Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 25 February 2024

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News commencing Sunday 18 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.



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 FIRST VIEW: Ital Usodimare

ITAL Usodimare. Durban, 13 February 2024. Picture by Trevor Jones

Our front page ship this week makes one wonder whether the wrong tint of green paint was used at the last drydocking, although the large ITALIA on the ship’s hull and the many Evergreen boxes on board leave no confusion as to the container ship’s real identity.

Owned and managed by Italia Marittima SPA of Trieste, Italy (formerly known as Lloyd Triestino and now run by the Taiwanese Evergreen Marine Corporation), ITAL USODIMARE (IMO 9196979) was built in 2000 and currently sails under the flag of Italy. The ship has a gross tonnage of 68,888 tons and a deadweight of 63,216 tons. Her length overall (LOA) is 285 metres, and beam 40 metres.

One of three sister U-class ships ITAL Usodimare has a container capacity of 5,652 TEU. The ship arrived off Durban from Singapore on 6 February before spending the next seven days at the Durban outer anchorage. On 13 February at 02h30 she entered port, but later departed, as shown in above at 14h00 before re-entering port some two hours later and going alongside at the Durban Container Terminal Pier 1.

As of Sunday 18 February the container ship has spent 12 days n or off the port of Durban.

Perhaps a more knowledgeable reader can explain this strange movement.

Incidentally, the ship spent a total of 20 hours in Singapore and before that, 17 hours 40 minutes in Ningbo.

The ship’s name itself is interesting from a historical perspective. During the late 1920s, Antoniotto Usodimare was one of the dozen Navigatori-class destroyers built for the Regia Marina (Royal Italian Navy).

This picture is by Trevor Jones

Africa Ports & Ships

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Maersk extends Durban port omission for MW1 service

Durban port omission extended

Africa Ports & Ships

In a customer advisory, Shipping line Maersk advises that due to the delays and waiting time experienced at the port of Durban, Maersk is extending the MW1 Durban omission until the end of April.

The MW1 and Protea services link South Africa with the Middle East and India. Port rotation includes Jebel Ali (UAE), Mundra (India), Jawaharlal Nehru (India), Durban (South Africa), Port Elizabeth (South Africa), and Port Reunion.

The Durban port omission is a further blow to those who are expecting effective improvements at the Durban port, Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest and busiest.

Added 23 February 2024


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Red-letter day as mv Mpungu is launched into Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria’s newest ship, the RoRo cargo vessel mv Mpungu, to be operated by Grindrod. Picture: Seco Shipyard

Africa Ports & Ships

The launching of Lake Victoria’s latest ro-ro cargo ship mv Mpungu on Wednesday, 21 February 2024, after a construction period of 21 months at the Seco Marine shipyard in Entebbe, Uganda, marked a special occasion in the history of marine activity on the world’s largest tropical lake.

Commissioned by InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), and experienced regional logistics company, Grindrod Limited, the 96-metre-long vessel has the capacity to handle up to 1,000 tons of containerised cargo, or the equivalent of twenty-one loaded trailers.

mv Mpungu becomes Lake Victoria’s first modern roll on / roll off freight vessel, addressing the need for a reliable freight service to facilitate regional and international trade.

The ship now becomes the pioneering East Africa Marine Transport (EAMT)* vessel – on Lake Victoria but will first undergo a period of lake trials before commencing service in the second quarter of this year.

EAMT is the beneficiary of a European Union-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF) grant for market and technical studies as well as for legal and regulatory support.

The ship was officially launched and named by Brenda Omuombo, Regional HSES Manager (PIDG), who carried out the tradition of smashing a bottle of champagne on Mpungu’s hull.

“I am honoured to have been asked to launch the mv Mpungu here today, I wish the vessel – and all who crew and sail on her – good fortune!”

The vessel was then launched into the Lake by specialist teams from SECO Marine (U) Ltd.

Brenda Omuombo, Regional HSES Manager (PIDG), with Uganda’s Minister for Works Mr Echwera Musa behind her to the left of the image, Mr Mohanlal Pillai SECO Project Director directly behind her, and Mr Benon Kajuna, Director of Transport to far right of photo.  Picture: Seco

Honoured guest at the event was State Minister for Works, Echwera Musa, who began by thanking the young men and women present who built the mv Mpungu.

“They are our heroes today.” He continued, “…thank you to the people who put the idea together first, the owners of the company, for accepting to come and invest in this part of Africa, and to the designers of the vessel who put this design on paper so that it could be translated into reality. It humbles me.”

He thanked the vessel stakeholders for having confidence in Uganda. “I can assure you that your investment is safe.”

The launch ceremony took place in the presence of officials from the Ministry of Works and Transport and representatives from InfraCo Africa, SECO, Grindrod, OSK Design, Alpha Group and EAMT and members of the construction team who had gathered in Entebbe to mark the momentous occasion of floating the vessel.

“We are thrilled to have launched mv Mpungu which has been classed by Bureau Veritas, a global leader in ship classification, said Mr Sujal, Director of SECO Marine (U) Ltd.

“This is an important milestone for the vessel, the maritime industry in Uganda, and for logistics within the East African community. After 19 months of close coordination with our partners, we are nearing the final stages of construction.”

He said upscaling and training skilled labour in Uganda has been of particular importance to Seco, who are delighted to witness the contribution of local talent to this project. “Building on sixty years of engineering project delivery, we are proud to have constructed a vessel of this stature, the first of its kind in Uganda and the East African region.”

Grindrod to operate mv Mpungu

Grindrod will operate the EAMT vessel, offering freight carriers access to a safe, scheduled freight service between Uganda and Tanzania. The EAMT vessel will cross the lake in an anticipated time of eighteen hours, compared with the current journey around the lake by congested regional roads which can take between three and four days.

As well as preventing spoilage of fresh produce, reduced journey times are expected to boost trade, supporting sustainable development goals. The fuel-efficient freight vessel will reduce CO2 equivalent emissions associated with climate change and will remove freight vehicles from the region’s congested road network.

Xolani Mbambo, CEO of Grindrod Limited, emphasised the importance of understanding customers’ requirements and finding innovative solutions for efficiently and cost-effectively moving their cargo to markets.

“The ferry operation aims to provide a reliable, efficient and cost-effective solution for businesses in the region, thereby promoting trade, and contributing to economic growth,” he said.

“We are excited to be part of this project and confident in our operational teams’ ability to deliver excellent results in this endeavour.”

In addition to being classified by Bureau Veritas and built to the highest international standards, mv Mpungu will operate in compliance with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards for safety of life at sea (SOLAS) and security of shipping and the prevention of pollution by ships (MARPOL).

The EAMT vessel is expected to undertake its maiden voyage in April 2024.

* East Africa Marine Transport Company Ltd (EAMT): EAMT was established under a joint venture between PIDG company InfraCo Africa, and Grindrod Ltd, and will operate a scheduled roll-on roll-off vessel service to facilitate trade across Lake Victoria. EAMT will provide cost-effective, safe, and reliable maritime transport and intermodal logistics solutions, improving access to markets and displacing congested road freight. Incorporated in Uganda with a subsidiary in Tanzania, EAMT is working to become a leading shipping company on Lake Victoria, driving economic growth whilst reducing carbon emissions relative to road transport.

To watch short Linkedin video of the building of mv Mpungu [1:55]


Added 22 February 2024


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Cape Town Container Terminal has 43% improvement in weekly truck volumes

Cape Town Container Terminal.  Picture: TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

The Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) has managed an increase of 43% in its weekly truck volume throughput, from an average of 5,500 to 7,865 containers in three weeks.

Not only has the terminal increased its weekly average by 2,365 containers, but has also reduced truck turnaround time from 75 minutes (the highest since the beginning of the year) between 15 – 21 January 2024 to 51 minutes last week.

Acting Western Cape Terminals Managing Executive, Oscar Borchards, said they attribute all the improvements at CTCT mainly to the optimisation of the container management system Navis.

“This helps to streamline our processes and ensure efficiencies in our operations,” Borchards said. “In order to support our turnaround strategy, it was critical that we take advantage of an already existing system and reprioritise.”

Through the Navis system, CTCT implemented a yard strategy which translates to better planning of the container stack.

“So far, since the implementation of the yard strategy, we have seen encouraging results, which directly minimise potential clashes in the system and clear bottlenecks,” he said.

“With the terminal nearing the end of the current deciduous season and getting ready for the looming citrus season, it remains our focus to ensure fluidity of both our landside and waterside operations at CTCT while we continue building on what has already been achieved to maintain sustainable improvements,” Borchards added.

Added 22 February 2024


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Moroccan ports prepare for climate change impact

Dolosse type seawall protection at a Moroccan port. Picture ANPM

Africa Ports & Ships

Morocco’s National Ports Agency (ANP Morocco) has awarded a contract to marine renewable energy specialist Innosea, an engineering, advisory and R&D specialist in marine renewable energy, to provide climate change risk assessment and adaptation services.

The contract has been awarded by a joint venture comprising Moroccan maritime engineering firm MDC Ingenierie, and Portuguese hydraulics consultancy Hidromod.

Under the terms of the contract, Innosea will provide its comprehensive package of climate change adaptation services to support ANP Morocco’s port and harbour infrastructure.

The purpose is to mitigate future climate change risk and identify solutions to reinforce the ports’ resilience against present and future climate change impacts.

“Ports and harbours are critical infrastructure not only to the global maritime community, but to the global transport ecosystem and Moroccan economy,” says Bruno Borgarino, head of climate change adaptation at Innosea.

“Their nearshore position puts ports at considerable risk from the ongoing and worsening impacts of climate change. Our task is to support Morocco in safeguarding and future-proofing its critical port infrastructure.”

L-R: Wei-Yang Tan, ABL; Richard Le Failler, Innosea; Adélio Silva, Hidromod; Ouadghiri Ouiam, ANP Morocco; Lazrak Khalid, MDC; El Karam Amine, ANP Morocco; Elmostafa Almouzani, MDC; and Lakhchini Driss, ANP Morocco

Innosea will provide advanced climate change risk assessments (CCRAs) following a tried and tested three-step approach:

* Identification of changes in design environmental conditions.
* Identification of consequences on port assets and infrastructure under the scope of work.
* Risk scoring for assets and infrastructure and proposed mitigating measures.

Innosea will also utilise a proprietary modelling tool to assess the reliability of future climate change projections to perform site-specific impact studies of climate changes on designated port infrastructure.

The resulting assessments will determine how climate change stimuli may evolve over time, identifying risks and opportunities to critical port assets, as well as defining climate change adaptation solutions. Recommendations to improve the ports resiliency will then be given in a roadmap, helping for future investments and decision making when planning a new project in the ports.

Further, Innosea’s climate change experts will have the opportunity to conduct a campaign to raise awareness about climate change and to perform training for ANP Morocco’s employees, in collaboration with ports’ consultants from Innosea’s sister company ABL.

“By bringing together multi-disciplined expertise across metocean and environmental engineering, structural and civil engineering, and combining this with the ports and harbour know-how from ABL, Innosea is well placed to support ANP Morocco in identifying the right solutions for its assets,” Borgarino adds.

Innosea is part of the international renewable energy consultancy OWC, which is a subsidiary of Oslo-listed energy and marine consultancy group ABL Group ASA.

Added 22 February 2024


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Central Region ports recovery plan in full swing

Port users at the Central Ports report-back on Transnet’s Recovery Plan, held this week in the Eastern Cape> Picture: Transnet

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at the Central Region says it is making progress in the implementation of the Recovery Plan, which focuses on enabling efficient utilisation of port infrastructure and improving operational efficiencies.

In the first of a series of three report-backs, Siyabulela Mhlaluka, regional managing executive for the Central Region ports of East London, Ngqura and Port Elizabeth, said TNPA’s strategic move is to ensure the competitiveness of the region’s ports by prioritising the improvement of port efficiencies.

Mhlaluka said this would be achieved through robust port operations oversight, delivery of critical infrastructure and investing in reliable marine fleet.

The TNPA Recovery Plan framework is aligned to the Transnet Group’s overall Plan, which aims to improve operations and financial sustainability whilst ensuring operational efficiency improvements across the business over an 18-month timeframe to the end of the 2024/2025 financial year.

Among the strategic initiatives for East London is the deepening and strengthening of berth N at the Car Terminal, the replacement of two Graving Dock jib cranes to enable the ship repair facility and the acquisition of two tugboats.

These initiatives are aimed at boosting the river port’s marine infrastructure and fleet availability to enable key sectors of the local economy.

The N-Berth construction project has commenced and will be completed in October 2024. Within this project, TNPA seeks to increase the berth capacity of the automotive terminal of the Port of East London and allow for berthing of modern automotive carriers.

At the Port of Ngqura, TNPA is already seeing the benefits of two of six additional hydraulic tension mooring units which have been delivered and are operational to curb shipping delays caused by inclement weather conditions.

In line with the Central Region’s focus on enabling the local fishing industry in Nelson Mandela Bay, the project pipeline for the Port of Port Elizabeth includes the completed upgrade of the 1200-ton slipway and the refurbishment of the Dom Pedro Quay. This is planned to commence at the end of February 2024. The port will also benefit from eight of the 52 hydraulic tension units
that TNPA has procured for its ports.

Added 22 February 2024


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Durban port productivity and Mauritius cyclone threat force port omissions

Maersk Nansha, which operates the Mauritius – Cape Town feeder service. Picture: Shipspotting

Africa Ports & Ships

Maersk issued a customer advisory on Tuesday advising of an enforced port omission arising from the cyclone threat as Tropical Cyclone Eleanor approaches Mauritius.

Affecting the Safari service between the Far East and South Africa, plus any other services utilising a port call at Mauritius, Maersk advises the following:

Kindly note that a Cyclone warning class 2 is currently in force in Mauritius and as per latest updates from the local Meteorological service, we expect her to pass through the Islands by Thursday evening to Friday morning.

Consequently, the Port/Terminal and Depot are closed until further notice.

In line with the safety protocol, all vessels need to vacate berth the soonest possible and terminal to secure all equipment accordingly.

Based on previous cases, we are expecting 5 to 6 days impact on vessel operation activities/berth line up following the high swell conditions after the passage of the cyclone.

Maersk says the waiting time expected will be between 8 to 10 days. Terminal Recovery period – 2 weeks.

Maersk advises they are expecting the ETA/ETD of below mentioned vessels to be impacted by cyclonic weather conditions.

Week 8
Safari WB – San Fernando 403S
Cape Town Express – Maersk Nansha 405W /407E
FW2 Inducement call – Maersk Cadiz 401W /404E

Week 9
M- Express – Mendelssohn 404W/405E
IOI – Maersk Douala 407S/408N
Safari WB – CCNI Angol 404S
Cape Town Express – CMA CGM Davao 406W/408E
Safari EB – Maersk Stadelhorn 405N

Durban productivity challenges

In a further advisory, Maersk says that due to the extreme productivity challenges in Durban as well as delays in Port Louis due to the above-mentioned cyclone impact, maintaining the current Eastbound calls into Port Louis on Maersk Stadelhorn 405N and CMA CGM La Scala 406N are no longer feasible.

Both Safari EB vessels will omit Port Louis and sail straight from Durban to the Far East to ensure she is on time for her next rotation back into Southern Africa.

Below will be the updated connections from Cape Town Express to Far East basis current schedule.

Maersk Nansha – Maersk Cadiz (Maersk Stadelhorn coverage)
CMA CGM Davao – CMA CGM Africa Three (CMA CGM La Scala coverage)

Durban Exports for Port Louis will be loaded to Tanjung Pelepas and transship and next Safari back to Port Louis. Systems will be aligned by Midday 22 February 2024.

Upcoming Safari vessel schedules are currently being reviewed to maintain Maersk coverage for Cape Town customers cargo to the Far East and updates will be shared accordingly.

Source: Maersk Advisories

Added 21 February 2024


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Cyclone Eleanor warning for Mauritius and Reunion

Cyclone Eleanor as at 18:00 on Tuesday 21 February 2024. source JTWC

Africa Ports & Ships

At 22:00 hours (Mauritius time), the severe tropical storm Eleanor was centred at about 350 km to the north-northeast of Mauritius near latitude 17.6 degrees south and longitude 59.8 degrees east.

The cyclone is moving in a south-southwest direction at an accelerated speed of about 25 km/h.

At that time the cyclone was 440km NW of Rodrigues, 135km SSE from from St Brandon, 870km SSE from Agaléga and at 15:00 was 675km NE from St Denis (Reunion).

On this trajectory, the severe tropical storm Eleanor is continuing to approach Mauritius where it represents a potential threat to the island. source: Mauritius Meteorological Services and Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Hawaii.

Added 21 February 2024


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WHARF TALK: Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD) – HANG JUN 4017

The Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD) named Hang Jun 4017 which arrived in Cape Town on 19 February 2024. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The large land, and sea, development programmes that are being carried out around the world means that the specialised dredger operators are regulars bunker callers into Cape Town, whilst en route to, or from, the development site. To the casual maritime observer, the dredgers who conduct this construction work seem quite sizeable, compared to a mere harbour dredger.

The programmes that these behemoth dredgers undertake can range from annual maintenance dredging of a shipping channel to a major port, through to cutting out a brand new harbour basin, land reclamation for a new offshore airport, strengthening shorelines by developing beaches, and increasing existing island acreage for future tourism, and building, development.

It would be fair to say that virtually every one of those dredgers that pass through the ports of Cape Town and Durban, as they transit the Cape, and heading east, are part of the large dredger fleets of the specialised Dutch and Belgian companies that undertake these large construction projects. What is not often seen are Chinese dredgers coming from the east.

As with every other sector of the maritime shipping industry, the Chinese have noted, and often copied, most every vessel design for every sector, and produced their own designs for many of the niche markets. This includes dredgers, and the latest versions of their large dredgers do not look a lot different, in every detail, to those dredgers of the great Dutch and Belgian operators.

The non-stop growth of the Chinese economy, and specifically the Chinese Government Belt and Road project, has seen the Chinese state offer to undertake huge infrastructure projects around the world, as part of this initiative, and effectively all to benefit the Chinese economy. Some of these infrastructure development projects have been likened to an ‘Aid Debt Trap’ for some of these poorer nations who accept the development offers.

On 19th February, at 17:00 in the afternoon, the Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD) ‘Hang Jun 4107’ (IMO 931783) arrived off Cape Town, from Port Klang in Malaysia, which had been a bunker stop, whilst she was en route initially from Zhoushan in China. Her Cape Town call was also a bunker call, and she entered the Duncan Dock, and went alongside the Landing Wall for her uplift of bunk

Hang Jun 4017. Cape Town, 19 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2022 by Huangpu Wenchong shipyard at Guangzhou in China, ‘Hang Jun 4017’ is 103 metres in length and has a deadweight of 7,374 tons. As with many Chinese state owned vessels, technical specifications, and design details, of these new Trailing Suction Hopper Dredgers are sadly hard to come by.

Nominally owned by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Ltd., of Beijing, ‘Hang Jun 4017’ is operated by the CCCC Shanghai Dredging Coo. Ltd., of Shanghai, and whose houseflag she displays on her funnel. She is managed by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Dredging Co. Ltd., also of Shanghai. Her operating and managing companies are both subsidiary companies of CCCC, which is a state owned enterprise.

Some of the marine development projects of CHEC Shanghai Dredging include the Yangtze Estuary Deep Water Channel Dredging and Regulation Works, the Shanghai Yangshan Deep Water Port Project, and the Reclamation Project in the Tianjin Harbour Economic Area. CHEC were also responsible for the construction of the new Port of Hambantota, in Sri Lanka, which became the subject of a major ‘Aid Debt Trap’ story.

Hang Jun 4017. Cape Town, 19 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In 2018, the Sri Lankan State Minister of Finance and Mass Media called for an investigation into CHEC, following reports that it had funded the campaign of the Sri Lankan President during the 2015 Sri Lankan Presidential Election. CHEC denied funding the election campaign. CHEC were also debarred by the World Bank for bribery in Bangladesh.

CCCC is the largest port construction, and harbour design company in China. It is a leading company in both road, and bridge, construction and design, as well as a leading railway construction company. It is the largest dredging company in China, and is the second largest dredging company, in terms of dredging capacity, in the world. All of these attributes are linked to where she was heading to on departure from Cape Town.

Hang Jun 4017. Cape Town, 19 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’ 

After just 18 hours alongside in Cape Town, and having completed her uplift of bunkers, stores and fresh provisions, ‘Hang Jun 4107’ sailed from Cape Town at 1100 in the morning of 20th February. Her AIS destination was given as Morébayah, in Guinea. This port is brand new, is still under construction, and is another of the Belt and Road initiative projects, being constructed almost exclusively by Chinese state owned, and controlled, firms.

The port of Morébayah is located at 09°23’ North 013°25’ West, and lies on the left bank of the Morébayah River estuary in Southern Guinea, close to the border with Sierra Leone. The new port has a very ambitious five year construction plan, and will be built in two phases, and have a land footprint of approximately 3.5 km2. It is being built as an iron ore export terminal port, and will be linked to the Iron Ore mine at Simandou, by a new dedicated 600 km railway line.

Hang Jun 4017. Cape Town, 19 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For the first phase, the Chinese consortium plan to build port facilities, with two general cargo berths, with a general cargo unloading facility, including one for handling petroleum products, specifically to bring in construction materials, plant, and equipment for the port infrastructure.

The initial port infrastructure will include four berths, equipped with gantry loaders for loading iron ore onto barges. The barges will then be taken offshore, and the iron ore will be transferred into anchored bulk carriers, via a high capacity transhipment terminal located offshore, and exported almost certainly to China.

Further port development will include a railway terminal for iron ore arriving from the mine at Simandou, rotary dumpers to unload the iron ore wagons, which will be connected to a conveyor belt system, which will transfer the iron ore to a storage yard equipped with stackers and reclaimers.

Hang Jun 4017. Cape Town, 19 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The five year construction plan includes Morébayah Port having its own oil fired power station, its own fresh water supply and distribution system, a wastewater treatment plant, a waste incinerator station, and a system of 4G mobile phone towers, to allow for communications within the port area, and for communications along the main shipping channel, and the offshore transhipment anchorage.

Besides the onshore port facilities, a river channel is to be dredged, initially allowing the barges, and supply vessels, to navigate safely from the port to the transhipment anchorage. Phase two of the port will be even more ambitious with a new deep-water port planned to allow bulk carriers to load whilst berthed alongside a bulk loading facility.

It is likely that both the proposed main shipping channel from Morébayah Port, out to the transshipment anchorage, as well as the enhanced port facility itself, is the likely reason for ‘Hang Jun 4017’ heading to Morébayah, with 2025 being the proposed completion of the first phase of this ambitious, and new, iron ore export project for Guinea.

Added 21 February 2024


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Tug SVITZER SANTO NIÑO on delivery voyage to Cape Town

Svitzer Santo Niño, en route to Cape Town. Pictures courtesy: Shipspotting

Africa Ports & Ships

The tug Svitzer Santo Niño (IMO 9965904)has made a routine call at the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The Svitzer tug has Cape Town as her destination.

While in Santa Cruz de Tenerife the tug was attended to by Miller y Cía, which attended to the technical aspects of her stopover.

Miller y Cía is part of the Boluda Group.

Svitzer Santo Niño is positioning from Turkey to Cape Town, South Africa, where she is due on 13 March 2024.

The ASD type tug of 434 gross tons was built at the Med Marine shipyard and is flagged in St Vincent and Grenadines. The tug, which entered service in December last year (2023), has a hull length of 28 metres and beam of 12 m.

What her purpose will be in Cape Town is not yet clear.

It was recently announced that Svitzer, after 45 years in the Maersk stable, is about to demerge and become a stand alone entity. (Acknowledgements: Puente de Mando; Tugs Towing & Offshore

Added 21 February 2024


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Transnet Port Terminals launches programme to boost technical capacity

Plotting action for the next 100 days at DCT

Africa Ports & Ships

In an attempt to improve the company’s operational performance in as short a period as possible – 100 days – Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has turned to an outcomes-based initiative in partnership with the University of Pretoria, with the aim of upskilling employees across all levels.

The initiative, the Rapid 100 programme, introduced by the US-based Rapid Results Institute, allows teams to set up their own goals and plan how they will go about achieving them.

Jaco van der Westhuizen, TPT GM of Engineering, Capital Projects and Operations technology, says frontline teams in operations are directly affected by the challenges and they know what they are. Equally, he says, they also know how to fix them. As such, the initiative empowers teams to determine the outcomes, whereby managers support plans, unlock or pull resources that the team requires to execute a task.

Pilot sites

The pilot sites are the Durban Container Terminals Piers 1 and 2. For the first wave of the 100 days which commenced this week, a combination of millwrights, operators, buyers, planners, electricians, supervisors, and mechanics will drive the first seven projects.

Their duties on the Rapid 100 programme are already in line with their day-to-day work.

Durban-based facilitators have been trained during the first wave in order to facilitate the second wave as the process rolls out to other terminals. The overall focus is on improving the reliability and availability of operational equipment, ensuring the availability of spares and increasing crane moves per hour.

“We are creating internal capacity by upskilling employees and giving them ownership as people capable of finding solutions to our current challenges, says van der Westhuizen. He adds that the results will bring back TPT’s customers’ confidence.

The process is being guided by the Rapid 100 methodology from day 1 to 100.

Added 21 February 2024


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Lest We Forget. SS Mendi 21 February 1917

SS Mendi. Picture courtesy John Gribble collection

SS Mendi was a British 4,230 GRT passenger steamship that was built in 1905 and, as a troopship, sank after collision with great loss of life in 1917.

Alexander Stephen and Sons of Linthouse in Glasgow, Scotland launched her on 18 June 1905 for the British and African Steam Navigation Company, which appointed group company Elder Dempster & Co to manage her on their Liverpool-West Africa trades.

In 1916 during the First World War the UK Admiralty chartered her as a troopship. On 21 February 1917 a large cargo steamship, Darro, collided with her in the English Channel south of the Isle of Wight. Mendi sank, killing 646 people, mostly black South African troops, as well as white Southern African officers and NCOs, and crew.

The new port admin building at the Port of Ngqura, South Africa (and now the headquarters building of Transnet National Ports Authority), has been named eMendi in commemoration of the SS Mendi.

The eMendi Building at the Port of Ngqura, to where the head office of Transnet National Ports Authority has relocated. Picture: Transnet

Final voyage

The destroyer HMS Brisk, which escorted Mendi and rescued survivors
Mendi had sailed from Cape Town carrying 823 men of the 5th Battalion the South African Native Labour Corps to serve in France. She called at Lagos in Nigeria, where a naval gun was mounted on her stern. She next called at Plymouth and then headed up the English Channel toward Le Havre in northern France, escorted by the Acorn-class destroyer HMS Brisk.

Acorn-class destroyer HMS Brisk in 1910. Picture: Wikipedia

Mendi’s complement was a mixture characteristic of many UK merchant ships at the time. Officers, stewards, cooks, signallers and gunners were British; firemen and other crew were West Africans, most of them from Sierra Leone.

The South African Native Labour Corps men aboard her came from a range of social backgrounds, and from a number of different peoples spread over the South African provinces and neighbouring territories. (287 were from Transvaal, 139 from the Eastern Cape, 87 from Natal, 27 from Northern Cape, 26 from the Orange Free State, 26 from Basutoland, eight from Bechuanaland (Botswana), five from Western Cape, one from Rhodesia and one from South West Africa). Most had never seen the sea before this voyage, and very few could swim. The officers and NCOs were white Southern Africans.


At 5 am on 21 February 1917, in thick fog about 10 nautical miles (19 km) south of St. Catherine’s Point on the Isle of Wight, the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company cargo ship Darro accidentally rammed Mendi’s starboard quarter, breaching her forward hold. Darro was an 11,484 GRT ship, almost three times the size of the Mendi, sailing in ballast to Argentina to load meat. Darro survived the collision but Mendi sank, killing 616 Southern Africans, 607 of whom were black troops and nine of whom were white officers & NCOs, and 30 crew.

Some men were killed outright in the collision; others were trapped below decks. Many others gathered on Mendi’s deck as she listed and sank.

Revd Isaac Wauchope Dyobha. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Oral history records that the men met their fate with great dignity. An interpreter, Isaac Williams Wauchope (also known as Isaac Wauchope Dyobha), who had previously served as a Minister in the Congregational Native Church of Fort Beaufort and Blinkwater, is reported to have calmed the panicked men by raising his arms aloft and crying out in a loud voice:

“Be quiet and calm, my countrymen. What is happening now is what you came to do…you are going to die, but that is what you came to do. Brothers, we are drilling the death drill. I, a Xhosa, say you are my brothers…Swazis, Pondos, Basotho…so let us die like brothers. We are the sons of Africa. Raise your war-cries, brothers, for though they made us leave our assegais in the kraal, our voices are left with our bodies.”

The damaged Darro did not stay to assist, but Brisk lowered her boats, whose crews then rescued survivors.

The investigation into the accident led to a formal hearing in summer 1917, held in Caxton Hall, Westminster. It opened on 24 July, sat for five days spread over the next fortnight, and concluded on 8 August. The court found Darro’s Master, Henry W Stump, guilty of “having travelled at a dangerously high speed in thick fog, and of having failed to ensure that his ship emitted the necessary fog sound signals.” It suspended Stump’s licence for a year.

The reason for Stump’s decision not to help Mendi’s survivors has been a source of speculation. There is however no evidence of his state of mind or intention. Certainly Darro was vulnerable to attack by enemy submarines, both as a large merchant ship and having sustained damage that put her out of action for up to three months.

Wreck site: Position of Mendi’s wreck in the English Channel

In 1945 Mendi’s wreck was known to be 11.3 nautical miles (21 km) off Saint Catherine’s Light, but it was not positively identified until 1974. The ship rests upright on the sea floor. She has started to break up, exposing her boilers.

In 2006 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission launched an education resource called “Let us die like brothers” to highlight the role played by black Southern Africans during the First World War. In death they are afforded the same level of commemoration as all other Commonwealth war dead.

In December 2006 English Heritage commissioned Wessex Archaeology to make an initial desk-based appraisal of the wreck. The project will identify a range of areas for potential future research and serve as the basis for a possible unintrusive survey of the wreck itself in the near future.]

In 2017 the ship’s bell was handed in anonymously to a BBC journalist. The Prime Minister, Theresa May returned the bell to South Africa while on an official visit there in August 2018.

The Mendi memorial in Pretoria


This event is commemorated by monuments in South Africa, Britain, France and the Netherlands, as well as in the name of the port admin building at the Port of Ngqura, the eMendi Admin Building and the names of two South African Navy ships:

SAS Isaac Dyobha, a Sa’ar 4-class missile boat.
SAS Mendi, a Valour-class frigate.

Various monuments and artworks exist to commemorate the sinking and loss of life of SS Mendi
source: Wikipedia Commons

Added 21 February 2024


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Livestock carrier raises a huge stink in Cape Town

The livestock carrier Al Kuwait, at J berth in Cape Town’s Duncan Dock. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Terry Hutson
Africa Ports & Ships

The strong reaction to the presence of a livestock carrier, Al Kuwait, in the port of Cape Town, has struck more than a few raw nerves, and not only on account of the stench, though that objectionable odour is what drew public attention to the ship’s presence.

Attention has also focused once more on the ethics of transporting live animals in confined, often filthy and constantly moving conditions, and more so in the heat of the southern summer.

All of which is also clearly not the sort of attention that is sought by the port authority at this particular time, when productivity issues remain so much to the forefront.

By now the authorities will be wishing that the Al Kuwait never showed up in these southern waters. Whether the vessel is a diversion away from the northern route through the Suez Canal and Red Sea, is not clear, but Cape Town and the Cape sea route don’t usually have to contend with the sudden arrival of almost 20,000 live and by now rather smelly animals on board.

The ship, it seems, put in to the ‘Tavern of the Seas’ seeking fodder and other necessities. By nature of the rules, this wasn’t unexpected with at the very least over 90 hours notice having been given.

One has to assume this is not a one-off voyage between Brazil and Middle East countries and that such shipments are conducted on a fairly regular basis via the Mediterranean and through the Suez canal. Which might explain why such visits are almost unknown.

Photographed on board Al Kuwait in Cape Town harbour, 20 February 2024. Picture: supplied

Be that as it may, the ship has called at the Mother City to receive a response that has been overwhelmingly critical and the question must surely be asked why Al Kuwait wasn’t diverted to a less populated port such as Saldanha, where supplies of fodder and other requirements could have been pre-arranged.

The multi-purpose terminal at that port is some distance from the nearest habitation.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) says it acknowledges the concerns surrounding the docking of the livestock carrier at the Port of Cape Town.

“The TNPA’s decision to allow the docking of Al Kuwait was made based on a thorough assessment of various factors and in consultation with the state veterinarian, Port Health and the Maritime Security Co-ordination Centre.

“The vessel docked in the Port of Cape Town on 18 February 2024 for animal feed, vessel stores, bunkers and to afford the relevant parties the opportunity to conduct medical assessments on the animals on board as well as administer the necessary medical care,” said the authority.

“The safety and well-being of the animals on board was of paramount importance in making the decision and it was on these grounds that TNPA permitted the vessel to berth at the Port of Cape Town.”

According to the TNPA, Port Health cleared the vessel and in so doing confirmed that all potential health issues would be managed and controlled.

Except for the smell!

It appears the State Vet Directorate for Animal Health also granted permission for the vessel to be docked at the port.

“TNPA continues to collaborate closely with the vessel agent, terminal operator, state veterinarian, Port Health, Border Management Authority (BMA) and the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) to monitor the well-being of the animals and manage the risk associated with the livestock vessel docked in the port,” said TNPA.

Photographed on board Al Kuwait in Cape Town harbour, 20 February 2024. Picture: supplied

Death Ship

The National Councils of SPCAs (NSPCA) obviously sees things differently. They refer to the ship as a ‘death ship’ and remain utterly opposed to the live export of animals by sea.

Their team, including NSPCA Veterinary Consultant, Dr Bryce Marock, and members of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, went on board the Al Kuwait late on Sunday night and remained there assessing the welfare of the animals.

“We acknowledge the concerns raised by members of the public regarding the noticeable stench emanating from the ship, reaching the city centre and surrounds,” the SPCA said.

“This smell is indicative of the awful conditions the animals endure, having already spent 2½ weeks on board, with a build-up of faeces and ammonia. The stench onboard is unimaginable, yet the animals face this every single day.”

“We urge the public to consider the plight of these sentient beings, confined to cramped quarters with limited ventilation and hygiene, as we continue our efforts to ensure their well-being.”

As of 21:00 Tuesday 20 February 2024, Al Kuwait remained in port.

Added 20 February 2024


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WHARF TALK: livestock carrier – AL KUWAIT

The livestock carrier Al Kuwait, which arrived in Cape Town late in the evening of 18 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Anyone who has been in, or around, the ports of Kwinana and Fremantle in Western Australia, may have experience of what transpires when a livestock carrier is being loaded with export sheep, bound for the Middle East. The abiding memory is that of smell. That this is so becomes crystal clear when one realises that the specialised vessels utilised for this livestock trade can load up to 70,000 sheep over a period of days. The smell tends to linger on the breeze.

The genteel folk of Cape Town have not really ever experienced this trade, as the port of Cape Town has no export livestock industry to speak of. So when a loaded livestock carrier arrives in the dead of night, and with the local inhabitants of the waterfront being none the wiser, the locals tend to start wondering, after a few hours, as to where that awful smell is coming from.

The first telephone calls of some irate rate payers are then rightly made to the environmental department of the City Council complaining about a problem with the sewage. So out went the duty engineers into the night, to find the source of the smell, and where the sewage leak was emanating from. Surprisingly, it became obvious that the city sewer network was in fine fettle, and that the smell was coming from within the harbour. It was coming from a livestock carrier.

On 18th February, at 22:00 in the late evening, the livestock carrier ‘Al Kuwait’ (IMO 9590931) arrived off Cape Town, from Rio Grande in Brazil, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside J berth, which coincidentally, and ironically, is listed by Transnet as being a berth for agricultural products.

Al Kuwait. Cape Town, 19 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2016 by STX Dalian Shipbuilding at Wafangdian in China, ‘Al Kuwait’ is 190 metres in length and has a deadweight of 16,110 tons. She is powered by a MAN-B&W 7S50ME-B9.5 seven cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 16,709 bhp (12,460 kW) driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 16 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes four MAN 8L21/31 generators providing 1,760 kW each, and two MAN 7L21/31 generators providing 1,540 kW each. She has a single Cummins NT/NTA855-M/-D(M) emergency generator providing 308 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg Mission OC Composite boiler. For added manoeuvrability ‘Al Kuwait’ has a Nakashima TCT-165 bow transverse thruster. She has four electro-hydraulic, cylinder jib, cranes for loading cattle feed and stores, each capable of lifting 5 tons.

Al Kuwait. Cape Town, 19 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

When built, she was named ‘Ocean Shearer’ and built specifically for the growing cattle trade between Australia and China. Her building costs were US$90 million (ZAR1.71 billion), and she was the largest, purpose built, livestock carrier ever built, and capable of carrying up to 20,000 head of cattle, or up to 70,000 sheep. She carries a crew of 43, which is a large number by the manning standards of today, as this figure also includes specialised stockmen who look after the cattle during the course of the voyage.

Owned and operated by Livestock Transport and Trading Co. KSC, of Safat in Kuwait, ‘Al Kuwait’ is managed by Korkyra Shipping Ltd., of Korcula in Croatia. Korkyra Shipping Ltd., are a shipmanagement company that specialises in livestock carriers, as they manage a fleet of five of these vessels on behalf of their owners.

Al Kuwait. Cape Town, 19 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Whilst not connected to the Houthi menace of the Red Sea, the requirement for ‘Al Kuwait’ to call at Cape Town was obviously not for commercial reasons, based on her cargo of 19,000 head of cattle, but for the uplift of animal feed, as well as for the normal transit requirements of fuel, stores and fresh provisions for her crew. It was also reported that medications had been ordered, although it was not stipulated if this was simple medicines for the ships medical chest, or veterinary medical requirements for the cattle onboard.

As expected, animal rights campaigners, and journalists with little knowledge of the trade, began producing a plethora of emotionally charged statements and press writings on the visit of ‘Al Kuwait’. The vessel was visited by Inspectors of the National Council of the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA). Such visits to livestock vessels by NSPCA Inspectors are actually quite normal, so as to ensure that animal welfare requirements in this trade are being met.

Al Kuwait. Cape Town, 19 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The visit resulted in the discovery of three dead animals, and five animals that had to be put down due to their poor condition. That is 8 animals out of a total of 19,000, or 0.04% of the total animals onboard. This incredibly low figure highlights that welfare of the animals was actually quite high, considering it was at the end of a two week transatlantic voyage. That the NSPCA are against such a trade is not unsurprising, based on their founding remit.

Despite the fact that the arrival of ‘Al Kuwait’ in Cape Town not being linked to any local export, or import, trade of livestock, what the majority of the good folk of Cape Town are probably completely unaware of is that South Africa already has a burgeoning export trade of livestock, not from Cape Town, hence the local ignorance of such a commercial endeavour, but especially from East London, and to a lesser extent, from Durban.

Al Kuwait. Cape Town, 19 February 2024.  Picture by Shelley Christians

The export trade of mainly sheep, but also cattle, has been going on for over a decade, and is still going on today. There is not only a regular trade of sheep and cattle to the Middle East, but also to Mauritius. Currently the ‘Murray Express’, of the Livestock Express company, is scheduled to arrive in East London, from Mauritius in the next few days.

A little known fact about the type of vessels that utilise East London is that 13.52% of vessels that call at the Buffalo River port are actually Livestock Carriers. The regularity of this trade from the Eastern Cape does not erupt in the kind of hand wringing that has erupted in Cape Town. The NSPCA is also involved in East London, and has an open, and public, policy of trying to halt this export trade entirely.

Murray Express sailing from Durban after being drydocked in the port. January 2023. Picture: Keith Betts

Sadly, what just about everyone forgets is why this trade continues, and in such great quantities, mainly to Middle Eastern destinations. The vast majority of imported meat to first world nations, and non-Muslim nations, is usually by way of either chilled meat, or frozen meat, with very little being as live cattle.

Most cattle are slaughtered in abattoirs close to the port of export, and processed locally prior to loading onto reefers, or container vessels. However, due to the strict Halaal requirements of the Muslim religion, it is preferred that the slaughter of cattle and sheep takes place in these Muslim countries, under observed Halaal conditions. One can draw your own conclusions as to the need of this particular worldwide trade from these facts.

On board Al Kuwait. Cape Town 19 February 2024. Picture: Supplied

That the cattle aboard ‘Al Kuwait’ were all loaded in the port of Rio Grande, in the south of Brazil, is not a complete surprise. Brazil possesses the second largest cattle farming industry in the world, at 218.23 million head of cattle, or 22.2% of the world total. Brazil is also the second largest producer of beef, with 15.4% of global production. Brazil, together with the United States, and the European Union, accounts for almost half of all meat produced in the world.

As expected, mainly due to the trade that she is employed in, ‘Al Kuwait’ has hit the news in the past. In June 2020, the animal rights organisation, Animals Australia, lost a court battle in Western Australia to prevent the Australian Department of Agriculture from licensing the loading, and export, of 35,000 sheep on ‘Al Kuwait’, from Fremantle, and bound for the Middle East. The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council welcomed the Federal Court’s decision to allow the exemption for the sheep to be exported.

Animal being examined on board Al Kuwait. Cape Town 19 February 2024. Picture: Supplied

The arrival of ‘Al Kuwait’ in Fremantle in May 2020, to load the sheep, was at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. On arrival, 21 of her crew of 48 tested positive for the disease, with one of the crew having to be admitted to a local hospital. It resulted in a three week quarantine period in Fremantle for the vessel, before she was cleared to load her cargo of sheep, despite the protests of Animals Australia.

In Cape Town, the story of the ‘stench’, along with the dramatic ‘hell ship’ wailings of some, frankly, ignorant sections of the press meant that the call of the ‘Al Kuwait’ became big news. It was solely due to the fact that it happened in Cape Town, whose inhabitants are shielded from such perceived horrors. They simply never see, or smell, this particular maritime trade, which built the story such that it was carried around the world, including with the American ABC news, the BBC news in the UK, and as far east as in Singapore.

It was expected that after less than 24 hours alongside receiving their uplifts, that ‘Al Kuwait’ would sail from Cape Town at around 21:00 in the late evening of 19th February, bound for her discharge port in Iraq. By 02:00 in the early hours of 20th February she was still alongside. Hopefully, by the time you get to read this she should be well on her way, and not likely to be seen in Cape Town again, no doubt to the absolute relief of the local City Bowl Capetonians.


Twelve hours later, at 14h00 Tuesday, Al Kuwait remained alongside her J berth. Elsewhere in the port were two cruise ships, Azamara Pursuit which had overnighted at E berth, and MSC Poesia which has berthed at B for a stay of several days. – AP&S

Added 20 February 2024


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EU launches Eunavfor Aspides to safeguard freedom of Red Sea navigation

EUNAVFOR naval forces inspecting a suspicious Arab dhow. Picture: EUNAVFOR

by defenceWeb

The third European Union (EU) naval operation off Africa – Aspides – was launched yesterday (Monday, 19 February) as a defensive maritime security effort to restore and safeguard freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.

Aspides, ‘shield’ in ancient Greek, joins Atalanta off the Indian Ocean continental coast and Irini in the Mediterranean Sea as EU naval forces working to secure freedom of navigation and passage in waters used by arms, drug and people smugglers as well as pirates.

EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy High Representative Josep Borrell said in a statement the operation is “a swift response” to restore maritime security and freedom of navigation in a highly strategic maritime corridor. “The operation will play a key role in safeguarding commercial and security interests, for the sake of the EU and the wider international community.”

Operation Aspides, according to the statement, will ensure an EU naval presence in an area where numerous Houthi attacks targeted international commercial vessels since October 2023. “In co-operation with like-minded international partners, Aspides will contribute to safeguard maritime security and ensure freedom of navigation, especially for merchant and commercial vessels.”

As part of its defensive mandate, the operation will provide maritime situational awareness, escort vessels and protect them against possible multi-domain attacks at sea.

The operation will be active along the main sea lines of communication in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait and the Strait of Hormuz, as well as international waters in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman.

Operation Commander is Commodore Vasilios Griparis of the Hellenic Navy with Rear Admiral Stefano Costantino of the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) his force commander. Operation headquarters will be in Larissa, Greece.

Operation Aspides will co-ordinate with Atalanta, contributing to maritime security in the West Indian Ocean and Red Sea, as well as with like-minded maritime security partners in its area of operation.

So far, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium have said they plan to contribute ships to Operation Aspides.

Aspides vessels will have orders to fire on the Houthis only if they attack first and will not be authorised to shoot pre-emptively, an EU official told the German Press Agency dpa.

The new EU force announcement follows a December one by United States (US) Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin making known Operation Prosperity Guardian. The US-led multinational coalition is also in response to Houthi-led attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

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

Added 20 February 2024


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Loadshedding and logistics constraints, increase cost of doing business in South Africa – Kumba

Loading VLCCs using the main conveyor lines from the stockpiles at the Saldanha Bay Loading facility. Picture: Kumba

Africa Ports & Ships

While declaring Kumba Iron Ore’s annual results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2023, chief executive Mpumi Zikalala has highlighted that domestically, businesses have been further impacted by loadshedding and logistics constraints. These she described as increasing the cost of doing business in South Africa.

“Over a number of years, Kumba along with other members of the Ore User’s Forum have suffered significant losses due to derailments and logistics infrastructure and equipment failures.

“These issues continued in 2023 and in order to rebalance our value chain, we took decisive action to slowdown overall production in the fourth quarter of 2023 following our product stockpiles peaking at unsustainable levels,” said Zikalala.

Mpumi Zikalala, Kumba CEO

“As a result, production decreased by 5.3% to 35.7Mt, while sales increased by 1.6% to 37.2 Mt relative to 2022 when industrial action at Transnet disrupted rail and port operations.”

She added that macro-economic volatility and uncertainty continued to weigh on global markets with geopolitical tension escalating and persistent cost inflation amidst multi-year high interest rates.

“We are committed to supporting key measures by the National Logistics Crisis Committee to improve logistics performance and encouraged by the Cabinet’s approval of the Freight Logistics Roadmap that will allow for greater and much needed private sector participation in the logistics sector.”

According to the chief executive, logistics challenges will, however, take some time to resolve. “Unless we act now to align our production and cost base to current logistics constraints, this business will not have the resilience it needs to deliver across its stakeholders.”

“Following a strategic review in 2023, Kumba is reconfiguring its business to an overall lower production profile of 35-37 Mt for the period 2024 – 2026, in line with prevailing logistics capacity. This will enable the necessary drawdown of high on-mine stockpiles and support cost reductions that will help ensure our business remains competitive in the long-term for the benefit of all of our stakeholders. To this end, we have identified cost savings initiatives of R2.5 – R3.0 billion for 2024, and revised our C1 unit cost guidance to US$38 – US$40/wmt for the next three years.

Zikalala reiterated that the safety, health and wellbeing of its people and its mine communities remains Kumba’s first priority.

“We continued our relentless pursuit of achieving zero harm and the elimination of fatalities resulting in a significant improvement in our total recordable injury frequency rate, while providing R71.1 billion of enduring shared value to all our stakeholder,” Zikalala said.

Download the Kumba Annual Results for the year ending 31 December 2023 HERE

Added 20 February 2024


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Houthi’s score a success, force crew to abandon their damaged ship Rubymar

Rubymar, shown here as Ikaria Island, has been abandoned in the lower Red Sea following two missile attacks on the vessel. Picture: VesselFinder

Africa Ports & Ships

When the operators of a ship decided to run the gauntlet of the southern Red Sea this week, they probably little expected their ship, operating beneath the cover of western naval forces, to become the first tangible ‘victory’ for the Yemeni-based Houthis.

The British-owned (Golden Adventure Shipping SA of Southampton, UK) bulk carrier ship Rubymar (IMO 9138898) was struck in two places by missiles launched from the Houthi-controlled section of Yemen

The 32,211-dwt vessel (prior to 2020 named Ikaria Island) received two successful strikes from the missiles, one on the engine room area and the other near the bows of the ship.

There were no reports of injuries but the damage to the vessel was thought to be serious enough for the crews to launch the liferafts and abandon their vessel. There is a subsequent unconfirmed report that the ship is taking on water.

The crew were later picked up by other vessels in the area and have been taken to nearby Djibouti. They were uninjured during their ordeal.

Rubymar, while nominally owned by a UK-registered company, is managed and operated out of Beirut in Lebanon – GMZ Ship Management Co SA.

The ship is registered in Belize whose flag she flies. The vessels departed earlier from Khor Fakkan in the UAE, bound for Bulgaria in the Black Sea.

Up above we described the attack as the first ‘ tangible’ victory for the Houthis. In essence, the Yemeni rebels have been tasting ‘victory’ ever since the first ship diverted to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, adding time and expense to every voyage.

Since then shipping rates between the East and either Europe or the East Coast of North America have again soared, while drawing back into use empty ships that were otherwise sitting idle at anchor.

Further north along the Red Sea the number of ships crossing the Suez canal is down by over 40% and getting worse every day, seriously hurting the Egyptian economy.

The U.S.-led military coalition that has been tasked with conducting air strikes against areas believed to be from where the Houthis are launching or supporting their drone and missile attacks, suffered its first ‘loss’ this week also, with reports that one of the American MQ-9 Reaper drones was shot down over Yemen.

Other drones sent against the Houthi forces have been downed so this is not necessarily a ‘first’ as claimed.

Added 20 February 2024


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CMA CGM orders 3 Kalmar straddle carriers for SAMR, Port Réunion

Kalmar to supply three hybrid straddle carriers for SAMR Port Réunion container terminal, operated by CMA Terminals. Picture: SAMR

Africa Ports & Ships

Equipment manufacturer Kalmar, a part of Cargotec, has concluded an agreement with CMA Terminals, a subsidiary of CMA CGM, to supply three Kalmar hybrid straddle carriers for SAMR, its terminal on Réunion Island.

The order was booked in Cargotec’s Q4 2023 order intake, with delivery of the machines scheduled for Q4 2024.

Réunion Island is the CMA CGM Group’s strategic hub in the Indian Ocean.

In 2016 the CMA CGM Group reinforced its commitment with the creation of its Indian Ocean transshipment hub.

Karri Keskinen

As a result Port Réunion has become France’s 4th container port.

The CMA Terminal currently operates multiple Kalmar diesel-electric straddle carriers at its terminal in the port.

“Kalmar and CMA Terminals have a long and successful history of collaboration,”said Karri Keskinen, Head of Global Sales, Horizontal Transportation at Kalmar.

He said they are proud that CMA Terminals selected Kalmar’s proven hybrid straddle carrier solution, which he said can cut fuel consumption by up to 40% compared to equivalent diesel-powered machines and will support the Réunion Island terminal with their transition to more eco-efficient cargo-handling operations.

Added 19 February 2024


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WHARF TALK: multi-purpose offshore field support vessel – SKANDI SEVEN

The multi-purpose offshore field support vessel Skandi Seven in Cape Town on 30 December 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

As most mariners know, the annual survey, or multi-year drydocking and refit of any vessel, can sometimes take quite some time. One such period that takes over seven weeks thus far, with no indication, as of yet, as to when the vessel will be ready to return to sea, is quite a major refit as things go. The more complex the vessel, the more complex the refit.

A staple of the ‘big ticket’ maintenance, and engineering support work, in Cape Town harbour comes from the offshore oil and gas industry of West Africa. The market is huge, and West Africa is mostly devoid of sophisticated, heavyweight, engineering companies and infrastructure that can undertake the work necessary on many of the specialised vessels that service the offshore oil and gas industry in that region.

As 2023 drew to a close, the Multi-Purpose Offshore Field Support Vessel ‘Skandi Seven’ (IMO 9408671) was sent from her normal place of work in West Africa, down to Cape Town for her annual overhaul programme. On 30th December, at 0900 in the morning, she arrived off Cape Town, from Luanda in Angola, and entered Cape Town harbour, where she proceeded into the Duncan Dock and went alongside the Landing Wall to begin her preparations for Drydocking.

Skandi Seven. Cape Town 30 December 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2008, with her hull built at the Aker Tulcea SA shipyard at Tulcea in Rumania, ‘Skandi Seven’ was then towed from the Black Sea, via the Dardanelles, Bosphorus, Dardanelles, and the Mediterranean Sea, back to the Aker Søviknes AS shipyard at Sovik in Norway, for completion and outfitting. She is 121 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 6,013 tons.

A diesel-electric powered vessel, ‘Skandi Seven’ has four MAN-B&W 9L27/38 nine cylinder, four stroke, generators providing a total power output of 11,880 kW, which power electric motors for two stern Kongsberg Rolls-Royce Contaz 25 azimuth thrusters, producing 3,000 kW each for a service speed of 14 knots.

Skandi Seven. Cape Town 30 December 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes a single MTU 16V4000M auxiliary generator providing 2,080 kW, and a single Scania DI16 emergency generator providing 405 kW. For additional manoeuvrability ‘Skandi Seven’ has two Kongsberg TT2400 bow transverse thrusters providing 1,500 kW each, and two Kongsberg UL1401 bow retractable azimuth thrusters providing 1,900 kW each.

Her azimuth propulsion, plus her mix of azimuth and transverse bow thrusters, means that ‘Skandi Seven’ has a dynamic positioning classification of DP3, which is the highest available. She has an ice classification of ICE C, which means she is able to navigate in first year Baltic Sea ice of 0.4 metres thickness. She was built to an Aker OSCV 03 design.

Skandi Seven. Cape Town 30 December 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has a large, aft working deck area of 1,300 m2, with a deck strength of 10 tons/m2, and a cargo carrying capacity of 3,150 tons. Her working deck is serviced to two Deck Cranes capable of lifting 3 tons, and her main working Deck Crane for overside works is a knuckleboom, active heave compensated, crane capable of lifting 250 tons, and working to a depth of 2,500 metres.

For subsea construction requirements, and support work, she has a moonpool measuring 7.2 metres by 7.2 metres, and a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) hangar with a working area of 208 m2. For offshore logistics, and crew change requirements, ‘Skandi Seven’ is fitted with a bow helideck with a working diameter of 21 metres, and a deck weight of 12.8 tons, allowing her to conduct helicopter operations with the Sikorsky S-92A, the largest offshore helicopter.

Skandi Seven. Cape Town 30 December 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Nominally owned by DOF Subsea Rederi III AS, of Bergen in Norway, ‘Skandi Seven’ is operated by DOF Subsea AS, also of Bergen, and managed by DOF Management AS, of Storebø in Norway. All three companies are part of the DOF Group ASA, of Bergen. She has been a regular visitor to Cape Town over the years, as she has been working offshore in Angola since 2019.

Her work, with her operational base being Luanda, where DOF Subsea AS have a regional office, has been with the Italian oil company ENI, and ‘Skandi Seven’ has been contracted as a Field Support Vessel (FSV) to cover the ENI operation in Offshore Block 15/06, located 189 nautical miles northwest of Luanda in water depths of 500 metres.

Skandi Seven. Cape Town 30 December 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her FSV contract is for field project management, engineering, and procurement for infield deepwater construction, and maintenance, on existing subsea infrastructure within the block. She was recently working on the Cuica field in Block 15/06.

The Cuica field was discovered in March 2021, with light oil found at a depth of 4,100 metres, holding an estimated 250 million barrels, and Natural Gas. The field is tied back to the ‘Armada Olombendo’ floating production and storage offshore (FPSO) facility. The FPSO has been operational since 2017 and services other oil fields in Block 15/06 and known as the ‘East Hub’.

Skandi Seven in the Cape Town Dry Dock January 2024. Picture: Dormac

As well as the Cuica field, the other ‘East Hub’ fields tied back to the ‘Armada Olombendo’ FPSO include the Cabaça field, the Cabaça South East field, Cabaça North field, and the UM8 field. The FPSO is 335 metres in length and has a daily oil production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day, and an oil storage capacity of 1.7 million barrels.

Back in Cape Town, ‘Skandi Seven’ had completed her preliminary work on the Landing Wall, and just after the New Year, she made her way into the Sturrock Drydock. As with her arrival in Cape Town, her DP3 capabilities meant that she had no need for any harbour tugs to make the slow move astern into the drydock.

Skandi Seven in the Cape Town Dry Dock during January 2024. This picture, with men working on the deck, provides some perspective of the sheer size of the vessel. Picture: Dolphin Chandling

Her work with Dormac included hull shotblasting, hull repainting, thruster overhaul, electrical works, mechanical works, and piping works. She spent the best part of one month in drydock, which gives a good indication of how much work was required on this current refit.

In early February ‘Skandi Seven’ came out of the Sturrock Drydock, and was taken around to the Ben Schoeman Dock, where she was placed alongside berth 501, which is one of the two Dormac bespoke repair berths in Cape Town harbour. Her refit work will be completed there, and once completed she will then return to her offshore work in Angola. Her date of departure back to Luanda is as yet unknown.

Added 19 February 2024


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Trade News: Weathernews launches “Berth Waiting Forecast” service

Berth waiting forecasting. Picture: Weathernews Inc

Africa Ports & Ships

Solution to predicting port congestion

Weathernews Inc., a global leader in weather intelligence, has introduced its latest innovation, the ‘Berth Waiting Forecast’. This solution enables improved port congestion prediction for the global shipping industry.

By seamlessly integrating business data from shipping companies with precise weather insights, the ‘Berth Waiting Forecast’ empowers users to accurately predict the status of delayed ships at ports, marking a significant advancement in efficiency and informed decision-making in maritime operations.

In maritime operations, adverse weather conditions such as strong winds, high waves, and tropical cyclones frequently disrupt cargo handling operations at ports, leading to operational adjustments and increased fuel consumption. Weathernews’ ‘Berth Waiting Forecast’ addresses these challenges by providing users with real-time monitoring of ship delay status and congestion forecasts up to one week in advance.

Leveraging AIS data from over 70,000 ships and factoring in weather conditions and day-of-the-week variations, this service offers valuable insights to optimise voyage plans and adjust speeds, thereby reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Future enhancements aim to further enhance prediction accuracy by integrating ship navigation plans derived from AIS data…..

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

Added 19 February 2024


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Shipping industry calls for release of Galaxy Leader crew

Galaxy Leader, held with the crew in captivity for 3 months today. Screenshot via Yemeni Armed Forces

Africa Ports & Ships

The statement issued reads:

“Today – Monday 19th February 2024 – marks the three-month anniversary since the Houthis seized the Galaxy Leader and its 25 seafarers in the Red Sea.

“The vessel, a roll-on/roll-off vehicle carrier, was seized on 19 November. The maritime industry has joined together from around the world to express their concern for the seafarers who have been held hostage, and call on the Houthis to release the crew of the Galaxy Leader.

“The 25 seafarers who make up the crew of the Galaxy Leader are innocent victims of the ongoing aggression against world shipping, and their plight is a major concern as the merchant shipping community continues to come under attack.

“All efforts must be made by international organisations and States to secure the release of the seafarers.

“It is abhorrent that seafarers were seized by military forces and that they have been kept from their families and loved ones for too long. All 25 crew members of the Galaxy Leader must be released now.”

Signatories are:

Asian Shipowners Association (ASA): Yuichi Sonoda, Secretary General
Asociación de Navieros Españoles (ANAVE): Elena Seco, Director General
Bahamas Shipowners Association: Domenico Rognoni, Chairman
BIMCO: David Loosley, Secretary General & CEO
Chamber of Marine Commerce: Bruce Burrows, President & CEO
Chamber of Shipping of America: Kathy J Metcalf, President
Confitarma: Mario Zanetti, President
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA): Kelly Craighead, President & CEO
Cyprus Shipping Chamber: Thomas Kazakos, Director General
Danish Shipping: Anne H. Steffensen, Director General & CEO
European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA): Sotiris Raptis, Secretary General
FONASBA (The Federation of National Associations of Ship Brokers and Agents): Javier Dulce, President
IFSMA: Jim Scorer, Secretary General
InterManager: Capt. Kuba Szymanski, Secretary General
International Association of Ports & Harbors (IAPH): Patrick Verhoeven, Managing Director
International Chamber of Shipping: Guy Platten, Secretary General
International Christian Maritime Association: Dr. Jason Zuidema, General Secretary
International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA): Iain Grainger, CEO
International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC): Francesco Gargiulo, Chief Executive Officer
International Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA): Manish Jain, Chairman
International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF): Stephen Cotton, General Secretary
Japanese Shipowners’ Association (JSA): Toshiya Morishige, Director General
Liberian Shipowners’ Council Ltd (LSC): Kierstin Del Valle Lachtman, Secretary General
Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA): Harald Solberg, CEO
Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners (KVNR): Annet Koster, Managing Director
Swiss Shipowners Association (SSA): Eric André, President
The Seamen’s Church Institute: Rev. Mark Nestlehutt, President & Executive Director
UK Chamber of Shipping: Sarah Treseder, CEO
World Shipping Council (WSC): John W. Butler, President and CEO

Added 19 February 2024


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Smell in the City – livestock carrier to blame

The livestock carrier Al Kuwait. Note the accommodation block set well ahead of the cargo section – a sensible arrangement for when at sea! Picture: Shipspotting

Africa Ports & Ships

If you have been smelling a strange, foul and not so pleasant odor across the Cape Town CBD area this morning, don’t bother checking your waste disposal or drains.

Cape Town’s Environmental Health has confirmed that the source of the smell across the city is a ship in the harbour.

The ship arrived last night (Sunday) and is carrying 19,000 cattle.

The offending vessel is the Al Kuwait (IMO 9590931), currently berthed at the Duncan Dock. Al Kuwait arrived in port from Rio Grande in Brazil, where she departed 10 days ago on 9 February 2024.

UPDATE: The ship is headed for Iraq and is loading feed for the remainder of the journey.

The NSPCA and Cape of Good Hope SPCA have been attending the ship since Sunday night together with a NSPCA Veterinary Consultant.

The vessel is due to leave the port tonight at 21:00 (Monday 19 February) .

Added 19 February 2024


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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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Islamist terrorists occupy fishing town of Quissanga near Pemba

Africa Ports & Ships

The little Mozambique fishing town of Quissanga, about 65km north of the Cabo Delgado provincial capital and port city of Pemba, has been overrun and occupied by islamist terrorists with no effort by Mozambique Armed Forces (FADM) to defend the town.

Adjacent to Quissanga are the important occupied islands of Ibo, Matemo and Quirimba.

According to a report in the news sheet Carta de Moçambique, the terrorists moved into the town meeting with little or no resistance.

In fact reports say there was no sign of the FADM and the few members of the Mozambique Riot Police (UIR), simply melted away by blending in with the local population and heading for the beach and a possible escape by boat.

The reports say the insurgents have not on this occasion mistreated or killed the town’s residents. Moslems within the community were urged to stay and to attend a prayer meeting at the local mosque. Non-Moslems were expected to flee.

The report also says that the jihadists have stopped ambushing and burning vehicles on the roads but instead are charging motorists a fee to use the roads.

A contractor from Pemba said he was forced to pay the equivalent of US$ 2,340 otherwise the jihadists threatened to kill the four workers accompanying him and destroy his vehicle.

He paid the money, but was not allowed to leave. Instead they were told to return to Quissanga where they hid the vehicle and fled to the beach to find a boat to take them to Pemba.

Terrorism now south of Pemba

In related news from Lusa, it is reported that missionaries, priests and nuns are fleeing from remote villages in central and southern Cabo Delgado province and seeking shelter in the provincial capital Pemba, following a series of attacks by Islamic State terrorist groups.

One of the areas attacked is in the Mazeze area, about 100 km south of Pemba, where churches and people’s houses were burned and thousands of ordinary people have been left displaced and homeless.

The unrest that deteriorated into terrorism allied to the Islamic State broke out near the harbour town of Mocimboa da Praia in late 2017 and quickly spread across the north of the province. The FADM appeared ineffectual in preventing the spread of the islamist insurgents and even the infamous Russian Wagner Group was unsuccessful before leaving the scene.

It was with the introduction of troops from Rwanda and later with SADC troops that some semblance of order was restored. In the meantime the harbour towns of Mocimboa da Praia and Palma had been looted and construction of the emerging TotalEnergies-led gasification plant on the Afungi peninsula near Palma was abandoned.

TotalEnergies is only now in 2024 talking of a return to the project, but with the re-emergence of the Islamic State fighters, albeit a little to the south of the construction site, and the withdrawal of the SADC troops, this may remain in doubt a little longer.

Added 18 February 2024


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WHARF TALK: MR1 chemical and product tanker – MARITIME TUNTIGA

The MR1 chemical and product tanker Maritime Tuntiga which arrived in Cape Town on 12 February 2024. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Now three years on from the enforced closure of two of South Africa’s limited oil refineries, and the associated loss of desperately needed domestic capacity, the flow of product tankers to Southern African ports, from all points of the compass continues unabated. Why it takes so long to reclaim operational efficiency in domestic refining capacity is undoubtedly linked to other reasons as to why energy production, and output, in the country is also in dire straits.

Thankfully, despite the Houthi nonsense in the Southern Red Sea, which will be having an effect on the export output of one of the world’s largest oil refineries, which is located in the Red Sea at the port of Yanbu, in Saudi Arabia, all other refineries in the region, specifically Oman and the Persian Gulf, are well away from the area of concern, and so export traffic from the region, and thus to South Africa, is largely unaffected.

On 12th February, at 09:00 in the morning, the MR1 chemical and product tanker ‘Maritime Tuntiga’ (IMO 9276688) arrived off Cape Town, from Walvis Bay in Namibia, and immediately entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded into the Duncan Dock, going alongside the outer berth in the Tanker Basin to begin her discharge.

Built in 2004 by Dalian Shipbuilding Heavy Industries at Dalian in China, ‘Maritime Tuntiga’ is 180 metres in length and has a deadweight of 44,508 tons. She is powered by a MAN-B&W 6S60MC six cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 11,434 bhp (8,410 kW) and driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14.5 knots.

Maritime Tuntiga. Cape Town, 12 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar 6N21(A)L-V generators providing 800 kW each, and a single MAN D2866E emergency generator providing 92kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg AQ-2 exhaust gas boiler, and two Alfa Laval Aalborg OM-16 oil fired boilers.

She has a cargo carrying capacity of 52,870 m3, and has eighteen cargo tanks, with the ability to carry up to eighteen grades at any one time, which is shown in her complex midships manifold set up. She has eighteen cargo pumps, each capable of pumping at a rate of 530 m3/hour.
One of eight sisterships, ‘Maritime Tuntiga’ is nominally owned by Tuntiga Navigation Pte. Ltd., of Singapore, operated by Aurora Tankers Management Pte. Ltd., also of Singapore, whose name she carries on her hull, and managed by IMC Shipmanagement Pte. Ltd., also of Singapore, whose houseflag she displays on her funnel.

Maritime Tuntiga. Cape Town, 12 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is placed in the Aurora Tankers Chemical MR pool, with all three of her owning, operating, and management companies forming part of the IMC Industrial Group, of Singapore, which was originally founded by Frank Tsao, in Hong Kong in 1966, as International Maritime Carriers Ltd, and where some of the fleet is still registered and managed from.

The voyage of ‘Maritime Tuntiga’ began in Sitrah, which is an island off Bahrain, located at 26°12’ North 050°46’ East. It is the location of the State owned Bahrain Petroleum Company refinery. The Sitrah refinery was first built back in 1936, with a modest output of 10,000 barrels per day, and by 2019 it had risen to an output of 260,000 barrels per day.

In 2019 it was announced that a major expansion of the Sitrah refinery would take place, with daily production planned to increase from 260,000 barrels per day, to 360,000 barrels per day, and with an increase in the production of low sulphur diesel to 40,000 barrels per day. The cost of the refinery expansion was set at US$6.7 billion (ZAR126.67 billion).

Almost immediately afterward the go-ahead was given for the expansion, the Covid-19 pandemic erupted, and the development plan was put on hold. Due to labour shortages that resulted from the pandemic, the programme has had to be put back almost five years, and is now scheduled to get under way in 2024. The production increase will now be from 260,000 barrels per day, to 380,000 barrels per day, and the expansion costs have increased to US$7 billion (ZAR132.34 billion).

Maritime Tuntiga. Cape Town, 12 February 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Currently, the Sitrah refinery gets 85% of its crude oil feedstock from Saudi Arabia, via a 54 km pipeline, the majority of which originates from the Abu Safah oilfield, which is a shared oil field between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The Sitrah refinery exports 92% of its output, with production being held in a large oil storage terminal, capable of holding 14 million barrels of refined products, and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG).

This current trip to Southern Africa for ‘Maritime Tuntiga’ is the fourth trip she had made to this region in the last six months. In September she made a two day visit to Durban, where she discharged at Island View 2, before returning to Fujairah to await her next orders.

In November she made two, two day calls at both Maputo and Nacala in Mozambique, followed in December with a two day call at Pemba in Mozambique. Again, both calls ended with her sailing back to Fujairah to await further orders. Her current voyage was a two port itinerary, starting with a two day call at Walvis Bay, prior to sailing for Cape Town.

Maritime Tuntiga.  Picture by Shipspotting

After just 38 hours alongside in Cape Town, ‘Maritime Tuntiga’ had completed her discharge, and was ready for departure. She sailed from the port at 23:00 in the late evening of 13th February. However, she had no destination set, and instead sailed directly to the Table Bay anchorage, and went to anchor there, presumably to await orders.

Less than 24 hours later, her orders had been received, and at 19:00 on the evening of 14th February she raised her anchor, and sailed out of Table Bay, bound once more for Fujairah in the UAE, ostensibly to await further orders, as most tankers do who have this destination as their next port of call.

Interestingly, with the potential increase in Somali piracy, who have recently started taking advantage of the activities of the Houthi menace, ‘Maritime Tuntiga’ still sports an obvious token anti-piracy deterrent. A careful study of the upper decks of her accommodation block, will reveal a single mannequin, facing aft and taking on the oft-seen ‘permanent lookout watch’, from a position at the aft end of the bridge deck.

Added 18 February 2024


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Ukraine sinks Russian landing ship Caesar Kunikov in Black Sea

Ropocha-class Large Landing Ship Caesar Kunikov of the Russian Navy, now believed sunk. Picure: Reddit

Africa Ports & Ships

Report by Meduza

On Wednesday 14 February 2024, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) General Staff reported that Ukrainian intelligence had destroyed the Caesar Kunikov, one of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s large landing ships.

News outlet Ukrainska Pravda was the first to report that the ship had been sunk, citing sources in Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate. Videos from eyewitnesses, published by the Telegram channel Crimean Wind, show something burning at sea and helicopters flying over the water. The Russian Defense Ministry had not yet commented on the attack.

The AFU General Staff stated that the Caesar Kunikov was “located in Ukrainian waters near Alupka at the moment of the strike.” Ukrainska Pravda’s sources said the attack was carried out by Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate. Later, the directorate published a video purportedly showing the destruction of the ship.

The footage shows several maritime drones attacking a ship resembling a Project 775 large landing ship, the class to which the Caesar Kunikov belongs. There is an explosion in the middle of the video, and, at the end, the ship is listing to one side.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, they attacked the Caesar Kunikov with Magura V5 maritime drones, critically breaching it on its port side and causing it to sink. Representatives of Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate said the search and rescue operation “was not successful.”

It is unknown how many people were on board at the time of the attack. According to open source data, the ship has 87 crew members. An eyewitness told Crimean Wind that after the attack, wounded and dead sailors were transported to Sevastopol, accompanied by police vehicles. The Kremlin-appointed authorities of annexed Crimea and Sevastopol have not commented.

At a press briefing, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov redirected all questions about the strike to the Russian Defense Ministry, calling it a military matter. On Wednesday, Russia’s defense ministry only stated that air defense systems had destroyed six aircraft-type drones over the Black Sea.

Written by Meduza & republished with permission. The original article can be found here.

Added 18 February 2024


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Maputo port intends investing further in rail transport

Maputo Container Terminal, Santa Caterina on berth. Picture: DP World Maputo

Africa Ports & Ships

The Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) which administers and operates the Port of Maputo, is seeking to invest in rail transport and to reduce the port’s dependency on road trucks.

The report says more than 1,500 trucks enter the port of Maputo each day. Meanwhile, the use of rail to move cargo into and from the port increased by 8 per cent during 2023.

Executive Director of the MPDC, Osório Lucas, told the Portuguese language newspaper Lusa that 64 per cent of all cargo handled at the port is currently transported by road, consisting mainly of exports from southern Africa.

He said it wasn’t clear why rail is so little used, although volumes on rail did grow by 8 percent the previous year. He said this constituted in total between 8 and 9 million tonnes by rail.

But if cargo handled by rail grew by 8%, that which came by road increased by double digits, he noted. “It is this scenario we are observing,” he added.

The port of Maputo is served by three rail networks, with one entering Mozambique directly from South Africa via the Ressano Garcia / Lebombo border crossing, another that enters the country from Eswatini and indirectly from South Africa, and the third from Zimbabwe.

Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), the rail operator in Mozambque, is investing in new locomotives from India and new rail wagons to bolster the greater use of rail. In addition, CFM and its South African equivalent Transnet Freight Rail, have established a joint service where each other’s trains can run directly into the port or deep within South Africa to avoid lengthy delays in exchanging locomotives at the border crossing.

This move has speeded up operations and improves efficiency.

According to Lucas, the goal is to move in the coming years to a ratio of 55 per cent road and 45 per cent rail. He said it would not be possible to prevent the use of road transport to and fom the port, “espeially because the biggest growth expected in the port is the container terminal, from the current 270,000 in the final investment phase [ongoing until 2058], to one million containers.

“And it is very likely that many of these containers will come by road,” Lucas said.

The goal is to have more of the ores and minerals transported by rail in the future, he added. However, this was not possible overnight.

Lucas said that CFM and the port of Maputo were busy finalising a Railway-Port Master Plan in which the two companies will merge their respective systems.

“We will have visibility of all railway circulation within Mozambican territory, starting in the next 15 days. This will be a fundamental change. And then we will both enter into negotiations with South African operators in order to guarantee even greater visibility in the system. This will allow for better resource management, which I believe will promote an increase in capacity on the railway,” Lucas said.   source: Lusa

Added 18 February 2024


As notícias continuam abaixo

Porto de Maputo pretende investir mais no transporte ferroviário

Porto de Maputo. MPDC

Africa Ports & Ships

A Companhia de Desenvolvimento do Porto de Maputo (MPDC), que administra e opera o Porto de Maputo, pretende investir no transporte ferroviário e reduzir a dependência do porto dos camiões rodoviários.

O relatório diz que mais de 1.500 camiões entram diariamente no porto de Maputo. Entretanto, a utilização do transporte ferroviário para transportar carga de e para o porto aumentou 8 por cento durante 2023.

O Director Executivo do MPDC, Osório Lucas, disse ao jornal lusófono Lusa que 64 por cento de toda a carga movimentada no porto é actualmente transportada por estrada, consistindo principalmente em exportações da África Austral.

Ele disse que não está claro por que o transporte ferroviário é tão pouco utilizado, embora os volumes ferroviários tenham crescido 8% no ano anterior. Ele disse que isso representa no total entre 8 e 9 milhões de toneladas por via férrea.

Mas se a carga movimentada por via férrea cresceu 8%, a que chegou por via rodoviária aumentou dois dígitos, observou. “É esse cenário que estamos observando”, acrescentou.

O porto de Maputo é servido por três redes ferroviárias, sendo que uma entra em Moçambique directamente a partir da África do Sul através da passagem fronteiriça Ressano Garcia/Lebombo, outra que entra no país a partir de Eswatini e indirectamente da África do Sul, e a terceira a partir do Zimbabué.

Os Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), o operador ferroviário em Moçambique, estão a investir em novas locomotivas da Índia e em novos vagões ferroviários para reforçar a maior utilização do transporte ferroviário. Além disso, os CFM e o seu equivalente sul-africano, Transnet Freight Rail, estabeleceram um serviço conjunto onde os comboios uns dos outros podem circular directamente para o porto ou para o interior da África do Sul, para evitar longos atrasos na troca de locomotivas na passagem da fronteira.

Essa mudança acelerou as operações e melhorou a eficiência.

Segundo Lucas, a meta é passar nos próximos anos para uma proporção de 55% rodoviário e 45% ferroviário. Disse que não seria possível impedir a utilização do transporte rodoviário de e para o porto, “até porque o maior crescimento esperado no porto é o terminal de contentores, dos actuais 270 mil em fase final de investimento [em curso até 2058], para um milhão de contêineres.

“E é muito provável que muitos desses contêineres cheguem por estrada”, disse Lucas.

O objetivo é ter mais minérios e minerais transportados por ferrovia no futuro, acrescentou. No entanto, isso não foi possível da noite para o dia.

Lucas disse que os CFM e o porto de Maputo estão empenhados na finalização de um Plano Director Ferroviário-Portuário no qual as duas empresas irão fundir os respectivos sistemas.

“Teremos visibilidade de toda a circulação ferroviária dentro do território moçambicano, a partir dos próximos 15 dias. Esta será uma mudança fundamental. E depois ambos entraremos em negociações com os operadores sul-africanos para garantirmos ainda maior visibilidade no sistema. Isso permitirá uma melhor gestão dos recursos, o que acredito que promoverá um aumento de capacidade na ferrovia”, disse Lucas.   fonte: Lusa

Adicionado em 18 de fevereiro de 2024


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IMO: Tanzania – Enhancing maritime security

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

Training in control and compliance

IMO reported on 15 February of a workshop under way in Zanzibar, where the United Republic of Tanzania aimed to develop the capacity of national authorities to carry out effective control and compliance measures on ships in the enhancement of maritime security.

EU funding

Running from 12 to 16 February, the event was the latest in a series of IMO maritime security workshops on control and compliance, delivered under the EU-funded project on Port Security and Safety of Navigation in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.

Duly authorized Officers from both Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar took part in the workshop, including nine participants from the Zanzibar Maritime Authority (ZMA).

SOLAS measures

The aim has been to increase their organisational capability and knowledge of the application of control and compliance measures under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), specifically Chapter XI-2 on special measures to enhance maritime security (SOLAS XI-2).

The national workshop encouraged knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices to promote proper understanding of what an effective and adequately staffed control and compliance regime entails.

Under the port security project, IMO aims to assist nine participating countries, including the United Republic of Tanzania, to enhance maritime security and safety within the region, in line with the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy of the African Union (AU).

Added 18 February 2024


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Germany sends frigate Hessen to join EU mission in Red Sea

Africa Ports & Ships

After receiving approval from the German government to join a European Union military mission to assist in protecting shipping in the Red Sea, the German Navy acknowledged that one of its frigates, the 5,800-ton Hessen (F221), was already en route to the region.

According to a report by dpa Germany Today, the authorisation provides for a contingent of up to 700 German military personnel to take part in the mission. Hessen carries a complement of 240 crew including soldiers.

The EU mission will take part in measures aimed at protecting shipping from attacks by the Houthi militants in northern Yemen.

The Houthi’s have been responsible for numerous missile and drone attacks of commercial and naval shipping crossing through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait between the lower Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Although naval ships of the French, British and US Navies have been successful in destroying most of the missiles and UAVs heading towards the commercial and naval ships, more than a few have got though and caused damage to several vessels. Fortunately there have been no serious injuries reported from the affected vessels.

As a result the majority of container ships and tankers, and now an increasing number of bulk carriers and other types, have diverted around the Cape of Good Hope, at considerable expense and requiring much longer for their journeying between the east and west.

All cruise ship activity in the Red Sea has been curtailed and South African ports are experiencing visits by these vessels on hurriedly rearranged itineraries.

Interestingly, the German lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, still needs to vote to approve the mandate for German participation. By then the Hessen will probably be close to if not already on station.

Added 18 February 2024


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Houthi missile strikes a laden crude oil tanker Pollux with Russian oil for India

The crude oil tanker Pollux that came under attack from Houthi missiles. Picture by Shipspotting

Africa Ports & Ships

The British crude oil tanker Pollux (IMO 9243320) became the latest vessel transiting the southern Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb Strait to come under attack from Houthi-held Yemen.

The 244-metre Pollux, registered in Panama and with Greek registered ownership and management, was hit by a missile or missiles on her port side fired from the Houthi-held section of Yemen.

Houthi reports claim the tanker is UK owned. A search with identified a Greek company Oceanfront Maritime Co SA as the tanker’s nominal owner. Until August 2022 the vessel was named Torm Ingeborg.

The cargo on board appears to be Russian oil.

“The naval forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces carried out a targeting operation against a British oil ship (Pollux) in the Red Sea with a large number of appropriate naval missiles, and the strikes were accurate and direct,” said the Houthis’ military spokesperson, Yahya Sarea.

The Iran-backed Houthi’s, who hold a considerable part of Northwest Yemen under their control, say they are targeting ships linked to Israel and this is in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The 99,999-dwt, 2003-built tanker, which is reported to be laden with crude oil, was heading for Paradip in India where the ship is due on 28 February. There are no reports of the tanker’s current location.

The crude oil was loaded into the Pollux at the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk on 24 January.

Added 18 February 2024


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Boskalis acquisition of ALP receives approval

ALP Striker, in Durban in February 2022. Picture by Keith Betts

Africa Ports & Ships

Boskalis Westminster N.V., the Dutch dredging and heavylift company which has a large stake in Smit International and owns heavylift specialist Dockwise, has received confirmation of its acquisition of ALP Maritime, the well-known towing company, owned by Altera Infrastructure FFTA Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of Altera.

The final approval came from CADE (Brazil’s national competition regulator), providing the go-ahead for the sale.

ALP Maritime operates with a fleet of 8 AHT/AHTS type offshore support tugs (OSVs), half of which have been seen in Durban and Cape Town in recent years following their towing of the FLNG Coral Sul from South-East Asia into position in the Rovuma Basin off northern Mozambique.

The total Boskalis fleet numbers around 650 vessels and is active in dredging, offshore installations, offshore transportation, underwater services, towing and salvage, as well as land-based infrastructure. Boskalis employs about 9,900 people and operates in more than 75 countries across six continents.

Having considered the acquisition request, CADE’s conclusion was that the transaction did not raise major concerns in terms of competition due to the low market shares held by the companies in the AHT/AHTS and OSV segments.

Boskalis stated that the transaction was in line with its strategy to expand its activities as a global maritime company, in addition to allowing it to expand its current fleet of AHT and AHTS.

Altera Infrastructure FFTA Holdings Limited saw the transaction as a good commercial opportunity.

On that basis the board decided to approve the sale without restrictions.

Added 18 February 2024


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Total cargo handled by tonnes during January 2024, including containers by weight

PORT January 2023 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 during January 2023 21.244 million tonnes