Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 3 March 2023

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Costa Deliziosa  by Trevor Jones
Costa Deliziosa  by Trevor Jones

COSTA DELIZIOSA (IMO number 9398917) made her maiden call at the port of Durban during the month of February, taking up position at the new Durban Cruise Terminal. Built in 2010 she is a sister ship to Costa Luminiosa and is operated by Costa Crociere. Built by Fincantieri at their Marghera shipyard in Venice, she cost EU450 million (euros).

The Panamax size Costa Deliziosa has a length of 294 metres and a width of 32m and a gross tonnage of 92,720-gt. She has 16 decks of which 12 are for passenger use and a maximum passenger capacity of 2,828 passngers, The ship’s crew numbers 934.

Pictures by Trevor Jones



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Transnet says allocating available capacity to emerging miners is a fair solution

Port Elizabeth Manganese Terminal handles 47% of SA’s manganese exports Picture Transnet

Transnet SOC Ltd, the parent body of Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), National Ports Authority(TNPA) and Transnet Port Terminal (TPT), among others, says it is fully committed to ensuring a fair and sustainable distribution of capacity to major mining companies and emerging miners.

This is in response to some concerns expressed at the news earlier in the week of its decision to allocate capacity to emerging miners.

We need to emphasise that this will not affect the allocations that have already been guaranteed to the major manganese exporters, the company said in a statement.

Major miners guaranteed capacity remains, the company said.

As part of expanding capacity allocation and creating a more inclusive and competitive environment, Transnet recently announced the addition of six new entrants who have been allocated capacity on rail and at the ports under the MECA III programme (Manganese Export Capacity Allocation).

“This brings the share of emerging miners’ allocation to 25% of total available capacity. This does not affect the existing major miners, as their guaranteed capacity remains.”

The special terms governing the current allocation of uncommitted tonnage under the existing contracts allow Transnet to re-allocate the whole or any portion of the uncommitted tonnage, currently 15%, in order to facilitate new entrants into the export market.

“This is a fair and sustainable way of introducing additional participants in the system, as opposed to starting from a zero-based allocation.

“Furthermore, Transnet is moving ahead with the expansion of the manganese channel, working with both major and emerging miners in the sector.”

Interventions include the relocation of the manganese terminal from the Port of Port Elizabeth with current capacity at 10mtpa, to a new manganese export terminal at the Port of Ngqura for 16mtpa, expected to be commissioned by December 2027.

Rail Infrastructure

TFR meanwhile has completed confirmation of the designs for the extension of existing and the construction of new crossing loops for longer trains.

TFR says there is an equivalent ramp up in locomotives, wagons and operational resources, resulting in an increase in slot capacity on the line, increasing capacity by 6mtpa on rail.

Additionally, Transnet is also planning to expand its manganese export capacity (rail, terminal and port infrastructure) to 6Mtpa through the Saldanha export channel.

“It is important to emphasise that Transnet is fully committed to collaborating with industry in fast-tracking the expansion of the manganese channel, for the benefit of all industry players and the South African economy,” Transnet stated.

Exports via other ports

In response to Africa Ports & Ships’ query, TFR said the largest portion of the Manganese exported at TNPA is handled via the Port of Port Elizabeth.

“The Ports of Durban and Richards Bay handle much smaller volumes compared to PE and Saldanha. The table below depicts the total manganese handled by TNPA for the last financial year.

“These are the latest available, audited figures.”


TNPA Total Manganese Exports by Port:   21,431,057 tonnes (100%)

Port of Durban:             2,446,868 tonnes (11%)
Port of Richards Bay:        224,480 tonnes (1%)
Port of East London:                   nil tonnes (0%)
Port of Ngqura:             3,903,726 tonnes (18%)
Port of Port Elizabeth:  9,969,024 tonnes (47%)
Port of Cape Town:           204,318 tonnes  (1%)
Port of Saldanha:           4,682,641 tonnes (22%)

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WHARF TALK: Fisheries Patrol Vessel LILIBET

The Fisheries Patrol Vessel, Lilibet, which arrived in Cape Town from Mauritius and Vietnam. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

For the maritime observer in South Africa, one of the nice things about the variety of ports and trades that cover the coast, is that you get to see nigh on every type of vessel that it is possible to see. Even the rarest of vessels, such as those that do not conduct trade of any kind, and those who never have a valid reason for leaving their own national waters, do occasionally turn up, especially if they are on positioning voyages, such as heading home from the shipbuilders.

On 20th February, at 06h00 in the morning, the Fisheries Patrol Vessel LILIBET (IMO 9775414) arrived off Cape Town, from Port Louis in Mauritius, and sailed into Cape Town harbour, entering the Duncan Dock and proceeding to the Repair Quay. She was on a positioning voyage, directly from the shipbuilder in the Far East, to her home port on the other side of the world.

Built in 2022 by the Damen Song Thu Shipyard at Da Nang in Vietnam, ‘Lilibet’ is 50 metres long and has a gross registered tonnage of 485 tons. The casual observer will be able to tell that she is clearly a Damen design and, in fact, she is a Damen Stan Patrol 5009 vessel, complete with the Damen Axe Bow, as found on the Cape Town built Damen 6211 Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV), now in service with the South African Navy.

Lilibet, Cape Town, 20 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is powered by four Caterpillar C32 TTA 12 cylinder 4 stroke main engines, producing a total of 5,800 bhp (4,324 kW) to drive four fixed pitch propellers for a maximum speed of 29.5 knots, and a cruising speed of 23 knots. The endurance of ‘Lilibet’, as a fisheries patrol vessel, is 3,000 nautical miles over 21 days, at an economical speed of 16 knots. This endurance can be extended to 30 days if her patrol speed is reduced to 12 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes two generators providing 85 kW each, and for added manoeuvrability she has two bow transverse thrusters providing 100 kW each. She has a firefighting capability of FiFi1, and has a bow mounted fire monitor capable of producing a water deluge of 120 m3/hour.

She operates with a crew of 10 persons, and has accommodation for a total of 28 persons, for when she carries Fisheries Inspectors, or Military support personnel. For her boarding, and interception, requirements she carries a 7.5 metre rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB), capable of 35 knots, and which is carried in a recessed, amidships, slipway on the stern, and designed for quick deployment and retrieval.

She departed from the Damen shipyard in Vietnam, back in December, and called in at Singapore on a quick stop for bunkers, and to remove a fishing net that had fouled one of her propellers. She then made an unscheduled call into Djakarta, in Indonesia, due to fuel contamination, necessitating her cleaning her tanks and fuel feed lines, before heading across the Indian Ocean to Port Louis, in Mauritius, for a bunkers only stop of less than a day.

Lilibet, Cape Town, 20 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

From Port Louis she headed to Cape Town, departing the Indian Ocean for her first, and her last time, and entered the South Atlantic Ocean for the first time. As this is effectively a major shake down voyage for ‘Lilibet’, her arrival in Cape Town will allow the Damen shipyard engineering teams to fix any minor niggles that have cropped up on the positioning voyage, and get her ready for the last part of the voyage home.

Interestingly, she flies the Red Duster, and she is registered in the port of Whitby, which the maritime historians out there will know is the home town, in North Yorkshire in the UK, from where the world’s greatest explorer, and navigator, originated. Of course, I am referring to Captain James Cook RN, who himself called into Cape Town on no less than four occasions, during his three great voyages of discovery, between 1768 and 1780. Whitby also happens to be the twin town to Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands.

Her name, ‘Lilibet’, is the result of a naming competition, which was held amongst the schoolchildren of the two schools in the Falkland Islands. The winning name, which was suggested by a young female pupil at the Stanley Infants and Junior School, is that of the Royal Family’s pet name for the late British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. The competition took place before Queen Elizabeth II passed away in September 2022, and Buckingham Palace gave permission for the name to be used on the new Falkland Islands Fisheries Patrol Vessel.

Lilibet, Cape Town, 20 February 2023.  Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Owned by Seagull Maritime Limited, of London in the UK, ‘Lilibet’ is operated, and managed, by Larus Dominicanus Limited, of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Both companies are owned by the same group, and they share a houseflag, which ‘Lilibet’ displays on her hull, and on her funnels. She is due to begin a 15 year contract to provide Fisheries Patrol duties for the Falkland Islands Government, when she arrives at her home operating port at Port Stanley.

For those who wonder about her company name, Larus Dominicanus, this is the Latin generic species name for the Kelp Gull (or Dominican Gull) which, as South African twitchers will know, is also to be found throughout the whole coastal range of Southern Africa. The local nickname for a Falkland Islander is a ‘Kelper’, hence the link.

The famous design of the Axe Bow, by Damen, will assist ‘Lilibet’ in her new operating home of the South Atlantic Ocean, in both summer and winter. The Axe Bow reduces pitching movements, reduces peak vertical acceleration, reduces slamming, reduces wave resistance and allows for reduced flat water resistance. All of which goes to improve the overall safety of the vessel, greatly improves crew comfort and fatigue, and reduces fuel consumption. A comment by the crew on arriving in Cape Town was that ‘Lilibet’ had a tendency for rolling.

Lilibet, Cape Town, 20 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The bridge is equipped with three navigation, command and control positions, located forward, and with all controls connected directly to the Master’s seat, and a two station communications and surveillance console is located behind them. As well as Fisheries Patrol duties, ‘Lilibet’ will carry out weather reporting, search and rescue duties, marine scientific research, as well as hunting down, and arresting, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) ‘Pirate’ fishing vessels.

Once the Damen Shipyard engineering team in Cape Town has ironed out all her minor maintenance requirements, ‘Lilibet’ will sail for Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, which will be her new home. As well as patrolling the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Falkland Islands, she will also provide support to the EEZ of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Currently the South Georgia government, located at Grytviken on South Georgia, has their own Fisheries Patrol Vessel, the 1993 built, 78 metre long, ‘Pharos SG’.

The Falkland Islands government has had a permanent fisheries patrol vessel (FPV) to oversee the vast fishing industry that occurs around the islands for a long time. At the turn of the 21st century the ‘Dorada’ was the FPV for the Falkland Islands which, in August 2003, was one of the fleet of four vessels, including ‘S.A. Agulhas’ and ‘John Ross’, that chased the IUU pirate fishing vessel ‘Viarsa 1’ for 21 days, over a distance of 3,000 miles, from Heard Island into the South Atlantic Ocean, before stopping and arresting her for illegal fishing in the Australian EEZ. The fourth vessel in the chasing fleet was the Australian FPV ‘Southern Supporter’.

FPV Dorada and IUU f/v Viarsa, 1 August 2003

Retiring in 2008, ‘Dorada’ was replaced in January 2009 by the new FPV, ‘Protegat’, which is still providing FPV duties, and will be retired on the arrival in the Falkland Islands of ‘Lilibet’. The patrolling activities of ‘Protegat’ make interesting reading. In one year of fisheries patrols, she had been out at sea on patrol for 267 days, she has steamed 45,744 nautical miles, and she has carried out no less than 113 vessel boardings and inspections. One wonders how that compares to the South African DFFE fisheries patrol vessels in the EEZ of South African waters.

One other patrol vessel in the Falkland IsIands, which also conducts limited fishery patrols, is the permanently based South Atlantic Guardship of the Royal Navy, based at Mare Harbour in the Falklands. Currently it is ‘HMS Forth P222’, which is a Batch 2 River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV). She was commissioned in 2018, and arrived in the Falkland Islands in January 2020 to take up her permanent role.

In January 2023, ‘HMS Forth P222’ sailed from the Falkland Islands, and headed to Gibraltar where she will undergo her scheduled three yearly refit. She was replaced as the Guardship by her sistership, ‘HMS Medway P223’, who is scheduled to remain on station throughout February and March, until ‘HMS Forth P222’ returns to the Falkland Islands.

Lilibet, Cape Town, 20 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

It is an interesting thought, that in the past, the South Atlantic Guardship, and her fleet auxiliary oiler, always came to South Africa, and the Simonstown Naval Base, to undergo similar drydocking and refit, known as a Fleet Time Support Period (FTSP). Vessels such as ‘HMS Clyde P257’, ‘RFA Gold Rover A271’, and also ‘HMS Endurance A171’ have all gone for extended maintenance periods at Simonstown, whilst being based in the Falkland Islands.

That it was deemed necessary by the Royal Navy, that ‘HMS Forth P222’ should travel almost twice the distance to Gibraltar, rather than to Simonstown, which is a round trip distance of 6,692 nautical miles, as opposed to 11,892 nautical miles, and at that greater cost, just to receive a six week refit, may be a reaction to the recent South African Governments clear, and unambiguous, lurch towards pariah states, and their navies, with those same states being considered to be both openly anti-West, and anti-NATO.

After all, if there is any truth to that being a possibility, there is a good case to answer as to why would you pay over good money to a naval dockyard, whose political masters have shown an open preference for cozying up to a potential adversary.

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Saipem awarded USD400 million drilling contract off Ivory Coast

Deep Value Driller. Picture: DVD

Saipem has been awarded a USD400 million contract for the Joint Venture Eni Côte d’Ivoire Ltd. and Petroci, which is to drill for oil off the coast of Ivory Coast.

The contract value is gross of the leasing costs of the DEEP VALUE DRILLER vessel that will be used for the operations.

the seventh-generation drillship Deep Value Driller (IMO IMO 9625516) is one of the most modern in the world, for which Saipem has entered into a charter agreement with the company named Deep Value Driller.

Saipem says it is strengthening the competitiveness of its fleet by leveraging its consolidated expertise in the selection and management of technologically advanced vessels.

The award of this contract represents an important consolidation of Saipem’s presence in the Ivory Coast, a strategic area where the company is currently executing the project for the development of the oil and gas field Baleine.

This field was discovered recently as a result of the the drilling activities of the Saipem 10000 and Saipem 12000 vessels.

The drilling vessel Deep Value Driller is owned and operated by a company with the same name, Deep Value Driller or DVD. The vessel was built at the Hyundau Heavy Industries shioyard in South Korea and delivered on 21 Febriuary 2014 at a cost of US$750 million. The rig has accommodation for up to 210 crew and workers. Deep Value Driller can drill to a depth of 40,000 feet (12,192 metres) in water depths of up to 10,000 ft (3048 metres).

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Saipem remporte un contrat de forage de 400 millions de dollars au large de la Côte d’Ivoire


Deep Value Driller: Image: DVD

Saipem a remporté un contrat de 400 millions de dollars pour la joint-venture Eni Côte d’Ivoire Ltd. et Petroci, qui doit forer du pétrole au large de la Côte d’Ivoire.

La valeur du contrat est brute des coûts de location du navire DEEP VALUE DRILLER qui sera utilisé pour les opérations.

le navire de forage de septième génération Deep Value Driller (IMO 9625516) est l’un des plus modernes au monde, pour lequel Saipem a conclu un accord d’affrètement avec la société nommée Deep Value Driller.

Saipem affirme renforcer la compétitivité de sa flotte en s’appuyant sur son expertise consolidée dans la sélection et la gestion de navires technologiquement avancés.

L’attribution de ce contrat représente une consolidation importante de la présence de Saipem en Côte d’Ivoire, une zone stratégique où la société exécute actuellement le projet de développement du champ pétrolier et gazier Baleine.

Ce champ a été découvert récemment à la suite des activités de forage des navires Saipem 10000 et Saipem 12000.

Le navire de forage Deep Value Driller appartient et est exploité par une société du même nom, Deep Value Driller ou DVD. Le navire a été construit au chantier naval Hyundau Heavy Industries en Corée du Sud et livré le 21 février 2014 pour un coût de 750 millions de dollars. La plate-forme peut accueillir jusqu’à 210 membres d’équipage et travailleurs. Deep Value Driller peut forer jusqu’à une profondeur de 40 000 pieds (12 192 mètres) dans des profondeurs d’eau allant jusqu’à 10 000 pieds (3048 mètres).

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Greenpeace calls for strengthened surveillance of illegal fishing off West Africa

The fishing factory trawler Vasiliy Filippov. Picture: Vesseltracker

Greenpeace Africa has issued a call on West African governments to strengthen surveillance of the region’s oceans and protect fisheries against all forms of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Despite exposing the suspicious presence of a factory trawler in Senegalese waters, the Russian-registered vessel Vasiliy Filippov (IMO: 8607191, MMSI: 273299470) has continued its operations in Guinea-Bissau and Mauritanian waters.

The fishing vessel is listed as owned by a Namibian company on behalf of the Icelandic company Samherji.

Samherji hf is a fishing and fish processing company based in Iceland. It is reported as the largest fishing company in Iceland, and one of the largest in Europe.

According to Greenpeace Africa, the vessel’s presence anywhere in the region’s waters represents a threat to all these countries, which share the same fish stocks.

Illegal fishing, it says, undermines the regional economy and costs states billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Greenpeace Africa said it has restated its longstanding demand that governments cooperate to prevent the depletion of fish stocks, the degradation of marine habitats and the destruction of an entire ecosystem that is vital for the region’s economy and food sovereignty.

A vital step towards this, it says, would be greater transparency in the fisheries sector, the reduction of fishing overcapacity and the strengthening of surveillance of the seas.

“Today, most fish stocks in the region are overexploited,” says Dr Aliou Ba, Greenpeace Africa’s Oceans Campaigner. “The presence of foreign vessels makes this worse and threatens people’s livelihoods and their access to food.

“Fishermen are becoming increasingly indebted and socially vulnerable because of these industrial competitors. States would gain more if they invested in the sustainable management of our seas rather than selling them off to foreign industrial vessels.”

Dr Ba said the fisheries sector is strategically important to West Africa.

“We should be doing everything we can so there is effective surveillance of the West African coastline. That way, fisheries can continue protecting our food security and socio-economic stability.”

Dr Ba said it deserves so much more attention from the authorities. Its sustainable and transparent management must be at the heart of the public policies of West African states, he added.

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Greenpeace appelle à une surveillance renforcée de la pêche illégale au large de l’Afrique de l’Ouest

Le chalutier usine de pêche Vasiliy Filippov. Photo : Vesseltracker

Greenpeace Afrique a lancé un appel aux gouvernements ouest-africains pour qu’ils renforcent la surveillance des océans de la région et protègent la pêche contre toutes les formes de pêche illégale, non déclarée et non réglementée.

Bien qu’il ait révélé la présence suspecte d’un chalutier-usine dans les eaux sénégalaises, le navire battant pavillon russe Vasiliy Filippov (IMO : 8607191, MMSI : 273299470) a poursuivi ses opérations dans les eaux bissau-guinéennes et mauritaniennes.

Le navire de pêche est répertorié comme appartenant à une société namibienne au nom de la société islandaise Samherji.

Samherji hf est une entreprise de pêche et de transformation du poisson basée en Islande. Elle est signalée comme la plus grande entreprise de pêche d’Islande et l’une des plus grandes d’Europe.

Selon Greenpeace Afrique, la présence du navire n’importe où dans les eaux de la région représente une menace pour tous ces pays, qui partagent les mêmes stocks de poissons.

La pêche illégale, dit-il, sape l’économie régionale et coûte aux États des milliards de dollars en revenus perdus.

Greenpeace Afrique a déclaré avoir réitéré sa demande de longue date que les gouvernements coopèrent pour empêcher l’épuisement des stocks de poissons, la dégradation des habitats marins et la destruction de tout un écosystème vital pour l’économie et la souveraineté alimentaire de la région.

Une étape essentielle vers cela, dit-il, serait une plus grande transparence dans le secteur de la pêche, la réduction de la surcapacité de pêche et le renforcement de la surveillance des mers.

“Aujourd’hui, la plupart des stocks de poissons de la région sont surexploités”, déclare le Dr Aliou Ba, responsable de la campagne Océans de Greenpeace Afrique. “La présence de navires étrangers aggrave la situation et menace les moyens de subsistance des gens et leur accès à la nourriture.

“Les pêcheurs sont de plus en plus endettés et socialement vulnérables à cause de ces concurrents industriels. Les États gagneraient davantage s’ils investissaient dans la gestion durable de nos mers plutôt que de les vendre à des navires industriels étrangers.”

Le Dr Ba a déclaré que le secteur de la pêche est stratégiquement important pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest.

“Nous devrions faire tout ce que nous pouvons pour qu’il y ait une surveillance efficace du littoral ouest-africain. De cette façon, la pêche peut continuer à protéger notre sécurité alimentaire et notre stabilité socio-économique”.

Le Dr Ba a déclaré que cela méritait tellement plus d’attention de la part des autorités. Sa gestion durable et transparente doit être au cœur des politiques publiques des Etats ouest-africains, a-t-il ajouté.

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Not all gloom and doom – TPT still performing well in certain sectors

Durban’s Car Terminal setting news records at over 825,000 vehicles handled this year. Port of Durban’s Maydon Wharf – busy with breakbulk and bulk. Picture is by Chris Hoare /

As the 2022/2023 financial year draws to a close (end March), Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) points out that it has recorded a few records across sectors – this despite flooding, looting, inclement weather and electricity constraints.

Speaking at the Transport Forum last week, TPT Chief Executive Jabu Mdaki said that two of the four sectors the company operated in were at an all time high.

The Transport Forum is an annual collaborative engagement with customers and reflects on the year that has passed while also sharing the strategy for the new financial year beginning in April 2023.

Automotive & breakbulk sectors score

“The automotive and break-bulk sectors are performing exceptionally well, and volumes are higher than they’ve ever been,”Mdaki said.

He added that the automotive terminals will have handled over 825,000 fully built vehicles by end March and break-bulk volumes would have exceeded 27 million tons in the same period.

The bulk and container sector volumes had remained more or less the same and there was opportunity for a strong finish at the end of March.

Engaging the forum on the eight key segments namely containers, automotive, iron ore, magnetite, manganese, chrome, coal and breakbulk – the different heads of the KwaZulu Natal, Western and Eastern Cape regions detailed plans on infrastructure, maintenance and how they would manage the supply chain process better while placing a strong emphasis on people.

Port of Durban’s Maydon Wharf – busy with breakbulk and bulk. Picture is by Chris Hoare /

KwaZulu Natal

In KwaZulu Natal, the Durban Container Terminals are also in the process of procuring additional straddle carriers while the ship-to-shore cranes were undergoing midlife refurbishment in a phased approach.

Initiatives like the driver truck management system (DTMS) were already in place at the terminal to ensure the safe keeping of cargo within premises.

The implementation of the new free import storage rule last year is also yielding benefits that improve yard fluidity and overall efficiency in the system.

The terminals have relooked the free 72 hours an importer has to collect a container. Previously, the counting of the free 72 hours started when all containers on a vessel had been offloaded. Now, the counting of the free 72 hours begins 24 hours after a container is discharged from the vessel and placed in the stacking area.

In recent weeks, the terminal has been meeting its contractual obligations with shipping lines and meeting most key performance indicators.

The Richards Bay Terminals will soon have an additional conveyor route to increase the offloading capacity of magnetite. This is in addition to a new general-purpose loader.

Year to date volumes were 9% higher at the Bulk Terminals and 44% higher at the Breakbulk Terminal owing to the global coal demand.

One of the biggest successes of the terminals was the adoption of reliability-based maintenance, moving from reactive to a proactive maintenance regime that is supported by ownership culture.

East London Car Terminal experienced a 98% increase in volumes. Picture Transnet

Eastern Cape

With 31% more container volumes compared to the same period last year, the Eastern Cape Container Terminals have met budget. This is despite new European Union cold treatment regulations as well as limited market access to the Middle and Far East due to vessel omissions.

The East London Terminal is also handling export grain volumes again after the temporary closure of the silo for two years due to low regional volumes.

Nqgura Container Terminal volumes were 20% higher and the Port Elizabeth Container Terminal volumes were up 11% across refrigerated containers.

Automotive volumes were higher at the Port Elizabeth Car Terminal by 34% and 98% up at the East London Terminal.

Cape Town Container Terminal, replacement of key equipment in progress.  Picture Transnet

Western Cape

In the Western Cape, long-term spares supply contracts for equipment have been awarded as the Cape Town Container Terminal continues to bring back more equipment that has been long-standing due to unavailability of spares.

This will improve availability and reliability of equipment.

Replacement of key equipment for the terminal has also begun with 20 new trailers already manufactured and delivered by Transnet Engineering (TE).

The terminal has shared with stakeholders its plans to replace equipment as well as the midlife refurbishment of its ship-to-shore cranes.

The terminal is recovering from the impact of heavy winds experienced in the past week. The inclement weather resulted in the terminal not being fully operational for 4.5 days, losing up to 108 man working hours in that period.

The Saldanha Terminals remain the largest export iron ore facility in Africa, loading more than 8,000 tons per hour. The terminal has filed an application to increase volume throughput per annum from 60 million tons per annum to 76mt.

“This Transport Forum platform is important as it ensures TPT manages to share its current and future plans with customers, port users and relevant stakeholders in order to contribute to making South Africa globally competitive,” said Mdaki.

He added that the company was handling more coal and manganese than it’s ever handled in its history, as global demand increases across these commodities.

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WHARF TALK: MR2 product tanker AEGEA

Australis ex America, at Cape Town 30 September 1973. Picture: Pinterest

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The current crop of passenger liners, seemingly arriving almost daily, many of which are on their first calls at the major South African ports, bring back memories of a time when the closure of the Suez Canal had many magnificent passenger liners calling into Cape Town and Durban, whilst en route to Australia and the Far East, and who would never be seen in South African waters under normal circumstances.

Today, the more numerous, one-off, unusual callers are normally the mundane tanker, arriving in great numbers due to the continuing lack of refining capacity in South Africa. They often make multiple port calls along the coast during their call. Occasionally, one gets to spot that one vessel arriving, and whose funnel colours only seems to confuse the casual observer. That confusion is borne of the fact that the funnel markings only go to evoke, and reawaken, memories of a very different time, and of a very different type of vessel.

On 22nd February at 17h00 in the afternoon, the MR2 product tanker AEGEA (IMO 9326500) arrived off Cape Town, from Port Elizabeth, and entered Cape Town harbour, to go directly to the Tanker Basin in the Duncan Dock, to start her discharge. Her call directly from another South African port was as a result of her being chartered to conduct a coastal run on behalf of one of the oil majors in Durban.

Built in 2008 by SLS Shipbuilding (Shinasb) at Tongyoung in South Korea, ‘Aegea’ is 183 metres in length and she has a deadweight of 51,371 tons. She is powered by a single MAN-B&W 7S50MC-C 7 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 15,049 bhp (11,069 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 15 knots.

Aegea, Cape Town 23 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes four MAN 6L23/30H generators providing 970 kW each, and a single Cummins emergency generator. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg Mission OC exhaust gas boiler, and a single Alfa Laval Mission OL oil fired auxiliary boiler.

For added harbour manoeuvrability, she has a Kawasaki KT-105B3F transverse bow thruster providing 1,000 kW. She has 12 cargo tanks, with a cargo carrying capacity of 51,869 m3, and can carry 6 grades of product at any one time. She has 12 cargo pumps capable of pumping at 600 m3/hour.

Aegea, Cape Town 23 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her original voyage to South Africa started at the Italian oil terminal port of Sarroch, on the island of Sardinia, on 9th January. She arrived off Durban at 21h00 in the evening of 2nd February, entering Durban harbour and going alongside at Island View 7 to do a complete discharge. She then took on a new cargo of products from the Island View oil terminal, and sailed from Durban a week later at 04h00 on 9th February, bound for her first discharge port on the coast, which was East London, where she arrived at 08h00 on 11th February.

After two days discharging in East London, ‘Aegea’ sailed at 09h00 on 13th February, to make the short hop down the Eastern Cape coast to the Port Elizabeth anchorage in Algoa Bay, where she arrived at 19h00 the same evening, after a ten hour voyage. She remained out at anchor for almost four days, finally entering Port Elizabeth harbour at 1200 on 17th February. Her call at the Windy City was for less than a day, and at 07h00 on 18th February, she sailed for Cape Town.

Aegea, Cape Town 23 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

It would not be incorrect to assume that Cape Town was her third, and last call, whilst on her coastal run. She spent just under three days discharging in the Mother City, and at 10h00 on 25th February, she was ready to sail. However, she was not in ballast back to a loading terminal, but she clearly has unfinished business in the Eastern Cape, as she sailed back to Port Elizabeth. On arrival, she was not sent to the anchorage on this occasion, but entered Port Elizabeth harbour at 06h00 on 27th February.

Aegea, Cape Town 23 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Bizarrely, her discharge did not end there either, as she sailed from Port Elizabeth at 22h00 on 28th February, now bound once more for East London, where she is scheduled to arrive at 10h00 on 1st March. One has to assume that this, her fifth port of discharge on the coast, and her second call to the same port on the same voyage, as was Port Elizabeth, will be her last one and from there she will sail to load at an oil terminal port, as yet to be announced. It is almost unheard of for a MR2 sized tanker to call at five ports on one coastal voyage.

The design of ‘Aegea’ is very popular, and she is one of four sisterships built for the same owner. Her name is clearly one that points to Greece, and she is nominally owned by Sictus 4 Ltd., of Valetta in Malta, with her true owners being her operating, and managing company, Chandris Hellas Incorporated, of Athens.

The name Chandris will be well known to passenger shipping enthusiasts, and one look at the funnel of ‘Aegea’ will dispel the thought that she can’t possibly be connected to that great Greek company, well known for operating some of the most beautiful passenger vessels in the 1960s and 1970s. But her funnel colours of a white St. Andrews Cross, on a blue background, with a black topping, are a clear sign that this company is linked to one, and the same, owners of those great liners.

Britanis. Cape Town 1971. Picture: Chicken Juice

Back in the late 1960s, and early 1970s, before air travel took hold, Chandris Lines were one of those companies that ran scheduled services from the UK, and Europe, to Australia, via Suez. All of their oceanic liners were beautiful classic liners, bought on the second hand market.

They were mainly employed mainly on the emigrant trade, and on the closure of the Suez Canal, they all rounded the Cape instead, and were regular callers into Cape Town and Durban. They carried the famous ‘Ten Pound Poms’, all making their journey to begin a new life in Australia, under the Assisted Emigration Scheme of the Australian Government. An immigration programme that, no doubt, many people today, reading this, wished was still on offer.

Patris, ex Bloemfontein Castle. Cape Town August 1972. Picture: Worthpoint

Callers at Cape Town included ‘Patris’, originally the 1949 built ‘Bloemfontein Castle’ of the Union Castle Line, and who remained in the Chandr

is Lines fleet from 1959 to 1979. Also the fabulous twin funneled ‘Australis’, originally the 1939 built ‘America’ of the United States Line, who served Chandris Lines from 1969 to 1978.

Ellenis. Cape Town 1 January 1971. Picture: Shipspotting

There were also the three Matson Lines classic twin funneled steamers, the ‘Ellinis’ of 1932, which sailed for Chandris Lines from 1963 to 1981, the ‘Britanis’ of 1931, which sailed for Chandris Lines between 1970 and 1996. The oldest of these magnificently proportioned callers was the 1926 built ‘Queen Frederica’, who served Chandris Lines from 1965 to 1977.

The last of the Chandris fleet to make regular calls to South Africa was 1936 built ‘The Victoria’, another ex Union Castle Line vessel, originally ‘Dunottar Castle’, who served in the Chandris Lines fleet from 1975 to 1993. Unlike the traditional Chandris liners, ‘The Victoria’ had been converted for cruising, and was one of the earliest, regular, seasonal cruising visitors to South Africa, conducting a programme of regular cruises around the Southern African coast, very much as MSC do today.

Belofin-1 and tug Iribis. 21 October 2000. Picture: Chicken Juice

The 1931 ‘Britanis’ had a further story to tell, that had a South African connection. She had been laid up since 1996 at Tampa Bay, in the US state of Florida. In 2000 she was renamed ‘Belofin-1’, and under the towing bridle of the Ukrainian tug ‘Iribis’, she began her final voyage, headed for the cutting torches of the shipbreakers beach at Alang, in India.

On 21st October 2000, when she was in a position some 50 nautical miles south of Cape Town, she developed a severe list. The South African maritime authorities ordered the tug to maintain a position well off the South African coast, as there was a risk of ‘Belofin-1’ sinking, and an oil spill incident resulting. Her list kept increasing, and with nobody on the tug able to control the water ingress, she eventually turned over on to her beam ends, and eventually she sank in deep water off the Cape coast.

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Mozambique’s TotalEnergies-led LNG project in Cabo Delgado province set to restart in July


The projected LNG liquefaction site at Afungi in northern Mozambique. Image: TotalEnergies

It is being widely reported that Saipem will restart work on the TotalEnergies-led Mozambique LNG liquefaction project at the Afungi peninsula. This is near the port town of Palma in Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique.

Work ceased at the multi-million dollar project after TotalEnergies and partners declared force majeure in April 2021. It followed widespread insurgency action that saw the town of Palma sacked and the general area surrounding the liquefaction project complex threatened by Islamist insurgents.

The area has since returned to some sense of normality after Rwandan and SADC armed forces were deployed to the province to assist Mozambica armed forces in restoring law and order.

Although security throughout the province has not yet been completely accomplished, the area on the coast involving Palma and Mocimboa da Praia further south has been declared free of terrorism – for now.

It is understood the Mozambique government has placed some pressure on TotalEnergies and Partners to restart. Earlier in February TotalEnergies appointed Jean-Chritophe Rufin, a specialist in human rights and humanitarian action, to investigate and assess the situation at Afungi, ahead of any decision being taken.

The Eni-led consortium’s FLNG vessel, Coral Sul, which is on station in the Rovuma Basin, offshore the northern Mozambique coast, and avoiding all the problems ashore. Picture: Eni

Now, according to Saipem, the go-ahead has been given for them to commence preliminary work. Saipem CEO, Alessandro Pulutti is quoted saying they expect to gradually restart the project from July this year.

He said it was assumed that the client (TotalEnergies) was confident of solving any potential issues that might arise.

The delay caused by the terrorist action has remained a setback to Mozamique’s aspirations of becoming a large-scale producer and exporter of LNG, which is derived from offshore wells in the Rovuma Basin.

While the TotalEnergie-led consortium project has faltered, another liquefaction production unit offshore, the FLNG Coral Sul, has already produced and exported its first consignment of LNG to a European destination.

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The global nature of trade will prevail, MSC CEO Soren Toft tells TPM23 conference

Speaking for the first time at this year’s Transpacific Maritime Conference known as TPM23, MSC CEO Soren Toft provided a detailed overview of MSC’s continued growth, expectations for economic recovery, and efforts to realize sustainable shipping.

The annual TPM conference, which took place this week in Long Beach, California, is one of the largest and most consequential events for the supply chain and logistics industry. It was also the first full-scale physical-only gathering for TPM since the COVID outbreak.

“The world has seen through the supply chain crunch just how important the logistics and shipping industry really is – we keep global trade moving,” Toft said in an interview with the Journal of Commerce’s Peter Tirschwell.

“It has really displayed the fundamental role that we have, and customers are now thinking about how to make their supply chain as resilient for the future.”

On the back of the pandemic – which Tirschwell declared to be “over” as he opened this year’s event to a record 3,500 participants – supply chains and the freight market have normalized and the global economy should see some improvements in the second half of the year, according to Toft.

Container shipping will serve as the bedrock for the growth of international trade and commerce, and “global trade will prevail” despite the disruptions of COVID and geopolitical factors, Toft remarked. “The world will continue to be globalized, but with a more distributed supply chain,” he said.

MSC, the world’s largest container shipping company, has invested significantly in renewing its fleet in recent years and intends to keep on injecting billions of dollars to ensure it can continue to be a long-term partner for customers, according to Soren Toft. As “first and foremost” a shipping company, MSC prefers to operate its own ships and will likely see the proportion of chartered tonnage in its fleet decline in the coming months, as well as sending some older ships to be recycled, he revealed.

Overall, the impact of improving the operational efficiency of the fleet to comply with the UN IMO’s Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) may absorb 7-10 per cent of the world’s container shipping fleet capacity, he said.

When asked about the company’s future plans, Toft acknowledged that MSC’s desire to serve the whole market differs from the stated strategy of some other carriers.

“We define ourselves on what the customer wants, not on what we want to offer,” he said. The company remains committed to long-term partnerships, and investments that look far into the future, he added, declining to disclose specific details of the company’s strategy.

“We are a family company, so we think really long term,” Toft remarked. “For us, it is about how we can build the next 53 years of history and not just the next quarter.”

This means realizing investments that will ensure the company’s growth, enhancing the fleet and developing productive container terminals, he explained. Where customers seek digital solutions, or services via rail, barge, truck and air, MSC can also deliver these, depending on the customer’s need.

MSC container ship handling project cargo


The interview also focused on the urgent task of achieving decarbonization across the supply chain. As the world’s largest ocean carrier, MSC endeavours to be a steward of the world’s oceans and to this end has invested substantially in cutting-edge technologies and digital applications to improve energy efficiency.

It has also pioneered the use of responsibly sourced blended biofuels and will soon start using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as part of the transition towards net decarbonization by 2050.

Toft lamented the lack of a global carbon price or global research and development (R&D) fund that would have incentivized companies to develop green solutions. He also called on energy companies that are in the process of producing viable alternative green fuels to accelerate the transition and called for further cross-industry collaboration to achieve this.

MSC, he said, is looking at a multi-pronged approach, deploying several types of net-zero energy sources such as synthetic LNG, green methanol and ammonia, to propel the MSC fleet of the future when these fuels become available at scale.

Whatever the solution, a net zero future will add costs to the supply chain and these costs will ultimately be passed on to the consumer, he pointed out.

“Decarbonization is something that we must solve,” he said. “This is not something that we maybe should fix, this is something that we absolutely must fix, and I’m sure we will.”

TPM23 took place from 26 February to 1 March 2023.

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Mozambique’s Limpopo Railway remains closed by heavy rain

Limpopo railway connecting Botswana and Zimbabwe with the port at Maputo. Picture CFM

The Limpopo rail line between Zimbabwe and the Mozambique port of Maputo remains closed due to flooding, reports the state-owned rail operator, Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM).

The line traverses the Gaza province in southern Mozambique was closed by flooding on 24 February and continued heavy rain, made worse by the more recent arrival of Cyclone Freddy slightly to the north.

A spokesman for CFM said heavy rain was making it difficult to re-establish operations on the line.

He said efforts were nevertheless underway but the floods caused by both the rain and swollen rivers made it impossible to estimate dates for the re-establishment of traffic on the line between the port city of Maputo and Zimbabwe.

Although this is the rainy season for most of Mozambique, the rainfall has been higher than expected during February.

Goba Railway

Meanwhile it is reported that the Goba railway that links Maputo with eSwatini (Swaziland) and via that country with KZN in South Africa at Golela, has been reopened as from 27 February after being closed for about a fortnight due to heavy rain, washaways and a landslide.

Other areas of Mozambique to be affected by the weather include Inhambine province, Sofala province, and Manica province which have suffered from the heavy rains including that brought about by the recent cyclone.

Although Cyclone Freddy was downrated from a cyclone shortly after making landfall at Vilanculos and as it moved inland and northwestwards into Zimbabwe and Zambia as a heavy storm, it continued to bring heavy rain to these areas.

A government spokesman said that although the weather system resulted in no known deaths, more than 57,000 people had been affected across the country. source: CFM, Lusa and Noticias

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CMA CGM adds Comoros call via Mtwara on NOURA service

CMA CGM’s NOURA service linking Comoros via transshipments to Mtwara

In a service update, French shipping line CMA CGM advises that it will in future add Comoros via transhipments at Mrwara to the NOURA service, which operates between East Africa, Colombo (Sri Lanka) and the Gulf (Jebel Ali).

The Comoros service will now be served via Mtwara in Tanzania, involving CMA CGM’s I/O feeder service operating between Comoros (Moroni/Mutsamudu) and the Tanzanian port of Ntwara.

CMA CGM says this new connection will provide smooth operations and competitive transit times.

The service will commence with the vessel CMA CGM FUZHOU, voyage 0NLDPS1MA, ETA Jebel Ali on 5 April, ETA Mtwara on 19 April, and the NOURA service will include Mtwara to the rotation as follows:

Colombo – Jebel Ali – Berbera (1/2) – Mogadishu – Mtwara – Beira (1/2)- Nacala – Port Victoria – Colombo

The connection between Mtwara and the Comoros (Moroni/Mutsamudu) will be ensured with CMA CGM’s feeder service IO FEED 4.

CMA CGM services will be able to connect with the vessel CMA CGM Fuzhou via Jebel Ali on various services.

Further details available from the respective CMA CGM offices.

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IN CONVERSATION: Crisis meeting called after trucks block N2 highway and trash local airfield

Heavy-haul trucks loaded with coal or manganese, parked on the grass runway of the Empangeni airfield outside Richards Bay. Screenshot from YouTube – see further below

Eyewitnesses said the trucks were lined up on both sides of the highway at one point, with others parked two abreast along a 12 km section of the N2. Some drivers had been stuck there for nearly three days, without easy access to food, water or toilets. 

 As a temporary solution, irate taxi operators “escorted” the trucks to an airfield in the nearby town of Empangeni on Friday.  But, weighed down with heavy loads of coal, the trucks trashed the airfield as their wheels churned up the grass runway at the new temporary staging area.

According to Transnet, the back-up of truck traffic outside the town was exacerbated by “national events which took place on February 21 in the Richards Bay CBD, during which trucks were halted from entering the city”. 

Richards Bay town centre was the scene of Armed Forces Day celebrations attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa and about 8,000 members of the SA National Defence Force on that day. The event included a medal presentation and military parade through the streets of Richards Bay ahead of joint naval exercises off the KwaZulu-Natal coast by Russia, China and South Africa.

However, Christo Botha, a local councillor and executive committee member of the City of Umhlathuze local municipality, has laid the blame for truck congestion squarely at the door of “Transnet management ineptitude”, along with coal transporters cashing in on high coal prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the International Energy Association, Russia is the third largest coal exporter in the world and trade sanctions by Western governments have led to a reconfiguration of global coal flow to Europe that has been filled largely by coal producers in South Africa, Colombia, Tanzania, Botswana and elsewhere.

The N2 highway north of Richards Bay was gridlocked by coal trucks last week. Picture: Road Angels Traffic Angels)

Mike French, a light aircraft pilot from Richards Bay, said the Empangeni runway had been “totally trashed by the invasion of our airfield”.

“Not only have they severely damaged the runway, but it is against civil aviation regulations to hinder access to an airfield that is used for essential services such as air ambulance emergency operations and crime patrols.”

Although the trucks moved off the airfield late on Friday and early Saturday, French asked: “Who is going to pay to fix the runway at a time when the district municipality has already cut back on financial support for the airfield?”

Botha, who has been at the forefront of Umhlathuze’s efforts to resolve the coal truck crisis, said there had been regular incidents of coal truck congestion in the city since August and a multi-stakeholder meeting with a wide range of parties has been scheduled for March 8.

“The chaos we have experienced over recent days and months boils down to a total collapse management by Transnet port operations,” he suggested. “We can no longer allow these failures to impact negatively on our city, business owners and residents.”

Botha suggested a combination of reasons for the current crisis, including the deliberate sabotage or disruption of the Transnet rail network leading to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal.

Transnet has also acknowledged that freight locomotive operations nationwide have been severely hampered by its legal dispute with the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), with nearly 160 of these locomotives non-operational, exacerbated by delivery delays of another 99 CRRC locomotives.

Botha said the problems in Richards Bay port had been compounded by poor management in processing the unprecedented surge in coal exports by road hauliers.

“Many of these trucks are coming from Ermelo and other coal fields in Mpumalanga. They just keep coming in and Portnet is not able to handle the volume – even though some of the loads are not scheduled to be exported for another three to four months. Yet Transnet still allows them to offload at temporary stockpiles.”

Residents, businesses and taxi owners are fed up with the endless convoys of coal trucks rumbling through the port city of Richards Bay, resulting in traffic jams, cracked roads and new road safety hazards.

While traffic police were restricting the number of coal trucks entering the port via the main John Ross Highway and R619, some truckers were using back roads in the vicinity of Richards Bay Minerals to get through via the Meer en See residential area.

“The City of Umhlathuze only has 27 traffic officers. These officers are split into shifts and now that several are deployed to assist the KZN provincial Road Traffic Inspectorate along the N2, the number of traffic officers are spread very thin to patrol and enforce the law in other parts of the city,” said Botha.

Because of the regular congestion and backlog to enter the main harbour, local residents, business owners and taxi associations were at their wits end, he said. 

“Transnet’s problem becomes our problem when they shut the harbour gates. This is not something that is going to go away any time soon, so Transnet needs to come up with a solution.” he warned.

One possible solution, he suggested, was the rapid establishment of a large truck stop and stockpiling yard and new coal conveyance equipment. Botha believes this will require the city or other landowners to provide at least 20ha for a new coal yard and a further 40ha for a truck stop.

Our Burning Planet contacted Transnet to establish what it was doing to resolve the crisis.

In a joint statement, issued after a meeting between Transnet, the SA National Roads Agency and the provincial road traffic inspectorate on Friday, the three authorities said they had discussed ways of working together to decongest municipal roads and the N2 Highway. 

According to their statement, the primary cause of the sudden influx in recent days was due to “national events which took place on February 21 in the Richards Bay CBD, during which trucks were halted from entering the city”. 

Traffic flow had “now improved drastically due to contingency plans put in place by the Port, RTI and the city’s traffic department”. 

“The city has emphasized its willingness to continue to work closely with Transnet and other stakeholders in resolving the issue of truck congestion. The city has plans to construct a truck stop, which will assist in alleviating the influx of trucks on the roads – and the process is at an advanced stage.

“Immediate plans have been put to the table and a call has been made for the involvement of other industries to also come on board and become part of the solution. The city has overwhelmingly welcomed Transnet’s immediate plans to remedy the situation and have pledged their full support.”

Some of the contingency plans put in place include: 

  • 300 trucks would be allowed inside the port vicinity with immediate effect. This included trucks temporarily stationed at the Empangeni airport and those currently on the N2. 
  • A new colour-coded truck-calling process would be implemented and managed collaboratively with customers. 
  • Trucks would have to be dispatched with a sticker on their windscreens to identify which area/vessel they are destined for. 
  • New staging areas would be operationalised inside the port terminals. Trucks would be pulled off public roads into new staging and offloading areas in terms of the colour-coding system. 
  • Naval Island would become a new, temporary staging area, until the situation improved. 
  • Transnet had beefed up offloading capacity by deploying additional resources to avoid further congestion. 
  • Staging area personnel would communicate with truck supervisors via a two-way radio system to improve guidance to destinations. The port was also negotiating with its customers to hire more traffic marshalls.
  • Should any truck arrive in Richards Bay without a permit, they should be reported to the road traffic department and a fine would be issued 

“Community members are advised to remain calm and vigilant when driving in the affected road networks during this period. The City of Umhlathuze strongly urges the community to refrain from taking the law into their own hands and to allow law enforcement agencies space to perform their duties diligently.” 

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

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The P&O cruise ship Artania arriving in Cape Town 25 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The waters of South Africa are still full of beautiful passenger liners, ploughing their furrows around the coast, and we currently have the first wave of these world travelers making their calls at local ports. One of those vessels is one that was revolutionary, as a cruise liner, when it was first brought into service.

She had an appropriate name when she entered service, and when later transferred within the owners group, she could be seen calling in at South African ports on world cruises, when flying the famous ‘Drunken Zulu’ of a company houseflag, and displaying the famous yellow funnel of the great Peninsula and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (POSN), better known as P&O for short. Today she still caters for the world traveler, and she is currently in South African waters.

On 25th February, at 08h00 in the morning, the passenger liner ARTANIA (IMO 8201480) arrived off Cape Town, from East London, and entered Cape Town harbour to proceed directly to the Passenger Cruise terminal at E berth in the Duncan Dock. She was in town for two days, and taking time to allow for her Fly-Cruise passengers to change over, before continuing on her world cruise.

For a modern passenger liner still plying her trade, she is no spring chicken, and has been around for almost 40 years, as she was built in 1984 by the Wärtsilä Hielahti shipyard at Helsinki in Finland. She is 230 metres in length and has a gross registered tonnage of 44,656 tons. She cost US$165 million (ZAR3.04 billion) to build, even as long ago as 1984, and she was the most expensive passenger vessel ever built at the time, but for good reason.

Artania, Cape Town 25 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is powered by four Wärtsilä 12V32 12 cylinder 4 stroke main engines producing 9,911 bhp (7,290 kW) each, giving ‘Artania’ an overall power output of 39,644 bhp (29,160 kW), driving two controllable pitch propellers for a service speed of 22 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes a single Wärtsilä 8V32 main engine providing 4,000 kW, and used as an emergency generator. She has four Saacke exhaust gas boilers, and two Saacke oil fired auxiliary boilers. For added manoeuvrability she has two bow transverse thrusters providing 750 kW each.

She was built to the order of Princess Cruise Lines, and launched in February 1984, and commissioned in December 1984. She was named ‘Royal Princess’ and her godmother was none other than Diana, Princess of Wales, hence her regal name. When built, her high cost included the fact that she was the first passenger vessel in the world to have no inside cabins, and for all cabins to be outside cabins, some with balconies. It was revolutionary at the time.

She was transferred to P&O in 2005, and renamed ‘Artemis’, adopting the famous yellow funnel, and was sent on round the world cruises during the northern winter, which included many calls into South African ports. For the nomenclature fans, ‘Artemis’ is the Roman Goddess name for the Greek Goddess Diana, which was a clever way of P&O maintaining the link with the Princess of Wales.

In 2011, she was sold on to German owners, and renamed ‘Artania’. She is nominally owned by MS Artania Shipping Company, of Nassau in the Bahamas, and she is operated by her true owners, Phoenix Reisen GmbH, of Bonn in Germany. She is managed by Bernhard Schulte Cruise Services GmbH, of Hamburg.

Artania, Cape Town 25 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She can carry 1,188 passengers, and a crew of 537. She has nine decks, eight of which are for majority passenger use. Her eight decks includes 594 cabins. Her passenger facilities include two restaurants, seven bars, four lounges, an internet café, library, casino, theatre, cinema, boutiques, a health spa, gymnasium, salon and four pools. When ‘Artania’ arrived in Cape Town, on her world cruise, she had 1,024 passengers onboard.

Her current world cruise is a 115 day voyage, covering 65 ports, which began in Savona, Italy, back on 13th December 2022. As with ‘Costa Deliziosa’, the reader will once more need to dust off their school atlas to follow the itinerary of ‘Artania’ around the globe. She also offered five ‘Fly-Cruise’ options on her itinerary for those passengers looking for a shorter world cruise.

Savona- Alexandria- Port Said- Suez Canal- Sharm El Sheikh (all Egypt)- Eilat (Israel)- Aqaba (Jordan)- Safaga (Egypt)- Salalah- Muscat (both Oman)- Fujairah- Sharjah- Dubai- Abu Dhabi – Dubai (Fly-Cruise option)- Abu Dhabi (all UAE)- Doha (Qatar)- Sir Bani Yas (UAE)- Manama (Bahrain)- Kuwait (Kuwait)- Khasab- Muscat (both Oman)- Mumbai- Cochin (both India)- Colombo (Fly-Cruise option)- Hambantota (both Sri Lanka)- Malé (Maldives)- Victoria- Praslin- La Digue (all Seychelles)- Saint Denis (Reunion)- Port Louis (Mauritius Fly-Cruise option)- Saint Denis (Reunion)- Antsiranana- Nosy Be (both Madagascar)- Mayotte (Comores)- Mombasa (Kenya)- Zanzibar (Tanzania)- Moroni (Comores)- Mozambique Island- Maputo (both Mozambique)- Richards Bay (21st February)- Durban (22nd February)- East London (23rd February)- Cape Town (25th-27th February Fly-Cruise option)- Durban (2nd March)- East London (3rd March)- Port Elizabeth (4th March)- Lüderitz (7th March)- Walvis Bay (8th March both Namibia)- Luanda (Angola)- Príncipe (São Tomé & Príncipe)- Banjul (Gambia)- Dakar (Senegal Fly Cruise option)- Banjul (Gambia)- Praia- Sal- Mindelo (all Cape Verde)- La Palma- Arrecife (both Canary Islands)- Agadir- Tangier (both Morocco)- Malaga- Cartagena- Barcelona (all Spain)- Marseille (France). The cruise terminates in Marseille on 7th April.

During her service for P&O as ‘Artemis’, she had another first as British Captain Sarah Breton was named as the Master of the Ship in 2010. She was only the second female Captain of a passenger liner, anywhere in the world. She was beaten to that crown by Swedish Captain Karin Stahre-Janson, who had been appointed Captain of the ‘Monarch of the Seas’, of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, in 2007. However, Sarah Breton was the first female Captain of any British cruise liner.

During the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, in late March 2020, ‘Artania’ was lying off the port of Fremantle, in Western Australia, and had reported 7 positive cases of Covid-19 amongst her passengers. She was allowed to dock in Fremantle on 27th March, and 850 of her passengers were allowed to disembark and fly home to Germany. A further 41 passengers and crew then tested positive, with some transferred to hospitals in Perth.

Artania and MSC Sinfonia, Cape Town 25 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

By mid-April, only 450 crew, and 12 ill passengers remained onboard, and ‘Artania’ departed Fremantle on 18th April, with 645 crewmembers and 12 passengers aboard, bound for Indonesia and the Philippines, to enable her to disembark her local crew in their home countries. She arrived at Tanjung Priok, in Indonesia, on 23rd April and disembarked 57 of her crew. On 28th April she arrived at Manila, in the Philippines, and she disembarked a further 236 members of her crew.

Sadly four of her passengers who were hospitalized in Perth passed away, followed by another four of the 12 who were left onboard. She now had just a skeleton crew of 75 left onboard, plus the 8 remaining passengers, and she set sail for Bremerhaven in Germany, via Singapore for bunkers, where she finally arrived home on 8th June, almost six months after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As per the question posed yesterday, it was ‘Artania’ that was the last passenger vessel in the world to land her passengers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a record that she had held from 21st April onwards, until her arrival back in Germany.

On arrival back in Bremerhaven ‘Artania’ went into an enforced lay-up, and she remained there until December 2021, when she was able to return to sea, and resume her cruise programme once more.

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Guinea-Bissau: Oil spill response planning

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

A workshop was held in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau from 20 to 24 February to improve the country’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively in the event of an oil pollution incident.

This event was the result of Guinea Bissau’s request for help in developing their National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) from the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF). It works with governments and industries to enhance oil spill preparedness, response and cooperation. This was reported buy the IMO media service on 24 February.

Effective preparation

Having an NOSCP puts in place the foundation for an effective and sustainable oil spill preparedness and response framework. The aim of this workshop, tailored to Guinea-Bissau’s particular needs, was to develop specific key documents within the NOSCP. Those present reviewed the country’s strategic and operational plan and, with technical assistance from GI WACAF, Sensitivity Maps were developed, and the National Oil Dispersant Policy finalised.

This event follows a National Workshop held in Bissau in 2022 at which the country’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan was launched.

IMO’s commitment

This February meeting forms part of IMO’s continuing commitment to support African Small Island Developing States (SIDs) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the effective implementation of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC) Convention.

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MSC introduces 15,000 TEU MSC Virgo to the port of Pointe-Noire

MSC Virgo at the Congo-Brazzaville port of Pointe-Noire – computer generated image

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has introduced a 15,000 TEU, 366-metre long contianer ship, MSC VIRGO (IMO 9857171) to the Congo-Brazzaville port of Pointe-Noire on Monday this week (27 February). MSC says the arrival of this container ship is part of its expansion plans to extend MSC’s network in sub-Saharan Africa by redesigning its service to the West African coast.

“As part of MSC’s global network, the MSC’s renewed presence in the Port of Pointe-Noire will serve as a gateway for international trade, increase the volumes handled, and contribute to the growth of economic activity in the country and Central Africa,” MSC said in a statement.

The port of Pointe-Noire is strategic for MSC’s operations in Central Africa and provides an essential link to the region. The new call will enable direct and quick exchanges with Asia and Europe. It also confirms the Port of Pointe-Noire’s key position as a transshipments platform for goods destined for Angola and Namibia.

The combination of MSC’s three maritime services calling at this port – Africa Express, the Angola service and the Matadi feeder liaising with the DRC – and the intermodal solutions to/from Pointe-Noire and Matadi will offer a seamless end-to-end experience, MSC added.

“The arrival of the MSC Virgo at the Port of Pointe-Noire marks yet another milestone in the development of this important African port. Its presence will further contribute to the economic development of the region, while it is indicative of MSC’s commitment to investing in Africa.”

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Two govts commit to fixing road jams at border between DRC and Zambia

Trucks waiting near the DRC/Zambia border crossing. Picture: VOA


The leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and of Zambia have committed to fixing tthe problem of long queues of heavy-haul trucks at the common border between the two countries.

The trucks, mostly carrying export copper destined for one of the ports in the south or east, face long delays when they arrive near the border, with queues several kilometres long preventing the crew from accessing basic facilities such as toilets or food stalls.

Drivers complained that they had been held up behind other lorries some kilometres from the border post for several weeks, with no accesss to basic facilities and forced to sleep in their vehicles.

Many of the trucks loaded with copper are heading for South Africa and the ports of Durban or Richards Bay. Others go to Dar es Salaam.

Drivers facing the opposite direcion while returning empty to load more copper exports face similar challenges.

It’s not just the inconvenience of these long delays and lack of facilities. Robbers are taking advantage of the situation and a number of drivers report having been robbed. They say it is becoming increasingly dangerous, as thieves target their money and valuables as well as fuel and batteries from the stationary trucks.

A spokesman for the United Truck Drivers & Allied Workers Union of Zambia told the VOA that a single journey from South Africa or even Tanzania could take up to one month.

He said the return journey would take another month, all on account of delays at the borders.

Customs officers at the border posts were on duty for just 10 hours a day, it was reported, despite an agreement last year by both countries that the border would remain open 24 hours a day.

The VOA reported that DRC President Felix Tshisekedi and President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia discussed the matter on the sidelines of the African Union summit held in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Zambian media claimed that both presidents had agreed to deal with the problem, while Zambia’s transport and logistics minister, Frank Tayali, put the blame of poor customs services on both sides and said it impacted on revenue collection.

Meanwhile, an ineffective railway system that could be hauling copper and cobalt exports from both countries to the coast at Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa, is unable to provide an efficient solution and is the direct cause of so many road trucks being on the region’s roads.

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Xeneta Container Update: global long-term container rates arrest decline in February, buoyed by surge in US export rates

After the record-breaking falls of January, global long-term ocean freight rates held up surprisingly well in February, boosted by “a special month” for US exports. According to the latest data from the Xeneta Shipping Index (XSI®), average long-term contracted rates dropped by just 1% across the month, following on from a 13.3% month-on-month collapse in January.

Despite the relatively strong performance, seen against a backdrop of weak fundamentals, Xeneta notes that this is the now the sixth consecutive month of falls, with the index losing 22% of its value since August 2022.

All eyes on TPM*

“Given the lack of demand, challenging macro-economic conditions, deflated spot rates, and rampant industry overcapacity, observers may have expected a continuation of the steep downward trend for long-term contracts,” comments Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund.

Xeneta CEO, Patrik Berglund

“However, a powerhouse performance for the US export benchmark, with a 16.5% appreciation, arrested the decline, pushing that particular corridor to an all-time high.”

He continues: “That said, one stand-out performer should not cloud the big market picture. If we look across the rest of the trade lanes the development remains clear for all to see. The drops may not be as dramatic as we saw last month, but there’s still some sizable declines on the world’s leading corridors. So, it remains a very challenging situation for carriers fighting to secure cargoes, and that should continue to impact upon rates going forwards. It’ll be interesting to see what happens at TPM this week, which will operate as a focal point for new contract negotiations.”

Falling stars

The XSI®’s regional data gives credence to Berglund’s analysis. Aside from the US export rates growth, the majority of arrows point resolutely downwards. The US import sub-index fell by 3.9%, but is still 79.86% up against this time last year. Two of the routes that make up this XSI® defied the overall trend, with the South American East Coast – US East Coast and the Southern part of Africa – US East Coast showing their first growth since November 2022 (by 13% and 8% respectively).

The Far East saw both benchmarks drop, with import rates declining 4.4% (up 13% year-on-year) and the all-important export XSI® dropping by 4.6%. Although this latter figure has fallen consistently over recent months it remains a “mighty” 244.5% up compared to the per-pandemic days of January 2020.

Continental shifts

In Europe there was a break in the economic clouds for the import XSI®, which moved up 3.5% on the back of strong import rates in to the Mediterranean Sea from the US East and West Coasts (with the average of all valid long term rates rising by 86% and 49% respectively).

The benchmark is now 31.6% up year-on-year. Exports moved in the opposite direction, with this XSI® dropping by 2.6% (up 65.3% from February 2022). Xeneta’s data showed steady declines across the board, with exports out of the Mediterranean Sea to Korea and Japan falling the most.

Although there’s little for the carriers to cheer in the latest figures, Berglund notes that a sense of perspective is important when assessing current market falls.

Long-term strength

“Six months of declining rates is, naturally, of great concern to the carrier community, as is the fact that fundamentals remain challenging for the immediate future,” he states. “But it’s not as if the shippers are suddenly seeing ‘bargain’ prices for their cargoes. Yes, they have the upper hand in negotiations, especially with the fact that spot rates are so depressed, but relatively speaking long-term contracts remain historically high.

“Even with the current downward trajectory, the global XSI® remains 43.0% up year-on-year. And when we go back to January 2020 rates have climbed by 207.7%. So, even if the future is uncertain for carriers, at least the rates are falling from a position of real strength. Time, and the data, will tell how long they can stay that way.”

About Xeneta – To learn more, please visit

* Transpacific Maritime Conference

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East London port taking back its role as an agricultural export port

The bulk carrier Belsouth in East London harbour to load maize for Mexico.  Picture Transnet

The Port of East London Terminal has resumed the export and import of maize and wheat after nearly two years of the silo facility’s temporary closure. According to Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), this was due to a severe decline in volumes regionally.

The arrival of the bulk carrier BELSOUTH (IMO 9744063) for the loading of 44,000 tons of maize destined for Mexico, is now an indication that the Port of East London has still a role to play in the import or export of agricultural products.

At one time East London had an active grain terminal and handled much of the agricultural product of the southern Free State and Eastern Caperegions.

Belsouth at East London  Picture Transnet

In more recent years that position was allowed to erode away and eventually the gallery at the grain terminal was dismantled, signalling what appeared to be a decision by Transnet that all grain exports or imports were to be handled at the larger facilities in the Port of Durban.

With the recent granting of a lease on the railway between Kroonstad and East London, awarded to Traxtion Sheltham allowing the Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) firm to operate trains over this section (due to commence from 1 April 2023), it is clear a rethink on the importance of the East London port has been made.

According to TPT, East London grain volumes started declining from 1,000,000 tons to 48,000 tons per annum in 2021. The grain elevator which is also one of the largest silos in the country, with a capacity of 66,000 tons, became financially constrained and a decision was taken to temporarily close the facility until business opportunities opened in the market.

The terminal did however continue to discharge grain using a direct discharge operating model, where cargo is loaded in trucks and taken to an external facility immediately.

“The collaboration between the East London Terminal, local and regional stakeholders as well as industry is unprecedented and has unlocked further economic opportunities for the Eastern Cape,” said Naliya Stamper, East London Terminal Manager.

She confirmed that TPT has identified East London as one of two major facilities for the strategy of exporting and importing total grain volumes countrywide, being a return to the practice of the past.

Ahead of resuming the silo facility operations, the terminal had conducted risk assessments identifying safety critical issues ahead of the reopening of the silo facility, TPT said.

This was significant because the silo facility adheres to the safe storage of agricultural bulk commodities. Audits conducted by Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) have awarded the terminal with the relevant food safety and rail operation certification.

Maybe with the combination of private enterprise operated grain trains along the Central Corridor to the port at East London, and the refound confidence in the East London grain terminal, the port will again welcome a succession of bulkers arriving to load South Africa’s maize exports.

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WHARF TALK: A cruise ship plus a quiz – COSTA DELIZIOSA

Costa Deliziosa under the ‘shadow’ of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

One tends to forget that the passenger liner season in South Africa generally runs in three distinct sectors. The first sector is the one where the passenger liner remains based on the coast for most, if not all, of the Austral Summer. The second sector happens at the start, and again at the end of the season, where small expeditionary cruise vessels call in en route to Antarctica, or when returning from Antarctica. The third sector can happen at any point, and is when the larger, more upmarket, passenger liners are engaged on world cruises.

On 24th February at 05h00 in the morning, the large passenger liner COSTA DELIZIOSA (IMO 9398917) arrived off Cape Town, from Port Elizabeth. She entered Cape Town harbour, and proceeded into the Duncan Dock, However, despite there being no other passenger vessels in port, and E Berth adjacent to the Passenger Terminal being vacant, she was taken all the way down the dock, and went alongside at L Berth, which is the normal berth for the diamond mining vessels of De Beers Marine, as the quayside is an enclosed compound for De Beers.

Costa Deliziosa, Cape Town 26 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built by Fincantieri in Italy, with her hull laid down in their Ancona shipyard, she was then towed around to their Marghera shipyard, where she was both completed and outfitted. She was ordered in 2007, launched in March 2009, and Commissioned in January 2010. She is one of two sisterships, with her sister being ‘Costa Luminosa’. She cost US$670 million (ZAR12.34 billion) to build. ‘Costa Deliziosa’ is built to full Panamax requirements.

She is 294 metres in length, and has a gross registered tonnage of 92,720 tons. She is a diesel electric powered vessel and has four MaK 12M43C 12 cylinder 4 stroke main engines producing 16,092 bhp (12,000 kW) each, supplemented by two MaK 8M43C 8 cylinder 4 stroke main engines producing 10,728 bhp (8,000 kW). These provide power to two ABB Azipods producing 23,602 bhp (17,600 kW) each, to give her a maximum service speed of 23.6 knots. For added manoeuvrability she has three bow transverse thrusters providing 3,200 kW each.

Costa Deliziosa, Cape Town 26 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is owned by the Carnival Corporation and PLC, of Miami in the USA, and operated by Costa Crociere SpA, of Genoa in Italy, whose funnel colours she displays. She is managed by Carnival Management GmbH, of Hamburg in Germany. With her sistership, ‘Costa Deliziosa’ is a hybrid of the two well known ‘Vista’ and ‘Spirit’ classes of vessels, examples of which are to be found throughout the Carnival Corporation fleet, including P&O, Cunard, Costa, Holland America Line, and Carnival Cruise Lines.

With almost all brands of the Carnival Corporation having had to endure unnecessary branding changes, which took away their historical identities, such as P&O losing their famous yellow funnels, Costa too has had a brand change. The new font of her name on her bow lies in stark contrast to the traditional name font, which is still visible adjacent to the bow docking platform.

Costa Deliziosa, Cape Town 26 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Normally operating with a crew of 934, ‘Costa Deliziosa’ carries a passenger complement of 2,260 persons, in double occupancy. She arrived in South Africa with 1,554 passengers aboard. She has a total of 17 decks, of which 12 decks are passenger decks, with 6 of these decks being set aside for passenger cabins, of which she has a total of 1,130. Her cabin mix includes 6 penthouses, 104 suites, 662 balcony cabins, 178 window cabins and 180 inside cabins.

Costa Deliziosa, Cape Town 26 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She was christened at the Dubai Port Rashid, in the United Arab Emirates, on 23 February 2010, becoming the first cruise ship in the world to be christened in an Arabian city. As Dubai is a city in an Islamic country, the tradition of breaking a bottle of French Champagne over her bow was changed, to take the Muslim faith into consideration, and a bottle of the finest Dubai Date Juice was used instead.

The Godmother of ‘Costa Deliziosa’ was Tala Dionisi, who was the wife of the Italian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. The christening in Dubai was planned to coincide with the opening ceremony for the new Port Rashid cruise ship terminal, as ‘Costa Deliziosa’ was scheduled to be based at Port Rashid, and would spend the early part of her career operating seven day cruises around the Persian Gulf from Dubai.

She now normally spends Northern hemisphere summers on cruising programmes set in the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean Sea, or the northern European waters of Norway, the British Isles and the Baltic Sea. During Northern hemisphere winters she always conducts world cruises. She is currently engaged on a 57 port, 127 day world cruise, which up to now has never included South Africa. To follow her current cruise itinerary, you are probably going to need to dust off your old school atlas. The present cruise of ‘Costa Deliziosa’ started in Trieste, in Italy, on 6th January.

Costa Deliziosa, Cape Town 26 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Trieste- Dubrovnik (Croatia)- Catania – Naples- Savona (all Italy)- Marseille (France)- Civitavecchia (France)- Katacolon (Greece)- Limassol (Cyprus)- Haifa (Israel)- Suez Canal (Egypt)- Aqaba (Jordan)- Salalah (Oman)- Mumbai- Murmugao (both India)- Malé (Maldives)- Victoria (Seychelles)- Nosy Be- Toamasina (both Madagascar)- Saint Denis (Reunion)- Port Louis (Mauritius)- Durban (19th February)- Port Elizabeth (21st-22nd February)- Cape Town (24th-25th February). At this point of the cruise, some passengers who had started the voyage back in Trieste, had paid for the option of a Fly-Cruise, and would be flying back home from Cape Town.

Although ‘Costa Deliziosa’ was scheduled to depart from Cape Town on 25th February, the strong Southeasterly ‘Cape Doctor’ wind kept her in port for a further night, and she finally sailed on 26th February at 09h00, bound for Walvis Bay, on her continued cruise itinerary, where she will be arriving (today) at 06h00 on 28th February, remaining for that day only.

Her itinerary being Cape Town- Walvis Bay (Namibia)- Saint Helena- Rio de Janeiro (another Fly-Cruise option), Buenos Aires (Argentina)- Montevideo (Uruguay)- Puerto Madryn- Ushuaia (both Argentina)- Punta Arenas- Puerto Chacabuco- Puerto Montt- San Antonio (another Fly-Cruise option)- Arica (all Chile)- Callao (Peru)- Manta (Ecuador)- Colon (Panama)- Panama Canal- Puerto Limón (Costa Rica)- Roatan (Honduras)- Cozumel (Mexico)- Fort Lauderdale- Port Canaveral- Newport- New York (all USA)- Ponta Delgada- Praia (both Azores)- Lisbon (Portugal)- Tangier (Morocco)- Gibraltar- Marseille (France)- Savona- Civitavecchia- Catania (all Italy)- Kotor (Montenegro)- Bari- Venice (both Italy). The cruise terminates in Venice on 13th May.

At the outset of the Covid pandemic, ‘Costa Deliziosa’ arrived in Muscat, in Oman, on 3rd April 2020, with 1,820 passengers aboard, and 899 crew. The Omani authorities would not allow any passengers to leave the vessel, and Costa Crociere had to find a port that would allow the cruise to terminate, and allow the passengers to be repatriated home. She was left with no option but to sail across the Indian Ocean to Fremantle, in Western Australia.

Costa Deliziosa, Cape Town 26 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

However, by the time she arrived in Fremantle, the Australian authorities would not allow anybody off the vessel, so ‘Costa Deliziosa’ had no option but to sail back to Europe. On arrival in Barcelona, in Spain, on 20th April, 295 passengers from Spain, Portugal and France were allowed to disembark. Up to this point no passengers, or crew, had been reported onboard, at any point of the cruise. She then sailed for Genoa, in Italy, where the cruise finally terminated.

A total of 1,519 passengers, and 898 crew, were allowed to disembark on 22nd April. It is thought that ‘Costa Deliziosa’ was the second-last cruise liner across the globe to offload all passengers, and non-essential crew during the pandemic. The cruise vessel that holds that record is also currently on a world cruise, and which includes South African port calls. Watch this space for the answer to the question of ‘Which cruise liner was the last to disembark passengers during the Covid-19 pandemic?’

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TotalEnergies & Sasol link up with Air Liquide for renewable energy in South Africa

Picture: RNEL, for illustrative purposes

France’s TotalEnergies has signed Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (CPPA) with Sasol South Africa and Air Liquide Large Industries South Africa for the supply of 260 MW capacity of renewable electricity over 20 years.

TotalEnergies will develop a 120 MW solar plant and a 140 MW windfarm in the Northern Cape province to supply around 850 GWh of green electricity per year to the Sasol’s Secunda site, located 700 kilometres further North-East, where Air Liquide operates the biggest oxygen production site in the world.

The two projects will provide competitive and available renewable electricity to decarbonise Sasol and Air Liquide’s production. The agreements indicate TotalEnergies’ positioning to contribute to the evolution of the energy mix in South Africa. The projects will have a direct impact on the local community through job creations.

“Power generation in South Africa is still 80% based on coal and power cuts occur daily,” said Vincent Stoquart, Senior Vice President, Renewables at TotalEnergies.

“With these developments we are proud to support Air Liquide and Sasol for their supply of green electricity. Meanwhile, we are pleased to contribute to South Africa’s energy transition which consists of increasing its share of renewables and gas as an alternative to coal.”

He said there is a dynamic market for corporate PPAs in South Africa and they want TotalEnergies to take a strong leadership position.

The two projects are expected to be operational in 2025. The CPPAs with SASOL and Air Liquide were signed with a consortium of TotalEnergies Marketing South Africa1 (70%), its partner Mulilo (17%) and a to-be-announced B-BBEE partner (13%).

These projects are subject to regulatory approvals.

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US Coast Guard cutter hauls in 1.5 tons of illegal drugs in Arabian Sea

USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146), the cutter that made the interception. Picture: USCG


A U.S. Coast Guard ship, opertating with the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in the Arabian Sea, has seized illegal drugs worth $20 million in U.S. street value from a fishing vessel on 25 February 2023.

The stateless vessel on which the drugs were found had a crew of four and was sailing in international waters at the time of the interdiction.

Crewmembers from USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146) discovered 1,350 kilograms of hashish, 276 kilograms of methamphetamine and 23 kilograms of amphetamine pills on the vessel, which they stopped for inspection during a routine patrol.

U.S. Navy Capt. Anthony Webber, commander of Task Force 55, the staff responsible for U.S. 5th Fleet surface forces in the region, said the interception and discovery was the result of excellent teamwork and multinational collaboration.

“It is important that we continue relentlessly pursuing any destabilizing maritime activity,” he said.

USCGC John Scheuerman was operating in support of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 at the time. Currently led by the United Kingdom Royal Navy, CTF 150 is one of four task forces organized under the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

CMF is the largest international naval partnership in the world, consisting of 38 member-nations and partners, and has interdicted over $1 billion worth of illicit narcotics during maritime patrols.

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M-Net TV series Reyka being filmed in Port of Durban

Cast and crew gather for filming at the Durban Maritime Museum on the Durban Esplanade embankment


Sections of the Port of Durban have been playing host to the cast and crew of an award-winning M-Net TV series, Reyka, for filming of the series’ second season.

This original South African thriller television series was first released in July 2021, has received two 2022 International Emmy Award nominations for Best Drama and Best Performance by an actress and won four awards at the 2022 South African Film and Television Awards, including Best Actress in a TV Drama for Kim Engelbrecht.

The series has since been renewed for a second season and has set up camp in the Port of Durban to shoot within port limits at the Grass Embankment, Maritime Museum, Point Yacht Club, Royal Yacht Club, Maydon Wharf, N-Shed, North Pier, the break water, and Dalbridge infrastructure maintenance depot over a period of 17 days.

A statement released by the port said it has developed a multi-disciplinary process to respond to filming requests received to use the port premises as a base for filming productions.

All activities outside of the port’s normal operation are subject to engagements with relevant authorities and internal consultations as South African ports are areas of strategic importance subjected to the highest levels of security as per the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS), said Transnet.

“We are proud to be the film destination of choice for international productions houses,” said Mpumi Dweba–Kwetana, Durban Port Manager.

“Our locations and state-of-the-art facilities have also been used to shoot international productions and locally produced series such as Imbewu and many well-known music videos.”

She said the diversification of the port’s product offering, and revenue streams, are key business development initiatives for the port and connects Transnet with communities outside of the maritime industry.

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IMO Secretary-General Statement: Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov

Picture: IMO

Reported by Paul Ridgway

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said that the IMO Membership and he personally remain deeply concerned about the ships and most importantly the seafarers that remain stranded in Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov since 24 February 2022.

He stated:

“At the start of this military conflict, some 2,000 seafarers were suddenly stranded in the affected area, on board more than 90 vessels. With the best efforts of all stakeholders, this number was reduced significantly, however over 300 seafarers and 60 ships remain stranded.

“In the last twelve months, IMO has made immense efforts and provided extensive support towards UN-wide initiatives to resolve the situation with regard to stranded ships and seafarers.

“As one of the major results, the agreement on the Black Sea Grain Initiative established a maritime corridor that allowed ships to export grain and related foodstuffs from Ukraine, with the aim of addressing global food insecurity. We are committed to continually providing every support needed to ensure the continued success of this vital initiative.

“I am actively pursuing, in close collaboration with the relevant Member States, all avenues to facilitate negotiations with the key stakeholders in the region to allow for the safe departure of the stranded vessels and seafarers. I remain hopeful that with this enduring will for cooperation and communication, we will be able to facilitate the safe departure of the remaining ships and seafarers as soon as possible.”

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Torrential rains and cyclone Freddy batter Mozambique

Image NOAA via Meteosat-9

Cyclone Freddy came ashore as forecast at the small town of Vilanculos in Mozambique on Friday. Wind speeds of 113 kilometres (70 mph) were recorded leaving Freddy to be listed as an “intense tropical cyclone” once more as the storm intensified during the crossing of the Mozambique Channel.

Once ashore it moved slowly inland, dumping huge amounts of “dangerous and exceptional rainfal levels” on the land, according to the United Nations weather agency.

SA Weather Service reported that Cyclone Freddy developed northwest of Australia and south of Indonesia during the first week of February, and is in its third week trekking across the Indian Ocean.

This long-lasting storm system has since moved inland, with the northern South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana all at risk of receiving abnormal amounts of rain.

“There is a potential risk that months’ worth of rainfall may fall in the space of a few days, causing widespread flooding in an area which already has saturated soils and high river basin levels from unusually heavy seasonal rains,” The U.N. weather agency warned in its statement.

Beira Port closed on Friday

Meanwhile, on Friday it was reported by Cornelder, which manages and operates the port, that Beira port had been closed in anticipation of further heavy rains and wind. The statement said that subject to the weather conditions improving the port would reopen its gates and recommence port operations from 19h00.

Cornelder appealed to customers who had trucks en route to the port in Beira to remain in safe places until the weather had improved.

EN6 highway

Mozambique authorities went further and stopped trucks on the main roads leading towards or coming from the Beira port. It was announced that the rising level of the Pungué River was undermining the foundations on the National Highway No.6 (EN6) near Mafambisse
with one of the carriageways having collapsed and threatening the rest of the road.

Light vehicles were being allowed to use the remaining carriageway but a close watch was being maintained on its safety.

Other parts of the EN6 highway were affected with the Pungué river flooding the road near Mútua. Several cars and a heavy truck were washed away but the occupants all managed to escape.


Informal settlements outside Beira have been flooded and faced more wet weather as the cyclone came ashore some 250 kilometres further south.

Torrential rains had begun falling earlier in the week leaving rivers in flood and low-lying land under water. This was days before the cyclone came ashore.

During the current rainy season 95 deaths have occurred on account of the weather and more than 100,000 people are displaced by localised flooding – this was also before the advent of Cyclone Freddy.

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WHARF TALK: the US oceanographic research ship – ROGER REVELLE


The American oceanographic research vessel that is currently in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

In a time of grave international geopolitics regarding the three world major superpowers, the ANC government, for reasons known only to themselves, has decided to openly get into bed with one of them, and one who they should really be avoiding like the plague if the watching world is to believe that they are truly neutral in the Ukraine crisis.

So in the month of February 2022, Cape Town, Durban and Richards Bay have got to see a gaggle of a Russian Navy warship and her auxiliary, invited to play war games with the South African Navy. If that was not enough, Cape Town hosted a Russian state research vessel, that observers believe is conducting surveys in Antarctica that ignore the strict tenets of the Antarctic Treaty, of which South Africa is a signatory, in regard to the banning of any potential mining of natural resources.

That was followed by a Chinese state research vessel, one that is strongly suspected of carrying out state sponsored military research, under the disguise of being a civilian vessel. A near full house has occurred with the arrival in Richards Bay of a Chinese Navy flotilla of two warships and an auxiliary, also arriving to play war games with the Russian and South African Navies. The only thing that is missing for a full geopolitical house is an American warship, or research vessel.

On 23rd February, at 08h00 in the morning, the American oceanographic research ship ROGER REVELLE (IMO 9075228) arrived off Cape Town, after a South Atlantic transit voyage that had begun in Punta Arenas, in Chile on 1st February. She entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded straight to berth 705, the outermost layup berth, located just outside the Ben Schoeman dock. It was almost a sign that Transnet were under instructions to keep her as far away as possible, despite berths closer to the City being available

Roger Revelle, Cape Town 23 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 1996 by Halter Marine Incorporated at Gulfport, in the American state of Mississippi, ‘Roger Revelle’ is 83 metres in length and has a displacement of 3,512 tons. As with the majority of modern research vessels, she has diesel-electric propulsion and is powered by two Caterpillar 3516 16 cylinder 4 stroke main engines producing 2,816 bhp (2,100 kW) each. These provide power to two General Electric motors providing 2,237 kW to drive two LIPS Z-Drive azimuth thrusters for a service cruising speed of 12 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes two Caterpillar C32 generators providing 940 kW each. For added manoeuvrability ‘Roger Revelle’ has a bow azimuth ZF thruster providing 880 kW. Together with her azimuth propulsion thrusters, this gives ‘Roger Revelle’ a dynamic positioning classification of DP2, which is controlled by a Kongsberg DP-OS1 system. The DP system takes readings from 2 DGPS units, 2 Gyros, a GPS Attitude Position sensor, an Acoustic Positioning sensor, and a wind monitoring system.

As an oceanographic research vessel, she is extremely well equipped, as one would expect from an American vessel. She has a one of a kind Hydrographic Doppler, long range, dual frequency, Sonar System (HDSS), which is used to measure current shear in high resolution. She also has a Deep water, multibeam, echosounding, seabed mapping system, capable of working in water depths of up to 12,000 metres, and displaying in either bathymetry, or sidescan sonar modes.

She also has a singlebeam echosounder, a sub bottom profiler, an Acoustic Doppler current profiler, and a multifunction XBT launcher. Unusually for a research vessel, ‘Roger Revelle’ has a scientific X-Band radar, used to measure oceanic surface wave properties. All of her transducers are not mounted in the hull, which is the norm, but instead they are all mounted on a separate gondola, which is mounted 2 metres below the hull, and thus below the noise and disturbances that the hull creates as it moves through the water.

Her aft working deck has an area of 378 m2, and is equipped with a Fritz-Culler ‘A Frame’ over the stern, with a safe working load of 12 tons. She also has a North American MCT-1565 deck crane, and a Morgan HIAB deck crane to assist in the movement of scientific equipment.

Roger Revelle, Cape Town 23 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For overside operations ‘Roger Revelle’ has a dual storage trawl winch, with one drum holding 15,000 metres of trawl wire, and the other drum holding 10,000 metres of electromechanical cable. She has two hydrographic winches, one holding 10,000 metres of hydrographic wire, and the other holding 10,000 metres of 3-core electromechanical cable. She also has a CTD winch holding 10,000 metres of 3-core electromechanical cable.

She operates with a crew of 22 persons, and can carry a scientific complement of 37 persons. She has laboratory space of 372 m2, which includes a main dry lab, a wet lab, a hydro lab, an analytical lab, and a computer lab. She is able to carry up to 8 TEU on deck for additional laboratory, or equipment, space. There are also two large, walk-in, scientific specimen freezers. She has an endurance of 60 days and 15,000 nautical miles, and a reduced endurance of 52 days if operated continuously at her service speed of 12 knots.

Owned by the US Navy, ‘Roger Revelle’ is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, of the University of California, at San Diego (UCSD). She is managed by the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), as a shared facility under a charter agreement from the US Office of Naval Research, and is available to any US federal, state, and other agencies. She receives funding for her research from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

As a US Navy owned vessel, although civilian operated, ‘Roger Revelle’ has a pennant number of AGOR-24, which she does not display on her hull. She is the second of a class of four Global Class of Oceanographic Research Vessels. Two other vessels in the class, ‘Thomas G. Thomson AGOR-23’, and ‘Ronald H. Brown R-104’, have both visited South Africa in the past.

She is named after the Oceanographer Roger Revelle (1909-1991), who was an oceanographer with the US Navy in World War 2, and who planned the Office of Naval Research after the war. He was deeply involved in the growth of oceanography, and the development of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, being instrumental for its expansion due to the planned programme of US oceanographic research in the International Geophysical Year, which led to the signing of the Antarctic Treaty. He was the first President of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), of the International Scientific Council.

The voyage that terminated in Cape Town was a transit scientific cruise, with eight days set aside for localised scientific activities. The transit research included that on the spatial patterns of seabirds in the South Atlantic current, as well as carrying out seabed mapping whilst underway, and using the transit to calibrate her sonars.

Roger Revelle, Cape Town 23 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The major research carried out by ‘Roger Revelle’ on this voyage was to study the interaction between the Bouvet hotspot, and the southern mid-Atlantic ridge, located at 55° South. Surveys were also carried out on a 180 kilometre long segment, where there is a thermal anomaly of the mid-Atlantic ridge, located between 50° South and 52° South. She finished the cruise by spending two days off the Agulhas Bank pre-surveying the area for her next cruise.

She is due to sail from Cape Town on 5th March, on a cruise quantifying the interocean exchange in an area known as the Cape Cauldron, of the western Agulhas Bank, which is a hotspot of Agulhas Current eddy kinetic energy. Studies and satellite data suggest that Agulhas Current leakage, i.e. the movement of Indian Ocean waters into the South Atlantic, is increasing with climate change.

Agulhas Current leakage also impacts the adjacent West Coast Benguela Current upwelling system, with increasing eddy kinetic energy, which is expected to flush more nutrients and organisms further offshore, thus causing a reduction in the productivity of this important South African fishery. This cruise of ‘Roger Revelle’ will terminate back in Cape Town on 30th March.

Following that, her final departure from Cape Town will take place on 7th April, when ‘Roger Revelle’ will embark on a Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) research cruise, as part of the ongoing Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2). This cruise will conduct experiments within the East Madagascar Current (EMC), and also in the Deep Madagascar Basin (DMB). It will examine pathways after the EMC separates from the continental shelf near the southern tip of Madagascar, and whether it turns east into the Madagascar Basin, or it turns west into the Mozambique Basin, or both.

As a sign of how American scientific funding benefits African nations, this cruise will support, and fund the participation on ‘Roger Revelle’ of six undergraduate Malagasy marine students, including a Malagasy marine scientist in the research cruises. This funded project will also be organizing a two week summer school in Madagascar for marine science undergraduates. The proposed research will be a US contribution to the 2nd International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2). The cruise will terminate in Port Louis, in Mauritius on 13th May.

Roger Revelle, Cape Town 23 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Later this year, ‘Roger Revelle’ is expected to return Cape Town, when she arrives from Fremantle in Western Australia. She is due to sail from Fremantle on 21st July, to conduct an ongoing GO-SHIP research cruise along the 32° South meridian. The cruise will be a hydrography cruise on oceanic carbon and tracers, which is part of the climate change research into the acidification of the oceans.

This GO-SHIP cruise will also be part of the Sampling Quantitative Internal Wave Distributions (SQUID) research programme. The SQUID portion of the cruise will deploy eight EM-APEX profiling float buoys. These buoys will conduct profiling of sub-surface ocean waves, and will be programmed to sink to specific depths to collect internal wave data, before returning to the surface and transmitting the data, via satellite, before sinking once more into the depths of the Indian Ocean.

This will be the first of a planned programme of six SQUID cruises, with each cruise deploying eight EM-APEX buoys in the Indian Ocean. The programme will be conducted over a period of three years. On this first combined GO-SHIP and SQUID cruise, ‘Roger Revelle’ is expected to arrive back in Cape Town on 13th September.

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Nigerian Navy hands over seized tanker Sea Eunice IMO 8609072 to NIMASA

The tanker Sea Eunice. Picture: NIMASA

Beware of flouting IMO AIS regulations!

The Nigerian Navy has handed over a products tanker SEA EUNICE (IMO 8609072) to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The vessel was seized by the Nigerian Nay for flouting IMO regulations by constantly switching off her Automatic Identification System (AIS) in violation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulation.

NIMASA is charged with ensuring the regulation is observed and carried out while ships are in Nigerian territorial waters within te Gulf of Guinea.

Base operation officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship, Delta (NNS, DELTA) Commander Samuel Musa handing over MT Sea Eunice to the District Surveyor, Central Zone of NIMASA, Engr. Joshua Oyadiran in Warri, Delta State. Picture: NIMASA

The 1312-dwt chemical product tanker Sea Eunice, built in 1986, is 64 metres in length with a 10m beam and is registered in Sierra Leone.

The tanker was arrested on 11 August 2022 and remains at anchor along the Escravos River in Nigeria.

The NIMASA Director-General, Dr Bashir Jamoh, complimented the Nigerian Navy for always being proactive in its operations and emphasised that NIMASA is committed to inter-agency collaboration with the Nigerian Navy.

“Let me use this opportunity to state that NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy are partners in progress, because without synergy we cannot realise our mandates,” Dr Jamoh said. “We will continue to work closely with the Nigerian Navy to strengthen the existing ties to ensure we keep our maritime environment safe and secured.”

The vessel was received by Engr. Joshua Oyadiran, NIMASA’s District Surveyor for the Central Zone, NIMASA, who said that investigations would be carried out in line with the mandate of the Agency.

Sea Eunice was built in 1986 at the Sasaki Shipbuilding yard at Osakikamijima in Japan and operated under the Croatian Shipping Register classification society. The vessel is registered to Sierra Fishing of Freetown in Sierra Leone. She has a single Niigata main engine producing 9,812 KW.

It remains unclear what NIMASA will do with the seized tanker.

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Transnet allocates 2 million tons of manganese ore capacity to emerging miners

Transnet allocates 2mt of capacity from its manganese trains for emerging miners  Picture Transnet

Transnet says it has concluded the process by which emerging miners will be allocated 2 million tons of manganese ore capacity on its rail network.

This is being enacted in terms of the Manganese Export Capacity Allocation (MECA) III process and is the first phase in implementing the resolution from the emerging miner workshop that was hosted by Transnet in May 2022.

An invitation to mining right holders to apply for MECA III was issued through an open market process and closed on Friday, 20 January 2023. Transnet says it underwent a thorough process of assessing all applications received for the MECA III program.

The assessment process comprised a two-way process – desktop assessment and due diligence, as well as physical verification of mining activities.

In total 19 applications were received for capacity allocation, of which 10 were pre-qualified through the desktop assessment.

Of the 10 pre-qualified, 6 were successful in securing export rail capacity. This will bring the total number of active emerging miners on rail to 10, up from the current 4.

This is a major step in the transformation of the mining sector as it will increase the share of emerging miners’ allocation from 12,5% to 25% of the overall available capacity, said Transnet in a statement.

The state-owned rail, ports and pipeline company said it remains committed to doing further work to facilitate transformation through its logistics services.

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TotalEnergies & partners to drill more oil offshore Namibia


Following one of the largest worldwide oil discoveries offshore southern Namibia last year, French oil major TotalEnergies and partners is about to commence a multi-well exploration programme by drilling the Venus-1x well.

The news was released by Impact Oil & Gas Limited, one of TotalEnergies partners in the venture. They are set to embark on a multi-well appraisal and exploration program offshore Namibia, where one of the world’s largest oil discoveries was made in 2022, by drilling the Venus-1x well.

According to Impact Oil & Gas, the drilling will start before the end of February, targeting up to four wells. This follows the Venus light oil discovery in Block 2913B (PEL 56).

The multi-well programme targets up to four wells, including the re-entry of the Venus-1X discovery well, in Block 2913B, to appraise the Venus discovery and to investigate a potential westerly extension of Venus, the Nara prospect on Block 2912.

* Venus-1A, on Block 2913B, will be the first well to be drilled, using the Tungsten Explorer drillship, and is the first appraisal well on the Venus discovery. This will be followed by a drill stem test using the Deepsea Mira.

* Upon completion of the Venus-1A drill stem test, the Venus-1X exploration well, also on Block 2913B, will be re-entered using the Deepsea Mira to conduct a second drill stem test.

* Nara-1X, an exploration well on Block 2912, will then be drilled and flow tested by the Tungsten Explorer.

* If Nara-1X proves successful, the Nara-1A appraisal well could then be drilled in Block 2912 and flow tested.

Impact holds a 20% working interest in Block 2913B (PEL 56) and an 18.89% working interest in the adjacent Block 2912 (PEL 91).

Siraj Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer of Impact, said the programme will provide vital information that will hopefully enable the joint venture to press ahead with development.

Venus discovery in Block 2913B (PEL 56)

The Venus discovery is a world class light oil and associated gas field, located in the Orange Basin, approximately 290 kilometres off the coast of southern Namibia, and in water depth of approximately 3,000 metres. The well was drilled to a total depth of 6,296 metres, by the Maersk Voyager drillship, and encountered a high quality light oil-bearing sandstone reservoir of Lower Cretaceous age.

Drilling of Venus-1A, the first appraisal well on the Venus discovery, will be located approximately 13 kilometres to the north of the Venus-1X discovery well and drilled using the Tungsten Explorer drillship. The Deepsea Mira will then be used to conduct a drill stem test at this location.

The Deepsea Mira will then re-enter and side-track the Venus-1X well and conduct a flow test. The objective of this programme is to further evaluate the Venus reservoir and deliver dynamic data.

PEL 56 is operated by TotalEnergies EP Namibia B.V who holds a 40% working interest, Impact Oil and Gas Namibia (Pty) Ltd) 20% and QatarEnergy 30% and NAMCOR 10% respectively.

Block 2912 (PEL 91) potential

Block 2912 may contain a highly material westerly extension of the Venus field. Operations by TotalEnergies during 2023, on behalf of the Joint Venture, are designed to explore and, if successful test, this potential extension of the Venus accumulation into Block 2912 and provide an understanding of the structure and reservoir quality.

TotalEnergies will commence drilling operations in Block 2912 during mid-2023. Exploration well Nara-1X will be drilled and flow tested by the Tungsten Explorer and, if successful, an appraisal well, Nara-1A, will then be drilled and flow tested.

The adjacent Block 2912 (PEL 91) is held by TotalEnergies (operator) with 37.78%, QatarEnergy (28.33%), Impact 18.89%) and NAMCOR (15%).

“This exciting and active 2023 work programme is aimed at proving the flow potential of the Venus reservoir, and investigate a potentially material extension into the adjacent licence,” said Phil Birch, Exploration Director of Impact.

“If successful, it will result in two potentially fully appraised early production centres, one on Block 2913B and the second on Block 2912.”

Block 2913B, offshore Namibia

Petroleum Exploration Licence 56, Block 2913B, is located offshore southern Namibia and covers approximately 8,215km² in water depths up to 3,000m. Impact entered the licence as Operator in 2014, acquiring 2D, then 3D seismic data which defined the Venus prospect. In 2017, Impact and NAMCOR were joined by TotalEnergies, bringing with it significant deep-water drilling expertise to the Joint Venture, and in 2019 QatarEnergy joined the Joint Venture.

Block 2912, offshore Namibia

Petroleum Exploration Licence 91, Block 2912, is located offshore southern Namibia, adjacent to, but outboard of, PEL 56 and covers approximately 7,884km² in water depths between 3,000 and 3,900m. Impact joined TotalEnergies and NAMCOR on the licence in 2019, as did QatarEnergy.

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IN CONVERSATION: Ready for Freddy? SA must prepare for more intense weather events

‘An impact is controlled by the readiness of the people to safeguard lives and property,” said the senior manager for disaster risk reduction at the SA Weather Service (Saws), Tshepho Ngobeni.

“So when the tropical cyclone is coming — although the path might change — we inform people way in advance, so it’s easier for them to evacuate.”

Last weekend, the weather service saw that Freddy — which they had been monitoring in the southwest Indian Ocean region for about a week — had become a very intense tropical cyclone (equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane) and would be making its way westwards.

Saws began sending alerts early this week that Freddy was approaching, first passing over Madagascar, before hitting Mozambique and Zimbabwe, which is likely to cause heavy rainfall and flooding in Limpopo and parts of Mpumalanga this weekend.

“Generally, the tropical cyclone will be a system that is expected to cause serious devastation, especially when coming to properties and roads, as you cannot control [movement],” Ngobeni told Our Burning Planet.

But in terms of safeguarding people, tropical cyclones can be prepared for, as meteorologists can see them coming up to two weeks in advance. 

“This is a very wide broad system on the ground, the only thing that usually becomes unpredictable is the path, but you know the system is there,” said Ngobeni.

SAWS announced that Freddy made landfall along the eastern coastline of Madagascar, just north of Mananjary, on Tuesday evening, at around 7.3opm.

Saws reported it was a relatively compact storm, a low-end Category 2 tropical cyclone just before making landfall, with winds of 150km/h and gusts up to 180km/h.

Saws explained that cyclones lose speed as they move over land, so Freddy was downgraded to an overland depression on Tuesday evening. But it is expected to have regained its strength as it moved over the Mozambique Channel and to have reached near tropical cyclone status on Thursday as it headed to southern Mozambique, where it is set to make landfall just north of Vilanculos on Friday morning.

Francois Engelbrecht, a professor of climatology and the director of the Global Change Institute at Wits University, told Our Burning Planet that when Freddy passed over Madagascar it was a Category 3 hurricane, and by the time it reaches Mozambique, it will probably be a significant tropical cyclone.

While Freddy will not pass directly over South Africa, Saws expects it will affect the northeastern parts of the country from early on Saturday, 25 February until Monday, 27 February, especially the Lowveld and escarpment areas of Limpopo (Vhembe and Mopani) and to a slightly lesser extent, Ehlanzeni in Mpumalanga.

Ngobeni explained that tropical cyclones are, “relatively small, intensely developed low-pressure cells that usually occur over warm oceans”.

“Their diameter can range between 200 and 2,000km. They are characterised by a warm centre, very steep pressure gradients, strong cyclonic winds near the Earth’s surface and a maximum wind speed exceeding 110km/h.”


Destruction in its wake

As Freddy is passing over Mozambique and will be semi-stationary along the northeastern border of SA for a few days, Saws projects it’s possible that very heavy rainfall in the order of 200 to 400mm could occur, which may result in widespread flooding.

Ngobeni explained that while the cyclone is not passing directly over us, “because of our close proximity to the outer edge of the tropical cyclone, that’s when we’ll get this rainfall”.

“Tropical cyclones are always accompanied by torrential rain,” said Ngobeni during a media briefing at the National Press Club on Thursday.

“A single storm may yield up to 3,000mm of rain. Heavy rains sometimes occur many days after landfall and are also very destructive. They may give rise to floods. Strong winds also occur as a result of the steep pressure gradient. 

“The strongest winds occur near the leading edge or in front of the storm. The destruction associated with tropical cyclones results not only from the force of the wind, but also from the storm surge and the waves it generates.”

Engelbrecht explained that as the cyclone is going to move slightly southwestward after hitting land it will head toward the northeastern corner of Limpopo.

“That’s a very slow movement in 24 hours from Vilanculos to that location just outside the border of South Africa,” said Engelbrecht, “and that slow movement is dangerous for us because it means this storm has the potential to dump a lot of rainfall over these areas that it will be lingering over.”

As this is occurring after the significant flooding over the Lowveld and escarpment areas (such as the Kruger National Park) in the last few weeks, Saws warned this “may be catastrophic and cause prolonged and severe impacts”.

Disaster management

Saws is the authority when it comes to issuing weather warnings, as mandated by the South African Weather Service Act and it briefed the National Joint Flood Coordination Committee on Wednesday.

“We advise people accordingly in terms of impeding weather that is approaching [and] what will be the possible impacts,” explained Ngobeni. “As a result, they are prepared to take action — because our main aim is to safeguard lives and property.” 

Hitekani Magwedze, the spokesperson for Limpopo’s Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, told Our Burning Planet that Limpopo’s disaster management team had been in contact with community leaders and councillors to communicate both the alert from the weather service and the plans in place to assist them in case of any danger.

“We currently have 16 teams in both districts made up of Disaster Management officials from district and local municipalities, Fire and Rescue, Emergency Medical Services, Department of Health, Department of Social Development, Sassa, SAPS, SANDF, Department of Transport (Provincial Traffic), Department of Public Services, Eskom, Telkom, communications sections from district and local municipalities, NGOs, ward councillors,” said Magwedze.

“Furthermore, an evacuation plan has been developed to respond to situations as and when they become severe for residents. As part of the response plan, neighbouring district municipalities have been placed on standby in case further resources of any kind are required,” said Magwedze.

Ngobeni explained that after Saws provides information, the national and provincial Disaster Management Centres coordinate the assistance needed and make plans, which include the help of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Andries Mahapa told Our Burning Planet, “Since the provincial and national Joint Operation Centres were established we are ready in terms of any disaster.

“So yes, we are ready. We have formed the team. And every morning, there’s meetings, where we sit down and look at the options and plan accordingly.”

Mahapa said operations were already under way, as they were involved last week with a rescue mission airlifting two people who were trapped for three days in Tzaneen, Limpopo.

Helping neighbouring countries

“I think we can expect hundreds of thousands of people in southeastern Mozambique to be directly affected by these floods and the damaging winds around the time of landfall,” said Engelbrecht.

Mahapa said if neighbouring countries called on the SANDF it would help “with whatever capabilities we will have, jointly, we will go and assist”.

Climate change

Cyclones are a part of nature, if humans didn’t exist they would still occur. But what’s important to understand is that there is consensus among the scientific community that cyclones, like other extreme weather events (flooding, heat waves and droughts), are increasing in intensity due to anthropogenic climate change.

Engelbrecht, who was a lead author on a pivotal Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said, “Across the world, we can already detect an increase in the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes that is directly attributable to global warming.”

Engelbrecht explained that as we are warming tropical oceans there’s more energy for these systems to develop and there’s also more evaporation from the warmer oceans into the storm systems. 

“And when the water vapour eventually condensates to form clouds, it releases so-called latent heat into the storms,” said Engelbrecht.

According to records, Mozambique has never been hit by a Category 5 hurricane. Engelbrecht said that there is published research showing that in the past 20 years, more Category 4 and 5 hurricanes are forming in the southwest Indian Ocean, and when tropical cyclones reach Mozambique they cause more rainfall than in the past.

Cyclones today cause about 10% more rainfall than half a century ago in Mozambique, said Engelbrecht, explaining that in a warmer world the cyclones are more intense and carry more water than in the past.

“I think what we need to think about very seriously as southern Africans, is the possibility of the climate system changing to such extent that for the very first time in recorded history, we can have a Category 5 hurricane reaching Mozambique,” said Engelbrecht.

If this were to happen, Engelbrecht said, “we will be in deep trouble” with a high possibility of fatalities.

Engelbrecht said Category 4 or 5 hurricanes result in winds blowing at 200km/h, which no informal housing can withstand, as well as causing flooding and necessitating the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people. While this level of evacuation already happens in the US, India or Japan, it’s not currently achievable in Mozambique, considering its road infrastructure and level of preparedness.

Engelbrecht said SA can learn a lot from Mozambique, which has more experience with extreme flooding. The tragic example of last year’s KZN floods “demonstrated that SA needs to learn how to evacuate thousands of people out of the path of an approaching flood event”.

Community trust will be needed

“The most vulnerable communities must have the trust in disaster management agencies to act when they get a severe weather warning of a potentially disastrous flood event,” said Engelbrecht, explaining that in the short term, we need to develop better community-based flood early warning systems

“But in the longer term, it’s also about giving people safe environments to live in,” said Engelbrecht.

“We can’t quickly fix our immense problems of inequality and poverty. So the reality is that for now, hundreds of thousands of people in our region are living below flood-lines in areas where mudslides occur.”

In the long run, Engelbrecht suggests that we need to make use of international aid mechanisms, under the Paris Agreement, that support climate change adaptation.

“You really have to have trust in communities, you can’t just tell them, move to this region or this piece of land — you must also give water access, transport, so that they can keep competing for jobs.”

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

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IMCA welcomes workboat owners & operators under new membership category

Offshore supply workboat – for illustrative purposes only

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has introduced a new membership category enabling workboat owners and operators around the world to join the organisation.

The new category is uniquely for the owners and operators of small workboats – including crew transfer vessels, mooring assist vessels and survey vessels – which are less than 500 gross tonnage and with a load line length of less than 24 metres.

Workboat membership will provide companies with full access to IMCA’s offering, including its extensive technical library and the opportunity to participate in technical committees and specialist workgroups.

Mark Ford, IMCA’s marine and quality manager

Mark Ford, IMCA’s marine and quality manager said the workboat community has strongly supported its Marine Renewable Energy Committee for several years. “We are delighted to formally welcome them into the Association. Membership will provide full access to our technical library of marine documents and formalise participation across our technical committees,” he said.

“With the substantial increase in both the number and sophistication of workboats operating in the offshore wind industry, and the fact that they are not currently required to comply with the ISM or ISPS codes, it will be hugely beneficial for this growing segment of the industry to be aligned with, and following, IMCA’s best practice.”

Workboat operators interested in joining are encouraged to get in touch with IMCA at or find out more on the IMCA website:

Facts about IMCA

IMCA represents the vast majority of offshore marine contractors and the associated supply chain in the world, with members from over 65 countries. It publishes an extensive technical library of guidance documents on operational good practice, safety promotional materials, timely information notes and safety flashes. Its members benefit from a technical structure comprising four main divisions covering Offshore Diving, Marine (including an Offshore Renewable Energy Committee), Remote Systems & ROVs, and Offshore Surveying.

These are supported by a committee structure focused on: health, safety, security and the environment, competence and training; lifting and rigging; marine policy and regulatory affairs; and legal contracts, insurance and compliance. The association’s global coverage is organised into five geographic regions: Asia-Pacific, Europe & Africa, Middle East & India, North America, and South America.

Further information on IMCA and its work on behalf of the global offshore marine construction industry is available from with specific information on workboat membership in the membership section at . ‘IMCA’s Code of Conduct for Members 2022’ can be found in the ‘Governance’ section on the website

The association has LinkedIn (with over 30,000 followers) and Facebook groups, and its Twitter handle is @IMCAint

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New South African freight airline, Suid Cargo Airlines, ready to take wing

Astral Aviation’s Sanjeev Gadhis and Suid Cargo’s Thomas Honiball at the Air Cargo Africa event held in Johannesburg last week. Picture: Supplied

A new South African cargo airline, Suid Cargo Airlines, is ready to begin non-schedule operations out of OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg).

Announcing this at last week’s Air Cargo Africa 2023 event held at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg, Thomas Honiball, Suid Cargo’s CEO and Accountable Manager, said the airline would commence non-scheduled operations during the second quarter of 2023.

The airline is leasing a Boeing 727-200F from Kenya’s Astral Aviation Lyd, in addition to arranging charter flights on Astral’s Boeing 747-400F, Boeing 757F and Boeing 767.

Honiball said the plan is for the new airline to acquire more freighters in 2024 – aircraft such as Boeing 737-800F, Airbus 320F and Emnbaer 190 freighters in the following year.

Suid Cargo Airlines intends promoting Sotuh African exports as well as handing transshipment cargo to mroe than 20 African destinations, and will promote a unique Sea-Air Cargo product from the ports of Durban and Cape Town which will have the advantge of reducing transit times to the landlocked regions of Africa.

The intention is to enter into long-term partnerships with freight forwarders, consolidators, integrators, e-commerce retailers and shipping lines. This will be in addition to working with African and foreign airlines to promote the Johannesburg Hub.

In 2024 the airline will move towards scheduled services including domestic services.

Almost 50 airlines, airports and aviation cargo service providers exhibited at the exhibition and conference.

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Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

In the case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to container Stack Dates are also available.

You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by  CLICKING HERE remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section.

Naval News

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories here in the general news section.




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Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome. Email to

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