Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 18 June 2023

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

For a Rate Card please contact us at


Week commencing 12 June 2023.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return 

Pages viewed in the previous week Sunday to Saturday: 60,275.  Pages viewed on Sunday: 6,670; Monday: 9,192; Tuesday: 21,093; Wednesday: 8,289; Thursday: 6,833;  Friday: 4854; 

FIRST VIEW:    INS Trishul F43


Stay Well, Stay Safe, Stay Patient, don’t become one

Advertising:– request a Rate Card from

For a free daily newsletter via email?  Send your email marked NEWSLETTER to 

Ukraine flag in Africa Ports & Ships Ukraine flag in Africa Ports & Ships

Join us as we continue to report through 2023

and stay up to date with Africa Ports & Ships  (reporting since 2002).  




INS Trishul F43 Picture by Trevor Jones
INS Trishul F43 Picture by Trevor Jones

INS TRISHUL departed from Durban after a four-day visit for some R&R for the crew, who are on an operational deployment in the Indian Ocean.

The Talwar class frigate arrived from the African East Coast having also called at Mombasa, as was reported in Africa Ports & Ships on 1 June.

Built to a Russian stealth frigate design she entered service in 2003, and during her delivery voyage from St Petersburg INS Trishul made her first call at Durban in September of that year. She also called on another occasion prior to this latest visit.

South Africa and other countries along the Indian Ocean perimeter can expect periodic if not regular visits by naval ships from India as that country demonstrates her presence in the ocean that carries her name. If not for other reasons then specifically to offset the growing influence of China across the region.

The frigate displaces 4,035 tons loaded and has a length of 125 metres and width of 15.2m. Powered by two DS-71 cruise turbines and two DT 59 boost turbines, the ship can achieve a speed of 30 knots. Her crew complement totals 180 personnel, including 18 officers.

Her main gun is a 100mm A190E and is supported by two Kashtan CIWS ships guns and two torpedo tubes. The ship’s armament also includes anti-air and anti-ship/land missiles and a number of cruise missiles.

INS Trishul sailed from Durban at noon on Saturday 10 June 2023.

These pictures are by Trevor Jones


News continues below

WHARF TALK: Busted! Chinese naval ghost ship HAI YANG 24 HAO

The Chinese Navy special survey vessel Hai Yang 24 Hao which arrived without fanfare in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat
Story by Jay Gates

It’s all a bit like Superman. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Some vessels arrive at South African ports, and the not only does the casual maritime observer not know exactly what the vessel is, but the port authority also feigns ignorance, and is unable to help identify what it actually is. Once the real identity of the said vessel is worked out, and made known, it all starts to make sense as to why she slipped in unnoticed, and very quietly. More head scratching news headlines, perhaps?

On 10th June, at 10h00 in the late morning, AIS was noted as showing the Cape Town harbour pilot launch making her way out of the harbour, and then after a mile or so, she turned around and promptly returned back into the safe confines of the harbour. She was followed by two of the Transnet harbour tugs making their way just seaward of the outer breakwater, and then taking up a strange line astern pattern, and also returning into the safe confines of the harbour. None of the three vessels had appeared to go out and meet up with an incoming vessel.

Hai Yang 24 Hao, Cape Town 10 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The tugs continued to make their way into the Duncan Dock, and appeared to both go nose first into the Eastern Mole, separated by a hundred metres or so. It was almost as if they had been bringing in a ghost ship. The truth is that that is exactly what they were doing. The pilot launch ‘Red Bishop’, which had left harbour before the tugs, actually left Cape Town harbour in order to drop off a pilot on the same ghost ship. Whoever she was, the ghost ship was not following International Shipping Regulations, and was not displaying any AIS information whatsoever.

Africa Ports & Ships had posted, on their Cape Town Ship Movements information page, that a vessel called HAI YANG 24 HAO was scheduled to arrive in Cape Town on 10th June. This vessel was also annotated to be a ‘Special Survey Vessel’. Was this the ghost ship? One way to find out was to simply read her name on her bow. International Shipping Regulations require any vessel to display her name on her bow.

The ghost ship only had her name displayed in Chinese characters, and not in Roman Letters as is the convention. So maybe she had a name on her stern, together with a port of registry and an IMO number. She had none of these conventions. There was a good reason why she was not following merchant ship convention. As Alice in Wonderland stated, ‘Curiouser and Curiouser?’

Hai Yang 24 Hao, Cape Town 10 June 2023. Note the 20mm autocannon.  Picture by ‘Dockrat’ 

So in summing up, she was not displaying AIS data, she was not displaying her name in conventional letters, and she had no other identifying markings on any part of her hull, or her accommodation. The reason was clear. She was a warship. A confirmation of this was that the crew had failed to place the canvas covers on her two 20mm autocannons on her deck.

Merchant vessels are not armed with fixed, deck mounted, conventional military caliber guns. Another clue to the fact that ‘Hai Yang 24 Hao’ is a warship was that she was flying not only a flag of the Peoples Republic of China on her Jackstaff, but her Ensign on her stern was actually that of the PLAN Ensign. A last clue was that she has a helideck, which in itself is not unusual. However, the helideck was not marked in the agreed colours of the ICS Guide to Ship/Helicopter Operations. Instead, her helideck was painted in standard naval grey and white markings

Once more, the local authorities allowed a foreign vessel to sail through South African waters displaying no AIS information. Her arrival was also kept a virtual secret, and possibly as with previous visits by foreign navies that were giving the South African government a bad name internationally, allowing her to slip in quietly, and hopefully unnoticed, would do the trick, with nobody the wiser. Just calling her a ‘Special Survey Vessel’ might fool the masses. Busted!

Hai Yang 24 Hao, Cape Town 10 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The vessel is one of the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Distant Ocean Survey Ships, known as the Type 636A Yanlai Class. There are nine such sisterships in the Chinese Navy, and they have all received the collective NATO class code known as the Shupang Class. The construction of this class of survey vessel effectively tripled the size of the PLAN fleet that was capable of undertaking distant ocean surveys.

The name of the vessel that arrived in Cape Town, incognito, was indeed named ‘Hai Yang 24 Hao’ on her hull (if you can read Mandarin), and her naval pennant number, whilst not displayed on her hull, is 874, and her official PLAN name is ‘Deng Jiaxian’. She was named after one of the Chinese Nuclear Scientists who developed nuclear weapons for China in the 1960s. All of this class of vessel was named after contemporary Chinese scientists.

The Type 636A class survey vessels were all built at the Wuhu Shipyard, at Wuhu in China. They were built between 2003 and 2018, with ‘Deng Jiaxian’ being the fourth of the class built, and which entered service with PLAN in February 2016. As expected, technical information about these vessels is scarce, other than her propulsion is by diesel engines, and she has a service speed of 15 knots.

Hai Yang 24 Hao, Cape Town 10 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

All PLAN, and affiliated, survey vessels have ‘Hai Yang’ as their name prefixes, where ‘Hai Yang’ is taken to mean ‘Ocean’. At 130 metres in length, ‘Hai Yang 24 Hao’ has a displacement tonnage of 5,883 tons. She has an endurance of 60 days, with a range of 15,000 nautical miles. She operates with a crew of 134. The class was designed by of the 708th Institute of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), which is more commonly known as the China Shipbuilding and Oceanic Engineering Design Academy.

It is interesting to note that this class of survey vessel is considered to be solely used as part of the PLAN programme of producing submarine charts, to allow the passage of their submarine fleet to navigate unseen to any position, anywhere on earth. They conduct hydrographic and bathymetric surveys and, according to PLAN hierarchy, the Shupang class has been focused on strong military objectives, conducting all weather surveys and measurements, in order to meet the PLAN requirements of ‘can fight and win the battle’ (sic).

Recently a Shupang class vessel was noted in the Mediterranean Sea, a long way from home, and in unfamiliar waters for a PLAN survey vessel. Again, she failed to display any AIS information, and she was noted sailing out of the Mediterranean Sea on 25th April. She was again spotted, and photographed, a week later in a position only 250 nautical miles outside the Strait of Gibraltar. This means that her average speed over the week period was only 1.5 knots.

Hai Yang 24 Hao, Cape Town 10 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

A check on why she was loitering , and what her ‘loitering’ position showed, was that she was operating directly over an area of the seabed where no less than nine undersea communication cables run. The cables include those that enter the Mediterranean Sea, some that come from Spain and Portugal, some that make their way up to Northern Europe, a couple that head south around Africa, and one that is trans-Atlantic.

Such an activity ties in with recent Russian activity where similar Russian Navy survey ships were plotted steaming over communications cables, pipelines and windfarm power cables, in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Are these activities by the Russian and Chinese navies a co-ordinated activity of mapping western subsea infrastructure, in the future event that a larger conflict with NATO erupts?

Hai Yang 24 Hao, Cape Town 11 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In fact, the timing of the unidentified Shupang vessel off Spain, ties in with the arrival of ‘Hai Yang 24 Hao’ in Cape Town, as it is highly unlikely that the PLAN have two such vessels operating off the coast of Africa. Is she one and the same vessel, and why exactly is she in Cape Town? With no AIS showing, has she been mapping all subsea communications cables that come ashore in South Africa too?

The class is obviously very well equipped for bathymetric surveying purposes, and it is thought that they have more than twenty subsea surveying systems fitted in the vessel. Their capability was such that one of the Shupang class was sent, in 2014, to help search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean.

It is not the first such vessel to visit South Africa. On 12th July 2018, her sister ship ‘Qian Weichang’ (Hai Yang 25 Hao) arrived off Cape Town, and in the days when it was allowed, she berthed in the V&A Waterfront, where she was welcomed by the Chinese community of Cape Town, who were all brought down to the quayside to see her in.

Hai Yang 24 Hao, Cape Town 11 June 2023. The now fully covered guns. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After a day on the Eastern Mole, ‘Hao Yang 24 Hao’ was moved across the Duncan Dock, and she was shifted to E berth, at the passenger Cruise Terminal. At this stage, she would be very visible to the general public, who are allowed entrance to the Terminal, and the crew had covered up her autocannons with their bespoke, camouflaged, canvas covers. No need to advertise that you are a warship, when nobody is expected to know!

With no AIS still being displayed, she would not be visible within the confines of Cape Town harbour, and so her departure would remain a secret, and her next destination also. One wonders what the benefit to the ANC government was of having yet another PLAN vessel call, and again, a vessel of dubious background, and where the authorities tried to keep it all a secret, yet again. I’ll bet the US Ambassador is aware though!

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 16 June 2023


News continues below

Dishonouring of EU Fisheries Agreements: French & Spanish companies fuelling strike actions

Pictures: ITF Global

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Frustration on the part of fishers from Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire working on Spanish- and French-owned tuna vessels fishing in the Gulf of Guinea and Indian Ocean under EU Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements led to strike actions affecting some 64 vessels or 80% of the fleet last week (week ending 10 June).

Comment from Senegal

Yoro Kane, General Secretary of fishers’ union UDTS in Senegal said the following:

“These agreements signed between the EU Commission and a number of countries in the global south are massively lucrative for the French and Spanish firms whose vessels are licenced to fish for tuna.

“The agreements provide for the locally employed fishers to as a minimum obtain the ILO seafarer’s minimum salary, currently $658 per month. The reality is that this is not observed, with some being paid as little as one third of this figure.

“A campaign has been waged by unions from Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire, the main labour-providing countries, to force the French and Spanish employers to engage with us on this and many other grievances.

“The employers have simply not engaged with us in good faith. A full month’s strike notice was provided to them as a demonstration of our seriousness but this was insufficient to focus them on reaching a settlement in accordance with international agreements.

“Hence our action last week, which on the basis of discussions brokered by the Senegalese and Ivorian authorities we have suspended. Further discussions with the employers are scheduled.

“The question has to be answered by the EU Commission and the authorities locally as to why we have to wage such struggles to obtain what is already promised in black and white in the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements?”

ITF comment

Johnny Hansen, Chair of the Fisheries Section of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, added: “This struggle by Senegalese and Ivorian fishers is viewed sympathetically by the international trade union community.

“It beggars belief that super profitable companies and the government authorities, benefiting from highly advantageous fishing agreements negotiated for them by the EU Commission, think it is acceptable to disregard the clear provision for the ILO seafarer’s minimum basic wage for an able seaman.

“I noted with particular concern the detentions by the authorities in the Seychelles of some striking fishers, though since released. To peacefully withdraw one’s labour is a fundamental human right and should be respected by the authorities.

“The fishers and their unions can count on the support of the movement in Europe and can be assured that we will do our part to raise the situation with the French and Spanish employers, the EU Commission and companies along the supply chains within Europe who bring this product to the supermarket shelves.

“The ITF believes that fishers should be treated equal to their seafarer colleagues in merchant shipping covered by comprehensive collective bargaining agreements covering pay and all conditions of work.

“They should be entitled as minimum to the ILO minimum basic wage of $658 and the ITF minimum consolidated wage of $1,156 in 2023, or the minimum wage of the flag state should be applied, whichever is higher, unless otherwise agreed in already historically existing national collective bargaining agreements.”

Pictures: ITF Global

About the ITF

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation recognised as the world’s leading transport authority.

It fights passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions from 147 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. ITF is the voice for nearly 20 million working women and men in the transport industry across the world.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 15 June 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: large LR1 Panamax products tanker – SUNDA

The large Panamax products tanker Sunda on the tanker berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

One of the questions that sometimes gets asked is if the time it takes to discharge a tanker in a Transnet port is pretty much close to the standard at other major ports that have busy oil terminals, irrespective if they are export terminals, or import terminals, or sometimes both. The constant flow of tankers into South Africa gives a good amount of statistical information that lets anyone work it out for themselves.

On 29th May, at 17h00 in the late afternoon, the large LR1 Panamax products tanker SUNDA (IMO 9806146) arrived off Cape Town, from the Durban anchorage. Her voyage had actually began in Vadinar, in India, where she had loaded her cargo for South Africa, and her voyage took her to Durban, where she arrived at 22h00 in the late evening of 25th May. However, on arrival off Durban, she was immediately redirected to Cape Town, after spending just one hour in the anchorage off Umhlanga Rocks.

As always, ‘Sunda’ was brought into the Tanker Basin within the Duncan Dock, and went alongside the long tanker berth to begin, what was to be, a part discharge of her Indian sourced fuel. Of course, the question of sourcing fuel from India is if the known cheapness of the crude oil that the Vadinar refinery is sourcing from Russia, actually translates into savings in the pocket of the end user in South Africa, i.e. the general public, with lower fuel prices. The answer is almost certainly a big ‘No’.

Sunda, Cape Town 30 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2019 by Onomichi Zosen Dockyard at Onomichi in Japan, ‘Sunda’ is 219 metres in length and has a deadweight of 79,902 tons. She is powered by a single Mitsui MAN-B&W 6S50ME-B9 six cylinder two stroke main engine producing 12,342 bhp (9,080 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 680 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 150 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg Mission OC exhaust gas boiler, and a single Alfa Laval Aalborg Mission OL oil fired boiler. With 12 cargo tanks, and a cargo carrying capacity of 86,700 m3, ‘Sunda’ has the ability to carry seven different grades of product on any voyage.

One of two sisterships, ‘Sunda’ is owned, and operated, by Triton Navigation BV, of Amsterdam in Holland, and she is managed by Fleet Management Ltd. (HKG), of Hong Kong. Triton Navigation BV is the European based, wholly owned, shipping subsidiary of the giant Japanese Industrial conglomerate, Sumitomo Corporation.

Back in 2020, rumours began circulating that Triton Navigation BV was planned to be wound up, and her fleet sold off. However, this was strongly denied by both Triton Navigation BV, and by Sumitomo Corporation. Later, Sumitomo Corporation admitted to planning a restructuring of their Dutch shipping business, rather than the reported winding up of Triton Navigation BV.

Sunda, Cape Town 30 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’


After a five and half day period alongside in Cape Town, ‘Sunda’ her discharge was complete, and she was made ready for sailing. At 05h00 in the early morning of 4th June, ‘Sunda’ sailed from Cape Town, bound for Ngqura in the Eastern Cape, where she arrived at 19h00 in the evening of June 5th. However, instead of entering harbour, she was directed to the Port Elizabeth anchorage in Algoa Bay, to await her berth in Ngqura.

After a wait of just over three days out at anchor, ‘Sunda’ entered ‘Ngqura’ at midnight on 8th June, and began her final port discharge of this voyage. She continued her discharge for the next two and a half days, and this was completed on 11th June. At midday on the same day, she sailed from Ngqura, now bound for Fujairah in the UAE, where she would receive her next loading orders.

Going back to the question that is sometimes asked, as to her discharge rate in South Africa, you only have to look at the last three voyages of ‘Sunda’ to see that something does not add up in Transnet ports. On her voyage to South Africa, she had loaded in Vadinar over a total period alongside of 2 days and 54 minutes. Yet, her total time to discharge in Cape Town and Ngqura added up to 7 days 22 hours and 30 minutes, or over three times longer to discharge the same mix, and volume, of products that she had loaded in Vadinar.

On her previous voyage to this ‘Sunda’ had loaded in Pengerang, in Malaysia, over a period alongside of 1 day 1 hour and 17 minutes, with her full discharge taking place in Vishakhapatnam in India over a period alongside of 23 hours and 37 minutes. That is a fairly even time between her being loaded in Malaysia, and her being discharged in India.

Again, the voyage before that was that ‘Sunda’ loaded at Jebel Ali in the UAE in a period alongside of 2 days 13 hours and 52 minutes. Her discharge took place at Singapore, with a time alongside of 2 days 14 minutes, again a fairly even time comparison between loading in the Dubai Emirate, and discharging in Singapore.

Sunda, Cape Town 30 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

So how do you explain why what appears to be a standard time of loading, for a LR1 sized tanker, of roughly two days maximum, and a standard time of discharging the same cargo at the receiving terminal is also around two days maximum. It is virtually unheard of that a fully laden LR1 tanker in any South African port can achieve a full discharge in a two day period.

It raises the question of where the bottleneck lies in the discharge sequence. Is it down to simple inefficient staff productivity, as is found in the Transnet Container Terminals? Is it because the infrastructure is ageing, and thus frequently failing, again as is found in the Transnet Container Terminals? Maybe a smaller MR2 tanker can achieve better figures?

Modern product tankers generally have a single deep cargo pump in each tank, rarely of a capacity of less than 600 m3/hour discharge rate. If using shoreside pumps, is it because the infrastructure cannot cope with modern tanker discharge rates, because the infrastructure is outdated, and there has been no investment in renewing old pumps, pipework and valves?

The previous tanker reported here, at the start of the week, was the Chinese MR2 tanker ‘Chang Hang Xing Yun’, which undertook a three port discharge at Durban, Cape Town, and Mossel Bay. She loaded at Sohar in Oman, with an alongside time of 2 days 26 hours and 3 minutes in the Omani port. Yet, her combined time alongside in her three South African ports was 8 days 19 hours and 26 minutes. Her cargo capacity was 50,930 m3, and her 12 tanks each had a deep cargo pump capable of discharging at 600 m3/hour.

Discharging one tank at a time, is the slowest rate that is possible. If we assume that she was fully loaded on arrival, and that the discharge at all three ports was done one tank at a time, running just one pump at a time, then simple maths is to divide the total capacity of the vessel, by the discharge rate, which will give you the total discharge time. So, 50,930 divided by 600, is equal to 84.88 hours, or effectively three and a half days. Yet it took three times that time to discharge ‘Chang Hang Xing Yun’, which is a regular, continuous, pattern in a Transnet port.

Sunda, Cape Town 30 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

A look at the berths at virtually every oil berth within local harbours shows that each berth is fitted with up to three loading arms. Yet, in virtually every report that has been made from this location, you will see from the accompanying photographs in the article that, generally, only one loading arm is in use. Occasionally, you see two loading arms at work on the tanker, but what you never see is three arms in use at the same time.

At best, this means that, with one arm in use, you are only discharging at a maximum rate of 600 m3/hour, if discharging one tank at a time, through the onboard manifold. Tankers are designed to be loaded, and discharged in around 24 hours, if done at maximum speed. Shipowners do not operate vessels, of any persuasion, that are kept alongside for up to a week, when they should only have been there for one day. The economics so not stack up.

Is there a correlation between the time that a container vessel can be turned around at any European, American, or Asian port, and the fact that it takes three times longer in any South African port, with the same statistic that a tanker can be discharged in any European, American, or Asian port, in a time three times faster than can be achieved in a South African port?

The standard, average, time that an LR class tanker spends completing a full discharge in a South African port is around one week, and the standard, average, time that an MR class tanker spends completing a full discharge in a South African port is around five days. I am sure that there is a good explanation as to why this problem exists, but I have yet to hear what it is, read about what it is, or be advised of what it is, and what Transnet are going to do about it.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 15 June 2023


News continues below

More than 100 drown when passenger boat capsizes in Niger River

A boat accident in western Nigeria has claimed at least 103 lives, according to reports.

The river boat was loaded with passengers and some cargo when it capsized on Monday morning on the Niger River in Kwara state.

One group of the passengers were returning from a wedding ceremony.

A police statement said the vessel “capsized in complete darkness and it wasn’t until hours later that we were alerted.”

Reports say over one hundred passengers were rescued or reached shore safely while at least another hundred remained missing as the search continued.

On Tuesday police said they were still searching for bodies.

There was no apparent cause for the vessel to have turned over although overcrowding will be among the suspicions. It occurred during the hours of darkness of Monday morning.

The lack of safety regulations and equipment on many of the vessels that are to be found on one of Africa’s longest rivers, together with chronic overloading, are often found to be the cause of such accidents.

The 2,600 mile (4,200 km) long Niger River is and has been a major transport route for generations. The river lends its name to two West African countries, and crosses or borders with five countries – Guinea from where it rises near the border with Sierra Leone, Mali, Benin, Niger and Nigeria.

The river empties into the Gulf of Guinea via a huge delta – an area rich in oil deposits from which Nigeria draws much of its wealth.

The Niger is Africa’s third longest river, after the Nile and the Congo. Its name is likely from the Berber word ger-n-ger meaning “river of rivers”.

A week earlier six traders set out on 7 June to buy seafood. When their boat overturned five drowned – the sole survivor was the only person wearing a life jacket.

A few weeks earlier, in May, 15 children died from drowning when the boat in which they were travelling capsized in a river in Sokoto state in the northwest of the country.

In 2022 76 passengers died when their boat capsized in a flooded river in Anambra state, and the previous year in May (2021) over 140 people were killed when their boat broke in two on the river.

There were only 22 survivors of that tragedy which occurred on the river between Kebbi and Niger states.

That particular vessel was designed to carry no more than 80 passengers.

Concerned people wonder what the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority is doing to enforce safety measures.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 15 June 2023


News continues below

IMO support for Tanzania with draft maritime security legislation

Dar es Salaam Security Workshop. Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Providing support to the United Republic of Tanzania in drafting national legislation to incorporate international IMO legal instruments on maritime security has been the aim of a workshop which is taking place in Dar es Salaam this week.

This was reported by the IMO media service.

During the five-day workshop being held between 12 and 16 June, staff from the Ministry of Works and Transport will be trained, particularly, in how to reflect SOLAS Chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code in the United Republic of Tanzania’s domestic legislation, including control and compliance measures.

The ISPS Code forms the basis for a standardized mandatory security regime for international shipping. It also provides a framework for the exchange and evaluation of information between Contracting Governments, companies, port facilities, and ships.

The workshop has brought together thirty participants from several United Republic of Tanzania agencies including: the Drug Control Enforcement Authority (DCEA); the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the National Prosecution Services (NPS); the Office of the Attorney General (OAG); Immigration; Police Marine; the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA); the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA); and the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC).

The event was opened by Dr Ally Possi, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Works and Transport, Tanzania.

Participants were expected to visit the Port of Dar es Salaam to see the security measures applied in situ.

Funding for the workshop has been provided by the European Union.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 15 June 2023


News continues below

Another pipeline thief jailed – Fuel thief pleads guilty, sentenced to seven years

Following months of court proceedings and gathering of evidence, Transnet Pipelines (TPL) scored another victory through the conviction and sentencing of a fuel thief on three counts.

The thief pleaded guilty to

1) tampering with essential infrastructure
2) Theft, and
3) Transporting Dangerous Goods Prohibited.

Transnet Pipelines said in a statement it welcomes the successful conviction of Bongani Mzizi in the Evander Regional Court.

Mzizi has been linked to one of the notorious fuel theft syndicates.

TPL has seen a decrease in the number of fuel theft incidents in recent months, which it says is a result of collaborative efforts with law enforcement that continue to bear fruit with more arrests and convictions.

“As we tighten the grip on these criminals targeting our fuel pipeline, we are throwing every resource at our disposal in making sure that criminals pay for this crime – we will deal with them harshly,” said Michelle Phillips, Transnet Pipelines Chief Executive.

TPL is continuing to implement various security measures to address malicious and dangerous acts of tampering with the pipeline network.

Members of the public are urged to report any suspicious activities along the Transnet pipeline to Tip-Offs Anonymous Hotline 0800 003 056

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 15 June 2023


News continues below

ICTSI invests further in DRC’s Port of Matadi

Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT), Democratic Republic of Congo   ICTSI

Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT), the container terminal operation of International Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s (ICTSI) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has unveiled new investments which it says will advance terminal efficiency and provide easier access to the Port of Matadi.

The latest investments involved four new hybrid rubber tyred gantries (RTGs).

The hybrid RTGs, said to be the first of their kind in African ports, will level up the terminal’s efficiency and productivity while ensuring minimal impact on the environment. They are powered by a combination of battery and diesel engine, which generate less carbon emission.

On hand to inaugurate the container handling machines were Transport & Communication minister, Marc Ekila, and Hans-Ole Madsen, ICTSI regional head – Europe, Middle East & Africa.

“Our team takes great pride in investing in port infrastructure and equipment that not only boosts operational efficiency but also minimizes our environmental footprint,” Madsen said. “These hybrid RTGs will further improve the terminal’s productivity while emitting less greenhouse gas.”

Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT)  ICTSI

He said they anticipate reduced truck waiting times at the yard and faster turnaround times for terminal tractors during ship unloading activities.

“These improvements reflect ICTSI’s firm commitment to creating sustainable growth by prioritizing both operational efficiency and environmental responsibility.”

MGT is the third terminal in the ICTSI Group that utilizes hybrid RTGs. The Group currently operates 46 hybrid RTGs – 40 of which are deployed at ICTSI’s flagship Manila International Container Terminal and two at Mindanao Container Terminal. Both terminals are in the Philippines. ICTSI looks to acquire more hybrid RTGs and convert its existing fleet to hybrids where possible.

Aside from inaugurating new equipment, MGT also launched the Western Urban Road Project with the ceremonial laying of the first stone led by Governor Guy Bandu Ndungidi of Kongo Central Province.

MGT will fund the construction of a 2.65-kilometre road – 906 metres of which will be built and 1,746 will be rehabilitated – that will connect the Port of Matadi to Kinkanda traffic circle, passing through Sep Congo and the RN14. Upon completion, the new urban road will improve access to the port and ease traffic in the city of Matadi.

In addition to the building a new road, Phase 2 development for MGT is ongoing. This includes the acquisition of new equipment and expansion of the yard and the berth.

Scheduled for completion in the last quarter of 2023, this development will increase the length of the terminal’s berth from 350 metres to 500 metres, and annual capacities to 400,000 TEUSs and 800,000 metric tons.

These investments highlight ICTSI’s commitment to advance supply chain capabilities of D.R. Congo by making the port more efficient, accessible and globally competitive.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 14 June 2023


Les nouvelles continuent ci-dessous

ICTSI investit davantage dans le port de Matadi en RDC

Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT), République démocratique du Congo  ICTSI

Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT), l’exploitation du terminal à conteneurs d’International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) en République démocratique du Congo, a dévoilé de nouveaux investissements qui, selon elle, amélioreront l’efficacité du terminal et faciliteront l’accès au port de Matadi.

Les derniers investissements ont porté sur quatre nouveaux portiques hybrides à pneus en caoutchouc (RTG).

Les RTG hybrides, qui seraient les premiers du genre dans les ports africains, amélioreront l’efficacité et la productivité du terminal tout en garantissant un impact minimal sur l’environnement. Ils sont alimentés par une combinaison de batterie et de moteur diesel, qui génèrent moins d’émissions de carbone.

Marc Ekila, responsable des transports et des communications, et Hans-Ole Madsen, responsable régional ICTSI – Europe, Moyen-Orient et Afrique, étaient présents pour inaugurer les machines de manutention de conteneurs.

“Notre équipe est très fière d’investir dans des infrastructures et des équipements portuaires qui non seulement améliorent l’efficacité opérationnelle, mais minimisent également notre empreinte environnementale”, a déclaré Madsen. “Ces RTG hybrides amélioreront encore la productivité du terminal tout en émettant moins de gaz à effet de serre.”

Il a déclaré qu’ils prévoyaient une réduction des temps d’attente des camions au chantier et des délais d’exécution plus rapides pour les tracteurs du terminal pendant les activités de déchargement des navires.

“Ces améliorations reflètent l’engagement ferme d’ICTSI à créer une croissance durable en donnant la priorité à la fois à l’efficacité opérationnelle et à la responsabilité environnementale.”

MGT est le troisième terminal du groupe ICTSI qui utilise des RTG hybrides. Le groupe exploite actuellement 46 RTG hybrides, dont 40 sont déployés au terminal international à conteneurs phare d’ICTSI à Manille et deux au terminal à conteneurs de Mindanao. Les deux terminaux sont aux Philippines. ICTSI cherche à acquérir plus de RTG hybrides et à convertir sa flotte existante en hybrides lorsque cela est possible.

Matadi Gateway Terminal (MGT)  ICTSI

Outre l’inauguration de nouveaux équipements, MGT a également lancé le projet de route urbaine de l’Ouest avec la pose solennelle de la première pierre dirigée par le gouverneur Guy Bandu Ndungidi de la province du Kongo Central.

MGT financera la construction d’une route de 2,65 kilomètres – dont 906 mètres seront construits et 1 746 seront réhabilités – qui reliera le port de Matadi au rond-point de Kinkanda, en passant par Sep Congo et la RN14. Une fois achevée, la nouvelle route urbaine améliorera l’accès au port et facilitera la circulation dans la ville de Matadi.

En plus de la construction d’une nouvelle route, le développement de la phase 2 pour MGT est en cours. Cela comprend l’acquisition de nouveaux équipements et l’agrandissement de la cour et du quai.

Prévu pour être achevé au dernier trimestre 2023, cet aménagement portera la longueur du poste à quai du terminal de 350 mètres à 500 mètres, et les capacités annuelles à 400 000 EVP et 800 000 tonnes métriques.

Ces investissements soulignent l’engagement d’ICTSI à faire progresser les capacités de la chaîne d’approvisionnement de D.R. Congo en rendant le port plus efficace, accessible et compétitif à l’échelle mondiale.

Inscrivez-vous à la newsletter Africa Ports & Ships – c’est gratuit
Ajouté le 14 juin 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK:  Ultramax bulk carrier ARABELLA

The Greek-operated bulk carrier Arabella, which limped into Cape Town recently with a damaged rudder. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Southern Africa continues to be the ‘go to’ place for shipowners if any of their vessels have maintenance issues, serious defects, or need engineering and fabrication expertise. If the vessel is located on the east side of the African Continent, the ‘go to’ port is generally Durban, and if on the west side of the African Continent, the ‘go to’ port is generally Cape Town.

The decision to head for a South African port is based on the sure knowledge that virtually nowhere else on the continent, with the possible exception of Walvis Bay in Namibia, is considered to have the infrastructure required to effect a fix to virtually any problem a vessel may need, or able to accommodate a vessel of almost any size.

On 30th May, at midday, the Ultramax bulk carrier ARABELLA (IMO 9700122) arrived off Cape Town, from Douala in the Cameroon, and immediately entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock. She was clearly in ballast, and in line with usual bulk carrier arrivals in Cape Town, a lightship bulk carrier is usually considered to be arriving to load a cargo of ore, generally manganese ore.

Arabella, Cape Town 1 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

However, ‘Arabella’ was taken beyond all of the commercial cargo loading berths in the Duncan Dock, and placed alongside L berth. For those who are unfamiliar with Cape Town harbour, L berth is the bespoke harbour base for the De Beers Marine group, and it is where their vessels go to when on release from the Offshore diamond mining concessions, off the Orange River in Namibia. So already, ‘Arabella’ was raising eyebrows as to the nature of her being in Cape Town.

It soon became apparent as to the reason for her arrival, and why she was in ballast. She was soon heavily trimmed by the head, with her bow low in the water, and her rudder, and propeller raised clear of the water surface. Shoreside engineering teams, using a work barge, then began placing a full set of heavy duty chain block and tackle rigs around her rudder, which indicated that this was the reason for her being at L berth.

The question of why ‘Arabella’ was not placed alongside the Repair Quay, or the Landing Wall, would not be a wasted one. The Repair Quay already had the damaged bulk carrier ‘Fratzis Star’ alongside, together with the two Ukrainian Antarctic vessels ‘More Sudrozhestva’ and ‘Noosfera’, both of whom are denied their right to go home due to Putin’s illegal war being waged in their homeland. However, the Landing Wall appeared to have space available.

Arabella, Cape Town 1 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2015 by the State Owned COSCO Heavy Industry Shipyard at Zhoushan in China, ‘Arabella’ is 200 metres in length and has a deadweight of 63,616 tons. She is powered by a single MAN-B&W 5S60ME-C8.2 five cylinder two stroke main engine producing 10,945 bhp (8,050 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three MAN 6l23/30H generators providing 780 kW each, and a single Cummins 6CT8.3-D(M) emergency generator providing 140 kW. She has a single Mitsubishi MHC-280T composite boiler.

She has five cargo holds, with a cargo carrying capacity of 78,500 m3, and all holds being equipped with McGregor folding hatches, and served by four McGregor electro-hydraulic cranes with a lifting capacity of 30 tons, and able to utilise four onboard 12m3 grabs.

She is a Dolphin 64 class of bulk carrier, and a stretched version of the very popular Dolphin 57, of which over 100 of this capable class have been built across 13 of the Chinese Government owned shipyards. The Dolphin design comes from the Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute (SDARI).

She is very much an eco-ship, with the hull design providing improved overall performance at different loading conditions, speeds and sea states. Propulsion efficiency is increased through the fitting of a wake equalising duct, sited in front of a large-diameter, slow-rotating, propeller. A rudder transition bulb and rudder fins reduce the hub vortex and recover rotational losses. This economical set up was very visible as her stern was raised out of the water.

Arabella, Cape Town 1 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Nominally owned by Thecla Maritime SA, of Athens in Greece, ‘Arabella’ is operated and managed by Alloceans Shipping Co. Ltd., of Athens. Her arrival in Cape Town came at the end of a voyage that began in China back in January, where she had loaded for West Africa. The voyage was bound for Lagos in Nigeria, Cotonou in Benin, and Douala in the Cameroon. What befell her, and why, requiring her to limp down to Cape Town to effect repairs to her propulsion system, is not yet known, as is her expected sailing date, and to where.

Back in August 2016, ‘Arabella’ was on a voyage from Mombasa in Kenya, to Corpus Christi, in the US state of Texas. As she approached the Eastern Cape, a Filipino sailor aboard the vessel was seriously injured in a fall, injuring his head and back. After consultation with shoreside medical experts, arranged via the Maritime rescue Co-ordination centre (MRCC) in Cape Town, the vessel was advised to make for Port Elizabeth, as the injured crewman required hospital treatment.

When she was seven nautical miles Northeast of Port Elizabeth, the NSRI Rescue Boat ‘Eikos Rescuer IV’ rendezvoused with ‘Arabella’. The NSRI paramedic boarded ‘Arabella’, and the patient was stabilised and secured into a Stokes Basket Stretcher, and transferred safely across to ‘Eikos Rescuer IV’. On arrival back in Port Elizabeth harbour, the patient was transferred to a local hospital for treatment to his injuries. He recovered fully, and was repatriated back home.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 14 June 2023


News continues below

MSC Houston becomes the longest containership to call at Beira

MSC Houston working her cargo of containers at the port of Beira. Picture: Cornelder de Moçambique

MSC Houston (IMO 9463281), the longest container ship to call thus far at the Port of Beira, berthed on Monday 12 June 2023.

Built in 2010 and flying the Portuguese flag, MSC Houston has a length of 266.65 metres and width of 35.4m, eclipsing the previous longest box ship, Wide Juliet (IMO 9698264) which has a length of 255 metres and width of 37m. Wide Juliet first called at Beira in June 2020.

The 52,184-dwt MSC Houston arrived at Beira from the ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa in Tanzania and Kenya respectively, and prior to that Colombo in Sri Lanka, and India’s Mundra.

When she sails from Beira (ETD was yesterday, 13 June) her next port will be Ngqura in the Eastern Cape.

MSC Houston has a container capacity of 4,432 TEU. Picture: FleetMon

The Port of Beira, which is managed and operated by Dutch company Cornelder de Moçambique (CdM), reports experiencing significant growth in containerised cargo and more, which Cornelder says is a result of the aggressive commercial strategy that CdM has been developing in the region’s markets.

Cornelder is continuing to invest in improving accessibility to the port, the acquisition of modern handling equipment, expansion of storage areas, introduction of new technologies and systems to optimise operations.

These are factors, says Cornelder, that are contributing to the improvement of port performance and giving greater confidence to customers and users.

“The investments made in dredging to deepen the access channel, manoeuvring basin and berths have also been decisive in enabling ships of the Panamax and Post Panamax typology, with large cargo capacity, to call at Beira more regularly,” Cornelder says.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 14 June 2023


News continues below

Maersk secures green methanol for world’s first methanol-enabled container vessel


A.P. Moller-Maersk has successfully secured green methanol for the maiden voyage of the world’s first methanol-enabled container vessel. This vessel is nearing completion at Ulsan in South Korea and will be named at a ceremony in Copenhagen in mid-September.

Achieving this green fuel milestone is a significant step for the company and the industry’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Maersk has signed a deal with Dutch producer OCI Global on the delivery of green1 bio-methanol for the maiden journey.

The 21,500 km trip from Ulsan, South Korea to Copenhagen, Denmark – more than halfway around the globe – will provide real operational experience for Maersk seafarers handling the new engines and using methanol as fuel, as the company prepares to receive a fleet of new, large ocean-going methanol-enabled ships from 2024.

“The green methanol market is still in its infancy and frankly we had not expected to be able to secure a maiden voyage on green methanol for this vessel. So, we are very proud to have achieved this significant milestone. We expect a diverse green fuel mix for the future, with green bio-methanol from biomass waste being available now,” says Morten Bo Christiansen, Maersk’s Head of Energy Transition.

OCI produces its green methanol at a US-based facility by using captured biogas from decomposing organic waste in landfills. The biogas is upgraded to biomethane and injected into the gas grid and the methanol is produced from the biomethane in the grid on a mass-balance basis.

This way, green methanol can be produced in existing facilities using existing infrastructure and plants enabling a quick production. The method can contribute to a greener gas grid while capturing harmful methane emissions that would arise from the waste feedstock if left untouched.

OCI’s green methanol is certified by International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) in accordance with the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

To meet the ambitious 2040 target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions in time, Maersk aims to transport a minimum of 25% of Ocean cargo using green fuels by 2030, compared to a 2020 baseline.

The as-yet unnamed 2,100 TEU landmark methanol-enabled feeder vessel is an important step toward Maersk’s long-term objective of gradually renewing the entire fleet to operate solely on green fuels.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 14 June 2023


News continues below

In Conversation:    Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history

Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand and Charne Lavery, University of Pretoria

On many beaches around the Indian Ocean, keen observers may spot bits of broken pottery. Washed smooth by the ocean, these shards are in all likelihood hundreds of years old, from centres of ceramic production like the Middle Eastern Abbasid caliphate and the Chinese Ming dynasty.

Originally destined for Indian Ocean port cities, this pottery would have been purchased by merchant elites accustomed to eating off fine plates. These traders formed part of vast commercial networks that crisscrossed the Indian Ocean arena and beyond, from East Africa to Indonesia, the Middle East and China.

These trade networks stretched back thousands of years, powered by the monsoon winds. Reversing direction in different seasons, these winds have long shaped the rhythm of life around the ocean, bringing rain to farmers, filling the sails of dhows and enabling trade between different ecological zones.

This story is part of Oceans 21

Five profiles open our series on the global ocean, delving into ancient Indian Ocean trade networks, Pacific plastic pollution, Arctic light and life, Atlantic fisheries and the Southern Ocean’s impact on global climate.  Brought to you by The Conversation’s international network.

The monsoon wind pattern makes the Indian Ocean relatively easy to cross both ways. In the Atlantic, by contrast, winds blow in one direction all year round. That’s why the Indian Ocean is the world’s oldest long-distance trans-oceanic trading arena, and is sometimes known as the cradle of globalisation.

This cosmopolitan world has long fascinated scholars and has become a vibrant domain of research. Yet this work has had little to say about the sea itself. Its focus is on human movement with the ocean as a passive backdrop. In the age of rising sea levels and climate change, it’s important to learn more about the sea from a material and ecological point of view.

Over the past few years, this situation has started to shift. In this article we survey both the older and the newer forms of Indian Ocean studies, of surface and depth.

Surface histories of the Indian Ocean

Given the long millennia of trade and exchange, one key concern of Indian Ocean studies has been a focus on cultural interaction. Cities on the shores have sustained deep forms of material, intellectual and cultural exchange, so that the denizens of these ports had more in common with each other than with their fellows inland.

This early cosmopolitan world has famously been explored in Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land, which traces the travels of Abram bin Yiju, a 12th century Jewish Tunisian merchant based in Cairo and later in Mangalore, India. The book contrasts the rigidity of borders in the 1980s with the relative ease of movement in the late medieval Indian Ocean.

The Swahili coast provides another famed example of Indian Ocean cosmopolitanism. Stretching a thousand miles from Somalia to Mozambique, Swahili society arose from centuries of interaction between Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Centred on coastal city states like Kilwa, Zanzibar and Lamu, Swahili trade networks reached far inland to present day Zimbabwe and outward to Persia, India and China. After reaching their height from the 12th to the 15th centuries, these city states were eventually undone by the Portuguese, who arrived from the early 16th century, seeking to establish a monopoly of the spice trade.

Zanzibar, Tanzania. Picture: Wikipedia

Central to these histories of mobility and exchange in the Indian Ocean has been the spread of Islam across land and sea from the 7th century CE. By the 14th century, mercantile networks around the Indian Ocean were almost entirely in the hands of Muslim traders.

In their wake came scholars, theologians, pilgrims, clerks, legal pundits and Sufi divines. Together, these groups created a shared economic, spiritual and legal frameworks. Sufism, a mystical form of Islam is an important strand in the Indian Ocean histories, as is the centrifugal power of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

European Colonisation along the Indian Ocean

When the Portuguese rounded the Cape in the late 15th century, they entered what many have termed a Muslim Lake, dominated in the north by the Turkish Ottoman, Persian Safavid and Indian Mughal empires. When the Dutch arrived in the Indian Ocean in the 17th century, “they were able to go from one end of it to another by carrying letters of introduction from Muslim sultans on various shores”.

As Engseng Ho has indicated, these sprawling networks of Muslim commerce operated without the backing of an army or a state.

The Portuguese, Dutch and English in the Indian Ocean were strange new traders who brought their states with them. They created militarised trading-post empires in the Indian Ocean, following Venetian and Genoese precedents in the Mediterranean, and were wont to do business at the point of a gun.

Early European entrants to the Indian Ocean world initially had to adapt to the trading orders that they encountered. But by the 19th century, European empires dominated. Their military, transport and communication infrastructure intensified the movement of people across the Indian Ocean world.

As Clare Anderson has demonstrated, much of this mobility was forced and conscripted. It involved slaves, indentured labourers, political exiles and prisoners who were transported between regions. At times, these systems built on existing foundations of labour exploitation. As recent research indicates, South Asian indentured labour was often taken from regions in India where slavery existed. Old and new systems of unfree labour produced an archipelago of prisons, plantations and penal colonies.

As an archive, the Indian Ocean provides a new way of looking at world history, that has previously been dominated by European accounts. The age of European empires is only one tiny sliver of time in a much longer arc. A view from the Indian Ocean unsettles ideas of the relationship between European colonisers and colonised groups.

As historians like Engseng Ho and Sugata Bose have argued, the Indian Ocean world was an arena of competing claims.

The ambitions of British imperialism, for example, were countered by the equally grand visions of Islam. Indeed, the Indian Ocean arena produced a rich repertoire of transoceanic ideologies, including Hindu reformism and pan-Buddhism.

Such ideologies eventually acquired an anti-imperial character which also fed into ideas of Afro-Asian solidarity and non-alignment. These arose from the Bandung Conference in 1955 at which 29 newly independent nations gathered to forge a new path rather than falling in line with either of the rival camps in the emerging Cold War.

In the 21st century, these older alliances have come under pressure as China and India elbow each other for dominance in the Indian Ocean. China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative involves massive transport and port infrastructure and aims to extend China’s footprint across much of the Indian Ocean arena. In response, New Delhi has bolstered its economic and military activity in this domain.

Deep histories of the Indian Ocean

While the uniquely well-travelled surface of the Indian Ocean has received much attention, its depths barely register in the cultural or historical imagination. Its waters constitute nearly 20% of the ocean’s total volume, and its deepest point, the Sunda Deep of the Java Trench, lies nearly 8km below the surface. Yet its seafloor, like much of the world’s oceans, is largely unmapped.

Seafloor features determine weather patterns, fish concentrations and tsunami dynamics. Initial explorations by mining companies revealed mineral-rich deposits on submarine volcanic vents, while new species are continually being discovered.

The deep Indian Ocean is far less studied than the depths of the other oceans, for economic reasons: it is ringed by underdeveloped countries. The second International Indian Ocean Expedition was launched only in 2015, fifty years after the first. It aims to increase understanding about the oceanographic and biological characteristics of this undersampled ocean, as well as the ways in which it is changing.

Maldives Indian Ocean coral reef.  Pinterest

Paying attention to the submarine world is becoming increasingly important in a time of climate change prompted by human activities. The Indian Ocean is warming faster than any of the other oceans, holding more than 70% of all the heat absorbed by the upper ocean since 2003. Indian Ocean islands – the Maldives being a well-known example – are already being submerged by rising global sea levels.

Cyclone patterns are shifting further south and happening more often as a result of the ocean’s rising temperature. The monsoon, which underpinned the Indian Ocean’s shipping networks and the rainfall patterns on its coastlines, is losing its power and predictability.

Deities, spirits and ancestors

While the Indian Ocean’s depths are in many ways opaque, they are not unpopulated in people’s imaginations. The ocean bustles with water deities, djinns, mermaids and ancestral spirits – a mythical submarine world that reflects the cosmopolitanism of its land populations.

In southern Africa this mix is especially rich: Khoisan/ First Nation water sprites, Muslim djinns introduced by South East Asian slaves, African ancestors, one of whose domains is the ocean, and British imperial ideas about the romance of the sea.

These ideas encounter each other and turn bodies of water into rich sites of memory and history. They have been explored by the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South project. Work by Confidence Joseph, Oupa Sibeko, Mapule Mohulatsi and Ryan Poinasamy explores the literary and artistic imaginations of southern Africa’s creolised waters.

Afrofuturist science fiction is also turning to the deep Indian Ocean. Mohale Mashigo’s Floating Rugs is situated in a submarine community on South Africa’s east coast. Mia Couto’s stories from the Mozambican coastline have long paired myths of mermaids with marine biology. Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s novel The Dragonfly Sea links contemporary Afro-Asian networks to the undersea.

Deep sea mining

Some exploration of the deep ocean can seem science-fictional, but isn’t.

The International Seabed Authority, a branch of the United Nations in operation since 2001 and responsible for parcelling out potential marine mining areas, has granted contracts for mining exploration in the Indian Ocean. At the same time, researchers are discovering an astonishing number of new deep ocean species on the same sites.

The submarine world has long been plundered for riches. Histories of pearl diving in the Indian Ocean – as in a central scene of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea – are continued in today’s illegal abalone trade. Poachers on the coast of South Africa don scuba gear to harvest abalone to trade with Asian markets, linking the undersea to Indian Ocean criminal underworlds, along the same lines as the ancient trade networks.

At times these networks are the source of treasure. On the Island of Mozambique, for instance, the shards of blue pottery that were traded around the Indian Ocean are one of the objects of the active treasure hunting trade today. While some of the treasures are sold by dealers in antiquities, others provide crucial evidence for maritime archaeological research. Recently, the Slave Wrecks Project has discovered slave shipwrecks that provide concrete symbols of the transatlantic slave trade and link it to histories of Indian Ocean slavery and indenture.

The old waterfronts of East African port cities like Mombasa, Zanzibar and Lamu are dominated by buildings with a pure white finish. This present-day architecture echoes a centuries-old tradition of building houses, mosques and tombs from white coral stone and dressed with lime plaster. Made from shells and corals that began their life under the sea, this luminous plaster made port cities visible from afar to incoming vessels.

The ocean’s submarine life and its human histories are always entangled. And now writers, artists and scholars are increasingly drawing attention to their connectedness.The Conversation

Isabel Hofmeyr, Professor of African Literature, University of the Witwatersrand and Charne Lavery, Senior Lecturer, University of Pretoria

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

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 14 June 2023


News continues below

DP World incentives rail use to drive decarbonisation of UK supply chains

London Gateway, one of the UK’s premier container ports, operated by DP World   DP World

As a prime example of how the private sector so often takes the initiative in driving change in environmental and economic affairs, DP World, which operates two of the largest container terminals in the UK, Southampton and London Gateway, is moving ahead by directly incentivising customers to move their imported goods off the road and onto rail.

The ‘Modal Shift Programme’ is designed to increase the attractiveness of intermodal rail for customers through the use of carefully designed financial incentives.

Ths has the potential to prevent an estimated 30,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted per year, more than three times the total emissions of DP World’s logistics hub at Southampton, where it will be trialled from September for an initial period of 12 months.

“DP World in the UK has been a market leader supporting our supply chain partners with access to a comprehensive network of rail options to connect our logistics hub to inland locations across the UK,” said John Trenchard, UK Commercial & Supply Chain Director at DP World.

“However, over the last few years there has been gradual decline in the share of rail. Through the Modal Shift Programme we aim to increase the rail share up towards 40% by the end of 2025 – removing an estimated 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from our customers’ onward supply chains.”

The Modal Shift programme will charge a flat £10 fee on all import-laden containers. Customers whose container is moved to a railhead more than 140 miles from the terminal are reimbursed, and a £70 incentive is paid to those whose container is moved to a railhead within 140 miles of the terminal.

The market economics for using intermodal rail for distances of 140 miles or more from Southampton already make sense. However, for deliveries within the 140 mile zone the economic difference is less clear, and this incentive aims to increase the likelihood of a modal shift to rail.

Southampton and London Gateway

DP World operates the UK’s most advanced logistics hubs: two deep water ports at Southampton and London Gateway with access to freight rail terminals, and a rapidly expanding logistics park on the doorstep of the capital.

Southampton enjoyed its greenest ever year in 2022 after delivering a 55% reduction in net carbon emissions from its fleet and installations after eliminating fossil diesel from its operations and transitioning to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a low emission diesel fuel alternative.

The £350 million new fourth berth under construction at London Gateway will be the first all-electric berth in Britain when it opens next year.

DP World’s investment in rail at Southampton and London Gateway eases traffic congestion, with 300,000 truck journeys taken off UK roads each year.

Last year it launched a new weekly rail freight service connecting the two terminals, which takes up to 120 lorries a week off the roads, cutting carbon emissions by 80%.

These UK initiatives have contributed to DP World’s global carbon dioxide emissions being reduced by 5% in 2022, with a 20% reduction in the European region alone.

According to Trenchard, DP World will mitigate the impacts of climate change by becoming a net zero logistics organisation by 2050.

“Today’s announcement will help customers on their own decarbonisation journeys and supports the UK Government’s stated ambition to drive the modal shift from road freight to more environmentally sustainable alternatives like rail,” he said.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 14 June 2023


News continues below

MOL and Kenya’s GCS Velogic enter into strategic alliance


Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd (MOL) and its group company MOL Logistics Co. Ltd (MLG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a strategic alliance with Kenya headquartered General Cargo Service Limited (GCS Velogic).

GCS Velogic is a subsidiary of Velogic, the logistics arm of Mauritius-based conglomerate Rogers Group.

GCS Velogic offers customs clearance, trucking, warehousing, supply chain finance, and logistics digital transformation services, with about 170 trucks, offices, and warehouses in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Nakuru, and a professional team of about 490 people.

MOL Group currently has a local subsidiary in Kenya, MOL Shipping (Kenya) Ltd and MLG’s Nairobi Branch, which engages in inland transport service, as well as ocean and air freight forwarding business to/from Africa.

The group has already provided inland transport services in cooperation with GCS Velogic, but with the conclusion of the MoU, it aims to contribute to solving logistics issues, creating new industries, and developing the economy in East Africa.

MOL group

This, it says, will be achieved by combining the MOL Group’s global network and expertise in the ocean shipping, infrastructure, and logistics industries with GCS Velogic’s local network and logistics business know-how in the region.

More specifically, the two companies will jointly offer total logistics services, including forwarding, customs clearance, warehouse management, and land transport in Kenya and neighbouring countries.

The MoU will jointly promote the development of cold chain, logistics digital transformation, and new businesses related to logistics, says the announcement.

MOL Group says it is committed to developing and expanding new logistics and other non-shipping businesses in emerging markets, including Africa.

MOL’s portfolio and regional strategies under its “BLUE ACTION 2035” management plan, will use this MoU to promote its business in East Africa.

“We are very pleased to have signed an MOU with GCS Velogic for a strategic alliance,” said Mikio Oyama, MOL Chief Country Representative in Kenya.

He said that GCS Velogic is one of East Africa’s leading logistics companies with strengths in customs clearance and trucking, and has been a good partner in providing logistics services to customers.

GCS Velogic group

“The MOU is an expression of the two companies’ commitment to move deeper and faster in the logistics business in the rapidly growing East Africa region.”

Oyama said that by combining GCS Velogic’s East African local network and logistics business know-how with the MOL Group’s international logistics network and expertise in shipping and infrastructure development, “we are committed to solving East African logistics challenges and creating new industries to deliver better services and new value to our customers.”

Mehul Bhatt, Managing Director of GCS Velogic said that the strategic alliance with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. and MOL Logistics Co., Ltd., marks a significant milestone for both organisations & the logistics industry in East Africa.

“This partnership will undoubtedly propel our joint capabilities, drive innovation and add value to the region.

“With MOL Group’s extensive expertise in shipping, logistics, and infrastructure development, combined with our strong presence and comprehensive service offerings in Kenya, this alliance will pave the way for enhanced efficiency, seamless supply chain solutions, and accelerated growth.”

Bhatt said that together, they aim to set new industry standards and deliver unparalleled value to their customers, “fueling the development and advancement of the logistics industry across East Africa.”

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 13 June 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: Chinese MR2 products tanker – CHANG HANG XING YUN

MR2 products tanker Chang Hang Xing Yun in Cape Town harbour, 1 June 2023. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

As the grip of winter bites down, and in the Southern Hemisphere, at least, the approach of mid-winters day draws ever nearer, coming as it always does with the Winter Solstice on 22nd June, so the flow of tankers into South Africa continues, bringing with them the essential fuels needed to keep the population warm, the industries running, and the transport structure going.

Many of these arrivals will have been noted by the casual maritime observer as being tankers belonging to that Chinese state behemoth, China Ocean Shipping Company, or COSCO for short. Some will also have noticed that other tankers, still very much of the Chinese persuasion, are also calling. What few people are aware of is that some Chinese Government State Departments also run their own shipping empires, beyond the clutches of COSCO.

As far back as 22nd May, at 06h00 in the morning, the MR2 products tanker ‘Chang Hang Xing Yun’ (IMO 9352250) arrived off the Bluff at Durban, from Sohar in Oman, and went to anchor in the anchorage off Umhlanga Rocks. She remained in the anchorage for almost two days, and eventually at 02h00 in the morning of 24th May, she entered Durban harbour, going alongside her berth at Island View 8, to begin what was to become a three port discharge itinerary.

Chang Hang Xing Yun, Cape Town 1 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After almost four days at Island View, ‘Chang Hang Xing Yun’ was ready to sail, and at midnight on 27th May, she sailed from Durban, and set a course south along the coast, with her next port of discharge destined to be Cape Town. The almost standard three day run around the Cape, ended at 20h00 in the evening of 30th May where, as with her arrival at Durban, she was directed to go to the Table Bay anchorage and to await a berth.

After a day and a half at anchor, she was allowed to enter Cape Town harbour, and at 10h00 in the morning of 1st June, she entered the Duncan Dock, going alongside the inside berth at the far end of the tanker basin, to continue with her fuel products discharge.

Chang Hang Xing Yun, Cape Town 1 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As always, despite her now being half discharged, her time in Cape Town discharging ran to over four days, and not until 16h00 in the afternoon on 5th June was she complete, and ready to head off to her third and final discharge port on the South African coast. She duly sailed and once more rounded the Cape, this time in the opposite direction, and headed for the Single Point Mooring (SPM) buoy at Mossel Bay.

Her final stop on her coastal voyage began 24 hours after sailing from Cape Town, when she arrived at the Mossel Bay SPM at 16h00 on 6th June, and after connecting up, begin discharging her final parcel of fuel. It took less than 24 hours to complete, and at 13h00 in the afternoon of 7th June, she cleared Mossel Bay, and headed north to Fujairah in the UAE to await orders for her next load.

Built in 2007 by Bohai Shipbuilding at Huludao in China, ‘Chang Hang Xing Yun’ is 185 metres long and has a deadweight of 45,717 tons. She is powered by a single MAN-B&W 6S50MC-C six cylinder two stroke main engine producing 12,880 bhp (9,605 kW), which drives a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Chang Hang Xing Yun, Cape Town 1 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 750 kW each. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg CHR exhaust gas boiler, and two Alfa Laval Aalborg CHO oil fired boilers. She has 12 cargo tanks and a cargo carrying capacity of 50,930 m3. She is capable of carrying six grades of fuel product at any one time, and can discharge her cargo utilising 12 cargo pumps, each capable of pumping at a rate of 600 m3/hour.

Nominally owned by Qing Ning Marine Pte. Ltd., of Singapore, ‘Chang Hang Xing Yun’ is operated by CSC Oil Transportation Pte. Ltd., also of Singapore, She is managed by Nanjing Tanker Corporation Ltd. (NJTC), of Nanjing in China, whose logo she carries on her funnel. She is one of over twenty of a class of sisterships.

Chang Hang Xing Yun, Cape Town 1 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

NJTC is a subsidiary of the China Merchants Group (CMG), and is one of the world’s top 5 largest operators of MR class tankers in the world, with 61 currently operated in the NJTC fleet. CMG themselves are fully state owned, and operate under the auspices of the Chinese Government Department of Transportation.

The CSC operation is a further subsidiary company of Nanjing Tanker Company (NJTC), and is a loose acronym for China Changjiang National Shipping Corporation. If one looks closely, the casual maritime observer can spot the CSC initials on the funnel, over-painted by the NJTC logo.

NJTC themselves reported in January of this year (2023) that they had recorded an increase in final year profits of nearly 400%. An eye watering amount! The company stated that they had benefited from the impact that the conflict (war) in Ukraine had had on international shipping markets.

Chang Hang Xing Yun, Cape Town 1 June 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

No doubt the increase in profits at NJTC were all linked to the massive volumes of oil and fuel products that Russia had sold to China at knock down prices, due to sanctions, and had to be shipped back to China, and also due to the massive increase in fuel product sales that India was exporting, also as a result of Russia selling them oil at knock down prices.

BRICS has its benefits, if only at local buyers level, and only because one of the BRICS partners (Russia) has nowhere else to sell its oil, nor the ability to store it for future sale. A cheap sale is better than no sale at all, even if it is continuous, with no end in sight, and it benefits solely the Chinese, but does not really benefit Russia. For NJTC it is a gift that keeps on giving.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 13 June 2023


News continues below

Two powerful 83 ton BP Damen ASD 2813 tugs are commissioned at Lekki Port

Nigeria’s new deepwater port of Lekki   NPA

Nigeria’s new deepwater port of Lekki has taken delivery of two Damen-built Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) 2813 tugs named M.T MAIKOKO and M.T DA-OPUKURO.

ASD 2813 tugs have a length of 27.59 metres and bollard pull of 83 tons ahead and 80 tons astern. The tugs have accommodation for a maximum of 10 crew.

According to Damen, the design of the vessel focuses on the combined delivery of safety and efficiency. Extra stability comes courtesy of a wide beam and the relatively low position of the ergonomic wheelhouse. From the wheelhouse, operators have a clear, unrestricted view of operations.

Damen’s ASD 2813 design harbour tug.  Pictures: Damen

The tugs arrived ahead of the first of a regular service of container ships carrying not only cargo for Nigeria but also transshipment containers for neighbouring landlocked states.

The first of these container vessels is due by the end of June.

Nigerian Ports Authority managing director, Mohammed Bello-Koko said meetings have recently been held with officials from Chad, Niger and Cameroun concerning the movement of cargo via Lekki port, which can handle the largest of ships likely to call in West Africa.

Bello-Koko was speaking at the commissioning of the two tugs, each of which has a 83-ton bollard pull, said to be the most powerful harbour tugs in Africa.

“By acquiring these tug boats, which are the largest in Africa, we will be able to bring in vessels of all sizes. What this means is that there would be less waiting time and it will eventually lead to reduction in cargo dwell time.”

He said that interest has been shown by several other countries following meetings held with them. “The idea is to see how we can start moving their cargoes from Nigeria to their ports.”

He said these countries are looking for a port that will reduce waiting time for cargoes and also have right protocols in place.

“These tug boats that were commissioned for Lekki Port will help us achieve our aim of turning the port into a transshipment hub. I know that transshipment cargoes should come into Lekki Port maybe in the next three weeks.”

Bello-Koko said that the new tugs will be able to handle any ship, no matter its size.

This meant that Nigeria will take back business from other countries and the cargo previously lost to other ports will return.

“What we are doing today is a demonstration of this administration’s resolve to position the NPA and respond squarely to the contemporary demands of trade facilitation.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that our drive towards deploying Lekki Deep Seaport as a launch pad for transshipment remains unwavering and this event today is confirmation of our doggedness on this noble cause.”

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 13 June 2023


News continues below

A.P. Moller-Maersk boosts cloud-first technology with Microsoft

AP Moller-Maersk and Microsoft collaborate on digital transformation   APM

A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) has boosted its cloud-first technology approach by expanding the company’s use of Microsoft Azure as its cloud platform.

According to Maersk, Azure provides access to a resilient and performing portfolio of cloud services, enabling its business to innovate and deliver scalable, reliable, and secure products with improved time to market.

The cloud backbone enables Maersk to build scalable platforms to cater for organic and inorganic growth, supporting the Maersk transformation strategy.

Further, the use of machine learning and data analytics will enable Maersk to gain greater insights and support new ways of working.

Navneet Kapoor, Executive VP and Chief Technology and Information Officer at Maersk, said they can use Microsoft’s innovation in the technology space to drive Maersk’s innovation in the logistics space.

“Together, we have a unique and interdependent relationship which is driven by mutual creation, trust, and an understanding of both companies´ strategic direction, which is valuable to all.”

With the expansion of its relationship with Microsoft, Maersk is looking to accelerate its transformation and to further digitize logistics.

Innovative digital solutions

The collaboration between Maersk and Microsoft has already brought innovative digital solutions to the market, such as Remote Container Management (RCM). This allows Maersk to monitor temperature and humidity data from hundreds of thousands of refrigerated shipping containers in real time to ensure that food and other perishables arrive in perfect condition.

Another project, Connected Vessel, aims at optimizing fuel consumption by monitoring performance data from Maersk’s container vessels to create a shared view with experts onshore who can provide advice to Captains, helping lower bunker costs and reducing emissions.

Both projects are examples of the benefit of how digitization is bringing real value for Maersk’s customers and their businesses, as well as the commitment to decarbonize logistics.

As part of Microsoft’s commitment to actively use and scale low-carbon solutions for global supply chain activities, Maersk is a key partner for Microsoft in air freight, ocean freight and domestic services, providing logistics services to Microsoft.

The companies also recently extended their Airfreight collaboration where Maersk intends to utilize their own controlled freighter network to support Microsoft’s Global supply chain.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 13 June 2023


News continues below

Port impasse results in little freight traffic on Nigerian Lagos-Ibadan SGR

Port of Apapa – Customs building continues to block Lagos-Ibadan SGR   NPA

Traffic on the standard gauge railway (SGR) between Lagos and Ibadan has not yet reached the volumes expected when the railway was opened two years ago.

According to reports from Nigeria, the SGR has yet to see any evacuation of cargo from the Lagos ports.

One of the problems is the failure of relevant authorities to proceed with the demolition of a Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) building which is situated where the SGR has to enter the port of Apapa.

The NCS building houses the port scanner used to scrutinise containers entering or exiting Nigeria’s busiest port.

This reluctance by NSC to remove the building has resulted in the Nigerian Railway Corporation deciding on a short temporary deviation of the railway into Apapa port.

This diversion will serve until the NCS finally agrees to move its building elsewhere.

Passenger services on the SGR have however commenced as these are not affected by the reluctance of the Customs people to remove their building.

The project manager of CCECC, the Chinese company responsible for the construction and development of the railway, Xia Lijun, is on record as saying that while passenger services had commenced, it required an anticipated 3.2 million tonnes of freight to help convert the SGR into a profitable operation.

Currently, very little freight is handled by the railway.

At present and until the Customs House matter is resolved, NRC will rely on moving cargo in and out of the port by way of a temporary line. source: Daily Trust

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 23 June 2023


News continues below

Modest increase in ships calling at Tanzania’s Port of Tanga

Tanzania’s Port of Tanga  TPA

The number of ships, people, and cargo using the port of Tanga in Tanzania, is increasing, says the port manager, Masoud Mrisha.

Tanga is Tanzania’s second largest Indian Ocean port, situated in the north-east of the country close to the border with Kenya.

In an effort to stimulate port activities and to generate revenue, the decision was taken to allow fuel to be imported through the port of Tanga.

It is also agreed to terminate the 1,400km Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline at Tanga which should further have significant advantages for the port. The pipeline was originally intended to run from the Lake Albert district in Uganda to the Kenya port of Lamu.

However, security concerns over the northern corridor saw the developers of the pipeline, TotalEnergies, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Tullow Oil, to opt instead for the longer route to Tanga.

Various projects at the port have been undertaken in recent years, including construction of new quay walls, dredging of the port waters and approaches, and the purchase of new cargo handling equipment.

As a result Tanga has an increased capacity of 1.2 million tonnes, up from 700,000 tonnes per year.

Port Facilities

Tanga has a main quay wall of 450 metres, for two berths. The port has two offshore 12 inch pipelines for the handling of liquid bulk. A Conventional Buoy Mooring lies offshore at Totten island to facilitate the safe handling of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Cargo Handling Equipment

The port is currently equipped with two Gottwald mobile cranes, an empty container handler, reachstackers, forklift trucks (including one of 50 tonne capacity), Rubber Tyre Gantry (RTG) cranes and terminal tractors, hoppers, and cargo grabs.

On the marine side the port is equipped with harbour tugs, cargo barges (3,500t capacity a 600t capacity cargo lighter, pontoons for cargo transfer, a mooring boat

The port is also equipped with a weigbridge for imports and exports.

Latest performance

Figures for the 2021/2022 financial year indicate that Tanga handled 986,000 tonnes of cargo, and improvement of its target for the year of 714,800 tonnes.

According to the port manager’s report, vessel calls at Tanga have increased from 139 in the year 2017/18 to 198 in 2020/21 – the latest available year for these figures.

In that same period passenger numbers using Tanga increased from 45,820 to 95,973.

Commodities exported from the port include black tea, coffee, copper, macadamia, sisal, sunflower products and timber.

Imports include ammonium nitrate, clinker, machinery & machinery parts, pet-coke, raw materials, trucks, and water pipes.

Port Manager Mrisha said that due to Tanga’s proximity to the Northern Tourism Circuit, which includes Saadani National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti and Kilimanjaro National Park, he believed the port has the potential to grow cruise tourism calls.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 13 June 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: Japanese tuna longline fishing vessel SHOFUKU MARU No.1

Shofuku Maru No.1 in Cape Town harbour, 29 May 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Story by Jay Gates

Just over one hundred years ago, during the course of the first world war, casual maritime observers in South African ports would have seen the occasional arrival of merchant vessels that were not in the colours of their parent companies, nor in a bland navy grey colour, but painted all over in garish and confusing arrays of stripes, whirls, colours and shapes. It was not called, or known as, camouflage paint, but rather it was called dazzle paint.

The greatest danger that any allied vessel in the First World War had to contend with, was the danger coming from the new, and deadly, German Navy submarine forces. The point of dazzle paintwork was not to disguise the vessel, or hide it from view, but it was to break up its shape in such a way that any submarine commander viewing the vessel through a periscope lens would be unable to determine the direction it was travelling in, the speed it was moving at, the course it was taking, and even what type of vessel it was.

RMS Walmer Castle in Dazzle paint. 1917. Picture: BCstaffBCstaff

In the case of the South African maritime world, the vast majority of merchant vessels spotted that were dazzle painted were those of the great Union-Castle Line. At the outbreak of the war, and as the conflict continued, the British Government used what was known as the Liner Requisition Scheme to take over passenger liners and utilise them as troop ships to move troops from around the British Empire, to the war fronts of Europe and the Mediterranean.

The Union-Castle Line had no less than twenty of their many vessels taken over under the Liner Requisition Scheme, to act in the capacity of troop ships, mainly to move South African Union Troops from South Africa to Europe, but also to act as cross-channel shuttle troopships between England and France. One of the Union-Castle liners to receive dazzle paint was ‘RMS Walmer Castle’, and she was photographed in her dazzle scheme arriving in Cape Town in 1918.

Shofuku Maru No.1 Picture Usufuku

Dazzle was used again in the Second World War, but in this modern day and age, it is no longer applied. So imagine the surprise of some modern casual maritime observers who spotted what looked like a vessel entering Cape Town harbour, and with a hull scheme very reminiscent of dazzle paint.

On 28th May, at 08h00 in the morning, the Japanese tuna longline fishing vessel ‘Shofuku Maru No.1’ (IMO 9896660) arrived off Cape Town after a long voyage from her home port of Kesennuma in Northern Japan. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and went alongside H berth. Unlike the usual, run of the mill, Japanese tuna longliner, her hull colour scheme was an immediate attraction to all who laid eyes on her.

Built in 2020 by the Mirai Shipyard at Yoshida in Japan, ‘Shofuku Maru No.1’ is 59 metres in length and has a gross registered tonnage of 486 tons. There is scant information on her technical specifications, but her design is such that she was awarded the ‘Good Design Award’ by the Japanese Institute of Design Promotion. This award, in not necessarily due to her colourful hull artwork, but also due to her interior outfitting.

Shofuku Mary No.1 Accommodation Deck.  Picture: No.10 Design

Most folk out there probably have a pretty fixed view of what they believe the inside of a tuna longliner is like. The perception is that of things being pretty basic, Spartan, and probably with very few domestic comforts for the crew to enjoy on their long voyages away from home. There may well be an element of truth to this view, as the crew turnover of young crewmembers in the Japanese tuna fleet runs at around 50%, which is not a positive number to speak of.

What appears to be an attempt at a modern version of dazzle paint is actually a result of bringing in outside, non-maritime, design people to outfit and complete the vessel. The thought process behind her design was that ‘Shofuku Maru No.1’ spends about ten months away at sea, and during this time, the crew has to work hard, and deal with mental and physical stress. It is this that is leading to the turnover rate among young fishermen of 50%.

Shofuku Maru No.1 Bridge. Picture No.10 Design

Therefore, the designers sought to design a fishing boat that would alleviate this stress as far as possible, whilst continuing to attract young people to a life at sea, and keep them there. For the exterior design, they wanted to use the ship’s inherently beautiful form. It was, therefore, decided to apply a linear pattern to emphasize the curved surface of the hull. The graphic pattern that they came up with evokes a subtle sense of Japanese ‘Wa’, which equates to harmony and peace.

This pattern is used in various ways, throughout the exterior, and the interior of ‘Shofuku Maru No.1’ such as on the pattern of all interior carpeting, to unify the feel of the exterior and interior. The result is certainly not one that you would expect to see if you had the standard, slightly ignorant, view of the accommodation of a Japanese tuna longliner might look like. Even the bridge is outfitted, and finished, in a manner more like that of a super yacht.

Shofuku Maru No.1 Mess Room. Picture No.10 Design

She is owned, operated, and managed by Usufuku Honten KK, of Kesennuma in Japan. The port city of Kesennuma was one of those harbour communities, that lie along the northeast coast of Japan, that were almost obliterated by the great Tsunami of 2011. The company operates with seven tuna longline vessels, all of which are named ‘Shofuku Maru’, followed by a number. The company has a long history of fishing, having started up as far back as 1882.

Issued with a fishing license by the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), ‘Shofuku Maru No.1’ is licensed until 31st July 2023. Her main operating area is the North Atlantic Ocean, to the southwest of Ireland, catching Bluefin Tuna. She is based out of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, and outside of the Bluefin Tuna season, she operates in the South Atlantic Ocean fishing for both Yellowfin Tuna and Bigeye Tuna.

Shofuku Maru No.1 pre launch. Picture: Mirai Shipyard

What is special about Usufuku Honten KK is that they are the only company who have been issued with a prestigious Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for the Eastern Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fishery. It was awarded in 2020, and it is only ‘Shofuku Maru No.1’ that is permitted to operate the MSC fishery. All 100% of her Bluefin Tuna catch is shipped back to Japan for sale in local markets, for use in Japanese Sushi and Sashimi restaurants and supermarkets. The certification took two years to achieve the standards required by MSC.

The Bluefin Tuna fishery was almost at a point of potential collapse over 20 years ago due to massive overfishing and IUU activity. Due to the hard work of both ICCAT and MSC, today it is said to be the in the best shape of all the Bluefin fisheries worldwide. To give you an example of how finely balanced the fishery still is, in 2020 ‘Shofuku Maru No.1’ caught only 292 Bluefin Tuna, a total of just 55 tons, all caught in the one month only that they were licensed to operate in the North Atlantic.

Shofuku Maru No.1 Picture: Nicholas Arocha – MarineTraffic

Between 1996 and 2008, it was estimated that overfishing of over 60,000 tons of Bluefin Tuna was taking place in the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in Bluefin Tuna being classified as ‘Endangered’, and resulted in ICCAT applying a strict programme of long term recovery, over a fifteen year period. As the end of the fifteen year period approached, the status of Bluefin Tuna had improved to that of ‘Near Threatened’.

Total catch limits had been lowered to only 28,000 tons in the Eastern Atlantic, and by 2021 the status of Bluefin Tuna had again improved to that of ‘Least Concern’. The total catch limit was increased to 36,000 tons annually. The success of the recovery of the fishery, due to ICCAT and MSC, has now resulted in ICCAT having now switched from a programme of Long Term Recovery, to one of Multi-Year Management.

HMS Tamar P233 River Class Patrol Vessel. Picture: Royal Navy

All vessels licensed by ICCAT have to carry onboard an ICCAT regional observer to monitor the catch, and bycatch. All Bluefin Tuna must be electronically tagged on capture, so that all fish are logged on an international database for checking when the catch is landed back in Japan. ICCAT has 48 member states, which includes South Africa as a contracting party.

With her crew of 23, the stay of ‘Shofuku Maru No.1’ in Cape Town was only for bunkers, stores and supplies. After less than 30 hours in the Mother City, she sailed from Cape Town at 1300 on 29th May, with her AIS stating only that her next destination was ‘Fishing Grounds’. At this time of year it will be the Equatorial South Atlantic region where she will target Yellowfin Tuna and Bigeye Tuna. No doubt her modern hull dazzle paint pattern will continue to turn heads whenever she is spotted out at sea, and wherever she turns up in foreign ports.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 12 June 2023


News continues below

Maersk discusses ‘Logistics 4.0: Accelerating Africa’s Digital Revolution’ at the Africa CEO Forum

Darryl Judd, Regional Head for Integration and Business Growth, Maersk Indian Subcontinent, Middle East and Africa (IMEA), addressing some of the top CEOs from Africa

A.P. Moller–Maersk last week (6 June) discussed and presented papers on ‘Logistics 4.0: Accelerating Africa’s Digital Revolution’ at a closed-door session in Abidjan with some of the top CEOs from Africa.

Held on the sidelines of the Africa CEO Forum, the discussion was led by Darryl Judd, Regional Head for Integration and Business Growth, Maersk Indian Subcontinent, Middle East and Africa (IMEA) and supported by the regional leadership team in IMEA.

The meeting heard that modern technology and digital solutions have the means to tackle the emerging challenges and inefficiencies in logistics and supply chains.

Digital Supply Chains to Improve Global Competitiveness

To participate in global trade, it is extremely important to be competitive at all levels – be it in terms of costs or ease of doing business.

Several complexities in the African supply chains have limited the Logistics Performance

However, a lot of these complexities can be overcome with the use of technology and digital solutions.

“Digitalisation is crucial in reducing logistics cost and supply chain complexities, which will in turn improve the Logistics Performance Index in Africa. Enhanced visibility, streamlined procurement processes and data-driven decision-making will drive competitiveness in Africa’s logistics, said Judd.

Africa’s Digital Potential

Africa contributes USD 2.7 trillion to the global economy from the 54 countries that are a part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

However, intra-Africa trade only corresponds to 14% of the total trade owing to high tariff and non-tariff trade costs.

For example, agriculture contributes to 15% of Africa’s GDP and 60% of Africa’s employment.

The use of mobile apps, digital payments and an increase in e-commerce are levers that can improve intra-Africa trade from agricultural produce and substitute imports.

Digital solutions

Across ocean shipping, landside transportation and e-commerce, there are various solutions in the digitalisation space that have the potential to drive greater efficiency, connectivity and trade facilitation.

“At Maersk, we are determined to leverage the data available to us by processing it in a way that we can create meaningful recommendations for our customers to mitigate disruptions, save costs and enhance their experience,” commented Darryl Judd.

He added, “Our multiple digital solutions have already created value in our customers’ supply chains. The next phase in our digital journey will revolve around machine learning and artificial intelligence.” source A.P.Moller-Maersk

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 12 June 2023


News continues below

Bonn climate conference: IMO shipping decarbonization latest

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has updated the UN Bonn Climate Change Conference held from 5 to 15 June on the Organization’s work towards adopting a revised Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from shipping.


The upgraded strategy is set to be adopted at the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80), which meets from 3 to 7 July following a meeting of the Intersessional GHG Working Group to be convened from 26 to June.

In a statement to the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body and for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), IMO’s Camille Bourgeon highlighted the mandatory energy efficiency regulations already adopted by IMO and continuing work to ensure that international shipping bears its fair share of responsibility in addressing climate change.


As it continues to look at how to incentivise the availability and scalability of sustainable low-and zero-carbon marine fuels and technologies in the near future, IMO will continue to support developing countries.

In particular these will be Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries and IMO has the view to ensuring a just and equitable transition to low-carbon shipping and to seize development opportunities arising from the decarbonisation of the maritime sector.

Safe handling of future marine fuels

IMO is also accelerating its efforts in developing the necessary safety regulatory framework allowing the safe handling of future marine fuels on board ships.

For further information

To download full IMO Submission to SBSTA 58 readers are invited to CLICK HERE

To learn more about IMO’s GHG work SEE HERE

And to read more on IMO and the UNFCC GO HERE

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 12 June 2023


News continues below

Fikile Mbalula flipped a Sunday ‘ace’ card in the Karpowership poker saga, but does he have a winning hand?

The Osman Khan Karpowership floating power station   Karpowership

By Tony Carnie

Unperturbed by the concerns of the national harbour authority planners, former Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula signed a special directive ordering Transnet chief executive Pepi Silinga to make way for the Turks and their 49% local power partners for the next two decades.

In his last noteworthy act as the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula interrupted his weekend to sign a crucial document to ensure that the Turkish-owned Karpowership group gets unfettered rights to park gas ships in three major harbours for 20 years.

Mbalula (now the ANC Secretary-General) signed the document on Sunday, 26 February 2023 – barely a week before he left his ministerial position following Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet reshuffle and just nine days before the national department of Environmental Affairs issued a series of decisions which placed the multibillion-rand Karpowership environmental approval process in jeopardy.

Perhaps more significantly, Mbalula signed the special directive just days after the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) reiterated strong concerns that the Turkish powership project was in “direct conflict” with its own development plans for the Coega harbour.

Fikile Mbalula

This is because Karpowership wants to anchor three large power generation and gas supply ships in the same limited harbour space that Transnet has earmarked for a new general cargo berth and liquid bulk berths (A100) in the Ngqura industrial development zone.

However – Karpowership directives can only be issued by the Transport Minister to “safeguard national security” or to “promote the national, strategic or economic interests” of the country.

Though Mbalula signed the document more than three months ago, a copy of the directive only came to light in the last few weeks (31 May 2023) during a legal appeal process by Karpowership.

Karpowership legal representative Adam Gunn says in his appeal papers that in addition to Mbalula’s special directive, the powership project has also been classified as a Strategic Integrated Project (SIP).

Pepi Silinga, CEO of Transnet National Ports Authority

So, while there might have been “potential discrepancies” between the Karpowership and Transnet plans, Gunn argues that the Turkish plan should take precedence because “SIP projects are of national importance”.

He states that: “The Karpowership SA project team has been in active engagement with TNPA since being awarded Preferred Bidder status on 18 March 2021 … Various streams, dealing with technical, commercial, legal and environmental matters, have been put in place between TNPA and Karpowership.

“Such engagements have been at a port level with TNPA representatives as well as on National level to ensure overall alignment with TNPA’s requirements.”

During these engagements it was agreed that Karpowership could park its ships in Ngqura for between five to seven years – but then relocate its vessels to a new (unspecified location) “when and if the Port initiates a process to start developing the A100 berth”.

But statements by Transnet and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs (DFFE) appear to contradict Gunn’s version.

For example, Transnet indicated on 13 December 2022 that it already had environmental approval to build new berths at Ngqura and “it must be registered that the Port development will take precedence over the (Karpowership) proposed operation”.

Powership plan was in ‘direct conflict’ with Transnet development plans

Transnet reiterated its concerns in a letter to the DFFE on 6 February 2023 that the powership plan was in “direct conflict” with Transnet development plans.

But just two weeks after Transnet’s letter was sent, Mbalula appears to have intervened and played his “ace card” – a special directive that effectively quashes any further dissent from the state-owned harbour entity.

According to Gunn, this directive is “binding and indissoluble”, and will permit the “unencumbered development of the Karpowership projects”. And, he said, it provides “a clear indication of the South African Government’s commitment to resolving the current energy crisis and support for the Karpowership projects that they are indeed to take place in the Ports and specifically in the Port of Ngqura”.

Gunn further suggests that “amicable discussions” are still under way between Transnet and Karpowership and he hints that a letter from TNPA chief Silinga could emerge shortly “confirming the amicable agreement for the citing [sic] of the Powerships”.

But questions are emerging now on whether Mbalula’s exercise of his extraordinary powers can be considered rational or reasonable in the context of “safeguarding national security” or promoting “the national, strategic or economic interests” of the country.

Dr Gary Koekemoer, a resident of Gqeberha [Port Elizabeth] and chairperson of the Algoa Bay branch of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) said:

“It seems very obvious that as he was walking out the door, he [Mbalula] signs this directive and leaves it to his successor [new Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga] to resolve the consequences.”

Koekemoer suggests that there are significant ramifications for Transnet related to the planning and relocation of other commercial operations around Gqeberha.

“We find it irregular that the Minister has simply issued the directive, seemingly without considering other developments taking place in the port. How can you develop the port when there are now three large ships in the way?”

Karpowership in Nacala harbour, Mozambique, where the floating power station has been providing electric power to the region for some years.   Karpowership

Wessa had also submitted formal applications in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and the Promotion of Access to Information Act to access the full range of correspondence exchanged between Transnet, Karpowership, its environmental consultants (Triplo4) and other branches of government before critical decisions were taken to issue the Section 79 directive.

Wessa was also concerned that Karpowership and its consultants used the extended environmental impact assessment process to progressively finesse its applications.

“How many bites at the cherry will Karpowership be allowed?” he asked.

Several civil society groups raised similar concerns in a statement last week.

The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, groundWork, The Green Connection, Natural Justice, and the Centre for Environmental Rights suggested the South African public should be wary of a deal that was punted as a silver bullet to ease rolling blackouts.

“[We] question government’s ongoing and unwavering support of Karpowership, because even though the company failed to meet so many crucial deadlines, government is still willing to bend over backwards to accommodate this Turkish-based company.

“Having a R200-billion investment sail away in 20 years is not a legacy for the youth of South Africa.

“South Africans need to stand up and question why these powerships are being touted above all other options when it will not even address our energy crisis? The who, why and how needs to be publicly aired. Having a R200-billion investment sail away in 20 years is not a legacy for the youth of South Africa,” suggested groundWork spokesperson Yegeshni Moodley.

Responding to queries from Daily Maverick on 16 May, Transnet said it would be “premature” to express its views on Mbalula’s directive at this point.

“The port development plan aimed at accommodating additional and much-needed liquid bulk handling facilities at the Port of Ngqura’s A100 location will continue as planned, in support of the regional industrial sector. TNPA will continue to work with port stakeholders to ensure fairness and transparency in finding workable solutions.”

The national Transport department did not respond directly to our queries about the documented conflicts, but issued a media statement on 18 May declaring that the Minister of Transport was empowered to “approve applications of this nature”.

“The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) was consulted and supported the approval of the application. It is for this reason that the Minister gave the TNPA latitude to make necessary decisions in implementing this Directive, such as considering the safety measures and operationability of this Directive.”

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

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 12 June 2023


News continues below

Leveraging logistics to unleash Africa’s vast economic potential


By Amadou Diallo

CEO of DHL Global Forwarding
Middle East and Africa

Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the African Union (AU), Africa Day 2023 offered a timely opportunity to reflect on our dynamic continent’s progress and potential for growth.

Despite the challenges of inflation and supply chain issues, trade has emerged as a significant driver for global economic growth and recovery. Africa is no exception to this trend. In fact, the DHL Trade Growth Atlas 2022 projects that Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will have the third-fastest trade growth among major world regions through 2026.

However, while Africa’s economic resurgence is not new, it has not yet fully capitalised on its immense potential. The Economic Development in Africa Report 2022, compiled by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), clarifies the underlying reasons for this perceived shortfall.

According to the report, the lack of export diversification has been a major obstacle to trade growth in Africa for the past 20 years. During this period, Africa was the second least export-diversified trade region globally.

Thankfully, encouraging developments provide compelling evidence of unique opportunities awaiting numerous business sectors, giving rise to optimism.

Amadou Diallo CEO DHL Global Forwarding

So, what changed?

Policymakers are moving beyond paying mere lip service and actively implementing policies that boost Africa’s interconnectedness – improving import and export processes and general infrastructure. Moreover, they are rapidly embracing technological advancements, paving the way for increased opportunities in mobility and connectivity.

With nearly two-thirds (60%) of Africa’s 1.4 billion population under 25, there is a significant surge in demand for goods and services. Moreover, the accessibility of mobile money has reached unprecedented levels, further amplifying the ingredients for growth.

The business world has recognised these favourable conditions and is making significant investments in the region. Volkswagen (VW), for example, has expanded its operations in Africa by establishing assembly lines in Ghana and manufacturing hubs in Rwanda, complementing its existing production facilities in Morocco and South Africa.

Businesses’ growing confidence in the region is also evidenced by the record $3.5 billion in venture capital investment secured by African startups during the first half of 2022.

The region has also established over 200 special economic zones (SEZs), further contributing to growing foreign direct investment (FDI). The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has also firmly secured long-term prospects, fostering increased trade and economic cooperation among African nations.

Leveraging the transformative power of logistics

Logistics is a vital catalyst driving the expected surge in trade across Africa, playing a pivotal role in connecting nations, facilitating trade, and propelling economic growth.

Logistics companies like DHL Global Forwarding (DGF) – the only one with air services to all 51 African nations – are ideally placed to fast-track the continent’s GDP and trade growth.

By collaborating closely with African entrepreneurs of all sizes – from tea and coffee makers in Tanzania to fashion designers in Nigeria, DGF helps businesses access near-limitless opportunities by tapping into global markets and expanding their cross-border trade.

Recently we unveiled a transhipment hub in South Africa, comprising a 10,000 m2 warehouse and adjacent offices. The facility offers transport, logistics, warehouse solutions and international freight expertise for various industries to accelerate supply chain transformation.

The correlation between exports and an economic upturn

Despite witnessing the fastest growth in the past decade, African exports of goods and services still account for only three per cent of global trade.

DHL at Coega Development Corporation Park, South Africa

To drive meaningful export diversification, UNCTAD recommends deploying policies that ensure inclusive access to innovative financing technologies for all businesses.

The introduction of a new trade policy framework will be instrumental in expanding and diversifying access to export markets while strengthening intra-regional trade. AfCFTA holds immense potential in reducing customs barriers among African countries, ultimately accelerating much-needed socio-economic growth.

Additionally, developing multimodal corridors across the continent will unlock the benefits of this trade agreement, improving trade connectivity and facilitating efficient transportation of goods.

Challenges as an enabler of success

Over the past three years, the Ukrainian conflict and China’s travel restrictions have motivated African countries to strive for self-reliance. For instance, limitations on agricultural imports such as rice from India have compelled African nations to prioritise domestic production to meet their own demands.

On the other hand, gas shortages in the EU have prompted a shift towards Africa for assistance. As a result, Senegal and Mauritania have witnessed a tenfold increase in gas production to meet the EU’s tripled gas demand, presenting opportunities for higher returns.

Furthermore, the increased demand for cheap electricity has led manufacturers who previously relied on China to turn to Africa to alleviate risk.

The continent’s future is in seamless trade

Undoubtedly, fostering intra-African trade holds the key to stability and prosperity across the continent.

The logistics sector is pivotal in unlocking Africa’s vast resources and enabling smooth trade both within and beyond its borders. Its capabilities are crucial in establishing robust trade networks, allowing Africa to tap into its economic potential.

This time, the prospects for progress and prosperity are tangible, and by harnessing the infinite capabilities of logistics, Africa can finally realise its tremendous economic potential.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 12 June 2023


News continues below

D-G welcomes WTO fishing subsidies agreement

On World Oceans Day, DG Okonjo-Iweala welcomes EU acceptance of fishing subsidies agreement

Edited by Paul Ridgway

In week commencing 4 June the European Union deposited its instrument of acceptance of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, marking a major development towards the Agreement’s entry into force.

OECD gathering

The EU’s instrument of acceptance was presented to World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Paris. This was on the side lines of the OECD Council Meeting by Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell of Sweden.

Currently Sweden holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU. Also involved were European Commission Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis; and European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius.

World Oceans Day

On World Oceans Day, 8 June, D-G Okonjo-Iweala welcomed EU acceptance of fishing subsidies agreement

“I warmly welcome the EU’s formal acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies,” Okonjo-Iweala said, speaking in Paris on 8 June, World Oceans Day.

“The EU’s acceptance represents the eighth instrument deposited with me, and as we know the EU has 27 member states, all of which are WTO members. With this ratification, we are nearly one-third of the way toward the entry into force of this crucial agreement for our shared ocean.

“I commend the EU’s support for efforts to restore global marine fisheries to health and long-term sustainability.

“On this day when the international community comes together to celebrate and protect our ocean, I urge more WTO members to ratify the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies so it can enter into force, and start delivering sustainable benefits for marine fisheries, as soon as possible.”

She also called on all WTO members to continue and deepen their engagement in the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations. This was so that a successful conclusion can be reached at the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference next February in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Forssell (Sweden) added that it was truly an historic day.

“After all these years, we have finally been able to end the subsidies for harmful fisheries. So it’s a big day for us and it’s also a big step forward for a better environment and for a better future.”

Needs of LDCs

Adopted by consensus at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in Geneva from 12 to 17 June 2022, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies sets new binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks.

In addition, the Agreement recognizes the needs of developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) and establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.

Prohibition of IUU fishing

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

It is understood that acceptances from two-thirds of WTO members are needed for the Agreement to come into effect.

Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to making recommendations by MC13, to be held in February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.

For further information

The full text of the Agreement can be ACCESSED HERE

The list of members (of which Seychelles is one) that have submitted their acceptance of the Agreement is:

European Union (27 countries)
United Arab Emirates
United States

Information for members on how to accept the Protocol of Amendment is Available here

YouTube Video on the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement [1:33]

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 12 June 2023


News continues below

MOL fleet recognised for observation and reporting to Japan’s meteorological service

LNG Venus, award from Meteorological agency. Picture: MOL

The LNG carrier, LNG VENUS (IMO 9645736) earlier this month received the Director-General Award from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). This award is for the vessel’s significant contribution to development of meteorological service by observation and reporting of weather and sea conditions.

The award is presented on 1 June every year to maritime observers. MOL Group-managed vessels have received these awards on this anniversary for eight consecutive years since 2016.

Since it is difficult to collect meteorological observation data at sea, JMA and other meteorological institutes all over the world generate meteorological data such as weather maps based on data from vessels underway.

This meteorological data not only helps provide daily weather forecasts and marine weather forecasts, but is also used to monitor and research global warming and climate change.

MOL said it will continue to provide observation data of weather and sea conditions and contribute to maritime safety and global environmental conservation.

Meteorological Memorial Day

This year marks the 148th anniversary of the observance, dating from the start of operations at the Tokyo Meteorological Observatory, the predecessor of the JMA.

A commemorative ceremony is held each year to honour individuals and organisations that have made significant contributions to meteorological services.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 12 June 2023


News continues below

MOL trials Starlink Satellite Communication service at sea

MOL tests Starink satellite communication system on a ship at sea. Picture (MOL) above for illustrative purposes only

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) said last week that it has conducted a sea trial for Starlink, a satellite communication service operated by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (Space X). This was provided through Marlink AS (Norway), on a MOL-operated ocean-going vessel.

Starlink uses low-earth orbit satellites to provide high-speed, low-latency connectivity. The use of Starlink onboard vessels will enhance safe operations by allowing real-time, ship-to-shore sharing of systems and data.

It will also provide seafarers with access to high-speed communication during their off-duty hours onboard. This is expected to dramatically improve seafarers’ morale and well-being.

50 Times Faster

The trial was conducted onboard a MOL-operated ocean-going vessel and confirmed drastic improvement of up to 50 times in communication speed compared to conventional systems.

In the future, MOL will conduct continuous trials on multiple vessels, and based on the results of the trials, MOL will develop and publicise a vision for the future of shipboard operations and lifestyles.

These will be realised by improving the onboard communication environment, while continuing to promote the adoption of such systems on MOL Group-operated vessels.

“Seafarers’ work requires to spend time far from home, and it is extremely important to have improved Internet connectivity onboard so that we can connect with family and friends in real time via video calls, even while we are at sea,” said a crewmember. (Click on the image above to view a video of the Starlink system installed onboard and comments from the crewmember.)

MOL said it will improve the quality of onboard life for seafarers and further pursue the digital transformation by utilising satellite communication services that offer high-speed, low-latency connections at sea, where the communication environment is significantly inferior to that on land.

Watch a YouTube video [2:32] and comments from several crew

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 12 June 2023



in partnership with – APO

More News at



“Think left and think right and then think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”
– Dr Seuss


News continues below………

More Earlier News at



Request a Rate Card from


Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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

News continues below


QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

Naval News

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




For a Rate Card please contact us at

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

Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.
Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.P O BOX 809, CAPE TOWN, 8000, SOUTH AFRICA