Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 25 May 2024

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Newsweek commencing 19 May 2024.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return.  

FIRST VIEW:   Logos Hope


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 FIRST VIEW:   Logos Hope

Logos Hope, arriving in Durban 11 April 2024. Picture by Trevor Jones

The travelling bookshop ship LOGOS HOPE arrived in Durban on 11 April this year and proceeded to the Bayhead repair wharves where receive some routine engineering maintenance before relocating across the bay to the Durban cruise terminal on 8 May where she has remained open to the general public.

Logos Hope, said to be the world’s largest floating bookshop, is currently doing the rounds of South African ports.

The Christian charity ship is expected to depart Durban on 3 June for Cape Town where she will open to the public between 7 and 25 June 2024. Logos Hope then sails for Walvis Bay in Namibia for a visit between 4 and 22 July 2024.

The ship is said to have some 5,000 book titles available for sale. On board visitors will also meet some of the all-volunteer non-salaried crew and staff.

Picture by Trevor Jones

Africa Ports & Ships


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Transnet Port Terminals focusing on increased volumes

Container volumes up by 10% in first six weeks of financial year. Picture: Transnet

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) says credit must go to the dedication and commitment of its employees for an increase in volumes at the country’s port terminals.

TPT was pointing to the first six weeks of the current 2024/25 financial year that commenced on 1 April.

During this period container volumes were up 10%, while bulk and breakbulk volumes increased by 5% and 17%, respectively.

A slight dampener came from automotive volumes which were 3% below, owing, says TPT, to high stock levels that have forced importers to revise their imports orders due to low car sales as a result of slow economic growth.

Cargo handling equipment & key performance indicators

“We are doing our best to move more volumes despite our shortfalls on equipment and ultimately, key performance indicators,” says TPT Chief Executive, Jabu Mdaki.

He added that when comparing the previous financial year to the current year, the performance was showing signs of recovery.

Volume improvements however, remain largely the result of an improvement with South Africa’s economy, of which six weeks is a minute reflection.

The terminals remain reliant on what the country is importing and exporting, then it is their performance with those volumes that counts.

Capital investment

TPT has embarked on an equipment acquisition drive with capital investment estimated R3.9 billion in the current financial year.

There is also emphasis on the availability and reliability of the existing fleet that continued through the first phase. A 24-hour maintenance regime is now in place to secure the availability and reliability of existing equipment. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are present across all terminals providing technical support and supplying critical spares.

Customer support

TPT is also the recipient of invaluable support from its customers, thus enabling continued promotion of growth in the South Africa imports and exports.

This customer support includes supply of equipment for TPT use, identifying equipment available globally for purchase, urgent movement of equipment across the water, and terminal partnership programmes which promote world class planning and execution.

“While weather continues to disrupt operations, contingency plans are sufficient and integrated planning and collaboration engagements with customers and industry are ongoing,” says Mdaki.

Meanwhile, TPT’s container sector has begun its citrus season with over 200 additional cargo coordinators and port workers as well as additional capacity across participating terminals.

Mdaki added that in the current financial year, TPT will maintain good communication with depots and cold stores to achieve maximum flexibility regarding the opening stacks.

“It is crucial for the industry to make use of the entire 24-hour operational window at terminals to ensure a successful season,” he said.

Added 24 May 2024


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Unpacking risk resilience ahead of the elections

City Logistics – a logistics company looking at the latent risks during the elections

Africa Ports & Ships

Last week, the All Truck Drivers Forum and Allied SA (ATDF-SA) threatened a national shutdown. The shutdown was suspended, but with the elections next week, there is still the risk that businesses and the logistics of goods will be disrupted.

The business environment in South Africa is already fraught with risks. Now that the elections are looming, experts in the logistics industry are urging companies to put measures in place to ensure that they can mitigate any risk and uncertainty that may ensue.

The last four years have been categorised by risk on the part of South African business. First came COVID-19. Then, the July 2021 riots, which saw widespread civil unrest in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, marked by rampant looting and violence. Businesses were forced to shut down, and employees stayed home for safety reasons. The economic damage was estimated at R50 billion by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa.

Then, in 2022, KwaZulu-Natal experienced severe flooding. This was the province’s most devastating natural disaster on record, resulting in significant loss of life, extensive damage to homes and infrastructure, and a staggering economic impact. Estimated losses totalled R36 billion.

The impact on the logistics sector was immense. For one such company, City Logistics, a leading privately-owned logistics companies, it resulted in a 31% decrease in volumes as a result of the riots and a 37% decrease in volumes due to the floods.

Yet, a month after the riots, City Logistics managed to normalise their operation and despite damage to road infrastructure, the month following the floods, the company operated effectively. So how was this achieved?

Ryan Gaines, City Logistics

According to Ryan Gaines, CEO of City Logistics, this was possible due to preparation.

“When facing risks like political turmoil, natural disasters, and social unrest, businesses must ready themselves for unexpected challenges,” Gaines said.

“Preparation is key to reducing both financial losses and personal impacts. This is something that the logistics industry, a critical backbone supporting key sectors, has learnt over the years”.

What can companies learn from the logistics industry? The first thing is that, in order to mitigate risks, companies should compile a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), which establishes protocols and creates prevention and recovery systems for unforeseen circumstances.

Each scenario may differ, but the BCP works on building protocols and structure to ensure businesses are prepared for all types of unrest and uncertainty.

Just this week, the All Truck Drivers Forum and Allied SA (ATDF-SA) threatened a national shutdown for Monday, 20 May, urging all truckers to “down tools” until the government addresses its demands to remove foreigners from the trucking industry.

Although the shutdown has since been suspended, Gaines advises both logistics businesses and passenger drivers to assess affected routes and areas previously impacted by similar events. They should check with local authorities for any incidents before sending trucks or driving into these areas.

During times of unrest or uncertainty, businesses also need to prioritise open and clear communication across the company. If employees can’t reach work safely – due to reasons like riots, floods, or COVID-19 – they should be able to work from home with full access to company software and tools.

Finally, he says, during times of increased risk, companies should ensure that staff members have emergency contact numbers and access to additional security for their protection.

Some further reading for reference:

Economic impact of the recent unrest: National Treasury and PBO briefing

The 2022 Durban floods were the most catastrophic yet recorded in KwaZulu-Natal

Added 24 May 2024


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SA Navy’s new hydrographic survey vessel delayed again

The uncompleted Project Hotel hydrographic survey vessel out in the yard of Sandock Austral. Picture by Trevor Jones

Dean Wingrin

The South African Navy (SA Navy) will have to wait a while longer to receive its much-anticipated new hydrographic survey vessel that is being acquired under Project Hotel due to another, unexplained, delay.

Signed in December 2017 with Durban-based Sandock Austral Shipyards (SA Shipyards, previously known as Southern African Shipyards), the project aimed to replace the aging SAS Protea, which has served for 52 years. However, unforeseen circumstances have caused numerous setbacks and delays.

The global Covid-19 pandemic severely disrupted global supply chains, while local social distancing measures hampered production efficiency. Unrest and looting in KwaZulu-Natal during 2021 and subsequent floods in 2022 further exacerbated delays, pushing the initial delivery date from September 2022 to January 2024.

As of May 2024, the construction of the hydrographic survey vessel, now named SAS Nelson Mandela (pennant number A187), is still nearing completion.

Armscor, the procurement agency, acknowledged the delay and told defenceWeb that the delivery date of the contract had to be reconsidered due to various challenges affecting the performance of the contract.

“Armscor and the contractor are in the process of amending the contract, which will determine the new delivery date,” Armscor confirmed.

Project Hotel encompasses more than just the main vessel. The programme also includes acquiring smaller survey motorboats, a sea boat and crucial upgrades to the SAN’s hydrographic office infrastructure.

In a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) in September last year, Armscor confirmed that overall project progress was at 75% completeness. The vessel itself was only 55% complete, with SA Shipyards in the pre-outfitting phase of the Outfitting Process, busy with compartment readiness in preparation for the commencement of the work to be executed by sub-contractors.

Work still to be performed included cable trays, foundations for equipment, ducting penetrations, large/small bore piping, pinning for the insulation and preparation for the installation of the shaft line.

Survey Motor Boat (SMB) 1 has been handed over and SMB2 and SMB3 are currently placed in preservation at the Naval Dockyard, ready to be delivered with the main vessel. Sea Acceptance Trials of the Sea Boat is also complete and been placed into preservation.

The upgrade to the shore-based South African National Hydrographic Office (SANHO) is 100% complete.

Total approved funding is R2.943 billion [US$ 159.657 million] of which R2.210 billion [US$ 119.915 million] has been paid to date. Armscor was still investigating ways to intervene further to enable ease of cash flow to enable milestones to be reached to activate invoicing.

SAS Nelson Mandela, based on Canadian/Norwegian company Vard Marine’s VARD 9 105 design, will be a significant leap forward in South Africa’s ability to map its seabed and surrounding waters. The 95-metre long vessel boasts a strengthened bow for operations in the Southern Ocean, a 10,000 nautical mile range and an 18-knot top speed. The South African version includes customized features like a helicopter hangar to enhance its operational versatility.

The vessel’s advanced survey equipment includes multi and single beam echo-sounders as well as side-scan sonar and a seabed sampler to recover material from the seafloor and underlying sub-strata for detailed analytical and testing purposes.

Previously, CEO of SA Shipyards, Prasheen Maharaj, said: “Eventually the Navy will get a great product. It is the largest, most complex survey vessel currently under construction in the world, so not only will they get a great product, but they will get the most modern product and it’s something Team South Africa can be very proud of.”

The SA Navy has yet to respond to a request for comment.

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

Added 23 May 2024


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Trade News: Thordon contract to retrofit tailshaft bearings on 32 tugs

Focus on Thordon Tailshaft Bearings

Africa Ports & Ships

Thordon Bearings has secured a significant contract to convert the rubber tailshaft bearings across an entire fleet of Panama-operating tugs, pilot vessels, and workboats to water-lubricated polymer bearings.

The agreement with the unnamed operator follows the successful retrofitting of Thordon’s SXL tailshaft bearings to twelve of its twin-screw tugs last year during scheduled dry dockings.

The remaining 32 vessels will now be converted in batches at planned maintenance intervals over the next four years.

For the first batch of retrofit conversions, Thordon will supply a total of 62 bearings machined to fit shaft diameters ranging from 63.5mm to 101mm (2.5in to 4.5in). However, the scope of supply also includes…..

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

Added 23 May 2024


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AMSOL tanker servicing West African fishing industry renamed Densu River

Amongst dignitaries attending the Naming Ceremony were (from left) Mr Yaw Eshun (Managing Partner, Sterling Partnership), Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh (Group CEO, GOIL), Mrs Adjoa Baawa Osei-Akuamoah (MIS Consultant), Hon Kwamena Bartels (Former Board Chairman, GOIL), Mr Kojo Quainoo (CEO, AMSOL Ghana), HE Grace Jeanet Mason (South African High Commissioner to Ghana) and Mrs Sandra Opoku (Director of Port, Tema)

Africa Ports & Ships

The chemical and oil products tanker owned and operated in Ghana by Cape Town’s AMSOL (African Marine Solutions), has been renamed Densu River (IMO 9514494). The renaming ceremony took place while the vessel underwent a routine drydocking in Tema, Ghana.

AMSOL in Ghana plays an important role in the country’s maritime industry, delivering marine fuel by tanker to international oil companies and clients in the fishing industry on behalf of the Ghana Oil Company (GOIL).

Attending the naming ceremony were key stakeholders including Hon. Kwame Osei-Prempeh (Group CEO of GOIL), HE Grace Jeanet Mason (South African High Commissioner to Ghana), and the Tema Port Director, Mrs Sandra Opoku.

In a statement AMSOL said the event marked not only the change in the tanker’s name but also celebrated the partnership between AMSOL and GOIL.

“After three years of dedicated service to clients, this ceremony reflects AMSOL’s commitment and roots in Ghana’s maritime industry.”

Master, Officers & Crew of the ‘Densu River’ and the support team pictured together with AMSOL’s Fleet Management Executive Captain Musa Mbakaza (second left) and Marine Operations Manager Andre Begint (far left)

For Kojo Quainoo, CEO of AMSOL Ghana, the renaming of the tanker represented a significant milestone in the company’s history.

“By naming the vessel ‘Densu River,’ we not only embrace its local identity but also its promising future in Ghanaian waters.”

He described the importance of the recent local drydocking project conducted in Tema, which he said emphasizes the vessel’s connection to the economy and its people.

He said this was not just a logistical process but also a strategic decision that strengthened AMSOL’s presence in Ghana and its commitment to the economy and a desire to develop the value chain.

He pointed out that the majority of the vessel’s crew is Ghanaian, further boosting the country’s local economy.

Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of GOIL, Hon. Kwame Osei-Prempeh, highlighted that the naming of the vessel further solidified relations between AMSOL Ghana and GOIL and said the bunker tanker will improve GOIL’s operations.

Densu River

The Densu River basin, after which the tanker was named, covers over 2,400 square kilometres and serves cities and communities within the Greater Accra Region, Eastern Region and the Central Region of Ghana.

The river is not only an essential source of water but also holds cultural and historical importance.

Added 22 May 2024


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WHARF TALK: Emirati Royal Yachts – A+ & Blue

Super yacht Blue, at the Cape Town V&A Waterfront harbour, 16 May 2024. Picture is by Brian van Hansen

Pictures as indicated
Story by Jay Gates

The outcome of the Houthi menace has resulted in not only a stream of a myriad of merchant vessel types ploughing their way around the Cape sea route, but also the type of vessel that would not ordinarily show its face in South African ports, and these are the big Super Yachts. Yes, there have been one or two who made it here, but they were few and far between, and before the Houthi nonsense kicked off, nearly all arrived as a result of voyages to Antarctica.

For the Super Yachts whose owners are resident in the United Arab Emirates, including the odd Russian Oligarch, the normal route to having your yacht ready and waiting for you in any one of dozens of European playgrounds, was the annual pilgrimage of sending them ahead, via the Suez Canal, and to await the arrival of the owner in a place previously arranged. As we all know, the Houthis flinging missiles at all and sundry, despite their pretext at targeting vessels that are deemed to be the enemy, meant that a Red Sea transit to the Suez Canal was no longer viable.

In the case of the United Arab Emirates, there was a double edged sword for their Super Yachts, as they had previously been military allies with the Saudi Arabians in attacking Houthi targets in Yemen. One outcome of this was that, two years ago, the Houthis also flung a couple of missiles at Abu Dhabi in retaliation for their actions in Yemen. And it is the Abu Dhabi Emirate, which is not only the richest of the seven that make up the UAE, but it also has the largest fleet of Super Yachts, and support vessels, that make up the Abu Dhabi Royal Yacht flotilla.

Super yachts A+ and Blue at the V&A Waterfront. 19 May 2024. Picture by Frank Atherley

So far this year we have had two of the Abu Dhabi Royal Yachts calling into Durban and Cape Town, to uplift bunkers, whilst making the long diversion passage around the Cape sea route to get to the Mediterranean Sea, and the playgrounds of the rich and famous. I doubt any casual maritime observer expected to see any more of the Abu Dhabi Royal Yachts making their way around the Cape. However, they would have been wrong on at least two counts. Spotting their arrival is pure luck, as not using the AIS appears to be their modus operandi when underway.

By 15th May, at midday, a gaggle of two Super Yachts had arrived off Cape Town, both from Abu Dhabi, and both entered Cape Town harbour, and as befits Super Yachts of this caliber, both proceeded into the V&A Waterfront, with each given one side of No.2 Jetty to go alongside whilst they conducted their business in the Mother City.

Superyacht A+ as Topaz. Picture by Lurssen

The smallest of the Super Yachts was ‘A+’ (IMO 9551454), which was built in 2012 by Lürssen Yachts shipyard at Bremen in Germany. She is 147 metres in length and has a gross registered tonnage of 12,532 tons. She is powered by two SEMT-Pielstick 12PA6 SJC twelve cylinder, two stroke, main engines producing 7,990 bhp (5,959 kW), to drive two fixed pitch propellers for a cruising speed of 22 knots.

That she is a Abu Dhabi Emirati royal yacht is borne out by the fact that her owner is considered to be Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who is the brother of the President of the UAE, and himself the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE. Her nominal ownership falls to a brass plate company called Project A Vessel Ltd., of Abu Dhabi. She is managed by Al Seer Marine Services, also of Abu Dhabi.

Built at a cost of US$527 million (ZAR9.52 billion), and with annual running costs estimated to be US$50 million (ZAR903.64 million). Her external design was carried out by Tim Heywood Yacht Design Ltd., (THD), of Headley, in Hampshire in the UK, with her internal design was carried out by Terence Dinsdale Ltd., of Richmond in London.

Superyacht Blue. Picture by Lurssen

When launched she was the 4th largest Super Yacht in the world, and she was launched as ‘Topaz’, with funding received from the now defunct 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) Investment Fund, and was gifted to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. The 1MDB Fund collapsed in acrimony, which embroiled the yacht in controversy, and ownership was transferred to her current owner.

With eight decks, ‘A+” can accommodate 52 guests, in 26 suites, who are looked after by a crew of 79. Her facilities include two helipads, one bow mounted, and one raised aft. She has a cinema, a full conference room, gymnasium, swimming pool, jacuzzi, tender garage, beach club after deck, and many water toys.

Her range is 5,000 nautical miles at 17 knots, and she has a fuel tank capacity of 900,000 litres, and a fresh water tank capacity of 100,000 litres. To keep her guests comfortable at any anchorage she finds herself at, ‘A+” is fitted with at anchor stabilisers.

Superyacht A+ at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, 19 May 2022. Picture by Frank Atherley

One might think that having ownership of one Super Yacht would be sufficient, but the second Super Yacht that arrived in the V&A on the 15th May, was none other than ‘Blue’ (IMO 9862231). She is currently said to be the fifth largest Super Yacht in the world, with ‘A+’ now relegated to only the 8th largest Super Yacht on the world.

Also built in 2022 by Lürssen Yachts shipyard in Bremen, at a cost of US$600 million (ZAR10.85 billion), ‘Blue’ has annual running costs of US$60 million (ZAR1.08 billion). With a length of 160 metres, and a gross registered tonnage of 14,785 tons, ‘Blue’ is a diesel electric vessel, powered by two MTU 16V1163 M84 sixteen cylinder, four stroke, main engines providing 6,285 bhp (4,687 kW), and driving two Azipod propulsion units for a cruising speed of 21 knots.

With green credentials, ‘Blue’ is fitted with a scrubber unit, and a waste water treatment plant. She was designed, both internally, and externally, by Terence Dinsdale Ltd., of Richmond in London. She can accommodate 48 guests in 23 suites, who are looked after by a crew of 80. Her facilities include a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, cinema, beauty salon, steam room, gymnasium, beach club aft deck, tender garages, and water toys. She is fitted with twin helidecks, one located on the bow, and one raised aft.

Superyacht Blue, Cape Town 19 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Also considered to be owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ‘Blue’ is nominally owned by Blue Maritime Ltd., of Douglas in the Isle of Man, and managed by Coral yachts LLS, of Abu Dhabi. She has a range of 5,000 nautical miles, and has a fuel tank capacity of 1.08 million litres, and has a fresh water tank capacity of 110,000 litres.

At 16:00 in the afternoon of 19th May, after having taken on bunkers, stores and provision, the Abu Dhabi Royal Yacht flotilla was ready to sail from Cape Town. Both ‘Blue’ and ‘A+’ are thought to be heading for Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, for a final bunker stop before entering the Mediterranean Sea.

Interestingly, as they sailed they were also joined by two other vessels, also departing from Cape Town, one from the Duncan Dock, and the other from the V&A Waterfront, and who were very obviously not Super Yachts, but clearly who played an important role for the Royal Yacht flotilla. However, more about them at a later date.

Added 22 May 2024


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Citrus season off to a strong start Transnet Port Terminals

A reefer train being unloaded beneath the rail-mounted gantry crane at DCT. Picture: TPT

Africa Ports & Ships

The first of the citrus season’s longest trains has arrived at the Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 from Limpopo province, bringing 48 forty-foot containers (96-TEUs) of export citrus fruits ready for loading aboard calling vessels.

The containers have since been offloaded using rail-mounted gantry cranes that feed haulers which place containers in the reefer yard, fully equipped with plug points.

Straddle carriers then move the containers from the reefer yard to under the crane for loading when the appropriate vessels calls.

“We have officially begun the season in Durban, with every intention to make our customers competitive,” says Earle Peters, managing executive at the Durban Terminals. “The Bela Bela train promotes cargo movement from road to rail, a crucial component in supporting logistics and terminal operations.”

Limpopo province

Limpopo province is the largest contributor to South Africa’s citrus industry, accounting for over 40% of total citrus fruit production and area planted, followed by the Eastern Cape at over 25%, and Western Cape at over 15%. Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and North West are also contributors to the industry’s total output.

The citrus industry has forecasted a 15% increase in citrus export volumes this year and Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has issued an assurance to industry of its commitment to make the season a success. In Durban, three terminals have been resourced to prepare for the season.

Durban Container Terminals

To improve the reliability and efficiency of its services, the Durban Container Terminals (DCT) Pier 1 has 1,440 plug points with back-up power.

The Durban Container Terminal (DCT) Pier 2 has a total of 2,424 plug points, while the Durban Multipurpose Terminal has 277 plug points.

In Gqeberha, the Ngqura Container Terminal (NCT) has 1,652 plug points, while the Port Elizabeth Container Terminal (PECT) has 932.

The Port Elizabeth Container Terminal also received one of its largest vessels over the recent weekend, as trucks have begun bringing in the province’s citrus fruit.

Citrus Growers Association

“The CGA values Transnet’s responsiveness and willingness to engage with the citrus industry, at all levels,” says Justin Chadwick, Citrus Growers Association (CGA) Chief Executive Officer.

Justin Chadwick, CGA CEO

“We have seen TPT remain resolute during crises before – from the July 2021 unrest to the Durban floods. The special initiatives undertaken by TPT to work towards a smooth citrus season is appreciated.”

Chadwick said that handling an increased export citrus crop this year will however be challenging, given that Transnet is still executing its turnaround plan and dealing with multiple equipment breakdowns.

He added that the CGA was excited about finding common solutions to current challenges and partnering within the container terminals throughout South Africa.

“Such partnerships remain an important objective, where Transnet and the private sector can work together to improve port efficiency and thereby secure the 140,000 jobs the export citrus sustains,” Chadwick said.

Added 22 May 2024


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Cape Town Container Terminal reefer volumes looking positive

One of two new reach stackers received at the Cape Town Container Terminal. Picture by TPT

Africa Ports & Ships

According to Transnet Port Terminals, the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) exceeded its reefer targets in February and March this year by 62% although it came down to earth in April when there was a 53% decline due to wind and fog, which cost the terminal 13 days of lost production.

Nevertheless, CTCT remains ahead of target by 22% in the period February to April 2024.

“Our key priority is to deliver on volume throughput and meet our customers’ expectation,” said acting Western Cape managing executive, Oscar Borchards.

For this current financial year (2024/25), which kicked off in April 2024, the terminal has reviewed its quarterly targets on key performance indicators with 26 ship working hours (SWH) targeted for the first quarter (April to June), increasing by four in each quarter until CTCT reaches the target of 40 during the final quarter January to March 2025.

Borchards said that for May so far, CTCT is on target with the SWH of 26, and in the previous two weeks (5 – 19 May), 27 was reached. “This is encouraging and makes us confident that we are on the right path,” he said.

Increased equipment

The terminal has increased the number of internal haulers from 32 to 46 and has taken delivery of two reach stackers and two empty container handlers. Additionally, CTCT expects an additional 10 haulers which are due to be delivered in June 2024 while 47 additional brand-new haulers, currently on order, are expected in August 2024.

“These interventions, which are inclusive of new equipment and our continuous improvement initiatives, are a testament to our readiness for the citrus season,” he said.

He said CTCT is planning in collaboration with the customers, and continues to align via various platforms, including a daily war room meeting.

Added 22 May 2024


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High piracy risk in Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and adjoining waters – maritime security report

Operation Atalanta forces apprehend pirates who attacked the MV Chrystal Arctic.

by defenceWeb

The current world maritime hotspot around the Red Sea, northern Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and East Africa saw six incidents at sea reported in one week of April.

By contrast, other hotspots, including the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa and east and south-east Asian waters reported zero for the 25 to 30 April week a global MS Risk/Price Forbes maritime security report has it.

On the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and East Africa – all waters where international naval task forces are operational – the report has it vessels operating in them remain at a high risk of piracy, coupled with a risk of vessel damage due to ongoing conflict in the region.

“The waters of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somalia, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean remain a high risk area and heightened vigilance is recommended. As of April, MS Risk assess the risk to all commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea as high,” adding an advisory for Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb Strait. This reads: “Tensions in the region remain heightened and further attacks on merchant shipping in the region are highly likely to occur in the coming weeks”.

The advisory and warning are coupled to a United States (US) Maritime Administration March warning recommending vessels turn off automatic identification system (AIS) transponders to reduce the risk of being targeted, especially in areas where the threat from Houthi forces is most significant.

The advisory further noted the continued threat of Iran attempting to illegally board and seize commercial vessels in the region, highlighting several incidents last year.

The report continues: “Possible attacks targeting commercial shipping in the region could include deliberate sinkings, damage to vessels or seizure of vessels; hazards to safe navigation in shipping lanes; helicopter attacks; aerial threat and indirect fire risks from drones, missiles, ship and shore launched rocket systems; helicopter borne capture parties; small craft attacks and capture parties; sea drones and sea mines; state boardings and seizures (by Iran or other state actors); non-state actor boarding and capture of vessels (by Houthis and other non-state actors); pirate attacks and hijacking by Somali-based pirates”.

Attacks on shipping by Houthi rebels in Yemen continue on a weekly basis, with one ship already sunk as a result. Somali pirates are taking advantage of the turbulent situation around the Horn of Africa to launch hijacking attempts, most recently on 10 May when the Marshall Islands-flagged product tanker Chrystal Arctic was attacked by a skiff with suspected pirates on board while travelling 100 nautical miles north of Bosaso, Somalia. There was an exchange of fire between the ship’s security team and the suspected pirates.

Half a dozen pirates were subsequently apprehended by Operation Atalanta naval forces after the failed attack.

According to the European Union Naval Force, 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. Several smaller fishing vessels have also been hijacked by Somali pirates.
Written by defenceWeb and republished with permission. The original article can be found here.

Added 22 May 2024


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WHARF TALK: Commissioning, Service and Operating Vessel (CSOV) – REM WIND

The newly-built Commissioning, Service and Operating Vessel (CSOV) Rem Wind that called at Cape Town during her delivery voyage. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

If there is one thing that the diversion of specialised offshore vessels from taking the Red Sea route is proving to the casual maritime observer in South Africa, it is that the international offshore windfarm industry is simply huge. It is hard to imagine that this might be so at the bottom end of the African continent, as there is no such industry operating here, nothing, nada, nix, zip. What climate change and net zero carbon future plans? Yet elsewhere across the planet, the industry is expanding exponentially, almost everywhere in the developed world.

So much so, that just as with the offshore oil and gas industry, the international requirement for specialised windfarm vessels is so great that absolute bespoke, complex vessels are being designed and built for every specific aspect of development, construction, and maintenance of new and existing wind farms the world over. It is only down to the crackpot Houthi activity that we are able to actually get to see these spectacular looking vessels.

On 16th May, at 16:00 in the afternoon, the Commissioning, Service and Operating Vessel (CSOV) ‘Rem Wind’ (IMO 9958743) arrived off Cape Town, from Singapore, and proceeded into Cape Town Harbour. She entered the Duncan Dock, and went alongside the Landing Wall, and due to her specialised construction it was obvious that her arrival was solely for bunkers.

Rem Wind. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

A brand new vessel, built in 2024 by the Vard Shipyard at Vung Tau in Vietnam, ‘Rem Wind’ is 89 metres in length and has a gross registered tonnage of 5,864 tons. She is a diesel electric and hybrid powered vessel, and has two Caterpillar 3512C generators providing 1,785 kW each, and two Caterpillar C32 generators providing 994 kW each.

Power from the main generators is transferred to two Kongsberg AZ-PM 2600 azimuth propulsion units, producing 2,000 kW each, and giving her a service speed of 11 knots. She has a single Caterpillar C9.3 emergency generator providing 325 kW. Her hybrid power output also includes a Corvus Orca Energy Storage Solution (ESS) battery power pack providing 745 kW.

Rem Wind. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For added manoeuvrability ‘Rem Wind’ has a forward Kongsberg TCNS100-M-220 azimuth thruster providing 1,500 kW, and two bow Kongsberg PMTT2000 transverse thrusters providing 1,500 kW each. With her main azimuth propulsion, and her fit of thrusters, ‘Rem Wind’ has a dynamic positioning classification of DP2. This is provided by a Kongsberg K-Pos DP22 system, which includes 3 motion reference units, 3 wind gauges, 3 gyro compasses, 2 DGPS systems, and 1 Scene Scan system, all operated from an ultra-modern SeaQ integrated bridge position.

Her working after deck provides 440 m2 of space, with a deck strength of 5 tons/m2. She also has a working warehouse providing 370 m2 of space. To assist deck working and transfer operations ‘Rem Wind’ is fitted with an Seaonics boom deck crane capable of lifting 15 tons, and with a 16 metre fall, and capable of moving in any plane, as it is a 3D compensated crane.

Rem Wind. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For her construction and service requirements, ‘Rem Wind’ is fitted with a height adjustable, heave and motion compensated ‘walk to work’ gangway, which is attached to an elevator tower. She also has a height adjustable stern boat landing system. She has accommodation for 120 persons, including crew. For crew change needs, and logistics requirements, ‘Rem Wind’ is fitted with a bow helideck with a ‘D’ value of 18 metres, and strengthened for handling helicopters with a weight of up to 8.6 tons, such as the Airbus H175 offshore helicopter.

Built to a Vard 419 design, from the Vard design bureau in Ålesund, in Norway, ‘Rem Power’ is the second built of two sisterships, with a further two sisterships being on option, but scheduled to be built in 2025 and 2026. Her Vard 419 design won the GCE Blue Maritime Cluster ‘Maritime Innovation of the Year’ award, as well as the OSJ Offshore ‘Energy Vessel of the Year’ award. She is owned by Rem Offshore AS, of Fosnavåg in Norway, operated by Rem Purus of London, and managed by Rem Maritime AS, also of Fosnavåg.

Rem Wind. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her voyage to Cape Town from the builder’s yard in Vietnam began at 16:00 on 18th April, when ‘Rem Wind’ sailed from Vung Tau, which is located at 10°23’ North 107°07’ East. She arrived in Singapore at 05:00 in the morning of 21st April for a quick stop for bunkers, and after a short 12 hours stopover, she sailed from Singapore, bound for Cape Town, at 17:00 on the 21st April, after a voyage of 6,313 nautical miles.

After a stay in Cape Town of just over 36 hours, slightly longer than a traditional bunkers only stop, ‘Rem Wind’ was ready to continue with her delivery voyage back to her owners in Europe. At 17:00 on the afternoon of 18th May, she sailed from Cape Town with her AIS displaying her next destination was to be Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, and her final stop for bunkers.

Rem Wind. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On arrival in Europe ‘Rem Wind’ will immediately begin an 18 month contract with the German energy company, RWE AG, who are based in Essen. The contract is bespoke for RWE AG, who are creating a specific service team, not involved in construction or commissioning wind farm works, but who will be responsible for servicing wind turbines in operational RWE wind farms in the North Sea area.

RWE AG operate windfarms with a total output of 3.3 GW, and the service team will be responsible for 6 fields in UK North Sea waters, and 6 fields in German North Sea waters. As such, ‘Rem Wind’ will be operating from two base ports, one located on the UK East coast, and one located in the German Bight.

The company itself was founded in 1898 as a power production company, under the original name of Rheinisch-Wesfälisches Elektrizitätswerk AG, and which was shortened to RWE AG in 1990. They also operate windfarms in Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, and Japan, as well as in the UK, outside of the North Sea, in the sectors of the English Channel and the Irish Sea.

Depiction of Rem Wind’s Integrated bridge design. Image courtesy Vard
Added 21 May 2024


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In Conversation: Seychelles: floating baby corals can help save damaged reefs – new study

Africa Ports & Ships

April J Burt, University of Oxford and Noam Vogt-Vincent, University of Hawaii

The Seychelles archipelago of 115 islands stretches across a vast area of the western Indian Ocean. Each island is fringed by coral reefs.

Coral reefs are formed by colonies of invertebrate animals that build hard skeletons and grow in a myriad of forms. These complex tropical reefs support a third of all species in the ocean as well as the livelihoods of millions of people. Dependency on coral reefs for food security and economic stability is particularly acute in small island developing states such as Seychelles, where a high proportion of people live close to reef systems and there isn’t much land for alternative ways of life.

Corals reefs are also the ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change, due to the sensitivity of tropical corals to ocean warming. Marine heatwaves that cause widespread coral mortality are becoming more frequent and more severe, leaving insufficient time for coral recovery to take place.

The only solution to this threat is rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but effective marine management may buy coral reefs some time.

One of the ways a damaged reef can recover is if there is a consistent supply of baby corals. Although adult corals are attached to the seabed and cannot move, baby corals float freely in the ocean. Baby corals can therefore be transported over large distances by ocean currents. Some coral reefs are more isolated, but others may be strongly connected, acting as a source of baby corals for many other reefs. Prioritising these source reefs for conservation may improve the resilience of corals in the wider region.

In our recent study, we mapped coral reef connectivity across the Seychelles using a combination of population genetics and computer modelling. Despite the remoteness of many islands, both genetic and modelling approaches suggested that the connectivity between these remote reefs was high, with ocean currents shuttling larvae across the archipelago. We also developed an interactive web app to help marine managers understand these connections.

Our findings suggest that localised conservation efforts have the potential to benefit coral reef health more broadly. This would be the case both within Seychelles and along the east African coast.

Coral superhighways

If currents transport baby corals between a pair of reefs, we say that those reefs are connected. Mapping these connections allows us to design more effective management strategies. Some corals also appear to be more resilient to hotter temperatures, and connectivity may allow baby corals to introduce genes responsible for this resilience to other reefs.

Baby corals are tiny – usually less than one millimetre across – so they are impossible to track directly over large distances. To quantify coral reef connectivity, we have to use indirect methods. One approach is using DNA from corals in different reefs, and analysing how similar they are genetically. The more similar they are, the greater the connectivity likely is.

Alternatively, with the help of ocean current data and biology, we can use computer simulations to predict the transport of baby corals between coral reefs.

Because many coral reefs in the Seychelles are exceptionally remote, one may expect connectivity to be low. However, our findings demonstrate that this is not the case.

To map connectivity across the archipelago, we analysed the DNA of 241 coral colonies from 12 islands across the Seychelles archipelago, and found evidence for recent connectivity between distant pairs of islands. For example, the DNA of many corals in the exceptionally remote Aldabra atolla world heritage site – shares strong similarity to corals on the most populated island in Seychelles, Mahé, despite being separated by over 1,000km of ocean.

We found these genetic similarities by comparing the sequenced DNA of all our samples and focusing on sites where variations occurred (known as single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs). These variations are inherited, so individuals that are closely related will have more SNPs in common than those who are distantly related.

Computer simulations provide insight into how the strong connectivity between remote islands in Seychelles occurs. Although the inner (highly populated) islands of Seychelles are usually surrounded by an eastward flowing ocean current, wiggles in the currents (similar to weather systems in the atmosphere) can transport some baby corals to the south. This allows them to enter a rapid, westward current that efficiently transports them towards remote islands in south-west Seychelles, such as Aldabra.

Baby corals from Aldabra are catapulted further west by this current, away from Seychelles and towards east Africa. Aldabra may therefore be a source of baby corals for thousands of kilometres of coral reef across east Africa.

Next steps

Our research, as well as the development of an app, will contribute to effective management of coral reefs such as the development and maintenance of marine protected areas. Interventions on land can also, surprisingly, help vulnerable coral reefs. For example, removing rats improves coral health and resilience by restoring seabirds which rain down nutrients in the form of guano onto the islands. These nutrients reach near-shore waters and significantly increase growth and fish biomass. But eradications are extremely costly. Coral connectivity data can help island nations like Seychelles decide where to invest in such costly actions to maximise positive impacts for coral reefs.The Conversation

April J Burt, Research Associate, University of Oxford and Noam Vogt-Vincent, Postdoctoral fellow, University of Hawaii

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

Added 21 May 2023


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Stefanutti Stocks provides scour protection for Durban Cruise Terminal

The 128-ton LRE working off an 80-ton barge at the Durban Cruise Terminal. Picture courtesy Stefanutti Stocks

Africa Ports & Ships

Multidisciplinary construction group, Stefanutti Stocks, has revealed that between May and December last year, it provided scour protection methods to Berths A and Berth B in front of the Durban Cruise Terminal.

This was on behalf of Transnet Port Terminals, Stefanutti Stocks said.

Scour protection had become necessary because over time the quay wall at the cruise terminal had become undermined and scoured.

The project included dredging and placing the seabed to the design level. A double layer of A10 Geotextile was placed, followed by a 1 metre layer of armour rock, that forms a barrier to stop future scouring from prop wash and side thrusters.

The voids (250m3) below the quay wall were filled with concrete, and this was completed 11 metres beneath the surface of the bay.

The works were completed using a 36m x 19m barge with an 80ton Long Reach Excavator (LRE) secured to it. To enable the underwater works to be completed the LRE was fitted with a dig system GPS, which together with post multi-beam surveys was the only way to ‘view’ the works.

The armour rock was loaded into a 6 cubic metre skip before being lowered into the water by a 135ton Crawler Crane.

During the contract Stefanutti Stocks teams worked two twelve hour shifts, Monday to Friday, as well as a shift on Saturday.

The project was successfully completed, in time for arrival of MSC Splendida which berthed for the first time on 22 November 2023.

Prior to this however, work had to be staggered in between other scheduled cruise ship calls ahead of MSC Splendida.

Added 21 May 2024


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Baltimore’s container ship Dali refloated and moved away from crash scene

Dali beneath the Baltimore Bridge. Picture: NTSB

Africa Ports & Ships

The container ship, Dali, which collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge at Baltimore on 26 March, was successfully towed clear of the wreckage of the demolished bridge on the early morning high tide of yesterday (Monday 20 May 2024).

Prior to this the ship was pumped clear of seawater used as ballast to secure the ship on the seabed beneath the wreckage of the bridge.

Large sections of the crashed bridge also had to be cleared laying across the bows of Dali were removed, using blasting materials where necessary.

Once pumped clear of her ballast water, five tugs gently pulled the box ship clear of her position and, travelling at a mere one knot, towed her back to the port from where she had attempted to leave nearly two months ago.

Dali’s intended next port of call had been Colombo in Sri Lanka, instead she ended up being towed backwards into the Baltimore harbour and a berth at one of its terminals.

Still loaded with most of her containers, Dali sported a gaping hole above the waterline of her starboard side.

The ship will receive basic repairs in Baltimore where it is likely all her containers will be unloaded, before the ship leaves for a shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia for more extensive repairs to be completed.

The Baltimore Bridge crash and collapse occurred when the container ship Dali twice temporarily lost electrical power as the ship neared the 2.57km long bridge crossing the lower Patapsco River.

The collision resulted in a large section of the bridge to collapse in spectacular fashion, killing six roadworkers who were filling potholes on the bridge. Two other workers narrowly escaped with their lives.

Several channels have since been reopened beneath where the bridge once stood, after salvage teams from the US Army Corps of Engineers and others worked tirelessly to open a safe passage and allow trapped ships to leave the port, and others to enter for cargo working.

According to port director Jonathan Daniels, the channel that has been cleared is now 400 feet wide (122 metres) and 50 feet (15m) deep, and will be cleared to its full 700-foot (213m) width within two weeks.

Meanwhile, investigators including the FBI are continuing to probe the circumstances surrounding the collision, terming it a criminal investigation. The ship’s crew remain on board with their visas having expired and unable to return home or even leave the ship until the investigators have completed making their enquiries.

Added 21 May 2024


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USCG convenes Safety Board of Inquiry: Assessing port infrastructure risks

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

On 17 May from Washington the US Coast Guard reported that it had convened a Ports and Waterways Safety Board of Inquiry two days before to evaluate the risks to critical port infrastructure posed by larger commercial vessels and increased traffic density.

A comprehensive assessment of critical port infrastructure

The Board, authorised under Title 46 of the US Code and chaired by Rear Admiral Wayne R Arguin, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, is comprised of a team of senior Coast Guard officers and experts who will work closely with federal, state, local agencies and port stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive assessment of critical port infrastructure.

To ensure navigational safety

Specifically, the Board will examine the implications of larger, more complex vessels and evolving maritime traffic patterns on port infrastructure, including bridges, cargo terminals, pipelines, railways and power plants and recommend risk mitigation strategies and best practices to ensure navigational safety.

A review of the historical use and effectiveness of the Coast Guard’s existing waterways risk assessment tools will also be conducted.

Admiral Arguin said: “The safety of our ports and waterways is paramount, and this Board will ensure that we have the necessary measures in place to address the challenges posed by increased maritime traffic and larger vessels.”

The Board of Inquiry is tasked with identifying ten domestic ports or port complexes to examine within thirty days of the convening order and producing a comprehensive final report by 31 May 2025.

Broad list of stakeholders

It is understood that the Board will work closely with federal, state and local stakeholders, including the US Committee on the Marine Transportation System, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Highway Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop and implement effective risk assessment tools and procedures.

Arguin added: “Working closely with key government and industry stakeholders is the top priority for this Board and that close coordination will be critical to expeditiously completing this unprecedented assessment of our vital ports.”

Highest level of assessment

A Ports and Waterways Safety Board of Inquiry is the highest-level assessment conducted by the US Coast Guard to address risks to port and waterway infrastructure following concerns from maritime incidents. This Board is a necessary step to bolster the US economic prosperity through safe, secure and efficient flow of commerce on US waterways.

Additional information can be found at the Ports and Waterways Safety Board of Inquiry website to be found here.

Added 21 May 2024


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Port Elizabeth turns out for SA Agulhas II tour

SA Agulhas II in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Africa Ports & Ships

Large numbers of the public turned out for free guided tours of South Africa’s polar research and supply vessel – the SA Agulhas II, during an open day in the port of Port Elizabeth.

Barbara Creecy, South Africa’s Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, said the event provided a fantastic platform for the public to learn about the important research conducted aboard the SA Agulhas II.

Also the critical role it plays as a supply vessel to the three research bases in Antarctica, Marion and Gough Islands in the Southern Ocean,” the minister said.

The event hosted by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) in the Eastern Cape, drew an impressive crowd of more than 3, 000 members of the public who had the unique opportunity to tour the renowned research vessel.

The vessel arrived at the Port of Port Elizabeth on 16 May and on the 17 May 2024, 1,000 learners from 40 schools around the metro were hosted.

In addition to exploring the SA Agulhas II, visitors on both days were able to engage with a diverse range of exhibits and interactive displays at an expo organised by DFFE and its partners.

SA Agulhas II, Durban 17 October 2017. Picture by Trevor Jones

The expo showcased the vital work being done in marine research, conservation, and environmental stewardship. The vessel plays a crucial role in supporting research.

“It therefore plays a crucial role in supporting the country’s research in Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic Islands and the Southern Ocean,” Creecy said.

The SA Agulhas II has just completed a relief voyage to Marion Island and was heading back to its home port in Cape Town.

“Through the open day concept, which is usually hosted in Cape Town, thousands of South Africans in different coastal cities have an opportunity to experience and learn about South Africa’s marine research, the SA Agulhas II as a mobile research laboratory and a supply vessel,” the department said.

The ports previously visited by the vessel include, Port Elizabeth (2015), Durban (2018), Dar es Salaam (2018), Comoros and East London (2019). source:

Added 20 May 2024


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WHARF TALK: high heat tanker – IVER ABILITY

The high heat, or otherwise known as a bitumen tanker, Iver Ability, seen in Cape Town harbour on 16 May 2024. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The stream of vessels now taking the Cape sea route, and popping into either Durban, or Cape Town, in order to uplift bunkers due to, in some cases, extremely extended voyages that they have been forced to undertake because of the idiocy of the Houthis, is not slowing down. Some of the diverted vessels are not exactly the types that one would originally be thought of as part of that new, busy, marine highway around the Cape.

These unsung vessels, are the equivalent of ‘Cinderella’ vessels, ones that are carrying the kind of important cargoes, for which you and I could not operate without, or conduct our lives. They are doing their stuff in the background, unheralded, and unnoticed. South Africa needs them more than ever, due to the increasingly dire state of the refinery productivity that now pervades the industry. So it is a bit of a surprise when one calls that is not here to assist the local industry, but simply passing through.

On 15th May, at 18:00 in the early evening, the high heat tanker ‘Iver Ability’ (IMO 9327504) arrived off Cape Town, from Das Island in the Persian Gulf, and entered Cape Town harbour. She made her way into the Duncan Dock, and proceeded down to the Landing Wall. A high heat tanker is another way of describing a bitumen tanker, but this one was not here to discharge her important cargo, but to take on bunkers to allow her to proceed elsewhere with her precious cargo.

Built in 2006 by Yardimci Tersanesi AS shipyard at Tuzla in Turkey, ‘Iver Ability’ is 129 metres in length and has a deadweight of 12,496 tons. She is powered by a single MaK 6M43 six cylinder, four stroke, main engine producing 7,341 bhp (5,400 kW), driving a controllable pitch propeller for a service speed of 10.5 knots.

Iver Ability, preceded by the tug Enseleni. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 750 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 300 kW. She has a single S-Man AB CHR exhaust gas boiler, and two S-Man AB CHO oil fired boilers. For added manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster providing 800 kW.

With a cargo carrying capacity of 12,496 m3, ‘Iver Ability’ has 11 cargo tanks, with the ability to carry up to four grades on any one voyage. She has six cargo pumps, all capable of pumping at a rate of 400 m3/hour. Her tanks are all constructed from high tensile steel, with certification which enables her to carry oils with a flashpoint that exceeds 60°C, and to carry asphalt with a maximum cargo temperature of 250°C.

With five of her cargo tanks certified for the carriage of asphalt, or bitumen, and with the other six of her cargo tanks certified for the carriage of molten sulphur, the casual maritime observer gets to understand why she is described as a high heat tanker rather than as a simple bitumen tanker. Irrespective of her description, the part she plays in civilized life is fundamental.

One tends to forget that every time you drive to work, or every time you land at an airport, or any time that you work within a port environment, that without asphalt under your feet, or your wheels, that life would be extremely difficult. Yet, they discharge their elixir of industrial life, with little fuss, to make your life more comfortable, and without most folk even knowing they are there. Hence why it is that the small high heat tanker is viewed as a ‘Cinderella’ vessel.

Iver Ability. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Nominally owned by HB Tankship IX BV, of Breda in Holland, ‘Iver Ability’ falls under the Vroon Group, and is operated by Vroon BV, also of Breda, whose houseflag she flies on her funnel, and whose stylized ‘V’ is emblazoned on her bow, and managed by Iver Ships BV, also of Breda. The company currently operates a fleet of 65 vessels, and is no stranger to South African shores.

Vroon BV was founded as far back as 1890, and now operates an eclectic mix of ultra-modern vessels, which includes high heat tankers, such as ‘Iver Ability’, offshore emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRV), offshore safety standby vessels, and livestock carriers. This latter type of vessel regularly visits South Africa, usually East London, to load livestock for the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. The vessel in question is ‘Murray Express’, and she is one of the fleet owned and operated by Livestock Express, which is another subsidiary of the Vroon Group.

Interestingly, when first built, to the order of a French shipowner, she was said to be registered in Antarctica, which is an extremely strange flag of convenience. In fact, her original port of registry was Port aux Français, which is the location of the French research and weather station, which is located on the island of Kerguelen, in the South Indian Ocean, and to be found in position 49°21’ South 070°13’ East.

Iver Ability. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Whilst called a settlement, Port aux Français is, in reality, a scientific research and meteorological station, with an administrative function as the centre of the French Southern and Antarctic Territory, better known as Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francais, or TAAF for short. It lies in the Sub-Antarctic region, not actually in Antarctica itself, and is a most unusual location to be chosen as a place where maritime lawyers, and brass plate shipping companies, are to be found, and administered from. A true flag of convenience, under the French Tricolour.

Her departure port is of equal interest, as Das Island is an almost man-made island in the Persian Gulf, lying some 100 nautical miles to the northwest of Abu Dhabi in the UAE, and located at 25°08’ North 052°52’ East. Originally an almost square island measuring 1.2 km x 2.4 km, and the place where seabirds bred, and where turtles came to lay their egg, it has been greatly enlarged to encompass an airport, with an asphalt runway measuring 1,078 metres long, and with accommodation for as many as 6,000 oil and gas industry workers.

Das Island is predominantly a place where crude oil, and natural gas, comes ashore from a variety of offshore oil and gas fields, and where the oil is processed, and the natural gas is liquefied, before both products are exported directly from the island by VLCC and LNG tankers.

Iver Ability. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

It is a strange place to go for an asphalt tanker, as it is not clear if bitumen is a by-product of any of the oil and gas processes carried out on the island, and therefore an export cargo from the island. Any requirement for asphalt on the island, for use on roads, or the airport, would, one would have thought, come from the nearby Al Ruwais refinery in Abu Dhabi, as both the refinery and Das Island are operated by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

The interesting part of the why, or wherefore, of ‘Iver Ability’ is that it was clearly evident on her arrival in Cape Town that she was fully loaded, down to her gunwales, indicating that she loaded a full cargo in the UAE, before heading for Cape Town, and a bunkers uplift. Her draft on departure from Cape Town reiterated that she had not discharged anything whilst alongside.

Iver Ability. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After a short stay of just 17 hours in Cape Town, and enough time to uplift bunkers, take on stores, and load fresh provisions, ‘Iver Ability’ was ready to sail. At 11:00 in the morning of 16th May, she sailed from Cape Town, with her AIS indicating that her next destination was to be Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, and a destination known to be a bunker uplift port, and one utilised by many of the diverted vessels from the Red Sea.

It would seem clear that a voyage from Abu Dhabi, via Cape Town, to Las Palmas is clearly a routing that strongly indicates that ‘Iver Ability’ was diverted. Abu Dhabi to Las Palmas, or any place north of there, would clearly be reached in a period of days, rather than weeks, if made via the Suez Canal. Her voyage alone from Das Island to Cape Town was 6,159 nautical miles in length. Interestingly, as she passed along the Namibian coast, on her northward run, her AIS destination changed to ‘For Orders’, so her ultimate destination may not now be Las Palmas.

Added 20 May 2024


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Trade News: Vesconite Bearings delivers largest order to Netherlands customer

The final machining process.  Picture: Vesconite Bearings

Africa Ports & Ships

In May, Vesconite Bearings, a global leader in bearing and wear solutions, delivered its largest rudder bearing order to a customer in the Netherlands.

The order, comprising four extra-large meticulously-crafted container ship rudder bearings, marks a significant achievement in engineering excellence and customer service.

These impressive bushings, produced from staves expertly strapped together, reinforced with cloth and resin, and machined to final tolerances, exemplify Vesconite’s commitment to quality and innovation in bearing technology.

The success of this project can be attributed to the exceptional teamwork demonstrated by Vesconite’s sales, logistics, and manufacturing teams.

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

Added 20 May 2024


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Dali to be moved away from Baltimore Bridge at 11:00 SA time today

Africa Ports & Ships

The trapped container ship, Dali (IMO 9697428), which lost electrical power and collided with a main pier holding up the lengthy Francis Scott Key Bridge at Baltimore, will be floated free of the remaining wreckage at around 05:00 (11:00 SA time) this morning (Monday) when the tide is at its peak.

The collision occurred around midnight on 26 March 2024. Six road workers on the bridge at the time lost their lives. Two crew on the ship received injuries.

Salvors have blasted large sections of the bridge wreckage that was lying across the bows of the container ship, in order to free the ship. Between eight and twelve million tons of steel has been removed from the ship.

Divers will be making last-minute inspections below the waterline and then tugs will attempt to ease the 106,000-ton vessel from its position, before taking the Dali to the Seagirt Marine Terminal, which is approximately 2.5 miles upriver.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for the unfortunate crew whose US visas have expired and are stuck with the ship, as they are all still under investigation.

Even their cell phones have been confiscated for investigation, making it difficult for them to communicate with families back home. Most of the crew are from India.

A spokesperson for the International Transport Workers’ Federation, Barbara Shipley, said she would like to see the investigation expedited in order that the crew can return home.

Added 20 May 2024


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Sinking of the MFV Lepanto: rescue efforts called off

Africa Ports & Ships

Missing fishermen presumed to have drowned

Rescue efforts to locate the missing 11 seafarers from the sunken Viking Fishing trawler Lepanto (IMO 5206726, built 1961) were called off late on Sunday 19 May and the assumption is that the missing men have drowned.

In an update issued late Sunday, the Sea Harvest Group, owner of the Viking Fishing division, said the search and rescue operation for the missing 11 crewmen has been called off in view of the “significant time elapsed since the accident.”

The 63-year old Lepanto, with a crew of 20 men on board was 35 nautical miles offshore from Hout Bay when the vessel developed a problem, causing the crew to immediately report that their vessel was sinking fast and that they were abandoning ship.

Another fishing vessel that rushed to the scene, picked up nine of the Lepanto crew who were on one of the missing vessel’s liferafts. The other liferaft was also recovered but had no crew in it.

“Tragically, the missing crewmen are now presumed drowned,” said Sea Harvest.

The nine crew who were rescued arrived safely in Cape Town on Friday night on board another of the company’s fishing vessels, Armana. The men were reunited with their families after a physical evaluation by a medical doctor and were provided with immediate trauma counselling.

“Keeping our staff safe at sea is our key priority,” said Sea Harvest CEO, Felix Ratheb.

“As a company, we are devastated by this tragedy. We have been in ongoing contact with the families, with a senior team and a counsellor visiting each family of the missing men today. We will continue to support them, as well as the rescued men and their families.”

Ratheb said Sea Harvest is working closely with the relevant authorities, primarily the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), to establish the cause of the accident as soon as possible.

He thanked all employees and the rescue organisations for their active search and rescue operations since Friday.

SAMSA said on Sunday evening that a review of the search progression, the search efforts, and the continuous lack of sighting reports from the incident start, as well as the unfavourable weather, had lead the SAMSA Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to conclude the SAR effort.

SAMSA’s casualty investigation team will now investigate the incident to determine the cause of the sinking and ensure that all safety protocols were followed.

Added 19 May 2024


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SA Port Statistics for April 2024

By Africa Ports & Ships

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

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

Motor vehicles are measured in vehicle units being the equal of 1 tonne per unit.

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

Port of Cape Town – A Berth with the waters of Duncan Dock at left, and the V&A Waterfront port in upper section of photograph. To the upper right are the waters of Table Bay.  The tall narrow building at centre houses the Transnet administration including Port Control.  Picture courtesy Zayyaan Darries

Figures for the respective ports during April 2024 are:

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

PORT April 2024 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.377
Durban 4.884
Saldanha Bay 4.292
Cape Town 0.984
Port Elizabeth 0.782
Ngqura 1.058
Mossel Bay 0.032
East London 0.165
Total all ports 19.574 million tonnes

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

PORT April 2024 TEUs
Durban 174,097
Cape Town 54,297
Port Elizabeth 14,284
Ngqura 43,538
East London 6,469
Richards Bay 0
Total all ports 292,595 TEU

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

PORT April 2024 CEUs
Durban 37,331
Cape Town 3
Port Elizabeth 13,947
East London 10,214
Richards Bay 0
Total all ports 61,495

SHIP CALLS for April 2024

PORT April 2024 vessels gross tons
Durban 200 7,276,447
Cape Town 281 3,577,806
Richards Bay 92 4,080,177
Port Elizabeth 68 1,868,464
Saldanha Bay 38 2,423,650
Ngqura 33 1,414,802
East London 25 756,323
Mossel Bay 15 72,606
Total ship calls 752 21,470,275
— source TNPA, with adjustments regarding container weights by Africa Ports & Ships

Added 19 May 2024


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WHARF TALK: PLAN type 054a frigate in Cape Town – CNS XUCHANG FFG-536

On 16 May a PLAN warship, the Type 054A Frigate, Chinese Navy Ship (CNS) ‘CNS Xuchang (FFG536)’ arrived in Cape Town unannounced and with little public coverage, and none of the usual fanfare. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

It was the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin touched down in Beijing, to be met by Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, and no doubt in this non-equal relationship, to beg for more military supplies and logistic support to pummel more Ukrainian villages as part of his illegal, and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine. Russia desperately needs China, and so it would seem, does South Africa, because yet another Chinese visitor slipped in quietly and unannounced.

On 16th May, at 10:00 in the morning, just as the offshore morning fog was lifting in Cape Town, AIS was showing two of the Transnet harbour tugs slowly moving from the outer breakwater, and into the Duncan Dock, heading for L berth, but with AIS not showing anything sitting in between the two tugs. It all looked rather odd. If the past was anything to go by, the deliberate lack of use of AIS is a thing that the Russian Navy, Iranian Navy, and Chinese Navy operate to. As the fog lifted further, the reason for the AIS anomaly could be seen alongside at L berth.

With no forward announcements, or the usual efforts to prepare No.2 Jetty, in the V&A Waterfront, for the choreographed circus of the arrival of every warship of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), a PLAN warship, the Type 054A Frigate, Chinese Navy Ship (CNS) ‘CNS Xuchang (FFG536)’ had arrived unannounced, literally under the radar, with little public coverage, and without the usual fanfare, and had slipped quietly into Cape Town harbour.

CNS Xuchang FFG-536.  Cape Town, 16 May 2024  Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

The arrival of ‘CNS Xuchang (FFG536)’ in Cape Town was definitely a slightly strange one, because according to the Chinese Navy communications output, she was part of the 46th Naval Escort Task Force that was currently protecting shipping in the Gulf of Oman, along with her task force members the Type 052D destroyer ‘CNS Jiaozuo (DDG163)’, and the Type 903A Fleet Auxiliary ‘CNS Honghu (AOE906)’. So why was she over 4,000 nautical miles outside of her operational area?

The 46th Naval Escort Task Force had sailed from the naval port of Zhanjiang, in the southern province of Guangzhou, on 21st February, to relieve the 45th Naval Escort Task Force operating in the Gulf of Aden, and off the coast of Somalia. The had arrived in their new operational area in early March, and by the 4th March had been handed over the responsibilities of the security mission by the 45th Naval Escort Task Force.

In a similar scenario to last year, and which connected South Africa, the 45th Naval Escort Task Force then sailed directly for the Iranian Naval port of Chabahar. There, they met up with two vessels from the Russian Far East Fleet, who had sailed from Vladivostok, and units of the Iranian Navy. The reason for this was so that these three navies, of autocratic countries, could play war games with the fifth running of the ‘Marine Security Belt’ naval exercise between the three navies.

The exercise ran for five days between 12th and 16th March. This year, 2024, was to be the first year that foreign observers were invited to join the exercise, and it would surprise nobody that the South African Navy willingly sent an observer team. The only other observers were Oman (backyard for them), Pakistan (backyard for them), Kazakhstan (landlocked, no deepwater navy, and ex Soviet), and Azerbaijan (no deepwater navy, and ex Soviet). No other Gulf States, or Western Navy sent a delegation, or they were simply not invited.

CNS Xuchang FFG-536.  Cape Town, 16 May 2024  Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Having three navies from autocratic states, considered by some to be international thugs, conducting naval exercises in an international hotspot, and under the auspices of what they wanted to achieve, showed how cloth eared and tone deaf nations like this can be. Admiral Mostafa Tajaddini, of the Iranian Navy, emphasized that the exercise aimed to bolster the security of international maritime trade, counter piracy, and combat maritime terrorism. All elements that the Iranian Navy has themselves been accused of flouting in the region.

Additionally, the exercise served as an opportunity for the navies to refine their skills in naval rescue, and relief operations, and to share valuable operational and tactical experience. Besides, improving trade relations amongst the participants, the aims have been to confront piracy and terrorism, support humanitarian activities, and exchange information in the field of rescue. One exercise included live fire against aerial targets, simulating unmanned air vehicles. This, in a region, where all such recent attacks are the result of Iran providing a terrorist organisation with such weapons.

The so-called highlight of the exercise was a hostage rescue drill, with two Iranian Navy warships playing the roles of hijacked merchant vessels, in a scenario designed to test, and enhance, the capabilities of the participating navies in dealing with maritime threats. Again, the tone deaf farce of an exercise being held, with a player in a region where hijacking foreign merchant vessels has been carried out frequently by malign actors of one of the participants, and who have armed a regional terror organisation to conduct hijackings of their own.

The Russian Ministry of Defense highlighted the exercise’s focus on protecting maritime economic activities, underscoring the strategic importance of the Gulf of Oman—a vital corridor for global commerce. Again in a region where one of the participants is blamed for causing many of the security issues themselves.

CNS Xuchang FFG-536.  Cape Town, 16 May 2024  Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

A senior Chinese military spokesperson, clarified that the PLAN escort missions are independent of the regional tensions, such as Houthi attacks on shipping or major power rivalries. Which indicates they have no intention of shooting down Houthi missiles, or escorting vessels in the Red Sea. In November 2023, the 45th Naval Escort Task Force warships had ignored distress calls from a non-Chinese merchant vessel, that had come under missile fire from Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden, at the start of the shipping crisis near the southern Red Sea.

By the end of 2023, the PLAN stated that they had completed over 1,600 escort missions in the Gulf of Aden, and off the coast of Somalia, safeguarding more than 7,200 vessels, with over half being foreign ships, since the first Escort Task Force arrived in the Gulf of Oman in 2008. The very mention in the PLAN figures, of needing to separate out the non-Chinese vessels, pointed strongly to a pro-Chinese escort brief.

On completion of this exercise, the 45th Naval Escort Task Force then headed south along the East Coast of Africa to Tanzania, making a 5 day call at Dar es Salaam from 23rd March, and then onwards to Mozambique, where they called in at Maputo on 1st April for a further five day visit. They then headed to Toamasina, in Madagascar, for another 5 day visit, arriving on 10th April, before heading north to Victoria, in the Seychelles, arriving for further 5 day visit on 18th April, before sailing east to their naval home port of Qingdao, in the northern Shandong Province.

The 46th Naval Escort Task Force continued with their escort duties with the PLAN communication bureau announcing that, on 9th March, four days after beginning their tour of duty, that ‘CNS Xuchang (FFG536)’ had escorted the COSCO Chinese general cargo ship ‘Kaituo’ through the Gulf of Oman, which was the 1,632nd such escort, since 2008. One Chinese warship, one Chinese merchant vessel.

CNS Xuchang FFG-536.  Cape Town, 16 May 2024  Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

As for ‘CNS Xuchang (FFG536)’, she is the 24th unit of the 054A Frigate class enter PLAN service, out of a class of 35, and with more to come. She was built by the Huangpu Shipyard at Shanghai, being launched in May 2016, and commissioned in June 2017. The 054A Frigate is a guided missile frigate, designated as FFG in NATO, and she has a medium range capability. She was named after the City of Xuchang, which is located in the central Henan Province, located at 34°02’ North 113°51’ East, and which is a city with a population of 4.3 million.

With a length of 134 metres, ‘CNS Xuchang (FFG536)’ has a displacement tonnage of 4,053 tons. Her propulsion is that of Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD) with four Shaanxi 16 PA6 STC main engines producing 7,600 bhp (5,700 kW) each, with a combined output of 30,400 bhp (22,800 kW), and driving two fixed pitch propellers for a maximum service speed of 27 knots.

The Shaanxi engines of ‘CNS Xuchang (FFG536)’ are Chinese versions, built under license, of the French, 16 cylinder, SEMT-Pielstick engines, with their builder, the Shaanxi Diesel Engine Heavy Industry Co. Ltd., being a subsidiary of the State owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). The licensed Shaanxi, and SEMT-Pielstick, engines are produced only for PLAN warships.

Her armament, for a frigate, is quite impressive. Her main armament is a PJ26 76mm Dual Purpose Gun, and she has two Type 730, seven barreled, 30mm close in weapons systems (CIWS). She also has two, triple tube, launchers for the 324mm Yu-7 torpedo, and two Type 87, six barreled, 240mm YU-8 anti-submarine rocket (ASROC) launchers.

Her missile armament includes one 32 cell vertical launch system for the HQ-16 surface to air (SAM) missile, and two 4 cell box launchers for the C-803 surface to surface (SSM) anti-ship missile. She has two 18 tube, Type 726, decoy launchers. Her sonar capability is with a MGK-335 bow mounted passive/active sonar, and she has a H/5JG-206 towed sonar array.

CNS Xuchang FFG-536.  Cape Town, 16 May 2024  Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

She carries a Type 382 air defence radar, a Type 344 SSM fire control radar, four Type 345 SAM fire control radars, a Type 347G gun fire control radar, a Type MR-36A search radar, and two RACAL RM-1290 navigation radars. She has a helicopter deck, and a hangar, capable of operating either a Russian Kamov KA-28 ‘Helix’ anti-submarine helicopter, or more usually with a Harbin Z-9C helicopter, which is a Chinese, licensed built, version of the French Eurocopter AS565 ‘Panther’ helicopter.

With a crew complement of 165 officers and ratings, ‘CNS Xuchang (FFG536)’ has an estimated range of 8,025 nautical miles, which is more than enough to get her from the Gulf of Oman to South Africa, without the need of an accompanying fleet auxiliary oiler. As such, she is quite likely to have to uplift bunkers in Cape Town, in order to make the return voyage back to her operational area, and rejoin the other two vessels of the 46th Naval Escort Task Force.

The question remains, as to why she has made this long trip by herself, when the 45th Naval Escort Task Force could have easily diverted their Class 054A frigate ‘CNS Linyi (FFG547)’ when they were running down East Africa as far as Mozambique one month ago, if it was merely for purposes of ‘flying the flag.’

So secretive appears to be this mission, that not only had ‘CNS Xuchang (FFG536)’ arrived with no operational AIS, but that not one local single press outlet reported it beforehand, or even after she had arrived, and nor was it mentioned in any South African government, or military, press outlet.

On the assumption that ‘CNS Xuchang (FFG536)’ carries out the standard PLAN five day port visit, she will be in Cape Town until the 21st May, which also assumes that she will then make a direct run back to the Gulf of Oman. However, if she departs well before that date, it merely deepens the suspicion of why she turned up unannounced in Cape Town, when she should clearly have been somewhere else deemed more important to the PLAN hierarchy.

Added 19 May 2024


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Somali maritime security training – Whole-of-government approach

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

Somali officials have strengthened their skills in decision-making and policy development through an IMO-led workshop focusing on a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to maritime security. This was reported by the excellent IMO news service on 17 May.

The workshop, delivered on 15 and 16 May in Mogadishu, brought together twenty participants from a range of Somali government departments, along with observers from international development partners.

This gathering was the latest in a series of maritime security workshops run by IMO under the EU-funded Regional Programme for Maritime Security in the Red Sea Area (Red Sea Project).

Need for cooperation

Using IMO’s model for a whole-of-government approach to maritime security, the seminar demonstrated the need for cooperation amongst different government departments and agencies. Participants examined a range of scenarios, determining their respective roles and responsibilities as well as processes and procedures. They explored how these may develop, whether for routine business or during an incident.

Agencies working together

Participants discussed how their different agencies could work together towards the establishment of Somalia’s National Maritime Security Committee (NMSC) and development of the National Maritime Security Strategy (NMSS). Discussions highlighted the importance of multi-agency collaboration and the active engagement of all stakeholders for the effective application of maritime security measures.

The event was opened by the State Minister of Ports and Marine Transport of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullkadir Mohamed and Advisor, Office of National Security, Mr Abdimalik Abdullahi.

Broad representation

Sessions benefited from the participation of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP), which have extensive experience in enhancing safety and security of navigation in the region, including coordinated efforts with other EU-funded programmes such as CRIMARIO II and EUNAVFOR ATALANTA.

On the Red Sea Project

The Red Sea Project, funded by the European Union, is delivered by IMO, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INTERPOL and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The programme aims to assist participating countries in the Southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, to enhance maritime security and safety in the Red Sea Area, in line with the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy.

Added 19 May 2024


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MOL names newbuilding LNG carrier, Greenergy Ocean+

MOL’s new LNG carrier, Greenergy Ocean. Picture: MOL

Africa Ports & Ships

Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) last week held a naming ceremony for the first of six newbuilding LNG carriers.

The first of the six planned vessels was named Greenergy Ocean at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding yard at Hudong in China. The LNG carrier will enter service with CNOOC Gas & Power Singapore Trading & Marketing Pte, a wholly owned division of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

Greenergy Ocean becomes the first vessel to be launched under a long-term charter contract for the six LNG carriers for CNOOC, and is jointly owned by MOL, CNOOC, and COSCO SHIPPING LNG Investment (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

After delivery at the end of May, the vessel will transport LNG procured by the CNOOC Group from all over the world, mainly to China. The remaining five vessels are scheduled to be delivered in succession between 2024 and 2026.

Greenergy Ocean naming ceremony group photograph. Picture MOL

Under its “BLUE ACTION 2035” management plan, the MOL Group has been promoting a business portfolio transformation that will enable it to increase the weight of businesses with stable earnings and ensure profitability even during downturns in the shipping industry.

The expansion of its LNG fleet, including this project, is part of the group’s initiative.

This is also in line with the “MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.2,” which aims to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, and with the group’s aim for “Expansion of low-carbon and decarbonized businesses through the collective strengths of the MOL Group.”

MOL is one of the world’s largest shipping companies, and is developing various social infrastructure businesses, technologies, and services centered on marine transport to meet the needs of a wide range of customers through concerted group-wide efforts.

Greenergy Ocean main specifications:
Dimensions LOA: 299.0m, Breadth: 46.4m, Draft: 11.5m
Tank type 174,000m3 membrane type
Main engine X-DF 2.1 iCER Diesel
Shipyard Hudong
Ship management company: MOL LNG Ship Management Pte. Ltd.

Added 19 May 2024


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Madagascar: Ballast Water Management and Anti-fouling Systems workshop

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

A national workshop in Antananarivo, Madagascar held from 14-17 May has underscored the importance of IMO’s Ballast Water Management (BWM) and Anti-fouling Systems (AFS) Conventions for the protection of the marine environment and biodiversity.

This was reported by the IMO news service at the end of the week just gone.

The BWM Convention, which entered into force in 2017, aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms in ships’ ballast water from one region to another.

It does so by requiring all ships in international traffic to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard, according to a ship-specific management plan. All ships must also carry a ballast water record book and an international ballast water management certificate.

The AFS Convention entered into force in 2008, setting out controls on certain harmful substances in anti-fouling systems, including organotin compounds (TBTs) and, from 2023, cybutryne. It also provides a mechanism for introducing controls on additional substances in the future.

Implementation at a national level exercised

Through presentations, group discussions and role-play exercises, twenty-seven government officials covered the actions to take at a national level to implement and enforce the conventions.

Broad range of subject covered

Subjects covered include:

* An overview of ballast water management and anti-fouling systems.

* An overview of the BWM and AFS Conventions and related Guidelines.

* Understanding the obligations of Parties under the BWM and AFS Convention.

* Compliance monitoring and enforcement for port State control.

* Risk mitigation.

* Other technical and regulatory aspects.

IMO and national and regional workshops

Since the adoption of these Conventions, IMO has run national and regional workshops to encourage and assist countries in their ratification, effective implementation and enforcement. This has contributed to a steady growth in the ratification status of these conventions – contributing to improving protection of the marine environment.

Madagascar host

The workshop was organized by IMO and hosted by Madagascar’s Agence Portuaire Maritime et Fluviale (APMF) and delivered through IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme.

Added 19 May 2024


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Chrystal Arctic suspects await trial in Seychelles holding facility

Suspected pirates escorted off ESPS Canarias. Picture: Operation Atalanta

Guy Martin

Delivery of suspected pirates to Seychelles authorities five days after an attack on a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden stands as an example of good maritime operations combining, among others, intelligence and speedy reaction.

The take-down was the responsibility of the European Union (EU) Naval Force, Operation Atalanta, deployed in the Indian Ocean off Somalia and patrolling a swathe of water up to Yemen in the north.

A second Atalanta statement this week regarding the attack on the MV Chrystal Artic, a Marshall Islands flagged products tanker, has it the six suspects, all believed to be Somalis, were handed to Seychelles authorities by the crew of the Spanish frigate ESPS Canarias (F86).

The handover follows a successful boarding and seizure by Atalanta elements 100 nautical miles north of Bosaso, a Puntland port city, after the MV Chrystal Arctic* was attacked on 10 May. The attack was repelled by onboard security, and a number of pirates injured in the process.

Ahead of the handover the Seychelles Internal Affairs Minister, Roy Fonseka, along with Seychelles Police representatives, the National Information Sharing Committee and UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) went onto the Spanish warship for a comprehensive briefing. The suspected pirates are now in custody and awaiting trial.

Operation Atalanta has legal agreements with different nations in its area of operations (AoO), one being Seychelles, allowing for trial of suspected pirates arrested by warships detached to the operation. This, the statement said, is the core of the Atalanta legal finish guaranteeing the process of piracy events from deterrence through to arrest, detention and prosecution in accordance with international law.

Since its inception in 2008, Atalanta has transferred 177 suspected pirates to the competent authorities, of which 145 have been convicted.

According to the EU NavFor, 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. Several smaller fishing vessels have also been hijacked by Somali pirates.

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

* The report in Africa Ports & Ships of the attempted boarding of the tanker Chrystal Arctic can be seen here

Added 19 May 2024


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IRS and twin tug launch

Picture per IRS

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

Indian Register of Shipping (IRS), a leading classification society, announced on 14 May the successful launch of two sister vessels, Sonalika and Sarovar, at the San Marine yard in Kakinada, Andra Pradesh, on the Bay of Bengal. The 34m loa tugs are part of a four-vessel contract.

San Marine’s corporate video is to be found here.

Launched simultaneously, the new vessels boast advances features and technologies, in alignment with global maritime standards. Designed to the highest standards of safety, reliability, and performance, Sonalika and Sarovar will be deployed in Indian offshore oil fields, it was reported by IRS.

Mr. Saikat Roychowdhury, Operation in-Charge – East Coast of Indian Sub-Continent at IRS, stated: “Tugs play a critical role in the maritime ecosystem and IRS continues to work with all Indian shipyards big and small. These vessels are the result of collaborative and diligent efforts, and we look forward to their continued success.”

San Marine headquartered at Kakinada with a branch office at Mumbai owns and operates over forty vessels. These include offshore supply vessels, tugs, utility vessels, crew boats, chase boats, bunker barges, fresh water barges, crane barges, cargo barges, jack-up and spud barges and pontoons.

In the offshore business San Marine provides a complete range of offshore support services in the East and West coasts of India including anchor handling tug assistance for offshore construction vessels, accommodating a customized fleet and rendering support for production platforms and heavy lift services.

The company is also involved in construction of various types of vessels ranging from the small up to 7500 dwt. It has a dedicated ship building yard and an in-house team of experienced naval architects, engineers and fabricators.

Added 19 May 2024


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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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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.

You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by  CLICKING HERE remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section.

Naval News

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories here in the general news section.




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Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome. Email to

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

PORT April 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.377
Durban 4.884
Saldanha Bay 4.292
Cape Town 0.984
Port Elizabeth 0.782
Ngqura 1.058
Mossel Bay 0.984
East London 0.165
Total all ports during April 2023 19.574 million tonnes