Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 28 May 2023

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FIRST VIEW:   INDLAZI and Ever Devote


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FIRST VIEW:  INDLAZI and Ever Devote

Indlazi. Picture by Trevor Jones

The Richards Bay Voith Schneider propulsion tug INDLAZI which has been working in the port of Durban for the last couple of months. Here she is on the starboard bow of the incoming Ever Devote on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Picture by Trevor Jones


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IMO Women in Maritime conference: Highlighting gender equality initiatives

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

The importance of collaboration and networking in achieving gender equality in the maritime sector was the focus at the Global Conference of the IMO Women in Maritime Associations held at IMO HQ in London on 18/19 May.

Issues raised

The need to tackle a lack of visibility of women in the maritime industry; the need for individual women and organisations representing them to work in partnership to achieve more; the importance of having men as allies; and the need to engage with girls during their school years to attract them into roles in maritime were issues raised repeatedly across the two days.

Eight associations

Members of the IMO’s eight Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs) from around the world and international partner organisations came together to explore the theme of this year’s International Day for Women in Maritime with the theme: Mobilising networks for gender equality.

IMO S-G on gender equality

Opening the conference, IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, described gender equality as “a prerequisite for a thriving and resilient maritime industry” that would bring with it, he said, innovation, creativity and sustained growth.

“We need the best talent. And that means embracing diversity and ensuring that any barriers to participation are broken down. By investing in the future of women in maritime we unlock a wealth of talent that will drive our industry forward.”

SMART-C agreement

An agreement on the SMART-C Women Project (SMART stands for Sustainable Maritime Transport Cooperation), the aim of which is to enhance gender equality in developing countries, was signed by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, and Yoon Yeocheol, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the IMO. The agreement provides funding worth $3 million for five years.

Ambassador Yeocheol said he hoped the accord would be a milestone and pledged the Republic of Korea’s continued support to women in the sector: “I sincerely hope that the agreement…will promote more participation of women in the maritime sector and lead to a more diverse and inclusive culture in the maritime industry.”

The conference heard from all eight WIMAs about their objectives, achievements and plans for future initiatives.

In Africa

Associations have been established in Africa (three WIMAs), Arab States, Asia-Pacific (two WIMAs), the Caribbean, and Latin America to challenge some of the institutional barriers and the cultural stigma facing women who enter the maritime industry.

In a session on the work of WISTA International, its President, Ms Elpi Petraki, spoke of empowering women “to claim what they deserve” which, she said, would benefit both women and men.

She also highlighted continued challenges that face women working onboard ships. “Full equality onboard is a long way off.” She announced a follow up next year to the 2021 IMO-WISTA Women in Maritime Survey which she hoped would give a more accurate picture of gender diversity across the sector.

African dredger master

During a panel discussion called Breaking the glass ceiling, Africa’s first female dredger master, Captain Londy Ngcobo, ship navigator, and founder of Global Maritime Youth and Director of Womaritime Experts, said she had decided to make a visible statement about her success in the maritime industry.

“I wore my uniform today. I have claimed my captaincy. To a young star looking at me – she comes with natural hair and brown skin: I too can become a captain. It’s not rocket science.”

A draft Global Strategy for the IMO WIMAs

The conference ended with a working session on the development of a draft Global Strategy for the IMO WIMAs. It was agreed that work on the Strategy would continue by correspondence and would be finalised ahead of the Technical Cooperation Committee’s 73rd session to be held from 16 to 20 October this year for its endorsement at that meeting.

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WHARF TALK: Supramax bulk carrier – FRATZIS STAR

The Supramax bulk carrier, Fratzis Star, which arrived in Cape Town onSunay, 21 May, bearing the scars of an obvious collision. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Under normal circumstances, whenever a vessel arrives in Cape Town harbour and is taken directly to a berth on the Repair Quay, it is usually indicative of a requirement for the vessel in question to require some form of immediate shoreside engineering support.

In most cases the reason for the need of that shoreside support is not apparent and lies, unseen and hidden, somewhere within the bowels of the vessel. However, occasionally a vessel arrives and the reason for her to be taken to the Repair Quay, and the nature of the requirement for shoreside intervention, is very much evident because it lies on the outside, and in plain view.

On 21st May, at 23h00 in the late evening, the Supramax bulk carrier FRATZIS STAR (IMO 9301184) arrived off Cape Town, from Matadi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She was in ballast, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside on the Repair Quay.

As stated, such an arrival is normally a clue that she was in need of some shoreside assistance. The question is always if that assistance requirement is for engineering purposes, electronic purposes, mechanical purposes, or for some another reason.

In this case, the reason stuck out like a sore thumb, as ‘Fratzis Star’ had clearly been in collision with something, or other. More to the point, it would appear that something else was actually in collision with ‘Fratzis Star’. She had severe damage to her hull, adjacent to the area between her fifth hold, and just ahead of her accommodation block.

Fratzis Star, Cape Town 21 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Whilst it is currently not known what actually caused the damage, the shape and height of the indentation is rather reminiscent of another ship’s bow. As the damage is as high as her gunwhales, it is clearly too high to have been much else. The hull has also been breached lower down, which may indicate that an anchor of the offending ship tore through the hull plating.

Built in 2005 by Zhejiang Shipbuilding at Ningbo in China, ‘Fratzis Star’ is 190 metres in length and has a deadweight of 53,533 tons. She is powered by a single Yichang MAN-B&W 6S50MC-C 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 12,892 bhp (9,480 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 750 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 110 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Qingdao auxiliary composite boiler. She has five cargo holds, served by four grab equipped cranes, each capable of lifting 30 tons each, and she has a cargo carrying capacity of 65,748 m3.

An early example of a Sinopacific 53 class design of bulk carrier, ‘Fratzis Star’ is nominally owned by First Ocean Marine SA, of Athens, and is both operated and managed by Seamax Marine Incorporated, also of Athens, and whose houseflag she displays on her funnel.

Fratzis Star, Cape Town 21 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In 2010, her owners voiced concerns about what they called ‘a group of crooks’ preying on unsuspecting Asian freight forwarders, and advised against any involvement with a company going by the name of Equator Shipping, of Georgia. According to Seamax Marine, this group was falsely claiming to have chartered in some of its vessels, including ‘Fratzis Star’.

The allegedly bogus chartering operation was arranging to carry cargo for freight forwarders, before seizing their financial deposits, and then disappearing. The senior figure from Seamax Marine added that they had been contacted on a number of occasions, by freight forwarders based in Asia, with queries about whether Equator Shipping had taken Seamax vessels under its control as the charterer.

In April 2019, off the disputed Diaoyutai Islands, lying between Taiwan and Japan, a local 99 metre fishing vessel, ‘Hsing Tong Chuan 86’ was sunk in collision with an unknown vessel, which failed to stop after the collision. The incident occurred some 20 nautical miles to the west of the islands. Two of her crew of thirteen were lost in the collision, with eleven of them being rescued by local fishing vessels.

At first, three ships were suspected of possible involvement in the incident. One of those three was ‘Fratzis Star’. She was stopped by the Taiwan Coast Guard, but later allowed to continue with her voyage after data taken from radar tracks showed that she was not in the close vicinity at the time of the collision. The offending vessel was traced and forced to divert into the Taiwanese port of Hualien. The search for the missing crewmen was called off after 72 hours.

Fratzis Star, Cape Town 21 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 27th October 2021, ‘Fratzis Star’ was taking on bunkers in the anchorage, off the port of Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, when she had a fuel spill. A total of 1,000 litres was spilled into the ocean due to a failure of her starboard manifold filter cover. It took five days to clean up the entire area of the spill, and the local authorities announced that the clean-up was complete on 1st November.

She was immediately detained by the Port captain of Las Palmas, and held until payment for the costs of the oil spill response, and clean up, had been made. This amounted to a total of €125,000 (ZAR2.59 million). The owners of ‘Fratzis Star’ were also fined by the Canary Islands Authorities for an amount of €120,000 (ZAR2.48 million) for the oil spill.

For her voyage from Matadi to Cape Town, ‘Fratzis Star’ covered a distance of 1,900 nautical miles, over a seven day period, and it was achieved at an average speed of 10 knots.

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Dronamics cargo drone takes first flight

Dronamics air cargo drone ‘Black Swan; makes its first flight. Picture: Dronamics-Veliko Balabanov

Dronamics, the world’s first cargo drone airline, announced on Thursday (25 May 2023) today the successful completion of the first flight of its flagship aircraft, the Black Swan.

This took place at Balchik airport in Bulgaria and demonstrated the potential for the logistics industry to enhance efficiency in the transportation of products.

Born out of two brothers’ desire to find a quicker, greener and more affordable way to deliver goods, Dronamics is on a mission to enable same day delivery for everyone, everywhere. This significant milestone is the culmination of months of ground testing and subscale flights. The Black Swan aircraft was remotely piloted by two commercial airline pilots from the Dronamics ground control station.

The successful flight test validates the company’s licensed cargo drone technology for commercial flights in Europe, set to begin later this year, serving a variety of industries, with a fast and cost-effective solution to meet evolving consumer needs.

“Since the day we first imagined what the Black Swan aircraft could look like, we’ve worked towards this flight,” said Konstantin Rangelov, Co-Founder and CTO of Dronamics. “Today we’ve made history and are proud to have demonstrated the validity of our drone technology.”

His brother Svilen Rangelov, also Co-Founder and CEO of Dronamics, described how it has taken an enormous amount of hard work, belief and drive to prove that what the brothers envisioned, works. “We can now focus on the next step, the roll-out of our commercial operations, and we couldn’t be more excited,” he said.


Dronamics is a company developing and operating large, long-range drones built specifically for cargo. Its flagship Black Swan is said to be able to carry 350 kg (770 lb) at a distance of up to 2,500 km (1,550 mi) up to 80% faster, 50% cheaper and with up to 60% lower emissions than alternative modes of transport, including airfreight.

This will enable same-day shipping over long distances for a variety of industries, from pharma to food, e-commerce to spare parts.

Dronamics is Europe’s first licensed cargo drone airline and IATA’s first Strategic Partner for drones worldwide.

The company has raised a total of US$ 40 million in pre-Series A funding from early-stage funds and angel investors from 12 countries and is co-funded by the European Union under the prestigious European Innovation Council, Europe’s flagship innovation program.

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Ghana considers establishing a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at the port of Tema

Port of Tema, MPS Terminal 3  Picture MPS

According to a report in the Ghanaian Times, Ghana’s Ministry of Trade & Industry is considering the development of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) within the Tema port enclave.

The objective of this proposal is to drive investments and trade.

Trade & Industry Minister, KT Hammond, said that having a SEZ within the port enclave was not only viable but would propel the government’s industrialisation agenda.

The government would provide the necessary policy direction and enabling environment to foster the creation of the SEZ within the port, he said.

Minister Hammond pointed out that boosting international trade was an integral part of government’s development agenda.

“The SEZ is a fantastic idea and the Ministry will urgently consider it. We have been told that it will feed into increasing the volumes of export and import, thereby enhancing the operations of the port,” he said.

He added that the SEZ was an economically prudent move that ensures the centralisation of businesses and attracts foreign direct investments.

The minister was speaking during a tour of Meridian Port Services, the company that operates Terminal 3 at the port of Tema.

During the minister’s visit, Mohammed Sa,mara, CEO of Meridian Port Services, disclosed that six shipping lines have made Ghana their hub for transshipment. The creation of an economic zone at the port would drive trade volumes and investments, he said. source: Ghanaian Times

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French naval ship intercepts four illegal drug shipments in Indian Ocean

Personnel from a French warship operating in support of Combined Task Force 150 board a fishing vessel during a drug seizure in the Indian Ocean, April 24, 2023. Picture: Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

A French naval ship operating in support of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 in the north-western Indian Ocean conducted four illegal drug seizures between 19 April and 18 May, reports CMF.

The drugs seized are worth a total estimated U.S. street value of US$ 108 million, and were discovered on fishing vessels transiting international waters in the Indian Ocean.

The unidentified warship seized 2,265 kilograms of heroin and 242 kilograms of methamphetamine from the four different vessels while patrolling regional waters.

CTF 150 is one of five task forces under Combined Maritime Forces, the largest multinational naval partnership in the world.

In 2023, maritime forces supporting CTF 150 have seized illegal drugs worth a combined estimated U.S. street value of $203 million, adding to record-breaking drug interdictions by U.S. and international naval units in 2021 and 2022 totaling more than $1 billion in value.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the French sailors to achieve our mission’s aims together,” said United Kingdom Royal Navy Lt. Francis Henry, a CTF 150 staff officer responsible for coordinating the task force’s counter-narcotics efforts.

CTF 150 conducts maritime security operations in the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean to disrupt destabilizing activity, promote international rules-based order and help ensure the free flow of commerce.

The task force is headquartered in Bahrain with Combined Maritime Forces, which is led by the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet

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TNPA seeks alternative 20 MW energy capacity at Richards Bay port

Port of Richards Bay scene   Picture TNPA

Faced with the likelihood of recurring power cuts from the Eskom grid and affecting port operations at Richards Bay, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has issued an appeal for interested parties within the energy sector to participate in a Request for Proposals (RFP).

This is as TNPA proceeds with introducing a renewable energy purchase programme in the South African ports system.

It also comes at a time when the national government has overruled Transnet by allowing the Turkish Karpowership company to proceed with bids for installing power ships in the ports of Richards Bay and Saldanha, while a place for a similar operation must be found at Ngqura.

This week TNPA issued a RFP seeking a service provider to design, construct, test, commission, operate and maintain a 20 MW solar photovoltaics (PV) plant with a battery energy storage system, for a period of seven years, at the Port of Richards Bay.

Whether that relatively short period of seven years is sufficiently long enough to attract serious proposals will be seen.

TNPA’s energy mix plans include the deployment of renewable energy, providing access to Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), microgrids, Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), backup electricity generator sets and exploring the future use of green fuels such as ammonia and/or hydrogen in its marine fleet.

As disruptions to South Africa’s electricity supply (referred to locally as loadshedding or blackouts) becomes more chronic, TNPA and sister company TPT face increased challenges during the periods when the national supply is disrupted.

“Securing alternative energy capacity forms part of TNPA’s Desired End State strategy that aims to enhance internal capabilities to ensure business continuity across the port system, whilst increasing business resilience and preserving the environment,” said Amanda Makgoga, Sector Specialist.

Renewable Energy

This renewable energy plant design will comprise a ground-mounted solar PV plant and a rooftop system. This helps in reducing carbon emissions and providing a cost-effective, reliable energy supply to the port and its users, said Makgoga.

Future plans will see TNPA rolling out the Renewable Energy programme across all its commercial seaports, with an overall installed capacity of approximately 100 MW.

RFP documents for the Port of Richards Bay can be accessed from the National Treasury’s e-tender publication portal and/or the TNPA website/etenders 

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Added 25 May 2023


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WHARF TALK: small handysize tanker – MTM ROTTERDAM

The small Handysize tanker MTM Rotterdam which arrived off Cape Town on 18 May 2023. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

One tends to forget that the flow of tankers into South African ports is not necessarily anything to do with the ongoing requirement to import domestic fuel products to keep the lights on. There are a small number of tankers that arrive, almost entirely bound for either Durban or Cape Town, whose onboard cargo is not a fuel oil, but rather a vegetable oil.

If such a vessel arrives from the Far East you can put money on the fact that it is carrying Palm Oil. If such a vessel arrives from the USA you bet on the assumption that it is probably loaded with Corn Oil. However, if the tanker in question arrives from Europe, then almost certainly, but not always, the product that it is bringing in is likely to be Sunflower Oil.

On 18th May, at 13h00 in the early afternoon, the small Handysize tanker MTM ROTTERDAM (IMO 9477567) arrived off Cape Town, from Varna in Bulgaria, and immediately entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside on the inner berth in the tanker basin. Her European port of departure, in the Black Sea, was a strong indicator of the cargo she was likely to be carrying.

Built in 2011 by Usuki Shipbuilding at Usuki in Japan, ‘MTM Rotterdam’ is 146 metres in length and has a deadweight of 21,144 tons. She is powered by a single Hitachi MAN-B&W 6S42MC-C6 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 8,247 bhp (6,150 kW), and driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 15 knots.

MTM Rotterdam, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar 6EY18ALW generators providing 500 kW each. She has a single Miura HB-15T composite boiler, and for additional manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster providing 620 kW.

Her design is more in keeping with that of a Chemical Tanker, and her midships cargo manifold area indicates her complexity. With no less than 22 stainless steel cargo tanks, and a cargo carrying capacity of 22,196 m3, ‘MTM Rotterdam’ is capable of loading a full range of 22 different products. With 22 cargo pumps, all capable of pumping at a rate of 200 m3/hour, and a loading capability is 1,097 m3/hour, ‘MTM Rotterdam’ has the ability to be either fully loaded, or fully discharged, in less than 24 hours, in an operationally efficient oil terminal port.

The shipyard that built ‘MTM Rotterdam’ specialises in the construction of Chemical Tankers, and she is owned by Maritime Management Group, of Singapore. She is operated by MT Maritime Pte. Ltd., also of Singapore, and whose houseflag she displays on her funnel, and she is managed by MTM Shipmanagement Pte. Ltd., of Singapore.

MTM Rotterdam, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Having a handysize tanker coming all the way from a port in the Black Sea, indicates that she is carrying something other than the usual domestic fuel products. She is conducting a voyage with two port stops along the South African coast, and Cape Town being her first call. Her unusual cargo, part destined for Cape Town, is in fact a major parcel of Sunflower Oil.

Sunflower Oil is used widely in the food industry, as anybody who has opened a tin of tuna will know, or who has cooked their chips in oil. It is used as a source of polyunsaturated fat in the diet. It is also used as a component of the production of Biodiesel.

MTM Rotterdam, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Most interestingly, Sunflower Oil has health benefits. It can be used to help reduce high cholesterol, and so reduce heart disease. It is also used for high blood pressure, eczema, dry mouth, dry skin, and many other conditions. It contains a large amount of both Vitamin A and Vitamin E, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

This is not the first time that a handy tanker has made this voyage from Bulgaria, with such a cargo, as it also occurred in 2021. What is not well known is that Bulgaria is the world’s seventh largest producer of Sunflower Oil. Bulgaria is also the largest producer of Sunflower Oil in the whole of the EU, with 37% of the total bloc production.

The world’s largest producer of Sunflower Oil was Ukraine, with 29% of the world’s production, followed by Russia with 27%. Sadly, the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia has resulted in a 50% reduction in the worldwide availability of Sunflower Oil.

MTM Rotterdam, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With Bulgaria’s position as a major exported of Sunflower Oil, the major port of Varna, in Bulgaria, has two bulk liquid terminals that specialise in the storage of export Sunflower Oil. One such terminal, Oiltanking, also has a direct working link to South Africa, being the majority partner in local company Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo (Pty) Ltd (OTGC).

With shareholding of OTGC being Oiltanking GmbH (46%), Grindrod (33.5%), and Calulo Investments (20.5%), the company operates two harbour oil terminal facilities in South Africa. One is located on Johnson Road, on Maydon Wharf in Durban harbour, and the other one in the Tanker Basin in Cape Town harbour. Both tank farms are designed for the import, and onward distribution, of Molasses and Vegetable Oils. A further tank farm in Ngqura is still to be fully developed, and a Crude Oil tank storage facility is also operated by OTGC at Saldanha Bay.

MTM Rotterdam, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In Bulgaria, the Devnya Oiltanking facility in Varna has two tanks, providing 12,000 m3 of vegetable oil storage, with direct pipeline access to two of their own berths. These berths are both capable of handling Handysize tankers up to 30,000 dwt. Additionally, Oiltanking provides a railway siding, to provide the added ability of loading the sunflower oil, by pipeline, directly from the railtanks, to the ship loading berth.

On 21st May, after almost two days discharging in Cape Town, ‘MTM Rotterdam’ was ready to leave, and sailed at 10h00 in the morning bound for Durban, where she was scheduled to arrive at 06h00 on 24th May, and where she is expected to complete her discharge.

Footnote: MTM Rotterdam arrived off Durban on 24 May and proceeded to enter port at 14h25 to berth at Island View.

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What future, SA? Container Corridor disrupted by sabotage and theft

58 trains are either stuck on the Container Corridor line or waiting in staging yards   Picture  TFR

Readers are aware of the ongoing challenges facing Transnet Freight Rail operations on the coal line between Ermelo (and points beyond) and the port at Richards Bay. Coal export figures speak for themselves, down from an anticipated annual tonnage in excess of 60 million tonnes to just over 50 million tonnes, the lowest figure in about 30 years.

Despite maintenance programmes, or is it insufficient maintenance, the line continues to experience derailments – some which appear to be the work of criminal gangs, others which remain unexplained. There have been several such derails in the past month.

Equally disturbing, the Container Corridor between Gauteng and the port at Durban has also seen serious disruptions during recent periods of looting and flood damage, that affected both Gauteng and KZN provinces. For a period the Natal Corridor was effectively closed with Transnet ultimately resorting to diesel traction to move the trains until electric traction and signalling could be restored.

That situation has gradually improved and cargo owners importing and exporting through the port at Durban will have heaved a collective sigh of relief, having been forced to make use of the N3 highway to handle the tens of thousands of containers each month.

The port of Durban handles an average of around 210,000 TEUs monthly.

It’s therefore with more shock that the news has emerged of further problems affecting the rail service on the Container Corridor. Once again they are man-made problems with nature or ‘Acts of God’ not to blame.

In a letter to customers (but not shared with media or on the TFR website), TFR advises that in the past week “a total of 39 security-related incidents targeting critical areas on the mainline resulting in the closure of the line.” An additional two incidents were the result of heavy rain.

It appears that criminal gangs are having a field day along the corridor, tackling either the freight rail lines or electricity-generating plants.

Transnet is having some success and 18 arrests are understood to have been made. The company also recovered some stolen equipment, but not before delays and stoppages have occurred.

Because of these, said TFR, 58 trains are either stuck on the line or waiting in staging yards.

Desperate container cargo owners will again look to using road transport, but that won’t help the automotive industry which makes extensive use of the corridor for both import and export of motor vehicles.

Meanwhile, the criminal gangs continue to have what appears to be free reign over the corridor, or at least sections of it. The Container Corridor is lengthy, some 688 kilometres, and traverses both built-up and rural countryside and is difficult to guard in its entirety.

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ITF News: Transport ministers kick off global summit

International Transport Forum, Leipzig, Germany

Ministers with responsibility for transport from the 64 member countries of the International Transport Forum at the OECD and several invited guest countries have gathered for a three-day summit in Leipzig, Germany which got underway on Wednesday, 24 May.

Under the theme ‘Transport Enabling Sustainable Economies’, ministers are discussing themes ranging from climate change to Ukraine and supply chain resilience to active mobility.

More than 1,300 delegates from around 80 countries are taking part in Leipzig. The United Kingdom holds the Presidency.

The programme for this major event is available on the Summit website FOUNDS HERE

During the Summit, the International Transport Forum will present its biennial projections for future transport demand and the associated CO2 emissions to 2050.

A short YouTube video below to introduce the ITF Transport Summit [1:48]

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Privatisation of the ports debated in Tanzanian parliament

Port of Dar es Salaam – debate over private sector involvement   Picture TPA

Tanzanian law makers are in the midst of a divided debate over the future of the country’s ports.

This follows developments that saw the non-renewal of Tanzania International Container Terminal Services’ (TICTS) concession to operate the Dar es Salaam container terminal.

Then came news that government was in talks with the UAE with regards the development and possible operation of the terminals and port itself – see this week’s article below in Africa Ports & Ships ‘U.A.E firms to improve, operate, and develop Tanzania’s ports’

Now members of parliament have been airing their views on the matter, with varying opinions as to the best way forward.

According to a report in the Tanzanian Daily News, some MPs are in agreement that much can be learned from Dubai in terms of port management and operation.

One member, Joseph Kasheku ‘Musukuma’ said he had visited Dubai in the past where he was impressed in the heavy investment by Dubai authorities in their port network, especially with digital systems that have made the clearance of cargo an easy matter.

But Special Seats MP, Halima Mdee, was cautious on the question of more private involvement in port operations.

“We must learn from experience we got in the past when the private sector was engaged at the port of Dar es Salaam,” she cautioned.

Others pointed out that various countries across the world had successful experiences with private enterprise involvement in the ports. India was pointed out where this had occurred.

India had a specific ministry for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, said Anne Kilango, MP for Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), the country’s long-serving ruling party.

She pointed out that India was aware of the potentials hidden through private sector participation.

Other MPs suggested that more could be done in attracting expertise and new technologies.

Tanzania ought to lose its fear of foreign involvement and instead welcome private investors in the various port operations.

The long-outstanding issue of a new port at Bagamoyo was also raised, and with it the need to attract a new investor in this project. Originally, Chinese and Omani interests wanted to develop a new port on the historic site of Bagamoyo, to the north of Dar es Salaam.

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Added 25 May 2023


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IMO: Ships’ biofouling management workshop – First Arab women’s participation

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

The contribution that women can make to tackling the issue of invasive aquatic species introduced by ships’ biofouling was discussed at the GloFouling Partnerships project’s first regional event to be held with Arab Women in Maritime.

It was reported by IMO earlier in May that eighteen Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries had been invited to send two women each to the Arab Women in Maritime-Biofouling Management Workshop (AWIM-BMW) held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 10 and 11 May.

As well as increasing awareness of biofouling and best practices in managing it to protect marine biodiversity and tackle climate change, the Workshop was a forum for women in the biofouling management sector to identify barriers and gaps related to gender equality, and to explore possible solutions.

The event was held a week before the annual International Day for Women in Maritime (IDWIM, 18 May), held for the first time last year. This year’s theme was: Mobilizing networks for gender equality.

Professor Omaimah Bamasag, Deputy of Transportation Enablement, Transport General Authority, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, welcomed those attending the Workshop.

Jeddah is one of the busiest and most modern ports in the region, Prof Bamasag said, and therefore an excellent place to hold the event. She asked: “How do we strengthen and develop our seafarer community, specifically the contribution of women to that community? And how do we care better for our oceans that are of such critical importance to our lives and our international trade, specifically addressing the important issue of biofouling?”

IMO’s Lilia Khodjet El Khil, Project Technical Manager, GloFouling Partnerships project, described the introduction of invasive aquatic species via ships’ biofouling in our marine environment as one of the most pressing environmental issues affecting our oceans.

In her opening remarks, Hessa Al Malek, President of the Arab Women in Maritime Association (AWIMA), argued for action to bring greater gender diversity to the decision-making process. It could, she said, result in more innovative solutions to combat biofouling.

And in a rallying call, she said: “By working together, we can create a more inclusive sustainable and successful maritime industry for all. To my sisters in attendance today: The world is waiting. It is the time for us to shine – together and brighter.”

As well as presentations on IMO’s work on gender equality and the GloFouling Partnerships project, the Workshop included sessions on how different parts of the maritime sector are responding to the challenge of biofouling management. There were also break out groups in which education, business and women’s visibility initiatives were discussed from which women from MENA countries could benefit.

Port Jeddah is Saudi Arabia’s largest seaport – and one of the busiest in the region – with 75% of the country’s imports and exports going through it. Those attending the Workshop were taken to visit the port and to see DP World’s facilities there. Ports and dry docks are key to the management of biofouling through the application of anti-fouling coatings and the cleaning of ships’ hulls.

Outcomes from the Workshop include an acknowledgement that women are a key part of the solution to biofouling. It was agreed that there is a need to do more to raise awareness of the problem and to increase outreach to women in the sector to equip them with information on career and training opportunities.

The Workshop called on the sector to support Arab Women in Maritime through greater provision of education and training sponsorships.

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Maputo’s Agility Logistics Park chosen by distribution specialist

Agility Logistics Park in Maputo, Mozambique    Pictures: Agility

Oceana Distribution has chosen the Agility Logistics Park in Maputo, a leading warehouse facility in Mozambique’s capital, as the location for its new office, storage and distribution facility in the country.

The newly opened 5,000m2 facility is designed to handle more than 3,000 pallet positions. It includes an office area of 600m2 and a cold room facility of 400m2 to meet the end-to-end requirements of Oceana’s local and multi-national customers.

Oceana’s facility is equipped to support companies and brands in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector.

Sergio Jeque, Oceana’s Distribution Operations Director, said a safe, secure and efficient distribution network is fundamental to their business model. “The Agility warehouses are new and provide the necessary infrastructure meeting international standards,” he said.

“That enables us to offer a consistent, reliable and efficient distribution experience for our customers.” He added that strict HSSE standards are followed within the park, which is very important for Oceana operations.

“This partnership is one of the key milestones in our supply chain strategy, which will support our business growth.”


The Agility warehouses are located on the Maputo Ring Road, at Chiango area in Marracuene District, and are strategically situated for distribution across the country and to Maputo. The park is within a 25-kilometre radius of the Maputo port and airport, the N4 highway to South Africa, and the capital’s Central Business District.

According to Agility it is funding and developing 300,000m2 of warehouses on the site, a centre of excellence for warehousing in the region, supporting businesses operating in and from Mozambique.

“We are delighted that Oceana decided to lease warehouse space in the new Agility facility in Maputo,” said Geoffrey White, Agility Africa’s CEO.

“We believe that the provision of international-standard warehouses in Africa for storage, distribution and light manufacturing is one of the fundamental building blocks necessary for economic growth.”

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WHARF TALK: Offshore Patrol Vessel – ‘NRP SETÚBAL P363’

The Portuguese Navy ship, NRP Setúbal P363, enters the port at Cape Town, 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

After a recent procession of naval, and quasi-naval, vessels of states considered to be on the Pariah status list, arriving in South African ports, it was refreshing to finally see the arrival of a warship not on any such list. In fact, a naval vessel not just from what would be considered to be a western nation, but actually one belonging to a navy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

On 22nd May, at 09h00 in the morning, the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ‘NRP SETÚBAL P363’ of the Portuguese Navy arrived off Cape Town, from Luanda in Angola, and entered the Duncan Dock. She was not under a spotlight, or unwelcome, as those of the Russian Navy vessels that arrived in February, but she was still directed to a far flung part of the harbour, and she proceeded not to the Passenger Cruise Terminal, like ‘Yuan Wang 5’, but to the Landing Wall.

NRP Setúbal P363, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built by the West Sea Viana Shipyard at Viana do Castelo in Portugal, ‘NRP Setúbal P363’ is 84 metres in length, and has a displacement of 1,850 tons. She has diesel-electric propulsion, and is powered by two Wärtsilä diesel engines, producing 5,200 bhp (3,900 kW), providing power to two electric motors, which drive two controllable pitch propellers for a maximum patrol service speed of 21 knots. For added manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster.

She was commissioned in 2019, and is one of a proposed class of ten warships, known as the Viana Do Castelo class of Offshore Patrol Vessels. She was the fourth of the class to enter service, with the rest of the class scheduled to enter service between 2026 and 2030.

NRP Setúbal P363, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She was ordered as part of the NPO2000 project, where NPO is an acronym for Navios de Patrulha Oceânica, and which simply translates as Ocean Patrol Vessel. The NPO2000 project was in regard to introducing a new class of OPV that would replace the ageing ‘João Coutinho’, and the ‘Baptista de Andrade’, class of Corvettes.

She operates with a crew complement of 42, broken down into 9 Officers, 9 Petty Officers and 27 seamen. She is lightly armed, with just two 12.7mm heavy machine guns, and two 7.62mm light machine guns. She is also fitted with two launching systems for Mk.55 Mod.2 magnetic mines. She has a stern helicopter deck, but no hangar, and can operate with a Super Lynx Mk.95 naval helicopter. She carries two Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) for boarding operations, and she has an endurance of 5,000 nautical miles.

NRP Setúbal P363, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She was designed as a non-combat vessel, and is primarily intended to carry out functions of authority, and to perform tasks of public interest in the areas of national jurisdiction, or responsibility. The missions that ‘NRP Setúbal P363’ has been designed to conduct include maritime patrol, surveillance, fisheries protection, search and rescue, drug trafficking interdiction, illegal migration interdiction, disaster relief, environmental protection, and anti-pollution missions.

Her arrival in South African waters is due to her being deployed on the annual Portuguese Navy ‘Open Sea’ mission. The ‘Open Sea’ initiative came about in 2008 as a response from the Portuguese State to the maritime insecurity felt in a specific sea area, the Gulf of Guinea. It seeks to contribute to maintaining co-operation ties and meet the international commitments undertaken by Portugal under the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), and under the EU Co-Ordinated Maritime Naval Presence.

NRP Setúbal P363, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Every year the Portuguese Navy designates one naval vessel to undertake the ‘Open Sea Mission’, but in a change to normal procedures, the 2023 mission would be undertaken by two vessels. One vessel being ‘NRP Setúbal P363’, now alongside in Cape Town, and the other being the Tridente Class Submarine ‘NRP Arpão S161’.

The mission began back in April when the National Detached Force (FND), Task Force 477.60, departed from the Portuguese Naval Base at Alfeite in Portugal. This task force includes both ‘NRP Setúbal P363’, and ‘NRP Arpão S161’, and includes Marines, a Maritime Security Team, Naval Divers, and a Medical Team.

NRP Setúbal P363, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Whilst in Luanda, ‘NRP Setúbal P363’ promoted closer Co-Operation between the Angolan Navy and the Portuguese Navy. She conducted training with Angolan Marines, and carried Navy Cadets from the Naval School of Angola. Both ‘NRP Setúbal P363’ and ‘NRP Arpão S161’ are due to return together to Luanda on 23rd June.

Also a third vessel departed Alfeite with the ‘Open Sea’ mission. This was the Patrol Vessel ‘NRP Centauro P1155’, which was heading to São Tomé e Príncipe waters, to act as a permanent naval presence in the Gulf of Guinea. She was replacing the Patrol Vessel ‘NRP Zaire P1146’, which had been based in São Tomé e Príncipe waters since January 2018. 

NRP Setúbal P363, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With ‘NRP Setúbal P363’ being safely alongside in Cape Town, ‘NRP Arpão S161’ is currently en route across the South Atlantic Ocean, from a visit to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and proceeding towards Cape Town, where she is scheduled to arrive on 4th June. Both vessels are due to take part in the Portugal Day national celebrations, known as ‘Camões’, which occurs on 10th June, and the crews will celebrate with the South African diaspora of Portuguese nationals.

NRP Setúbal P363, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Portuguese extended communities around the world celebrate Camões Day on 10th June. The day is named after the Portuguese poet and epic writer ‘Luis Vaz De Camões’ (1524-1580), who wrote the epic ‘Lusiades’ in 1572. The poem is considered one of the finest, and most important, works in Portuguese literature. The work of Camões became a symbol of Portuguese exploration in the 16th century, that included the great Portuguese explorers sailing around the Cape, and who brought fame and fortune to Portugal, and recognition of Portuguese history.

For the nomenclature aficionado, ‘NRP Setúbal P363’ is named after the Portuguese coastal city of Setúbal, located at 38°31’ North 008°53’ West. Her title NRP is an acronym for ‘Navio da República Portuguesa’, or ‘Ship of the Portuguese Republic’ which is a prefix similar to HMS in the Royal Navy, or SAS in the South African Navy. Her pennant number P363, is where P is indicative of a Patrol vessel.

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Equipment breakdowns at Durban’s DCT leads to container move count limitations by shipping lines

In a service advisory issued by one of the members of the South Africa Europe Container Service, a container move count limitation will apply for the vessel SANTA ISABEL on voyage 232N, which is expected on berth at Durban Container Terminal (DCT) on 1 June with an anticipated departure of 6 June.

Santa Isabel is then due in Cape Town on 8 June, departing 12 June, bound for Tangier.

The advisory from Ocean Network Express (ONE) says that “Operations at Durban Container Terminals Pier 1 are being negatively impacted due to TPT (Transnet Port Terminals) equipment breakdowns both on the waterside and landside and other associated operational challenges.

“We have been informed by TPT that engineering teams are working around the clock to improve the status of the equipment. However current indication provided is that the situation will continue until the end of May 2023.”

“As a result of these challenges, a move count limitation applies for the M/V Santa Isabel v.232N following which the decision was made to only load the perishable reefer cargo.”

It adds that dry cargo booked will be loaded on board the earliest option available.

“We apologize for any inconvenience caused and appreciate your understanding in this regard.”

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Added 24 May 2023


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Three abducted crew from Grebe Bulker released after ransoming

The bulk carrier Grebe Bulker.. picture: FleetMon

Three crewmembers of the Georgian bulk carrier GREBE BULKER (IMO 9441312) who were abducted from their ship at anchor outside the Gabonese capital of Libreville in West Africa, have been released after three weeks in captivity.

It can be assumed that a ransom has been paid for their safe release.

The three men, the Russian master of the ship and two Georgian officers, became victims of West African piracy on 2 May. No other details have become available except of their abduction and that the 57,809-dwt ship was on a short laybye at the time of the boarding by a group of pirates.

The announcement of their safe release was announced by the shipping company Eagle Bulk and the Foreign Affiars department of the government of Georgia.

You can see our report of their abduction in our 4 May news report HERE

Eagle Bulk expressed its appreciation to everyone involved and praised the three abducted crew members of Grebe Bulker for their ‘strength aand fortitude’, whilst the Georgian Foreign Ministry said the released crew had received medical examinations in Nigeria and would be returning shortly to their homes.

Monjasa Reformer

Two weeks prior to this the Danish tanker operator Monjasa, seen above in this photo by the French Navy, reported that the six crew members of their tanker MONJASA REFORMER had been released after negotiations with their abductors (or their representatives).

Readers will recall that Monjasa Reformer was boarded by pirates while drifting some 140 nautical miles offfshpore of Pointe Noire in the Congo. This was on 25 March this year and shortly after this the ship was reported as missing. After a number of days the ship was located south of Nigeria and according to the French Navy, whose ship located the tanker, six of the crew had been taken away by the pirates, It was thought the pirates and their prisoners were heading for Nigeria.

Readers can refresh their memories of that event by CLICKING HERE and also about its DISCOVERY HERE

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U.A.E firms to improve, operate, and develop Tanzania’s ports

The Port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s principal port   Picture TPA

Tanzania’s Ministry of Works and Transport informed the parliament on Monday that the government expects to ratify an agreement with the U.A.E government to improve, operate, and develop Tanzania’s ports.

This has come about following the dismissal in November last year of Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) which has had a contract to operate the container and general cargo terminal in the port of Dar es Salaam since 2000.

In November Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) informed TICTS its contract would not be further renewed.

The Ministry says it had already been seeking new investors for the port.

Among these was DP World with whom TPA had signed in February 2022 for a US$ 500 million agreement to improve Dar es Salaam’s second International Container Terminal and other infrastructure at the port.

Since then Tanzania has made additional efforts to attract investors from the Gulf states, with several firms showing an interest.

These include the construction of petroleum receiving and storage infrastructures by the UAE-based Emirates National Oil Company Group (ENOC), an agreement between Masdar and Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) for developing renewable energy projects and a gold refining centre by ISRA Gold Tanzania Company.

Other non-port investment projects include a joint environmental conservation program between Tanzania Forest Services Agency and UAE-based Blue Carbon LCC and a contract between Dar es Salaam Water Supply and Sanitation Authority and Dubai-based water management company Metito.

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DP World to transport unaccompanied trailers between UAE and Iraq

Trailer at the harbour    DP World

DP World on Monday introduced the first direct freight service between the UAE and Iraq to make the flow of goods between the two countries faster, safer and more efficient.

The service caters for what the industry calls ‘unaccompanied trailers’ — trailers which can be transported by sea without the driver and truck cab travelling alongside them. Instead, the trailer is left at the quay side at the port by the driver and is then pulled on and off the ship alone.

This is the first service of its kind in the UAE and runs under the name of P&O Maritime Transports — a DP World company.

The service takes approximately 36 hours to travel between Jebel Ali Port in the UAE and Umm Qasr Port in southern Iraq. It offers a new route between the two countries for road trailers, alleviating challenges faced by customers using cross-border land transport, which can take up to 14 days.

Unaccompanied trailers are loaded on to roll-on, roll-off (RORO) freight vessels, leaving the driver and cab behind at the port. Once the trailer reaches Umm Qasr Port, an Iraqi truck can drive it to its final destination anywhere in the country. Once delivered, the empty trailer is then returned to Umm Qasr and shipped back to Jebel Ali.

Until now, goods transported by road from the UAE to Iraq must be transloaded – a time consuming exercise of transferring cargo from the original truck to a locally-licensed vehicle. It is also risky, exposing the cargo in terms of damage, contamination and security.

Trailer at the warehouse   DP World

DP World’s unaccompanied trailer service allows cargo owners and logistics companies to load a UAE-plated trailer in their local warehouse, ship it securely to Iraq and get the same trailer back, without the cargo having to change hands along the route.

This is especially useful for transporting palletised or project cargo – large, heavy duty, or complex pieces of equipment, due to the greater payload capacity of road going trailers. Purpose-built RORO freight vessels allow customers greater flexibility in the planning and movement of over-dimensional packages on low-bed and heavy-axle trailers. This generates significant cost savings versus traditional break bulk operations, as the cargo loaded on board a trailer is available to be delivered directly on site in Iraq.

“The launch of this new route is a step change in our service offering in the UAE,” says Jesper Kristensen, Group Chief Operating Officer, DP World Marine Services.

“It is a great example of our customer-focused approach at DP World, using innovative and tailored solutions to enable the flow of goods. Iraq’s economy is growing rapidly, but until now it relied on transit through its neighbours for its import and export needs,” Kristensen said.

“Our new direct service starts to address this, opening a new more efficient trade route for the country.

“On top of the time and efficiency benefits, our service will also offer significant sustainability benefits. By shipping the trailer alone to Iraq, we expect to remove thousands of trucks from the roads every year, helping our clients reduce their CO2 emissions,” he added.

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In Conversation: Dangote launches Africa’s biggest oil refinery – 4 ways it will affect Nigeria

Dangote Refinery, Africa’s largest. Picture: Dangote Refinery

Nnaemeka Vincent Emodi, The University of Queensland

Nigeria’s new Dangote petroleum refinery is Africa’s biggest – it will produce 650,000 barrels a day, giving it the potential to address the country’s energy supply crisis.

Owned by Nigerian industrialist and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, the refinery is expected to boost domestic refining capacity, getting rid of the current consumption shortfall. It will also reduce import dependency and stimulate economic growth.

It is the first privately owned crude oil refinery in Nigeria. Nigeria’s existing refineries, plagued by operational inefficiencies under government control, have failed to meet the growing demand for petroleum products. Substantial imports have become necessary.

Nigeria currently imports more than 80% of its refined petroleum products. The country is the largest importer of refined petroleum products in Africa. Local production will therefore massively cut the country’s import bill.

In 2021, Nigeria spent US$11.3 billion on importing refined petroleum products.

Nigeria subsidises the pump price of petrol. Since the country imports the bulk of its refined petroleum products, official reason for sustaining petrol subsidies was to minimise the impact of rising global oil prices on Nigerians.

According to the new corporate entity solely licensed to operate Nigeria’s petroleum industry, NNPC Limited, Nigeria spent $10 billion on fuel subsidies in 2022 and is expected to spend $7.5 billion on fuel subsidies by mid-2023.

This represents about 24% of Nigeria’s 2022 budget and is an unsustainable drag on public finances. This money can now potentially be saved with Dangote refinery plugging the supply shortfall.

In my previous research, I have found that there is a link between Nigeria’s crude oil export dependency and its weak local refining capacity as well as the subsidy. This is also the case with Mexico, which exports its crude abroad for processing.

Based on my experience in the sector, I set out the four areas where the Dangote refinery is expected to make an impact on Nigeria’s petroleum sector and, by extension, the Nigerian economy.

Reduced oil import dependence

The most notable impact of Dangote refinery will be the increase in local refinery capacity, which will reduce imports.

Dangote refinery is expected to help Nigeria meet 100% of it’s refined petroleum product needs (gasoline, 72 million litres per day; diesel, 34 million litres per day; kerosene, 10 million litres per day and aviation jet, 2 million litres per day), with surplus products for the export market.

The refined petroleum output from the refinery in combination with other refineries in Nigeria is expected to meet the shortfall of the estimated daily consumption of 72 million litres of petrol.

The country has faced several fuel shortages in the past, which have caused prices to surge for transport and basic commodities.

Recent fuel shortages have been blamed on the Russia-Ukraine war. The price of imported fuel rose more than 100%. Importers operated at a loss due to price ceilings set by the government.

Besides eliminating import dependency, the Dangote refinery can potentially reduce Nigeria’s crude oil export dependency as more crude oil will be refined domestically.

Refining crude oil locally will enable the country pay for the refined product in naira which will save scarce foreign exchange and generate revenue in exported refined petroleum products.

Support for allied industries

The establishment of the refinery is also likely to help reduce the cost of production for industries that rely on petroleum products such as diesel to power their operations. In turn, this should increase their competitiveness in the global market while promoting local industry capabilities.

The refinery could also create an environment for allied industries to emerge in and around it. For instance, businesses in transport, housing and telecommunications will benefit from the construction and operations of the refinery.

And the refinery should create jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities.

While under construction, the refinery employed about 40,000 workers – 29,000 Nigerians and 11,000 foreigners.

The jobs were in engineering, construction, manufacturing and operations, among other areas.

In full operation, the refinery, according to media reports, is expected to create over 250,000 direct and indirect jobs. I believe this is a fair estimate.

The country’s current unemployment rate is expected to reach 40.6% in 2023.

Possible increase in carbon footprint

The operation of Dangote refinery raises concerns about its potential impact on Nigeria’s net zero emission goals. Net zero is an ideal state where the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere is balanced.

Decarbonisation efforts are required for countries to achieve net zero but the path and time might differ as countries may want to take a gas-led approach to transition to renewable energy.

At the COP26 climate change meeting in 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari committed to net-zero emissions by 2060. This is to protect Nigeria’s environment and ecosystem from the impact of climate change and reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Nigeria has an Energy Transition Plan to get closer to a more sustainable economy. The plan assumes greater use of natural gas as a “transition fuel”.

Oil refineries contribute about 4% of the global carbon emissions.

The Dangote refinery complies with World Bank, US, European and Nigerian norms for emissions and effluents.


The Dangote refinery is a significant step towards self-sufficiency in Nigeria’s energy sector.

However, the refinery is still reliant on fossil fuels, and it is not a long term solution to Nigeria’s energy needs.

Nigeria has significant renewable energy potential, including solar and wind power.

Renewable energy can be harnessed to meet Nigeria’s energy needs in a sustainable manner. Therefore, Dangote refinery should be viewed as a stepping stone towards a transition to cleaner energy sources in the medium term.

It is essential that Nigeria continues to invest in renewable energy and explore ways to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels to achieve its net zero emissions goal.The Conversation

Nnaemeka Vincent Emodi, Research Fellow, The University of Queensland

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

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Seven bodies found trapped in missing capsized fishing vessel

The area of the Indian Ocean where the capsized hull of the fishing vessel was found. Picture courtesy: Indian Navy

Seven bodies of crew from the capsized Chinese fishing vessel, LU PENG YUAN YU 028 have been recovered by rescuers in the area where the vessel was lost on Tuesday, 16 May 2023.

The fishing vessel had sailed earlier from Cape Town bound for Busan in South Korea. On board were 39 crew – 17 Chinese, 17 Indonesians and five from the Philippines.

To see our initial report on this CLICK HERE

According to the Chinese Ministry of Transport, divers from Sri Lanka entered the capsized ship, which is slowly drifting eastward, and found the bodies of seven crew in their cabins.

Earlier, an Indian Navy ship discovered the upturned hull of the vessel floating in mid-Indian Ocean, due south of the Indian sub-continent and north-east of Diego Garcia.

Because Australia picked up the distress signal from the stricken fishing vessel, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has assumed responsibility for coordinating the search and possible rescue.

A passing bulk carrier became the first vessel to sight the hull of the Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028. A number of countries had meanwhile responded to a request for assistance, including the Australian Navy which dispatched a Poseidon surveillance aircraft, China, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Maldives, and the Philippines.

The fishing vessel is owned by Penglai Jinglu Fishery Co Ltd based in Shandong province.

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WHARF TALK: tracking or spy vessel? – YUAN WANG 5

Chinese tracking ship Yuan Wang 5, all lit up like a Chinese lantern alongside the Cape Town Cruise Terminal, 20 May 2023. Picture: Frank Atherley

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Why is it that, recently, the South African authorities seem to tie themselves up in knots whenever a Russian, Iranian, or a Chinese military, or quasi-military vessel turns up on her shores? You ask a simple question and the written form of a rabbit caught up in headlights is the usual response. Taking responsibility, and joined up thinking is not something that government departments seem to have sorted out.

Around the same time that a small flotilla of the Iranian Navy arrived in Cape Town, and only a month after a joint Naval exercise off the coast of KwaZulu-Natal took place with naval forces of both Russian and China, yet another eyecatcher arrived off South Africa, and caused another storm as to why it was here, and what were the ANC motives for all this activity with states of questionable morals.

The Chinese Government owned Tracking Vessel YUAN WANG 5 (IMO 9413054) arrived off Durban on the morning of 29th March, after a convoluted voyage from her home base in Jiangyin City, located up the Yangtze River, close to Shanghai. She entered Durban harbour and proceeded to N berth at the Point terminal, where she stayed for almost a week.

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

At 15h00 on 4th April, she sailed from Durban, heading south down the coast, and with her destination set on her AIS as being merely ‘Open Sea’. It was said at the time that she was expected to return to South Africa in over one month’s time, and that Cape Town was her likely destination.

Her visit to Durban drew criticism from South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance party. “It’s a concern. Why would she dock, and why is she around?” said DA spokesman Kobus Marais, adding a broadside to the ANC government, “We don’t think further than our noses about future consequences.”

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

When questioned, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) insisted that ‘Yuan Wang 5’ was a civilian research vehicle, and not used for surveillance. It evoked groans, as any casual maritime observer could see what her deck ironmongery consisted of, and that she was listed as a tracking vessel, capable of tracking any satellite, or space vehicle. Surely, this activity is a form of surveillance? That she also operated on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) clearly linked her to the Chinese military.

Transnet further stated that it was not aware of the objective of the mission of Yuan Wang 5 in South African waters, as it does not have the mandate to request such information. If that was an honest answer, then how did they know that she was neither a military, nor a surveillance vessel? Presumably, any other vessel carrying dangerous goods, armaments, or radioactive cargo, and arriving at a South African port, is also not of interest to Transnet, and they are not allowed to request such information from shipowners, nor demand a copy of a cargo manifest?

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

They went on to state that details are gathered during a security clearance process facilitated by the authorities, including the Department of Transport, before a ship enters the port limits. So why would a civilian research vessel require a security clearance? The waters became even muddier. The Department of International Relations and Co-Operation referred queries to the Department of Transport.

The Office of the Presidency said that it didn’t track the docking of ships on a day-to-day basis, and referred all queries to the Department of Defense, and…. Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA). Again, if ‘Yuan Wang 5’ was not a vessel with military connections, why would an enquiry to the Department of Defense be a requirement? And as for Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), they had already indicated that the visit was nothing to do with them, and they could not help.

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Every government department was pointing the finger of responsibility at another department, and everything went round in a circle with nobody coming up with a satisfactory answer as to the purpose of the visit, other than the vessel had called for bunkers and stores.

It is clear that making two port calls in South Africa was a choice of the Chinese government, as ‘Yuan Wang 5’ endurance is such that both calls were not necessary, based on the length of this current voyage. No doubt, the calls were very much welcomed by the ANC government, as any visit by any BRICS partner is welcome, irrespective of the motives for the visit.

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is no stranger to controversy either. Only recently, back in August 2022, the government of India had protested vehemently to the Sri Lankan authorities, when ‘Yuan Wang 5’ scheduled a port call in Hambantota. This is the ‘debt trap’ port built by the Chinese on the Sri Lankan south coast, who then took ownership of the port after the Sri Lankan government defaulted on their debt repayments.

As far as the Indian authorities were concerned, ‘Yuan Wang 5’ was a spy ship, and her visit was a clear breach of its national security interests, warning that it could start a pattern of Chinese naval activity near Indian shores. What is little known outside the region, is that India and Sri Lanka have a defense treaty, one that prohibits Colombo from allowing a foreign military force to use any Sri Lankan ports, if the use of these ports infringes on Indian security.

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 19 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

However, after a brief delay, the Sri Lanka authorities decided to allow ‘Yuan Wang 5’ to enter Hambantota, as she was a ‘civilian research ship’, and not connected to the Chinese military. It proved to be a mealy mouthed response, as that was not the end of her calls into the Indian Ocean, and for courting controversy with the Indian government.

In December 2022 the Indian authorities issued what is known as a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which is an international obligation, under United Nations ICAO requirements, to warn both civilian aviation operators, and military operators, of issues that might affect their flights over the region. It is transmitted worldwide, on an international aviation communications network.

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 20 May 2023. Picture by Phil Short

The NOTAM gave notification of a ballistic missile test to take place in the Bay of Bengal later that month. As the missile launch test date drew near, the ‘Yuan Wang 5’ arrived unannounced in the Indian Ocean, and heading for the Bay of Bengal. As a result of this provocative move, the Indian authorities deferred the missile launch. Immediately, ‘Yuan Wang 5’ returned to China.

The visit to Sri Lanka was almost certainly as a result of the Chinese Space Agency launching their ‘Spaceplane’ on 8th August 2022 into a 50° inclined orbit, where it conducted a number of manoeuvres. It released a small satellite towards the end of October, conducting mutual chase-down and rendezvous manoeuvres with it, re-capturing it at least once. Finally, around the end of March 2023, it apparently stowed it back on board before manoeuvring to a lower orbit ready for return to Earth.

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 20 May 2023. Picture by Phil Short

Some nine months after launch, it was looking like the Spaceplane was set to return to Earth, with a landing at the Lop Nor military airbase in Xinjiang Province of China. The potential date for the landing was 4th May. This date tied in with ‘Yuan Wang 5’ calling in at Durban, and then heading out into the South Atlantic Ocean. It transpired that ‘Yuan Wang 5’ took up station off the south west coast of Argentina, to enable her to be in full view of the Spaceplane conducting her retro-firing phase for re-entry.

It is known that China also has tracking ability from Santiago, in Chile, as it is routinely used to monitor GEO launches out of Xichang and Wenchang in China. These two positions give the Chinese a good view of the transfer orbits. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Spaceplane then came into view of the Hartebeesthoek ground station in South Africa, located just 50 kilometres west of Johannesburg. It is almost certain that the ANC government have granted China a tracking capability from there.

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

That the ‘Yuan Wang 5’ was positioned in the South Atlantic Ocean is not new. Both she, and her other ‘Yuan Wang’ consorts have, over the last decade, all made voyages into the South Atlantic Ocean in anticipation of Chinese space rocket launches. In July 2022 ‘Yuan Wang 5’ carried out a major tracking mission to support the launch of Wentian, a major component of China’s space station, which is now under construction in low earth orbit.

She has also been involved in tracking launches of many of the manned ‘Shenzhou’ rockets, taking Chinese Astronauts into space, and as part of the space station construction programme. All of the astronauts are from the People’s Liberation Army, and are PLA Air Force Pilots, known as Taikonauts. There is nothing civilian about the missions that the ‘Yuan Wang 5’ undertakes!

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Once the Spaceplane was safely back on Planet Earth, ‘Yuan Wang 5’ made her expected voyage back across the South Atlantic Ocean, and into Cape Town. On 19th May, at 0800 in the morning, ‘Yuan Wang 5’ arrived at the Table Bay anchorage, where she remained for seven hours. At 1500 that afternoon, she entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and going alongside E berth and the Passenger Cruise Terminal.

It is thought that her stay will be for upwards of one week, and then she will head back to China. She is easily admired from close quarters, from the public areas, and terrace, of the Cruise Terminal, and at night she is lit up with a kaleidoscope of colours along her whole length.

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Interestingly, just to emphasise that she is a Chinese government tool, and used for surveillance missions that are not always associated with the Chinese space programme, she also received the ire of the Australian government whilst she was en route to Durban.

After leaving Jiangyin in February, she passed into the Indian Ocean, and then took a southerly detour, and placed herself just offshore of Western Australia, and remained in position there for just over five days, for no apparent reason. Her presence was such that the Australian government called it as ‘Act of Aggression’ by the Chinese government.

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2007 by Jiangnin Shipyard in China, she is 222 metres in length , and has a deadweight of 11,000 tons. As with all Chinese government owned vessels, technical specifications are very hard to come by. It is known that she is powered by Sulzer diesel engines, and that she can reach a top service speed of 20 knots. She is a third generation tracking vessel, and she is one of two sisterships.

All tracking vessels of the Chinese government have the name ‘Yuan Wang’ followed by a number. The translation of ‘Yuan Wang’ is ‘Long View’, which is quite appropriate for the missions that they were designed to conduct. With a crew of over 400 persons, ‘Yuan Wang 5’ has a helideck capable of operating a Changhe Zhishengji Z-8 helicopter, which is a Chinese copy of the French Aerospatiale SA321 Super Frelon helicopter, which was previously a mainstay of the South African Air Force in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Yuan Wang 5, Cape Town 22 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

All ‘Yuan Wang’ vessels, of which seven were built, and four of which are still active, are used as dual satellite and ballistic missile tracking vessels for the Peoples Liberation Army Strategic Support Force (PLASSF), a wholly military organisation. Operated by the China Satellite Maritime Tracking and Control Department (CSMTC), whose houseflag is displayed proudly on her funnel, ‘Yuan Wang 5’ is managed by China Satellite Launch and Tracking Control General, of Jiangyin, which reports to PLASSF.

She was designed by the 708th Research Institute of the Chinese state owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), and has an extensive tracking fit. It includes both C band, and S band, monopulse tracking radars, cinetheodolite ranging and tracking systems, velocimetry systems, satellite tracking and control computers, and a range of communications equipment that includes HF, VHF, UHF and SATCOM, providing secure telephone, radio, facsimile, and data links.

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Added 23 May 2023


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Challenging road ahead for retrofitting to dual-fuel engines – DNV

MAN dual-fuel engines    Picture:  MAN

The maritime industry’s decarbonization goals are multi-pronged and complex. A collaboration between DNV and engine designer MAN Energy Solutions examines how retrofitting the existing maritime fleet to dual-fuel engines capable of running on sustainable fuels can contribute to these goals.


In order for the shipping industry to achieve decarbonization that is sufficiently in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a full life-cycle approach – also known as a ‘well-to-wake emissions’ perspective – needs to be adopted. This forces the maritime industry to assess the emissions of shipping in a comprehensive way and moves shipowners away from the ‘tank-to-wake’ approach, where emissions reporting can be pushed upstream to the production of the fuel. At IMO’s MEPC 80 this approach will be further discussed.

‘Well-to-wake emissions’ perspective raises standards for existing fleet

While a number of innovations are being applied to the 1,500–2,000 two-stroke and 750 four-stroke new vessels that are launched per year, the greatest challenge to achieving maritime GHG reductions is for the existing merchant fleet, which consists of approximately 55,000 ships with two-stroke engines and 30,000 ships with four-stroke engines.

Retrofitting these existing ships to be able to run on alternative fuels like ammonia and methanol is one of the options available to the maritime industry to achieve desired reductions in emissions. However, the path ahead for retrofitting is uncertain.

“Apart from efficiency improvements and the use of biofuels, retrofitting is another option for the existing fleet to achieving decarbonization targets,” says DNV’s Business Development Manager Christos Chryssakis. “However, there is no requirement for retrofitting so the future timeline for achieving this is not clear.”

Biofuels not scalable for maritime industry

Currently, the most straightforward way of reducing emissions on the existing fleet is by running single-fuel engines on sustainable biofuels. Several biofuels, such as FAME and HVO, have ‘drop-in’ properties which means that they can be blended with existing fossil fuels. This is an attractive option to shipowners as it provides them with a flexible way of achieving decarbonization without having to make large capital investments.

However, a number of key challenges remain with biofuels. Although 2022 was a record-breaking year for the consumption of biofuels, this still accounted for just 0.1% of the maritime energy mix.

“Demand for biofuels is high from other industries, and supply is limited,” says Chryssakis. “This means that the maritime industry may struggle to acquire as much biofuel as it needs and that prices will be high. Therefore, it currently seems quite unlikely that biofuels will be a magic bullet for decarbonizing the entire existing maritime fleet.”

Retrofitting fleet provides long-term solution

With biofuels currently unscalable, converting large ships to dual-fuel engines is increasingly seen as one of the ways that the maritime industry could achieve its decarbonization targets. Retrofitting a single-fuel engine to dual-fuel enables a ship engine to run on a second sustainable fuel, as long as this is accompanied by a pilot injection of conventional fuel. While this conventional fuel will primarily be a traditional fossil fuel, sustainable biofuels or synthetic fuels can also be used.

Dual-fuel conversions have already been applied to converting the engines of energy carriers to the fuel being carried, most frequently to LNG and LPG. This has generally resulted in around a 15–20% reduction in exhaust emissions, highlighting the key role that both of these fuels occupy as transition fuels. However, in order to achieve decarbonization targets, dual-fuel conversions need to be made for fuels which can be produced to emit close to zero ‘well-to-wake emissions’, such as green ammonia, green methanol and e-fuels.

Larger ships most suitable for retrofitting

According to assessments by DNV and MAN ES, key retrofitting requirements for ships with two-stroke engines are electronically controlled engines, a bore size of at least 50 centimetres and a sea trial conducted after 1 January 2015. The cost of retrofitting, including the fuel storage and fuel supply system, ranges between USD 5 million and USD 15 million depending on the type of fuel and, as a rule of thumb, this should not exceed 25% of the newbuild cost of a ship to be economically viable.

A ship should typically have a minimum newbuild cost of around USD 50 million to be suitable for retrofitting. Ships fitting these criteria include tankers above 50,000 DWT, bulkers above 160,000 DWT and containers above 7,000 TEU, among others. However, in some cases, such as for ships retrofitting to methanol, this cost can be lower. For four-stroke engines, ships with large bore sizes that conducted a sea trial 8–15 years ago appear to be the best fit for dual-fuel retrofitting.

“Less than 10% of the existing global merchant fleet are regarded as theoretic candidates for retrofitting,” says Chryssakis. “We don’t see this happening today due to costs and uncertainties but think that this could be achieved over the next five to ten years, particularly after 2030 when regulations really start biting. However, it is difficult to predict how many of these will actually materialize.”

IMO regulations hindering shipowners from dual-fuel retrofitting

Although several states are pushing the IMO to be even more ambitious and aim for zero emissions by 2050, some of the organization’s regulations are standing in the way of a swift, large-scale dual-fuel retrofitting of the global fleet.

Of most concern to advocates of retrofitting, the IMO currently demands that a parent engine test of exactly the same electronically controlled engine type is required for a dual-fuel conversion to be NOx compliant. However, relatively new engine technologies such as methanol and ammonia are not available for all bore sizes, which means that a parent test engine is often unavailable for some desired retrofits to dual-fuel engines.

In addition, certain older engine models, such as those running on heavy fuel oil (HFO), are not made for newbuilds anymore. This means that a newbuild parent engine is not available for testing in cases where a shipowner wishes to convert a HFO engine to dual fuel, thus making retrofitting extremely difficult under current IMO rules. Unless this regulation is amended, or new guidelines are developed, the pace of retrofitting will be significantly hindered.

Retrofitting engines also faces practical challenges

A number of other hurdles lie on the road to large-scale retrofitting. The implementation of dual-fuel conversions is expected to be carried out by a limited number of shipyards, due to varying commercial priorities. This may lead to capacity issues if there is high demand for conversions. Furthermore, the complexity of these kinds of projects and current uncertainty around best practices leaves shipowners and yards open to potentially large cost overruns. The higher costs of alternative fuels will also increase the economic worries of shipowners.

“The cost of fuels like ammonia and methanol presents an issue to shipowners wishing to reduce GHG emissions while also maintaining a profit,” says Chryssakis. “The price of these kinds of fuels is currently much higher than conventional marine fuels and shipowners will need to ensure that their charterers will be willing to cover the increased cost of fuels before committing large amounts of CAPEX to retrofitting projects.”

Carbon trading schemes will level out price differences

The high cost of alternative fuels compared to traditional options is already being addressed by the expected introduction of an emissions trading scheme (ETS) by the EU in 2024, with the IMO also set to introduce similar kinds of carbon pricing schemes further down the line. If implemented properly, these should help to level out the cost differences between new and conventional fuels, thus making dual-fuel conversions more financially attractive in the longer term.

Shipowners also need to be assured that scalable infrastructure will be developed for the fuels which they are retrofitting their engines to in ports and bunkering facilities. While this is no easy task, it is a crucial component which will require large-scale investment from ports, private energy suppliers and governments. Regulations, such as FuelEU Maritime, which encourage the use of low-carbon fuels, can help to encourage higher levels of investment and the IMO could implement similar standards in the future.

Commitment of all stakeholders required

Successfully overcoming all of these and not encountered, upcoming issues will require time and collaboration between a range of stakeholders.

“Shipyard capacities need to be built up and capabilities developed so that retrofitting can be done in a practical and cost-efficient way,” says Chryssakis. “Engine manufacturers need time and money to develop the most optimal dual-fuel solutions. Classification societies need as much information as possible to develop suitable frameworks for dual-fuel conversions so that ships continue to operate to the highest safety standards.”

All of this will require a solid legal framework and support from governments, the IMO and other regulatory bodies. Crucially, the maritime industry will also need the support from financial institutions so that the required amount of capital is made available to take on this monumental task. A number of green funding schemes, such as the Poseidon Principles, are already in place which should encourage investment in dual-fuel retrofitting projects.

Dual-fuel conversion is a complicated and challenging task. However, most stakeholders now agree that successfully achieving this goal is crucial if the maritime industry is serious about achieving its decarbonization goals. source: DNV Insights

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Added 23 May 2023


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Fatal accident at Port of Walvis Bay

Walvis Bay port scene   Picture Namport

Port authority Namport announced yesterday the death of a stevedore in an accident on board a vessel in Walvis Bay harbour.

According to Namport, Mr Tangeni Antindi, employed by Namibia Stevedoring Services, was killed whilst performing his duties on a ship in Walvis Bay harbour.

The accident occurred on Friday, 19 May at around 12 Noon, during the loading of a 20ft container with a ship’s crane.

Emergency services responded to the scene but were unable to revive Mr Antindi whomwas declared to have died at the scene.

“In collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations, and Employment Creation, a comprehensive investigation is currently underway to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident. The authorities are committed to conducting a thorough examination to ascertain the cause and gather all pertinent details,” said Namport.

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CMF creates new maritime security training force, CTF 154

CMF Task Forces

The North-Western Indian Ocean has a new task force established by Command Maritime Forces (CMF) to train partner navies and enhance operational capabilities across the region.

The new task force will be known as Command Task Force (CTF) 154, becoming CMF’s fifth task force fulfilling maritime security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Gulf, and Gulf of Oman regions.

CTF 154 follows the formation of CTF 153 in April 2022 for maritime security in the Red Sea.

CTF 154

CTF 154 will lead multinational maritime training at locations across the Middle East, enabling more CMF partner-nations to participate in training opportunities without ships or aircraft, particularly during courses that are facilitated ashore.

“Our navies are at their very best when we train, operate and work together,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and CMF.

“Establishing CTF 154 demonstrates our deep commitment to strengthening and expanding partnerships through new training opportunities that will enhance regional maritime security.”

The new task force is commanded by a U.S. Navy captain who will build and lead a multinational staff. Another nation will assume command as early as the third quarter of 2023.

CTF 154 training session

CTF 154’s first commander is Capt. Oliver Herion. “I am excited to lead an international team in this important work,” he said.

“Collectively, CMF has tremendous experience and expertise with critical skills, tools and relationships.”

CTF 154 will frequently organise training events around five core areas: maritime awareness, maritime law, maritime interdiction, maritime rescue and assistance, and leadership development. Each training opportunity will be tailored to meet partner requests ranging from basic to advanced levels.

“Focusing our efforts to facilitate training for the multinational partnership will refine our skillsets and reinforce our ability to operate together,” said Herion. “We are ‘Stronger Together’ and ‘Ready Together.’ That is what CMF is all about.”


CMF is the largest multinational naval partnership in the world, with 38 nations committed to upholding the international rules-based order at sea.

CMF’s other task forces include CTF 150 that focuses on maritime security in the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean; CTF 151, which leads regional counter-piracy efforts; CTF 152, dedicated to maritime security in the Arabian Gulf; and CTF 153 in the Red Sea.

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Shire River accident leaves 11 Malawians missing

Picture: screengrab: Miramar

A boating accident on the Shire River last week has left 11 people from Malawi missing, feared dead.

The boat carrying over 30 illegal immigrants from N’sange in Malawi, was heading for Mozambique’s Zambezia province in the Morrumbala district when it struck a hippopotamus in the river. The passengers fell into the river and some drowned or disappeared.

A witness said this was not the first time he had seen something similar happening. “There are always boats carrying illegal immigrants,” he said.

The district administrator of the Morrumbala district, João Nhabessa, said a search for the missing people was still underway.

“There are always boats crossing the Shire River, but sometimes they do not obey security regulations, and they become overcrowded,” Nhabessa said.

The administrator indicated that the river is frequently used by illegal immigrants of various nationalities who come from Malawi or through that country, despite the surveillance by the Mozambique police. Source: Club of Mozambique

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WHARF TALK: synchrolift topple – EUROPA

Looking sad and forlorn, the sailing barque Europa which fell off the Cape Town synchrolift at the weekend. Picture by Phil Short

Pictures as indicated
Story by Jay Gates

Cape Town’s reputation as the ‘Gateway to Antarctica’ brings vessels of all shapes and sizes to her harbour. Numerous Icebreakers, Supply vessels, research vessels, and expeditionary passenger vessels have all called in the last year alone. Yet there is one regular Antarctic vessel that calls annually on her way back from the frozen continent, and she is the one that turns every head as she enters Cape Town harbour. That vessel is the sailing barque ‘Europa’ (IMO 8951932).

This year, as she does every year, with her Antarctic season behind her, ‘Europa’ always conducts a final voyage of her expeditionary season with a South Atlantic transit cruise that departs from the port of Ushuaia, on Tierra del Fuego, in Argentina. It took in South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha, before she arrived off Cape Town at 08h00 in the morning of 28th April. As she always does, she was taken to E berth in the Duncan Dock, and alongside the Passenger Cruise Terminal, where her crew and passengers are all cleared into South Africa.

Barque Europa, Cape Town Synchrolift 20 May 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

It has been the same every year, for the past dozen years, with just the Pandemic which prevented her from calling at Cape Town. Nothing ever changes, and every year, like a well-oiled machine, everything goes to plan. That is until this year.

On Saturday 20th May, ‘Europa’ had completed her time on the Synchrolift, and she was looking extremely spick and span after all external works had been completed whilst she was out of the water. She was being prepared to be moved back into the Victoria Basin, when something went catastrophically wrong. With little warning, she toppled over, and ended up resting on her side. All of her crew, and remaining contractors, were safely taken off the vessel, although one crewmember received injuries that required hospital admission for treatment.

Barque Europa, Cape Town Synchrolift 20 May 2023. Picture by Phil Short

It is too early to say what exactly went wrong, but whatever it was it was incredibly embarrassing for those responsible for the Synchrolift. Security staff were immediately deployed to close off any access to the Synchrolift areas, to try and deter crowds gathering, and photographs being taken. Although, how they expected that to happen is anyone’s guess. With the power of Social Media, a photograph of her lying on her side appeared on the owner’s website page, along with a message from the owner, which read as follows;

“We regret to inform you that an accident has occurred during the maintenance period in Cape Town, resulting in Bark EUROPA partly falling over while attempting to be placed back into the water from the drydocks.

We want to assure you that the safety and well-being of our crew and guests are our utmost priority. All crew members have safely left the ship, one sailor has been injured. He is currently in stable condition and receiving appropriate medical care.

The extent of the damage to the ship is still being assessed, and at this moment, we cannot determine the exact timeline for resuming our sailing operations. We want to assure you that our crew are working diligently to addressing and resolving the situation, to determine the necessary steps to move forward.

Please be assured that we are dedicated to getting our lady Bark EUROPA back to full operational capacity as soon as possible.

We will continue to provide updates via our social channels and are committed to maintaining transparency throughout this process.

We thank you for your continued support and understanding during the upcoming period. Should you have any urgent concerns or inquiries, please reach out to our office team”

Photographs of the outcome of the ‘Europa’ toppling event were taken by a number of people, who reported that the security personnel at the scene were incredibly aggressive and rude. Again, how the authorities thought that such an incident, embarrassing as it might be for them, can be covered up with nobody being any the wiser in a maritime city such as Cape Town is a complete mystery to anyone with an ounce of sense.

The next problem that the Synchrolift authorities now face is how to right a complicated vessel like ‘Europa’ without causing any further damage to her. Once that is complete, and all inspections have been carried out to ensure that she is able to be placed back into the water, she will require a period of further maintenance to correct any damage, both internal and external, caused by the toppling event. It cannot be beneficial for any of her machinery to be lying with a permanent 45° list.

Barque Europa, Cape Town Synchrolift 20 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her next voyage was scheduled to begin on 13th June, on a 53 day voyage from Cape Town to Horta in the Azores. This is only 24 days away, or just over three weeks, and there is already grave doubt that she will be able to maintain that schedule. However if she does, by some miraculous endeavour, manage to be ready to sail on that date, anyone who wishes to go along as either a passenger, or experience the voyage as a sail trainee, can be expected to pay €5,995 (ZAR126,000) for a berth in a four bunk cabin, or €6,995 (ZAR147,000) for a berth in a two bunk cabin. It can only be seen as money well spent on an adventure of a lifetime.

There are not many full rigged sailing vessels left in this world, and ‘Europa’ has an interesting history to her. She was built back in 1911, some 113 years ago, by the H.C. Stülcken & Sohn Werft shipyard at Hamburg in Germany. She was built to the order of the City of Hamburg at a cost of 300,000 Reichsmarks, which at the time was the equivalent of US$71,429. In today’s 2023 dollar values, that would equate to US$2.12 million (ZAR41.2 million). A year ago, that value was just ZAR31.3 million, which gives you an idea of how the Rand has performed.

She is 56 metres in length and has a gross registered tonnage of 303 tons. As a three masted barque, her sail rig is that her first two masts (fore and main) are square rigged, and her third (mizzen) mast is fore and aft rigged. She can carry 30 sails on her three masts, including Studding Sails, and together they provide a windage area of 1,250 m2. Her standing rigging, to support her masts and sails, amounts to 5.5 km of rope.

Barque Europa, Cape Town Synchrolift 20 May 2023. Picture: Barque Europa website

In cases, such as in the Doldrums, where there is little or no wind, or when she needs additional speed to maintain a voyage schedule, she has two auxiliary engines. They are both Caterpillar D343 6 cylinder 4 stroke engines producing 365 bhp (272 kW) each, to drive two fixed pitch propellers to give her a maximum speed of 12.5 knots. She operates with a crew of 16, and can carry up to 48 passengers, or sail trainees.

As built, she was named ‘Senator Brockes’, after Barthold Heinrich Brockes (1680-1747), who was revered in Hamburg as he had been a member of the Hamburg Senate, a Diplomat and a Poet Laureate during his lifetime.

She was originally built as a training vessel for the German Merchant Navy, but by 1914 she had been converted into a Lightvessel, and served initially on the ‘Elbe 4’ station in the German Bight, on the approaches to the Port of Hamburg, located in the mouth of the River Elbe.

Between 1916 and 1918, during the First World War, she served as the Elbe Pilot Station, and after the end of the war, from 1918 through to 1936, she reverted to a Lightvessel and served on the ‘Elbe 3’ station.

During the Second World War she was taken over by the German Navy and served under Naval Command in the Baltic Sea. In 1945 she once again reverted to being a Lightship and was placed on the ‘Elbe 2’ station. She came under the control of the German Federal Coast Guard, and eventually was used as a relief, or reserve, Lightvessel, until she retired from service in 1977.

Europa and Master Salvage Master, Capt Nick Sloane Picture: anon

She was left to slowly deteriorate until put up for sale in 1985 for sale as scrap. However, she was brought by a Dutch shipowner, who had her brought to Amsterdam in 1986, and over the next 8 years she was converted from a Lightvessel to a three masted barque, with accommodation and facilities for 64 persons.

In 1994 she undertook her first commercial sail training voyage, and took part in many ‘Tall Ship’ races, categorized as a ‘Class A’ tall ship, which is the classification given to square rigged vessels. Vessels, such as Schooners, which are fore and aft rigged are categorized as ‘Class B’.

She is owned by BV ‘La Constance’ Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van Onroerende Goederen, of Rotterdam in Holland, and she is operated and managed by Rederij Bark Europa BV, also of Rotterdam.

RV Petrel, toppled in Imperial Drydock, Leith UK, 22 March 2023. Picture: Sky News

Whilst any such incident on the Synchrolift, or in any drydock for that matter, which has happened to ‘Europa’ is embarrassing, it is not a first, and it will almost certainly not be the last. With all that said and done, throughout history there have been numerous examples of similar incidents, happening in drydocks, all over the world. Reasons vary, but the outcome is always the same, and the vessel always ends up on her side, looking forlorn and pitifully sad.

Quite recently, on 22nd March this year, at the Imperial Drydock in the Edinburgh port city of Leith, the US Navy owned research vessel ‘Petrel’ toppled whilst in the drydock. The toppling was blamed on high winds causing her to shift on her blocks. The incident was far more serious than that which befell ‘Europa’. A total of 35 crew and dockworkers were injured when she went over, with no less than 23 of them being taken to local hospitals for further treatment. It took six weeks to right her, and it was only completed in the first few days of this month.

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IMO: Oil spill response incident management: Support for African countries

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

The basics of how to manage an incident in the event of an oil spill were covered at an in-person regional workshop held in Nairobi from 9-12 May.

Aim of the event was to enable African countries (listed below*) to better understand and exercise the national Incident Command System (ICS) for responding to oil pollution, guided by their National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP). Training was targeted particularly at Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Less Developed Countries (LDCs).

Outcome of an oil spill incident, it is reported, should be achieved using a clear set of objectives to protect people and the environment. Effective incident management requires the establishment of effective command and control so as to move the response from an initial reactive phase to one where the scope of the incident is understood. Then appropriate actions can be taken in alignment with the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC) Convention. The OPRC requires Parties to the Convention to have an NOSCP in place.

Involvement at a high level

Through lectures, videos, case studies and group exercises, 41 senior-level personnel and supervisors involved in emergency planning response or recovery were familiarized with the ICS functional areas. They were introduced to the role of the Incident Commander and Command Staff, the delegation of authority processes and Incident Action Plan components. Training also enhanced regional cooperation and collaboration amongst Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention.

IMO reported that the workshop was co-organized and co-sponsored by the Norwegian Coastal Administration through the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) and the Nairobi Convention.

Generous sponsorship

The ITCP sponsored eight participants from Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles and South Africa.

* Comoros, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania

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Added 22 May 2023


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Second drilling rig, Deepsea Mira, en route to Namibia

The DEEPSEA MIRA rig is on its way to join the Venus appraisal campaign in Namibia, the second rig to do so.

This follows the successful drilling in 2022 by the drillship Maersk Voyager.

Venus-1X was discovered last year in Block 2913B in over 3,000 metres of water, in the Orange Basin close to the South Africa/Namibia EEZ boundary.

The high-impact appraisal campaign commenced with the spud of the Venus-1A well, located 13km to the north of the discovery well Venus-1X, on March 4, 2023.

The Orange Basin is thought to hold up to 12 billion barrels of oil and many trillions of cubic feet of gas.

Deepsea Mira, owned by Northern Ocean and managed by Odfjell. Picture: Infield

Deepsea Mira

TotalEnergies has signed the Deepsea Mira, a sister rig to Deepsea Bollsta which is drilling the Graff well close by for Shell.

Deepsea Mira was warm stacked in Norway and is managed by Odfjell, who said they had reached a multi-country drilling contract with TotalEnergies. The contract will commence in Namibia during the current quarter, with an estimated duration of 300 days, with two options for additional work for 180 days and 90 days respectively.

Some reports have suggested that the TotalEnergies-operated Venus may be one of the biggest fields discovered anywhere offshore Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Orange Basin spread over both Namibia and South Africa’s waters holds promise of becoming Sub-Saharan Africa’s hotspot.

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At IMO: Implement the MARPOL Convention – Supporting Kenya

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Transposing the provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) into national legislation, to meet current and future obligations, was the focus of an in-person workshop in Mombasa, held from 15-18 May. This followed the IMO regional workshop on oil spill response also held in Nairobi, from 9-12 May.

Review of regulations

Through drafting exercises, presentations, the review of Kenya draft regulations implementing Annexes I to VI of MARPOL and of MARPOL Annexes in parallel, and group discussions, thirteen legal drafters and technical experts went to work. They were from the Kenya Maritime Authority and were guided on the mechanisms that should be applied when developing and updating national legislation to ensure effective implementation of MARPOL.

Participants included graduates from the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) in Msida, Malta and the Malmö-based World Maritime University (WMU).

IMO Norway Green Voyage 2050 Project

Key outcomes included guidance and advice provided on the specific drafting of the relevant implementing texts for Annexes I to VI of MARPOL. In addition assistance was provided to Kenya in developing an action plan on the next steps for the finalisation of the draft national legislation.

This activity complements the support provided to Kenya under the IMO Norway Green Voyage 2050 Project. In particular it was complimentary to the regulatory developments related to MARPOL Annex VI, the Initial IMO GHG Strategy, as well as training on key low carbon technologies and fuels.

ITCP funding

This workshop was co-organised by the Kenya Maritime Authority and IMO, and funded through the Organization’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP). It is envisaged that this type of legal drafting assistance could be scaled up and replicated in other countries, to support corrective action identified from an audit under the IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS).

The 2023 World Maritime theme is MARPOL at 50 – Our commitment goes on.

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Added 22 May 2023


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Derailment on Northern Corridor Richards Bay line cleared

Coal trains are again running freely on the North Corridor line from Ermelo to the port at Richards Bay, following a derailment on 11 May that saw 49 loaded wagons on train 6605 derail in section.

The train was en route to Richards Bay when the accident occurred – it has not been disclosed what the contents of the wagon were, likely coal or some other ore.

The accident took place on Line 01 at the Mqabe bypass, between Dumbe and Vryheid. There were no injuries.

The accident did not prevent the running of other trains as Line 02 remained in operation, although this line was forced to run at reduced load due to the impact of the accident.

Transnet Freight Rail said during the week that all wagons had been cleared from the line and the only hold-up was for formation activities.

An investigation had commenced to determine the reason for the derailment, a TFR spokesperson said.

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Added 22 May 2023


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Uganda plans revival of its Standard Gauge Railway project

Kenya and Uganda’s SGR rail ambitions. Not shown is the under-construction Tanzania SGR from Dar es Salaam to Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika   Map China Africa Research Initiative

Uganda hopes to restart construction of standard gauge railway (SGR) linking the capital Kampala with its Kenya border at Malaba.

There is said to be via a contract with the Turkish rail construction company, Yapi Merkezi, for a SGR link between Kampala and Kigali in Rwanda.

Yapi Merkezi has recent experience of rail construction in the East and central Africa region having building the initial stage or section of the ongoing Tanzanian SGR from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria.

East Africa’s other SGR railway is Kenya’s Mombasa to Nairobi SGR which has been in service for several years Which Kenya was unable to extend further than Naivasha west of Nairobi for financial reasons.

Instead Kenya is focusing on the rehabilitation of its colonial-era metre gauge railway that will link with the SGR at Naivasha and connect with the Uganda border. There was talk of Uganda also re-introducing its metre gauge railway – a rail network that once ran from the DRC border with Uganda through Kampala and across the landlocked country and Kenya all the way to the port city of Mombasa.

A statement by the Uganda government said that Uganda has contract the Turkish contractor for a standard gauge railway from Kigali in Rwanda to the capital of Uganda in Kampala and from there the 273km to the Kenya border at Malaba.

“Yapi Merkezi is said to be undertaking commendable work on the SGR project in Tanzania,” the statement read.

“The delegation is expected to meet Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) and other stakeholders ahead of the Partner States Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIPs) SGR cluster meeting scheduled for 24-26 May 2023 in Kampala,” the official statement continued.

The route between Malaba and Kampala is estimated to cost US$ 2.3 billion.

It is believed that Rwanda has already undertaken a preliminary engineering design of the new line from Kampala to Kigali, via the Mirama Hills on the border between Rwanda and Uganda.

In the longer term there are plans to extend the SGR from Kampala northward to Juba in South Sudan via Kasese and Pakwach districts.

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Added 22 May 2023



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