Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 30 April 2023

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Island Sky. Picture by Keith Betts
Island Sky. Picture by Keith Betts

One of the final cruise ships to grace South Africa’s shores this summer was the expeditionary ship, ISLAND SKY (IMO 8802893) which is shown arriving in Durban from the South African coast on 14 April 2023.

You can read a full report of this delightful little ship in Africa Ports & Ships                                                                                                                    by CLICKING HEREhit the Backspace key to return to this page.

Pictures by Keith Betts


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FSO SAFER: Urgent call for equipment for oil spill contingency plan

A UN depiction of the FSO Safer with the tanker and support vessel alongside

Edited by Paul Ridgway

IMO is urging Member States to contribute equipment to help UN-led efforts to prevent a possible catastrophic oil spill from FSO SAFER, an ageing and rapidly decaying floating storage offshore (FSO) unit moored 4.8 nautical miles off the Red Sea coast of Yemen. This was reported by IMO on 24 April.

Contingency planning

IMO is providing expertise in oil spill preparedness and response as part of the contingency planning for a possible oil spill from the FSO SAFER, in line with its mandate set out in the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC) (See 1 below).

A converted super tanker, FSO SAFER, contains an estimated 150,000 metric tonnes (approximately 1.1 million barrels) of crude oil, four times the amount spilled during the Exxon Valdez incident in 1989. It has been moored at Ras Isa since 1988 where it had been receiving, storing and exporting crude oil flowing from the Marib oil fields. But in 2015, due to the war in Yemen, production, offloading and maintenance operations on FSO SAFER were suspended.

Vessel not inspected since 2015

FSO SAFER has not been inspected since then, but all assessments of its structural integrity suggest it has now deteriorated to the extent that it is beyond repair, and at imminent risk of breaking up or exploding. The danger is of a significant oil spill that would surpass Yemen’s capacity and resources to effectively respond.

On 9 March, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) signed an agreement to purchase a very large crude carrier (VLCC), Nautica, to take on the oil from FSO SAFER by emergency ship-to-ship transfer. Such operations are complex and inherently risky.

Nautica left Zhousha in China on 6 April and is expected to arrive in the Red Sea in early May.

Lack of specialized equipment in Yemen

Contingency planning for the transfer operation is, therefore, intensifying. One critical gap identified in Yemen’s preparedness to respond to an oil spill is the lack of specialized equipment within the country.

An appeal for equipment

Because of lengthy lead times for the manufacture and acquisition of oil spill response equipment, IMO is seeking contributions of used or near end-of-life spill response equipment that can be transported to the region within weeks.


An indicative list of the required equipment annexed to Circular Letter No.4714 (See 2 below) includes items for the containment and recovery and the resource protection aspects of the operation, such as booms to contain any spill and oil skimmer brushes, as well as oil dispersants and rapid erection, self-standing storage tanks.


Information on who to contact with expressions of interest, or for additional information, can be found here. (See 3 below).

An oil spill from FSO SAFER would be a major humanitarian and environmental disaster likely to heavily impact the north-western coastline of Yemen, including the Yemeni Islands in the Red Sea, and Kamaran Island in particular – an area that encompasses vulnerable ecosystems. There is also potential for oil to drift and impact neighbouring countries, including Djibouti, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia.

Huge risk

Many Yemeni coastal communities that could be affected already rely on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs, and a significant oil spill would seriously impact on the health and livelihoods of the people relying on resources from the sea. It could also severely disrupt operations at Yemen’s Hudaydah port, the point of entry for essential imported food, fuel and life-saving supplies. UNDP estimates the cost of clean-up alone would be $20 billion.

See Africa PORTS & SHIPS’ related story Boskalis’ NDeavor en route to facilitate oil removal from FSO Safer in Yemeni waters

Further information on the FSO SAFER is AVAILABLE HERE




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Added 26 April 2023


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WHARF TALK: MR2 product tanker – STI VENERE

The MR2 products tanker STI Venere in the tanker basin at Cape Town harbour. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The discussion of the use of Scrubber Units on vessels, raises the question of what happens to a vessel which entered service before the IMO 2020 regulations came into force, and for whom the owners have a strong social conscience. Other than having a Scrubber fitted at the outset, when the vessel was being built, there are two Scrubber retrofit options that are available.

The basic one is simply to purchase a Scrubber, and place it down anywhere convenient on deck adjacent to the funnel and hook it up to the engine exhaust pipes. Whilst it might do the job, it is ugly, it looks cheap, and does nothing to enhance the looks of the vessel. The second option is to fit the Scrubber, and then enclose it in an extension to the funnel, which removes the potential for looking ugly and cheap, but generally retains the lack of enhancement as the funnel is usually viewed as being lopsided.

The interesting observation about all three of the Scrubber options mentioned above, is that there is one major international tanker company that employs all three methods of new, naked and enclosed Scrubbers. The vessels of this company are regular visitors to South African shores, arriving numerous times per year, and the name prefix to each member of the fleet is the giveaway as to who the owner of these examples of environmentally friendly tankers is.

On 21st April, at 08h00 in the morning, the MR2 product tanker STI VENERE (IMO 9681390) arrived off Cape Town, from Durban, and proceeded straight into Cape Town harbour, going alongside one of the tanker basin berths in the Duncan Dock to continue her fuel discharge at her second South African port of call.

STI Venere, Cape Town 21 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2014 by Hyundai Mipo dockyard at Ulsan in South Korea, ‘STI Venere’ is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 49,990 tons. She is powered by a single HHI MAN-B&W 6G50ME-B9.3 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 11,002 bhp (8,090 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14.5 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three HHI Himsen 5H21/32 generators providing 800 kW each, and a single Doosan AD/L086 emergency generator providing 210 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Qingdao Mission OC exhaust gas boiler, and a single Alfa Laval Qingdao Mission OL oil fired boiler.

She has 12 cargo tanks, with a cargo carrying capacity of 54,646 m3. For loading, and discharging, she is fitted with 12 Framo SD200 cargo pumps, all capable of pumping her product cargo at 600 m3/hour.

She is the 12th vessel built of a large class of 40 Eco-Tankers ordered between 2012 and 2017 by her owners Scorpio Tankers Incorporated (STI), of Monaco, whose houseflag she displays on her funnel. To the knowledgeable casual maritime observer, the STI prefix in the name of ‘STI Venere’ gives away her ownership without the need to look it up. She is operated by Scorpio Commercial Management SAM, also of Monaco, and she is managed by another STI subsidiary company, Zenith Gemi Işletmeciliği AŞ, of Istanbul in Turkey. She operates within the Scorpio MR Pool (SMRP).

STI Venere, Cape Town 21 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her profile, when viewed from her port side does not give any immediate clue that she has a retrofitted Scrubber unit. However, when viewed from astern, it becomes clear that the Scrubber has been fitted to the starboard side of the vessel, and enclosed with the existing funnel. The funnel takes on not just an unbalanced profile as a result of the offset Scrubber unit, but a lopsided one too, as the original funnel shape slopes inwards towards the centre, as on the port side, but the Scrubber extension, on the starboard side, is slab sided and upright.

It is pleasing to read that STI take their environmental responsibilities seriously, and are in the process of retrofitting every one of their tanker fleet with a Scrubber unit, that do not already possess one. Very often the requirement for a vessel to be so equipped is that some oil majors will not charter any vessel that is not equipped with a Scrubber unit, and there are some trading routes in the developed world, where a Scrubber fitting is mandatory, in order to fulfill the requirements of IMO 2020.

STI Venere, Cape Town 21 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For the nomenclature aficionado, the word ‘Venere’ has a few, but related, meanings. It is the Italian spelling of the planet Venus, as well as the Italian spelling of the Roman Goddess of Love, Venus. This last connection, also gives an official definition as that of a ‘beautiful woman’.

In 2018, STI made the decision to enter into a sale and leaseback deal with the Chinese Huarong Shipping Financial Leasing Company. The deal included six of STI’s 2014 built MR2 tanker, including ‘STI Venere’, and was an eight year lease deal, which included a buy back option after 8 years, and with a purchase option commencing after the end of year 3 of the deal.

The lease agreement was with bank interest set at LIBOR plus 3.5% per annum, and STI announced that it would result in a debt reduction of US$95 million (ZAR1.73 billion) for the company. As expected, ‘STI Venere’ was purchased back from the bank by STI, with the transaction completed in August 2022.

STI Venere, Cape Town 21 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The company itself is considered as one of the world’s biggest operators of product tankers, currently with 113 owned Handy, MR2 and LR1 sized tankers in the fleet. The company is publicly listed, and trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The current CEO and founder of STI is Emanuele Lauro, a surname of a great Italian shipping family.

The voyage of ‘STI Venere’ had begun at Al Jubail, in Saudi Arabia, where she had loaded for her two port discharge in South Africa. Her first discharge port was Durban, where she arrived off Durban at 15h00 in the afternoon of the 10th April, and proceeded into Durban harbour to commence her discharge at Island View 8.

Her offload in Durban was completed after almost six days, and at 14h00 in the afternoon of 16th April she sailed from Durban, bound for Cape Town to complete her precious fuel cargo offload. Her discharge in Cape Town was completed after just over three days, and at 14h00 in the afternoon of 24th April, ‘STI Venere’ sailed from Cape Town, bound for Fujairah in the UAE, where she would receive her next orders for loading.

STI Venere, Cape Town 21 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Again, comparisons to gain some insight into the efficiency of port operations, and the ability of the port infrastructure to cope, in both Durban and Cape Town, is that the total time taken to discharge her entire cargo, in both ports, came to 9 days 5 hours and 29 minutes, according to the figures given. This time also includes berthing, and unberthing. In her original loading port of Al Jubail, as per the figures given, her entire cargo was loaded in a total time of just 17 hours 25 minutes, again including berthing and unberthing time. A depressing comparison.

The port of Al Jubail is known as King Fahad Industrial Port, and is located on the Saudi Arabian coast in the north of the Persian Gulf. The port complex was developed only in 1974, and is now considered to be one of the largest industrial port complexes in the world.

The Saudi state owned oil company, ARAMCO, operates the refinery, and the oil storage facilities at the port complex, and the oil terminal in the port is quite extensive. It provides fifteen tanker quay berths, within the port itself, for the export of oil products, and has four offshore jetty berths for VLCC crude oil imports. All berths are linked to the refinery, and oil storage facilities, by pipeline.

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Added 26 April 2023


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East London port: New 80 ton bollards improve ship turnaround time

East London Car Terminal, showing R and S berths   Picture  TPT

Two recently commissioned 80-ton bollards, valued at R2.1 million at Transnet National Ports Authority’s Port of East London, are yielding good operational results, according to the TNPA.

The port is recording a ship turnaround time of 14 hours against a target of 17 hours in the 2022/23 financial year ending March 2023.

Construction of the two 80-ton bollards commenced in November 2022 and is one of the capital investment projects that TNPA has planned in line with the Port of East London Growth Strategy.

“The completion of this project is exciting as the new bollards allow the automotive terminal to safely and comfortably moor Ro-Ro vessels of 200 metres in length and above at R-extension berth.” said TNPA Port Manager, Sphiwe Mthembu.

Mthembu confirmed that now that the bollards have been commissioned, all Ro-Ro vessel that will ordinarily be docked at S-berth are now being accommodated at R-extension which has drastically improved the performance of the terminal. Vessels are now loaded quicker due to
the reduced traveling distance between the berth and the terminal facility.

This has contributed to an almost 50% reduction on ship turnaround time at the car terminal. Previously, a vessel of similar size would stay in the port for almost 24 hours, and as a direct result of the two new bollards vessels are now staying on average 12 hours.

This operational efficiency improvement has been realised with three vessels that have been handled after the commissioning of the bollards.

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Added 26 April 2023


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Harbour Craft Jetty operationalised at Tema’s Terminal 3

Tema Terminal 3 new tug jetty   GPHA

Construction of a special harbour craft jetty at the port of Tema’s Terminal 3 has been completed and placed in operation.

Meridian Port Services Limited (MPS), the operator of Terminal 3, realised the need to maximise efficiency by reducing vessel idle time at the berth by developing a ‘tug and pilot craft jetty’ close to the container berths.

This was after collecting data over the previous year that identified a progressive reduction in the vessel idle time at arrival and departure.

It was to further shorten vessel exchange time that the company placed in operation a newly constructed Harbour Craft Jetty behind its berth at the Port of Tema.

“This initiative started a year ago as part of the drive to ensure a faster vessel turnaround time to our shipping lines customers,” said the MPS Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed Samara.

Tema port harbour tugs on the new tug jetty in Terminal 3   GPHA

“So far, the achievement stands at 55% reduction in the idle time at vessel arrival and 21% reduction in idle time at vessel departure,” he said.

“In total, 109 minutes have been saved in idle time which translates into 1213 port hours saved on 668 calls in 2022. The next step is to create a marine courtyard [basin] which allows the harbour craft (pilots, tugboats) to be positioned within the harbour basin for instant response.”

Chief Operations Officer, Curtiss Dakpogan, emphasised the importance of further improving the vessel idle time.

“Let’s ensure the new harbour craft jetty, which is now ready for use, is best utilised in our common quest to sail vessels as soon as possible after completion of operations,” he said.

Dakpogan added it was crucial for all parties to follow up on the agreed actions within their respective organizations for the success of the endeavour.

“We will continue sharing more detailed statistics on a weekly basis with stakeholders and address any hurdles for smooth implementation,” he said.

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Added 26 April 2023


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Cruise curtain lowered on ports of the Eastern Cape

South Africa’s river port of East London, a favourite cruise ship destination Picture TNPA

As the curtain came down on cruise ship calls at the Eastern Cape ports of Port Elizabeth and east London, Transnet National Ports Authority is left to reflect on a successful cruise season.

East London

The South Africa’s only river port of East London marked the closure of the cruising season with the arrival in port of the ISLAND SKY, the small expeditionary ship with 88 passengers and 77 crew members, which called on 13 April 2023.

East London had 18 vessel calls planned and exceeded this by a further three ship calls – some of these involved multiple visits by ships which were then operating cruises along the South African coast.

Port Manager Sphiwe Mthembu said the port was confident of realising the objective of increasing economic activities and boosting the tourism sector in the province.

Seabourn Sojourn, which was the last cruise ship to call at PE. Picture b Alan Calvert (Lyttelton, NZ)

Port Elizabeth

The final cruise ship to call at Port Elizabeth was the SEABOURN SOJOURN, bringing to an end a successful 2022/23 cruise season for the Eastern Cape port.

A total of 34 ship calls were scheduled – in the event the port received one extra, making it 34 cruise ship visits for the summer months and bringing hope for a recovery of tourism in the city brought low by the recent pandemic.

“We implemented the unique process of utilising the Charl Malan Quay which granted TNPA the capacity to accommodate passenger liners by maximising the berth occupancy of the Quay,” said Deputy Harbour Master, Vuyani Ntsimango.

Ntsimango said that by working with terminal operators, this enabled TNPA to fulfil the demands of the cruise liners that docked at the port without compromising on daily terminal operations.

It also highly strengthened TNPA’s relations with its terminal operators, he added.

The highlight of the season for Port Elizabeth was undoubtedly the iconic QUEEN MARY 2, which called on 5 April. The ship last visited South African waters three years ago, following the curtailment of her annual visits prior to the pandemic.

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Added 26 April 2023


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Cruise ship calls accelerate at Ghana ports

The Holland America Line cruise ship Zaandam that called at Takoradi in March. This picture taken in Durban by Keith Betts

Ghana’s main port of Tema received its first cruise ship call in four years when the Swan Hellenic SH VEGA arrived for a port visit.

SH Vega, with 150 passengers on board, was on her first global cruise since July 2022 and had called at over 20 countries and ports.

SH Vega, an expedition-type ship is small and compact, with a length of 113 metres and width of 24 metres.

Visits by cruise ships to the West African country came to a halt, as they did across the world, with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now that things are returning to normal and everything is more relaxed in that respect, Ghana and other4 West African countries, like their cousins further south, can expect more such visits in the future.

Takoradi proves popular

Meanwhile, the other Ghanaian port of Takoradi is proving popular with cruise operators and three cruise ships have recently arrived at the commercial port.

So far three cruise ships have arrived in Takoradi this season, bringing a total of 3,790 passengers.

The largest of these was the Holland America ship ZAANDAM, which earlier visited South African and Namibian ports. Zaandam arrived on 25 March with 2,272 passengers, the largest cruise ship so far to visit Takoradi.

Preceding this INSIGNIA arrived on 23 March with 824 passengers, and AZAMARA JOURNEY on 14 March with 694 passengers on board.

The port authority said this was the first time that cruise ship calls have been recorded in such quick succession.

Perhaps a taste of what is to come, as the cruise industry seeks ever new destinations.

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Added 26 April 2023


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Angola tops a million tonnes of gas in exports

Angola has exported in excess of one million tonnes of gas, mostly LNG during the first quarter of 2023.

The exports went to Europe, Asia and the United States.

The exports earned an amount of US$ 947.8 million and traded as a price of 851.28, a decrease on the same period of 2022.

Angop reports that figures provided by the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas indicate that 945,240 tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) were exported at an average price of USD 925.551/TM, and 12,010 tonnes of butane at a price of USD 520.888/TM.

The LNG went mainly to Europe, including to the UK (35.99%), France (28.59%) and The Netherlands (14.23%). The entire export of butane went to China while the exports to the US involved condensates. source: ANGOP

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Added 26 April 2023


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Suspension of Reefer shipments to Douala, Cameroon

Port of Douala Container Terminal – congestion problems  Port of Douala

CMA CGM has advised that due to ongoing congestion in the port of Douala, Cameroon, the terminal is imposing restrictions on discharge of reefer containers

The notification says containers can be discharged from vessels only if delivery under tackle is ensured. Containers idling on terminal must be evacuated.

Under such circumstances, CMA CGM says it has decided to stop accepting new reefer bookings to Douala until further notice.

For containers at sea, shippers must ensure that the consignee agrees to take delivery under tackle.

CMA CGM advises that, as per the terms and conditions of each CMA CGM Bill of Lading, CMA CGM reserves the right to discharge cargo in the alternative port of Kribi.

In such case, haulage to final destination will be on receiver’s account. source: CMA CGM

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Added 26 April 2023


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DP World Port of Dakar terminal sets new container record

The Port of Dakar and DP World-operated Container Terminal  Picture DP World

The DP World-operated Port of Dakar Container Terminal achieved a new throughput record in March this year, handling 76,282 TEU which is its highest since DP World began operations in Senegal in 2008.

Since then, DP World has invested nearly $300 million to upgrade and expand the terminal. These investments have seen productivity increase by 200% and vessel waiting time reduced from an average of 35 hours to zero.

Significantly, this led to increased trade, economic growth and the creation of both direct and indirect jobs, as well as improved access to goods for communities in Senegal and the wider region.

The successive investments in the Port of Dakar by DP World have transformed the terminal into the best-performing in West Africa and one of the best on the continent, steadily increasing productivity from 265,000 TEU per year in 2008 to 738,000 TEU per year in 2022.

Clarence Rodrigues, CEO of DP World Dakar, said the record performance in March is the result of excellent teamwork, detailed planning and execution, while at the same time ensuring the highest levels of safety and risk management.

“We managed to achieve this while maintaining our current high-performance levels. A more productive container terminal allows us to attract more vessels and further strengthen the Port of Dakar’s position as a regional trade hub,” Rodrigues said.

According to Mountaga Sy, CEO of the Port Autonome de Dakar (Dakar Port Authority), the constant increase in productivity at the container terminal is helping to boost trade in Senegal and the sub-region.

“This is in line with the vision of the Head of State as expressed in the Plan Senegal Emergent, which aims to strengthen the position of Senegal as a privileged point of entry for transit to the sub-region.”

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Added 25 April 2023


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WHARF TALK: Panamax MR2 product tanker & Scrubbers – NORDTOKYO

The Panamax tanker Nordtokyo arriving in Cape Town harbour on 14 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

There was a time when some of the vessels seen entering, or departing, South African ports were recognizable by the amount of polluting smoke that they spewed out of their funnels when underway, or even when simply lying alongside. In a time when pollution was not high on anyone’s agenda, it was a common sight in South African ports, and who can forget seeing a fabulous steam SAR&H tug charging across a harbour trailing thick, greasy, black, smoke, one of which was nicknamed ‘Smokey Sue’ for that very reason.

As times changed, so did the view that ship exhausts were the cause of a lot of local pollution, and the cause of health problems of many people working in the maritime industry. So as we entered the modern age, the decision was taken to cut the global limit for sulphur in ships fuel oil to 0.50%. That decision was taken in 2008, and later confirmed again in October 2016. The decision was global, and was made by none other than the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), who are an agency within the United Nations (UN).

The new limit was to be part of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), a key environmental treaty under the auspices of the IMO. For those who do not know the extent to which the IMO operates, they are the United Nations specialised agency responsible for developing, and adopting worldwide standards for preventing pollution from ships, as well as shipping safety, efficiency, and maritime security. 

Nordtokyo, Cape Town 14 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The upshot of all this drive to reduce pollution reached further, when in January 2020, the global 0.50% upper limit of sulphur content (down from 3.50%) in marine fuel oil came into operation. Known as “IMO 2020”, the reduced limit became mandatory for all vessels operating outside certain designated Emission Control Areas, where the limit was already 0.10%.

And the outcome of all this regulatory decision making was the introduction of the Scrubber! It is strange that from 2020 when a number of shipowners decided to retrofit scrubbers to their vessels, in any way they could, some of the results were horrendously disfiguring to the profile of the vessel. However, some newbuild vessels, from 2020 onwards, had Scrubbers fitted as part of the overall design, and the result was vessels with huge funnel structures that unbalanced what was, up to then, accepted as a normal funnel size.

Nordtokyo, Cape Town 14 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Like most things in life, once you get to see something new on an almost continuous basis, it often starts to grow on you, and after a while, it starts to look not only normal, but it takes on a beauty of its own. So it is with newbuild vessels with scrubbers. A bit like the ugly duckling, they eventually take on the persona of swans. Or at least they do to some casual maritime observers, when they are spotted arriving in any South African harbour.

On 14th April, at 16h00 in the afternoon, the Panamax MR2 product tanker NORDTOKYO (IMO 9859208) arrived off Cape Town, at the end of a voyage from Fujairah in the UAE, and entered Cape Town harbour, going to the tanker berths in the Duncan Dock to begin, what was to become, the first of a two port discharge of fuel products.

Nordtokyo, Cape Town 14 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2020 by Samsung Heavy Industries at Geoje in South Korea, ‘Nordtokyo’ is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 50,192 tons. She is powered by a single STX MAN-B&W 6G50ME-C9.6 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 9,347 bhp (6,875 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 12 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three MAN-B&W 6L23/30H generators providing 810 kW each. Her funnel size gives away the notion that she was built with a Scrubber unit as new. She has 12 cargo tanks, and has a cargo carrying capacity of 51,772 m3, and can carry up to seven grades of product at any one time.

Nordtokyo, Cape Town 14 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of six sisterships, and based on a large class of very popular MR2 product tanker built at the Samsung shipyard, ‘Nordtokyo’ is owned NM Management BV, of Amsterdam in Holland, and she is operated by Reederei Nord BV, also of Amsterdam, whilst she is managed by Reederei Nord Shipmanagement Ltd., of Limassol in Cyprus.

This was not her first call at South African ports in 2023, as her previous voyage, which took place in February, and which also originated from Fujairah in the UAE, had her calling at both the Southern Cape port of Mossel Bay, where she discharged via the offshore SBM, as well as at Walvis Bay in Namibia.

Nordtokyo, Cape Town 14 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After less than three days alongside in Cape Town, she was ready to sail, which indicated she was going to proceed to another Southern African port to continue, or complete, her discharge, on a two stop voyage as per her previous one. At 10h00 in the morning of 17th April, ‘Nordtokyo’ sailed from Cape Town, bound for Durban.

She arrived off the Durban Bluff at 12h00 on 20th April, and entered Durban harbour, proceeding to her discharge berth at Island View 2. Her stay at Durban was completed in just over one day, and now fully discharged, she sailed from Durban at 15h00 in the afternoon, on 21st April, and once more she was bound for Fujairah to obtain her next loading instructions.

Scubber technology

For those unfamiliar with the technology of the Scrubber unit, it does just as the name suggests, by “scrubbing” the exhaust gas through an introduced cloud of water, thereby removing Sulphur Oxide (SOx), and reducing the harmful emissions generated by burning fuel. The engine exhaust gas is bypassed through chambers that contain a carefully generated “scrubbing cloud” of water, and SOx pollution present in the exhaust emissions are removed when it reacts with the high number of water droplets in the scrubber cloud.

There was a time when smoke emissions from ships and tugs were hardly worth a mention . Here a SAR&H pilot boat/tug can be seen alongside the coaster Frontier during the early 1960s, both belching smoke across the harbour. The seabird doesn’t appear concerned.  Picture THL Archives

The science behind the scrubbing process is quite simple chemistry. Scrubber water absorbs SOx emissions, and other particulate matter, by removing in excess of 80% by mass, which would otherwise be emitted as part of the exhaust gas stream. The scrubbed water is eventually discharged back into the sea, where it is neutralised by the natural alkalinity of seawater.

The new SOx limits, as set by the introduction of the IMO 2020 regulations, will mean a 77% drop in overall SOx emissions from vessels, that is the equivalent to an annual reduction of approximately 8.5 million metric tonnes of SOx. In addition to SOx, particulate matter within the exhaust stream, which are tiny harmful particles which form when fuel is burnt, will also be reduced.

The most important outcome of shipowners complying with the new enforced rules, is that the SOx emissions that are cut could prevent more than 150,000 premature deaths, from respiratory disease, and cancers, as well as reducing millions of childhood asthma cases, every year. It really is a win-win situation.

Another smokey scene in Cape Town harbour with the tug T.S. McEwen and the liner Europa, January 1970. Picture by Trevor Jones

According to the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), who are the world’s largest direct-membership organisation for shipowners, charterers, shipbrokers and agents, more than 75% of passenger cruise ships have been fitted with Scrubber units. Sadly, up to March 2023, BIMCO have indicated that only 13% of the world’s container vessels, bulk carriers, and tankers, have been fitted with Scrubbers.

The low uptake for shipowners for the retrofitting of Scrubber units, is that they have been given a few other options to comply with the mandate of IMO 2020. For instance, they can switch to use of a compliant fuel, which has a lower sulphur content, such as Low Sulphur Marine Fuel Oil (LSMFO). Or they can use an alternative fuel, such as Methanol or Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), rather than clean the vessel exhaust gases with Scrubber technology to reduce the output of SOx.

What we can say, without any shadow of a doubt, is that ‘Nordtokyo’, with the size of her funnel, falls within that 13% BIMCO total of Scrubber fitted vessels, and complies fully with the current requirements of IMO 2020, in order to make this world a less polluted, and healthier, place to live.

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Added 25 April 2023


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Two new Ubuntu LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulkers: on charter to Anglo American

The latest Anglo American-chartered LNG-fueled bulker, Ubuntu Community. Picture courtesy DNV

The Anglo American fleet of bulkers has been enlarged with the delivery to owner Maran Dry Management (MDM) of two new Newcastlemax bulk carriers, UBUNTU UNITY (IMO 9956989) on 28 February 2023, and the latest, UBUNTU COMMUNITY (IMO 9956991) on 18 April 2023.

Both DNV-classed vessels are the first LNG-fueled bulk carriers to join the MDM fleet. They were built at the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Ship Building Co.Ltd (SWS).

The 190,000-dwt vessels, registered with the Greek flag, are the first dual-fueled bulk carriers in the Greek market, and will sail using LNG. The use of LNG will lead to significant reductions in CO2 and NOx, while almost eliminating SOx and particulate matter emissions. With a combination of dual-fuel, hull optimisations and energy efficiency measures, the vessels have a very advantageous and low EEDI rating, much lower than the baseline.

Ubuntu Unity being LNG-bunkered in Singapore. Picture: DNV

“Maran Dry Management, as part of the Angelicoussis Group, is committed to decarbonisation and embraces sustainability initiatives to optimise its fleet environmental performance,” said Captain Babis Kouvakas, Managing Director at MDM.

“We are delighted to have collaborated with DNV and SWS on the design and development of these modern and environmentally friendly ships. Both vessels incorporate the latest technology, aiming to reduce carbon emissions.”

Morten Løvstad, Vice President and Global Business Director for Bulk Carriers, DNV Maritime said DNV was very pleased to have been involved with the charterer, owner, yard and designers from the outset of the project.

“These highly efficient and innovative vessels, with dual-fuel engines, and an optimised hull design, show MDM’s commitment to meeting environmental regulations not just today but over the long term,” Løvstad said.

The Newcastlemax LNG-fuelled bulker, Ubuntu Unity. Picture: DNV

Dimensions and technical

The vessels are 299.80 metres long, 47.5 metres wide and 24.70 metres deep, with a design draft of 18.25 metres and a design draft speed of 14 knots.

They can use both LNG and conventional fuel and are equipped with two type-C LNG fuel tanks. The capacity of the LNG tanks means that the vessels could operate for 20,000 nautical miles powered by gas, allowing the vessels to complete two round-trip routes from China to Australia or one round-trip route from China to Brazil.

“The delivery of these vessels is another milestone in the close cooperation being forged between the Angelicoussis Group and DNV,” said Ioannis Chiotopoulos, Senior Vice President, and Regional Manager South East Europe, Middle East and Africa, DNV Maritime.

“These new vessels clearly show the Group`s commitment to driving sustainability in the bulk segment, and are great examples of how the maritime community is taking up the challenge of reducing our environmental footprint through innovation. We thank MDM for their trust and welcome Ubuntu Unity and Ubuntu Community to DNV class. May they enjoy smooth sailing for many years to come.”

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Added 25 April 2023


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Port of Luanda unveils its developmental plan

Picture: Port of Luanda

The Angolan Port of Luanda on Friday unveiled its new developmental Master Plan looking ahead over the next 20 years.

The master plan presented to the Institute of Asset Management and State Holdings (IGAPE) revealed intentions of building a new container terminal and for the construction of a shipyard.

The proposed container terminal will increase the port’s annual capacity from 800,000 to 3,000,000 TEU (twenty foot container units).

In addition the model provides for the optimisation and modernisation of existing terminals, which require investment by the operators themselves.

There is also provision for the construction of cabotage piers and a pier bridge for cruise ships.

Within the framework of this development plan, the construction of the passenger terminal, the port maritime control tower, a video surveillance circuit, the rehabilitation of the maritime signalling system, as well as the construction of an electrical substation are already underway.

Alberto Bengue, chairman of the Board of Directors (PCA) of the Port of Luanda, said that the plans involve practically no large investments by the State.

“In this operational model of management and administration, the position of supervisor of terminals and related services focuses on the collection of tax revenues from concessions,” he explained.

The Port of Luanda has eight operating terminals, namely general cargo, containers, liquid bulk, cabotage, multipurpose, multipurpose, passenger and the terminal to support oil activity, of which five are concessioned and three under use by public companies. source: ANGOP

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Porto de Luanda revela o seu plano de desenvolvimento

Foto: Porto de Luanda

O porto angolano de Luanda apresentou na sexta-feira o seu novo Plano Director de desenvolvimento para os próximos 20 anos.

O masterplan apresentado ao Instituto de Gestão do Património e das Participações do Estado (IGAPE) revelou intenções de construção de um novo terminal de contentores e de construção de um estaleiro naval.

O terminal de contêineres proposto aumentará a capacidade anual do porto de 800.000 para 3.000.000 TEU (unidades de contêineres de vinte pés).

Além disso, o modelo prevê a otimização e modernização dos terminais existentes, que demandam investimentos das próprias operadoras.

Está ainda prevista a construção de cais de cabotagem e ponte-cais para navios de cruzeiro.

No âmbito deste plano de desenvolvimento, estão já em curso a construção do terminal de passageiros, da torre de controlo marítimo portuário, de um circuito de videovigilância, a reabilitação do sistema de sinalização marítima, bem como a construção de uma subestação elétrica.

Alberto Bengue, presidente do Conselho de Administração (PCA) do Porto de Luanda, disse que os planos praticamente não envolvem grandes investimentos por parte do Estado.

“Neste modelo operacional de gestão e administração, o cargo de supervisor de terminais e serviços afins incide sobre a arrecadação das receitas fiscais das concessões”, explicou.

O Porto de Luanda tem oito terminais operacionais, nomeadamente carga geral, contentores, granéis líquidos, cabotagem, multiusos, polivalentes, de passageiros e o terminal de apoio à actividade petrolífera, dos quais cinco estão concessionados e três em exploração por empresas públicas. fonte: Angop

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Rehabilitation of Beira-Zimbabwe (Machipanda): line to be completed by September

Inspection car on the Beira-Machipanda line in Mozambique. Picture by TVM

The rehabilitation of the Machipanda railway line, that’s the line that extends for 317 kilometres from the Port of Beira to Machipanda, on the border with Zimbabwe, and just across from the Zimbabwe town of Mutare, will be completed by September.

The railway is a vital connection to its nearest seaport for Zimbabwe. Once across the border the Cape gauge (3ft 6ins) line runs northeast to Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, and from there is connected with Bulawayo to the southwest as well as destinations to the north of that country.

Costing US$ 200 million, the rehabilitation programme began in August 2019 and was originally scheduled for completion in November 2021, but that was before the Covid-19 pandemic occurred, which saw the deadline extended to September this year.

According to Agostinho Langa Jnr, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the publicly-owned port and rail company CFM, the latest deadline will be met.

He said it is intended that the infrastructure will boost the Southern African region, in the scope of the SADC protocols, increasing the flow of cargo along the Machipanda Line from the current 600,000 tonnes to 3.5 million tonnes per year.

However, said Langa in a report in the Maputo daily Notícias, the workers involved must speed up their pace. There’s no need for further delay.

“A specialized locomotive for the work has arrived and all the necessary materials for its execution are still available, including track alignment machines, wagons, ballast and rails,” he said. source: AIM/TVM

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The LPG tanker Helsinki in Cape Town harbour, 19 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The Swallows have all departed from South African shores to make their way back to Europe for the Northern Summer, and winter now beckons in Southern Africa. With the first of the major cold fronts, fetched up from deep in the southern Atlantic Ocean, having already passed over the Western Cape, and on into the interior, and the first of the winter snow being reported from the Southern Drakensberg, one cannot escape from the fact that cold weather has returned, and is here to stay for the next six months.

Cold weather means that domestic heat becomes an imperative, and more traditional hot meals, that bring sustenance from the cold and damp world outside, are going to be cooked. It begs the question heated by what, and cooked with what? With Eskom being more and more unable to provide the ordinary domestic needs of a nation in Summer time, using electricity, as and when you need it, is simply not looking like the simple answer for the wintertime.

The use of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), in the form of propane and butane, would be better suited for domestic needs. South Africa has invested heavily, and continues to do so, in LPG import terminals, with one on the West Coast at Saldanha Bay, and one on the East Coast, at Richards Bay. That means the sight of LPG tankers arriving is likely to increase. That said, every now and again, an LPG tanker arrives that is not bringing in the much needed gas for South Africa, but is merely passing through, en route to procuring another LPG load elsewhere.

On 19th April, at 08h00 in the morning, the LPG tanker HELSINKI (IMO 9377224) arrived off Cape Town harbour, from an extended stay at Nacala in Mozambique, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and berthing at the Eastern Mole tanker berth. This might indicate that she was about to discharge an amount of LPG gas for use in the Cape market, despite Cape Town harbour having no formal infrastructure for LPG imports.

Helsinki, Cape Town 19 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2009 by Hyundai Heavy Industries at Ulsan in South Korea, ‘Helsinki’ is 205 metres in length and has a deadweight of 43,601 tons. She is powered by a single HHI MAN-B&W 5S60MC-C 5 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 13,900 bhp (10,200 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 16 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Hyundai Himsen 8H21/32 generators providing 1,200 kW each, and a single Cummins 6CTA-8.3-D(M) emergency generator providing 130 kW. She has a single Kangrim EM16DD11A3 exhaust gas boiler, and a single Kangrim MA0601P36 oil fired boiler. For added manoeuvrability she has a Kawasaki KT-157B5 bow transverse thruster providing 1,500 kW. She has a LPG cargo carrying capacity of 59,016 m3.

One of a class of 6 sisterships, shared between two companies, ‘Helsinki’ is one of three of whom which are nominally owned by Knarf Marine Ltd., with operational ownership vested in Eastern Pacific Shipping Pte., Ltd., of Singapore, whose funnel colours she displays, and with management by Anglo-Eastern Shipmanagement Pte. Ltd., also of Singapore.

Helsinki, Cape Town 19 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

It became obvious that the visit by ‘Helsinki’ to Cape Town was not for purposes of any LPG cargo discharge, as not only was she in an obvious lightship condition, but as soon as she was safely tied up alongside, that the Cape Town based bunker tanker ‘Vemaharmony’ made her way from the Table Bay anchorage, into Cape Town harbour, and went alongside ‘Helsinki’ to begin pumping bunkers across to her.

Interestingly, at the same time that ‘Helsinki’ had arrived off Cape Town, that one of her company sisterships, the LPG tanker ‘Tokyo’, arrived at Ngqura, where she had arrived from Escravos in Nigeria, for a three day discharge stay, before returning on 22nd April to the Algoa Bay anchorage to await further orders.

The previous voyage of ‘Tokyo’ had also been to South Africa, when she discharged her cargo at the Richards Bay LPG Terminal. Also, in February this year, her third company sistership, the LPG tanker ‘Denver’, had also called at the Richards Bay LPG terminal to spend two days discharging her cargo.

The arrival of ‘Helsinki’ from a stay of over a fortnight in Nacala, much of which was spent in the anchorage, points to the increased use of a new LPG terminal that is under construction in Nacala, and which will provide LPG for Northern Mozambique. LPG has been identified by the Mozambican authorities as an important source of fuel for domestic needs throughout the country, and the Nacala terminal is the latest to be built.

Helsinki, Cape Town 19 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Both Maputo and Beira already have operational LPG terminals, with the terminal at Matola capable of storing 12,350 tons of LPG, and Beira able to store 3,000 tons. In addition to the new Nacala LPG terminal, plans for a fourth terminal further north at Palma, are being made, with Grindrod of Durban expected to be a major investor in the Northern Mozambique project.

Despite years of loadshedding, and problems with the provision of a continuous electricity supply to every corner of the nation, the South African government has been very slow to develop an LPG infrastructure, and to encourage the use of LPG for domestic use. Latest figures show that only 0.5% of the energy use in South Africa comes from LPG, which equates to only a maximum of between 1% and 2% of the total amount of energy used for cooking and heating.

In a bizarre way of bearing no responsibility for the problems of loadshedding that the population has to endure, the ANC Government have stated that electricity is in such short supply because too many people have access to it. You couldn’t make this up! But, they have also stated, as it happens, that the use of LPG could also help alleviate the demand for that electricity.

Despite the benefits that the use of LPG brings, South Africa’s current annual LPG consumption, of around 7kg per capita, remains very low when compared to international norms. The government is hoping to double that consumption to 15kg per capita. Globally, countries with a higher GDP per capita, also consume greater amounts of LPG. This also goes for countries which have a similar GDP to South Africa, such as Brazil, which has a current higher level of annual LPG consumption, at around 20kg per capita.

Helsinki, Cape Town 19 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The promotion of greater use of LPG in households, would relieve current pressure on the Eskom provided national grid. Additionally, LPG offers immediate benefits by virtue of the facts that it is clean, it is efficient, and it is safe to use. It does not degrade when stored for a long time, and is easy to transport in road tanks, without any vapour losses. It has domestic, commercial, and industrial applications, and as previously stated, it is efficient for heating room spaces, heating water, and for cooking food.

Helsinki, Cape Town 19 April 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The slow, but hoped for, increase of LPG use in South Africa can be seen with the recent season of a based LPG tanker, ‘Gaschem Aachen’, being chartered to carry LPG cargoes from Saldanha Bay, and around the South African to Port Elizabeth and Ngqura. This fine vessel was covered in Africa Ports & Ships in the 17th October 2022 edition. The report included an LPG transfer, in the same month, with another visit to Ngqura of ‘Tokyo’, which has returned for a third visit.

As expected with nothing more leisurely than a bunkers and stores visit, ‘Helsinki’ was ready to sail within 18 hours of her arrival, and at 02h00 in the morning of 20th April, she sailed from Cape Town, with her AIS only giving her destinations as ‘For Orders’. She headed north from Cape Town, at a speed of 14.7 knots, and an ETA at her mystery destination of 11th May. This indicates that her next loading port is somewhere well within the Northern Hemisphere, possibly Algeria, rather than Angola or Nigeria, which are also major LPG export nations.

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Mashatile calls for removal of Africa’s structural and regulatory barriers to unlock investment in road and maritime infrastructure

South Africa’s Deputy President Paul Mashatile says Africa needs to reduce structural and regulatory barriers in order to unlock investment in road and maritime infrastructure, and facilitate successful intra-African and global trade.


“The quality of much of the continent’s maritime, road and railway infrastructure is less than satisfactory. There are few road links, generally poor road infrastructure maintenance and limited regional road linkages throughout the continent’s five regions,” the Deputy President said.


Paul Mashatile

He was speaking last week at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) business forum in Cape Town, where the city is playing host to Africa’s biggest business event to promote private sector participation in the acceleration of the implementation of the AfCFTA.

According to the Deputy President, roads are the predominant mode of transport in Africa, carrying about 80% of goods and 90% of passengers.

“Without this infrastructure, rail and maritime trade cannot realise their full potential. Road transport is therefore an indispensable part of daily African economic activity and critical to facilitating cross-border trade and regional integration.

Border Post inefficiencies 

“Another impediment we must confront are inefficiencies at border posts, many official and unofficial inspection points along transport corridors and low road densities.”

Despite the obstacles, Mashatile believes the continent is moving in the right direction towards a “one African market”.

As of February 2023, he said 47 of the 54 signatories to the AfCFTA have deposited instruments of ratification.

Mashatile believes that Africa is in a process of creating the world’s largest single free trade area, with 1.3 billion people and a gross domestic product of $3.4 trillion.

“This represents an important step forward, which must culminate in the ratification of the AfCFTA instrument by all African Union Member States. The implementation of the AfCFTA will improve intra-African trade, the continent’s share and participation in global trade, stimulate and improve her economy as well as contribute to lifting millions of people out of poverty.”

Tariff elimination

The continent has embarked on the gradual elimination of tariffs on 90% of goods, and the reduction of barriers to trade in services aimed at increasing Africa’s income by $450 billion by 2035.

Mashatile believes this will also help to lift between 50 to 100 million people out of poverty.

“This would represent a significant improvement in the economy and the quality of life of the people.”

Untapped export potential

He also cited the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Rebeca Grynspan, who pointed out that Africa boasts $21.9 billion of untapped export potential, of which an additional $9.2 billion can be realised through partial tariff liberalisation under the AfCFTA over the next five years.

“I am informed that during the last three days [of the forum], you have had extensive discussions, which identified more impediments to African trade and the solutions necessary for implementing the AfCFTA.

“The solutions you have identified will hopefully take us a step closer to the actual investment projects that give renewed meaning to the objectives of the AfCFTA,” Mashatile said.

He said gatherings such as the forum ought to serve as launch pads for long-lasting relations amongst the African business community in pursuit of practical programmes of economic action.

“The AfCFTA will become a ‘game changer’ to the continent’s growth trajectory, as some conference participants have suggested, if you, the continent’s business community – together with governments and the working people of our continent – act in unison, refusing to drop the ball.”

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Boskalis’ NDeavor en route to facilitate oil removal from FSO Safer in Yemeni waters

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Boskalis through its subsidiary SMIT Salvage has reached an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for oil removal from FSO Safer moored off Yemen’s Red Sea coast. This project is a part of the UN-coordinated operation to remove and transfer more than one million barrels of oil from a decaying tanker into a safe modern tanker and the responsible disposal of FSO Safer.

Perseverance of the UN

“We have been assisting the UN in their endeavours to avert a potential massive environmental and humanitarian disaster off the coast of Yemen since 2021,” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis.

“We are extremely delighted that these efforts and the perseverance of the UN to raise the necessary funds has brought us to this agreement. Following a long planning period, our salvage experts are keen to get to work and to remove the oil from the Safer.

“I would like to express my admiration and gratitude to the many UN member states supporting this operation including the Netherlands, which played a prominent role. The Boskalis vessel NDeavor has departed from the port of Rotterdam stocked with all the necessary salvage equipment and I wish the crew all the success in this important mission.”

According to Liesje Schreinemacher, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, an enormous oil disaster is looming, which could have serious humanitarian, environmental and economic implications.

“But we now have a chance to prevent that disaster,” she said. “The Netherlands has worked hard to mobilize funds for the operation and now a major new step has been taken. It’s good that Dutch firm Boskalis is taking on a key role in the response. The Netherlands will continue helping the UN to bring this to a good end.”

Boskalis’ NDeavor now en route to Yemen for FSO Safer oil removal operation. Picture: VesselFinder

More funds required

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, said the agreement reached on 20 April between UNDP and Boskalis subsidiary SMIT Salvage, to deploy a team of leading experts aboard the NDeavor, marks another critical milestone of the ‘Stop Red Sea Spill’ operation to transfer oil from the decaying FSO Safer to a safe temporary vessel.

“We look forward to be working with Boskalis and other leading experts to prevent a humanitarian, environmental and economic disaster. We also appeal to leaders from governments and corporations to step forward and help us raise the remaining $29 million required to complete this complex rescue operation.”

Djibouti base

The project scope for Boskalis consists of a number of phases. The Boskalis multipurpose support vessel NDeavor has been prepared in the Netherlands and has sailed for Djibouti. The salvage crew will make the final preparations in Djibouti before departing for the Safer located off the coast of Yemen.

The initial onsite phase will focus on a thorough inspection of the vessel, its cargo and creating a safe working environment. Once the vessel and its cargo tanks are declared safe, a UN purchased VLCC will come alongside at which point the ship-to-ship oil pumping operation can commence.

Tanks of the Safer will subsequently be cleaned and the residual water will also be transferred into the VLCC. The entire onsite operation is expected to be completed within two months. Once Safer is declared clean and empty, it will be prepared for towing to a green scrapping yard under the responsibility of the UN.

About FSO Safer

Safer is a Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) facility moored approximately nine kilometres off the Red Sea coast of Yemen and fifty kilometres northeast of the port of Hodeida.

Constructed in 1976 as an oil tanker and converted in 1987 to be a floating storage facility, Safer is single-hulled and is believed to contain an estimated 1.14 million barrels of light crude oil. The FSO has not been maintained since 2015 because of the conflict in Yemen, and it has decayed to the point where there is a risk it could explode or break apart, which would have disastrous environmental and humanitarian effects on the region.

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Mossel Bay celebrates its best ever cruise season

Cruise ship tenders at the Mossel Bay mooring quay Picture Transnet

The Port of Mossel Bay on the Southern Cape coast has completed its best ever cruise ship season, with a record 9,000 passengers visiting the little port during the 2023/23 cruise season that has just drawn to a close.

This feat was achieved with the arrival in port of the cruise ship ISLAND SKY which docked in port on Quay 4 on 10 April 2023. Island Sky brought 88 passengers to visit and explore the town and South Africa’s earliest known landing place by ships from elsewhere.

The exchange of gifts with the captain of Island Sky

Island Sky was the 13th cruise ship to call at Mossel Bay during the season now ended. Not all cruise ships such as Island Sky or Hanseatic Spirit can berth inside the port, due to navigational restrictions. Only the smaller cruise ships can manage this, others anchor outside in the bay and are ferried ashore by way of the ship’s own tenders.

Port Manager Dineo Mazibuko attributes the success of the recent season to a number of factors, which she says includes the attainment of the Port of Entry Status last year. “This is also one of the key factors that will facilitate envisioned growth in this sector,” Mazibuko says.

“TNPA is committed to continue fulfilling its mandate of facilitating trade thereby enabling economic growth. Growing cruise tourism is one our key strategic objectives for the region and the port is positioning itself as an ideal cruise gateway to a unique Garden Route experience.”

Hanseatic Spirit on Quay 4, Port of Mossel Bay. One of the ships able to enter the port and come alongside. Picture Transnet 

She said that whilst the Port of Mossel Bay is the smallest in South Africa with noticeable quay and draft limitations, the milestones achieved confirm and reinforce the envisioned strategic growth of the port’s marine and coastal tourism which will see the port being able to service bigger vessels and even larger numbers of tourism enthusiasts in the near future.

Since the kick-off of the season on 17 December 2023, the port in collaboration with key cruise tourism stakeholders worked tirelessly to create a conducive environment that enables the creation of warm memories for cruise passengers.

This was achieved through the provision of safe and efficient marine services to ease their journey to the wonders of Mossel Bay and the Garden Route at large. The use of ferries, a phenomenon in ports such as Mossel Bay, also provided a more enjoyable experience for passengers, as it allowed them to enjoy the scenic views of the city, Seal Island and the beautiful Santos and Munro Beaches.

Some of the most popular places visited by the Cruise Tourism enthusiasts included the game reserves, Mossel Bay Central Business District (CBD), Oudtshoorn and Knysna.

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MPDC to develop truck stop to help decongest Port of Maputo

The Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) said last week that construction of a truck park has commenced with the aim of decongesting the main road linking the port to South Africa.

The congestion along the main N4 highway between Komatipoort on the South African border and the port at Maputo is frequently congested with several stretches of the road lined with heavy vehicles carrying chrome and ferrochrome from the South African mines to Maputo for export.

According to MPDC, a truck traffic management park will be built on an area of 20 hectares donated by the provincial government. This will have commercial and port processing services, “which will make things more efficient,” the port company said in a statement.

The area is part of the administrative post of Pessene, in Moamba district.

Phase 1 will take about three months for the the provision of clearing, earth moving, fencing and inclusion of basic water and power services, at a cost of approximately US$3 million.

Richards Bay

The provision of truck stops are becoming imperative at all southern African ports or along the roads leading to them, following the inability of the railway network to cope with the traffic.

No more so that at the Port of Richards Bay where chronic traffic congestion is continuing on the roads leading to that port. This follows the inability of Transnet Freight Rail to deliver the volumes of coal and other ores and minerals to the port for export.

The volume of coal exported through Richards Bay has decreased from a peak of more than 70 million tonnes annually, to just over 50mt. This as forced the exporting mines to turn to road transport on roads not designed for such volumes of traffic.

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Fugro deepwater expertise helps locate wreck of Montevideo Maru 81 years after tragic sinking

Montevideo Maru. Picture courtesy of Silentworld Foundation

In an extraordinary mission that took nearly 5 years of planning, Fugro has played a key role in locating the wreck of the Montevideo Maru, one of the worst international maritime disasters in history.

Working in close partnership with the Silentworld Foundation and the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Society, and with support from Australia’s Department of Defence, Fugro used their unparalleled deepwater hydrographic and oceanographic expertise to successfully identify the wreckage of the Japanese transport ship at a depth of more than 4000 metres off the coast of the Philippines.

The Montevideo Maru was carrying approximately 1,060 prisoners of war and civilians when it was sunk by an American submarine in 1942 during World War II. The tragedy resulted in fatalities from at least 14 countries, including Australia, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands, Japan, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Solomon Islands, Sweden and the US.

Image of the stern of Montevideo Maru at 4000 metre. Picture: Silentworld Foundation

On 6 April 2023, 110 km north-west of Luzon in the Philippines, the Fugro team started the search onboard the Fugro Equator, one of the world’s most advanced and well-equipped hydrographic survey vessels. Deploying an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) with an in-built sonar, a positive sighting was recorded after just 12 days. Verification of the wreck came a few days later using expert analysis from the project team, which comprised maritime archaeologists, conservators, operations and research specialists, and ex-naval officers.

“The discovery of the Montevideo Maru closes a terrible chapter in international military and maritime history,” said John Mullen, Director of the Silentworld Foundation.

“Today, by finding the vessel, we hope to bring closure to the many families devastated by this terrible disaster. I would like to express my gratitude to all of the dedicated Silentworld team involved in this expedition, to the outstanding Fugro crew and technical team onboard the Fugro Equator, and to the Australian Department of Defence for their unwavering support.”

Mark Heine, CEO of Fugro, said the maritime tragedy involved many countries and families, and all paid a terrible price.

“I’m proud that our skills and technology can help find resolutions to historical projects such as this and, in this way, make a real difference to people’s lives,” he said. “At Fugro, we’re using our hydrographic and oceanographic solutions to contribute to relief efforts and live up to our purpose of creating a safe and liveable world.”

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Seychelles Coast Guard arrests Madagascan fishing vessel in island waters

The Dornier surveillance aircraft of the Seychelles Air Force  SDF

The Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) have intercepted a Madagascar-flagged fishing vessel suspected of conducting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the island nation’s waters, reports the Seychelles News Agency.

That’s according to a press release from the SDF on Friday, which says the operation was carried out in a joint effort involving the Seychelles Coast Guard, Air Force, and Special Forces.

In the late afternoon of 16 April a local fishing vessel reported to the Seychelles Coast Guard that four vessels thought to be from Madagascar were observed fishing in the vicinity of Providence Island. As a result the Seychelles Air Force was tasked with conducting an overflight to investigate and confirm the presence of the mystery vessels.

In addition the patrol vessel Zoroaster was diverted to the Farquhar Atoll area to investigate and if necessary make an arrest. However, by the time the Zoroaster arrived only one of the fishing vessels remained in the area.

The vessel, which turned out to be a Madagascan fishing vessel with 18 crew on board who had been fishing for sea cucumbers, was placed under arrest and escorted to Mahe.

According to the SDF, in a similar case at least three fishing vessels from Comoros were observed around Cosmoledo and Aldabra atolls in the previous week. The patrolling SDF Dornier aircraft observed details of each vessel, including registration numbers, which have been forwarded to the Comoros authorities for follow-up action.

The report says the SDF is working in close collaboration with the Regional Centre for Operation Coordination (RCOC) to ensure proper liaison with concerned countries in the region and that necessary legal actions are initiated against the culprits.

The Diplomatic channel is also being used for this purpose.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres which makes surveillance of illegal maritime activities a challenge. source: Seychelles News Agency

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“The damage caused by cyclone Freddie in Zambezia is the result of poor design and construction. It is inconceivable that schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and other constructions built recently collapse in a short time when bridges and buildings from the colonial era continue intact. This is because of improper tenders, low quality materials, and our inability to inspect.”

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