Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 18 May 2024

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Newsweek commencing 12 May 2024.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return.  

FIRST VIEW:   Bow Capricorn


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 FIRST VIEW:   Bow Capricorn

Bow Capricorn. Durban, 29 April 2024. Picture by Keith Betts
Bow Capricorn. Durban, 29 April 2024. Picture by Keith Betts

The BOW CAPRICORN (IMO 9752010) is an Odfjell chemical/oil products tanker registered and sailing under the flag of Norway. The tanker is shown here arriving in Durban on 29 April 2024.

Built in 2016 at the Jiangsu Hantong Wing Heavy Industry shipyard in China, the vessel is owned and operated by Norwegian tanker shipping company Odfjell, which operates worldwide marine tanker services.  Odfjell has long had a regular presence in South Africa with a main office in Durban.

The Chempool 40 class tanker Bow Capricorn has a length of 183 metres and width of 32m with a summer draught of 11.1 metres. Her summer deadweight is 40,929 tonnes.  As a products tanker, she is equipped with 30 stainless steel tanks. Bow Capricorn has been fully owned and managed by Odfjell Tankers since April 2019.

Pictures are by Keith Betts

Africa Ports & Ships


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Fishing vessel Lepanto sinks off Slangkop Point- 11 crew missing

Africa Ports & Ships

The fishing vessel Lepanto, understood to be part of the Viking Fishing fleet, is reported to have capsized and sunk 35 nautical miles off Slangkop Point in the Western Cape.

On Friday 17 May at 15h34 the MRCC received a distress call reporting that the 29 metre by 8m Lepanto (MMSI 601475000) was sinking rapidly approximately 34 nautical miles west of Slangkop Point Light.

Sea conditions in the last reported area were 3 to 4 metre swells with winds of between 10 to 15 knots.

A search has been underway since Friday involving a number of local fishing vessels as well as rescue craft of the NSRI, coordinated by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town.

According to SAMSA, nearby fishing vessels, FV Harvest Mzanzi and FV Armana, responded to the mayday call and proceeded to the scene. FV Armana successfully rescued nine crew members from one of Lepanto’s two life rafts, leaving eleven crew members still unaccounted for.

The nine survivors were taken to Cape Town overnight. They are reported to all be in good health and uninjured. The vessel’s second raft was also recovered but 11 crew remain missing.

The MRCC in Cape Town’s MAYDAY broadcast requesting assistance from vessels in the vicinity, resulted in four other fishing vessels, f/v Lee-Anne, f/v Harvest Saldanha, f/v Locqueran, and f/v Harvest Florita, responding immediately to the last reported position of the Lepanto.

The NSRI Emergency Operations Centre (E.O.C) was also alerted and remains on standby, with NSRI Stations 1, 3, and 8 having responded to the search request with several rescue craft.

Two aircraft, a helicopter and a fixed wing, joined the search on Saturday.

Added 18 May 2024


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IMO Workshops: Bangladesh – Safe, sustainable ship recycling

IMO and Bangladesh ship re-cycling SENSREC workshops. Picture: IMO 

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

It was reported by IMO on 10 May that a series of workshops held in Dhaka and Chattogram (formerly Chittagong) in Bangladesh had equipped up to 300 key stakeholders with essential knowledge about how to recycle ships in a safe and environmentally-sound manner.

Four workshops were held over two weeks (in Dhaka on 24-25 April and 8-9 May; in Chattogram on 28-29 April and 5-6 May), targeting shipyard managers, national and local government officials and other stakeholders.

Funded by Norway

The training sessions were organised under IMO’s SENSREC, funded by the Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka and implemented by IMO and Bangladesh’s Ministry of Industries where SENSREC = Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

The Hong Kong Convention

The project aims to boost national capacities for sustainable ship recycling, while supporting the country’s progress towards implementation of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The Hong Kong Convention establishes global standards for the recycling of ships.

Bangladesh ship recycling. Picture: IMO

This workshop series allowed participants to share experiences, best practices and strategies for implementing the Hong Kong Convention, as well as managing hazardous waste from the ship recycling industry.

Hazardous waste management is a critical issue for Bangladesh, where the ship recycling industry has historically struggled with the improper handling and disposal of toxic substances, leading to significant environmental and health impacts. Over the past few years, substantial progress has been achieved by a few ship recycling facilities in Chattogram, raising the bar for environmental standards and practices for the rest of the industry.

The main workshop was opened by Mrs Zakia Sultana, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Industries of Bangladesh and Mr Espen Ritker-Svendsen, Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh.

ILO-led discussions

Sessions were delivered by national experts and development agencies. The International Labour Organization (ILO) led discussions on operational safety and health, while the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and German Development Cooperation (GIZ) shared information about future planning for building a facility for treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste in Chattogram, as well as updated national regulations on hazardous waste management and disposal.

Improving standards

SENSREC was launched in 2015 and is currently in its third phase. SENSREC Phase III focuses on improving ship recycling standards in compliance with the Hong Kong Convention and enhancing capacity building for the Government of Bangladesh in legislation and knowledge management. Specific assistance is also provided for the establishment of a facility for treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste.

The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force on 26 June 2025.

Added 17 May 2024


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EIA highlights the millions of tons of illegal logs shipped from Mozambique to China

EIA monitoring of illegal logging activities including export to China and elsewhere. Picture: EIA

Africa Ports & Ships

Some of the millions of tons of illegal logs shipped from Mozambique to China is being used to finances insurgency in Cabo Delgado, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reports.

During a multi-year investigation, the EIA found that since 2017 an average of over 500,000 tons per year of timber has been
exported from Mozambique to China in violation of the country’s log export ban.

The EIA says a portion of this trade also finances violent insurgents.

Global shipping lines – insufficient due diligence

The laundering of this illegal and conflict timber is made possible by systemic corrupt practices in the timber sector, while the transport between Mozambique and China relies on insufficient due diligence from global shipping lines.

In August 2022, President Nyusi of Mozambique launched a multi-country Miombo Forest Initiative to protect the region’s tropical forests. Mozambique has already lost millions of hectares of forests to unregulated and often illegal logging practices, damaging the country’s biodiversity and livelihoods.

With one of the lowest incomes per capita in Africa, Mozambique loses an estimated half a billion U.S. dollars per year to illegal logging and associated trade.

Conflict timber

Most of that trade is in the form of unprocessed logs, more than 90% of which are exported to China, carried by global shipping lines, all in violation of Mozambique’s log export ban.

The EIA also found that Chinese traders purchase ‘conflict timber’ from Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah (ASWJ) insurgents in Cabo Delgado, and mix and export it alongside other wood. Since 2017, ASWJ insurgents have occupied Cabo Delgado, terrorizing the population and trafficking in timber, among other illicit goods, to finance their activities.

Mozambique is on the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) gray list due to the high risk of money laundering from wildlife trade and terrorist financing.

“Log export bans are critical to protecting forests, sustaining livelihoods, and better jobs,” says Raphael Edou, Africa Program Director for EIA-US.

“Mozambique must strengthen its forest protections by enforcing its own regulations, and China and the global shipping lines must respect Mozambican laws, and investigate the bad actors systematically violating them.”

Key purpose for a log export ban

A key purpose for a log export ban is to retain more of the value of the resource domestically. In its investigation, EIA found that logs purchased for the equivalent of a few dollars in Mozambique end up sold as furniture in China, sometimes for tens of thousands of dollars.

Some precious species, such as pau-preto (Dalbergia melanoxylon, since 2017 listed on Appendix II of CITES), are made into replica antique furniture for display at prestigious events such as the G20, or sold by luxury lifestyle brands like Hermes-founded and Exor-owned Shang Xia.

Shipping lines role in stopping trafficking

International shipping lines have an important role to play in stopping the trafficking of illegal and conflict timber. EIA found that since 2019, shipping lines including CMA-CGM, Maersk, MSC, and United Africa Feeder Lines (UAFL), have carried tens of thousands of timber consignments from Mozambique.

Traders sometimes mis-declare the timber as being processed, or omit any description of the timber, as indicated by discrepancies in shipping and customs data, and nearly 90,000 tons since 2019 was actually declared in shipping documentation as being in unprocessed, log form and shipped despite the log export ban.

In 2021, Maersk and UAFL returned 66 containers of illegal wood back to Mozambique that had been smuggled out of the country and were on their way to China, after the Government of Mozambique launched an investigation. But isolated action is not enough.

“Shipping lines need to stop facilitating this illegal trade and ensure they stop shipping logs from Mozambique entirely,” said Edou.

EIA said it urges the government of Mozambique to commit more resources to forest governance and transparency in the timber trade sector, to honour President Nyusi’s Miombo Initiative.

“Global shipping lines must cease transporting illegal timber from Mozambique, and China must cease importing it, in line with President Xi’s commitments to combat illegal deforestation,” said EIA.

Added 16 May 2024


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WHARF TALK: MR2 products tanker – TORM HELVIG

The MR2 products tanker Torm Helvig was a recent visitor at the port of Cape Town, having arrived in port on 8 May 2024 and remaining port until 11 May when she sailed for West Africa. The harbour tug in picture is Enseleni.  Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

To the casual maritime observer, ship recognition, or rather the recognition of the shipowner is one of the tools of the hobby. In most cases the observer has to get sight of the funnel to make the reasoned assumption that they know whose vessel it is that they are looking at. In some cases, you don’t need to wait for a look at the funnel, as a particular hull colour is often a good clue, rather like the peculiar pinkish hue of Ocean Network Express (ONE) container vessels.

Then again, some vessels not only have a particular hull colour, but also choose to paint the vessel upperworks a particular colour too. The obvious one that springs to mind would be the unique sky blue hull and dark khaki upperworks of Maersk Line vessels. There is also another major shipowner that also goes for the all over colour match, funnily enough also a Danish shipowner, whose vessels are easily spotted from a distance, due to their black hulls and burnt orange upperworks.

Way back on 5th April, the MR2 product tanker ‘Torm Helvig’ (IMO 9288021) sailed from Chennai, in India, loaded with fuel products for Southern African ports. After just under a thirteen day crossing of the Indian Ocean, she arrived off Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal, at 14:00 in the afternoon of 18th April. She entered the port, going alongside to begin her discharge of fuel products for the Northern Natal and Zululand region.

Torm Helvig. Cape Town, 8 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After just over one day discharging in the port, she was ready to sail, and at 17:00 in the afternoon of 19th April ‘Torm Helvig’ sailed from Richards Bay, with her AIS showing that her next destination on the Southern African coast was to be Walvis Bay, in Namibia. Her five day run around the Cape ended on 24th April, at 18:00 in the early evening, when she arrived off Walvis Bay, and rounded Pelican Point to enter the port for her next discharge of products.

Her stay in Walvis Bay appeared to be the dominant port on her itinerary, as she spent a full week in the port discharging her much needed fuel products for the Namibian community. By 1st May ‘Torm Helvig’ had concluded her discharge in this desert city, and she was ready to sail. At 19:00 in the early evening she departed from Walvis Bay, now with her AIS showing that she was heading back the way she came, and bound for Cape Town.

Torm Helvig. Cape Town, 8 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 4th May she arrived off the Table Bay anchorage, and went to anchor to await her berth in Cape Town. On 8th May, at midday, she raised her anchor, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and going alongside the tanker basin to start her discharge for her Western Cape clientele.

Her third discharge port on this current voyage was to be her last and at 16:00, on the afternoon of 11th May, ‘Torm Helvig’ sailed from Cape Town, with her AIS now set showing that she was proceeding to the Lomé anchorage, in Togo. As she proceeded northwards, and once she was approaching the area of Walvis Bay for a second time on this voyage, her destination port changed, and was now showing that she was bound instead for Lagos, in Nigeria. This was not her first visit to South Africa, as she had visited Durban twice in 2023, the last time in October.

Built in 2005 by STX Shipbuilding at Jinhae in South Korea, ‘Torm Helvig’ is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 46,187 tons. She is powered by a single MAN-B&W 6S60ME-C six cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 12,889 bhp (9,480 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Torm Helvig. Cape Town, 8 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her cargo carrying capacity is 52,204 m3, and she has a total of twelve cargo tanks. She is able to carry seven grades of product at any one time, and she is fitted with twelve cargo pumps, each of which is capable of pumping her cargo at a rate of 600 m3/hour.

One of two sisterships, ‘Torm Helvig’ is owned, operated, and managed, by Torm AS, of Hellerup in Denmark. The company was founded by Captain Ditlev Torm back in 1889, and today the company is one of the largest operators of product tankers in the world. Torm AS owns, and operates, a fleet of 80 product tankers, made up of LR2, LR1 and MR2 classes, and of which 60 of the current fleet are MR2 tankers.

Torm AS operates a very progressive environmental policy, and have stated that they are aiming to achieve a CO2 reduction target of 40% of their fleet emissions by 2025. As part of their emissions reduction policy, Torm AS have retrofitted exhaust gas scrubber units to the majority of their fleet.

Torm Helvig. Cape Town, 8 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One look at ‘Torm Helvig’ will show the casual maritime observer that her funnel is greatly enlarged, and neither positioned perfectly amidships, or perfectly perpendicular, as is the modus operandi of scrubber retrofitted vessels, and a look at a photo of her from five years ago will show a completely different funnel profile.

To show that they were serious about their emissions statement, and in advance of the IMO 2020 low-sulfur deadline, Torm AS bought into a scrubber manufacturing company. The move give Torm AS guaranteed access, and preferential pricing for scrubber units, giving them an additional competitive edge.

Torm Helvig. Cape Town, 8 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Torm AS now holds a 28% share of ME Production China, which is a joint venture (JV) between the Danish exhaust gas scrubber maker ME Production, and the Guangzhou shipyard of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation.

On buying a shareholding, Torm AS immediately placed an order for 16 exhaust gas scrubber units from the JV, with a further letter of intent to purchase 18 more. Together, the purchase deals, at the time, saw half of the Torm’ AS fleet equipped, or planning to be equipped, with scrubbers which were purchased at a cost of US$2 million (ZAR36.78 million) per vessel, which included installation.

By the end of 2022, a full 60% of the Torm AS fleet were equipped with scrubbers, and with any newbuildings under order were to be fitted with scrubber units as standard. In 2024 many of the oil majors will not charter a product tanker if it is not equipped with an exhaust gas scrubber unit, especially if it is to be used in the Northern European market.

Older photo of Torm Helvig pe-scrubber era – note the old funnel. Picture courtesy VesselFinder

Torm AS are also a company with a big philanthropic edge, and the Torm Foundation is a long standing supporter of education projects in both India and the Philippines, providing school funding and offering international scholarships to locals of both countries. Since 2004, the Torm Foundation has been cooperating with the Danish Sailing Association, in support of the development of the sport of sailing in Denmark.

Her original loading port, Chennai in India, is another of the little known ports in South Africa, and one not associated with the oil refining industry, as most South Africans don’t associate India with this part of the maritime industry. The Manali oil refinery in Chennai, is the 11th largest refinery in India, and has a capacity of 10.5 million tons of refined products per year, and which includes Petroleum, Diesel, Marine Fuel Oil, Jet Aviation Fuel, and Kerosene, all of which are the fuel products desperately needed in South Africa throughout the year.

India has taken advantage of Russia’s woes, as a result of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and had bought sanctioned Russian crude oil at a greatly discounted rate, for refining, and selling on at normal market rates. However, this shady trade, and profiteering, has attracted a great deal of international criticism of India, from around the world, and the Government of India are now starting to refuse to accept Russian owned tankers in their ports, and refusing to insure them.

Added 15 May 2024


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Dali had two electrical failures minutes before colliding with Baltimore Bridge

The Dali, with portions of the collapsed Key Bridge across its forward deck and in the Patapsco River, on 28 March 2024.  Picture: NTSB Preliminary Report.  See link at end of story.

Africa Ports & Ships

The (U.S.) National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary findings into the incidents leading up to the collision between the 9,962-TEU Neo-Panamax container ship Dali (IMO 9697428) and the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River at Baltimore harbour.

The collision took place in the early hours of 26 March 2024 as the container ship, on charter to Maersk and owned and managed by Singapore company Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and Synergy Marine Group respectively, was departing Baltimore container terminal. On board the vessel as it left the quayside were two official pilots, one a senior and the other an apprentice pilot.

At around 01:25, as the Dali was 0.6 miles (or three ship lengths) from the bridge, the first set of electrical breakers tripped, shutting down most of the vessel’s equipment.

This resulted in a shutdown of the engine and navigational control to all shipboard lighting and most equipment, including the main engine cooling water pumps (which controlled engine cooling water pressure) and steering gear pumps, the report stated.

The crew were able to restore power but when the ship was just 0.2 miles from the bridge, a second electrical blackout occurred as breakers tripped, with a subsequent total loss of vessel electrical power. The nearest responding tug was several miles away.

At 01:27.23 the pilot ordered the rudder hard to port (35°) but at this point, says the report, the main engine remained shut down and there was no propulsion to assist with steering.

Shortly before the ship struck the bridge the crew were able to regain electrical power but were unable to regain propulsion. This was immediately before the ship struck the bridge at 01:29.10.

The 24-page illustrated Preliminary Report of the NTSB into the Dali collision with the Baltimore Bridge, which is subject to change, can be found HERE

Added 15 May 2024


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The IMO Maritime Safety Committee: London this week and next

IMO Headquarters Building Picture: IMO ©.

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

Maritime security, safety issues

The IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) is meeting in person for its 108th session at IMO HQ in London (with hybrid participation) from 15 to 24 May 2024.

Attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, regulating autonomous ships, piracy and armed robbery with safety of GHG reduction are amongst key issues on the agenda

The Committee deals with all matters related to maritime safety and maritime security which fall within the scope of IMO. This includes a wide range of issues, including enhancing maritime security, setting global safety standards and seafarer issues and the human element.

The meeting will be chaired by Mrs Mayte Medina of the United States, supported by Vice-Chair, Captain Theofilos Mozas of Greece.

Highlights of MSC 108 will include:

1.Measures to enhance maritime security, including Red Sea security.

2.Development of a code for autonomous ships (Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships – MASS).

3.Development of a safety regulatory framework to support the reduction of GHG emissions from ships using new technologies and alternative fuels.

4.Revision of the Guidelines on maritime cyber risk management.

5.Addressing violence and harassment in the maritime sector – training requirements to be adopted.

6.Training and certification of fishing vessel personnel – revised treaty and a new code to be adopted.

7.Guidelines on the medical examination of fishers to be approved.

8.Amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention and associated instruments to be adopted.

9.Piracy and armed robbery updates to be considered.

10.Reports from the Sub-Committees – approval of various sets of provisions
Measures to enhance maritime security, including Red Sea security.

Further details

Looking at items 1. and 2. above more details are provided here:

Red Sea security
The Committee will address the urgent issue of maritime security in the Red Sea Area. Since the hijacking of mv Galaxy Leader in November 2023, which is still detained, there have been over forty incidents where ships have been threatened or attacked in the Southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. These attacks have targeted innocent seafarers, several of whom have been killed or suffered life-changing injuries. The attacks have had a considerable impact on trade and the environment.

The Committee is expected to consider a proposed resolution condemning the attacks. The Committee will discuss various documents and proposals for actions to address some of the challenges seafarers and ships are facing in the area.

Development of a code for autonomous ships
Rapid technological innovations are driving the development of autonomous ships, whether they are controlled remotely or are fully independent of human interaction. IMO is working to develop a non-mandatory goal-based Code for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) to ensure these ships operate safely and in coexistence with conventional ships.

Added 15 May 2024


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The Future is Now: Maris Fiducia teams up with HAV & Norwegian Hydrogen for zero emission bulk shipping

Maris Fiducia’s ‘Launkalne’ dry-bulk cargo vessel. Picture Maris Fiducia

Africa Ports & Ships

Maris Fiducia Norway has entered into cooperation agreements with maritime technology company HAV Hydrogen and the hydrogen producer and distributor Norwegian Hydrogen with the objective of developing, building and operating hydrogen-powered dry-bulk vessels in Europe.

The vessels are designed by the Dutch ship designer Ankerbeer. Upon successful realization of the project, the vessels will go on hire through a zero-emission time charter agreement with Schulte & Bruns, establishing a commercial operation for vessels operating on hydrogen fuel, proving the feasibility of hydrogen technologies for shipping.

The dry-bulk vessels are to be classed by DNV and registered in the NIS register.

“Maris Fiducia is dedicated to shaping the future of maritime transportation towards environmental sustainability and our chartering partners Schulte & Bruns share this vision,” says Markku Vedder, CEO of the Maris Fiducia Group.

“Using hydrogen as fuel is a natural step in this development and the versatility of HAV Hydrogen’s ZEPOD, coupled with Norwegian Hydrogen’s hydrogen infrastructure, represent what is required to realise such ambitions.”

The group operates a fleet of over twenty dry cargo and tanker vessels, and its Norwegian subsidiary Maris Fiducia Norway AS will operate the hydrogen-powered vessels. The group’s primary focus is environmentally friendly maritime transportation logistics for reputable customers.

The company has decades of experience with the development of advanced ship design and solutions for sustainable shipping with a track-record of over 100 newbuilds.

Zero Emission Pod – ZEPOD®

HAV Hydrogen brings their specialist competence in the development of complete and scalable hydrogen-based energy systems to the partnership. The company has developed and obtained Approval in Principle from DNV for its Zero Emission Pod – ZEPOD® – a deckhouse containing a complete hydrogen energy system for ships.

Installed power from a ZEPOD® can be used for main propulsion systems or for auxiliary power onboard a vessel. Subject to potential innovation funding, Maris Fiducia’s chosen shipyard will order ZEPODs from HAV Hydrogen for use on board the vessels.

“As a specialist supplier and integrator of maritime fuel cell solutions, there is obviously a limit to how much we can influence the maritime industry on our own, says Kristian Osnes, managing director of HAV Hydrogen, which is part of Euronext Growth Oslo-listed HAV Group ASA.

“By collaborating with a shipowner and a producer of green hydrogen, we enable a value chain approach that can tear down further barriers towards realisation of hydrogen as maritime fuel.”

Norwegian Hydrogen is building an array of hydrogen production sites throughout the Nordics and will operate a comprehensive distribution network for green hydrogen. This capability shall provide security of supply for Maris Fiducia and Schulte & Bruns.

“The cooperation with Maris Fiducia and their founder Markku Vedder, proves there are shipowners with the vision and capability to develop zero-emission shipping solutions,” says Jens Berge, CEO of Norwegian Hydrogen.

“We look forward to the journey onwards together with Maris Fiducia, establishing corridors for sustainable shipping throughout Europe.”

Added 15 May 2024


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Namport handles 8 million tonnes of cargo, its highest yet

The Port of Walvis Bay’s still new and modern container terminal. Unfortunately container volumes are not included in port stats made available this week. Picture: Namport

Africa Ports & Ships

The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport), which manages and operates Namibia’s two ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, recorded its highest yet volume of cargo totalling 8 million tonnes during the financial year ended 31 March 2024.

This compares favourably with a 4% increase on the 7.7 million tonnes set in the previous financial year 2022/2023.

The major contributor is the exportation of goods, including Bulk Salt, Copper Concentrate, Bagged Salt, Frozen Fish, Manganese Ore, and Zinc/Lead Concentrate.

Bulk Salt saw a growth of 10%, Copper Concentrate increased by 12%, Bagged Salt rose by 1%, Frozen Fish surged by 29%, Manganese Ore increased by 15.7%, Zinc/Lead Concentrates grew by 2.9% and Marble increased by 41%.

Containers missing

Unfortunately, the figures released this week by Namport do not show the number of containers handled (TEUs) at the modern Walvis Bay Container Terminal.

During the financial year 2023/2024, there were significant increases in the importation of various commodities. Notably, Petroleum surged, representing a substantial 26% increase. Other imported commodities also experienced noteworthy growth, including Copper Concentrate, Ammonium Nitrate, Wheat, Ships Spares, and Steel. Additionally, the Authority recorded a commendable 7.9% increase in the importation of goods in comparison to the previous financial year.

During the financial period ended 31 March 2024, the number of vessels calling at the Namibian ports surged by 29% year on year, escalating from 1,636 to 2,115 calls.

This was driven by increased activity across most categories of vessel types. Ship types calling at the two ports include foreign tugs, dry bulk vessels, container vessels, foreign fishing vessels, liquid bulk vessels, Namibian fishing vessels, research ships, cruise vessels and general cargo vessels.

The financial year under review also recorded an increased occupancy rate of Syncrolift facilities. The repair jetties’ occupancy rose from 64% to 96%, while bay occupancy lagged at 47% compared to 52% in the previous financial year.

Namport says it attributes the success of its operations to building and maintaining solid relationships with key stakeholders such as the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, shipping lines, cargo owners, government agencies, and the larger port community.

The dedication of Namport’s workforce and the confidence customers place in utilising the amenities and services provided by the Ports Authority also play a contributory role. This collaboration is crucial for the long-term success and sustainability of the port, says Namport.

Added 14 May 2024


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WHARF TALK: diving support vessel – TRAPICHE EMERALD

The dive support vessel Trapiche Emerald, which arrived in Cape Town on 26 April for maintenance & repair. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The steady year round flow of specialised offshore oil and gas industry vessels into Cape Town always enthralls the casual maritime observer, if for no other reason that the sheer complexity of some of the arriving vessels. In terms of South Africa’s geographical position, the nearest, and largest, offshore oil and gas industry sector is to be found in Angola.

This results in many of the oil and gas arrivals in Cape Town, who require shoreside engineering assistance, arriving from one of the many Angola offshore oil and gas field projects. Some of the more complex, and innovative, of these vessels are those diving support vessels that provide not just an air diving support function, but support for that of saturation diving.

Back on 26th April, at 10:00 in the morning, the diving support vessel ‘Trapiche Emerald’ (IMO 9554597) arrived off Cape Town, from Luanda in Angola. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and went alongside the Repair Quay. As with all other offshore support vessels that use this particular berth, it meant that she was here for a major overhaul, refit, or maintenance period.

Trapiche Emerald. Cape Town, 30 April 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2010 by Wison Heavy Industries shipyard at Nantong in China, ‘Trapiche Emerald’ is 82 metres in length and has a gross registered tonnage of 4,938 tons. She is powered by two Caterpillar 3516B TA six cylinder, four stroke, main engines producing 2,612 bhp (1,921 kW) each, to drive two Berg, nozzled, controllable pitch propellers, each connected to a Becker High Lift rudder, giving her an economical service speed of 9 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery is quite complex, as befits a diving support vessel and its systems, and includes no less than six Caterpillar generators, each providing 1,200 kW each, a Cummins VTA 28-G5 harbour generator providing 500 kW, a Caterpillar emergency generator providing 180 kW, and an additional Caterpillar emergency generator, purely used for supporting the onboard diving systems, providing 700 kW. She is fitted with two reverse osmosis plants, both capable of producing fresh water at a rate of 30 tons per day.

For additional manoeuvrability ‘Trapiche Emerald’ has three Kawasaki bow transverse thrusters, each providing 800 kW, and two Kawasaki stern azimuth thrusters, each providing 800 kW. Her propulsion system, together with her numerous thrusters, give her a dynamic positioning classification of DP2.

Trapiche Emerald. Cape Town, 30 April 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

To maintain her DP2 position at sea ‘Trapiche Emerald’ utilises a Kongsberg K-Pos DP2 system, which is provided with parameters from three gyro compasses, two differential GPS systems, one HiPAP system, two Taut Wire systems, one Radius Position reference system, three wind sensors and three motion reference systems. In shallow waters she can also maintain position using a four point anchor mooring system.

She provides an aft working deck with an area of 545 m2, with a cargo deck strength of 5 tons/m2, and a Mezzanine cargo deck with an area of 98 m2, designed for containers and with a deck strength of 10 tons/m2. For overside operations she has an SMST active heave compensated, knuckleboom, crane with a lifting capacity of 100 tons, and capable of operating down to a depth of 1,000 metres.

Trapiche Emerald. Cape Town, 30 April 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her extensive diving systems include a twelve man saturation diving system, consisting of two, three man chambers, and one six man chamber. The saturation diving system is rated to a depth of 300 metres. She operates a three man diving bell, which is launched and retrieved from an internal moonpool with dimensions of 5.3 metres by 5.3 metres.

She also has an onboard surface air diving system, complete with twin launch and recovery systems (LARS). In an emergency situation that demanded abandoning of ‘Trapiche Emerald’, as well as two standard enclosed lifeboat, she also has a self-propelled hyperbaric lifeboat (SPHL), which is fitted with a life support package (LSP), and which is capable of maintaining all twelve divers in saturation after abandoning the vessel.

For crew change requirements and logistics purposes, ‘Trapiche Emerald’ is fitted with a raised forward helideck, with a ‘D-Value’ of 22.2 metres, and a maximum deck strength of 12.8 tons, allowing her to accommodate the largest offshore helicopter, the Sikorsky S-92A. She has a firefighting capability of FiFi2, and has three fire monitors, each capable of throwing water at a rate of 2,400 m3/hour.

Trapiche Emerald. Cape Town, 30 April 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has accommodation for 128 persons, including a crew of 24, and she has an endurance of 37 days. One of two sisterships, ‘Trapiche Emerald’ is nominally owned by Rolandys Ltd., and is operated by History MESM, of Dubai, in the UAE, who are relatively new to the offshore oil and gas market, having been formed only as far back as 2022. She is managed by HF Offshore Services Mexico SAPI de CV, of Cuidad del Carmen, in Mexico.

She has been operating in the Angola offshore oil and gas industry for just short on one year, although she has ventured further north, with one call being made in Takoradi, in Ghana, in June 2023. Her previous break, from Luanda, and presumably for engineering support purposes, was for a period of almost one month, between 22nd December 2023 and 14th January 2024, some three months before arriving in Cape Town. On that occasion she made her way to Walvis Bay, in Namibia, to seek the shoreside engineering support that she required.

Trapiche Emerald. Cape Town, 30 April 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

This is not her first visit to South Africa, as her positioning voyage from Singapore in 2023, has her arriving in Durban on 2nd May 2023, and where she conducted a short diving maintenance contract on the SBM at Isipingo, before sailing to Luanda to take up her diving support role that she has conducted until arriving in Cape Town. It is fully expected that she will return to Luanda, and the Angolan offshore oil and gas industry, once her refit and maintenance programme in Cape Town is completed. That end date is as yet unknown.

For the nomenclature aficionado, a ‘Trapiche Emerald’ is a green semi-precious stone of the Beryl family. It comes mainly from the emerald mines of Colombia in South America, and is so named due to its looks. A Trapiche is the Spanish name for a Sugar Mill, and the grinding stones used in the crushing of the sugar cane are what give rise to the name of these emeralds.

During the formation of an emerald crystal, black carbon impurities may enter the gemstone mix, and form around the individual emerald crystals, filling in at the crystal junctions. As a result of the hexagonal crystal structure of an emerald, these impurities form a six-point radial pattern, akin to the aforesaid grinding wheel.

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Construction of a multipurpose vessel for Cape Town port commences

Present at the ‘keel laying’ ceremony were (left to right) Damen Managing Director, Jos Govaarts, TNPA Acting Port Manager: Cape Town, Ophelia Shabane, TNPA Manager for Operational Performance and Oversight at Western Region Ports, Captain Vernal Jones, TNPA Chief Harbour Master, Captain Rufus Lekala, and Damen Director, Sam Montsi

Africa Ports & Ships

Construction has commenced at Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) on a multipurpose vessel to replace the Cape Town pollution control vessel which has reached its operational lifespan.

One of the first tasks with the ‘keel laying’ or first cutting of steel, was to weld a Mandela Peace Prize coin to the lowest section of the hull in order to attract good fortune during the construction period and throughout the life of the vessel.

This tradition was carried out last Friday 10 May in front of a group of people involved with the future vessel.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) commented that the new multipurpose vessel will increase marine fleet availability for the Western Cape port.

The new craft is being designed, manufactured, assembled, and commissioned by Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) and will be delivered to TNPA by February 2025. Transnet said that Damen, with its experience with low-cost maintenance vessels, ensured an optimal layout and maintainability of all installed high-quality components.

TNPA claimed the Western region is already starting to realise the economic benefits with the vessel being manufactured locally.

“The ongoing investment in reliable port infrastructure is the creation of new assets to enable economic activity in the region and will further ensure smooth operation at the port,” said TNPA Regional Manager for Operational Performance and Oversight at Western Region Ports, Captain Vernal Jones.

In recent years the Pollution Control at Cape Town has been confined to collecting debris, small-scale dredging in rivers, and performing maintenance work. The new vessel has additional (but undisclosed) capabilities, Transnet said.

The new vessel will be manned by a crew of five including the skipper.

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NEW BOOK:  Remembering the Queen Mary

Queen Mary at her permanent berth Pier J, Long Beach. Scorpion, a former Soviet submarine can be seen in the foreground and a Carnival ship is berthed astern of QM.  Screenshots from images in the book

From Seaforth Publishing ( )
has come RMS Queen Mary: the World’s Favourite Liner,
by David Ellery, 240 pages. ISBN: 978 1 39905 305 1 Price £32.00

Laid down in 1930, Queen Mary’s construction was severely delayed by the worsening economic situation. The early 1930s was a bleak period in world economics. Britain, like everywhere else, was in the worst recession in history for this was the Great Depression, which had begun in October 1929 with the crash of the US stock market. Cunard her owners had been able to continue trading, and even make a profit, but the company could no longer carry on funding construction of No. 534.

It was a bitter blow when work came to a halt just months before the liner was ready for launching. An estimated 3,800 men employed directly in the construction of the ship, and up to ten thousand contractors and subcontractors employed in a range of industries supplying items for the vessel, were immediately laid off.

Eventually completed in 1936, the ship was an instant success, capturing the famous Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic later that year, and regaining it in 1938.

Probably the most famous, and certainly one of the best-loved ships in the world, the Cunard transatlantic liner RMS Queen Mary has now been preserved at Long Beach, California as a floating hotel and tourist attraction for more than fifty years, comfortably longer than her thirty-one-year career as an ocean liner.

In wartime ‘crab fat’ grey paint. With her impressive speed capability, Queen
Mary could comfortably outrun German U-boats, much to the frustration of their
captains.  Screenshot from plate within the book

Nine chapters cover the vessel’s life from concept, design and construction through to delivery, when she achieved 29.3kts, transatlantic trade, wartime trooping, postwar revival, the competition from the airlines and then eventual decommissioning and move to California with the huge effort at conversion to what we see today.

During the Second World War she carried a total of 810,730 troops and also setting the record for the most individuals carried in a single voyage – 16,683 – which stands to this day.

By the time she ceased passenger service in 1967, superseded by the airliner as the preferred mode for international travel, Queen Mary had carried nearly three million people, from royalty, politicians and film stars to emigrants and cruise passengers.

The bridge of Queen Mary: some alterations have been made, but this area of the ship is largely original and a clear reminder of the liner’s illustrious past.    Screenshot from plate within the book

After her sale to the city of Long Beach she underwent a major conversion for her new life as a visitor attraction, a role she has continued ever since.

This is a new and expanded edition of a volume published in 1994 and has been completely revised and brought up to date to describe the ship’s last twenty-five years, and it incorporates a wealth of new photography.

The reader is informed that today much of John Brown’s shipyard site has been built over, with the huge cantilever crane and the yard’s fitting-out basin the only reminder that here were built so many significant ships.

One of the yard’s greatest achievements now lies in Long Beach, California, testament to the great and bountiful days of the British shipbuilding and maritime prowess. Lest we forget.

Reviewed by Paul Ridgway
London Correspondent:
Africa Ports & Ships

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Xeneta Update: Congestion at Mediterranean ports is unintended consequence of Red Sea diversions

Africa Ports & Ships

Week 19 2024 

Just when you think you have found the solution to an incredibly difficult problem, you find you have simply created issues elsewhere.

That is the case in ocean freight container shipping with new transshipment networks designed to mitigate the impact of diversions in the Red Sea only serving to create wider congestion at Mediterranean ports.

Ultra-large ships from the Far East are now offloading containers at western Mediterranean ports such as Barcelona, with smaller ships then transporting them to the final destinations at central and eastern Mediterranean ports.

This means the larger ships can return immediately to the Far East rather than enter the Mediterranean Sea dead end created by the Suez Canal diversions.

Record transshipments in Barcelona

As a result, the port of Barcelona handled 63% more container transshipments in March 2024 compared to 12 months ago – up from 94,000 TEU to 154,000 TEU.

Looking at Q1, Barcelona handled a record high 446,000 TEU, which is an increase of 48% compared to Q1 2023 and the equivalent of an additional 144,000 TEU.

This surge in transshipments has also been seen at the other major Spanish ports of Valencia, Algeciras and Las Palmas.

Together with Barcelona, these are the top four container shipping ports in Spain, handling 85% of the nation’s total of 16.4m TEU in 2023 (8.4m of which was transshipped).

An additional 2.36m TEU was handled by the other 24 ports across Spain, of which only 0.43m TEU was transshipments (source: Puertos del Estado).

The recent increase in transshipments at Spain’s four largest ports follows a decline of 4.9% for the full year of 2023 compared to 2022, with Barcelona accounting for more than half of that deficit (234,000 TEU).

An increase in demand of this magnitude in a short space of time will inevitably lead to significant port disruption.

Port congestion is bad news for shippers

The increasing use of transshipments is designed to improve the service for shippers – however it is coming at a cost.

The trade from Singapore (Asia’s largest transshipment hub) to Barcelona is a good example.

Spot market freight rates jumped by 10% on this trade in the early days of May to reach USD 4,394 per FEU. This coincides with congestion at Barcelona port and a growing line of container ships waiting to berth.

On 7 May, the average waiting time to berth at Barcelona increased to 3.53 days due to increased cargo flow as well as lower productivity, IT issues and bad weather in late April/early May. This is an increase from 3.28 five days earlier. (source: K+N seaexplorer).

The trade lane from Singapore to Las Palmas tells a similar story. Spot rates hit a Red Sea crisis peak of USD 6,217 per FEU in mid-January but then fell back by 37% to USD 3,909 at the start of April.

However, increasing port congestion meant this softening market did not last and rates began to increase sharply again, up by 38% to reach USD 5,448 per FEU on 5 May.

Whereas Barcelona is third to Algeciras and Valencia in terms of total TEU and transshipment handlings, it has seen faster growth on both accounts in first three months in 2024.

In the Atlantic basin on Gran Canaria, 56% of the business in the container terminals of the port of Las Palmas is transshipment, this is second only to Algeciras in the West Mediterranean where 85% is transshipped.


PORT Transshipment as share of total TEU- 2023 full year Transshipment as share of total TEU- Q1 2024
Algeciras 84% 85%
Las Palmas 52% 56%
Valencia 49% 51%
Barcelona 40% 47%

Handling in three months, the same number of boxes handled last year in 4.5 months will obviously cause problems.

Is congestion likely to ease?

As long as Red Sea diversions remain in place and carriers attempt to mitigate increased sailing distances through transshipment networks then west Mediterranean ports will continue to feel the brunt.

There is also no suggestion that decreasing demand for ocean freight container shipping from the Far East to Mediterranean will help to ease congestion – quite the opposite.

Data for January and February 2024, reveals that container imports from the Far East into the Mediterranean hit record high levels.

Exports from China alone was up by 11.4% year-on-year into the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea while volumes into the Western Mediterranean Sea increased by 20.7%.

This increasing demand continued in March, with volumes into the Western Mediterranean Sea up by 4.0% from China and 5.7% from the wider Far East region.

However, demand did decline into the Eastern Mediterranean in March compared to 12 months ago, down by 6.5% from China and 3.3% from the wider Far East region. (source: Container Trades Statistics)

Schedule reliability at low levels

Even though schedule reliability from Singapore to Barcelona improved in March compared to February, an increase from 33.1% to 40.0% is no cause for celebration.

Two in every five ships arriving on time is not the level of service shippers will expect, however they may find a small amount of comfort in the fact March was the first time reliability has improved month-on-month since it stood at 66.6% in November 2023.

Wider implications of Mediterranean congestion

Increasing use of transshipment networks in the Mediterranean requires more ships for the feeder services and carriers may achieve this by removing ships from other trades, particularly those in North Europe.

If ships are redeployed in this way it could create a capacity squeeze on trades in North Europe while further compounding the congestion issue in the Mediterranean – and push up rates across them all.

No escape from the impact of a black swan event

Black swan events cause pain in supply chains and, while ocean freight networks have proven their immense resilience in recent years, there are always inescapable consequences.

These consequences often make their presence felt away from the immediate region where the black swan occurred – in the case of the Red Sea conflict we are seeing the ripples cast far and wide.

As well as congestion at Mediterranean ports we have also seen rates increase on Transpacific and Transatlantic trades which do not transit the Suez Canal.

This underlines the importance of using data to monitor individual trades and port-to-port services because each one will react differently and present different problems to overcome.   source:  Xeneta

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Cabo Delgado Special Report: Big rise in insurgent activity in past month

Africa Ports & Ships

by Dr Joseph Hanlon
Mozambique News Reports and Clippings

A major insurgent attack on Macomia town at 05.00 Friday morning (10 May) underlined the increase in insurgent activity since the end of Ramadan a month ago. An estimated 100 insurgents entered the town on the road from Mucojo to the east. There was heavy firing, which caused local residents to flee into the bush and stay there over night. Insurgents occupied the town until about 14:00 on Saturday.

There had been some warning as the security services detailed three suspects in the town the week before. And the army and local militia did respond and the Defence Ministry says an insurgent leader called Issa was killed. But Lusa reports that the insurgents held the town until Saturday afternoon, and the population only began to return after the insurgents had left. (Macomia town had been occupied and largely destroyed two years ago.)

From Focus Group Situation Report 240508

Two maps show the resurgence. The first [left] is from Focus Group (8 May) showing all incidents in the month 10 April to 8 May. The second is our map showing zones of control and movement.

The second map [below] shows that insurgents largely control Macomia district from the N380 (north-south) road to the coast. Insurgents also control southern Mocimboa da Praia district in dense forest along the Messalo River, and have unchallenged free movement in much of Quissanga district (where electoral registration was delayed and is only taking place this week) and eastern Ancuabe district and western Metuge district.

In the first report of this series (, 22Feb) we reported the big push south into Chiure district and across the Lurio River into Erati and Memba districts of northern Nampula province. Large numbers of insurgents walked 200 km south, totally unchallenged. Eventually Rwandan troops were brought in. Also, insurgent actions reduced during Ramadan. But in the past month activity has increased again in Chiure and Erati. Rwandan troops plus a local militia from Mueda are in Chiure town. It appears that the insurgents are establishing a permanent presence on both sides of the Lurio River.

Carta de Moçambique (10 May) reported that people had fled from the homes in villages in Odinepa, Erati, and gone to Namapa (the district town of Erati), where a curfew was imposed. After two weeks they returned home, both because of the lack of food, and also because Rwandan troops had cleared the insurgents.

Attacks on villages in Quissanga, Ancuabe, Chiure, and Erati districts were reported in the second half of April. In general insurgents looted food and livestock; burned state buildings, houses and motorcycles; and killed several civilians. There has been fighting in a few places.

SADC pull out shows global politics of this war

Mozambique lacks the capacity to fight its civil war, so it is dependent on foreign mercenaries, training and equipment. For historic reasons, there are three countries that want their troops in Mozambique and which Frelimo opposes.

Top of the list is the United States, which waged a Cold War proxy war against Mozambique in the 1980s and which killed a million Mozambicans. The US is the largest bi-lateral donor so has to be allowed a training mission. In the early days of the civil war, the US had not yet decided to fight a new cold war against China and Russia, and was searching for enemies. It saw Islam as a possible enemy and began to look at waging part of its war against Islam in Mozambique. Other enemies took over, so Islam became less important to the US.

Second is Portugal, the former colonial power, which wants to prove Mozambique still needs colonial troops. Portugal made the running to set up an EU training mission, which of course used Portuguese soldiers to train. But there are no boots in the war zone – neither US nor Portuguese trainers are allowed to go to Cabo Delgado to observe their students.

South Africa still sees itself at the major regional power and set up the SADC Military Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), which Mozambique never welcomed, but had to accept because Mozambique is part of SADC. SAMIM has been in Mozambique for two years but it now leaving, which pleases Frelimo, in part because it has not been militarily effective or useful.

In early 2021 insurgents captured the gas town of Palma, which underlined the inability of Mozambique forces to win the civil war. Totally unexpectedly, President Filipe Nyusi turned to Rwanda, which had a large and well trained military which it hired out for peacekeeping. It is almost a neighbour and speaks Kiswahili, one of the languages of Cabo Delgado (and Tanzania). And its northern links are with France, the country of TotalEnergies, which is the main gas company in Mozambique.

Rwandan soldiers have proved highly effective in controlling the insurgency in the gas zone. In addition to money, Rwanda President Paul Kagame successfully demanded part of the local construction and contracting sector, and also the right to extradite Rwandan political opponents who had taken refuge in Mozambique.

The sudden exit of SAMIM is because SADC’s latest military venture is helping the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to fight the M23 rebel movement in the resource-rich eastern province of North Kivu, which borders Rwanda. But Rwanda is strongly backing M23. SADC leaders said they could not fight against Rwanda in the DRC and with Rwanda in Mozambique, so they are pulling out of Mozambique.

Finally, after the death in 2021 of Tanzania president John Magufuli from Covid (which he denied existed), the new president Samia Suluhu Hassan improved relations with all Tanzania’s neighbours. This included cooperation with Mozambique on the war. Troops that had been part of SAMIM have stayed and taken effective control of the border district of Nangade, which had been controlled by insurgents.

What about the gas?

Mozambique’s huge off-shore gas field is controlled by two consortia. Area 1 nearest the coast is led by the French TotalEnergies and area 4 further off-shore by the US ExxonMobil, both of which have highest level political links in their counties. The gas is to be compressed to liquified national gas (LNG) by both companies on the Afungi Peninsula near Palma.

The fall of Palma stopped work and it has not resumed. Total Energies head Patrick Pouyanne initially said he would only restart when the war stopped, but he is accepting Rwanda protection of just two districts. He then said he would only restart if contractors accepted the same prices as when the bid five years ago, and under pressure, most did. He talked about starting by mid-2024.

But in a 29 April report (LNG Prime) he said that “We had a good discussion with the contractors. So the good news I can confirm is that we’ve actually come back and we have good contracts with everyone”. But the bad news is security. Some global funders, apparently including US Exim Bank and the Dutch Atradius, are not willing to release funds on security grounds. So Pouyanne again moved the start date, at least to the end of the this year.

Meanwhile ExxonMobil told Reuters (2 May) that it will not make a final investment decision on Cabo Delgado until the end of next year, 2025. It will also have funding issues, with Credit Agricole saying it would not fund Exxon in Cabo Delgado because of pressure on it to stop funding fossil fuel.

Both Exxon and Total are doing physical work on the ground and Exxon is commissioning a different type of LNG equipment. But no formal investment decision has been made.

Who profits from the climate emergency?

“Hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists expect global temperatures to rise to at least 2.5ºC above preindustrial levels this century”, compared to the agreed target of 1.5ºC, a Guardian (8 May) survey revealed. This is also what the gas companies are assuming. When gas contracts were agreed a decade ago, there was a tacit assumption that it would be impossible to sell gas after 2050 because of the need to meet 1.5ºC. But no one in the industry believes that now.

ExxonMobil, TotalEnergies and other gas companies expect to sell for a decade longer. Thus Patrick Pouyanne, Total Energies Chair told investors a year ago (29 April 2023) “we are not in a hurry to return to Mozambique. The gas can always be sold. There is a key gamble for Patrick Pouyanne and for Darren Woods, CEO of Exxon. They are betting their companies on the belief that the climate emergency will continue. But across the world, the temperature rise to 1.5ºC above preindustrial levels has already happened. Flood, fires, and famines are already here. In a decade, having wasted money on Cabo Delgado, will Exxon and Total be forced to pull the plug on Cabo Delgado?

Personally, both Pouyanne and Woods are 60 years old and have salaries of $8mn and $36mn per year, respectively. They will probably die before the climate disaster hits, or at least be able to use their millions to not be hurt. But their children and grand-children?

Ultimately, it is Mozambicans who will carry the real cost. The floods and cyclones in Matola, Maputo, Beira, and Quelimane are just tasters of what is coming down the road. The floods in Kenya and drought in Zimbabwe are at 1.5ºC – the agreed number. And in five years at 2ºC? And when the gas is still being sold and global heating is devastating Mozambique?

Even if the gas billions are used well, they are not enough to transform Mozambique into a country that can survive unprecedented floods, cyclones, and droughts – a complete transformation to housing, travel, farming. And money spent on dams will be no use when there is no rain.

Frelimo leaders dream of billions of dollars. But the contracts give all the power to the gas companies – for example to charge inflated prices for the initial costs and security. And now companies are being moved offshore to UAE and Mauritius, where Mozambique has no control. The billions in gas profits are a fantasy – but the climate emergency is real.

Am I being too pessimistic? There would be no war in Cabo Delgado today if the money from the gas and mineral developments had been shared, to create jobs and training, and if young people had been involved in how the money was to be used. Instead it went to the oligarchs and their patronage systems. Why do we think the gas billions will be any better used? jh

This report first appeared in “Mozambique News Reports and Clippings” by Dr Joseph Hanlon, and is republished in full with permission.

Dr Hanlon receives no funding from any agency
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Added 13 May 2024


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WHARF TALK: anchor handling, tug, and supply vessel – AHTS ADVENTUROUS

The anchor handling, tug, and supply vessel AHTS Adventurous which is currently in Cape Town harbour.  Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Sometimes a vessel owner will give their vessel a name starting with an acronym, i.e. a bunch of random letters before the proper name of the vessel in question. Most often it is an acronym that stands for the actual shipping company itself, such as MSC, MOL, NYK, COSCO, CMA CGM, and YM. And of course, not forgetting one with a South African lineage, IVS. If you know your shipping companies, as most casual maritime observers should do, then the acronym itself does not present a conundrum to the observer.

Occasionally, the acronym used would appear meaningless, unless you know the type of vessel that you are looking at, because sometimes it is actually used in respect to what the vessel actually does for a living. The oil and gas industry maritime sector is a good example of this with vessels having name acronyms such as DSV. Again, if the casual maritime observer knows a thing or two about this sector, then it will make sense. Sometimes, but not always!

The offshore oil and gas industry in West Africa is nothing short of huge. The fleets of vessels that service, provide for, and maintain the infrastructure of this industry need somewhere to go whenever they have a major engineering issue, an annual drydocking, or a major survey. In terms of West Africa, it is pretty much limited as to where the vessel can go to get those requirements. So the vessel owner is forced to look elsewhere for what they need.

Walvis Bay, in Namibia, is one such port, but it is the sophisticated infrastructure, and trained, professional workforce of South Africa, namely located in Durban and Cape Town, but also East London, that the offshore oil and gas industry vessel owners usually turn to. In more recent times, it is starting to include those vessels working in the growing industry of East Africa. There is also a flow of vessels transiting from one contract to another, i.e. from one part of the world to another. They also need to obtain refits, and upgrades, in readiness for the new assignment.

AHTS Adventurous. Cape Town, 30 April 2024. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

For the casual maritime observer it means that there is a regular stream of very interesting looking vessels arriving throughout the year, to obtain shoreside engineering and maintenance support, and a slot in a drydock able to accommodate them. In these troubled times, in almost every case, their arrival has got absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the idiotic Houthis, or having to avoid the southern Red Sea.

As far back as 19th April, at 11:00 in the late morning, the anchor handling, tug, and supply vessel ‘AHTS Adventurous’ (IMO 9546576) arrived off the Table Bay anchorage after a long transit across the Indian Ocean from Singapore, and went to anchor for a short period of four hours. At 15:00 in the mid afternoon, she upped anchor, and entered Cape Town Harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside the Repair Quay. Such a berth, for a vessel from the oil and gas industry is a sure sign that a refit is in the offing.

AHTS Adventurous. Cape Town, 30 April 2024. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2010 by Zhejiang Shipbuilding at Ningbo in China, ‘AHTS Adventurous’ is 60 metres in length and has a deadweight of 1,460 tons. She is a diesel electric vessel and is powered by three Cummins QSK60-D(M) sixteen cylinder, four stroke, generators providing 1,825 kW each, which transfer power to three Z-drive propellers, of which the two outboard propulsion systems are azimuth 360° units, and the centre propulsion unit is a fixed, non-azimuth, unit, giving her a service speed of 12 knots.

Her auxiliary equipment includes a Cummins emergency generator providing 180 kW. For added manoeuvrability she has two bow transverse thrusters providing 560 kW each. This fit of azimuth Z-drives and thrusters gives ‘AHTS Adventurous’ a dynamic positioning classification of DP2. Her DP equipment fit includes two differential GPS systems, a Cyscan sensor, and a Laser positioning reference system. She has a firefighting capability of FiFi1, provided by two fire monitors capable of throwing water at a rate of 1,200 m3/hr.

AHTS Adventurous. Cape Town, 30 April 2024. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

She has accommodation for 20 persons, and by now the casual maritime observer will be aware that the acronyms in her name stand for the role she performs, that of Anchor Handling, Tug and Supply (AHTS). For her Anchor Handling role she has a working aft deck, for anchors handling, with an area of 331 m3. For her Tug role she has a bollard pull of 80 tons, and is fitted with two towing winches fitted with 1,500 metres of 512mm towing wire.

For her Supply role, she can carry 540 tons of cargo on her aft deck, and she has no less than twelve underdeck cargo tanks capable of carrying 606 m3 of fuel, 458 m3 of drill water, 354 m3 of potable water, 651 m3 of drill mud, and 156 m3 of dry cement. Her discharge rate for all of her liquid cargo is 150 m3/hour, and her dry cargo can be discharged at a rate of 50 tons/hr.

Nominally owned by Pegasus PSD HZ1 Ltd., ‘AHTS Adventurous’ is operated by Petro Services Ship Management SAM, of Monaco, and is managed by V Ships Offshore Ltd., of Aberdeen in Scotland. She was designed by Guido Perla Associates, of Seattle in the US State of Washington, and is one of a huge class of no less than 96 vessels, of three classes, and of which ‘AHTS Adventurous’ is one of 54 sisterships known as the Bourbon Liberty 200 class.

AHTS Adventurous. Cape Town, 30 April 2024. Picture is by ‘Dockrat

She was originally built for Bourbon Offshore, of Marseilles in France, and given the name of ‘Bourbon Liberty 236’, to indicate that she was the 36th of the 54 Liberty 200 class vessels. There were 22 slightly smaller Liberty 100 class vessels, and 20 slightly larger Liberty 300 class vessels, all given similar name structure. The class was built in two separate shipyards in China, the Zhejiang Shipyard in Ningbo, and the Dayang shipyard at Yangzhou, both owned by the Chinese state owned Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group.

By having the vessels built at the same low-cost, technically proficient, shipyards in China, allowed them to be built in large numbers on an industrial scale. The Bourbon Liberty class of vessels were all built using a modular construction process, where prefabricated sections were used in the construction method to allow multiple vessels to be built simultaneously.

By having the bulk of its fleet made up of 96 nearly identical diesel-electric vessels, all with a high level of redundancy, and all fitted with equipment from the same suppliers, meant that for the crews, finding themselves onboard any one of the Bourbon Liberty series vessel, meant that the equipment for which they were responsible, was exactly the same as on any other vessel in the Bourbon Offshore fleet.

AHTS Adventurous in her original identity as Bourbon Liberty 236. Picture by Shipspotting

In July 2022, ‘AHTS Adventurous’ was sold on to a Chinese offshore company in Hainan Province, who then sold it in November 2023 to a Hong Kong based company, who within weeks had sold it on to her current owners. Shortly afterwards she departed from Luoyuan in China, bound for Singapore, where she was initially laid up. On 6th March, at 07:00 in the morning, the now named ‘AHTS Adventurous’ sailed from Singapore, bound for Cape Town. Her positioning voyage took 44 days, at an average speed of just 6.5 knots.

In her Bourbon Offshore working days, ‘AHTS Adventurous’ has spent many of her years in West Africa, operating out of Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, and out of Malongo, in the northern Cabinda province of Angola. Her arrival in Cape Town, from the Far East, and her lengthy refit and overhaul in South Africa gives an indication that she may once more be destined for operations in the African oil and gas industry. The question is where exactly might it be, West Africa, Southern Africa, or East Africa.

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USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB 4) goes aground off Libreville, Gabon

The Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB 4) undocks during its first Regular Overhaul (ROH), a planned maintenance period, in the European area of operations at Palumbo Shipyard Malta. ROHs are routine, planned maintenance periods providing necessary repairs, maintenance and modernization for the ship to operate at full technical capacity and mission capability for its entire designed service life. Picture: U.S. Navy photo

Africa Ports & Ships

In our report of yesterday (Monday 12 May) we reported the presence of the US Navy expeditionary sea base (ESB) USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) in Gabon, at the start of this year’s 2024 Obangame Express naval exercise.

See that report here.

It’s since been reported by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa that the ESB ran aground after leaving the port of Libreville, Gabon. following a routine port visit.

Fortunately it was a ‘soft’ grounding and the ship was able to break free on the next high tide, with no injuries and no damage done.

The US Navy will undertake an inspection of the ship at the first opportunity and is conducting an official investigation into the occurrence, according to a navy spokesperson.

The full statement issued by NAVEUR reads: USS HERSHEL ‘WOODY’ WILLIAMS (ESB 4), assigned to U.S. 6th Fleet on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces Africa area of operations, ran aground May 9, 2025, around 1300Z, shortly after leaving port from a routine port visit to Libreville, Gabon. The ship broke free about 1700Z at high tide. No injuries or major damage were reported from the grounding. We cannot provide further details at this time as the incident is currently under investigation.

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2024 International Day for Women in Maritime

Picture: IMO ©

Highlighting women’s role in maritime safety

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

The crucial role of women in ensuring maritime safety will be celebrated worldwide on this year’s International Day for Women in Maritime. Observed globally each year on 18 May, International Day for Women in Maritime (IDWIM) aims to promote the recruitment, retention and empowerment of women in the sector, as well as a barrier-free work environment.

IMO Symposium on Safe Horizons

Ahead of the day, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will host an international symposium on Friday, 17 May at IMO HQ in London, under the theme Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety. The event will be livestreamed on IMO’s You Tube Channel.

The symposium will feature a line-up of distinguished seafarers, maritime professionals and maritime leaders who will speak about reframing maritime safety through a woman’s lens, and how to implement a holistic approach to safety at sea, taking into account gender considerations.

The full programme is published here.

IMO Secretary-General, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez commented: “The goal is not just to honour women’s successes but also to advocate for equal opportunities and to unlock the full potential that a diverse workplace offers, to shine a spotlight and raise awareness on the challenges they face: discrimination, disparities, and limitations with regards to career opportunities.

“The maritime sector offers a multitude of prospects for women, spanning from seafaring to engineering, from law to logistics, and beyond… We must lead by example, serving as role models striving to create inclusive, empowering and safe work environments for women.”

Gender equality has been a longstanding focus for IMO. Only 29% of the overall maritime workforce and only 20% of the workforce of national maritime authorities are women. Women make up less than 2% of seafarers worldwide.

To highlight solutions, the event will feature the Diversity@Sea project by the All Aboard Alliance.

This project involves eleven shipping companies each piloting a series of measures onboard one of the vessels in their fleet to promote inclusivity, including being crewed by at least four women.

IMO Gender Equality Award

To conclude the symposium, the first-ever IMO Gender Quality Award will be handed to Ms Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou of Cyprus, former President of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International).

Ms Theodosiou was selected by the IMO Council in November 2023 for her work to advance gender equality and empowering women throughout her tenure as President of WISTA International.

The IMO Council also commended the following nominees:

* Mr Mikael Skov (Denmark), CEO of Hafnia

* Ms Sanjam Sahi Gupta (India), Founder of MaritimeSheEO and WISTA chapters in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Georgia and Malaysia (she will be present on the day)

* Commodore Amit Srivastava (India), Indian Navy (he will be present on the day)

* Ms Eunjung Heo (Republic of Korea)

* Ms Camille Dyan A. Simbulan (Philippines), Head of Communications and Special Projects for Women and Youth of the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP).

The annual IMO Gender Equality Award was created in 2023 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women in the maritime sector.

The S-G IMO’s video: Readers are invited to watch the Secretary-General’s full International Day of Women In Maritime YouTube video below:

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West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) swaps diesel for solar

West Africa Container Terminal in Onne port. Picture: APM Terminals

Africa Ports & Ships

Replacing diesel generation with solar electricity

The West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) has signed a significant Solar Lease Agreement with Starsight Energy, to provide an expected 1.2-Gigawatt hours of solar electricity each year over a 15-year period. This will see 30% of the Terminals’ electricity switch from diesel generators to renewable sources in 2024.

The partnership marks a major step forward in WACT’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions and contribute to APM Terminals’ global commitment to be fully net zero by 2040, and to reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 65% by 2030 compared to 2022.

WACT’s Managing Director, Jeethu Jose, emphasised the company’s dedication to decarbonisation, saying the topic of decarbonisation and renewable energy is something he is passionate about.

“This signing marks the first big step towards WACT’s net-zero journey, and it’s a moment we can all be proud of.”

Ladi Sanni, Managing Director of Starsight Energy Nigeria, highlighted the partnership’s significance. “This collaboration supports our mission of assisting global brands like APM Terminals/WACT transition to clean energy,” Sanni said.

“It is a testament to Starsight Energy and WACT’s forward-thinking energy management and environmental stewardship approach.”

Solar replaces diesel generators

The project involves installing a 1,092 kWp solar-only system in two phases. This initiative is expected to significantly reduce WACT’s carbon footprint by approximately 20kt of Carbon Dioxide over the life of the agreement. Additionally, the project aligns with Nigeria’s broader goal of transitioning from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources.

WACT, owned by APM Terminals, is the first greenfield container terminal built under a Public-Private Partnership model in Nigeria. Strategically located within the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Onne Port, Rivers State, WACT has become the most efficient gateway to markets outside Lagos and a major gateway to East Nigeria.

A Step Towards a Sustainable Future

The signing ceremony was attended by APM Terminals Nigeria board members, management of APM Terminals Nigeria, WACT, and Starsight Energy. This partnership signifies a crucial step towards a more sustainable future for WACT and the Nigerian energy sector.

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CMA CGM strengthens its Africa services with India and the Middle East

Africa Ports & Ships

French shipping giant CMA CGM says it is reshuffling to strengthen its Africa services with India and the Middle East.

The revamp involves the India Middle East Gulf to and from South Africa, East Africa and Indian Ocean services.

MIDAS 1: Ngqura (Coega) will be added to the rotation offering an optimised pathway for shipments through competitive transit times to Jebel Ali and India. The service will be tailored to enhance efficiency and meet the demand of the citrus season export.

MIDAS 1 service

MIDAS 1 will now be operated in 70 days with 10 vessels up to 5,700 TEU Nominal, starting with m/v CMA CGM KRIBI, which has called at Cape Town on 5 May 2024.

The new rotation is as follows: Jebel Ali – Mundra – Nhava Sheva – Pointe Noire – Tema – Apapa – Cape Town – Ngqura (Coega) – Jebel Ali

MIDAS 2 service

MIDAS 2: Durban will be the unique port of call in South Africa and Pointe des Galets will be transferred to CMA CGM’s new KARIBU service.

Port Elizabeth will be offered on a weekly basis via Durban through dedicated feeder solution with faster transit times.

MIDAS 2 will still be operated in 49 days with 7 vessels up to 2,800 TEU Nominal, starting with m/v CMA CGM VALPARAISO, which was ETA Jebel Ali on 22 April 2024 and is ETA Durban on 14 May 2024.

The rotation is as follows: Jebel Ali – Mundra – Nhava Sheva – Durban – Jebel Ali

KARIBU service

HAX service will be replaced by KARIBU, a weekly service fully operated by CMA CGM. Competitive transit times will easily connect Indian Ocean using CMA CGM’s Pointe des Galets (Reunion) hub.

KARIBU will be operated in 42 days with 6 vessels up to 1,700 TEU Nominal, starting with m/v CMA CGM KAILAS, ETA Jebel Ali on 12 May 2024.

The rotation is as follows: Jebel Ali – Mombasa – Longoni – Pointe des Galets – Mombasa – Mogadishu – Jebel Ali

NOURA service

The NOURA service will provide faster transit times to its dedicated Mozambique, Somalia and Seychelles markets.

NOURA will be operated in 35 days with 5 vessels up to 1,700 TEU Nominal, starting with m/v CMA CGM GULF EXPRESS, ETA Jebel Ali on 14 May 2024.

The rotation is as follows: Jebel Ali – Mogadishu – Mombasa – Beira – Nacala – Port Victoria – Jebel Ali

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WHARF TALK: Super yacht – OPERA

The super yacht Opera which arrived in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront on 4 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

You get super yachts, and you get super yachts. So what is the difference? Well, some so called super yachts are merely slightly large luxury yachts, whilst other so called super yachts are the size of small passenger liners. It is the sheer size, when compared to the smaller version, which exudes real super yacht to the casual maritime observer.

South Africa is slightly off the beaten track for the really big super yachts, unless you are one owned by a sanctioned Russian Oligarch, and you are trying your best to avoid being placed under Admiralty arrest. That said, the odd genuine super yacht does fetch up on South African shores, such as ‘Octopus’, the super yacht that was owned by Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, and which has called into Cape Town on more than one occasion, the last time being back in September 2018.

More recently, the casual maritime observer in Durban had a chance to gaze upon another genuine super yacht when the ‘Yas’ arrived whilst having been forced into taking the Cape sea route to get her to her normal cruising grounds, those of the rich and famous, in the Mediterranean summer social season. The need to divert away from the Red Sea, and the Houthi menace, was because she is owned by one of the members of the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi, one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The casual newspaper reader will be aware that the government of the UAE, both backed and gave manpower and weaponry, to the Saudi led military operation against the Houthis within Yemen. For the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi, who own one of the largest private yacht fleets in the world, it would come as no surprise to realise that more than just the ‘Yas’ would have to take the Cape sea route to get to the Mediterranean party season.

Opera. Cape Town, 5 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 4th May, at 11:00 in the morning, the super yacht ‘Opera’ (IMO 1012933) arrived off Cape Town, from Dubai in the UAE, and entered Cape Town harbour. As is the general rule with arriving super yachts in Cape Town, they get the no

d to allow them access to the Victoria and Albert waterfront, and ‘Opera’ entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Victoria Basin, and went alongside No.2 Jetty, directly opposite the Russian owned superyacht ‘Anna’ that has arrived a week earlier, also from Dubai, and also avoiding the Red Sea, and en route to the Med.

Built in 2023 by Lürssen Yachts shipyard at Bremen in Germany, ‘Opera’ is 146 metres in length and has a gross registered tonnage of 12,518 tons. She is a diesel electric vessel and is powered by two MTU 20V1163 M84 twenty cylinder, four stroke, main engines that produce 8,715 bhp (6,000 kW) each, which drive two controllable pitch propellers for a service speed of 17 knots, and a maximum speed of 22 knots.

With a range of 5,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 17 knots, or a range of 6,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 14 knots, ‘Opera’ has fuel tanks capable of holding 900,000 litres of fuel, and also has fresh water tanks capable of holding 110,000 litres of drinking water. For passenger comfort she is fitted with stabilisers that can operate even when she is lying at anchor, to ensure that her passengers have a smooth ride, irrespective of location.

Opera. Cape Town, 5 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Both her internal and external design was undertaken by Terence Disdale Design Ltd., of Richmond-on-Thames, in the UK. She has accommodation for up to 36 passengers, in 18 cabins, and who are looked after a crew of 50. Her seven decks include a movie theatre, gymnasium, spa, sauna, steamroom, massage room, beauty salon, beach club, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, pool bar and outside barbecue. She has inboard garages that house tenders, jet skis, other water toys, and diving equipment.

To enable guests to arrive onboard the vessel in style, and whilst offshore, ‘Opera’ is equipped with two helipads, one located on her bow, and capable of taking helicopters with a maximum landing weight of 8 tons, and a raised aft helipad capable of taking helicopters with a maximum landing weight of 6 tons.

Her construction was akin to that of a Phoenix rising from the Ashes. She was originally built under the nom de plume of ‘Project Sassi’, but in 2018 she suffered a catastrophic fire, whilst lying in the Lürssen Yachts floating dock, and which destroyed three of her upper decks. She was moved across to the Lürssen subsidiary shipyard of Blohm & Voss, in Hamburg, for rebuilding, before being returned to Lürssen, in Bremen, for completion, and outfitting.

Opera. Cape Town, 5 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

A window into the wealth of the ruling families of some of the oil and gas rich Emirates, is that ‘Opera’ was built at a cost of US$450 million (ZAR8.35 billion), and her running costs are said to be up to US$50 million (ZAR927,769) per year. She is owned by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family, and who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates.

Sheikh Abdullah is the half-brother of the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was the Emir of Abu Dhabi, and the President of the United Arab Emirates. Sadly, Sheikh Khalifa passed away in 2022, but had the honour of having the magnificent skyscraper in Dubai, the Burj Khalifa, named after him as he effectively bankrolled the construction of that world famous building, which is the highest in the world at a phenomenal 830 metres in height.

She made her maiden voyage in March 2023, when she sailed from the builder’s yard in Bremen, to Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. There she was stored, brought up to full crew strength, and then sailed for the Mediterranean summer season.

Anna. Cape Town, 5 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In July 2023, whilst off northern Italy, ‘Opera’ caused an outcry when she anchored close inshore, within a Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the coast of Tuscany, seemingly ignoring the rules that govern any vessel entering an MPA. She returned to the UAE in late 2023, via the Suez Canal, before the Houthi madness began in the southern Red Sea.

Prior to her positioning voyage to Cape Town, ‘Opera’ had appeared at the prestigious Dubai Boatshow 2024, in March this year. She is currently the 6th largest super yacht ever built by Lürssen Yachts, and is also currently considered to be the 10th largest super yacht in the world.

For the football fans out there, the Abu Dhabi emirate are the owners of Manchester City Football Club, in the United Kingdom. The club plays its home matches at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. The stadium is named after the national airline of Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways, and whose name adorns the front of the shirts of the football team.

Anna. Cape Town, 5 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After three days alongside being refueled by a road tanker, as opposed to by a bunker tanker, and having completed her uplift of stores and fresh provisions, ‘Opera’ was ready to resume her positioning voyage to the Mediterranean playgrounds. At 15:00 on the afternoon of 7th May, she sailed from the VA& Waterfront, and headed out of Cape Town harbour, now bound for her next bunker stop, which was indicated on her AIS as Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands.

On the same day, the other diverted super yacht ‘Anna’, which was berthed directly across from ‘Opera’ on No.2 Jetty, also sailed from Cape Town. She had also arrived from Dubai, but earlier on 29th April, and she departed at 17:00 on the afternoon of 7th May, and she too was also bound for Las Palmas, and en route to the Mediterranean for the Summer season.

The owner of ‘Anna’ is Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, who lives in Monaco, and is apparently not on a sanctioned list. His 110 metre long super yacht was built by Feadship at Makkum in Holland in 2018, at a cost of US$250 million (ZAR4.64 billion). Oh how the rich live!

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Graduation ceremony for Transnet employees

Esselenpark Campus. Picture: Transnet Property

Africa Ports & Ships

A graduation ceremony for 390 Transnet employees was held at the Transnet Academy Esselenpark Campus in Kempton Park, Johannesburg last week.

The 390 were the latest cohort of employees from the state-owned transport and logistics company to be awarded post graduate and undergraduate qualifications from Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, as part of a work-based education programme.

1,960 Transnet employees

To date, 1,960 Transnet employees, the large majority from Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), have graduated with Masters and Undergraduate qualifications in Railway Operations Management.

The graduation ceremony at Esselenpark Campus also marked a unique 12-year partnership between Africa’s largest freight rail company Transnet, and Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the Chartered Institution of Railway Operators (CIRO).

Figures show that 50% of graduate employees have progressed within the organisation with four having progressed to Executive Managers of key TFR corridors.

Russell Baatjies

TFR Chief Executive Russell Baatjies, himself a graduate of the BSc (Hons) Railway Operations Management Programme, congratulated those who “…raised their hand” and took advantage of the opportunity.

“TFR is a learning organisation committed to improving the skills of all our employees. This is indeed a significant milestone for us and all partners in this collaboration,” Baatjies said.

“Transnet is excited to partner with like-minded institutions such as Glasgow Caledonian to provide relevant learning solutions to support employee skills development,” said Itumeleng Matsheka, Transnet Chief of People and Learning.

“This is in line with our commitment to identify and prioritise opportunities to create a capable workforce to sustain growth and ensure Transnet’s long-term success.

“This partnership empowers our employees to drive organisational success just as Transnet is implementing a range of initiatives across the business to radically transform operational performance through the Recovery Plan.”

Glasgow Caledonian

Fiona Stewart-Knight, Assistant Vice-Principal Business Partnerships at Glasgow Caledonian, described this year as a watershed moment for Transnet, the Transnet Academy, and this “outstanding” human capital project.

“In 2012, the partners all imagined that the progression of great people from within the business was possible through access to a railway-specific, portable, accredited qualification. We hoped that many employees would progress. The impact of this project is tangible and Transnet as an investor in its people is to be commended for such bold and distinctive vision.”

The project is connected to Glasgow Caledonian’s work as a civic university. The University is Scotland’s largest provider of Graduate Apprenticeships, delivering 11 industry programmes in subjects ranging from cyber security, data science and software development to engineering design manufacture to more than 360 employers in Scotland and more than 1,200 graduate apprentices.

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13th iteration of Exercise Obangame Express underway

USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams which was in Cape Town September 2021. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Africa Ports & Ships

The 13th iteration of the exercise Obangame Express 2024 commenced with an opening ceremony held at the Cadet School of Libreville in Gabon last week (6 May).

‘Obangame’ means ‘togetherness’ in the Fang language, which is spoken primarily in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

“After six years, Gabon is back on the international naval stage, a second time, to host the 13th edition of exercise Obangame Express,” said Rear Adm. Charles Hubert Bekale Meyong, Gabon Navy’s Deputy CNO in charge of Operations.

“It is an honour and a privilege for our country and mainly our navy to do it, as we continue to work, side by side, with our partners and allies in this critical and strategic region of the world.”

Rear Adm. Michael Mattis, Director of Strategic Effects for United States Naval Forces Europe and Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF), said Obangame Express remains the premier maritime exercise in West and Central Africa due to the outstanding efforts of professionals from dozens of countries year in and year out.

“We are thrilled to learn from our partners and Allies as we test our individual and combined capabilities and procedures over the next two weeks.”

The annual exercise, West Africa’s premier naval event, aims at improving regional cooperation in support of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct and enhancing and strengthening maritime capabilities and domain awareness, information sharing between Maritime Operation Centers (MOC), maritime interdiction procedures, adherence to the rule of law, and counter-proliferation interdiction capabilities.

Some 30 regional and international partners collaborated to enhance collective maritime law enforcement capabilities, bolster national and regional security in West Africa, and foster greater interoperability among U.S., African, and multinational partners.

Navies taking part

Among the navies taking part in this year’s exercise are those of the U.S., Gabon (this year’s host), Nigeria through its Eastern Naval Command, Cameroon, Ghana, Republic of Congo, Benin, Sao Tome & Principe, Togo, Angola, Belgium and Spain.

Others include Brazil, Canada, Italy, the UK, Liberia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

The U.S., which routinely exercises with the navies of West Africa, was represented at the opening event by the U.S. Ambassador to Gabon, Vernelle FitzPatrick, and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Heidi Berg.

USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB 4)

Joining Obangame Exercise 2024 was the U.S. Navy Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base, USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB 4) which arrived in Port Owendo in time for the opening.

The ship is on a scheduled deployment to the African continent.

After getting underway again to support the exercise, USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams and her crew acted as a platform for maritime domain awareness throughout the exercise, for Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) scenarios, and the launching and recovery of unmanned surface vehicles (USV).

Unique to this year’s iteration was the first ever deployment of U.S. USVs in the Gulf of Guinea and enhanced SeaVision* and MOC incorporation**, enabling participants to train on new and more capable systems and communication methods throughout the duration of the exercise.

For the first time in the series, Obangame Express contained linkages to the Special Operations Command Africa-led exercise Flintlock, with multinational combined VBSS events taking place in Takoradi, Ghana.

Many of the participating nations had taken part in the recent combined African Maritime Forces Summit and Naval Infantry Leaders Symposium-Africa that was hosted in Accra, Ghana.

Obangame Express 2024 is continuing this week until ending on Friday 17 May 2024.

For more information on Obangame Express, please visit here.
* SeaVision – SeaVision is a web-based situational awareness tool that focuses on enhancing maritime domain awareness (MDA) by collecting and sharing data across various maritime operations centers (MOCs).

** MOC Incorporation – MOCs are central hubs where maritime information is collected, analysed, and disseminated. Incorporating SeaVision into MOCs allows for better coordination and faster response times.

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Tunisian Port Authority to use Kongsberg thrusters on six stern-drive tugs

Picture: Kongsberg Maritime

Africa Ports & Ships

Kongsberg Maritime has won a contract to supply azimuth thrusters to Turkish shipbuilder Med Marine to power six new stern-drive tugs for the Tunisian port authority OMMP (Office of the Merchant Marine and Ports).

The new tugs, of Robert Allan RAstar 2800 series design, will offer powerful and reliable performance for a range of towing and harbour operations in Tunisian ports.

Kongsberg Maritime will supply a pair of its US205 FP azimuth thrusters, to each of the six 28-metre vessels. The thrusters feature 2.8 metre, fixed pitch propellers which will deliver efficient operation and enhanced manoeuvrability, providing the tugs with a significant bollard pull of 60 tons.

Ertugrul Cetin, Procurement & Technical Group Director of Med Marine, said they were excited to select the Kongsberg Maritime US Thruster for Med Marine’s six new tug projects that are being built for Tunisia.

“This innovative thruster system will significantly improve operational efficiency in Tunisian ports by providing our tugs with higher performance, better manoeuvrability, and lower fuel consumption,” he said.

Med marine and OMMP signing of contract for 6 tugs for Tunisian ports
Picture: Med Marine

“With Kongsberg’s US thruster, our tugs operating in Tunisian ports will be able to perform exceptionally well even in the most challenging sea conditions.”

The Kongsberg US range of azimuth thrusters continue be a popular choice for critical tugboat operations in ports around the world, offering an efficient and effective propulsion solution, with responsive manoeuvrability.

“We have a long, collaborative relationship with Med Marine, and we look forward to working with them as they deliver these powerful tugs to OMMP,” said Espen Liset, Kongsberg Maritime, SVP Naval & Workboats.

Med Marine, operates the modern, independent Ereğli Shipyard, located on the Black Sea. The company has built more than 200 vessels, mainly tugboats but also a range of chemical tankers and workboats.

OMMP is the public port authority of Tunisia. The organisation’s main role is the optimal operation of Tunisia’s ports, safely managing a variety of terminals, handling a range of maritime traffic including general cargo, container ships, tankers, Ro-Ro and cruise vessels.

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Pirate attack in Gulf of Aden 

Somali piracy rearing its head once more

Africa Ports & Ships

EUNAVFOR Operation ATALANTA (European Union Naval Force) reports that the oil products tanker Chrystal Arctic (IMO 9332640), registered in the Marshall islands, came under a suspected pirate attack while sailing 100 nautical miles north of Bosaso in Puntland, facing into the Gulf of Aden.

The pirate attack was reportedly beaten off by an exchange of fire involving the armed private security personnel on board the tanker.

The pirates were on board a skiff that approached the tanker.

Subsequent to this, it appears that a naval vessel, a frigate operating with EUNAVFOR, responded to the report issued by the tanker that it was under attack, and apprehended the six suspected pirates on board the skiff.

Operation ATALANTA in its report of the incident, said in true military-speak that the frigate concerned had “secured their [the pirates] physical integrity due to the unsafe condition of their skiff and [was] treating some of them with injuries of varied severity.”

The report concludes by saying ATALANTA forces are gathering evidence and conducting an investigation into the incident in order for a proper assessment of the situation

According to EUNAVFOR, there could be two or more pirate action groups (PAGs) operating off the wider Somalia coastline, which includes the semi-autonomous Puntland region. Two merchant vessels have already been highjacked since December, of which one was rescued by the Indian Navy, and the other reportedly released with its crew after a ransom was paid.

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Shipping and the Environment: A Guide to Environmental Compliance

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

ICS’s third edition published

International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Publications announces the launch of the fifth edition of Shipping and the Environment: A Guide to Environmental Compliance. This latest edition offers comprehensive updates and expanded insights into the intricate relationship between shipping operations and environmental protection.

Picture: ICS ©

It is reported that the fifth edition is a definitive guide, providing a comprehensive introduction to companies and crew members navigating this complex subject matter. Recognising the need for accessibility, this edition is designed to be a user-friendly resource for individuals with varying levels of familiarity with MARPOL regulations and the environmental impact of day-to-day shipping.

Existing resources on shipping and the environment are often either overly complex, such as regulatory documents, or overly simplistic, such as generalist online sources. Additionally, pertinent information is scattered across niche publications, making it challenging for stakeholders to access comprehensive guidance in one consolidated source.

Serves a pressing need

In the words of John Stawpert, Senior Manager (Environment and Trade) at the International Chamber of Shipping: “We identified a pressing need for a single, authoritative resource that addresses the key environmental issues facing the shipping industry. With this new edition, we aimed to bridge this gap by providing a comprehensive yet accessible guide that addresses the dynamic regulatory environment.”

Emmanuele Grimaldi, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping, commented: “As a shipowner I have heavily invested in energy efficiency practices, as well as new green technologies, to move forward in reaching the International Maritime Organization’s net zero carbon emissions target by or around 2050. This new overarching guide by the ICS provides the industry with practical guidance and peace of mind in an ever-evolving regulatory landscape.”

Future reviews

In response to the dynamic nature of environmental regulations, ICS plans to review and produce updated editions of ‘Shipping and the Environment: A Guide to Environmental Compliance’ every two to three years. This commitment reflects the organisation’s dedication to ensuring that stakeholders remain informed and empowered to adopt sustainable practices, recognising the evolving regulatory framework and environmental best-practices.

An invaluable resource

The fifth edition promises to be an invaluable resource for companies, crew members, training institutions, administrations, and policymakers alike. By consolidating key environmental requirements and factors into one authoritative publication, ICS aims to foster greater awareness, understanding, and action towards sustainable shipping practices.

For more information about the fifth edition of Shipping and the Environment: A Guide to Environmental Compliance and to order copies readers are invited to see here

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In Conversation: US-Africa trade deal turns 25 next year: Agoa’s winners, losers and what should come next

US Trade Representative

Bedassa Tadesse, University of Minnesota Duluth

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) is a landmark piece of trade legislation enacted by the United States in 2000. Its goal is to promote economic growth, development and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa by providing qualifying countries with duty-free access to the US market for over 6,500 products. By eliminating import tariffs and quotas, Agoa aims to stimulate trade, attract foreign investment and foster economic integration between the US and African nations.

Agoa has made strides in boosting exports from eligible African countries to the US. Between 2001 and 2021, the annual value of US imports from Agoa-eligible countries nearly tripled, from US$8.15 billion to US$21.8 billion. The trade preferences have particularly benefited sectors like apparel, textiles, agriculture and light manufacturing. However, Agoa’s impact has been uneven across the region. Some countries have used the opportunities more effectively than others.

As Agoa approaches its 25th anniversary next year, policymakers are considering extending it for a further 16 years. I recently conducted a comprehensive review of scholarly articles and policy reports that analyse the impact of Agoa on the economic performance of sub-Saharan Africa. Below are the four key observations.

1. Some countries have benefited more than others

Agoa’s benefits can’t be measured in just one metric. They reflect in various terms for various countries. But available research indicates that the countries that benefited most from Agoa include South Africa, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Madagascar, Ethiopia and Ghana.

These nations have used Agoa preferences to substantially increase their exports to the US, particularly in sectors like apparel, textiles and light manufacturing.

Kenya, where apparel-dominated exports to the US have grown from US$55 million in 2001 to US$603 million in 2022, is a shining example of growth in exports. Mauritius exported chocolate and basket-weaving materials. Mali exported buckwheat, travel goods and musical instruments until its 2022 suspension. Mozambique exported sugar, nuts and tobacco. Togo exported wheat, legumes and fruit juices.

Lesotho’s success story is equally inspiring. It has had rapid export growth and job creation in its apparel sector, and this has contributed to new manufacturing jobs.

These success stories underscore the potential of Agoa to drive economic growth and job creation.

2. Some countries have not benefited much

Central and west African countries have not extensively used Agoa’s benefits. They have been held back by weakness in infrastructure, governance and global market integration.

Burundi, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Mali have seen little export growth and foreign direct investment, or no benefits.

3. Reason for the uneven benefits

The variation in Agoa’s impact across sub-Saharan Africa is down to several factors. First, countries with better infrastructure, stable governance and conducive business environments are better positioned to attract foreign investment and increase exports.

Second, the level of economic diversification and export capabilities matters. Countries with more diversified export baskets and established manufacturing sectors have managed to make the most of Agoa’s opportunities.

Third, national policies and strategies to complement Agoa are essential. Countries that put in place policies to improve productivity, integrate value chains and ease supply-side constraints appear to have had success under Agoa. Cultural (historical) connections with the US market may have also provided an advantage for some countries, like Kenya and Lesotho.

4. What the future holds

The US Senate is considering extending Agoa for another 16 years. It is vital to consider the lessons learned from the past 25 years.

Diversify the economy and add value: Many countries still rely heavily on primary commodity exports. This leaves them vulnerable to global price movements and limits their economic development prospects.

Invest in infrastructure: Transport, energy and communication are critical to enhance competitiveness and attract more foreign direct investment. Public-private partnerships and multilateral development financing could help to fill infrastructure gaps.

Promote good governance, political stability and institutional reforms: These create an enabling environment for businesses and investors. It means strengthening legal frameworks, combating corruption and ensuring the rule of law.

Build capacity and develop skills: It should be a priority to enhance human capital and create a skilled workforce that can support the other steps outlined above.

Recognise the diverse economic, political and social contexts in sub-Saharan Africa: Tailored strategies and targeted assistance could work better for individual countries.

As Agoa approaches its 25th anniversary, the potential extension through 2041 presents a strategic opportunity. The sub-Saharan African countries should refine and broaden Agoa’s impact to better serve the diverse needs of the region. By tackling the uneven impacts and focusing on sustainable development goals, Agoa can continue to play a part in the region’s economic transformation. The US and beneficiary countries must work together closely to ensure the benefits are widespread and inclusive.The Conversation

Bedassa Tadesse, Professor of Economics, University of Minnesota Duluth

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

Added 12 May 2024


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Salalah offers a multimodal alternative to Red Sea route

Salalah Container Terminal. Picture: APM Terminals

Africa Ports & Ships

With it becoming more apparent among shipping lines that the Red Sea blockade by Houthi rebels in Yemen will continue for some time, the Port of Salalah in the neighbouring Sultanate of Oman, has launched a multimodal service that provides a viable alternative to the time consuming and more costly re-routing around the Cape of Good Hope.

The Port of Salalah, which has an annual capacity of 5 million TEU and an expansion programme currently in progress to add an additional 30% capacity, is ideally located on the main ocean routes connecting South and East Asia with Europe, North Africa and the Americas, in addition to connecting the upper Gulf with East Africa.

No detour from East-West shipping routes

The new multimodal solutions launched by the Port of Salalah offers Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCOs) and Shipping Lines cost-effective and fast alternatives between Asia the United States East Coast and European destinations.

Unlike other popular transshipment ports in the region, no detour from the main East-West shipping routes into the Gulf of Oman is necessary, saving a 4-5 day detour from main east-west shipping routes.

From the Port of Salalah, an in transit overland route by truck connects to Jeddah located in the safer mid-point of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia.

The overland route takes approximately 4-5 days. From this point the journey can continue by container vessel through the Suez Canal to Europe or the US East Coast reducing the overall transit time.

Sea/Air Option for time sensitive cargo

In addition, Salalah is offering a sea-air option that provides a faster alternative for more time sensitive cargo into and out of Europe.

Upon discharge in the Port of Salalah, cargo is transferred in transit to either Salalah or Muscat Airports or even Jebel Ali depending on availability of airlift capacity and connections.

Salalah Airport offers state-of-the-art airfreight infrastructure, the ability to handle both narrow-and widebody aircraft, and sufficient spare handling capacity.

This option reduces the lead time compared to a full ocean leg and reduces cost compared to a full air freight option. The new multimodal service reduces transit times by an estimated 20-40% compared to traditional east-west trade routes and could deliver a cost saving of 10-20% compared to a pure air-freight solution.

image: APM Terminals

Adding flexibility to supply chains

This option has already been tested. The Port recently teamed up with Maersk, Oman Airports and Transom to introduce a number of sea-air solutions via the Port of Salalah with steady movements which are currently gaining momentum.

The Port of Salalah is consistently ranked as the second most efficient terminal in the world in the Container Ports Performance Index (CPPI) published by the World Bank and S&P Global, providing fast discharging and industry leading truck turn times.

“These high levels of efficiency means that the port offers extremely high efficiency and cost competitiveness in comparison to other more highly marketed port choices in the region,” says Sunil Joseph, Commercial Officer at Salalah Port.

“As we’re one of the busiest transshipment hubs in the region, our shipping line customers are not always aware that we have spare capacity to cater for all shipping lines – with clear market opportunities.”

Joseph said the continual reforms aimed at enhancing the business environment in Oman are driving the development of faster intermodal solutions.

“These reforms have matured to a stage where we proudly present Salalah as an unparalleled business opportunity,” he said.

Added 9 May 2024


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Trade News: Drydocks World unveils major propeller repair enhancements

Dubai-based Drydocks World, located next to Dubai’s Port Rashed: Picture Drydocks World

Africa Ports & Ships

Also new facilities

Dubai-based Drydocks World, a DP World company, today (9 May) announced a series of significant enhancements to its Propeller Repair Services’ operational capabilities, solidifying its position as the one-stop solution for comprehensive propeller repair needs, catering to all sizes and types with unparalleled efficiency and precision.

The facility is uniquely equipped to handle in-situ repairs for minor damages directly on the vessel without removing the propeller and more extensive repairs within its workshop, which includes a dedicated area and pit for propeller work. The provision of nickel aluminium bronze alloys for the fabrication of missing parts and a comprehensive suite of repair techniques, such as laser pitch checking and blade profiling, further underscore the yard’s expanded capabilities.

The company has expanded its team of qualified and highly skilled professionals equipped to tackle the full spectrum of propeller repair needs and ensure adherence to the highest standards set by the International Society of Classification Societies (IACS).

“Our improved propeller repair services highlight our dedication to maritime excellence and leadership, with a focus on innovation ensuring unparalleled efficiency and quality,” said Capt. Rado Antolovic, PhD, CEO of Drydocks World.

“Our unique in-house ability to provide immediate solutions for unforeseen propeller issues sets us apart, earning the trust of shipowners who value our swift and thorough responses to their repair needs.”

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

Added 9 May 2024



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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

PORT March 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.060
Durban 6.477
Saldanha Bay 6.027
Cape Town 1.379
Port Elizabeth 1.313
Ngqura 1.348
Mossel Bay 0.121
East London 0.173
Total all ports during February 2023 22.991 million tonnes