Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 25 August 2023

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INS Sunayna P57, due in Durban Monday 21 August 2023.  Picture: Indian Navy
INS Sunayna P57  Picture: Indian Navy
INS Sunayna P57  Picture: Indian Navy

Due to arrive in the port of Durban on Monday 21 August is the Indian Navy patrol ship INS SUNAYNA (P57). Built in India and launched in November 2009 and handed over to the navy in September 2013, the warship has since undertaken numerous patrols including one lasting 80-days in the Gulf of Aden and others in the Arabian/Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.

In 2018 she was involved in Operation Nistar, a mission to evacuate 38 stranded Indian nationals in or around the island of Socotra following a cyclone that swept across the island and region.

INS Sunayna was built at the Goa Shipyard. The patrol vessel carries a 76mm gun and helideck and displaces 2,200 tonnes and has a length of 105 metres. Her engine power comes from a pair of KOEL Pielstick diesels which provide her with a speed of 25 knots. The ship has a range of 6,000 nautical miles at 16 knots. Her crew is made up of eight officers and 108 sailors.

INS Sunayna will berth at the Salisbury Island Naval Base Picture: Indian Navy/Wikipedia


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TFR adopts an Outcomes Based Security solution to solve theft and vandalism on rail network

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has adopted an Outcomes Based Security (OBS) solution to combat theft and vandalism on its rail network. TFR said in a note that it has awarded contracts to five Security Service Providers (SSPs) who will service TFR Corridors.

To overcome the chronic problems on rail, OBS service providers will start introducing the latest state-of-the-art crime fighting technologies, including early warning detection systems to combat theft, damage and vandalism of TFR essential infrastructure.

TFR says the ongoing scourge of crime has continued to put a strain on its ability to deliver reliable and uninterrupted services to customers, ultimately resulting in revenue losses for TFR, the customers and the economy.

OBS service providers are required to provide a full service offering including being held accountable for the security of the network and the ability to ensure trains are not cancelled or delayed as a result of security-related incidents, says the statement.

“Unlike the traditional security offerings, the OBS approach allows for flexibility in the crime prevention strategies to accommodate changing crime trends, patterns and modus operandi of criminal groupings.”

OBS service providers will enforce a mix of physical guarding, armed response teams, and interventions to address organised crime groupings behind the illicit copper market.

TFR says it is aware that there are protests at several of its rail corridors, by some former employees of the outgoing security service providers. This relates to the implementation of the OBS. “While workers with specific skills sets could be absorbed into the various OBS workforces after undergoing strict vetting processes, others could not be accommodated as they failed the vetting process,” says TFR.

Vetting Process

The OBS vetting process is designed to avoid TFR from being exposed to criminal activities from within its operations.

In the past TFR has had major challenges with contracted security employees working with criminal syndicates.

“The protests, including vandalism and damage to the network, are having a severe impact on our rail operations and in some instances bringing operations to a complete standstill for hours at a time.”

Criminal cases were opened with the South African Police Services for tampering, damaging, or destroying essential infrastructure.

Those found guilty of this offence face a minimum sentence of 15 years direct imprisonment.

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Added 24 August 2023


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WHARF TALK: Norwegian Fisheries Research Vessel DR. FRIDTJOF NANSEN

Dr Fridtjof Nansen in Maputo harbour overlooking the Katembe Bridge. Picture: FAO

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’ or as indicated
Story by Jay Gates

The waters of the African continent are some of the richest in the world, in terms of biomass of fish, and other marine food stocks. As with any resource, it has to be both manageable and sustainable, in order to be able to continue providing for the African population, and to provide desperately needed foreign currency for African coastal nations, by way of exporting the fish that is caught to more developed nations who are willing to pay for it.

The only way that you can manage your marine resources is to carry out ongoing, and continuous, annual biomass surveys, at specific times of the year, to be able to arrive at educated and scientific conclusions as to the figure of total biomass available, and what catch limits are to be set to ensure the sustainability of that biomass resource.

For almost every African nation, the ability to conduct such biomass surveys is difficult, if not impossible, as the necessary fisheries research vessels, scientific infrastructure, and trained scientists to conduct the necessary research. Thankfully, there are many developed nations who are willing to offer international aid packages, by placing resources at the disposal of African nations, to assist them to achieve not only sustainable national fisheries, but also increase their knowledge of the oceans, by training their marine and oceanographic scientists.

Dr Fridtjof Nansen. Cape Town 21 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 20th August, at 19h00 in the evening, the Norwegian Fisheries Research Vessel ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ (IMO 9762716) arrived off Cape Town, from Maputo in Mozambique, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside the Passenger Cruise Terminal at E berth. The vast majority of vessels going alongside at E berth have a crew change, and passenger complement, which requires the services of customs and immigration.

Built in 2017, and strangely for a Norwegian Government vessel, ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ was not built at one of the many Norwegian shipyards, but instead was built by Astilleros Gondan at Castropol in Spain. She is 74 metres in length and has a deadweight of 1,052 tons. Her purpose was that important to Norway that she was named by none other than the 35th Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, who served in that role from 2013 to 2021.

Dr Fridtjof Nansen. Cape Town 21 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As most research vessels are, ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ has diesel-Electric propulsion. She has two MaK 9M20C nine cylinder four stroke main engines producing 2,293 bhp (1,710 kW) each, and providing power to two Ingeteam electric motors, providing 1,500 kW each to a fixed pitch propeller giving a survey speed of 11 knots, and a transit speed of 14 knots. Her auxiliary machinery includes a single MaK 6M20C generator providing 1,140 kW, and she has a single Caterpillar C32 ACERT emergency generator providing 750 kW.

For added manoeuvrability when conducting scientific stations, she has a bow retractable Brunvoll AR63LNC azimuth thruster providing 880 kW, a bow transverse Brunvoll FU63LRC thruster providing 600 kW, and a stern transverse Brunvoll FU63LTC thruster providing 600 kW. With a Norwegian DNV ice class classification of Ice C, ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ is capable of operating in waters with light ice conditions and localized drift ice.

Dr Fridtjof Nansen. Cape Town 21 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Designed by the Naval Architects of Skipsteknisk AS, of Ålesund in Norway, ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ is a ST369 design, capable of worldwide operations. Her design allows her to undertake a wide variety of research voyages. These include Fisheries Resource Monitoring, Ecosystem Investigations, Oceanographic Surveys, Environmental Surveys, Bottom Habitat Mapping, Acoustic Surveys and Integrated Data Logging.

From the outset, ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ was intended to be operated almost exclusively in African waters, and mainly off the west coast of Africa. She would be utilised to support a number of bilateral scientific programmes, between the Government of Norway and West Africa countries. These programmes have now also been set up with East African nations.

Fram 1893, at Bergen. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

Owned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), of Oslo in Norway, ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ is both operated, and managed, by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR), of Bergen in Norway. Up to today, she has conducted almost all of her important research in African waters. However, on the breakout of the Covid-19 Pandemic in March 2020, she sailed back to Norway, and remained there until returning to Africa in October 2021.

She conducts her important fisheries and oceanographic research schedule, around Africa, under the EAF-Nansen programme, which offers an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. The programme is supported by NORAD, IMR, and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) agency, as well as being endorsed by the United Nations ‘Decade of Ocean Science’.

Doctor Fridtjof-Nansen. Picture: Wikipedia

She is named after a hero of Norway, the Oceanographer and Polar Explorer, Doctor Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930). His voyages of discovery included a crossing of Greenland, and voyages to the North Polar regions. He was one of the driving founders of the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES), and in 1922 he was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work undertaken during the First World War.

The Arctic voyages of Doctor Fridtjof Nansen were undertaken in the 1892 purpose built, and ice strengthened, schooner ‘Fram’, which means ‘Forward’ in Norwegian. In 1910, the Norwegian Polar explorer Roald Amundsen used ‘Fram’ for his voyage to Antarctica, where he became the first man to reach the South Pole, ahead of doomed Captain Robert Falcon Scott.

Fram in the Oslo Fram Museum. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

His secretive voyage to Antarctica, where he did not tell Scott of his plans, meant that he did not call at Cape Town when heading south, but ‘Fram’ bypassed it completely, and sailed from Norway directly to Australia. For those casual maritime explorers who enjoy visits to historical vessels, ‘Fram’ was preserved for the nation in 1935, and is housed undercover in the aptly named ‘Fram Museum’, located in Oslo, and it is open to the public.

To undertake her fisheries work she is equipped with a broad suite of acoustic equipment, with all transducers mounted on a drop keel, under the hull, in accordance with the ICES CRR 209 ‘Underwater Radiated Noise Reduction’ requirements. She also utilises trawl net geometry and monitoring sounders, and has two forward looking, high definition, low light, cameras to observe air bubbles around the hull.

Dr Fridtjof Nansen arriving in Maputo harbour. August 2023  Picture: FAO

Her acoustic research equipment includes a Scientific Echosounder, a Medium Depth Multibeam Echosounder, a Deep Ocean Multibeam Echosounder, a Sub-Bottom Profiler, a shallow water Omni-Directional Sonar, a deep water Omni-Directional Sonar, and an Acoustic Positioning HiPAP System. All of her suite is provided by Kongsberg-Simrad.

For her oceanographic research ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ has a wide variety of winches, including a CTD winch with 4,500 metres of cable, a Sonde winch with 4,000 metres of cable, a Benthos winch holding 2,500 metres of cable, a General Purpose winch holding 2,500 metres of cable, and a Multi-Purpose winch holding 3,000 metres of cable.

A Tale of Two Bridges. Dr Fridtjof Nansen overlooking Maputo harbour and the Katembe Bridge at night. August 2023 Picture: FAO

For her fisheries research, her winch fit includes two Trawl winches holding 4,500 metres of wire each, together with a Demersal net drum, and a Pelagic net drum. She also has a Plankton net winch holding 4,500 metres of wire, and a Gilson winch with 190 metres of wire. Her main trawl winches also give her a bollard pull of 30 tons, if required.

Her array of winch wires, cables, nets and other research equipment is supported on deck, by her being fitted with a variety of knuckle cranes, including a 7.5 ton crane, a 3 ton crane, and a 1.7 ton crane. For overside operations she has a stern ramp mounted ‘A Frame’ capable of handling 10 tons, a second ‘A Frame’ capable of handling 15 tons, which is housed in a special starboard side hangar, and an ‘L Frame’ housed in the CTD hangar. The main hangar has 55 m2 of deck area available, and the CTD hangar had 27 m2 of deck area available.

Dr Fridtjof Nansen at Jetty 2, Cape Town V&A Harbour. 10 May 2018. Picture: IMR

Carrying accommodation for 45 persons, split between a crew of 15 and a scientific complement of 30, ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ provides seven laboratories for onboard research. These include a CTD lab, a Benthic lab, a Dry lab, a Climate lab, a Wet Fish lab, a Dry Fish lab, and a Clean Seawater lab. She also had a fully equipped Acoustic Control Room.

Her work around the African coast is not simply limited to coastal, and continental shelf, fishing grounds, but she also conducts international oceanic research on behalf of the South Atlantic Ocean Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO). In both 2015 and again in 2019, ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ conducted research on Atlantic Seamounts, in order to study methods to safeguard Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VME). Both research cruises originated, and terminated, in Cape Town, with the specimens collected on both of these research cruises deposited with the Iziko Museum in Cape Town.

The second Fridtjof Nansen IMO 9062934 of 1993-2016. Picture: Glen Kasner . MarineTraffic

To give an example of the international nature of some research cruises, in May 2022 she completed a 31 day cruise to study four of the Guinea Seamount Chain, which is located some 918 nautical miles off the coast of Angola, and which rise to a depth of between 400 and 800 metres. The scientific complement included senior researchers from Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, who provided training and oversight for fisheries researchers from Angola, the Ivory Coast, Mauretania, and Namibia.

This is not the first time that ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’ has visited Cape Town, as she has made many calls here since 2017, calling every single year since she commissioned, and especially when she was based out of Walvis Bay in Namibia, on behalf of the Namibian authorities. She also made a maiden call in Durban, back in January 2018. At the time, her visit to Durban made the local SATV News, who reported that her call marked the start of a collaborative programme, where South Africa, and Africa’s oceans and marine life, were set to benefit from a research partnership with Norway.

The second Dr Fridtjof Nansen of 1993-2016. Picture: FAO

Had SATV News bothered to do more thorough background research they would have discovered that the EAF-Nansen programme has been running throughout Africa since 1973 (with the first Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, which however never called into SA due to Apartheid), and that South Africa’s participation in the UN approved programme has been ongoing since 1995. This was once majority rule was in place, with the second Dr. Fridtjof Nansen (1993-2016) having called into Durban on that very same programme numerous times between 1995 and 2016.

The first Dr Fridtjof Nansen (IMO 7368827) of 1974-1993. Picture: Shipspotting

So she is the third such Norwegian research vessel named ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’. Both previous vessels are still active, but under different names and uses.

The third ‘Dr. Fridtjof Nansen’s’ current arrival in Cape Town, from Maputo, followed a 16 day period conducting marine fisheries research in Mozambique waters, between 1st August and 16th August. This was preceded by a further 16 day period out of Dar es Salaam, conducting marine fisheries research in Tanzania waters between 10th July and 26th July. Prior to this she had been working in the waters of Namibia.

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Added 24 August 2023


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New Port Security Officer (PSO) appointed for Port of Durban

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has announced the appointment of Sinazo Tiya as Port Security Officer (PSO) at the Port of Durban.

According to TNPA, the role of PSO is crucial in ensuring the safety and security of TNPA assets, people and port, in compliance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code.

Sinazo Tiya, new Port Security Officer at Port of Durban

Tiya has over 10 years of experience in the protection field, having joined TNPA in 2019 as a security supervisor for the Port of Durban’s Maydon Wharf precinct.

Prior to joining TNPA, she was a police officer in the South African Police Services (SAPS) based in Cape Town.

Tiya’s security mandate also extends to port access control, minimising congestion in the port vicinity, monitoring compliance, as well as ensuring adherence to security operational policy and legislation through regular audits.

Her qualifications include a National Diploma in Policing, a forensic investigation certificate, an NQF5 in Policing, and a PSIRA grade A. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Policing Practice.

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Added 24 August 2023


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Tanker collision in Suez Canal

The LNG tanker BW Lesmes, on charter to BP, which was in a collision in the Suez Canal this Wednesday. Picture: DSME

Africa Ports & Ships

Two tankers have collided in the Suez Canal, it’s been reported.

The collision occurred on Wednesday mid-afternoon (23 August) and involved the LNG tanker BW LESMES (IMO 9873840), flagged in Singapore, and the crude oil tanker BURRI (IMO 9787948), flagged in the Cayman Islands.

The collision took place 19km from the southern end of the canal and fortunately did not result in a major disruption to canal activities.

The tankers were in a convoy heading south at the time of the incident.

The crude oil tanker Burri. Picture: VesselFinder

From AIS reports it appears that BW Lesmes had turned sideways and grounded before Burri ran on and into her, then backing away onto the straight.

Both tankers ended up facing in opposite directions.

Suez Canal Authority tugs managed to refloat the LNG tanker without too much trouble before towing the vessel to the Suez anchorage.

There were no injuries being reported nor has any damage to either tanker been described.

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Added 24 August 2023


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Third new tug arrives for service at Port Maputo

Port of Maputo’s latest tug Ntamo off the coast of Vietnam. Picture: Fauso Vilanculo / MarineTraffic

Africa Ports & Ships

Port Maputo, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary since the commencement of the then port of Lourenço Marques, has taken delivery of a third new tug, this time from a Vietnamese shipyard.

Named NTAMO (IMO 9932189), the tug has a bollard pull of 75 tons and a gross tonnage of 353 tons. Her length is 24.73 metres and width 12.53 metres. The tug is registered in St Vincent & The Grenadines.

Ntamo joins two other tugs acquired for service by the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) in 2013 and 2014 – Bulani and Sereia respectively, each having a bollard pull of 60 tons.

Bulani and Sereia were built by Sanmar Shipyards in Turkey on behalf of P&O Maritime Mozambique, who is also the registered owner and manager of Ntamo.

The arrival of the new tug will assist with increased traffic at the port that has seen cargo volumes increase to 27 million tonnes in 2022.

Port Maputo is managed and operated by the MPDC, a national private company, consisting of a partnership between the Mozambican Railway Company (Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique) and Portus Indico, which in turn is comprised of Grindrod, DP World and local company Mozambique Gestores.

Ntamo, going through its paces in the port at Maputo. Picture: MPDC

Speaking at the celebrations marking the port’s anniversary, President Filipe Nyusi praised the port operation, saying the results of the partnership were there to be seen.

“The investments, carried out continuously by the MPDC, guarantee not only safety and operational efficiency but also place the Port of Maputo among the most competitive in the region,” he said.

President Nyusi pointed out how the knowledge and capital injected by the concession have enabled a leap in cargo handling capacity, from five million tonnes handled in 2003 to 27 million in 2022.

He referred also to the financial viability of the port being strengthened by the increasing transit traffic volumes from neighbouring countries.

“The government’s vision and strategic decision to involve the private sector in rehabilitating the main national ports was fundamental to revitalising their operations and leveraging their potential,” Nyusi said.

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Added 24 August 2023


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DRC copper mine to rail 10,000 tonnes of copper through the Lobito Corridor

Lobito Corridor trains.   Picture Lobito Atlantic Rail

Africa Ports & Ships

Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines says it will transport 10,000 tonnes of copper concentrate to the Angolan port of Lobito via the Lobito rail corridor.

This is in terms of a memorandum of understanding signed between the mining company and the consortium managing the Lobito Corridor, Lobito Atlantic Railway (LAR).

The railway, once known as the Benguela Railway or CFB, has been completely rehabilitated to the border at Luau, after which the railway continues into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and south through the Zambian Copperbelt. Within Angola it passes through the provinces of Benguela, Huambo, Bié and Moxico.

Ivanhoe Mines, which operates the Kamoa-Kakula copper mines, say the copper concentrate will be railed to Lobito in the coming months before the end of this year.

The MoU mentions the route to be covered from the mines to the Lobito port as being 1,739 kilometres and describes this as a much faster route than sending the copper to Durban.

One thousand three hundred of those kilometres are within Angola.

As an example it quotes a round trip journey from Kamoa-Kakula to Durban as taking 50 days, which will be reduced to just 20 days by using the Lobito Corridor.

It also states that Ivanhoe Mines currently sends its ore by road to the ports of Durban, Walvis Bay, Beira and Dar es Salaam.

Ivanhoe Mines is focused on copper discovery and the reconstruction and modernization of the historic Kipushi zinc, germanium and silver mine in the DRC, as well as rhodium-gold exploration in South Africa.

This is the first commercial agreement signed by the LAR consortium, which consists of Trafigura (49.5%), Mota-Engil (49.5%) and Vecturis S.A (1%). LAR will manage and operate the railway for a period of 30 years. The concession was formalised in July this year.

Under the concession contract, LAR is committed to invest 455 million euros in Angola and another 100 million in the DRC, to improve the infrastructure of the Lobito Corridor in terms of capacity and safety, as well as to buy 35 locomotives and 1,500 wagons.

The railway inside the DRC, including that to be operated by the LAR, is administered by the National Railway Society of the Congo (SNCC). – source: ANGOP

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Added 23 August 2023


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Mina de cobre da RDC transportará 10.000 toneladas de cobre através do Corredor do Lobito

Comboio do Corredor do Lobito.  Foto LAR

Africa Ports & Ships

A mineradora canadiana Ivanhoe Mines afirma que irá transportar 10 mil toneladas de concentrado de cobre para o porto angolano do Lobito através do corredor ferroviário do Lobito.

Trata-se de um memorando de entendimento assinado entre a empresa mineira e o consórcio gestor do Corredor do Lobito, Lobito Atlantic Railway (LAR).

A ferrovia, outrora conhecida como Caminho de Ferro de Benguela ou CFB, foi completamente reabilitada até à fronteira em Luau, após o que a ferrovia continua para a República Democrática do Congo (RDC) e para sul através do Cinturão de Cobre da Zâmbia. Dentro de Angola passa pelas províncias de Benguela, Huambo, Bié e Moxico.

A Ivanhoe Mines, que opera as minas de cobre Kamoa-Kakula, afirma que o concentrado de cobre será transportado para Lobito nos próximos meses, antes do final deste ano.

O MoU menciona a rota a ser percorrida desde as minas até ao porto do Lobito como sendo de 1.739 quilómetros e descreve-a como uma rota muito mais rápida do que enviar o cobre para Durban.

Mil e trezentos desses quilómetros estão dentro de Angola.

Como exemplo, cita uma viagem de ida e volta de Kamoa-Kakula a Durban como demorando 50 dias, que será reduzida para apenas 20 dias usando o Corredor do Lobito.

Afirma também que a Ivanhoe Mines envia actualmente o seu minério por estrada para os portos de Durban, Walvis Bay, Beira e Dar es Salaam.

A Ivanhoe Mines está focada na descoberta de cobre e na reconstrução e modernização da histórica mina de zinco, germânio e prata de Kipushi, na RDC, bem como na exploração de ouro de ródio na África do Sul.

Este é o primeiro acordo comercial assinado pelo consórcio LAR, constituído pela Trafigura (49,5%), Mota-Engil (49,5%) e Vecturis S.A (1%). A LAR administrará e operará a ferrovia por um período de 30 anos. A concessão foi formalizada em julho deste ano.

No âmbito do contrato de concessão, a LAR compromete-se a investir 455 milhões de euros em Angola e outros 100 milhões na RDC, para melhorar as infra-estruturas do Corredor do Lobito em termos de capacidade e segurança, bem como comprar 35 locomotivas e 1.500 vagões.

A ferrovia dentro da RDC, incluindo a que será operada pela LAR, é administrada pela Sociedade Ferroviária Nacional do Congo (SNCC). – fonte: ANGOP

Inscreva-se na Newsletter Africa Ports & Ships – é grátis
Adicionado em 23 de agosto de 2023


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WHARF TALK: anchor handling, tug, and supply vessel BOKA FULMAR

The multi-functional, ultra deep water, anchor handling, tug, and supply vessel Boka Fulmar, which entered port at Cape Town on 15 August 2023 for bunkers and supplies. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat
Story by Jay Gates

With all the talk of the impending retirement of the venerable ocean tug ‘S.A. Amandla’, one of the parameters by which a tug is measured is by its bollard pull. This gives you a good indication of how powerful the tug is when it comes to dragging something off somewhere that it should not be, or by pulling a deadweight through the water.

A conventional harbour tug is normally centred around a bollard pull of around 60 tons. As built, ‘S.A. Amandla’ was considered, along with her sistership, to be the most powerful tug in the world, with a bollard pull of over 150 tons. How times have changed, as this bollard pull, as hefty as it is, is no longer even close to being considered as one of the most powerful. In fact it does not even make the top 50.

It is the development of the offshore oil and gas industry that has delivered the current crop of powerful tugs, as all of the top 50 are oil and gas related. To show the difference in what is now considered to be powerful, the current most powerful tug in the world is ‘Island Navigator’, which has a colossal bollard pull of 477 tons. To put that into perspective, if you placed three ‘S.A. Amandla’ tugs side by side, and got the trio to pull as hard as they can against ‘Island Navigator’, they would likely still go backwards.

The tug enthusiast, and the casual maritime observer, all like to see a powerful tug, and Cape Town regularly gets to see them as they arrive, usually with something in tow, although the towed asset is generally left offshore, when they come in for stores and bunkers. This time around, the patient tug enthusiast got to see the fourth most powerful tug in the world arriving in town. She was the most powerful in the world at the time she was launched.

On 18th August, at 15h00 in the afternoon, the multi-functional, ultra deep water, anchor handling, tug, and supply vessel BOKA FULMAR (IMO 9448413) arrived off Cape Town, from Singapore, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside the Eastern Mole. Such a vessel, and such an arrival, was clearly indicative that she was in for stores, provisions and bunkers. The question was what, if anything, had she been towing, and where had she left it, prior to heading into Cape Town harbour.

Boka Fulmar. Cape Town, 19 August 2023. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2011 by Drydocks World Pan United shipyard in Singapore, ‘Boka Fulmar’ is 93 metres in length and has a deadweight of 5,033 tons. She is powered by two MaK 16VM32C sixteen cylinder four stroke main engines producing 10,728 bhp (8,000 kW) each, driving two Ulstein controllable pitch propellers for a free intervention sea speed of 18 knots. Her auxiliary machinery includes four Caterpillar 3516C generators providing 2,350 kW, and a single emergency generator providing 370 kW.

She has a dynamic positioning classification of DP2, controlled by a Rolls-Royce Icon DP system. She is a Rolls Royce designed UT788CD offshore vessel, primarily for use in the North Sea. She has a bollard pull of no less than 402 tons. During her sea trials, this bollard pull made ‘Boka Fulmar’, at the time, the most powerful tug in the world, as she had surpassed the previous record of 397 tons held by another vessel.

Boka Fulmar. Cape Town, 19 August 2023. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

For added manoeuvrability, as required for her DP2 classification, she also has a single forward, retractable, Ulstein Aquamaster azimuth thruster providing 1,500 kW, and a single aft, retractable, Ulstein Aquamaster azimuth thruster providing 1,500 kW. She has two bow KaMeWa TT2200 transverse thrusters providing 1,000 kW, and a single aft KaMeWa TT2200 transverse thruster providing 1,000 kW.

For her supply operations ‘Boka Fulmar’ has a working deck area of 815 m2, and she has underdeck cargo tanks capable of carrying 1,049 m3 of fuel, 1,089 m3 of potable fresh water, 2,662 m3 of drilling water, 713 m3 of drilling mud, and 197 m3 of methanol. Unusually for an AHTS vessel, ‘Boka Fulmar’ has a 7m x 7m moonpool, enabling her to operate with working Remote Operating Vehicles (ROV), as well as an ROV hangar.

Boka Fulmar. Cape Town, 19 August 2023. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

For her towing operations, she is equipped with a special handling winch, with a capacity of 14,800 metres of 76 mm towing wire. She has two towing winches, with the port side winch having a capacity of 3,500 metres of 76 mm wire, and the starboard towing winch having a capacity of 3,800 metres of 76 mm towing wire.

With accommodation for 100 persons, ‘Boka Fulmar’ was purchased in 2021 by her new owners Royal Boskalis Westminster NV, of Papendrecht in Holland, operated by Boskalis Offshore Shipping BV, also of Papendrecht, and managed by Boskalis Offshore Fleet Management BV, again of Papendrecht.

Boka Fulmar. Cape Town, 19 August 2023. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

After just over 24 hours alongside taking on her required stores and bunkers, ‘Boka Fulmar’ was ready to depart from Cape Town, and she sailed at 2100 in the evening of 19th August, bound for Angra dos Reis, which lies just south of Rio de Janeiro. The question of what she was returning out to sea for was answered by referring to AIS. She headed straight for a position just off Cape Town port limits (OPL), where two more Boskalis ocean tugs, the ‘Boka Alpine’ and ‘Boka Glacier’ were waiting.

This trio of powerful tugs, with ‘Boka Alpine’ and ‘Boka Glacier’ both adding a bollard pull of 205 tons each to the tow, indicated that the towed asset was a unit of some size. The tow was the newbuild Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) unit ‘Sepetiba’, whose voyage had started from the BOMESC shipyard, at Tianjin in China, and bound to end at the Mero oilfield, off the coast of Brazil.

FPSO Sepetiba ready to depart Tianjin on 16 June 2023.  Picture: SBM Offshore

FPSO ‘Sepetiba’ is owned by SBM Offshore, and is the third of four Fast4Ward FPSOs being built for the Brazilian state owned oil company, Petrobras. She is 331 metres in length and has a deadweight of 250,000 tons. She cost US$1.6 billion (ZAR30.38 billion) to build, and is capable of producing 180,000 barrels of oil daily, and has a storage capacity of 1.4 million barrels of oil.

She is running 15 months late, as her completion was delayed due to supply constraints arising due to Covid-19 pandemic issues. It is hoped that she will be ready to produce first oil in the last quarter of 2023. The Mero field, where she is bound for, lies in 2,000 metres of water, and is located in the Santos Basin, some 97 nautical miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Boka Fulmar. Cape Town, 19 August 2023. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Knowing that ‘Island Victory’ is the most powerful tug in the world, with a bollard pull of 477 tons, and that ‘Boka Fulmar’ is the fourth most powerful tug in the world, with a bollard pull of 402 tons, the question to be asked is which one is second most powerful, and which is third most powerful. The answer is ‘Far Samson’ with a bollard pull of 423 tons lies second, and ‘Boka Falcon’, a sistership of ‘Boka Fulmar, lies third with a bollard pull of 403 tons, just one ton ahead of her sistership.

In this day and age, where health and safety is the big thing, and vessels have ‘Think Safety’ and other platitudes painted across their accommodation blocks, it is nice to see that ‘Boka Fulmar’ takes a completely different slant at putting across the safety message, and what target that safety message is aimed at. Probably uniquely, on her crane pedestal is painted a pictorial message about safety, and why those aboard need to pay attention to safety. It gets my vote.

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Added 23 August 2023


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Nigeria: Dangote Refinery completes construction and starts production

Machinery at the Dangote Refinery during the construction period. Picture XCMG

Africa Ports & Ships

The Dangote Refinery in Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest, has recently completed construction and begun production. Covering an area of 2,200 hectares, the refinery has the capability to process 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day into refined petroleum products.

Not only will it help Nigeria become an oil refining country, it will significantly mitigate energy stability risks, freeing Nigeria from its dependence on oil imports.

In addition, the refinery will produce 12,000 megawatts of electricity and create more than 135,000 permanent jobs.

South Africa, by comparison, remains in dire need of additional megawatts of electricity and imported fuel, the latter after closing three of its refineries including Sapref in Durban, the country’s largest refinery.

This has forced the country into a situation where it has to import almost all petroleum fuels.

A number of international construction companies and providers of ancillary equipment were involved in the mammoth Nigerian refinery project. One of these was Chinese construction machinery manufacturer, XCMG Machinery, with more than 2,000 units of equipment, including excavators, cranes, road rollers, and more, stationed throughout the construction and guaranteeing high-intensity, uninterrupted operation.

During the construction period, the average runtime of a single XCMG excavator was more than 8,000 hours. To cope with the harsh environment XCMG made customized upgrades and improvements to ensure optimum performance. The port city of Lagos, where the project was situated, experiences high temperatures, humidity, and dust, which pose great challenges to the adaptability and reliability of construction machinery equipment.

XCMG also deployed teams of engineers and technicians to the Dangote Refinery project, providing end-to-end, round-the-clock service to facilitate the on-site equipment.

The manufacturer has been China’s No.1 construction machinery exporter to Africa since 2017. XCMG’s excavators and cranes are widely used in major infrastructure projects across Africa, contributing to improving and transforming local travel and living conditions.

Among other projects in which their tower cranes participated is the JP Magufuli Bridge project at Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake.

The 3,200-metre-long super-large bridge and connecting 1,660-metre-long approach bridge will become the longest bridge in East Africa and the longest low-tower cable-stayed bridge in Africa, connecting Gaita Province and Mwanza Province in Tanzania.

XCMG’s tower cranes ensured “precise, accurate, and stable” hoisting by adopting marine-grade coating technology and delivering stable and accurate slewing operations while adapting to the unfavourable working conditions and challenges.

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Added 23 August 2023


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Potential shortages as Panama Canal restrictions impact holiday stocks, warns Container xChange

As wholesale inventories dwindle in the U.S., the ongoing restrictions at the Panama Canal could have implications for Christmas stocks and supply chains, reports container logistics analyst, Container xChange.

With the imminent Christmas shopping season, it says the delay in inventory restocking due to shipping disruptions and congestion at the Panama Canal could result in missed sales opportunities for businesses.

The present disruptions have raised concerns about the ability of businesses to replenish their inventories in a timely manner due to shipping delays. If these disruptions continue, there is a looming threat of shortages for select goods during the critical Christmas shopping period.

“Ongoing challenges at the Panama Canal are making existing worries for industries even worse,” says Christian Roeloffs, Cofounder and CEO of Container xChange.

“New industry information shows that the U.S. economy’s consumer spending has seen an uptick, which is good. With inventories falling and demand expected to rebound, the Panama Canal, which carries 40% of container traffic from Asia to Europe, is likely to experience increased pressure.,” he remarked.

With the Panama Canal Authority implementing water conservation measures in response to a drought, vessels are experiencing prolonged wait times and capacity limitations, resulting in a ripple effect across the shipping sector.

Prominent industry sources, including Alphaliner, Sea-Intelligence, and Drewry, have reported a notable increase in blanked sailings – the practice of cancelling scheduled sailings to manage capacity. Specifically, during June and July, an approximate 10.8% of the regular sailings connecting Central China and Europe were cancelled.

Comparable patterns have also emerged in the transpacific trade lanes. As a direct result of these capacity reductions, the market has witnessed a corresponding rise in spot freight rates. This outcome aligns closely with earlier projections made by industry experts.

Notably, the ongoing efforts by the Panama Canal Authority to conserve freshwater amidst the prevailing drought conditions have contributed to a substantial backlog of vessels – currently numbering around 200– awaiting their turn to transit through the canal. As this queue lengthens, waiting times have surged to a peak of 21 days, introducing significant delays across multiple segments of the shipping industry.

Given the Panama Canal’s role as a vital trench for U.S. shippers, who channel 40% of all U.S. container traffic through the canal annually, the ramifications of the current disruptions are extensive. Measures such as the restriction of booking slots and adjustments to vessel weight requirements have compounded the existing backlog, further elongating waiting times.

This, in turn, is straining shipping schedules, potentially leading to disruptions along supply chains and the potential for knock-on effects on pricing structures. The Panama Canal plays a critical role for U.S. shippers en route to Gulf and East Coast ports. The U.S. accounts for 73% of Panama Canal traffic representing about $270 billion in cargo.

The knock-on effects are also anticipated to affect costs. The need for alternative routes and the resulting longer lead times due to the ongoing congestion have the potential to increase operational expenses for carriers. These cost increases may eventually be passed down to businesses and consumers alike.

While optimism surrounds the prospect of improvements as the rainy season approaches, historical data indicates that even after the removal of draught restrictions, the process of clearing the accumulated backlog may still be a time-consuming endeavour.

“These supply chain disruptions are expected to reverberate throughout the industry, with potential consequences for container prices. The ongoing congestion and reduced capacity have led to heightened competition for available slots, driving up spot freight rates,” Roeloffs said

“The scarcity of available vessel capacity has prompted carriers to reevaluate pricing strategies to offset increased costs and uncertainties. Consequently, the traditional equilibrium of container prices may experience adjustments to accommodate the challenges of the Panama Canal congestion.”

Against this backdrop, collaboration among stakeholders becomes even more pivotal. Effective coordination and communication will be instrumental in addressing the multifaceted effects of the Panama Canal congestion on global trade routes and container prices, he advises.

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Added 23 August 2023


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Innovative WindWings sail-assisted bulker sets off on commercial voyage

Pyxis Ocean, with WingWings in action during first commercial voyage. Picture: Cargill

Africa Ports & Ships

An interesting bulk carrier has set sail, literally, using what may be dubbed ground-breaking technology.

The ship, the PYXIS OCEAN, uses two specially-fitted BAR Tech Windwings by Yara Marine Technologies – described as eco-friendly wings to support the commercial vessel.

The 80,962-dwt Pyxis Ocean is owned by Mitsubishi Corporation and chartered by Cargill and is the first ocean-going ‘normal’ ship to be fitted with two sets of the 37.5 m tall foldable WindWings, developed by UK company BAR Technologies and produced by Norway’s Yara Marine Technologies.

The conversion took place at the COSCO shipyard in China.

The 229-metre long, 32m wide bulker, which was built in 2017, departed from Shanghai in China on 1 August 2023, bound for Paranagua in Brazil where she is due to arrive on 15 September. From Parangua she is expected to load a cargo of grain for transport to Denmark.

The use of the WindWings is expected to realise a saving in fuel consumption, which the developers say will amount to 30% in new build ships and even higher if combined with alternative fuels.

According to Cargill, which has chartered the ship, the performance of the WindWings will be closely monitored over the coming months to further improve their design, operation, and performance.

The aim, says Cargill, is that Pyxis Ocean will be used to inform the scale-up and adoption across not only Cargill’s fleet but the industry.

BAR Technologies and Yara Marine Technologies are already planning to build hundreds of wings over the next four years and BAR Technologies is also researching newbuilds with improved hydrodynamic hull forms.

“The maritime industry is on a journey to decarbonize — it’s not an easy one, but it is an exciting one,” said Jan Dieleman, President of Cargill’s Ocean transportation business.

He said Cargill has a responsibility to pioneer decarbonizing solutions across all their supply chains to meet customer’s needs and those of the planet.

“A technology like WindWings doesn’t come without risk, and as an industry leader – in partnership with visionary shipowner Mitsubishi Corporation – we are not afraid to invest, take those risks and be transparent with our learnings to help our partners in maritime transition to a more sustainable future.”

The installation demonstrates a step-change in attitudes towards technologies that can enable an energy transition for existing vessels.

The WindWings project, which is co-funded by the European Union as part of the CHEK Horizon 2020 initiative, can help the industry meet those targets by offering a retrofit solution that is capable of decarbonizing existing vessels, which is particularly relevant given that 55 per cent of the world’s bulker fleets are up to nine years in age.

Over the coming months the performance of the WindWings will be closely monitored to further improve their design, operation, and performance. The aim is that the Pyxis Ocean will be used to inform the scale-up and adoption across not only Cargill’s fleet but the industry.

Picture: BAR Technologies

John Cooper, CEO of BAR Technologies, said that if international shipping is to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions, then innovation must come to the fore.

“Wind is a near marginal cost-free fuel and the opportunity for reducing emissions, alongside significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs, is substantial,” Cooper said.

It’s estimated that on an average global route, WindWings can save 1.5 tonnes of fuel per WindWing per day – with the possibility of saving more on trans ocean routes. Cost savings will become even greater against future fuels which will undoubtedly cost a lot more.

In an interview with the BBC, Cooper predicted that by 2025 half the new-build ships will be ordered with wind propulsion.

“The reason I’m so confident is our savings – one and a- half tonnes of fuel per day. Get four wings on a vessel, that’s six tonnes of fuel saved, that’s 20 tonnes of CO2 saved – per day. The numbers are massive.,” he said.

Watch the YouTube video of Pyxis Ocean at sea [3:23]

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Added 23 August 2023


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Namport planning to enlarge Walvis Bay port for oil and gas sector

Port of Walvis Bay scene/  Picture: Namport

The discovery of significant amounts of oil and gas offshore the Namibian coast to the north of the Gariep (Orange) River mouth, has resulted in Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) awarding a contract for the construction of a liquid petroleum gas facility for the importation, storage and distribution terminal at Walvis Bay.

In addition, Namport CEO Andrew Kanime announced last year plans to develop and export green hydrogen, in which the port will play an important role.

Now come reports that Namibia is seeking funding to expand the port at Walvis Bay in anticipation of the development of further drilling activities offshore in the Orange River Basin.

A report in Bloomberg said Namibia is seeking private investment worth the equivalent of US$ 2.1 billion (40 billion Namibian dollars) for the construction of quay walls and new berths at Walvis Bay.

Also on the drawing plans and previously announced is a second port at the small southern town of Lüderitz, which is not only the closer of the two Namibian ports to the offshore oil activities but is also handling increased volumes of manganese trucked and railed in from South Africa’s Northern Cape.

The Lüderitz proposal entails construction of a new port as the existing port is severely restricted in terms of ship size.

According to state state oil company Namcor, crude production could commence by 2029.

Transnet’s forwarding-looking ambitious Boegoebaai proposals

Just south of the Gariep river mouth is a bay with the name Boegoebaai, where South Africa is eyeing a similar development of a harbour in anticipation of further oil and gas discoveries offshore on its side of the river mouth and border. Also proposed is the construction of a rail service from the mining region of Hotazel for the export of manganese and iron ore.

In July Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) said it has shortlisted three groups to submit proposals for the design, funding and construction of this planned port and rail infrastructure project.

Boegoebaai, some 60km north of Port Nolloth, will also be the site of South Africa’s green hydrogen development – see Africa Ports & Ships report on this and the harbour construction plans here

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Added 22 August 2023


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WHARF TALK:offshore crane vessel BOKALIFT 1

The offshore crane vessel ‘Bokalift 1’ on arrival off Cape Town while en route to Europe in April 2018. Picture: Riviera

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’ or as indicated
Story by Jay Gates

There is no doubt that Cape Town is the main calling point of nearly all of the West African oil and gas vessels, whether they be support, supply, construction, accommodation, or specialised. The same can be said of all of those offshore vessel types, including the big oceanic oil and gas asset tugs, which utilise Cape Town as a quick stopover, measured in hours, for fuel, stores, and refreshments, when transiting from one offshore contract to the next one.

Whenever any of these vessels are spotted entering port by the casual maritime observer, the obvious thought is to consider it to be oil and gas related, and to determine from where, and to where. However, one tends to forget that in the developed world, there is another offshore industry which utilises many oil and gas vessels, but not for any oil and gas purposes.

That industry is growing rapidly, especially as a result of climate change issues, and the reasons behind it. That industry is the offshore wind farm industry. Anyone who has stood on a European shore, especially in the North Sea, or Irish Sea, and looked out to sea will know how big this industry has become. Wind farms are huge, and offshore wind turbines now number in their hundreds. So, naturally, every now and then a vessel connected to this burgeoning industry is bound to show up in a South African port when moving between contracts.

On 16th August, at 13h00 in the early afternoon, the offshore crane vessel ‘Bokalift 1’ (IMO 9592850) arrived off Cape Town, from Anping in Taiwan, and entered Cape Town harbour. She proceeded into the Duncan Dock and, unusually, went alongside at the far end of the dock, at L berth, which is normally a bespoke base berth for the De Beers Marine offshore diamond mining fleet.

Bokalift 1. Cape Town 17 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With an unusual history, ‘Bokalift 1’ was built in 2012, as one of two sisterships, by Guangzhou Shipbuilding International, at Qidong in China, as a semi-submersible heavylift vessel for Fairstar Heavy Transport NV, of Rotterdam in Holland. She was capable of carrying buoyant cargoes of up to 30,000 tons, and she had a submerged loading draft of 26 metres. She was named ‘Finesse’ on launching.

She transferred to new owners, Boskalis NV, in 2017. She was then selected to be converted from a semi-submersible vessel, into a Crane vessel with no semi-submersible capability, but retaining her heavylift capability, for use in the growing offshore wind farm industry. She was converted at Keppel Shipyard in Singapore, and was renamed ‘Bokalift 1’ by her new owners.

Bokalift 1. Cape Town 17 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With a length of 217 metres and a deadweight of 37,656 tons, ‘Bokalift 1’ has diesel electric propulsion, and is powered by two Bergen main engines producing 6,437 bhp (4,800 kW) each, driving two fixed pitch propellers for a service speed of 14 knots. She has a dynamic positioning classification of DP2, using a Kongsberg DP system, and is fitted with an extensive manoeuvring capability to achieve the accurate station keeping qualities she needs for her offshore work.

For the added manoeuvrability required when conducting DP operations, she has a further four Wärtsilä 8L32 eight cylinder four stroke engines producing 5,150 bhp (3,840 kW) each, with each one connected to no less than four azimuth thrusters, two forward and two aft, providing 3,500 kW each. She has two bow transverse thrusters providing 1,200 kW each.

Her auxiliary machinery includes a Wärtsilä 6L20 harbour generator providing 970 kW, and a Cummins KTA14-M3(-M)-D(M) emergency generator providing 400 kW. For her crane operations ‘Bokalift 1’ is fitted with no less than eight heeling tanks, with each tank pump capable of pumping water at 2,000 m3/hour. She also has two ballast pumps capable of pumping ballast water at 1,500 m3/hour.

Bokalift 1 as Finesse before conversion. Picture: Shipspotting

As a crane vessel she was refitted with a Huisman OMC Revolving Crane, and capable of lifting 3,000 tons on the main hoist. Her auxiliary hoist is capable of lifting 1,200 tons, and her whip hoist is capable of lifting 200 tons. Her auxiliary hoist can operate to a depth of 900 metres, and her whip hoist can operate down to a depth of 1,900 metres. To give an indication of how big the main crane of ‘Bokalift 1’ is, she has a lifting height of a whopping 124 metres above main cargo deck level.

Her cargo deck has a working area of 6,300 m3, and is strengthened to a working weight of 25 tons/m2. She is able to carry a deck cargo load of up to 15,000 tons over a deck area measuring 163 meters by 43 metres. On conversion for her offshore work, Bokalift 1’ was had an accommodation block installed, allowing her to carry a total of 150 persons. For logistical support, and offshore crew changes, she is fitted with a raised, forward, helideck capable of taking the largest offshore helicopter, the Sikorsky S-92A, and up to 12.8 tons in weight.

Bokalift 1 installing jackets off Taiwan, July 2023. Picture: Boskalis

Her conversion allows her to undertake transportation, installation, and decommissioning of any offshore structure, both in the oil and gas sectors, as well as the wind farm sector. Owned by Royal Boskalis Westminster NV, of Papendrecht in Holland, ‘Bokalift 1’ is operated by Boskalis CTD-Offshore BV, also of Papendrecht, and is managed by Boskalis Offshore Fleet Management BV, again located at their Papendrecht head office.

In 2019, Boskalis was awarded a contract to transport and install offshore wind turbine platforms off the coast of Taiwan. Under Taiwanese law, there is a considerable local content requirement for any offshore wind farm development. In line with this policy, Boskalis entered into a joint venture (JV) with Hwa-Chi Construction Co. Ltd., of Taipei, and the new company is known as BoWei. Such a JV is rather reminiscent of Joint Ventures in South Africa that are forced to have a substantial BEE content.

Bokalift 1 installing jackets off Taiwan, July 2023. Picture: Boskalis

The JV wind turbine platform contract is for what is locally known as the Changfang and Xidao (CFXD) wind farms. The two wind farms are located some 8 nautical miles offshore of Changhua County, on the west coast of Taiwan. The wind farms total 62 wind turbine platforms, which will provide 589 MW of clean, renewable energy, and capable of providing electricity to no less than 650,000 local homes in Taiwan.

Boskalis was contracted to transport the 62 locally manufactured wind turbine platforms, from Taipei harbour, where they were constructed, out to the wind farm site, and install them on the seabed by securing them with 186 pin piles. Each platform weighs 1,200 tons, and each one received three pin piles, one per leg. Each pin pile is 70 metres in length, and was driven into the seabed by piledriving equipment that was installed on ‘Bokalift 1’ itself.

Boskalis 1 off Cape Town while en route to Europe, April 2018. Picture: Boskalis

The installation of the platforms was completed in May 2023, and the piling of each platform was completed by mid-July 2023. At that point ‘Bokalift 1’ departed from Taipei, and began her long transit across to Cape Town, with a crew change and bunker stop made in Singapore, before she begin her transit of the Indian Ocean.

Whilst in Cape Town ‘Bokalift 1’ took on bunkers from the Cape Town based, AMSOL managed, bunker tanker ‘Lipuma’. By 20h00 in the late evening, on 18th August, ‘Bokalift 1’ was ready to continue her voyage. She came off L berth and she sailed from Cape Town, on a long Atlantic Ocean crossing, bound for the Port of Spain, the capital city of the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago.

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Added 22 August 2023


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92 Years of service for South Sands Bluff Lighthouse

South Sand Bluff Lighthouse was the first South African lighthouse to be converted to solar power. It is one of 10 operational lighthouses along the country’s coast, and one of 10 along the Eastern Cape coast. Picture: TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

South Sand Bluff Lighthouse achieved 92 years of service on Monday 21 August 2023. It is one of 44 operational lighthouses along the South African coast and was the first to be converted to solar power.

South Sand Bluff Lighthouse is situated near the mouth of the Msikaba River on the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast (Pondoland) and was commissioned on 21 August 1931. The lighthouse’s 10-metre circular concrete structure is painted white. The rotating lamp produces one flash every 10 seconds and is powered by a solar photovoltaic (PV) system that is backed up by mains supply.

The original installation consisted of a 17.7 metre lattice structure. Picture: TNPA

The lighthouse is automated and is not manned. Scheduled maintenance is carried out by a team from Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in Port Shepstone, approximately 250 kilometres away. The team can spend up to a week at the lighthouse checking and servicing the light, the tower, and the solar PV system.

The original installation consisted of a 17.7 metre lattice structure, fitted with an acetylene gas lantern equipped with a sun valve.

The construction required about 14 tonnes of equipment and materials to be transported by ox wagon from Lusikisiki. Despite it being only 50 kilometres away, the going was slow because there were no roads – tarred or otherwise. There had to be sufficient gas stores on the station because the lighthouse was not manned, and the remoteness made inspections less frequent than at other stations

First to use solar power

The light source was changed to an electrically operated light on 16 September 1982. It was powered by a lead acid battery that was recharged by a solar electric generator. It was the first South African lighthouse to use solar power. The current concrete structure was installed in 2005.

Some 90 years later, the environment remains challenging. The area is still considered remote, though the roads have improved dramatically. The dense vegetation in the area is home to a few poisonous snake species, most notably the Black Mamba, and TNPA employees have had encounters with these majestic yet terrifying creatures.

Snakes alive

Snakes are a feature at many of South Africa’s lighthouses, so employees undergo periodic training in snake identification and handling.

South Sand Bluff Lighthouse is one of 10 lighthouses along the Eastern Cape coast. The other nine are: Seal Point, Cape Recife, Deal, Bird Island, Great Fish Point, Hood Point, Cape Morgan, Mbashe and Cape Hermes.

The lighthouse’s 10-metre circular concrete structure is painted white. The rotating lamp produces one flash every 10 seconds and is powered by a solar photovoltaic (PV) system that is backed up by mains supply.  Picture: TNPA


TNPA is mandated 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.

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 International Maritime Organisation regulations, but smaller vessels are not. Therefore, visual marine AtoNs cannot be done away with.

TNPA AtoNs conform to the standards set by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). South Africa, represented by TNPA, is a founder member of IALA.

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Added 22 August 2023


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In Conversation: Kenya and the US are negotiating a trade deal that could be a model for Africa

But its position on workers needs a rethink

Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile, University of Arkansas

The US and Kenya announced a trade and investment partnership in July 2022. Talks have been progressing on the way forward in nine areas, including agriculture, anti-corruption, digital trade, environment and climate change action, and workers’ rights and protections.

The Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) will be the first significant trade partnership between the US and a country in sub-Saharan Africa. Countries in the region currently rely on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which offers duty- and quota-free access to the US market. The new deal is seen as a model for future agreements between the US and other sub-Saharan African countries.

The labour provisions proposed under the Kenya-US deal are not new. They have become standard features of all US free trade agreements since first appearing in the North American free trade agreement of 1994.

Kenya and the US undertake to work together:

to advance and protect labour rights through enforcement of and compliance with labour laws, promotion of social dialogue, and cooperation in other areas of mutual interest on labour and employment priorities, including with respect to forced labour in global supply chains.

There is currently very little information regarding the potential scope of the labour provisions. But there is reason to believe they will borrow heavily from precedents of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Under the USMCA, Contracting Parties commit to four core international labour standards. These are: freedom of association and collective bargaining; elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour; effective abolition of child labour; and elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

I have recently authored a paper on the labour issues raised in the proposed free trade deal between the US and Kenya. I have also studied China’s bilateral treaties and reviewed its trade deals with African countries.

Ordinarily, a trade agreement that aims at promoting workers’ rights should be welcomed. Kenya faces numerous obstacles to effective protection of the rights of workers despite having many laws with this aim. But the imposition of stringent labour standards via a trade agreement raises concerns about:

  • additional international obligations
  • high implementation costs
  • sovereignty
  • hidden motives
  • uneven playing field.

In my opinion, the inclusion of strong labour provisions in the STIP may have very little to do with protecting workers in Kenya. It may be more about sidelining China in Africa, protecting U.S. jobs, and enhancing US soft power in the region.

1. International obligations

The controversy over the issue of trade and labour standards is not new. Nearly thirty years ago, developing countries rejected attempts by some industrial nations to subject labour standards to World Trade Organisation rules and disciplines. Introducing them through a free trade pact implies contracting states will be required to adopt and enforce global labour laws. Including labour provisions in the STIP will have the effect of imposing additional commitments on Kenya beyond its current obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation. Quite apart from the cost of implementation, imposing labour commitments through the backdoor of a trade agreement exposes Kenya to costly dispute settlement procedure and possible trade sanctions in event of a breach.

2. Sovereignty

The Kenyan parliament would likely play a very limited role in shaping the scope and content of the labour provisions of the trade agreement. In contrast, the US Congress plays a significant role in shaping the labour provisions of all pacts involving the US.

The limited input of Kenyan workers in the design of the labour provisions of the agreement is also a concern. By contrast, US workers and labour unions have had the opportunity to express their views on these issues. In its Strategic Plan FY 2022 – FY 2026, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) state that advancing a worker-centered trade policy “will require extensive engagement with unions, worker advocates, and underserved communities to ensure that workers’ perspectives and values play an integral and respected role in the development and implementation of U.S. trade policy.”

3. Hidden motives

It’s the US view that poor labour standards distort global markets and are a barrier to US businesses and workers competing on a level playing field.

The deal with Mexico and Canada prohibits them from importing goods from countries that use forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory child labour. It provides for mandatory inspection of facilities to be sure of compliance in those countries.

Labour provisions in Kenya could therefore have a direct impact on its trade with China, member states of the East African Community and other African states. It could mean that entities that are neither American nor Kenyan are inspected.

4. Uneven playing field

While the US has the capacity and resources to monitor labour conditions in Kenya and to enforce relevant provisions of the STIP, neither the Kenyan government nor its private sector has the capacity to do so in the US. So the spotlight will be on Kenya while labour rights violations in the US are likely to be swept under the carpet.

Despite a plethora of laws and regulations purporting to protect workers in the US, violations are commonplace, particularly among migrant workers. Forced labour and human trafficking of migrant farm workers in the US is rampant.

Until recently, migrant workers in the US were coerced into continuing to work despite violations of their rights.

5. High implementation costs

The cost of implementing labour provisions is significant. Substantial resources will be required to amend laws, appoint and train inspectors, and monitor compliance. Maintaining good records, establishing labour-management committees and providing arbitration services comes with costs.

Under the deal with Mexico and Canada, a decision made by a Party on the provision of enforcement resources does not excuse a Party’s failure to comply to enforce its labor laws.

What next?

Workers are the bedrock of the global economy and deserve full protection. Including labour provisions in the STIP could transform Kenya’s labour laws. It could also put pressure on China to take workers’ rights in Africa and Kenya more seriously.

But the idea of embedding robust labour obligations in a trade agreement between Kenya and the US is highly controversial and should be weighed carefully.

Such bilateral agreements must be scrutinised to ensure that their benefits for Kenya and Kenyan workers outweigh their costs. It’s important too that labour standards are without protectionist motive or effect.

If the Kenya-US deal must contain labour provisions, I have five proposals to make:

  • Kenya must reject pressure to replicate the labour provisions in the US-Mexico pact. They might not be a good template.
  • The labour provisions should include rights enshrined in core international human rights instruments most of which are yet to be ratified by the US.
  • The issue of implementation costs and capacity constraints must be addressed upfront with binding long-term commitment on the US to provide necessary technical assistance and bear the implementation costs.
  • The failure of the US government to address labour rights and migrant rights violations in the US, including in the agriculture sector, must also be on the table.
  • A human rights and sustainability impact assessment of the labour provisions is necessary. Such an impact assessment should take into account vulnerable workers in Kenya including female workers, workers with disability, child workers, as well as workers in the rural areas.The Conversation

Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile, Professor of International Law, Intellectual Property Law and Food Law, University of Arkansas

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

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Added 22 August 2023


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Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) explained: Video series

EEXI Ship energy efficiency. Picture: IMO

Improving the energy efficiency of ships. 

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Maritime administration personnel, ship owners and operators can get to grips with the Energy Efficiency eXisting Ship Index (EEXI) through a new series of videos. This was reported by IMO on 9 August.

The films, developed by the Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (Low Carbon GIA), provide an introduction to IMO’s EEXI requirements, how to calculate the attained and required EEXI, and how the survey and certification works.

Free access to videos

The videos, free to access online, are between ten and twelve minutes in duration and cover:

* Similarities and differences between EEXI and EEDI.

* EEXI compliance options.

* A worked example of how a ship’s required and attained EEXI are calculated.

* A short quiz that enables the learner to test their understanding of EEXI.

Readers are invited to watch the EEXI video series here.

Minglee Hoe, Technical Analyst of the IMO-Norway GreenVoyage2050 Project commented: “Providing support tools to maritime administrations and ship owners/operators who want to increase their knowledge of the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) is important in helping the industry to navigate meeting ship energy efficiency requirements and making improvements in line with the IMO GHG strategy.”

Mandatory regulation

The EEXI regulation is mandatory under MARPOL Annex VI and took effect in January 2023 as part of IMO’s short-term GHG reduction measure: See here

A ship’s attained EEXI indicates its energy efficiency compared to a baseline. Ship’s attained EEXI will then be compared to a required EEXI based on an applicable reduction factor expressed as a percentage relative to the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) baseline. It must be calculated for ships of 400 gt and above, in accordance with the different values set for ship types and size categories. The calculated attained EEXI value for each individual ship must be below the required EEXI, to ensure the ship meets a minimum energy efficiency standard.

Video series

The video series was developed under the Energy Efficiency Technologies (EETs) and operational best practices workstream of the Low Carbon GIA video series.

A Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) video series was released in May this year and is available here

More information

In order to learn more about the mandatory EEXI and CII measures readers are invited to use this link.

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Added 22 August 2023


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TPT prepares to partner with ICTSI at Durban Container Terminal Pier 2

Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 with North Quay facing.  Picture: TPT

by Terry Hutson

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has shed more light on the planned joint venture involving TPT and Philippines-based terminal operator ICTSI (International Container Terminal Services Inc) in managing and operating as a joint venture Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest and busiest container terminal, DCT 2 (Durban Container Terminal Pier 2).

ICTSI became the preferred bidder to partner with TPT on a 50/50 basis in which the Transnet company will hold one extra share. The arrangement is for a period of 25 years with an option of extending by a further five.

TPT and ICTSI will form a new company, referred to currently as ‘Newco’, this will be once final formalities and approvals are received from several government departments including the National Treasury and the Department of Public Enterprises.

It is intended that ‘Newco’ will take effect as from the next financial year beginning 1 April 2024.

TPT’s terminal operating licence and lease will be sub-contracted to ‘Newco’ after seeking approval from the port landlord, Transnet National Ports Authority.

All non-current assets will be transferred into ‘Newco’, together with customer and supplier contracts. ‘Newco’ will be required to achieve a minimum Level 4 BBEE status.

All DCT Pier 2 employees will be seconded to ‘Newco’ with no retrenchments and employees will retain the same terms and conditions as they held with TPT.

‘Newco’ will operate independently with its own board and executive committee. Once the agreed period (25 or 30 years) is reached, the terminal will revert to TPT.

Earle Peters, TPT’s managing executive, Durban Terminals said that from an exercise undertaken by TPT, the conclusion was that the terminal remained under-invested in equipment. It was significant, he said, that whenever TPT did invest in new equipment, performance levels improved and employee morale was raised.

He said there will be investments in new equipment once the new entity is operational. This will include additional ship-to-shore (STS) cranes – DCT 2 currently has 14 in service and the joint venture could see an additional six being added.

The terminal already operates with a fleet of rubber tyre gantries (RTGs) and straddle carriers and a decision will be made whether to convert more of the operation over to RTGs. DCT 2 has traditionally been primarily a straddle carrier operation.

In terms of operations, the servicing of road trucks will have to improve, Peters said. However, they would not increase the footprint for more trucks to be serviced at the terminal. “Rather we will be expanding the rail terminal to handle 1.9 million TEUs on the rail side.”

Peters said the current three rail lines will be expanded to six within the next four years. “We will grow from 2 million TEUs to 2.8 million through the expansion of rail and not increasing the number of trucks,” he said.

According to Peters DCT Pier 2 handles 72% of the port’s container throughput and 46% of South Africa’s container port traffic.

Referring to Africa Ports & Ships own records, in the 2022 calendar year the combined Durban container terminals (DCT2, DCT 1, Point MPT and Maydon Wharf) handled just over 60% of South Africa’s container throughput (2.574 million TEUs against SA total of 4.246 million TEUs).

DCT Pier 2 cross-berth 108/109   Picture: TPT

Performance levels

An area of concern with shipping lines, shippers and cargo owners generally has been the performance levels at DCT Pier 2. In its latest Key Performance Indicators, TPT’s figures indicate that Ship Working Hours (SWH) sits currently at 50, whereas the intention of ‘Newco’ will be to raise this to 120.

‘Newco’ will also seek to improve gross crane moves from the present 18 to 28. The terminal’s current container capacity sits at 1.6 million, which ‘Newco’ will seek to improve to 2.8 million TEU for the terminal. It is believed that with ICTSI’s experience, technology, and capital will assist these numbers being achieved.

Readers will recall that the dismal placing of Durban port by the World Bank, in addition to the other South African container terminals in its latest rankings, is based mainly on how long a container ship spends in port.

Of interest, just over 10 years ago, in 2012 to be precise, DCT 2’s berth 108/109 was achieving between 27 and 28 gross crane hours (GCH). Ship Working Hours (SWH) back then were recording 62 at some of the berths (current figure is another woeful 50).

Those achievements in 2012 meant less ships having to wait outside, and those that did waited for much shorter periods, an important factor in the life of a ship operator.

Port of Ngqura and Container Terminal, with Mendi administrative building in foreground.  Picture TNPA

Ngqura Container Terminal

When the DCT Pier 2 terminal was first ‘placed on the market’ for a partner, it was joined by the Ngqura Container Terminal in the Eastern Cape. Nothing of consequence came of this with insufficient interest being shown.

Ngqura Container Terminal is a small terminal of three to four berths and in the 2022 financial year the terminal handled 619,614 TEU for an average of 51,600 TEU monthly. Perhaps Transnet will have to offer a different type of joint venture here.

It is surprising that the Cape Town Container Terminal, which is experiencing desperate challenges, wasn’t instead, or perhaps also, made available along with DCT Pier 2. In 2022 CTCT handled a total of 856,177 TEU, an average of 71,350 TEU monthly on just three berths.


ICTSI is headquartered in Manila and trades on the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Over-the-Counter Markets Group in the USA. ICTSI is also the largest independent terminal operator, with 34 terminal operations globally across 20 countries, of which four are in Africa.

In terms of volume of containers handled, ICTSI ranks as the 8th largest worldwide having handled 12.2 million TEUs during the 2021/22 financial year. The company generated USD 2.2 billion (R41.2 billion) in gross revenues from its port operations.

ICTSI has 11,000 employees.

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Added 18 August 2023


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WHARF TALK: anchor handling, tug, supply vessel (AHTS) PACIFIC DOLPHIN

The AHTS Pacific Dolphin off Cape Town when in Swire colours. Picture:  Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat
Story by Jay Gates

When a large offshore oil and gas support vessel, with a name prefix of ‘Pacific’ arrives in port, it used to be rightly assumed that the unit was one of the great fleet of Swire Pacific Offshore, based in Singapore. That would have been true, until last year. In March 2022, Swire Pacific Offshore announced that they were withdrawing from the oil and gas market. Their whole fleet of 50 vessels, which included 29 Anchor Handling Tug and Supply (AHTS) vessels, was to be transferred to the great American offshore company, Tidewater Incorporated.

The sale, at the time, was considered to be ‘Garage Fire’ sale as the purchase price for Tidewater was only US$190 million (ZAR2.84 billion), which was less than half of the fleet market value. It made Tidewater into the largest operator of offshore support vessels (OSV) in the world, with a fleet of over 170 offshore support vessels. The acquisition of Swire Pacific Offshore also meant that Tidewater also became the biggest operator in West Africa.

The integration of Swire Pacific Offshore into the Tidewater operational model is well underway, if not substantially complete. However, the well-known red hulls of the old Swire Pacific Offshore vessels, together with their previous company naming policy of giving the ‘Pacific’ prefix to their names is still visible. The only difference is that the famous Swire houseflag is no longer visible on the funnel, or on the side of the accommodation block.

On 13th August, at 14h00 in the early afternoon, the anchor handling, tug, supply vessel (AHTS) PACIFIC DOLPHIN (IMO 9631400) arrived off Cape Town, from Soyo in Angola, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Ben Schoeman dock, and going alongside at berth 502, at the far end of the dock, and which is one of the Dormac bespoke maintenance berths. It would appear that ‘Pacific Dolphin’ was the next West African based offshore vessel to have arrived in Cape Town in need of some needed shoreside engineering support.

Pacific Dolphin, Cape Town 13 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2013 by Singapore Technologies Marine Pte. Ltd. Shipbuilding, in Singapore, ‘Pacific Dolphin’ is 92 meters in length and has a deadweight of 4,547 tons. She is powered by four MAN-B&W 9L27/38 nine cylinder four stroke main engines producing 17,614 bhp (13,140 kW), and driving two MAN controllable pitch propellers, both within Kort Nozzles, and each with a hi-lift flap rudder, to give her a free, intervention, sea speed of 13 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes a single Caterpillar 3516B auxiliary generator providing 1,825 kW, and a single Caterpillar 3412 emergency generator providing 350 kW. For enhanced manoeuvrability ‘Pacific Dolphin’ has two bow transverse thrusters providing 883 kW each, two stern transverse thrusters providing 883 kW each, and a bow retractable azimuth thruster providing 883 kW.

For her anchor handling work she is equipped with a 300 ton anchor recovery frame, and has a free deck area measuring 38 metres by 18 metres. With a deck area of 648 m2, she can take a deck load of 1,500 tons, with a deck strength of 10 t/m2.

For her offshore supply operations she is equipped with underdeck tanks capable of storing 454 m3 of base oil, 860 m3 of drilling mud, 2,965 m3 of drilling water, 1,355 m3 of potable fresh water, 1,172 m3 of diesel fuel, and 236 m3 of dry bulk cargo, such as cement.

Pacific Dolphin, Cape Town 13 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Taking one good look at her will give the casual maritime observer the feeling that her towing capabilities are quite impressive, and you would not be wrong. She has a powerful bollard pull of 225 tons, which when the retractable azimuth thruster is brought into play, increases this to 229 tons. For salvage, and firefighting operations, she is classified with FiFi1 capability.

For towing purposes, ‘Pacific Dolphin’ has two Brattvag towing winches, with the primary winch having a drum capacity holding 4,100 metres of 76 mm towing wire, and the secondary winch having a drum capacity holding 3,200 metres of 76 mm towing wire. She is also equipped with a third Brattvag special handling winch having a drum capacity holding 3,600 metres of 76 mm towing wire.

With her combined propulsion, and thruster, capabilities she has a dynamic positioning classification of DP2, which are controlled by a GE C Series DPS-21 system. The system receives real time data from three gyro compasses, three wind sensors, three visual reference units, two digital GPS, two hydroacoutic position reference systems, two dynamic motion sensors, two position reference sensors, and a single motion reference sensors.

Pacific Dolphin, Cape Town, June 2015. Picture: Dockrat’

One of a class of eight sisterships, ‘Pacific Dolphin’ is owned by Tidewater Incorporated, of Houston in the US oil state of Texas, and both operated and managed by Tidewater Offshore Operations of Singapore.

She has accommodation for up to 37 persons. This current visit is not the first she has made to Cape Town, as she previously received engineering support back in June 2015, whilst still a Swire Pacific Offshore fleet member.

As well as operating out of both Soyo , and Luanda, in support of offshore operations, ‘Pacific Dolphin’ has been providing AHTS support within the Kizomba oilfield complex, located between 95 nautical miles and 170 nautical miles offshore, in Block 15, and in deepwater, which ranges from 730 metres to 1,250 metres in depth.

Pacific Dolphin, Cape Town, June 2015. Picture: Dockrat’

The Kizomba field was developed by ExxonMobil and includes no less than four FPSO units, split into Kizomba A with one, Kizomba B with one, and Kizomba C having two. The fields were developed between 2004 and 2008, and have now received further development with the opening of the two phase Kizomba Satellite fields.

The development costs for the Kizomba fields, and the infrastructure, are phenomenal and difficult to put into everyday figures. Kizomba A was developed at a cost of US$3.2 billion (ZAR61 billion). Kizomba B was developed at a cost of US$3 billion (ZAR57.2 billion), and Kizomba C was developed at a cost of US$2.25 billion (ZAR42.9 billion). That is a total of over ZAR160 billion, which is almost 40% of the total GDP of South Africa, as published in 2021.

The first two FPSO units (A and B) were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea, and on their delivery voyages, around the Cape, the complete crew changes were completed with the FPSOs being maintained underway at full towing speed, and the whole operation undertaken by the CHC Africa helicopter company using the Sikorsky S-61N helicopter, using Cape Town and Richards Bay as the operating bases for the helicopters.

The FPSO Kizomba A, built by Hyundai HI and in service off Angola. Picture: SOFEC

The Kizomba A field has a Tension Leg Platform (TLP), with 29 wells, which is tied back to the ‘Kizomba A’ FPSO. The Kizomba B field is tied back to the ‘Kizomba B’ FPSO, with 22 wells, and the Kizomba C field is tied back to the two FPSOs, with 36 wells. The Kizomba Satellites Field is tied back to both the Kizomba A and Kizomba C FPSOs, with 18 wells.

The Kizomba A and Kizomba B FPSOs, when built, were the largest in the world. They each cost US$800 million (ZAR15.25 billion) to build, and are 285 metres in length, with a colossal deadweight of 340,660 tons. They are each capable of storing 2.2 million barrels of oil. The remaining two FPSOs in the Kizomba C field were conversions installed by SBM.

In November 2021, when ‘Pacific Dolphin’ was lying at the Soyo outer anchorage, she was boarded unnoticed by persons unknown, who proceeded to steal ships stores, and then make their escape unnoticed. The theft was thought to have taken place at around 02h30 in the morning, and when the theft was discovered, the crew could not find where the perpetrators had boarded the vessel, nor could they determine the exact time when the theft had occurred. The theft was reported to the local Angolan authorities.

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Added 21 August 2023


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Transnet calls for retraction of media comments after Group CE speech

Transnet anticipates an improvement once more locomotives are returned to service.  Picture: TFR

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet said at the weekend that some comments made by Group chief executive Portia Derby, have been taken out of context.

According to the Transnet statement, Derby responded to a question from the floor concerning the huge growth in trucking in South Africa as a result of the poor performance of rail at a time when there is a boom in global coal demand. This was at a Bloomberg event last week.

In its statement Transnet says the relevant media platforms should correct their misrepresentation of Derby’s comments. In particular, it said, “the characterization by News24 of her comments meaning that there will be major job losses once Transnet improves its rail services.

Portia Derby, Transnet Group CE

“This headline, in particular, is unfortunate, and not an accurate reflection of Ms Derby’s comments.”

The company said Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has experienced three main binding constraints, which it is actively working on.

“These are: shortage of available locomotives, mainly because of the long-standing locomotives and the ongoing challenges with the CRRC locomotives; a backlog in infrastructure maintenance; and the crippling effect of rampant cable theft and infrastructure vandalism.

“Significant progress is being made to improve Transnet’s capacity, and the inevitability of a growing return to rail cannot be ignored.”

According to Transnet a number of initiatives are underway to this effect. These include:

▪ A number of locomotives are being returned to service, and TFR is restoring and stabilising its corridor operations
▪ Rapid enhancement to the quality of rolling stock and the infrastructure network
▪ The move to outcomes-based security contracts that should reduce disruptions as a result of theft incidents, though this remains high

“What the Group CE did say, in response to a question by a member of the audience, is that thought needs to be given to the future of the trucking industry as Transnet increases its ability to carry bulk commodities, as a result of the improved availability of locomotives. The key opportunity for this sector lies in the last mile of the logistics chain in which Transnet does not participate.

It said this provides an opportunity for better alignment between Transnet and the truckers as rail’s performance improves.

“This is particularly important as many of the truckers are owner-drivers who would have used their pensions to get into new businesses.

“Transnet’s focus remains on resolving its binding constraints, and repositioning the company to play its rightful place in the economy.”

The statement was issued on behalf of the Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Mr Andile Sangqu.

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Added 21 August 2023


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ICTSI posts healthy half-year results

Philippines’ International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI) recorded a 10% improvement on revenue from port operations over the first six months of this year.

Revenue totalled US$ 1.16 billion, up from $ 1.o6 bn for the same period in 2022.

ICTSI is the port operations company that will partner with Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) in running the Durban Container Terminal Pier 2.

ICTSI’s half year profit rose 7% to $ 314 million, up from $ 294.48 million year-on-year for the six months.

EBITDA was up 8% to $728.88 million, from $ 672.14 million.

ICTSI credited higher operating income and interest income earned, with a lessening of Covid-19 expenses

Container Volumes

During the six months of 2023 the volume of containers handled by ICTSI from all terminals reached 6,275,837 million TEUs. This was an increase of almost 9% on the 5,752,582 TEU handled in the same period of 2022.

“ICTSI’s diversified portfolio, operational discipline and the determined focus from our fantastic team around the world has enabled us to deliver another strong financial performance,” said Enrique K Razon, ICTSI chairman and president.

“We have a robust balance sheet and a highly cash generative business which looking ahead, will enable us to continue our strong track record of investing in our terminals to support future growth for the benefit of all our stakeholders.

“The macroeconomic and geopolitical climate continues to be uncertain but these results give us continued confidence in our financial and operational resilience.

The opportunities for future growth are considerable and we will work closely with our stakeholders to achieve positive change for the communities in which we operate and deliver long-term sustainable growth.”

ICTSI’s partnering with TPT at DCT Pier 2 is expected to take effect by the end of April 2024 at the latest.

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Added 21 August 2023


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Port of Mossel Bay.  TNPA

Mossel Bay port issues a Request for Information on a renewable energy facility

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has announced a Request for Information (RFI), calling on interested suppliers to submit project proposals for the manufacture or assembly of renewable energy facility at the Port of Mossel Bay.

The RFI will assist TNPA to gain a better understanding of the renewable energy market with the view to test the commercial viability of a renewable energy facility for the Port of Mossel Bay.

“The development of this renewable energy facility will encompass a logistical advantage for importing and exporting opportunities to service the greater demand in South Africa and beyond. The facility will also support the growth strategy of the port and the economic sustainability of South Africa at large,” said Dr Dineo Mazibuko, TNPA Port Manager at Mossel Bay.

RFI documents can be accessed from the National Treasury’s e-tender publication portal and/or the Transnet website: Responses to the RFI must be submitted by no later than 20 October 2023 at 10h00.

After receiving and reviewing RFI responses, TNPA may release a Request for Proposals provided that sufficient information is obtained from the RFI submissions.

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Added 21 August 2023


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IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim welcomes transfer of oil from FSO Safer

FSO Safer and the tanker MOST Yemen off the coast of Yemen. Picture: IMO

Reported by Paul Ridgway

The IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, has welcomed “wholeheartedly” the successful transfer of the oil cargo from the FSO Safer off the Yemen coast and to prevent an environmental disaster.

He said the IMO has been pleased to provide technical support over several years, in particular for oil spill contingency planning as well as a broad array of maritime issues.

Lim congratulated all involved and thanked the donors who made this possible.

“Now we look forward to the next stage of the operation, including the safe recycling of the FSO Safer. I encourage further donations so that the UN-led project to remove any remaining environmental threat to the Red Sea can be completed.”


The IMO web news reports that IMO has played a key supporting role in the United Nations-coordinated initiative aimed at preventing an oil spill from the FSO Safer, which has been moored off the coast of Yemen since 1988, serving as a floating storage and offloading unit. Due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen, all production and export operations related to FSO Safer were suspended in 2015, with around 150,000 MT (around 1.1 million barrels) of crude oil remaining onboard.

Prior to July this year, the FSO Safer had not been inspected or maintained since 2015 and has been out of class since 2016. This led to serious concerns about its integrity. The risks related to possible structural failure or explosion (due to the nature of the degrading cargo) – which could have led to a major humanitarian and environmental disaster in the region.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim

Since the plans to address the FSO Safer were initiated by the UN in 2019, IMO has been supporting the project on an array of maritime issues relevant to the ‘Operational Plan’, notably oil spill contingency planning efforts, resource procurement, contracting of specialist personnel, and ship chartering, ownership, registration and insurance.

Under the UN initiative, the marine salvage company SMIT, a subsidiary of Boskalis, was contracted to inspect and ready the FSO Safer and carry out a ship-to-ship transfer of the oil to the replacement tanker, the MOST Yemen. This has now been completed.

The next critical step will be the instalment of a mooring point attached to the pipeline to which the MOST Yemen can then be safely secured. The aim is to complete this work by September to take advantage of the climatic conditions in the summer months.

Negotiations are continuing to resolve legal issues concerning the future sale of the transferred oil so that the proceeds can be used to benefit the people of Yemen.

The overall cost of the operation is over $140 million, with some $20 million still needed. – source: IMO


News and film on this topic from Al Jazeera on 25 July is available HERE

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Added 21 August 2023


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Testing of Tanzania SGR delayed by lack of locomotives

Tanzanian freight trains at Dar es Salaam. The East African country operates an extensive system on metre and Cape gauge and is building a future reliance on the SGR railway now under construction. Picture  Tanzania Railway

Africa Ports & Ships

Testing of the first phase of Tanzania’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), extending from the port city of Dar es Salaam inland to Mwanza on the lake Victoria south coast, and Kigoma on the shores of northern Lake Tanganyika, has been delayed on account of no available locomotives.

That’s the explanation given by the government chief spokesman, Gerson Msigwa, who told the Tanzanian news service The Chanzo, that testing was supposed to have commenced on the first section between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro during July.

However, he said, this has been delayed because two locomotives, on order from a manufacturer in Germany, have not arrived in the country.

His explanation is that the German manufacturer is waiting on spare parts from Canada.

First trials were originally scheduled for May this year but were postponed then for the same reason.

When asked by The Chanzo whether the delay had anything to do with the strike among workers along the Tabora-Isaka section under construction by the Turkish company Yapi Merkezi, the spokesman made the surprising statement that he was unaware of the strike.

But, as he pointed out, any workers’ strike further along the railway, which is being constructed in a number of sections, would not affect the planned testing of a section already mostly complete.

On 15 August Africa Ports & Ships relayed the report of the strike over non-payment of wages. See that report here.

Yapi Merkezi also said it was unaware of a strike when asked by Turkish media. The company is building the 4th phase of the new railway.

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Added 21 August 2023



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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.

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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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
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