Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 7 August 2022

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FIRST VIEW: Durban Port Master Plan 2022

The week’s mastheads:

Monday: Port of Cape Town from the V&A
Tuesday: Port of East London West Bank
Wednesday: Port of East London
Thursday: Port of Durban Container terminal by night
Friday: Port of Tin Can Island
Saturday: Port of Tema
Sunday: Port of Saldanha futuristic




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FIRST VIEW:  Durban Port Master Plan 2022

Durban Port Master Plan 2022 Sheet 1 in Africa Ports & Ships
Durban Port Master Plan 2022 sheet 1


Durban Port Master Plan 2022 sheet 2 in Africa Ports & Ships
Durban Port Master Plan 2022 sheet 2 – timeline




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Project to build a new commercial port and railway on SA’s Northern Cape coast is launched with RFQ

Northern Cape Province - the site of the proposed new port will be decided based on responses to the RFQ but is likely to be in the far north-western corner of the province. in Africa Ports & Ships
Northern Cape Province – the site of the proposed new port will be decided based on responses to the RFQ but is likely to be in the far north-western corner of the province. Blogspot

TNPA Issues Request for Qualification (RFQ)

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is calling on port and rail developers to respond to its Request for Qualification (RFQ) for the design, funding and construction of a planned new port and associated rail infrastructure on the Northern Cape Province coast, in the coastal region known as the Richtersveld.

The RFQ is intended to obtain information to shape the final solution as well as identify and select qualifying developers who can undertake the design, funding and construction of a capital-efficient greenfield, deepwater port and associated infrastructure in the Northern Cape Province.

The RFQ also seeks a rail solution proposal which will connect the port to the mining and industrial hubs in the province.

“The information sought through the RFQ is necessary for TNPA to chart a way forward in line with our strategic objective to operationalise a port in the region by 2026,” said TNPA Programme Director, Magenthran Ruthenavelu.

The development of a port in the Northern Cape Province is a first step towards realising the country’s Green Hydrogen Strategy regarded by the Northern Cape Province as an important driver towards a ‘Just Energy Transition’.

“Over and above the catalytic effect of new port and rail infrastructure to the local economy, the investment could also provide an additional, cost-effective channel to market for manganese exporters in the province,” Ruthenavelu said.

“It will bring much-needed relief to emerging miners who are currently restricted by high road transportation costs and no access to current export channels due to capacity constraints.”

RFQ documents can be obtained from the National Treasury’s e-Tender portal

or from the Transnet website AVAILABLE HERE

Responses to the RFQ must be submitted by no later than 2 November 2022 at 12h00.

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WHARF TALK: first ever icebreaker in SA – USCGC WESTWIND

The US Coast Guard icebreaker USCG Westwind WAGB-281 among the ice of Antarctica. Picture: USCG in Africa Ports & Ships
The US Coast Guard icebreaker USCG Westwind WAGB-281 among the ice of Antarctica. Picture: USCG


Jay Gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

Since Bouvet de Lozier turned up at Cape Town in February 1739, to announce to the world that he had discovered what we would now call Antarctica, there has been an almost continuous stream of vessels heading to, and coming from, the great Southern continent. Cape Town is, after all, not known as the ‘Gateway to Antarctica’ for nothing.

As the 19th century came to a close, and the 20th century developed, more and more official expeditions sailed out of Cape Town en-route to open up more and more of a still unknown Antarctic continent, or arrived back at Cape Town with news of new discoveries. However, despite the number of vessels engaged in Antarctic discovery, one vessel type was missing from all of these expeditions.

The missing link was the one type of vessel that could go anywhere, do anything, and perform any function irrespective of what was going on around it when down in the deep south. It was missing because up until the Second World War, when technology came on in leaps and bounds, as wars tend to accelerate technological development, the vessel in question had yet to be truly developed into an independent, ocean going, workhorse. The missing vessel type that would transform Antarctica was, of course, the Icebreaker.

An iceberg ram of the type that severely damaged the icebreaker Westwind in Africa Ports & Ships
An iceberg ram of the type that severely damaged the icebreaker Westwind

Leading up to the Second World War, most Antarctic expeditions tended to keep faith with ice strengthened hybrid sailing vessels, equipped with basic steam engines, such as Scott’s ‘Discovery’ and ‘Terra Nova’, or Shackleton’s ‘Nimrod’ and ‘Quest’, all of whom called into Cape Town between 1902 and 1922.

In the 1930s, diesel engines came to the fore, enabling longer and more complicated expeditions, as the need for carrying your own coal supply for three months was no longer a headache, as it was for those who went before. Vessels such as the ‘Wyatt Earp’, which called into Cape Town in both 1933, en-route South to Antarctica, and whose claim to fame was that her expedition leader, the American Lincoln Ellsworth, became the first man to fly an aircraft across Antarctic skies.

The Russian support vessel Ko-Operatsiya that visited Cape Town en-route to the Antarctic, in the V&A basin on Christmas Day, 1956 in Africa Ports & Ships
The Russian support vessel Ko-Operatsiya that visited Cape Town en-route to the Antarctic, in the V&A basin on Christmas Day, 1956

After the Second World War, expeditions restarted with the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition (NBSAE) sailing from Cape Town on 28th December 1949 with the sealer ‘Norsel’. In the 1950s the precursor to the Antarctic Treaty was being prepared, with the International Geophysical Year (IGY), which was due to get under way in 1957.

Before then, the great powers including Russia and Japan began their preparations to set up bases on the Antarctic continent. Both intended to utilise Cape Town as their springboard ports in support of their expeditions, both outbound, and inbound.

Soviet Russia's new flagship supply vessel, Ob, during her call at Cape Town's V&A basin 24 December 1955 in Africa Ports & Ships
Soviet Russia’s new flagship supply vessel, Ob, during her call at Cape Town’s V&A basin 24 December 1955

The Russians were the first to arrive, with the First Soviet Antarctic Expedition (SAE1), and their new flagship supply vessel ‘Ob’ under the command of Captain Ivan Man, arriving at Cape Town, from Kaliningrad, on Christmas Eve 1955, and sailing again on Christmas Day for Antarctica, and the construction of the Mirnyy Station. She returned the next year in November 1956 with SAE2, in company with another support vessel, ‘Ko-Operatsiya’, under the command of Captain Anatoliy Yantselevich.

The Soviet expedition was followed by ‘Soya’, the flagship of the first Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE1), under the command of Captain Mitsuji Matsumoto, arriving on 19th December 1956, and sailing ten days later for Antarctica, and the construction of the Syowa Station. However, ‘Ob’ was only an ice strengthened supply vessel, ‘Ko-Operatsiya’ was simply a small passenger-cargo ship, and ‘Soya’ was a converted, ice strengthened cargo vessel.

So where were the icebreakers, and when would Cape Town see her first ever one?

Another visitor to Cape Town was the Japanese flagship, Soya, in the V&A basin 19 December 1957 in Africa Ports & Ships
Another Antarctic supply visitor to Cape Town was the Japanese flagship, Soya, in the V&A basin on 19 December 1957

The Americans were also busy building up their presence in Antarctica, in readiness for IGY, under the pleasantly sounding name of ‘Operation Deep Freeze’. The first Operation Deep Freeze (DF1) was conducted between November 1955 and April 1956, but no American vessel called at any South African port on that expedition.

At the conclusion of the second Operation Deep Freeze (DF2), on 6th April 1957, the supply vessel ‘USS Arneb’, pennant number AGA-56, under the command of Captain Nels Johnson USN, called into Cape Town, from Melbourne in Australia, and en-route home from Antarctica. On 9th April she sailed for her home port of Norfolk, in Virginia. However, ‘USS Arneb’ was an Andromeda Class Amphibious Cargo Ship, and not an Icebreaker.

The American supply vessel USS Arneb called at Cape Town in 1957. She is shown here in McMurdo Sound in December 1962, in Africa Ports & Ships
The American supply vessel USS Arneb called at Cape Town in 1957. She is shown here in McMurdo Sound in December 1962

Finally, when the third American expedition got underway (DF3) in December 1957, Cape Town, and South Africa, finally got to see their first true Icebreaker, when on 22nd December 1957 the United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) WESTWIND, with pennant number WAGB-281, and under the command of Captain William Conley Jr. USCG, arrived in Cape Town, from Dakar.

Her journey had begun from her home port, which was the Brooklyn Navy Base, in New York City. She sailed from Cape Town on 27th December 1957 for Antarctica, in order to commission the new Ellsworth Station, named after the Antarctic aviator who had called into Cape Town on ‘Wyatt Earp’ some twenty years earlier.

Earlier, in December 1950 the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition (NBSAE) was represented by the sealer Norsel, featured in Africa Ports & Ships
Earlier, the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition (NBSAE) was represented by the sealer Norsel, which called in the Mother City in December 1949 

Prior to her departure, the South African Government had requested that ‘USCGC Westwind’ make a call at Bouvetøya, en-route to the Weddell Sea, to report on any activity, or changes to the island. She arrived at Bouvetøya on New Years Day 1958, and conducted a helicopter reconnaissance flight around the island. They reported a new spit of ice-free land on the western side of the island, which was not there when HMSAS Transvaal, under the command of Captain Richard Dryden-Dymond SAN, called at Bouvetøya in February 1955. It was named Nyrøysa, and included an area now known as Westwind Beach.

The USCGC Westwind was a ‘Wind Class’ Icebreaker, and the fourth built, of a series of which seven were ordered in the Second World War, to allow the American Navy and Coast Guard to patrol the waters of Greenland, and protect shipping against German Submarines in that area. She was built by the Western Pipe and Steel Shipyard at San Pedro in California. She was launched in March 1943, and commissioned into the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in September 1944.

She was 82 metres in length and had a displacement of 6,515 tons. She was diesel-electric, and powered by six Fairbanks Morse 38D8-1/8 10 cylinder 2 stroke main engines producing 2,000 bhp (1,492 kW) each. The engines provided power to six Westinghouse motors to drive two fixed pitch propellers for a service speed of 13.4 knots.

USCG Westwind has the distinction of being the first true icebreaker to travel to Antarctica. in Africa Ports & Ships
USCG Westwind has the distinction of being the first true icebreaker to travel to Antarctica.

She had an endurance of 32,485 nautical miles at a transit speed of 11.6 knots. She was crewed by 12 Officers, and 139 Enlisted Men. She was armed with a single 5″ main gun forward, and 6 x 20mm anti-aircraft guns, and 8 x 40mm anti-aircraft guns. She had an aft helideck and hangar, and carried a Bell H-13 Sioux (HTL-5) helicopter used for ice reconnaissance. She cost US$9.88 million (ZAR163.32 million) to build. Her guns were removed in their entirety in 1969.

On sailing from Cape Town, ‘USCGC Westwind’ never returned to Cape Town. She was the first Icebreaker ever to call at a South African port, and it was also to be her last call. She took part in two further Operation Deep Freeze voyages, one from December 1967 to March 1968, and her final one from October 1983 to February 1984.

This final DF voyage was cut short as on 1st January 1984 when she collided with the iceshelf, when operating down in the Weddell Sea. The collision caused a tear in her hull that was 1.8 metres high, and a whopping 43 metres in length. The damage was caused by what is known as an underwater ram, that many iceshelves, and icebergs, have and are what probably caused the fatal damage to RMS Titanic in 1912 when she struck an iceberg off the Canadian coast.

USCG Westwind WAGB-281 in Antarctic waters. Picture: Reddit in Africa Ports & Ships
USCG Westwind WAGB-281 in Antarctic waters. Picture: Reddit

The crew of ‘USCG Westwind’ were able to make a temporary repair, and she headed for Punta Arenas in Chile to affect a permanent repair. She was then recalled back to her home port, and she never returned to Antarctica. She was decommissioned in 1988 and scrapped.

However, this was not the last time a US icebreaker called at Cape Town, as the ‘USS Glacier’, under pennant number WAGB-4, and under the command of Commander Edward Grant USN, called into Cape Town on 2nd April 1962 for a two day stopover when en-route back from Antarctica. She sailed on 4th April for her home port of Boston, via Rio de Janeiro.

In 1962 the US icebreaker Glacier also visited Cape Town while returning from the Antarctic in Africa Ports & Ships
In 1962 the US icebreaker Glacier also visited Cape Town while returning from the Antarctic

Whilst this was the last time that an American Navy, or Coast Guard, Icebreaker called into Cape Town, or any South African harbour, more icebreakers have made their appearances over the years as more and more nations procured such vessels.

The two Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) icebreakers, ‘Fuji’, pennant number AGB-5001, and ‘Shirase’, pennant number AGB-5002, made frequent calls into Cape Town during their commissions, and the Russian Icebreaker ‘Kapitan Khlebnikov’ has also visited Cape Town, but with a shipload of adventure passengers, and not Antarctic scientists or support staff.

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Increased investment on cotton projects call: Afreximbank pledge

WTO DG calls for increased investment on cotton projects, welcomes Afreximbank pledge. Picture WTO, in Africa Ports & Ships
WTO DG calls for increased investment on cotton projects, welcomes Afreximbank pledge. Picture WTO

Support of cotton projects

At a Partners’ Conference on cotton on 27 July, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala urged donor agencies to mobilise resources in support of cotton projects in least-developed countries (LDCs), including the Cotton-4 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali.

At a Call for Action signing ceremony later that day the D-G welcomed a pledge from the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) to provide up to US$ 300,000 as grant-matching funds to support the preparation of cotton value chain development projects in African countries from 2023 to 2024.


This conference was organized jointly with the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

D-G Okonjo-Iweala commented: This conference is not just about cotton. It is about people.

“Donors should listen carefully to the project needs and priorities presented by the Cotton-4 countries and other LDCs so that they can provide tangible support to help realize these homegrown projects.

“LDCs will need our support to mobilise the financial and technical resources they need so that the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on this sector can envisage a better life for themselves and their families.”

DG: Cotton is a vital cash crop

DG Okonjo-Iweala noted that cotton is a vital crop in over 30 African countries, generating some US$ 1.5 billion in export earnings but that the sector had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A WTO study shows that, although cotton production has since bounced back to pre-pandemic levels in many LDCs, GDP per capita initially fell by 2.1% on average in ten LDCs the study examined. Cotton exports also dropped by 34% on average in value terms corresponding to a US$ 500 million loss in export earnings although countries’ experiences varied. Severe and persistent supply chain disruptions continue to jeopardise millions of jobs.

She concluded by saying: “Policymakers should aim to boost productivity sustainably, strengthen competitiveness and add value to cotton goods in order to strengthen resilience to future shocks.”

The WTO report at 65 pages and produced by the WTO Secretariat is entitled: Impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on cotton and its value chains: the case of the C-4 and other LDCs. It is available HERE

The port of Lomé, an important port for the export of cotton from West Africa, in Africa Ports & Ships
The port of Lomé, an important port for the export of cotton from West Africa   Port of Lome

Decisive step by Afreximbank

Of the cotton and textile sector Afreximbank’s Babajide Sodipo told the meeting: “(It) provides an opportunity to foster local content and identity. With the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, Africa must embrace industrialisation and fully engage its human capital and unique craftsmanship in this sector.”

Dynamic new partnerships

DD-G Paugam also told the conference that participants needed to start acting on the priority projects highlighted by beneficiary countries. He said they should seek to establish a work schedule that would lead to dynamic new partnerships and operationalise the projects that had been put forward.


ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton highlighted how the agency’s projects sought to transform African cotton and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She said: “African cotton offers a lower ecological footprint than cotton made elsewhere.”


UNCTAD’s Teresa Moreira called on governments and development partners to redouble support for cotton and cotton by-product projects in order to explore new sources of income for farmers. She said this could help address development priorities such as: ‘poverty reduction, value addition and economic diversification.’


Escipión Joaquín Oliveira Gómez, Assistant-Secretary General of the Organization of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States Secretariat (OACP) called for urgent support for the project funding requests put forward by African cotton-producing countries, which were introduced at the meeting by ministers and senior trade officials from the Cotton-4.

A short WTO video of an extract of the proceedings can be found    HERE

Paul Ridgway, Lonidon corresondent at Africa Ports & Ships

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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IN CONVERSATION: Good news for seabirds – the days of the Marion Island mice are numbered if an eradication project gets off the ground

‘Where species are given the opportunity to recover from threats that they face, they are often resilient enough to be able to do so.”

These were the words of Dr Anton Wolfaardt while presenting the Mouse-Free Marion Project at the Plett Marine Science Symposium in July 2022.

Wolfaardt is the manager of this conservation project – one that he describes as the most important of his career. The project aims to remove alien mice from Marion Island to prevent the deaths of globally important populations of seabirds and preserve the ecological integrity of the sub-Antarctic island.

Marion Island is the southernmost territory of South Africa, located about 2,300km southeast of Cape Town in the southern Indian Ocean, and is a haven for seabirds and other sub-Antarctic life – or it was until humans got involved.

Wolfaardt, who has more than 25 years in the field of seabird and marine conservation, said that in conservation, often the most challenging issues are translating the outputs of science into action on the ground. 

“For many conservation issues, we know what the solutions are. We just need the societal and political will to implement them.”

And that’s what this project, in partnership with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and BirdLife South Africa, is about.

Introduction of a devastating threat

Marion Island is one of the two Prince Edward Islands and is a globally important breeding site for seabirds and other wildlife, including almost half the world’s Wandering Albatrosses. 

People began arriving on the island in the 1700s, exploiting the large population of seals to feed a massive demand for pelts and high quality oil rendered from the blubber of elephant seals. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Thousands of dead migrant seabirds wash up on Canadian shores, avian flu suspected

Wolfaardt explained that this exploitative industry didn’t last long due to its impact on seal populations, and once the exploitation stopped, the species made a remarkable recovery, reflecting how, when given the chance, species have an incredible ability to recover. 

“Unfortunately, the direct impact that the sealers had on the seal populations of Marion Island was not the only impact they had – they had much longer lasting impacts,” said Wolfaardt. 

Stowaways – mice – were inadvertently introduced to the island sometime before 1818, and soon presented a devastating threat to the seabird population. 

Wolfaardt describes house mice as “highly adaptable omnivores that can eat almost anything in such large quantities that they can completely transform ecosystems”.

Research by Peter Ryan and other scientists found that 18 of the 28 bird species that breed on Marion Island face the real risk of local extinction in the next 30 to 100 years if the mice remain on the island.

These mice swarm the seabirds, “scalping” them, eating them alive or leaving them with wounds that almost certainly result in their death.

“You can imagine, it would be incredibly distressing for a bird,” said Wolfaardt. “They are irritated by it, but there’s nothing they can do… they can’t get off the nest, they can’t defend themselves.

“Eventually these birds would just die of fatigue… after night after night of being attacked by hordes of mice.”

Mouse attacking a Wandering Albatoss chick on Marion Island. Picture: Stefan & Janine Schoombie in Africa Ports & Ships
Mouse attacking a Wandering Albatoss chick on Marion Island. Picture: Stefan & Janine Schoombie

Climate change has accelerated the threat

To make matters worse, the mouse population on Marion Island over the past 30 years has increased by more than 500% because the change in climate has given them more favourable conditions to reproduce. Wolfaardt explained that over the past 30 to 40 years, temperatures on Marion Island increased and levels of precipitation in winter declined.

The mice breed in the summer, and with shorter winters they have been able to breed for longer, thereby increasing their population.

Additionally, Wolfaardt said studies on the island over the last couple of decades show that the mice have had a devastating impact on terrestrial invertebrates – they are not only driving the decline of important seabirds, but also species like the flightless moth, which are vital for the ecosystems of the island.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Massive Antarctica glaciers have melted the most in at least 5,500 years

The endemic flightless moth is now considered to be at 10% of its pre-impacted level, due entirely to the mice. Wolfaardt says this is bad because this keystone species plays an important role in cycling nutrients on the island. So, undermining the ecological process has many knock-on effects.

A single solution

There is really only one solution – a method proven successful in New Zealand, where conservationists achieved the mammoth task of eradicating mice and rats from large sub-Antarctic islands. 

Wolfaardt describes the method as “using a fleet of helicopters to sow specially formulated rodenticide bait across the entire island, such that every single mouse has access to enough bait for it to get a lethal dose”.

Most of the birds on the island are seabirds who forage at sea, so they won’t be interested in the bait they drop. While there will be some species that will consume dead mice – which have the toxins in them – Wolfaardt said the benefits outweigh the risks

Technology has allowed previous operations to be successful, with GPS and GIS systems to set flight lines to make sure coverage of the doses is as accurate as possible.

Wolfaardt explained to the audience at the symposium that while the mission sounds simple in theory, it is logistically and ecologically complicated, and this is why fundraising and planning takes up so much time.

For example, there are small windows of opportunity for the operation to take place as they will need to have perfect flying conditions. Much of the higher parts of the island are covered in clouds.

Successful operations include the eradication of Norway rats on Campbell Island in 2011, rats, mice and rabbits on Macquarie Island in 2011 and Norway rats in South Georgia in 2011-15. However, the Marion Island project is huge, as it will be the largest island (300 square kilometres) cleared of mice in a single operation.

Our Burning Planet previously reported on the mission to stop mice from eating Gough Island’s seabirds.

Marion Island and the South African research station. Picture: Wikipedia in Africa Ports & Ships
Marion Island and the South African research station. Picture: Wikipedia

While the mission at Gough Island was unsuccessful, Wolfaardt told OBP that “work is underway to investigate the possible factors that contributed to this outcome. 

“However, even considering the Gough outcome, it is evident that the majority of operations that have attempted to eradicate mice and rats from oceanic islands, using best practice approaches, have succeeded.”

In closing his presentation, Wolfaardt said that “in many cases, we know what the threats are. And we know what the solutions are, and here are examples at a local level where conservation interventions are making a massive difference to populations. We just need the societal and political will”.

The likes of Environment Minister Barbara Creecy, former First Lady Graça Machel and John Croxall, chair of BirdLife International’s Global Marine Programme, have endorsed the Marion Island project.

“The island needs our help,” said Wolfaardt. 

“A project like this gives us the opportunity in South Africa to show what’s possible with a public-private partnership working with government, NGOs, civil society… to come together to save a precious part of our planet. And I think that generates a lot of hope and shows that it is possible to make a difference.” DM/OBP

If you would like more information or would like to donate to the project, visit the Mouse-Free Marion Project website.


This article first appeared on Daily Maverick and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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Sea Shepherd founder resigns from board ‘with great relief’

Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson and Farley Mowat, in Africa Ports & Ships maritime news
Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson and Farley Mowat   Sea Shepherd

The founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Captain Paul Watson, has resigned from the organisation saying it is “with great relief”.

“Since 1977, when I founded Sea Shepherd nearly a half century ago, I have dedicated my entire life to the aggressive and determined preservation and protection of biodiversity of marine life and our ocean,” he said.

“Over the last few years, I have been slowly marginalised from the organisation that I created in the USA. I was removed from the Board of Directors, my advice ignored, my close associates terminated and directors that supported me were removed.”

Watson said he was reduced to being a paid figurehead, denied the freedom to organise campaigns and the freedom to
express the strong opinions that he has held for decades, opinions and campaigns that he said have shaped what Sea Shepherd has become and continues to be outside the borders of the United States.

“As I said in the documentary movie Watson, my role is to rock the boat, to make waves, to provoke people to think about the damage we are collectively inflicting upon diversity and interdependence of life in the ocean.”

Watson accused the current Board of seeking to turn Sea Shepherd vessels away from confronting illegal poachers that prey on endangered species and instead turn the fleet into non-controversial research vessels.

He said that research has always been a part of Sea Shepherd’s efforts but was not and should not be its priority.

“What we have provided is a unique function: a fearless leadership to intervene against poachers on the high seas, to document and to stop illegal acts that would otherwise go unnoticed and unchallenged. Sea Shepherd has always, and must always go where others fear to go, to say the things that must be said and to tackle the obstacles fearlessly and with great resolve.”

He said that in good conscience he could not remain on a path that the present board has decided on. “I refuse to change and adopt an approach that diminishes the incredible movement that we have created over the last four and a half decades, a movement that continues to grow outside the borders of the United States.

“I remain a director of Sea Shepherd Global, and I remain a supporter of Global ships, officers, and crew. Together with all other national Sea Shepherd entities, with the exception of the USA, I will continue to support our campaigns around the world utilising our unique philosophy of aggressive non-violence and cooperation with governments and NGOs.”

Sea Sepherd's vessel Bob Barker clashing with the Japanese whaling fleet tanker Sun Laurel in February 2013. Picture: Sea Shepherd, in Africa Ports & Ships
Sea Sepherd’s vessel Bob Barker clashing with the Japanese whaling fleet tanker Sun Laurel in February 2013. Picture: Sea Shepherd

Watson has remained a controversial figure who nevertheless strongly influenced the enforcement of conservation measures. Sea Shepherd vessels were involved in preventing Japanese whaling fleets from carrying out their so-called ‘scientific’ catching of whales in the Southern Ocean.

In 2012 he was arrested in Germany to await possible extradition to Costa Rica where charges had been laid against him because of his and the movement’s campaign against shark finning. He was allowed bail subject to reporting twice a day to police in Frankfurt, but skipped his bail by escaping from Germany.

In January 2006 Sea Shepherd’s flagship vessel, Farley Mowat, was arrested in Cape Town harbour in response to complaints from the Japanese whaling fleet operating in the Southern Ocean. While under detention Farley Mowat later skipped unnoticed out of Cape Town harbour and made its escape.

Africa Ports & Ships carried that report back in 2006 which is available on our Ports & Ships site, AVAILABLE HERE >>  Anti whaling ship arrested in Cape Town harbour

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New man at the helm at East London port

Port of East London, in Africa Ports & Ships
Port of East London, with the Mercedes Benz plant at upper left   Picture Transnet

There’s a new man at the helm of the East London port, which has been without an appointed port manager for several months.

Sphiwe Mthembu has been officially appointed port manager for East London as from Monday 1 August.

He takes charge of South Africa’s only river port and though small in terms of number of ships and cargo handled, is an important cog especially with regards the auto industry. The large Mercedes Benz plant is situated in the city overlooking the port and provides East London port with almost 100 per cent of its auto traffic.

The port also handles grain exports that are surplus to what can be handled at the port of Durban, and is also the only port in South Africa to handle livestock.

Sphiwe Mthembu, port manager at East London, in Africa Ports & Ships
Sphiwe Mthembu, port manager at East London

Mthembu’s tenure at Transnet began in 2013 when he joined Transnet Port Terminals as Operations Manager in East
London where he managed the Container Terminal, Ro-Ro, Bulk and Breakbulk Terminals.

Two years later he was promoted as TNPA’s Marine Operations Manager for the Port of Durban.

He holds a Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies from the University of KwaZulu Natal, Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Management from the University of the Western Cape, a Diploma in Supply Chain Management from the South African Production & Inventory Control Society and a Diploma in Packaging Technology from The Institute of Packaging South Africa.

Mthembu is currently enrolled with the University of KwaZulu-Natal for a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership Studies, specialising in maritime.

The role of acting port manager was held by Dirk Botes since May this year. Botes has returned to his position as Customer Relations Manager: Port of East London.

All of South Africa’s commercial ports under TNPA now have permanent port managers.

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Azule Energy, Angola’s new largest independent oil and gas producer, begins operations

Azule Energy logo, in Africa Ports & Ships
Azule Energy logo

Azule Energy, a 50/50 joint venture in Angola between BP and Eni, has been officially established, it was announced this week.

Azule Energy is now Angola’s largest independent equity producer of oil and gas, holding 2 billion barrels equivalent of net resources and growing to about 250,000 barrels equivalent a day (boe/d) of equity oil and gas production over the next 5 years.

Azule Energy holds stakes in 16 licences (of which 6 are exploration blocks) and a participation in Angola LNG JV. Azule Energy will also take over Eni’s share in Solenova, a solar company jointly held with Sonangol, and the collaboration in the Luanda Refinery.

The partnership boasts a strong pipeline of new projects that are scheduled to come on stream over the next few years, growing organically from exploration discoveries. These include the Agogo Full Field and PAJ oil projects in Blocks 15/06 and 31 respectively, and the New Gas Consortium (NGC), the first non-associated gas project in the country, which will support the energy needs of Angola’s growing economy and strengthen its role as a global LNG exporter.

The JV also holds significant exploration acreage in excess of 30,000 sq km in Angola’s most prolific basins, allowing it to leverage proximity with existing infrastructures.

Azule Energy’s leadership team draws on experience and expertise from both parent companies. The leadership team will report to a six-person board comprising three BP and three Eni representatives, reflecting the ownership share of the company. All BP Angola and Eni Angola staff have joined Azule Energy.

Adriano Mongini is the CEO of Azule Energy. “I feel honored to be the first CEO of the company. Together with a highly competent and motivated leadership team we are committed to develop the full potential of the company portfolio of development and exploration opportunities,” he said.

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IN CONVERSATION: Climate watchdogs ask court to halt new Eskom gas power plant in Richards Bay despite Barbara Creecy’s backing for project

The Liquid Bulk Terminal at the Port of Richards Bay in Africa Ports & Ships
The Liquid Bulk Terminal at the Port of Richards Bay    Picture Transnet

In their court submissions, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) and groundWork say South Africa is one of the world’s top 20 greenhouse gas emitters and needs to do its fair share as a global citizen to curb soaring climate gas emissions.

Avena Jacklin, groundWork’s climate and energy justice campaigner, suggests: “Large-scale gas-to-power plants do not make sense. Growing evidence and research show that gas is not needed in our energy transition away from coal. 

“Forcing in gas will displace renewable energy development, raise the cost of electricity, expose us to volatile gas prices and increased pollution, global warming and climate vulnerability. The burning of fossil fuels has no place in our energy future.”

Creecy backs gas plant

But Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Creecy has signalled her strong support for the proposed gas plant in Richards Bay.

Defending the project as part of Eskom’s drive to reduce its carbon footprint by using gas as a “transition fuel”, Creecy declares in court papers that South Africa is an emerging economy that needs to “balance the competing need for continued economic growth with its social needs and the protection of the environment”.

Pointing to the unresolved Eskom power crisis, Creecy also backpedals from an ambitious renewable energy pathway, declaring that “an irresponsible and sudden migration to renewables may hold prejudicial consequences for the stability of the electricity grid”.

She states that the court should not intrude into energy decisions taken by government officials with “special expertise and experience in this field”.

SDCEA and groundWork, however, argue that the government accepts that climate change is “a measurable reality” and that South Africa is especially vulnerable to its impacts.

The government’s own policy documents had acknowledged that without ambitious emission reductions, temperatures in the South African interior were expected to rise by between 5°C and 8°C by the end of the century and that rainfall patterns would also become more variable and unpredictable.

In a white paper published in 2011, the government said current analyses indicated that South Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions could rise fourfold by 2050 if no action was taken to decarbonise.

KZN floods

In a media statement ahead of the court challenge, SDCEA coordinator Desmond D’Sa said the recent devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal were a clear reminder of the risks of failing to curb climate-heating greenhouse gas emissions.

The Richards Bay plant was “neither timely nor economically optimal”

Though the national energy department has been punting gas as a “transition fuel” cleaner than coal, D’Sa points to expert testimony by Dr Robert Howarth of Cornell University in the US that greenhouse emissions from gas are greater than those from coal per unit of energy produced.

Methane has a much higher impact on global warming than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide: 86 times the impact on a 20-year time scale, which is the time scale most relevant for preventing runaway warming,” D’Sa says in court papers. 

The proposed Eskom combined cycle power plant, to be built adjacent to the Mondi paper mill in Richards Bay, was expected to emit 4.6 million tonnes of Co2e per year, translating into hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon pollution over the gas plant’s expected 30-year life cycle.

Read in Daily Maverick: Why the global methane pledge is a big deal for the climate

The new Richards Bay gas plant, alone, was expected to generate between 0.87% and 1.7% of national greenhouse gas emissions — a significant percentage of national emissions.

D’Sa also argues that the plant’s climate change impact study had not included a full life-cycle analysis of emissions (including extraction, leakage and transportation to Richards Bay).

The two groups say the exact source of the gas remained unclear, with indications that it could either come from Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin near the Tanzania border or possibly from shale gas fracked from the Karoo interior.

They also argue that Eskom failed to consider renewable energy options as an alternative to gas. Elsewhere in the world, the US state of Colorado was planning to retire its two largest coal-fired power plants and replace them with a combination of solar, wind and battery storage projects.

D’Sa said studies in the US, as well as a local study by Meridian Economics and the CSIR, confirmed that the Richards Bay plant was “neither timely nor economically optimal” and that South Africa would be better served by investing in a 21st-century electricity system consisting largely of renewable energy options.

Minister of Forestries, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy. Picture: Daily Maverick in Africa Ports & Ships
Minister of Forestries, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy. Picture: Daily Maverick

Renewable options

Expert evidence to support this view would be presented of a more recent switch to renewable energy options in India, Morocco, Chile, several US states and parts of South Australia.

D’Sa raises concern that the Eskom gas plant plan is one of several similar proposals for the port of Richards Bay — which currently consumes nearly 8% of all power generated in South Africa due to several energy-intensive industries around this harbour city.

Creecy, however, has challenged the accuracy of some of these objections. In her founding papers, the minister argues that gas emits only half as much carbon dioxide as coal-fired power plants.

Creecy says South Africa should transition “cautiously” towards renewable energy as it does not have a well-interconnected energy system.

“South Africa needs to grow its energy supply to support economic expansion … the activity applied for by Eskom therefore stands central to policy decisions taken by the government of the Republic of South Africa and is informed by ongoing strategic planning undertaken by the Department of Energy. 

“The applicants’ case is centred on the premise that gas-to-power technology should not be used but that only renewable energy sources should be used. This is impermissible because government took a policy decision regarding the energy mix to generate electricity. It is not for the applicants to choose.”

She also raises a legal objection, arguing that the uMhlathuze Municipality had not been joined as a respondent, despite the fact that it has a significant interest as one of the most energy-intensive cities in the country.

The new plant, with a construction period of 36 to 48 months, was expected to create 90 permanent jobs and up to 500 temporary jobs and provide a major new generation centre for a port city currently reliant on coal power stations nearly 500km away.


Creecy suggests that a rapid switch to renewable energy in South Africa should be considered with more caution. Europe, for example, still relied on natural gas for nearly one-fifth of its electricity generation, while South Australia had experienced several blackouts over the past five years due to a recent reliance on wind power.

Referring to a report submitted to Eskom by Afri Futuretech, Creecy says South Africa should transition “cautiously” towards renewable energy as it does not have a well-interconnected energy system.

Large-scale battery storage is only expected to be suitable for wide use around 2040, she suggests.

Pointing to the shortcomings of this technology, she states that the biggest battery storage facility in the world (in the US) shut down twice — in September 2021 and October 2022 — due to overheating batteries.

Where a similar-sized solar photovoltaic plant would require 1,200 hectares of land, the Richards Bay gas plant would only require 11 hectares.

“To set aside the [Eskom plan] will have grave consequences for electricity generation in South Africa, but also for the overall socioeconomic climate. Without proper supply of electricity, the economy of South Africa simply cannot grow to provide more employment opportunities.”

She challenges D’Sa’s argument that gas-fired power plants will add to climate change emissions, stating that several of these projects — including the controversial Karpowership floating gas power ships plan — had not been approved.

“The statements relied upon by the applicants should also be seen in the proper context: namely that an irresponsible and sudden migration to renewables may hold prejudicial consequences for the stability of the electricity grid,” the national environment minister suggests.

The case was scheduled to be heard by Judge Anthony Millar over two days, on 2 and 3 August. DM/OBP

See related article Transnet seeks partners in developing Richards Bay LNG import facilities

This article first appeared on Daily Maverick and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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Warm waters marching south

Icebergs near Davis Station, East Antarctica. Picture: Dr Joel B Pedro. In Africa Ports & Ships
Icebergs near Davis Station, East Antarctica. Picture: Dr Joel B Pedro

New research by CSIRO*, Australia’s national science agency, in partnership with the University of Southampton, has revealed for the first time how changes in Southern Ocean circulation are affecting the East Antarctic ice sheet.

The research, published on 3 August in Nature Climate Change shows how warming waters at the East Antarctic shelf are linked to a reorganisation of water masses that could potentially compromise the stability of the East Antarctic ice sheet.

Less is known about the East Antarctic shelf

While scientists have a good understanding of how the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting and contributing to sea level rise, far less was known about the East, until now.

Dr Laura Herraiz-Borreguero, CSIRO scientist and lead author of the study, said that the research fills a critical knowledge gap about the physical mechanisms that can lead to East Antarctic Ice Sheet melt which could become a major contributor to global sea level rise in the future.

“The Earth’s ice sheets, which are formed from snow accumulation over land and time play a crucial role in our global climate system,” she commented.

“In this study we investigated changes in the ocean that interact with the Aurora Subglacial Basin in the Indian Ocean sector of East Antarctica.

“This basin holds a 5.1-metre sea level rise potential and ice mass loss here is driving most of the East Antarctic contribution to sea level rise.

“When and how fast this ice mass loss occurs is one of the largest uncertainties in climate models and projections of future sea level rise out to the year 2100, and our result shows that this basin is more susceptible to melting than previously thought.”

Southampton University’s contribution

University of Southampton Professor Alberto Naveira-Garabato, co-author of the study, said that to close the East Antarctic knowledge-gap the research team analysed a comprehensive, nine-decade-long record of oceanographic observations off the Aurora Subglacial Basin.

“We found there has been an unequivocal ocean warming over the continental slope of up to 2 º to 3 º C since the earlier half of the 20th century,” he said. “It is occurring just offshore of glaciers with the fastest grounding line [the point where glaciers start to float] retreat, for example, the Denman (~100ºE), Vanderford (110ºE), and Totten (~118ºE) glaciers.

“As this shift is predicted to persist into the 21st century, the movement of warm waters towards East Antarctica may continue to intensify, threatening the ice sheet’s future stability.”

The results indicate that the warming of the continental shelf is associated with a multi-decadal, summer-focused poleward shift of the westerly winds over the Southern Ocean.

This change in wind latitude drives a poleward shift of the southern part of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which means more warm water moves closer to Antarctica.

In conclusion Dr Herraiz-Borreguero said: “Our observations from in front of the Vanderford Glacier suggest that this warm water, also known as Circumpolar Deep Water, is replacing the colder Dense Shelf Water.

“We do not know exactly how this water mass exchange occurs, however the reduction in salinity as water melts is likely to play a major role.

“Limiting warming below 1.5º C is the best way to keep the Antarctic Ice Sheet stable, limit global mean sea level rise to around 0.5 metres by 2100, and slow the pace at which sea level will rise.

“This enables greater opportunities for adaptation in the human and ecological systems of small islands, low-lying coastal areas and deltas.”

* Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Paul Ridgway, Lonidon corresondent at Africa Ports & Ships
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Nigeria to designate all inland container depots as Ports of Origin

PTML Terminal in Lagos, where a scanner has been installed for inspecting the containers. Apart from the two Grimaldi RoRo ships at the terminal, note the barge operating moving away from the terminal loaded with truck-hauled containers. Picture: PTML. In Africa Ports & Ships
PTML Terminal in Lagos, where a scanner has been installed for inspecting the containers. Apart from the two Grimaldi RoRo ships at the terminal, note the barge operating moving away from the terminal loaded with truck-hauled containers. Picture: PTML

Nigeria’s Federal Government has commenced the process of declaring all inland container depots, known locally as Inland Dry Ports, as ports of origin and destination.

The move is said to assist with the decongesting of the country’s seaports, in particular Apapa and Tin Can Island.

By doing so the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) would be able to classify these inland ports as ports to which cargo can be either imported or exported.

In practice, cargo would still have to be discharged or loaded onto ships at one of the seaports but would not be unduly delayed at these ports for customs clearance and other official delays, which would instead be carried out at the Inland Dry Ports.

As a result all agencies necessary for cargo clearance would have to be present at the Inland Dry Ports.

Emmanuel Jime, executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) said the new designation would enable the country’s dry ports to fully operate as a seaport, despite being at a distance from the physical seaport.

Kaduna Inland Dry Port, in Africa Ports & Ships
Kaduna Inland Dry Port

“The Federal Ministry of Transportation is in the process of designating all the dry ports to be ports of origin and destination, which indicates that the ports are meant to effectively function in the same way the seaports function,” Jime said.

Jime is of the belief that operations at the inland ports would make for efficiency because the federal government has ensured that the errors at the seaports that hinder efficient operations will be avoided at the inland ports.

He said the NSC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nigeria Customs Service that will enable the Customs to be present at all the dry ports in Nigeria.

The inland ports would also prove beneficial in facilitating the movement of transit cargo to neighbouring landlocked countries.

The government believes the inland ports will act as a catalyst for improved trade flows, boosting inland trading and promoting the export of agricultural products, in addition to creating employment opportunities that will help stem rural-urban migration.

A spokesman for Nigeria’s Customs said that modern scanning machines have been installed at Tin Can Island and the Grimaldi Lines subsidiary, PTML Terminals, and were in the process of being installed at Apapa. These he said, would speed up the process of inspecting containers.

“We are moving with the Federal Government to decongest our ports and Customs has officers ready to escort imported containers from the mother ports to the inland ports at any time,” he said.

Nigeria has a fully operational inland port in Kaduna and other inland ports in Kano, Kastina, Abia, Ibadan, and Jos all at various levels of development.

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Salalah aims to become important bunker port

FECO and Port of Salalah officials have inaugurated the first voyage of the bunkering barge Sea Dweller. Picture: Shipspotting, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
FECO and Port of Salalah officials have inaugurated the first voyage of the bunkering barge Sea Dweller. Picture: Shipspotting

The Port of Salalah in Oman and the Fujairah Engineering Company (FECO) earlier this year signed an agreement that will lead to Salalah becoming one of the leading bunkering hubs in the region.

FECO has already commenced its operations in Salalah effective June 2022, having stationed the bunker tanker SEA DWELLER (IMO 9254006), where FECO is already supplying bunkers by ship-to-ship transfer, ex pipeline and by road tankers.

With the implementation of IMO regulations, the demand for low sulphur fuel has increased, however ship owners remain challenged by its supply in the region and as a result FECO intends offering fuel of various types.

The company intends supplying LSMGO and VLSFO from the Sea Dweller within a month as well as delivering gasoil by truck to certain of Salalah’s berths.

The port of Salalah operates a 100,000 metric tonne capacity tank farm for liquid fuel at the port and FECO a 110,000 m3 storage tank for bunker fuel.

The Port of Salalah is strategically situated on the Omani coast close to the prime East-West shipping lane.

“FECO and Port of Salalah’s key strategic partnership will help offering quality bunkering as part of our value-added service portfolio, which is also aligned with our ambition of becoming a bunkering hub,” said Mark Hardman, Port of Salalah CEO.

Ioannis Koilakos, Partner and Director of FECO said they are excited at this partnership with the Port of Salalah and hoped to expand their presence in the region. “We are confident of being able to offer bunkering at very competitive pricing to a wide range of customers visiting the Port of Salalah and off Salalah,” Koilakos said.

The Port of Salalah is operated by APM Terminals, which also operates the port container terminal and a general cargo terminal.

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Cape Town Container Terminal records highest ever weekly container volume

Cape Town Container Terminal in the foreground in Africa Ports & Ships
Cape Town Container Terminal in the foreground    Picture Transnet

Records are there to be broken, and the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT), operated by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), has done just that. Last week saw CTCT record its highest weekly volume of 19,500 twenty foot equivalent units (TEU). This was a result of handling eight agricultural export vessels with minimum delays.

After coming under the weather in more ways than one, the terminal has been berthing vessels on arrival since May this year despite equipment challenges and inclement weather.

“We have been able to capitalise on the good weather to see our planning through in the past week, and the recovery turnaround when we have had equipment breakdowns has been good,” says Managing Executive of the Western Cape Terminals, Andiswa Dlanga.

New terminal equipment

Calls by Industry for new equipment at the Cape Town Container Terminal have been incorporated in the three-year capital investment plan starting in the 2023/2024 financial year.

Reefer containers at the Cape Town Container Terminal. In Africa Ports & Ships
Reefer containers at the Cape Town Container Terminal  Picture Transnet

The terminal is also expecting the delivery of a ship-to-shore crane in September 2022. Recent equipment purchase approvals include four straddle carriers, two reach stackers and two empty container handlers, with expected delivery in the next financial year.

Dlanga said beyond the acquisition of new equipment, the terminal was focusing on basics. “We have key performance indicators that assist us in running an efficient operation where we measure ship working hours, gross crane moves per hour among other things.

“Our focus is on meeting these targets and the results are increased volume throughput,” said Dlanga.

The Cape Town Container Terminal plays a supporting role in the country’s citrus season (April to September) that sees both Durban and the Eastern Cape move export volumes to over 100 countries mainly in the European Union (EU), Russia, United States of America (USA) and Mediterranean countries.

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Port Elizabeth Car Terminal handles record number of units in July

Record monthly throughput for the PE Car Terminal, in Africa Ports & Ships
Record monthly throughput for the PE Car Terminal    Picture Transnet

The Port Elizabeth Car Terminal has broken its own record by handling 24,142 fully built units in July, the highest ever in the history of the terminal and 93% above the planned monthly budget.

The terminal is in the middle of a capacity creation project that is unlocking its ability to handle more volumes, but, says Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), it’s the rise in transhipment volumes that had been the greatest contributor.

The volumes are the result of car manufacturers Suzuki, TATA, Caterpillar and Volkswagen.

“It’s a busy season and there are lots of vessels outside every terminal due to the global demand across varying sectors,” said Wandisa Vazi, Managing Executive at the Eastern Cape Terminals.

“This is when our complementary port system creates opportunities for vessels to drop cargo off in Port Elizabeth which will be picked up by another vessel later, destined for another terminal.”

PE Car Terminal breaks record in July. Africa Ports & Ships

Throughout the month of July, the operational team averaged 200 units an hour against a target of 180, a key performance indicator that they exceeded by 11%.

The capacity creation project currently in progress at the terminal will see an additional 3,000 parking bays created at the end of September, bringing the overall terminal capacity to 8,000.

This capacity will increase the Port Elizabeth Car Terminal throughput from 150,000 units to 280,000 units per annum.

“We have a responsibility to make our customers globally competitive by unlocking capacity and providing a reliable and efficient service. And that is what we are doing,” said Vazi.

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WHARF TALK: South Korean Krill Trawler – SAE IN CHAMPION

Sae In Champion in her element, the freezing waters of the Antarctic. Picture: ARK, in Africa Ports & Ships
Sae In Champion in her element, the freezing waters of the Antarctic. Picture: ARK

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Jay Gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

Recently a 48 year old vessel arrived in Cape Town, still intending to earn its keep on its next venture. That vessel was ‘Reef Protector’, and it was reported on in the 28th July edition of Africa Ports & Ships. That little vessel was impressive enough, but then a substantially larger vessel has arrived, one that is over half a century old, and not only is it earning its keep, it is doing so in one of the most dangerous, and difficult, environments on the planet. Now that really is impressive.

On 19th July at 17h00 the South Korean Krill trawler SAE IN CHAMPION (IMO: 7042538) arrived off Cape Town, after being away in Antarctica since 8th January, when she had sailed from Cape Town for her Krill fishing season. She entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded into the Duncan Dock and went alongside K berth, an unusual arrival berth, but one utilised to discharge the frozen cargoes from fishing vessels, either into cold storage, or transshipped into fish reefer vessels.

Built in 1970, and thus a magnificent 52 years of age, and still in gainful employment, ‘Sae In Champion’ was constructed by the Hayashikane Dockyard at Nagasaki In Japan. She is 96 metres in length and had a deadweight of 3,735 tons. She is powered by a single Kobe Mitsubishi 6UET45/75C 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 3,800 bhp (2,834 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service transit speed of 13 knots.

The South Korean krill trawler Sae In Champion in Cape Town for her winter layup. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The South Korean krill trawler Sae In Champion in Cape Town for her winter layup. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her frozen storage capacity is 5,324 m3, and she can store up to 1,500 tons of frozen cargo in two cargo holds. She has a crew of 96 persons, and she is owned, operated and managed by the Jeong-Il Corporation of Seoul in South Korea.

The fourth Antarctic Krill trawler to arrive back in Cape Town for the midwinter maintenance period, ‘Sae in Champion’ has a fleetmate, ‘Sae In Leader’, which was covered in the 9th September 2021 edition of Africa Ports & Ships, arrived back in Cape Town three days before her, and both now in a period of maintenance, and undergoing a post-season refit.

Both of these vessels were purchased by their current owner on 30th December 2020, whilst lying in Cape Town, with ‘Sae in Champion’ sailing for Antarctica on 7th January 2021, and returning on 14th June 2021 for her winter lay-up, which was concluded on 8th January 2022 when she once more headed for the Krill fishing grounds of the area of the Antarctic Peninsula.

‘Sae in Champion’ is licensed by the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to fish only for Krill (Euphausia Superba). She is licensed to fish in only three FAO Sea Areas, namely Sea Area 48.1 (South Shetland Islands), Sea Area 48.2 (South Orkney Islands, and Sea Area 48.3 (South Georgia). Her current license was issued in May 2022, and is valid until May 2023.

Sae In Champion on her nerth in the Duncan Dock, Cape TGown harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Sae In Champion on her berth in the Duncan Dock, Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has held her CCAMLR licenses, issued to the Jeung-Il Corporation since December 2020, when they took ownership of ‘Sae In Leader’, but she has held a continuous CCAMLR Krill fishing license since March 2000. Her initial license was granted to her previous owners, Insung Corporation of Seoul in South Korea, under whose name she operated as ‘In Sung Ho’, which is still visible on her hull.

Her midwater, pelagic, Krill net is specially designed for the niche fishing market in which she operates, and it is 105 metres in length, with a net mouth that is 57 metres in width, and 20 metres high. It culminates in a cod end that is 23 metres in length. The net has a Marine Mammal exclusion Device fitted to ensure that seals do not get caught in the net.

She is equipped with four, 3 ton, derricks, of which two are located aft of the superstructure, with the other two derricks located forward, and used for loading stores, and discharging her frozen catch from her two holds. She has two gantries on her aft deck with which to move, and manipulate the net around her working deck area.

In order to monitor her movements when she is operating in Antarctica, and to ensure that she is not engaging in any illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, ‘Sae In Champion’ is fitted with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), which is an Argos MAR-GE V3 Automatic Location Transmitter (ALC). Both the transmitter unit, and the satellite dome that houses the antenna, are sealed and tamper proof.

The trawler's previous name remains visible on closer inspection. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The trawler’s previous name remains visible on closer inspection. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

An interesting national requirement for all South Korean fishing vessels, who are operating in far distant waters, such as the ‘Sae In Champion’, is that they are required by South Korean national law to carry a VMS and ALC device onboard the vessel. This is under the auspices of the Fisheries (Satellite Vessel Monitoring) Regulation of 1993.

Her owners are members of the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies (ARK), having only been active in the Antarctic Krill Fishery for 18 months, since December 2020. In a remarkable display of operating a well-managed Krill fishery in Antarctica, and showing that the they are capable of running a sustainable fishery, Jeung-Il Corporation have been awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. The certification process was complete in August 2021, and will remain valid for five years until August 2026. This prestigious award, and the ability to be able to display the MSC logo on your products, opens up markets worldwide.

The responsible management of the Krill fishery is shown in the statistics released by those research, and academic, organisations that conduct scientific research into Antarctic Biomass. It is estimated that the biomass of Krill around the Antarctic continent is 379,000,000 tons.

The area that ‘Sae In Champion’ is licensed to fish in, Sea Area 48, is estimated to hold a Krill biomass of 72,000,000 tons. This figure comes from a 2020 survey conducted by six fisheries research vessels, on behalf of the Norwegian Institute for Marine Research, located in Bergen. This biomass is an increase from the previous survey carried out in 2000, which estimated Krill Biomass in Sea Area 48 to be 60,300,000 tons.

Not bad for an elderly lady with over a half century behind her and still going strong. Sae in Champion. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Not bad for an elderly lady with almost a half century behind her and still going strong. What a Champion. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In 2020, ARK vessels were awarded a quota catch total of 620,000 tons of Krill for Sea Area 48. That quota catch total represents only 0.86% of the total Biomass of Krill in that sea area. From that quota catch total, only 33,318 tons of Krill was actually caught by all vessels operating in this area in the 2020 season. This caught figure represents only 0.05% of the available Biomass. Such a small catch total will have no significant effect on the Krill Biomass, thus ensuring it remains a sustainable fishery.

Once ‘Sae In Champion’ had completed her formalities at K berth, she moved across the harbour and entered the Ben Schoeman Dock, where she went alongside berth 703, one of the lay-up berths, where she will begin her winter overhaul. She is not expected to sail for Antarctica until January 2023.

Under CCAMLR rules, any frozen Krill cargo ‘Sae In Champion’ may have been carrying when she arrived in Cape Town, assuming that she did indeed have such cargo aboard, cannot be processed in Cape Town. It may only be transshipped into a Fish Reefer vessel, and transported back to South Korea, where it may only be discharged in the port of Busan.

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AD Ports Group and Hutchison Ports sign MoU to form Strategic Partnership

The Hutchison Ports-operated container terminal in the port of Dar es Salaam
The Hutchison Ports-operated container terminal in the port of Dar es Salaam    TPA

The port of Dar es Salaam, to be boosted by the combined investments of AD Ports Group and Hutchison Ports

Will operate within Tanzania including Dar es Salaam Port

AD Ports Group (Abu Dhabi) announced on Tuesday (2 August) that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hutchison Ports, the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator.

In terms of the MoU, AD Ports and Hutchison Ports will identify joint investment and business opportunities related to feedering, logistics, and port activities across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Africa, and Asia.

In addition, the two organisations will form a partnership to operate within Tanzania, where they will work closely together to explore opportunities to further enhance the capabilities and market competitiveness of port operations across the East African country, including Dar Es Salaam Port.

Hutchison currently operates one of the two container terminals at the port of Dar es Salaam.

Potential areas of focus include improving servicing to several of Tanzania’s landlocked remote areas and neighbouring countries, cultivating more cargo sources, and the enhancement of existing supporting logistics and cargo processing facilities.

This will involve developing infrastructure such as logistics centres & new inland container depots around Tanzania’s Dar Es Salaam Port.

“AD Ports Group continues to expand its reach around the world, in line with the vision of our leadership, and we offer our thanks for their wise guidance,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director & Group CEO of AD Ports Group.

“We are pleased to announce the start of a new collaboration with Hutchison Ports,” he added. “As a starting point, we will work together to enhance and elevate Tanzania Port’s standing as a world-leading trade hub.

“AD Ports Group will advance plans to develop and implement an innovative logistics, transportation, and digital port management system, as well as investing in the development of new infrastructure, such as logistics centres and new inland container depots around Dar Es Salaam Port.”

Eric Ip, Group Managing Director of Hutchison Ports, said that having operated in Tanzania since 2001, Hutchison Ports are very committed to this market and its great potential.

“With strong support from local partners and the addition of AD Ports Group, this new partnership will certainly be greater than the sum of its parts.

“Together, we look forward to working closely with the Tanzania Port Authority to further develop Tanzania International Container Terminal Services as we strive to ensure Dar Es Salaam Port remains the premier gateway to the East African region.”

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Pemba Port Oceanic Terminal plans get the nod but further environmental studies suggested

Port of Pemba, Mozambique

A study into the feasibility of expanding the Port of Pemba Oceanic Terminal received approval from the firm of EnAmbiente subject to a recommendation that further environmental assessments be carried out in order to clarify certain aspects they identified and to establish what measures are necessary to reduce negative impacts and maximise positive effects.

According to the Portuguese-language newspaper Notícias, the firm of Petromoc conceived the expansion and modernisation of the Pemba Oceanic Terminal (TOP) several years ago.

The proposal then was to, among other things, increase the storage capacity of the liquid bulk terminal from 7,500 to 18,000 cubic metres via additional storage tanks, install a 10-inch pipeline to exclusively receive diesel, and to carry out bunkering operations at the port. In addition, the fire-fighting system was to be rehabilitated and two 250 cubic metre Jet A-1 storage tanks be constructed.

Petromoc said the project was justified by the general degradation of the infrastructure that was then 30 years old, which it said limited operational capacity and was unable to meet the demand, resulting in increased expense.

The project has come under the limelight of the activities taking place in the Rovuma Basin and the subsequent increase in hydrocarbon processing to the north of Pemba, which is attracting considerable foreign investment.

“The objectives to be achieved with the expansion and modernisation of the TOP remain the same, with the emphasis on supporting offshore natural gas exploitation and extraction operations in the Rovuma Basin,” the Environmental Pre-Feasibility Study and Scope of Definition (EPDA) report notes, according to Notícias.

This first analysis and assessment of the project’s environmental feasibility is to be followed by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) phase, in which detailed environmental impact studies will be carried out.

EnAmbiente considers that, from the analysis carried out, it appears that the main positive socio-economic impacts foreseen will result from the generation of employment and stimulation of the local economy, especially during the construction phase.

The expansion and modernisation of the terminal will also increase fuel storage capacity in the north of Mozambique, increasing availability for consequent export to neighbouring countries and culminating in the accumulation of foreign exchange for the country. Source: Notícias

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A.P. Moller-Maersk bumps up its profit expectations for 2022

Mette Maersk. APMM's 'Ocean' division contributed strongly to the higher than anticipated results in the second quarter. Picture: Unsplash in Africa Ports & Ships
Mette Maersk. APMM’s ‘Ocean’ division contributed strongly to the higher than anticipated results in the second quarter. Picture: Unsplash

In a trading update for Q2 2022 and 2022 full year, A.P. Møller-Mærsk (APMM) has adjusted its financial expectations after receiving a second quarter of 2022 ahead of its previous forecast with a revenue of US$ 21.7 billion, an underlying EBITDA of $10.3 billion and an underlying EBIT of $8.9 billion.

APMM says the strong result is driven by the continuation of the exceptional market situation within ‘Ocean’ (shipping).

“Congestion in global supply chains leading to higher freight rates has continued longer than initially anticipated. Consequently, APMM’s full year guidance for 2022 has been revised upwards with underlying EBITDA now expected to be around $37 billion (previously around $30bn) and underlying EBIT expected around $31 billion (previously around $24 billion).

“The free cash flow (FCF) for the full-year 2022 is now expected to be above $24 billion (previously above $19 billion), while the cumulative capex guidance for 2022-23 is unchanged at $9-10 billion.”

AP<< says the 2022 guidance is currently based on a gradual normalisation in ‘Ocean’ taking place in the fourth quarter of 2022.

APMM expects to publish its Q2 result later today (3 August 2022).

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UK’s Felixstowe container port workers set to strike

Port of Felixstowe, in Africa Ports & Ships
Port of Felixstowe

Although talks between management and union workers are ongoing, the threat of a strike cloud hangs heavily over the UK’s biggest container port, Felixstowe.

Approximately 1800 workers will down tools at the busy port unless an agreement on a wage increase is reached. The workers, who are all members of Unite, one of the UK’s leading trade unions, are threatening to walk out unless their demand of a meaningful increase is agreed to.

Some 92 per cent of the union members voted in favour of a strike for higher wages last month. Workers were offered a 5 per cent pay increase.

The union says the offer by management is over 6 per cent below the real rate of inflation and therefore equal to a substantial pay cut masquerading as a pay rise. In June the consumer price inflation rate was 8.2 per cent.

“This is an effective pay cut, with the real rate of inflation currently standing at 11.9 per cent. Last year, the workforce received a below inflation pay increase of 1.4 per cent,” the union said.

The port operator, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Ports, said in a statement that they had made what they considered a very fair offer. “We are disappointed with the result of the ballot. The union has agreed to our request to meet and we hope that any industrial action can be avoided.”

As the UK’s summer moves towards autumn, transport unions are threatening more industrial action across the country, with several actions affecting the country’s railways during August.

According to the UK’s transport ministry, the railway unions are showing no interest in reaching a settlement to avoid mounting disruption of the rail network.

Both Felixstowe and London Gateway handle ships to or from South Africa and other African ports.

London Gateway, in Africa Ports & Ships
London Gateway   DP World

London Gateway

Meanwhile, London’s Gateway Terminal clocked a record performance of one million TEU handled in the first half of 2022, marking the first occasion that the DP World-operated terminal has passed the magic million mark.

The achievement amounted to a 10 per cent increase in volumes year on year.

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Transnet approaches market for redevelopment of Carlton Centre and 1 Adderley Street

Carlton Centre in the CBD district of Johannesburg, in Africa Ports & Ships
Carlton Centre in the CBD district of Johannesburg   Transnet Property

Transnet Property, an operating division of Transnet SOC Limited, intends to redevelop the Carlton Centre and 1 Adderley Street properties, as part of its corporate strategy to optimise portfolio returns and strengthen Transnet’s balance sheet.

Making this announcement on Monday, Transnet says it has approached the market to establish interest in the redevelopment of Carlton Centre in Johannesburg, and 1 Adderley Street in Cape Town, both landmark buildings.

Through the two Requests for Information (RFI), issued to the market on Friday 29 July 2022, Transnet wishes to assess the availability of potential property developers, investors, funders, and financiers that may be available for the joint redevelopment of these properties.

Carlton Centre overview

The construction of the Carlton Centre precinct began in the early 1960s and was completed in 1973. At 223m high, the Carlton Office Tower is amongst the top 3 tallest buildings on the continent. The precinct consists of the Office Tower, Retail Section, Skyrink and Hotel. The hotel is currently mothballed, and only the retail section is fully functional.

The breakdown is as follows: Carlton Towers, with offices at 68,000m². The Carlton Shopping Centre, a busy shopping mall within the precinct, is 53,000m² of retail, while the Carlton Hotel with 663 rooms but currently mothballed, is 43,500m². The Carlton Court (Annex Building) has 63 rooms and is the smaller hotel annex across Kruis Street from the hotel, connected by a pedestrian bridge into the old hotel lobby.

1 Adderley Street, Cape Town , in Africa Ports & Ships
1 Adderley Street, Cape Town    Transnet Property

1 Adderley Street Precinct overview

This is a landmark building at the bottom of Adderley Street overlooking the Heerengracht Street, within the central business district (CBD) of Cape Town. It is recognised as a key asset for Transnet in the City of Cape Town. The building is currently partially occupied (43%) by a handful of tenants, notably Transnet, PRASA Cape Town, Metrorail, and Rovos Rail Tours. The external parking area and Old Marine Drive are also being let and managed by a third party.

The bid documents can be accessed from the National Treasury’s e-tender portal
the Transnet website: with a closing date of 31 August 2022.

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Suez Canal setting new records, Egyptian government reports

Traffic in the Suez Canal IN Africa Ports & Ships
Traffic in the Suez Canal increasing, says Canal Authority   SCA

The Suez Canal is busy setting new records in terms of the number of ships transiting the waterway.

That’s the word from the official Egyptian media centre, in response to stories that the canal had lost traffic partly as a result of the war in Ukraine.

“A total of 1,713 ships crossed from both directions, with a net tonnage of 100.1 million tons, compared with the transit of 1,532 ships during February last year, with a total net tonnage of 97.6 million tons,” said the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).

This improvement is a result of flexible marketing and pricing policies that have encouraged new shipping lines to use the canal, said the SCA.

In addition, the SCA reported a record profit in 2021, with a revenue of US$ 6.3 billion which came despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on the global economy.

Nor have things slackened off this year so far, the statement went. According to the SCA revenue in February rose by 15.1 per cent to $545.5 million, excluding navigation services, compared with $474.1 million for February 2020.

The SCA said bulk vessels transiting the canal increased by 29 per cent, container ships by 11.8 per cent, and car carriers by 22.2 per cent.

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First grain ship sails from Ukraine’s Port of Odesa

The first of a number of ships, trapped in Ukraine ports since the outbreak of the war against Russia, left the port of Odesa on Monday morning, before sailing through a Black Sea sown with mines and facing the uncertainty of possible air attack as the ship heads for Istanbul and ultimately, Lebanon.

The 29,292-dwt Sierra Leone-flagged RAZONI (IMO 9086526) is loaded with Ukrainian grain, the first of 16 bulkers loaded with grain that have been prevented from sailing from Ukraine ports since the outbreak of war between the two countries on 24 February.

Writing on Twitter, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said, “The first grain ship since #RussianAggression has left port. Thanks to the support of all our partner countries & @UN we were able to full implement the Agreement signed in Istanbul.”

The departure of the Razoni was made possible after Turkey and the United Nations brokered an agreement for the export of grain from Ukraine and fertiliser from Russia.

Until now Ukraine has been forced to rail and road transport its grain to neighbouring Rumania or through northern Europe via Poland, albeit in relatively small quantities. In a peaceful world Ukraine might have expected to ship out 25 million tonnes of grain, much of which to Africa and Middle Eastern nations.

It was because of this that the UN became involved in helping broker an agreement between the two countries.
<p<> The 16 bulk carriers that have remained trapped in Ukraine ports hold an estimated 580,000 tonnes of grain on board.

The brokered deal allows safe passage for grain shipments in and out of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi.

On Friday Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy visited the port to watch crews prepare to export grain.

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South Africa initiates WTO dispute: Challenge to EU citrus fruit measures

The reefer Ice Glacier arriving in Durban. In addition to the citrus farmers and commercial packhouses and cold stores, it is reefer vessels like this ane containerised reefers on container ships that will be affected by the latest EU action. Picture by Trevor Jones, in Africa Ports & Ships
The reefer Ice Glacier arriving in Durban. In addition to the citrus farmers and commercial packhouses and cold stores, it is reefer vessels like this and reefer boxes on container ships that will feel the effects of the latest EU action. Picture by Trevor Jones

South Africa has requested WTO dispute consultations with the European Union concerning certain measures imposed by the European Union on the importation of South African citrus fruit. The request was circulated to WTO members on 29 July.


For South Africa this is a highly important issue potentially affecting reefer shipping on a large scale. It is understood that this is not the first time that Spain has levelled a phytosanitary charge against South Africa orange exports to Europe, always at a critical juncture, for example at a time when cargoes are on the high seas en route to Europe.

Challenge by SA

South Africa is challenging recently enacted changes to EU phytosanitary requirements for the importation of oranges and other citrus products related to the pest Thaumatotibia leucotreta, known as false codling moth. South Africa claims the EU measures appear to be inconsistent with various provisions of the WTO’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994.

This is the first-ever WTO dispute settlement case initiated by South Africa.

Request for consultations

The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute in the WTO.

Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation. After 60 days, if consultations have failed to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel.

The measure at issue is the import restrictions imposed by the EU on citrus fruit from South Africa. In particular, the EU imposes phytosanitary requirements relating to Thaumatotibia leucotreta (false codling moth) on the importation of South African citrus fruit.

Until recently, South African citrus fruit was freely imported to the EU provided that it was subject to an effective systems approach or another effective post-harvest treatment to ensure freedom from false codling moth.

Accordingly, South Africa developed an effective systems approach, the Citrus Systems Approach. Oranges and other citrus products have been exported from South Africa to the EU without significant problems under this systems approach.

Recently, the EU has made abrupt and radical changes to the applicable phytosanitary requirements for the importation of oranges and other citrus products from South Africa.

As of 14 July 2022, the EU now requires, for the first time, that imports of citrus fruit must undergo specified mandatory cold treatment processes and precooling steps for specific periods (up to 25 days of cold treatment) before importation.

In cases, these processes must be conducted in the exporting country before the consignments are shipped. These phytosanitary requirements apply to all imports, irrespective of whether the importing Member has an effective systems approach such as South Africa’s Citrus Systems Approach or has another effective post-harvest treatment to ensure freedom from false codling moth.

In Africa Ports & Ships

The EU’s new requirements impose significant changes on the importation of citrus fruit. The EU, however, only provided a 23-day period for implementation of these new requirements. Moreover, these changes are being introduced in the middle of the export season, making implementation even more difficult and time-sensitive.

It is fair to assume that many tonnes of reefer cargoes are in a near-unstoppable supply chain for Europe at this moment with phytosanitary certificates issued between the entry into force of the measure and its date of application, that is, from 24 June 2022 to 14 July 2022, which are based on the EU’s then prevailing requirements and South Africa’s existing systems approach.

These shipments are expected to reach the EU in forthcoming days such that the EU’s new short-notice phytosanitary requirements will apply.

No time to adopt measures

The extremely short 23-day period for implementation did not allow sufficient time for producers in South Africa to adapt to the EU’s new requirements and for South Africa’s National Plant Protection Organisation (Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development) to have a certification procedure in place that would be adequate to certify compliance with the new requirements.

South Africa has significant concerns as to whether the changes to this regime are justified. It is reported that the EU’s new requirements are not based on science, lack technical justification, are discriminatory, and are more trade-restrictive than necessary to achieve their objective.

Furthermore, the EU’s import regime on South African citrus fruit appears to be inconsistent with the EU’s obligations under the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement).

Paul Ridgway, Lonidon corresondent at Africa Ports & Ships

Reported by Paul Ridgway

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WHARF TALK: Streamlined LR1 tanker – HAFNIA BEIJING

The Singapore-owned LR1 size Panamax tanker Hafnia Beijing that has called at Cape Town where she is currently in port discharging her cargo. Picture is by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The Singapore-owned LR1 size Panamax tanker Hafnia Beijing that has called at Cape Town where she is currently in port discharging her cargo. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Jay gates, Africa Ports & Ships

Despite it not being something that you see often, there are still attempts by naval architects to design vessels, that have accommodation blocks, that reduce windage by being shaped, almost in a similar manner to those warships that have been given stealthy lines, by not having square shaped frontages. It is a look that certainly gives the vessel an extremely modern look.

On 27th July at 09h00 the Panamax LR1 tanker HAFNIA BEIJING (IMO 98566634) arrived off Cape Town from Körfez in Turkey. She immediately entered Cape Town harbour, and the Duncan Dock, proceeding to the long tanker berth in the Tanker Basin.

The tanker arrived from Turkey via the Red Sea and African east coast. Picture by 'Dockrat', In Africa Ports & Ships
The tanker arrived from Turkey via the Red Sea and African east coast. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2019 by Guangzhou International Shipyard at Guangzhou in China, ‘Hafnia Beijing’ is 228 metres in length and has a deadweight of 74,999 tons. She is powered by a single MAN-B&W 6G60ME-C9.5 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 18,583 bhp (13,668 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 15 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes four MAN-B&W 6L23/30H generators providing 910 kW each. She also has two boilers, one being an Alfa Laval Aalborg OC exhaust gas boiler, and the other being an Alfa Laval Aalborg OL oil fired boiler. She has 12, pure epoxy coated, cargo tanks with a cargo carrying capacity of 84,139 m3.

The 75,000-dwt Hafnia Beijing on the long tanker berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The 75,000-dwt Hafnia Beijing on the long tanker berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is owned by Vista Shipping Pte. Ltd. of Singapore, which is a joint venture company formed between Hafnia Tankers, who themselves are a division of the giant BW Group, and the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). Operated by Hafnia Pools Pte. Ltd. of Singapore, whose houseflag colours she displays on her funnel, ‘Hafnia Beijing’ is managed by Donnelly Tanker Management Ltd. of Athens.

She was the fourth built, of a class of six sisterships, all with the Hafnia suffix, and all named after a city in China. All of the sisterships are owned by Vista Shipping, and ‘Hafnia Beijing’ operates on the spot market, within the LR1 pool of Hafnia Tankers. She has been given a recent valuation of US$38.4 million (ZAR632.4 million).

The 'streamlined' shape of Hafnia Beijing's accommodation block. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The ‘streamlined’ and pleasing shape of Hafnia Beijing’s accommodation block. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In an unusual voyage plan, ‘Hafnia Beijing’ sailed from Körfez for Cape Town, but unlike all previous sailings from Turkey, or the Mediterranean, she did not leave the Mediterranean via the Straits of Gibraltar, but instead she proceeded directly to Port Said, and passed through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea, and onwards to the Indian Ocean. It is fortunate that she did follow this particular route.

On 12th July 2022, the Hong Kong owned general cargo vessel ‘Chang He’, with a crew of 12 persons, sank in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Somalia, whilst sailing on a voyage from Shanghai, in China to Misrata, in Libya, carrying a cargo of steel products. The vessel sank in position 06°51’ North 052°39’ East, forcing the crew to abandon ship. Ten of the crewmembers made it into a lifeboat and liferafts, but two of the crew leapt directly into the sea.

"Operated by Hafnia Pools of Singapore, whose houseflag colours she displays on her funnel...." in Africa Ports & Ships
“Operated by Hafnia Pools of Singapore, whose houseflag colours she displays on her funnel….”

The Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Mombasa received the Mayday alert from the vessel and assigned the container vessel ‘Maersk Brooklyn’, and the ‘Hafnia Beijing’, to the Search And Rescue (SAR) effort to rescue the crew of the ‘Shang He’. The first to arrive on scene was ‘Maersk Brooklyn’, and she managed to pick up ten of the crew, from the lifeboat and liferafts, over a period of two hours. They were all safely landed at Mombasa.

Despite ‘Hafnia Beijing’ continuing the search for the missing two crewmembers, sadly nothing was found, and she was released, by the Mombasa MRCC, to continue her voyage to Cape Town with her much needed cargo of petrol.

Her Turkish loading port of Körfez is located in the extreme northeastern end of the Sea of Marmara, between the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, located at 40°47’ North 029°44’ East. It is an important oil terminal in Turkey, with no less than three oil refineries connected to the port complex.

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Transnet seeks partners in developing Richards Bay LNG import facilitie

This is Bidvest's Tank Terminal which includes includes a developing LPG facility at the Port of Richards Bay, in Africa Ports & Ships
This is Bidvest’s Tank Terminal which includes includes a developing LPG facility at the Port of Richards Bay.  Picture Transnet

Transnet Pipelines (TPL) said on Friday it is participating in Request for Proposals (RFP), which has been issued by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA). This is the appeal by TNPA for a terminal operator to design, develop, construct, finance, operate, maintain and transfer a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the port of Richards Bay.

From TPL’s perspective it is looking for qualifying partners to enter into a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) that will allow the parties to collaborate towards the submission of a response to the TNPA’s section 56 RFP.

LPG tanks arriving at the Port of Richards Bay for the Bidvest Liquid Bulk Storage Tank Terminal in Africa Ports & Ships
LPG tanks arriving at the Port of Richards Bay for the Bidvest Liquid Bulk Storage Tank Terminal.  This terminal is unconnected to the proposed LNG terminal referred to in the article.   Bidvest 

TPL issued the RFP request to the market on Wednesday last week (27 July), closing on 19 August 2022. The responses will be scored based on, amongst other criteria, the financial capacity, LNG project development experience, experience with LNG/ Infrastructure Project Financing, expertise in negotiating LNG/ Natural Gas related agreements, and technical experience.

TPL is the largest multi-product pipeline operator in Southern Africa with more than 55 years’ experience of operating and maintaining a 3,114 km high-pressure petroleum and gas pipeline network in South Africa. It is regulated by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA).

The core strategic mandate of TPL is to ensure petroleum security of supply for the inland market and gas security of supply for the KwaZulu-Natal market using environmentally responsible methods while ensuring optimum efficiencies.

It is strategically positioned to enable regional pipelines integration from pipelines to other modes of transport.

TPL’s RFP can be found on the National Treasury’s e-Tenders portal and the Transnet website.

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In Conversation: Oil refinery closures, cleaner fuels and security of supply in South Africa

Rod Crompton, University of the Witwatersrand

While South Africa has been preoccupied with rolling electricity blackouts, security of liquid fuels supply has been overlooked even though – by my calculations – by value of sales it is 60% larger than electricity sales.

The one liquid fuels related story that attracted attention in the local media was the temporary closure of an inland oil refinery due to delays in crude oil supplies. The refinery is owned by Natref, a joint venture between the chemical and energy company Sasol – the majority shareholder – and Total Energies.

No details have been given about the closure. But it is a rare occurrence and probably a consequence of disruptions to global logistics and oil supplies caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Natref is the last surviving oil refinery in South Africa. Three others were closed in the past two years.

These refinery closures and the possible permanent closure of the Natref refinery are shots fired in the long running contestation between the oil refiners and the government, which has been trying to introduce cleaner fuels specifications. And, in parallel, policies requiring oil companies to keep some stocks to act as a buffer against occasional supply interruptions.

Both policies are in line with international trends.

The attempt to move to cleaner fuel specifications began in 2006 and is aimed at assisting the domestic auto manufacturing industry, which produces mainly for European markets, where engines need to match Europe’s cleaner fuels.

The oil industry’s response to the government’s cleaner fuels initiatives has been robust. Initially, it sought to blackmail the government by threatening closure unless the government gave it the capital to upgrade its refineries, without any consequent ownership rights. The industry euphemistically termed this a “cost recovery mechanism”. The government eventually backed down from its deadlines. But it did not succumb to the demands for cash gifts.

In the latest round, the two Durban refineries made good on their threats. Engen (Petronas) in 2020, following an explosion and fire, and Sapref (Shell and BP) after its temporary closure during the insurrection in July 2021. Natref appears to be playing a waiting game on the government’s latest deadline, which has been shifted from 2023 to 2027.

If the government holds the line Natref may also close, with possible knock-on effects for Sasol’s coal-to-liquids plant in Secunda, whose production is partially integrated with Natref’s.

The closures of South Africa’s small, old and inefficient refineries are economically painful in the short term. But they also offer the prospect of better outcomes – economic, environmental and security of supply – if government acts sensibly, particularly in relation to electric vehicles.

Auto manufacturing

The government has pursued an import substitution industrialisation approach to the liquid fuels industry since the 1930s and has used various regulatory instruments to protect the oil refiners.

But the need to move to cleaner fuels to support local auto manufacture has proved to be a tipping point. The difficulty for the auto manufacturers is that it does not make commercial sense to manufacture two engines for each vehicle – one for South Africa’s dirty fuels and another for Europe’s cleaner fuels. The domestic auto industry has, like refining, long been protected by the government. It occupies a key position at the heart of South Africa’s manufacturing industry and its interests appear to have been chosen over those of the oil refining industry.

The refinery closures hold implications for the future of auto manufacturing and transport in the country.

In the short term, fuel imports are meeting demand. But the auto manufacturers face a new threat to their European markets – electric vehicles. Some local auto manufacturers have appealed to the government to include electric vehicles within its support and subsidy programmes. At present the import of electric vehicles is actively discriminated against. But the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition is dragging its heels.

There is a good prima facie case for South Africa to switch to electric vehicles. Imported US dollar denominated petroleum could be substituted by mainly rand denominated solar and wind-based power generation. The productivity gains from more efficient electric vehicles and the impetus to South Africa’s emerging battery manufacturing industry are part of the case. This could also be seen as the ultimate version of the government’s long-running import substitution industrialisation.

The closure of the oil refineries has actually made it easier for the government to switch its attention to electric vehicles, which would also assist in meeting its international emissions targets. It also means that the adjustments envisaged in the just energy transition have, in effect, already happened in the refining industry.

Security of supply?

Returning to the question of security of supply for internal combustion engines, there are also advantages for the government in so far as strategic stocks are concerned. Since there are fewer oil refineries, less crude oil stocks are required. This may be a good thing given the troubles associated with them.

Firstly, there is the economic argument that strategic stocks sterilise large quantities of cash. In turn, this has a high opportunity cost in South Africa with its many other pressing social needs.

The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy told Parliament in 2022 that the strategic oil stocks were valued at R1,750,764,252.

Secondly, there are governance issues. In 2015 the Strategic Fuel Fund illegally sold 10.3 million barrels (the entire stock) at bargain basement prices to oil traders. In 2020 the High Court returned the stocks to the fuel fund.

The closure of oil refineries has inadvertently provided a windfall for fuel users – it has allowed government to sell off some of the stocks and use the proceeds to subsidise fuel prices during an oil price spike.

These subsidies are to be partially funded by the sale of strategic oil stocks to the value of R6 billion. By my estimates this represents approximately half of the strategic stocks, which leaves a bit more than the surviving refineries need.

A much better solution would be to hold strategic stocks of refined products in the inland market, which is approximately 60% of the South African market. Although discussed in government at least 20 years ago, this option has not been pursued.

Does the closure of the refineries affect South Africa’s security of supply? Not much. The country has merely swapped reliance on crude oil imports for refined product imports. Rather than international supply risks, the bigger risks seem to be domestic.

So what is the government’s policy on the security of supply?

The 1998 White Paper on Energy Policy said that the government would maintain three months of oil supplies. But there has never been a budget allocation to allow the country to reach this level.

In 2012 government gazetted a draft plan proposing that its holdings be reduced to 60 days, supplemented by the industry holding 14 days of refined products. The draft has never progressed to a final policy, probably due to financial constraints and the industry’s unwillingness to foot a part of the bill.

There has been no shortage of ideas and policy proposals on strategic stocks in democratic South Africa. The shortage is of cash to fund the ideas. Given South Africa’s increasingly constrained finances, there seems to be little prospect of security of supply being resolved soon. Security of supply may only be improved when South Africa switches to electric vehicles.The Conversation

Rod Crompton, Adjunct professor African Energy Leadership Centre Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand

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

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Call for support for sustainable fisheries: WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala launches new report

WTO DG Okinjo-Iweala calls for more support for sustainable fisheries, launches new report. Picture: WTO, in Africa Ports & Ships
WTO DG Okinjo-Iweala calls for more support for sustainable fisheries, launches new report. Picture: WTO

Financial assistance must be expanded to help developing and least-developed country (LDC) members establish sustainable fisheries in light of an historic World Trade Organization agreement to curb harmful fishing subsidies.

This comment was made by Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at an Aid for Trade Global Review event on 27 July.

At this gathering a new report by the Secretariat was launched. The event also featured high-level officials from coastal economies and donor partners who expressed support for channelling more resources towards sustainable fisheries.

A multilateral agreement on ocean sustainability

“At our 12th Ministerial Conference, WTO members adopted a new Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.

“The Agreement is the first broadly-focused, binding multilateral agreement on ocean sustainability. It also is the first WTO agreement with environmental sustainability at its core,” the DG said.

“For developing country and LDC members, implementation will take time, effort and money.

“The WTO’s new report, Implementing the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies: Challenges and opportunities for developing and least-developed country members, helps set the context for this important conversation.”

The DG emphasised that 65% of US$5 billion in assistance earmarked for fisheries and the ocean economy between 2010 and 2020 targeted sustainable fisheries according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented in the report.

Assistance is dwarfed by subsidies

“One telling statistic from the report, though, is that the assistance to sustainable marine fisheries over ten years is dwarfed by the annual US$22 billion in harmful fisheries subsidies,” she added.

“Eliminating these subsidies would in principle unlock a huge amount of resources that could be redirected to promote and support sustainable fisheries management and practices by all members, including developing and LDC members.”

The Director-General then drew attention to the voluntary WTO Fisheries Funding Mechanism, which is foreseen in the Agreement to fill gaps in existing assistance and thus ensure that beneficiaries have what they need to fully implement the new WTO rules.

The Fund will be operated by the WTO along with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

“Donors to the Fund already have pledged around half of our initial target of US$10 million, and we are working to get it up and running quickly,” she commented further.

Her full speech is available HERE

The 24-page report is AVAILABLE HERE

For a three-page handout on the Agreement CLICK HERE

Input from The Gambia

Ambassador Mere Falemaka of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat and Ambassador Muhammadou Kah of the Gambia affirmed that developing country members and LDCs will need assistance to implement the Agreement, for example, to meet notification requirements, to establish mechanisms to withdraw prohibited subsidies, and to reform subsidy policies dispersed in various legislation.

Ambassador Kah also noted that stock assessments and other features of fisheries management can be costly and will require immediate support.

Ambassador Falemaka, moreover, said regional mapping will be undertaken to better understand technical assistance needs. She underlined the importance of continuing negotiations to conclude further provisions on prohibiting subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.

Representatives from partner organisations also spoke at the session: Kerri-Ann Jones, Deputy-Secretary General of OECD; Maximo Torero, Assistant Director-General and Chief Economist of FAO; and Charlotte de Fontaubert, the World Bank Group’s senior fisheries specialist.

They expressed their continuing commitment to work closely with the WTO and its members in support of the Agreement’s implementation. They also emphasised the need for deeper tracking of development assistance to ensure sustainability objectives are met.

Paul Ridgway, Lonidon corresondent at Africa Ports & Ships

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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RMB helps finance dry bulk terminal concession at Côte d’Ivoire’s port of San Pedro

Port of San Pedro, in Africa Ports & Ships
Port of San Pedro  Autonomous Port of San Pedro

Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), together with two other commercial banks, has made available a EUR 90 million 10-year loan for the concession and development of the Terminal Industriel Polyvalent de San Pedro (TIPSP), in Côte d’Ivoire’s secondary port, San Pedro.

The concession is a 35-year agreement between TIPSP and the Autonomous Port of San Pedro, the state-owned port authority, covering the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of a greenfield multipurpose bulk terminal.

The concession grants TIPSP exclusive rights to handle the import of cement clinker, gypsum, limestone, as well as fertilisers and hydrocarbons and the export of manganese, nickel and lithium, along with palm oil.

The port of San Pedro, built in the 1970s, is currently congested with limited capacity to support the growing volumes of goods handled by the port. The concession, and construction of the dry bulk port is, therefore, expected to have a significant developmental impact on the region.

A dry bulk terminal in San Pedro allows for a more competitive import and export solution for commodities through the Western corridor of the country while reducing reliance on the larger, primary Abidjan Port.

San Pedro port is well-positioned to play a key role in servicing hinterland or landlocked countries, notably Mali, Liberia, Burkina Faso and Guinea, and capture a significant part of the traffic currently transiting via the port of Abidjan or other West African ports.

Arise Ports & Logistics is the majority shareholder of TIPSP, and is further supported by three influential shareholders on the continent: AP Moller Capital, African Finance Corporation and Olam International.

“We are so pleased that a modern, state-of-the-art dry bulk terminal at TIPSP has enabled San Pedro to become a hub capable of servicing trade in the country and wider region,” said Ebrima Sawaneh, Chief Operating Officer of Arise Ports & Logistics.

He said that mining ores such as nickel have been central to TIPSP’s shipping volumes since the port came into operation.

* See related article MSC signs concession to operate Ivory Coast’s San Pedro Container Terminal (CLICK)  in Africa Ports & Ships

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Egypt to provide LNG bunkering facility at Suez Canal

One of the world's largest LNG-fuled container ships, Jacques Saade, CMA CGM Jacques Saade being refueled from a LNG bunker tanker in a European port. Picture CMA CGM, in Africa Ports & Ships
One of the world’s largest LNG-fuled container ships, Jacques Saade, CMA CGM Jacques Saade being refueled from a LNG bunker tanker in a European port. Picture CMA CGM

The Egyptian state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) has indicated it will provide LNG bunkering facilities at the Suez Canal as from 2025.

EGAS reached a Memorandum of Understanding with Leth Suez Transit and Norway’s Kanfer Shipping to explore and develop LNG hubs strategically positioned covering both ends of the Suez Canal. By way of a joint venture a suitable vessel or vessels will be chartered from Kanfer Shipping with LNG coming from EGAS or from other sources within Egypt.

With more than 20,000 ships using the canal to transit annually to or from the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, and having a delay at either end of the canal before the convoys are formed, presents an ideal opportunity for strategically placed LNG bunkering facilities, EGAS says.

This would ideally be at Port Suez and at Port Said though other Egyptian ports could also be utilised.

Egypt enjoys natural gas resources together with liquefaction facilities as well as a FRSU stationed in Egyptian waters.

According to a report from DNV, there are currently 38 LNG bunker vessels in operation, and another 18 on order. LNG bunkering is available in the Mediterranean region in France, Spain and at Gibraltar with another service planned for Italy as from either 2023 or 2024 while Portugal is also having discussions.

Using the same DNV source, the report said there were 304 LNG-fueled ships in service and that this number will increase to 511 dual-fueled ships in the near future.

Last year Oceania Marine Energy and Kanfer Shipping signed a Letter of Intent to provide the world’s first ammonia-ready LNG bunkering vessel in Australia.

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Sudan’s Suakin port shut by protesters

Location of Port Suakin on Sudan's Red Sea coast, in Africa Ports & Ships
Location of Port Suakin on Sudan’s Red Sea coast  TRT World

Sudan’s port of Suakin on the Red Sea coast, the troubled country’s second largest port, remained shut for much of this past week after a dispute between existing port workers and a new influx recently recruited.

While the reason for the dispute remains uncertain, it appears that it is centred around tribal issues influenced by national and regional politics, with claims that the 190 new recruits all came from one tribe or clan.

Whether or why the existing port workers feel threatened by the new appointees is debatable and officials were unable to elaborate on the decision made by the former governor, Ali Abdallah Adarob.

Official port authorities say they were not consulted about appointing additional workers at the port but a journalist told the Dabanga news agency that a hidden agenda lay behind the unhappiness of the older port workers.

The High Council of Beja Nazirs and Independent Chieftains President Sayed El Amin Tirik in Africa Ports & Ships
The High Council of Beja Nazirs and Independent Chieftains’ President Sayed El Amin Tirik

He referred to a recent rift between the High Council of Beja Nazirs* and Independent Chieftains in Eastern Sudan

In early June the council’s president, Sayed Amin Tirik, resigned because of “conspiracies, intrigues, mutual accusations within the council, and deviation of the council from its natural course” but the council then deferred his resignation while the matter was being looked into.

It’s not clear where the instructions to appoint new workers at Suakin port came and whether this was to influence a section of the local people. Instead, the existing port workers took matters into their own hands by rising up in protest and closing the port.

* A nazir is a state-appointed administrative chief of a tribe or clan.

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