Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 18 March 2023

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FIRST VIEW:  Atlantic Vision

Atlantic Vision, Durban, December 2022. Picture by Jumaine Kruger

Our feature ship this week is a bulk carrier, ATLANTIC VISION (IMO 9372767), shown here in Durban Harbour together with one of Durban’s numerous pleasure craft, Madevu, which ferries tourists on sightseeing tours of the large bay and, in some instances, outside the harbour.

Atlantic Vision has a length of 189 metres and a width of 32m with a deadweight of 55,614 tons (30,962-gt). She was built in 2006 at the Nantong Cosco Khi Ship Engineering Co Ltd yard in Nantong, China.

The ship is owned and managed by Nordic Shipping of Oslo, Norway. As might be expected of a bulker of her age she has had several owners/charters during this time, during which time the ship has operated with the following names: Cressida (three separate times) and Ocean Spirit. Now named Atlantic Vision, she flies the flag of the Marshal Islands.  This picture is by Jumaine Kruger who on another occasion could be seen piloting the Madevu.

Picture by Jumaine Kruger


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Improvements in contractual compliance for Durban Container Terminals

Durban Container Terminal, Pier 2, looking west toward the Bayhead   Picture Transnet

There’s been a marked improvement in contractual agreement compliance with shipping lines calling at the two Durban Container Terminals, Pier 1 and Pier 2.

According to Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) both terminals achieved over 90% compliance for the month of February 2023.

Truck turnaround time also averaged 55 minutes at Pier 1 and 66 minutes at Pier 2 in the same period.

DCT Pier 2 & Pier 1 looking east.  Picture Transnet

In an effort to reduce the backlogs following the strike action last year October, the terminals had operated as a single precinct to encourage vessel diversion between the terminals.

They also partnered with customers in negotiating vessel call sizes during the recovery period which took a total of two months, despite an initial estimation of six months.

“Three of the four weeks in February saw Pier 2 achieve 100% compliance in customer agreements and it’s showing how the collaboration with industry is yielding results,” said Earle Peters, Managing Executive at TPT Durban Terminals

The terminals were also employing the adjusted import storage rule allowing customers to collect their container as it is offloaded from the vessel and this ensured yard fluidity.

According to Peters, the partnership with four transport logistics associations representing over 300 trucking companies was fundamental in clearing congestion as quickly as the terminals did in the immediate weeks after the strike.

“It’s been encouraging to hear our customers complement the teams and sharing emails of gratitude – and we’d like to sustain this momentum for the new financial year,” he said.

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Added 17 March 2023


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WHARF TALK: Holland America Line’s magnificent ZUIDERDAM

Zuiderdam in the port of Cape Town. These pictures were taken during the ship’s February 2020 visit to the Mother City. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

One of the greatest shipping companies whose history, by the very nature of its name, never had a regular history of running scheduled passenger or cargo services to South Africa, is the Holland America Line. However, their cargo ships were occasionally seen in South African ports, and their passenger vessels would always call into the major ports of Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town, when making their annual world cruises, which is a tradition that still carries on to this day.

On 14th March at 07h00 in the morning, the passenger liner ZUIDERDAM (IMO 9221279) arrived off Cape Town, from Port Elizabeth, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding straight to the Cruise Passenger Terminal, located at E berth in the Duncan Dock. She was more than halfway through a Grand World Cruise of 129 days, calling in at 60 ports on her way around the world.

Built in 2002 by the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard at Venice in Italy, ‘Zuiderdam’ is 285 metres in length and has a gross tonnage of 82,820 tons. She has diesel electric propulsion and is powered by three Wärtsilä NSD 16ZAV40S 16 cylinder 4 stroke main generators providing 14,449 bhp (11.520 kW) each. These provide power to drive two ABB Azipods, each producing 23,629 bhp (17,620 kW), to give a maximum service speed of 24 knots.

Zuiderdam in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes two Wärtsilä NSD 12 ZAV40S 12 cylinder 4 stroke generators providing 11,586 bhp (8,640 kW) each. She is a CODAG vessel, the first of the fleet to do so, and so her auxiliary machinery also includes a General Electric (GE) LM2500PE gas turbine engine, which provides additional output for onboard domestic services, should it be needed, and which provides 15,400 kW. For added manoeuvrability she has three bow transverse thrusters providing 1,200 kW each.

Built at a cost of US$430 million (7.91 billion), ‘Zuiderdam’ is owned by Carnival Corporation & PLC, of Miami, in the USA, and operated by Holland America Line Antilles, of Curacao in the Dutch Antilles, and she is managed by HAL Seattle, of Washington State in the USA.

The lead ship of four sisterships, known as the ‘Vista Class’, all of whom received names after the four major cardinal points of the compass, the sisterships of ‘Zuiderdam’ are ‘Noordam’, ‘Westerdam’, and Oosterdam’. For the nomenclature addict, it was always the naming policy of the Holland America Line that all passenger ships had names that ended in ‘dam’, and their cargo ships all had names ending in ‘dyk’.

Zuiderdam in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On her world cruises she can carry 1,970 passengers, and has a crew of 817. She has a total of 15 decks, of which 11 decks are given over to passenger use, and 7 of these decks are purely for passenger cabins, which number 985. Her Godmother is Joan Lunden, a well-known American Television presenter, who interviewed no less than six US presidents during her long career.

For a vessel of her size, the onboard facilities of ‘Zuiderdam’ are vast, and they include two lounges, six restaurants, six bars, two cafés, a theatre, two meeting rooms, card room, IT centre, casino, cinema, spa, salon, gymnasium, art gallery, boutiques, a kids club, two pools, and a sports deck.

Zuiderdam in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The current cruise that ‘Zuiderdam’ is embarked on began in Fort Lauderdale, in Florida, on 3rd January, and will terminate back in Fort Lauderdale on 12th May. There are four Fly-Cruise destinations where passengers may join, or leave, the cruise. These are Sydney and Adelaide, in Australia, Cape Town, and Amsterdam in Holland. For that reason, the stopover in Cape Town was for two days, and she was ready to sail at 23h00 in the late evening on 15th March, bound for Lüderitz in Namibia.

Her cruise itinerary, leading to Cape Town, has been Fort Lauderdale- Falmouth (Jamaica)- Puerto Limon (Costa Rica)- Panama Canal- Balboa (Panama)- Nuka Hiva- Papeete- Moorea- Raiatea (all French Polynesia)- Nukualofa (Tonga)- Auckland- Tauranga- Gisborne- Wellington (All New Zealand)- Sydney- Port Arthur- Hobart- Adelaide- Kangaroo Island- Fremantle (all Australia)- Port Louis (Mauritius)- Saint Denis (Reunion)- Tolagnaro (Madagascar)- Maputo (Mozambique)- Durban (10th March 0400-1700)- East London (11th March 0900-1800)- Port Elizabeth (12th March 0600-1700)- Cape Town (14th March 0700 to 15th March 2300).

Nieuw Amsterdam, Cape Town 1941. Picture: Pinterest

From Cape Town her itinerary is Cape Town- Lüderitz- Walvis Bay (both Namibia)- Luanda (Angola)- Takoradi (Ghana)- Abidjan (Ivory Coast)- Banjul (Gambia)- Dakar (Senegal)- Tenerife- Arrecife (both Canary Islands)- Agadir- Casablanca- Tangier (all Morocco)- Malaga- Cadiz (both Spain)- Lisbon (Portugal)- La Coruna (Spain)- Brest (France)- Weymouth (UK)- Le Havre (France)- Zeebrugge (Belgium)- Amsterdam (Holland)- Copenhagen (Denmark)- Oslo- Kristiansand- Haugesund- Eidfjord- Bergen (all Norway)- Isle of Skye- Oban (both UK)- Dublin- Cork (both Ireland)- Sao Miguel- Terceira (both Azores)- Fort Lauderdale.

On her summer cruising schedule, to Alaska in 2022, ‘Zuiderdam’ had two onboard medical emergencies with her passengers. The first occurred which took place in August, whilst she was in Cross Sound, and the passenger was airlifted off the vessel by a US Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk SAR helicopter, and transported to a medical facility in the town of Sitka.

Durban 1942 : Nieuw Amsterdam leaving Port with the King of Greece on board : photo : SAR&H.

The second medevac took place one month later in September, whilst ‘Zuiderdam’ was in the Lynn Channel. Again, a US Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk SAR helicopter rendezvoused with the vessel and airlifted the passenger to a medical facility in the town of Juneau.

Back in June 2019, when running a cruise season in Northern Europe, the departure of ‘Zuiderdam’ from the German city of Kiel was delayed by over six hours. The delay was caused by environmental activists, totalling over 50, who occupied a dockside crane, blocked access to the quayside bollards, placed small craft in front of the vessel, of whom some of the protestors climbed onto the bulbous bow of ‘Zuiderdam’. German police arrested 46 of the protesters, imprisoning 12 of them, and later initiated criminal proceedings of suspicion of coercion, resisting arrest, and trespassing.

Rotterdam in Cape Town, January 1970. Picture by Trevor Jones

This current call in South African ports was not the first by ‘Zuiderdam’, who was last here in May 2020, during the pandemic, when she called into Cape Town to offload South African crew and passengers. She is due back again by the end of this year. Her ‘Grand Africa’ cruise is set to be a 73 day adventure, with 26 ports of call, beginning once more in Fort Lauderdale on 10th October 2023, and terminating in Fort Lauderdale on 22nd December 2023.

On this round Africa voyage, only two South African ports will see her presence, and they are Richards Bay on 22nd November, and Cape Town on 25th November, with an overnight stop, before sailing on 26th November. Again, Cape Town is being offered as a Fly-Cruise option for passengers, to enable them to either leave the cruise at this point, or join the vessel to continue with the cruise.

SS Rotterdam Hotel in Rotterdam. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

Holland America Line is famous for some of the world’s most beautiful passenger liners, most of which have called in at South African ports, in both peacetime, and wartime. Between 1940 and 1943, the 1938 built ‘Nieuw Amsterdam’, converted to a troopship, called numerous times at both Cape Town and Durban, carrying South African and other allied troops, to the Middle East and Far East, as part of the famous ‘Winston Convoys’ of World War Two. Her list of passengers in these stressful times, included bringing the King of Greece to Durban in 1942.

The most famous of the Holland America Line passenger vessels to visit South African shores, is undoubtedly the 1959 built, twin funneled, ‘Rotterdam’. One of her Cape Town calls was on her round the world cruise in January 1970. She was saved for the Dutch nation, and is still in existence today, tied up in her namesake harbour of Rotterdam. She opened to the public on February 15th 2010, as a combination museum and hotel, plus as a school for vocational training. In June 2013, she was sold to WestCord Hotels, which also owns the local Hotel New York, which is located in the former Holland America Line headquarters building in Rotterdam.

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Added 17 March 2023


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ONE opens its own office at Kenya’s Mombasa

ONE opening new office in Mombasa.  Picture: ONE

As from 1 April, Ocean Network Express, otherwise known as ONE, will open their wholly owned office in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya.

The new office for Ocean Network Express Kenya Ltd is located at Moi Avenue/ Cotts House, Mombasa, and will handle sales, customer services and operations with a focus on regional cargo and transshipments from and to East Africa.

Tel No: +254 41 800 0003 (Reception).

For more information – SEE HERE

During the transition from the incumbent Agent to ONE Kenya, customers are requested to refer to the Vessel Voyage Direction (VVD) List PDF for contact information regarding their booking service.

After 4 April, all ONE services calling at Mombasa will be managed by ONE Kenya.

ONE said it is excited to be expanding its services in Kenya/ East Africa and is looking forward to serving clients from this new location in Mombasa.

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Added 17 March 2023


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Ten new big ‘uns for ONE

ONE 14,000-TEU container ship, easily identifiable by their unique pink colour.  Picture: ONE

Ocean Network Express (ONE) has ordered 10 large new container vessels each with a carrying capacity of over 13,700 TEU.

The ships will be delivered in 2025 and 2026.

This new order is in line with the company’s medium-term strategy announced in March 2022 and follows the 10 vessels ordered in May last year.

ONE says that by ensuring a stable deployment of new, state-of-the-art container vessels without being constrained by short-term fluctuations in the container market, the company aims to strengthen its fleet competitiveness and meet customer demand for building and maintaining an efficient and reliable supply chain.

The 10 new vessels will be ready for Methanol and Ammonia and equipped with a bow cover and other energy saving technologies. ONE has also started discussions with the shipyard and equipment manufacturers to implement onboard carbon capture and storage on delivery.

Bow wind shields were recently introduced on two of ONEs 20,000-TEU capacity ships as a means of helping reduce CO2 emissions.

ONE says that a green strategy is a top management priority, and it aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The company committed to achieving sustainable maritime transportation by continuing to invest in greener assets and technologies and, as a leader in decarbonization in shipping, to decarbonize maritime transport through extensive collaboration with industry stakeholders.

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Added 17 March 2023


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Transnet Pipelines welcomes latest fuel theft conviction

Transnet Pipeline network  Map Transnet

Transnet said on Thursday (16 March) it welcomes the sentencing of a thief arrested for tampering with the petroleum pipeline and stealing 40,000 litres of diesel.

The conviction in the Vrede Regional Court on Tuesday this week brings the total number of convictions to 16 persons.

Transnet said in a statement that it is appreciative of the work carried out by all the teams involved with the case extends its appreciation to all the teams that worked on the case and achieved another conviction in this fight.

The sentencing of the man to 5 years imprisonment sends a strong message to other perpetrators that tampering with essential infrastructure is a serious offence which will be dealt with accordingly, Transnet said.

Since 2019 Transnet Pipelines infrastructure has been targeted for fuel theft. Transnet said it has collaborated with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, otherwise known as the Hawks, National Crime Intelligence and SAPS to deal with this challenge.

To date 251 suspects have been arrested and this successful conviction is an indication that intelligence and surveillance task teams dedicated to fighting this crime is paying off, and that the collaboration with various role players are yielding positive results, the transport and logistics company said.

“Transnet continues to urge all petroleum retailers and members of the public to refrain from buying fuel from unregistered traders, to curb the demand for illegal petroleum products. Transnet also calls on all its stakeholders to join in the fight against petroleum theft by reporting any suspicious vehicles, tankers or activity near the company’s infrastructure by calling the TPL toll free number 0800 203 843, or report the matter to the nearest police station.

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Added 17 March 2023


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Migrant boat sinks off Madagascar, 34 dead others missing

Mayotte and Madagascar, Mozambique Channel, scene of the migrant boat tragedy

A boat carrying migrants from Madagascar has sunk with the loss of at least 34 of the people who were aboard.

The boat was on the east coast of Madagascar near Ankazomborona and was heading for the French island of Mayotte in the Mozambique Channel when the accident ocurred.

It is not clear what caused the boat to sink or whether it was overloaded.

Authorities said 47 people were on board, of which at least 34 are known to have drowned after more bodies were found. These included women and children.

Some confusion over the numbers involved as at one stage authorities said 23 of those on board had been saved.

The Madagascan maritime authority APMF said earlier that “Forty-seven people had clandestinely taken a boat headed to Mayotte, but that sank. 23 of the passengers were able to be saved, 22 bodies were found.”

In its press release, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental organization in the field of migration, said it is saddened to learn of the tragic loss of human life caused by this shipwreck.

IOM pointed out that illegal departures from Madagascar for Mayotte, a journey of 250 miles, had increased in recent years.

“Since 2020, a large number of attempted migrations to Mayotte, orchestrated by unscrupulous smugglers from the Malagasy coasts, have been intercepted by the local authorities,” the IOM statement said.

“IOM is committed to strengthening its assistance to support people on these difficult journeys and the government in the fight against human trafficking.”

The search for possible survivors is continuing.

Mayotte is a part of the Comoros archipelago in northern Mozambique Channel, between the island of Madagascar and the northern Mozambique coast of Africa. Comoros was a French colony until 1975 when it took its independence, however Mayotte opted to remain a part of France. In 2009 the approximately 250,000 people of the island of Mayotte voted overwhelmingly in favour of becoming an integral part of France.

Hence the attraction for migrants and the illegal traffickers for the hazardous journey across the channel.

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Added 16 March 2023


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WHARF TALK: diamond mining sampling vessel ADAMASTOR

Adamastor, Cape Town, 5 March 2023 Picture by ‘Dockrat

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

When the casual marine observer talks about the offshore diamond mining industry of Southern Africa, it is probably solely the picture of one of the great, orange hulled, fleet of Debmarine Namibia that immediately springs to mind. That they all operate in the waters of Namibia, in the coastal waters of the outflow of the Orange River, matters not to the Cape Town observer, as the Mother City is the place that they always return to.

However, one often forgets that there are also a smaller fleet of two great, orange hulled, diamond mining vessels that operate south of the Orange River, within South African waters. These are the working for the local De Beers Marine operation. Yet, there is still a smaller operation taking place in South African waters, one where the big orange hulled behemoths cannot go, and that is into the shallows, further along the coast towards Port Nolloth.

Shallow waters requires smaller sampling vessels, and the biggest of the smallest of the inshore diamond mining, and sampling, vessels is one that looks rather familiar in profile. The reason for that is that she has been operating out of Cape Town in the past, but in support of another offshore industry, that of seismic surveying. That was, until fairly recently.

Adamastor, Cape Town 5 March 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 5th March, at 16h00 in the afternoon, the diamond mining sampling vessel ADAMASTOR (IMO 8964393) arrived off Cape Town, from Port Nolloth in the Northern Cape Province, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding almost into the Ben Schoeman Dock, as she went alongside at the outermost of the 700 berths, which are used for vessels going into layup. This berth is technically neither in the Ben Schoeman Dock, nor is it in the Duncan Dock, but merely within the outer harbour, and within the breakwater of Cape Town harbour.

Built in 2000 by A&B Industries at Morgan City, in the State of Louisiana, in the USA, ‘Adamastor’ is 37 metres in length and has a gross tonnage of 381 tons. She is powered by two Cummins KTA38M6049 12 cylinder 4 stroke main engines producing a total of 2,434 bhp (1,790 kW), to drive two fixed pitch propellers for a service speed of 12 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes a single Caterpillar 3408 generator providing 450 kW, a single Volvo Penta TAMD165A generator providing 400 kW, and a single Caterpillar 3306 emergency generator providing 250 kW. She has accommodation for up to 18 persons.

Olga, Cape Town, 21 March 2021. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Prior to her current role as a diamond mining sampling vessel, ‘Adamastor’ was named ‘Olga’ and operated as a Seismic Survey Guard vessel, under the ownership of Olga Shipping Ltd., and managed by Carina Shipping of Cape Town, who were the operators, and shipmanagers, of the small fleet of offshore standby vessels that spent a great deal of time in layup at the 700 berths in 2021 and 2022.

In June 2022, after a long period in layup, ‘Olga’ was taken out of the water at the Synchrolift, down at the far end of the V&A basin, for a good overhaul and scrape. Her lower hull, and her two propellers showed clear evidence that they had not seen any real use for the best part of the past year.

Once her hull had been scraped, cleaned, and repainted, she was taken over to the Dormac engineering and maintenance facility at berth 502 in the Ben Schoeman Dock. Over the next three months she was transformed, with a complete conversion from a Seismic Survey Guard vessel, with a green hull, to an inshore diamond mining and sampling vessel, with a navy blue hull. Her name was also changed from ‘Olga’ to ‘Adamastor’.

Olga, Cape Town 24 June 2022. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In late September 2022 she sailed north to the waters between St. Helena Bay and Port Nolloth, where she was a regular caller into Sandy Point and Port Nolloth harbours for minor maintenance rectification, crew changes, bunker uplifts, and supply onloads. She was operated by Adamastor Diamond Mining. Shortly before her return to Cape Town, it was reported that ‘Adamastor’ has been purchased by Victoria Ship Investment Ltd., of Dubai in the UAE, who were also listed as her managers.

Prior to her becoming a Seismic Survey Guard vessel, ‘Adamastor’ has been a part of the Cape Town based Oceana Group, and operated by their Erongo Fishing (Pty) Ltd. subsidiary. Before this she has been operating for the Spanish Albofrigo fishing group, under their Albacora SA management, presumably as a tuna catcher support vessel.

In 2007, whilst operating in the Pacific Ocean, ‘Adamastor’ was listed by none other than the Greenpeace environmental group in their report of activities, legal or otherwise, by the tuna fleets operating in the Pacific Ocean at the time.

Olga, Cape Town, 21 March 2021. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Despite her small size, she has received just five Port State Inspections in her career, with the last one as far back as 2016. None have taken place in South Africa since she came under local ownership in 2013. Of the five inspections, one resulted in detention. In June 2003, at the Italian port of Mazara del Vallo, a Port State inspection took place under the auspices of the Paris MoU.

This inspection resulted in a total of 7 deficiencies, all of which were linked to documentation issues. Of these, three were serious enough for the Italian authorities to detain her for just one day, whilst the documentation issues were resolved. They were listed as absence of some of her Officers Certification, expired Ships Radio Certification, and problems with other Ships Documents.

For the nomenclature aficionado, ‘Adamastor’ should be well known to both the South African, and the Portuguese, historical buffs. It comes from the poem ‘Os Lusiadas’, written in 1572 by the Portuguese poet Luis de Camões. The poem was the epic tale of the discovery of India by the great Portuguese maritime explorer, Vasco da Gama, and his meeting up with the Titan, and Demigod, called Adamastor, when he was sailing around Cabo Tormentosa, or the Cape of Storms, which we know better today as the Cape of Good Hope.

As a Greek Titan, Adamastor had been exiled to the Cape, at the Southern tip of Africa, where he had been transformed into stone, and was considered responsible for the stories of the life threatening atrocious weather that sailors had to encounter when they rounded the Cape, hence the Cape of Storms, so named by the early Portuguese explorers.

There are some people who are of the belief that his name was Adam Astor, this is not so. For the nomenclature person, Adamastor derives from the Ancient Greek word meaning ‘Untamed’.

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Added 16 March 2023


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Alternative marine fuels that may need future regulatory work – IMO

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Ammonia, hydrogen, ethane and dimethyl ether (DME) are among what are regarded as the alternative marine fuels which may need future regulatory work.

This assessment, reported by IMO on 9 March, is the result of a regulatory mapping exercise conducted by the Alternative Low- and Zero-carbon Fuels Workstream of the GreenVoyage2050 Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (Low Carbon GIA), with inputs and contributions from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

Assessment of how alternative marine fuels and energy converters feature in key IMO Conventions and regulatory instruments aims to inform and support IMO member States and the wider maritime sector in identifying and addressing potential regulatory challenges that could be encountered when considering the use of a particular alternative marine fuel.

It is understood that the outcome of the mapping exercise can be found on the GreenVoyage2050 website in a tabular format using a traffic light colour coding system. This depicts the current regulatory readiness levels categorized as Low, Medium, and High. Categorisation was agreed by members of the Alternative low- and zero-carbon fuels workstream of the Low Carbon GIA.

Conventions examined

Principal IMO Conventions examined included the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), the International Bulk Chemical Code (IBC Code), the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code) and the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code).

Fuels and energy sources considered included the conventional fuels: diesel/gas oil/fuel oil; bio/synthetic liquid diesel fuels; methanol, ethanol, dimethyl ether (DME), propane/butane (LPG), methane (LNG), ethane, ammonia and hydrogen.

This mapping exercise has identified some areas where further regulatory work may be required by IMO and potentially by other standardization and certification organizations.

Risks of spill

Some of these areas include the further development of safety guidelines for on-board use of alternative fuels, matters related to quality of alternative fuels, lifecycle GHG emissions and development of engine standards and assessing the possible impacts and risks of spills of alternative marine fuels.

The Low Carbon GIA, which brings together leading shipowners and operators, classification societies, engine and technology builders and suppliers, big data providers, oil companies and ports, recognises that IMO has already initiated concrete work to address a number of these matters, whereas some others require concrete proposals to advance discussions in the different IMO bodies.

It should be noted that the identification of a low regulatory readiness level for a particular fuel does not necessarily indicate a potential barrier for the uptake of the fuel, but simply identifies scope for future work to be done by IMO and other stakeholders as appropriate.

Tore Longva, Lead of the Low Carbon GIA Alternative low- and zero-carbon fuels workstream commented: “Under this workstream, Low Carbon GIA members from across the industry have contributed their expertise to undertake several activities to-date to support the adoption of alternative fuels for low carbon shipping.

“This regulatory status assessment with respect to the use of alternative fuels represents a crucial piece of work undertaken by the Low Carbon GIA to support IMO Member States in identifying potential regulatory gaps which will need to be closed in the future.”

Regulatory gaps

In the context of the recently launched Future Fuels and Technology for low- and zero-carbon shipping Project (FFT Project), IMO is addressing a number of the identified regulatory gaps in support of discussions in IMO’s regulatory committees.

The Low Carbon GIA is a public-private partnership that operates under the framework of the GreenVoyage2050 Project. The aim of the Low Carbon GIA is to develop innovative solutions to address common barriers to decarbonizing the shipping sector.

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Xeneta Update: Air freight cargo capacity increases above pre-pandemic level


Global air cargo volumes fell -4% year-on-year in February as available cargo capacity rose above the pre-pandemic level for the first time in four years, according to the latest weekly market analysis from CLIVE Data Services, part of Xeneta.

Main fronthaul spot air cargo rates remain elevated compared to pre-pandemic era

Global air cargo capacity increased for the eleventh consecutive month in February, up 11% on the same period last year. The global average air freight spot rate of USD 2.73 per kg declined -35% year-on-year but remained +52% ahead of the pre-Covid level seen in 2019.

Niall van de Wouw, Chief Airfreight Officer at Xeneta, said the latest data means it’s time for the industry to let go of pre-Covid comparisons and to acknowledge a new baseline for air cargo market growth.

“CLIVE Data Services was one of the first industry analysts to benchmark data versus the pre-pandemic level because a comparison was needed at the time to accurately measure air cargo’s performance. But the fascination and rhetoric around airfreight rates going back to the 2019 level needs to be replaced based on the inflationary components we now see. Name me a service or product that you acquired four years ago that you’re still paying the same price for now?”

He said the air cargo industry should be focused on where growth is going to come from because the general air cargo volumes have seen negative growth for four years, and based on the first two months of 2023 are still -8% in terms of chargeable weight compared to four years ago. “That is not a growth market,” he said, adding 2019 was also a relatively weak year for air cargo after a buoyant 2018.

Niall van der Wouw of CLIVE Data Services, now a division of Xeneta, and Patrik Berglund, CEO of Xeneta

van de Wouw added: “The volumes are not there, flights are less full, and more capacity will be coming in April as summer flight schedules commence, so I don’t see fundamental changes that will help the current market conditions. There is a hope and expectation of volumes increasing in Q3 as companies restock, but when I talk to shippers, I don’t hear anyone saying they’re going to ship more airfreight. If restocking comes, many shippers will look firstly to use cheaper modes of transport and, from where we are now, even if there is a boost, we might still be seeing zero overall growth for general air cargo by later in the year.”

The market, he said, will be especially tough for cargo handlers which are dependent on the input of volume.

To mitigate the noises created by the early Lunar New Year this year, CLIVE’s latest global chargeable weight data has also been calculated based on both January and February figures. This showed a -6% year-over-year drop in the first two months of 2023. Global average dynamic load factor, measuring cargo load factor by considering both volume and weight perspectives of cargo flown and capacity available, stood at 57% in February, down 8% pts on the same month last year.

Labour shortages and industrial action continued to present challenges for the global air cargo industry. The recent strikes in German airports on 17 February had a profound impact on air cargo capacity. Outbound Frankfurt cargo capacity on Friday 17 February fell a sharp 60% compared to the week prior.

The air cargo market often sees a surge of flower shipments two weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, as was the case this year, but to a different extent on different trade lanes. Elevated transportation, fertilizer and labour costs, as well as consumers hit by the cost-of-living crisis, dampened cargo volumes from Kenya and Ethiopia to Amsterdam, for example. These were below the levels seen in three of the past four years.

However, inflation appears less felt by American consumers as flower cargo volumes from Colombia and Ecuador to Miami stayed strong, outperforming the past four years.

Year-on-year air cargo rate continued to stabilize in February

On APAC to Europe, the average spot rate was USD 3.84 per kg in February, down -9% from last month and -48% from a year ago but remained 74% above the pre-pandemic level. At a sub-region level, the February spot rate from Southeast Asia to Europe fell a considerable -63% from last year to USD 2.68 per kg, only 38% above the pre-pandemic level, while spot rates from China and other Northeast Asian regions (such as Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea) remained elevated at USD 3.93 per kg and USD 4.75 per kg respectively. Due to capacity shortage and increased operating costs on these lanes, spot air freight rates were 80% and 93% above pre-pandemic levels.

The APAC to North America spot air freight rate of USD 4.42 per kg in February was down -6% from last month and -60% from a year ago. In comparison to inbound Europe, the spot rate from APAC to North America was only 47% above the pre-pandemic level. As the closure of Russian airspace has limited impact on this corridor, spot air freight rates from Northeast Asia (excl. China) and Southeast Asia were USD 4.34 per kg and USD 3.70 per kg respectively, only 42% and 18% above pre-pandemic levels. But outbound China spot rate remained highly elevated at USD 5.22 per kg, up 73% on the pre-Covid level.

On the Europe to North America corridor, February’s average spot air freight rate was USD 2.88 per kg, a fall of -6% from last month’s level and -40% from a year ago but remained up 42% on the pre-pandemic level.

“The stabilizing market is creating a new baseline. It’s time to let go of pre-Covid comparisons, and we will now reflect this in our own weekly data analysis from March 2023,” van de Wouw concluded.

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Added 16 March 2023


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Saudi Arabia becomes the first Arab country to ratify the IALA Convention

The Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) has announced that the Kingdom has officially signed the Convention on the International Organization for Marine Aids to Navigation that transforms the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) from a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to an Inter-Governmental Organization (IGO).

Approved by the Saudi Cabinet, the Kingdom becomes the first Arab country to ratify the IALA Convention. The latest development also coincides with the recent visit by Mawani President, Omar Hariri, to the international body’s headquarters in Paris where he met its Secretary General, Francis Zachariae, to discuss technical cooperation between the two parties.

The Kingdom’s ratification will enable the adoption of best practices and standards for safe navigation in waterways and port areas through the deployment of Marine Aids to Navigation (AtoN) to reduce marine accidents, safeguard life and property at sea, and protect the marine environment.

It will further facilitate cooperation with manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, systems, and technologies that cater to marine safety while participating in the formulation and amendment of IALA standards, recommendations, and guidelines.

The national maritime regulator is keen on boosting navigational safety and marine traffic in the Kingdom’s territorial waters and ports through strategic initiatives in partnership with global entities that specialize in setting marine safety standards and conventions.

Established in 1957, IALA is an international technical association that aims to ensure the provision of effective and harmonized AtoN systems and services across the world for safe and efficient navigation.

Mawani administers 10 ports in the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, with a throughput of 15,000 ships annually.

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Conservative estimates for coming South African citrus export season


With the South African 2023 citrus export season less than a month away, estimates are that just on 142.5 million 15kg cartons of fruit will be exported by the end of October. That figure is minus some mandarin variety estimates that are still outstanding.

That’s the message from the Citrus Growers’ Association CEO, Justin Chadwick, writing in his informative weekly newsletter.

Justin Chadwick

He writes that the 2023 export season follows what was an extremely tough year for growers, which resulted in 5.7 million cartons less cartons being packed for export in 2022 (164.8 million cartons in total), than what was predicted at the start of the season, with only 1 in 5 growers making a positive return.

“The challenges faced include: a surge in farming input prices and transport costs as well as astronomical shipping price hikes which made the cost of getting fruit to market commercially unviable for many growers. The introduction of the unjustified and discriminatory new False Coddling Moth (FCM) regulations passed by the European Union (EU) mid-season; ongoing decay of public infrastructure and an erratic electricity supply added to industry woes.

“As a result of many of these challenges expected to persist in 2023, with some even worsening, such as increased bouts of load shedding and ever-growing input costs, the crop forecast for a number of varietals show only moderate growth or a decrease when compared to 2022.”

The CGA has the following estimates in detail for the 2023 season now about to commence. Final mandarin estimates will only become available by mid-April.


The current prediction is that 37.3 million (15kg) cartons will be exported to key markets, which is an increase of 2.6 million cartons when compared to 2022. This increase is a result of younger trees coming into production across a number of regions including the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. However, the recent heavy rains in the Northern parts of the country and hail in Eastern Cape could potentially decrease the overall volumes exported as the impact of these weather events materialises.

To date over 800,000 cartons of lemons have been shipped, over 200,000 cartons more than 2021, and 330,000 more than 2020. Middle East remains destination of choice with 49% of volume (2021 46%). There has also been an increase to Asia to 22% (2021 18%) and UK to 3% (2021 2%). This has been at the expense of Russia down to 18% (2021 23%) and North America to 7% (from 10% in 2021).


Current predictions show a 2.5 million decrease in (15kg) cartons of navels that will be shipped during the coming season, with 25.3 million cartons expected to be exported in total. The reason for the decline was farms in some regions deciding not to export in 2023. Recent hail storms in the Western Cape has also impacted volumes from the region as well as ongoing load shedding which has impacted farmers’ ability to irrigate crops.


An estimated 54.5 million (15kg) cartons of valencias is predicted to be exported in 2023, which will be a 700,000 increase from the 53.8 million cartons shipped last season. Good weather conditions in a number of regions have resulted in the predicted increase in production levels. However, feedback from some markets have revealed a decrease in consumption levels of citrus in some countries, which could impact the final amount shipped.


An estimated 12.7 million (17kg) cartons of grapefruit is predicted to be exported during the upcoming season, which is a 2.1 million decrease when compared to 2022. One of the reasons for the drop in predicted numbers is many regions not planning to pack class 2 and fruit for processing purposes (PP) for export this year. In 2021 approximately 2 million cartons of PP fruit were packed for export.

Mandarins:  Estimates to be available mid-April. Source: CGA.

To see the weekly CGA Newsletter and reports CLICK HERE

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WHARF TALK: SA coastal feeder vessel MSC ANUSHA III

MSC Anusha III at the Sea Point anchorage, 2 February 2023. Picture by Phil Short

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The global, supremely successful container line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), is well known in South and Southern Africa for operating continuous, user friendly, services that cover every part of the continent of Africa, with direct sailings from the four major container ports of South Africa to both East and West Africa. Their industry standard, sailing schedule, timekeeping is considered excellent under normal operating circumstances.

They are however, better known for their big boat services to the major ports of the Middle East, India, Far East and, of course, Europe. One of the services that they do not usually undertake in this region is a ‘two port’ feeder service, where one vessel plods up and down the coast linking just two ports, and nowhere else. However, this year MSC decided to do just that.

It will come as no surprise to read that Transnet is currently under the cosh at present, as a result of inefficient service, slow working, and incessant delays to arriving, and in port, container vessels, all desperately trying to maintain an international, published, sailing schedule that importers and exporters rely on, especially those that operate to a ‘last minute’ working principle for spares, inventory and production. MSC has had to shoulder a lot of that problem.

Every single major container line operator that has Cape Town on its route structure has been receiving almost continuous delays to their schedules. Every arriving vessel, almost without exception, is forced into an indeterminate wait in the Table Bay anchorage, sometimes in excess of a week, before a berth is available.

In some defence of the port, poor weather does play a role, with the seasonal ‘Cape Doctor’ southeasterly winds, but the inability of Transnet operations to catch up, due to inefficient working practices, after a weather delay means that the problem appears to be getting worse and worse for the operators. MSC was being greatly affected by these problems, which were not of their own choosing.

So, on 12th January this year, and in response to the demand for a regular, and a reliable, service from the Far East, but especially from Europe to Cape Town, that MSC announced it would introduce a dedicated feeder to Cape Town, from Ngqura in the Eastern Cape. The down side to this was that, for the MSC European service, it meant that Cape Town was being dropped on the southbound leg, as it was here that the never-ending logjam was occurring.

The new service was to have a local name, and would be called the ‘Shosholoza Feeder Service’ (SFS), and be an express service as, in the words of MSC, it would provide its clients with the same benefit that having a direct southbound call at Cape Town would have, except that it would be without any transshipment delays. The SFS port rotation would be a simple Cape Town- Ngqura- Cape Town, operated by a single vessel. What could possibly go wrong?

Back on 28th February, at 06h00 in the morning, the Panamax container vessel MSC ANUSHA III (IMO 9323041) arrived off Cape Town, from Ngqura, and operating her third rotation of the new ‘Shosholoza Feeder Service’. She had sailed from Ngqura on 26th February at 1400, and after a 40 hour transit, as with all arriving container vessels, she was directed to go to anchor in the Sea Point anchorage, and to await a berth. This was to be no express service.

MSC Anusha III, Cape Town, 10 March 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 2nd March at 03h00, after almost two days at anchor, she entered Cape Town harbour, and like the previous arrival, she did not go to the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT), but was directed into the Duncan Dock, and went alongside F berth at the Multi-Purpose Terminal (MPT) to discharge. So far, so good!

There appears to be a convoluted plan for turning around ‘MSC Anusha III’, as after a full six days at the MPT, simply to discharge, she was ready to start loading. Except that there were no containers to load at the MPT, as they appeared to be waiting for her at the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT), in the Ben Schoeman Dock. But there was no berth for her at the CTCT, and another MSC vessel, waiting outside at anchor, desperately needed the berth at the MPT, to allow her to try and meet her own schedule. So, on 8th March, ‘MSC Anusha III’ was shifted off her berth, and moved down the Duncan Dock from F berth to L berth.

Now, L berth is not a commercial berth, but the bespoke berth for De Beers Marine, with no container handling infrastructure on the quayside, and so only used by ‘MSC Anusha III’ simply as a layby berth, whilst a berth at the CTCT was awaited. Two days later, on 10th March, she was ready to shift across to the CTCT, as a berth became available, and she went alongside berth 604 to start loading her outbound export, and transshipped, containers for Coega.

Finally, a further three days later, ‘MSC Anusha III’ was loaded and ready for her ‘express’ run back to Ngqura. She sailed from Cape Town at 16h00 on 13th March, after no less than almost a fortnight discharging, and then loading, just one set of containers, bound for just one port, from one vessel. As soon as she departed, she soon ramped her sea speed up to 18 knots to try and claw back some of the time lost in the ‘express’ service to Cape Town.

Remember, in the words of MSC, the Shosholoza Feeder Service, which was launched in response to customer demand, would give MSC customers the advantage of having a direct WEEKLY call to Cape Town, without lengthy transshipment delays, and was expected to provide significant benefits to their customers in terms of cost, transit time, and reliability. Not yet.

Built in 2008 by STX Shipbuilders at Jinhae in South Korea, ‘MSC Anusha III’ is 247 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 46,211 tons. She is powered by a single STX MAN-B&W 9K80MC-C 9 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 44,173 bhp (32,490 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 23 knots.

MSC Anusha III, Cape Town, 10 March 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes four MAN-B&W 9L28/32H generators providing 1,800 kW each. She has a single Cummins NT-855-D(M) emergency generator providing 180 kW. She has a single Kangrim exhaust gas boiler, and a single Kangrim oil fired boiler. For added manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster providing 1,400 kW.

She has seven holds, and has a container carrying capacity of 3,586 TEU, with a reefer carrying provision of 500 reefer plugs. Prior to being brought in on the coastal SFS, ‘MSC Anusha III’ was operated on the MSC service between the Far East, India and East Africa.

One of four sisterships, built as a class of eight, and known as the STX 3500 Season class , ‘MSC Anusha III’ is nominally owned by Cold Winter Shipping Ltd., operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company SA (MSC), of Geneva in Switzerland, and managed by MSC Ship Management Ltd., of Limassol in Cyprus.

On her current voyage, it would be wrong to make a sensible comparison as to how successful she has been, as one voyage is not comparable to the old saying of ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’. So we need to see how she has fared since being introduced back in January. It was the southbound voyage of ‘MSC Athens’ on the NWC-SA service from Europe that was the first to bypass, and not to stop at Cape Town, passing it on 11th January. She called northbound on 25th January, as reported in Africa Ports & Ships on 31st January.

The start of the MSC SFS service began when ‘MSC Anusha III’ arrived off Ngqura on 25th January at 05h00, where she was sent to the Algoa Bay anchorage for 24 hours, before entering Ngqura to start her loading for Cape Town. After two days loading, she sailed for her first call at Cape Town on 28th January at 11h00, arriving at Cape Town on 30th January at 09h00, after a 46 hour transit. Immediately, the new service, created to reduce delays, got off on the wrong foot, as Transnet sent her to the Sea Point anchorage on arrival, and there she stayed for five days.

On 4th February, at 06h00, she finally entered Cape Town harbour, berthing at the CTCT, where she spent a further five days discharging, and loading, for Ngqura. She sailed on her return leg at 15h00 on 9th February, arriving back at Ngqura at 18h00 on 10th February, where she went to anchor for a short five hours, and entered the port at 23h00 that night.

MSC Anusha III, Cape Town, 10 March 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

So, her first ‘weekly’ service had taken over a fortnight. MSC must have been wringing their hands in frustration. Lord knows what the Cape importers thought as they waited for their containers to arrive. The interesting thing is that if ‘MSC Athens’ had called into Cape Town on 11th January, when she was southbound and abeam the port, instead of bypassing the port, the Cape Town bound containers would have been offloaded at least three weeks before they eventually arrived on ‘MSC Anusha III’.

Even taking into account a standard five day wait in the anchorage, when ‘MSC Athens’ did arrive back in Cape Town on 25th January, the Cape Town containers would still have been on their way to the Cape importers a full ten days before they actually arrived on ‘MSC Anusha III’. The first service was a failure in terms of reliability and delay reduction. It would seem that in order not to add any delay to Durban and Ngqura importers, that Cape importers would have to accept that they would receive one of inordinate length.

So on to SFS voyage number two. Departing Ngqura at 12h00 on 13th February, after a 60 hour turnaround, and loaded with containers bound for Cape Town, ‘MSC Anusha III’ arrived back at Cape Town on 14th February at 13h00, after a creditable fast passage of just one day, almost twice as fast as the previous passage from Ngqura. Incredibly, there was to be no sent to the anchorage on arrival, and she went straight in to Cape Town harbour, and direct to the MPT to discharge her containers.

Her stay in Cape Town was again, nothing to write home about, and after just over a full week later, she was ready to sail at 03h00 on 22nd February. Again, her passage from Cape Town to Ngqura was a fast 28 hours, arriving at 07h00 on 23rd February. Again, no anchorage pattern waiting for her arrival, and she went straight in to begin the process for her third, and current SFS voyage. So, ‘weekly’ voyage number two on the SFS, again, took just under a fortnight.

We already know that turnaround times for voyage number three is going to be even more awful than the first two, as it is going to around three weeks. One can only hope that things improve drastically with how ‘MSC Anusha II’ is turned around at Cape Town in the coming months. A weekly service it certainly is not, yet.

So far, MSC, and her Cape Importer customer base, must be so frustrated, and even angry, at how a simple ‘two port’ feeder service, of ports that are just 24 hours steaming time apart, and on a vessel that carries containers for one port only, can take the inordinate turnaround time that it currently does, and result in them having to swallow delays that a Southbound NWC-SA call would not impose. Notwithstanding that bad weather gets in the way, but that is not the sole reason for the woeful performance that currently ‘MSC Anusha III’ is having to cope with at the hands of Transnet in Cape Town.

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Captain William Ruto takes over as Kenya Ports Authority new boss

Capt William Ruto, new managing director of Kenya Ports Authority

Kenya Ports Authority new managing director is Captain William Ruto.

Capt. Ruto assumes the office after being officially appointed by Transport Secretary, Kipchumba Murkomen. He is replacing the former acting-MD, John Mwangemi.

The position of managing director of Kenya Ports Authority has been vacant for three years. The new man holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Strategic Management from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

Prior to his appointment to head the KPA, Ruto was KPA Operations General Manager and more recently General Manager at the Lake Victoria port of Kisumu.

Shortly after his arrival last week at KPA headquarters in Mombasa, he met with the chairman of the Board before addressing staff outside the KPA building.

He told the port staff his immediate focus would be on addressing their grievances that have seen workers embark on a go-slow protest. The protest mainly concerns overtime allowances and a medical scheme they appear not to be happy about.

Capt. Ruto began his maritime career as a cadet in 1991. Ten years later, after studies at South Tyneside college in the UK, and having served at sea on a variety of ocean-going ships, he achieved his Class 1 Master Mariner ticket, and later joined the KPA as a senior mariner before his subsequent appointment into management with the KPA.

He is unrelated to President William Ruto, Kenya’s recently elected head of state.

YouTube video of new KPA management addressing KPA workers at Mombasa [2:02]

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IMO and training: Madagascar port facility security

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Strengthening port security in Madagascar was the focus of a training workshop held in Antananarivo, Madagascar from 6 to 10 March.

This event brought together 24 participants, including Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) from various ports in Madagascar as well as representatives of the Designated Authority (Agence Portuaire Maritime Fluviale (APMF)).

Participants improved their knowledge and skills in developing and implementing port facility security plans (PFSPs) in order to perform their duties in accordance with the provisions of relevant IMO regulations: SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code). This training will also provide a solid foundation on oversight roles and responsibilities of designated authorities.

It was reported by IMO that the workshop was the latest in a series of activities under the European Union-funded project on Port Security and Safety of Navigation in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, which involves nine beneficiary countries, including Madagascar.

Under the project, IMO aims to assist participating countries to enhance maritime security and safety within the region in line with the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy.

On 6 March the opening ceremony was attended by representatives of the EU delegation and of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as well as the General Director of the Malagasy Maritime Administration.

For more detail CLICK HERE

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Emphasis on importance of petroleum products to Africa

Wale Ajibade, executive director at Sahara Group. Picture Sahara Group

The rising importance of petroleum products to Africa has been emphasised by Wale Ajibade, executive director of Sahara Group.

Speaking during the African Refiners & Distributors Association (ARDA) Conference being held this week in Cape Town, Ajibade said that projected growth trends in Africa indicate an increase in energy demand over the next few decades, with demand expected to be driven by industrialization and urbanization. This, he added, is expected to coincide with the global energy transition.

Additionally, the rise in demand is projected to accelerate Africa’s deployment of downstream infrastructure to enable the continent’s energy independent and sustainability while serving to address energy poverty.

According to Ajibade, Africa faces five challenges across the downstream sector. Specifically, the over-reliance on product importation, supply chain issues, oil theft and vandalism, fuel subsidy, and the energy transition.

However, he said, there are clear solutions to these challenges, which include, “investing in the construction of new refineries and the modernization and expansion of existing infrastructure; the creation of enabling environments for investment in infrastructure; leveraging technology to address pipeline theft and vandalism – such as drones and the internet of things –; regulating fuel subsidies; and pushing for gas to be used more predominantly including liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas for power, energy and transportation while adapting existing refineries to the changing landscape.”

Viable solutions

In addition to oil, Ajibade provided insight into the viable solutions for the future of Africa’s energy sector. Drawing attention to natural gas while identifying the role solar, wind and hydro will also play, Ajibade stated that with roughly 13% of global natural gas reserves based in Africa, the continent is expected to embrace gas in the coming years.

While fossil fuels will continue to remain the major source of Africa’s energy demand, particularly through oil, it is expected that there will be a major shift towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy mix through the use of gas, Ajibade said.

In this scenario, natural gas will begin to play the role of bridging between more polluting fossil fuels and zero-carbon technologies, such as wind and solar. With factors such as a growing population, increased urbanization and economic expansion, as well as growth across the industry, commerce, manufacturing and agricultural sectors, Africa is projected to rely more and more on gas.

However, challenges associated with a lack of investment, limited infrastructure, foreign exchange issues and limited knowledge on gas technologies continue to hinder resource maximization in some gas-rich countries such as Nigeria – which has put in place its Decade of Gas initiative to monetize resources.

Four LPG vessels in West Africa

As the transition to cleaner sources of energy become increasingly important, Ajibade shared insight into Sahara Group’s operations and agenda, stating that as part of the company’s broader Environmental, Sustainability and Governance initiatives, Sahara continues to make investments along the entire gas value chain.

On the upstream, the company invests in a gas-heavy portfolio and has begun the process of eliminating gas flaring across all its upstream assets. On the midstream front, the company has stakes in several LNG and gas ventures including four LPG vessels with a focus on increasing LPG supply into West Africa. Meanwhile on the downstream and consumption side, gas demand to the company’s power plants is expected to increase significantly by 2026.

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Cyclone Freddy ashore near Quelimane, another u-turn possible

Cyclone Freddy on Sunday 12 March, the final JTWC report as the cyclone moved inland over Mozambique. Map: JTWC

Tropical Cyclone Freddy came ashore across Mozambique on Saturday for a second time within two weeks, this time 15 n.miles north of the port of Quelimane in central Mozambique. This was on 11 March at 18h00Z and the cyclone moved steadily inland with Freddy now downrated to an overland depression. Wind speeds when last reported were around 30 knots, gusting to 40, down from an estimated 80 knots when the storm landed, but weakening overland as Cyclone Freddy tracked northwestward toward the southern part of Malawi and the province of Tete. On Monday 13 March at 06h00 Freddy was located at position 16.8 S / 34.6 E.

At least 10 people are reported dead in Malawi from the effects of Freddy – those were in the city of Blantyre but there are possibly more fatalities in the country districts as yet unreported. The same applies within Mozambique as the reports are yet to come in.

Another u-turn?

The forecast is that the Freddy, or what is left of this long-lasting record-breaking cyclone, would track slowly west-northwestward before becoming stationary as competing steering develops inland. It appears highly likely to perform another of its infamous u-turns on Tuesday 14 March toward an eastward direction that will take it back toward the coast, with a possibility of regeneration once back over the sea from mid-week.

Although the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbour has now stopped reporting on this storm system – the JTWC does so as soon as a cyclone moves over land and is downrated as an overland depression or equivalent – but is closely monitoring Freddy 11S for signs of regeneration even though there are no suggestions this will necessarily happen.

There will however be continued intense rainfall over the provinces and districts of Zambezia, Northern Sofala, northern Manica and southeast Tete, possibly extending to southern Niassa district. In the next 48 hours up to 200-300mm of rain is expected in these areas, and locally 400mm in the highlands. Due to previous rainfall these rains are likely to generate severe flooding, according to the projections.

In Malawi strong winds were expected on Monday reaching 80 km/h and heavy rainfall of between 300 and 400mm in 48 hours over the southern part of the country and possibly more over the high ground. The rivers in this region will possibly flood.

Quelimane & Coastal Shipping

The port city of Quelimane lost all communications with the rest of the country on Saturday 11 March as the cyclone came ashore just to the north of the port. The city also experienced severe problems with the electricity supply. Houses were reported blown down, electricity pylons knocked over and flooding occurred.

The National Meteorological Institute (INAM) warned that heavy rains will continue to fall across Zambezia for the next three days, with rainfall of over 200 millimetres in 24 hours. There will also be heavy rains in Manica and Sofala, in the southern part of Nampula, and in Niassa province.

Mozambique’s National Maritime Institute (INAMAR) banned all shipping activities, both commercial and leisure, in Sofala, Zambezia and Nampula provinces, with a ‘maximum alert’ to all shipping companies, fishermen, community fishing councils, owners of boats and the residents of coastal areas.

In total 260 local disaster risk management committees were activated ahead of the cyclone’s arrival on the coast. Coastal search and rescue personnel were placed on standby with 19 boats available as necessary. sources: JTWC, MeteoFrance, INAM, INAMASR, AIM

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Ignazio Messina’s ConRo ship Jolly Titanio arriving at Durban. Picture by Keith Betts

Pictures by Trevor Jones*
Story by Jay Gates
* except where indicated

There once was a time, in the 1980s, when giant Roll On – Roll Off (Ro-Ro) ships, with huge quarter stern ramps, were regular callers to all major ports on the South African coast. They were magnificent Swedish and French Ro-Ro vessels, operating as part of one of the Europe-South Africa services. In reality, they also carried containers on deck, so they were technically referred to as Container/Roll On-Roll Off vessels, or Con-Ro for short.

Those times are now long past, and if there is one vessel type that you virtually never get to spot in Cape Town harbour in this day and age, it is the Con-Ro vessel. However, this is certainly not the case for Durban harbour, which still acts as the southern terminus for a Europe-South Africa Con-Ro service.

On 9th March at 14h00 in the afternoon, the Con-Ro vessel JOLLY TITANIO (IMO 9547219) arrived off the Durban harbour entrance, from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and proceeding down the Bluff Channel, and into Durban harbour, going alongside E berth at the Point Ro-Ro-Terminal, to work her specialised cargo.

Built in 2014 by STX Shipbuilders at Jinhae in South Korea, ‘Jolly Titanio’ is powered by an STX MAN-B&W 7L70ME-C8.2 7 cylinder 2 stroke engine producing 31,121 bhp (22,890 kW), driving a controllable pitch propeller for a service speed of 21.5 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes four generators providing 1,720 kW each. For added manoeuvrability ‘Jolly Titanio’ has both a bow transverse thruster providing 1,400 kW, and a stern transverse thruster, also providing 1,400 kW.

Jolly Titanio, arriving at Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones

As a Con-Ro vessel, the one item that stands out like the proverbial sore thumb, is her gargantuan stern ramp, located on her aft starboard quarter. The ramp is 12 metres wide at the point it sits on the quayside, and it widens to 27 metres wide, along a 50 metre length, before it terminates in the 7 metre high, 27 metre wide, stern door entrance to the main garage deck. The ramp is capable of handling rolling freight up to 350 tons in weight.

She has five vehicle decks, with her 7 metre high main garage deck being capable of holding the largest types of industrial vehicles, plant vehicles, mining vehicles, military vehicles, and project freight such as railway locomotives, train carriages, powerboats, and even aircraft and helicopters, plus non-transport project freight such as transformers and engines.

There are no internal lifts, or hoistable ramps, for moving Ro-Ro freight within the vessel, only fixed ramps are available. When built ‘Jolly Titanio’ was given the acclaimed title of the largest Con-Ro vessel in the world. She has a total of 6,350 lane metres for Ro-Ro freight, and she has a container carrying capacity of 3,016 TEU, which includes provision for 200 Reefer plugs.

Built to an eco-design, ‘Jolly Titanio’ has been equipped with a DSME Stator Device, located next to her propeller, which gives her a 4% fuel saving. She also has an exhaust gas cleaning system, better known as the ubiquitous ‘Scrubber’, and which gives clarity to the huge size of her funnel casing, which runs down the starboard side, abaft her accommodation block.

She has been equipped with Cold Ironing power systems, which allows her to make shore connections where power provision is great enough to allow her to operate without any onboard generators running. All of these innovations have resulted in her receiving the prestigious “Green Plus’ notation from her classification agency, RINa.

Jolly Titanio, entering Durban port. Picture by Trevor Jones 

Owned by Ro-Ro Italia SpA, of Genoa, ‘Jolly Titanio’ is operated by Linea Messina, also of Genoa, and she is managed by Ignazio Messina & C. SpA, again of Genoa. She was the first built of four sisterships, which were built to a slightly improved design to four early near sisterships, which were built by Daewoo Shipbuilding in South Korea, as the second stage of a major fleet development upgrade, undertaken by her owners for US$642.8 million (ZAR11.72 billion).

The ownership of ‘Jolly Titanio’ is slightly convoluted, as in 2017 the Italian owned, but Swiss headquartered, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) requested permission from the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) to acquire a minority stake in Ignazio Messina & C. SpA. The Italian antitrust regulator determined that the deal would not raise competition concerns, and approved the deal.

The owner of MSC, Gianluigi Aponte, used his subsidiary Italian holding company, Marinvest, to take over a 49% stake in Ignazio Messina & C. SpA. They would also take on a controlling 52% stake in a new company to be called Ro-Ro Italia SpA. This new company would control four of the Linea Messina Con-Ro vessels. One of the four vessels transferred included ‘Jolly Titanio’. The investment in Linea Messina by the Aponte family was valued at US$28.5 million (ZAR521.45 million).

In 2018, MSC ran a Ro-Ro service, from the Mediterranean to West Africa, using two dedicated Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC) vessels. They decided to replace them both on the service with two Con-Ro vessels instead. One of the vessels chosen was ‘Jolly Titanio’, and she temporarily renamed as ‘MSC Titanio’, lost her Linea Messina hull logo identity, and her funnel was repainted with the traditional MSC logo and colours which, at the time, strengthened the collaboration between MSC and Linea Messina.

MSC Titanio never called at Durban while under the MSC banner but her sister ship Cobalto did in September 2019, arriving with the MSC colours and logo on her prominent funnel. Picture is by Trevor Jones

In 2022, Linea Messina was announced as the official carrier for the famous ‘Dakar Rally’, and tasked with carrying all vehicles from Marseilles in France, to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where the event was to be staged. The movement schedule also included all race equipment, and support functions for the rally, with three vessels assigned for the task, one of which was ‘Jolly Titanio’.

Linea Messina has been operating to South Africa, and to Durban specifically, for many years. The company is named after that of the founding, and owning, family. South Africa has always been an important market for the line, underscored by the decision in 1994 to create Ignazio Messina SA.

The unlucky Jolly Rubino departing Durban in September 1993, nine years before the ship met her unfortunate end via an engine room fire ashortly after sailing from Durban. This picture is by Trevor Jones

For most South African casual maritime observers, the name of the company, and the prefix of all of their vessels, normally brings back memories of another of the company vessels from more than twenty years ago, but for all of the wrong reasons. That vessel was ‘Jolly Rubino’.

On 11th September 2002, ‘Jolly Rubino’ had sailed from Durban, for her return voyage to Genoa when, that same evening, a serious engine room fire broke out. The fire could not be contained, and began spreading throughout the vessel, whilst she was 5 nautical miles south of the St. Lucia River estuary, a sensitive wetland nature reserve. The crew abandoned the vessel, leaving her to drift with the current, and on the 12th September ‘Jolly Rubino’ ran aground when just over 1 nautical mile northeast of the St. Lucia lighthouse, and some 300 metres offshore.

Jolly Rubino aground, almost beneath the Cape St Lucia Lighthouse on the Zululand coast. Picture: SMIT 
The demolition explosions on the Jolly Rubino, aimed at reducing her upper works. Picture: SMIT

She immediately began to break up in the surf, and whilst it became obvious that she was not going to be saved, Smit Marine salvage personnel were able to board her, and began the months long process of removing the oil and fuel from her tanks, plus the dangerous chemicals that she carried onboard as part of her cargo.

Some years later the wreck of the Jolly Rubino remained highly visible on the Zululand coast. Picture: Dormac

Once this task was complete, the decision was taken to reduce the wreck, with controlled explosions, to break her up completely. This proves was to ensure that she did not present a navigational hazard to other passing shipping. Whilst some parts of ‘Jolly Rubino’ wreck are still visible today, lying offshore, she is now a well-known artificial reef, and popular wreck fishing site for recreational sport anglers.

The current voyage commitment for ‘Jolly Titanio’ has her assigned to the Linea Messina ‘Red Sea/South-East Africa Line’ service. The port rotation of this service is Genoa (Italy)- Alexandria- Port Said (both Egypt)- Suez Canal- Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)- Mombasa (Kenya)- Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)- Durban- Maputo (Mozambique)- Dar es Salaam- Mombasa- Jeddah- Suez (Egypt)- Suez Canal- Genoa. The round trip is scheduled to take approximately 58 days, and there are two vessels, Jolly Titanio’ and ‘Jolly Perla’, currently assigned to the service.

On completion of her cargo, and containers at Durban, which also acts as a transshipment hub for the Linea Messina service, ‘Jolly Titanio’ was scheduled to sail at 06h00 on 13th March, bound for Maputo, on the first leg of her northbound schedule back to Genoa, via the Suez Canal.

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USCGC Spencer home from Africa

USCGC Spencer 905 Picture: Flickr

Edited by Paul Ridgway

On 10 March the ship’s company of USCGC Spencer returned to their home port in Portsmouth, Virginia, following an 88-day deployment in the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations, employed by the US Sixth Fleet and Combined Task Force 65, to defend US, allied and partner interests.

During the patrol, Spencer’s sailors worked to combat illicit transnational activities, including illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, by conducting multinational law enforcement operations in the Atlantic Ocean. Their efforts served to strengthen existing relationships with African nations and prioritized opportunities for new partnerships.

Regional cooperation

The ship’s company also participated in Obangame Express 2023, a maritime exercise with participants from the US Navy, US Coast Guard and seventeen West African partners. Conducted by US Naval Forces Africa, Obangame Express is designed to improve regional cooperation, information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of participating nations to counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and other sea-based illicit activity.

Of the deployment Commander Corey Kerns, Spencer’s CO said: “I am very proud of what this crew accomplished on Spencer while working with our partners in Africa.

“Together we demonstrated the US commitment to maritime security in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. We helped our partners in the region build the capability to enforce a rules-based order critical to their own food and economic security. I know this deployment will be something we all remember for a long time, and it was an honour to be a part of it.’

African port visits

Spencer’s crew hosted many African country representatives, held diplomatic engagements and participated in community relations events during port visits in Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Nigeria and Côte D’Ivoire.

The Coast Guard cutter’s port visit to Lomé, Togo marked the first US ship visit to Togo since 2012.

While at sea, Spencer also interdicted a Brazilian sailing vessel carrying 3,040 kilograms of suspected cocaine worth over $109 million.
Spencer’s crew was augmented with several temporarily assigned members, including Tactical Law Enforcement and Maritime Safety and Security Team personnel, medical officers from the US Public Health Service and Coast Guard, US Coast Guard Auxiliary Chinese language translators, electronics technicians and a yeoman.

About USCGC Spencer

Commissioned in June 1986, Spencer is a Famous-class medium endurance cutter named after John C Spencer, the 16th Secretary of the Treasury. Spencer is homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia. The cutter’s primary mission areas include homeland security, law enforcement, counter drug, search and rescue, migrant interdiction and fisheries enforcement in support of US Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

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The rising futuristic port city of Neom – dredging contract awarded to Boskalis

Neom, the floating industrial hub. Port of Neom

The announcement and details of the city and port of Neom, on the Saudi Arabian side of the Gulf of Aqaba, have been both sarcastically criticised, and praised and admired by others. Whatever your view, it is happening and here’s the evidence.

It comes with the news that Dutch dredging company Boskalis has been awarded the contract to dredge for the new port of the planned linear city.

This is “as the first step in the development of a new futuristic city,” said Boskalis.

Neom, located in the temperate northwest of the Saudi kingdom, is planned as a city providing a floating industrial hub, a global trade hub, tourist resorts and a large linear city of 26,500 km2 situated along a 468km coastline that will ultimately house up to 9 million people. The land footprint will be almost the size of Belgium.

The entire city and business districts, and harbour, will be powered exclusively by renewable energy sources, the developers say.

All this as Saudi Arabia goes about diversifying its economy so as not to be left dependant on oil.

Boskalis, which will handle the dredging for the new port will make use of what is described as a mega cutter suction dredger. The contract is to be concluded by mid 2025.

And for those who prefer to deride the idea let alone the actual project, look across the Arabian Peninsula, at the ‘miracle’ cities of the UAE, that 30 or 40 years ago were little more than mere villages, reliant of fishing and pearl gathering.

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DNV report shows demand for ocean space to grow 5-fold by 2050

Coexistence is essential

Offshore wind will account for 80% of stationary infrastructure at sea by 2050, up from 15% today.

Europe will experience significant pressure on ocean space with demand particularly strong in North Sea, Celtic-Biscay Shelf and Baltic Sea

Greater China will build most offshore infrastructure (covering 112,000 square kilometers by 2050), followed by Europe (70,000 square kilometers). Globally, ocean installations will cover 335,000 square kilometers by midcentury, which is larger than the landmass of Poland

DNV also chosen to lead project to optimize marine spatial planning off coast of Norway

The collaboration between ocean industries will need to intensify for the rapid buildout of offshore wind and aquaculture to coexist sustainably with other industries and the ecosystem. According to DNV’s Spatial Competition Forecast, the amount of ocean space occupied by installations will grow 5-fold by 2050. This will be driven by offshore wind, which will account for 80% of stationary infrastructure at sea by midcentury, followed by aquaculture (13%) and oil and gas (5%).

Whilst ocean space is plentiful, industrial activity will be located primarily close to shore which will heighten the need for ocean coexistence. To enable stakeholders to gauge the demand for ocean space DNV has developed the Spatial Competition Index. According to this index, the North Sea is the area in Europe which will see greatest competition due to the large number of shipping lanes and ports, as well as the strong presences of the fishing, aquaculture, oil and gas and wind industries. Installations for offshore energy and food production will cover 23% of the area between 2-50 km from shore in water depths less than 50 metres.

Greater China’s emergence as powerhouse

Greater China’s emergence as the powerhouse of the blue economy is reflected in offshore construction. It will account for a third of all global infrastructure built at sea by 2050, mainly due to the sharp increase in offshore wind, which will make up 13% of the region’s electricity production. The Indian Subcontinent sees the strongest growth in area covered by stationary infrastructure, as the region experiences fast offshore wind development requiring vast areas, whereas historically, offshore oil and gas and marine aquaculture are negligible in this region.

Globally, the area occupied by fixed offshore wind will grow from about 9,000 km2 today to about 242,000 km2 by mid-century. Floating offshore wind will grow from a low 15 km2 today to more than 33,000 km2 by 2050. Compared with bottom-grounded installations, floating offshore wind can potentially ease some of the tensions between offshore wind and fisheries, as it takes renewable energy production out of the way of the fishing fleet operating on shallow banks.

Picture: In Habitat

“The ocean is crucial for the production of sustainable food and energy, but at the same time we must tread carefully as many ocean ecosystems are already under huge stress,” said Bente Pretlove, Ocean Space programme director at DNV.

“This report underscores the urgent need to balance protection, productivity, and social development objectives for a sustainable Blue Economy. Those developers that are most adept at early stakeholder engagement, spatial efficiency, flexible coexistence, and pursuit of sustainability are likely to be most competitive. Coexistence is essential for the sustainable growth of the Blue Economy.”

DNV’s Spatial Competition Forecast builds on the findings of the previously published Ocean’s Future to 2050. The results are based on what DNV forecasts to be the most likely energy mix in 2050 and not what is required to reach net zero. To limit global warming to two degrees the amount of offshore wind in Europe, for example, would need to double.

DNV to lead research project to strengthen marine and offshore wind coexistence planning

The Norwegian coast will also experience pressure on space with the expansion of offshore wind and aquaculture in coexistence with maritime traffic, fishing vessels and oil and gas infrastructure. To facilitate collaboration between industries and enable stakeholders to find synergies, resolve conflicts and safeguard ocean health, DNV has recently received a grant of NOK 8.8 million from The Research Council of Norway to develop the MARine CO-existence scenario building (MARCO) toolbox.

The project aims to establish a common knowledge basis among ocean stakeholders by introducing new ways of generating scenarios for co-existence in marine spatial planning and development projects in the ocean industries.

The Utsira Nord offshore wind licensing area in Norway will act as one of the case studies. The partners include offshore wind developer Mainstream Renewable Power, SalMar Aker Ocean, the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, and the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association.

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WHARF TALK: newbuild bitumen carrier BITU RIVER

The specialised newbuild bitumen tanker BITU RIVER arrived off Cape Town on 24 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

I was once told that a good sign that your local council was working for you, and spending its money wisely on its ratepayers, was if you had visible evidence of road surface, and pot hole, repairs taking place on an ongoing basis around your parish. A bit simplified, but worsening, or increasing amounts of potholes, equate to a poor council, and reducing the number of potholes equates to a good council.

The problem with that view, though highly unlikely to be the reason, is that the supply of bitumen prevents the amount of road and pothole repairs that any one council would ideally like to complete. As mentioned in previous reports, South African reduction in oil refinery production, and scant evidence that much will change any time soon in this regard, means that bitumen is not readily available from any local producer, as bitumen is a product of the oil refining process.

That means it has to come from outside the country, at a good price, and in useable volumes. If you are importing the product, but will not be in a position to use all of it at once, then you have to have somewhere to store it between periods of need. Therein lies the next problem, in that South Africa does not possess a vast amount of specialised bitumen storage facilities, especially not located at the import terminals, within the major ports.

Back on 24th February, at 16h00 in the afternoon, the specialised newbuild bitumen tanker BITU RIVER (IMO 9918133) arrived off Cape Town from Lomé in Togo, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside at the third tanker berth located on the eastern end of the Eastern Mole.

Bitu River, Cape Town 24 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2022 by China Merchants Jingling shipyard at Yangzhou in Chine, ‘Bitu River’ is 146 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 16,542 tons. She has diesel electric propulsion, and is powered by two Wärtsilä 9L26 9 cylinder 4 stroke main engines producing 3,769 bhp (2,810 kW) each, driving two Schottel azimuth propulsion pods, for a service speed of 12 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes two Wärtsilä 4L20 generators providing 710 kW. She has two economizer exhaust gas boilers. For added manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster. She has an endurance of 7,000 nautical miles. Her crew complement is 14 persons, and she has accommodation for up to 23 persons, with the additional crew normally security personnel due to her area of operations.

She has 12 cargo tanks, and a cargo carrying capacity of 16,542 m3. Her cargo of liquid bitumen can be carried in a molten, heated, state of between 150°C and 160°C. She is fitted with three cargo pumps capable of discharging bitumen at a rate of 750 m3/hour. Built as a FKAB-117 design, by FKAB Marine Design, of Gothenburg in Sweden, ‘Bitu River’ has a distinctive F-Bow.

Bitu River, Cape Town 24 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’ 

Owned by the Rubis Group of Paris in France, ‘Bitu River’ is operated by Rubis Asphalt Middle East (RAME) DMCC, of Dubai in the UAE, and she is managed by Maritec Tanker Management Pvt Ltd., of Mumbai in India.

Entering service in March 2022, ‘Bitu River’ replaced the 1994 built RAME bitumen tanker ‘Viveka’, whose visit to Cape Town was reported on in Africa Ports & Ships, back on 8th March 2022. After a working career of 8 years with RAME, the arrival of ‘Bitu River’ meant that her commercial life had come to an end, and ‘Viveka’ was sold for scrap, and sailed for the breakers beaches of Chattogram (Chittagong) in Bangladesh.

The thing to bear in mind with the choice of arrival berth for ‘Bitu River’ at Cape Town is that the Eastern Mole tanker berth is located directly opposite the FFS Refiners bulk liquid storage tanks. In 2022 the Rubis Group entered into a partnership with FFS Refiners in Cape Town, and has leased bitumen tank storage of 4,800 m3 capacity.

This unique, and specialised, development has been key to the supply of hot bitumen in the Western Cape region, due to a lack of local bitumen production. The partnership arrangement with FFS Refiners, is with Rubis Asphalt South Africa (RASA).

Bitu River, Cape Town 24 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’ 

Buoyed by the success of the Cape Town arrangement, RASA and FFS Refiners have again partnered for the development, and construction, of liquid bitumen storage tanks, capable of holding 7,500 m3. This terminal is located on Maydon Wharf, and the Durban expansion investment within Durban harbour is to the tune of ZAR350 million, with completion of the project set for Q4 in 2023, and with RASA as the anchor tenant.

Road construction, and road repair, in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has been severely hampered throughout the last two years due to the lack of bitumen that, previously, was produced in Durban at the local Sapref refinery. RASA say that the new storage facility will benefit the local KZN asphalt industry requirements.

Bitu River, Cape Town 24 February 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Rubis Group has substantial bitumen storage facilities in West Africa, with tank terminal facilities in Sapele in Nigeria (28,000 tons), Lomé in Togo (36,000 tons), Port Harcourt in Nigeria (7,000 tons), Douala in Cameroon (5,000 tons) and Libreville in Gabon (3,000 tons).

After just 24 hours discharging alongside in Cape Town, ‘Bitu River’ was ready to sail by 17h00 in the afternoon of 25th February. She was bound for Durban, and after an almost four day voyage along the coast, she sailed into Durban harbour at 01h00 in the morning on the 1st March.

She went alongside Maydon Wharf 13, to continue the discharge of her KZN bound bitumen cargo. She completed the operation on 5th March at 05h00 in the early morning, and she sailed from Durban, bound for Luanda in Angola, where she is due to arrive on13th March.

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Mauritius & UK have maritime security discussions – may include Chagos islands

The Mauritius Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alan Ganoo, and UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, James Spencer Cleverly, held bilateral discussions in the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting held in New Delhi.

Ganoo raised the efforts of Mauritius in the field of maritime security and extended an invitation to the UK to participate in the Maritime Security Conference which will be hosted by Mauritius in August this year.

The Minister advised that maritime security in the region was becoming increasingly important as trade and other activities increased.

Also disussesd was Mauritius’ vast Exclusive Economic Zone and the importance of the ocean as a significant part of the economy.

Mauritius is taking over the chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Commission. Ganoo used the opportunity to thank the UK for its contribution and partnership in providing training and capacity building to Mauritius in maritime and cyber security.

In repsonse, Clerverly emphasised that both countries need to build bilateral cooperation for mutual benefit in the field of maritime security and defence.

He also highlighted the recent positive conversation between the two Prime Ministers and said progress is being made on important issues.

This is likely to be a reference to ongoing discussions between the UK and Mauritius about the future status of the Chagos archipelago, including the strategic US base on Diego Garcia. Mauritius is pushing for the Chagos group to be returned to its sovereignty.

The Foreign Secretary expressed interest in further strengthening the bilateral ties between UK and Mauritius and also thanked Mauritius for its principled position at the United Nations General Assembly over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Minister Ganoo reiterated Mauritius’ commitment to maintain a consistent approach based on the principles of the UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity.

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Tanzania Govt discussions over LNG project with Shell & Equinor completed


According to the Tanzanian Minister of Energy, January Makamba, talks with oil major Shell and Equinor and their partners to unlock US30 billion LNG project have been completed.

The discussions involved the contractual terms of a host government agreement (HGA) that underpins the entire project.

The Tanzanian LNG project seeks to pipe approximately 40 trillion cubic feet of gas that is held offshore in deepwater blocks 1,2 and 4 (north of the Rovuma Basin).

Te intention is to pipe this to a 10 million tonnes pa LNG plant to be built at Lindi on the Tanzanian coast.

Partners in the project include ExxonMobil, Medco Energy and Pavilion Energy.

Makamba said negotiations were now completed and contracts are in the process of being drawn up.

In addition to the HGA agreement, others include an integrated production-sharing contract covering the three offshore blocks that will supply gas to the Lindi facility.

Mr Makamba stressed the need to complete the contracts speedily as negotiations have already taken far more time than expected.

“It is not a small task, but I have insisted that they finish the work this month to be able to continue with other implementation steps,” Makamba said.

The project involves an investment of about US$30 billion, which he said will bring about a “major economic revolution in the country and make Tanzania one of the countries contributing to energy security in the world.” Source Chanzo Initiative

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TRADE NEWS: MOL and VALE agree to install Two Norsepower Rotor SailsTM

Artistic rendering of vessel with Norsepower Rotor SailsTM

Two Norsepower Rotor SailsTM to be installed to an in-service Capesize Bulk Carrier

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) and Vale International SA announced a partnership to retrofit a 200,000-ton class bulk carrier with two 35m x 5m rotor sails produced by Norsepower Oy Ltd.

The bulk carrier is currently employed under a mid–term contract for transportation of iron ore for Vale.

The installation of the rotor sails is expected in the first half of 2024.

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

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WTO Fishing subsidies agreement: Seychelles is first African WTO member accepting

Seychelles is first WTO member from Africa to formally accept fishing subsidies agreement.  Picture WTO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Seychelles’ trade attaché Lucille Veronique Brutus submitted her government’s instrument of acceptance to DG Okonjo-Iweala on 10 March.
Seychelles deposited its instrument of acceptance for the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies on 10 March, making it the third WTO member and first African country to do so.

Acceptances from two-thirds of WTO members are needed for the Agreement to come into effect.

Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “I am delighted and proud to welcome Seychelles’ ratification of the WTO’s Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies – the first African country to do so.

“Healthier seas and oceans are vital for the prosperity and resilience of Seychelles’ fisheries and tourism industries. Seychelles’ formal acceptance also signals the importance of the Agreement to Africa. I am hopeful this will pave the way for others in the region to follow suit.”

Ministerial comment

Seychelles’ Minister for Fisheries, Mr Jean-François Ferrari, and the Minister for Finance, National Planning and Trade, Mr Naadir Hassan, said in a joint statement: “The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies presents a significant opportunity for Seychelles to promote sustainable fishing practices, protect its marine resources, and to aid in the conservation of fish stocks globally, especially within the African region.

“By depositing its Instrument of Acceptance, Seychelles reinforces its commitment to multilateralism and ensuring that concrete steps are taken towards limiting harmful subsidies that contribute to overfishing as set out in Target 14.6 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals whilst empowering and supporting coastal communities as they transition towards truly sustainable practices.

“Through this significant step, we are hopeful that our country’s vision within the fisheries sector to develop fisheries to its full potential whilst safeguarding the marine environment and resource base for sustainability can be further realised to ensure the long-term viability of Seychelles’ fishing-industry in a participative and co-management approach to preserve its unique biodiversity.

“Seychelles thus calls on its neighbours within the African region, as well as its other WTO counterparts, to submit their Instruments of Acceptance in a bid to continue the global efforts in the conservation of the long-term health of oceans for future generations.”

Seychelles’ trade attaché Lucille Veronique Brutus submitted her government’s instrument of acceptance to DG Okonjo-Iweala.


Adopted by consensus at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in Geneva on 12-17 June 2022, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies sets new binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks. In addition, the Agreement recognizes the needs of developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) and establishes a Fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.

Prohibitions; IUU fishing

The Agreement prohibits support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks, and ends subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas.

Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to making recommendations by MC13 for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.

The full text of the Agreement can be accessed HERE

The list of members that have submitted their acceptance of the Agreement is AVAILABLE HERE

Information for Member States on how to accept the Protocol of Amendment may be SEEN HERE

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French warships intercept over a ton of narcotics off the Horn of Africa

The French frigate La Fayette F710 which carried out the interception of one of the Arab dhows off the Horn of Africa. Picture: Wikipedia/US Navy

Two French Navy warships, the helicopter-carrier DIXMUDE and frigate LA FAYETTE captured more than one ton of narcotics when they intercepted two stateless dhows in the north-western Indian Ocean.

The two naval ships, taking part in a patrol together with the Italian frigate CARLO BERGAMINI on behalf of Operation Atalanta, under the overall command of the Atalanta flagship, the Spanish frigate REINA SOFIA.

This was the first counter narcotics operation of ATALANTA in 2023, in which two actions have been conducted: the first one by the frigate LA FAYETTE and shortly after the second one by the helicopter-carrier DIXMUDE.

Both actions are following the eight similar actions conducted during 2022 in which more than 12,7 tons of narcotics in total were seized and destroyed.

During the latest operation, the types of drugs seized were 573 kg of hashish, 305 kg of heroin and 210 kg of methamphetamine.

French Navy helicopter carrier, FS Dixmude  Picture: French Navy

All these actions have conducted in very close coordination with the French Joint Forces Commander in the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN).

The commitment of the contributing countries to Operation Atalanta, such as France in this case, allows ATALANTA to tackle the narcotics flow in the Western Indian Ocean in accordance with its mandate.

The counter-narcotics executive task of ATALANTA targets the illegal activities into which criminal networks have diversified, as well as tackling the sources of funding for violent extremist organizations throughout East Africa, from Mozambique to Northern Somalia.

This latest success highlights Operation ATALANTA and EUNAVFOR’s position in fighting against illegal trafficking of drugs and arms in a volatile environment.

Judging by the amount of illegal drugs still entering Mozambique by sea suggests however that a much more effective control of the sea remains necessary.

It has been suggested that much of the drugs entering Mozambique for onward passage into South Africa, from where it is smuggled to Europe, arrives not only by small dhow but through the use of ocean going ships.

These rendezvous with smaller vessels offshore of the Mozambique coast and transfer the drugs overboard into the waiting boats that are able to land along isolated places on the long African coast.

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Rock Lighthouses of Britain and Ireland

By Christopher Nicholson

Published by Whittles Publishing
Dunbeath, Caithness, Scotland KW6 6EG
ISBN 978 184995 544 7
Pages 320. Softback, A4 dimensions. Price £24.95

Chapters concern the design, build, operation and trials encountered at: Eddystone, The Skerries, The Smalls, Longships, Longstone, Bell Rock, Tuskar Rock, The Skelligs, Skerryvore, Bishop Rock, Fastnet, Muckle Flugga, The Bull and Calf, Wolf Rock, Dubh Artach, Chicken Rock, Flannan Isles, Rockall and, South Rock.

Each chapter takes a brief look at subsequent modernisation and automation for there are now no lighthouses keepers. Chapters are supported by a reading list for further information on lighthouses and their history, To close there is a brief glossary of terms and six pages of further listings of the rock towers of Trinity House, the Irish Lights and the Northern Lighthouse Board with light character, range and so forth.

This is a much expanded new edition of Nicholson’s classic bestselling lighthouse book and features in the region of 350 illustrations and many dramatic photographs, in full colour. The foreword is by HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of the Northern Lighthouse Board and Master of Trinity House and an experienced pharologists. The wealth of graphics includes 28 plans and 58 drawings.

To close it has to be said that the coastline of Britain and Ireland is lit by many more rock lights than those that feature in the individual chapters (although they are all listed in the detailed appendixes) so the author has chosen only those with the most dramatic and fascinating histories with unbelievable stories of the battles between Man and Nature during and after their construction.

Export potential

It is fair to comment that manufacturers of aids to navigation equipment for the lighthouse services of France (BBT), Britain (Chance Brothers), Germany (Juliu Pintsch), Spain (La Maquinista) and Sweden (AGA) sent their products throughout the world with much of it tried and tested in the waters of Europe. What worked at home was then exported for the greater gain of the world’s seafarers.

As a footnote may I be permitted to add that I have been involved in the research, writing, editing, reading and reviewing books on GB lighthouses for half a century and it is fair to explain that that the lighthouse book to end all lighthouse books has yet to be published? The ultimate book would be an expanded Admiralty List of Lights (that would be 15 regional volumes) with every engineers’ drawings produced of the fixed aids to navigation and accompanied by a selection of photographs taken down the years, a veritable pharological encyclopaedia and probably impossible to create and that is before you assemble the text. Remember, the full series of British Admiralty Lists of Lights carries information on some 85,000 structures around the world..

With regard to these islands, that said, this volume is going in the right direction with its depth of research and broad gallery of illustrations, a sheer labour of love by a dedicated writer who has been with his chosen subjects for more than four decades.

Orders may be placed at Delivery rates to addresses outside the UK can be provided on application on that website.

Reviewed by Paul Ridgway

London Correspondent
Africa Ports & Ships

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Added 8 March 2023


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Demand for air cargo declines

Maersk Air Cargo – planes parked.   Picture: Maersk Air Cargo

There are contrary indications that demand for air cargo is declining. While in Australia it is reported that Qantas Airways intends acquiring more Airbus A321 converted freighters to upgrade its fleet, mainly because of rising e-commerce taking place in that country, elsewhere the dramatic reduction in sea freight rates is having the opposite effect.

Internationally, Maersk Air Cargo has parked several of its leased cargo aircraft after experiencing a decrease in demand.

In South Africa too the country may expect the drastic reduction in the cost of sea freight to lead to less demand for expensive air freight.

In the example of Maersk, the company has placed on hold a planned route between the US and China on the basis that adding new capacity doesn’t make economic sense at present. That’s according to a report in the US publication, Freightwaves.

One of the three 767-300 aircraft purchased by Maersk Air Cargo to inaugurate its service between Asia and the US, remains in service, with the other two idled at Incheon Airport in Seoul, South Korea.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) believes demand for air freight cargo will continue to decline by 5.6% this year, following an 8% decline in 2022. One wonders what made shipping companies like Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM hasten into establishing air freight cargo divisions.

In South Africa it was reported at the recent Air Cargo Africa exhibition held in Johannesburg that the automotive sector in South Africa will rely less on air in the future.

Renaj Moothilal, executive director of component manufacturer, NAACM, told delegates the component sector was cost-sensitive but to avoid the risk of an assembly line from closing down, the use of air freight became more prevalent.

“In the past, we’ve moved mostly by sea freight, but over the [pandemic] years, we’ve had a huge uptake towards air,” he said. “Sea had issues. We’ve seen a 60 per cent to 70 per cent increased use of airfreight over the last three or four years.”

He explained the automotive sector couldn’t rely on 99 per cent, it needed 100 per cent.

Jacques Mellet, Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra’s head of logistics explained that his company had also turned to air freight.

“We do just-in-time logistics, so sea freight is always a challenge. Covid had a huge impact and we had to turn to air. Normally, we do 80 per cent sea freight, now it’s more like 60:40 or 50:50. We have to ensure plants run smoothly.”

The problem was, he said, in finding sufficient air capacity. “Not a lot of airlines were available, especially out of India, where we only had Emirates.”

Mellet said however that with sea freight rates coming down, to a point where it is now cheaper than four years ago, they will no longer move as much by air if it can be shipped.

“We will always use air it’ll always be in the background. But sea is cheaper,” he said.

Back in the land of long distances, Qantas said in the spring of last year that it would take six more A321 passenger jets that had been retrofitted to carry large cargo containers on the main deck.

The new tranche of aircraft, expected to enter service by mid-2026, would bring Qantas’ A321 fleet to 12 aircraft.

Qantas currently operates three of the aircraft in domestic operations for Australia Post.

The A321s will replace five Boeing 737-300/400 freighters that are approaching the end of their economic life and grow the fleet, Freightwaves reported.

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Added 13 March 2023


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Container xChange Forecaster March 2023


Depots overwhelmed; supply chain professionals optimistic for a rebound in container prices

The majority of 2700+ global supply chain professionals surveyed expect container prices to rebound in the coming times

Depot utilization nearing capacity, unable to accept new clients

Shipping lines and leasing companies holding off containers and using a ‘wait and watch’ strategy; sell-offs not happening yet

Container xChange, an online container logistics company based in Hamburg, published its March container market forecaster on Friday. While most industry participants foresee container prices reviving in the coming months, they see the Container Price Sentiment Index (xCPSI) recording a positive value by the beginning of March 2023.

Historically, around 2700+ industry professionals have participated in the sentiment analysis surveys since February where Container xChange asked for their expectations on container price development in the coming times.

These repeated surveys form a crucial element of the Container price sentiment index (xCPSI) which indicates how shipping professionals worldwide are viewing container prices to develop in the coming times. The positive trend that Container xChange sees since the last three recordings indicates that the industry expects container prices to improve soon, thereby reviving confidence.

Excess containers causing depots to run on 90% utilization

“We learn from many customers of Container xChange that the demand for containers is still there, just that the supply is overshooting the demand. Due to this, we see ripple impacts like for example, depots working on max capacity (depots in China for instance working on 90% utilization) and therefore, not being able to accept new clients. This is a global phenomenon now. And that is a struggle for the NVOCCs and shipping lines who want to open new markets.” says Christian Roeloffs, cofounder and CEO of Container xChange.

Container xChange provides a marketplace, an operating infrastructure, and a layer of services like payments to container logistics companies globally.

Oversupply of containers has caused depots to run on almost 90% utilisation in countries like China which makes it difficult for depots to move the containers around and eventually makes depots less efficient. To put context, depots earn on handlings (gate movements) and not so much on storage. So, this development is also more painful for them in terms of contribution to operational inefficiencies than a contribution to revenue.

Commenting on the state of depots currently, Agnieszka Polejewska, Container Depot Department Coordinator, Langowski Logistics company based in Poland said the following.

“For inland containers, we do not see many containers on the yards. The production of new containers and their expanse on the ports in Europe and the USA can be overwhelming, as there are still a lot of old containers. But the production was, is and will be still working, as old, heavily used containers must be replaced. We must wait it out till the end of the Q1 of 2023 to see how this situation is developing because of so many disruptions in our industry.”

Shipping Lines and Leasing Companies holding inventory

Roeloffs says they have also observed that the leasing companies and shipping lines are holding their containers longer than they would normally. They are deploying a wait-and-watch strategy hoping that prices will stabilize. Sell-offs are also not happening yet because the leasing and shipping companies have a free storage agreement with the depots. So, they don’t feel the storage fee pain and hence, wait and see until the prices stabilise.

“We do think that container selloffs will intensify into the Q2 or the second part of this year because depots will run out of space, prices will continue to erode, and shipping lines and leasing companies will need to sell off some of that stock so the volume of second containers and trading will increase in future and will further drive down the cost,” he says.

Friendshoring is happening

As geopolitical risks intensify, global economies are working towards diversifying their production, manufacturing, and container sourcing. The forecaster affirms that according to industry research, friend shoring is happening.

On the topic of diversification of trade lanes, Roeloffs adds: “The process of diversification has already started. Since this is a long-drawn process, we are yet to see visible signs of this in the trade patterns. But we see an uptick in intra-Asia trade. In the future, the larger trades will suffer a demand decrease so capacity needs to be adjusted towards regions with more sticky demand and more stable rate levels. Supply chains will need to be more resilient in the coming years. These relocation strategies will effectively reduce reliance on one production and supply chain hub to a more diverse, smaller trading pattern.”

He said for logistics stakeholders, there are more fragmented value chains to be dealt with, more growth to be discovered worldwide, and ultimately, they expect a broader base for business.

“This could be unleashed by the right set of data and insights to create a better ecosystem for companies.”

For more on container logistics industry developments, download the full report ‘Where are all the containers’ CLICK HERE

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Added 13 March 2023


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