simbel close to the Sudan border.

Siemens will install a signalling system based on the ETCS Level 2 technology and the power supply system across all three lines.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi described the planned network as “the beginning of a new era for the rail system in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East.”

Describing the contract as its biggest ever order, Siemens AG president and chief executive officer Dr Roland Busch said that Egypt will have the sixth largest and most modern high-speed rail network in the world.

“Not only will it promote economic growth, it will also enable Egypt to take a leap forward in rail transportation,” Busch said.

The project is expected to create some 40,000 jobs in Egypt, as well as an extra 6,700 jobs in connected industries.

According to Siemens, the fully electrified network would lower CO2 output by around 70% in comparison to journeys made by bus or car.

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Added 2 June 2022


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WHARF TALK: Ulramax bulk carrier – FERMITA

The Ultramax bulk carrier Fermita in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The Ultramax bulk carrier Fermita in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

The arrival of vessels of some of the traditional, great European shipping concerns is no longer a daily, or weekly, event in South African ports, and the ownership of most vessels is hidden behind an obscure one-ship ‘brass plate’ company. What is even rarer is to see a vessel registered under a traditional European flag, as Panama, Monrovia, Majuro and other flags of convenience tend to dominate the shipping scene nowadays.

On 28th May at 10h00 the Ultramax bulk carrier FERMITA (IMO 9881380) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage, and went to anchor for a two day period. On 30th May at 10h00 she entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded into the Duncan Dock, going alongside at H berth.

A nice view of the bulker across the harbour at Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She was due to discharge a parcel of 20,000 tons of wheat whilst in Cape Town, and as she was almost down to her marks on arrival, it is thought that she has further parcels of wheat for discharge in ports further down the South African coast.

For a wheat cargo discharge, it was unusual for ‘Fermita’ to go alongside at H berth, as the usual discharge point for grain cargoes is at the FPT Terminal at either, A, B, C or D berths. Congestion at the FPT Terminal, with a lot of callers discharging there and filling the terminal berths, probably accounted for the decision to berth ‘Fermita’ further along the Duncan Dock.

Fermita being manoeuvred into position to go alongside as one of the locally built Robertson & Caine catamarans passes astern of her. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Fermita being manoeuvred into position to go alongside as one of the locally built Robertson & Caine catamarans passes astern of her. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2020 by Sanoyas Mizushima Shipyard at Kurashiki in Japan, ‘Fermita’ is 200 metres in length and has a deadweight of 60,480 tons. She is powered by a single Mitsui MAN-B&W 6G50ME-B9.3 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 11,720 bhp (8,740 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14.3 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar 6EY18ALW generators providing 550 kW each. She has an Osaka OVS2-80/51-22 composite boiler. She has five holds, served by four 31 ton electro-hydraulic cranes, each equipped with Orts 12m3 electro-hydraulic grabs. She has a cargo carrying capacity of 77,067 m3.

Fermita arrived in Cape Town with a cargo of wheat, loaded in Poland. Picture by 'Dockrat in Africa Ports & Ships
Fermita arrived in Cape Town with a cargo of wheat, loaded in Poland. Picture by ‘Dockrat

A popular Sanoyas Eco-Ship design, ‘Fermita’ is one of three sisterships, and she is owned by Ugland Shipping AS, of Grimstad in Norway. She is operated by Ugland Bulk Transport AS, and managed by Ugland Marine Services AS, both also of Grimstad in Norway. With a fleet of 14 Ultramax bulk carriers in their fleet, ‘Fermita’ operates within the UBulk Pool.

She is the fifth vessel in the Ugland fleet to have been named ‘Fermita’, and when she was launched in June 2020, the world was in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Japan was closed to foreign visitors. As such, no senior Ugland representative was able to attend the launching ceremony from Norway, and the wife of the President of the Sanoyas Shipbuilding Group performed the launching ceremony instead.

Fermita was still in port at Cape Town on the evening of Wednesday 1 June. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Fermita was still in port at Cape Town on the evening of Wednesday 1 June. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her parent company, J.J. Ugland Group, was founded back in 1930, and has remained a family managed company since that time, with the third generation of the Ugland family currently leading the company. The company has a varied fleet, operating bulk carriers, shuttle tankers, crane vessels, crane ships, offshore platform supply vessels and work barges. Previously, the Ugland name was to be seen operating Pure Cars and Truck Carriers, as well as mobile oil rigs.

It is not often that wheat cargoes arrive from Poland. The Baltic Grain Terminal in Gdynia has a long history. The grain elevator was built in 1937, and is located across two berths in the port. It has been developed and improved over the years, and currently has a storage capacity of 72,000 tons. Its design is considered to be ‘Avant-Garde’, and it is so culturally important that it is listed on the Polish Register of Monuments.

Now facing with her starboard side on voew, Fermita is ready to be placed alongside her berth. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa Ports & Ships
Now facing with her starboard side on view, Fermita is ready to be placed alongside her berth. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Gdynia was originally a part of Old Poland, and became a part of Prussia from 1772 until the First World War, when it was returned to Poland. It was not a port until 1921 when the port began to be developed, only opening in 1926. It developed at such a rate that by 1938 it was the largest port in the Baltic. It is currently the second busiest container port in the Baltic.

Not maritime related, but, an interesting fact about Gdynia, and worthy of remembering for a future pub quiz question, is connected to the great British Secret Agent, James Bond, 007. Ian Fleming created the arch-enemy of Bond, Ernst Blofeld, as the head of the shadowy SPECTRE organisation, better known as ‘Number 1’. Fleming decided that the character of Blofeld was born in Gdynia, and that his date of birth was that of Fleming himself.

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TRADE NEWS: Hydrogen energy system for cruise vessels

DNV grants preliminary approval to HAV Group ASA

Oslo, 2 June 2022: DNV has awarded the Norwegian technology provider HAV Group ASA preliminary approval for its hydrogen-based energy system.

The system uses liquefied hydrogen storage and fuel cells and was created as part of the FreeCO2ast project, which is currently developing a high-capacity hydrogen energy system that can be retrofitted onboard two coastal cruise vessels owned by the Norwegian operator Havila Kystruten.

The preliminary approval through DNV means that HAV Group ASA can confidently enter the final design stage and is one step closer to commercializing its hydrogen system.

Read the rest of this report in the TRADE NEWS section available by CLICKING HERE

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ONE signs contracts for ten very large container ship buildings

One Network Express (ONE) has announced ten newbuildings for delivery in 2025, in Africa Ports & Ships
One Network Express (ONE) has announced ten newbuildings for delivery in 2025  Picture ONE

Ocean Network Express (ONE), the combined container divisions of MOL, NYK and ‘K’ Line, has signed ship building contracts with both Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd and Nihon Shipyard Co. Ltd to each construct Very Large Container Ships (VLCS) that will enter ONE’s fleet.

Each of these ships will have a nominal capacity of more than 13,700-TEU and are to be delivered in 2025. This investment embodies ONE’s Midterm Strategy announced in March, to safeguard a sustainable supply chain for the future and underscore ONE’s green strategy and decarbonisation plan.

According to ONE, the ships have been designed with the highest efficiency standards as well as a variety of cutting-edge technology to reduce navigational impacts to the environment and are planned for the “Ready notation” or “AiP (Approval in Principle)” of Ammonia and Methanol as fuel, Carbon Capture and Storage.

The new additions to the ONE fleet will enable the shipping line to broaden the exploration of long-term alternative fuels and decarbonisation technologies in the future.

ONE says it is determined to become a leader in maritime decarbonisation and remains fully committed to achieving sustainable marine transportation by achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

The company says it will continue to make necessary investments in greener assets and technologies, whilst engaging in open collaboration with industry stakeholders.

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Davos 2022: WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala calls for global solidarity

WTO Ministerial Conference heads up

At the World Economic Forum in Davos last week Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala urged government and business leaders to come together through multilateral institutions such as the WTO to address the multiple crises facing the global economy and world trade.

In a gathering overshadowed by the Ukraine conflict and its impact on global food supplies, the Director-General met heads of state, prime ministers, senior officials, corporate heads, academics, journalists and others during her Davos stay to 26 May.

MC 12

The DG also met trade ministers at Davos on 25 May to brief them on preparations for the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) to be held from 12-15 June and to review progress in the negotiations on several key issues to be addressed at MC12. This gathering will be held in Geneva, hosted by Kazakhstan.

In her interventions, the DG underlined the important role that the WTO can play in helping to tackle pressing issues such as growing food insecurity, the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, supply chain disruptions and dwindling fisheries resources.

No single country can resolve these challenges

At a Forum session focusing on financing resilient economies, the DG said that a theme common to all the major crises facing the world today is that of the global commons, and the fact that no single country can resolve these challenges on its own.


The DG reminded participants that world leaders created a set of institutions after the Second World War based on the idea of solidifying international interdependence and solidarity and using these institutions to help solve problems of the global commons.

She declared: “We have the institutions, we just have not reformed them to be able to deal with these issues, and my institution, the WTO, is one that I think needs to be made fit for purpose.

“You cannot have resilience unless you have global solidarity. It is survival together, it is supporting each other, it is financing together, it is recognising that my resilience cannot happen unless your resilience also happens.”

WTO MC12 banner in Africa Ports & Ships

MC12 and food security

The DG noted that at MC12, WTO members will be addressing many crisis issues. These will include the WTO’s response to the pandemic, both in terms of addressing trade and health measures, and of a waiver to WTO intellectual property rules for vaccine production; concluding more than two decades of negotiations on an agreement to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies; setting the path for future work on agricultural reform; and launching the process for discussions on WTO reform.

Members will also seek to address food security fears while also addressing the concerns of producers regarding the need to ensure sufficient domestic supply.

Global warming impact

During a Forum discussion on climate change the DG also underlined the urgent need to address global warming and its impacts. She said that climate change should not be side-lined as the world grapples with other immediate challenges. The DG repeated her call for a global carbon pricing mechanism involving developing countries to assuage fears of green protectionism.

“The consequences of inaction are in front of us every day, on every continent, in so many countries. It is true that we are in a world of simultaneous crises, climate change, food, the pandemic, international security, but I do not think we can prioritize one over the other….”

Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala concluded her address by referring to the commitment made at the 2009 UN climate summit in Copenhagen: “Developed countries had promised that, to tackle climate change, there would be US$ 100 billion per year to help poor countries meet their costs. That has not been done. There are no excuses on this.”

Paul Ridgway, London Correspondent for Africa Ports & Ships

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Algoa Bay Oil Spill Update

The latest update received from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reports that oil spill clean-up operations in Algoa Bay have been scaled down. This follows seven days of clean up and surveillance of the bay and surrounding islands.

Last week Thursday (26 May 2022) a fixed-wing aircraft, fitted with advanced oil sensing equipment conducted an intensive survey that indicated no traces of oil in Algoa Bay.

In addition, extensive beach patrols by SANPARKS also found no oil on the beaches and there have been no reports of oiled sea birds either.

The waste management plan is being executed to ensure the correct disposal of oily waste that was gathered from around the two ships.

The MT Lefkas which entered and docked in Port Elizabeth, has been cleaned of all traces of oil, and is again operating in the bay. The Umnenga II however, remains outside at the anchorage waiting for a suitable berth in the nearby port of Ngqura so that a small area near the rudder can be cleaned.

SAMSA says the investigation into the cause of the spillage is continuing and bunkering has resumed in Algoa Bay during daylight hours.

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WHARF TALK: tanker in Cape Town named – HAFNIA YANGTZE

The oil products tanker Hafnia Yangtze in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The oil products tanker Hafnia Yangtze in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

If the casual shipping observer is not clued up on the traditional operating colours of some of the world’s major shipping companies, then a vessel’s name brings no clue as to who she really belongs to. Sometimes, it is actually not the funnel colours that give the game away, but rather it is the hull colours that raise the suspicions of the real ownership of the vessel that is in view.

On 22nd May at 14h00 the LR1 product tanker HAFNIA YANGTZE (IMO 9393096) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage from Aliaga in Turkey, and went to anchor for a three day period. Finally, on 25th May at 17h00, she entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded to the long Tanker Berth in the Duncan Dock.

Built in 2009 by Dalian New Shipbuilding at Dalian in China, ‘Hafnia Yangtze’ is 229 metres in length and has a deadweight of 74,996 tons. She is powered by a single Doosan MAN-B&W 6S60MC-C6 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 16,642 bhp (12,240 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 12.5 knots.

Stern view of the LR1 tanker at the port tanker basin. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Stern view of the LR1 tanker at the port tanker basin. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar 6N21AL-UV generators providing 800 kW each, and a single SISU emergency generator providing 150 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg AQ-2 exhaust gas boiler, and two Alfa Laval Aalborg Mission OL oil fired boilers.

She has 12 cargo tanks with a cargo carrying capacity of 80,592 m3. All of the tanks of ‘Hafnia Yangtze’ are coated with amine cured epoxy. On a single manifold she is capable of loading, or discharging, 3,240 m3 per hour, and with three manifolds open, she is capable of loading, or discharging, at 9,725 m3 per hour.

These pumping figures show that with just a single manifold open, she can be fully discharged in just 24 hours. The Transnet tank and pipeline infrastructure, in Cape Town harbour, is incapable of achieving discharge rates that come even close to what she is capable of.

She is capable of receiving a Marine Pilot by helicopter, which is handy if ‘Hafnia Yangtze’ ever calls at Durban, or Richards Bay, as she is equipped with a 5 metre ‘Winch Only’ platform, located forward, on the port side.

The tanker spent five days alongside discharging her cargo. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa Ports & Ships
The tanker spent five days alongside discharging her cargo. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Helicopter Landing Areas and Winch Only platforms design, and operation, are all regulated through the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) publication, titled ‘Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations’. Strangely, it is an aviation publication produced by a shipping entity and, not surprisingly, the only aviation guide produced by ICS.

One of a series of twelve sisterships, all named after major rivers, ‘Hafnia Yangtze’ is owned by the BW Group of Hamilton in Bermuda, operated by Hafnia Pools Pte. Ltd. of Singapore, and managed by BW Fleet Management Pte. Ltd. also of Singapore.

The BW link gives away her ownership, despite her ‘Hafnia’ name prefix and Hafnia funnel colours. The keen maritime observer would note that her hull carries the traditional BW double flash, which would have had the letters BW on the larger flash, as ‘Hafnia Yangtze’ was launched as ‘BW Yangtze’, with the flash in the traditional BW green colour. Hafnia are an internal company within the BW Group, made up of BW Tankers and Hafnia Tankers, both owned by the parent company, and operate the largest product tanker fleet in the world.

As with her sistership ‘BW Zambezi’, who called at Cape Town back in November 2021, ‘Hafnia Yangtze’ also had some very distinct anti-piracy measures deployed around her hull. All around the aft deck, astern of her accommodation block, her railings have a continuous sequence of orange, recurved, interlocking, plastic blocks that prevent an external boarding taking place.

The tanker's accommodation and bridge area, note the orange anti-piracy blocks in position. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The tanker’s accommodation and bridge area, note the orange anti-piracy blocks in position. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

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

Bergesen ASA was founded in 1935 by Sigval Bergesen. It was taken over by Worldwide Shipping in 2003 and, at the time, it was the largest shipping company in Norway. The keen maritime historian out there will know that this is the company that owned the two large OBO sisterships, Berge Istra and Berge Vanga, which vanished in 1975, and 1979, respectively. The two tragedies cost the lives of 70 crewmen, but miraculously two members of the crew of the Berge Istra were rescued after spending 20 days in a liferaft in the Pacific Ocean.

The bow of Hafnia Yangtze on her berth in Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The bow of Hafnia Yangtze on her berth in Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Worldwide Shipping was founded in Hong Kong by Sir Y.K Pao in 1955. Within 20 years of its founding, it was the largest shipping company in the world, with a fleet totaling over 20 million tons deadweight. An amazing fact is that, by 1979, the Worldwide Shipping fleet was larger than the combined Merchant Navy fleets of the two superpower states, the United States of America, and the Soviet Union.

Despite her capability of being able to be fully discharged from a fully loaded condition in 24 hours, using only a single manifold, ‘Hafnia Yangtze’ remained alongside, discharging, in Cape Town for a full five days. She sailed at 21h00 on 30th May, but only back to the Table Bay anchorage, presumably to prepare for sea, and await her owner’s next orders.

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Aden: Dilapidated oil tankers and dhow traffic increase


Boats and shipping in Aden Harbour c.1966. In Africa Ports & Ships
Dhows in Aden Harbour c.1966    Pictures: Port of Aden

Dr Abdul Salam Hamid, Minister of Transport in the Government of Yemen, accompanied by the Under-Secretary of the Ministry, Captain Ali Al-Subhi, conducted an inspection on 18 May of Yemen Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation (YGAPC), to discuss a number of important and sensitive issues.

They were received at the port by Dr Mohammad Alawi Amzerba, the Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of YGAPC and members of the Port Corporation’s senior management.

Included in the discussion was the problem of dilapidated oil tankers in the port, and ways to prevent them from causing pollution or the risk of their sinking in the port, as well as legal and procedural aspects.

The meeting discussed the steps that have been taken regarding the hinterland of the port which comprises strategic areas for the development and expansion of the port and marine services.

At the close of the meeting, the Minister of Transport stressed that the Presidential Command Council and the government are paying attention to the port of Aden.

He described the port as one of the most important sovereign facilities that must be supported to contribute more to the development of the national economy and to attract investors to the port of Aden, which he said will remain the best in its ‘distinguished’ strategic location.

Aden dhow traffic chart, in Africa Ports & Ships
Aden dhow traffic chart

Dhow traffic

A few weeks earlier it was reported that Aden had handled more than 63,000 tons of cargo moved by dhow during 2021.

Cargo exported and imported through the port of Aden by dhow with neighbouring ports in the Sultanate of Oman, Djibouti and Somalia achieved a noticeable increase in 2021 compared to the previous six years.

There was an increase of approximately 103% compared to 2020 where the tonnage handled was 31,126 tons.

Paul Ridgway, London Correspondent for Africa Ports & Ships

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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Xeneta container rates alert: shipping costs soar as long-term rates race 150% up year-on-year

The month of May saw the highest ever monthly increase in long-term contracted ocean freight rates, as the cost of locking in container shipments soared by 30.1%. The unprecedented hike, revealed in the latest Xeneta Shipping Index (XSI®) Public Indices for the contract market, means that long-term rates are now 150.6% up year-on-year. In 2022 alone, costs have climbed by 55%.

“This is a staggering development,” comments Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund. “Just last month we were looking at an 11% rise and questioning how such continued gains were possible. Now we see a monthly increase of almost a third blowing the previous XSI® records out the water.

“The breath-taking gains reflect the sharp increase of the average of all valid long-term contracts, as older contracts, with lower rates, expire and are replaced by newer agreements with much higher rates. It’s certainly a challenging time to be a shipper.”

Universal gains

Oslo-based Xeneta’s XSI® is compiled from real-time data crowd-sourced from leading shippers, delivering in-depth insights into key global trades. In May, the most dramatic development was seen in US import costs, which jumped by 65.1% to stand 205.4% up year-on-year, as new long-term contracts (which usually run from the start of May to April) came into force. The XSI® US export benchmark showed a less pronounced, but still strong, upwards move of 9.9%.

European long-term rates rose by 11.3% on the import index (122% up year-on-year), while exports recorded their largest ever monthly jump of 27.6%, an impressive 138.3% increase on May 2021. Far East import and export indices both raced upwards, with the former rising by 17.4% and the latter soaring 35.4%, the largest ever monthly rise for this measure. Seen from a year-on-year perspective, the respective benchmarks stand 57.1% and 174.8% up.

Peak problems?

Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund in Africa Ports & Ships
Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund

“It goes without saying that the main carriers are achieving astronomical results at the moment,” Berglund notes. “Last month we saw deeply impressive figures from OOCL and Maersk and now we have Zim posting a 113% year-on-year revenue jump, with an EBITDA of USD 2.5bn. As a result, the management team has upgraded its full-year EBITDA to USD 7.8-8.2 bn.

“Shippers, on the other hand, are being bled dry, while the lockdowns in China, allied to blanked sailings from the carriers to protect softening spot rates, have, and may continue to, impact upon the supply chain. Not as much cargo as anticipated has been moved over the last couple of months and, with the peak season approaching, that could cause added disruption.

“That leaves shippers in a position where they’re paying through the nose for services that, to be diplomatic, may not always meet expectations.”

Certain uncertainty

With the difficultly of predicting developments on even a month-to-month basis, Berglund says that mid- to long-term forecasts are “nigh on impossible”. Continuing regulatory investigations into carrier practices could impact on business fortunes (although no evidence of collusion or unfair practices have been uncovered so far), while China’s zero COVID policy may continue to hit industrial and manufacturing output.

Xeneta banner in Africa Ports & Ships

Exactly how these things progress, not to mention the ongoing ramifications of geopolitical upheaval, casts a shadow of uncertainty over those looking to tailor the best logistics solutions for long-term needs.

“The best advice we can offer, as ever,” concludes Berglund, “is to try and stay as strategically limber as possible, while always keeping up to date with the very latest industry intelligence. In a fast-moving market, that really is the only way to achieve the optimal value for your business and stakeholders.”

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

CLICK HERE for the full XSI® Public Indices report for the long-term market.

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

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IN CONVERSATION: What US re-entry into Somalia means for the Horn of Africa and for bigger powers

US Navy sailors for the Combined Joint Task Force in the Horn of Africa off the coast of Djibouti.
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Stig Jarle Hansen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

The US has announced it will resume a limited military presence in Somalia. The former administration withdrew troops from the country in 2020. The mission of the American soldiers is still what it has been for the last 15 years: to advise and assist Somali forces. US troops will not be directly involved in conflict. Their number, 450 to 500, is smaller than the last deployment.

The decision to redeploy in Somalia might appear to be surprising, for two important reasons. First, US president Joe Biden promised during his campaign to avoid the “forever wars” against terror lasting since 2002. None of these wars were ever fully won and remain unpopular with the US electorate. It is also surprising in the light of moves to restructure the US military to meet a threat from China.

What better explains this decision, however, is the renewed emphasis on the old rivalry with Russia since Russia’s Ukrainian intervention.

Announcing the redeployment, the Pentagon claimed it was partly for operational security. After their withdrawal in 2020, American special forces continued to train Somali soldiers outside Somalia, and at times travelled in and out of the country. The Pentagon said the redeployment would end the ad hoc support by creating bases inside Somalia.

Unofficially, American officials have claimed that the redeployment is due to worsening security conditions in Somalia. This argument is open to question: the security situation is in reality relatively stable.

What is without doubt is that the deployment will have a direct influence on US-Russian rivalries in the region.

Military situation in Somalia

Somalia’s security landscape has not changed much since the US pullout over the previous year. The frontlines between the al-Qaida affiliated Harakat al-Shabaab, the Somali government, and the Forces of the African Union in Somalia have remained largely the same during the American absence. So has the rate of terror attacks. Al-Shabaab has not expanded its territories though it does exercise control in areas supposedly under government control.

Several researchers have reported that al-Shabaab is booming economically and is able to infiltrate the Somali security services. But this was also the case before the American withdrawal from Somalia.

What has changed is the international setting. Over the past few years the China-US rivalry has intensified. And over the past year, the US-Russia rivalry has exploded, partly influenced by the outbreak of the Ukraine war. These rivalries have large scale impacts at the Horn of Africa.

It is notable that the American redeployment announcement came days after the electoral defeat of Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (“Farmaajo”). The former Somali president was a close ally of Russia’s new friends in the Horn of Africa – Ethiopia and Eritrea. The newly elected Somali president is much cooler towards Ethiopia and Eritrea. He has also pointedly welcomed the US redeployment.

Post-Ukrainian reality in the Horn of Africa

Farmaajo enjoyed a close alliance with Ethiopian president Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s president Issayas Afeworki. Ethiopian forces helped Farmaajo insert his candidates in states hostile to him by, for example, suppressing his opponents. This was the case in Somalia’s south west regional state during the election there in 2018. They also backed Farmaajo against his political rival president Ahmed “Madobe” of the Somali Jubaland regional-state in 2019.

In return, Farmaajo sent his Somali forces to fight on the side of Abiy Ahmed in the Ethiopian civil war. And Issayas Afeworki intervened in Ethiopia’s civil war and trained Somali forces.

The Ethiopian civil war and the Ukrainian war increasingly saw the United States at odds with this tripartite alliance. First the US criticised the Ethiopian government for its actions in Tigray, which the United States saw as heavy handed and filled with human rights transgressions. The US special envoy to the Horn of Africa stated:

As the war approaches its one-year anniversary, the United States and others cannot continue ‘business as usual’ relations with the government of Ethiopia.

The worsening US-Ethiopian relations were also fuelled by a Russian military cooperation agreement with Ethiopia. This came in a period when Ethiopia had lost a lot of Russian produced materials in the battlefields of Tigray. Anti-American demonstrations took place in Addis Ababa, with Russian flags and pro-Russian slogans. And the US imposed sanctions on Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders.

The relationship between the US and Eritrea and Ethiopia was worsening before the Ukrainian war. When the Ukrainian war broke out, Eritrea fully supported Russia at the United Nations while Ethiopia abstained from a vote condemning the action. That’s not all. The US was also worried about Chinese investments to secure a naval base in Eritrea.

US deployment timing

The timing of the American redeployment in Somalia has two possible explanations in my view. It might have been delayed until after the recent elections in order to insulate it from local politics. Or one could see it as the US way to shore up a president with the will and potential to withstand the Russian-backed alliance of Eritrea and Ethiopia in the Horn. That would in turn shore up the US and its allies against Russia.

The latter point will be an outcome of the deployment anyway. It may well turn out to be the most important outcome, given that US engagement over 13 years has failed to bring about the end of al-Shabaab. The insurgents remain strong, and rich, but short of the ability to overrun the Somali government.The Conversation

Stig Jarle Hansen, Associate Professor of International Relations, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

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

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Durban, Cape Town & Ngqura rated poorly in latest World Port Rankings

Container pot performance index 2021

Where are the world’s best run container ports? Answer: In the Middle East.

Where are the world’s worst run container ports? Answer: South Africa (once again).

The World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence container port performance index just published reflect that although the ports of Durban, Cape Town and Ngqura moved up a place or two, they remain ranked as among the worst run ports globally, rated 363, 364 and 365 respectively out of 370.

Who performed worse than Durban, Cape Town and Ngqura? It was Luanda in 366 place, Savannah in 367, Vancouver (Canada) in 368, and Los Angeles and Long Beach taking 369 and 370.

As one might gather from the last few ports in the rankings, this report is all about delays at the ports – the thing that really matters to cargo owners (shippers) and shipping lines alike. The US West Coast ports over the past couple of years have suffered badly in this respect for a host of reasons, Covid included – in the next report in 2023 expect to see more than a few Chinese ports occupying these spaces.

The three ‘bad boys’

So what then is the reason or excuse for the three ‘bad boys’ of South African ports, that they should rank worse than any other port in Africa other than Luanda? We cannot blame the congestion on huge unanticipated volumes, as per the US ports. In South Africa the volumes are below previous years, though there is an upward trend showing.

When the CPPI report for the previous year 2020 was made public in 2021, there was shock and surprise that went all the way to the presidents office, with President Ramaphosa subsequently making visits to Durban and Cape Town to ‘investigate’ the matter after port users had complained directly to him.

It is questionable whether this high level intervention has made much difference, the answer lies surely with their current rankings that sees them still adorned with the dunce caps among world ports.

Container Port Performance Index 2021

Excuses and more excuses

Over the 20 years that Africa Ports & Ships has reported on South African shipping and specifically on its ports, the excuse most often repeated to explain the poor performance of our ports is a lack of efficient or sufficient equipment – ship-to-shore cranes, rubber tyre gantries, straddle carriers being the most identified, along with tractors and other sundry items.

Another reason trotted out is the lack of deep water terminals, principally at Durban and Cape Town. The result is that larger ships are restricted in terms of how many containers can be shipped to local ports. With more West African ports modernising and and now able to cater for ships in the 14,000 TEU range, this continues to count against large vessels ever arriving fully loaded at either Durban or Cape Town.

The result is that these ships begin to bypass South Africa’s ports.

Efficiency or lack thereof

What is never highlighted enough in general reports is the general inefficiency that persists within certain of the port terminals.

Instead, what is offered whenever adverse publicity makes the news headlines, such as during the president’s initial port visit, is a carefully structured story emphasising that the terminals ports lack modern efficient equipment.

Such claims ought to be questioned and not simply accepted as the reason why South Africa’s ports perform so poorly. As has been reported over the past 20 – 25 years, Durban, Cape Town and Ngqura have been more than adequately supplied with modern STS, RTGs, straddle carriers and other associated equipment.

Maintenance – what’s that?

What should be examined is why these costly machines are so poorly maintained that many have to be replaced while other ports elsewhere continue to operate even older equipment quite efficiently.

The bottom line

Why does an average size container ship calling at Durban need between four and five days to discharge and load cargo? We are talking here of relatively low numbers of containers to be handled, whereas the same ship on arrival in a European port such as Antwerp, Rotterdam, or Bremerhaven, can discharge and load in a matter of hours and be on its way sometimes on the same day?

To return to the numbers.

The Middle Eastern ports of King Abdullah port, Salalah, Hamad and Khalifa are all in the top five, the other port in this range being Yangshan (China) which rated third.

The highest ranked African port is Tanger-Med in Morocco, which occupied an incredible 6th place. To be fair, Tanger-Med, like most North African ports should be classed along with European Mediterranean ports. Be that as it may, the Moroccan port is capturing a large chunk of transhipment cargo away from Spanish ports and southern Europe ports.

As with just about everything in life, it’s all about position, position, position.

That principle applies equally to Durban, in a southern African context.

Another North African port that scored well is Port Said, coming in at 13th place.

Sub-Saharan Africa

If we look at sub-Saharan Africa, the highest ranked port is Matadi, the chief port of the DRC and as far up the Congo river as any ocean-going ship can travel. Matadi is ranked 176 out of the 370.

The port of Conakry in Guinea is West Africa’s top performer, rated number 239. Sierra Leone’s Freetown is next best at position 272, with Takoradi (Ghana) scoring 290. Closer to South Africa, Walvis Bay ranked in 332 position.

On the east coast of Africa, Mogadishu is a surprise as the fifth best sub-Saharan port scoring 254. Beira is ranked at 268 and Mombasa at 296, with Dar es Salaam a disappointing 361 out of 370. Maputo, a port that competes with Durban and perhaps even Ngqura, was at position 323.

Container Port Performance Index 2021 in Africa Ports & Ships

How all this is calculated

A number of arguments can be justifiably levelled at how these ports are scored, with the answer being quite simply on the total port time per ship call.

Of course, there are large ports, medium size ports, and there are small ports, and all are lumped together on this scorecard. Coming from the perspective of the cargo owner and the ship operator, what matters however, is how much time his cargo or the ship is detained in each port.

The CPPI 2021 also ranks each port from an administration perspective, which looks at other factors including an aggregate of the performance of the port, weighted relative to the average, across call and vessel size.

In the majority of cases the rankings of each port in the statistical and the administration sectors, score the same or are not far apart. We show here only the statistical scores.

Another thing to keep in mind is that 2021 was a year that saw unprecedented port congestion and disruption to global supply chains, as did the previous year. Durban was adversely affected with the July 2021 riots. In next year’s report Durban will be affected by the recent flood damage that is still impacting some port operations.

– Terry Hutson

Source: The World Bank, 2022. ‘The Container Port Performance Index
2021: A Comparable Assessment of Container Port Performance.
‘ World Bank, Washington, DC. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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WHARF TALK: Heavy lift vessel – ATLANTIC DAWN

The heavylift vessel Atlantic Dawn arriving in Cape Town harbour with much anticipated equipment. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The heavylift vessel Atlantic Dawn arriving in Cape Town harbour with much anticipated equipment. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

In July 2020, a fire and an explosion took place at the Astron Energy Oil Refinery, located at Milnerton in Cape Town. The blast killed two refinery workers, and the refinery was shut down. Over the following two years, there has been rumour and speculation about the reopening of the refinery, or not as one report claimed. So will it, or won’t it?

The loss of South Africa’s third largest oil refinery, capable of refining 100,000 barrels of oil per day, has been felt throughout the Cape. Up to now, there has not been much reporting on progress on the rebuilding of the damaged refinery, and clear evidence of such progress has been hard to come by. After all, the process units of an oil refinery are not small scale, and the sight of new process units arriving in Cape Town would provide such evidence of progress.

On 27th May at 08h00, on a still and bright, yet misty morning, the heavylift vessel ATLANTIC DAWN (IMO 9671450) arrived off Cape Town from Zhangjiagang in China, and after a short wait outside, entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded into the Duncan Dock. She was carrying a substantial deck cargo of project freight.

The heavylift arrived on a still and bright, yet misty morning. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The heavylift arrived on a still and bright, yet misty morning. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Heavylift vessels are uncommon visitors to the port, and ‘Atlantic Dawn’ did not go to the Eastern Mole, so she had not arrived for bunkers. She also did not proceed to the Landing Wall or to the Repair Quay, so she was not calling for engineering support. Instead she proceeded to a working berth in the Duncan Dock, namely J berth.

Built in 2013, with her hull built by Progress Stocznia Sp.z.o.o at Szczecin in Poland, she was then towed around to the Shipkits BV shipyard in Groningen in Holland, where she was completed. With a length of 112 metres, and a deadweight of 4,400 tons, ‘Atlantic Dawn’ is powered by a single MaK 8M32C 8 cylinder 4 stroke main engine producing 5,435 bhp (4,053 kW), to drive a controllable pitch propeller for a service speed of 15 knots.

A view of the specialist ship's specialist cargo, two fired heater units for the Astron Energy refinery in Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
A view of the ship’s specialist cargo, two fired heater units for the Astron Energy refinery in Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes two Scania DI-13 generators providing 406 kW each, and a single AGCO Power 74-DTAG emergency generator providing 119 kW. For added manoeuvrability she has a semi-balanced rudder, with a ZF TT3001-FP transverse bow thruster, and a ZF TT3001-FP transverse stern thruster, both providing 300 kW each.

She has one continuous cargo hold, measuring 66 x 12 metres, with a hold surface area of 1,310 m2, and a deck surface area of 1,529 m2. Her cargo carrying capacity is 6,994 m3, and she has a container carrying capacity of 261 TEU. All of which is served by two NMF DK11 hydraulic 150 ton heavylift cranes, offset on the starboard side of ‘Atlantic Dawn’, and capable of lifting 300 tons when used in tandem.

Accompanied by the Cape Town workboat/tug, Atlantic Dawn moves into Duncan Dock to discharge her important cargo. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Accompanied by the Cape Town workboat/tug, Atlantic Dawn moves into Duncan Dock to discharge her important cargo. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The single hold, which runs the length of the vessel, is sealed with eleven pontoon hatches, and she has a rail mounted pontoon lifting gantry to open, close, or stack the hatches. She also possesses open hold certification to allow her to sail with an open hatch if carrying large, and high, project freight.

One of six sisterships, ‘Atlantic Dawn’ is owned and managed by Hartman Shipping BV, of Urk in Holland, and operated by Ocean 7 Projects ApS, of Fredericia in Denmark. Her immediate sistership ‘Pacific Dawn’ called into Cape Town back in February this year, for bunkers only.

The ship was arriving from the port of Jiangjiagang, a part of the main port of Suzhou in China. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The ship was arriving from the port of Jiangjiagang, a part of the main port of Suzhou in China. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The deck project freight carried on the deck of ‘Atlantic Dawn’ consists of two Fired Heater Units, built by a Chinese subsidiary of Vergaengineering SpA, of Milan in Italy. Fired Heater Units, such as these, are used for heating light crude oil, or as hot oil heaters, used in oil refining processes.

Both of the Fired Heater Units were bound for the on a still and bright, yet misty morning, to replace similar units that were damaged, and destroyed in the fire and explosion of July 2020. They were offloaded at Cape Town, and loaded onto heavylift trailers for onward transport to the refinery. If the Wharf Talk is to be believed, the Astron Energy refinery is scheduled to be back in operation in August of this year.

This close-up of one of the two fired heater units provides a sense of its sheer size. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
This close-up of one of the two fired heater units provides a sense of its sheer size. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The loading port of the Fired Heater Units in China, Jiangjiagang, is one of the three harbour complexes that make up the port of Suzhou, which is located in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, in Jiangsu Province. It is the busiest river port in the world, by both cargo tonnage, and container traffic handled. Jiangjiagang itself has 106 riverside berths that are suitable for use by deepsea vessels.

As always with a working heavylift vessel, ‘Atlantic Dawn’ did not stay in port for very long. After 36 hours, and on completion of the unloading of the important project freight for the refinery, she sailed at 21h00 on 28th May, bound for Nacala in Mozambique.

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Mercy Ships and Heads of State gather at Dakar as latest hospital ship enters service

Global Mercy during her sea trials, in Africa Ports & Ships
The Global Mercy during her sea trials.  Picture: Mercy Ships

A group of invited Heads of State and other important guests joined Senegal’s President Macky Sall on Monday (30 May) to approve a Dakar Declaration to expedite improvements in surgical care for their nations.

The Heads of State together with their respective Ministers of health are from Benin, Cameroon, Congo
Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Togo, plus the host country, Senegal.

This was part of inaugural ceremonies on board the world’s largest civilian purpose-built hospital ship, the 37,000-ton GLOBAL MERCY (IMO 9726499) as the new-build ship enters into service to Africa.

During the week Mercy Ships will commemorate 30 years of partnership with Africa.

The older Africa Mercy arrives in Dakar, Senegal for the ceremony, in Africa Ports & Ships
The older Africa Mercy arrives in Dakar, Senegal for the ceremony.  Picture Mercy Ships

Festivities during this week will highlight recent efforts and collaboration around the goal of increased provision of safe surgical, obstetric and anesthetic care in Africa by 2030.

Global Mercy is joining with the organisation’s other, well-known, 16,500-ton ship, AFRICA MERCY (IMO 7803188), which is also present in Dakar for the occasion.

Delivery of Global Mercy has more than doubled the surgical capacity and patient beds of Mercy Ships. She is the first purpose-built floating hospital ship for the humanitarian organisation, and was built to a Swedish-design (Stena RoRo, Göteborg), by China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and the Tianjin Xingang Shipyard based in Tianjin, China.

She was completed last year before heading for Antwerp to undergo outfitting. The hospital ship was unveiled to visitors for the first time in February this year during a two-week stop-over in Rotterdam.

The celebrations and ceremonies continue in Dakar until Thursday, 2 June 2022, before the world’s newest hospital ship enters full service to patients in varous parts of Africa.

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Transnet to focus on emerging miners for port and rail allocation

The main conveyor line from the stockpiles at the Saldanha Bay Iron Ore Terminal - access for emerging miners in future. Picture: Khumba, in Africa Ports & Ships
The main conveyor line from the stockpiles at the Saldanha Bay Iron Ore Terminal – access for emerging miners in future. Picture: Kumba

Transnet said on Monday (30 May 2022) that it is implementing measures to increase capacity allocation in rail and ports for emerging miners.

This measure, it said, is part of its efforts to reduce barriers to entry, improve the ease of doing business and support transformation of the mining sector.

These initiatives include improving access to infrastructure such as loading facilities, and simplifying the contracting, credit management and capacity application processes.

This followed a meeting between Transnet and emerging miners and other key stakeholders in the sector, including the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and finance institutions, during which Transnet presented the initiative, which applies to customers in domestic and export coal, iron ore, manganese, magnetite, chrome and ferrochrome.

Over a phased period, Transnet said it will implement increased capacity allocation to these miners, with a 70/30 split between major and emerging miners expected from 2027.

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IN CONVERSATION: Marine life in a South African bay is full of chemical pollutants

Limpets had the highest concentrations of chemical compounds compared to other marine organisms studied.  A. Mertens/Shutterstock

Leslie Petrik, University of the Western Cape and Cecilia Yejide Ojemaye, University of the Western Cape

The adage “out of sight, out of mind” has long summed up humans’ attitude to dumping personal and industrial waste. In a 1974 Scientific American article, the oceanographer Willard Bascom wrote that “the ocean is the plausible place for man to dispose of some of his wastes”. If done “thoughtfully”, he continued, “it will do no damage to marine life.”

But it hasn’t been done thoughtfully. Earth’s oceans are not only full of plastics: they’re also clogged with dumped medications, antibiotics, disinfection products, household chemicals and pesticides, among other products. This isn’t just bad news for the environment and marine life. It harms humans, too. The compounds contained in some of these dumped products cause feminisation and lower the quality of sperm. They can also lead to sexual abnormalities and reproductive impairments in both sea life and humans, as well as causing persistent antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption.

In a recent study in South Africa, we tested for the presence of eight selected pharmaceuticals and personal care products in Cape Town’s False Bay marine environment. False Bay is 30km wide, located between Cape Hangklip and the Cape Peninsula of South Africa on the perimeter of Cape Town, a city with a population of close to 4.6 million people.

Our findings were troubling. We tested the seawater itself, as well as the sediment, seaweed, and five marine invertebrates: limpets, mussels, sea urchin, sea snail and starfish. Numerous compounds were found in the various species. These included diclofenac, a widely prescribed anti-inflammatory drug, and the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole, which can promote antibiotic resistance in the many faecal microorganisms that contaminate sea water through poorly treated sewage effluents. The City of Cape Town has published a report showing extensive faecal contamination of the Peninsula coastline.

When humans eat fish, mussels and other foods tainted with antibiotics, the residual antibiotics may cause bacterial pathogens to become resistant. The resistant bacteria don’t respond to standard antibiotics and can proliferate unchecked. This means the most important treatment options for infections are rendered useless.

These results, which echo findings of our previous studies in two other Cape Town marine environments, Camps Bay and Sea Point, point to major flaws in the city’s wastewater treatment plants. Urgent action is needed to address these issues and limit the many different chemical compounds and pollutants poured into marine environments.

This multi-source contamination is a global concern. A recent US study, for example, found 104 commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals in a popular food fish.

Grim findings

In our False Bay study, we found the presence of numerous pharmaceuticals and other compounds. Their concentrations varied significantly across the eight sample sites. This could be because the various species found at the sites have differing abilities to absorb and metabolise these compounds. The sites also had different contaminant profiles due to ocean current mixing or proximity to discharged effluents.

Limpets, the varied-sized and -coloured seashells that cling to rocks, were found to have the highest concentrations of these compounds compared to the edible organisms such as mussels and sea urchins. Although limpets are not an edible species, this knowledge is valuable: limpets could be used as sentinel organisms to monitor pollution in and around the ocean – a sort of “canary in the coalmine.”

In this study, as in our previous research, the pharmaceuticals, pesticides, industrial chemicals and personal care products were most commonly found at low concentrations in the seawater samples. Significantly higher levels were detected in the marine species and seaweed samples. This can do serious harm over time, slowly killing off the sea creatures and affecting the area’s biodiversity.

We also studied samples of four common fish species that are often consumed locally, like snoek and bonita (a tuna species). We found even higher levels of these chemical compounds in their flesh. That included four types of pesticides, eight different pharmaceuticals and five different perfluorinated compounds, all of which are termed “persistent organic pollutants”. They do not degrade rapidly, so they stick around in the environment for a long time.

Wastewater plant shortcomings

The sewage that causes this widespread pollution isn’t just dumped into the ocean. The City of Cape Town has 17 wastewater treatment or sewerage works and six smaller facilities spread across the Cape Peninsula. The treatment plants are meant to clean the water enough that it can safely go into rivers, canals, the ocean, or other water bodies.

But these measures, our findings suggest, may not be keeping up with the city’s rapidly growing population and the rising number of pharmaceuticals and other chemicals being produced and consumed.

Ideally, wastewater should go through four treatment steps:

  • pre-treatment to remove very large solid materials
  • primary treatment for the removal of smaller solids as well as grease, fats and oils
  • secondary treatment for the disinfection of the wastewater
  • tertiary treatment for the further “polishing” and more thorough removal of chemical compounds and microorganisms.

In reality, there are few such tertiary treatment stages at any of Cape Town’s currently inadequate wastewater treatment facilities because the regulations governing the quality of effluents released from waste water treatment plants are not strict enough. This allows poorly treated effluents to be discharged – and many microbes, as well as chemical compounds and pharmaceutical pollutants, escape and are released directly into oceans via rivers.

There are also three “marine outfall pipelines” that pump untreated sewage – only sieving out larger items – directly from toilets and drains into the ocean via underwater pipelines. As our studies show, then, microbial and chemical contamination from faeces is now widespread around the Peninsula.

The release of untreated sewage via marine outfalls must be prevented. Sewage water treatment plants should be upgraded to include tertiary stages. The regulations governing the quality of effluents need to be more stringent – and must be monitored more carefully for chemical content.

The ocean is part of Cape Town’s identity. It is a lifeblood for many in the fisheries sector, which is a multi-billion rand industry. City officials need to act urgently to make sure not just that marine life can flourish but that human health isn’t compromised by what’s dumped into the oceans.The Conversation

Leslie Petrik, Professor / Leader of the Environmental and Nanoscience Research Group, University of the Western Cape and Cecilia Yejide Ojemaye, Researcher, Department of Chemistry, University of the Western Cape

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

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The implementation will differ corridor by corridor.

The minimum requirements for emerging miners to qualify for capacity allocation include the

• A valid mining right issued by the DMRE, and validated mining activities.
• Access to port capacity prior to applying for rail capacity.
• Access to a siding to accommodate loading of a train.
• Minimum credit and legal requirements that take into account the stage of the entity.

According to Transnet the measures it is implementing align with the growth in demand for export capacity for mining products to meet global demand, and align with the growth in the number of
emerging miners in recent history.

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Five senior officials arrested over controversial Transnet locomotive procurement

In Johannesburg last Friday (27 May 2022), five people including former senior Transnet officials, were arrested and charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), fraud, corruption and money laundering.

The arrests were carried out by the Hawks and Investigating Directorate at 07h00 at the Brackendowns Police Station.

The suspects later appeared in the Palm Ridge magistrates court sitting as the specialised commercial crimes court, where they all received bail of varying amounts of between R50,000 and R250,000, according to circumstances.

Those arrested and appearing in court were:

Siyabonga Gama, the former Transnet group CEO
Garry Pita, former group chief financial officer
Phetolo Ramosebudi, former group treasurer
Eric Wood of Regiments
Daniel Roy, Trillian Asset Management director

Also appearing in court was Kuben Moodley, accused of being a fixer for the Gupta family. Moodley was arrested in September last year and is out on bail.

Watch the following YouTube reports of this case, among the first to involve the controversial locomotive procurement. Several associated videos follow the first.

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European Commission shocks with an about face over cold treatment for South African citrus

CITRUS, in Africa Ports & Ships

An extraordinary session of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF) of the European Commission last week approved changes to the cold treatment for oranges imported from third party countries where false codling moth Thaumatotibia leucotreta is present, Intercitrus, the Spanish citrus growers association, has reported. It predominantly affects South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Fresh Plaza, in reporting this said that the Citrus Growers’ Association of South Africa has for the moment no comment on these reports.

The Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, called it in a tweet a “great step forward for our producers”, thanking the European Commission for their work.

Previously it had been reported that Spain expressed its displeasure that the measure had not been approved last Friday ([20 May] and that Minister Planas had personally insisted that the European Union takes an immediate decision on cold treatment.

The decision will be processed urgently, Intercitrus continues, “so that it enters into force before the end of June”.

The South African citrus industry had vigorously contested the proposed measures, calling into question the scientific grounds of a harsher cold protocol while arguing it would be detrimental to fruit quality.

It repeatedly put forward the case that its own comprehensive false codling moth management system (FMS), spanning from orchard through to shipping, had been effective in managing the risk of the pest which became a quarantine pest in 2018.

South Africa had argued that some of the FCM interceptions made last year on the 800,000 tonnes of citrus sent to the EU was as a result of the breakdown in the cold chain due to the civil unrest in July, but that their research into the pest and their approach to its management, remained sound.

Two options available by next year, says Spanish professional body

According to Intercitrus, the European Commission will demand a precooling at 5 degrees at the port of departure and a treatment in transit at between -1 and 2 degrees for 25 days.

“And by 2023 it will be allowed to choose between two options: a cold treatment between -1 and 0 degrees for 16 days or another between -1 and 2 degrees for 20 days.”

In both cases, oranges for export to the EU would be required to precool at 0 degrees and 2 degrees, respectively, the organisation states.

The current protocol for South African oranges is a 24-day protocol with shipping options based on continuous orchard and packhouse monitoring for FCM larvae. The FMS as currently implemented by South Africa is a “set-point” type of treatment.

source: Fresh Plaza

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WHARF TALK: Ukrainian Antarctic research ship – NOOSFERA

The Ukrainian Research and Supply Vessel Noosfera arrives in Cape Town harbour from Antarctica. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The Ukrainian Research and Supply Vessel Noosfera arrives in Cape Town harbour from Antarctica. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates
Pictures by ‘Dockrat’

As yet another Antarctic season winds down, and the stragglers and late season arrivals all head back to their home ports, or to their overwinter bases, so Cape Town has seen the arrival of one more of these late Antarctic arrivals. However, this vessel is here because she simply cannot get home, as a result of Putin’s barbaric onslaught on Ukraine.

On 27th May at 09h00 the Antarctic Research and Supply Vessel NOOSFERA (IMO 8904496) arrived off Cape Town from Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. She entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded to the Repair Quay in the Duncan Dock. The length of her stay in Cape Town is as yet unknown. The reason for the unknown stay being that ‘Noosfera’ is the flagship of the National Antarctic Scientific Centre of Ukraine (NANC), based in Kiev, and she cannot currently get home.

The length of Noosfera's stay in Cape Town is as yet unknown, as because of the war the ship cannot return home. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The length of Noosfera’s stay in Cape Town is as yet unknown, with the war in the Black Sea preventing her from returning home. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 1990 by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders of Wallsend in the United Kingdom, ‘Noosfera’ is 99 metres in length and has a deadweight of 2,917 tons. She is a diesel-electric powered vessel, and has two Wärtsilä 8R32E 8 cylinder 4 stroke main engines producing 4,197 bhp (3,100 kW) each, which provide power to four GEC motors producing 8,500 bhp to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 12 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery also includes two Wärtsilä 6R22/26 generators providing 1,000 kW each. She has DP1 position capability, and for added manoeuvrability she has a bow White Gill azimuth thruster, and a stern White Gill azimuth thruster. She cost UKP50 million (ZAR982.85 million) to build.

As a light icebreaker, she has an ice classification of 1A Super, which means that she can break one metre thick ice at a continuous speed of 2 knots.

Noosfera's entire history of ownership can be read here. Picture by 'Dockrat', in Africa Ports & Ships
Noosfera’s entire history of ownership can be read here. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She was originally built for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), and launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and named the Royal Research Ship (RRS) ‘James Clark Ross’. At this time BAS named all of their vessels after great British Antarctic explorers. James Clark Ross (1800-1862), was a Captain in the Royal Navy, who led a two ship expedition of HMS Erebus, and HMS Terror, on a four year expedition to Antarctica, between 1839 and 1843.

James Clark Ross mapped a great deal of the then unknown continent, and his discoveries included Victoria Land, the Ross Sea, and the great Ross Ice Shelf, plus the two great Antarctic volcanoes named after his ships, Mount Erebus and Mount Terror. Geographical locations named after him include Cape Ross and James Ross Island. As most polar philatelists will tell you today, the Antarctic territory claimed by New Zealand is named the Ross Dependency.

His four year voyage included two calls at the Cape, once when southbound and again when he was northbound. He first called into Simonstown on 16th March 1840 from the UK, and sailed on 6th April to Marion Island and Antarctica. He returned to Simonstown on 4th April 1843 from Queen Maud Land in Antarctica, and sailed for the UK on 30th April. The First Lieutenant onboard HMS Terror was Archibald McMurdo. For those who wondered where the great American Antarctic Base got its’ name from, well now you know.

Noosfera's accommodation and bridge section. The research ship has a crew of 27 but can also accommodate another 50 scientists and technicians. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Noosfera’s accommodation and bridge section. The research ship has a crew of 27 but can also accommodate another 50 scientists and technicians. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built as a joint scientific research, and Antarctic resupply vessel, ‘James Clark Ross’ served BAS for 30 years. She was retired in March 2021 when she returned from her last voyage to Antarctica. The Ukrainian government has been looking for a suitable vessel to support both their own Antarctic research programme, but also their sole Antarctic Research Base, Vernadsky Station, located on Galindez Island at 65°14’ South 64°15’ West.

Vernadsky Base started life in 1947, as Base F of the British Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS). She was renamed Faraday Base in 1977 under the British Antarctic Survey. After Ukrainian independence from the Soviet Union, the British Government transferred Faraday Station to the Ukrainian Government, who renamed it Vernadsky Base.

Here the Ukrainian ship is entering Duncan Dock prior to berthing. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Here the Ukrainian ship is entering Duncan Dock prior to berthing. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Vernadsky Base is named after Vladimir Vernadsky, one of Ukraine’s greatest scientists, the first President of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, and the man who described the Noosphere, which is the third stage of the development of the Earth, after the Geosphere and the Biosphere. It is the origin of the name of ‘Noosfera’.

The new vessel was purchased by the Ukrainian Government in August 2021, and sailed to the Ukrainian port of Chernomorsk, located in the Black Sea, where she entered the ISRY Shiprepair yard for a refit. On completion, she sailed to Odessa, her new home port, arriving there on 5th October 2021. On 29th October 2021 she was formally named ‘Noosfera’, at a ceremony attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In a happy twist of fate, it was ‘James Clark Ross’ who brought the first ever Ukrainian team to Vernadsky base in 1996 when they occupied it for the first time.

As the accompanying workboat hangs back, Noosfera moves across the silent still waters. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
As the accompanying workboat hangs back, Noosfera moves across the silent still waters. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As a joint scientific research, and resupply, vessel ‘Noosfera’ is well equipped to undertake both. She has a wide variety of scientific laboratories onboard, including a wet lab, dry lab, CTD Water lab, Chemistry lab, Biochemistry lab, Microbiology lab, Radioactive lab, preparation lab, and a Bathymetry suite. Additionally, she can carry a further five fully equipped container labs.

Her deck equipment includes a 20 ton ‘A’ frame, mounted on her stern, capable of deploying a wide variety of nets, scientific measuring equipment and towable instruments. She also has a 30 ton overside gantry, capable of conducting coring down to 3,000 metres. Her aft deck working space is 370 m2, and has a 10 ton knuckle crane for handling scientific equipment.

The ship has turned now, prior to going towards her berth. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The ship has turned now, prior to going towards her berth. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She carries a crew of 27, and a scientific passenger complement of 50. Facilities provided include a passenger bar, passenger TV lounge, coffee lounge, gymnasium, sauna and hospital.

She has an endurance of 57 days, or over 40,000 nautical miles. Her forward cargo hold has a cargo carrying capacity of 1,500 m3. For cargo handling work she has a 20 ton knuckle crane mounted on her bow deck. She has two liquid cargo tanks for provision of liquids to the scientific bases, and they include a tank carrying capacity of 250 tons of aviation fuel, and 300 tons of polar diesel.

She sailed from Odessa for Punta Arenas on 28th January 2022, arriving in the Chilean port on 14th March, two weeks after Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. This delayed their departure for Antarctica as some of her crew and scientific complement wanted to return home, and some of her joining scientists had been unable to join the vessel at Punta Arenas.

Having come alongside, the port docking crew prepare to make the ship safe. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Having come alongside, the port docking crew prepare to make the ship safe. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Whilst there, the Polish Antarctic Expedition requested that ‘Noosfera’ conduct a full crew change of the Polish ‘Henryk Arctowski’ Station, located on King George Island at 62°09 South 58°28’ West. This was because the Poles were due to be taken off by a Russian supply vessel, but refused to do so as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

Sailing from Punta Arenas on 26th March for Vernadsky Base, ‘Noosfera’ finally completed her full Antarctic programme, and returned to Punta Arenas in late April. She sailed for Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands on 30th April. However, her problem now was that she was unable to change her crew, and return to the Ukraine, due to the ongoing war. So on 7th May she sailed from Port Stanley, bound for Cape Town, where she arrived on 27th May.

The two countries are at war in the bloodiest conflict across Europe since World War 2, yet here two vessels, one Ukrainian and the other Russian are 'parked' right across the quay from each other! Let's trust the respective crews observe the typical respect among seafarers. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The two countries are at war in the bloodiest conflict across Europe since World War 2, yet here two vessels, one Ukrainian and the other Russian are ‘parked’ right across the narrow quay from each other! Let’s trust the respective crews observe the typical respect among seafarers. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In what appears to be a completely tone deaf, and unnecessarily provocative decision, Transnet planners in Cape Town decided to berth her directly opposite the Russian polar vessel ‘Vasiliy Golovnin’ on the Landing Wall. In a similar manner, they had berthed the Russian vessel there, ahead of the Ukrainian Krill Trawler ‘More Sudrozhestva’. Let’s hope that there are no minor altercations between the crews. Compassion and understanding are obviously not qualities for some of the Transnet folk!

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Mark this date: Day of the Seafarer 2022: 25 June

2022 Day of the Seafarer, in Africa Ports & Ships
2022 Day of the Seafarer

This year, once again, the annual Day of the Seafarer (DotS) will be celebrated on 25 June when the theme will be: Your voyage – then and now, share your journey.

Every seafarer’s journey is different, but they all face similar challenges. For 2022 the campaign of the Day of the Seafarers, with the theme Your voyage – then and now, share your journey, looks at seafarers’ voyages, what they include and how they have evolved over time and what remains at the heart of seafarers’ reality.

This campaign gives seafarers a chance to share what resonates with them currently, whether it is the crew change crisis being unresolved or the future of technology.

For this year’s Day of the Seafarer IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has made a four minute video message AVAILABLE HERE

Day of the Seafarer 2022 in Africa Ports & Ships

Social Media

As in previous years, the Day of the Seafarer campaign is centred on social media.

This year IMO is asking seafarers to post two photos, one of their first voyage and another one of the latest or most recent voyage, and to tell what has changed. Is shipping greener? Is the technology better? Are seafarers more skilled? What have they learnt?

On Twitter #SeafarerJourney will be the new hashtag for the 2022 campaign. This hashtag can be used by anyone engaging in the campaign to pay tribute to seafarers.

Seafarers themselves can use it to showcase their voyages.

All IMO’s social media platforms are featured but Twitter, Facebook and Instagram account for most activity, it is understood.

Paul Ridgway, London Correspondent for Africa Ports & Ships

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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SAS Spioenkop limps home after mission in Mozambique

SAS Spioenkop (F147) departing Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones, in Africa Ports & Ships
SAS Spioenkop (F147) departing Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones

SAS Spioenkop (F147), the third of four Valour class frigates, has returned home to South Africa after a deployment in northern Mozambique water as part of Operation Vikela.

The frigate has been in northern Mozambique waters from March this year, providing maritime support to armed forces of the SADC Mission In Mozambique (SAMIM) and troops from Rwanda who are combatting islamic extremist insurgents in Cabo Delgado province.

Due to maintenance and unavailability of spares SAS Spioenkop has remained handicapped for much of this deployment. It is understood she will undergo an extensive maintenance once her mission has completed.

The sad if not scandalous condition of many of the navy’s so-called ‘fighting vessels’, due to budgetary but also other reasons, is nothing short of disgraceful. The SA Navy boasts an abundance of senior officers, with few and sometimes no active ships on which they can serve a useful purpose.

It is not only the navy that finds itself in this position – the air force possesses both ancient and modern aircraft, of which the majority are not in service and those that are, have to be rotated to ensure each aircraft achieves flying time. The army finds itself in a slightly better position but still lacks modern equipment or a budget to properly train.

SAS Spioenkop while on deployment to Mozambique did perform at least one notable mission, which was to take part in the recapture of Matemo island from the insurgents. Participating in this action was the ship’s Maritime Reaction Squadron along with other SAMIM forces.

The frigate also provided back-up support for several smaller patrol vessels of the Mozambique Navy (Forças Armadas de Defesa Mozambique – FADM) and a Tanzanian patrol vessel.

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Algoa Bay oil spill – weekend update

Umnenga II and Lefkas locked together after the oil spilled. See light sheen on the water of Algoa Bay. Picture: SAMSA, in Africa Ports & Ships
Umnenga II and Lefkas locked together after the oil spilled. See light sheen on the water of Algoa Bay. Picture: SAMSA

Further surveillance by aircraft and boat of Algoa Bay was carried out on Friday (27 May) to check for any residue oil from last Monday’s oil spill.

The oil spill occurred during an offshore bunkering involving two tankers – one a large Suezmax vessel, UMNENGA II, and the other a smaller bunkering tanker, LEFKAS. Both vessels are operated by Minerva Bunkering.

See that report in Africa Ports & Ships CLICK HERE.

SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) immediately initiated all relevant oil spill response teams as per the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan to assist with the containment and cleanup operation.

According to SAMSA the Friday surveillance included the use of a state of the art fixed-wing aircraft with advanced oil sensing equipment. The aircraft did not spot any oil sheen around the bay and surrounding islands. The Environmental Protection Vessel, the Sarah Baartman which was on standby to assist with the clean-up operations has also been released to return to Cape Town following the surveillance.

Boat patrols by SANParks have meanwhile continued and so far, no oiled birds have been spotted and once again members of the public are requested to report oiled birds and wildlife to SANPARKS or SANCCOB Gqeberha at Cape Recife Nature Reserve on 063 942 4702, but not to approach or try to capture the affected wildlife.

Rangers will continue to monitor the islands for oiled birds returning from their feeding grounds in Algoa Bay.

Bunkering operations remain suspended.

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Creecy extends fishing rights appeals period

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has further extended the period for appeals of the 2021 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP 2021) by an additional 60 days.

The process, which commenced on 29 March 2022, will now lapse on 29 July 2022.

According to the department, a number of applicants, who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the FRAP 2021, have submitted formal requests for access to information relating to FRAP 2021.

The request was submitted in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, Act No 2 of 2000 (PAIA), on the basis that the information requested is necessary to enable them to finalise their appeals against the FRAP 2021.

“Considering that the information requested is personal and commercial information of other applicants, the department made only certain FRAP 2021 information available in a redacted form,” the department said on Friday.

“This was to ensure that the personal and commercially sensitive information of the affected applicants was not released in a manner that would contravene the provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act, Act 3 of 2013 (POPIA) and PAIA.

“However, potential appellants have indicated that they are dissatisfied with the release of information in a redacted format and that they seek access to all information relating to FRAP 2021.”

Appellants are encouraged to lodge a formal appeal online on the prescribed Appeals Form through the FRAP 2021 website CLICK HERE.

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KENYA: Ruto vows to undo SGR and Mombasa port deals if he becomes next president

A standard gauge railway train at the Naivasha Dry Port, hundreds of kilometres from the coast and port of Mombasa, in Afriva Ports & Ships
A standard gauge railway train at the Naivasha Dry Port, hundreds of kilometres from the coast and port of Mombasa    Picture KR

Kenya’s deputy president, William Ruto says he will overturn major port operations that were transferred to the Inland Terminal at Naivasha and Nairobi if he is elected Kenya’s next president on 9 August 2022.

He will also overturn regulations forcing the use of the standard gauge railway (SGR) over the use of road transport.

Deputy President William Ruto, in Africa Ports & Ships
Deputy President William Ruto

He said that returning these functions to Mombasa will create employment on the coast, especially among the youth.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration championed the SGR project, partly to create the necessary income that could justify the introduction of a standard gauge railway to Kenya, but also to boost regional connectivity and economic growth in Kenya’s hinterland.

“We have agreed with the leaders from the coast. We will return all the port operations that were taken to Nairobi and Naivasha,” Ruto pledged.

Despite President Kenyatta’s direction the SGR has failed to generate the sort of income that will enable Kenya to repay its debt to China for the financing and building of the new railway, which provides a fast and efficient service between the coast and Nairobi.

However, the Chinese Exim bank has declined to finance the extension of the SGR beyond Naivasha to Lake Victoria and to the Uganda border, on the basis that Kenya is doesn’t appear able to repay its initial debt.

As a result Kenya has undertaken the refurbishment of the Colonial-era meter gauge railway from Naivasha to the two mentioned destinations.

That work is progressing, while at the coast there is ongoing dissatisfaction over laws that enforce a majority of freight should be carried by rail and that certain administration functions can only be performed inland.

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20 years jailtime for diesel pipeline thief

Transnet'pipeline network in Africa Ports & Ships
Transnet’pipeline network

The price to pay for trying to steal diesel fuel from the Transnet pipeline between Durban and Gauteng, just got steeper.

A 42-year old man has been found guilty of tampering with essential infrastructure and stealing diesel from the Transnet multi-product pipeline near Harrismith and was duly sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by the Harrismith Regional Court.

Transnet said that it welcomed the heavy sentence.

“The sentence sends a strong message to other perpetrators that the dedicated team from the Security Task Teams, The Hawks, SAPS Crime Intelligence, State Security Agency, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and local SAPS services will ensure that all offenders who tamper or collude to tamper with the pipeline will be charged and prosecuted as per the Criminal Matters Amendment Act, Act 18 of 2015 and face the full might of the law.”

The company said the successful conviction is an indication that intelligence and surveillance task teams as well as the joint ventures with other key role-players dedicated to fighting this scourge of fuel theft is paying off.

To date 173 suspects have been arrested and seven successful convictions have now been secured.

Transnet called on anyone noticing suspicious trucks, bakkies, tankers or activity near the company’s infrastructure to call the Transnet Pipelines toll free number 0800 203 843, or report the matter to the nearest SAPS station.

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Marine geospatial collaboration: UK’s role as a global leader in ocean science

A collaborative study from partners across the UK in government, industry and academia reveals that groups responsible for gathering marine geospatial information must find new, more efficient, ways of working together.

The future of UK marine geospatial data report

UK Marine Spatial Report, in Africa Ports & Ships

The UK’s approach to collecting data from the world’s oceans will significantly improve with greater collaboration among members of the marine geospatial community, according to a new report launched on their behalf. This was reported by the UK Government News Service on 11 May.

The recently completed Future of UK Marine Geospatial Data study found that marine geospatial stakeholders from UK government, industry and academia must find new ways of working together to source and manage marine geospatial information. This will help drive the UK’s Build Back Better plan, while ensuring the nation retains its position as a world leader in ocean science.
The report was created as a result of a call for evidence from the Geospatial Commission on how geospatial data can support economic growth and productivity across the UK. To assist with that call, the Commission requested that UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) work together on a Marine Geospatial Evidence Base.

The BEIS and UKHO, along with the government’s Policy Lab – a hub to enable teams across Whitehall (the seat of government ministries) to develop impactful policy decisions – hosted workshops to give stakeholders from across the UK’s diverse marine geospatial sector a forum to discuss opportunities, barriers, future users and best practices.

Four principal recommendations

Highlighting the critical role of marine geospatial data to the future of the ocean, the report champions four principal recommendations from the UK’s Marine Geospatial Community.

UK Marine Geospatial Report 

Firstly, it reaffirms the call for greater collaboration between, and more strategic direction, for the 30+ public sector organisations, along with an even larger pool of private and academic bodies, collecting geospatial data in the UK. Doing so will help reduce duplication of effort and maximise the value and re-use of data.

The second recommendation is for common data standards, cutting down on individual approaches to creating and storing information and making it more useable to those who need it. To ensure data quality is maintained, organisations should agree on a framework for marine geospatial data that enables all to commit to using it. This, the report argues, will help to ensure the UK becomes a leader in global data standards and the epicentre for end users and innovators who need high density and quality data.

More transparency and a common approach to data access is the third recommendation. Presently, data is held in multiple locations of varying visibility, and often constricted by time consuming red tape. The Geospatial Commission will explore ways to overcome this so that members of the geospatial community can access the information they need, while respecting important values such as intellectual property rights, data fidelity and national security.

The report’s final recommendation is for greater data collection efforts. The Marine Geospatial Community would strongly benefit from a shared view of what information is being gathered, by whom, when and to what standard. This basic but essential understanding of what everyone is doing will enable the Community to remove duplication and explore collaboration opportunities that make use of economies of scale, so that even more data is collected.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Chris Parry, Project Co-Chair at the UKHO, said: “Through using best practice from PolicyLab, this evidence base report represents the first time the UK’s world-leading Marine Geospatial Community has come together to share and validate known and new challenges and opportunities.

“We hope this will be an invaluable resource to the entire Community that helped to create it and helps to promote the critical role marine geospatial data plays in the sustainable use of our oceans; and provides an actionable blueprint for addressing our collective challenges and opportunities.”

To view and download the 24-page report (4MB) readers are invited to SEE HERE

Paul Ridgway, London Correspondent for Africa Ports & Ships

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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