Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 2 November 2023

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Week commencing 30 October 2023.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return.   



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MSC Carole. Picture: Trevor Jones
MSC’s NWC to South Africa service rotation. Map: MSC

Entering the port of Durban is the 12,200-TEU container ship, MSC CAROLE (IMO 9785445). On Friday 13 October, after arriving from the port of Ngqura and a short two hour wait outside, the boxship entered port.

At Ngqura she spent five days and four hours working cargo. Prior to the Ngqura arrival, MSC Carole called at Las Palmas and before that, Sines in Portugal, where the ship spent 11 hours 23 minutes and 23 hours 25 minutes in each port respectively.

The container ship is deployed on MSC’s North West Continent (Europe) South Africa service.

After a long 8 days and 20 hours in Durban, MSC Carole finally departed at 12h50 on Sunday 22 October, bound for Cape Town as her next port of call where she arrived outside on the 25th of the month. As of Sunday 29 October the vessel remains at the outer anchorage waiting for a berth.

MSC Carole has a length of 328.5 metres and width of 49.32m and has a deadweight of 122,416 tons. The ship, one of five in her class or type, is registered in Liberia and was built in 2021. The other four similar ships are MSC Alanya, MSC Cassandre, MSC Eugenia and MSC Rayshmi.

MSC Carole is owned and operated by MSC although her nominal owner is shown as Taiping & Sinopec TJ7 Shipping.

This picture is by Trevor Jones

Africa Ports & Ships


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Richards Bay Karpowership back on the table

Karpowership Zeynep Sultan.  Picture: Karpowership

Africa Ports & Ships

Just when it was looking as though the prospect of seeing Karpowerships in service at South African ports was dead and buried, suddenly at least one of the three is back on the agenda.

This follows the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment granting permission for the Turkish company to provide a ship capable of producing and supplying a gas-fired 450 MW Karpowership in the KZN port of Richards Bay.

That’s according to a statement by the Turkish company this week, after winning environmental authorisation from the department.

It said it still has to complete its agreements with Transnet National Ports Authority before going ahead.

The outcome represents a meaningful turning point in this extensive process, the company said in its statement, adding that the projects will make an important contribution to combating South Africa’s energy crisis.

Karpowership has also applied to provide another ship capable of generating 450 MW for the South African grid at the port of Ngqura plus a 320 MW vessel stationed at the port of Saldanha.

Karpowership has faced a number of objections and legal challenges from environmental bodies after winning almost two-thirds of a government tender to supply 2,000 MW of electricity into the national grid and to ease the shortage being experienced by Eskom and the country.

That’s about the equivalent of one stage of loadshedding!

Karpowership in service in Nacala port, Mozambique, providing electric power to the region and for Malawi. Picture:Karpowership

The objectors challenged the use of gas as a fossil fuel as well as claiming the presence of the power ships in the three harbours would have a destructive effect on sea life and small-scale fishing. The award was also challenged by a rival supplier, all of which has effectively delayed the process.

One of the advantages of the Karpowership offer is the speed with which the three ships can be installed at the respective ports to provide urgently needed electricity for the country’s use.

After a short hiatus the country is once again experiencing regular loadshedding which is having a severe effect on business and domestic life in South Africa.

Some parts of the country have experienced up to 10 hours a day of loadshedding due to Eskom’s inability to provide the required demand.

In the budget read in parliament on Wednesday, it was made clear that South Africa has a fiscal shortfall, due partly to loadshedding and the detrimental effect this has had on mining and industry generally, and thereby affecting taxes due to the fiscus.

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WHARF TALK:ocean towing and salvage tug – VIRGO

The ocean towing and salvage tug Virgo as Salviscount, Cape Town, April 2017. Picture by Chris Godden

Pictures ‘Dockrat’ & indicated
Story by Jay Gates

Tug enthusiasts are never short of seeing something exciting arriving in South Africa’s two major ports. Other than the standard daily traffic of the fleet of Transnet harbour tugs busy around the ports, there are the regular call of new build harbour tugs transiting from the shipyard to their new operating bases elsewhere on the continent, as well as the harbour tugs of some of the ports of northerly neighbours, coming down for the kind of engineering support not available back in their home country.

And then there are the tugs that always whet the appetite of the serious tug enthusiast, and the casual maritime observer. These are the behemoth anchor handling tugs of the oil and gas industry, all looking very much like the pit bulls that they are, in regards to strength on offer. But the tugs that get the most attention are those that are purpose designed for oceanic, long distance, towing, and salvage work. As with the anchor handling tugs, many of the appearances in South African ports, though not all, are linked to the oil and gas industry, and they turn up for bunkers and stores, whilst towing an oil and gas asset from one offshore location to another.

Virgo, Cape Town 28 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 28th October, at 11h00 in the morning, the Ocean Towing and Salvage Tug VIRGO (IMO 9276676) arrived off Cape Town, from the Oguendjo offshore oilfield terminal in Gabon, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside at the Landing Wall. As always, such an arrival would indicate a short transit call for a mixture of bunkers, stores, fresh provisions, and potential engineering, or technical, support.

Built in 2004 by the President Marine shipyard in Singapore, ‘Virgo’ is 75 metres in length and has a deadweight of 3,230 tons. She is powered by no less than four Wärtsilä 6R32LNE six cylinder, four stroke, main engines producing 3,375 bhp (2,517 kW) each, and giving a total power output of 13,500 bhp (10,067 kW), driving two Lips controllable pitch propellers, each housed in fixed Kort nozzles, for a free intervention seaspeed of 15 knots.

Virgo, the former Salviscount, Cape Town 28 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes two Caterpillar generators providing 350 kW each, and a single Caterpillar emergency generator providing 105 kW. For added manoeuvrability ‘Virgo’ has a Wärtsilä CT175H bow transverse, Lips, thruster providing 800 Kw, and a Wärtsilä CT175H stern transverse, Lips, thruster providing 750 kW.

She is one of two sisterships, both originally built for the Semco towing company of Singapore, later to become POSH Fleet Services of Singapore, and named ‘Salviscount’ when launched. Her design was specifically for long distance, oceanic, towing. She was fitted with fuel tanks that had a capacity in excess of 2,000 tons, which would allow her to undertake a major tow, at maximum power, and enable her to proceed non-stop from Singapore to Cape Town.

Virgo, Cape Town 28 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With accommodation provided for 36 persons, ‘Virgo’ has a bollard pull of 155 tons, and a towing endurance of 40 days. She is fitted with no less than three Brattvag, Waterfall type, towing drum winches, each containing 1,500 metres of 76mm towing wire, one of which is configured for anchor handling work. For her salvage and firefighting requirements, she has a FiFi1 classification, and is fitted with two fire monitors capable of throwing water at a continuous rate of 1,200 m3/hour.

She has been owned, operated, and managed, since 2020, by the Sri Lanka Shipping Company Co. Ltd., of Colombo in Sri Lanka, which is also her port of registration. In her almost 20 year long career, ‘Virgo’ has been involved in many long oceanic tows, as well as salvage work, and her towing operations have often brought her through South African waters.

Virgo, Cape Town 28 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On completion, her very first major assignment, was to tow the new ‘Kizomba A’ FPSO, from the shipyard in South Korea, to her new operating home in the Kizomba oilfield, located offshore Angola. On this voyage, she was one element of no less than a fleet of five tugs responsible for the tow, with three acting as continuous tugs, one acting as guard ship, and a fifth as contingency. They passed along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal in April 2004, and a full crew change on the FPSO was undertaken by helicopter, out of the old Louis Botha airport in Durban.

Virgo as Salviscount towing Kizomba B off KZN. May 2005. Picture: Maritime Journal

The next year, in April 2005, a repeat operation was completed on the ‘Kizomba B’ FPSO, but this time with the full crew change by helicopter taking place out of Richards Bay airport. She completed another tow from South Korea, but to Nigeria, in 2011, with the ‘Usan’ FPSO, and she entered Durban harbour to uplift bunkers on this occasion. For this operation a total of three POSH tugs undertook the long oceanic tow. As with both of the ‘Kizomba’ tows, her sister tug ‘Salvanguard’ was one of the joint towing vessels.

In March of 2017 she entered Cape Town harbour for some major engineering intervention work. She went alongside the Dormac working berth 502, in the Ben Schoeman Dock, and over the next two months one of her starboard Wärtsilä main engines was removed, in its entirety from the vessel, and given a complete overhaul and rebuild ion the nearby Dormac workshops, before being refitted in the vessel. The work included the removal of the wooden aft working deck, and cutting through the deck plating to allow for the engine to be lifted out of the vessel, and taken ashore for repair.

Virgo as Salviscount, towing Kizomba A seen from S-61 helicopter off KZN coast April 2004. Picture: Jay Gates

On this occasion, any engineering support work was minor in nature, and after an uplift of bunkers ‘Virgo’ was made ready to sail. She departed from Cape Town at 08h00 in the morning of 30th October, with her AIS displaying that her next destination was to be the island of Saint Helena. The reason for her current voyage is unknown, but a little mystery was added to it.

Two days before she arrived off Cape Town, the grand old salvage tug ‘Iconic 09’, better known to all casual maritime observers as ‘S.A. Amandla’, sailed from Cape Town. She departed from the Dormac facility at 502 berth, in the Ben Schoeman Dock, at 20h00 in the evening of 26th October.

Virgo as Salviscount, towing Kizomba A seen from S-61 helicopter off KZN coast April 2004. Picture: Jay Gates

Strangely, the AIS of ‘Iconic 09’ showed that her next destination was to be the Groenrivier mouth, in the north of the Western Cape. It was certainly not clear that her departure was her final one to the breakers, as was previously expected. After sailing her AIS changed to show her new destination was to be the island of Saint Helena.

Lo and behold, a day after ‘Virgo’ sailed from Cape Town, both she and ‘Iconic 09’ came together, but not at Saint Helena Island, but rather at Saint Helena Bay, located to the north of Saldanha Bay. The reason for this supposed meeting of two ocean tugs is not yet clear, and whether or not the island of Saint Helena plays a part in this story is yet to be determined, as is the background to what both vessels are going to do next. Watch this space.

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Transnet establishes Interim Infrastructure Manager

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet says the establishment of an interim Infrastructure Manager (IM) will culminate in the reform of the country’s rail network by, among others, opening the market to third parties. This will take effect from April 2024.

This follows Cabinet approval on 23 March 2022 of the White Paper on National Rail Policy. The Rail Policy introduces radical structural reforms in the sector that are intended to enable and facilitate private sector investment, optimal utilisation of rail and effective economic regulation of rail that enables equitable access to the rail network and ensures that it is properly maintained.

This access will ultimately be regulated by the soon to be established Transport Economic Regulator.

The Policy aims to liberalise the rail sector by regulating rail infrastructure and providing private train operating companies with access to the freight rail network.

This process of liberalisation has been enabled by the introduction of two policies, namely the National Rail Policy White Paper (2022) and the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill (2022) (ERT).

A Transport Economic Regulator (TER) is also going to be established to set prices for the sale of train slots, and regulate the access regime, include pricing, compliance, penalties and the resolution of disputes between IMs and Train Operating Companies (TOCs).

The key commercial objectives of the Infrastructure Manager are to maximise network utilisation, increase network density, generate revenue through access fees that will fund network maintenance, rehabilitation, and expansion, and increase rail market share in economic growth sectors by facilitating road to rail migration.

The Rail Policy states that funding for the infrastructure will be provided by Government to enable the Infrastructure Manager to provide network availability and reliability to freight rail operations throughout South Africa in line with investment plans and allocated funding. Access fees will be used to manage the operations cost of the Infrastructure Manager.

In accordance with the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill, 2022, the interim Transnet Rail Infrastructure Manager (TRIM) will manage, operate, and maintain the Transnet rail network infrastructure.

Transnet Freight Rail Operating Company (TFROC), the initial dominant operator by a significant margin, will compete with other TOCs in the future.

TFROC will be responsible for freight rail operations within the Republic and in the region, haulage on network mainline and branch lines, yard operations and train safety; and rolling stock ownership and management.

Owing to the long-term nature of organisational design, to comply with the Rail Policy and the ERT Bill, which is undergoing relevant parliamentary processes and to be operationally ready for Phase 2 of open access on 1 April 2024, Transnet’s interim Infrastructure Manager has been established to carry out all required activities to ensure the successful implementation of an Infrastructure Manager.

The interim IM will engage with the Interim Rail Economic Regulator Capacity (IRERC) and manage access until a permanent structure in a new Operating Division is in place.

After the announcement of the interim IM, there will be consultations with the Department of Public Enterprises, the Department of Transport, IRERC and other stakeholders on the following:

• Draft Network Statement
• Draft Access Agreement
• Proposed Tariff Methodology

On 1 April 2024, the interim IM will publish the Final Draft Network Statement, conditions of access, and the access tariff; and TOCs applications for slots will commence. If a requested slot is available (not run by TFROC), that slot can be provided by May 2024 for trains to run, provided all the necessary conditions and approvals are met. source: Transnet

Enquiries on the Interim Infrastructure Manager can be made to

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IMO and the Djibouti Code of Conduct: A strategic approach

Djibouti Code of Conduct on Maritime Security

Edited by Paul Ridgway

States around the western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden have agreed to develop a common regional maritime security strategy. The aim is to achieve increased prosperity through the adoption of a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary approach to maritime security, governance and law enforcement.

The Signatory States to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) and its Jeddah Amendment concerning the security of the western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden met at the Sixth High-level Regional Meeting on the implementation of the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct in Cape Town, from 24 to 26 October.

Seventy-seven delegates attended from fourteen DCoC Signatory States and there were seventeen observers, including the European Union, Denmark, India, Indian Ocean Commission, US and the UK.

The meeting adopted three resolutions:

Resolution 1
Operationalization of the DCoC/JA Information Sharing Network

The meeting adopted the mission and vision of national maritime information sharing centres (NMISCs), with DCoC Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to facilitate coordinated, timely, and effective information flow among the Participants, to promote communication, coordination and cooperation, both civilian and military.

Resolution 2
Development of a DCoC Signatory States’ Maritime Security Strategy

Besides establishing National Maritime Security Committees (NMSC) and National Maritime Information Sharing Centres (NMISC) in each member State through the IMO Maritime Security Governance project, participants committed to develop a Regional Maritime Security Strategy, to steer implementation of the DCoC/JA and coordinate activities of competent agencies through inter-agency cooperation.

Resolution 3
Establishment of thematic sub-working groups for WG 2 on capacity building coordination

The establishment of sub-working groups responsible for coordinating various thematic areas encompassed in Article 2 of the Code of Conduct was approved. This expansion aims to integrate existing mechanisms, avoiding redundant efforts.

The sub-working groups will cover:

1. IUU (Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing), chaired by Tanzania

2. Port and ship security and protection of coastal installations, chaired by Ethiopia

3. New and emerging threats to maritime security, chaired by Oman (chair to be confirmed)

4. Trafficking in arms, narcotics and psychotropic substances, chaired by Madagascar

5. Illegal trade in wildlife and other items in contravention with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), chaired by Kenya

6. Threats to maritime environment, chaired by Mauritius

7. Human trafficking and smuggling, chaired by Maldives

The text of the communiqué is here.

Ms Heike Deggim, Director, Maritime Safety Division, addressed the meeting on behalf of the IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

She commented: “Despite the reduction in piracy and armed robbery incidents against ships in the region since 2012, vices such as illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing (IUU), human trafficking and smuggling, marine pollution, wildlife trafficking, and crude oil theft remain prevalent. Additionally, new and emerging threats, such as cyber-attacks against ships and maritime business, as well as innovative methods targeting vital coastal installations using drones and mines, are evolving issues that demand our consistent attention and collaborative efforts.”

Funds needed

Ms. Heike Deggim then used her address to call for more financial support following a drop-off in contributions to the DCoC multi-donor Trust Fund: “The International Maritime Organization will continue to support the DCoCJA, and I fervently call upon the Friends of the DCoC and IMO Member States in this meeting to provide financial and technical support to Member States in the implementation of the Code of Conduct.”

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EU what? A simple guide to the EU ETS

shipping emissions.  Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Africa Ports & Ships

EU ETS, its impacts, and what action you can take to manage risk and reduce costs

Jacob Clausen, Performance Director, NAVTOR, simplifies the complexities of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with a high-level look at the regulatory horizon, allied to a clear lowdown on how shipowners and operators can mitigate risks, manage costs and comply, comply, comply.

The EU ETS for shipping landed with a colossal splash on 16 May this year, when it was officially adopted and finalised. But it won’t be until 1 January 2024 that the industry feels the true ripple effects.

So, is it time for owners and operators to batten down the hatches, or will adequate foresight and planning ensure these ripples don’t turn into tsunamis?

What is it?

Firstly, it’s important to recognise that the EU ETS isn’t ‘new’.

The measure, which is seen as a key enabler in the body’s drive to become carbon neutral by 2050 (with a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030), was introduced in 2005 and already covers thousands of installations, such as power stations and chemical plants, in addition to airlines. In this sense it’s tried and tested.

Essentially it works as a market-driven system that creates financial incentives for businesses, in this case shipping, to reduce emissions and transition to more sustainable practices. It does so by requiring a ‘shipping company’ – which can be the owner, manager or bareboat charterer – to buy Emission Allowances, with each allowance covering one ton of CO2e emitted from 2024. In 2026 the scheme will be expanded to include CH4 (methane) and N2O (nitrous oxide) emissions.

As such it introduces the concept of carbon pricing for maritime operations to and from EU ports – obliging companies to pay for their emissions, and thus encouraging them to reduce carbon footprints.

How does it work?

The ETS is based on a cap-and-trade principle, limiting the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the system, ensuring companies can’t just ‘buy themselves out of trouble’ by paying for ever-increasing pollution. Over time the cap will be reduced, with the cost of allowances rising.

The ‘trade’ element refers to the fact that allowances can be bought via official auctions or through spot, futures and options, with trading on exchanges such as ICE, EEX and Nasdaq. In this respect, companies have an opportunity to optimise their costs by buying (and potentially selling) at opportune times.

The need for allowances is worked out according to EU MRV reporting, presented to the EU by March (the following year) with the correct number of allowances then required to be submitted by the end of September. Be warned: A failure to do so will incur heavy financial penalties.

In a bid to ease the implementation of what many see as a “watershed” regulation (others may use less charitable language), the EU will only require allowances for 40% of verified emissions in 2024, rising to 70% in 2025, and 100% in 2026.

What can you do?

Firstly, get solid foundations in place.

An advanced fleet and vessel monitoring and management solution will allow you to ‘know your ships’ inside-out, automating the collection of critical data and giving you (literally) priceless insights into real-time operations.

This will allow you to constantly monitor, trouble-shoot and optimise performance, empowering decision making that delivers both environmental and business benefits. On single ships this can potentially slash the need for allowances, while across fleets it could be transformational.

Such systems should also cover your reporting needs. This delivers efficiencies in terms of automating tasks, and reducing human error, while ensuring that the data delivers an accurate picture of performance to regulators. With this in mind, validation is key.

Here at NAVTOR we’d recommend a dual validation process, with your specialist software of choice backed up by human validation from subject matter experts.

It pays to be thorough when any deviations from compliance come at such a cost.

How can you minimise risk and financial exposure?

When you have optimal foundations in place you can look at building the best strategy for your business.

Establishing an overview of your forecasted allowances for the year ahead will allow you to understand your potential exposure, from which – perhaps in consultation with experts – you can define a sourcing strategy that allows you to optimise costs (buying and selling at the right time, across the right channels).

Alternative fuels are also a key consideration, with the cost of allowances potentially making biofuels, which on the face of it are more expensive, much better value for money (due to lower carbon factors).

And remember, your monitoring and management solution will allow you to regularly update your emissions profile, potentially helping you reduce your need for allowances.

Finally, it makes sound financial sense for owners to maximise the time their vessels spend under time charter, allowing them to pass the cost of allowances on to the charterer.

On that note…

How can owners redeem allowance costs from charterers?

It’s not vessel ownership that matters when it comes to paying for allowances, but rather which party provides and pays for fuel.

Owners therefore need to ensure they deliver reliable, validated vessel emissions data to charterers in a timely manner (BIMCO proposes a clause whereby owners provide this within the first seven days of each month, covering the previous month’s allowance requirement).

But, to do that, we come back to the need to have a robust, reliable, real-time monitoring and management system.

This will create true transparency, and therefore trust, with regards to ongoing emissions data, monitoring progress (issuing statements under voyages and time charters) and ensuring allowances are transferred in accordance with requirements.

There should be no room for argument with a system that, although complex at first glance, is based on pure, hard data.

That is, of course, as long as you have high quality data in the first place!

Smooth sailing into 2024, and beyond

Although the introduction of regulations that potentially incur significant costs may not be universally applauded by the industry, it really does pay to see the bigger picture here.

The most important factor, naturally, is that we need to take action to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change. In this respect, any tool that incentivises businesses to do so is a step in the right direction.

However, we shouldn’t lose sight of the commercial opportunity here too.

With careful monitoring, management and informed decision-making compliance can come with a benefit rather than at a cost – paving the way for reduced fuel expenditure, more efficient energy use, and a strong business, rather than purely environmental, case to transition to more sustainable practices.

Time will tell how effective the EU ETS proves to be. But with the right, informed strategy in place, it needn’t be something to be feared, but rather welcomed… by shipping industry stakeholders, as well as the rest of society.


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TP Nchocho appointed as the new TNPA board chairperson


Tshokolo Nchocho, new chairperson of the TNPA board

Africa Ports & Ships

The Industrial Development Corporation’s outgoing CEO, Tshokolo Nchocho, has been appointed as chairperson of the board of directors of the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

Nchocho’s appointment to the board was announced by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and the chairperson of the Transnet Board, Andile Sangqu.

“This latest appointment serves as further affirmation of our commitment to enhance TNPA’s strategic position by equipping it with a depth of skills, knowledge and experience that will support our efforts to improve our ports and boost their contribution to the economy,” Gordhan said.

Nchocho will join seven other executive and non-executive directors on the board.


The other directors are: Mr Khomotso Phihlela, Mr Velile Dube, Ms Sue Lund, Ms Valda Grossmann, Mr Clarence Benjamin, Mr Pepi Silinga, Mr Lionel Billings.

“We look forward to Mr Nchocho’s contribution as we work to turnaround Transnet into a formidable catalyst for driving the country’s economic development and competitiveness. His experience adds a further positive dimension to the leadership base that is already on the TNPA Board,” Sangqu said.

According to the department, Nchocho brings a wealth of experience to the board.

“He has over 20 years’ experience in the economic development finance and banking arena. Prior to joining the IDC, he was CEO of the Land and Agricultural Development Bank.

“He holds a Master of Business Leadership (MBL) from UNISA School of Business, a MSc Finance (University of London-UK), as well as an Advanced Management Program (AMP) from Harvard University,” the department said.

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US boots four African nations from AGOA


Africa Ports & Ships

US President Biden has struck four African nations from the list of those that benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The four countries are the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda.

Their removal will take effect as from 1 January 2024.

Agoa provides eligible sub-Saharan African countries with duty-free access to the US market for more than 1,800 products. In addition, over 5,000 products remain eligible for duty-free access under the Generalised System of Preferences programme.

Since its introduction in 2000, Agoa has been at the centre of US economic policy and commercial engagement with Africa.

The Act grants duty-free exports from qualifying countries to the US market and is set to expire in September 2025, unless renewed for an extended term.

President Joe Biden said in a letter to the speaker of the US House of Representatives that he was taking the step due to what he called gross violations of internationally recognised human rights by the Central African Republic and by Uganda.

Biden referred to the failure of Gabon and Niger to establish or make progress towards the protection of politicalism and the rule of law.

“Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda, these countries have failed to address United States concerns about their non-compliance with the AGOA eligibility criteria.”

“The government of the Central African Republic has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognised human rights and has not established, or is not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of internationally recognised worker rights, the rule of law, and political pluralism,” President Biden said.

“Niger and the government of Gabon have not established, or are not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of political pluralism and the rule of law. Finally, the government of Uganda has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognised human rights.”

Both Gabon and Niger recently overthrew the recognised legitimate governments in military coup d’etats. Uganda in 2023 introduced anti-gay laws including the death penalty for people engaging in certain same-sex acts.

“Accordingly, I intend to terminate the designation of these countries as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the AGOA, effective January 1, 2024,” President Biden said, adding that he will continue to assess whether the four countries meet the AGOA eligibility requirements.

From Thursday to Saturday this week (2-4 November) South Africa will host the 20th US–sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (AGOA Forum) in Johannesburg.

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WHARF TALK:  Neo-Panamax container vessel – LUANDA EXPRESS

The Neo-Panamax container vessel Luanda Express arriving in Cape Town harbour on 24 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Picture by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

It is not an unknown fact, as often reported in this publication, that delays in berthing for the many container vessels arriving at South Africa ports is getting worse. This is especially so for Durban, but more so for Cape Town, which is having seriously negative consequences for the major container alliances trying to maintain a schedule for exporters and importers to work by.

One look at any AIS site will show numerous container vessels sitting off both ports, either in the anchorage, or drifting off port limits, and awaiting a berth. Now there’s a meme making the rounds with a picture of Abraham Lincoln and his supposed quote, “you should never believe everything that you read on the internet.” But in one recent instance, AIS indicated that one container vessel waited for almost a fortnight for a berth. This is the kind of delay that would destroy a published schedule, if true.

As far back as 11th October, at 16h00 in the afternoon, the Neo-Panamax container vessel LUANDA EXPRESS (IMO 9330070) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage, from Singapore, and went initially to anchor, and then appeared to move out of the anchorage, to spend some time drifting off port limits, which is a regular occurrence with container vessels arriving off Cape Town. If AIS is to be believed, ‘Luanda Express’ remained outside Cape Town harbour for an astonishing period of thirteen days whilst awaiting for her berth to become available.

Luanda Express. Cape Town 24 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 24th October, at 15h00 in the afternoon, she finally entered Cape Town harbour, and entered the Ben Schoeman Dock, to go alongside berth 604 at the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) to begin her discharge of import containers from the Far East.

Built in 2007 by Daewoo Shipbuilding at Geoje in South Korea, ‘Luanda Express’ is 333 metres in length and has an impressively big deadweight of 108,447 tons. She is powered by a single Doosan MAN-B&W 12K98MC-C twelve cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 79,186 bhp (68,520 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 25 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes four generators providing 3,200 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 550 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg CHR exhaust gas boiler, and a single Alfa Laval Aalborg CHO oil fired boiler. For added manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster providing 3,000 kW.

Luanda Express. Cape Town 24 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’ Note the Safmarine container

One of two sisterships, ‘Luanda Express’ has a container carrying capacity of 8,401 TEU, with a provision of 700 reefer plugs. She is owned by Oltmann D Reederei GmbH of Stade in Germany, operated by Hapag-Lloyd AG of Hamburg, and is managed by Anglo-Eastern Germany GmbH, also of Hamburg.

She carries the traditional Hapag-Lloyd name suffix of ‘Express’ as used by all of the current Hapag-Lloyd container vessels, and the appropriate city name of ‘Luanda’ for the service she is running on. When purchased by her new owner in early 2022, ‘Luanda Express’ was secured by Hapag-Lloyd to a five year (60 month) charter, for worldwide trading, at a daily charter rate of US$64,000 (ZAR1.2 million).

She operates on the Hapag-Lloyd Asia West Africa service (AWA), with a scheduled port rotation of Qingdao- Shanghai- Ningbo- Nansha (all China)- Tanjung Pelepas (Malaysia)- Singapore- Cape Town- Walvis Bay (Namibia)- Pointe Noire (Congo)- Luanda (Angola)- Cape Town- Singapore- Qingdao. It is one of the few container services to South Africa that only calls in at Cape Town, and no other South African port.

Luanda Express. Cape Town 24 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Whilst Hapag-Lloyd market this service as its AWA service, the partners on the service, who also provide their own vessels alongside Hapag-Lloyd, give different names to the same service. CMA CGN also refer to it as the Asia West Africa service , but give it the acronym ASAFGR, whereas Maersk refer to it as the Far East West Africa service (FEW6), and OOCL refer to it as the West Africa Service (WAF4).

The schedule is a better than weekly service, with a total of thirteen container vessels assigned to it. Hapag-Lloyd have 2 vessels, Maersk provide 3 vessels, COSCO provide 2 vessels, CMA CGN and Norddeutsche Reederei provide 1 each, and APL provide a total of 4 vessels to the service.

Luanda Express. Cape Town 24 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After a period of just under two days alongside in Cape Town, ‘Luanda Express’ was ready to continue on her westbound element of the AWA service. At 15h00 in the afternoon, of 26th October, she sailed from Cape Town bound for Walvis Bay, where she arrived at 03h00 on 28th October. After a quick 18 hour turnaround, she was ready to sail, and at 22h00 the same evening she departed from Walvis Bay, bound for Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo, where she is due to arrive at 10h00 in the morning of 31st October.

From a Cape Town perspective, her discharge and loading time of less than two days at the Cape Town Container Terminal is quite impressive. It was not always so for ‘Luanda Express’. Her previous turnaround in Cape Town took just under 5 days, and in 2022 there were no less than three voyages where Cape Town was omitted completely from the schedule of ‘Luanda Express’, due to berthing delays at the port, and one voyage where only import discharges were planned, and no loading, in order to minimize an already unsatisfactory delay at the port.

Compare this to her current voyage where her terminus port of Qingdao completed the turnaround of a full discharge, and then loading, of ‘Luanda Express’ in just 25 hours, Ningbo completed her turnaround in 15 hours, Tanjung Pelepas completed the turnaround also in 15 hours, and Singapore improved that by completing the turnaround in just 14 hours.

Luanda Express. Cape Town 24 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Shortly after her purchase by her current owners, and before she was transferred across to operate the current Hapag-Lloyd AWA service, ‘Luanda Express’ received a Port State Inspection at Melbourne in Australia. The inspection was under the auspices of both the Indian Ocean MoU, and the Tokyo MoU.

The outcome of the inspection was that a total of 5 deficiencies were recorded, with one of them considered serious enough to result in a detention of two days. The category for detention was given as ‘Labour Conditions’, and related to crew fitness to fulfill their duties aboard the vessel based on work and rest hours.

If her turnaround in Pointe Noire, and then Luanda, go according to her schedule, ‘Luanda Express’ is due back in Cape Town on 12th November, already a two day change from previously, where 10th November was given as her arrival date. From there she will continue on her AWA Eastbound voyage to the Far East, returning once more to Cape Town in January 2024.

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EU support for making Walvis Bay into regional industrial & logistics hub

Port of Walvis Bay.  Picture: Namport

Africa Ports & Ships

The Port Authority of Namibia, Namport, has always seen itself as a regional hub, in particular with regards regional landlocked countries that have a choice of which port to use for their exports and imports.

While that ambition remains strong and resolute, it cannot be said that the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, while enjoying some success in this area, have yet reached the point where either port is automatically considered a serious contender as the port of choice for nations such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, or Botswana.

Now the European Union has entered the frame with the announcement that the EU will support an upcoming study for the development of the Port of Walvis Bay into an industrial and logistics hub for the region, contributing to its integration and economic development.

According to the EU, the Port of Walvis Bay port is the entry point from the Atlantic side to the Walvis Bay – Maputo Corridor, one of the eleven Strategic Corridors the EU envisages to support as part of the EU-Africa Global Gateway Investment Package.

Natural Gateway

It calls Walvis Bay’s location as a natural gateway for international trade to the Southern African Development Community, a region with over 300 million inhabitants.

With EU support, the Port of Antwerp and Bruges International will now develop a masterplan that covers multimodal infrastructure, spatial planning and market organisation for the Port of Walvis Bay.

This will enable Walvis Bay to carry out this transformation and become a regional logistics and industrial hub for the green hydrogen and derivatives economy.

The European Commission says the EU will also support the Namibian Ports Authority in achieving operational excellence.

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In Conversation: Niger delta is rich in resources, but environmental destruction is pushing people into poverty

Picture: TNPA

Otekenari David Elisha, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education

Nigeria’s Niger Delta region is rich in natural resources. Its vast oil and gas deposits are the mainstay of the country’s economy.

The region, in the southernmost part of the country, features coastal barrier islands, mangroves, freshwater swamp forests and lowland rain forests. The coast offers various ways of making a living, like fishing, tourism, producing salt, and farming coconut and bananas.

Yet it is estimated that over 47% of the population in the region lives below the poverty line.

We study the economic aspects of environmental issues, and in a recent paper set out to understand the relationship between the destruction of coastal ecosystems in this region and the economic hardship the people faced.

We found that marine ecosystems had been badly affected by a number of factors, including an increasing population, pollution, over-fishing, damaging fishing techniques and global warming.

The degradation of the environment affects the poor the most as they depend on natural resources like seafood and wood for survival and energy. And they do not earn enough to relocate from polluted areas.

The destruction of an ecosystem

We identified a few areas where the Niger Delta ecosystem had been badly affected. The environmental problems in communities like Bille, Andoni, Okirika, Emohua and Ibaa in Rivers State are caused by oil spills, gas flaring, human activities and water pollution, among others.

Between 1976 and 2006, there were at least 7,000 oil spills in the region, affecting an area of more than 2,500 square kilometres. These oil spills have polluted the soil, water and air, and they have had a devastating impact on the people who live in the region. The destruction of the ecosystem has led to environmental problems like flooding and soil erosion, which destroys homes and crops, leading to further poverty. The lack of a healthy ecosystem has led to health problems for the people living in the region.

Gas flaring is the process of burning off excess natural gas that is produced during oil drilling. More than 2.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas are flared every day in the Niger Delta. This process emits greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the atmosphere, and it also wastes a valuable resource that could be used to generate electricity or heat homes.

Mangroves are being lost because of water pollution. Mangrove forests are an important source of food and income for local communities, and their loss has led to a decline in fish stocks and other marine resources. This has damaged the livelihoods of fishers and increased the price of fish in local markets.

The environmental consequences of the destruction of mangroves include erosion and increased vulnerability to storms and flooding.

Natural resources such as nutrient-rich soil, water, trees and fossil fuels abound in marine ecosystems. Excessive exploitation of these resources through mining, logging and oil drilling has had a negative impact.

Animals in an ecosystem keep the food chain in balance. Due to overfishing and hunting, many animals are disappearing from the Niger Delta. Manatees, sea turtles, dolphins, monkeys, antelope and others are under threat.

The destruction of the ecosystem in the Niger Delta has led to a cycle of poverty:

  • depletion of resources means people can’t make a living
  • environmental problems like flooding and soil erosion destroy homes and crops
  • human health depends on a healthy ecosystem.

There is evidence that destruction of the ecosystem has led to poverty in the Niger Delta region. Increasing soil sterility and diminishing agricultural output have forced farmers to move or seek illicit sources of living. The degradation of traditional fishing grounds has worsened hunger and poverty in fishing communities.

Protecting and restoring ecosystems

The impact of environmental degradation will only worsen if nothing is done to protect and restore degraded ecosystems.

In our paper we made the following suggestions.

  • Regulate human activities: Fishing and hunting in the region should be controlled to prevent the depletion of fish and wildlife. Industrial activities, such as oil drilling and shipping, should also be regulated to prevent further pollution of the air, water and soil.
  • Restore degraded ecosystems: Mangrove forests can be replanted in areas where they have been destroyed. Another example is restoring wildlife populations through captive breeding programmes and releasing animals back into their natural habitats.
  • Build the capacity of local communities to manage their natural resources: This is essential for the long-term protection of the region. One example is providing training to community members on sustainable fishing and hunting practices. Another example is giving local communities a say in how their natural resources are managed.
  • Establish marine protected areas: This would help to conserve marine life and ensure that coastal communities can continue to benefit from the resources they depend on. One example is the Calabar-Oron Marine Protected Area in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states. It is home to a variety of marine life, including dolphins, turtles and whales. The area is used for sustainable fishing, ecotourism and research.

We also recommend steps to address the root causes of poverty and inequality.

  • Provide access to quality education and healthcare: Education can help to create greater awareness about environmental issues, and lead to economic opportunities. Availability of these social services could reduce the appeal of rebel groups that promise economic and social benefits.
  • Address marginalisation: Groups like women and ethnic minorities can be given equal access to resources and opportunities through inclusive decision-making at the local, state and national levels. Development programmes should target their specific needs.

Finally, renewed efforts should be made to address conflict and insecurity in the Niger Delta by strengthening governance and the rule of law. Improved governance can lead to stronger enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, which can protect ecosystems from further degradation. In addition, it can protect land rights and create a more stable environment that offers economic opportunities.The Conversation

Otekenari David Elisha, Environmental Economist, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education

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

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DNV issues safe guidelines for industrial AI


Africa Ports & Ships

Risk management and assurance company DNV has published a suite of recommended practices (RPs) that will enable companies operating critical devices, assets, and infrastructure to safely apply artificial intelligence (AI).

High-quality AI systems require strong building blocks, that is, data, sensors, algorithms, and digital twins.

The nine new or updated RPs cover each of these digital building blocks. With its strong sector knowledge of the maritime, energy, and healthcare sector, among others, DNV is able to understand not just how AI works, but how it interacts with other systems in complex infrastructure and assets.

The advent of AI requires a new approach to risk. Whereas conventional mechanical or electric systems degrade over years, AI-enabled systems change within milliseconds.

Consequently, a conventional certificate provided by DNV, which normally has a three- to five-year validity, could be invalidated with each collected data point.

Remi Eriksen, DNV president & CEO

This necessitates a different assurance methodology and a thorough understanding of the intricate interplay between system and AI, allowing for a proper assessment of failure modes as well as potential for real-world performance enhancement.

“Many of our customers are investing significant amounts in AI and AI readiness, but often struggle to demonstrate trustworthiness of the emerging solutions to key stakeholders,” says Remi Eriksen, DNV Group President and CEO.

“This is the trust gap that DNV seeks to close with the launch of these recommended practices and which we are publishing ahead of the imminent European Union Artificial Intelligence Act.”

World’s first AI law

The European Union Artificial Intelligence Act will be the world’s first AI law. The law defines AI very broadly, covering essentially any data-driven system that is deployed in the EU, irrespective of where it is developed or sources its data. These recommended practices can be used as a basis for companies to ensure they meet relevant requirements.

The RPs bridge the gap between the generically written law and affected stakeholders, providing a practical interpretation of the EU AI Act. They do so through a claims-and-evidence-based approach addressing four key challenges:

* They take a systems approach to capture emergent properties and behaviours arising from how AI components interact with other components, humans, and the environment.
* To account for the dynamic nature of AI-enabled systems and their environments, the assurance happens continuously or at least with the same frequency as the system changes.
* The assurance process includes the mapping of stakeholders and their wide-ranging concerns, to identify competing interests and facilitate compromises.
* To promote collaboration between actors responsible for different parts, the RPs use modular assurance claims allowing each actor to assure their own parts, thus enabling assurance of an entire system based on the assurance modules and their interdependencies.

“I believe DNV, with our long tradition of helping our customers to assure the quality, safety, and reliability of complex systems and value chains, is uniquely positioned to add value to customers on their AI journeys,” added Eriksen.

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Dearsan launches first offshore patrol vessel for Nigeria

P203, the first new offshore patrol vessel for Nigeria built by Dearsan in Turkey.  Picture Dearsan

by Guy Martin

Dearsan Shipyard has launched the first of two 76-metre-long offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Nigerian Navy during a ceremony in Turkey.

The launching ceremony, held on Thursday 26 October at the Dearsan Shipyard in Tuzla, was attended by Nigeria’s Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, Dearsan CEO Murat Gordi, Vice President of the Turkish Defence Industry Agency, Gokhan Ucar, and Istanbul Shipyard Commander Rear Admiral Recep Erdinc Yetkin, amongst others.

The first patrol vessel (P203) had its keel laid on 16 September 2022 after the contract for the two vessels was announced in November 2021. At the time, the Nigerian Navy said Dearsan was selected based on its track record and cost-effective pricing and the acquisition is part of the Nigerian Navy’s fleet renewal effort in line with its 2021-2030 Strategic Plan.

The new vessels will be used for maritime interdiction operations, surveillance and special forces operations as well as providing naval fire support to land forces. The OPVs will also be capable of conducting search and rescue operations, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and anti-drug trafficking operations and disaster relief operations among others.

Each vessel is 76.90 metres long with a beam of 11.90 metres and a displacement of 1,100 tons. They will each be armed with a single 40 mm Leonardo Oto Marlin gun, a single 30 mm Aselsan Muhafiz remotely operated weapons system (ROWS), two 12.7 mm Aselsan Stamp ROWSs, and two manually controlled 12.7 mm machine guns.

Combat equipment will include an Aselsan MAR-D naval search radar and Aselsan DenizGozu-AHTAPOT (Sea Eye-Octopus) electro-optical/infrared system. Havelsan will supply its Advent combat management system and its GVDS ship data distribution system while Yaltes will supply operator consoles.

Four MAN 18VP185 diesel engines in a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) configuration will give a maximum speed of 28 knots and a range of 2,500 nautical miles/16 days. Crew complement is 47. A flight deck can accommodate a helicopter, but there is no hangar. Two RHIBS will be carried for interdiction and other tasks.

After securing the offshore patrol vessel contract, Dearsan Shipyard in June this year signed an agreement with the Nigerian Navy for the mid-life upgrade of its flagship, the NNS Aradu, and the supply of a 57 metre long Tuzla-class patrol vessel.

The refurbishment and project for the NNS Aradu, originally built by German shipyard Blohm & Voss in 1982 and commissioned in 1985, will be conducted at Dearsan Shipyard’s facility in Tuzla. The NNS Aradu is a Meko 360 class vessel with a length of 125 metres and displacement of 3,500 tons.

Sources indicate that the Tuzla class vessel was initially intended for Libya; however, due to unforeseen complications, the delivery could not be completed. Once the delivery is completed, the Nigerian Navy will become the fourth to operate Tuzla-class vessels, following the Turkish Naval Forces, Turkmenistan Navy, and Turkmenistan Coast Guard Command.

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

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The two Ghanaian harbour tugs for the port at Takoradi, Nestor Percy Galley (front) and Gp Capt AA Awuviri, in Cape Town harbour 20 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

For the tug enthusiast, and for the casual maritime observer, having a Damen Shipyard located in Cape Town means that every Damen built harbour tug, irrespective of in which Damen shipyard it was constructed, and located east of the Cape of Good Hope, will make a call into Cape Town when the tug, and often the tugs (plural), are making their ferry voyages to their new home west of the Cape of Good Hope.

On 20th October, at 05h00 in the morning, a pair of brand new Damen built harbour tugs, ‘Nestor Percy Galley’ (IMO 9963906), and ‘Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri’ (IMO 9963889) arrived off Cape Town, from Port Victoria in the Seychelles, and entered Cape Town harbour. They both proceeded into the Ben Schoeman Dock, and went to the far eastern end of the dock, and into the Elliot Basin.

Nestor Percy Galley and Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri. Cape Town 21 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As the casual maritime observer knows, the Elliot Basing is where the Damen Shipyard in Cape Town (DSCT) have a working berth for all Damen built vessels that transit through Cape Town, or are receiving refits and upgrades, prior to delivery. Damen built vessels that are bound to, or recently arrived from, West African locations are the most common visitors at DSCT, and the two most recent arrivals were also bound for that part of the world.

Both built this year, 2023, at the Damen Song Cam shipyard at Haiphong in Vietnam, ‘Nestor Percy Galley’ and ‘Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri’ are of the standard Damen ASD 2813 harbour tug design. With a gross registered tonnage of 388 tons, they are both 28 metres in length, with a beam of 13 metres, hence the 2813 designation in their design ID, and they operate on a draft of 6 metres.

Both harbour tugs are powered by two Caterpillar 3516C TA HD/D sixteen cylinder, four stroke, main engines producing 3,386 bhp (2,525 kW) each, and giving a power output of 6,772 bhp (5,050 kW), and driving two, stern mounted, Kongsberg Marine US255 P30/P35 fixed pitch azimuth thrusters, hence the ASD designation in their design ID, and capable of giving them a free seaspeed of 15 knots. Exhaust emissions are IMO Tier III compliant.

Nestor Percy Galley and Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri. Cape Town 21 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The auxiliary machinery of both ‘Nestor Percy Galley’, and ‘Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri’ includes two Caterpillar 4.4 TA generators providing 86 kW each. They both have a firefighting classification of FiFi1, being equipped with two fire monitors capable of pumping water at a rate of 1,200 m3/hour. For their ship handling, and towage requirements, both tugs boast forward bollard pulls of 83 tons, and astern bollard pulls of 78 tons.

With accommodation for a crew of up to 10 persons, both tugs are carrying their port of registration as Kingstown, and flying under the flag of St.Vincent. This is the standard Damen method of registering their newbuilds for their initial positioning voyage to their new owners.

Nestor Percy Galley. Cape Town 21 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

It is clear from the funnel badge on each tug, that both ‘Nestor Percy Galley’ and ‘Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri’ are en route to their new owners of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), of Tema in Ghana. It is likely that their ports of registry will change to Tema, on arrival at their new home.

The GPHA were established in 1986 as a government statutory corporation, under the National Defence Council Law 160, with a broad brief to build, plan, develop, manage, maintain, operate, and control, all ports in Ghana. Currently, there are only two major ports in Ghana, namely Takoradi, and Tema, with the proposed third port of Keta currently under design.

Nestor Percy Galley Cape Town 21 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Takoradi is located in the west of Ghana, was the first harbour built in what was then known as the British Colony of the Gold Coast. Work on the new harbour began in 1921, and was completed in 1928. The main purpose of the new harbour, was to overcome the beach landings, and surf boat loading, then prevalent in West Africa.

The main purpose of Takoradi was to act as a loading port for the Tarkwa Manganese Ore industry, and to act as a base for the Royal Navy, in West Africa, during time of war. Today, it acts as the main export port for Ghana, handling 65% of all Ghanaian exports. The main export commodities from Takoradi being Manganese Ore, Bauxite Ore, Hardwood Timber, and Cacao Beans. It is also a vital outlet for the landlocked Sahel nations of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.

Tema, located in the east of the country, and linked to the Ghanaian capital city of Accra, was proposed as a harbour by the British Colonial Authorities of the Gold Coast prior to independence, and was completed in 1962, some five years after Ghana became the very first independent African country to lose its status as a colony of any European power in 1957. The major export commodity out of Tema is Cacao Beans.

Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri. Cape Town 21 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Cacao Bean is a native of the Amazon rainforest, but was introduced into the Gold Coast in 1876, from the Spanish Colony of Fernando Po, today better known as the island of Bioko, in Equatorial Guinea. Today, Ghana is the world’s second largest producer of Cacao Beans, with the adjacent West African nation of the Ivory Coast being the largest producer. West Africa as a region produces 81% of the world’s crop of Cacao Beans, with 70% of the world’s Cacao Bean trees being in West Africa.

The soon to be third port of Ghana is Keta, which is still in the design stage, with work on the development to start in the next few years. It is located in the far east of Ghana, and will be established close to the mouth of the River Volta. When built it will be able to handle container traffic, have bulk handling facilities, an oil terminal and tank farm, a Ro-Ro berth, and an offshore base to support the growing oil and gas industry off the coast of Ghana.

Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri. Cape Town 21 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For the nomenclature fans, ‘Nestor Percy Galley’ is named after a former Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority. He was a ports man through and through, and had also served as the General Manager of the Sierra Leone Port Authority, in the Sierra Leone capital city of Freetown.

In 2008 he returned to Ghana to take up the post of Director of the Port of Takoradi, before becoming the Director General of GPHA in 2010. Unusually, he had a very active role in the Ghanaian sports community, and was both the President of the Badminton Association of Ghana, but also the Deputy President of the Badminton Confederation of Africa.

Nestor Percy Galley. Cape Town 21 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her sister tug ‘Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri’ is named after Group Captain Edward A.A. Awuviri, a qualified Air Force Pilot, who was an executive with GPHA, and who had previously served in the Ghana Air Force, and was appointed to the flag rank position of Chief of the Air Staff, of the Ghana Air Force, in 1982.

It is not the first time in the last year or so that new Damen harbour tugs have called into Cape Town en route to their new operating bases. Recent arrivals have included ASD 2813 tugs heading for Lagos in Nigeria, Cotonou in Benin, and Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo.

The route taken for ‘Nestor Percy Galley’ and ‘Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri’ to reach Cape Town together started in early September when they departed from the Song Cam shipyard in Haiphong. They both made a 15 hour bunkers, and stores, stop in Singapore in mid-September, followed by a 20 hour bunkers, and stores, stop in Port Victoria in early October, before their next arrival port of Cape Town.

Nestor Percy Galley and Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri awaiting departure from Damen Song Cam Cape Town 21 October 2023. Picture by Damen

The Damen facility at Cape Town has been designated as a Service Hub and Shipyard Support Centre, known as Damen Services Africa, offering a one-stop shop for all vessel related needs. The Cape Town stop, at the Damen Cape Town facility, allowed both vessels to have the final ‘once-over’ by local Damen engineers and technicians, who would be able to iron out any snags, and issues, that had arisen during the course of the voyage from Vietnam.

After a stop of 54 hours, i.e. just over two days, in Cape Town, both tugs were ready to sail for Ghana. They both departed, one after the other on 22nd October, with ‘Gp.Capt. Edward A.A. Awuviri’ sailing at 11h00, followed one hour later, at midday, by ‘Nestor Percy Galley’, and with both tugs indicating by AIS that their next destination was to be Tema in Ghana.

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Official kick off for Namibia’s cruise season

The cruise ship Vasco da Gama in CMV colours. Picture: CMV

Africa Ports & Ships

Sunday 29 October saw the official launching of Namibia’s 2023/24 summer cruise season, and the unofficial start to Southern Africa’s, in a highly appropriate fashion too, with the arrival of the cruise ship VASCO DA GAMA (IMO 8919245), the former Holland America ship Statendam.

Vasco da Gama was the first European seafarer to sail from the Atlantic around the Cape of Good Hope and on the East Africa before heading to India in 1497. Before him Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape 11 years earlier and sailed along the southern coast as far as Kwaaihoek near the mouth of the Boesmans River before turning back.

The visit by the ship carrying da Gama’s name arrived in Walvis Bay bringing 396 passengers to enjoy the desert port, town and surrounds – a unique experience itself.

The ship is the first of at least ten cruise ship calls at Walvis Bay so far announced for the months of November and December. The others are:

27-Nov 6:00 ZAANDAM
29-Nov 6:00 ZUIDERDAM
10-Dec 6:00 AIDAAURA
24-Dec 8:00 AIDAAURA
30-Dec 12:00 SILVER SPIRIT

Vasco da Gama at the cruise berth in the Port of Walvis Bay on Sunday 29 October 2023. Picture: Namport

Vasco da Gama overnighted at the port and headed later on Monday for the Port of Lüderitz.

Visits by these and other cruise ships are important to the local and wider economies, while bringing in goodwill from thousands of tourists on the ships.

In addition local businesses benefit in no small manner, paving the way for job creation opportunities for locals in sectors such as tour guides, transportation services, the arts and crafts industry, and not least, the game and nature reserves.

The only drawback is that cruise ship visits are confined to the southern summer months.

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EU and US sign MoU to develop Lobito Corridor and new Zambia-Lobito rail line

Africa Ports & Ships

On Thursday (26 October) the African Development Bank and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) joined with the United States and the European Union in support of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia to develop the Lobito Corridor and the new Zambia-Lobito rail line.

This involved them signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), on the margins of the Global Gateway Forum in Brussels, Belgium, reports the US Department of State.

The MoU outlines the intentions of the signatories to collaborate across multiple sectors to realize the full economic potential of the Corridor.

This will build on the Lobito Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency agreement signed by the three African governments in January and anchored by historic, envisioned investment in developing the Zambia-Lobito greenfield rail line.

The new rail line, connecting northwest Zambia to the Lobito Atlantic Railway and the port of Lobito, represents the most significant transport infrastructure that the United States has helped develop on the African continent in a generation.

The new railway will enhance regional trade and growth as well as advance the shared vision of connected, open-access rail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean.

Cape Gauge Railway Connections

The Cape gauge railway connects with the Zambia-Tanzania TAZAR railway, as well as the railway south through Zimbabwe and Botswana to South Africa.

For Zambia to benefit from using the port of Lobito currently, it has to send its exports of predominantly copper and other ores via the DRC before joining the Lobito Corridor line at the Angolan border near Luau.

“Demonstrating the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) in action and leveraging both Western and African capital, this strategic transport infrastructure unlocks regional trade and enables additional investments in digital connectivity, agriculture value chains, green energy supply chains and rural health center electrification, among other transformative economic imperatives,” said the US Department of State.

Meeting Infrastructure Needs

“As a signature initiative of President Biden, PGI aims to offer a credible alternative to low- and middle-income countries around the world to help meet their infrastructure needs.

“Developing a significant new multi-country transport infrastructure project that follows the highest international standards regarding labour, environment and quality is the centerpiece of PGI’s flagship economic development corridor.

“Following the MoU, AFC will work with the parties to launch the feasibility and preparatory studies necessary to further prepare this extensive infrastructure project — a critical concrete action step aimed to begin before the end of the year.

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Drafting national legislation at IMO

Pictures: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Insufficient training of lawyers and legislative drafters blocks the implementation of national legislation reflecting the provisions of IMO instruments. This is shown by the voluntary and mandatory IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS).

To address the issue, a workshop on how to draft effective national legislation was held at IMO HQ in London from 9 to 13 October.

Principles of drafting national legislation

The objective of this fourth workshop on general principles of drafting national legislation to implement IMO conventions was to demonstrate that IMO conventions are not self-executing treaties but require implementing legislation and associated administrative and judicial measures back home in individual states’ legal systems.

An introduction to IMO

A wide range of subjects was covered, from basic knowledge about the organization we know as IMO to detailed presentations on several IMO treaties. Also explored were principles and techniques in transposing treaty provisions into countries’ domestic legislation, and practical exercises in drafting laws.

Participants gained a better understanding of key IMO conventions; were able to identify provisions of IMO conventions that should be given effect through principal national legislation and technical regulations through subordinate legislation; and learnt the importance of developing a mechanism for appropriate coordination among relevant national authorities.

Implementation of conventions

The training focused on implementation of conventions in countries following the Common Law system which would benefit from the expertise available from the UK’s drafters.

It was designed for qualified lawyers from maritime Administrations, policy makers, legislative advisers and/or drafters from the Attorney General’s Offices, Ministries of Justice and national legislative bodies that are responsible for the implementation of IMO conventions into their countries’ domestic legislation.

States’ support by IMO

IMO is committed to supporting States, particularly developing countries, which do not have adequate maritime legislation in place to implement IMO instruments, and for whom it is a challenge to cope with amendments to conventions which are brought into force through the tacit amendment procedure.

Meeting IMO’s staff

For those who have never attended meetings at IMO, it was a chance to meet staff from the organization’s different divisions and to learn who they could contact for assistance.

African participation

A total of 16 delegates attended the workshop from fourteen countries: Belize; Brunei Darussalam, the Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Kiribati, Nauru, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Republic of Tanzania.

UK input + Government of China funding

The workshop was organised and delivered by the Legal Affairs Office of IMO, with the presence and participation of Officers from the Department for Member State Audit and Implementation Support (MSA&IS); two experienced drafters from the UK recruited by IMO for the workshop; and the Deputy Director, Maritime Team, Department for Transport Legal Advisers of the UK.

Funding was provided by the Government of China and IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP).

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TNPA checking the market for LNG importation at country’s ports

BW Lesmes liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker. Picture: BW Group

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) on Monday published an Expression of Interest (EoI) request to determine the interest of the market for small-to-medium scale Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) importation through the ports of Durban, Cape Town, East London, Saldanha and Mossel Bay.

The EoI seeks to explore areas that include the market size, technologies, and overall operating model for small-to-medium scale LNG. The EoI seeks to benefit the gas market, including potential users that are secluded from current gas infrastructure such as pipelines.

TNPA’s LNG programme is meant to support the gas-to-power industry, industrial users, and the transportation sector.

The EoI market opportunity is in addition to the earmarked large-scale LNG terminals at the ports of Ngqura, Richards Bay, and Saldanha.

The existing large-scale LNG terminals focus on large-scale Floating Storage and Regasification Units as well as Floating Storage Units.

The small-to-medium scale LNG importation market is seen as having the potential of supporting South Africa’s overall energy mix ambitions and positively contribute to lower carbon emissions.

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

and at the Transnet website HERE

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Transnet Board introduces its Turnaround Plan

Maydon Wharf, Port of Durban. Picture by Chris Hoare

by Terry Hutson
Africa Ports & Ships

Much has been said and reported on Transnet having developed, on instruction from the Presidency, a turnaround plan to restore the fortunes and services of the state-owned transport and logistics company.

The plan has been compiled in some haste and has been shown to the ministers of public enterprises and finance, then to business and to labour, and now this past week it was the turn of the media.

Like all corporate plans it is full of detail and some conjecture, with some parts that are very doable and others that will take hard work and even some ingenuity of purpose.

The most critical part is that which states that “Transnet has requested that National Treasury provide an equity injection to support the recovery plan implementation needed to reduce debt and meet required financial ratios for debt capital market participation” …. or in other words, it needs a bail-out.

Without that the plan cannot achieve its objectives, Transnet emphasises in its presentation.

How much ‘equity injection’ is required? R47 billion in cash or as a loan, together with government also taking over R61 billion of Transnet’s debt. The latter is part of Transnet’s total debt of around R130 billion.

The question now is whether government can afford not just the R108 billion it is being asked for but can it afford to refuse?

What else does the plan say. Here are a few of the salient points.

The equity injection are ‘ouch’ numbers but as with the Eskom bailouts there’s much more riding on the outcome. If Transnet continues to underperform because it cannot carry out a dramatic and fast turnaround, the country’s economy is going to continue sliding further ‘down the chute’, possibly to where it cannot recover.

None of this money being asked for is included in this year’s February budget, of course, although there are always in-year allocations and expenditure adjustments made. If provided, some of the money may have to come from other budgetary cuts involving other departments and areas.

We’ll see how government responds.

At the media briefing last Thursday, chairperson of the Transnet Board, Andile Sangqu, warned that if the government did not agree to the funding, Transnet would not be able to deliver on the turnaround plan.

How has this situation come about, you may ask? The decline has been swift, but is most likely the result of a systematic implosion within Transnet, not unlike that of Eskom in certain ways, amplified by the results of state capture and corrupt governance.

At the ports the problem has been brewing over many years, despite warnings from business that Transnet needed to address the rank inefficiency taking place at the port terminals in particular, but also across certain port authority functions.

Recent World Bank rankings are based on a simple formula that tells the story of how the country’s three main container terminals, Durban, Ngqura and Cape Town, continue to rank among the world’s worst in terms of performance, based simply on how long it takes to berth a container ship and complete its cargo working.

The three South African ports are listed among the world’s ten worst out of something like 374 container ports.

And yet this has been shrugged off as just one of those things.

As I write this there are 18 container ships waiting at anchor outside Durban waiting for a berth.  Inside are another six working cargo at DCT 1 and 2. Adverse weather is responsible for some of this but the port has a regular waiting list of boxships outside numbering up to ten or more.

The situation at Cape Town, although on a smaller scale, is much the same, as is the case at Ngqura and Port Elizabeth.

There are of course reasons for these World Bank rankings but here Transnet puts the blame almost solely on the lack of modern or sufficient efficient machinery and infrastructure, ignoring that steps could have been taken years ago to address this so-called shortage matter.

Or should we recall the promise made by the present acting CE of Transnet of “give us 18 months and see the difference” in reference to a visitation by President Ramaphosa to the Durban Container Terminal. That was when a lack of sufficient working container handling equipment was supposedly identified as the reason the president was asked by business to “come and see” for himself what is going on.

No-one dared to tell him, “You know what Mr President, it’s also a matter that things are no exactly efficient.”

That’s the point really. The problems have been there for all to see over many years and little or too little was done in turning things around.

Cape Town Container Terminal, troubled with long delays. Picture: TNPA

No one talks about productivity levels, yet shipping lines and business know this to be the critical factor why our ports are so under performing. Yes, the equipment is important but so also is the maintenance programming to keep the infrastructure and machinery in good working order.

The gross moves per hour at a container terminal is usually considered a good indicator of productivity, though there are a number of other factors also influencing efficiency levels. Nevertheless, it can be argued that all three ports have adequate numbers of ship-to-shore cranes but maybe not enough RTGs and straddle carriers in service, although many of these machines have been purchased over the years. Is it a matter of improper maintenance that they are no longer available?

These are some of the factors going into what could be included in the turnaround plan, with productivity especially at the port terminals high on the list, though it doesn’t appear apparent in the presentation of the plan.

Main emphasis in the plan is on Transnet Freight Rail and rightly so, as this is where Transnet would be able to generate much of its revenue were it able to get things right.

Similarly, this is where it loses so much!

Carrying the Nation’s Goods

The question of what rail’s inability to carry the nation’s goods is costing the mining sector is well known and very scary.  In the fiscal year 2017/18 rail handled 226.3 million tonnes of freight. This has decreased to 149.5mt this last recent year 2022/23. For the current year ending 31 March 2024 TFR is targeting 154.4mt but aiming at perhaps achieving 170mt.

The mines have the product to send to the ports and therefore making these targets achievable, its all a question whether Transnet has the ability to carry it all.

At the ports the containers handled in 2017/18 were 4.664 million TEUs. In 2022/23 the figure was 4.034m TEUs. That’s not entirely a reflection on Transnet but more a result of the country’s state of the economy. Transnet is targeting 4.998m TEUs in 2024/25.

Road transport carries the large majority of these volumes.

If the volume figures looks depressing, it gets worse. Total revenue in 2017/18 was R72.887 billion. In 2022/23 it dropped to R68.877 billion.

Operating expenses on the other hand increased. In 2017/18 they totalled R49.372 billion, by 2022/23 they were R45.99bn.

Class 19E electric locomotives of TFR. Picture by Col Andre Kritzinger

New Divisions

The plan calls for an emphasis on rail, and includes the splitting of TFR into two new divisions, with new acronyms to get used to.

Transnet Freight Rail Operating Company (TFROC) and Transnet Rail Infrastructure Management (TRIM).

TFROC (pronounced Tifrock)

TFROC will be responsible for the running of freight trains with a recovery of volumes, more effective allocation of existing equipment, focus on higher margin traffic and optimisation of rolling stock.


The establishment of the TRIM function is to oversee rail network quality and reliability. This involves clearing of rail network maintenance backlogs (e.g. perway reliability) and improving security deployments and effectiveness on vulnerable corridors.


Working hand in hand with TRIM will be Transnet Engineering (TE) to deliver more effective maintenance. The focus of TE will be on rolling stock which has the greatest impact on delivery of volumes. TE will also ensure maintenance effectiveness.


Transnet says it commits to delivering 154,4 mt of freight by rail, but adds that focused growth measures will improve the forecast for the volume to 170 mt in FY23/24. It provides warning that a 141 mt volume delivery situation will occur if nothing is done.

Therefore,in order to achieve improved volume output, it has to:

Stabilise operations
Developing a degree of confidence back into the organisation
Stronger management alignment and collaboration with labour

As far as Transnet National Ports Authority is concerned, the plan looks for:

Enhanced commercial performance resulting from improved operational efficiencies across:
finance, and
customers management

Turning to Transnet Port Terminals the plan calls for:

* Improvement of operating efficiency to increase volumes by implementing
* continuous improvement, and
* enhanced reliability and availability of key operating equipment effectiveness

There a lot more detail in the Turnaround Plan which, if it is agreed to, will bring about change within the vast organisation that is Transnet.

Whether that will be successful time only will tell. Transnet has been a wonderful world class organisation in the past, with well managed and run ports and railway. There is no reason it cannot again achieve these heights and the next few years will be critical to that success.

But surely the emphasis ought be on productivity and efficiency?

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WHARF TALK: ex-RN now diamond mining vessel YA TOIVO

The diamond mining vessel Ya Toivo in Cape Town on 22 October 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

On the eve of a record breaking Rugby World Cup victory by the South African Springboks, one tends to forget that South Africa are also record breakers in an important aspect of maritime industry, namely that of offshore diamond mining. The great De Beers mining house is the most prominent of the innovators in this technically advanced field, and the one most known to the casual maritime observer. Currently all De Beers vessels are operating in Namibian waters.

Despite De Beers having diamond mining concessions south of the Orange River mouth, in South African waters, they do not tend to use their vessels in those southern areas. Instead, south of this maritime border there is another South African company operating, and one that the casual maritime observer is possibly not too familiar with, namely the Trans Hex Group. The two companies work in close collaboration, and the Trans Hex Group vessels are often to be found working on the large De Beers concession between Alexander Bay and Kleinsee.

Ya Toivo. Cape Town, 22 October 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

There are currently two diamond mining vessels that operate in the offshore concessions in South African waters, with both operating for the Trans Hex Group who also operate a number of concessions of their own, south of the Orange River. One of these vessels is unique in more ways than one, both in terms of her propulsion system, and her background history. What very few folk will be aware of is that she was previously a highly specialised unit of the Royal Navy.

On 22nd October, at 09h00 in the morning, the diamond mining vessel YA TOIVO (IMO 7907697) arrived off Cape Town, from the offshore diamond mining areas of the northern Namaqualand coast. She entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded into the Duncan Dock, and as expected of a Diamond Mining vessel, she proceeded to L berth, which is the working support berth for the fleet of De Beers Marine, and utilised for periods of maintenance and engineering support.

Ya Toivo. Cape Town, 22 October 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

Built in 1984, hence her low IMO number, ‘Ya Toivo’ was built by the Scott Lithgow shipyard, at Greenock, on the River Clyde in Scotland. She is 150 metres in length and has a deadweight of 2,124 tons. She is a diesel electric vessel, and has power provided by five Ruston 16RKCZ sixteen cylinder, four stroke, generators providing 3,520 bhp (2,626 kW) each, plus two Ruston 16 RKCX auxiliary generators providing 985 kW each.

With over 14,000 kW of power available, her generators are linked to two Laurence Scott motors, providing 2,500 kW each which, unusually for an ocean going vessel, drive two Voith Schneider propulsion units, giving ‘Ya Toivo’ a transit speed of up to 15 knots, if required. For added manoeuvrability she has three bow transverses thrusters providing 1,500 kW each.

Ya Toivo. Cape Town, 22 October 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

With her Voith Schneider propulsion, and bow thruster configuration, and together with her four point anchoring system, ‘Ya Toivo’ has a dynamic positioning classification of DP2. This accurate position keeping requirement is due to the fact that her modus operandi for diamond mining is via a bespoke, company designed, tracked seabed crawler.

The crawler is 280 tons in weight, and is deployed over the stern of ‘Ya Toivo’ by way of a large 450 ton capable ‘A’ Frame. The crawler is able to operate down to a depth of 150 metres, with her drive power of 500 kW being delivered via umbilicals from ‘Ya Toivo’. The crawler is able to cover an area of 1000 m2/hour, pumping 1,600 tons of bottom sand and gravel.

Ya Toivo. Cape Town, 22 October 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

Her dredge pump is driven by a 2,500 kW motor, which also powers a 500 kW water jet system, which operates with a pressure of 10 bar. The crawler is robust enough to be capable of continuous seabed operations, covering 24 hours per day, for up to 10 days. The sand and gravel from the dredge pump is pumped back up to the vessel for diamond sifting, before being discharged back into the ocean.

The history of ‘Ya Toivo’ is that she began life as a Royal Navy warship, namely ‘HMS Challenger’ with pennant Number ‘K07’. Built for at a cost of £80 million (ZAR1.83 billion), she was designed as a diving support vessel, specialising in deepsea operations, and saturation diving. She had an onboard saturation habitat, allowing for up to 12 divers to live comfortably in permanent saturation when on deployment.

HMS Challenger K07, later to become the South  African diamond mining vessel Ya Toivo. Picture by Shipspotting

She was capable of searching for, working on, and recovering deepsea objects from the seabed. For these operations, as well as her saturation diving capabilities, she was equipped with towed unmanned submersibles, and she also carried an LR5 submarine rescue submersible. After a very short naval career, cut short in 1993 due to budget cuts, she was decommissioned, and sold off to Subsea Offshore, to be converted into a vessel for decontaminating dumped hazardous waste in the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic.

The name ‘HMS Challenger’ should ring bells with the students of the history of oceanography. Between 1872 and 1876, the Royal Navy sent ‘HMS Challenger’ on a four year voyage of marine discovery. This voyage culminated in the birth of the new science of Oceanography. Her voyage had her calling into Simonstown and Cape Town between October and December 1873, as well as Marion Island. She became the first Iron steamship to cross the Antarctic Circle in February 1874. However, her arrival at the Cape was not the only South African connection to the vessel.

Iron steamship HMS Challenger 1873 during voyages of marine discovery. Picture: National History Museum

The expedition commander was Captain George Nares RN, but the Commander of ‘HMS Challenger’ was Commander John Fiot Lee Pearse MacLear RN. The surname will be ringing bells with Capetonians, as Commander MacLear was born in Cape Town in 1838, and was none other than the son of the great Astronomer Royal in Cape Town, Sir Thomas MacLear, who was in charge of the Royal Observatory, located in none other than the suburb now known as Observatory between 1833 and 1870, and who built MacLear’s Beacon on Table Mountain.

John MacLear joined the Royal Navy in 1851, when he joined HMS Castor, the flagship of the Cape Squadron in Simonstown, as a Midshipman. He eventually rose to the rank of Admiral. His Cape Town connections also ran to his marriage, when in 1878 he married Julia Herschel, the daughter of the other great Cape Astronomer, Sir John Frederick William Herschel.

John Fiot MacLear of Cape Town on 2019 Christmas Island postage stamp. Australia Post

Back in the present, in 2000, she was purchased from Subsea Offshore, by the Namibian Minerals Corporation (NAMCO), for further conversion into a diamond mining vessel, which was completed at the Nauta shipyard in Gdynia, Poland. Her conversion both lengthened and widened her, although her unique bridge structure was retained. She now had a bow helideck for logistic and crew change requirements, and accommodation for up to 90 crew.

She was renamed ‘Ya Toivo’. She produced her first diamonds in December 2000, when conducting mining equipment trials in Namibian Mining License Area 36, located in the offshore Halifax Basin. She was then transferred to De Beers in 2003, when NAMCO ran into financial troubles.

Ya Toivo. Cape Town, 22 October 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

She is currently owned by ARGO Shipmanagement and Services Srl, of Pozzuoli in Italy, and managed by ARGO Srl, also of Pozzuoli. She is operated by Trans Hex Marine (Pty) Ltd., of Cape Town, whose name she displays on her hull. She is capable of remaining out at sea for 11 months of the year, and only enters port for logistical reasons, mainly to Lüderitz for refueling from a bunker tanker, or to Cape Town for engineering support, or annual refit and drydocking.

For the nomenclature fan ‘Ya Toivo’ is named after the great Namibian political statesman, Herman Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo (1924-2017), who was the co-founder of the Southwest African Peoples Organisation (SWAPO), who fought for Namibian Independence. Ya Toivo served in the Namibian Government at Ministerial level, including that of Minister of Mines and, on his death, was afforded the status of a Hero of Namibia, and was buried in the National Heroes Acre, outside Windhoek.

The reason for the stay in Cape Town for ‘Ya Toivo’ was relatively short, and at 01h00 on 26th October, she sailed from Cape Town, to return to the offshore diamond mining concessions of Namaqualand. Trans Hex Group have numerous inshore, and offshore, concession areas, and two days after departing from Cape Town ‘Ya Toivo’ arrived just southwest of Port Nolloth, in concession area 4C to carry on her mining work.

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AMSA Alert! Electric Vehicles: Risks associated with carriage

Picture: AMSA

Edited by Paul Ridgway

In recent days the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued a safety alert to raise awareness of the risks involved with the carriage of battery-powered electric vehicles on roll-on, roll-off ferries.

This alert provides guidance to operators of domestic commercial vessels on risks associated with the carriage of battery-powered electric vehicles on roll-on, roll-off ferries, and how best to deal with these risks.

Some risks associated with these fires onboard domestic commercial vessels include:

* High voltage shocks.

* Direct jet flames.

* Fires develop in intensity quickly and rapidly reach their maximum intensity (typically within two to three minutes).

* Toxic gases.

* Gas explosion (if the released gas accumulates for a while before being ignited).

* Long lasting re-ignition risk (can ignite or re-ignite weeks, or maybe months after the provoking incident).

* Once established fires are difficult to stop/extinguish.

* Thermal runaway.

Further considerations

AMSA’s safety alert outlined further considerations. It was pointed out that battery electric vehicles are approximately 25% heavier than vehicles with internal combustion engines. This should be considered when stowing the vehicles to minimise the potential impact on vessel stability.

Lithium-ion batteries which are used in most battery powered vehicles have been known to suffer from spontaneous thermal runaway fires. The lower the charge retained by the vehicle’s battery the lower the likelihood of a thermal runaway fire.

Some battery powered vehicles have a lower ground clearance than internal combustion engine vehicles. This means they are more susceptible to damage from ramps during boarding. Care should be taken in identifying these vehicles before boarding to ensure damage is not sustained to the battery. Physical damage of the battery can lead to thermal runaway. Battery electric vehicles which have been damaged should not be loaded.

Charging the battery while onboard a vessel can increase the likelihood of a thermal runaway fire.

The use of close-circuit television (CCTV) with thermal imagining may allow for early detection of thermal runaway. Also, the crew can use a thermal imaging camera when conducting safety rounds of the vehicle deck to allow for early detection. Manufacturers estimate that the minimum temperature in the battery where potential exists for thermal runaway to begin is between 60 °C and 70 °C.

Fumes (hydrogen fluoride) given off by the lithium-ion batteries fires are toxic.


AMSA recommends operators of domestic commercial vessels that carry or are likely to carry battery electric vehicles to review their safety management system, in line with operational guidance.

Twelve recommendations are provided in the three-page AMSA Safety Alert here

– based on material kindly provided by AMSA.

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Ocean shipping industry must invest and build partnerships to reduce carbon – Xeneta Summit

Container shipping .. Picture Thais Morais Unsplash

Africa Ports & Ships

Industry leaders have been told achieving environmental targets in ocean freight shipping requires major efforts and investments.

The reminder came during the annual Xeneta Summit taking place in Amsterdam last Wednesday (25 October), which saw key industry figures come together to discuss the major issues facing ocean freight shipping.

Rolf Habben Jansen. Picture Hapag-Lloyd

Rolf Habben Jansen, Chief Executive of Hapag Lloyd – one of the world’s most powerful shipping liner companies, delivered a keynote speech to delegates during which he emphasized the necessity for the industry to further step up their efforts.

“Shipping remains the most cost-effective and eco-friendly mode of transport, but the industry is highly volatile and cyclical,” he said.

“After some exceptional years, we have returned to rougher seas, with low freight rates and imbalances between supply and demand impending.

“Aspects such as maintaining a competitive cost position, making sensible investments for better market access, and delivering high quality will become even more important.

“And so will decarbonisation – despite rising funding costs and the question of alternative fuel availability, the sector must prioritise cleaner practices and lower-emission transport solutions. This will require we invest in and form partnerships to help scale up especially the production of green fuels,” Jansen said.

“After all, sustainability is a collective task and together we can move faster than alone.”

This year’s summit followed the release of Xeneta’s Ocean Freight Shipping Outlook 2024 which branded the current market as ‘unsustainable’.

Combined with the impending introduction of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and more stringent application of the IMO’s Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) in 2024, it is unsurprising the green agenda topped the bill during the Xeneta Summit.

Patrik Berglund. Picture: Xeneta

Patrik Berglund, Xeneta Chief Executive, told delegates he believes carbon emissions targets are unrealistic in the current financial climate.

“In the decade prior to Covid-19 ocean shipping liners hardly made any money and there was massive consolidation in the industry. Then during the pandemic, they made a fortune in the space of a couple of years.

“Now we’re asking them to risk all that financial security by investing vast sums of money on the infrastructure needed to achieve carbon emissions targets.

“History tells us that is a colossal risk to take on when you consider there are absolutely no guarantees the currently unsustainable market will turn in the favour of the ocean shipping liners.”

Berglund echoed comments made by Rolf Habben Jansen regarding collective responsibility and warned shippers they will have to pay their way if they want a greener future.

“Currently, shippers are saying they are going to pay so little to transport their goods around the world that the ocean shipping liner companies will lose money,” he said. “Then in the next breath they are asking those same companies to invest staggering sums of money on new, climate-friendly vessels.

“Unfortunately, the harsh reality of business will always prevail and environmental responsibilities will be cast aside in favour of financial sustainability.

“Everyone has good intentions when it comes to protecting the environment, but no one is prepared to pick up the bill. Without a change in attitudes the carbon emissions targets are doomed to failure.”

Xeneta is the world’s leading ocean and air freight rate benchmarking and analytics platform and delegates at the summit discussed ways for the industry to move forward, including the introduction of index-based pricing.

Berglund added: “Index-based pricing instruments could provide greater transparency and fairness from a shipper perspective and hedge some of the risk from an ocean shipping liner perspective, so they feel more able to invest in the future.”

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In Conversation: China’s Belt and Road Initiative turns 10: Xi announces 8 new priorities, continues push for global influence

Lauren Johnston, South African Institute of International Affairs

China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which now includes 44 African countries, got under way 10 years ago. President Xi Jinping launched it in 2013 with a first speech in Kazakhstan and a second one in Indonesia. The initiative is something of a trial-by-doing development policy enigma: it keeps China watchers chasing Xi’s next move to help define just what it is.

The two speeches, however, give some lasting guidance. The Kazakhstan speech outlined five elements of the “Belt”: strengthening policy communication; road connectivity; currency circulation; people-to-people ties; and promoting unimpeded trade. In Indonesia, the five points were more abstract and diplomacy-oriented. They were framed as pursuing win-win cooperation, mutual assistance and affinity, and remaining open and inclusive.

So, what’s happened since then? As an economist with a keen interest in the political economy of China-Africa relations, I have studied the Belt and Road Initiative since its inception.

Among the more tangible achievements so far is fostering “road connectivity”. China has helped to finance and construct highways, rail and energy projects in various countries. People, goods and commodities flow more smoothly in many places than before, within and between countries. But at a cost. Most of these projects have been funded by loans from Chinese banks, including the China Export Import Bank and China Development Bank.

Marking the 10th anniversary at a forum in October, Xi outlined the progress of the initiative. He also made a commitment to raise the quality of development cooperation, and provided more details on people-to-people ties and on areas of policy dialogue especially.

Much is made of a fall in spending on the Belt and Road Initiative. But if these promises take shape, the early big spending years may come to reflect a down payment. That down payment was made in times of low interest rates and kick-started some important and highly visible infrastructural projects.

Xi’s announcement at this year’s forum offered old and new news for the Belt and Road Initiative and its signatories. For African signatories (and their regional organisations and development banks) to make the most of what China is now offering, they need to understand the origins of the Belt and Road Initiative and also what has and has not changed since.

In addition, Xi’s announcement comes at a time when China’s relationship with the African continent is changing, as I outlined in a recent article. The change sees the China-Africa relationship move beyond a focus on oil, extractive commodities and large infrastructure projects.

It shifts attention to industrial production, job creation and investments that lead to African exports, and productivity-enhancing agricultural and digital technology opportunities. This model, called the “Hunan model”, is named after the province in southern China that is leading the push. This also helps to explain why China’s lending is moving from bilateral development finance to include more commercial and trade finance lending.

Comparing promises 10 years on

Xi made eight major commitments at the October 2023 forum. More than half of these draw directly from the policy focus areas announced a decade ago.

  • Xi promised to build a multidimensional Belt and Road connectivity. He referred to roads, rail, port and air transport and related logistics and trade corridors.
  • He promised to open China’s economy more to the world. Higher trade levels would be one way. Alongside a new emphasis on the digital economy, Xi added that China would establish pilot zones for e-commerce-based cooperation. In Africa, a guide to those may be provided by the two existing digital commerce hubs set up by Alibaba in Ethiopia and Rwanda under its electronic World Trade Platform Initiative.
  • He spoke of “practical cooperation”. This seems to refer to financing for expensive infrastructure projects, smaller livelihood projects and technical and vocational training. This has an aspect of crossover with currency circulation, people-to-people ties, unimpeded trade and more.
  • Xi’s recent speech also promised to support people-to-people exchanges. This is a direct take from the first launch speech of 2013. But he added detail about establishing arts and culture alliances. Also that China would host a “Liangzhu Forum” to enhance dialogue on civilisation.
  • Finally, in line with the earlier commitment to elevated policy dialogue, Xi promised to strengthen institutional building for international Belt and Road Initiative cooperation. This relates to building platforms for cooperation in energy, taxation, finance, green development, disaster reduction, anti-corruption, think-tanks, media, culture, and other fields.

Where extending sovereign lending may present a challenge at the moment while the legacy of debt sustainability issues is addressed, Chinese policy banks are continuing to lend to institutions of the global south.

For example, in the lead up to the forum the China Development Bank agreed a US$400mn loan to Afreximbank to support small and medium enterprise trade efforts, with an eye on the goal of “unimpeded trade” and Africa’s own regional integration efforts under the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Beyond the promises made in Xi’s speech to this year’s forum, elevated funding for China’s policy banks was announced. Further, agreements made between participants also signal commitment to the original principles of the Belt and Road Initiative. For example, Xi’s speech in Kazakhstan in 2013 called for elevated currency circulation. China has not only developed its mobile payments ecosystem, but is now testing its emerging central bank digital currency, the eCNY, at home and abroad.

New promises

There are three new policy promises added to those of a decade ago.

  • China will promote green development, including green infrastructure, green energy, and green transportation. It will hold a Belt and Road Initiative Green Innovation Conference and establish a network of experts. China also promised to provide 100,000 training opportunities in areas of green development.
  • China will continue to advance scientific and technological innovation. It will hold a conference on Science and Technology Exchange, and increase the number of joint laboratories that support exchange and training for young scientists. Xi also promised that China would propose a Global Initiative for Artificial Intelligence Governance, and promote secure artificial intelligence development.
  • China will promote integrity-based cooperation. This would include publishing details of Belt and Road achievements and prospects, and establishing a system of evaluating compliance.

These new areas are of increasing economic importance to China, amid rapid population ageing especially, and competition with high-income countries.

The future

Where the twin launch speeches of the Belt and Road Initiative had very broad agendas, Xi’s speech at the 10-year anniversary revealed progress on earlier themes and a push to elevate the quality of development. There was more detail especially on people-to-people ties and on areas of policy dialogue to be fostered.

He added some new areas such as artificial intelligence governance, green development, e-commerce, and greater emphasis on scientific and tech cooperation. These new areas are becoming more economically important to China.

Comparing the new policy signals with the earlier ones implies that the initiative is by design adaptable. Further, since the COVID pandemic, some countries that had benefited from China’s new level of Belt and Road lending have run into debt problems and interest rates have risen.

This signals China’s increased interest in lending to regional and locally present multilateral development and commercial banks that are relatively well positioned to target local entrepreneurs and development.

In Africa, this offers a new chance to evolve strategies that can sustainably tap Chinese resources towards fostering the independent advance of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and local socioeconomic development.The Conversation

Lauren Johnston, Associate Professor, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney; Affiliate Researcher, South African Institute of International Affairs

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

Images added by Africa Ports & Ships

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Added 30 October 2023


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Maritime civil engineering: Events and guidelines

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Based in Brussels PIANC (the Permanent International Association of Navigational Conferences) unites by means of conferences and publications international experts delivering advanced and well-informed technical reports related to sustainable waterborne transport infrastructure, with a strong focus on climate change and ‘Working with Nature’.

African representation

In Africa national members of PIANC are Morocco represented by the Agence National des Ports and in South Africa by Transnet National Ports Authority.

Mediterranean events

In the week commencing 22 October the French section of PIANC and Cerema was jointly organising the 5th Mediterranean International Days on 26 and 27 October in Sète on France’s Mediterranean coast preceded by the 13th meeting of the Port of the Future, on 25 and 26 October, the latter day being common to the two events.

World Congress 2024

The 35th PIANC World Congress will be held in Cape Town from 29 April to 3 May 2024.

Two new publications

From PIANC news has been received of the issue of two working group (WG) publications. From EnviCom Working Group 157 comes Environmental Aspects of Dredging, Port and Waterway Construction around Coastal Plant Habitats.

InCom Working Group 246 has delivered Guidelines and Recommendations for River Information Services’ (Update of PIANC WG 125).

Environmental Aspects of Dredging, Port and Waterway Construction around Coastal Plant Habitats

This offers international best management practices to prevent, minimise or mitigate environmental impacts from dredging, port and waterway construction on coastal plant habitats, such as mangroves, tidal (salt) marshes, seagrass beds and macroalgal communities.

This report comes at a crucial time when the critical role of these habitats in mitigating the effects of climate change through coastal protection, flood mitigation, and carbon sequestration and storage worldwide is increasingly being recognized.

The guide describes how dedicated environmental monitoring and adaptive management during dredging, port and waterway construction works can help avoid or minimise unwanted, detrimental effects to coastal plant habitats.

Advanced methodologies for assessment of impacts are described along with their practical application. Techniques to minimise, mitigate and/or compensate impacts are assessed with respect to their practicality, effectiveness and relevance around coastal plant habitats.

These richly illustrated guidelines are based on a review of available literature and practical experience and were assembled by an international team of experts and practitioners from universities, port authorities, dredging companies, consultancies and applied research institutes.

Guidelines and Recommendations for River Information Services(RIS)

Having regard to this where RIS is the concept for information services in inland navigation to support traffic and transport management, including interfaces to other transport modes.

The potential for RIS to improve the position of inland navigation within the transport chain was first recognized in the early 2000s by international organizations.

PIANC established a working group in 2002 that developed the Guidelines and recommendations for River Information Services. In 2004 the first revision of these guidelines was drafted and published, with subsequent updates in 2011 and 2019. This edition continues building upon the original Guidelines and its updates, while extending the scope towards future developments which might impact RIS.

Objective of these guidance documents is to provide information and recommendations on good practice. Conformity is not obligatory and engineering judgement should be used in its application, especially in special circumstances.

PIANC disclaims all responsibility in case these reports should be presented as official standards.

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Port managers of Angola’s Luanda and Cape Verde elected APLOP consultant

Luanda Port Headquarters, Port of Luanda

Africa Ports & Ships

Alberto Bengue, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Port of Luanda in Angola, has been elected as a consultant to the Association of Portuguese Speaking Ports (APLOP).

Alberto Bengue

Also elected as consultants were Ireneu Camacho, chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Company Administration of the Ports of Cape Verde (ENAPOR) and Ted Lago, manager of the Maranhão Port Administration Company – manager of the Port of Itaqui in Brazil.

The media release described Mr Bengue’s election as unanimous.

The XIV Congress of APLOP took place between 16 and 18 October in Brasília, the capital of Brazil.

Ireneu Camacho

The elections bring prestige to the employees of the respective ports.

The congress was held under the theme ‘Logistics corridors, energy transition, sustainability and innovation’ and was an opportunity for sectors leaders and stakeholders among the Portuguese-speaking ports to debate and exchange ideas on crucial topics determining the future of port operations.

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Added 30 October 2023


As notícias continuam abaixo

Gestores portuários de Luanda e Cabo Verde, em Angola consultor eleito da APLOP

Africa Ports & Ships

Alberto Bengue, presidente do Conselho de Administração do Porto de Luanda, em Angola, foi eleito consultor da Associação dos Portos de Língua Portuguesa (APLOP).

Alberto Bengue

Também foram eleitos como consultores Ireneu Camacho, presidente do Conselho de Administração da Empresa Nacional de Administração dos Portos de Cabo Verde (ENAPOR) e Ted Lago, gerente da Empresa de Administração Portuária do Maranhão – gestora do Porto de Itaqui no Brasil.

O comunicado de imprensa descreveu a eleição do Sr. Bengue como unânime.

Ireneu Camacho

O XIV Congresso da APLOP realizou-se entre 16 e 18 de outubro em Brasília, capital do Brasil.

As eleições trazem prestígio aos funcionários dos respectivos portos.

O congresso decorreu sob o tema ‘Corredores logísticos, transição energética, sustentabilidade e inovação’ e foi uma oportunidade para líderes sectoriais e stakeholders dos portos de língua portuguesa debaterem e trocarem ideias sobre temas cruciais que determinam o futuro das operações portuárias.

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Adicionado em 30 de outubro de 2023


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IMO Member State Audit Scheme

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Auditing IMO Member States to assess how effectively they implement and enforce key IMO instruments is an important part of the Organization’s work to ensure that its regulatory framework for the shipping industry is adopted and implemented throughout the world.

As part of work to address an increased demand for audit team leaders (ATLs), a course for auditors under the IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) was being held at IMO HQ in London as I was reporting. It commenced on 23 October for five days.

Seven-year cycle

This was the fourth such course to take place since the introduction of IMSAS. All Member States are required to undergo an audit within the seven-year cycle established under the Scheme.

Those participating in the current audit leadership training have previously been part of teams which have conducted audits under IMSAS since 2018, and who are deemed now to be prospective future leaders.

Busy auditors

Audit Team Leaders can expect to conduct up to twenty-five audits of Member States each year. The course is designed to develop the skills needed to lead teams in preparing, conducting and reporting from audits in accordance with the IMSAS Framework and Procedures (resolution A.1067(28)), using the IMO Instruments Implementation (III) Code (resolution A.1070(28)) as the audit standard.

African participation: Congo and Egypt

Auditors were nominated for the training by eleven countries: Bangladesh, the Congo, Egypt, Finland, India, Lebanon, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Panama, Romania, Sweden, and Uruguay.

Audits became mandatory in January 2016. To date, 114 mandatory audits have been carried out.

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Added 30 October 2023


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Second SA Navy MMIPV to be named SAS King Shaka on Friday

SAS King Sekhukhune I (P1571), the first of three identical MMIPVs entering the port of Durban on the day of her commissioning. Picture: Clinton Wyness

by defenceWeb
republished here on Thursday 26 October 2023

The second SA Navy (SAN) multi-mission inshore patrol vessel (MMIPV) built in South Africa will, the shipbuilders have it, be named in a ceremony at Naval Base (NB) Durban on Friday, 27 October.

SAS King Shaka Zulu (P1572) will join SAS King Sekhukhune I (P1571) in SAN service, with MMIPV number three, SAS Adam Kok (P1573) set to complete the class in the SAN patrol squadron next August.

Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) is the shipbuilder for all three MMIPVs and notes in a statement advising of Friday’s naming ceremony the newest addition to the SAN inventory is “a vital addition” to the fleet. Designed for rapid response capabilities along South Africa’s 2,798 km coastline, primary missions include countering piracy, illegal fishing and smuggling operations.

SAS King Sekhukhune I was taken into service in May last year and has, since operational testing and evaluation (OTE), been part of the SAN deployment for this year’s Armed Forces Day/Week in Richards Bay in February and the joint Russo/Sino/SA naval exercise Mosi II off the Northern KwaZulu-Natal coast.

Ahead of the Richards Bay deployment, she took part in exercises Ibsamar and Oxide. She was also tasked to be in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront for last month’s cancelled mini navy festival.

The MMIPV was, according to reports, abeam the submarine SAS Manthatisi (S101) during the ill-fated vertrep (vertical replenishment) evolution with a 22 Squadron Super Lynx maritime helicopter on 20 September.

Like her sister ships, King Shaka Zulu is a DSCT Stan Patrol 6211 vessel. The 62 metre long, 750 ton vessels have a 20 knot economical speed and a range of 2,000 nautical miles.

Each vessel is fitted with a Reutech 20 mm Super Sea Rogue marine gun and Reutech FORT (frequency modulated optical radar tracker) low probability of intercept (LPI) optronics radar tracking system.

Along with SAS King Sekhukhune I and the refurbished strikecraft SAS Makhanda (P1569), King Shaka Zulu will make up the three-ship strong patrol squadron at NB Durban.

SAS King Shaka P1572 on the Cape Town synchrolift, prior to entering the water for the first time. 19 October 2022. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The busy east coast port was previously home port of the then Warrior strikecraft flotilla and will be the patrol squadron base until the new SAN base at Richards Bay is ready to receive, operate and maintain vessels.

There is, as yet, no finality on when the new naval base will become operational. This was made clear by SAN Chief, Vice Admiral Monde Lobese, when addressing an August medal parade.

He said the “planned move to Richards Bay is progressing steadily and we [the SAN] are at the mercy of Transnet National Ports Authority to move the process forward.

“Remember, the TNPA asked us to move, not the other way around. The Navy agreed to the move in principle, but made it clear we expect a brand new naval base in Richards Bay before we move there. Currently the memorandum of understanding between the SANDF and TNPA has been finalised and we are waiting to sign it.”

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

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Added 26 October 2023



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

PORT September 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.246
Durban 7.382
Saldanha Bay 4.285
Cape Town 1.361
Port Elizabeth 1.413
Ngqura 0.726
Mossel Bay 0.109
East London 0.203
Total all ports during September 2023 21.725 million tonnes

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