Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 5 August 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 31 July 2023.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return.    Pages viewed in the previous week Sunday to Saturday: 68,737 

FIRST VIEW:  Port of Ngqura


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  – 21 years or reporting from Africa (est. 2002).  



FIRST VIEW:  Port of Ngqura

Ngqura Container Terminal.   TPT

The Container Terminal at the Eastern Cape Port of Ngqura. Transnet recently announced that a way forward for this terminal involving a private sector partnership could be expected “in due course”. This  follows the announcement that the Philippine-based container terminal operator ICTSI has been selected as the equity partner for the flagship Durban Container Terminal Pier 2.

The Port of Ngqura, which was developed in the mouth of the Coega River in Algoa Bay, began commercial ship operations involving containers in October 2009. The port lies some 20km northeast of the Port of Port Elizabeth. Up until the present time the container terminal has been operated solely by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) who, it is presumed, will in future partner with a private sector operator on a similar basis to that announced for Durban.

Developed as a deepwater port, Ngqura will also handle manganese currently exported through Port Elizabeth as well as liquid bulk products, taking on the functions handled at the Port Elizabeth oil products terminal.

Ngqura is South Africa’s 8th and latest commercial port development, a position it will retain until the proposed 9th port at Boegoebaai on the northern west coast comes into existence.


Tickets are now available for the ‘SA Amandla’ Open Day taking place on Saturday 19 August in Cape Town

Bookings via Quicket

Session 1: 09h00 – 10h30 – BOOK HERE

Session 2: 11h00 – 12h30 – BOOK HERE

Session 3: 13h00 – 14h30 – BOOK HERE

Session 4: 15h00 – 16h30 – BOOK HERE


News continues below

Malawi to build a dry port at Nacala

Port of Nacala, Mozambique.   Picture: CDN

Africa Ports & Ships

Malawi has received the go-ahead from its neighbour Mozambique to develop a dry port adjacent to the Mozambique port of Nacala.

The intention is to improve logistics between the port and Malawi by way of speeding up customs clearance matters.

As a result it is believed that transport logistics will become more flexible, especially where it concerns the importation of fertilisers and fuel.

The planned dry port will include railway connections with the main port to the Nacala-Malawi railway, fuel storage facilities, warehousing, cargo handling equipment, and possibly oil pipelines.

Not yet decided is the modus operandi for the dry port. Two options are under consideration. One a public-private partnership, and the other is for a state-owned entity to manage and operate the port.

Despite having a rail connection with the port of Nacala, Malawi has also made use of the port of Beira and increasingly, the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam – the latter partly a result of congestion and inefficiencies at the ports of Beira and Nacala.

A challenge at Nacala has been that it lacks available fuel storage tanks for Malawian use, with Petromoc reportedly having the only such facility.

Petromoc is the Mozambique state-owned distributor of petroleum products.

By having its own dry port this shortage can be adequately catered for. Augusta Energy, a Geneva-based company, has been appointed to handle an annual 196 million litres of fuel via the port at Nacala while the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA), stated previously it will take care of the transportation of fuels by rail to the landlocked country.

The greater use of Nacala as the port of import (and export) appears the most logical answer to Malawi’s logistical requirements, but relations between Malawi and Mozambique haven’t always been conducive to sensible solutions. A dispute over the use of river transport some years ago didn’t help matters but in more recent years relationships have slowly improved.

The announcement of a dry port at Nacala is a further sign of the improving diplomatic and bilateral relations between the two countries and it seems a new chapter has been opened.

At the same time, the decision to make greater use of the Nacala Corridor, which includes a rail connection to Moatize in Mozambique’s Tete province for the export of coal from the bulk export port at Nacala-a-Velha, will further dampen thoughts of developing competing water-borne transport along the Shire-Zambezi rivers.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 4 August 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: AHTS offshore support vessel – STRATIS Z

The combined Anchor Handling, Tug, and Supply (AHTS) offshore support vessel Stratis Z in Durban harbour as Mermaid Vanquish, March 206 Picture: MarineTraffic / Zollinger

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The global shipping industry continues to provide a good all round income for the maritime support and service industries of South Africa, especially in Cape Town, and also in Durban. The arrival of these vessels for maintenance, drydocking, refits, surveys, and merely stores and bunkers, is great news for the sector, putting a lot of money into the local economy year round.

However, the African oil and gas industry attracts the most complex vessels to receive the kind of engineering support, and complex services, that both only South Africa, and Namibia, seem to able to provide for that industry across the whole continent. Every conceivable oil and gas vessel type arrives at some point or other, and occasionally there is one that looks familiar, and indeed has played a part in South African maritime history beyond merely arriving for a refit.

Back on 1st July, at 09h00 in the morning, the combined Anchor Handling, Tug, and Supply (AHTS) offshore support vessel STRATIS Z (IMO 9425576) arrived off Cape Town, from Port Gentil in the West African state of Gabon. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Ben Schoeman Dock, and went alongside berth 502, indicating that she was in for engineering support, or general maintenance, as this berth is usually a bespoke berth for vessels requiring such support from Dormac.

Stratis Z. Cape Town 28 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2007 by Fujian Southeast Shipbuilding at Fuzhou in China, ‘Stratis Z’ is 59 metres in length and has a deadweight of 1,385 tons. She is powered by two MaK-Caterpillar 3516B HD sixteen cylinder four stroke main engines producing 2,575 bhp (1,920 kW) each, giving her an overall power provision of 5,150 bhp (3,840 kW), and driving two Berg, Kort nozzled, controllable pitch propellers, linked to two Ulstein high lift, flap rudders, and providing a sea- speed of 13 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes two generators providing 252 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 42 kW. For added manoeuvrability ’Stratis Z’ has a bow transverse thruster providing 315 kW. She has a dynamic positioning classification of DP1.

For her offshore salvage role she has a firefighting classification of FiFi1, with two fire monitors capable of throwing a water and foam mix at 1,200 m3/hour, and with her fire pumps capable of operating as a deluge at 1,400 m3/hour.

Stratis Z. Cape Town 28 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For her offshore support role she has underdeck cargo tanks capable of holding 537 m3 of fuel oil, 360 m3 of potable water, 400 m3 of drill water, 370 m3 of drill mud, and 187 m3 of cement. Her aft working deck has an area of 340 m2, and a capacity of 800 tons, with the deck strengthened for 5 tons/m2.

For her offshore towing role she has a modest bollard pull of 65 tons, and is equipped with a towing drum winch holding 1000 m of 56 mm towing cable. She has onboard accommodation for up to 42 persons.

Designed as a Type KCH 5150 ATHS vessel, she is one of three sisterships. She is currently owned, and managed, by the Zouros Group, of Thessalonika in Greece, and she is operated by MCT incorporated, of Athens.

Stratis Z. Cape Town 28 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Whilst she was alongside at berth 502, she became one of the vessels that were made to shift berth by Transnet, as they went against their own procedures to allow the visit of the three ship flotilla of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) 43rd Escort Task Force (ETF), to be berthed in the V&A Waterfront, when they arrived in Cape Town on 24th July for a three day visit.

This required the ‘on standby’ AMSOL salvage tugs ‘S.A. Amandla’ and ‘Umkhuseli’ to have to vacate their berths on Jetty 2 in the V&A. Both vessels were told to shift to Berth 501, and Berth 502, in the Ben Schoeman Dock. This meant that ‘Stratis Z’ had to temporarily stop her refit, and vacate berth 502, and shift across into the Duncan Dock, and take up a berth on the Repair Quay, in order to continue her refit.

Once the PLAN 43RD ETF flotilla had sailed for China on 27th July, both of the AMSOL vessels were allowed to return to the V&A Waterfront, but ‘Stratis Z’ has since remained on the Repair Quay, and has not returned to Berth 502.

Her arrival in Cape Town from Port Gentil has been because ‘Stratis Z’ had been operating on behalf of oil and gas industry clients throughout West Africa, with that in the Gabon oilfields being over the past four months. In the last year she has also completed a four month contract for Chevron Angola, and operated out of Luanda, as well as Luba in Equatorial Guinea, and Douala in Cameroon.

Stratis Z. Cape Town 28 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Since her purchase by the Zouros Group in 2017, ‘Stratis Z’ has also been busy with general salvage work. On 21st January 2018 the general cargo vessel ‘Diana’, on a voyage from Dunkirk in France, to Haifa in Israel, ran aground just to the north of Haifa, when she dragged her anchor in a storm.

Despatched from Piraeus in Greece, ‘Stratis Z’ was part of the salvage effort to refloat ‘Diana’. This was achieved on 6th February, and ‘Diana’ was initially towed into the harbour at Haifa for repairs. Subsequently ‘Stratis Z’ was contracted to tow ‘Diana’ from Haifa, to Tuzla, in Turkey, for more permanent repairs to be undertaken.

In August 2019, ‘Stratis Z’ was contracted to tow redundant offshore AHTS vessels to Alang in India, where they were to be beached at the local scrapyards and converted into razorblades. Her manoeuvrability, and towing, capabilities meant that ‘Stratis Z’ was tasked to assist with getting a number of vessels up onto the beach for the Indian scrappers to begin their shipbreaking work.

Stratis Z. Cape Town 28 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Prior to her sale to the Zouros Group’ she was owned by a Singapore based, Australian offshore company, and named ‘Mermaid Vanquish’. This name may be a familiar one to the casual maritime observer, as she was stationed in South African for a two year period up to the time of her sale, and her subsequent departure from Durban, and local waters, in 2017.

Whilst in South African waters she operated mainly from Durban, and within the Durban to Port Elizabeth corridor, although she occasionally rounded the Cape, and called into Cape Town. Whilst here she undertook a number of salvage job, as well as carrying out a number of Subtech lead projects.

One of the salvage jobs she was called on to undertake from South Africa occurred in 2016. On 26th February of that year the gearless bulk carrier ‘New Mykonos’ had sailed from Richards Bay, bound for Visakhapatnam in India, fully loaded with 160,000 tons of coal. Built in 1997, and at 280 metres in length, she was a Capesize bulk carrier, and had a deadweight of 161,125 tons. On 29th February, a leap year, as she passed Faux Cap (False Cape), on the southern tip of Madagascar, she ran aground on a sandbank, when five nautical miles off the Cape.

Stratis Z as Crest Mermaid, arriving Cape Town September 2008,. Picture by VesselTracker

Smit Salvage were awarded a Lloyds Open Form (LOF) for the salvage of ‘New Mykonos’ and they sub-contracted ‘Stratis Z’ (Mermaid Vanquish) as part of a fleet of three salvage vessels to proceed to Madagascar to try and refloat the casualty. The operation began the process of removing 2,500 tons of bunker fuel from ‘New Mykonos’, and purging all of her hydraulic lines, prior to the attempt to refloat her.

However, by now ‘New Mykonos’ was hard aground, and in April her hull was breached by the sea, releasing some of her cargo of coal into the ocean. She continued to deteriorate, and on 8th May she broke in two, and sank in 25 metres of water, with just her tilted accommodation block, and funnel, remaining above the water line. The salvage effort was called off and ‘Stratis Z’ returned to Durban.

At present, it is not known how long ‘Stratis Z’ is expected to remain in Cape Town, and for her maintenance programme to be completed. It is assumed that once it is completed, that she will return to West Africa, possibly back to Port Gentil, to continue her AHTS, and Support, work in the local oil and gas industry somewhere within the offshore region oilfields.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 4 August 2023


News continues below

Video Special – The Legacy of Kotug

Kotug’s RT Magic and RT Spirit. Picture: Kotug

The Legacy of Kotug [39:00] (In Dutch with English sub-titles)

A tele-documentary on the legacy of KOTUG, Ton Kooren, the father of Tugnology and the brilliant mind behind KOTUG.

Witness the relentless pursuit of a dream that changed the tug business landscape forever. From humble beginnings to global recognition, this documentary shows the visionary determination, innovative spirit and the commitment to innovation and excellence.

Join us to unveil the remarkable journey of Ton Kooren!

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 4 August 2023

News continues below

Durban’s Cooper Lighthouse marks 70 years of service

Cooper Lighthouse, overlooking Durban’s Brighton Beach   Picture: TNPA

 Africa Ports & Ships

The Cooper Lighthouse on Durban’s Bluff celebrated 70 years of service on Monday, 31 July 2023. It is one of 44 operational lighthouses along the South African coast, and one of three lighthouses in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) that will celebrate service anniversaries this month.

Cooper Lighthouse was commissioned on 31 July 1953. It is situated overlooking Brighton Beach in Durban.

Cooper Lighthouse on Marine Drive, Bluff, Durban. Picture: Terry Hutson

The 21-metre cylindrical concrete tower is painted red with a white band, and has a red lantern house. The rotating lens systems produces one flash every 10 seconds. It is connected to the mains supply and has a standby diesel generator set. The lighthouse is fully automated and is not manned.

Scheduled maintenance is carried out by teams from Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in Durban.

Bluff Lighthouse 1866-1940

Cooper Lighthouse is one of the two lighthouses that were built to replace the Bluff Lighthouse – the well-known uMhlanga Rocks Lighthouse, situated right on the beach, is the other. Bluff Lighthouse was in operation from 1867 until 1940. It was demolished in 1941 to make way for the placement of heavy artillery guns for World War II.

The lighthouse was built of cast-iron but was encased in concrete in 1933 after a violent earth tremor.

Cooper Lighthouse is one of three KZN lighthouses that celebrated service anniversaries during July:

Cape Vidal Lighthouse near St Lucia was commissioned on 8 July 1985 and marked 38 years of service this year.
North Sand Bluff Lighthouse was commissioned on 17 July 1968 and marked 55 years of service this year.

Cape Vidal Lighthouse near St Lucia on the northern KZN coast.  Picture: TNPA

TNPA has a mandate by the National Ports Act, 2005 (Act No. 12 of 2005) to provide, operate and maintain lighthouses and other marine Aids to Navigation (AtoNs) to assist the navigation of vessels within commercial port limits and along the coast of South Africa.

Cape Vidal Lighthouse. Picture: TNPA

A marine AtoN is defined as: ‘A device, system or service, external to vessels, designed and operated to enhance safe and efficient navigation of individual vessels and/or vessel traffic.’

Lighthouses, beacons, and buoys are the most common types of visual AtoNs. Virtual AtoNs are new technology that use digital signals to warn of dangers in specific locations, without the need for physical buoys or lighthouses.

The digital signals are transmitted from Automatic Identification System (AIS) stations and are received by AIS units onboard vessels. Large vessels – such as container ships and passenger ships – are required to carry AIS in terms of IMO regulations, but smaller vessels are exempt.

North Sands Bluff Lighthouse on the KZN South Coast. Picture: TNPA

It stands to reason, therefore, that visual marine AtoNs cannot be done away with.

World Marine AtoN Day is observed annually on 1 July. It was established by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), to promote the role of marine AtoNs. IALA is the international body that sets the global standards, recommendations, and guidelines for marine AtoNs.

South Africa, represented by TNPA, is a founder member of IALA.

All TNPA AtoNs conform to IALA’s standards. source: TNPA Lighthouse Services

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 4 August 2023


News continues below

Mobile crane crashes off ship in Walvis Bay

Before.  Pictures: Facebook

In an unfortunate incident at the weekend in the Namibian port of Walvis Bay, a 100-ton mobile crane crashed overboard.

The incident occurred last Sunday afternoon, 30 July.

A local stevedoring company had responsibility for discharging the imported crane and was in the process lifting the mobile crane from the deck of the ship to place it on the quayside.





The mobile crane had been imported by an undisclosed Namibian company.

While attaching lifting equipment to the imported machine, something failed and the new machine crashed overboard onto the quayside.

Damage was extensive and will be the subject of an insurance claim.

From the pictures the machine appears to be a ‘write-off’. source: Informanté & Facebook

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 4 August 2023


News continues below

Fremantle Highway taken to Eemshaven port

Fremantle Highway taken to Eemshaven port Picture Rijkwaterstaat

The stricken vehicles carrier, Fremantle Highway, has been successfully towed into port at Eemshaven in The Netherlands.

Salvors and other specialists declared the fire to be out and with no danger of fuels leaking, permission was given to take the vessel into port, which was carried out earlier on Thursday morning.

The vessel’s upper hull shows the scars of the intense fire that lasted for days, possibly having started in one of the 498 electric cars among the cargo.

The total of over 3,700 cars on board included BMWs, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini brands. Dutch news agency ANP reported their value as likely to exceed 300 million euros ($328 million).

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 August 2023


News continues below


The MR2 products tanker Mulberry Express and its large, squat funnel, in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

It is always great to see a new vessel arrive at a South Africa port for the very first time, and especially so when the vessel has not yet reached the one year old mark. It is doubly great to see that the vessel comes from a well-established shipping company, and one that most folk probably don’t know is a company that still has one of its fleet resting in South African waters.

The company history is one of a great Eastern shipping magnate, who moved from mainland China, and over to Taiwan, with the Chinese Nationalists, after the Communists had taken over China in 1949. He went on to found two of Hong Kong’s greatest shipping companies, namely the Orient Overseas Lines, and Island Navigation Corporation. He was, of course, Tung Chao-Yung, better known as CY Tung.

As a youngster, my father was sent to Hong Kong in the late 1960s, and I went to the local British Primary School in Victoria. Our family apartment overlooked Hong Kong harbour, and I developed my lifelong interest in shipping watching shipping in that great Fragrant Harbour. It all began in 1967 when, one morning, I looked out of the window, and was taken with the sight of a beautiful vessel, that was lying below me on the buoys.

Oriental Jade. Pture: Worthpoint

I thought that she was simply stunning. She was a passenger vessel, with a tall funnel, and a counter stern. Her name was ‘Oriental Jade’, and she had a sistership, equally beautiful called ‘Oriental Pearl’. They were both from CY Tung’s Orient Overseas Line passenger fleet.

Oriental Pearl. Picture: SS Maritime

Sadly, CY Tung passed away in 1982, but his sons continued running the family shipping empire. Eventually, after the takeover of Hong Kong by the Chinese government, Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), as it became known, was sold off to become a part of the Chinese state owned shipping company COSCO. However, the charter and bulk shipping arm of the Tung dynasty, Island Navigation Corporation, remained in the hands of the Tung family, and today the company is being run by Alan Tung, the grandson of CY Tung.

On 27 July, at 22h00 in the late evening, the MR2 product tanker MULBERRY EXPRESS (IMO 9941910) arrived off Cape Town, from the Sitrah oil terminal in Bahrain, and entered Cape Town harbour. She proceeded into the Duncan Dock, going alongside in the Tanker Basin, where she began her discharge of fuel products.

Mulberry Express. Cape Town 28 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2022, entering service on 11th August of that year, which puts her at less than one year old, ‘Mulberry Express’ was built by K Shipbuilding at Jinhae in South Korea. If the name of K Shipbuilding is not ringing any bells, it is because they were previously known as STX Shipbuilding. At one point STX Shipbuilding was the fourth largest shipbuilder on earth, but they ran into financial difficulties, and went into receivership in 2017. They were purchased from the creditors in 2021 by a consortium of Asset Managers and Private Equity Firms, for a sum of US$220 million (ZAR4.02 billion), who renamed the company K Shipbuilding.

The company actually started in 1967 as Ssangyong Heavy Industries, before being branded as STX Shipbuilding in 2000. For some, that name will have evoked memories of strangely named, four wheel drive, vehicles running around South African roads and proclaiming ‘Ssangyong – Powered by Mercedes Benz’ on their rear windscreen. Well, now you know the origin!

Mulberry Express. Cape Town 28 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As an MR2 product tanker, ‘Mulberry Express’ is 183 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 49,832 tons. She is powered by a HHI MAN-B&W 6G50ME-C9.6 six cylinder two stroke main engine producing 13,840 bhp (10,320 kW), driving a single fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

She is an Eco-Ship, built to a popular design by K Shipbuilding, and as well as being built with a Scrubber Unit fitted, hence the great size of her funnel, she is also fully compliant with the IMO Tier II Emission regulations. She has 12 cargo tanks, with a cargo carrying capacity of 52,526 m3. She has 12 Framo SD200 submerged pumps, one per tank, with each capable of pumping at a rate of 600 m3/hour.

Mulberry Express. Cape Town 28 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of four sisterships, ‘Mulberry Express’ is nominally owned by Mulberry Shipping Ltd., of Hong Kong, and operated by Island Navigation Corporation International Ltd., also of Hong Kong. She is managed by Zenith Gemi Işletmeciliği AŞ, of Istanbul. Her ownership is shown by the famous Island Navigation houseflag colours that she displays on her funnel, namely a five pointed gold star, on a Royal Blue background.

Some casual maritime observers may recognise those colours. Back in the early 1980s, when I was sailing on a regular Unicorn Lines coastal container run, we used to pass Cape Agulhas every week en route to, and from, Cape Town. As you approached Cape Agulhas from the east, one could not miss what appeared to be a bulk carrier, sitting on an even keel, and looking for all intents and purposes to be lying at anchor. That vessel was the ‘Oriental Pioneer’ (IMO 6701503), and she displayed the colours of the Island Navigation Corporation.

Oriental Pioneer. Picture: Ships Nostalgia

Built in 1967 by Sasebo Heavy Industries, at Sasebo in Japan, ‘Oriental Pioneer’ was 225 metres in length, and had a deadweight of 59,871 tons. In 22nd July 1974, she was on a voyage from Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) in Mozambique, to Rotterdam in Holland, and carrying a full cargo of 50,000 tons of Iron Ore.

As she approached Cape Agulhas from the east, during poor weather, her hull sprung a leak, and seawater ingress flooding into her holds caused her to begin listing. Her Captain, HR Chizen, made the decision to take ‘Oriental Pioneer’ into the shelter of Struisbaai, with a view to controlling the flooding of the holds. Before she reached the safety of shallow water, she hit MacLear Reef, just over one nautical mile from the shore, and where she went hard aground.

Oriental Pioneer. Overberg. July 1974

Despite the potential risk of oil pollution from her, the insurers expressed uncertainty regarding payments for any form of salvage, due to their concern that ‘Oriental Pioneer’ may have been run aground on purpose. This delay of appointing a salvage company gave time for the locals of the Overberg to carry out a time honoured, but illegal, tradition of any local shipwreck, and ‘Oriental Pioneer’ was plundered, and looted, of everything of any value, use, or worth.

Mulberry Express. Cape Town, 28 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She remained stuck upright, hard and fast on the reef. The salvage operation to save her was abandoned when her back broke, and it was clear that she was not coming off the reef. Over the years, she split in two with her accommodation tilting over, and falling into the sea, and her hull slowly disintegrated, with ‘Oriental Pioneer’ eventually succumbing to the relentless sea. Her cargo of Iron Ore still sits on the seabed, and her engine block is still visible, becoming awash during low tide. The wreck site is now a popular fishing and diving, spot.

As seems to be the case with most arriving tankers today, ‘Mulberry Express’ was also on a multi-port discharge itinerary, and on 1 August, at 08h00 in the morning, after a period of just over four days alongside discharging, she sailed from Cape Town, now bound for Port Elizabeth, where she is scheduled to arrive in the early hours of the morning of today, 3 August.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 August 2023


News continues below

Yemen: IMO enhances maritime security

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

At the time of writing a national workshop was taking place to improve maritime security decision-making, policy development and implementation in Yemen. The was reported by the IMO media service on 1 August.

The aim of the workshop, which uses the Whole of Government Approach to Maritime Security, was to support the development of a national maritime security committee, along with a national strategy and a risk register.

Broad participation

The event running from 30 July to 3 August, in the port city of Aden, brought together thirty-two participants from different government departments and agencies with an interest in maritime security. This gathering will highlight the importance of multi-agency collaboration and active participation and engagement of all stakeholders for the effective application of maritime security measures.

Regional security challenges

This is part of the programme of activities under the Regional Programme for Maritime Security in the Red Sea Area which was established last year to ensure adequate security and safety standards in a region that faces security challenges due to regional instability.

It is reported that the Red Sea Programme is funded by the European Union and jointly delivered by IMO, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INTERPOL and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Under this initiative, IMO aims to assist participating countries to enhance maritime security and safety in the Red Sea Area, in line with the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 August 2023


News continues below

Liberian Coast Guard rescues hijacked Chinese fishing vessel

The Shenghai-2 fishing vessel that was pirated in the Gulf of Guinea. Picture: Armed Forces of Liberia

by defenceWeb

The Liberian Coast Guard has rescued 23 crew from a Chinese fishing vessel that was hijacked off the country’s coastline.

The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) said in a statemen that the Sierra Leone Navy Joint Maritime Operation Centre received an alert on 23 July that the Shenghai-2 had been hijacked with six Chinese and 17 Sierra Leonean sailors on board. The fishing vessel Aliman was also attacked in the same area on 22 July.

In collaboration with Cote d’Ivoire, the Shenghai-2 was spotted crossing over to Liberia from Sierra Leone. A 28-hour operation was carried out on 23/24 July, with two Liberian Coast Guard boats sent to intercept the hijacked vessel, which was boarded. Although the pirates fired on Coast Guard personnel, three pirates escaped on a life raft and one was captured on board while several crew were rescued, leaving several pirates holding the remaining crew hostage.

After negotiations with the remaining pirates failed, the Coast Guard members broke into the vessel and freed the remaining crew. Four weapons were recovered. The vessel was secured and brought to port.

Following the attack, Sierra Leone said it is working with neighbouring states to step up the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. “We are looking at how to curb the menace in the region,” Sierra Leone’s Navy Chief Commodore Philip Juana told The Associated Press. He said officials will engage with counterparts in Liberia on future “operational strategy” against piracy.

The Gulf of Guinea has recorded at least three pirate attacks in recent months, including in April, when pirates targeted a Chinese-run oil tanker.

Written by defenceWeb and republished with permission. The original article can be found HERE

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 August 2023


News continues below

Hapag-Lloyd completes takeover of SM SAAM terminal and logistics business

Africa Ports & Ships

Hapag-Lloyd has completed its 100 % acquisition of SM SAAM’s terminal business and related logistics services, giving it terminal interests in North, Central and South America.

The takeover is based on an agreement announced in October 2022 and has been approved unconditionally by the relevant antitrust authorities of all countries involved in the process.

“We are very pleased about the successful completion of this transaction, which significantly increases our footprint in Latin America and underlines our commitment to the Latin American markets,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd AG.

“Looking ahead, we will focus on further developing the business and on continuing to offer the best quality to all of SAAM Terminals’ customers.”

Investing in terminal infrastructure is a key element of Hapag-Lloyd’s strategic agenda, and Latin America is one of its key markets.


The transaction includes interests in terminals in Iquique, Antofagasta, San Antonio, San Vicente and Corral (Chile), Port Everglades (United States / Florida), Mazatlán (Mexico), Buenavista (Colombia), Guayaquil (Ecuador) and Caldera (Costa Rica) as well as related logistics services.

The acquisition will further strengthen Hapag-Lloyd’s core liner shipping business and assist the carrier to build up a robust and attractive terminal portfolio.

The new entity will be led by its CEO, Mauricio Carrasco, who has been Managing Director for the Terminals Division within the SAAM Group since 2020. Mauricio Carrasco is an experienced senior executive with long-standing experience in Latin America and globally.

Rodolfo Díaz, former Senior Director Business Administration Region Latin America at Hapag-Lloyd, will join him as CFO.

Hapag-Lloyd continues to expand its involvement in the terminal sector and holds stakes in the Wilhelmshaven Container Terminal, the Container Terminal Altenwerder in Hamburg, the Italy-based Spinelli Group, the India-based J M Baxi Ports & Logistics Limited, Terminal TC3 in Tangier, and Terminal 2 in Damietta, Egypt, which is currently under construction.

See next story

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 August 2023


News continues below

SAAM to focus on expanding its towage business

SAAM tugs at work in the port at Suape. Picture: SAAM

Africa Ports & Ships

Chilean-based SAAM said in a statement on Tuesday that having transferred ten port terminals in Chile, the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador, as well as its bonded warehouses and logistics operations in Chile to Hapag-Lloyd (see story above), it will now focus on becoming a global leader in the towage industry while enhancing its airport logistics division.

The sale of SAAM’s port terminals and logistics operations for approximately US$ 995 million was signed at a ceremony in Santiago with senior executives of the German shipping and logistics company, Hapag-Lloyd.

“SAAM is beginning a new stage focused on two business areas where we see growth opportunities,” said Macario Valdés, Chief Executive Officer of SAAM.

“We will strengthen our towage business to grow in new markets and become a world leader. We also want to expand Aerosan’s regional presence.”

SAAM Towage all-electric tugs deployed in Vancouver.  Picture: SAAM

SAAM leads the towage industry in the Americas, with over 210 vessels operating at more than 90 ports in 13 countries. The sustained growth strategy the company has deployed in recent years has strengthened its position on the continent.

Aerosan provides air logistics services at eight airports in Chile, Colombia and Ecuador and has also expanded operations in Latin America through an acquisition plan.

“SAAM is consolidating its status as a solid, stable company with a robust capital structure, a unique operating model and a growth plan in attractive industries,”said Valdés.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 August 2023


News continues below

TNPA reaches out to schools in KZN and Eastern Cape

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port of Durban has handed over 30 desktop computers, 100 desks, and maritime study materials to four schools in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) and the Eastern Cape (EC) to improve the quality of education and aid in the digitalisation of learning and teaching.

The outreach forms part of TNPA’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme which seeks to provide tangible and long-term benefits for teachers and learners in rural areas and townships across the country by providing the necessary infrastructure and facilities in schools.


In light of this, the Port of Durban has handed over 30 new computers to Hillview Primary School, located in Reservoir Hills, to get their computer lab in full operation and introduce a new curriculum that includes Robotics and Machine Learning in 2024.

Most of the learners in the school reside in the surrounding informal settlements and will be using computers for the first time, learning basic computer skills, and sharpening their computer literacy.

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in our educational journey, one that is defined with innovation, technology, and limitless possibilities. We thank TNPA for extending their kindness to our school,” said Mr Sundar, Head of Department at Hillview Primary School.

Sitting in groups of four per desk has now become a thing of the past for learners of Zwelihle Secondary School, based in Umlazi, which has become a beneficiary of a generous contribution of 100 school desks from the port. The delivery of the desks has enabled learners to sit comfortably in pairs and allow for a conducive learning environment.

Port St Johns

The Port of Durban has also extended its reach to schools in the EC that border on KZN, by contributing to the development of fully kitted maritime studies classrooms at Toli Senior Secondary School and Port St John’s Senior Secondary School.

The schools have welcomed the delivery of study materials including data projector screens, LED screens, non-navigation charts, compasses and maritime textbooks.

“We are particularly excited that we were chosen as one of the beneficiaries of TNPA’s maritime studies support material project,” said Mr Mzoliso Siyo, principal of Port St John’s Secondary School.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, he said the project will help to provide teacher and learner support that will benefit the maritime studies programme in their school.

Maritime Careers Exhibition

“We are also grateful that TNPA has brought the maritime careers exhibition to the rural areas where there is limited knowledge of such careers. I am confident that this initiative will inspire and motivate students to pursue further studies in the maritime sector.”

Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana, Port Manager at the Port of Durban said the TNPA is committed to achieving socio-economic change in the communities that they operate in.

“It is important for us to invest in our learners and provide them with proper learning facilities and infrastructure,” she said, dding that they will have encouraged both the learners and teachers to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 August 2023


News continues below

SA records preliminary trade balance deficit of R3.5bn

Africa Ports & Ships

South Africa recorded a preliminary trade balance deficit of R3.5 billion in June 2023.

According to SARS (South African Revenue Service), the deficit is attributable to exports of R167.6 billion and imports of R171.1 billion, inclusive of trade with Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia (BELN).

“The year-to-date (1 January to 30 June 2023) preliminary trade balance surplus of R5.6 billion is a deterioration from the R129.6 billion trade balance surplus for the comparable period in 2022,” SARS said in a statement.

Year-on-year export flows for June 2023 were R167.6 billion, which were 8.3% lower compared to R182.9 billion for June 2022, whilst import flows were 6.5% higher, having increased from R160.7 billion in June 2022 to R171.1 billion in the current period.

“On a month-to-month basis, exports decreased by R15.8 billion (8.6%) from R183.4 billion to R167.6 billion between May and June 2023, whereas imports decreased by R2.7 billion (1.6%) from R173.9 billion to R171.1 billion over the same period.

“Export flows decreased in June, driven by iron ores and concentrates, vehicles for goods and vehicles for passengers.

“The value of imports decreased on the back of a decrease in importation of crude oils, telephone sets and unused postage stamps,” SARS said.

Due to ongoing vouchers of correction (VOC), the preliminary trade balance surplus of R10.2 billion announced for May 2023 was revised downwards by R600 million, with the final number at R9.6 billion.

Trade data, excluding BELN for June 2023, recorded a preliminary trade balance deficit of R14.7 billion, with export flows at R151.6 billion and import flows at R166.3 billion.

The preliminary cumulative trade balance deficit for 2023 was R54.4 billion compared to R72.6 billion trade balance surplus during 2022.

Between May and June 2023, exports decreased by R15.7 billion (9.4%), whilst imports decreased by R2.4 billion (1.4%) over the same period. source: SARS /

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 August 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: Type 054A guided missile frigate CNS SANYA (FFG574)

The Chinese Navy frigate CNS Sanya enters the V&A Waterfront harbour at Cape Town, 24 July 2023, for a three-day visit. Picture by ‘Dockrat

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The workhorse of any navy is undoubtedly that of the frigate. The majority of navies around the world have frigates as their greatest number of assets, within their combined fleets. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China is no different, and frigates have played, and continue to play, a major role in their force projection activities around the world.

As the twenty first century got underway, China made the decision to transition from being a coastal, and regional, naval force, into that of a truly bluewater force, able to present itself in any part of the globe that it chose. To do so meant increasing their frigate force to enable any PLAN Flotilla to have escorts capable of dealing with any situation that they might have to encounter, and to produce the requisite amount of muscle flexing, should it be required.

The outcome of this was that in 2008, the first of what is known as a Type 054 class of frigate was commissioned in to the PLAN. Based on the French Navy ‘La Fayette’ class of frigate, the Type 054 frigate has the NATO reporting designation of the ‘Jiangkai I’ class, with the enhanced Type 054A frigate being considered as a ‘Jiangkai II’ class.

CNS Sanya FFG574, Cape Town 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The enhancement of the Type 054A was based on her improved air defence armament, and gun armament. The class is critical to the operational needs of the PLAN, and provides the backbone to the PLAN, with a substantial fleet of 50 being ordered, and by the beginning of 2023 more than 30 of them have entered service.

They have been used by the PLAN as the major constant of the warship constituent to their Escort Task Force (ETF) flotillas that have been operating in the Gulf of Aden since 2008. There have been some ETF flotillas consisting of two Type 054A frigates, instead of one Type 052DL destroyer and one Type 054A frigate. The 7th ETF is one such example.

It was a Type 054A frigate, the Chinese Naval Ship (CNS) ‘Xuzhou’ (FFG530), as a part of the 7th ETF, that was the first ever PLAN vessel to enter the Mediterranean Sea in 2011, when the Chinese government detached it from ETF duties to assist with the evacuation of Chinese nationals from Libya. The 7th ETF also called into Durban, in April 2011, en route back to China, at the conclusion of their ETF duties.

On 24th July, the 43rd ETF arrived off Cape Town, under the command of a Rear Admiral, and consisting of the Type 062DL guided missile destroyer CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG16), the Type 054A guided missile frigate CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG574), and the Type 903 Replenishment Vessel CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887). All three vessels entered Cape Town harbour, with all proceeding into the Victoria Basin, and going alongside Jetty 2 at the V&A Waterfront. Space limitations on the Jetty meant that CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG574) had to double bank against CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887).

CNS Sanya FFG574, Cape Town 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard at Shanghai in China, CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG574) was launched in November 2012, and commissioned into the PLAN in December 2013. It is estimated that she cost US$348 million (ZAR6.22 billion) to build. On completion she was assigned to the South Seas Fleet, based at Zhanjiang in the southern Guangdong Province. All of the PLAN vessels of the 43rd ETF are elements taken from the South Seas Fleet.

With a length of 134 metres, ‘CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG574) has a displacement tonnage of 4,053 tons. Her propulsion is that of Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD) with four Shaanxi 16 PA6 STC main engines producing 7,600 bhp (5,700 kW) each, with a combined output of 30,400 bhp (22,800 kW), and driving two fixed pitch propellers for a maximum service speed of 27 knots.

The Shaanxi engines of CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG574) are Chinese versions, built under license, of the French, 16 cylinder, SEMT-Pielstick engines, with their builder, the Shaanxi Diesel Engine Heavy Industry Co. Ltd., being a subsidiary of the State owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). The licensed Shaanxi, and SEMT-Pielstick, engines are produced only for PLAN warships.

Her armament, for a frigate, is quick impressive. Her main armament is a PJ26 76mm Dual Purpose Gun, and she has two Type 730, 7 barreled, 30mm close in weapons systems (CIWS). She also has two, triple tube, launchers for the 324mm Yu-7 torpedo, and two Type 87, 6 barreled , 240mm YU-8 anti-submarine rocket (ASROC) launchers.

CNS Sanya FFG574, Cape Town 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her missile armament includes one 32 cell vertical launch system for the HQ-16 surface to air (SAM) missile, and two 4 cell box launchers for the C-803 surface to surface (SSM) anti-ship missile. She has two 18 tube, Type 726, decoy launchers. Her sonar capability is with a MGK-335 bow mounted passive/active sonar, and she has a H/5JG-206 towed sonar array.

She carries a Type 382 air defence radar, a Type 344 SSM fire control radar, four Type 345 SAM fire control radars, a Type 347G gun fire control radar, a Type MR-36A search radar, and two RACAL RM-1290 navigation radars. She has a helicopter deck, and a hangar, capable of operating either a Russian Kamov KA-28 ‘Helix’ anti-submarine helicopter, or a Harbin Z-9C helicopter, which is a Chinese, licensed built, version of the French Eurocopter AS565 ‘Panther’ helicopter.

CNS Sanya FFG574, Cape Town 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

This is not the first ETF operation that CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG574) has been deployed on. Her first ETF outing was with the 21st ETF in August 2015, which departed from her namesake naval port city of Sanya, in China’s southern Hainan Province. On conclusion of the 21st ETF, CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG574), and her sistership of 21st ETF, CNS ‘Liuzhou’ (FFG573), both proceeded to the Indian Naval port of Visakhapatnam, where they took part in the 2016 Indian Navy International Fleet Review. The Fleet Review attracted warships from 48 nations, including South Africa.

Although the PLAN undertook their first ETF to the Gulf of Aden in 2008, and currently the 44th ETF are conducting anti-piracy patrols in the region, there is some disquiet as to why the PLAN are continuing with the ETF programme. Seen against a backdrop of actual pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden, the Somali piracy threat has consistently faded over the last ten years, and it is thought that China’s EFT mission has run its course in deterring piracy in the region.

However, the PLAN has kept the anti-piracy effort, and full naval presence in the region, in high gear, and with no let up. This prolonged presence in the region has allowed the PLAN to conduct a wide variety of other naval operations that are not linked to anti-piracy requirements. The EFT has evolved well beyond the initial deterrent posture it was meant to project. It has now been nuanced into a full display of a bluewater naval power, which is what the PLAN have wanted to project for a long time.

CNS Sanya FFG574, Cape Town 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

These auxiliary shows of strength have included undertaking joint naval drills in the region with nations considered friendly to China, such as Russian and Iran. Making friendship port calls with virtually every nation in both the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf region. They have been able to sharpen their naval skills by involving themselves in interoperability exercises with western Navies conducting anti-piracy patrols, such as the NATO standing force, the EU Atalanta force, and the US Navy CTF-51 force.

The ETF missions have also allowed the PLAN to embark on ambitious ‘fly the flag’ visits, on conclusion of the missions, with ETF Flotillas being dispatched to provide ‘friendship’ visits to nations in the Mediterranean Sea, and by circumnavigating Africa, as with the current 43rd ETF. According to a PLAN spokesmen, China has sent a total of 131 warships, manned with over 30,000 persons, on 42 completed ETF missions.

One other reason for this extended presence in the region is that it allows for a bluewater force to remain within the Indian Ocean, and very close to the west coast of India, much to the chagrin of the Indian Naval authorities, and especially as the PLAN is also increasing its presence in the eastern Indian Ocean, using her new control of Hambantota port in Sri Lanka.

CNS Sanya FFG574, Cape Town 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Similarly, in 2017 China made a huge leap forward in her maritime projection when they opened up a large, military logistics, support base in nearby Djibouti. It is said that the base currently accommodates up to 2,000 Chinese Marines, and support staff. Whilst the PLAN spokesmen stated that the growth of the PLAN is ‘not based on hegemony, nor expansion of power’ it is quite clear that it is exactly what the PLAN presence in the region is all about.

As with her 43rd ETF consorts, CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG574) concluded her three day stay in Cape Town on 27th July, and all three vessels of the flotilla sailed out of the Mother City, heading back home to their naval base at Zhenjiang, in Southern China, after a voyage of over six months.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 August 2023


News continues below

The human rights of seafarers: New ITF guidance

Picture: ITF / Diego Lamsen de Guzman

Edited by Paul Ridgway

With 90% of goods transported by sea, companies rely on seafarers to keep their supply chains moving. Of this we are well aware. As human rights due diligence (HRDD) laws expand in scope and reach, many companies are falling behind on their responsibilities, it is reported.

New HRDD guidance from the ITF with title: ITF Human Rights due Diligence Guidelines: Respecting the human rights of seafarers in global supply chains, was launched at a forum with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) bringing together global companies with a combined turnover of £166 billion, international trade union bodies, labour rights organisations and non-governmental organisations.

Human rights violations occur daily at sea

“Gross human rights violations occur daily at sea, from unpaid or withheld wages, abandonment of vessels and seafarers required to work beyond contract – situations that may give rise to forced labour,” commented Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary.

“In 2022, ITF inspectors recovered US$36.6 million in owed wages. Between 2020 and 2022, the ITF reported 262 cases of abandonment to the International Labour Organization (ILO).”

Moral and legal obligation

Cotton said respecting the human rights of seafarers is both a moral and legal obligation for brands.

“The ITF Human Rights Due Diligence Guidance (HRDD) sets out how brands and other cargo owners can fulfil their obligations to seafarers through effective human rights due diligence.

“All companies have responsibilities and, increasingly, legal obligations to carry out human rights due diligence along their supply chains.”

Spotlight on human rights

Drawing on international labour and human rights law, including sector-specific standards like the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, this guidance puts the spotlight on seafarers’ human rights.

Stephen Cotton

The guidance is in continuation of the joint initiative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN Global Compact (UNGC), the IMO and the ILO, which set out a plan for how companies could respond to the crew change crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cotton added: “The ITF stands alone in being able to offer a worker-centred analysis of human rights abuses at sea, measured against international laws and standards.

“Working in cooperation with the ITF companies can collaborate on maritime HRDD, including developing and adopting risk mitigation processes, ongoing monitoring procedures and grievance mechanisms.

“We urge all companies who take the human and labour rights of workers in the maritime supply chain seriously to take the first step and contact the ITF today. We are ready to assist.”

Four steps to be taken

The new guidance sets out four steps brands can take to cooperate with the ITF on HRDD:

1. An introductory meeting to set out worker centred HRDD approaches in transport and logistics supply chains.

2. A confidential ITF Rights Check to identify risks and human rights abuses of seafarers on ships carrying cargo.

3. A dialogue with the ITF on risks and mitigation.

4. An ITF cooperation agreement to work together to prevent and remedy human rights abuses.

It is understood that working with the ITF, companies can improve the human rights of seafarers in their global supply chains, develop and adopt risk mitigation processes, and put in place ongoing monitoring procedures and grievance measures.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 August 2023


News continues below

Upgrade for Ethiopia – Djibouti main road

Africa Ports & Ships

According to media reports from the Horn of Africa, the main road between landlocked Ethiopia and the port and country of Djibouti is to receive a needed upgrade.

Apart from the rail service between the two countries, the main road carries much of the cargo to and from the Djibouti port. Djibouti handles about 95% of Ethiopia’s imports and exports.

The upgrade will take place under the recently approved Horn of Africa Initiative’s Regional Economic Corridor Project and is aligned to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The project is made possible with a US$ 730 million grant from the International Development Association.

The Mieso-Dire Dawa section of the road is in poor condition for the increasing number of trucks operating to and from the port. As a result truckers tend to use a longer route through Mille which adds 146 kilometres to the journey.


The Mieso-Dire Dawa section will be improved to a four-lane tarred expressway that will shorten journeys and enhance road safety while reducing pollution.

“Improved regional connectivity and trade are essential to unlocking Ethiopia’s economic potential,” said Ahmed Shide, Ethiopia’s minister of finance.

World Bank Group Country Director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan, Ousmane Dione described the Regional Economic Corridor project as a transformative initiative for Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region.

It is one of the priority operations being supported by the Bank in the Horn of Africa region, to help connect hinterlands to ports and markets and to increase opportunities for regional trade, he said.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 August 2023


News continues below

Bulk carrier Cooper Island and crew detained in Nigeria on drug charges

Cooper Island, detained at Tin Can Island. Picture by VesselJoin

Africa Ports & Ships

A Pacific Basin bulk carrier, COOPER ISLAND (IMO 9668190), has been detained at Tin Can Island port in Lagos and her crew of 20 arrested on charges of having smuggled 24 kg of cocaine into Nigeria.

The ship had arrived from Santos in Brazil when the arrests were made, after narcotics police, acting on information received, went on board to carry out a search.

The matter came before Justice Nicholas Oweibo in the Lagos High Court last Friday (28 July 2023), who ordered the vessel be detained by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) until 17 August 2023.

The cvrew were also ordered to be arrested and detained until the conclusion of investigations into the alleged crime. The crew have been placed on an effective house arrest by having to remain on board the vessel.

It turns out the ship was arrested on 6 July at Tin Can Island port, in the harbour of Lagos. The ship arrived in port with a cargo of sugar.

Under Nigerian Federal law the NDLEA ‘has the statutory powers to seize any property incidental to an arrest or search for an offence provided for under the NDLEA Act and place such property under seal pending the conclusion of investigation and or prosecution of the case.’

An order of the court is necessary to ‘prevent the escape of the Vessel and its Crew members during the investigation and/ or prosecution of the case.’

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 August 2023


News continues below

President Ruto calls for Mombasa port reform

Mombasa Container Terminal  Picture  KPA

Africa Ports & Ships

Kenya’s President William Ruto has called for reforms at the Port of Mombasa, which handles the large majority of Kenya’s imports and exports.

The port must become globally competitive, he said, promising that the government will work with partners (including presumably port management as well) to achieve this.

Without going into specifics about the reform he is calling for, Ruto referred to productivity as an issue.

“The productivity of this “port is directly linked to the state of our economy, improving efficiency will help us create jobs, boost export volumes and stimulate economic growth,” he said.

Ruto made his comments on Saturday 29 July 2023 while attending the Port Reforms Working Group Consultative Forum held at Berth 22 in the port.

Toyota Fortuner Assembly Line launched

President Ruto was guest of honour during the launch of the Toyota Fortuner Assembly Line in Mombasa where he gave assurances that the government was facilitating policies and measures conducive to the creation of an environment for the growth of manufacturing in Kenya.

“We need investments to create opportunities, uplift communities and strengthen the economy,” he said.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 August 2023


News continues below

Egypt’s new Ain Sokhna container terminal is handed over

The greater port of Sokhna, Egypt, under further development.  Picture Port of Sokhna

Africa Ports & Ships

Egypt’s newest container terminal, at Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea some 43 km south of the city of Suez, has been officially handed over to the operators, a consortium involving Hutchison Ports, COSCO and shipping line CMA CGM.

The consortium will manage and operate the terminal for a concession period of 30 years.

The deepwater port and terminal (-18 metres depth) has the potential of becoming Egypt’s biggest and busiest port once fully developed.

The new container terminal, which was handed over at the weekend, is one part of a two port agreement for the development of container terminals, at Ain Sokhna in the Gulf of Suez, and the second at Dekheila Port near Alexandria on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony on Saturday, Egypt’s Transport Minister Kamel el-Wazir said the Ain Sokhna terminal is set to become the largest in Egypt.

“After development, the terminal in Ain Sokhna Port will be the largest container terminal in Egypt, with a [quay] length of 2,600 metres, a total area of 1.6 million square metres, and a capacity of 3.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).”

Sokhna Port Container Terminal scene, Egypt, Red Sea.  Pic Port of Sokhna

el-Wazir described the development of the two terminals as helping to build a logistical corridor that links the Red Sea and the Mediterranean to serve global trade between East and West.

Egypt’s Port Said on the Mediterranean end of the Suez Canal is currently Egypt’s largest and busiest container port and the second busiest in Africa, behind Tanger Med and ahead of Durban. In 2021 Port Said handled 4.76 million TEU.

Egypt is currently engaged with a 10-year plan from 2014 to 2024 involving upgrades and new developments of road, rail, bridges, maritime transport, and port development.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 August 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: PLAN auxiliary replenishment ship – WEISHANHU AOE887

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)’s replenishment vessel WEISHANHU in Cape Town V&A Waterfront, 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Any naval flotilla that is operating far from home, and carrying out long, tedious, patrols is always going to come up against their endurance, in terms of fuel, required to keep them out at sea and doing the job they were sent out to do. An anti-piracy patrol is no good to anyone if the patrolling warships have to keep disappearing over the horizon, and head back to the nearest friendly port to get a top up of bunkers.

The only way to get over that aspect of requiring fuel, and stores for that matter, is to take it all with you when you head out to sea. Of course, operational warships are hampered by what they can store, and in sufficient quantity, to stay out for long periods of time. The answer to the problem is obvious. Take it with you in vast quantities, but on a vessel specially designed to carry fuel, foodstuffs, fresh water, and dry stores. A vessel known as a Fleet Auxiliary, Replenishment Oiler, or Combat Stores vessels.

The decision by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China to conduct anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, in order to safeguard their commercial interests, meant that any flotilla sent out to conduct that operation would need to have a fleet auxiliary along for the ride. Since they undertook their very first anti-piracy operation in 2008, the PLAN have settled on a set up that every Escort Task Force (ETF) will consist of two warships, and one auxiliary.

CNS Weishanhu, Cape Town V&A, 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The arrival in Cape Town, on 24th July, of the PLAN 43rd Escort Task Force (ETF), consisted of the Type 052DL destroyer CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG162), the Type 054A frigate CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG552), and the Type 903 replenishment vessel CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887). Unlike the recent visit of a poorly maintained Russian Naval oiler, the PLAN vessel was a true bluewater vessel, designed exactly for the task for which she was accompanying the 43rd ETF. Replenishment At Sea (RAS).

Replenishment at Sea (RAS), when done properly with a vessel capable of doing it, is about being able to replenish any warship whilst maintaining your operational status. This means that the auxiliary vessel must be able to conduct replenishment operations whilst underway at speed, and do so in four planes, namely horizontal, vertical, alongside, and astern.

CNS Weishanhu, Cape Town V&A, 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of two auxiliary replenishment vessels, known as Type 903 vessels, Chinese Naval Ship (CNS) ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887) was built at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai, which is owned by Guangzhou Shipyard International Co. Ltd., who are part of the Chinese state-owned China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). She was launched in July 2003, and commissioned in April 2004. Her NATO reporting classification is known as the ‘Fuchi’ Class.

She is 179 metres in length, and has a displacement tonnage of 20,500 tons. She is powered by two SEMT-Pielstick 16PC2 6V400 diesel engines producing 24,000 bhp (18,000 kW), and driving two KaMeWa controllable pitch propellers for a service speed of 20 knots. She has an operational crew of 130 persons, and a range of 10,000 nautical miles.

The Type 903 replenishment class of vessel was originally designed to support the, then, new Type 052B and Type 052C class of guided missile destroyer, known as the ‘Guangzhou’ class by the PLAN, but given the NATO reporting classification name of ‘Luyang I’ and ‘Luyang II’ class.

CNS Weishanhu, Cape Town V&A,  24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has a liquid bulk cargo capacity of 10,500 tons of fuel oil, 250 tons of fresh water, and 680 tons of bulk solids, including stores and ammunition. For her underway replenishment at sea (RAS) operations, she is fitted with two underway RAS stations, on each side, for liquid transfers, and has one bulk stores transfer station per side. She is also capable of conducting underway refueling operations over the stern.

For vertical replenishment she is equipped with a helideck, and a hangar, capable of handling a Harbin Z-8 helicopter, which is the Chinese copy of the French Aerospatiale SA321 Super Frelon helicopter (as previously used by the SAAF), or a Changhe Z-18 helicopter, which is the Chinese modernized, and upgraded, version of the Harbin Z-8.

As a replenishment vessel, she is not armed for offensive operations, but has only defensive, close range, armaments fitted. These are four sets of the H/PJ76F 37mm twin autocannons. There are two sets mounted forward of the accommodation, and two sets mounted either side of the helicopter hangar. These close in weapons systems (CIWS) have a range of less than 5km.

CNS Weishanhu, Cape Town V&A, 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Unlike the Russian ‘Kama’ auxiliary, that accompanied the ‘Admiral Gorshkov’, which is capable only of stern refueling, and at slow speed, CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887) is capable undertaking her RAS operations at her full sea speed of 20 knots. She is assigned to the PLAN South Sea Fleet, which has its naval base at the port of Zhanjiang, in the Chinese southern Guangdong Province. The South Sea Fleet is responsible for naval operations in the South China Sea.

This is not the first time that CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887) has been engaged on one of the PLAN Escort Task Force operations to the Gulf of Aden. In fact, she took part in the first ever ETF that was completed in 2008. She has since completed more than half a dozen ETF missions, excluding her current mission as replenishment vessel for the 43rd ETF.

In better days, back in August 2013, when she was the replenishment vessel for the 14th ETF, CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887) conducted joint naval exercises, in the Gulf of Aden, with the US Navy Arleigh Burke destroyer USS ‘Mason’ (DDG-87). Both vessels were conducting anti-piracy patrols, and they carried out exercises in Visit, Board, Search, Seizure (VBSS) operations, where US Marines boarded CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887), which acted as a pirate mother ship.

CNS Weishanhu, Cape Town V&A, 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

During her patrols with the 43rd ETF in the Gulf of Aden, she was called on to proceed directly to Port Sudan, with CNS Nanning (DDG162), to evacuate all non-essential Chinese citizens from Sudan, due to the outbreak of civil military conflict in the country. Over a period of three days, she completed two evacuation voyages, where together the two 43rd ETF vessels carried 1,171 people to the safety of the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah.

It is strange that wherever they go, and whatever the circumstances, that the PLAN vessels must have printing press onboard, as they always arrive displaying a fresh banner espousing words of political theatre that are to do with why the vessels have arrived in that particular port. In this case of Port Sudan, the 43rd ETF vessels displayed a red banner saying “Chairman Xi sends warships to take everyone home”.

On conclusion of their anti-piracy patrols, the 43rd ETF went of a ‘fly the flag’ cruise to five West African countries, including Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Gabon and Congo. On arrival in Tema, Ghana, the vessels displayed red banners stating “China-Ghana Friendship is Time-Tested”, and on arrival in Owendo, Gabon, the fresh new red banners stated “Vive l’Amitie Sino-Gabonaise”, which translates as ‘Long Live China-Gabon Friendship’.

CNS Weishanhu, Cape Town V&A,  24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

It is all part of the well-rehearsed communist political theatre that is present at all major events in China, Russia and North Korea. On arrival in every port, the Chinese Embassy staff, their families, and any other local Chinese citizens are ordered down to the docks, where they line the quayside, normally behind their own fresh red printed banner, all waving Chinese flags, and all smiling. One wonders what the 43rd ETF banner, draped from the vessels, said in respect of South African fraternal relations.

This piece of political theatre may well have been the reason for Transnet being pressured into allowing the 43rd ETF to go alongside at the V&A, which is banned for all other visitors. How else can you get a bunch of civilians onto a quayside, to play out the gesture, as Port Security measures would not allow it in the Duncan Dock. One also notes that at a given moment, all of the crew lining the ships rails begin waving at the assembled crowd on the quayside, both on arrival and at departure. The waving is perfectly choreographed, with all waving at the same speed, arms at the same height, and the same arm is use by all.

The lining of the ships rail is a time honoured naval tradition. What is slightly different in the case of the PLAN vessels is that the crew lines only that side of the warship that will be going alongside the quayside, and not the other side. The tradition is that you line both sides of the vessel. It is usually carried out when you enter harbour, and not always when you depart. The PLAN crews do both arrivals and departures, lining one side only, and waving on command.

CNS Weishanhu, Cape Town V&A,  24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The lining of your upper deck with your crew harks back to the Nelson days of sail, and of traditional line of battle ships. To show your host your friendly, and peaceful, intentions, you would close your gunports, and have your guncrews visible on the upper deck, thus showing that your guns were unmanned, and that you had no intention of taking them by surprise with a gun attack from within the confines of the harbour as you sailed in.

As the size of vessels within the 43rd ETF was such, it was not possible to berth all three warships alongside one quay, and so the two largest, CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG162), and CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887) went alongside either side of Jetty 2 at the V&A, with the smallest member of the ETF, CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG552), going double banked on the outside of ‘Weishanhu’. This was done because to place ‘Sanya’ alongside the cross wall would have had her directly on to a public quay, and not within the confines of a security fence, as happens on Jetty 2.

As port visits always have an underlying message, and in the case of the PLAN, everything is planned in meticulous detail, it is something to ponder as to why Cape Town in particular, and South Africa in general, was only afforded a three day port visit. This is in contrast to all other port visits on the African ‘fly the flag’ element of her post anti-piracy cruise, as these other ports all received either four day, or five day, visitations.

CNS Weishanhu with CNS Sanya alongside, Cape Town V&A Pier 2 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Is it that China feels that the additional diplomacy push for the ANC is not required as, after all, the Chief of the Navy made it quite clear that South Africa was as close a friend to China, and Russia, as they could possibly be, and would get even closer if they could muster up a ship to cross an ocean. His words left no doubt in anyone’s mind as to where the loyalty of his political masters lie.

The magnificent sight of the 43rd ETF finally departed from the magnificent VA& Waterfront on 29th July and, no doubt, that the crews would be looking forward to be finally heading east for China, after being away for over six months. The flotilla sailed from Cape Town, enroute for Zhanjiang, and home.

For the nomenclature addict, the replenishment vessels of the PLAN are all named after lakes, with the HU element of their name meaning lake. Weishan Lake is the largest fresh water body in the northern Shandong Province of China.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 August 2023


News continues below

Major maritime companies agree to develop book and claim approaches 

Aim is to accelerate shipping’s decarbonisation transition

Africa Ports & Ships

Nine key players across the maritime value chain have issued a joint statement expressing their commitment to developing and implementing robust book and claim chain of custody systems to accelerate the early phases of shipping’s decarbonisation.

“Book and claim systems are going to be essential tools for getting decarbonisation of shipping moving, but they remain poorly understood, and their development risks getting bogged down in confusion and suspicion,” says the Global Maritime Forum (see below).

The signatories of the joint statement – Aspen Shipping Decarbonization Initiative, DHL Global Forwarding, Hapag Lloyd, Kuehne + Nagel, NORDEN, Oldendorff Carriers, ONE, Torvald Klaveness, and Yara Clean Ammonia – represent key parts of the value chain for decarbonised shipping.

The companies belong to the Getting to Zero coalition, which has been exploring book and claim chain of custody approaches as part of its mission to fully decarbonise the shipping industry.

Book and claim chain of custody systems allow the emission profile of a zero- and near zero-emission fuel to be separated from the physical flow of that fuel in a transportation supply chain.

These systems can enable early action, even when zero- and near-zero emission fuels and vessels are in limited supply, by separating decarbonisation from the physical transportation of an organisation’s cargo. In a book and claim system, the environmental benefits of zero- and near zero-emission fuels are tracked and transferred across the maritime value chain.

One party can purchase, or ‘book’, a specific quantity of zero- or near zero-emission fuel and then ‘claim’ the environmental benefits of it even though the fuel is physically used by another shipper in a different location.

By activating early demand from shippers and cargo owners, these systems can help shipowners and fuel providers develop a business case for decarbonisation even while preferred fuel pathways are still being determined.

The joint statement sets out actions the signatories will undertake to ensure that book and claim chain of custody systems succeed. The actions the nine signing companies commit to include working together to agree on the use of clear and consistent rules wherever possible and maintaining the highest standards of environmental, social and commercial integrity.

It also calls on non-industry actors like the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Science Based Targets initiative to recognise book and claim approaches as credible emissions reductions.

In order to avoid conflicts between the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations and book and claim systems, the signatories argue that the IMO must adopt a full life cycle, or well-to-wake, accounting of greenhouse gases. The statement calls on the IMO, whose Marine Environment Protection Committee met earlier in July, to implement well-to-wake accounting in its own policy measures for decarbonisation.

Through this joint statement, the companies commit to working in close collaboration to address the challenges to be addressed to effectively implement book and claim.

“Book and claim systems are going to be essential tools for getting decarbonisation of shipping moving, but they remain poorly understood, and their development risks getting bogged down in confusion and suspicion,” says Jesse Fahnestock, Project Director at Global Maritime Forum.

“With this statement, some of the most important companies in international shipping are committing to making book and claim systems transparent, well-aligned and environmentally credible for their customers and stakeholders. And they’re calling on other key players, like the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, to create a pathway for acceptance. It can’t happen soon enough.”

Understanding Book and Claim

For an overview of book and claim chain of custody systems as a mechanism to accelerate maritime decarbonisation through the early transition to zero-emission fuels in shipping, please see this INSIGHT BRIEF published by the Getting to Zero Coalition earlier this year.

For further information, contact the Global Maritime Forum’s Head of Communications, Rasmus Nord Jørgensen, at

Global Maritime Forum

The Global Maritime Forum is an international not-for-profit organisation committed to shaping the future of global seaborne trade to increase sustainable long-term economic development and human wellbeing.

Getting to Zero Coalition

The Getting to Zero Coalition is a collaboration-based platform committed to fully decarbonising the maritime industry by 2050. The industry-led coalition consists of leading stakeholders from across the maritime and fuels value chains, the financial sector and more.

It is managed by the Global Maritime Forum and was founded together with the World Economic Forum and Friends of Ocean Action in 2019.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 August 2023


News continues below

Xeneta Container Update: Long-term ocean freight rates hit two-year low


Africa Ports & Ships

Just as record new levels of ships enter the market and overcapacity adds further pressure

Global long-term shipping rates sank to a two-year low in July, with the latest data from Xeneta’s Shipping Index (XSI®) showing a fall of 9.5% since June, adding to a deep collapse that started last year. Long-term valid contract rates have now lost 57.8% of their value since the same period in 2022.

Xeneta’s real-time data, crowd-sourced from leading global shippers, makes bleak viewing for carriers with rates falling on all the main trading corridors. Xeneta market analyst Emily Stausbøll points out that market indications also show there will be little respite on the horizon for carriers.

Elephant in the room

“Carriers waiting for higher volumes in July, and in the coming months due to peak season, look increasingly likely to be disappointed,” says Stausbøll.

Emily Stausbøll, Market Analyst

“Even if volumes do increase, and whatever happens to demand, overcapacity is now inevitable as these record numbers of new ships being delivered this year will have a wide-reaching effect,” adds Stausbøll.

The figures show an alarming situation unfolding for carriers as June saw the highest ever monthly deliveries of new ships, with more than 300,000 TEU of capacity from a total of 40 new ships added to the market.

In the first six months of the year, a total of 990,000 TEU was delivered, with around the same to come in the second half of 2023.

Challenging trends

Low demand is still the underlying factor affecting rates and the figures for July were gloomy across the board. The XSI® for Far East exports fell by just 2.7% to 188.62 in July, but this is now the lowest this index has been since April 2021, and a 69.5% drop from July last year.

European Imports were down by 12.0% from the previous month and this sub-index is now down by 52.7% since the start of this year. A slight fall of 2.9% in the XSI® for US imports has brought the index to 231.6 points in July.

“This is the only index still above 200, or still more than twice as expensive as the average rate in January 2017,” explains Stausbøll.

“On all but three of the XSI® sub-indices, the averages of all valid long-term rates have dropped by more than 50% compared to a year ago,’ says Stausbøll.

“The average shipper on the main trades should be paying less than half the rates they were a year ago on the long-term market. Despite an increase in volumes from previous months, global container demand remains down year on year.”

Strike threats back on the agenda

Just as the threat of strikes at US West Coast ports was averted after a deal was signed, a new twist in port labour relations has jumped to the fore. The Canadian chapter of the ILWU went on strike in July, disrupting imports through the ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver and a considerable slice of the US market.

Stausbøll adds: “Low import volumes and space at some ports allowed shippers and carriers to mitigate delays and find alternatives when the Canadian ports were temporarily closed, but this situation is yet another thorn in the side for the industry at a crucial time leading up to peak season.”

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 August 2023


News continues below

Super Group expands further into UK, acquires Amco

Africa Ports & Ships

South African-headquartered Super Group has expanded its interests in the UK and Europe with a 78.82% acquisition of UK-based logistics firm, CBW Group Holdings, which trades as Amco, for a reported sum of R700.1 million (£30.3 million).

The purchase of CBW, which trades as Amco, was acquired through Super Group’s UK subsidiary, SG International Holdings and increases the logistics and transportation group’s offshore expansion platform.

“The acquisition of Amco will significantly complement the group’s supply chain offering, providing opportunities for market share gains across the UK and Europe,” Super Group said when making the announcement, adding that there are no outstanding conditions.

Amco specialises in land, air and sea logistics to more than 250 UK and European customers from 11 UK operations and hubs located across Europe.

According to Super Group, the latest acquisition into the supply chain market is a good fit because Amco has well-established original equipment manufacturer relationships, well located warehousing, a branded fleet and third-party logistics partners.

Super Group has supply chain, fleet and dealership operations in sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The successful completion of this acquisition further strengthens Super Group’s commitment to growth and its vision to become a global leader in the logistics industry.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 August 2023


News continues below

Record high temps – July 2023

Picture: European Union, Copernicus Marine Service data

Edited by Paul Ridgway


The record-breaking temperatures that hit Europe in July are contributing to an increase in the surface temperature of the Mediterranean Sea.

This visualisation, based on Copernicus Marine Service models, shows the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomaly for 24 July. The data show an anomaly of up to +5.5°C along the coasts of Italy, Greece, and North Africa.

The Copernicus Marine Service not only provides open data and services on physical ocean parameters but also offers valuable information on marine ecosystems, which is crucial for monitoring the health of the marine environment.

Picture: European Union, Copernicus Sentinel-3 imagery


The Mediterranean region has been enduring a severe heatwave, resulting in a series of extreme weather events that have left behind a trail of devastation.

On 24 July, temperatures reached unprecedented heights, breaking records in multiple cities. In Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, the air temperature soared to a sweltering 49°C, while in Palermo, Sicily (Italy), the thermometer peaked at 47°C, significantly surpassing its previous all-time heat record set in 1791 by a staggering 2°C.

In addition to the heatwave, the Mediterranean Basin had also to grapple with severe wildfires. On the same day, one of the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellites captured a massive smoke plume generated by the ongoing wildfires in North Africa.

Algeria, in particular, was hit hard by the wildfires which have claimed the lives of 34 people. Neighbouring Tunisia has also been affected, with one significant blaze ravaging the border town of Melloula and prompting the evacuation of at least 300 residents.

Panama Canal restrictions

Meanwhile across the Atlantic: In recent months, shipping traffic in the Panama Canal has been impacted by an unusually long dry season. It is understood that the Panama Canal Authority has implemented water management measures and the number of passages has been limited to 32 vessels a day with reductions in tonnage vessels may carry.

Images acquired by the Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite’s radar on 15 and 22 July show a significant drop in water levels in Lake Alajuela, one of the bodies of water feeding the flow of part of the canal.

Radar imagery

The Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite uses radar imagery to capture images of the Earth’s surface, even in cloudy or dark conditions. It can be used to map and track changes in the cover of water bodies and is useful for monitoring maritime traffic.

Imagery, data and information produced by the Copernicus programme of the European Union is made available on a full, free and open basis to businesses, scientists and citizens.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 August 2023


News continues below

Korean War commemoration 1953 – 2023

Pictures: Ministry of Defence Crown Copyright 2023

Reported by Paul Ridgway

On 27 July there were tri-Service commemorations in the UK to remember the sacrifice of the armed forces in the Korean War.

These events marked the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice Agreement and took place across the UK, and in Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea (ROK).

In London, Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Defence Minister Baroness Annabel Goldie and HRH The Duke of Gloucester led the UK in remembering the 81,000 British servicemen who served in the conflict, including more than 1,000 personnel who were killed in action.

The London ceremony took the form of a Royal British Legion national memorial service on Horse Guards Parade.

Rapid deployment

Within days of hostilities commencing in June 1950, the British government committed to deploying air, ground, and naval forces to the Korean War.

The Royal Navy already had ships deployed in the Far East waters, and joined forces with the US Navy on 30 June, 1950. During the Korean War British Naval Forces provided aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, a hospital ship, and a logistics support ships. By August 1950, 41 Commando had arrived on the Peninsula. The Royal Navy provided carrier-based fighter aircraft.

A coalition of forces

Close to 17,000 Royal Navy personnel participated in the Korean War, and 50 British warships carried out operations. Warships from Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, the Netherlands, Thailand, and New Zealand also took part. In all twenty-two countries contributed to the Allied war effort.

SA contribution

The Royal Air Force contributed a wing of flying boat patrol bombers based out of Japan. The South African Air Force contributed a squadron of F51-D Mustangs later replaced by F86F Sabre jet fighters.

For more on SAAF in the Korean War readers are invited to SEE HERE

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 July 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: Chinese PLAN Type 052DL Destroyer NANNING 162

CNS Nanning 162 arriving off Pier 2 in the Cape Town V&A Waterfront. Picture: Phil Short

Pictures as indicated
Story by Jay Gates


The arrival, in Cape Town, of a flotilla of warships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), better known today as the Chinese Navy, is yet one more sign of a closer relationship being forged by the South African government with the Chinese regime. This is the seventh known arrival this year alone, of at least one vessel associated with the Chinese Navy, in South African ports, and the second arrival of a complete flotilla of Chinese warships.

The Chinese warships that arrived were the official anti-piracy flotilla that is a permanent fixture of the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, and the Arabian Sea, that China has been dispatching to that area since 2008. The arriving vessels were led by the Chinese Naval Ship (CNS) ‘Nanning’ (DDG162), a Type 052DL Destroyer, CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG552), a Type 054A Frigate, and CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887), a Type 903 Replenishment Auxiliary, and together they are collectively known as the PLAN 43rd Escort Task Force (ETF).

Other than satellite tracking ships, naval research ships and supposed spy ships, one tends to forget that earlier this year yet another flotilla of three PLAN vessels arrived in Richards Bay to conduct the controversial ‘Mosi II” naval exercise with elements of the South African Navy, and the visiting Russian Navy warships. This was the PLAN 42nd Escort Task Force (ETF), and consisted of CNS ‘Huainan’ (DDG123), a Type 052DL Destroyer, CNS ‘Rizhao’ (FFG598), a Type 054A Frigate, and CNS ‘Kekexilihu’ (AOE968), a Type 903A Replenishment Auxiliary.

The Russian warships were the frigate ‘Admiral Gorshkov’, and the fleet oiler ‘Kama’. The exercise drew criticism from around the world, especially as both visiting navies were both conducting warlike sabre rattling with their neighbours, with the PLAN using navy assets to threaten Taiwan independence, and the Russian Navy dispatching hypersonic missiles against civilian targets as part of their illegal invasion of Ukraine. All this at a time when the ANC government was trying to project a pretext of non-alignment and neutrality to a skeptical world.

The 42nd ETF had departed from the naval port of Qingdao, in China’s eastern Shandong Province, back on 21st September 2022. The 43rd ETF had departed from the naval port of Zhanjiang, in China’s southern Guangdong Province on 10th January 2023, to relieve the 42nd ETF of their anti-piracy patrol duties. They arrived in the Gulf of Aden on 2nd February, and over the next two days both the 42nd ETF and the 43rd ETF had conducted exercises together, to bring the 43rd ETF up to operational readiness. On 5th February, the official handover took place, and the 42nd ETF departed for Richards Bay, and their part in Exercise ‘Mosi II’.

CNS Nanning. V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The flagship of the 43rd ETF is CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG162), and after one month on station, she temporarily left the 43rd ETF, and headed for the Iranian Naval port of Chabahar. There she joined forces with, none other than the Russian Frigate ‘Admiral Gorshkov’, and the Russian Auxiliary ‘Kama’, both of which had sailed from Richards Bay, at the conclusion of Exercise ‘Mosi II’. They were all to join in with an Iranian Navy flotilla and take part in Exercise ‘Security Belt 2023‘, between 15th and 19th March.

The theme of Exercise ‘Security Belt 2023’ was promulgated as ‘Working together to create security, peace, and regional stability’, and this in the Persian Gulf. Ironically, one of the naval drills carried out was that an Iranian Naval vessel would simulate being a hijacked merchant vessel, in the Persian Gulf, and where Marines from CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG162) would act as the rescuers. How ironic that the Iranians would practice such a drill, and follow it up with the actual illegal hijacking of merchant ships in the Strait of Hormuz.

China, Russian and Iran. A triumvirate of nations with reputations as being peaceful neighbours, with democratic governments, not trying to destabilise their neighbours, with great human rights records, and following international law to the letter. Just the sort of similar examples of non-aligned and neutral nations that the ANC government would warm to, be attracted by, and just the kind of kindred folk with which to hold military drills. You couldn’t make it up.

Unlike the other two warships of the 43rd ETF, this was the first such time that ‘CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG162) has participated in these regular PLAN anti-piracy operations. After the conclusion of Exercise ‘Security Belt 2023’ was over, CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG162) returned to her primary duties on anti-piracy patrols. On 19th and 20th April she called in to the new PLAN naval port at Djibouti, the first fixed overseas naval port that the Chinese Government had set up. There she took on the necessary food uplifts, stores, fresh water and bunkers that she needed.

Not long afterwards, chaos erupted in Sudan with two military factions facing each other down in a ‘de facto’ civil war. As with all other nations, the Chinese Government made plans to evacuate as many of their citizens as they could, and who did not need to remain in Sudan. Both CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG162), and CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOG 887) were sent to carry out the evacuation, and both arrived at Port Sudan, on the Red Sea coast on 26th April.

CNS Nanning. V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Over the next three days, both warships carried out two successful evacuation missions, taking a total of 1,171 people, including 940 Chinese citizens, across the Red Sea to the safety of Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, where they could be repatriated back to China. The first mission was almost exclusively one to evacuate Chinese citizens, as of the 678 persons evacuated, a total of 668 of them were Chinese citizens. On the second evacuation mission, they took out 493 people, of which 221 of them were foreign nationals.

Interestingly, on the conclusion of this important humanitarian mission in the Sudan, a spokesperson for the PLAN stated that “the PLAN’s missions in these critical, and difficult times, not only reflect its rapid response capability, but also confirm the necessity and purpose of China’s construction of a ‘Bluewater Navy’ to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests, rather than for hegemony, or expansion of power.” So there you have it, the spread of the PLAN into every ocean has nothing to do with combating the US presence.

On 28th April, the 44th Escort Task Force (ETF) sailed from the naval port of Zhoushan, in China’s eastern Zhejiang Province, to relieve the 43rd ETF. The 44th ETF comprised CNS ‘Zibo’ (DDG156), a Type 052DL Destroyer, CNS ‘Jingzhou’ (FFG532), a Type 054A Frigate, and CNS ‘Qiandaohu’ (AOE886), a Type 903 Replenishment Auxiliary. After being relieved, the 43rd ETF sailed north up the Red Sea, and entered the Suez Canal, entering the Mediterranean Sea, and the start of a near circumnavigation of Africa.

It is not unknown for the some of the ETF of the PLAN to conduct ‘fly the flag’ visits on completion of their anti-piracy patrols, especially around the African continent, as part of their diplomatic mission to increase their relations with African governments. Surprisingly, the first stop of the 43rd ETF was at the Spanish port of Cadiz, where they arrived on 9th June for a four day visit. The choice of Cadiz, is that it is the home of the Spanish Navy, and just over the bay from the US Navy base at Rota. Such a visit would send a signal to the US Navy, and NATO, that the PLAN has true Bluewater presence in any waters around the world.

On conclusion of this visit, the 43rd ETF conducted a planned set of five visits to West African nations. These were a five day visit to Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast, between 22nd and 26th June. This was followed by a four day visit to Tema, in Ghana, between 28th June and 1st July. The third stop was a five day call at Lagos, in Nigeria, between 2nd July and 6th July. Then it was on to Owendo in Gabon, for a four day stop between 8th July and 11th July. The final call in West Africa was at Pointe Noire, in the Republic of Congo, for a five day stop between 14th July and 18th July. From there, the three PLAN warships headed directly for Cape Town, where they arrived on 24th July.

CNS Nanning. V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 24 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On arrival, CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG162) was the first to enter Cape Town harbour, and surprise, surprise, she went directly into the Victoria Basin, and berthed at Jetty 2 opposite the V&A Waterfront. Such a thing had been banned by Transnet, the Cape Town Port Authority, who had previously stated that no more warships, or passenger liners, were to be berthed at the V&A, and all were to, henceforth, only utilise berths in the Duncan Dock.

Next in was CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887), who also berthed on the other side of Jetty 2, followed by CNS ‘Sanya’ (FFG552), which was double banked alongside CNS ‘Weishanhu’ (AOE887). To make these berths available to the 43rd ETF meant that Transnet had told both AMSOL vessels ‘S.A. Amandla’, and ‘Umkhuseli’ to vacate their berths, and for the cable ship ‘Leon Thevenin’ to do the same. As it happened, ‘Leon Thevenin’ was scheduled to depart for a cable operation off Mombasa in Kenya, and so her move to the Eastern Mole, to load cable, and take on bunkers, was fortuitous.

For ‘S.A. Amandla’, and ‘Umkhuseli’ they were sent into the Ben Schoeman Dock, and had to berth at the Dormac working berths of 501 and 502. However, 502 was occupied by the offshore supply vessel ‘Stratis Z’, which was undergoing a refit. She was shifted into the Duncan Dock, and put alongside the Repair Quay. Four vessels moved around the docks, to give room for the 43rd ETF.

So it is quite clear that pressure was brought to bear on Transnet to break their own policies and procedures, in order to give the 43rd ETF the prime berths at the V&A Waterfront. This is something not offered to any previous visiting naval flotilla for the past few years. Whether as a result of Chinese diplomatic pressure coming to bear, or merely a request for favouritism from the ANC government, it shows that Transnet is very much an arm of the government, and not a SOE that is independent of it.

CNS Nanning. V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 24 July 2023. Picture by Dean Wingrin / defenceWeb

CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG162) is one of a large class of guided missile destroyer of the PLAN, which has 25 of the class in service, with a further six in various stages of build. She was built at the Jiangnan Shipyard at Shanghai, and was launched in February 2019, and commissioned in April 2021. She is 161 metres in length, with a displacement tonnage of 7,500 tons. Her propulsion is CODOG, which is ‘Combined Diesel Or Gas’, and she has two MTU 20V 956TB92 diesel engines producing 6,571 bhp (4,900 kW) each, and two QC-280 gas turbines producing 40,250 bhp (30,000 kW) each, and driving two fixed pitch propellers for a service speed of 30 knots.

Her main armament is a 130mm gun, and a Type 1130, seven barreled, 30 mm gatling gun CIWS. Her missile armament includes a 24 cell, HQ-10 surface to air (SAM) missile, vertical launch system, and a 64 cell, vertical launch system capable of firing a mix of HHQ-9 SAM missiles, YJ-18 surface to surface (SSM) missiles, and CY-5 anti-ship (ASM) missiles.

She has a stern helideck, and a helicopter hangar, capable of operating a Harbin Z-20 helicopter, which is a Chinese copy of the American HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. She has both a bow mounted sonar, and operates a towed sonar array. Her main combat radar system is a Type 346A, 3D Electronically Scanned Array Radar, together with a Type 518 Air Search Radar, and a Type 364 Surface Search Radar.

The Type 052DL Destroyer, is known by the NATO designation as a ‘Luyang III’ class, and ‘CNS Nanning’ (DDG162) is an upgrade of the Type 052C. She has an operational crew of 280, and an operating range of 4,500 nautical miles. Her design is multi-purpose, and she can be utilised for shore bombardment via her main gun, land attack via her missile armament, maritime patrol, airspace denial via her missile armament, and for bluewater fleet support.

After a three day stopover, which was the shortest stop of all seven planned ‘fly the flag’ visits, CNS ‘Nanning’ (DDG162) and the 43rd ETF, sailed from Cape Town on 29th July, bound back to their home base in Zhanjiang in China, and the AMSOL vessels were allowed back to Jetty 2.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 July 2023


News continues below

Update on fire on board car carrier Fremantle Highway

Fremantle Highway. Picture by Dutch Coast Guard

Africa Ports & Ships

It now transpires that the ill-fated vehicles carrier FREMANTLE HIGHWAY, which caught fire while along the Dutch coast, was carrying almost 500 battery-electric motor cars and not just 25 as was originally reported.

Instead of the 25 reported earlier, the car carrier had a total of 498 Mercedes Benz and BMW vehicles when she sailed from Bremerhaven, bound for Port Said and then on to Singapore. The remainder of the total of 3,783 vehicles would have been petrol or diesel vehicles.

This confirmation of the number of vehicles comes from K Line, the company operating the 200-m Fremantle Highway, (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha), which has the vessel under charter.

According to comments made by some of the crew, the fire is understood to have begun in the area where the electric vehicles were parked on board the ship.

The Dutch Coast Guard, which is the responder to the casualty, says only that the cause of the fire is as yet unknown.

Meanwhile, it is reported that tug FAIRPLAY 30 has taken over the emergency connection to the ship, preventing the casualty from drifting into the busy North Seas shipping lanes though allowing it to drift further along the coast. So far there are no reported ruptures to the ship’s hull and no leaks of oil or other contaminants.

The ship has on board 1,600 tons of heavy fuel oil and 200 tons of marine diesel fuel.

A smaller 40 ton bollard pull German tug had been holding the Fremantle Highway until the larger 91.6 ton pull vessel could arrive on scene.

At the weekend the fire was reported to be “less intense” which has permitted a salvage team to go aboard and attached tow lines at the top of the ship to enable better control of the vessel.

When the fire was first detected the crew attempted to put it out, however the intensity of the blaze soon made that impossible and with smoke enveloping much of the vessel, the decision was taken to abandon ship. One of the crew of 23 had already succumbed to smoke inhalation and several others were affected. With small rescue craft available alongside, the crew began jumping overboard one at a time and waiting for the jumper to be hauled aboard one of the smaller craft before the next man jumped.

This allowed an orderly recovery and then a helicopter arrived overhead and the balance of crew were airlifted to safety. A number of the crew received various injuries and all were taken to hospital for evaluation of their condition. According to K-Line the crew are all Indian nationals.

Fremantle Highway is owned nominally by Luster Maritime S.A. and managed by Wallem Ship Management Ltd. The ship is chartered by Kawasaki Steamship Co (K-Line).

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 July 2023


News continues below

Beira and Nhava Sheva port calls added to ONE’s MIM service

Penang Bridge. Picture: FleetMon

Africa Ports & Ships

Port calls at Mozambique’s Beira and India’s Nhava Sheva have been included in the MIM service operated by Ocean Network Express (ONE).

These additional port calls are added without changes to other port calls on the rotation.

The original rotation was:

Jebel Ali – Mundra – Mombasa – Maputo – Jebel Ali

The new port rotation becomes:

Jebel Ali – Mundra – Nhava Sheva – Mombasa – Beira – Maputo – Jebel Ali

The new rotation will take effect as from the voyage of the vessel PENANG BRIDGE v.0076W, which is ETA at Jebel Ali on 12 September 2023.

ONE said in a statement that the change will provide additional options for Mozambique and Indian customers.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 July 2023


News continues below

SA Navy chief pledges ship visit to China

SAN Chief, Vice Admiral Monde Lobese, inspects a PLAN Guard of Honour in Cape Town. Picture: SANDF

by Guy Martin

The South African Navy (SAN) is undergoing a rebuilding and maintenance phase to get its vessels out to sea and once this is completed, at least one vessel will be sent to China for a visit.

This is according to SAN Chief, Vice Admiral Monde Lobese, who made the remarks on 24 July during the arrival of a Chinese Navy taskforce in Cape Town.

“As you are aware the South African Navy is currently undergoing a rebuilding and maintenance phase to prepare our vessels to proceed to sea. Once this is completed, I give you my assurance that I will deploy one or more of the SA Navy vessels to China. The last time that one of the SA Navy vessels was in China was in 2008, when SAS Spioenkop undertook the long voyage,” Lobese said.

“This vessel was graciously met by the People’s Liberation Army Navy and the people of China. I trust that the South African Navy can make you and all the members of this task force feel equally welcome,” he said of the taskforce’s arrival.

The 43rd Chinese naval escort taskforce arrived in Cape Town on the morning of 24 July for a three-day goodwill visit. Having wrapped up its escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, the naval escort taskforce proceeded to the West coast of Africa, making a number of calls, including to the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The taskforce is composed of the guided-missile destroyer Nanning (162), the guided-missile frigate Sanya (54) and the supply ship Weishanhu (887). It set sail from a military port in Zhanjiang city, southeast China’s Guangdong province, on 10 January, accompanied by two ship-borne helicopters and more than 700 sailors. This is destroyer Nanning’s first escort mission.

On 25 July, the taskforce paid a courtesy call to Fleet Command Headquarters in Simon’s Town where Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral Musawenkosi Nkomonde and his team hosted them. Both the Navies took time to reflect on the activities they are engaged in and also talked about the importance of further strengthening the relationship between the two Navies through more practical exercises at sea, the SA Navy said.

Lobese recalled that South Africa had two very successful Exercise Mosis with Russia and China, in 2019 and 2023. “Under my leadership of the South African Navy I would like to give you my assurance that the relationship between South Africa, Russian and China will go from strength to strength.

“The formal Diplomatic Relationship between South Africa and China celebrates its 25th year this year. The trade between our nations have also increased tremendously in this period. From less than R1 billion in 1998, to more than R544 billion in 2021. China is now by far the largest trading partner of South Africa, and in turn, South Africa is the largest trading partner of China on the African continent. This great relationship between our countries will grow from strength to strength each year,” Lobese told the Chinese visitors.

Picture: SANDF

“This visit to South Africa by your vessels comes on the eve of a historic BRICS summit which will take place in a few short weeks from now, right here in South Africa. It is my country’s turn to be the Chair of BRICS this year. I am sure that all of you share my excitement for the how BRICS is poised to reshape the geopolitical landscape of the entire world. Already there are many countries from the Global South who would like to be part of BRICS. This speaks volumes of how the nations of the world would like to see an end to the dominance of the West, and the way in which they are trying to dictate terms on the Global Stage.

“I look forward to the day when we as the South African Navy can go and visit your beautiful country,” Lobese said.

With regard to getting the SA Navy fleet back at sea, National Treasury has allocated R1.4 billion for the refit of one of its three Type 209 submarines and one of its four Meko A200 class frigates. Work will be carried out between May 2023 and December 2024, followed by sea acceptance trials in early 2025. R500 million has been allocated in 2023/24 for this, R441 million the following year, and R480 million in 2025/26. Work will be carried out in the Simon’s Town Naval Dockyard.

Written by defenceWeb and republished with permission. The original article can be found here.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 Jul 2023


News continues below

Scrap on Angola’s Luanda and Bengo coastlines to be cleared

Shipwreck n the Angolan coast. Picture: Blogspot

Africa Ports & Ships

Scrap metals from abandoned shipwrecks along the sea coastal areas of Luanda and Bengo provinces in Angola will be removed soon.

That’s the assurance by the chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Maritime Agency, Anisabel Veríssimo e Costa, who told the press in Luanda that two companies were recently selected through a public tender to carry out the salvaging work along the coastline and the seabed of both provinces.

Anisabel Veríssimo e Costa was speaking to the media on the side-lines of the 3rd Conference on ‘The Cluster of the Sea beyond Oil’, promoted by the magazine Economia e Mercado.

Without mentioning a starting date, she said that the only thing holding up the order to commence the work was having final signatures on the contracts.

She said there were companies waiting in both provinces for the word to be given to go-ahead with the projects.

Now that the tenders have been identified it was no longer the responsibility of the national maritime agency to provide the details, she advised, saying that these should come from the appointed companies.

Blue Economy

Referring to the Blue Economy, Anisabel Veríssimo e Costa said cooperation between regulatory bodies in the maritime sector can boost the Blue Economy at a national level.

In this respect, the agency is committed to a partnership with the ministries of Fisheries and the Interior.

Adding her voice to the debate, Maria Bravos, the administrator for the Commercial area of the Regulatory Agency for Cargo and Logistics Certification of Angola (ARCCLA), emphasised that Angola has the conditions to expand the blue economy in the country.

“We have conditions to leverage our blue economy,” Bravos said, before referring to the Port of Lobito, where she said there is a very strong fishing and salt industry. source: ANGOP

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 July 2023


News continues below

The IMO ISM Code”: Seafarers’ views sought

IMO Seafarers Questionnaire

Edited by Paul Ridgway


According to the IMO news service last week seafarers are being invited to take part in an online questionnaire as part of a comprehensive study to assess the effectiveness of the International Safety Management Code (ISM Code) and how well it is implemented.

Importance of feedback

As is well known seafarers have a key role in implementing safety and environmental protection policies, in particular the safety management system (SMS) on board ships at sea.

Through the questionnaire, their feedback will be instrumental to understanding how effectively the ISM Code is being implemented and will inform future work on relevant instruments.

The ISM Code provides an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention. It requires shipping companies to carefully consider their management structure, and the responsibilities and authorities of those involved in the operation of their ships from the perspectives of safety and environmental protection.

Ensuring safe operation

The Code was introduced following several serious incidents where human error and management failings were found to be contributing factors. One example is the capsizing in 1987 of the ferry, Herald of Free Enterprise, just outside the port of Zeebrugge in which 193 people died. That year, the IMO Assembly adopted resolution A.596(15), which called upon the Maritime Safety Committee to develop guidelines concerning shipboard and shore-based management to ensure the safe operation of ro-ro passenger ships. The ISM Code became mandatory in 1998.


IMO commissioned study

Thirty years on, the IMO Secretariat has commissioned the Study on the Effective Implementation of the ISM Code to provide objective evidence and conclusions along with proposed measures on modernizing provisions under the ISM Code to improve onboard safety and environmental protection policies.

Anonymity and confidentiality promised

As well as asking basic questions on age, gender and length of service of the seaborne workforce, the survey aims to assess seafarers’ level of involvement in onboard safety-related decision-making and determine their views on the effectiveness of the ISM Code. There are also questions on seafarers’ levels of satisfaction with working and living conditions and on how companies deal with seafarers’ fatigue, stress and mental health.

The questionnaire can be ACCESSED HERE

Those who wish to take part can do so until 30 September.

Participation is anonymous, and responses will be treated as confidential. It should take around 15 minutes to complete.

Reporting to MSC108

Findings from the Study will be reported to the Maritime Safety Committee when it meets for its 108th session, 15-24 May 2024.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 July 2023


News continues below

‘Name Your Price’ freight service introduced to South Africa

US company inDrive has introduced in South Africa its e-hailing logistics service platform for freight deliveries, handling anything from small parcels to consignments of 20,000 kgs, available through the inDrive app.

Utilising a range of transport from small motor cars to large trucks and for anything non-liquid, the service features customers negotiating a price agreeable to both parties.

Users are able to track the delivery vehicle in real-time and experience same-day deliveries.

Last-mile freight service

The ‘Name Your Price’ service is available initially in the Johannesburg and Cape Town areas and according to inDrive, will be expanded to other centres during the course of this year.

inDrive’s freight service is available in many other parts of the world including several parts of East and West Africa and is targeted at consumers and businesses.

“At inDrive, we understand the unique logistics challenges that small businesses and individuals face,” said Vincent Lilane, inDrive business representative in Southern Africa.

He said inDrive.Freight has introduced the service in South Africa to address these challenges. “It is a comprehensive solution offering competitive pricing, timely delivery, and the flexibility and scalability needed in today’s fast-paced world.”

inDrive.Freight is not new to this country, having introduced a courier service using scooters to compete with Uber Connect and various other local couriers services.

In 2021, the company introduced its courier service in SA, which operates using scooters, to compete with Bolt Business Delivery, Uber Connect, as well as a host of other courier services locally.

How it works

The service operates by allowing customers to decide the shipment details, including timing, location and the choice of vehicle, and negotiate a price – all via the app.

Customers will propose a freight price, to which drivers will respond by accepting, declining or suggesting an alternate price, without consequences, says the company, which vets all drivers for vetted for security reasons, and real-time delivery tracking tools ensure the cargo is on track.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 July 2023



in partnership with – APO

More News at



“Education is an attractive thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” 

Oscar Wilde



News continues below………

More Earlier News at



Request a Rate Card from


Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

Africa 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

Total cargo handled by tonnes during June 2023, including containers by weight

PORT June 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.747
Durban 8.160
Saldanha Bay 4.445
Cape Town 1.183
Port Elizabeth 1.358
Ngqura 1.636
Mossel Bay 0.119
East London 0.136
Total all ports 24.784 million tonnes
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