Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 2 December 2023

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MSC Splendida. Picture by Trevor Jones

MSC SPLENDIDA (IMO 9359806) is this year’s MSC ship to cruise out of Durban and for a few weeks in March, from Cape Town. The 137,936-gt ship arrived in Durban last week following a positioning cruise from the Mediterranean and provided an appropriate backdrop at the official opening of the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal (which already opened last year).

This picture of the ship arriving in Durban is by Trevor Jones

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News Headlines for Monday

Solving the trucking crisis. Picture: Terry Hutson


These are some of the headline reports we have lined up for Monday’s maritime news….

* R47 Billion bailout for Transnet
* South Africa loses out again on IMO Council
* TFR adds more trains to Richards Bay corridor
* TNPA doubles up on Durban port helicopter service
* Durban Container Terminal berth 108 dredged
* Mozambique: CFM’s new Indian locomotives

and even more stories to add to these.

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Transnet Recovery Diary 1 December 2023

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Transnet recovery Diary 1 December 2023

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Added 1 December 2023


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Transnet Recovery Diary 30 November 2023

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Transnet Recovery Diary 30 November 2023

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Added 30 November 2023


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South Africa in bid for election onto IMO Council

International flags flying over the IMO Headquarters in London, UK. Picture: IMO

Africa Ports & Ships

The Department of Transport (DoT) says it is leading an ambitious campaign for the re-election of South Africa into the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council for the 2023-2024 biennium.

“South Africa continues to actively contribute to the IMO’s efforts to promote sustainable shipping practices that safeguard our oceans and reduce the environmental impact of the maritime industry,” the department said on Monday.

Key maritime stakeholders, including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Ports Regulator of South Africa (PRSA), and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), support the campaign.

“South Africa is a champion of maritime safety with its proven track record of managing and maintaining a robust system of Aids to Navigation, including lighthouses and a fully-fledged Marine Hydrographic Service,” the department said.

“These efforts ensure the safety of shipping along our coastline and support the entire Southern African Region. With assets like the Search and Rescue Centre, Emergency Towing Vessel and Information and Communication Systems, South Africa is committed to swift and effective emergency response in the maritime domain.

“South Africa, with its rich maritime heritage, is committed to these ideals and believes that its continued presence in the IMO Council is essential to furthering the organisation’s goals.”

The department said South Africa’s leadership in the IMO Council is not only a testament to its commitment to maritime excellence but also an opportunity to shape the future of global shipping.

“As a responsible member of the IMO, South Africa has consistently participated in various structures and activities of the organization, fostering international cooperation and promoting best practices in the industry.”

South Africa was voted out of its place on the IMO Council at the previous election in 2021, losing its seat to Vanuatu. Nigeria which was also bidding for election on the 40-seat council, also failed to be elected. Countries from Africa that retained their seats were Egypt, Morocco, and Kenya.

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WHARF TALK:polar icebreaker A.MIKOYAN 1942

The Russian polar icebreaker of World War 2 background, A.Mikoyan, which visited South Africa in 1942.  Picture by Topwar

Story by Jay Gates

For naval and maritime historians, one of the great naval debacles of the 20th century was in the early years of that century. Japan was on the rise, and planning on the imperial invasions of Korea and Manchuria. To ensure the success of these colonial wars, the Japanese had to neutralize the Russians. This meant having to remove the threat of the Far East Fleet of the Tsarist Russian Navy. The story is long, but a great read if you have the time to avail yourself to questionable naval tactics.

Essentially, the Japanese launched an attack on the Russian town of Port Arthur, now known as Lushun in China, destroying the Russian fleet, and eventually capturing Port Arthur. The outcome was that the Russian Naval Command made the decision to send the Baltic Sea Fleet halfway around the world to attack, and defeat the Imperial Japanese Fleet. The fleet sailed from two ports in the Baltic Sea in October 1904, on a voyage of over 18,000 nautical miles.

The Baltic 2nd Fleet rounded the Cape, but did not call into any South African port as both the then Cape Colony, and Natal Colony, held the British neutral position on what was now known as the Russo-Japanese War, and would not have allowed them into harbour to take on bunkers. So the Russians took on coal bunkers in Swakopmund in German Southwest Africa, and Lourenço Marques in Portuguese East Africa. The fleet was woefully prepared for such a voyage, and it took its toll on crew health, discipline, morale, and motivation.

By the time the fleet reached Tsushima Bay in the Far East in May 1905, after a seven month voyage, the Japanese were waiting for them. The outcome was predictable and the Russian fleet of 48 warships were heavily defeated, losing 25 of their capital ships, including all 11 of their Battleships, with the rest interned, disarmed, or captured. The battle of 28th-29th May 1905 ended the Russo-Japanese War, leaving the Far East open to Japanese conquests.

A.Mikoyan. Picture: Military Review

In terms of battle casualties, the Russians lost 5,062 men in the Battle of Tsushima. In comparison, the Japanese Fleet lost no major vessels, just two torpedo boats, and only 117 men dead. The Japanese victory can be seen to this day, as the flagship of the Japanese Fleet, the 1902, British built, pre-dreadnought Battleship ‘Mikasa’, of Admiral Togo, is preserved and open to the public in Yokosuka.

After such a national shame, one would think that the Russians would have learned a lesson, and would not send warships halfway around the world again. However, then came the Second World War, and the Black Sea was full of Soviet vessels that needed to get away from the Nazis. One of these vessels was actually a polar icebreaker that got trapped at the start of the war. It needed to get to the Arctic to conduct its vital work, but how to get it there was the problem.

A.Mikoyan. Picture: Military Review

The polar icebreaker A.MIKOYAN was built in 1938 by the Nikolaev shipyard, on the Black Sea coast of the then Soviet Republic of Ukraine, as the first of four sisterships. She was 107 metres in length, and had a deadweight of 11,000 tons, on a beam of 23 metres. She was powered by three steam engines, each producing 3,300 bhp, with steam provided by no less than nine coal-fired Scotch Boilers. She had three propellers, and an open water service speed of 15 knots. She was manned by a crew of 138 persons, and had an endurance of 6,000 nautical miles.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, ‘A, Mikoyan’ was sent to Sevastopol, on the Crimea Peninsula, to be converted to an Auxiliary Cruiser, armed for use in the Black Sea against the Nazis. She was fitted with no less than seven 130 mm guns, four 76 mm guns, six 45 mm cannons, and four 12.7mm AA cannons. Her 130 mm guns had a range of 25 Nautical miles, and a firing rate of 7-10 per minute. By September 1941, under the command of Captain 2nd Rank Sergei Sergeev, she was ready for war, and sailed to her operating base of Odessa.

A.Mikoyan. Picture: Shipspotting

It was clear that she was of no use in the confines of the Black Sea, and was desperately needed in the Arctic to assist with convoy movements on the Northern Sea Route. The problem was how to get ‘A. Mikoyan’ there. She could not go via any inland waterway route, as the Nazis had control of part of the waterway system. They could not go our via the Mediterranean and into the North Atlantic, as making their way north around the UK and Norway would expose them to surface raiders, U-boats and Condor maritime patrol aircraft.

The only route option was for ‘A. Mikoyan’ to slip across the Mediterranean, and go via Suez into the Indian Ocean, and across the South China Sea to Vladivostok. In November 1941 she was moved from Odessa to Poti in the Soviet Republic of Georgia, away from the frontline, and disarmed. She had to be disarmed as Turkey would never allow an armed vessel to pass through the Bosphorus. The Montreaux Convention did not allow for warships of any belligerent nation in the Black Sea to pass either into, or out of, the Mediterranean Sea.

A.Mikoyan. Picture: unknown

After being disarmed, ‘A. Mikoyan’ moved to Batumi, also in the Soviet Republic of Georgia, before heading for Istanbul on 25th November 1941, and the transit of the Bosphorus. She entered the Mediterranean Sea, and after a minor skirmish with an Italian Naval Torpedo Boat Squadron, made it to the British Naval port of Famagusta in Cyprus. For here, until her arrival in Durban, ‘A. Mikoyan’ sailed between British Naval ports in order to obtain bunkers and stores.

From Famagusta, the Royal Navy directed her to Beirut in Lebanon, and then to Haifa in Palestine, before she made her was to Port Said and her passage through the Suez Canal. Her next port for bunkers was the British Colony of Aden in South Yemen. This is where her real problems began. On arrival in Aden in late December 1941, Captain Sergeev was informed that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbour, entered the war on the side of Germany, and had invaded all British Colonies across the Far East, and the US territory of the Philippines.

Battleship Mikasa as built. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

This meant that her route to Vladivostok was now blocked. Her last, and only, hope of getting to the Far East now lay with a long, and difficult voyage around the Cape, across the Atlantic Ocean, and then a crossing of the Pacific Ocean to get home to friendly Russian territory. So Captain Sergeev headed south and the ‘A. Mikoyan’ sailed for Mombasa in Kenya, for her next uplift of coal bunkers. She sailed independently, and not in convoy, as the Royal Navy determined that her coal burning engines meant that her thick, billowing, black smoke exhaust plumes would endanger any convoy that she was a part of.

After sailing from Mombasa, she sailed through the Mozambique Channel to avoid Japanese submarines, and arrived in Durban at 07h00 on the morning of 21st February 1942. It is almost certain that this was the first ever Arctic Polar Icebreaker to have arrived in a South African port, and if not the first, was certainly a rare arrival of a vessel of the Soviet Navy in any South African port. The stay of ‘A. Mikoyan’ in Durban was to last for three weeks, and was not just for coal bunkers and stores.

Whilst in Durban she underwent repairs to her boilers and steam engines, was drydocked to clean her hull and paint her undersides, and had bilge keels welded to her hull, 4 metres below her waterline, to help reduce her rolling tendency, and especially as a result of her impending intention to cross the South Atlantic Ocean, and Pacific Ocean.

Battleship Mikasa at Yokosuka. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

Whilst alongside in Durban, the crew of ‘A. Mikoyan’ celebrated Red Army Day. Captain Sergeev invited delegations of local Natal provincial politicians, and Durban City councilors, onboard to celebrate with him. The crew of ‘A. Mikoyan’ decorated the vessel, with homemade bunting, and performed a concert for the visitors, with Russian cultural song and dance, and an evening al fresco buffet was laid out on deck for all the visitors to enjoy.

By 15th March 1942, ‘A. Mikoyan’ was ready to continue her long journey, and sailed from Durban for Cape Town, where she arrived on 19th March. Captain Sergeev reported that the crew were warmly received in Cape Town. She stayed alongside in the Mother City for a week, loading coal bunkers and stores, before sailing on 26th March 1942, bound for Montevideo in Uruguay. In Uruguay it was decided that her shortest route home via the Panama Canal was not viable, as Nazi U-boats were said to be patrolling the shipping route from Argentina back to Europe, and the Cape Town to New York shipping route.

That left Captain Sergeev with yet another difficult decision, and the only route now left open to him was via Cape Horn. He then took the safer option of using the Magellan Strait, and decided not to make a dangerous crossing of the Pacific Ocean, due to lack of known coaling points, but to sail along the entire length of the Americas, from the furthest south, to the far north of the continent. After stops in the Chilean ports o of Punta Arenas, Coronel, Lota, and Valparaiso for coal bunkers, she made a final call in South America at the port of Callao in Peru, and sailed back into the Northern hemisphere for the first time in over six months.

Kapitan Khlebnikov bow. Picture: Martha de Jonglantink

She then called at Balboa, in the then American administered Panama Canal Zone, and then onto San Francisco. From San Francisco, she made her way to Seattle, for a further period of maintenance. Here she was refitted with guns, with the US Navy Yard giving her a fit of three 76 mm guns and ten 20 mm Oerlikon AA cannons, in anticipation of her return to war service in the Arctic and the Russian Far East. Her final routing took her up to Kodiak in Alaska, and her final North American port of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands.

Her final leg was the crossing of the Bering Strait, to the Soviet Union, and her arrival in the Siberian port of Anadyr on 9th August 1942. Her voyage took nigh on 300 days to achieve, and covered a distance of over 25,000 nautical miles. On arrival, the crew were finally relieved, Captain Sergei Sergeev was relieved by a great Russian Polar Navigator, none other than Captain 3rd Rank Yuri Khlebnikov. His name is well known in Cape Town for other reasons.

The Russian Authorities immediately tasked ‘A. Mikoyan’ to take Convoy EON-18 across the Northern Sea Route, from Provideniya Bay in Siberia, and to the European Arctic port of Archangelsk on the Kola Peninsula. The convoy included four Soviet Navy destroyers desperately needed in Europe to defend against the Nazis. The difficulty of this sea route is shown by the fact that they only arrived on 14th October 1942, a voyage of two months. It was the first Northern Sea Route convoy of the war, and ‘A. Mikoyan’ escorted over 300 vessels on that route throughout the war.

Kapitan Khlebnikov at Cape Town. Picture: Unknown

For the nomenclature fan ‘A. Mikoyan’ was, like most Soviet ships, named after a Bolshevik leader, namely Anastas Mikoyan (1895-1978), an Armenian Communist revolutionary, Old Bolshevik and Soviet statesman, who was the Soviet Union People’s Commissar for External and Internal Trade. His brother, Artem Mikoyan, was a co-founder of the Mig Aviation Design Bureau, who were responsible for the manufacture of Soviet Cold War Fighters, and who still manufacture Russian frontline fighters today.

The icebreaker after which Anastas Mikoyan was named continued her important work well after the end of the Second World War, and soldiered on until 1966 when she was finally decommissioned, before being scrapped in 1968, after a career of 30 years.

As for Kapitan Khlebnikov, who commanded ‘A. Mikoyan’ throughout the Second World War, he had a modern Icebreaker named after him. This vessel, has called many times into Cape Town, both operating for the Soviet Antarctic Expeditions before 1989, and post 1989 as an expeditionary cruise Antarctic icebreaker for wealthy passengers. In September 2002 she was chartered by the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE) to take all of their expeditioners from Cape Town, to the Australian Antarctic bases of Mawson, Davis and Casey.

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Port Maputo aiming high at increasing throughput to 47 mtpa

Port Maputo Container Terminal, operated by DP World.   Picture: DPW

Africa Ports & Ships

The Port of Maputo which is managed and operated by the Maputo Port Development Corporation (MPDC), is expecting to see its annual cargo throughput increasing to 45 million tonnes a year.

That’s according to a report quoted in the Portuguese language newspaper, Notícias, and referring to an interview with Transport & Communications Minister, Mateus Magala.

Magala was speaking in Moamba, outside Maputo.

The minister said that the port will be able to increase its volume of cargo handled by around 15 million tonnes a year.

Figures quoted by Osório Lucas, the Executive Director of the Port of Maputo, revealed that the port of Maputo last year recorded a throughput of 26.7 million tonnes which is expected to increase to 30 million tonnes by the end of this year.

The MPDC is also working to increase container handling capacity, from the current 270,000 TEU to 1 million TEU. The Maputo Container Terminal is managed and operated by DP World, a partner in the MPDC.

MPDC is a partnership between CFM and Portus Indico, the latter being comprised of South Africa’s Grindrod, the UAE’s DP World and local company Mozambique Gestores.

MPDC holds the rights to finance, rehabilitate, construct, operate, manage, maintain, develop and optimise the entire concession area. The company also holds the powers of a Port Authority, being responsible for maritime operations, piloting, tug operations, stevedoring, terminal and warehouse operations, as well as the port’s planning development.

The concession held by MPDC continues to 2033 with a further option of an additional 10 years until 2043. MPDC first won the concession to operate the Maputo port and its terminals in April 2003.

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Added 30 November 2023


As notícias continuam abaixo

Porto Maputo tem como objetivo aumentar o rendimento para 47 mtpa

Cidade de Maputo, o porto e o Katembe do outro lado do porto   MPDC

Africa Ports & Ships

O Porto de Maputo, que é gerido e operado pela Corporação de Desenvolvimento do Porto de Maputo (MPDC), espera ver o seu volume anual de carga aumentar para 45 milhões de toneladas por ano.

É o que afirma uma reportagem citada no jornal Notícias, em língua portuguesa, e referindo-se a uma entrevista com o Ministro dos Transportes e Comunicações, Mateus Magala.

Magala falava em Moamba, nos arredores de Maputo.

O ministro disse que o porto poderá aumentar o seu volume de carga movimentada em cerca de 15 milhões de toneladas por ano.

Números citados por Osório Lucas, Director Executivo do Porto de Maputo, revelam que o porto de Maputo registou no ano passado uma movimentação de 26,7 milhões de toneladas que deverá aumentar para 30 milhões de toneladas até ao final deste ano.

A MPDC está também a trabalhar para aumentar a capacidade de movimentação de contentores, dos actuais 270 mil TEU para 1 milhão de TEU. O Terminal de Contentores de Maputo é gerido e operado pela DP World, parceira da MPDC.

A MPDC é uma parceria entre os CFM e a Portus Indico, sendo esta última composta pela Grindrod da África do Sul, a DP World dos EAU e a empresa local Moçambique Gestores.

A MPDC detém os direitos de financiar, reabilitar, construir, operar, gerir, manter, desenvolver e optimizar toda a área de concessão. A empresa detém também competências de Autoridade Portuária, sendo responsável pelas operações marítimas, pilotagem, operações de rebocadores, estiva, operações de terminais e armazéns, bem como pelo desenvolvimento do planeamento do porto.

A concessão detida pela MPDC continua até 2033 com uma opção adicional de mais 10 anos até 2043. A MPDC ganhou pela primeira vez a concessão para operar o porto de Maputo e os seus terminais em Abril de 2003.

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MPV Everest Engine room fire – ATSB report

The MPV Everest, subject of an ATSB Enquiry. Picture: Marine Construction Services

Edited by Paul Ridgway

A fire on board a multi-purpose vessel chartered by the Australian Antarctic Division while transiting the Southern Ocean highlights the risks and challenges of operating in harsh, remote conditions. A report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau was issued on 24 November.

On 5 April 2021, the 145 metres loa MPV EVEREST (IMO 9769130) was en route from Antarctica to Hobart with 37 crew and 72 Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) staff on board when a fire broke out in its port engine room.

The fire was contained and eventually extinguished using the engine room water mist fixed fire-extinguishing system after about 2.5 hours, and there were no reported injuries or pollution as a result of the fire.

Most of the port engine room’s power generation and machinery was substantially damaged, leaving the ship with just two of its six diesel generators operational.


In the words of ATSB Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell: “Although MPV Everest berthed safely in Fremantle eight days after the fire, it required multiple stops at sea for ongoing repairs, and for an extended portion of its voyage the nearest assistance was many days away.”

Several factors

The final report from the ATSB’s investigation into the accident details a number of factors.

Screenshot of the aftermath of the engineroom fire on the MPV Everest on 5 April 2021, now the subject of an ATSB Enquiry finding

These include technical faults, inappropriate watchkeeping practices, characteristics of the ship’s integrated automation system, crew fatigue, and the design of the ship itself, contributed to fuel oil overflowing into the engine room. The ignition of this overflowing fuel oil, either as a result of contact with a hot surface or an electrostatic discharge resulted in the fire.

Among eight safety issues identified, the ATSB found the ship’s classification society, Bureau Veritas, had approved the ship’s fuel oil settling tank’s air vent pipe being positioned within the engine room’s exhaust ventilation casing.

While not contributing to the fire itself, the remaining seven safety issues were found to have increased the level of risk in the accident.


Mitchell added: “Among these issues, the ATSB found that MPV Everest’s managers, Fox Offshore, had not ensured the ship was adequately manned, equipped or prepared for the hazards and challenges of operations in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Additionally, the ship’s safety management system was neither sufficiently mature for its operations, nor had it been effectively implemented on board.”


The investigation also concluded that the AAD’s pre-charter due diligence was ineffective in properly assessing the suitability and level of preparedness of the ship, its crew and safety management system for operations in Antarctica.

The AAD has advised the ATSB that an independent review of its procurement process and shipping standard operating procedures had led to several areas of process improvements, which are further detailed in the final report.

In addition, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (under which the AAD operates) advised the ATSB it had initiated a number of changes to the way it identifies, engages with, and manages chartered ships and their managers/operators.

The final report

To read the final report: Engine room fire on board MPV Everest, Southern Ocean, 5 April 2021, published on 24 November, readers are invited to see here.

* based on material kindly provided by ATSB.

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Maersk & CMA GGM go big on their Far East-West Africa services

Maersk Edirne, which will commence the joint Maersk/CMA CGM FW1/WAX service between the Far East and West Africa. Picture: Fleetmon

Africa Ports & Ships

Two major container shipping companies, Maersk and CMA CGM, are replacing with immediate effect smaller vessels on the Far East – West Africa services. In their place come mid-range ships of around 13,000 TEU capacity, as these vessels are cascaded by larger tonnage on the Far East-Europe run.

It wasn’t too many years back when 13,000-TEU vessels were considered as among the true leviathans of the sea.

CMA CGM deployed mainly ships of 5,000-7,000 TEU capacity on the West Africa service, but with an increasing number of ports in that region now able to handle much larger box ships, the larger ships are taking over.

It also seems like just yesterday that a special breed of container ship, the so-called Wesmax vessels of average length (200-240 metres) with slightly wider beams than the 32m wide Panamax ships, were introduced for West Africa, vessels able to call in the relatively small terminals of the region while carrying considerably more boxes than on standard Panamax vessels.

Those limitations are now a thing of the past in an increasing number of West African ports.

Maersk and CMA CGM will jointly make available 13 ships in the 13,000-13,800 TEU range, beginning on 5 December and using the following rotation:

Qingdao – Gwangyang – Shanghai – Ningbo – Shekou – Nansha – Singapore – Tanjung Pelepas – Tema – Lekki – Abidjan – Pointe Noire – Colombo – Singapore – Xiamen – Qingdao.

As a result there is an effective doubling of capacity overnight.

First ship to commence the FW1/WAX service is the 13,300-TEU MAERSK EDIRNE (IMO 9502867) operating on a 13-week turnaround.

MSC’s Africa Express service has already begun using ships of between 13,000 and 15,000 TEU capacity including an added call at Abidjan. See related report HERE

According to a report in Loadstar, attributed to Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo, almost all the main carriers are facing the challenge of excess capacity, which will push freight rates down on the secondary routes.

This, he said will apply not only to Africa but Latin America, the Middle East and Indian subcontinent.

At the same time African container trade is continuing to grow in most parts of the continent, except in South Africa. Nevertheless so far in 2023 Asia-Africa trade has grown approximately 20 per cent compared with last year.

In addition to the above, CMA CGM and Maersk have also partnered with their WAX3/FW2 service with the following rotation:

Singapore – Tanjung Pelepas – Lome – Apapa – Onne – Cotonou – Singapore.

This will operate with 10 ships of between 4,400-7,000 TEU as from 24 December, which represents another upsizing from the previous fleet of around 4,500 TEU.

See earlier report HERE

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WHARF TALK: Holland America cruise ship ZUIDERDAM

Zuiderdam in Cape Town harbour, February 2020. With the ship arriving and departing in darkness during her recent visit, no suitable photography was possible. The Cape Town pictures shown here are from the ship’s visit in February 2020, and are by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Trevor Jones
Jumaine Kruger
Story by Jay Gates

The sight of traditional passenger liners arriving in South African ports are ever decreasing, as these beautiful vessels are being replaced by specialist cruise liners. These cruise liners are as small as the expeditionary cruise liners, and normally to the mid-range cruise liners we see with MSC Cruises, and others who utilise the South African coast for a summer season of cruises out of Durban and Cape Town, with calls at all points in between.

The sight of the behemoth sized cruise liners arriving is becoming more frequent, although still a rare occurrence. Cruise liners of this size are not best suited to taking on round the world cruises, as the ports that can accommodate them are not as great as smaller vessels. They are also not designed for long oceanic passages through rough seas, other than the one behemoth, RMS Queen Mary 2, which was designed for transatlantic passages, and has a long bow to help her when taking on big head seas.

That said, over the last few years, as these giant vessels start growing in number, the big cruise ship operators have started sending the behemoths out on long, round the world voyages, usually designed to time their passage through the Southern Hemisphere Summer season. Durban and Cape Town now get to see the kind of cruise liner that can only best be described as a floating block of small apartments, or flats. Some find them beautiful, some find them ugly, and they are like Marmite; you either love them or you hate them.

On 25th November, at 05h00 in the morning, the large passenger cruise liner ZUIDERDAM (IMO 9221279) arrived off Cape Town, from Durban, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and going alongside the Passenger Cruise Terminal at E berth. Her size dominated the port, and she even required a portion of F berth to accommodate her length.

Zuiderdam. Cape Town, February 2020. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2002 by Fincantieri Marghera shipyard at Venice in Italy, ‘Zuiderdam’ is 291 metres in length and has a gross registered tonnage of 82,820 tons. Her size gives her a Panamax status, which allows her to transit the Panama Canal during world cruises, and cruises where she is conducting seasonal repositioning from the Caribbean to the Alaska cruise seasons. Her building cost was US$430 million (ZAR8.02 billion).

Unusually for a passenger vessel, ‘Zuiderdam’ is powered with a Combined Diesel and Gas (CODAG) propulsion system. She is effectively diesel-electric powered and has two independent engine rooms comprising three Sulzer-Wärtsilä 16ZAV40S sixteen cylinder, four stroke, generators and two Sulzer-Wärtsilä 12ZAV40S twelve cylinder, four stroke, generators, which give her a combined power output of 69,520 bhp (51,840 kW).

Output from the generators is used for domestic power needs, plus providing propulsion power to two stern ABB Azipods, with each providing 17,620 kW for a service speed of 22 knots. She is also provided with a General Electric LM2500PE gas turbine, adding a further 15,400 kW of power, which can push her speed up to 24 knots, and gives ‘Zuiderdam’ a total power output of 102,162 bhp (75,140 kW). She was the first vessel of the fleet to be given CODAG propulsion. For added manoeuvrability she has three bow transverse thrusters providing 1,200 kW each.

Zuiderdam. Cape Town, February 2020. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Belonging to the largest cruise ship operating company in the world, Carnival Corporation & PLC of Miami in the US State of Florida, ‘Zuiderdam’ is owned by HAL Antillen NV, of Aruba, and she is both operated, and managed, by Holland America Line NV, of Seattle in the US State of Washington.

She is one of four sisterships, known as the Vista Class, of which the other three sisters of ‘Zuiderdam’ are named ‘Noordam’, Westerdam’, and ‘Oosterdam’. The casual maritime observer might realise that the four vessels are actually named after the four major cardinal points of the Compass, namely North, South, East and West.

With the Carnival Corporation covering such a large fleet, and a diverse set of subsidiary companies, they have almost standardized their cruise vessel design on the Vista Class, or subtle variations, and derivatives, of it. Virtual identical sisters include the Carnival Spirit Class, the Costa Spirit Class, the HAL Signature Class, the Cunard liners ‘Queen Elizabeth’ and ‘Queen Victoria’, and the P&O liner ‘Arcadia’.

When operating as an independent Dutch shipping company, and before being taken over by Carnival, all cargo ships in Holland America Line (HAL) had the suffix of ‘dijk’ to their name, and passenger ships had the suffix of ‘dam’ to their name. So the first ‘Zuider’ in the HAL fleet, and the only operational ‘Zuider’ vessel in the company history, up until the arrival of ‘Zuiderdam’, was a cargo vessel, that served the company between 1912 and 1922 on a cargo service from Europe to the USA, and she was named ‘Zuiderdijk’.

Zuiderdam. Cape Town, February 2020. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With a normal passenger carrying capacity of 1,916 passengers, although she can carry up to 2,272 passengers, ‘Zuiderdam’ has a total of 985 cabins of which only 154 are inner cabins, with no seaview. This means that she 85% of her cabins do have a seaview, and 80% of these cabins also have a balcony. She operates with a crew of 842.

There are a total of 15 decks on ‘Zuiderdam’, of which 11 of the decks are for passenger use, and 7 of these decks are set aside for passenger cabins. Not unsurprisingly, based on her size, the passenger facilities on ‘Zuiderdam’ are quite extensive. She has a theatre, nine bars, six restaurants and grills, five lounges, a casino, jazz club, a cinema, an internet room, art gallery, shopping arcade, two meeting rooms, a retreat, three kids clubs, and a fitness centre which incorporates a gymnasium, spa, salon, sauna, seven therapy rooms, a hydro pool, and two standard swimming pools. All the passenger decks are connected by two external lifts.

She is now about midway along a 73 day duration ‘Grand Africa’ cruise, which is effectively a circumnavigation of the continent. Her arrival in Southern African waters began at 07h00 on the morning of 21st November, when she arrived in Maputo. She sailed at 16h00 on the afternoon of the same day, bound for Durban, where she arrived at 10h00 in the morning of 22nd November, sailing at 20h00 the same evening, bound for Cape Town.

Zuiderdam. Durban, 22 November 2023. Picture by Trevor Jones

The itinerary of ‘Zuiderdam’ on her Grand Africa cruise began on 10th October from Fort Lauderdale in Florida. The itinerary being Fort Lauderdale- Funchal (Madeira)- Arrecife (Canary Islands)- Agadir- Casablanca (both Morocco)- Tunis (Tunisia)- Chania (Greece)- Limassol (Cyprus)- Suez Canal- Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt)- Aqaba (Jordan)- Safaga (Egypt)- Victoria (Seychelles)- Zanzibar (Tanzania)- Mayotte (Comores)- Nosy Be (Madagascar)- Maputo- Durban- Cape Town- Lüderitz- Walvis Bay- Luanda (Angola)- Takoradi (Ghana)- Abidjan (Ivory Coast)- Banjul (Gambia)- Dakar (Senegal)- Mindelo (Cape Verde)- San Juan (Puerto Rico)- Fort Lauderdale. The cruise ends on 22nd December.

The current cruise offers two ‘Fly/Cruise’ options, with one being from Casablanca to Cape Town, which has just finished, and the second option being from Cape Town to Fort Lauderdale. The Fly/Cruise options mean that there is a large changeover of passengers in Cape Town, necessitating an overnight stop, and almost 40 hours alongside, which allows the passengers to enjoy all that the Cape Peninsula has to offer.

That completed, ‘Zuiderdam’ was ready to sail the next day, and at 22h00 in the late evening of 26th November, she sailed from Cape Town, bound for Lüderitz in Namibia, where she is due to arrive at 08h00 on 28th November. She will then sail at 17h00 that afternoon, bound for Walvis Bay, where she is scheduled to arrive at 10h00 on the morning of 29th November, and sailing again at 23h00 that night for Luanda, and the continuation of the ‘Grand Africa’ cruise.

Zuiderdam. Durban, 22 November 2023. Picture by Trevor Jones

She is not due to return to Southern African waters at any time in 2024. However, ‘Zuiderdam’ is already scheduled to undertake a ‘Grand World’ voyage, of 125 days duration, from 4th January 2025 to 24th March 2025, again starting and ending in Fort Lauderdale. This cruise will also offer two ‘Fly/Cruise’ options for passengers, with the first from Sydney to Cape Town, and the second from Cape Town to Fort Lauderdale. The arrival of ‘Zuiderdam’ in Cape Town is scheduled for 24th March 2025, and she will have an overnight stay, sailing on 25th March.

On 3rd January 2015, while on a Caribbean cruise, and en route between the Bahamas and Aruba, ‘Zuiderdam’ went to the rescue of a Bahamian inter-island vessel that was sinking with 8 crew onboard. The vessel in distress was only 15 nautical miles away, and ‘Zuiderdam’ was able to conduct the rescue of all of the crew at night. The rescue was successfully completed at 03h00 in the morning, and the crew were disembarked at Aruba.

In August 2022, ‘Zuiderdam’ was conducting an Alaska cruise when a 65 year old passenger became seriously ill. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) MRCC at Juneau was contacted, and a USCG MH-60 Jayhawk Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter was dispatched from the USCG Air Station at Sitka. The Jayhawk SAR crew arrived on scene at 19h00 in the evening, but were unable to conduct a rescue due to localised fog, and ‘Zuiderdam’ proceeded into Sitka Sound where conditions were better. The hoist rescue was successfully concluded at 22h00 that evening, and the ill passenger was flown to Sitka where she was transferred to a local hospital.

Zuiderdam. Durban T Jetty, berth M, 22 November 2023. Picture by Jumaine Kruger

Just one month later, in September 2022, ‘Zuiderdam’ was again undertaking an Alaska cruise, when a 73 year old passenger became seriously ill onboard. At this point she was 30 nautical miles north of Juneau, and again the USCG MRCC at Juneau dispatched a USCG Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk SAR helicopter to the vessel. The Jayhawk SAR helicopter arrived on scene at 23h00 that evening, and again successfully completed the hoist rescue, transferring the sick passenger to Juneau to receive hospital treatment.

This year, on 11th June 2023, dozens of Extinction Rebellion protesters in Rotterdam attempted to stop the ‘Zuiderdam’ sailing from the Rotterdam Cruise Terminal, at the Erasmus Bridge, in protest at the carbon emissions of cruise liners being a part of the climate change emergency. The protesters prevented the disconnection of the mooring ropes of ‘Zuiderdam’ for almost six hours, delaying the start of the cruise, before the protesters were finally all removed by Dutch Police, allowing ‘Zuiderdam’ to sail.

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Ship emissions: VesselBot’s Report reveals key insights

Ship emissions, under the spotlight. Picture: Terry Hutson

Africa Ports & Ships

VesselBot, a leading technology company that brings transparency to Scope 3 transportation emissions, has released the December 2023 edition of its comprehensive report titled ‘Decoding Maritime Emissions – Highs, Lows, and Green Leaders across global ocean routes.’

This pivotal document sheds light on the development of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the shipping and freight industry, a critical factor in global climate change mitigation efforts.

Key Statistics:

1] Downward Trend in Emissions: The average emissions per kg/tonne have improved since last year. Between January and July, 2023 emissions have dropped by 12% compared to the same period last year. When comparing the emissions by trade lane, North Europe to the Middle East showed the best improvement in 2023 (Jan-Jul) compared to the same period in 2022 with a 75% drop in emissions.

2] Improvements by Vessel Groups: Three vessel groups, namely VLCS, ULCS, and Post Panamax II, exhibited significant reductions in emissions in 2023. Each group demonstrated a reduction of over 20% compared to the emissions recorded in the previous year. Although the improvement should be welcomed and is plausible, the report delves into the possible factors that may have contributed to this achievement.

3] Emissions by Country of Departure: In the year 2023, New Zealand recorded the highest average emissions per tonne among countries of loading at 222 kg per tonne of cargo shipped. Conversely, the United Arab Emirates recorded the lowest at 71 kg per tonne.

Invitation to Action:

This report is an essential read for anyone involved in the maritime industry, environmental policy-making, or global trade. It not only celebrates the progress made in certain areas but also highlights the ongoing challenges, underscoring the urgency for continued action and innovation.

All stakeholders, including industry leaders, policymakers, and environmental advocates, are encouraged to download and read the full ‘Decoding Maritime Emissions’ report for detailed insights.

This comprehensive analysis is a testament to the possible change and a roadmap for further reducing the maritime industry’s carbon footprint.


VesselBot is a pioneering technology company that brings transparency to Scope 3 transportation emissions. VesselBot enables companies to accurately and efficiently calculate their carbon footprint, facilitating compliance with ESG regulations and helping to reduce GHG transportation emissions.

Download the Report:

To access the full report and receive regular updates on this critical topic, VISIT HERE

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Somali pirates strike again, Iranian fishing vessel highjacked

Africa Ports & Ships

After a lull of several years, Somali pirates are back in the news with reports of them having successfully attacked and seized an Iranian fishing vessel named ALMERAJ 1.

The seizure took place off the Somali coast near the old seaport town of Eyl. The ‘pirates’ are thought to have come from the local clan and their attack on the fishing vessel was in response to claims of the fishing vessel operating within Somali territorial waters.

The origin of piracy off the Somali coast is credited to foreign fishing vessels taking fish that local fishermen say is there’s by right. From that early start rampant piracy took over as Somali clans discovered the large sums of money could be generated by way of ransoming crew and the vessels.

It has been reported that the Somalis are demanding US$ 400,000 for the release of the Almeraj 1 and its crew. Reports add that they threaten to use the vessel to attack more shipping if the ransom is not paid.

Almeraj 1 sailed from Chabahar in Iran in October and has been operating in Somali waters since arriving off the coast.

Central Park highjack attempt

Reports from the US Pentagon say that the men who boarded the tanker Central Park may have been Somalis, and not Houthis from Yemen.

The vessel was boarded by five men operating from a small boat in waters near the Yemen coast. An American destroyer, USS Mason, was able to intervene and demand the men leave the vessel, after which they chased the escaping boat and apprehended the five men.

The five are now in custody on board the Mason.

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CMA CGM omits Durban call for MIDAS 1 service

The container ship Stanley A, currently at the Durban outer anchoarge, is deployed on CMA CGM’s MIDAS 2 service. Picture by VesselFinder

Africa Ports & Ships

French container shipping company CMA CGM has reacted to the increasing congestion at the Durban port, where upwards of 20 container ships are waiting outside to enter port, with a further 8 to 10 inside and working cargo on any given day.

CMA CGM said in a note to customers that all South African terminals are currently facing critical operational constraints. Productivity and operations are severely impacted, and although terminal recovery plans are in place, these actions will take time to restore the situation.

“To preserve schedule integrity and until end of January 2024, in agreement with our partner, CMA CGM will take the following measures:

Durban will be omitted on our MIDAS 1 service while taking opportunity to review this decision as Durban Container Terminal recovery plan progresses.

“A solution for Durban exports can be provided on MIDAS 2 service.

“Starting with vessel STANLEY A (IMO 9303807) on voyage 0MTG3W1MA, Port Elizabeth and Pointe des Galets (Reunion) will be offered alternatively every following departure on our MIDAS 2 service.”

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Transnet Recovery Diary: 28 November 2023

Africa Ports & Ships

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Port of San Pedro loads first iron ore cargo at TIPSP MPT terminal

The new TIPSP terminal and quay at San Pedro port.  Picture: TIPSP

Africa Ports & Ships

The San Pedro Multipurpose Industrial Terminal, a strategic partnership between Arise P&L, S. Energies and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, has loaded its first iron ore export operation at the Port of San Pedro in Ivory Coast.

The cargo of 62,415 tonnes of iron ore was loaded into the holds of the bulk carrier LOWLANDS MIMOSA, which docked at the multipurpose industrial terminal of San Pedro (French: Terminal Industriel Polyvalent de San Pedro – TIPSP) on Sunday 19 November 2023.

Loading was completed at dawn on 21 November with a net loading rate of 45,000 tonnes a day.

The TIPSP terminal is operated by Arise Ports & Logistics (APL) in partnership with its cUstomer, PIMCO Mali.

Other highlights from this shipment include this not only being the first iron ore to be shipped from the terminal but the deepest draught ship (13.53 metres) operated by TIPSP.

The jetty where the loading took place can accommodate vessels with a maximum draught of 14 metres.

TIPSP also announced the approaching completion of phase 2 of the terminal which will enable construction of a 250-metre long quay with a 14 metre draught alongside. The quay will feature open and covered storage areas for nickel, Lithium, iron, fertilisers, and clinker.

The development has the potential of transforming TIPSP and San Pedro into a key player in the port handling sector of West Africa. acknowledgement: 35NORD


The multipurpose industrial terminal of San Pedro(TIPSP) is a strategic public-private partnership between ARISE P&L, S. Energies and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

Created with a total investment of EUR 173 million, the terminal is now an integral part of the Port Autonome de San Pedro extension that began in May 2019.

TIPSP is dedicated to handling solid and liquid bulk commodities, including many mining minerals produced in West African countries.

The terminal operations were launched in November 2021 and in the first nine months of operation, the terminal handled more than 1.4 million tons of nickel ore export.

The Port of San Pedro and its modern and fully equipped terminals now offer a new efficient access to global trades for Ivory Coast’s inland neighbouring countries of Mali and Burkina Faso.

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Le port de San Pedro charge le premier minerai de fer fret au terminal TIPSP MPT

Le nouveau terminal et quai TIPSP du port de San Pedro   TIPSP

Africa Ports & Ships

Le terminal industriel polyvalent de San Pedro, un partenariat stratégique entre Arise P&L, S. Energies et la République de Côte d’Ivoire, a chargé sa première opération d’exportation de minerai de fer au port de San Pedro en Côte d’Ivoire.

La cargaison de 62 415 tonnes de minerai de fer a été chargée dans les cales du vraquier LOWLANDS MIMOSA, qui a accosté au terminal industriel polyvalent de San Pedro (Français : Terminal Industriel Polyvalent de San Pedro – TIPSP) le dimanche 19 novembre 2023.

Le chargement s’est achevé à l’aube du 21 novembre avec un débit net de 45 000 tonnes par jour.

Le terminal TIPSP est exploité par Arise Ports & Logistics (APL) en partenariat avec son client, PIMCO Mali.

Parmi les autres points forts de cette expédition, citons qu’il s’agit non seulement du premier minerai de fer à être expédié depuis le terminal, mais aussi du navire le plus profond (13,53 mètres) exploité par TIPSP.

La jetée où a eu lieu le chargement peut accueillir des navires d’un tirant d’eau maximum de 14 mètres.

TIPSP a également annoncé l’achèvement prochain de la phase 2 du terminal qui permettra la construction d’un quai de 250 mètres de long avec un tirant d’eau de 14 mètres à côté. Le quai comportera des zones de stockage ouvertes et couvertes pour le nickel, le lithium, le fer, les engrais et le clinker.

Ce développement a le potentiel de transformer TIPSP et San Pedro en un acteur clé du secteur de la manutention portuaire en Afrique de l’Ouest. accusé de réception : 35NORD


Le terminal industriel polyvalent de San Pedro (TIPSP) est un partenariat public-privé stratégique entre ARISE P&L, S. Energies et la République de Côte d’Ivoire.

Créé avec un investissement total de 173 millions d’euros, le terminal fait désormais partie intégrante de l’extension du Port Autonome de San Pedro qui a débuté en mai 2019.

TIPSP se consacre à la manutention de produits en vrac solides et liquides, y compris de nombreux minéraux miniers produits dans les pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest.

Les opérations du terminal ont été lancées en novembre 2021 et au cours des neuf premiers mois d’exploitation, le terminal a traité plus de 1,4 million de tonnes d’exportation de minerai de nickel.

Le port de San Pedro et ses terminaux modernes et entièrement équipés offrent désormais un nouvel accès efficace aux échanges mondiaux pour les pays voisins de la Côte d’Ivoire, le Mali et le Burkina Faso.

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The MR2 tanker Hellas Tatiana arriving in port at Cape Town to discharge sunflower oil. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The arrival of vessels of the same shipping company, turning up at the same port within a week or so of each other is no big thing. By example, right now, there are no less than four container vessels of MSC working containers within Durban harbour, although this pales into relative insignificance when you realise that there are an astonishing fourteen more container vessels of MSC sitting idly swinging at anchor off Durban.

That though, is a situation made real by the inefficiencies of Transnet within Durban harbour, and not a scheduling issue by MSC.

More usual, is just a few of the same company vessels will arrive following each other. Again, by example, within the confines of Cape Town harbour at the moment, there are currently two Maersk Line container vessels working cargo. However, what is not usual is that two vessels of the same company will arrive at the same port, shortly after one another, which are identical sisterships. More unusual, despite being sisterships, they are operating in different trades.

On 25th November, at 09h00 in the morning the MR2 product tanker HELLAS TATIANA (IMO 9794719) arrived off Cape Town, after a 25 day voyage from Varna, in Bulgaria. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and went alongside the inner berth at the Tanker Basin to begin her discharge.

Hellas Tatiana. Cape Town 25 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2017 by Hyundai Mipo Shipbuilding at Ulsan in South Korea, ‘Hellas Tatiana’ is 183 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 49,834 tons. She is powered by a HHI MAN-B&W 6G50ME-B9.5 six cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 12,536 bhp (9,220 kW) and driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 800 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 120 kW. She has a single Kangrim PC0701P06 exhaust gas boiler, and a single Kangrim PB0301AS18 oil fired boiler.

She has 12 cargo tanks, with a cargo carrying capacity of 52,019 m3, and is capable of carrying seven grades of product at any one time. She is equipped with twelve cargo pumps, with each pump capable of pumping at a rate of 600 m3/hour.

Hellas Tatiana. Cape Town 25 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of four sisterships, with two built by Hyundai at Mipo, and the other two built at the Hyundai Vinushin facility in Vietnam, ‘Hellas Tatiana’ is nominally owned by Balcombe Marine Co., and operated by Latsco Shipping Ltd., of London. She is managed by Latsco Marine Management Incorporated, of Athens in Greece. She is chartered from Latsco, by Navig8, as part of their MR Eco pool of tankers.

The funnel of ‘Hellas Tatiana’ is very recognizable as belonging to the Latsis Group, based in Monaco, with her large black ‘L’ on a yellow background, being the initial of the surname of Captain John Latsis who founded the company in 1938 with the purchase of his first vessel, and for many years was considered to be one of the great expatriate shipping operators known colloquially as the London Greeks.

The small stained glass window in Westminster Abbey includes the name ‘Captain John Latsis’

John Latsis was a generous donor to the Westminster Abbey Restoration Appeal in London. In thanks to his generous contributions to the fund, a small stained glass window, designed by Alfred Fisher, was installed in the Abbey’s Lady Chapel in 1995. The beautiful window includes his name ‘CAPTAIN JOHN LATSIS’ with images of an ancient Greek warrior, the Greek flag, an anchor, ocean waves, a nautical pennant with his initials, and an oil tanker.

His generosity in all areas was well known, setting up a charitable foundation, which in the 1980s donated over US$10 million (ZAR188.05 million) to the National Greek Seaman’s Pension Fund. Sadly, John Latsis passed away in 2003. At the time of his death, the Forbes magazine listed John Latsis as the world’s 101st richest person. He was thought to have a personal fortune which was estimated to be US6.4 billion (ZAR120.35 billion).

Hellas Tatiana. Cape Town 25 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Back in Cape Town ‘Hellas Tatiana’ had completed her discharge within 36 hours, which strongly indicated that she was yet another tanker on a multiple stop itinerary on the South Africa coast. However, her original port of Departure, Varna in Bulgaria, is not known to be an oil, or fuel products, export port.

As most casual maritime observers will be aware of, Varna is a major export port for Sunflower Oil. Whilst Sunflower Oil is both an additive for biodiesel, as well as a cooking ingredient, the fact that such imports by tanker into South Africa are so few and far between, indicates strongly that this parcel of Sunflower Oil, as with all others before it, is being imported for use as a foodstuff.

Her loading port, Varna, is split between Varna East and Varna West. The Varna East port is the original port of 1906, and located less than one nautical mile from Varna city centre. Within this port there is a sunflower loading berth, but which can only accommodate Handysize tankers of less than 130 metres. Up to now, virtually all Sunflower Oil tankers that arrived in South African ports from Bulgaria have been of the Handysize type.

Hellas Tatiana. Cape Town 25 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Varna West port was developed in 1974, and is located at 43°11’ North 027°39’ East, and is more than 17 nautical miles from Varna city centre. It was built by constructing two canals, linking two lakes, to the ocean at Varna East. The Varna West port has two berths of over 200 metres in length, connected to a pipeline network from the Oiltanking facility, and which can accommodate the loading of MR2 tankers, such as ‘Hellas Tatiana’.

At 20h00 in the evening of 26th November, ‘Hellas Tatiana’ was made ready to sail, and she departed Cape Town, bound for Durban, where she would complete her discharge. It is a pattern that Sunflower Oil laden tankers, arriving from Varna, discharge their cargo in both Cape Town and Durban, where Oiltanking have tank facilities within both ports, and which are for use of the storage of vegetable oil. She is due to arrive off Durban on 29th November, just before midnight.

Hellas Margarita. Cape Town 14 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Only a few weeks before the arrival of ‘Hellas Tatiana’ in Cape Town, her sistership HELLAS MARGARITA (IMO 9794721) had arrived off the Table Bay anchorage at 0200 in the early morning of 14th November. She had arrived after a first discharge of normal domestic fuel products in Walvis Bay, where she had arrived on 5th November at 10h00 in the morning, from Sikka in India. She had sailed from Walvis Bay on 8th November at 06h00 in the morning, bound for Cape Town.

Her time out in the Table Bay anchorage lasted for just over two and a half days, and on 14th November at 15h00 in the afternoon, ‘Hellas Margarita’ entered Cape Town harbour, going alongside the very same berth that ‘Hellas Tatiana’ occupied some 10 days later. Her discharge at the berth was completed by the early hours of 16th November, and at 04h00 in the morning on that date, she sailed from Cape Town, bound for Fujairah in the UAE for further orders.

Hellas Margarita. Cape Town 14 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Most folk, including the casual maritime observer, are not aware of the importance of the oil terminal at Sikka. It lies on the Gulf of Kutch, close to the city of Jamnagar at 22°25’ North 069°49’ East, off the northwest coast of the Indian State of Gujarat, and it is the largest export oil terminal in India. The reason for that is self-evident when one realises the scale of the associated Jamnagar oil refinery.

To reinforce the picture, not always understood in South Africa, that India is a major oil exporter of refined products, and not just because of taking advantage of cheap Russian crude oil due to the Ukrainian war, the Jamnagar oil refinery is the largest oil refinery in the world today. It is owned and operated by Reliance Industries Limited, and when it was commissioned in 1999, it was already built as being capable of refining 668,000 barrels per day.

Hellas Margarita. Cape Town 14 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’ 

By 2008, the refinery has expanded to be capable of refining 1,240,000 (1.24 million) barrels per day. If every piece of pipe used in the Jamnagar refinery was laid end-on-end, it would stretch for the whole length of India, from north to south, an effective distance of 3,214 kilometres, or the equivalent of stretching from Cape Town to Durban, and back again.

The oil port of Sikka has seven jetty berths, all for the export of refined fuel products, with two berths capable of handling tankers up to MR size, and three berths capable of handling tankers up to LR size. Sikka port also provides five offshore single buoy moorings (SBM), with three provided for the import of crude oil, and two provided for the export of refined fuel products. All of Sikka’s berths and SBMs are connected by pipeline to the nearby Jamnagar oil refinery.

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US Navy liberates Israeli tanker seized by Houthi forces

The tanker Central Park which was briefly seized by Houthi rebels.  Picture: Guy Claessens/MarineTraffic

Africa Ports & Ships

Action taken by US Navy forces operating off the coast of Yemen have liberated an Israeli chemical products tanker, the 19,998-dwt CENTRAL PARK (IMO 9725823), which had become the latest Israeli-linked ship to have been seized by members of the Houthi rebel movement.

Central Park is managed by Zodiac Maritime, a company operated by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer. The tanker was operating with its Automatic Identification System (AIS) turned off in an effort of trying to avoid being targeted as it transited the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

However the crew did manage to trigger the vessel’s distress signals which alerted US military in the area.

Central Park is carrying a full cargo of phosphoric acid. The vessel has a crew of 22 seafarers from Bulgaria, Georgia, India, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam. There were no injuries reported among them.

The seizure of the tanker follows another Israeli car carrier vessel, the Galaxy Leader, that was seized by Houthi forces and forced to sail into the Hodeidah port in Houthi-occupied Yemen.

US military forces, including the Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Mason, which was monitoring the area, responded immediately to the distress signal and on approaching the tanker, the five Houthi personnel on board abandoned the Central Park and attempted to flee in their small boat.

The destroyer gave chase and forced the Houthi’s to surrender and be taken into custody.

Although US Naval authorities did not identify the attackers, they did confirm that missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled Yemen which fell short by about 10 nautical miles from the Mason.

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Nigerian oil spill at sea, clean-up operations underway

The Egina FPSO on delivery to site off Nigeria. Picture: Samsung Heavy Industries

Africa Ports & Ships

Nigerian authorities say the oil spill that occurred from TotalEnergies’ offshore Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel last week is under control and that clean-up measures are being undertaken.

The Egina FPSO is capable of producing 200,000 barrels of crude a day and has an onboard storage capacity of 2.3 million barrels.

The FPSO is located 130 kilometres south of Port Harcourt in eastern Nigeria. It is believed some 3,000 barrels of crude spilled into the sea.

Director-General of the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr Idris Musa, said the clean-up operation was ongoing.

The spill was not a minor one but has not reached the coastline, he said, due to the effectiveness of the spills contingency plan they deployed. Musa added that NOSDRA immediately deployed high-level personnel as well as activating the National Oil Spills Contingency Plan to contain the spill.

Other oil companies have assisted in the effort of containing and cleaning the oil spill.

Musa said that aircraft had been deployed and at least five vessels have taken part in the oil abatement process, using 15,000 litres of liquids to clean the affected ocean.

Egina is the third deepwater offshore development of TotalEnergies in Nigeria. Located approximately 20 km away from Akpo field, Egina field lies within the oil mining lease block (OML) 130 and covers an area of around 500 square miles.

The field achieved its first oil in December 2018.

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Nigerian Navy holds Exercise Nchekwa Oshimili 2023 in Gulf of Guinea

Nigerian Navy landing ship NNS Kada.  Picture: Nigerian Navy

Africa Ports & Ships

The Nigerian Navy put on its best face for the Chief of Naval Staff Sea Inspection ‘Nchekwa Oshimili’ 2023 exercise, which commenced late last week in Onne, Rivers State.

The four-day sea inspection is an annual exercise to assess the operational capabilities of the naval fleet.

Taking part in the exercise are 13 naval ships, 88 smaller naval craft, two helicopters, four operational bases, 4,000 naval personnel and two units of the navy’s Special Boat Service, Nigeria’s elite special naval service.

On board the Nigerian Navy ship KADA, was the Minister of State for Defence, Muhammad Bello Matawalle, who instructed the officers and men of the navy to continue their good work in ensuring the Gulf of Guinea remains safe for economic activities.

The minister praised the navy for its impressive performance in maintaining maritime security along Nigeria’s coast.

“The operational activities of the Nigerian Navy within the last three months under the leadership of the Chief of Naval Staff have received varying degrees of success,” Matawalle said.

“I am aware of other operations and robust efforts through patrols and surveillance that the Navy is carrying out to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment for economic prosperity and national development.”

He said it was thanks to the activities of the navy that there has been what he called a “drastic reduction of maritime crime”, leading to improved economic activities.

In particular, he pointed out that oil production has increased in recent times, which he said is testament to the effectiveness of the Nigerian Navy’s operations.

“Exercise Nchekwa Oshimili will further bolster the existing operations towards enhancing security in our waters,” the minister said.

Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla

Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, said in his welcome address that it is significant that the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) reports have delisted Nigeria from the IMB List of piracy-prone nations.

“Also, reports from other regional maritime awareness centres have also indicated improvements in legitimate shipping activities due to a reduction in the crime rate in Nigeria’s waters,” he said.

This exercise, he added, is designed to improve cooperation and intelligence sharing towards enhancing the collective capabilities of maritime stakeholders against maritime crimes.

Admiral Ogalla said the inspection would take place in the nation’s maritime environment as well as in the Gulf of Guinea, a major sea lane for commerce and communication.

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Added 28 November 2023


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President promises “We have a plan” to fix ports crisis

by Terry Hutson
Africa Ports & Ships

The ports of Durban and Richards Bay have again been in the news for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks, with congestion in the terminals and on the roads highlighting the serious situation that has developed.

Once again we have seen the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, being brought into having a look at the situation and making pronouncements on what steps are/will be taken to rectify the problems.

It’s good news that the president takes the trouble and time to look into these matters, as well he should. Alright, he had to come to the port of Durban to open the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal, which was presumably arranged a long time ago, but it fitted in with him being able to make pronouncements and provide assurances that the problems are being taken care of.

Do all port users at both harbours feel better for this? Probably not, and why? Most likely because we have all heard these promises before. “We have a plan,” – all politicians love to declare this because it usually defers the issue without the necessity of explaining anything.

“We have a plan” is exactly what President Ramaphosa said on several occasions in response to questions posed by journalists as to what government was going to do to sort out something that economists say is costing the South African economy in excess of a billion rands a day.

Equally as important, it is costing people their jobs, in a country where close to 40% of the available population is out of work – and that is probably an under-estimate of the real number of jobless South Africans.

On top of these assurances that Transnet/government has a ‘plan’, the same old excuses of not having enough infrastructure have been trotted out to an audience that knows only too well that the real issue is not not having enough straddle carriers, or RTGs, or ship-to-shore cranes. Port users know the real problem is a lack of simple productivity, tied with with a history of not maintaining what you already have.

The president is being duped by those who report to him when they say these things, when they report that all that is needed is to be given the budget to go out and acquire more machinery that in another five or seven years will have become abused and ‘broken’ like the others, mainly because it wasn’t maintained in a proper and efficient manner.

And perhaps there is a lack of motivation among some of the staff to do the jobs they are paid for.

But even if the existing infrastructure has to be replaced, either because it genuinely wore out or, very likely, wasn’t properly maintained, these things don’t come from the local supermarket and will take up to a year and longer to be replaced. That’s not going to help the current situation.

So what happens in the short term? What is that plan?

What was encouraging to hear from the president’s lips and repeated by public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, is that there will in future be ‘accountability’ from the ranks of those placed in charge of carrying out the necessary steps in Transnet/government’s latest ‘plan’.

Some of those at the top have already departed from Transnet, they said, explaining that this is an example of what they meant. So now we know, those top people who ‘resigned’ were actually pushed. Now those responsible for carrying out this plan will be aware that they are under the same reminder.

According to the president, it is not all doom and gloom, There has been some progress and movement in making the Port of Durban more efficient and able to cope with growing demand, he said. Industry might well ask for some details, because there’s little or no obvious evidence.

In terms of growth we see no improvement, yet elsewhere across the world and including many African ports, container volumes have increased at time quite dramatically. 

Not here though.  If we take Durban’s container volumes over the the past three years there is no sign of improvement. Container volumes have simply not grown – 2.595 million TEUs in 2020, 2.575 million TEUs in 2022.

Remember that Durban handles over 60 per cent of South Africa’s containers.

Of course the number of containers is also a reflection on the nation’s economy and not necessarily of terminal efficiency. But taking these figures in conjunction with what the World Bank has said about Durban’s container productivity in two consecutive reports, the port has shown no progress whatsoever.

All the South African container ports remain at the bottom of the pile – all 370 or so world ports.

Questions that should be asked concern not only details of the latest ‘plan’ but how we got into this situation in the first place.  How is it that Transnet in a matter of 15 or 20 years went from a reasonably well-run port terminal operator into one of the world’s worst?

Something missing from the president and minister’s statements was a lack of mention of the impending ‘partnership’ with ICTSI, the Filipino terminal operator. One assumes this forms at least a part of Transnet’s forward planning, especially as it is supposed to take effect by 1 April next year, which is roughly four months time.

One wonders what ICTSI might be thinking at this time as they hear about the growing queue of container ships outside Durban, and talk of placing orders for more expensive terminal equipment. Surely they ought to be part of this plan that we hear being mentioned?

Meanwhile, the ports of Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town and Ngqura battle on with their various problems and congestion, to which mix has been added the surcharges that shipping lines, fed up with costly delays, have thrust upon guess who – you and me, the people who buy the goodies that arrive in this country in containers that now cost even more to clear. It’s us who will bear the brunt of all this.

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Added 27 November 2023


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The bulk carrier Edwine Oldendorff in the Duncan Dock of Cape Town harbour, preparing to leave for Durban. 13 November 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Most everyone is aware of the slavish, and open, support of Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine by the Belarus President, Aleksandr Lukashenko, and his allowance of Belarus territory to be used by the Russian armed forces as a springboard for the invasion in February 2022. This resulted in a raft of sanctions against his country.

However, even before the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces erupted in 2022, Belarus had already been hit with international sanctions, as a result of gross breaches of human rights in 2021, orchestrated by Lukashenko. One of the major outcomes of this was that the Belarus potash fertiliser industry effectively ground to a halt, as 100% of Belarus potash exports were through the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda. These potash exports totaled 12 million tons per year.

It meant that other export avenues had to be found, and quickly. Initially, Putin sanctioned the use of the port of St. Petersburg for Belarus exports, but it was obvious this was not working well enough, and another outlet had to be found, In September 2022, an agreement was reached where Putin allowed the port of Murmansk to be offered for Belarus potash exports.

So, whilst Murmansk already had a large export trade of locally mined Apatite fertiliser, through the Russian Phosagro and Acron companies, it now had a potash export trade, via Belarus. So, despite the fact that fertiliser is not a Russian sanctioned commodity, as a result of the Ukraine invasion, Russian fertiliser exports, as with Belarus fertiliser exports, are still greatly reduced as many countries around the world simply will not buy Russian fertiliser products.

Edwine Oldendorff. Cape Town, 13 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

However, we all know that the South Africa government does not follow that trend, and is rather slavish to Russian needs, so if a bulk carrier was to arrive in a South African port, from Murmansk, and went to an agricultural terminal for discharge, one does wonder if the fertiliser product onboard is non-sanctioned Russian fertiliser, or sanctioned Belarus fertiliser.

As far back as 10th November, at 22h00 in the late evening, the Handysize bulk carrier EDWINE OLDENDORFF (IMO 9717668) arrived off Cape Town, from Murmansk in Russia, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and went alongside B berth at the Fresh Produce Terminal (FPT) to begin her discharge of her agricultural fertiliser cargo.

Edwine Oldendorff. Cape Town, 13 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2016 by the Jingling Shipyard at Nanjing in China, ‘Edwine Oldendorff’ is 180 metres in length and has a deadweight of 38,330 tons. She is powered by a single Eco MAN-B&W 5S50ME-B9.2 5 cylinder, 2 stroke, main engine producing 8,239 bhp (6,060 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three MAN-B&W 5L23/30H generators providing 830 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 120 kW. She has a single exhaust gas composite Saacke CMB-VS-1.6-0.55+2×019/7 boiler. With a bluff bow, she has the lowest ice classification of ICE 1C, which allows her to navigate in Baltic Sea first year ice, with a thickness of 0.4 metres.

Edwine Oldendorff. Cape Town, 13 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of eleven sisterships, ‘Edwine Oldendorff’ is owned, operated, and managed by Oldendorff Carriers GmbH, of Lübeck in Germany. She is an open hatch box shaped (OHBS) eco vessel, designed as a Deltamarin B Delta 37 type, also known by Oldendorff Carriers as the 11X Eco class. One of the very distinctive design features of this class is that the navigating bridge is raised above the accommodation by a non-functional deck, which is supported by lattice work.

She is fitted as a bulk carrier, and a log carrier, with log securing stanchions along her whole working length. She has five cargo holds, with a cargo capacity of 51,288 m3, which are served by four MacGregor electro-hydraulic cranes of 45 tons each, with a 30 metre outreach, and which can be used in tandem to achieve lifts of up to 90 tons.

Edwine Oldendorff. Cape Town, 13 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In January 2022, ‘Edwine Oldendorff’ was chartered to carry a full cargo of 30,000 tons of Malting Barley, from Albany in Australia, to Vietnam. The charter was on behalf of the CBH Group, who are the largest agricultural co-operative in Western Australia. What was unusual about the voyage was that both Oldendorff Carriers, and the CBH Group, agreed to use the voyage to trial the use of a biofuel as part of both companies policies of carbon reduction, and which was expected to result in a 15% reduction in emissions over the course of the voyage.

This trial of a second generation biofuel, provided by BP, would also test the biofuel supply chain and provide carbon footprint data, along the supply chain, regarding emission reduction potential. This collected data could then be analysed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), of Cambridge in the US State of Massachusetts, as part of a research agreement that Oldendorff Carriers has with MIT.

Edwine Oldendorff. Cape Town, 13 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Oldendorff Carriers are a huge German shipping company, and the largest bulk shipping company in Germany. They were founded in 1921 by Egon Oldendorff, whose initials are proudly displayed on the funnel of ‘Edwine Oldendorff’, and on the company houseflag. They currently operate both an owned, and chartered, fleet of over 700 bulk carriers. As witnessed by the trial agreement with the CBH Group, Oldendorff Carriers is very driven towards reduction of its carbon footprint.

Since 2014, they have ordered over 100 Eco bulk carriers, which now make up over 90% of their owned fleet. The class that ‘Edwine Oldendorff’ belongs to, the 11X Eco class, all have fins fitted in front of a skewed propeller, to enhance the flow of water, to increase thrust. The rudder bulb is a power saving device, which changes the propeller hub vortex, to streamline the water flow behind the propeller. These two Eco device features produce a fuel saving of between 5-8%.

Edwine Oldendorff. Cape Town, 13 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After just two and a half days discharging in Cape Town, which strongly indicated that she was carrying a multiple port cargo, ‘Edwine Oldendorff’ was ready to sail. At 10h00 in the morning of 13th November, she sailed from Cape Town, now bound for Durban to complete her discharge on the South African coast.

Arriving off Durban four days later, at 10h00 in the morning of 17th November, ‘Edwine Oldendorff’ was instructed to go to the Umhlanga anchorage, where remained for the next day and a half. At 19h00 in the evening of 18th November, she finally entered Durban harbour, and proceeded down the Maydon Channel to her discharge berth at Maydon Wharf 15.

Edwine Oldendorff and pilot boat Red Bishop. Cape Town, 13 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She completed her discharge after almost five days at Maydon Wharf, and at 16h00 in the afternoon of 23rd November, ‘Edwine Oldendorff’ sailed from Durban, but did not sail away to her next loading port. Instead, she went straight back to the Umhlanga anchorage, where she still remains today.

The possible indication for this turn of events is that ‘Edwine Oldendorff’ is not waiting for further orders, but is possibly lined up to return back into Durban harbour for her next cargo load, potentially one of an ore, once an available berth is ready for her. Time will tell if this is the case.

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Added 27 November 2023


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IMO news: Single Window for Facilitation of Trade (SWiFT) – System handover, Lobito, Angola

The Port of Lobito Maritime Single Window has been handed over, marking the end of the IMO/Singapore SWiFT project. Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

The completion of the pilot Single Window for Facilitation of Trade (SWiFT) project has been marked with a ceremony to hand over a newly developed generic Maritime Single Window (MSW) platform to the Port of Lobito in Angola.

Single online portal

The new Maritime Single Window digital system allows the electronic submission, through a single online portal, of all information required by various agencies to ensure efficient clearance of ships during port calls. This was reported by the IMO news service on 21 November.

The handover ceremony on 20 November followed a week-long user acceptance testing session held from 13 to 17 November and organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) involving officials from the IMO, MPA and Port of Lobito.

Maritime Single Windows mandatory from January 2024

In just a few weeks’ time – from 1 January 2024 – it will be mandatory for ports around the world to operate Maritime Single Windows for the exchange of information required at the point of a ship’s arrival, during its stay and at departure.

This change is in line with international shipping’s aspirations to accelerate digitalization and decarbonisation of the sector and is the result of amendments to the FAL Convention.

The SWiFT project

The SWiFT project is one of IMO’s strategic partnerships with donors. It was established by IMO and Singapore in March 2021 to support medium-size ports facilitate in establishing secure digital interconnectivity with counterparts worldwide, to meet their mandatory obligations under the FAL Convention.

Picture: IMO

Collaboration to support digital transformation

Under the SWiFT project, IMO and MPA worked closely with relevant Angolan stakeholders, including the Port of Lobito and Agência Marítima Nacional, to develop a functional generic MSW platform configured to the needs of the Port of Lobito.

Julian Abril, Head of the IMO’s Facilitation Section commented: “With single window for data exchange requirements under the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic becoming mandatory in ports from 1 January 2024, the lessons and experience gained from the SWiFT project will contribute towards the implementation of MSWs globally.”

Gavin Yeo, MPA Deputy Director (Sectoral Systems Development), added: “The MSW platform developed under the SWiFT Project draws from Singapore’s experience in the implementation of our national MSW, digitalPORT@SGTM.

“MPA is pleased to have partnered IMO and the Port of Lobito on this digital transformation journey, which has the potential to enhance the efficiencies for international shipping, port operations and global supply chains.”

The SWiFT Project was supported by Singapore via in-kind contributions and by IMO via the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) which assists countries in building their capacities to enable effective compliance with the Organization’s regulatory framework.

The initiative builds upon an earlier successful project coordinated by IMO that saw successful delivery in 2019 of a Maritime Single Window system in Antigua and Barbuda.

For more information

In order to see how the shipping and ports’ sectors can realise opportunities that the operation of an MSW platform can bring, and potential approaches to designing and implementing one, readers are invited to see the link here.

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Added 27 November 2023


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Two oil storage tank farms for port of Dar es Salaam

Port of Dar es Salaam, showing locality of oil jetty (upper right. The harbour entrance is on the upper left.  Picture: TPA

Africa Ports & Ships

The Port of Dar es Salaam is to build two tank farms for oil storage, it was announced by the Tanzanian Ports Authority.

The port, which is facing significant redevelopment following recent news of DP World taking on the responsibility for managing the port and its terminals, will soon have the capacity to store up to 362,500 tonnes of oil products.

According to the Oil Terminal manager, Engineer Yona Malago, the project is being fast-forwarded, with a contractor already appointed and the government having allocated sufficient funds for the execution of the project in the 2023/24 financial year.

Port of Dar es Salaam oil jetty , with container and general terminals beyond. Picture: TPA

Malago explained that at present the state-owned port authority currently owned no tank farms and had to rely on privately-owned units. He claimed that having new tanks available will help reduce tanker discharging delays.

This will cut oil offloading time from an average of between four and eight days at present, to just two days, with benefits to oil traders and to end consumers.

Malago said the two tank farms will reduce waiting charges by 70 per cent and will boost government revenue by way of an increased number of tanker vessels being able to discharge their cargo.

The Tanzanian port has a Single Point Mooring (SPM) located offshore in the Kisinda Mjimwema area which handles tankers of 50,000 to 100,000 dwt that are too large to use the inport Kurasini Oil Jetty (KOJ) which handles refined products from smaller product tankers.

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Added 27 November 2023


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FLNG GIMI en route to West Africa

FLNG GIMI leaving the dock in Singapore. Picture: Seatrium

Africa Ports & Ships

Golar’s latest Floating, Liquid FLNG, GIMI (IMO 7382732) set sail earlier this month (November) en route for the GTA project offshore Mauritania and Senegal.

The construction was undertaken in Singapore by Seatrium, as a conversion from a 1975-built LNG carrier. According to Seatrium, Gimi has an annual capacity of 2.7 million tonnes.

Once on site off the Mauritania/Senegal coast, Gimi will go into production of the first phase of liquefaction for the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) hub.

The voyage to West Africa is expected to take 60 days, with bunker calls at Mauritius and Walvis Bay. The journey commenced on Sunday 19 November 2023.

Although escorted by a tug, Gimi is sailing using her own propulsion.

Golar CEO Karl-Fredrik Staubo said Golar was pleased to have the conversion completed. “We would like to thank Seatrium, Black and Veatch and other suppliers for another successful FLNG delivery,” he said.

“With Gimi soon on site for start-up of operations, Golar will double its operating fleet of FLNGs and bring total installed liquefaction capacity up to 5.1mtpa. We look forward to having FLNG Gimi in operation, and to continued long-term co-operation with BP, Kosmos and the national oil and gas companies of Mauritania and Senegal.”

Golar’s other FLNG referred to is the Hilli Episeyo, which was also converted for Golar by Seatrium. Hilli Episeyo is in production offshore Cameroon for Anglo-French oil and gas company Perenco.

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Added 27 November 2023


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FPSO GTA departs offshore Durban for West Africa

Africa Ports & Ships

In a matter related to the report of the FLNG named GIMI (see above), the GTA FPSO recently returned to the KZN coast after sheltering off Maputo Bay from unwelcome weather conditions further south.

The FPSO was then listed to enter Durban port early in December to undertake some repair work issues with the FPSO’s fair leads, according to Kosmos CEO, Andy Inglis. 

Durban readers, particularly those south of the port off the Bluff or Amanzimtoti, may have noticed the vessel at night, all brightly lit up and sometimes mistaken for a passing cruise ship. At other times she moved further out to sea.

Those plans have again changed and GTA is now underway with her four tugs en route for West Africa, and any remaining repair work will be undertaken elsewhere.

GTA arrived off Durban in early October. There was one attempt to enter port that was aborted due to strong swells. Other than that she spent close to two months out at sea waiting for a weather break that didn’t come.

GTA left Singapore in May under tow with four POSH tugs, Posh Eagle, Posh Falcon, Posh Osprey, and Posh Teal that are continuing their long journey with the FPSO. The large tugs have taken turns to enter port for brief periods as necessary before returning to escort duty outside.

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Added 27 November 2023


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ICS counts down to COP28

Countdown commences to flagship maritime event at COP28. Picture: The Museum of the Future

Edited by Paul Ridgway

In just under three weeks’ time maritime and energy sector leaders will convene with governments and key stakeholders across the supply value chain at COP28 at the Shaping the Future of Shipping: Delivering a Net Zero World Summit in Dubai.

This was reported by the International Chamber of Shipping in London on 24 November. This is an industry initiative with the summit’s lead sponsors being Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and MSC and is held under the patronage of the United Arab Emirates Ministry for Energy and Infrastructure at the Museum of the Future.

On 10 December the Summit will bring together maritime and energy executives and policymakers to identify and accelerate solutions to the decarbonisation challenge and provide recommendations to the COP28 Presidency, a ministerial roundtable, and the IMO.

Platform for stakeholders

The Summit is the largest gathering of this kind to be held at a COP. It will provide a platform for cross-sectoral stakeholders across the whole value chain to discuss ambitious, practical and actionable solutions to advance infrastructure, fuel availability, financing, and set out how to prepare the maritime workforce to accelerate the transition to a low and zero carbon emissions economy.

The Summit will build on discussions at COP28 to set a course for the industry and will provide recommendations to both the COP28 Presidency and the IMO.

A host of high-profile names will be attending the cross-industry decarbonisation summit at COP28 including Kitack Lim, Secretary General, IMO, and Arsenio Dominguez, Secretary General Elect of IMO.

Coalition of industry bodies

The flagship maritime event is organised by a coalition of leading maritime industry bodies and coordinated by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), in partnership with the Emirates Shipping Association.

“IRENA projects that at least 50% of all traded low carbon fuels will be transported by shipping by 2050,” said Professor Lynn Loo, CEO, Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation.

“This points to the critical link between the energy and transport sectors as we navigate the energy transition. The Shaping the Future of Shipping Summit at COP28 will bring together leaders and stakeholders of both the energy and transport sectors to work cooperatively and collaboratively towards meeting IMO’s decarbonisation goals of 2050 and indicative checkpoints of 2030 and 2040.”

Sturla Henriksen, Special Advisor, Ocean, UN Global Compact, United Nations added that decarbonising shipping is key to decarbonising global trade.

“The Summit will bring together leaders from industry, governments and international regulatory bodies to address the urgent and coordinated efforts needed to succeed,” he said.

Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping and Managing Director, Grimaldi Group, Emanuele Grimaldi, agreed that all plans for decarbonisation cannot happen without shipping. “For the world to decarbonise shipping needs to not only have a seat at the table but also be a part of the conversation.

“In order to meet our decarbonisation goals, it is essential that all stakeholders work together across the value chain in order to collaborate to ensure practical and plausible solutions are agreed to the challenge we face ahead. We need to act now, and this important summit will be key to unlocking a sustainable and equitable future for all.”

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Added 27 November 2023


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IMO at COP 28


Edited by Paul Ridgway

It was reported at the end of the week just gone that the IMO Secretariat will be present at COP 28, the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 30 November to 12 December.

IMO Participation

IMO will participate in the conference to showcase its commitment to reduce GHG emissions from shipping and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Provisional programme

The provisional programme of the event is to be found here.

Reports to SBSTA

IMO reports to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) are available here.

To download IMO submission to SBSTA 59 readers are invited to see here.

Global Stocktake and submission

The first Global Stocktake of the implementation of the Paris Agreement will conclude at COP 28.

IMO’s submission for the first Global Stocktake is available here.

IMO-UNCTAD-IRENA side event at COP28

On 9 December IMO, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) are holding a side-event at COP 28: The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy: defining the global level-playing-field for shipping decarbonization.

This side event will outline the ambitions in the 2023 GHG Strategy and highlight the need for collaboration amongst all stakeholders to reach the goals.

Side event programme

The programme for the IMO-UNCTAD-IRENA side event at COP28 is here.

Maritime events programme

IMO will be present at a number of other side events. Readers are invited to download the provisional programme here.

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Added 27 November 2023


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Maersk signs landmark green methanol offtake agreement

Maersk ship which has All the way to zero logo.  Picture: Maersk

Africa Ports & Ships

* Commercially viable long-term offtake agreement for annual volumes of 500KT to enable low carbon operations for the first 12 large methanol-enabled Maersk vessels on order.
* First volumes expected in 2026.

AP Moller-Maersk will take delivery of its first large ocean-going methanol-enabled vessel (16,000 TEU) in the first quarter of 2024 and is working on sourcing solutions with a broad range of global partners for the entire vessel series being delivered in 2024-25.

Announcing this recently, the Danish shipping and logistics firm said the offtake agreement between itself and Chinese developer Goldwind, a global leader in clean energy, reaches into the next decade and marks the first large scale green methanol offtake agreement for the global shipping industry.

The effect for AP Moller-Maersk is that of significantly de-risking its low-emission operations in this decade, the statement said.

AP Moller-Maersk aims to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 across its business. The deal significantly de-risks the initial stages of Maersk’s net-zero journey and supports expectations for a competitive green methanol market towards 2030. The record-high volumes can annually propel more than half the methanol-enabled capacity Maersk currently has on order.

Rabab Raafat Boulos, AP Moller-Maersk’s chief infrastructure officer, called the deal a milestone for Maersk “as it enables us to significantly reduce our emissions footprint in this decade and stay aligned with the 1.5-degree Celsius trajectory as set out in the Paris Agreement, ensuring continued supply of low carbon shipping services to our customers in the second half of this decade.”

Boulos said Maersk is encouraged by the agreement because its scale and price confirm their view that green methanol currently is the most viable low-emission solution for ocean shipping that can make a significant impact in this decade.

“The deal is a testament to the momentum and vast efforts we see among ambitious developers driving projects forward across geographies, however, we still have a long way to go in ensuring a global green fuels market that can enable the decarbonisation of global shipping.”

Wu Gang, Goldwind chairman, said Goldwind respects Maersk as a pioneer in the field of maritime green fuel. “We are excited to jointly promote the green transition with Maersk.”

Wu Gang said that with this project, Goldwind will continue to explore the innovative application of new technologies, pursue the organic combination of green electricity and green fuel production, and optimise the production process of green methanol.

“Goldwind is committed to collaborating with companies involved in the green methanol industry, with the aim to make green methanol one of the most important and economically feasible clean maritime fuels in the future.”

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Added 27 November 2023


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Making lithium batteries safe to air freight: IATA advice

Edited by Paul Ridgway

The complex business of flying dangerous goods around the world involves a multitude of stakeholders, all of which must perform in a consistent and predictable manner to ensure risks are minimized and this special cargo reaches its destination.

Lithium batteries are the most common dangerous goods item, found in a wide range of consumer goods, including laptops. They can often be incorrectly packaged or labelled, leading to fines and loss of business. In a worst-cast scenario, mishandling can even cause an inflight fire.


IATA’s latest white paper Make Lithium Batteries Safe to Ship provides an insight as to this critical area, from the different chemistries involved to the many solutions on offer across the value chain.

The document is said to provide a comprehensive overview of this critical area of operations. It provides an understanding of why lithium batteries are dangerous and how cargo carriers and handlers can mitigate the risk and at the same time obtain insight into the latest developments.

Forthcoming standards and emerging trends are covered and readers are invited to download the document to ensure lithium battery shipment is safe and in full compliance with the regulations.

A link to Make Lithium Batteries Safe to Ship is to be found here.

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Added 27 November 2023



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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

PORT October 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.539
Durban 5.981
Saldanha Bay 4.304
Cape Town 1.099
Port Elizabeth 1.261
Ngqura 1.164
Mossel Bay 0.112
East London 0.216
Total all ports during October 2023 21.725 million tonnes

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