Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 18 February 2024

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News commencing Sunday 11 February 2024.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return.  Additional news reports will be included as they are received.

FIRST VIEW:   Gas Summit


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 FIRST VIEW: Gas Summit

Gas Summit Durban 9 February 2024. Picture by Trevor Jones

The liquid petroleum gas (LPG) tanker GAS SUMMIT (IMO 9693549) which called in Durban at 15:00 on Friday 9 February to go to berth at the T-Jetty’s M shed berth. As the ship appears to be carrying little or no cargo, and has spent several days thus far at an unusual berth for a tanker, it would appear she may be receiving some minor engineering attention.

On Sunday 11 February a bunker vessel was alongside, a possible indication that the LPG tanker may shortly sail.

Gas Summit has a deadweight of 54,684 tons and has a length and breadth of 225 and 38 metres respectively.  Flying the flag of Panama, the tanker is owned and managed by KSS Line of South Korea.

The vessel was built in 2014 at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd yard in Ulsan, South Korea Hyundai. Gas Summit arrived in Durban from Hi Chi Minh in Vietnam, from where she departed on 19 January 2024. Prior to that she arrived in Vietnam from Al Fujairah in the UAE, and has thus crossed the Indian Ocean twice before arriving in South Africa.

This picture of Gas Summit arriving in Durban is by Trevor Jones

Africa Ports & Ships

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WHARF TALK: SA Port Statistics for January 2024

By Africa Ports & Ships

Port statistics for the month of January 2024, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

The statistics here reflect port cargo throughputs, ships berthed and auto and container volumes handled together with bulk and dry bulk volumes.

Motor vehicles are measured in vehicle units as well as included in tonnage on the basis of 1 tonne per unit.

Containers are counted in TEUs, with each TEU representing 13.5 tonnes.

continues below…..

Dongbang Giant No.8. Durban 7 February 2024. Picture: Keith Betts
Dongbang Giant No.8. Durban 7 February 2024. Picture: Keith Betts
Dongbang Giant No.8 with load. Picture: Erik / VesselFinder

The heavy load carrier Dongbang Giant No.8 (IMO 9659957) called in Durban earlier in February, choosing a gusty windy day with choppy water in Durban Bay, in order to take bunkers and supplies before rounding South Africa on course for Angra dos Reis in Brazil. The 165 metre by 42m specialist vessel was built by Samsung Heavy Industries and flies under the flag and registry of Liberia. The hovering helicopter overhead in the Durban pictures is there to recover the harbour pilot. The third picture (VesselFinder) shows what the heavy load carrier looks like with a load on deck. Durban pictures are by Keith Betts

Figures for the respective ports during January 2024 are:

Total cargo handled by tonnes during January 20243, including containers by weight

PORT January 2024 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.141
Durban 6.112
Saldanha Bay 4.619
Cape Town 1.021
Port Elizabeth 1.018
Ngqura 1.050
Mossel Bay 0.126
East London 0.157
Total all ports 21.244 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during January 2024
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT January 2024 TEUs
Durban 200,087
Cape Town 57,503
Port Elizabeth 19,665
Ngqura 47,629
East London 1,782
Richards Bay 5
Total all ports 326,671 TEU

MOTOR VEHICLES RO-RO TRAFFIC (measured by Units- CEUs) during January 2024

PORT January 2024 CEUs
Durban 37,446
Cape Town 0
Port Elizabeth 7,910
East London 4,371
Richards Bay 18
Total all ports 49,745

SHIP CALLS for January 2024

PORT January 2024 vessels gross tons
Durban 225 8,946,635
Cape Town 160 3,736,667
Richards Bay 120 4,904,496
Port Elizabeth 61 2,088,382
Saldanha Bay 46 2,728,608
Ngqura 36 1,887,074
East London 21 855,337
Mossel Bay 29 465,206
Total ship calls 698 25,611,805
— source TNPA, with presentation and adjustments (regarding container weights) by Africa Ports & Ships
Added 17 February 2024


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CMA CGM Mermaid, first of a new design of container ship, enters service

CMA CGM, Mermaid, the new feeder type design of container ship built in S Korea for French company CMA CGM

Africa Ports & Ships

CMA CGM has taken delivery of CMA CGM Mermaid (IMO 9961283), the first vessel in a series of 10 container ships of 2,000 TEU capacity, with a different line and architecture from conventional container ships, is aimed at better energy performance.

• A unique design, the result of collaboration between CMA CGM, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, and Hyundai Heavy Industries, which heralds a new generation of container ship.

• A novel design that enhances energy efficiency and environmental performance of the vessels by up to -20% CO2 emissions, in line with the Group’s decarbonization strategy.

• The ten new vessels of 2,000 TEUs will progressively be positioned in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe for transporting goods over short distances, facilitating modal shift from road to sea.

These new container ships, with an original design aimed at improving their energy efficiency and environmental performance, will join the CMA CGM fleet of around 620 vessels, including more than 30 already powered by alternative energies. These ships will emit up to -20% CO2 compared to a similar-sized ship with a conventional maritime fuel design (very low sulfur oil).

The new ships, powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), will be progressively deployed in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

CMA CGM Mermaid is part of CMA CGM’s fleet renewal program, in which the Group has invested more than $15 billion. It brings the Group one step closer to meeting its objective of Net Zero Carbon by 2050. By 2028, nearly 120 ships will be powered by low-carbon energies.

Design and construction

After the Danish engineering firm Odense Marine Technique (OMT) further converted the concept into an industrial prototype, CMA CGM entrusted the construction of the ships to Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD), located in South Korea.

The shipyard, number one for performance, manages every stage of container ship assembly.

Finally, GTT, a French company and expert in technologies for the maritime transport and storage of liquefied natural gas, worked closely on the project for the design and conception of the gas chain and storage tank with total capacity of 1,053 m3.

This close collaboration between the shipowner, engineering firm, equipment supplier, and world-renowned manufacturer has has provided a concrete response to the need for innovation in naval architecture and has given rise to a new model of container ship, with profoundly renewed profile and technical characteristics.

Proportions and technologies

In order to optimise energy efficiency in all its activities, CMA CGM decided to resize this new series of ships. One of the original characteristics of the design is the ratio of 204.29 m long to 29.6 m wide to improve the ships’ hydrodynamic and aerodynamic performance.

CMA CGM Mermaid, now in service with shipping company, CMA CGM

They are also the first ships in the CMA CGM fleet with superstructures at the front. Thus, placed at the front, the bridge and accommodations ensure better aerodynamic performance and higher loading capacity compared to a conventional architecture.

A new, almost inverted straight bow with an integrated bow bulb also offers better hydrodynamic performance to reduce fuel consumption by 15% per trip.

An on-board energy mix to reduce the carbon footprint

These ships are powered by LNG, a lower-carbon energy source than conventional fuel, which reduces sulfur oxide emissions by 99%, nitrogen oxide emissions by 92%, and fine particles by 91%. When cooled to -161°C, LNG powers a 12-megawatt MAN engine.

These dual-fuel ships can also carry biogas (-67% eq. CO2) produced from bio-waste and are convertible to e-methane (-85% eq. CO2) produced from decarbonised hydrogen.

The 10 new container ships will also be equipped with an alternator coupled to the main propulsion engine, which will provide the energy needed to power the onboard electrical installations once at sea.

The latest innovation in this new generation of container ships is one of the most powerful fuel cells aboard a ship. It is on track to be mounted on the last of the series which is scheduled for delivery in January 2025. As the fuel cell is powered by hydrogen with an energy capacity of 1MW, this ship will have zero emissions when berthed.

A model with abundant technologies designed to maximize energy efficiency and environmental performance, the ships are finally also more comfortable and pleasant for their crew with modern interiors and booths.

A new range of feeders to serve Northern Europe and the Intra-Mediterranean

Delivered progressively between February 2024 and January 2025, the ten new vessels will transport goods over short distances, mainly in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Between April and July, six of the series will join the Intra-Northern-Europe line to serve the Baltic and Scandinavian ports from the hubs of Hamburg and Bremerhaven. Four other ships will join the Intra-Mediterranean line between the end of September and the end of November.

Capable of carrying 45ft containers which can be loaded on trailers, these ships offer a more energy-efficient alternative to road transport in Europe and the Mediterranean region.

The CMA CGM Mermaid will embark on her voyage to Northern Europe from Busan in South Korea.

Added 15 February 2024


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Maersk to demerge towage company Svitzer

The Svitzer offshore supply tug Esbjerg (IMO 9852511), one of a fleet of 450 tugs and other workboats

Africa Ports & Ships

A.P.Moller-Maersk has announced it is demerging from ownership of daughter towage company Svitzer, as it progresses towards streamlining its business as an integrated logistics provider in shipping, logistics and port terminals.

Svitzer will now be spun off via a stock market listing after having been in the APMM stable for 45 years. Svitzer will be known as the Svitzer Group A/S.

The plan is to list the new company on the Nasdaq Copenhagen stock exchange.

Svitzer's CEO, Kasper Nilhaus
Svitzer’s CEO, Kasper Nilhaus

The demerger has still to be confirmed by Maersk shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting which is scheduled for near the end of April. Once approved Svitzer Group shares will be able to commence trading from 30 April 2024.

Svitzer’s chief executive. Kasper Nilhaus, says this will provide Svitzer with a really good platform for growth, win new contracts and enter more ports.

Svitzer operates with a fleet of more than 450 ships and is active in 140 ports worldwide. Only recently has Boluda Towage overtaken Svitzer in number of vessels after Boluda acquired Dutch Smit Lamnalco.

Maersk has been gradually thinning out its business involving oil rigs and other units that did not fit in the vision of a more pure shipping and logistics business.

Added 15 February 2024


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MSC’s Soren Toft and the Suez Canal Authority discuss Red Sea crisis

The 23,736-TEU MSC Gulsan crossing the Red Sea during 2019, when it was safe to do so

Africa Ports & Ships

The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, Admiral Ossama Rabiee, held a meeting this week with the CEO of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Mr Soren Toft, to discuss in detail the continued crisis in the lower Red Sea.

MSC, as the world’s largest container shipping company, is also one of the largest users of the Suez Canal, and was one of the first shipping companies to re-route its vessels away from the Bab al-Mandeb Strait that connects the Gulf of Aden with the Red Sea.

All of the affected MSC container ships now make use of the longer, but safer journey around the Cape of Good Hope. Most other container carriers have followed in this direction, along with an increasing number of liquid and dry bulk carriers and other specialist vessels.

All of this has led to a rapidly decreasing number of ships crossing the Suez Canal, and amounting concern by the Suez Canal Authority as it watches its revenue source erode.

The conference between the SCA and MSC took place via a video-conference, during which Admiral Rabiee stressed the Suez Canal Authority’s keenness to continuously consult with its clients and to coordinate directly with them in order to identify joint working mechanisms.

Adm Rabiee at the video-conference with MSC’s Soren Toft

This is with a view of reducing the impact of the current crisis, which imposes more challenges on the canal trade and global supply chains.

The meeting tackled developments in the situation in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb region, and reviewed the navigation policies of MSC in the Suez Canal.

Soren Toft confirmed MSC Group’s readiness to return to crossing the Suez Canal as soon as the security situation stabilizes in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb region.

Toft added that the current situation in the Red Sea region has become very complicated. He said it imposes more security concerns about the safety of crews and transiting vessels, in light of the fact that some of the group’s vessels were subjected to some attacks while crossing Bab al-Mandeb.

He expressed his appreciation for the joint coordination with the Suez Canal Authority in an attempt to overcome the challenges imposed by the current situation in the Red Sea region, which he said has a negative impact on global supply chains in light of the delayed arrival of goods and commodities as a result of increased navigation intervals.

Toft emphasised MSC Group’s eagerness to enhance cooperation with the Egyptian state and the Suez Canal during the coming period, and said it is the Group’s intention to inject more investments into promising logistics projects.

Added 15 February 2024


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Nexans’ new cable-laying vessel: ABB hybrid power system

To be named, Nexans cable-laying vessel currently under construction. Picture: Skipsteknisk AS

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

On 14 February ABB announced that it had secured an order with Norwegian shipyard Ulstein Verft to supply an advanced power and propulsion system for a forthcoming cable-laying vessel (CLV) of Nexans, a global player in energy transition with HQ in Paris.

It is understood that on delivery in 2026, the vessel will join Nexans Skagerrak and sister ship Nexans Aurora – also equipped with ABB technology – as the third and most advanced CLV in the Nexans fleet.

Furthermore, it was reported that an integrated system comprising main power generation and distribution, energy storage, and electric propulsion will allow the new CLV to execute its cable-laying, -recovery, and -repair tasks in a safe and efficient manner.

Currently in service, one of two and soon to be three sister ships of this type, Nexan Aurora. Picture:

DP operations

With a closed-ring configuration providing high fault tolerance and optimal engine use in dynamic-positioning (DP) operations, the system will minimise the risk of power loss for enhanced safety and reliability while maximizing operational flexibility and fuel efficiency.

The onboard energy storage system (ESS) will also reduce engine running hours to keep engine wear and tear to a minimum. In addition, the ESS will provide spinning reserve and peak-shaving capabilities, acting as a back-up power source in case of engine failure and supporting the vessel’s more energy-intensive operations.

Remote diagnostic system

Alongside main system components – generator, switchboards, transformers, frequency converters, motors, DC switchboard for batteries, and the ESS – ABB’s scope of supply includes the Remote Diagnostic System (RDS) for propulsion, thruster inverters, and rectifiers as well as cyber security configuration for the RDS.

By providing precise and timely fault detection and continuously monitoring equipment health status, the RDS improves system performance and minimizes the need for on-site service, it is reported.

Nexans informative corporate video showing cable-laying operations is to be FOUND HERE

Added 15 February 2024


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In Conversation: The world’s coral reefs are bigger than we thought – but it took satellites, snorkels and machine learning to see them


Mitchell Lyons, The University of Queensland and Stuart Phinn, The University of Queensland

The world’s coral reefs are close to 25% larger than we thought. By using satellite images, machine learning and on-ground knowledge from a global network of people living and working on coral reefs, we found an extra 64,000 square kilometres of coral reefs – an area the size of Ireland.

That brings the total size of the planet’s shallow reefs (meaning 0-20 metres deep) to 348,000 square kilometres – the size of Germany. This figure represents whole coral reef ecosystems, ranging from sandy-bottomed lagoons with a little coral, to coral rubble flats, to living walls of coral.

Within this 348,000 km² of coral is 80,000 km² where there’s a hard bottom – rocks rather than sand. These areas are likely to be home to significant amounts of coral – the places snorkellers and scuba divers most like to visit.

You might wonder why we’re finding this out now. Didn’t we already know where the world’s reefs are?

Previously, we’ve had to pull data from many different sources, which made it harder to pin down the extent of coral reefs with certainty. But now we have high resolution satellite data covering the entire world – and are able to see reefs as deep as 30 metres down.

We coupled this with direct observations and records of coral reefs from over 400 individuals and organisations in countries with coral reefs from all regions, such as the Maldives, Cuba and Australia.

To produce the maps, we used machine learning techniques to chew through 100 trillion pixels from the Sentinel-2 and Planet Dove CubeSat satellites to make accurate predictions about where coral is – and is not. The team worked with almost 500 researchers and collaborators to make the maps.

The result: the world’s first comprehensive map of coral reefs extent, and their composition, produced through the Allen Coral Atlas.

The maps are already proving their worth. Reef management agencies around the world are using them to plan and assess conservation work and threats to reefs.

Researcher towing a GPS on Great Barrier Reef during an expedition.

We combined satellite data with real world observations. Here, Dr Eva Kovacs tows a GPS on the Great Barrier Reef
Allan Coral Atlas, CC BY-SA

Where is this hidden coral?

You can see the difference for yourself. In the interactive slider below, red indicates the newly detected coral in reefs off far north Queensland.

This infographic shows the new detail we now have for the Tongue Reef, in the seas off Port Douglas in Far North Queensland.

Our maps have three levels of detail. The first is the most expansive – the entire coral reef ecosystem. Seen from space, it has light areas of coral fringed by darker deeper water.

Then we have geomorphic detail, meaning what the areas within the reef look like. This includes sandy lagoons, reef crests exposed to the air at low tide, sloping areas going into deeper water and so on.

And finally we have fine detail of the benthic substrates, showing where you have areas dominated by coral cover.

Coral can’t grow on sand. Polyps have to attach to a hard surface such as rock before they can begin expanding the reef out of their limestone-secreting bodies.

Some of our maps include fine detail of benthic substrates, meaning where coral is most likely to be and the substrates (seafloor) available to the polyps, such as existing coral, sand, rubble, or seagrass.

Made with Flourish

Made with Flourish

It’s a crucial time for the world’s coral reefs. We’re discovering the full extent of shallow water reefs – while other researchers are finding large new black coral reefs in deeper water.

But even as we make these discoveries, coral reefs are reeling. Climate change is steadily heating up the sea and making it more acidic. Coral polyps can’t handle too much heat. These wonders of biodiversity are home to a quarter of the ocean’s species.

Scientist doing coral reef research.

Making these maps took plenty of underwater research as well as satellite data. This photo shows Dr Chris Roelfsema conducting a photo transect in a remote area of the Great Barrier Reef.
Allen Coral Atlas, CC BY-SA

In good news, these maps are already leading to real world change. We’ve already seen new efforts to conserve coral reefs in Indonesia, several Pacific island nations, Panama, Belize, Kenya and Australia, among others. The Conversation

Mitchell Lyons, Postdoctoral research fellow, The University of Queensland and Stuart Phinn, Professor of Geography, Director – Remote Sensing Research Centre, Chair – Earth Observation Australia, The University of Queensland

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

Added 15 February 2024


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Cape Town Container Terminal achieves peak reefer loading

Cape Town Container Terminal

Terry Hutson
Africa Ports & Ships

The Cape Town Container Terminal is understandingly feeling chipper this week, after achieving a new local record by loading 1,726 refrigerated containers of fruit onto a single vessel.

The vessel concerned, Maersk Line’s Santa Rita (IMO 9425382), departed Cape Town for northern Europe on 10 February 2024 with her ‘record’ reefer load, which surpassed the previous highest number of reefer boxes – 1,711, achieved in 2021.

“This milestone is a combination of all our efforts and confirmation that our ramp up plans are heading towards the right direction,” said Acting Managing Executive of the Western Cape, Oscar Borchards.

In order to handle both season requirements and ensure efficiency, the Cape Town Container Terminal had to develop a recovery plan, Borchards said. “The terminal is receiving support across all spheres of the Transnet business, from the team here at the terminal all the way to board level.”

Whilst laudable this number is surely more a reflection of the achievements of the South African deciduous fruit community, with the 1,726 FEUs representing just a useful portion of the total fruit that will have been exported when the season draws to a halt at the end of March.

Transnet says the management team has been working closely with all employees to offer support while ensuring that equipment, systems and people are all in sync.

According to Borchards, the walkabouts and presence of management in operations is with the intention of finding effective ways of working, including monitoring shift changes closely, and ensuring the rollout of plans are executed efficiently.

“Communication with all our stakeholders remains at the core of what we do with captains of industry expressing gratitude for the collaborative efforts in resolving challenges as a collective,” said Borchards, adding that the team intended to continue engaging.

Santa Rita at the Cape Town Container Terminal. Picture: TNPA

There are three vessels on berth at the Cape Town Container Terminal, two at anchor and planned volumes of 16,115 TEU for this coming week.

Looking back at the recent visit by the Santa Rita to South African ports, and Cape Town in particular, what really sticks out is the inordinate time she had to spend locally. Consider the following, courtesy of VesselFinder AIS:

Arrival (UTC) Jan 12, 09:10
Departure (UTC) Jan 15, 00:38  In Port 2d 15h

Durban Anch.
Arrival (UTC) Jan 16, 16:29
Departure (UTC) Jan 19, 19:30  In Port 3d 3h

Durban DCT2
Arrival (UTC) Jan 19, 19:50
Departure (UTC) Jan 23, 17:53  In Port 3d 22h

Cape Town Anch.
Arrival (UTC) Jan 26, 08:08
Departure (UTC) Feb 4, 10:02  In Port 9d 1h

Cape Town CT
Arrival (UTC) Feb 4, 10:18
Departure (UTC) Feb 10, 02:19  In Port 5d 16h

By this reckoning the container ship spent two days short of a full month in local waters, of which over half, or 14 days, were in or outside Cape Town port. While in port the terminal took more than five and a half days to load those reefers together with other boxes.

The time ships have to spend on berth or waiting outside in SA ports is the major reason why congestion builds up. Ensuring shift changes are conducted efficiently is just one aspect towards fixing the problem at the terminals. Overall productivity has to improve across the board before the number of days ships spend at a port are reduced to acceptable levels.

Added 14 February 2024


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Norwegian Cruise Line passenger vessel Norwegian Dawn called at Durban on 7 February, during her cruise of the Southern African coast. This picture of the vessel sailing in the late afternoon is by Trevor Jones

Pictures by:
‘Dockrat’ Cape Town
Trevor Jones Durban
Keith Betts Durban
Story by: Jay Gates

The one thing about the South African summer cruising season is that it is as far away from the Red Sea and the Houthi menace as it can be. Those passenger liners on their world cruises simply round the Cape and generally turn for India after the Seychelles, and those on seasonal programmes from South African ports don’t generally venture much further north than the Seychelles.

Over the past few years the big cruise companies who normally spend their time switching between the Mediterranean Sea and the Caribbean Sea, depending on the season, have woken up to the emerging market that Southern Africa, and the Indian Ocean, offers them. Now a small armada of extremely upmarket cruise liners arrive annually to conduct a set of cruises that MSC cruises have not tapped.

On 13th February, at 05:00 in the morning, the passenger cruise liner ‘Norwegian Dawn’ (IMO 9195169) arrived off Cape Town, from Walvis Bay in Namibia, at the conclusion of her opening cruise on her 2024 Southern African cruise season, based out of Cape Town. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and going alongside E berth at the Passenger Cruise Terminal, and a period alongside to change over her passenger complement.

Norwegian Dawn. Cape Town L berth. 31 January 2024 . Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her positioning cruise to South Africa, and her Cape Town seasonal home base, began on 30th December in the Persian Gulf, from Doha in Qatar, arriving in Cape Town on 31st January, where she was berthed not at the Passenger Cruise Terminal, but rather at L berth, the normal De Beers Marine base, and berth, in the Duncan Dock.

It was from there that she embarked on the first cruise of her published programme which has now concluded back in Cape Town. This completed cruise, around the Southern Africa coastline, covered a distance of 3,390 nautical miles, with a 13 night cruise itinerary of Cape Town- Mossel Bay- Port Elizabeth- Richards Bay- Durban- Lüderitz- Walvis Bay- Cape Town.

Built in 2002 by Meyer Werft shipyard at Papenburg in Germany, ‘Norwegian Dawn’ is 294 metres in length, and has a gross registered tonnage of 92,250 tons. She is a diesel-electric vessel, with power provided by four MAN-B&W 14V48/60 generators which produce a total power output of 58,800 kW. Some of this power is transferred to electric motors which drive two ABB Azipod thrusters producing 42,000 kW to give a maximum cruising speed of 25 knots.

Norwegian Dawn. Cape Town L berth 31 January 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has a single Cummins K50 emergency generator, providing 1,342 kW. She has two Alfa Laval Aalborg CPH-12 oil fired boilers, and four Alfa Laval Aalborg AV-6 exhaust gas boilers. For added manoeuvrability she has three Brunvoll AS FU100 LTC bow transverse thrusters, each providing 2,750 kW.

Constructed at a cost of US$450 million (ZAR8.56 billion) to an original order by then parent company Star Cruises, ‘Norwegian Dawn’ was to be named ‘SuperStar Scorpio’. She was one of two sisterships known as the ‘Libra Class’, with her sistership originally to be named ‘SuperStar Libra’. However, the decision was taken to transfer both vessels to a subsidiary company, and rename them both, with the class now known as the ‘Dawn Class’, and ‘Norwegian Dawn’, and ‘Norwegian Star’ being the new names of the new vessels.

Nominally owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings, of Bermuda, ‘Norwegian Dawn’ is both owned, and managed, by NCL Bahamas Ltd., of Miami in the US State of Florida. She is operated by Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), also of Miami, and whose houseflag is displayed on her funnel. She was the first cruise liner in the NCL fleet to carry hull art.

Norwegian Dawn. Durban, 7 February 2024. Picture by Keith Betts

The Godmother of ‘Norwegian Dawn’ is Kim Cattrall, one of the three stars of the ‘Sex and the City’ TV and film franchise. The ship can carry 2,340 passengers, who are looked after by a crew of 1,032. She has a total of 14 decks, 11 of which are set aside for passenger use, and 9 of which are cabin only decks, of which 1,170 cabins are provided.

She has an extensive range of cabins, to cover all pockets, and ranging between inside, oceanview, and balcony cabins, together with a range of upmarket owners suites with a floor area of up to 70 m2, some of which come with wraparound double balconies. For the super-rich, she also has two extensive three bedroom villa cabins, which cover a huge floor area of 212 m2 each, and include an astounding balcony space of 335 m2 each.

Norwegian Dawn. Durban, 7 February 2024. Picture by Keith Betts

The passenger facilities of ‘Norwegian Dawn’ are wide ranging, and include ten restaurants, two cafés, eight bars, two lounges, a three storey theatre, casino, shopping arcade, library, four meeting rooms, and an extensive fitness centre which includes a spa, sauna, steam rooms, beauty salon, barbers shop, thermal suite, and plunge pools. She has three passenger swimming pools, all with a range of Jacuzzi whirlpools and hot tubs, and a sports deck which includes two golf driving ranges. She also has a children’s activity centre, which caters for both young kids and teenagers, and includes its own pool.

After an overnight stay in Cape Town, ‘Norwegian Dawn’ will embark on a two cruise programme, which effectively circumnavigates the island of Madagascar, using Port Louis in Mauritius as a turnaround port, where a new set of passengers are due to join the vessel. It is expected that ‘Norwegian Dawn’ will sail from Cape Town on 14th February (Valentine’s Day), at 17:00 in the afternoon.

Her outbound cruise itinerary will be Cape Town (14th/1700)- Mossel Bay (15th 0800-1700)- Port Elizabeth (16th 0700-1900)- Richards Bay (18th 0500-1600)- Nosy Bé- Antsiranana (both Madagascar)- Pointe des Galets (Reunion)- Port Louis (25th February). The cost of an outside cabin on this cruise starts at US$3,880 (ZAR74,208).

Norwegian Dawn. Durban, 7 February 2024. Picture by Keith Betts

Her return cruise will depart Port Louis in Mauritius at 20:00 in the evening of 25th February, with a return cruise itinerary of Port Louis- Pointe des Galets- Fort Dauphin (Madagascar)- Pomene- Maputo (both Mozambique)- Richards Bay (3rd March 0900- 2000)- Port Elizabeth (5th 0600-1900)- Mossel Bay (6th 0800-1700)- Cape Town (7th March 0700). The cost of an inside cabin on this cruise starts at US$2,720 (ZAR52,022).

On completion of her Indian Ocean cruise, ‘Norwegian Dawn’ will conduct another identical 13 night coastal cruise, as per the one she has just completed, with her itinerary being Cape Town (8th March 1700)- Mossel Bay (9th 0830-1630)- Port Elizabeth (10th 0700-1800)- Richards Bay (12th 0500-2000)- Durban (13th 0600-1500)- Lüderitz (16th 0900-1700)- Walvis Bay (17th 0730-1500)- Cape Town (19th March 0700). The cost for an inside cabin on this cruise starts at US$2,092 (ZAR40,024), and the cost for a balcony cabin on this cruise starts at US$3,307 (ZAR63,270).

This will complete her South African summer cruise programme, and ‘Norwegian Dawn’ will then make her positioning cruise back to the Mediterranean Sea, in time to start her European summer season of cruises. She will depart Cape Town on 20th March at 19:00 in the evening, with her itinerary being Cape Town- Walvis Bay- Luanda (Angola)- São Tomé (São Tomé e Príncipe)- Abidjan (Ivory Coast)- Banjul (Gambia)- Dakar (Senegal)- Tenerife- Lanzarote (both Canary Islands)- Motril- Alicante- Barcelona (all Spain), where the cruise will terminate on 10th April. The costs for an oceanview cabin on this cruise start from US$2,958 (ZAR56,599).

Norwegian Dawn. Durban 7 February 2024. Picture by Trevor Jones

Back in April 2005, whilst cruising off the coast of the US State of Georgia, ‘Norwegian Dawn’ encountered a set of three 21 metre high freak waves, which hit her with sufficient force to break strengthened windows as high as on both decks 9 and 10, causing minor flooding. Four of her passengers were injured by the rogue waves.

In May 2015, ‘Norwegian Dawn’ had a mishap when sailing from the island of Bermuda. She ran aground shortly after leaving harbour, due to a malfunction in her steering system. She remained aground for six hours, and was refloated on the next high tide. After an underwater inspection, she was cleared to continue her cruise, and proceeded to Boston in the US State of Massachusetts.

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Trade News: Damen enters into Strategic partnership Agreement with SA’s DTIC

One of three MMIPV patrol vessels built or building for the SA Navy by Damen Shipyards Cape Town, SAS King Sekhukhune re-enters Durban Harbour where the MMIPVs are based. Picture by Clinton Wyness

Africa Ports & Ships

The Damen Shipyards Group has signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) as part of the National Industrial Participation (NIP) programme.

The agreement will see Damen undertake NIP activities in advance for purposes of collecting NIP credits from domestic economic activity and fulfilling requirements related to local industrial participation.

These include investment, export sales, research and development, technology transfer and transformation of the local economy.

Under this agreement, Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT), a subsidiary of Damen, will continue its work of localisation and industrial participation to the benefit of the South African shipbuilding industry and economy.

Since commencing its operations in South Africa, Damen has contributed to the development of, and investment in, the local
shipbuilding and manufacturing sectors. Its contributions have included the development of personnel for highly skilled employment, as well as widespread local procurement activities.

Investing in local industry

In 2008, when the yard, formerly known as Farocean Marine, became part of the Damen Shipyards Group, the company…

Read the rest of this report in the TRADE NEWS section available by CLICKING HERE

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Green shipping fuels made in South Africa – a World Bank Blog

The port of Boegoebaai combines two of South Africa’s major strengths: Minerals and Green Hydrogen. Picture: NCEDA/PRDW Consulting Port and Coastal Engineers

Africa Ports & Ships

South Africa has the potential to become a leading producer of green hydrogen. Green hydrogen will be in high demand as countries aim to reduce carbon emissions, especially in sectors like transportation and heavy industries.

The country is actively pursuing the Hydrogen Economy as a strategic development opportunity, aiming to capture a significant share of the global hydrogen market thereby generating economic growth and jobs . The Hydrogen Economy is projected to contribute 3.6 percent to South Africa’s GDP and create 380,000 jobs by 2050. The country is attracting private sector interest in green hydrogen projects, solidifying its position as a hydrogen investment destination.

The maritime sector can kickstart this new industry by being a consumer and enabler. Deep-sea shipping, being globally regulated, can provide stable demand for green hydrogen. To reduce the shipping fleet’s carbon footprint, around 64 per cent of its fuel mix is projected to be hydrogen-based by 2050.

Fuels for ocean-going ships

Green ammonia or methanol are the most promising hydrogen-derived fuels for ocean-going ships. For the sector to meet its 2030 target, five million tons of green hydrogen would be needed for shipping alone. Seaports will need to supply green fuels to ships and serve as clean energy hubs for the export of molecules. Currently, 40 percent of fossil-based fuels are handled in ports, and 20 million tons of ammonia is traded on ships every year.

Saldanha and Boegoebaai

With support from the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) and PROBLUE, the World Bank’s blue economy program, the Bank has assisted South Africa in exploring the requirements for establishing green marine bunker fuel value chains at the ports of Saldanha and Boegoebaai.

The study revealed that supplying ammonia as ship fuel in Boegoebaai, Saldanha, and Cape Town will require up to 120,000 tons of green hydrogen by 2035. Additionally, both projects have the potential to develop into green hydrogen hubs, each offering a unique value proposition.

In the Saldanha study case, around 1.6 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy would be needed to produce 50,000 tons of green hydrogen annually, which is equivalent to 280,000 tons of green ammonia. Out of the estimated capital expenditures of around $2 billion, 66 percent is allocated to investments in solar farms and wind turbines. These investments are crucial for obtaining the “social license” for green hydrogen, adding affordable generation capacity to the energy grid.

Port of Saldanha an ideal location

The Saldanha steel plant is a unique asset to kickstart hydrogen production in South Africa. Photo: Rico Salgmann/ArcelorMittal

A two-hour drive from Cape Town, the port of Saldanha is an ideal location to aggregate demand from multiple hydrogen users, which can help to reduce investment risk.

For example, the conversion of the mothballed Saldanha Steel plant to run on green hydrogen shows promise. This project has the potential to become one of the largest first-mover projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, creating over 8,000 direct and indirect jobs in the next few years. By 2027, the facility could start producing green direct reduced iron (DRI) for the European steelmaking market.

Boegoebaai mega project

The Boegoebaai mega project in contrast will boost the country’s position as a mega exporter for green molecules. The Northern Cape provincial government has set out an ambition to develop 40 GW electrolysis capacity, producing around four million tons of green hydrogen annually.

This will require around 80 GW of renewable energy. Boegoebaai, located 20 kilometres south of the Namibian border, offers ample available land for the gradual expansion of solar parks and wind farms. The site provides favourable conditions for developing a vertical hydrogen value chain, including domestic production of photovoltaic modules and electrolyzers.

Mining contributes 28 per cent to the Northern Cape’s GDP. The new port at Boegoebaai will not only facilitate the export of green molecules but also enable cost-effective export of minerals like manganese, a critical mineral for the energy transition. South Africa is the largest manganese producer, serving around 25 per cent of global demand.

Both Saldanha and Boegoebaai account for a pipeline of hydrogen projects registered as Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs). SIPs are projects of great economic or social importance to the country and receive expedited approval and shorter delivery timeframes.

20 Green hydrogen projects

South Africa has around 20 projects linked to green hydrogen across the country, including many projects in other provinces. Recently, the three Cape provinces signed a memorandum of understanding to foster collaboration and synergies in the development of green hydrogen.

The Hydrogen Economy presents a significant opportunity globally, but the cost-competitiveness of green hydrogen compared to fossil-based alternatives is a challenge. Green hydrogen projects require access to affordable capital, which is scarce in emerging economies despite their favorable solar and wind resources.

The bankability of projects is complicated by the reliance on long-term contracts and the absence of a global spot market. Only around 10 percent of announced projects have guaranteed offtake, and the price of green fuels is not yet competitive with oil-based alternatives. De-risking early mover projects is crucial, and unique demand sources like global shipping can help achieve that.

As a truly maritime nation, South Africa has lots to offer.

Authors: Rico Salgmann, Transport Specialist, The World Bank; Maximilian Weidenhammer, Maritime Transport Consultant, Global Transport Unit, World Bank; Dominik Englert, Economist, Transport Global Practice, World Bank
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Rhenus expands warehouse capacities in Pretoria,PE and East London

Rhenus Logistics’ new East London warehouse

Africa Ports & Ships

Rhenus Logistics has created new warehousing in Pretoria and East London, in addition to expanding existing operations in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth).

Rhenus South Africa already has a strong presence in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban – see related story: Rhenus Group opens large new warehouse in Durban.

With the development of the 2,000 m2 East London warehouse and enlargement and modernisation of its Gqeberha facility by a further 1,000 m2, the company’s East Coast operations will benefit from the integrated coast-to-coast warehousing services.

In addition, a new 3,000 m2 warehouse at Samrand near Pretoria further adds to the outreach of the group.

These initiatives reflect the company’s commitment to providing a consistent quality of service and integrated experience across all its facilities, regardless of their size or location in South Africa, says Cornell van Rooyen, head of warehousing at Rhenus South Africa.

The expansion is also in response to ever-increasing market demand and the needs of its customers.

“Throughout and since Covid, many customers realised that they had insufficient stock holding in country, and that a just-in-time approach doesn’t always work in terms of meeting customer demand, combined with speed to market,” says van Rooyen.

“This is especially true in these volatile times characterised by declining transport volumes, delays at ports, poor rail infrastructure, a weakening currency and energy challenges like loadshedding.”

The new warehouse in Samrand, for example, provides optimum conditions for the express courier service and the contract logistics activities of Rhenus.

It also expands the range of production, industrial and commercial logistics services along the N1 motorway, which connects Gauteng with the north-south corridor.

In East London, the new warehouse plays a crucial role in simplifying import procedures and improving the competitive advantage of local businesses. The facility features a bonded warehouse, state-of-the-art temperature-controlled cold and hot storage and a robust security infrastructure.

For customers, these improvements increase efficiency and reduce operating and maintenance costs.

“With the targeted investment in regional hubs, we are complementing our existing business and at the same time offering the opportunity to medium-sized customers who may be considering switching to a more cost-effective outsourced storage solution in the current economic climate,” says Van Rooyen.

“We are optimistic that this strategic approach will lead to strong annual growth over the next three to five years.”

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Minerals Council delivers judgement on 2023

Richards Bay Coal Terminal – 47.2 million tonnes exported through this terminal in 2023, its lowest since before 1992

Africa Ports & Ships

Stating that South Africa’s mining industry has upheld its end of the social bargain in 2023, despite a tough operating and mixed-price environment, the Council issued the following statement:

During 2023, the mining industry created jobs and delivered higher taxes for the fiscus. This was achieved despite the serious headwinds of record Eskom electricity supply curtailment, severe constraints on railways and at ports, as well as mixed commodity prices.

In its annual Facts & Figures 2023 booklet summarising the performance of the South African mining industry and its contribution to society and the country, the Minerals Council South Africa estimates that the sector added more than 7,500 jobs last year, employing 477,000 people. Total wages increased by 7% to R186.5 billion. This supported livelihoods in a weak domestic economy characterised by high unemployment.

“It is gratifying that the mining sector again delivered a crucial contribution to the South African economy despite the significant constraints caused by unprecedented electricity load curtailment, debilitating rail and port failures and pervasive criminal activities during the year,” says Mzila Mthenjane, CEO of the Minerals Council.

The mining industry’s contribution to the fiscus, comprising of direct company taxes, royalties and pay-as-you-earn tax contributions on employee wages, is projected to have increased by R9 billion to R135.3 billion.

“There can be no doubt #MiningMatters. Our focus for the year ahead is to unlock further potential in the sector by working with the government to unlock more private sector participation in energy and rail and ports, while addressing crime and corruption, all for the improved well-being of South Africa,” says Mr Mthenjane.

Challenges and restructuring

Towards the end of 2023 and into 2024, several companies announced restructuring processes to reposition themselves with the reduced electricity availability, severe rail constraints, harbour delays, and a downturn in the prices of coal and platinum group metals (PGMs).

The repositioning process come during a challenging backdrop where:

• South Africa’s mineral sales in nominal terms fell by more than 13% in the first ten months of 2023. The expectation is that mineral sales will post the first calendar year decline since 2015 and also the largest annual fall since the global financial crisis in 2009.

• The direct contribution of mining to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12% to R425.6 billion and its percentage contribution to GDP dropped to 6.2% from 7.3%.

• Mineral exports fell by more than 11% to R781.6 billion.

“Fast-tracking structural reforms in the energy and logistics sectors, agreeing inflation- and productivity-related wage increases, implementing reasonable electricity tariff hikes, and improving municipal service delivery are crucial to the competitiveness of the industry,” says Hugo Pienaar, Chief Economist at the Minerals Council.

Negative impacts of Eskom & Transnet

The two biggest contributors to mineral sales, PGMs and coal, demonstrate the negative impacts Eskom and Transnet have had on the mining sales and output performance.

Contributing to the difficulties in these two sectors were steep falls in PGM and coal prices.

PGM sales generated an estimated R199 billion in 2023, a 33.3% decline from the previous year. Production fell by 11% to 239.9 tonnes. PGMs are in the main mined from underground operations which are exposed to electricity disruptions as are the processing, smelting and refining operations, which are particularly heavy users of electricity.

Mining production, particularly from underground operations, is closely correlated to electricity supply from Eskom. In 2023, Eskom’s electricity supply shortfall reached a new record.

Loadshedding increased to 6,760 hours, up from 3,751 hours in 2022 – an 80% change.

Coal sector & road transport

In the coal sector, producers increasingly relied on road transport to move coal to harbours, including Maputo, which carries a cost premium compared to rail.

Total estimated coal sales of R192.2 billion were 22% lower year-on-year. Total production was flat at 228.5 million tonnes, with Eskom the single largest user of domestic coal output.

Richards Bay Coal Terminal

Coal exported through Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), a privately operated facility, fell to 47.9 million tonnes in 2023, the lowest level since 1992. This was a continuation of the decline since the peak of nearly 76 million tonnes shipped from RBCT in 2017.

Trucking is estimated to have been used to transport up to 26 million tonnes of coal to various ports during 2023, the highest level of road transport in the coal sector yet.

Trucking is not the preferred option for exports of bulk commodities because of the inefficiency compared to trains, the damage to roads, congestion, accidents, increased levels of exhaust and dust pollution, and severe disruptions for communities on routes between mines and ports.

Trains are a far more efficient way to transport bulk commodities, says Mr Pienaar.

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The survey vessel Argeo Searcher, which arrived in Cape Town from Ghana on the morning of 5 February 2024. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Even with the ever increasing stream of vessels avoiding the Red Sea, as they traverse the East-West routing but via the Cape Sea Route, there is still the normal flow of vessels on the North-South routing, and the question of avoiding the Red Sea doesn’t enter into it.

Life simply goes on as normal, and this includes the diverse traffic generated by the oil and gas industry. The extensive oil and gas infrastructures of Brazil, West Africa, India, Australia and the Far East have no need for the Suez Canal, as any positioning, or cross, traffic is never required to take a sea route that places it anywhere near the current danger zone of the Red Sea.

On 5th February, at 09:00 in the morning, the survey vessel ‘Argeo Searcher’ (IMO 9125140) arrived off Cape Town, from Tema in Ghana, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and going alongside the Repair Quay. As she was not a Red Sea divert, her arrival on the Repair Quay signaled a call for shoreside engineering assistance, on top of a requirement for bunkers, stores and fresh provisions, and the potential for a crew change.

Argeo Searcher. Cape Town, 5 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 1997 by Gemyat Tersianesi SA shipyard at Tuzla in Turkey, ‘Argeo Searcher’ is 109 metres in length and has a deadweight of 5,726 tons. She is a diesel electric vessel powered by two Wärtsilä-Vasa 6R32 generators providing 2,430 kW each, and two Wärtsilä-Stork 6GL28 generators providing 1,800 kW each. She has a single Cummins 6BT-5.9G emergency generator providing 87 kW. She has ice classification of Ice Class 1A, which allows her to navigate in first year Baltic Sea ice thickness of 0.8 metres, and first year polar ice thickness of up to 0.7 metres.

Power from the generators is transferred to two stern Aquamaster US2001 azimuth thrusters, providing 1,600 kW each for a transit sea speed of 10 knots. For added manoeuvrability ‘Argeo Searcher’ has three Rolls-Royce Ulstein 375TV bow transverse thrusters providing 1,275 kW. Her combination of azimuth thrusters and bow thrusters gives her a Dynamic Positioning classification of DP2, provided by a Marine Technologies LLC Bridge Mate DP2 System.

Argeo Searcher. Cape Town, 5 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her career is quite unique, insofar as she was originally built as Ro-Ro vessel. In 2001 she was sold on and converted into a Cable Layer, with her stern ramp replaced by two cable sheaves. Again, in 2006 she was sold on again, and once more converted, this time into a specialised Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (UAV) and Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) Survey and Installation vessel, with her main stern cable sheave converted into a ramp to launch the UAVs.

She carries up to two Kongsberg Hugin Superior UAVs, each capable of operating down to a depth of 6,000 metres. They have a battery capacity of over 50 hours at 4 knots, and are equipped with s Forward Looking Sonar, Synthetic Aperture Sonar, Multi-Beam Echosounder, Sub-Bottom Profiler, Magnetometer, Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) Sensor, High Definition Camera, Laser Profiler, Methane Gas Sensor, and an Electromagnetic Sensor.

Argeo Searcher. Cape Town, 5 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She carries a Work Remote Operating Vehicle (WROV) capable of operating at a depth of 3,000 metres, using an active heave compensated winch. Her working UAV and ROVs are deployed using an A-Frame, capable of lifting 36 tons, and two ABAS Knuckleboom active heave compensated (AHC) cranes, capable of lifting 40 tons. She also has a Palfinger Marine PS knuckleboom deck crane capable of lifting 2 tons.

Her aft working deck area is 200 m2, and for logistic and crew change requirements she is fitted with an upper midships helideck, strengthened to 9.3tons and capable of handling an AS332L2 Super Puma helicopter. She has a Norsafe 655M fast rescue boat, which utilises a waterjet propulsion system. Her endurance is 120 days when operating at her transit sea speed, and increases to an impressive 200 days when on survey operations.

Argeo Searcher. Cape Town, 5 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is a versatile vessel and can offer subsea surveys, inspections, maintenance and repair (IMR) services. The survey services include geophysical, hydrographic, route and environmental surveys. The inspection services include installation integrity, pipeline, cable, burial depth, and cathodic protection inspections. Her maintenance and repair services include subsea assets during construction and installation phases, commissioning and handover phases, and ongoing module replacement.

She has accommodation for 65 persons, and her onboard facilities include three lounges, a gymnasium, a conference room, and three client offices. She is owned by Ocean Pearl AS, of Torangsvaag in Norway, and operated by Vestland Management AS, also of Torangsvaag. She is managed by OSM Maritime AS, of Arendal in Norway.

Argeo Searcher. Cape Town, 5 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In October 2022 she was taken on a five year bareboat charter by Argeo AS, of Hvalstad in Norway. Her charter included a purchase option for Argeo AS of US$2 million (ZAR37.89 million) after 12 months, reducing to US$1 million (ZAR18.94 million) after 27 months.

Prior to her arrival in Cape Town ‘Argeo Searcher’ had been engaged on a survey contract for Shell Nigeria, based on their Bonga Oil and Gas field. The contract included surveys of the flowlines, pipelines, and subsea infrastructure.

Argeo Searcher. Cape Town, 5 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Bonga field lies in the Gulf of Guinea, some 65 nautical miles southwest of the River Niger delta, in 1,000 metres depth of water. The field is serviced by a Floating Production Storage Offshore (FPSO) unit, which has been operating since 2005, and which has 16 wells tied back to the FPSO. Oil from the field is transferred direct to VLCC tankers lying alongside, and natural gas is piped to a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facility ashore.

The Nigerian oil and gas industry has an appalling environmental reputation, and in December 2011 the Bonga field suffered a major oil spill, the worst in Nigerian waters for over a decade. Around 40,000 barrels of oil was spilled at the FPSO, the equivalent of 1.7 million gallons, or 6.4 million litres. The oil slick stretched for an astonishing 100 nautical miles.

Argeo Searcher stern sheave launching of a UAV. Picture: Argeo

Back in Cape Town, ‘Argeo Searcher’ spent almost three full days alongside, giving a good indication that shoreside engineering support was sought on arrival. At 0800 in the morning of 8th February, she was ready to sail, and she departed from Cape Town with her AIS indicating her next destination was Port Louis in Mauritius. This was to be a further bunker call, whilst en route to her next contract.

Her next contract was to be offshore India, and she will be conducting surveys, not for an oil and gas client, but for a major Indian scientific institution. She will be working for the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), based in Goa in India. The NCPOR has a research programme on marine metal nodes, and as ‘Argeo Searcher’ is marketed as both an Oil and Gas, and a Marine Metals survey vessel, she is well equipped for her next role.

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Competing ports for the mineral wealth of Central Africa

TAZARA freight train

by Terry Hutson
Africa Ports & Ships

Competition for who gets to export the mineral wealth of the DRC and Zambian Copperbelts, is hotting up.

On the Atlantic seaboard, the US and the EU have become the main investors and supporters of the Lobito Atlantic Railway corridor, run by a consortium including Trafigura as a principal partner.

The Lobito railway corridor extends 1,289 kilometres from the port of Lobito on the South Atlantic coast of Angola to the Angolan border town of Luau, and from there a further 450km on the DRC national railway, Société Nationale des Chemins de fer du Congo, and connecting with the railway leading to Zambia and further south even as far as South Africa.

On the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa is the port of Dar es Salaam, to which the Tazara (Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority) railway extends from within Zambia. Tazara was built by the Chinese as a foreign project aid during the early to mid 1970s, with the express purpose of reducing the dependency of landlocked Zambia and to an extent the DRC, from white-ruled Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and equally white-ruled South Africa.

To this extent the 1,860km railway, also built to the predominant Cape gauge (1067mm/3ft 6ins), became known as the Great Uhuru (Freedom) Railway.

In recent years Tazara has experienced ongoing financial challenges, with a stop-start operation ensuing. Sections of the railway remain closed to traffic.

With an eye to the resources that Zambia and the DRC possess, a $1 billion Chinese Tazara Revamp proposal has been issued to Zambia under the formation of a public private partnership (PPP) agreement. The revitalised Tazara will then become an extension of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

On 7 February a formal proposal was handed to the transport & logistics minister of Zambia, Frank Tayali.

Tazara Railway route

Tanzania, which would benefit from a working and well-run railway extending through its territory and adding cargo for its principal port, has nevertheless shown little interest in investing in the refurbishment and effective management of Tazara. Instead Tanzania has its eyes firmly on the completion of various sections of the much-more ‘sexy’ standard gauge railway (SGR) from the port of Dar es Salaam, which will extend to the southern tip of Lake Victoria and the east coast of Lake Tanganyika.

Already agreements have been reached with part financing arranged for the SGR to extend even further into neighbouring Burundi.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu had, however, together with Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema, already agreed on the refurbishment of the Tazara but via the public private partnership route and obviously held successful talks with the Chinese in this regard.

She made it clear that Tanzania’s attention is firmly on the SGR project and that a PPP proposal for fixing and operating the Tazara is the preferred way forward.

What is driving this sudden interest in African railways by the competing economies of east and west? Clearly each sees the need to secure access to the minerals essential to the manufacture of electric motor vehicles and to a wider energy evolvement.

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Taylor Group acquires control of CVS Ferrari

New CVS haulers at Durban’s Maydon Wharf, October 2012

Africa Ports & Ships

The Taylor Group of Louisville, Mississippi, has announced the acquisition of 85 per cent of the shares of CVS Ferrari (CVS) from NEIP III and BP.

The Taylor Group is a large group of subsidiary companies ranging in goods and services from material handling equipment and container handlers to generators to construction equipment to parts and service centres and fleet management.

Founded in 1927, Taylor is one of the largest, privately owned American manufacturers of heavy industrial lift equipment, intermodal, and construction industry equipment.

CVS, founded in 1973, is an established manufacturer of high-quality mobile container handling and heavy cargo handling equipment in reach stackers and high-capacity forklifts.

CVS is a front-runner in offering digital integration and innovative electric and hybrid solutions with patented energy recovery and regeneration systems with the lowest environmental footprint.

BP, formerly Battioni & Pagani, a historic name of the Italian material handling and side loaders industry since 1959, is privately owned by the Pagani family and will be retaining a 10% share in CVS.

SDB, a company owned by the Director of Sales and Marketing at CVS Mr Davide Bertozzi, will be retaining a 5% share in CVS.

NEIP III, an investment company managed by ITAGO, is completely exiting its participation in CVS.

CVS has been on an impressive growth path with a triple revenue increase since 2020, boosted by new product introduction and broader market reach. With operations in Italy in two plants in Roveleto di Cadeo (Piacenza) e Sorbolo (Parma), CVS currently employs 120 people with a yearly volume capacity of approximately 200 units.

The transaction’s closing, which has been advised on the seller’s side by BNP Paribas and on the buyer’s
side by Angle Advisors, took place on 1 February 2024.

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TNPA: New hydraulic units will curb ship delays in Cape Town & Ngqura ports

Two of the newly arrived shore tensioning units designed to curb swell action against ships at the quayside

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) advises that the first batch of four hydraulic tension mooring units has been delivered and operationalised at the ports of Cape Town and Ngqura.

The four units are part of the 52 mooring units procured by TNPA, which the port authority says will improve operational efficiencies at the ports and reduce shipping delays caused by inclement weather conditions.

A hydraulic tension mooring unit is a system that is placed on the quayside to ensure the safety of vessels alongside and mitigate the severity of long-wave effects on vessels.

The units assist with stabilising vessels alongside during strong winds, adverse weather conditions and high swells. The benefits also include minimized down-time and safety during operations.

“This marks the first of a series of major port equipment deliveries at our commercial seaports this year,” said Thecla Mneney, TNPA General Manager for Infrastructure.

Mneney said TNPA was making progress in fast-tracking the implementation of key investments in port infrastructure to improve operational efficiencies.”

The new mooring units increases TNPA’s capacity to prevent excessive surge motions of vessels alongside, bringing the total number of units to six at the Port of Cape Town and four at the Port of Ngqura.

TNPA has procured 52 shore tension units with an allocation of 16 units for the Port of Cape Town, 14 for the Port of Durban, eight for the Port of Port Elizabeth, six for the Port of Ngqura, four for the Port of Saldanha and four for the Port of Richards Bay.

The phased delivery of the rest of the units will be completed by early 2025.

Added 12 February 2024


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WHARF TALK: Ro-Ro Passenger and Truck Ferry – P&O LIBERTÉ

In the early evening of 6 February the Ro-Ro Passenger and Truck Ferry ‘P&O Liberté’ arrived in Durban harbour to take bunkers. Picture by Trevor Steenkamp /

Pictures by Keith Betts
Trevor Steenkamp
Trevor Jones
Story by Jay Gates

The casual maritime observer is well versed the history on one of the greatest shipping companies in history, notably the Peninsula and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, better known by most simply as P&O. Whilst the great fleet of the P&O General Cargo Division is long gone, eventually subsumed into the Maersk Group, the more famous P&O Passenger Liner Division is still extant, but as a part of the huge Carnival Corporation & PLC Group.

What some casual maritime observers may not be aware of is that other than the well-known fleet of passenger liners with past iconic names such as ‘Canberra’, ‘Oronsay’, ‘Orcades’, and ‘Himalaya’, who all called at South African ports, that the P&O Group have for a long time operated a large fleet of both passenger and freight ferries, that link domestic routes from Scotland to the Orkneys and Shetlands, but also from the UK mainland to Ireland, and also across to the European continent.

The busiest P&O Ferries route is the traditional route from the English port of Dover, in the County of Kent, across the English Channel to the French port of Calais, in the Department of Pas-de-Calais. It has been served until recently by three large Ro-Ro Passenger and Truck Ferries, operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year between the two ports. As with all longstanding ferry routes, innovation in replacement ship design is always at the forefront.

On 6th February, at 19:00 in the early evening, the Ro-Ro Passenger and Truck Ferry ‘P&O Liberté’ (IMO 9895173) arrived off the Durban Bluff, from Colombo in Sri Lanka, and immediately made her way into the Bluff Channel and entered Durban Harbour, making her way to her berth for bunkers, stores and fresh provisions.

P&O Liberté.  Durban, 6 February 2024. Picture by Trevor Steenkamp /

The arrival of ‘P&O Liberté’ made her yet another example of a diverted vessel, avoiding the transit of the Red Sea due to the inherent risks posed by the Houthi Rebels, mainly as she is a vessel very much associated with the UK, and a high value target to the Houthis.

The one thing that this period of diversions is presenting to the casual maritime observer is the myriad of different vessels that are calling, but especially those vessel types not normally, if ever, to be seen in South African ports. In this case, it is unlikely ever to be repeated as the design of ‘P&O Liberté’ is so unique, that chances are nothing like her will be seen again locally.

P&O Liberté.  Durban, 6 February 2024. Picture by Trevor Steenkamp /

Built in 2023 by Guangzhou Shipbuilding International shipyard at Nansha in China, ‘P&O Liberté’ is 231 metres in length and has a deadweight of 8,850 tons. She is a hybrid diesel-electric powered vessel, and power is provided by four Wärtsilä 16V31 generators producing 9,800 kW each, which transfer power to four ABB DO1600 Azipods, producing 7,500 kW each, giving her a service speed of 20.8 knots.

Whilst she is not the first UK Passenger Ferry to transit via South African ports during the current Houthi emergency, what makes her unique is that she is a double ended vessel. Most double ended ferries are built to cross rivers, or enclosed waterways, and yet ‘P&O Liberté’ has been built to cross the English Channel, which is a busy, and tempestuous, open waterway.

P&O Liberté.   Durban 7 February 2024 Picture: Keith Betts

To meet the sea conditions of the English Channel, and the route that she is to be employed on, she is also one of the world’s two largest open ended ferries. She is one of two sisterships, known as the Fusion Class, with her sistership ‘P&O Pioneer’ having been delivered to her owners in March 2023, and having already entered service on the Dover to Calais route.

She was designed by the OSK Group, of Aarhus in Denmark. Her double ended design means that she has two identical navigation bridges, at either end of the vessel. This unique ocean going double ended design means that she can berth straight in at both ports, with no requirement to swing the vessel prior to berthing.

P&O Liberté.   Durban 7 February 2024 Picture: Keith Betts

This lack of any need to manoeuvre in port saves 10 minutes per rotation, and as she is scheduled to perform no less than four crossings a day, that is a saving of more than one hour per day. With her sistership, it means that these two vessels are set to replace three standard ferries currently operating on the Dover to Calais route.

Another unique aspect of ‘P&O Liberté’ is that of her hybrid propulsion system. As well as her diesel-electric drive, she can switch to pure battery power. She has no less than four battery rooms onboard, containing 1,160 lithium-ion batteries provided by XALT Energy, and providing 8,800 kWh, which is sufficient for her to leave harbour on battery power alone. Her batteries can be charged via a shore connection, or by way of one of her generators whilst at sea.

P&O Liberté.  Durban 7 February 2024 Picture: Keith Betts

Her design means that she uses 40% less fuel than the ferries that she is replacing, emits 40% less carbon than the vessels that she is replacing, and these reduced emissions also minimizes her environmental impact. Her Eco-design is in keeping with the P&O Ferries zero carbon emissions schedule, as part of a company climate change environmental fleet programme.

With her nominal ownership given as Dubris Leasing 2 SNC, ‘P&O Liberté’ is operated by P&O Ferries UK Ltd., of Dover in the United Kingdom, and managed by P&O Ferries Cyprus Ltd., of Limassol in Cyprus, which is also her port of registry. The parent company of P&O Ferries UK Ltd. is DP World of Dubai. She was built at a cost of US$145 million (ZAR3.33 billion).

P&O Liberté.  Durban 7 February 2024 Picture: Trevor Jones

P&O Ferries courted much negative publicity a few years back when they switched their vessel registries from the UK to that of an EU nation, namely Cyprus, despite the vessel operating a permanent UK to France route, and then followed it be removing all British Crew, and replacing them with foreign agency crews, many from the Far East, on lesser pay and working conditions.

With a passenger capacity of 1,500 persons, and operating with a crew of 80, ‘P&O Liberté’ has seven decks. Three of these decks are for vehicles, with two of them being higher decks, providing 2,800 lane metres to accommodate up to 175 commercial 18 wheeled trucks, and a lower, single car deck providing 800 lane metres to accommodate up to 200 cars. She is also equipped with a helideck to allow for Medevac, and Search and Rescue helicopters to land.

P&O Liberté.   Durban 7 February 2024 Picture: Trevor Jones

Her route from Dover to Calais takes only 90 minutes, and so there are no passenger cabins provided on the vessel. However, there are three reserved seating lounges, and one Club Class bar lounge. There are also two restaurants, plus a patisserie café, and a Starbucks Coffee Bar, plus two bars and a large duty free shop. For passengers wishing to enjoy the fresh air on the crossing, there is 1,500 m2 of outside passenger deck space provided.

Her voyage back from the shipyard at Nansha, in China, began on 15th January when she sailed on the start of her long delivery voyage back to the UK, via the Cape Sea Route. Prior to her arrival in Durban for bunkers, she had made a bunkers only stop in Colombo, in Sri Lanka.

After less than 24 hours alongside in Durban, ‘P&O Liberté’ was ready to continue on her homeward delivery voyage. At 17:00 in the afternoon of 7th February, she sailed from Durban, bound for her final bunkers only stop at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. She is due to arrive back at her home port of Dover on 1st March, and she is scheduled to enter commercial service by mid-March, joining her sistership ‘P&O Pioneer’ on this unique double ended ferry route.

Added 12 February 2024


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Eni looking for logistics provider at Pemba

The floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) vessel Coral Sul, which is in production off the coast of northern Mozambique in Area 4 of the Rovuma Basin

Africa Ports & Ships

Italian oil and energy company, which operates oil and gas exploration and gas extraction in Area 4 of the Rovuma Basin, has issued a public tender calling for a provider of logistic services in Pemba.

Eni heads the partnership operating the Coral Sul FLNG offshore of Cabo Delgado province.

Whoever is contracted will provide logistical services in and out of Pemba, the capital and main port in the region.

According to the notice in Mozambique’s Notícias, the services will include maintenance and cargo control in addition to other logistical services.

The appointed service provider will be required to operate from a logistical base in Pemba on a permanent rental basis and will be equipped to operate road a service to assist with Eni’s operational work in other parts of the region.

The newspaper report mentions having suitable infrastructure and capabilities for the safe movement of heavy trucks and other support equipment, such as mobile cranes and forklifts.

Added 12 February 2024


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Airfreight: TAAG starts regular cargo operations at the new Luanda Airport

Dr António Agostinho International Airport (Luanda), which opened in November 2023

Africa Ports & Ships

Angola’s national airline, TAAG – Linhas Aéreas de Angola – has commenced air freight operations from the Dr António Agostinho Neto International Airport (AIAAN), earlier in January 2024.

The airfreight service operates weekly on the Luanda-Lagos-Brazzaville-Luanda route, according to the ANGOP news agency.

TAAG’s recently acquired Boeing 737-800CF

Based on a press release issued by AIAAN, the service will initially service the principal cities of Nigeria (Lagos), and Brazzaville in the Congo, using a Boeing 737-800CF cargo aircraft.

“Customers and partners in this market segment now benefit from greater convenience, availability and resources for cargo transportation, speeding up the import and export of goods within the African continent,” the media release says.

TAAG has recently incorporated the B737-800CF into its airfreight service fleet, an aircraft with the capacity of loading 24 tons of freight.

The statement says that during January this year, TAAG transported roughly 1,000 tons of airfreight across its domestic, regional and international routes.

TAAG operates to 12 domestic and 13 international destinations with a fleet of 23 aircraft.

New International Airport AIAAN

The Dr. António Agostinho Neto International Airport (AIAAN) at Luanda in Angola was officially inaugurated on 10 November 2023. Constructed at a cost of US$ 3 billion, the airport, which will gradually replace Luanda’s Quatro de Fevereiro Airport (LAD), has the capacity to handle 15 million passengers annually in addition to having a large cargo capacity.

International and local airlines will transfer across gradually while LAD will remain open for non-commercial air services, maintenance and training purposes.

Added 12 February 2024


As notícias continuam abaixo

Frete Aéreo: TAAG inicia operações regulares de carga em o novo Aeroporto de Luanda

Aeroporto Internacional Dr António Agostinho (Luanda), inaugurado em Novembro de 2023

Africa Ports & Ships

A companhia aérea nacional de Angola, TAAG – Linhas Aéreas de Angola – iniciou operações de carga aérea a partir do Aeroporto Internacional Dr António Agostinho Neto (AIAAN), no início de Janeiro de 2024.

O serviço de carga aérea opera semanalmente na rota Luanda-Lagos-Brazzaville-Luanda, segundo a agência noticiosa Angop.

Com base num comunicado de imprensa emitido pela AIAAN, o serviço servirá inicialmente as principais cidades da Nigéria (Lagos) e Brazzaville, no Congo, utilizando um avião de carga Boeing 737-800CF.

Boeing 737-800CF recentemente adquirido pela TAAG

“Os clientes e parceiros deste segmento de mercado beneficiam agora de maior comodidade, disponibilidade e recursos para o transporte de cargas, acelerando a importação e exportação de mercadorias dentro do continente africano”, refere o comunicado.

A TAAG incorporou recentemente na sua frota de serviço de carga aérea o B737-800CF, uma aeronave com capacidade para carregar 24 toneladas de carga.

O comunicado refere que durante o mês de Janeiro deste ano, a TAAG transportou cerca de 1.000 toneladas de carga aérea nas suas rotas domésticas, regionais e internacionais.

A TAAG opera para 12 destinos nacionais e 13 internacionais com uma frota de 23 aeronaves.

Novo Aeroporto Internacional AIAAN

O Aeroporto Internacional Dr. António Agostinho Neto (AIAAN) em Luanda, em Angola, foi inaugurado oficialmente a 10 de Novembro de 2023. Construído com um custo de 3 mil milhões de dólares, o aeroporto, que irá substituir gradualmente o Aeroporto Quatro de Fevereiro (LAD) de Luanda, tem capacidade para movimentar 15 milhões de passageiros anualmente além de possuir grande capacidade de carga.

As companhias aéreas internacionais e locais serão transferidas gradualmente, enquanto o LAD permanecerá aberto para serviços aéreos não comerciais, manutenção e fins de treinamento.

Adicionado em 12 de fevereiro de 2024


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Greenpeace Africa Statement on South Africa Navy Marine Blasts

False Bay, with Simon’s Town Naval Base opposite. Picture: Wikipedia

Africa Ports & Ships

Greenpeace Africa has issued the following statement:

Underwater blasting and detonation of explosives by the South African Navy began at the Marine Protected area of False Bay, which hosts a sizable colony of endangered African penguins. The underwater blasting raises deep concerns about the possible harm to marine creatures in False Bay.

In response to the incident, Dr. Aliou Ba, Ocean Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa said: “We express our support to all the communities of Simon’s Town who have experienced this sad event last week. Our nature is our biggest wealth and witnessing its destruction by some human actions that could have been avoided is always heartbreaking.”

In recent years, the Bay has faced a multitude of challenges like pollution, fishing and poaching which all constitute a danger for its rich marine biodiversity. The Navy’s exercises would only further darken the future of this bay.

“This explosion is a major threat to marine biodiversity. The marine ecosystem in this area is rich and diverse with many species like Dusky dolphins, Bryde’s whales and Southern Right Whales; incidents such as this help wipe out the efforts made over several decades to conserve it.

“Nature is a treasure, and the SA government should listen to the people who have since the beginning been asking for the blasting site to be shifted as it was close to the world-famous Boulders Beach African penguin breeding colony,” Dr. Aliou concluded.

Greenpeace Africa calls on the Department of Defence and Military Veterans and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to stop forthwith the exercise that only destroys marine environment and endangers marine life. Let’s join hands to ensure the safety of the Marine Protect area of False Bay.

Added 12 February 2024


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MACS creates new feeder service and connecting Lüderitz

Container carrier Karoline, has initiated calls at Lüderitz and St Helena in January, now offering Mossel Bay. Picture: Namport

Africa Ports & Ships

MACS Maritime Carrier Shipping is back in the news again, this time with the inauguration of a new feeder service.

This is after being awarded by St. Helena Government with a 5-year-contract to service the island with a regular monthly feeder service from Cape Town see here.

MACS is using this opportunity to connect the port of Lüderitz and – on demand – the port of Mossel Bay with their liner services to / from Europe and the US Gulf.

The new service is creating a reliable link for the Namibian fishing industry with the European export markets. For the first time the energy industry is getting a scheduled reliable MPP feeder connection to deliver their products to Lüderitz and – on demand – to Mossel Bay via sea.

MACS is employing the MPP vessel MV Karoline in this new service – see related story here. This ship is equipped with 2 cranes of 35 tons, combinable to 70 tons lifting capacity and she has a sufficient number of reefer plugs available.

The next sailings from Europe are scheduled as follows:

MV Grey Fox v.241207
Hamburg 01.03.2024 / Antwerp 06.03.2024 / Leixoes 11.03.2024
Walvis Bay 26.03.2024 / Lüderitz 30.03.2024 / Mossel Bay 04.4.2024 (s.i.)

MV Green Mountain v.241208
Hamburg 16.03.2024 / Antwerp 21.03.2024 / Leixoes 27.03.2024
Walvis Bay 13.04.2024 / Lüderitz 18.04.2024 / Mossel Bay 24.04.2024 (s.i.)

The next sailing from Lüderitz to Europe is scheduled as follows:

MV Karoline v.241801 to connect with MV Bright Sky v.241113 at Cape Town
Lüderitz 30.03.2024
Cape Town 09.04.2024 / Vigo 01.05.2024 / Rotterdam 04.05.2024 / Hamburg 07.05.2024

source MACS Maritime

Added 11 February 2024


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The Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), Very Large Gas Carrier (VLGC), tanker Sunny Bright, underway. Picture: Shipspotting

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

And still they come. The problem for all gas carrier owners, or gas end users, is that the largest exporter of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in the world is the United States of America, and two of the largest importers of liquid petroleum gas are in the Far East. A quick look at your home atlas will show you that the best choices of getting from the USA to any part of the Far East are either by way of the Panama Canal, or by way of the Suez Canal.

Both routes present problems to shippers that are completely unconnected, but present the LPG Tanker owner and charterer with similar outcomes. The Panama Canal currently is in the grip of one of the worst droughts in decades, mainly as a result of the El Ninõ weather effect. This means that a transit through the Panama Canal, for a transpacific voyage, especially for a time crucial product, is not guaranteed.

The problems of taking the Suez Canal route, with any port in the USA being the loading destination, meant a real risk that the Houthi rebels would target the vessel as it transited the Southern Red Sea, which adds concerns from the insurers to the already concerned owners and charterers. So both Canal routes are problematical, and whilst the Magellan Straits route is a possibility, the Cape Sea Route becomes the best option for LPG tankers on the USA-Asia trade.

On 3rd February, at 21:00 in the evening, the Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), Very Large Gas Carrier (VLGC), Tanker ‘Sunny Bright’ (IMO 9287948) arrived off Cape Town, from Singapore, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and as expected of a vessel of this type, went alongside the Landing Wall. Her call was obviously for bunkers, stores and fresh provision. Unusually, her reason for calling was not simply based on avoiding the Suez Canal.

Sunny Bright. Cape Town, 4 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2004 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard at Nagasaki in Japan, ‘Sunny Bright’ is 230 metres in length and has a deadweight of 49,999 tons. She is powered by a single Mitsubishi 7UEC60LS seven cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 16,809 bhp (12,360 kW) and driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 16.5 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 913 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 100 kW. She has a single Osaka CHR composite exhaust gas boiler, and a single Osaka CHO oil fired boiler.

With eight gas cargo tanks, ‘Sunny Bright’ has a gas cargo carrying capacity of 78,903 m3. She has eight cargo pumps, each one capable of pumping gas at a rate of 550 m3/hour, and she is able to refrigerate Propane down to a temperature as low as -46°C.

She is owned, operated, and managed by the Eneos Ocean Corporation, of Yokohama in Japan, One of five sisterships in her company fleet, ‘Sunny Bright’ is one of a popular design of LPG tanker from the Mitsubishi shipyard design bureau. She cost around US$60 million (ZAR1.15 billion) to build, which was a fair sum for a tanker back at the turn of the century.

Sunny Bright, with Eco Sorcerer. Cape Town, 4 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her arrival in Cape Town, from a stores call at Singapore, had begun in Japan, where she had discharged her previous LPG cargo at the three Japanese ports of Karatsu, Yokohama and Sendai. Her LPG cargo had been loaded at Freeport, in the US State of Texas, and her offloading port of Sendai, located on the northern coast of the main island of Honshu, at 38°16’ North 140°52’ East, was close to the epicenter of where the major Tsunami hit in March 2011.

The port of Sendai has one LPG tanker berth, linked directly to two LPG storage tanks that pipe the regassified LPG directly to the nearby Tohoku Electric Power Company’s gas fired power station. Similarly, the next call of ‘Sunny Bright’ was to Yokohama, where there are two LPG tanker berths, both linked directly to the five, LPG storage, tanks that feed the adjacent Eneos IGCC gas fired power station.

The final LPG discharge port in Japan of ‘Sunny Bright’ was at Karatsu, which is located on the north coast of the southerly island of Kyushu, at 33°27’ North 129°58’ East. Here Eneos have a single LPG Tanker berth linked directly to their own four tank LPG storage facility.

On her previous voyage, prior to this one, ‘Sunny Bright’ had also discharged a full LPG cargo in Japanese ports, also loaded at Freeport in Texas. Her voyage from the Gulf of Mexico was via the Panama Canal, and on completion of her discharge in Japan, ‘Sunny Bright’ headed back across the Pacific Ocean for another transit through the Panama Canal, with an arrival off the Panama Canal set for 4th November 2023.

She had got within 10 miles of the Canal entrance, along with a second LPG carrier, when both turned around and started steaming away from the Canal. Both were informed that slots for them both to transit the canal were not available due to the water level issues in the canal.
Their passage back to load in the USA was in jeopardy, so the second LPG carrier, ‘Pyxis Pioneer’, began to head south as the decision was taken to go around South America, via the Magellan Strait, and head for Houston the long way round.

Sunny Bright, with Southern Valour. Cape Town 4 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The AIS on ‘Sunny Bright’ was amended to ‘Awaiting Orders’, and she remained in the vicinity of the Canal entrance. The Panama Canal authority have instigated an auction system for shipowners to bid for slots to transit the canal, as a result of the low levels in the Gatun Lake creating depth issues in the Canal, and as a result they have reduced the number of transits that are allowed.

The auction slots are so sought after that one shipowner had recently paid US$2.85 million (ZAR54.1 million) for a transit slot. Whilst LPG carriers in ballast would ordinarily not be seen to a high value asset for Canal transit purposes, on 8th November the owners of ‘Sunny Bright’, the Eneos Group, paid a record US$3.98 million (ZAR75.6 million) for a slot, even though that particular slot could not be used until 15th November, one week later.

After loading back at Freeport in Texas, ‘Sunny Bright’ made a return voyage to Japan, via the Panama Canal. However, it would appear that her owners were not prepared to risk a further eye watering cost to get her back through the Panama Canal on her current voyage, and instead route her across the Indian Ocean, and now to receive a ‘double whammy’ by having to avoid the Suez Canal, due to the Houthi menace, and take the long Cape Sea Route.

The amount of bunker traffic now arriving off Cape Town is becoming such that the previously rarely used bunker tanker ‘Southern Valour’ has been conducting an increased amount of bunker service in Cape Town harbour. She was called in to provide bunkers to ‘Sunny Bright’, and once complete, ‘Sunny Bright’ was ready to continue her onward voyage.

Eight LPG tankers loading at the same time at one terminal on the Houston Ship Channel. Picture: PGJonline

After less than 30 hours alongside, ‘Sunny Bright’ sailed from Cape Town at 02:00 in the early morning of 5th February, with her AIS now set for Houston, in the US State of Texas. Her actual destination will be one of the four large LPG export terminals along the Houston Ship Channel.

Together, the LPG Export Terminals on the US Gulf Coast provide 85% of all US LPG exports. It is interesting to note that in 2022 the USA was the 3rd largest exporter of LPG in the world, and as a result of the idiocy of Putin, and his imperial adventure in Ukraine, which created a world where the Russian LPG export market crashed, the export of LPG from the USA increased such that in 2023 the USA had moved from 3rd largest exporter in the world, to become the largest LPG exporter in the world.

Back in December 2020, ‘Sunny Bright’ was approaching the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, on another one of her long tern chartered voyage from the Houston Ship Channel, when she suffered a serious engine problem, and lost all power. She drifted down on the anchored, but fully loaded, LPG tanker ‘BW Gemini’ which had also arrived from the Houston area, and also bound for Japan via the Panama Canal.

She collided with the starboard bow of ‘BW Gemini’, but was able to anchor off the port of Colon, where she was inspected for damage. After an inspection, both ‘Sunny Bright’, and ‘BW Gemini’ were cleared to make the Panama Canal transit, and head for Japan where full repairs would be undertaken on both vessels.

Added 11 February 2024


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Mauritius: Port facility security training

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

The latest in a series of IMO maritime security workshops took place in Port Louis, Mauritius from 5-8 February under the EU-funded project on Port Security and Safety of Navigation in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.

This workshop focused on Port Facility Security Assessments (PFSAs) – assisting representatives of the Designated Authority on how to divide the port into independent port facilities and conduct a port security assessment through identification of gaps. The gaps may include physical security, structural integrity, personnel protection systems, procedural policies, telecommunications systems, relevant infrastructure, utilities and other areas posing a risk to persons, property or operations within the port facility.

Thirty participants from the Prime Minister’s Office, Mauritius Police Force/National Coast Guard, Mauritius Ports Authority and shipping division and private operators took part, it was reported.

Under the port security project, IMO aims to assist nine participating countries to enhance maritime security and safety within the region in line with the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy. The States are: Angola, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles and Tanzania.

Added 11 February 2024


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UCT develops way to measure Antarctic sea-ice using ship-mounted radar

UCT develops way to measure Antarctic sea-ice using ship-mounted radar. Picture: NASA

Christopher Szabo

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is investigating a way to use a type of continuous wave (CW) radar to measure Antarctica’s sea ice levels.

UCT Masters student Dylan White told the recent South African Radar Interest Group (SARIG) conference at the CSIR in Pretoria that the two main types of radar are pulse radar and CW radar. Some uses of pulse radars, where a powerful pulse is emitted and then the return measured, include air traffic control, radar astronomy and mapping.

Some continuous wave radars are used in detecting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in buildings, and landmines, as well as in areas that have been heavily bombed. Also, certain Ground Penetrating Radars (GPR) use CW radar. GPR is not only used for detecting dangerous objects, but also in archaeology, where it can save scientists time, letting them ‘look’ into the ground to see if there is an ancient wall or building, instead of digging test trenches.

Stepped Frequency Continuous Wave (SFCW) radar is a form of CW radar where even though the radar signal is continuous, the frequency is varied in discrete steps, allowing the radar to be more effective.

The UCT’s Marine and Antarctic Research Centre for Innovation and Sustainability (MARiS) amongst others studies the atmosphere-ice-ocean relationship and fosters research in remote sensing technology, low-cost instrumentation for sea ice imaging, and buoy observations. It aims to understand sea ice physical and mechanical properties, ocean hydrodynamics and more. White explained that CW radar techniques could be better used to measure sea ice, as existing models for sea ice were developed for the Arctic and cannot simply be projected onto the Antarctic.

White pointed out that sea-ice is not what people usually think about when they think of polar ice, most of which is ‘calved off’ glaciers or shelf ice and is freshwater ice. Freshwater ice tends to float in large chunks, he said, whereas sea-ice is formed from sea water freezing. Sea-ice tends to form a layer of slush on the surface and later forms into ice fields.

Sea-ice is measured by its age and the least stable is younger than a year old. Standard maritime terms are used, the ‘freeboard’ of the ice is the part above water, while the ‘draft’ is the term used for what is below the water. White explained that sea ice was very porous, with ice channels where saline water runs off and ice bubbles form.

The primary method to be used for determining thickness is reflection. Radar reflections occur when there is a change in certain electromagnetic qualities of the material. Other methods include data captured by measuring the actual ice freeboard and calculating the area below the water, but this is not reliable as ice density varies. Another method involves measuring the surface temperature of the ice using satellite data, but this is only reliable for very thin ice.

Other methods include mathematical modelling of waveforms, which has its own troubles. Similar measurement campaigns include NASA’s ICEsat (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation) satellite, which operated from 2003 to 2010, and while its successor was being set up, Operation IceBridge was launched by NASA. The operation used a suite of aircraft-mounted sensors which included pulse radars which were primarily aimed at freshwater and shelf ice and ran until 2020, and was eventually replaced by ICEsat-2, launched in 2018 and currently operational.

Measurements produced by IceBridge, using Lockheed P-3 Orion, Douglas DC-8 and other aircraft, working with the Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) at the University of Kansas continued the work of ICEsat. Unfortunately, these measurements were not ideal for sea ice, concentrating as they did on shelf ice.

This means that no operation has yet successfully been launched to specifically study Antarctic sea ice.

White said: “If we’re actually successful at this, we would be one of the first groups to do it.” He hopes to get similar data to IceBridge, but rather than mounting the radar on an aircraft, it would be fitted to the SAS Agulhas II, South Africa’s icebreaker and research ship, which is where the Stepped Frequency CW radar would come in.

By using Stepped Frequency CW radar, the MARiS team hope to get broader bandwidth and measure between layers of sea ice. The MARiS system has not yet been tested under static conditions, but it is hoped to do testing on ice ‘grown’ under static conditions.

By defenceWeb and republished with permission. The original can be found here

Added 11 February 2024


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Fire aboard tank vessel S-Trust: Lithium-ion battery thermal runaway

S-Trust at anchor following the casualty. Picture: US Coast Guard

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

Towards the end of last year the US National Transportation Safety Board highlighted potential fire risks of lithium-ion batteries.

Thermal runaway of a cell within a handheld radio’s lithium-ion battery led to a fire on an oil tanker the previous year while docked in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The fire resulted in $3 million in damage to the vessel.

The oil tanker S-Trust was docked at the Genesis Port Allen Terminal on 13 November 2022, when a fire started on the bridge. The fire was caused by one of the cells in a lithium-ion battery for an ultra-high-frequency handheld radio exploding. The batteries and chargers for the handheld radios were located on the communications table on the bridge. The vessel’s crew extinguished the fire. S-Trust’s navigation, communication and alarm systems were damaged beyond use. No injuries were reported.

Lithium-ion battery cell explosions are typically caused by a thermal runaway, a chemical reaction that can cause the cell to ignite and explode. A lithium-ion battery cell can spontaneously experience a thermal runaway if damaged, shorted, overheated, defective or overcharged.

Crews can help to prevent thermal runaways and ensuing fires by:

* Following manufacturers’ instructions for the care and maintenance of lithium-ion batteries.

* Properly disposing of damaged batteries.

* Avoiding unsupervised charging.

* Keeping batteries and chargers away from heat sources and flammable materials.

“Companies should ensure that lithium-ion batteries and devices that use lithium-ion battery packs are certified by Underwriters Laboratory or another recognized organization,” the report said.

If a lithium-ion battery fire occurs, crews can attempt to extinguish the fire with water, foam, CO2, or other dry chemical or powdered agents designed for use on Class A (combustible) fires.

If the battery fire cannot be extinguished, personnel should attempt to allow the pack to burn in a controlled manner, including by watching for nearby cells that may also experience thermal runaway and extinguishing other combustibles that may catch on fire.

NTSB Marine Investigation Report 23-23 of this incident is available here

Added 11 February 2024


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A.P. Moller – Maersk 4th quarter 2023 results

Mette Maersk. Picture: Unsplash

Africa Ports & Ships

In its management review, the directors of A.P. Moller – Maersk say the financial results for Q4 2023 were in line with their revised outlook and continued to show the transition of the business from the peak levels of the COVID-19 years to an environment marked by the increasing overcapacity in the shipping segment, which the Red Sea situation in the last weeks of December did not alter.

While a rather stable macroeconomic environment ensured a volume increase in most businesses compared to the low previous year, prices in Ocean continued to be under pressure given the new additions combined with subdued idling and ship recycling activities.

Faced with this environment and in line with previously announced measures, A.P. Moller – Maersk continued to focus on cash preservation measures and reduced its operating costs position with significant improvements in Ocean, Logistics & Services and more generally in SG&A.

In summary, Maersk’s financial performance in Q4 2023 reflects the transition from the peak levels of the COVID-19 years to an environment marked by overcapacity in the shipping segment. The Red Sea situation further impacted their results.

See the 4th Qtr results 2023 of A.P. Moller – Maersk   here

Added 11 February 2024


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MOL Group 3rd Quarter Business Results

UNTA, MOL iron ore carrier

Africa Ports & Ships

MOL Group has announced financial results for the third quarter ending 31 December 2023.

Commenting on these results, chairman and CEO Zsolt Hernádi said he was proud that MOL Group has been able to maintain good performance despite the heavy regulatory environment and market pressures.

“This quarter we were able to mitigate the effects of negative external conditions with our improving refinery margins and strong consumer demand for our fuel products. We are able to raise our EBITDA guidance as we remain optimistic that our crisis-resilient, integrated business model and efficient operation will counterbalance the volatile market and regulatory conditions.”

Financial Highlights 3rd Qtr ending 31 December 2023: see here 

For MOL Business Performance for 3rd Qtr ending 31 December 2023, see here

Or for a YouTube presentation on MOL’s Business Performance for the third quarter, see below:

Added 11 February 2024


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DCT 2 down to single digit ships at anchor, planning ahead

The North Quay on DCT Pier 2 container terminal

Africa Ports & Ships

The Durban Container Terminal (DCT) Pier 2 says it has maintained single digit numbers of vessels at anchor, having increased operational teams to 11 per shift on the waterside handling.

“The combination of employee allocations and evacuation of import containers averaging 35 wagons daily, via rail to back-of-port facilities, has also enabled fluidity on the landside handling,” Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) said in a statement on Friday.

The terminal operator says the interventions have resulted in significant improvements and considerable decongestion of the terminal. “At the height of the vessel backlog in November, DCT Pier 2 had 43,491 import containers waiting at anchor, and has since reduced that number to 1,738,” that statement adds.

According to managing executive at the Durban Terminals, Earle Peters, there have been ongoing positive engagements with shipping lines and transporters.

“We have benefited greatly from continuously engaging with our customers and partners and heeding their feedback. The transparency is creating a win-win solution,” he said.

Peters said that terminal management will soon embark on deliberate customer visits. These are part of planning for the 2024/2025 financial year and reviewing what worked well during the November setback that delayed the offloading of import containers for extended periods.

He said the proximity of the DCT Pier 1 and the Durban Multipurpose Terminal, which form part of the Durban Terminals, has also contributed to the improved operations at DCT Pier 2.

The two terminals formed part of the contingency as smaller consignments were diverted in a bid to reduce vessels at anchor.

“The advantages of a complementary port terminal system make flexibility possible in events where we encounter challenges like the ones we had last year. Now, the terminal Planning team is hard at work finalising citrus season plans ahead of April. The terminal has already commenced with preparations.”

By our own inspection there were 12 container ships at anchor or drifting outside the port of Durban at 16h00 Friday 9 February (the day of the above report). Not all these will be for DCT2 with some vessels proceeding to either the Multipurpose Terminal or to DCT1 container terminal on Pier 1.

At the same time 10 container ships were working inside the port – 4 at DCT2, 2 at DCT1, 2 at the Point MPT, 1 at N-shed and 1 at 104. The latter two are likely to be undergoing engineering inspection or repairs.

Added 9 February 2024


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Preparations for the removal of the wreck Elke M underway

Elke M on the rocks

Africa Ports & Ships

Preparations are underway for the removal of the wrecked fishing trawler, Elke M, aground near St Francis Bay.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said on Wednesday that the process of appointing a contractor for the removal of the wreck is nearing completion.

The firm of Resolve Marine has been identified for the contract and the process of formalising the appointment is underway subject to conclusion of discussions with the authorities, said SAMSA.

The fishing vessel Elke M went aground in an environmentally sensitive area close to St Francis Bay on the night of Saturday, 6 January 2024. All 24 crew were brought to safety after they abandoned ship.

The removal operation, as a result of it grounding in an environmentally sensitive area, will initially concentrate on reduction of the wreck to the waterline level. This will be followed by a process to split the sub-sea section into multiple sections for scuttling.

The operation is expected to last two months and targeted for completion before the onset of the winter season.

The costs for the whole operation are covered by the Protection and Indemnity Club (P&I Club) as an insurer.

SAMSA said that in the lead-up to this phase, favourable weather and sea conditions have enabled the removal of more than 27,000 litres of marine fuel from the vessel.

The incident management team, aided by helicopter assistance, had prioritized the removal of remaining fuel and non-oil pollutants, successfully transferring these to designated disposal sites.

Pollutants and Wreck Removal Directives have been issued in line with the Wreck and Salvage Act and the Marine Pollution (Control & Civil Liability) Act, underscoring the commitment to environmental safety and compliance throughout this operation.

SAMSA will continue to oversee the operation, in close collaboration with the Incident Management Structure (IMS).

This collaborative effort involves the vessel’s owners, the insurers (P&I Club), municipal officials, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), environmental management authorities and organizations, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and the National Department of Transport.

Added 8 February 2024



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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 December 2023, including containers by weight

PORT December 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.951
Durban 6.248
Saldanha Bay 6.374
Cape Town 1.071
Port Elizabeth 1.055
Ngqura 1.245
Mossel Bay 0.074
East London 0.172
Total all ports during December 2023 21.725 million tonnes