Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 15 September 2023

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FIRST VIEW:  Torm Ragnhild

Torm Ragnhild arriving in Durban, 7 September 2023.. Picture by Trevor Jones

The Danish oil and chemical products tanker TORM RAGNHILD (IMO 9290579) arrived in Durban at 12h52 on 7 September 2023 to discharge her cargo at the Island View Terminal.

The 46,187-dwt Torm Ragnhild, built in 2005, is owned and managed by Torm A/S of Hellereup, Denmark. Torm has been in existence since 1889 and currently operates with a wholly owned fleet of 80 vessels ranging in size between 45,000 – 114,000 dwt.

The MR tanker arrived in Durban from Sohar in Oman where she departed on 24 August after a 3 day, 1 hour call. After 2 days and 4 hours at the Durban terminal, Torm Ragnhild sailed at 17h38 on 9 September on a heading back towards the Gulf, where she is due in Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates on 22 September 2023.

Torm Ragnhild, which has a length of 183 metres and breadth of 32 metres, is flagged in Singapore.

 Picture: Trevor Jones


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Angola’s Sonangol takes delivery of second Suezmax oil tanker, ‘Njinga Mbande’

Oil Tanker Sonangol Kulumbimbi.  Picture: Sonangol

Africa Ports & Ships

Angola’s national oil company, Sonangol, has taken delivery of the second newbuild Suezmax oil tanker, increasing the size of its fleet to 11 ships.

The new tanker was built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Mokpo, South Korea and has been named NJINGA MBANDE (IMO 9938494).

The 149,989-dwt vessel, which is flagged in the Bahamas, takes its name from the warrior queen of the Kingdom of Ndongo and Matamnba, who was born around the year 1580. One of the foremost rulers in historic Africa, which coincided with the arrival in sub-Saharan Africa of the Portuguese, she led her people in a drawn-out 30 year fight against occupation and the slave trade, while battling to keep her kingdom in what is now a part of Angola, free and independent.

Queen Ana Nzinga, as she became known to the Europeans, died age 82. For anyone still thinking that te continent was truly a ‘Darkest Africa’ ahead of the arrival of the Europeans, they should look up the story of this remarkable woman and the African civilisation over which she ruled.


The new ship bearing her name was launched in traditional style with a bottle of champagne broken across the hull and will now enter service with Sonangol. Angola’s First Lady, Ana Dias Lourenço, played the role of godmother.

Njinga Mbande becomes the first oil tanker to be entirely crewed by Angolans, captained by Anastácio Calunga, who, the day before, received from the godmother, a bust of Queen Nzinga.

The tanker is the second of an order for two similar ships, the first having entered service in April this year under the name KULUMBMBI (IMO 9938482).

The latest addition will enter the Sonangol Trading and Shipping fleet, under the operational management of Wallem Shipmanagement.

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Added 14 September 2023


As notícias continuam abaixo

Angolana Sonangol recebe segundo petróleo Suezmax petroleiro, ‘Njinga Mbande’

Petroleiro Sonangol Kulumbimbi     foto Sonangol

Africa Ports & Ships

A companhia petrolífera nacional de Angola, Sonangol, recebeu o segundo petroleiro Suezmax recém-construído, aumentando o tamanho da sua frota para 11 navios.

O novo navio-tanque foi construído no estaleiro Hyundai Heavy Industries em Mokpo, Coreia do Sul e foi denominado NJINGA MBANDE (IMO 9938494).

O navio de 149.989 dwt, com bandeira das Bahamas, leva o nome da rainha guerreira do Reino de Ndongo e Matamnba, que nasceu por volta do ano de 1580. Um dos principais governantes da África histórica, que coincidiu com a chegada na África subsaariana dos portugueses, liderou o seu povo numa prolongada luta de 30 anos contra a ocupação e o comércio de escravos, enquanto lutava para manter o seu reino no que hoje faz parte de Angola, livre e independente.

A Rainha Ana Nzinga, como ficou conhecida pelos Europeus, morreu aos 82 anos. Para quem ainda pensa que o continente era verdadeiramente uma “África Mais Negra” antes da chegada dos Europeus, deveria procurar a história desta mulher notável e do Civilização africana sobre a qual ela governou.


O novo navio que leva o seu nome foi lançado em estilo tradicional com uma garrafa de champanhe quebrada no casco e vai agora entrar ao serviço da Sonangol. A primeira-dama de Angola, Ana Dias Lourenço, desempenhou o papel de madrinha.

Njinga Mbande torna-se o primeiro petroleiro inteiramente tripulado por angolanos, capitaneado por Anastácio Calunga, que, na véspera, recebeu da madrinha, um busto da rainha Nzinga.

O petroleiro é o segundo de uma encomenda de dois navios semelhantes, tendo o primeiro entrado ao serviço em Abril deste ano com a designação KULUMMBBI (IMO 9938482).

A mais recente adição entrará na frota da Sonangol Trading and Shipping, sob a gestão operacional da Wallem Shipmanagement.

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Adicionado em 14 de setembro de 2023


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Damen:  FCS-5209 Capt Elmi Robleh P22 arriving in Djibouti. RTD.

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

It cannot have escaped the notice of the casual maritime observer that Cape Town is the home of one of the World’s largest, and quite likely, most successful shipbuilders. Whilst it is not the headquarters of the famous shipbuilder, and the Cape Town shipbuilding facility is not, by a long chalk, the largest of the group’s shipyards, it still has a story to add to the myriad world of Cape Town and its unique Maritime History.

The shipbuilding organisation in question is none other than the Damen Shipyards Group. With its headquarters at Gorinchem in Holland. The group employs over 12,000 people around the world, located at no fewer than 36 Damen shipbuilding, and ship repair, yards located in virtually every continent.

The company started life in 1927, when brothers Jan and Rien Damen decided to open a small shipyard in Hardinxveld, on the banks of the River Merwede. When Jan’s son, Kommer, joined the company in 1969, the company began its transformation to the shipbuilding giant that is better known today. The transformation was down to changing the way the shipyard worked.


Damen: Capt Elmi Robleh P22 and SAS King Sekhukhune I P1571 August 2021. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The revolutionary idea that the shipyard would not simply wait for an order from a shipowner, with a design of vessel that they wanted. Instead, Damen decided to introduce standardisation of a number of vessel designs, which would cover most shipowner requirements in specific maritime operational areas, and the shipyard would maintain ongoing production levels by the construction of stock vessels, which would be held in storage pending future purchase.

The idea of standardisation of design, and maintaining a stock of available vessels, meant that the activities of the Damen Group could encompass every aspect of the life cycle of any vessel from the Damen stable of products. This included full design, construction, repair, upgrade and conversion. It was the foundation of their international success as a shipbuilder, and allows them to develop shipyards around the world, located near to the markets that they would serve.

Damen: Capt Elmi Robleh P20 Aug 2021 . Picture: ‘Dockrat’

The Damen Shipyard in Cape Town (DSCT) came into being in 2007, when the Damen Group acquired the facilities and the personnel of the Farocean Marine shipyard. Over the last sixteen years, the DSCT facility has grown substantially, using the shipbuilding principles of the Damen Group, and has been responsible for the construction, completion, commissioning, repair, and sale of some of the most iconic ships to be seen not just in South African, but in African waters.

The current facility of the DSCT can be found along Duncan Road, beyond the Royal Cape Yacht Club, and facing onto the Elliot Basin, located at the far end of the Ben Schoeman Dock. One thing that the casual maritime observer notes in the current basin, is the latest of the new South African Navy’s inshore patrol vessels undergoing completion, and final fitting out.

Damen: Capt Elmi Robleh P20 on the Cape Town Synchrolift, July 2021. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

However, what takes the eye in the Elliot Basin are no less than four extremely smart looking, sleek, naval looking, vessels. They are one of the global Damen standard designs, and are known as the Standard (Stan) Patrol FCS 3307, where FCS is an acronym for ‘Fast Crew Supplier’, and 3307 is the standard length and width of the class. This design is extremely popular in the West African oil and gas industry, and as well as utilised as a crew boat, is often utilised as a security vessel, hence the Patrol nomenclature.

The standard built FCS 3307 has a length of 33 metres and a gross registered weight of 168 tons. They are powered by three Caterpillar C32 ACERT twelve cylinder four stroke main engines producing 1,600 bhp (1,193 kW) each, and driving three fixed pitch propellers, through three Reintjes WVS 730/1 gearboxes, for a service speed of 30 knots.
The auxiliary equipment of the FCS 3307 includes two Caterpillar C4.4T generators providing 59 kW each. For added manoeuvrability the FCS 3307 has a bow transverse thruster providing 75 kW, and they have a firefighting capability with a monitor capable of throwing 180 m3/hour. They are all built with the Damen Sea Axe Bow, to allow for better seakeeping.

Damen; Ogejuwa and Osamede 9 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The FCS 3307 has an impressive endurance of 1,200 nautical miles, whilst maintaining a 30 knots service speed throughout. The aft working deck has an area of 75 m2, and the deck strength is 2.5 t/m2 for any deck cargo. They operate with a crew of six, and have cabin accommodation for up to eighteen persons, if manned with an onboard security team.

For patrol duties, the aft deck can be fitted with a Fast Rescue Craft, powered by two 90 bhp Mercury outboard motors. In the security role, the FCS 3307 is often fitted with steel ballistic protection for deck mounted light machine guns, and the bridge can be wrapped with armour plating, and have ballistic windows fitted.

Damen: Osamede 9 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The four FCS 3307 vessel to be found lying within the Elliot Basin, include two sisterships built at the Damen Song Cam shipyard, at Haiphong in Vietnam. Although as yet unnamed, they have shipyard hull numbers separated by a single digit, indicating that they were built together. They are YN 544868 (IMO 9903358), and YN 544869 (IMO 9903360).

There were five of these FCS 3307 built together at Haiphong in 2022, and listed as crew supply vessels. On completion, they were transported to the DSCT facility in Cape Town, arriving in Cape Town harbour in July 2022.

Damen: SAS King Shaka P1572  9 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Of the other two FCS 3307 lying in the Elliot Basin, both have indicated Nigerian connections. One is ‘Ogejuwa’ (IMO 9881794). Also built at Damen Song Cam Shipyard, in 2023, with shipyard hull number YN544866, and listed as being owned by Airmarine Logistics Ltd., of Lagos in Nigeria. Her AIS has her arrival in Cape Town on 27th July 2023.

The fourth FCS 3307 in the Elliot Basin is ‘Osamede’ (IMO 9755608). She was built in 2015 at the Damen Shipyard in Singapore, originally named as ‘Defender IX’, and originally owned by Strickland Services Ltd., of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. Strickland Services Ltd., operated a fleet of no less than ten FCS 3307 vessels on oil and gas security contracts in Nigerian waters.

She arrived in Cape Town, from Nigeria, in July 2022, and is currently shown as being for sale on the Damen Group website, with the ownership of ‘Osamede’ having reverted back to Damen Trading & Chartering. The website gives a good spread of internal images throughout the vessel.

Damen: SAS King Shaka P1572. 9 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The one other Damen product often seen lying alongside in the Elliot Basin is the second of the three Stan Patrol 6211 multi-mission inshore patrol vessels (MMIPV) being built for the South African Navy, under the Project Biro initiative. There is some confusion about her name, as a recent ‘defenseWeb’ article referred to her as being named ‘King Shaka’ (P1572), which is confusing as, originally, P1572 was scheduled to be named ‘Adam Kok’, with ‘King Shaka’ to be the third of the ‘Warrior’ class, and to receive pennant number P1573.

Despite the name head-scratch, she is well advanced in her delivery programme, although she is now running approximately seven months late. Initially expected to enter service in April 2023, it is now expected that she will be ready for service only in October 2023. She recently sailed from the DSCT facility, and has now made her way around to the South African Navy Base at Simonstown to continue her commissioning sea trials.

Damen: SAS King Shaka P1572. 9 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Less than two years ago, two of the larger Damen Stan Patrol 5009 vessels were to be seen in the Elliot Basin receiving their commissioning work, prior to sailing to Djibouti, as the latest members of the Navy section of the Armed Forces of Djibouti (FAD). Both were South African built, being products of the DSCT facility.

The naming ceremony took place on 22nd November 2021 in Djibouti, on the day that both vessels arrived in their new home. The ceremony was attended by President Ismail Omar Guelleh. At the ceremony the two 50 metre long FCS 5009 vessels were officially named ‘Capt Elmi Robleh’ and ‘Adj Ali M Houmed’.

They each have two Damen 11 metre Fast Rescue Craft and Interceptor Boats, both davit launched. Their main armament is a 20mm Rheinmetall Searanger remotely operated weapon station (ROWS). Located on the foredeck, the 20mm autocannons had not yet been fitted when they first arrived in Djibouti.

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Added 14 September 2023


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Port of Cape Town’s Culemborg project making progress

Port of Cape Town Container Terminal. Picture: TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

A Request for Information (RFI) for the design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed Culemborg Intermodal Logistics Precinct and related facilities in the Port of Cape Town, has been issued by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

The port authority said that in terms of the Port Development Framework Plan (PDFP) for the Port of Cape Town, the expansion of the port requires the development of land parcels near the port to create the additional back of port capacity.

In accordance with the PDFP, the Culemborg Precinct is earmarked for mixed-use functionality which includes a focus on logistics provision to support the port.

“We anticipate that the RFI responses will assist TNPA in gaining increased insight into user requirements for a mixed-use logistics precinct that will serve the port hinterland,” said Rajesh Dana, Cape Town port manager.

“The outcome will also further support research done by TNPA to identify opportunities and demand available in the market for the development of the Culemborg Precinct,” Dana said.

The Port of Cape Town is a city port with limited land area, which calls for innovative ways to enhance operational efficiency and optimise land utilisation. Culemborg creates an opportunity to integrate port, road and rail connectivity for back-of-port facilities and related uses.

The site location has potential to enhance the port’s value proposition by enabling efficient bi-directional cargo movement between Culemborg and the port.

As a gateway of international trade, the port plays an integral role in shaping South Africa’s economy, and with the Culemborg Precinct strategically located, it presents opportunities to grow the local economy by offering an intermodal logistics precinct linked to national and international maritime and freight routes.

RFI documents are available from the National Treasury’s e-tender publication portal

or the Transnet website:

Responses to the RFI must be submitted by no later than 16h00 on 13 November 2023.

Requests and queries for clarification in respect of this RFI must be emailed to:

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Added 14 September 2023


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Nigeria’s Lagos-Ibandan SGR freight trains start to roll


Nigeria Railways Corporation SGR loco and train.  Picture:  NR SGR

Africa Ports & Ships

Nigeria’s much delayed freight service on the standard gauge railway (SGR) between the Port of Lagos and Ibadan, has finally got underway.

This has been a two-year delay after the basic SGR railway, a 157-km piece of an intended much longer section, was completed.

Among the delays was the matter of the railway entrance into the Apapa port precinct, which was blocked by having a building housing a scanner machine belonging to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), that had been erected right where the railway was meant to go.

In typical bureaucratic style, the NCS has dragged its feet over moving the scanner building elsewhere, resulting in the railway having to be diverted around the obstacle.

The railway has finally been able to enter the port using a temporary diversion, and a week ago the first train, made up of 30 container wagons, departed from Apapa to Momiya, Ibadan.

Witnessing the departure was Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali.

According to the Nigerian Railway Corporation, three trains each of 30 wagons (60 TEU) will depart from the port each day, helping to decongest the container ports.

The minister indicated the SGR into the port would continue operating on a single track until some finality is reached regarding the scanner building.

He said his department was in discussions with the Customs over the matter. source: Daily Trust

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Added 14 September 2023


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Nigerian minister calls for rehabilitation of Apapa and Tin Can Island ports

Port of Apapa in Lagos, Nigeria  Picture: NPA

Africa Ports & Ships

Nigeria’s Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, has called on port and terminal authorities in Lagos to undertake an immediate rehabilitation of the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports.

The minister said this following a tour of inspection of the two ports in which he was accompanied by the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko.

Minister Oyetola said that the urgent rehabilitation of both ports was needed in order to prevent the collapse of port infrastructure.

In order to achieve this, the respective ports should collaborate with the federal government with regards this urgent work.

Calling it a matter of urgency, Oyetola said that dredging of the ports must continue and other issues can be put in place.

Despite these instructions, the minister had praise for the management of the NPA, saying they needed to be supported in order to achieve the necessary results.

“I am impressed with the management of the authority [and] we need to support them. I am looking forward to a situation where the terminal managers will be willing to contribute to the rehabilitation of the ports.

“It’s important and if they do that, they will make more money for themselves, it should be a collaboration with the terminal and the government.”

He indicated that work would soon commence on repairs to the quay wall. All that was required was the report and the necessary numbers in order to obtain approval from the president. source: Vanguard

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Added 14 September 2023


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Taiwanese fishing vessel DER HAE No.66 reported sinking deepsea off Durban

The ill-fated fishing vessel Der Hae No.66 (left)   Picture: VesselJoin

Africa Ports & Ships

A rescue operation for seafarers onboard a Taiwanese vessel DER HAE No.66, which has reported that it is sinking due to flooding, has been launched with several ships asked to divert and render assistance.

Der Hae No.66 reported its position via a MayDay call recorded at 15h18 (SAT) on Tuesday 12 September 2023, as being at approximately 383 nautical miles East-South-East from Durban.

The number of crew on board the fishing vessel is not known.

According to the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch & Response based Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town, MRCC was notified at that time by RCC Taipei that the Taiwanese fishing vessel was sinking due to flooding. It advised that he Taiwanese fishing vessels DER HAE NO 6 and ZAN LI NO 212 were diverting to assist.

“The weather forecast for the incident position is winds south-east up to 25 knots and the Sea State being swell of up to 4 metres mainly south westerly, as per South African Weather Services (SAWS).”

The MRCC said the liquid natural gas carrier LOBITA has been requested to divert and assist and is responding. Lobita was approximately 155 n. miles west from Der Hae No.66’s last position.

In addition, the bulk carrier, GOLDEN EARL, at approximately 35 n.miles and the crude oil tanker, RED NOVA EARL, at approximately 60 n.miles, were identified on AIS and requested to divert to render assistance.


It is believed the crew evacuated safely into liferafts and have since been picked up by another vessel. Der Hae No.66 has since sunk.

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Added 13 September 2023


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The split hopper barge Trinidad in Cape Town harbour, 5 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The commissioning of the ENI Coral Sul LNG FPSO project, in the Rovuma Basin offshore Mozambique, has brought about a number of the support, and commissioning, vessels to South African ports on completion of their work. However, the second big LNG project, which was the onshore LNG terminal, located just south of the port of Palma, has not been so lucky.

The incursion over two years ago of the Islamic State terrorists into the area created a ‘Force Majeure’ situation which forced the developer, TOTAL Oil of France, to temporarily close down the project and evacuate all personnel from the site. Thankfully, the security situation is now under control, and the terminal development activity is now back underway again, resulting in the occasional call from a vessel previously active in the construction of terminal facilities.

On 4th September, at 17h00 in the late afternoon, the Split Hopper Barge ‘Trinidad’ (IMO 9462653) arrived off Cape Town, from Pemba in Northern Mozambique. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and went alongside the Eastern Mole. As always, this indicated that, if on a short call, that she was calling for uplifts of bunkers, stores and fresh produce, and if a slightly longer call, that engineering support was also in the offing.

Trinidad. Cape Town, 5 September. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her call would only be for such transitory reasons as, naturally, for such a vessel type, her arrival in Cape Town was unlikely to be for reasons that required her to be in Cape Town harbour for work purposes, as such a specialised vessel normally operates in tandem with a backhoe dredger, or a cutter suction dredger, and there are no current plans to conduct any dredging operations within the confines of the port.

Built in 2010 by Xinhe Shipbuilding at Tianjin in China, ‘Trinidad’ is 82 metres in length and she has a deadweight of 3,400 tons. She is powered by two Caterpillar 3508B eight cylinder four stroke main engines producing 1,065 bhp (785 kW) each, driving two Z-Drive azimuth propellers for a service speed of 11 knots. For added manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster providing 300kW.

As a split hopper barge, ‘Trinidad’ possesses no dredging equipment, but has a hopper capable of holding 1,800 m3 of spoil. Her Split Hopper description is because, unlike Trailing Suction Hopper Dredgers (TSHD) which also have their own hopper, and which is emptied by the opening of bottom hull doors, the Split Hopper Barge empties her hopper by, literally, splitting the hull in two longitudinally.

Operating with a crew of 10 persons, ’Trinidad’ is one of four sisterships. She is owned by Codralux SA, of Luxembourg, and is operated by the Jan de Nul Group SA, also of Luxembourg, and whose houseflag she displays on her funnel. She is managed by Dredging and Maritime Management SA, also of Luxembourg, with all three companies operating from the same address.

Trinidad. Cape Town, 5 September. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Prior to arriving in Cape Town, ‘Trinidad’ was supporting the dredging operations taking place on the Afungi Peninsula, where the TOTAL LNG terminal is under construction. The Jan de Nul Group have assigned a Cutter Suction Dredger, a Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger, and a Split Hopper Barge, as part of the construction of both the LNG loading terminal, and also the Materials Offloading Facility, both of which will serve the LNG Plant once completed.

Prior to the insurgency, the small Jan de Nul fleet were working on the new port basin, with the Cutter Suction Dredger cutting the access channel to the facility. Once the Cutter Suction dredger completed her dredging scope, the two trailing suction hopper dredgers would start to reclaim the sand, dredged in the access channel, for the creation of the marine offloading facility in the new port.

The Afungi LNG loading terminal, once completed, will be one of the longest offshore loading jetties in the world. It will have a 2,700 metre long jetty running out to sea, linking it to a berthing arm, built at right angles to the jetty, and which will have five berths. Four of the berths will be for LNG loading, with facilities provided for up to two Q-Flex type LNG Tankers, and up to two Q-Max type LNG Tankers, plus one tanker berth for loading Condensate.

Jan de Nul’s Cutter Suction TSHD and Spli Hopper barge at Afungi, Mozambique. January 2020. Picture: jan de Nul


The Materials Offloading Facility is also being constructed with port infrastructure that allows for a working quay capable of working a general cargo vessel and, other, smaller berths for offshore support vessels. There will also be limited onshore cargo storage facilities. Both the LNG loading, and the Materials offloading, facilities require dredgers to provide the working channels, basins, and approach channels to the Afungi port facility.

After over three and a half days alongside at the Eastern Mole, ‘Trinidad’ was ready to sail. At 11h00 in the morning of 8th September, she sailed from Cape Town, but only out to the Table Bay anchorage, where she remains to this day. However, on going to anchor, ‘Trinidad’ altered her AIS to show her next destination, from the Cape Town Anchorage, was Montevideo in Uruguay.

The Jan de Nul Group have longstanding dredging contracts in Uruguay, which go back decades. Currently, one of those contracts includes the maintenance dredging of the Uruguay River, including maintaining access channels to the port of Conception del Uruguay, which lies on the Argentinian side of the Uruguay River, and to the port of Paysandu, which lies on the Uruguayan side of the Uruguay River.

Other current Jan de Nul contracts in Uruguay include maintenance and dredging of the Terminal Cuenta del Plata (TCP) in Montevideo Harbour, and the dredging and backfill of the newly developed Taurus Port Terminal, also in Montevideo Harbour.

Trinidad. Cape Town, 5 September. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The TCP project includes the construction of a new quay, which has an access channel, and operating depth of 14 meters, and the improvement to the existing Sarandi Breakwater. For the TCP project, the Jan de Nul Group have been given full responsibility for the entire development of the project. Up to 2 million m3 of sand and spoil has been dredged to facilitate the development of this new, expanded, container terminal.

The Taurus Project in Montevideo harbour has meant the demolition of the old fishing piers, the removal of shipwrecks and abandoned vessels, and the dredging of the old fishing harbour to include the backfilling, and shaping of the new basin with dredged sand. For this contract Jan de Nul have been utilising one of their Backhoe Dredgers, supported by two Split Hopper Barges. Up to 1.2 million m3 of sand and spoil have been dredged on this new port terminal.

Some 850,000 m3, of sand was needed for the Taurus project, which was dredged from a sand bar in the River Plate, using two Jan de Nul Group Trailing Suction Hopper Dredgers. Special care was taken at both sites due to the shallow nature of both the River Plate sandbar, and within Montevideo Harbour.

Trinidad. Cape Town, 5 September. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Uruguay River suffers from high levels of sedimentation, which affects the shipping channels. The El Niño weather effect, in the Pacific Ocean, increases the sedimentation that is brought down the river system into the Uruguay River, due to increased rainfall in the region. Generally, the ongoing annual channel maintenance calls for the dredging of 5 million m3 of silt and sediments.

However, to give an idea of how big a problem that sedimentation can become, an additional 15 million m3 of silt had to be dredged from the channel, during the last El Niño event. The current El Niño event is building, with climate scientists warning that it will reach its maximum strength in 2024.

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Added 13 September 2023


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Saldanha port fencing project benefits local SMMEs

Capesize bulker loading iron ore at the port of Saldanha. Picture: Terry Hutson

Africa Ports & Ships

The security fencing project at the Port of Saldanha has brought benefits to 14 local suppliers from the West Coast in the Western Cape.

The local Small, Medium, and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) who were involved in the project range from transport associations, construction services, engineering and security services.

The use of the SMME’s forms part of Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) commitment to supplier development while also promoting economic growth in port cities.

Shadrack Tshikalange, TNPA Port Manager at the Port of Saldanha, expressed his satisfaction with the successful practical completion of the project and its positive impact on the Saldanha Municipality.

He said the project symbolizes TNPA’s commitment to the communities in which it operates.

“We are proud to have not only fortified our port facilities but also uplifted the lives of the people who call this place home. The collaboration and dedication shown by all stakeholders involved have truly made a difference.”

The port fencing project is aimed at preventing unrestricted port access as well as ensuring the safety of port infrastructure and assets.

Involving 2.4 metre high steel mesh high-security fencing, plus anti-climbing of 0.3m, the ClearVu fencing is reinforced with toughened steel on every vertical flat bar and has the strength of a high security fence.

The completion of the contract was achieved at a contract value of R61.4 million.

The project execution led to a total of 136 temporary jobs being created for the benefit of the Saldanha community.

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Dust, dust and more dust

Saharan dust cloud over Europe

Edited by Paul Ridgway

This image acquired by one of the two Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellites on 4 September showed then a massive Saharan dust plume stretching from the Mediterranean to the Bay of Biscay in the Atlantic.

This dust plume, which at the time of the image acquisition extended over about 2,000 kilometres, was travelling in the direction of Northern Europe. According to the forecasts by the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), in the coming days, it would reach the Scandinavian Peninsula.

CAMS monitors and forecasts air quality on a global scale, assessing the concentration and dispersion of atmospheric pollutants and aerosols.

Copernicus Marine Service

The Copernicus Marine Service (or Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service) is the marine element of Copernicus, the Earth observation component of the European Union’s Space programme. It provides free, regular and systematic authoritative information on the state of the Blue (physical), White (sea ice) and Green (biogeochemical) ocean, on a global and regional scale. It is funded by the European Commission (EC) and implemented by Mercator Ocean International.

Furthermore, it is designed to serve EU policies and International legal Commitments related to Ocean Governance, to cater for the needs of society at large for global ocean knowledge and to boost the Blue Economy across all maritime sectors by providing free-of-charge state-of-the-art ocean data and information.

Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service provides key inputs that support major EU and international policies and initiatives and can contribute to: combating pollution, marine protection, maritime safety and routing, sustainable use of ocean resources, developing renewable marine energy resources, supporting blue growth, climate monitoring, forecasting, and more.

It also aims to increase awareness amongst the general public by providing European and global citizens with information about ocean-related issues.

The marine data products delivered by the Copernicus Marine service are provided free of charge through an interactive viewer and catalogue available here.

Wealth of data

Every day, Copernicus generates tens of terabytes of data through its constellation of Sentinel satellites and information services.

Such a wealth of data has naturally encouraged scientists and engineers from all around the world to develop useful products, applications and services which support various sectors such as urban planning, tourism, agriculture, blue economy, disaster management and so forth.

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Second Senegalese OPV 58S undergoing sea trials

The Senegalese Navy OPV 58S vessel, Niani

by defenceWeb

French shipyard Piriou is carrying out sea trials of the Niani, the second of three OPV 58S patrol vessels destined for Senegal, indicating delivery is imminent.

The Niani was at the beginning of September seen around Lorient, France, for sea trials, after having been completed at the Concarneau shipyard, Mer et Marine reports.

Niani was launched in September 2022 while the third vessel, Cayor, was launched on 2 May – it will be delivered early next year.

The order, signed in November 2019, is being fulfilled by Kership, the joint venture founded by Piriou and Naval Group in 2013. Construction of the hulls is being divided between Concarneau and Lanester, near Lorient, where the Kership shipyard is located.

The contract includes seven years of follow-on support in Senegal, with the vessels to be supported in Senegal by Piriou subsidiary Pirou Ngom Senegal, created in October 2017 through a partnership with Ngom & Freres.

Construction of the first vessel, Walo, began in October 2020 and it was launched in April 2022 before being handed over at Piriou’s shipyard in Concarneau on 2 June.

The vessels have a length of 62.2 metres, displacement of 600 tonnes, a top speed of 21 knots and range of 4,500 nautical miles at 12 knots. Endurance is three weeks with a crew of 24, although another 24 personnel can be accommodated.

The OPV 58 S design is based on the ‘C-Sharp’ (Combined-Speeds Hull with All-Round Performances) hull developed by Piriou and Kership, which increases the ship’s endurance and seagoing capabilities.

The hull is all-steel with an aluminium superstructure, featuring a 360° panoramic bridge and an aft ramp for the rapid launch and recovery of two rigid-hull inflatable boats. A large rear deck can accommodate two 20-foot containers, handled by a crane (7.5 t to 8 m).

The vessels are armed with four MBDA anti-ship missiles (Marte Mk 2Ns) and the MBDA SIMBAD-RC air defence system with two Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles, along with a 76 mm gun.

France’s Naval Group supplies the combat management system (POLARIS).

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

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Change of command at Trinity House

Reported by Paul Ridgway

Rear Admiral Iain Lower has been designated to succeed Captain Ian McNaught in February 2024 as the head of the maritime organisation Trinity House, London. The role is that of Deputy Master and Chief Executive Officer.

On retirement Captain McNaught will have been twelve years in the post.

Rear Admiral Lower is to join Trinity House from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission following a successful career in the Royal Navy.

Rear Admiral Iain Lower, the new designate Deputy Master and CEO of the maritime organisation, Trinity House

Over 32 years he commanded four warships on operations across the globe. Ashore he was Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord, Head of the Africa Plans team at the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters and, on promotion to Commodore in 2016, the Chief of Defence Staff’s Liaison Officer to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in The Pentagon.

On promotion to Rear Admiral, Iain became the Royal Navy’s Director of Strategy, Policy, and External Affairs and was an executive member of the Navy Board,

Five centuries of service to the mariner

The Corporation of Trinity House, London, incorporated by Royal Charter in 1514, is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers, providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community. It has a statutory duty as a General Lighthouse Authority to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

Trinity House, with its long-standing familiarity with the channels, hazards, currents and markings of its coastline is enabled to inspect and audit over 11,000 local aids to navigation, to license Deep Sea Pilots and to provide Board Members (known as Elder Brethren) to sit as Nautical Assessors to the Admiralty Court.

Each year the charity donates in the region of £5million to the charities it supports and funds a cadet training scheme, welfare provision for retired mariners and educational programmes teaching safety at sea skills.

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Dramatic rescue after fishing vessel sinks off Namibia’s Diamond Coast

The mostly inhospitable Namibia coast. Pinterest

Africa Ports & Ships

Namibian media have reported the dramatic rescue of all ten crew of the rock lobster vessel, NEWLANDS, which sank off the southern Namibian coast last week.

From these accounts, it appears the rock lobster fishing trawler was declared missing sometime after leaving port at Lüderitz at 13h30 on Sunday 3 September, setting off a search effort for the missing vessel and 10 crew members.

Newlands was on a delivery voyage to take provisions to another fishing vessel along the coast between Lüderitz and Oranjemund – the latter being the border with South Africa.

Details are sketchy but the missing men were only found on Wednesday 6 September.

A spokesman for Namibia’s Ministry of Works and Transport confirmed the rescue of the fishermen and that they are all safe. “The vessel sank on Tuesday,” he advised.

When the Newlands sank five of the crew managed to board a life raft on which they remained until found by Namdeb (De Beers Namibia) security, who then advised the authorities.

The remaining five men swam to a nearby island which they reached safely. Their survival was described as ‘incredible’, and ‘thank God they could swim’.

The island where they sought safety is unfortunately not identified, which is rather a pity, for some of the island group along this otherwise desolate coast have unusually unique names – Plumpudding and Roastbeef Islands being the most quaint.

Roastbeef Island is now better known as Sinclair’s Island. Close to Sinclair’s is a tiny rock sticking out of the sea, appropriately named Devil’s Islet. Another simply has the name of Black Rock.

Others along this coast include Pomona, Albatross and Possession. The islands are all small enough not to appear on many maps. All are closer to Lüderitz than to Oranjemund, which gives us some idea where the little Newlands ship must have gone down.

She is not the first and won’t be the last, this coast and that further north have played host to many shipwrecks over the years.

The coast opposite to where the vessel was travelling at the time is that section that was once referred to as the ‘diamond coast’ on account of the extensive diamond prospecting that takes place. This is known as Diamond Area 1 and ‘Restricted Area’.

Off the coast, other than fishing, dredging of the seabed for diamonds is carried out though mostly closer to Oranjemund. Further out to sea exploration for oil and gas is another activity. Namibia is estimated to have 11 billion barrels of oil and 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, mostly along the lower section of its coast.

An official enquiry will be held into the sinking of the vessel.

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WHARF TALK:  Split bridge superstructure, Part 2 of MSC BIANCA expanded

MSC Bianca in Cape Town, 30 August 2023, the ‘split bridge superstructure’ container vessel  that brought us to the subject of earlier ships of this type. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Today’s Wharf Talk is an expanded version of the original Part 2 that appeared in Africa Ports & Ships 7 September 2023.

Story by Jay Gates

One of the great, but sadly long gone, British shipping companies was T&J Harrison Line, of Liverpool, who ran a regular service similar to the MSC service from ports of the Northwest European continent, down to all ports in South Africa. Cargoes carried were, as all were in those days, general cargo of all shapes and sizes, but included heavylift cargoes, such as power station generators, mining equipment and railway locomotives.

In the late 1950s, T&J Harrison Lines built a quartet of specialised heavylift general cargo carriers for services to South Africa. All T&J Harrison Lines vessels were named after professions, and the quartet were given the names of ‘Adventurer’, ‘Custodian’, ‘Inventor’, and ‘Tactician’. All four were designed with the split bridge superstructure, and three-quarters aft engine room blocks, to allow a big central deck served by a massive Stülcken heavy lift derrick.

T&J Harrisons Adventurer of 1960-1985, seen at Durban 1976. Picture: Trevor Jones

Built in 1959 by the William Doxford Shipyard in Sunderland, ‘Adventurer’ was 149 metres in length with a deadweight of 11,447 tons. She was powered by a Doxford six cylinder two stroke main engine producing 6,900 bhp. Her Stülcken derrick was capable of lifts of up to 180 tons. She was broken up at Gadani Beach, in Pakistan, in 1985.

Similarly, the German Hansa Line, of Bremen, who specialised in heavy lift cargoes, also introduced more than one class of heavylift carrier that had similar designs to those of T&J Harrisons. Some of the Hansa vessels had not just one, but two Stülcken derricks. All Hansa Line vessels had names ending in the word ‘Fels’, which translate as Rock, or Cliff.

Wildenfels of 1961-1992. Cape Town. Picture: DDG Hansa

One of the Hansa class of vessels, known as the ‘W’ class, as all seven of the class had names beginning with the letter W, included ‘Wildenfels’, called into Cape Town in the early 1970s. Built in 1962 by the A.G. Weser shipyard at Bremerhaven in Germany, she was 152 metres in length with a deadweight of 12,623 tons. She was powered by a MAN K8Z78/155C eight cylinder two stroke main engine producing 10,800 bhp, giving them an impressive service speed of 18.5 knots. They were equipped with a 150 ton Stülcken derrick. She was scrapped in China in 1992.

The unmistakeable V shaped derricks were all produced by the Stülcken-Werft shipyard, located in Hamburg, and founded in 1846 by Heinrich Stülcken. Stülcken were absorbed by Blohm & Voss in 1966. The imposing Stülcken derricks were to be found on Unicorn Lines vessels, such as ‘Umfolozi’, as well as Safmarine vessels, such as ‘S.A. Vergelegen’, a ship name that was considered to be unpronounceable outside of South Africa, and sometimes within.

Wartenfels, after conversion as Supanya. 1985. Picture: DDG Hansa

Interestingly, when the discussion is about the ‘new’ design of modern container vessels, a number of the Hansa Line ‘W’ class, ‘Wartenfels’ and ‘Weissenfels’, were sold on to Neptune Orient Lines, of Singapore, in the mid-1980s. They were then converted from heavylift carriers to container vessels, and the split container ship profile can be ascribed, purely by accident, and not be design, to these conversions. The ex ‘Weissenfels’, now known as ‘Paithoon’ was known to have called into Cape Town in the late 1980s as a container vessel.

Paithoon. 1985. Picture: Bara Int’l Shipping Lines BKK

Yet, most folk forget that until the 1960s, every tanker design was that of the split bridge superstructure and aft engine room block. Even back in the 50s and 60s, South Africa depended on imported fuel products, and these all arrived in the familiar tankers of the BP, Shell, Esso, Caltex or Mobil fleets. Shell tankers were all named after the names of Seashells, BP named all of their vessels with the ‘British’ prefix, similarly to Esso, Mobil, or Caltex, who prefixed their vessels with the name of their own company.

One of the greatest designs of tankers was the American T2. Built in vast numbers during the Second World War, and afterwards these magnificent vessels were absorbed into all of the major oil company fleets, serving them until more modern tankers emerged in the 1960s. South African ports saw hundreds of T2 tankers, especially when the Suez Canal was closed, and they all routed around the Cape. One such iconic tanker was from the great Esso tankers fleet.

Esso Hartford. of 1942-1970, at Cape Town. Standard Oil Company. Picture Auke Visser

A T2 tanker, ‘Esso Hartford’ was built in 1942 by Bethlehem Steel Shipyard at Sparrows Point, in the US state of Maryland. She was 153 meters in length and had a deadweight of 16,585 tons. Owned by the Standard Oil company of New Jersey, one begins to understand where the word Esso comes from, when you utter the initials of the parent company, S and O. She was broken up in 1970 at Castellon in Spain.

One of the later split designs was ‘Africa Shell’ of Unicorn Lines. Built as ‘Helisoma’, one of the many ‘H’ Class tankers built for Shell Tankers in the UK, she was built in 1956 by the Swan Hunter Shipyard at Wallsend on Tyneside. She was 169 metres in length and had a deadweight of 19,010 tons, and was powered by two Wallsend Slipway steam turbine engines producing 8,250 bhp for a service speed of 14 knots. She was sold to African Coasters in 1973, soon to be renamed as Unicorn Lines, and remained under charter to Shell, until she was scrapped in 1977 at Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

Africa Shell of 1956-1977. Unicorn Lines. Sailing from Durban. Picture: Trevor Jones

Even Bulk Carriers were occasionally designed with the split bridge and engine room. One such bulk carrier that arrived in Cape Town was the ‘Kurikka’, which started life as a Great Lakes bulker. She was built in 1899 by the Union Drydock Company of Buffalo, in the US state of New York. She was 122 metres in length with a deadweight of 6,800 tons. She lasted until 1953 when she was scrapped, over half a century later, being scrapped at Briton Ferry in the UK.

Kurikka of 1899-1953. Cape Town. Picture: Kurikan Laiva OY Vasa, Sweden

The last great South African owned Fish Factory vessel, ‘Willem Barendsz’, was launched in 1955 at the Wilton Feyenoord shipyard at Schiedam in Holland. Built originally to support the Antarctic whaling operation of Vinka & Co., of Rotterdam, and named after the great Dutch Arctic explorer Willem Barendsz (1550-1597), she had a deadweight of 26,800 tons.

The Dutch government pulled out of whaling in the mid 1960s, and ‘Willem Barendsz’ was purchased by the Cape Town based African Silverman Group in 1965. She was converted from a Whale Factory vessel, to a Fish Factory vessel, with a view of using her in the vast West coast Sardine and Anchovy fishing industry. Sadly, she was never a commercial success and she was sold on to Far Eastern buyers. She lasted until 2000, when she was scrapped at Xinhui in China.

The well-known Willem Barendtz (1953-2001), at Cape Town. Picture: Ships Nostalgia

So for more than a century, the split design for all types of vessels had been utilised to get the best operating platform for their area of operations, and the modern use of this design for the large container vessels is nothing new. However, from a modern safety perspective, the huge length of these new behemoth container vessels means that to have the bridge superstructure mounted forward makes eminent sense, giving watchkeepers a better working environment.

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Added 12 September 2023


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US & EU provide support for extending the Lobito Corridor directly to Zambia

A Lobito Corridor ore train at the port of Lobito. Picture: Angop

Africa Ports & Ships

Angola’s Lobito Corridor, a 1,300 km railway extending from the South Atlantic port of Lobito to the border town of Luau in eastern Angola, and from there another 400 km into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the mining centre at Kolwezi in the Lualaba province of southern DRC, has received the support and encouragement of the United States and European Union.

The DRC section of the Lobito Corridor is administered by the National Railway Society of the Congo (SNCC).

Both the EU and US have proposed the launch of a feasibility study for the Cape gauge (3ft 6ins/1067mm) railway potential.

In a joint statement the EU and US reaffirm their readiness to support the development of the corridor, with a focus on expanding the railway line with a direct connection between Angola and Zambia.

Currently, the connection with Zambia is via the DRC.

The railway from the port at Lobito to Luau was recently rehabilitated and is being managed and operated under concession, with a number of consignments of copper and other ores having been transported along the corridor to the Lobito port.

The joint statement of the EU and US says the European Union and the United States are teaming up to support the development of the Corridor, including by launching feasibility studies for a new greenfield rail line expansion between Zambia and Angola.

“This represents a powerful evolution of the Partnership element of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment with a collaborative approach that could be replicated in other strategic corridors around the world.

“The US-EU partnership will upgrade critical infrastructure across sub-Saharan Africa to unlock the enormous potential of this region. We are excited to join forces to generate economic benefits with our partners in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia.”

The partnership will combine financial resources and technical know-how to accelerate the Lobito Corridor development, including investments in digital access and agricultural value chains that will increase regional competitiveness.

Angola railway map, with Lobito Corridor (Benguela Railway)  and in green, the proposed direct extension to Zambia

Zambia-Lobito railway

The immediate next step will see the United States and the European Union support the African governments in launching pre-feasibility studies for the construction of the new Zambia-Lobito railway line from Luacano in Moxico province of eastern Angola to Jimbe in northern Zambia, a distance of 259 km.

This adds to the initial US-led support that refurbished the railway section from the Lobito port in Angola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Once transport infrastructure connecting all three countries is fully operational, the Corridor will enhance export possibilities for Zambia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, boost the regional circulation of goods, and promote the mobility of citizens.

“By significantly reducing the average transport time, the new railway will lower the logistics costs and carbon footprint of exporting metals, agricultural goods, and other products, as well as for future development of any mineral discoveries,” the US/EU statement reads.

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DP World incentivises cargo owners to use rail instead of road

DP World launches a New Modal Shift Programme to incentivise rail transport from their Southampton terminal.  Picture: DP World

Africa Ports & Ships

Terminal operator DP World is to trial a new Modal Shift Programme (MSP) at their Southampton port terminal.

MSP will incentivise cargo owners to rail more containers and so reduce their carbon emissions.

A financial incentive for imports routed by rail will be paid for by a relatively small charge on all import laden containers coming through DP World’s Southampton terminal.

The UK has committed to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and to achieve this, DP World says it actively needs to start looking at more sustainable modes of transport.

“With the potential to prevent an estimated 30,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted per year, the Modal Shift Programme enables cargo owners to accelerate their net zero ambitions,” DP World said last week.

MSP fee

MSP Incentive

The MSP Incentive will initially be UK£70 per applicable container for the period between 1st September 2023 and 31st December 2023.

DP World says the incentive will be adjusted every quarter from 1st January 2024 to adjust for changes in the rail share of import laden containers.

The MSP £70 Incentive Zone is for containers moved by rail for up to 140 miles from Southampton. Containers by rail further than 140 miles from DP World Southampton will be reimbursed the £10 fee on each container.

DP World’s Southampton terminal traditionally moves more containers by rail than any other UK terminal, but in recent years this has begun to decline with cargo owners gradually switching to road transport.

With this new incentive programme DP World hopes to increase the rail share to 40% by the end of 2025.

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TNPA acquires additional Shore Tensioner units for SA ports

Four of the mooring units are already in use at the Port of Cape Town where they have demonstrated their usefulness.  Picture: TNPA

In its attempt to reduce incidents and shipping delays caused by adverse weather conditions, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) announces it has engaged Shore Tension B.V. for the supply of 52 additional hydraulic tension mooring units for the South African ports.

TNPA says it has already seen the benefits of the installation of six units at the Ports of Ngqura and Cape Town.

A hydraulic tension mooring unit is a system that is placed on the quayside to ensure the safety of vessels alongside and mitigate the severity of long-wave effects (swells) on vessels. The units assist with stabilising vessels alongside during strong winds, adverse weather conditions, and high swells.

Benefits also include minimised downtime and safety during operations.

Takatso Maputle, TNPA Project Manager, said the supply of additional units marks TNPA’s commitment to make key investments in port infrastructure. “This is a timeous intervention to improve vessel turnaround time, which is already well received by our customers at the ports of Cape Town and Ngqura,” Maputle stated.

The ports authority currently has four units at the Port of Cape Town and two at the Port of Ngqura. The additional 52 Shore Tension units that TNPA is acquiring will be allocated to various ports that are currently facing excessive surge motions at an excess of 3 metres high.

The allocation includes 16 units for the Port of Cape Town, 14 for the Port of Durban, eight for the Port of Port Elizabeth, six for the Port of Ngqura, four for the Port of Saldanha and four for the Port of Richards Bay.

ShoreTension units in action. Picture: Mammoet


Peter Besnard, Chief executive of the South African Association of Ship Owners and Agents (SAASOA) said SAASOA is delighted to learn that TNPA has heeded to the call of the shipping industry to provide more hydraulic line tensioner mooring units.

“Thus far our members are complimentary of the results and benefits derived from the existing units and have been calling for more to be procured.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction as these units certainly make a difference in reducing shipping delays and ensuring safe vessel working and operations at the ports,” Besnard said.

Differences in wave action as they affect ships in port

The first batch of four units is expected to arrive on South African shores in October 2023 and will be split evenly to the ports of Ngqura and Cape Town. The delivery of the rest of the units will be staggered until early 2025.

TNPA described the acquisition as playing a significant role in the skills development of Transnet employees.

“Through the skills transfer by ShoreTension B.V., the units will be operated by TNPA Marine Shorehands whilst Transnet Engineering teams will carry out the maintenance of the same in South Africa,” TNPA said in a statement.

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WHARF TALK: semi-submersible heavyload vessel                     MIGHTY SERVANT 3

The semi-submersible heavylift vessel Mighty Servant 3 on arrival in Cape Town with her interesting deck cargo. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

It is not often that the casual maritime observer can say that they saw a vessel enter harbour that was previously sunk. Not partially sunk, but wholly sunk. And not sunk in shallow water, but sunk in water over 50 metres deep. And not sunk for just one day, or even one week, or even for one month, but for no less than five months.

That is not to say that this is the first time such a salvage mission has occurred, although most take place in wartime, when vessels are in desperate need for the war effort. Thus she was a vessel considered so valuable, so irreplaceable, so needed, that the owners decided that raising her, refurbishing her, and bringing her, literally, back from the dead, was a price worth paying.

On 1st September, at 11h00 in the morning, WHARF TALK: semi-submersible heavyload vessel MIGHTY SERVANT 3 (IMO 8130899) arrived off Cape Town, from the Sriracha Anchorage in Thailand, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside the outer Eastern Mole berth.

Mighty Servant 3. Cape Town, 1 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her arrival at the Eastern Mole was a sure sign that her entry into Cape Town was transitory, and for a likely uplift of stores, fresh produce, and bunkers. What was unique to see was that her deck cargo overhung the sides of ‘Mighty Servant 3’ by such a wide margin, that the whole of the quayside had to be cleared of all obstructions, and obstacles, as her deck cargo overshadowed the whole dockside, and did not leave even enough headroom for the berthing gang to be able to walk along the quay.

Built in 1984 by Oshima Shipbuilding at Saikai in Japan, ‘Mighty Servant 3’ is 181 metres in length and has a deadweight of 27,720 tons. She is a diesel electric vessel and is powered by two Wärtsilä 12V38B twelve cylinder four stroke main engines producing 9,060 bhp (6,756 kW) each, and providing power to four electric motors producing 3,100 kW each. These motors drive two nozzled, controllable pitch, propellers for a service speed of 14 knots.

Mighty Servant 3. Cape Town, 1 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For added manoeuvrability ‘Mighty Servant 3’ has two bow transverse thrusters providing 500 kW each. As a semi-submersible vessel she has two ballast pumps which are capable of pumping water at 2,000 m3/hour. She also has four de-ballasting compressors providing air at 3,000 m3/hour at 1 ATG.

Designed to carry large assets for the oil and gas industry, ‘Mighty Servant 3’ has a working deck area of 140 metres x 40 metres. She can carry loads of up to 25,000 tons in weight, and her deck strength is 25 tons/m2. When ballasting, as a semi-submersible vessel, she can achieve a draft of 22 metres to allow the floating on of oil rigs, vessels or barges.

Mighty Servant 3. Cape Town, 1 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With an operating crew of 20 persons, and an endurance of 44 days, ‘Mighty Servant 3’ is owned by Boskalis, of Papendrecht in Holland, operated by Boskalis Offshore Heavy Marine BV, also of Papendrecht, and is managed by Anglo-Eastern Shipmanagement Ltd., of Hong Kong.

Her arrival in Cape Town was given double delight for the casual maritime observer, as she was carrying a deck cargo of no less than three sisterships, known as Deck Cargo Vessels. That she entered Cape Town Harbour with them was a further indication that ‘Mighty Servant 3’ was merely passing through. Had her deck cargo been destined for Cape Town, she would have remained out in the Table Bay anchorage, in order to submerge herself and allow her three charges to be floated off.

Mighty Servant 3. Cape Town, 1 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her deck cargo of deck cargo vessels were named ‘Bestaf 1’, ‘Bestaf 2’, and Bestaf 3’. They represent a type of vessel that is very popular in nations which have poor port infrastructure, and where the region is made up of either many small islands, with small, limited harbours, or in regions with many small river ports. They are normally used as container feeder vessels, or for the movement of bulk project cargo to remote, or isolated, areas.

The trio on the deck of ‘Mighty Servant 3’ were all built between 2006 and 2007 by PT Dok and Perkapalan Surabaya, at Surabaja in Indonesia. They are all 86 metres in length and have a deadweight of 4,370 tons. They are powered by two Caterpillar 3512B twelve cylinder four stroke main engines providing 2,240 bhp (1,848 kW) and driving two fixed pitch propellers for a service speed of 10 knots.

Mighty Servant 3. Cape Town, 1 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Their large open stern deck has a container carrying capacity of 265 TEU, and is serviced by two offset 30 ton cranes. They were initially used as hub and spoke feeder container vessels in amongst the many islands of the Indonesian archipelago. They were then sold to owners in Thailand, where they were picked up from, and are now enroute to new owners.

Their names are a clue to where they are going. The Bestaf Holdings Company, of Lagos in Nigeria, operate a fleet of small coastal vessels in support of the oil and gas industry, construction industry, and mining industries. Their fleet includes a number of shallow draft vessels, capable of operating in both coastal waters, and up the many creeks along the coast.

Mighty Servant 3. Cape Town, 1 September 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As always, with vessels arriving in Cape Town and calling purely for replenishment purposes, ‘Mighty Servant 3’ was ready to sail after 24 hours alongside. At 1200 on 2nd September she sailed from Cape Town, bound for Bonny in Nigeria.

Back in December 2006, ‘Mighty Servant 3’ made the news for all the wrong reasons. She had departed from Trinidad, in the West Indies, on 18th November 2006, carrying the semi-submersible oil drilling rig ‘Aleutian Key’, and bound for Luanda in Angola, where she arrived on 6th December 2006, and made preparations for the discharge of her rig deck cargo.

Mighty Servant 3 sinking in Luanda anchorage, 6 December 2006. Picture: Shipspotting

She started her ballasting early in the morning, but her ballasting operation went catastrophically wrong. She developed an excessive stern trim, which went beyond her design limits, and at 07h53 in the morning, she sank in 52 metres of water, lying one nautical mile offshore, in the Luanda anchorage.

The owners made the decision to salvage her, and Smit Salvage were given the contract to raise ‘Mighty Servant 3’ from her supposed watery grave. They sent a team of Cape Town based divers, with the diving support vessel ‘Smit Orca’, to Luanda to begin preparing the vessel for being raised. Smit also sent out the large Sheerlegs Crane ‘Taklift 7’ out from Holland.
With ‘Taklift 7’ lifting ‘Mighty Servant 3’ by the bow, and Smit engineers filling her flooded compartments with compressed air, the refloating operation was completed on 26th May 2007, after being submerged for over 5 months. The Chinese salvage tug ‘De Dong’ was chartered to tow ‘Mighty Servant 3’ to Cape Town, where the tow arrived on 17th June 2007.

Mighty Servant arriving off Cape Town in tow on 17 June 2007. Picture: Dormac

Dormac in Cape Town were given the contract to prepare her for her rebuilding programme, and spent the next six months conducting mechanical repairs, stripping the accommodation, and washing down the entire vessel. In December, ‘Might Servant 3’ was then towed out of Cape Town harbour by the tug ‘Red Sea Fos’, bound for the Grand Bahama Shipyard, at Freeport in the Bahamas, where she arrived in late January 2008.

Her rebuilding, and refurbishment programme, at the Grand Bahama Shipyard, included the removal of her single, heavy lift, cargo derrick, and the insertion of an additional deck of accommodation, located below her bridge, to give her a further set of cabins allowing her to carry a total of 50 persons.

The works also included sending both of her main engines back to the Wärtsilä workshops at Zwolle in Holland, where they were rebuilt, and sent back to the Bahamas for re-installing back into ‘Mighty Servant 3’. She was ready for return to her owners, and for service, in March 2010. The repair bill came to US$54 million (ZAR 413 million in 2010 exchange rates), and constituted 80% of Grand Bahama Shipyard revenue in 2010.

Deck cargo vessel Bestaf 3 with containers cargo as Blue Pailin. Picture: FleetMon

Prior to her sailing to Sriracha in Thailand, to pick up her current deck cargo, ‘Mighty Servant 3’ had been operating in Taiwan, and on the same offshore windfarm project that the Boskalis owned ‘Bokalift 1’ crane ship, which called into Cape Town in August, and appeared in the 22nd August edition of Africa Ports & Ships.

In Taiwan, ‘Mighty Servant 3’ was responsible for providing a shuttle service for each of the 62 windfarm platforms, manufactured in Taipei, and taken out to the Changyang and Xidao offshore windfarms, where they were transferred to, and then placed in the water, by ‘Bokalift 1’. She was involved through to the completion of the project, departing Taiwan at the same time that the ‘Bokalift 1’ departed, and with both now having called into Cape Town.

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Added 11 September 2023


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Russian Federation declares ITF an undesirable organisation

Africa Ports & Ships

The Office of the Russian Federation Prosecutor General has declared the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) an ‘undesirable organisation’ on grounds that the ITF’s activities “pose a threat to the constitutional order of the Russian Federation”.

The is a global, democratic, affiliate-led movement of 740 transport workers’ unions recognised as the world’s leading transport authority and the voice of 18.5 million international transport workers.

In its response the ITF says it refutes the rationale upon which the Prosecutor’s Office appears to have made its decision to designate ITF as an undesirable organisation.

ITF an affiliate-led trade union federation

“The ITF is a global, democratic, affiliate-led trade union federation. We exist to protect and improve workers’ lives. ITF has offices in London, Abidjan, Amman, Brussels, Geneva, Hong Kong, Montreal, Nairobi, New Delhi, Panama City, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo, with members spanning the globe. Our mission and activities in Russia – and around the world – are to support and advance transport workers’ rights.

“This designation will have significant ramifications for the 1.65 million Russian transport workers affiliated to the ITF at the time this designation was announced, and particularly for the almost 200,000 Russian seafarers – a significant proportion of whom sail on ships covered by ITF-approved collective agreements.”

The ITF says it has continued to support Russian seafarers throughout the war, not only the many seafarers who benefit daily from the protections guaranteed under ITF agreements, but also those who have sought and received assistance from the ITF in the recovery of millions in owed wages and the repatriation of abandoned seafarers.

11,405 Russians seafarers

Since January 2022, 11,405 Russians seafarers have been on board vessels that ITF has inspected with ITF Inspectors recovering almost US$ 4 million in owed wages on those vessels. ITF continues to treat Russian seafarers the same as any other seafarer seeking our assistance and support.

“The ITF stands firm on, and reiterates, our call for peace and an end to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Throughout the war, we have stood steadfast in solidarity with all working people drawn into this conflict. We continue to call for a just and sustainable peace based on international human rights and humanitarian law.

“ITF’s solidarity fund for Ukrainian transport workers and their families has been used solely for humanitarian purposes, with funds provided to independent affiliated unions and maritime charities.”

The ITF said it continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, Russia and neighbouring countries calling for peace, dialogue and diplomacy.

“ITF will continue to monitor the implications of the designation.”

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Added 11 September 2023


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Mailbag: The Russian Lady R saga – government’s report proves nothing


This secretive report*, and statement from the government, proves nothing.

1. Why was her original AIS not showing a South African port as her next destination, if she was carrying arms for delivery to South Africa?
2. Why did she sail around Cape Agulhas, and then turnaround to come back again?
3. Why did she then switch off her AIS completely?
4. Why were container lorries kept under armed guard outside the naval base if they were empty, awaiting loading from the vessel?
5. Why was the unloading only undertaken at night, and over more than one night?
6. Why did an arms order from 2018 take four years to be delivered?
7. Why did the authorities lie about the reason for the delay in delivery, when Covid played no part in any industrial slowdown, with commerce and international shipping continuing unabated throughout the pandemic?
8. Why did the authorities lie, at the time, about the reason for her turning up at a naval base?
9. Why was Lady R, a merchant vessel, allowed to sail without her AIS active?
10. Why did her AIS show a false destination on departure?
11. Her arrival at Novorossiysk was the third in one year where she was suspected of delivering arms to Russian forces in Ukraine. Why did the South African authorities ignore US and others about what Lady R actually stood for?
12. Why was she allowed into Simonstown, when no other vessel has ever delivered arms to a Naval base before?
13. Why is the report kept secret if this is merely an imported cargo. Why not release the report, and redact the cargo manifest if this is the issue.
14. Without a report to study, nobody can question if the right questions were asked, all of the right people were interviewed, and to determine if it truly was an independent inquiry.

If it stinks of rotten fish, it is probably because it is rotten fish! If all this furore affected the reputation of the country, it is because the government chose to do so, not understanding the damage that such a decision would create for them.
Jay Gates
* See Africa Ports & Ships ‘No evidence of weapons loaded for export onto Lady R’ here

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Added 11 September 2023


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Fishing vessel off West African coast – for illustrative purposes only. Picture by Fishing vessel off Guinea. Picture: Trygg Mat Tracking via APO

African countries listed by NOAA for illegal fishing activities

Africa Ports & Ships

Two African countries have been listed among others by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for their illegal fishing activities.

The Gambia and Angola were among the seven nations identified by NOAA for participating in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in the organisation’s 2023 ‘Report to Congress on Improving International Fisheries Management’.

The seven countries are Angola, China, Grenada, Mexico, Taiwan, The Gambia, and Vanuatu.

China and Taiwan maintain large fleets not only worldwide but concentrated off the African coast.

In addition two countries are cited for issues related to forced labour, and two for issues related to shark catch.

The report commences a two-year process for the identified countries to take the necessary steps to address IUU fishing, with potential import restrictions for those that do not comply.

According to the International Trade Commission, the United States imported US$ 2.4 billion worth of seafood derived from illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in 2019, which it said can severely deplete fish populations, destroy habitats, and threaten global food security.

IUU fishing remains a low-risk, high-reward activity, especially on the high seas where a fragmented legal framework and lack of effective enforcement allow it to thrive.

Included with the report is an announcement of certification determinations for 31 nations and entities for illegal fishing and/or bycatch of protected living marine resources from its 2021 report.

Among these are positive certifications for Costa Rica, Guyana, Senegal, and Taiwan.

* See related article African Flag Registries Exploited by High-Risk Fishing Operators  here

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Added 11 September 2023


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Cameroon: Maritime security – IMO promotion

IMO-Cameroon Security Workshop. Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

A workshop to assist the Cameroon Government improve its national maritime security decision-making, policy development and implementation took place in Edéa, Cameroon, from 4 to 8 September.

To use its full title the National Workshop on the IMO’s Whole of Government Approach to Maritime Security* aimed to develop and/or enhance the country’s national maritime security committee, risk register and security strategy.

It was reported by IMO at the close of the event that this was the first time such a workshop had taken place in Central and Western Africa. It followed regional workshops in Eastern and Southern Africa, in Central America and in the South Pacific Islands.

Hosted by Cameroon’s Ministry of Transport, the event was opened by the Director of Maritime Affairs on behalf of the Minister of Transport. Senior officials from several Government Ministries and agencies attended.

To learn more

For more information on the National Maritime Security Strategy readers are invited to see here

* The IMO Whole of Government Approach to Maritime Security is an innovative advanced programme of integrated workshops and tailored support to develop a National Maritime Security Committee, Risk Register and Security Strategy.

A cross-government committee draws together all key stakeholders and the Risk Register provides a powerful tool to aid the committee to objectively identify security gaps and prioritize where to steer future policy development and capacity building effort.

The National Maritime Security Strategy explains how the Member State will address the risks identified in the Risk Register, and its long term vision for the security of the maritime domain, with its development overseen by the Committee.

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Added 11 September 2023


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Maersk and Amazon agree on ECO delivery for 20,000 FFE containers

Maersk generated image of its methanol-dual fuel feeder type container ship

Africa Ports & Ships

A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) and Amazon have finalized a 2023-2024 agreement for the transport of 20,000 forty foot (FFE) containers (40,000 TEU) using green biofuel through Maersk’s ‘ECO Delivery’ ocean product offering.

Maersk said it estimates this purchase will contribute to a reduction in 44,600 metric tons of CO2e vs standard bunker fuel, roughly equivalent to 50 million pounds of coal burned.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Amazon and Maersk have arranged container shipping using low GHG fuel options.

Adam Baker, Vice President of Global Transportation at Amazon, said they were proud to collaborate with Maersk on actionable solutions to decarbonise maritime shipping.

First methanol-enabled feeder vessel

“We’re excited to have containers on Maersk’s first methanol-enabled feeder vessel and to continue using their biofuel,” he said.

The ECO Delivery biofuel option offers emission reductions that enable immediate and externally verified GHG savings for customers, without compensatory measures like offsetting.

This year, Amazon will benefit from a new feature of the ECO Delivery product which will be enabled by also using green methanol in addition to the bio diesel as a second green fuel* in the vessel fleet.

ECO Delivery is using primary data for fuel consumption in the methodology to report emissions savings with greater precision, inclusive of other greenhouse gases in addition to the CO2. The new model also provides price certainty and stability and is de-linked from the fossil fuel market.

“Amazon’s record of securing sustainable shipping over the years, no matter the business climate, is testament to its contributions to building a better future,” said said Narin Phol, President North America, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Phol said Maersk shares a common goal with Amazon to reduce their total GHG emissions to net zero by 2040.

“As cosigners of the Climate Pledge, we must constantly create new opportunities to make this a decade of action. Decarbonising shipping is one significant step that is to be combined with many others to protect our future.”

Climate Pledge

Co-founded by Global Optimism and Amazon, the Climate Pledge is powered by over 400 companies in 38 countries around the globe. The pledge is a commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Signatories agree to
1.) Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis,
2.) Implement decarbonisation strategies in line with the Paris Agreement,
3.) Neutralise any remaining emissions with credible offsets.

Green Fuels

* Maersk defines ‘green fuels’ as fuels with low to very low GHG emissions over their life cycle compared to fossil fuels. Maersk green fuels and its supply chain are verified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) . The methodology for accounting emissions is based on GLEC (Global Logistics Emissions Council) and is certified by Smart Freight Centre.

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Added 11 September 2023


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TNPA programme to encourage maritime interest among school learners

Pictures: TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) last week kickstarted its annual Maritime Career Awareness Roadshow, which resulted in more than 1500 learners from various schools within Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (Port Elizabeth) receiving exposure to the maritime sector.

Rolled out annually in September by TNPA, the maritime career awareness programme is set designed for Grade 9 learners aimed at informing their school subject choices and steering them towards maritime careers. The sessions are informative in nature and includes testimonials delivered by TNPA mariners from various disciplines as well as information on Transnet bursary opportunities.

For the 2023 launch session, Grade 9 learners from six high schools were gathered by TNPA at Raymond Mhlaba Indoor Sports Centre in Motherwell. The schools in attendance include Motherwell High, Cingani, Douglas Mbopa, Soqhayisa, Ncedo and Ethembeni Enrichment

In the remaining weeks of Maritime Month, TNPA will engage seven more schools in the Nelson Mandela Municipality and extend the programme to other port cities.

“We are thrilled to rollout this programme again this year and we hope to ignite Maritime passion in learners and see them deciding to choose pure mathematics, physical science and maritime studies as part of their subject choices for Grade 10,” says Ayanda Mantshongo, Executive Manager: Corporate Affairs at TNPA.

During the 2022 roadshow, TNPA engaged over 4,000 Grade 9s and in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality alone approximately 400 learners indicated interest in maritime careers.

This year, as part of World Maritime Day celebrations on 28 September, TNPA will treat the interested learners who have chosen pure mathematics and physical science in Grade 10 with an On-The-Job Port Open Day operational experience at the Port of Ngqura.

This will enable the potential future mariners to board tugs and gain some first-hand experience of the shipping environment.

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Added 11 September 2023


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Xeneta update: real-time container rates update, week 36, 2023

Africa Ports & Ships

Carriers drive up ocean freight rates on main Far East to US West Coast trade with savvy capacity cuts

After a year of plunging ocean freight rates, carriers appear to have turned the tide on the key China to US West Coast trade, driving up spot rates by 73% since the end of June.

In a blow to shippers, many of whom have been reluctant to sign new contracts in an atmosphere of uncertain US consumer demand, long-term rates appear to be following suit. The latest market data from Oslo’s Xeneta shows that contracted rates on the corridor are also on a firm upward trajectory, having climbed 25% since the lows of June.

A question of control

Xeneta’s data, crowd sourced from leading shippers worldwide, has painted a bleak picture for carriers over the course of the last year, with nosediving spot rates and long-term contracted prices slumping by over 60% since last summer. However, as Peter Sand, Chief Analyst at Xeneta, explains, a group effort by carriers to regain a sense of control appears to be paying dividends.

“Capacity management is king when it comes to controlling rates, and faced with weak demand and a surplus of vessels it was clear to carriers that something had to be done,” he says. “What we’ve seen in response to that are some very bold, united moves from the industry that, it seems, are succeeding in turning the tables.”

Capacity cuts

“In the second quarter of 2023, carriers collectively reduced offered capacity from Asia to the North America West Coast by 7% year-on-year, hoping to deliver a rates ‘shot in the arm’.

Peter Sand, Xeneta chief analyst

“However, General Rate Increases (GRIs) implemented in mid-April and early-June failed to stick. Undaunted, they doubled down on this tactic, moving to slash capacity by 14% year-on-year in July and August. Did that work? The data provides a clear answer.”

Sand reveals that spot rates on the trade currently sit at an 11-month high, having climbed to USD 2,200 per FEU. Furthermore, long-term contracts are also on the way up, with agreements entering validity in August now exceeding the USD 2,000 per FEU mark.

In a sense, Sand comments, the carriers “have outsmarted the shippers here.”

Surprise, surprise

He notes: “This may come as a nasty surprise to some shippers, who have become accustomed to falling rates and, in the face of uncertain consumer demand, have held back from signing new long-term contracts. Now they’re in the difficult position of seeing strong rates growth before they’ve put pen to paper on a new agreement. This, and any further delays, could prove to be very costly.”

According to Xeneta, with the collective effort from carriers – and the fact that nervous shippers may now have to lock-in volumes – rates are likely to continue their upward trend during September. Furthermore, added upward pressure could be exerted by the arrival of China’s Golden Week holiday in the first week of October, as Sand points out:

Going for gold

“In normal years we see a boost in offered capacity before the shut down and then a reduction afterwards, but, as we know, 2023 has not been a normal year.

“Carriers are now laser-focused on managing capacity diligently to retain rates control, so they’re actually already announcing blanked sailings for week 39, the week before the holiday, and week 41, when it concludes. Further announcements are expected in the weeks to come, so we can see there’s a clear, collective effort to get the supply/demand balance right and maintain rates at the levels they want.

“Shippers need to be aware of this,” he concludes. “Savvy management from the carriers demands an equally proactive approach from shippers, with a clear picture of rates development to get the value their businesses need. There’s no room for complacency in the world of ocean freight rates negotiations and, in such a dynamic situation, that’s never been truer than it is now.”

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Added 11 September 2023


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Lest we forget:                  Merchant Navy Day

Windsor Castle, MN War Memorial. Picture: Paul Ridgway

Reported by Paul Ridgway

In advance of Sunday, 3 September, Merchant Navy Day, the Seafarers Charity promoted its annual campaign to honour and remember the sacrifices of the often forgotten and invisible, but very hard-working, seafarers of the Merchant Navy.

The charity’s Fly the Red Ensign on Merchant Navy Day campaign was started in 2015 to address ‘sea blindness’ that appeared to afflict a huge proportion of the British population, with widespread public ignorance about the UK’s ongoing dependence on merchant seafarers who are responsible for shipping over 95% of the UK’s trade. Flag-hoisting ceremonies were held up and down the country on the weekend 2 /3 September.

Merchant Navy Day 2023 was the first commemorated under the anticipated new Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets – King Charles III. This hereditary title is assumed to pass to the His Majesty as the title has been hereditary since it was instituted by Her Late Majesty’s grandfather, King George V. Services of commemoration were nation-wide.

Merchant Navy Medal

On 3 September the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced the recipients of the 2023 Merchant Navy Medal.

These are: Dr Alan Stephen Bury, for services to maritime education; Captain Philip Mark Peter Cave for services to seafarer welfare; Allan Dickson, for services to Merchant Navy careers and Captain John Lloyd, CEO of the Nautical Institute for services to maritime education.

The medal also goes to Chief Petty Officer Martin Etwell, for services to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, to Donnacha O’Driscoll, for services to seafarer welfare and cruise sector pandemic recovery.

Captain William John Pearn is to receive the medal for services to marine pilotage and safety; Captain Ewan Rattray, for services to the safety of marine pilots; to Raymond Strachan, for services to life-saving actions, to Katy Womersley, for contributions to seafarers’ training and sector diversity and to Captain Charles Woodward for promoting the Merchant Navy and commemorating the sacrifice of seafarers.


Two days before the MN Day commemorations I passed by the Merchant Navy War Memorial on Tower Hill EC3, opposite Trinity House and the former Port of London Authority HQ and backed by the huge London maritime community that still resides in that SE quarter of the Square Mile, the City of London.

Warwick Castle. MN War Memorial. Picture: Paul Ridgway

Two memorial panels caught my eye, those recording the loss of life in sinkings of Union Castle Lines Warwick Castle and Windsor Castle on 14 November 1942 and 23 March 1943 respectively.

Warwick Castle was torpedoed on passage from Gibraltar to Home and of the 462 souls on board 96 died. The survivors were rescued by Allied warships and landed at Greenock.

Windsor Castle was part of a fast convoy from Home to the Mediterranean bound for Algiers and the ship was hit by an aerial torpedo off Cape Ténèz, Algeria, approximately 110nm west of Algiers. One crew member was killed and the remaining 289 members of the crew and 2,699 service personnel on board were rescued by several ships and landed at Algiers.

In all Union-Castle Line (later with Clan Line to form the British & Commonwealth Shipping Company) lost twelve ships in the Second World War.

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Added 9 September 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 July 2023, including containers by weight

PORT July 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.046
Durban 6.971
Saldanha Bay 6.439
Cape Town 1.328
Port Elizabeth 1.007
Ngqura 1.452
Mossel Bay 0.105
East London 0.303
Total all ports during July 23.651 million tonnes
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