Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 18 November 2022

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Week commencing 14 November 2022.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return 


FIRST VIEW:   Grande Gabon

The week’s mastheads:

Monday: Port of Walvis Bay
Tuesday: Port of Ngqura
Wednesday: Port of Ngqura Container Terminal
Thursday: Port of Mombasa
Friday: Port of Apapa
Saturday: Port of east London
Sunday: Port of Durban Sugar Terminal
Stay Well, Stay Safe, Stay Patient, don’t become one


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Grande Gabon arriving in the port of Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones in Africa Ports & Ships
Grande Gabon arriving in the port of Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones

A week ago we featured the RoRo vessel Grande Cotonou which had called at Durban. This week it is a similar vessel that called abiut a minth earlier, GRANDE GABON (IMO 9437933). While superficially similar, Grande Gabon is quite a bit smaller with a length of 211 metres (236m for Cotonou) and 32m wide (36m). Her gross tonnage is 47,658 tons compared with the 71,543-gt of last week’s featured ship.

Grande Gabon was built in 2011 and sails under the flag of Italy. Her homeport is Palermo.

This picture is by Trevor Jones

and now the news….


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UPDATE: Richards Bay coal line derailment – one line reopened

Class 19E locomotives on the Richards Bay Coal Line North Corridor in Africa Ports & Ships
Class 19E locomotives on the Richards Bay Coal Line North Corridor  Picture Transnet

The derailment on the Richards Bay coal line (North Corridor) has been partially reopened, Transnet has reported.

This followed the line being closed following the derailment of a train carrying export coal outside Nhlazatshe, near Ulundi on 8 November.

At 07:43 this morning (Friday 18 November) , Transnet Freight Rail reopened one of the two lines on the North Corridor and operations have commenced with TFR Teams now working on clearing the staged trains and the backlog.

TFR is continuing to work towards completing the construction and reopening of the second line, which is projected to resume operations on Sunday.

In its statement TFR said it would like to thank all stakeholders that have assisted in ensuring that repair operations are done efficiently and effectively. “Getting our line back and running in record time would not have been possible without their collective efforts.”

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Added 18 November 2022


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South Africa retains its IMO ‘White List’ status

IMO headquarters in London in Africa Ports & Ships
IMO headquarters in London  Picture IMO

South Africa’s status as a global authority in maritime sector education in terms of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW Convention) remains intact having once more been confirmed by the international body in London recently.

The IMO’s 1978 STCW Convention stipulates standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers. According to the IMO: “The main purpose of the Convention is to promote safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the marine environment by establishing in common agreement international standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers.”

IMO Whitelist stature

This latest positive outcome of the IMO sponsored independent audit of South Africa over two years effectively means that the country now proudly retains its IMO ‘Whitelist’ stature along with several other IMO Member States in the category and which in turn, literally means that Certificates of Competence (CoC’s) issued by South Africa to the country’s seafarers spread across the world retain their validity status.

The report of the audit outcome on South Africa was delivered by the IMO’s Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim to the United Nation’s maritime sector body’s Maritime Safety Committee in its 106th session held in London on 31 October 2022.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), a State agency under the Department of Transport, is responsible for management and administration of seafarer education and training in terms of the STCW Convention as it is also for keeping a register of seafarers.

For just over two years since the IMO in February 2019 announced a possible removal of the country’s Whitelist status, along with 89 other countries, SAMSA has been hard at work to ensure this did not occur and, according to SAMSA’s Deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Vernon Keller, the agency was now elated that it had succeeded in the endeavour.

Captain Keller was on hand in London to receive and welcome the IMO Panel’s evaluation outcome and later expressed delight for the verdict, describing it as the “best news for South Africa, SAMSA, the seafarer and general maritime sector community in a while.”

IMO verdict

The IMO verdict delivered in London simply read that: “The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, having solicited and taken into account the views expressed by competent persons, selected from the list established pursuant to section A-I/7, paragraph 7 of the Seafarers’ Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Code, reports that the Government of South Africa, Party to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, has communicated information as required by regulation I/8, paragraph 3 of the Convention (2nd cycle report) and section A-I/7, paragraphs 4 to 6 of the Code, and that the information considered by the competent persons referred to in section A-I/7, paragraph 7 of the Code has demonstrated that full and complete effect is given by South Africa to the provisions of the 1978 STCW Convention.”

This was in reference to the audit’s findings on aspects of the STCW Convention relating to among others, convention regulations to be met inclusive of the STCW Code, and evaluation involving implementation measures and monitoring and compliance measures.

On landing back in South Africa a few days ago Captain Keller said: “It is with great privilege to announce today that South Africa officially passed our IMO STCW Audit as assessed by a panel of experts.

“Our having successfully met and satisfied the IMO STCW Convention evaluation requirements means that we, as South Africa, give full and complete effect to the STCW convention. This also means that the South African STCW Certificate of Competence remains recognised internationally, and is in good standing, and therefore South African seafarers and companies do not have to worry about losing their jobs because their CoC’s fell off the whitelist,” said Capt. Keller.


Extending a word of gratitude to all those that contributed to the achievement both at SAMSA and elsewhere, Captain Keller said: “As a team, we have all worked hard towards this moment. Despite the many challenges that we faced as an organisation over the last few years, we again proved that through great adversity, only by working together can we achieve great things.

“As South Africa, we can now actively pursue more STCW Regulation 1/10 agreements with other flag states to help create more job opportunities for South African seafarers,” he said.

Meanwhile, the IMO audit outcomes of South Africa’s STCW Convention continued positive compliance status comes as the country had recently signed a series of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU’s) with a few countries relating to the mutual recognition of seafarer’s certificates.

Memoranda of Understanding

Among these were Ghana and Panama. These two countries (represented by their administrations) concluded COC recognition MOUs with SAMSA during the staging of the IMO’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE) in Durban last month – an historical event itself for South Africa insofar as it marked the first time the IMO has held the annual global event involving some 175 of its Member States on African soil.

Also remarking on the latest IMO/South Africa STCW Convention development, SAMSA Chief Examiner, Azwimmbavhi Nelwamondo said he didn’t know what to say. “I thought I’d have a speech, but I am speechless. I’m having to think hard about this. As a great man once said, ‘it seems impossible until it is done’.

“I didn’t think doing one’s job could bring so much joy. I am entirely grateful to the team that worked alongside me this whole time. The focus and ability they demonstrated has been amazing. The quality of the work they did was amazing. It is testament to their efforts that the Independent Evaluators made no non-conformities against the Quality Standards System we have built.”

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Added 18 November 2022


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WHARF TALK: Hamburg Süd’s containership SANTA ROSA

The SAECS service containership SANTA ROSA enters port at Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The SAECS service containership SANTA ROSA enters port at Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Jay gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

One of the oldest of the scheduled container services out of South Africa is the Southern Africa Europe Container Service, better known by its acronym, SAECS. It began in mid-1977, which is over 45 years ago, and of the companies and vessels that began it all, none of them are left in their initial guise, if they even exist at all.

Anybody who is well past their own half century anniversary, and mostly heading beyond their 60th birthday, will remember City of Durban (Ellermans), Table Bay (OCL), Ortelius (CMB), Transvaal (DAL) and the four ‘Big Whites’ of SA Waterberg, SA Sederberg, SA Winterberg and SA Helderberg (Safmarine), as the eight boxboats all built especially for the SAECS schedule. Now all long gone and scrapped, and every single company also, effectively, gone and never to return. All of these original SAECS operating companies had long and great histories.

The SAECS service has remained pretty much unchanged over the last five decades, and the current SAECS port rotation is Rotterdam (Holland)- London (UK)- Bremerhaven (Germany)- Algeciras (Spain)- Ngqura- Durban-Cape Town- Rotterdam. A short lived call northbound to Tanger Med (Morocco), only introduced in July this year, was recently dropped. The service is weekly, and operated by nine vessels.

Picture by Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by Dockrat’

Before they were retired, and scrapped, many of these vessels were redeployed onto other services beyond South Africa’s shores. Nothing changes, and today even those other operators on the SAECS run now, regularly chop and change their vessels, so that ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ is a regular part of the SAECS scene. Now you see them, now you don’t, is de rigueur.

On 7th November, at 20h00 in the evening, the Neo Panamax container vessel SANTA ROSA (IMO 9430363) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage, from Durban, and due to continued congestion and post-strike delays, went to anchor for the next three and a half days. On 11th November at 10h00, she raised her anchor and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Ben Schoeman dock, going alongside berth 603 at the Cape Town Container Terminal.

Picture by Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by Dockrat’

Built in 2011 by Daewoo Shipbuilding at Geoje in South Korea, ‘Santa Rosa’ is 300 metres in length and has a deadweight of 93,398 tons. The sixth of ten sisterships, she is powered by a single, de-rated, Doosan Wärtsilä 8RTFlex96C 8 cylinder 2 stroke main engine, producing 55,994 bhp (41,184 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 23 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes four STX MAN-B&W 9L32/40 generators providing 4,790 kW each, and an emergency generator providing 500 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg CHR exhaust gas boiler, and a single Alfa Laval Aalborg CHO oil fired boiler.

In 2012 ‘Santa Rosa’ was one of seven of the class to be refitted with a Becker Twisted Fin (BTF). The BTF improves vessel performance, in combination with the propeller and the aft body of the vessel’s hull, and results in a 4% improvement in fuel consumption. The work to fit the BTF took place at the Damen shipyard in Rotterdam.

Picture by Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by Dockrat’

She is a Daewoo DSME 8700 design, and has a container carrying capacity of 7,154 TEU, and can provide plugs for an impressive 1,600 reefers. Her reefer capacity meant that, when built, this class of container vessel were actually the largest reefer vessels on earth, although this is no longer the case.

Owned by Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft A/S & Co KG, of Hamburg in Germany, and better known as Hamburg Süd, as proudly shown on her traditional red hull, ‘Santa Rosa’ is operated by Maersk Line AS, of Copenhagen, who are now her parent company. She is managed by Columbus Shipmanagement GmbH, of Hamburg.

Hamburg Süd is a traditional German shipping company, founded in 1871, to provide cargo and export services from Hamburg to South America. Her South American history is that all of the company vessels have names that reflect the Spanish language of South America. For the nomenclature fan, ‘Santa Rosa’ is named after the regional capital city of the La Pampa Province of Argentina. She was christened in Buenos Aires in October 2011.

Picture by Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by Dockrat’

A good example of how modern shipowners chop and change the vessels they deploy on scheduled container services, ‘Santa Rosa’ started 2021 running on the SAECS service. In July 2021 she was redeployed to another service, elsewhere from South America. One year later, and she was back on the SAECS service.

However, her arrival in South Africa on this rotation was to be, yet again, her final southbound SAECS discharge. She would not be loading in Cape Town for a northbound SAECS rotation. Instead, she was transitioning onto the Maersk Line MECL1 service, which is not connected with any port rotations into Southern African ports, but from the Middle East and Sub-continent to the East Coast of the USA.

Picture by Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by Dockrat’ 

The MECL1 port rotation is Jebel Ali (UAE)- Port Qasim (Pakistan)- Pipavav (India)- Nhava Sheva (India)- Salalah (Oman)- Suez (Egypt)- Algeciras (Spain)- Newark (USA)- Charleston (USA)- Savannah (USA)- Norfolk (USA)- Newark- Algeciras- Port Said (Egypt)- Djibouti- Salalah- Jebel Ali.

The one port in the MECL1 rotation that might be unknown to the casual observer would likely be Pipavav in India. It is the first private port to be built in India, and became operational in 1996. It is located on the Northwest coast of India, in Gujurat State, some 152 nautical miles to the northwest of Nhava Sheva (Mumbai).

This is specially for those who still experience a thrill at the sight of this name, even when it is only on a container. This was spotted by 'Dockrat'on board the Santa Rosa, in Africa Ports & Ships
There are those who still experience a thrill at the sight of this name, even when it is only on a container. This is for them and was well spotted by ‘Dockrat’on board the Santa Rosa

Pipavav port offers container vessels a quay working length of 735 metres, and is equipped with eight post Panamax container gantry cranes. The port is managed by APM Terminals, which is a subsidiary of the Maersk Group, and has a working capacity of 1.35 million TEUs per year.

On completion of her discharge work, and her loading schedule at Cape Town, she sailed from Cape Town at 17h00 on 14th November, with her destination set as Jebel Ali in the UAE, ready to start on the next chapter of her working career. If the local casual observer has not yet spotted ‘Santa Rosa’ in South African ports, then your chance has now gone, as she will not be returning back to these shores any time soon.

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Added 18 November 2022


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Transnet welcomes conviction of infrastructure thieves

The sentencing by the Belfast Magistrates Court on 14 November 2022 of three criminals who stole contact wire (copper cables) belonging to the rail transport firm in October 2021, has been welcomed.

The three, who were arrested near Wonderfontein railway line in Mpumalanga where 67 metres of Transnet overhead cables were cut and stolen, were found guilty and each sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for damaging and tampering with essential infrastructure.

The individuals were found to not only have contravened the Criminal Matters Amendment Act (18 of 2015), but they also violated Immigration Laws.

The Criminal Matters Amendment Act provides for harsher and lengthier sentences for those found to have tampered with essential infrastructure.

According to Transnet, the convictions should serve as a warning against tampering with essential infrastructure and sabotaging Transnet’s operations and the economy of the country.

Members of the public are encouraged to assist Transnet and law enforcement agencies by being vigilant and reporting any suspicious activities around railway lines.

The Crime Stop hotline for reporting any suspicious activity is 08600 01000 or by emailing to – information received will be treated confidentially.

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Added 18 November 2022


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A River in Borneo book review in Africa Ports & Ships

A River in Borneo

By Richard Woodman

McBook Press 228 pages
ISBN 978 1 493061 92 1

The scenes in this novel, strongly-based on fact, are set in the summer of 1964 during the Far Eastern war euphemistically called ‘Confrontation’(Indonesian: Konfrontasi) during which the author and I were afloat in these waters he with the Blue Funnel, me with the grey.

A British Royal Marine patrol has orders to penetrate Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) to locate a river thought by Allied intelligence to be used by the Indonesians to build up supplies before launching a major attack on Sarawak. Charged with this mission, Lieutenant Charles Kirton makes a most extraordinary discovery amid the dense mangrove swamps bordering a Borneo river. Not only does this discovery enable Kirton to fulfil his mission but it is coincidentally intensely personal and unpleasantly macabre.

From this highly-charged opening sequence, the story flashes back a century to 1867, revealing the truth behind this strange event, when young Henry Kirton, Second Officer of the auxiliary steamship River Tay, is dumped ashore in Singapore, badly injured by a fall from the rigging of his ship. Woodman’s compelling tale has echoes of Joseph Conrad.

As with so many of his works Richard Woodman’s story is closely based on historical events which he researches in meticulous detail. The 1963-1966 campaign was a result of Indonesia’s opposition to creation of Malaysia and was an example of the Cold War in Asia.

Published by McBooks, Guilford, Connecticut, USA ( ) and priced at $22.79 it is also available as an e-book.

Reviewed by Paul Ridgway
London Correspondent: Africa Ports & Ships

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Added 17 November 2022


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Xeneta Container Update: Week 46 – rates now below pre-pandemic levels

The latest ocean freight rates data from Oslo-based Xeneta shows that backhaul spot rates are now firmly following the fronthaul trend, with significant drops on key trades. This is exemplified by the North Europe to Far East container corridor, where rates are now 6.8% below the pre-pandemic figures of January 2020.

Protracted decline

“The fronthaul developments have captured most of the press, with spot rates falling away dramatically since the summertime,” comments Peter Sand, Xeneta’s Chief Analyst. “However, in some cases, backhaul rates have seen equally large drops and, what’s more, those drops have been more protracted.”

Here Sand points to the North Europe – Far East route again, where the negative development has been ‘locked in’ since May 2021. The average rate for a standard FEU has now fallen to USD 820, a fall of more than USD 1,000 per FEU (down 56%) over the last year and a half.

Mixed fortunes

“This is now one of the first trades back at pre-COVID levels,” he notes, “but we don’t expect it to be the last.

Peter Sand of Xeneta, in Africa Ports & Ships
Peter Sand

That said, other trades are currently showing greater resilience, and some are strongly outperforming their fronthaul counterparts. The US West Coast to Far East is one such example.”

Sand says Xeneta’s crowd-sourced, real-time data shows that prices on this trade are now down to USD 1,100 per FEU, but adds that the decline has been slower and less pronounced than the fronthaul collapse:

“The fronthaul saw the fastest and deepest fall in spot rates on any major corridor, yet the backhaul, despite the decline, remains up by almost 50% against January 2020.”

Tables have turned

He continues: “A lack of equipment and capacity saw US exporters losing out when the market was at its peak, with many carriers simply refusing to carry their goods, instead opting to rush containers back across the Pacific for the higher spot rates. Well, the tables have now turned and carriers are desperate for volumes in a softening market. This leads shippers to a happier situation of predictably securing volumes at better value prices.”

Of the other main trades, Xeneta’s data shows the backhaul spot rates on the increasingly popular US East Coast to North Europe route have fallen faster than on the fronthaul. They are now down from their August peak, currently sitting at USD 750. Market demand here has propped up fronthaul rates, but, with added capacity and weakening fundamentals, these are now beginning to follow the wider, negative spot rate trend.

Xeneta banner in Africa Ports & Ships

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Added 18 November 2022


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Truck congestion becomes a problem at port of Richards Bay

One of the truck stops at the port of Richards Bay in Africa Ports & Ships
One of the truck stops at the port of Richards Bay  Picture Transnet

Transnet said late Wednesday it is working with stakeholders in the City of Umhlathuze (Empangeni/Richards Bay) to manage the influx of trucks to the Port of Richards Bay this week.

The increase in the number of trucks destined for the port has been partially exacerbated by last week’s derailment of a train on the North Corridor, which led to a partial closure of the railway line in the affected areas.

To compensate and ensure delivries of coal and other ores to the port, miners began using road transport while the rail remains closed.

The Port of Richards Bay hosts various terminal operators that specialise in the import and export of dry bulk commodities to transport cargo via Transnet’s rail network as well as utilising road transport where necessary.

Transnet and the city of Umhlathuze jointly activated contingency plans with effect from the evening of Tuesday, 15 November 2022.

The contingency plans include stopping and holding road motor transport (RMTs) on the N2, clearing the city and other affected areas by pulling all RMTs into every available area in the port using the West gate, and the use of the East gate for evacuation.

The port has also implemented a ‘colour coding’ based truck calling process that is implemented and managed collaboratively with customers.

Additional staging areas have been operationalised inside the Terminal.

Pulling of trucks from the public roads into the staging areas as well as offloading areas has commenced.

The Terminal has meanwhile beefed up offloading capacity in order to deal with the congestion.

Transnet says that RMTs for vessels already alongside or to berth within the next seven days will be prioritised.

“We are working together with customers to ensure port efficiency, and also prioritising the safety of its employees and the community,” Transnet said.

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Added 16 November 2022


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WHARF TALK: famous company tanker SPRUCE EXPRESS

Seawise University in Cape Town harbour, 1971.  Picture: Wallpaper Abyss in Africa Ports & Ships
Seawise University in Cape Town harbour, 1971.  Picture: Wallpaper Abyss

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’ (or as indicated)
Story by Jay Gates

Jay gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

It is one of the well-known tenets of shipowning that very often the casual observer does not realise that the vessel he is looking at actually belongs to a bigger, and more famous, shipping company. It may be because the vessel is operating under a flag of convenience, or that the shipowner is spreading his risk around the market place, or that he wishes to separate certain operating divisions such as liner services, from tramping services.

There was one extremely well known shipping company, founded by a dynamic Hong Kong family, which operated some of the largest container vessels on earth, although South Africa was not on any of their major routes. They did, however, operate round the world passenger services in the early 1970s, with Cape Town and Durban both being on the itinerary.

In more modern times, they built up, and operated, both scheduled container services, and pool charter services with tankers, but both entities sailed with different hull and funnel identities. Whilst the container vessels were not often seen in South African ports, they did utilise the other regular carriers running South African schedules, by advertising the services under their own marketing brand name.

Spruce Express. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Spruce Express. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The container service eventually got subsumed by a bigger player, as they all do nowadays, but the charter arm was kept separate, and is still operating today, owned and managed by the same family. If one of the company vessels passed them by, most casual observers would not recognise the vessel as being from this great colonial company.

Back on 3rd November, at 17h00 in the late afternoon, the MR2 tanker SPRUCE EXPRESS (IMO 9354258) arrived off Cape Town, from Bukom Island in Singapore, and immediately entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and going alongside her berth in the Tanker Basin.

For those who enjoy voyage statistics, the voyage of ‘Spruce Express’ from Singapore to Cape Town took 20 days to complete. She covered a distance of 5,290 nautical miles, with an average speed of 9.1 knots. Her fastest speed on the crossing was 12.8 knots.

Spruce Express. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Spruce Express. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2006 by STX Shipbuilding of Jinhae in South Korea, ‘Spruce Express’ is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 51,218 tons. She is powered by a single STX MAN-B&W 6S50MC-C 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 12,880 bhp (9,480 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three MAN-B&W 6L23/30H generators providing 900 kW each, and a single Cummins 6CT8.3-D(M) emergency generator providing 120 kW. She has a Kangrim CHR exhaust gas boiler, and a Kangrim CHO oil fired boiler.

Spruce Express. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Spruce Express. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has 12 cargo tanks, and a cargo carrying capacity of 54,100 m3. She can carry six grades of product at any one time, and is able to discharge her liquid cargo utilising 12 pumps capable of pumping at a rate of 600 m3/hour.

One of three sisterships, she was purchased by her current owners in 2017. Her purchase price was US$15.5 million (ZAR268.24 million). She is nominally owned by Ever Best Shipping Ltd., of Hong Kong, and is operated by Island Navigation Corporation Ltd., also of Hong Kong. She is managed by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement Pte. Ltd., of Singapore.

Spruce Express. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Spruce Express. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

To most folk, the Island Navigation Corporation, and her distinct funnel colours, will not have much meaning. However, Island Navigation was the tramping arm of the great Hong Kong Chinese shipowner, Tung Chao-Yung, better known in the shipping world as CY Tung. In 1947, he created the Orient Overseas Line (OOL), which went on to diversify into container vessels, and became known as Orient Overseas Container Lines (OOCL), with an ultra-modern fleet of vessels. He kept Island Navigation Corporation as a separate entity from OOL.

The OOL, and OOCL, grey hull and funnel colours were unmistakeable, with the red plum blossom adorning a yellow funnel. In the late 1960s CY Tung entered the passenger market in a big way, purchasing a number of passenger vessels from British, American, Dutch and German shipowners. He converted them to OOL colours and sent them off on round the world cruises, many of which called into South Africa ports.

The round the world service that the ships embarked on followed the route of Hong Kong- Kaohsiung- Keelung- Kobe- Nagoya- Yokohama- Vancouver- San Francisco- Los Angeles- San Diego- Acapulco- Cristobal- Port Everglades- La Guiara- Rio de Janeiro- Santos- Buenos Aires- Cape Town- Durban- Lourenço Marques-Dar es Salaam- Mombasa- Singapore- Hong Kong.

Spruce Express. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Spruce Express. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The smart passenger vessels that called into Cape Town and Durban in the early 1970s included ‘Oriental Esmeralda’, built in 1949 as ‘Rangitane’ for the New Zealand Shipping Co., and broken up at Kaohsiung in 1976. Also the ‘Oriental Carnaval’, built in 1949 as ‘Rangitoto’, also for the NZ Shipping Co., and also broken up in Kaohsiung in 1976. Finally, there was ‘Oriental Rio’, built in 1951 as ‘Ruahine’ for the NZ Shipping Co., and broken up in Kaohsiung in 1974.

But probably, the greatest passenger ship that CY Tung purchased was the magnificent transatlantic liner, ‘RMS Queen Elizabeth’. He was a strong believer in education, and had an even stronger belief that the sea could play a greater part in that education. He planned to convert the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ into a floating university, and named her ‘Seawise University’, which was actually a play on his name, i.e. CY, and in 1970 he purchased the retired Cunarder at auction in the USA, for the princely sum of US$3.2 million.

Seawise University in Hong Kong 1972 in Africa Ports & Ships
Seawise University in Hong Kong 1972

She sailed for Hong Kong in February 1971, calling at Cape Town en-route, which was to be the last time she would be seen in South African waters. Most people don’t know that she carried both South African troops, and German prisoners of war, from Simonstown in the Second World War. After an epic voyage, she finally arrived in her new home of Hong Kong in July 1971.

Sadly, in January 1972, just as she had completed her conversion into a floating university, and five days before her sea trials, she caught fire in suspicious circumstances, and sank in Hong Kong harbour as a total loss. She was broken up in 1975 where she lay. However, his dream of an education at sea did not die, and his world famous ‘Semester at Sea’ is still active today.

Seawise University burning, Hong Kong 1972. Picture OOL, in Africa Ports & Ships
Seawise University burning, Hong Kong 1972. Picture OOL

CY Tung passed away in 1982, and his great Orient Overseas Line was taken over by his two sons, Tung Chee-Chen and Tung Chee-Hwa. As a powerful Hong Kong family, Tung Chee-Hwa was made the very first Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), when the British relinquished the colony in 1997. He served in that role until 2005.

Sadly, OOCL started having financial difficulties, and in 2018 the Chinese government stepped in and purchased OOCL for US$6.3 billion (ZAR108.89 billion), with the state owned shipping company, COSCO, taking over the management of the company. However, it was only OOCL that was sold off, and ownership of Island Navigation Corporation remained in the hands of the Tung family, with Tung Chee-Chen continuing to oversee the family company.

Steamer Oriental Carnival, Orient Overseas Line, early 1970s in Africa Ports & Ships
Steamer Oriental Carnival in Cape Town early 1970s. Orient Overseas Line

Today, Island Navigation Corporation specialises in the tanker trades, and the colours of the Island Navigation Corporation, like those of OOCL, are unmistakeable, with the funnel being royal blue, with a five pointed yellow star adorning it. People forget that CY Tung pioneered many of the innovations in the tanker world.

CY Tung had built what is still the world’s largest tanker ever constructed. The ULCC ‘Seawise Giant’, was built in 1979, measuring in at a gargantuan deadweight of 564,763 tons, and was also the longest self-propelled vessel ever built, at 458 metres long. She also flew the famous five pointed yellow star on her royal blue funnel.

After exactly six days alongside, and another long drawn out discharge for a tanker in Cape Town, ‘Spruce Express’ was ready to sail, and at 17h00 on 9th November she sailed from Cape Town, with Fujairah in the UAE set as her destination. One of the great, but relatively unknown, shipping companies, Island Navigation Corporation, are still sailing the seven seas.

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ISWAN’s Annual Review 2021 / 2022 is issued: Partnership working vital for maritime industry’s future

Iswan Annual Review 2021 in Africa Ports & Ships
Iswan Annual Review 2021 -22excerpt

Seafarer support services

As the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) reports a high demand for its helpline services over the last year, it is clear that accessible welfare and support services for seafarers worldwide remain a priority for the maritime industry.

High rate of calls to helpline

ISWAN Annual Review 2021 in Africa Ports & Ships

In its newly released annual review covering the period from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, ISWAN reports that the total number of calls and messages handled by its free, 24-hour, international helpline SeafarerHelp was still 81% higher during the last financial year than before the pandemic in 2019/20.

Demand for ISWAN’s helpline for crew working in the superyacht industry, Yacht Crew Help, has also grown steadily since its launch in November 2020, and ISWAN now operates sixteen bespoke helplines for companies and organisations in the maritime industry, adding five new helplines in the last year.

International approach, Nigeria helps

Over 80% of ISWAN’s helpline cases are dealt with in-house, and many from the last year were referred to ISWAN’s staff in India, the Philippines and Nigeria who offer practical humanitarian support to seafarers and their families living in these regions.

The most common reasons for seafarers and their family members contacting SeafarerHelp included requests for information (including health-related enquiries about Covid-19 and ISWAN’s Covid-19 vaccination drive in India) and financial or debt problems, with many seafarers enquiring about financial support administered by ISWAN for those affected by Covid-19 and Typhoon Rai in the Philippines.

Ukraine Crisis Support Fund inaugurated

At the end of March 2022, ISWAN also launched the Ukraine Crisis Support Fund on behalf of the Seafarers International Relief Fund in response to the war in Ukraine.

With seafarers facing challenges ranging from personal struggles to global crises, seafarers’ mental health remains a key area of work for ISWAN. Stakeholders from across the shipping, superyacht and cruise ship industries continue to approach ISWAN to deliver its Mental Health Awareness Training for the Maritime Industry to their shoreside and seagoing staff.

ISWAN’s Social Interaction Matters (SIM) Project also completed its trials of social interaction initiatives on board merchant vessels in 2021 and the project’s Phase Two report, recommendations and guidance for the industry have since been released this year.

ISWAN for Seafarers App

ISWAN is working to make free support more accessible for seafarers around the world, especially those with limited connectivity on board. To complement its existing services, the organisation launched the ISWAN for Seafarers app in June 2021 in partnership with The Shipowners’ Club. The app offers a direct line to ISWAN’s helplines and offline access to resources for seafarers, and was downloaded over 2,800 times in the last financial year alone by seafarers of 70 nationalities.

ISWAN’s Chief Executive Officer Simon Grainge commented: “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still very much being felt by seafarers but the last year has brought new challenges, such as the crisis in Ukraine, on top of those that seafarers already deal with on a daily basis, like spending months away from loved ones, long hours and fatigue.

“The last year has shown what a powerful difference the industry can make when we all work together. The Seafarers’ International Relief Fund (SIRF, launched by The Seafarers’ Charity in May 2021), brought together welfare organisations and created a focal point for fundraising to support seafarers and their dependants through the major problems they have been facing. We are proud to be part of this initiative, and we are thankful for all our funders and partners who make the work we do for seafarers and their families possible.”

The ISWAN 2021-22 Annual Review can be DOWNLOADED HERE

Paul Ridgway, Londin Correspondent, in Africa Ports & Ships

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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PetroSA reports leak in its southern Cape offshore pipeline

PetroSA reports that it has experienced a leak in the condensate pipeline in the southern Cape. The leak was onshore and not out in the ocean.

The undersea pipeline runs from the offshore Mossgas FA platform , which is fixed in position 34°58’12.00″S, 22°10’12.00″E in 113 metres of water, about 72.2 km offshore of Mossel Bay and running to the GTL refinery just outside the town.

“The leak was observed on the onshore section in the vicinity of Nautilus Bay at approximately 90m elevation and approximately 500m away from the shoreline,” the company said in a statement.

“The quantity of leaked material, and the extent of contamination is as yet unknown. Further investigative work is required to determine the exact location of the leak and define the appropriate repair and remediation strategies.”

PetroSA said public health and safety, as well as mitigating any environmental impacts, are its top priority and that all appropriate measures were being taken to minimise and remediate impacts.

There were no immediate threats to public health, it said.

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Missile attack on tanker Pacific Zircon off coast of Oman

Pacific Zircon. Picture by VesselFinder in Africa Ports & Ships
Pacific Zircon. Picture by VesselFinder

Earlier today (Wednesday 16 November) Eastern Pacific Shipping Pte. Ltd. (EPS) advised that it is investigating an incident involving their managed product tanker PACIFIC ZIRCON (IMO 9539573).

Preliminary reports indicate the vessel, carrying a cargo of gas oil, was hit by a projectile approximately 150 miles off the coast of Oman at about 15h30 (UTC+4) on 15 November 2022.

EPS said it was in communication with the vessel and there were no reports of injuries or pollution. All crew are safe and accounted for.

There is some minor damage to the vessel’s hull but no spillage of cargo or water ingress has been reported.

“Our priorities are to ensure the continuing safety of the crew and vessel,” said EPS in its statement.

Whilst EPS has not commented on the nature of the missile, it does appear that the tanker was subjected to an attack by a drone.

Iran in particular has responded increased US sanctions against the country with covert military action including against shipping in the region.

Attacks against shipping have also come from within Yemen.

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Added 16 November 2022


BREAKING NEWS: Loaded TFR ore train collides with CFM shunting train between Ressano Garcia & Komatipoort

Transnet has just reported a collision involving one of its ore trains en route to the port at Maputo, which has collided with another train near the Lebombo border between South Africa and Mozambique.

The collision occurred on Tuesday afternoon at 17h15 when the TFR train collided with a CFM train that was shunting on the mainline between Ressano Garcia in Mozambique and Komatipoort in South Africa.

The TFR train is loaded with magnetite for export through the Maputo/Matola port, and was being operated by CFM crew as per the operating agreement for trains operating beyond the South African borders.

The train had departed from Komatipoort in Mpumalanga province, and was bound initially for Ressano Garcia before proceeding to the port.

CFM is the state-owned Mozambican rail and ports company.

Transnet says investigations are underway to determine the cause of the accident.

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SAFEEN Feeders Launches New UAE-Red Sea Service

New UAE-Red Sea service, in Africa Ports & Ships
New UAE-Red Sea service    Safeen

SAFEEN Feeders, a part of the AD Ports Group, has launched its UAE-Red Sea service to all customers, with the inclusion of Fujairah Terminals and Jeddah.

This follows successful trials with allocated cargo on the route and is part of SAFEEN’s ongoing expansion of international routes.

According to SAFEEN, the route provides the fastest access to the port cities of Jeddah and Port Sudan, and positions Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa port as a key regional cargo connection.

The Red Sea service will provide direct connectivity between Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Port and Port Sudan, home to Sudan’s main seaport and the source of 90% of Sudan’s international trade.

It will travel via AD Ports Group’s Fujairah Terminals, on the eastern seaboard of the UAE and Jeddah Port on the west coast of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, offering the fastest transit time between these vital trade hubs.

In addition, customers of the service can access last-mile delivery to consignee locations across the UAE with the support of MICCO Logistics, part of AD Ports Group, which offers freight forwarding and end-to-end logistics solutions.

Khalifa Port will serve as a main transit hub, while the addition of Fujairah Terminals will provide a much-needed stop on the UAE’s east coast, reducing the need for cargo to be transferred by road. Importers and exporters will save significant transit time by using the direct route, which is up to four times faster than alternative transshipment services that can take as long as 30 days.

“The Red Sea service reflects the wise vision of the leaders of the UAE, which looks to strengthen the bond between brotherly nations through trade and development,” said Captain Ammar Mubarak Al Shaiba, Acting CEO – Maritime Cluster and SAFEEN Group.

“By connecting Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Port and Port Sudan, along with Fujairah and Jeddah, we are linking four key regional trade hubs and cutting transit time significantly for businesses along the route.

He said the SAFEEN Group is achieving rapid growth because it sees unmet needs in the market and can rapidly provide a modern fleet supported by a high level of customer service to address them.

“We are deploying the full strength of AD Ports Group’s portfolio along this new route, with the world-class infrastructure of Khalifa Port and Fujairah Terminals supported by in-country services from MICCO Logistics.”

In addition to the UAE/Red Sea service, SAFEEN Feeders also offers services to UAE/China, Singapore/Chennai/Colombo, UAE Coastal/Oman, and UAE/India/Gulf services.

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Freight Forwarding: Inflation and geopolitics will weigh on global supply chain

DP World study highlights biggest concerns keeping freight forwarders awake at night

Global supply chains are significantly impacted by the pandemic, geopolitical tensions and the looming threat of the global climate change crisis. These rising concerns makes it imperative for logistics operators to come up with the tools and solutions that offer real-time visibility across the entire supply chain – Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World

Inflation and geopolitical tensions are set to dominate concerns for the global supply chain over the next five years, according to a DP World study just released.

DP World surveyed dozens of freight forwarders in October. The study paints a stark picture of an industry in turbulence, with climate change and access to talent weighing heavily on business resilience and the ability to create seamless supply chains.

Inflation a main concern

Some 63% of the respondents said inflation is a main concern, while 56% cited geopolitical tensions as another major cause of concern.

The findings from the survey were showcased at the three-day Global Freight Summit conference that brings together industry experts, leaders and innovators under one roof to share knowledge and focus on how data can improve connectivity in global supply chains.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem in Africa Ports & Ships
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem

The event was inaugurated by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO of Emirates airline and Group and Chair of the World Logistics Passport (WLP) Global Steering Group. Also attending was Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, as well as members from the Digital Freight Alliance (DFA).

This is having major ramifications for businesses. Around 10% of the respondents said they had changed the markets they do business in due to uncertainty. Indeed, these worries look set to dominate the thoughts of freight forwarders for years to come. Some 78% said they expect geopolitical tensions and inflation to remain concerns over the next five years, with two thirds (66%) of freight forwarders believing it is ‘impossible to say’ when economic disruptions will subside.

Technology a significant factor

Encouragingly, many in the supply chain industry appear cautiously optimistic. Three-quarters (75%) of the respondents said they expect technology to be a significant factor in easing the current supply chain woes. In fact, more than half (56%) believe digitalisation will be the single biggest driver of efficiency, reducing bottlenecks and supporting the industry going forward. Technology will have a considerable impact on the supply chain, with three in four saying it will lead to cost savings and a greater ability to target and deliver to new customers.

But many were unclear on how to integrate technology into their industry, with a third saying they wanted to, but simply did not know how to do it. It is unsurprising then that half of the freight forwarders said they are further behind on their company’s digital transformation journey than they had hoped.

“Global supply chains are significantly impacted by the pandemic, geopolitical tensions and the looming threat of the global climate change crisis,” said Bin Sulayem.

“In fact, these challenges have demonstrated that many parts of the global supply chain infrastructure are fragile. These rising concerns makes it imperative for logistics operators to come up with the tools and solutions that offer real-time visibility across the entire supply chain. This can allow trade routes to be fit for purpose, and thus facilitating a more seamless movement of trade around the globe.”

Mike Bhaskaran, Group Chief Operating Officer, Digital Technology at DP World, said the uncertainties of today’s world are making trade harder. “It is increasing the disconnect at various points across the whole supply chain. The freight forwarding community must come together to act now to mitigate risk, so that we can build towards a more resilient future.

“This is why we are proud to host the first-ever Global Freight Summit here in Dubai. The event will bring together the brightest minds from the whole supply chain for discussions that will help us agree on concrete actions to solve some of the major challenges keeping the community awake at night.”

Other challenges that freight forwarders are currently experiencing include rising and unpredictable freight rates, with 80% highlighting this as the biggest worry keeping them awake at night. The lack of financing options is another major issue, with 37% of those surveyed saying this has a crippling effect on their ability to deliver goods.

Interestingly, whilst the pandemic has disrupted every industry, including logistics, it has resulted in several positive benefits. A third of freight forwarders said it prompted a much-needed overhaul of their business, with 41% saying it has changed how they track cargo. Over half (54%) said it has increased pressure on management to operate more sustainably.

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IN CONVERSATION: South Africa is hooked on fossil fuels: how it got here and how it can get out

Hartmut Winkler, University of Johannesburg

South Africa has experienced power shortages with rolling blackouts on an unprecedented scale in 2022. This state of affairs is largely due to technical failures at its ageing fleet of coal power plants.

The present power generation shortage is due to the power utility Eskom’s failure to add sufficient new electricity generation to the grid. This meant that it had to keep ailing old power stations going beyond their projected life span. The coal plants are prone to frequent renewed breakdown. In addition, their maintenance and parts replacements are becoming prohibitively expensive.

Given the major contribution that the burning of coal makes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, electricity generation from coal is in any case globally viewed as extremely problematic, with major pressure and incentives to scale this down.

South Africa is currently ranked eighth in the world in terms of the total amount of coal used for electricity generation. This is based on country-by-country global statistics on coal power generation. The statistics are produced on an annual basis and are widely available. The largest coal user by far is China, followed by India, though these are also the world’s most populous nations.

In terms of energy consumption from coal per capita, South Africa also ranks among the highest in the world with just under 16,500 kWh per person per annum This is in line with other highly coal dependent countries. It is roughly on par with China, South Korea and Australia and slightly lower than the top three – Estonia, Kazakhstan and Taiwan.

When it comes to dependency on coal power plants, South Africa is in a class of its own – 85% of its electricity is produced in coal power plants. This is way higher than all countries – bar two. Only Mongolia and Kosovo have a higher dependency. They have tiny populations – Mongolia has just over 3 million people, Kosovo just under 2 million. South Africa’s population is over 60 million.

South Africa’s percentage of electricity from coal has decreased only marginally – by 9 percentage points – since 1985. This is in contrast to other previously coal dependent countries that have made much more dramatic moves to carbon-free power. For example, the UK got 58% of its electricity from coal in 1985. Today this is down to 2%, partly thanks to massive investments in wind power.

South Africa has climatic conditions suitable for solar and wind power, and should in theory similarly be able to reduce its coal dependence. A drive towards low-carbon electricity generation however requires governmental support, which has mostly not been forthcoming in the last decade.

The history

As it’s a country with rich coal deposits, South Africa’s proliferation of coal plants was to be expected in the 1970s and 1980s. Because it’s also a water scarce country, possibilities for hydropower plants were always limited. And while one nuclear plant was constructed, the increasing isolation of apartheid-era South Africa made it difficult to access international expertise needed for further nuclear developments.

Renewable technologies are relatively new. They only became commercially competitive about 10 years ago, and were not considered a viable alternative to fossil fuels before then.

When the need for more power generation in South Africa became apparent in the first years of the millennium, a time when the electrification of previously unconnected communities was booming, the choice was made to construct two further coal plants, Medupi and Kusile.

These builds have, however, proved technologically flawed, way over budget and badly behind schedule.

When the first series of rolling power cuts had to be implemented in 2007, it became clear that energy security planning and implementation had gone wrong. The subsequent electricity plan from 2010 recommended major developments in nuclear and renewable energy.

In 2015 the government stalled the construction of planned new solar and wind plants in favour of a highly controversial and ultimately blocked nuclear deal with Russia. Since the resumption of the renewables electricity programme in 2018 some wind and solar plants have been built, but at nowhere near the rate needed to dent the dominant role of coal.

A lack of unity of purpose

Despite the electricity crisis having now become urgent and obvious, with several hours of power cuts during as many as half of the days in 2022, there has been no unity in purpose to tackle the issue.

There are loud calls, also supported by influential individuals within the ruling African National Congress party, to maintain South Africa’s coal-intensive trajectory. The proponents argue that the coal power stations can simply be managed better, and that any new power generation should mainly be focused on nuclear and gas.

The opposing view is that South Africa should align with the global trends to massively develop new solar and wind power plants. Its advocates justify this option by pointing to the lower cost of these technologies, short project completion times and environmental considerations.

Despite enjoying weather conditions that are superbly suited for wind and solar farms, South Africa has been extremely slow to kickstart its renewable energy generating infrastructure.

South Africa could have followed the example of China. Although the largest user of coal in the world, it is already making major moves towards a far lower carbon footprint. Over the five year period 2021-2025, China plans to add solar and wind plants producing 570 GW of electricity.

To put this figure into perspective, this is roughly ten times South Africa’s present total power capacity.

Next steps

The office of the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, comes across as sympathetic to mass renewable energy developments. It has aligned itself with the recently published Just Energy Transition Investment Plan.

The plan envisages accelerated building of more wind and solar farms to replace decommissioned coal power stations. It also tries to mitigate lowered economic activity and job losses in the coal fields and adjacent coal plants. It goes further in exploring energy exports in the form of green hydrogen, an energy storage medium fed by renewables, and the current global move towards electric vehicles.

If supported and implemented, the plan will result in better power supply in only three to five years from now. This however presupposes that the government will rally behind this initiative and work together rather than sending contradictory messages.

In the interim, power shortages will persist in South Africa.The Conversation

Hartmut Winkler, Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg

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

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Expecting Great Things from Africa’s New Oil and Gas Economies in 2023


By NJ Ayuk
Chairman, African Energy Chamber

Recent discoveries in the Senegal-Mauritanian basin have proven that the region sits atop more than 1 billion barrels of oil and 40,000 billion cubic feet of natural gas

While the consensus opinion of the western elites may be that oil and gas is a dirty, outdated technology staggering on its last legs, the African Energy Chamber remains grounded in reality.

As proponents of a zero-carbon future tout the promises of solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower – depicting a world free of emissions yet somehow exponentially more electrified than it is today – the global oil and natural gas industry is certain that fossil fuels will continue to play a major role in powering the earth for decades to come.

If a fully sustainable energy future truly awaits us, however far off it may be, oil and gas will undoubtedly continue to fuel our journey toward it just as petroleum-based materials will remain central to its development. Hydrocarbons will continue to provide heat and generate electricity as we assemble turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles from components made of plastic.

The fact that legacy oil fields diminish in productivity over time doesn’t mean we should abruptly halt all production in the name of climate change and learn to manage with what little output renewables currently offer. Such an ill-advised decision would constitute a veritable death sentence for the developing world, if not most of society.

New Players on the Field

As noted in our recently released report, The State of African Energy: 2023 Outlook, untapped discoveries, both onshore and off, practically encircle the African continent, and several new oil and gas economies stand ready to come online, stepping up into their rightful place on the world stage.

Area Block 2b, currently being drilled in Africa Ports & Ships
Area Block 2b, currently being drilled

In 2022, one month after Shell announced an oil discovery off the coast of Namibia, the TotalEnergies discovery in the Venus-X1 well in block 2913B in the Orange Basin became the region’s second significant find for the year. The discovery is estimated to be more than 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) and represents the southern African nation’s first opportunity to become an oil producer. Operations in the region are underway, and production is expected to begin in 2026.

On the eastern coast, Mozambique’s recent entry into the natural gas industry has set the impoverished country on a new path toward economic development. With discoveries made in the Rovuma Basin projecting annual liquefied natural gas (LNG) output in excess of 30 million tonnes, Mozambique’s LNG industry has secured $55 billion in investments, quadruple the value of the nation’s GDP. A quarter of the LNG produced will be reserved for domestic use while revenue from exports will add $10-$14 billion to their GNP each year.

Moving south, the Brulpadda and Luiperd discoveries off the coast of South Africa’s Mossel Bay are estimated to hold more than 2 billion barrels of gas condensate – an amount that would set South Africa’s total petroleum resources at approximately 9 billion barrels of oil and 60 trillion cubic feet of gas. Such figures would dramatically transform the national economy by covering more than half of the country’s current energy demands and slashing its reliance on imports.

Successful development of the Brulpadda and Luiperd sites will inevitably lead to further exploration, capitalisation, and investments toward much-needed infrastructure, providing welcome relief from South Africa’s economic troubles.

When Samia Suluhu Hassan took office as Tanzania’s first female president, the change in leadership led to revived negotiations between the government, Royal Dutch Shell, and Norway’s Equinor regarding the development of the country’s offshore LNG reserves.

Discovered in 1974, the sizeable reserves remained untouched mainly due to political stagnation, but the new administration has managed to arrange for a project construction start date in 2023. In addition to attracting outside investment, job creation, export revenue generation, and providing a supply of domestic energy, the Bank of Tanzania estimates that this project will single-handedly increase the nation’s economic growth rate by 2%.

Recent discoveries in the Senegal-Mauritanian basin have proven that the region sits atop more than 1 billion barrels of oil and 40,000 billion cubic feet of natural gas – designating the find as one of the petroleum industry’s largest to date.

In an effort to appeal to foreign investors, both Senegal and Mauritania have taken steps to facilitate the establishment of offshore operations in the area. Senegal’s Plan for an Emerging Senegal (PES) commits billions to infrastructure, including airport, highway, and rail improvement projects and the construction of a deepwater port in the capital city of Dakar.

Mauritania has revised its previously prohibitive regulations, developed a gas master plan, and designated the port city of Nouadhibou as a hub for gas processing and international trade.

A Healthy Compromise

Africa cannot be deprived of this long-awaited opportunity for economic growth. An adjustment to the oil and gas industry’s focus – from elsewhere in the world to Africa – will create jobs, business and monetisation opportunities, infrastructure improvements, and a diversification of national economies.

Governments across Africa will collect massive increases in revenue. The spread of reliable and affordable electricity across the continent will rectify widespread energy poverty issues. Schoolchildren will find all new educational opportunities, and the overall quality of life in Africa will significantly improve.

As nations across the globe work to transfer their energy dependence from fossil fuels to renewable resources, the same cannot be expected from Africa, at least not on the same timetable.

For more than a century, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America have reaped the economic and technological rewards that this head-start has given them. Africa will require time to catch up but can offer much support to the global energy evolution in the meantime.

Between 2026 and 2030, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, and the Senegal/Mauritanian region will be capable of producing a million barrels of oil per day (boepd) and 2.5 million boepd over the following decade.

This production rate will initially account for 8% of Africa’s oil and gas output, increasing to roughly 20% of its total production between 2031 and 2040.

Any impact on climate change brought about by an increase in African oil and gas production, if not balanced by emissions reductions in more developed countries, will be minimal compared to what the world has already accommodated.

The African Energy Chamber stands by these nations as they prepare to benefit from their natural resources, and we are excited by the prospect of contributing to the transition to a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

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NEW BOOKS: Where Light in Darkness Lies

The Story of the Lighthouse, in Africa Ports & Ships
The Story of the Lighthouse

Where Light in Darkness Lies

By Veronica della Dora

Reaktion Books 280 pages
Price £25.00
ISBN 978 1 78914 549 6

Subtitled The Story of the Lighthouse and supported by 98 illustrations, the author introduces the lighthouse by definition from antiquity, manāra the Arabic as a place of light (from which we derive minaret) and the Italian and Spanish faro, Portuguese farol and French phare. All stem from the Greek pharos as that at Alexandria.

Six chapters introduce aspects of pharology taking into account lighthouse construction and development and its place in art and literature touching upon the technical aspect of which we know so much: optics, the radio beacon, the fog signal, satellites. On the way she comments on the social history of the fixed and floating aids to navigation by way of representation in tourism, buildings restoration, museums, paintings and books. A novel approach to a subject which delivers a book every year or so, proving that pharology remains a live topic.

As we well know lighthouses have a universal appeal unique for man-made objects and probably have a parallel in steam locomotives.

Those chapters are followed by an epilogue, an appendix devoted to construction, references (end notes), a bibliography, useful websites, acknowledgements and an index.

Author Veronica della Dora is Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Reviewed by Paul Ridgway
London Correspondent: Africa Ports & Ships

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Eni and Hong Kong’s CNOOC bid to explore Mozambique’s A6-C offshore area

Area map of available oil & gas exploration blocks along the Mozambique coast in Africa Ports & Ships
Area map of available oil & gas exploration blocks along the Mozambique coast

Oil companies Eni Mozambico SpA and CNOOC Hong Kong Holding Limited have submitted proposals to explore new areas made available in Mozambique’s Sixth Area Concession Competition for Hydrocarbon Research and Production.

Italy’s Eni showed interest in the A6-C area, located in Angoche.

CNOOC will bid for the areas S6-A, A6-G, A6-D, S6-B and A6-E, located in Angoche and Save, respectively.

Both companies propose to form a partnership with Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos, distributing the participating interest as follows.

A6-C – ENI operator (60%) and ENH partner (40%)

S6-A – CNOOC operator (70%) and ENH partner (30%)

S6-B – CNOOC operator (77.5%) and partner ENH (22.5%)

A6-G – CNOOC operator (79.5%) and ENH partner (20.5%)

A6-D – CNOOC operator (77.5%) and ENH partner (22.5%)

A6-E – CNOOC operator (80%)and partner ENH (20%)

Nazário Bangalane, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the INP, welcomed the interest shown by Eni and CNOOC in investing in those areas with proven petroleum potential.

In order to ensure transparency, the process of evaluating the proposals will be carried out by a multisectoral team composed of senior officials from different state institutions, with proven technical capacity and experience in evaluating these types of proposals.

They will be assisted by an external consultant.

The result will be made known by 30 December 2022.

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Derailment on the Richards Bay coal line- 97 wagons cleared

Coal train on White Umfolozi River bridge near Ulundi in Africa Ports & Ships
Coal train on White Umfolozi River bridge near Ulundi    Picture Transnet

In a quite remarkable achievement during the heavy rains that fell over Zululand at the weekend, and amidst the very complex recovery process, the joint Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and industry teams had cleared all 97 derailed wagons from the derailment site on its North (coal) Corridor by 08h15 on Monday, 14 November 2022.

This is almost 24 hours sooner than was initially anticipated when the recovery and clean-up work resumed in earnest on Friday evening.

This major feat was only possible because of the collaborative efforts of a broad range of stakeholders including Transnet’s customers and supply chain partners that provided the specialised heavy duty equipment.

The Departments of Transport and Public Enterprises, as well as the Provinces of Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng granted emergency approvals for the transportation to the site of the abnormal equipment.

In additional, various policing departments including the Traffic Department, Flying Squad and South African Police Services, each supported the transportation of the heavy-duty equipment.

This recovery and clean-up operation follows a train derailment in Nhlazetshe, near Ulundi on 8 November, which it is thought may be the result of an act of sabotage.

The North Corridor includes the heavy haul coal, chrome, and other commodities to Richards Bay in KwaZulu Natal.

TFR says it will be able to determine the extent of the damage and when normal train operations can commence once the derailment site has been completely cleared of the spilled coal and debris.

Force majeure however remains in place as the rail line is still closed. TFR says it will continue to provide updates on the progress of the operation.

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WHARF TALK: sub Panamax container vessel MSC GIADA III

Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
MSC Giada III enters the port at Cape Town after a three-day delay at the anchorage. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Picture by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Jay gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

The story with the MSC Positano, as covered in the recent Africa Ports & Ships edition of 11th November, recalled how MSC became the world’s largest operator by container capacity on 5th January 2022, when they overtook Maersk Line with a total container capacity of 4,284,728 TEU. As reported, the growth of MSC from the outset had been built on buying good, second hand tonnage.

Back on 2nd November, at 06h00 in the early morning, the Sub Panamax feeder container vessel MSC Giada III’ (IMO 9232773) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage, from Ngqura in the Eastern Cape, and remained at anchor for just over three days. On 5th November at 14h00, she entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Ben Schoeman Dock and going alongside the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) at berth 602.

Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Whilst ‘MSC Giada III’ was not the vessel that tipped the balance between MSC and Maersk Line, but rather she was the one immediately before, and that brought MSC to within 884 TEU of the Maersk total of 4,282,840 TEU. She had entered service, as a recent second hand purchase, with MSC just a few days before 5th January. She was the 644th vessel of a 645 strong fleet, which now gives MSC a global market share of 17% of all seabourne container traffic.

Built in 2002 by Stocznia Gdynia SA at Gdynia in Poland, ‘MSC Giada III’ is 211 metres in length and has a deadweight of 39,307 tons. She is powered by a Cegielski MAN-B&W 7S70MC-C 7 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 29,551 bhp (21,735 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 21.6 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes two MaK 9M20 generators providing 1,530 kW each, a single MaK 8M20 generator providing 1,360 kW, and a MAN D2866 LXE emergency generator providing 200 kW. She has an Alfa Laval Aalborg composite auxiliary exhaust gas boiler, and an Alfa Laval Aalborg oil fired boiler. For added manoeuvrability she has a transverse bow thruster providing 1,000 kW.

Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of three sisterships, ‘MSC Giada III’ is a gearless feeder vessel, classed as a Feeder 3 vessel, and has five holds. She has a container carrying capacity of 2,732 TEU, and she provides deck plugs for 557 reefers.

Nominally owned by Sky Limits Shipping & Trading Ltd., ‘MSC Giada III’ is operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company SA, of Geneva in Switzerland, and is managed by MSC Shipmanagement Ltd., of Limassol in Cyprus.

Prior to her port call at Ngqura, ‘MSC Giada III” had called at Beira in Mozambique, and she is currently operating on the MSC East Africa Express service, which links the South African ports of Cape Town, Ngqura and Durban, with the East African ports of Maputo and Beira in Mozambique, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Mombasa in Kenya. The rotation also continues north from Mombasa, to call at Mundra (India), Jebel Ali (UAE) and Abu Dhabi (UAE), before returning to Mundra, and then back south via Mombasa.

Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In May 2012, during a failed Port State Inspection in the Indian port of Vishakhapatnam, under the auspices of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), ‘MSC Giada III’ was detained for one day. The grounds for detention were given as lack of serviceable firefighting equipment, lifeboat violations, and failure of her Dangerous Goods Code procedures.

A more serious event occurred in June 2015, off the coast of Malaysia, when some 4 nautical miles east of Tanjung Piai. She was arrested by a patrol vessel, operating a routine patrol in the southern region of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), and the vessel was charged with entering Malaysian waters without permission.

The Master of ‘MSC Giada III’, plus another crew member, were taken off the vessel, and brought to the MMEA Southern Region headquarters, to be interviewed. The vessel owners were charged under Section 449, of the Malaysian Merchant Shipping Ordnance of 1952, and under Section 3, of the Malaysian Federation Light Dues ordnance of 1953, for failure to settle light dues, and for not reporting the arrival of the vessel in Malaysian waters.

Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Back to the here and now, by 7th November ‘MSC Giada III’ had concluded her loading at Cape Town, and at 17h00 she sailed from the port, with her destination set for Durban. She arrived off Durban harbour on 10th November at 10h00, and due to congestion within Durban harbour, she was ordered to go to anchor. MSC issued an updated service schedule that she would expect to enter Durban harbour at Midday, on 15th November.

However, Transnet authorities at Durban have issued a loading schedule that ‘MSC Giada III’ is not expected to be given a berth until November 16th, at 08h00 in the morning. She has been allocated berth 105 at the Durban Container Terminal (DCT), and is expected to discharge 160 containers, and then load up to 1,100 containers for her onward voyage on the East African Express service. Her next port of call, on sailing from Durban, is Maputo, in Mozambique.

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Mozambique’s first LNG cargo departs from Coral Sul FLNG, offshore the Rovuma basin

Mozambique’s first LNG cargo departs from Coral Sul FLNG, offshore the Rovuma basin in Africa Ports & Ships
Mozambique’s first LNG cargo departs from Coral Sul FLNG, offshore the Rovuma basin.  Picture: Eni

It’s official…., the first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced from the Coral gas field, in the ultra-deep waters of the Rovuma Basin, has just departed from Coral Sul Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility.

This was announced at the weekend by Eni, as delegated operator of the Coral South project on behalf of its Area 4 Partners (ExxonMobil, CNPC, GALP, KOGAS and ENH).

“The first shipment of LNG from Coral South project, and from Mozambique, is a new and significant step forward in Eni’s strategy to leverage gas as a source that can contribute in a significant way to Europe’s energy security,” said Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi.

“Through the increasing diversification of supplies, while also supporting a just and sustainable transition, we will continue to work with our partners to ensure timely valorization of Mozambique’s vast gas resources.”

Coral South is a landmark project for the industry and firmly places Mozambique onto the global LNG stage.

The project, sanctioned in 2017, comes on stream after just 5 years, in line with the initial budget and schedule, despite the disruptions caused by the Covid pandemic.

According to Eni, this result was made possible thanks to its distinctive phased and parallelised approach, “a very effective execution planning, and the strong commitment by all partners and the unwavering support of the Government of Mozambique.”

Coral Sul FLNG has a gas liquefaction capacity of 3.4 million tons per year and will produce LNG from the 450 billion cubic metres of gas of the Coral reservoir.

About Area 4

Coral Sul is situated in Area 4, which is operated by Mozambique Rovuma Venture S.p.A. (MRV), an incorporated joint venture owned by Eni, ExxonMobil and CNPC, which holds a 70 per cent interest in the Area 4 exploration and production concession contract.

In addition to MRV, the other shareholders in Area 4 are Galp, KOGAS and ENH, each with a 10 per cent participation interest. Eni is the Delegated Operator for the Coral South project and all Upstream activities in Area 4.

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TNPA & Vopak seal the deal on the Richards Bay Liquid Bulk Terminal development

Part of the existing South Dunes precinct at the port of Richards Bay where the terminal will arise in Africa Ports & Ships
Part of the existing South Dunes precinct at the port of Richards Bay where the terminal will arise. That’s part of the port’s entrance in the background    Picture Transnet

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has concluded a 25-year concession agreement with VOPAK SA Developments Pty Ltd to develop, construct, operate and maintain a liquid bulk terminal at the Port of Richards Bay’s South Dunes Precinct.

This agreement was concluded at a signing ceremony held on 10 November 2022 at TNPA offices.

The R1 billion investment development of the liquid bulk terminal at the Port of Richards Bay will serve as a catalytic project for the Port of Richards Bay Master plans which forms part of the larger KwaZulu Natal (KZN) Logistics Hub Programme.

The KZN Logistics Hub Programme seeks to position the two KZN ports to focus on key strategic sectors, with the Port of Durban as an international container and premier automotive hub and the Port of Richards Bay as a dry-bulk hub. Richards Bay is seen as a strategic player in the renewable energy space with a designated Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) importation site.

In the Port of Richards Bay section of the logistics hub programme, there are no less than 19 projects arising out of the ports master plan, clustered across the three port precincts, namely, the Newark, Bayvue and the South Dunes Precincts. The most activities will be taking place in the South Dunes Precincts.

Seated are Mr Moshe Motlohi (Managing Executive: Eastern Region, TNPA); Mr Oliver Naidu (Managing Director, Vopak). Standing from the left: Ms. Shamina Krishnaswamy ( Programme Director, Portfolio Support • Sales & Market: Commercial & Marketing, KZN Logistic Hub); Dr Gasa-Toboti (TNPA Portfolio Director for the KZN Logistics Hub); Captain Dennis Mqadi ( Port Manager, Port of Richards Bay); Mr Simphiwe Mehlomakhulu (Chairman of the Board at Vopak); Mr Thami Sithole ( Program Director, KZN Logistic Hub – Richards Bay); Mr Michel Van Mosselaar (Finance, Vopak) in Africa Ports & Ships
Seated are Mr Moshe Motlohi (Managing Executive: Eastern Region, TNPA); Mr Oliver Naidu (Managing Director, Vopak). Standing from the left: Ms. Shamina Krishnaswamy ( Programme Director, Portfolio Support • Sales & Market: Commercial & Marketing, KZN Logistic Hub); Dr Gasa-Toboti (TNPA Portfolio Director for the KZN Logistics Hub); Captain Dennis Mqadi ( Port Manager, Port of Richards Bay); Mr Simphiwe Mehlomakhulu (Chairman of the Board at Vopak); Mr Thami Sithole ( Program Director, KZN Logistic Hub – Richards Bay); Mr Michel Van Mosselaar (Finance, Vopak)

“The conclusion of this agreement marks a significant milestone for the Port of Richards Bay as it becomes a pioneer in ensuring that the development arising out of the validated plans is led through this investment by VOPAK,” said Dr Gasa-Toboti, TNPA Portfolio Director for the KZN Logistics Hub.

This breakthrough follows a positive validation process of both KZN Ports master plans by independent consultants, a development of a socio-economic benefit study as well the quantifying of the costs for the various work packages contained in the plans.

“With this signing ceremony, we are excited that we have achieved this very first milestone of being very clear and intentional about the development, but we are also more excited to have partners like VOPAK (SA) who are aligned to the vision that we would like to see in the Port of Richards Bay of being contributors to not only the regional economy but the national economy as we continue developing both these ports,” said Gasa-Toboti.

VOPAK (SA) strives to be the leading independent storage, distribution, and throughput terminal for customers at strategic areas.

Currently, VOPAK’s strategic location is in Durban and in Heidelberg-Lesedi. With this investment, VOPAK will grow its business and have a representation in the Port of Richards Bay.

“The communities that we operate in are ultimately the main beneficiaries of jobs that will be realised from this strategic investment,” said Simphiwe Mehlomakhulu, Deputy Chairman of the Board at Vopak (SA).

“This development will benefit the people within these communities as jobs will be created during construction, the running of the plant and the contribution to the fiscus.”

Following the conclusion of this agreement, VOPAK (SA) is ready to kickstart in earnest the development and construction of the Liquid Bulk Terminal in the Ports South Dunes Precinct.

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Durban Port Multi-Million Rand Tug Jetty Project moving ahead

While construction work is in progress with the extension to the tug basin at the port of Durban, the end of the T-Jetty at N-Shed has been turned into a temporary tug berthing area. Picture by Jumaine Kruger, in Africa Ports & Ships
While construction work is in progress with the extension to the tug basin at the port of Durban, the end of the T-Jetty at N-Shed has been turned into a temporary tug berthing area. Picture by Jumaine Kruger

The R127 million Tug Jetty expansion project in the port of Durban is moving on swiftly with the project anticipated to be complete in December 2023, Transnet National Ports Authority has announced.

This project is in line with the Durban Port Master plan, which is set to position the Port of Durban as a Container Hub in order to respond to larger vessels calling into the port requiring additional tugs for quicker turnaround time.

The Port of Durban tug jetty project has been implemented in two segments. These commenced with the establishment of a new 110m tug jetty adjacent and parallel to the existing jetty with this phase being 98% complete. The second segment, which has already kicked off, is the extension of the existing tug jetty by 35m where the teams are currently forging ahead with placing of the concrete deck.

“This project will contribute to an improved turnaround time by providing a dedicated docking space for the new tugs thereby ensuring all marine fleet are berthed and located in one dedicated water space,” said Port Engineer for the Port of Durban, Malefetsane Setaka.

There were however some delays experienced after the April 2022 floods. These include sewer spills and contaminated water that resulted in the port suspending diving activities thus delaying critical underwater works on the project.

The excessive debris in the tug-jetty basin also impacted dredging and the repairs to new sinkholes, impacting access to place scour rock protection along the quayside.

This has resulted in the TNPA project team together with the contractor establishing recovery mechanisms to reduce as much time lost with the aim to ensure the project is completed as per the planned timelines.

Progress to date on the construction of the new 110m new jetty:

• Construction of New Jetty comprising water & electrical reticulation complete
• Dredging is approximately 95% complete
• Currently, placing the rock scour protection

Progress to date on the 35m extension to existing T jetty:

• All piles installed
• Demolitions of exiting jetty tie in works complete
• 6 of 6 pre-cast transom beams placed
• 18 of 18 precast soffit slabs placed
• 20 of 27 precast fender panels placed
• 50% concrete stitching done (first layer of concrete on deck)
• 25% of Concrete deck done (top layer of concrete on deck)

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REMEMBRANCE: Whitehall, London, Sunday

he Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key (first and second right in the picture above) with the Chief of the General Staff, and Chief of the Air Staff took part in Sunday’s Remembrance event in London (13 November) innAfrica Ports & Ships
.The Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key (first and second right in the picture above) with the Chief of the General Staff, and Chief of the Air Staff took part in Sunday’s Remembrance event in London (13 November).

Personnel from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force paraded at the Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday, the National Service of Remembrance in Whitehall with the two minute Silence at 11h00. Similar acts of homage were repeated up and down the country and in the Commonwealth.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with representatives of government and of the provinces together with High Commissioners of Commonwealth countries laid wreaths at the Cenotaph. No fewer than seven former prime ministers attended the service of remembrance.

On parade with HM The King and members of the Royal Family, more than 600 members of the Armed Forces took part to honour servicemen and women killed in all conflicts since the First World War.

Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin laid a wreath for British and Commonwealth personnel who gave their lives in war.

Following the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, HRH The Earl of Wessex took the salute from veterans at a saluting base on Horse Guards Parade.

It was estimated that 10,000 veterans took part in the wreath laying and marchpast.

Remembrance Day 2022 in Whitehall, Londin. In Africa Ports & Ships

SA Representation

An Order of March indicating the many ex-service and civilian organizations expected to be represented on Sunday and provided by the Royal British Legion will be FOUND HERE

(See Column D, No 31 The South African Legion of Military Veterans: )

His Majesty The King, King Charles III, pictured right, was carrying his duties for the first time as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, a title he inherited from his mother HM Queen Elizabeth on her death in September. Here HRH The Prince of Wales lays his wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, 13 November.

Pictures: Ministry of Defence Crown Copyright 2022 ©

Paul Ridgway, Londin Correspondent, in Africa Ports & Ships

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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EU NAVFOR Med Irini operation seizes illegal cargo heading for Libya

The Dutch-flagged cargo ship Meerdijk, intercepted in the Mediterranean with military vehicles destined for Libya. Picture: Eunavfor, in Africa Ports & Ships
The Dutch-flagged cargo ship Meerdijk, intercepted in the Mediterranean with military vehicles destined for Libya. Picture: Eunavfor

EU NAVFOR reports that in mid October the Dutch-flagged merchant vessel MEERDIJK (IMO 9377925) which was intercepted in the southern Mediterranean was found to be transporting vehicles modified for military use to Libya and suspected to be in breach of the UN arms embargo.

This was the second time that IRINI ships have intercepted a cargo in implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2292 (2016) in less than three months.

Military vehicles loaded in the ship's single hold. Picture: Eunavfor in Africa Ports & Ships
Military vehicles loaded in the ship’s single hold. Picture: Eunavfor

One of the European naval vessels operating in the Central Mediterranean Sea for Operation IRINI detected the ship on its way to Libya.

Following Operation IRINI’s request, in accordance with UNSCR 2292, the Netherlands, as the ship’s flag state, gave its consent without delay for the inspection and a boarding team was sent on board to verify the nature of the vehicles.

The boarding team discovered dozens of military vehicles shipped in violation of the UN arms embargo on Libya. In line with the Operation’s mandate, the vehicles were seized and the ship was diverted to a European port for further inspection. Following the inspection by the UN Panel of Experts, the vehicles were disembarked and stored ashore.

Since March 2020, Operation IRINI has carried out 25 inspections at sea in accordance with all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions authorising the inspection, the diversion and the seizure of the cargo of arms and related material when found on board of merchant vessel heading for Libya.

Military vehicles carried on biard the cargo vessel intercepted by Eunavfor naval vessels. in Africa Ports & Ships
Military vehicles carried on board the cargo vessel intercepted by Eunavfor naval vessels.  Eunavfor
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WHARF TALK: specialised longliner OCEAN AZUL

The Uruguayan-registered longliner vessel Ocean Azul which has sailed for the Marion Island fishing grounds. Picture by 'Dockrat' In Africa Ports & Ships
The Uruguayan-registered longliner vessel Ocean Azul which has sailed for the Marion Island fishing grounds. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Jay gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

Most people in the maritime industry are very well aware of the size of the South African fishing industry, and how varied, and often complex, the fishing vessels are that undertake the many elements of the industry. Irrespective of it being Prawns in Northern KZN, Squid in the Eastern Cape, Pelagic species of the Southern Cape such as sardines and anchovies, or the Demersal species of the Western Cape such as hake and kingklip.

Yet, there is one industry that is part of the South African fishing industry, and it only has two vessels licensed to operate within that fishery, and only one species of fish is allowed to be targeted within the fishery itself. It takes place within the UN FAO Oceanic Subarea 58.7, which is known as the PEI EEZ. To those who do not know what the PEI EEZ is, it stands for ‘Prince Edward Islands Exclusive Economic Zone’.

A further clue for those for whom Prince Edward Islands does not ring any bells, is that the fishery is overseen by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources (CCAMLR), and the species it is concerned with is the Patagonian Toothfish (Dissostichus Eleginoides). The Prince Edward Islands are but two sub-Antarctic islands, namely Prince Edward Island and Marion Island, and the fishery surrounds the seamounts and island coastal waters of the remotest of all South African fishing grounds.

FAO Subarea 58.7 is officially described as the oceanic area of the South Indian Ocean waters bounded by a line commencing at 45° South 30° East; thence due east to 44° East longitude; thence due south to 50° South latitude; thence due west to 30° East longitude; thence due north to the starting point.

As far back as 1st October, at 14h00 in the afternoon, the longliner OCEAN AZUL (IMO 8704925) arrived off Cape Town, from Montevideo in Uruguay, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside the Landing Wall, a strong indication that a period of shoreside maintenance support was in the offing.

Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built as long ago as 1987 by Aukra Industrier AS at Aukra in Norway, ‘Ocean Azul’ is 73 metres in length and has a deadweight of 690 tons. She is powered by two Anglo Belgian Corporation NV (ABC) 12VDZC 12 cylinder 4 stroke main engines producing 3,500 bhp (2,388 kW) each, driving a fixed pitch, Wärtsilä nozzled, propeller for a transit sea speed of 14 knots.

She utilises one engine for propulsion, and the other engine is utilised as an internal power generator. She has an emergency generator, and for added manoeuvrability she has a bow azimuth thruster, providing 495 kW.

Designed by Ship Design Heimli AS, of Fitjar in Norway, ‘Ocean Azul’ was originally built as a stern scallop trawler. She was purchased by her current owners in 2020, and converted into an Antarctic longliner by LOS Marine AS at Rubbestadneset in Norway. Her conversion included being lengthened from her original 60 metre length, by the removal of her original stern ramp, which was replaced by a bespoke, and unique, open, but undercover, stern section.

This new section allows her longlines to be deployed, and recovered, directly at her stern. Not only does this increase the protection and safety of the deck crew, who remain within the confines of the vessel, but it also dramatically reduces seabird predation, and mortality, and allows for the longlines to be set and recovered whilst operating in any pack ice condition.

Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auto longlines are 6,708 metres in length, holding 4,472 hooks, with each spread 1.2 metres apart. Not only does ‘Ocean Azul’ have a unique stern operating longline system, but for retrieval she utilises another unique retrieval system, which no other longliner has yet fitted.

This is the Sago Combi Pool, which is a live fish collection device, which is deployed down the longline, and which unhooks the fish, and places them into a protected tank. The tank is then retrieved back to the stern, and has the further advantage of protecting the fish from seabirds at the surface as well as Killer Whales, which take the fish off the hooks well below the surface.

Her other innovation is that she carries ‘Ghost Gear’ clearing equipment. Ghost Gear are longlines, or even gill nets, that have been deployed, and then lost, by other fishing vessels and cause untold damage to marine life by hooking, or tangling, them and with them never being retrieved.

She operates with a crew of 30, and has an ice classification of ICE 1B, which means that she can operate in first year ice thickness of 0.6 metres. She has one cargo freezer hold, which has a cargo carrying capacity of 852 m3, and can hold a total of 400 tons.

Picture by 'Dockrat'in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

To ensure that she does not engage in any Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) fishing activities, ‘Ocean Azul’ is fitted with a BlueTraker Vessel Monitoring System (VMS). As with all VMS systems, the system is tamper proof. BlueTraker takes its ‘real time’ position information directly from a GNSS satellite system, and not from an onboard GPS system, which also gives it vessel speed and course information. This information is transmitted in ‘real time’ to an Iridium satellite, where it is then sent directly to either a Fisheries Monitoring centre, or to the Operations Centre of the vessel owner.

It also has the ability of being fitted to fishing winches, and fishing nets, which transmit data as to when, and where, winches are in operation for fishing purposes. It counts fishing winch revolutions, which allows the monitoring centre to know how much wire is being paid out, and the net monitor transmits depth data to correlate the winch data.

She is owned by Pesquera Azul Norge AS, of Storebø in Norway, and operated by Pesquera Azul SA of Montevideo in Uruguay. She is managed by BR Fiskebatrederi AS, also of Storebø. Her unique design makes ‘Ocean Azul’ the world’s largest, autoline, longline Antarctic fishing vessel.

On completion of her complete rebuild and refit, she was granted a license by CCAMLR in January 2021, in conjunction with the approval of the Uruguayan Authorities, which allowed her to fish for both Patagonian Toothfish (Dissostichus Eleginoides), and Antarctic Toothfish (Dissostichus Mawsoni) in FAO Oceanic Subareas 88.1 and 88.2.

These two FAO Subareas cover the Ross Sea region of the Antarctic continent, and lie south of 60° South to the continent, and from 160° East to 120° West. Her license was renewed in November 2021, and was reissued to run until August 2022. On completion of her Antarctic fishing season, she returned to her home port, and port of registry of Montevideo, prior to conducting her transatlantic journey to Cape Town for a further refit.

Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The toothfish fishery in Antarctica is managed by the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators (COLTO), which is an industry organisation founded in 2003, by legal fishing industry operators, with an aim to eliminate IUU fishing operators and practices, by ensuring the long term sustainability of Toothfish resources.

At the time of the formation of COLTO, the IUU catches of toothfish, by pirate operators, were more than double the legally reported catches. Through the combined efforts of COLTO< CCAMLR, Flag States, Port States, Conservation NGOs and the Fishing Industry, the levels of IUU fishing have now been reduced to virtually zero. Through agreed conservation measures, COLTO have also been able to reduce unintended seabird bycatch to near-zero levels.

A lot of people will not be aware that South African companies are very active in COLTO, with the South African Patagonian Toothfish Industry Association (SAPTIA). There are six members of SAPTIA, who include Irvin & Johnson Ltd., Arniston Fish Processors (Pty) Ltd., Bato Star Fishing (Pty) Ltd., Suidor Fishing (Pty) Ltd., Ziyabuya Fishing (Pty) Ltd., and their associated Koryo Maru 11 Fishing Company. The last named company was, until recently, the only one who had been issued with a current CCAMLR license, under the auspices of the South African authorities, to fish for Toothfish in FAU Subarea 58.7, and the PEI EEZ.

On 7th November, after more than five weeks alongside the Landing Wall, and undergoing a minor refit, ‘Ocean Azul’ set sail from Cape Town at 09h00 in the morning, with her destination set ‘For Orders’. She sailed into the Cape Town off port limits area, and remained there for almost four days, and then reset her AIS destination as ‘PEMI Fishing Grounds’, which was unusual as this could indicate ‘Prince Edward Marion Island Fishing Grounds’. Her last position placed her south of Cape Agulhas and on a course of 130° at a sea speed of 8 knots, which put her heading in the right direction for Marion Island.

Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The assumption is that she has been chartered by a member of SAPTIA, or been issued a South African fishing dispensation, as on CCAMLR issued a new license for ‘Ocean Azul’ on 4th November, some three days before she sailed. This license granted her rights to catch Patagonian Toothfish (Dissostichus Eleginoides) only, in FAO Subarea 58.7, the PEI EEZ. This license was issued under the Authorisation of the South African authorities, and is valid only until 30th November, which will give ‘Ocean Azul’ a 14 day fishing window, on arrival in the PEI EEZ.

I think that it is safe to say that you can expect ‘Ocean Azul’ back in Cape Town by the end of the first week of December, unless her license is extended. She is another grand example of how Cape Town continues to be not only the ‘Gateway to Antarctica’, for Antarctic scientific and resupply expeditions, but also the preferred overwintering, maintenance, and refit base for a wide variety of trawling and longline vessels, owned by a number of international companies who specialise in operating in Antarctic fisheries.

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IN CONVERSATION: Kenya Standard Gauge Railway contracts: what released documents say, and what they don’t

A Kenya Railways container train reaches the inland container, in Africa Ports & Ships
A Kenya Railways container train reaches the inland container depot at Naivasha.  Picture KR

Deborah Brautigam, Johns Hopkins University

A media frenzy has erupted in Kenya over the November 5, 2022 release of three Chinese loan contracts signed between the Kenyan government and China Export Import Bank (Eximbank), to finance two phases of Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

The 700-km railway runs between the port of Mombasa through Nairobi to Naivasha. It has been dogged by controversy from the start. Concerns range from procurement, its massive cost and the government’s reluctance to allow detailed scrutiny of the contracts underpinning Kenya’s largest infrastructure project since independence.

The release of the three contracts by Kenya’s new Transport and Infrastructure minister came nearly four years after rumours began circulating that Kenya had staked its valuable Mombasa Port as collateral for the initial US$3.6 billion railway project loans. The minister’s disclosure of the contracts was intended to clear the air. Instead, the air is thick with scepticism and claims of selective disclosure.

Our study

In April 2022, a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University published a policy brief and working paper summarising nearly two years of investigations into the collateral rumour. The team was made up of academics and professionals with extensive practical expertise in commercial law, international project finance, and auditing.

Our team discovered that the collateral rumour originated in a critical mistake by Kenya’s auditor-general’s office. The government’s chief auditor had wrongly labelled Kenya Ports Authority, owner of Mombasa Port, as a “borrower” responsible for repaying the China Eximbank SGR loans.

The ports authority was not a borrower, we concluded.

The recently released loan contracts confirm that the “the Republic of Kenya, represented by the National Treasury of Kenya” is the Borrower, and is “fully liable for the payment and repayment obligations” of the loan contracts. The contracts state that this obligation remains, whether or not Kenya Railways Corporation and Kenya Ports Authority perform their own obligations.

The newly published loan contracts support previous statements by the Kenyan and Chinese governments. Kenya’s government has pledged to repay this sovereign debt with government revenues, just as it repays Eurobonds and the World Bank.

In other words, these are sovereign loans, signed by the central government, not Kenya’s state-owned companies.

We also analysed the “Take or Pay Agreement (TOPA)” signed between Kenya Railway Corporation and Kenya Ports Authority. In that agreement, a copy of which was shared with us by colleagues in Kenya, Kenya Ports Authority had committed to ship a set amount of cargo on the railway each month or pay the shortfall to the Kenya Railway Corporation. These revenues were to be deposited by the corporation into an escrow account and used to help repay the Chinese loan. But the port authority’s legal responsibility under Kenyan law was to Kenya Railway Corporation, not to the Chinese bank.

Kenya’s SGR credit enhancements were carefully and creatively designed to enhance the bankability of a railway project that has significantly upgraded the Kenya Ports Authority’s competitive position in the region. Yet – like most large investments with significant environmental, safety and connectivity advantages – the benefits of this project will ripen over time, while the upfront costs are high.

Credit enhancements like TOPAs increase the bankability of projects, showing the government’s commitment to raise various revenues to repay the lender. But ultimately the debt is guaranteed by the sovereign.

Our research dealt only with the collateral accusation. It did not deal with concerns about procurement or corruption that may have taken place around this project. The other contracts have not been released. Nevertheless, the three loan contracts are sufficient for establishing that Mombasa Port was not in any way pledged as collateral for the Chinese loans.

Kenya’s auditor-general’s office is renowned for its integrity, and we commend the concern with which the office and its courageous leaders approach their task of protecting Kenyan taxpayers. Its officers appear to have ample reason to be concerned about corruption and mismanagement in the Kenyan government. That’s the light in which the auditor-general’s leaked letter to Parliament must be understood.

Sovereign immunity

However, as we noted in our research, the auditor-general’s opinion that Kenya’s government had “waived immunity” on the Kenya Ports Authority’s assets and “expressly guaranteed” that they could be used to repay the Chinese loan was incorrect.

Given that all sovereign governments have immunity from lawsuits under international law, they are routinely required to waive that sovereign immunity in international contracts. This is so that if a dispute arises it can be arbitrated. Waivers of sovereign immunity are general and relate to dispute settlement, and not to the specification of any particular asset as collateral.

Our conclusion therefore was that the waiving of sovereign immunity did not mean that Kenya Ports Authority’s assets were deliberately put at risk.

Bitter experience

The Kenyan auditor-general was also concerned that the loan contract specifies that dispute arbitration would take place at the China International Trade and Economic Arbitration Commission. It is “one of the oldest and busiest arbitration institutions in the world.”

It is normal for arbitration to take place outside of the borrowing country. Nevertheless, the auditor-general was not alone in worrying about the neutrality of a Chinese venue. Kenya can insist that the presiding arbitrator be selected by both sides from a neutral third country. This should dispel some of the worries about fairness, should disputes arise.

However, our team of researchers suggest that two factors contributed to the auditor-general’s interpretation. First, through sometimes bitter experience, the auditor-general’s office did not trust the Kenyan government to protect the interests of Kenyan citizens.

Second, and just as importantly, the auditor-general’s office and Kenyans more generally, were likely primed to also be suspicious of the Chinese bank due to the widespread rumours of “Chinese debt traps”. This was sparked by the case of Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka. There, the same Chinese bank was accused in the pages of The New York Times (erroneously, as it happens) of seizing a loss-making port when Sri Lanka was facing balance of payments difficulties.

The geopolitically fraught accusation of deliberate “Chinese debt traps” and “asset seizures” is a distraction from a genuine problem: infrastructure, like natural resources, is prone to corruption. Yet Kenya faces risks in unilaterally publishing contracts for a single lender and company. Nearly 20 years ago, government, industry and civil society stakeholders came together in London to build the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Governments join, commit to transparency, and Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative publishes the complex contracts. A similar global initiative for public infrastructure is clearly needed. Since the Kenyan taxpayers will ultimately shoulder the cost of the project, they have a right to know all the details. And they also have the right to have information debated fairly and professionally.The Conversation

Deborah Brautigam, Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy, Johns Hopkins University

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

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Added 14 November 2022


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New Books: HMS Fearless in Africa Ports & Ships


Editorial consultant John Jenkins
ISBN 978 1 3999 2510 5
RRP £20.00 + £3.50 p&p

This A4 landscape paperback has been issued to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Falklands Campaign.

It has been published by the officers and men who served in HMS Fearless (L10) during the Falklands Campaign of 1982 (Operation Corporate) and has been generously sponsored by Harland and Wolff who built her. She was launched in 1963 and paid off in 2002. Her motto: Explicit nomen. The name says it all.

Here are contributions from all ranks: paintings, photographs, memories, humour, cartoons and understated records of bravery. A well-illustrated tribute of 120 pages meticulously assembled to record heroism and the humour of Jack and the Royals who sailed at short notice in the key Command Ship of the Falkland Islands Amphibious Task Force, one of the largest amphibious operations since D-Day in the Second World War.

There is attached a DVD entitled A sailor’s story of the Falklands War by Captain John Kelly, OBE, RN. The project’s design consultant was Alan Cooper.

Profits from the book will be divided equally between three charities, one of which is the Trinity House Maritime Charity. The Foreword is by Admiral Sir Philip Jones, former Chief of Naval Staff and First Sea Lord who served in L10 at the time of Op Corporate as a young officer under training.

Orders may be placed at:

Reviewed by Paul Ridgway
London Correspondent: Africa Ports & Ships

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Added 14 Nivember 2022


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Russian Antarctic Expedition ship, Akademik Fedorov to call at Cape Town

Akademik Fedorov in Cape Town harbour 14 May 2021. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Akademik Fedorov in Cape Town harbour 14 May 2021. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Russian Antarctic Expedition ship, RV AKADEMIK FEDOROV (IMO: 8519837) is due to sail from St Petersburg tomorrow (15 November) and will be calling at Cape Town en route to the Russian stations on the ice.

She is the only ship of the 68th Russian Antarctic Expedition and will return to St Petersburg in June 2023.

“The 68th RAE is beginning on 15 November with RV Akademik Fedorov leaving the port of Saint-Petersburg,” said Aleksandr Makarov, Director of Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI).

He said the ship was heading initially for Cape Town. Apart from the crew RV Akademik Fedorov will carry 90 people but a further 30 expedition members will fly to join the ship in Cape Town, where the ship will be loading aviation kerosene and other cargoes.

After leaving the Cape Town port the vessel will call at Progress station at around 28 December. Following that the ship will move to the Mirny station for a 10-day stop-over to enable personnel rotation and the unloading of cargo and supplies.

RV Akademik Fedorov will then move to the seasonal field base Molodyozhnaya after which it is to return to the Progress to take the participants of the seasonal expedition and the builders of the new wintering complex and to transport them to Capetown. The voyage will last for a total of about 200 days. source:

RV Akademik Fedorov

To read more about this Russian icebreaker and supply ship CLICK HERE in the 16 May 2021 edition of Africa Ports & Ships

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Added 14 November 2022


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Airfreight: Emirates places order for five new Boeing 777-200R freighter aircraft

Boeing 777f aircaft in thee service of Emirates., in Africa Ports & Ships
Boeing 777f aircraft   Emirates

Emirates has announced a firm order for five new Boeing 777-200LR freighter aircraft, with two aircraft to be delivered in 2024 and the remaining three in 2025.

The agreement, worth over US$ 1.7 billion at list prices, takes the airline’s total order book to 200 wide-body aircraft.

“Emirates is investing in new freighters so that we can continue to serve customer demand with the latest fuel-efficient aircraft,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

“This order reflects Emirates’ confidence in airfreight demand and overall aviation sector growth. It lays the ground for our continued growth, which is driven by the reach of our diverse global network, the advanced handling infrastructure at our Dubai hub, and the tailored transport solutions that Emirates has developed to serve our varied customers’ needs,” he said.

Emirates operates with an all-Boeing freighter fleet. Stan Deal, President and Chief Executive Officer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the expansion of Emirates’ fleet with these additional fuel-efficient 777 Freighters will enable the airline to support its growing cargo market demand, transporting goods rapidly and efficiently from origin to destination in the Middle East and around the world.

At last November’s Dubai Airshow, Emirates announced a US$ 1 billion investment to expand its air cargo capacity, including two new 777Fs which have already joined the Emirates fleet in 2022, and plans to convert 10 Boeing 777-300ERs into freighter aircraft. The aircraft conversion work is scheduled to begin in 2023.

Emirates currently operates a fleet of 11 Boeing 777 freighters, in addition to bellyhold cargo capacity on its fleet of widebody 777 and A380 passenger aircraft. Emirates SkyCargo is one of the world’s largest air cargo carriers.

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Added 14 November 2022


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Force Majeure back in effect on Richards Bay Coal Line

No traffic possible on the strategic Richards Bay coal line, in Africa Ports & Ships

No traffic possible on the strategic Richards Bay coal line  Picture Transnet

LATEST UPDATE, Saturday 12 November 11h00

The following message received from TFR,:

Update on derailment incident on the North Corridor – recovery operations on site recommence

Work on Transnet Freight Rail’s (TFR) North Corridor, where a train carrying export coal to Richards Bay derailed near Ulundi on 8 November, has commenced as of yesterday evening 11 November.

This is after lengthy engagements with the ‘Ulundi Busines Forum’ and support from law enforcement agencies yesterday.

Once the rolling stock has been cleared on the line, TFR will be in a better position to assess the damage on the line and determine when normal train operations can resume.

End of Saturday 11 November Update.


The saga of events affecting operations on the Richards Bay coal line, otherwise known as the North Corridor, deepened today (Friday 11 November) when Transnet Freight Rail implemented Force Majeure after criminal agents prevented TFR operational agents from accessing the site of this week’s derailment.

The derailment, which appears from facts so far disclosed, to have been caused by an act of sabotage by a gang of people acting under the name and guise of the ‘Ulundi Business Forum’.

As South Africans have already experienced, these ‘business forums’ are made up of disgruntled, self-appointed people who force themselves illegally onto private property under development, or in this case a working strategic national railway, to insist that its ‘members’ are granted employment on the site, despite lacking in any experience in the commercial activity taking place.

Transnet has condemned these acts and says it will be laying charges of “violence, tampering with essential infrastructure and extortion.”

The latter word extortion about sums up the matter, where it is suspected that this same group of individuals probably sabotaged the line (it has yet to be proven), thus causing a dangerous and costly derailment of a train carrying tens of thousands of tonnes of export coal to the port at Richards Bay, and has since then, in the words of TFR, has significantly disrupted and delayed recovery work “because of violent, extortion efforts by the Ulundi Business Forum.”

As a result Transnet has withdrawn its operational teams from site due to threats for their safety.

According to Transnet, this came after the business forum was invited to provide a list of all equipment and plant machinery that they are able to deploy to site as well as costings.

“Industry has contracted the Ulundi Business Forum for equipment to assist in the derailment recovery and the Forum now insists on direct contracts with Transnet over and above what they have with Industry.

“Transnet rejected this demand and the Forum resorted to violence which included assault, blocking access roads and the discharging of a firearm. South African Police Service (SAPS) are on the scene and Transnet has also activated its security personnel as well as the Public Order Policing unit to the site,” Transnet said in a statement late on Friday.

The company said it condemns these acts and will be laying charges of violence, tampering with essential infrastructure and extortion.

Diverting critical flows

While announcing that force majeure is back in effect on the coal line, TFR said that to minimise the impact of the derailment, it will commence diverting some critical flows like chemicals via the mainline between Durban and Gauteng.

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Added 11 November 2022



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