Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 29 June 2024

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FIRST VIEW:   Gem Turquoise


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FIRST VIEW:   Gem Turquoise

Gem Turquoise. Durban 7 June 2024. Picture by Keith Betts
Gem Turquoise. Durban 7 June 2024. Picture by Keith Betts

A recent caller at the port of Durban was the chemical and oil products tanker, Gem Turquoise (IMO 9645774).

Built in 2013, the tanker is registered in the port of Majuro, in the Marshall Islands.

The ship has a deadweight of 49,990 tonnes, placing her just within the Handymax class of tankers, slightly below that of the Supramax class (50,000 – 60,000-dwt).

Gem Turquoise is owned by GEM Turquoise Shipping Ltd and operated by Gulf Energy Maritime (GEM) of Dubai, UAE, which owns and operates a fleet of eight tankers of which seven are Handymaxes and one is a Long Range (LR1) of 75,000 tonnes.

GEM has another six Handymax vessels on order for delivery in 2025, all to be named using the prefix GEM followed by that of a gemstone.

GEM vessels operate in both the spot and time-charter markets delivering petroleum products, chemicals and other hydrocarbons to customers worldwide.

This picture is by Keith Betts

Africa Ports & Ships


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SAS Amatola visit to Russia cancelled – defects and lack of maintenance cited

SAS Amatola at sea. Picture: courtesy SA Navy

by defenceWeb

Another ambitious SA Navy (SAN) target for this year will not be realised with the cancellation of a St Petersburg visit by a Valour Class frigate laid at the door of the Armscor dockyard.

SAS Amatola (F145), the first of four frigates acquired as part of the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages (SDPPs) in the late nineties, was named by SA Navy Chief, Vice Admiral Monde Lobese, as the flag bearer for an extended voyage taking in the Russian Navy anniversary parade next month (July) in the Baltic Sea city of St Petersburg. The port is home to the Russian Navy Baltic fleet, established in May 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great.

Responding to a defenceWeb inquiry, SAN Public Relations said the decision to cancel Amatola’s Russian visit was in line with “current defects to the vessel.

“It is well documented that the SAN repair capability, managed by the Armscor Dockyard, is struggling to ensure our vessels are fully maintained for operational deployments,” the response reads further.

When announcing the Amatola’s Russia visit during a Simon’s Town medal parade in February, Lobese said the frigate would undertake a voyage “the likes of which the SAN has never attempted”. At the same parade the three-star told SAN personnel that SAS Drakensberg (A301) would transit the Atlantic Ocean this year when calling on Brazil and Cuba. Indications are this visit, which was to include exercising with the Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil) as well as flying the diplomatic flag in both countries, is also not going to happen.

The Drakensberg has not been to sea in several years, but efforts are currently being made to get the vessel seaworthy.

Amatola’s voyage was, according to Lobese, going up the African east coast, through the Suez Canal and porting in Alexandria for exercises with the Egyptian Navy. Next was set to be a Mediterranean Sea transit and passage through the Straits of Gibraltar, then north through the English Channel and the North Sea ahead of entering the Baltic Sea.

Her return voyage, post the Russian Navy anniversary event, was set to see Amatola traverse Africa’s west coast with unspecified stops en route before ending the 19,000 nautical mile voyage at her home port, Simon’s Town, one of the longest undertaken by an SAN platform.

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

Added 27 June 2024


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Beira port reacts, says record container volumes are being achieved this year

Picture: courtesy Cornelder

Africa Ports & Ships

The managing director of Cornelder de Moçambique, the Dutch firm managing and operating the Mozambique port of Beira, has responded to reports that Beira lost half a million tonnes of cargo to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam during the first five months of 2024.

MD Jan de Vries provided figures which he says refute the claim of lost cargo volume made by Felix Machado, of the Beira Trade Association.

See that report here.

“The completion of the rehabilitation of the first phase of the mineral terminal, the acquisition of modern equipment for transporting cargo and the use of state-of-the-art technology and human resources are all factors that are contributing to the improvement in cargo handling at the Port of Beira”, said de Vries.

Referring to these improvements, de Vries said that from January to May this year, the Beira container terminal handled 161,000 containers, compared to 102,000 for the same period of 2023.

In that period the general cargo terminal had a throughput of 1.6 million tonnes of cargo, compared with 1.4 million in the first half of last year.

When it came to chrome exports the port handled a daily average of 14,446 tonnes, which is a 40% improvement on the previous record of 10,400 tonnes a day. This, he said, is a productivity record for Beira.

“The excellent productivity is the result of heavy investment in ore handling capacity. The company has just completed the first phase of construction of the mineral terminal, which includes four hectares of storage area for various bulk and bagged ores, where they can be handled efficiently.”

He added that new investments to meet the demand are to be made. These include the removal of one of the old warehouses at the container terminal, which will result in the expansion of almost four hectares for a new park.

“Also, as part of the modernisation of the infrastructure, we will be acquiring four new modern cranes,” de Vries said.

A recent engineering study had shown that “we have the capacity to accommodate cranes for ships capable of transporting 10,000 containers in a single voyage.”

Because of these improvements, new intercontinental shipping lines are calling at the Port of Beira, he said, while pointing out that Beira was identified by the World Bank as the most efficient terminal in southern Africa for the last two years.

de Vries pointed out that the volumes handled at the port of Beira today are ten times greater than 25 years ago. “Unfortunately the roads are the same, which creates a huge constraint on the flow of cargo in and out of the Port.

“We believe that greater coordination between the various users of the Port of Beira, including the government, the private sector and the municipality, can find a solution in the short term,” he said. source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique

While Mr de Vries is justified in defending his port and its impressive achievements in recent years, it should not detract from the argument Felix Machado has made, which is not about the port but rather that Mozambique’s crumbling road network has caused significant volumes of cargo to divert elsewhere.

Added 28 June 2024


As notícias continuam abaixo

Porto da Beira reage, diz volume recorde de contentores estão sendo alcançados este ano

Foto: cortesia de Cornelder

Africa Ports & Ships

O director-geral da Cornelder de Moçambique, a empresa holandesa que gere e opera o porto moçambicano da Beira, respondeu aos relatos de que a Beira perdeu meio milhão de toneladas de carga para o porto tanzaniano de Dar es Salaam durante os primeiros cinco meses de 2024.

O MD Jan de Vries forneceu números que, segundo ele, refutam a alegação de perda de volume de carga feita por Felix Machado, da Associação Comercial da Beira.

Veja esse relatório aqui</ b>.

“A conclusão da reabilitação da primeira fase do terminal mineral, a aquisição de modernos equipamentos para o transporte de cargas e a utilização de tecnologia e recursos humanos de última geração são factores que estão a contribuir para a melhoria da movimentação de cargas. no Porto da Beira”, disse de Vries.

Referindo-se a estas melhorias, de Vries disse que de Janeiro a Maio deste ano, o terminal de contentores da Beira movimentou 161 mil contentores, contra 102 mil no mesmo período de 2023.

Nesse período o terminal de carga geral movimentou 1,6 milhões de toneladas de carga, o que compara com 1,4 milhões no primeiro semestre do ano passado.

No que diz respeito às exportações de crómio, o porto movimentou uma média diária de 14.446 toneladas, o que representa uma melhoria de 40% em relação ao recorde anterior de 10.400 toneladas por dia. Isto, disse ele, é um recorde de produtividade para a Beira.

“A excelente produtividade é resultado de um forte investimento na capacidade de movimentação de minério. A empresa acaba de concluir a primeira fase de construção do terminal mineral, que inclui quatro hectares de área de armazenamento para diversos minérios granéis e ensacados, onde podem ser movimentados com eficiência .”

Ele acrescentou que novos investimentos serão feitos para atender a demanda. Estas incluem a remoção de um dos antigos armazéns do terminal de contentores, o que resultará na ampliação de quase quatro hectares para um novo parque.

“Além disso, como parte da modernização da infra-estrutura, iremos adquirir quatro novos guindastes modernos”, disse de Vries.

Um recente estudo de engenharia mostrou que “temos capacidade para acomodar guindastes para navios capazes de transportar 10 mil contêineres em uma única viagem”.

Devido a estas melhorias, novas companhias marítimas intercontinentais estão a fazer escala no Porto da Beira, disse ele, ao mesmo tempo que destacou que a Beira foi identificada pelo Banco Mundial como o terminal mais eficiente da África Austral nos últimos dois anos.

de Vries destacou que os volumes movimentados no porto da Beira hoje são dez vezes maiores do que há 25 anos. “Infelizmente as estradas são as mesmas, o que cria um enorme constrangimento no fluxo de carga que entra e sai do Porto.

“Acreditamos que uma maior coordenação entre os vários utilizadores do Porto da Beira, incluindo o governo, o sector privado e o município, pode encontrar uma solução no curto prazo”, disse. fonte: Agência de Informação de Moçambique

Embora o senhor deputado de Vries tenha razão em defender o seu porto e as suas impressionantes conquistas nos últimos anos, isso não deve desvirtuar o argumento apresentado por Felix Machado, que não é sobre o porto, mas sim que a desintegração da rede rodoviária de Moçambique fez com que volumes significativos de carga fossem transportados desviar para outro lugar.

Adicionado em 28 de junho de 2024


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Port of Dar es Salaam hosts its largest containership, MSC ADU V

Dar es Salaam Container Terminal 2. Picture: TCTSI

Africa Ports & Ships

When the 65,006-dwt container ship MSC Adu V (IMO 9293466) arrived in the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam on 22 June 2024, she became the largest boxship to enter the port, it is reported.

Although the ship has an impressive length of 294 metres and a width of 38m, her vintage (built 2005) provides a hint as to her relatively small container capacity of 4,738 TEU, compared with more modern ships of similar size.

From local newspaper reports it seems the ship was carrying around 4,000 TEU when she called at the Tanzanian port.

Recent port improvements have made it possible for ships of up to 300 metres and with a draught of 12.5 metres to enter Dar es Salaam’s port – Dar es salaam was dredged to increase the depth of her channel and berthing area to -14.5 metres.

The report stated the previous largest container ship to call had a length of 267 metres and carried 3,500 TEU.

MSC Adu V arrived from Mombasa and was due to depart for Colombo on completion of her cargo working.

UAE port and terminal specialist, DP World, recently acquired a concession to operate and modernise the multipurpose port and it is expected that further improvements to ship capacity and cargo working will result, and any current ‘records’ concerning size and capacity will probably be of short duration.

Fellow Middle-Eastern port and terminal operator Adani International Ports Holdings (AIPH) has since secured a 30-year concession to operate and manage Dar es Salaam’s second Container Terminal 2, thus bringing additional expertise to Tanzania’s main port.

CT2 has four berths and an annual container capacity of one million TEU. In 2023 CT2 handled 820,000 TEU, or about 83% of the port’s total.

Added 27 June 2024


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IMO Maritime Single Window: Port of Abidjan, Cȏte d’Ivoire

Picture: IMO ©

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

An IMO needs assessment mission carried out in Côte d’Ivoire has laid the groundwork for the country to set up a maritime single window system in the Port of Abidjan.

Maritime Single Window (MSW)

The Maritime Single Window is a one-stop digital platform for information exchange among different stakeholders and agencies involved in clearing the arrival, stay and departure of ships. Having a single window for information exchange streamlines procedures and saves time and costs.

Since 1 January 2024, it is mandatory for all IMO Member States to establish maritime single window systems in ports to enhance the efficiency of shipping worldwide.

Needs assessment

The needs assessment mission took place from 3 to 7 June, conducted by IMO consultants in collaboration with the Port of Abidjan, relevant Ministries, public agencies including customs and border agencies, and other stakeholders. The mission concluded with a meeting with all stakeholders to validate the findings.

A detailed report from the mission will serve as the basis for further actions in the development of the maritime single window in Côte d’Ivoire.

This includes findings and analyses carried out for the deployment of a maritime single window, according to IMO principles and guidance, as well as the development of related IT tools which interact with the maritime single window. The report will include recommendations resulting from the analysis by IMO consultants.

IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme

This activity was delivered through IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) with the collaboration of the General Directorate of Maritime and Port Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire.

Added 27 June 2024


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Kenmare names two new dredgers for new Moma mine site

Computer imaging of the two new dredgers for the Moma site. Picture: Royal IHC

Africa Ports & Ships

Kenmare Resources, the Irish operator of the Moma Titanium Minerals Mine, located on the north east coast of Mozambique, has named the two dredgers being built concurrently for the Moma operation by Royal IHC at that company’s shipyard in Kinderdijk in the Netherlands.

The contract for the customised mining dredgers was signed in November last year. Each dredger has a total installed power of 6,800 kVA and cutter power of 1,350 kW.

Thanks to the use of renewable hydro-electric power, the new dredgers will contribute to Kenmare’s goal of reducing the carbon footprint of their operations.

They are destined for use at the Nataka mine site, a new extension which should remain in operation for several decades. According to Kenmare, it will upgrade and transition their Wet Concentrator Plant A to Nataka, where the two dredgers will become an important element in the new operation.

Following a tradition, the new dredgers will be named after female members of the management team. The first will receive the name CALEN, after the eldest daughter of Higino Jamisse, Moma’s General Manager. The second will be named SANDRA, after the wife of Gareth Clifton, Kenmare’s long-serving Country Manager.

IHC Mining has already delivered three dredgers to Moma, of which JULIA is the most recent (2019).

“We are very proud of our long-standing relationship with Kenmare,” commented Hans Greve, IHC Mining managing director.

“The award of this contract underlines how we continuously strive to develop and deliver sustainable and responsible solutions that meet our clients’ needs.”

Ben Baxter, Kenmare’s COO described the two dredgers as an important elements of Kenmare’s project of upgrading WCP A and transitioning to Nataka.

Added 27 June 2024


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WHARF TALK: survey vessel with exciting history – FUGRO SUPPORTER

The long chase is over and the pirate fishing vessel Viarsa 1 is escorted to Cape Town between SA Agulhas (far) and Southern Supporter (near). Picture: Jay Gates private collection

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

In just over two months’ time it will be the 21st anniversary of the ending of one of the great oceanic pirate chases, and a chase that involved South African vessels assisting to bring it to an end. The maritime chase, which crossed two oceans, lasted for a full three weeks, and made daily worldwide news, with people from around the globe, and many casual maritime observers, waiting for every update as to how the chase was evolving.

It all started in the waters around the Australian External Territory of the Heard and McDonald Islands, located way down in the Sub-Antarctic region of the Southern Indian Ocean at 53°06’ South 073°31’ East. The overall land area of the island group is 372 km2, and it has 101.9 km of coastline. Discovered in the mid-19th century, the islands lie on the Kerguelen Plateau, and have been Australian territory since 1947.

The largest of the islands, Heard Island, like Bouvet Island, is considered to be one of the most remote places on Earth. It is located 2,080 nautical miles southwest of Cape Leeuwin in Australia, 2,300 nautical miles southeast of Cape Agulhas in South Africa, 2,070 nautical miles southeast of Cape Vohimena in Madagascar, 880 nautical miles north of Princess Elizabeth Land in Antarctica, and 240 nautical miles southeast of Kerguelen Island.

At the time, the southern oceans were being denuded of Antarctic Cod and Toothfish by fishing pirates, who were effectively wiping out the stocks of these important fish species using illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) longline fishing vessels. One of the few nations who take environmental protection seriously is Australia, and they had arranged for fisheries protection vessels to conduct year round patrols of the waters around Heard Island to prevent IUU vessels from operating, and to arrest any vessel caught fishing, without permission, within their waters.

Fugro Supporter. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 7th August 2003, the Australian fisheries patrol vessel ‘Southern Supporter’ came across a vessel acting suspiciously just to the west of Heard Island. The vessel made off at speed on the arrival of ‘Southern Supporter’ and so began a three week long chase that covered a distance of almost 3,900 nautical miles across the South Indian Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean.

The vessel in question was eventually identified as the Uruguayan longliner ‘Viarsa 1’, associated with a Spanish fishing company, Vidal Armadores SA, suspected by the regulatory authorities at the time of deep involvement in IUU fishing in Antarctica. Refusing to stop and be boarded, the chase continued past South Africa, as ‘Viarsa 1’ made a desperate attempt to get back to the safety of Uruguayan waters. The Australian authorities then requested both British and South African government assistance to bring the pirate to a halt.

The British Authorities released the Falkland Islands Fisheries Protection vessel ‘Dorada’ to intercept them from the west, whilst the South African authorities released the salvage tug ‘John Ross’, followed by the Antarctic supply vessel ‘S.A. Agulhas’ to intercept them from the north. Finally, on 28th August 2003, after a three week chase, the flotilla of law enforcement vessels boxed in ‘Viarsa 1’ and she wisely decided to give up the chase.

Fugro Supporter. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

At the time she was southwest of Gough Island in the South Atlantic Islands, and over 2,000 nautical miles southwest of Cape Town. The flotilla, together with their arrested charge, then made their way back to Cape Town, with a further South African vessel, the naval auxiliary vessel ‘SAS Drakensberg’, also joining the flotilla with additional support.

The ‘Southern Supporter’ escorted ‘Viarsa 1’ back to Fremantle in Australia to face justice, and she was finally scrapped in December 2007 on a beach, close to Mumbai in India, never having fished again. By 2012 the IUU problem in the waters of Antarctica had largely been defeated, and the Australian fisheries authorities decided that permanent patrols around Heard Island were no longer necessary, and ‘Southern Supporter’ was sold on for further service in 2012.

On 2nd June at 14:00 in the afternoon, the survey vessel ‘Fugro Supporter’ (IMO 8518364) arrived off Cape Town, from Singapore, and entered Cape Town harbour. She proceeded into the Duncan Dock and went alongside the Landing Wall. As always, the choice of berth was a possible sign that she had arrived for bunkers, or for a period of pre-contract maintenance.

She was completed in 1994 by Factorías Vulcano SA shipyard, at Vigo in Northern Spain, and is 76 metres in length, with a gross registered tonnage of 2,065 tons. She was originally ordered in 1989 by the Soviet Union, as a stern trawler. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 put an end to the order, and it was not until 1994 that she was completed as a Lighthouse Support vessel, for the Australian Maritime Safety Agency (AMSA) and named ‘Cape Grafton’.

Fugro Supporter. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With the automation of Australian Lighthouses towards the end of the 20th century, she was sold in 2000 by AMSA, to P&O Australia Maritime Services Pty Ltd., who renamed her ‘Southern Supporter’, and she was converted for Fisheries Patrols. With the defeat of IUU fishing, and the subsequent Australian drawdown of Antarctic fisheries patrols, she was sold off again to her current owners in 2012, who converted her for survey work, and renamed her ‘Fugro Supporter’. After a gap of 21 years, the famous IUU chaser had arrived back in Cape Town.

A diesel electric powered vessel, ‘Fugro Supporter’ has three Caterpillar 3516B-TAV sixteen cylinder (V16), four stroke generators providing 2,760 kW. This power is transferred to two Indar electric motor producing 800 kW each, which drive a Kamewa, nozzled, controllable pitch propeller for a service speed of 12 knots. She has a single Caterpillar 3406B emergency generator providing 240 kW. For added manoeuvrability she has a Kamewa bow transverse thruster providing 883 kW, and two stern transverse thrusters providing 250 kW each.

For her survey work she has three laboratory spaces, and her aft working deck includes an under deck hold with a capacity of 1,362 m3. Her deck has a working container capacity of just 3 TEU. For her deck operations ‘Fugro Supporter’ has a deck crane with a lifting capacity of 12 tons, and for her overside operations she has a stern ‘A’ Frame with a lifting capacity of 15 tons.

Fugro Supporter. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With accommodation for up to 47 persons, and a range of 14,000 nautical miles, the voyage of ‘Fugro Supporter’ from Singapore to Cape Town covered 6,080 nautical miles, at an average speed of 8.4 knots, and took exactly one month to complete, with her departure from Singapore taking place at 08:00 on the morning of 3rd May. Prior to this, she had spent the previous three months working around the waters of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Owned by Eastern Supporter Pte. Ltd., of Singapore, ‘Fugro Supporter’ is operated by Fugro Singapore Pte. Ltd., of Singapore, and managed by Fugro Marine Services BV, of Leidschendam in Holland, which is the location of the global headquarters of Fugro. Formed in 1962, Fugro are a Dutch multinational public company who specialise in geodata acquisition, geotechnical survey, and geoscience services.

In January 2015, ‘Fugro Supporter’ was commissioned to carry out an underwater search survey to try and locate the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft, the infamous flight MH370. She departed from Denpasar, on the Indonesian island of Bali, to transit to the search area. The search by ‘Fugro Supporter’ was jointly funded by the governments of Australia and Malaysia, and she was the fourth search vessel to be brought in to try and locate the missing airliner.

The bathymetric survey of the sea floor that she conducted revealed previously unknown features, including undersea mountains, rugged seafloor terrain, and deep trenches. Equipped with a Kongsberg HUGIN 4500 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), ‘Fugro Supporter’ was able to conduct close seabed scans of those portions of the search area that could not be searched effectively by onboard sonar equipment on the other search vessels.

Fugro Supporter. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Sadly, ‘Fugro Supporter’ was unable to locate the missing Boeing 777 and, as we all know, no trace of the last resting place of flight MH370 has ever been found, although some items of debris, such as panels and flaps, from the doomed airliner have been identified when they were washed up on the shores of the island of Reunion, and the East African coast, some years later.

She has now been alongside the Landing Wall in Cape Town harbour for over three weeks, with no confirmation as to the full extent of any works being carried out aboard her, or where she is expected to sail to next, on further survey work. Back in July 2021 Fugro operated one of their survey vessels, ‘Fugro Discovery’, off Southern Africa on the 2Africa subsea communications cable shoreline survey. Fugro have also been heavily involved offshore Angola, conducting oil and gas field geotechnical surveys.

Added 26 June 2024


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ITF wants immediate action taken to safeguard seafarers in Red Sea region

Picture: ITF

Africa Ports & Ships

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and seafarers’ unions, representing 19.5 million transport workers and seafarer unions from some 150 countries, says it wants immediate action taken to prevent further casualties among seafarers having to transit the lower Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The ITF says such action has been lacking and could have prevented the unnecessary deaths of seafarers.

The ITF globally stands united in grief and outrage, the Federation said.

During the six months of 2024 so far the Houthi rebels have launched over 60 attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea, sinking two, seizing another, and attacking dozens more.

On 12 June, Houthis attacked the the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Tutor, with an unmanned surface vehicle and an anti-ship missile in the southern Red Sea. This unprovoked attack tragically killed one crew member. The remaining crew had to abandon the ship, which sank several days later.

In March, the maritime community mourned the loss of three seafarers aboard the MV True Confidence, also attacked by Houthis.

“We also continue to advocate for the safe return of crew members from the Galaxy Leader, attacked by Houthis in November 2023, and from the MSC Aries, seized by Iran in April 2024, who remain unjustly held captive,” said the ITF.

The Federation also condemned the recent Houthi attacks on the cargo ship Verbena, which resulted in a seafarer being severely injured by anti-ship cruise missiles, and on the Transworld Navigator.

“While we appreciate expressions of solidarity and condemnation, words are not enough. The ITF demands urgent, concrete action to guarantee the safety and security of seafarers.

“Governments must step up and coordinate their efforts to protect seafarers sailing in or through the area. Shipping companies must demonstrate their commitment to their seafarers by diverting their ships. Flag states, which are responsible for assuring a safe working environment for seafarers on their vessels, must instruct companies to divert their ships.

“Flag of Convenience states must not rely solely on United States, United Kingdom, or European navies for protection.”

The ITF pointed out that this week (Monday 25 June) marked the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) ‘Day of the Seafarer’, with this year’s theme being “Navigating the Future – Safety First”.

“Yet, it is clear that right now many seafarers are undertaking their critical jobs in the face of grave danger.

“Seafarers are not commodities but the backbone of the global supply chain. Their lives should not be risked for profit, nor should they have to perform their duties under the constant threat of violence or harm.

“We urge the international community to reflect on the invaluable contributions of seafarers to the global economy and to take action now to ensure justice, safety and security for those risking their lives at sea.”

Added 26 June 2024


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Women strengthen port management skills

Picture: IMO ©

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

Female maritime officials from twenty-six countries have completed intensive training to boost their skills in managing and operating ports. This was reported by the IMO news service on 24 June.

The 21st Women in Port Management seminar, sponsored by IMO and organised in collaboration with France’s leading port, HAROPA Port*, was delivered by the Institut Portuaire d’Enseignement et de Recherche (IPER) from 10 to 21 June in Le Havre.

Latest insights

The training equipped senior officials from developing countries with the latest insights and knowledge related to port operations and management, including the impact of new technologies.

Lectures covered a range of port matters from security, marketing and tariffs and logistics, to facilitation of maritime traffic, ship/port interface and concession contracts.

Shared knowledge

Participants shared their own knowledge and experiences around port management, emerging technical issues and the implementation of related IMO conventions.

An annual event

The Women in Port Management seminar is an annual joint initiative of IMO, IPER and HAROPA Port, aimed at improving the efficiency of ports in developing countries, while promoting gender equality in the sector.

Strong African representation

This year, IMO’s Women in Maritime programme sponsored the participation of officials from Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominica, Egypt, Georgia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Madagascar, Maldives, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Philippines, Somalia, Thailand, Togo, Tonga and Viet Nam.

Created in 1988, the Women in Maritime programme aims to enhance the contribution of women as key maritime stakeholders through professional training, visibility and recognition.

* HAROPA Port = ports of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris. See also

Added 26 June 2024


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In Conversation: Lake Victoria: why so many fishers are dying and what can be done about it

Africa Ports & Ships

Ranaivo Rasolofoson, University of Toronto and Kathryn Fiorella, Cornell University

Small-scale fishers on Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest freshwater lake, shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) are drowning. Safety issues such as storms, a lack of available life jackets, and a shortage of navigational equipment and rescue services are a major cause of this.

Existing studies have found that climate change is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of thunderstorms in east Africa. One of the places that will be affected is Lake Victoria, with thunderstorms becoming much more windy, with more intense rain, and up to 10 times more frequent by 2100. This will make the lake one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world for small-scale fishers.

We are socio-environmental scientists who research the fisheries around Lake Victoria and the impact of environmental change on livelihoods and security of food and nutrition. We conducted research on the connection between extreme weather events – heavy rain, strong winds, rough water – and drownings among the 48,000 small-scale fishers on the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria.

After reviewing the logs of drownings in that area, we interviewed the officials who were familiar with how each fisher had drowned. We also looked at how often heavy rain, strong wind, rough water, lack of navigation equipment or life jackets, the inability to swim, use of alcohol or drugs and poor boat maintenance were cited as causes of drowning.

The cause of the drownings is complex. Fishers are having to go deeper into the lake (where the best catches are) and fish at night for sardine-like omena (which is found deeper into the lake and is a night catch). This is because Nile perch, a fish that can be caught in the day, has been depleted. Night fishing is much more risky because that’s when the lake is rougher (with storms occurring) and rescues are much more challenging.

With climate change causing an increase in bad weather on the lake, the problem of fisher drownings is likely to increase. It is important that governments take urgent steps to make Lake Victoria safer for small-scale fishers. These fishers are the main income earners in their families and their tragic drownings jeopardise the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of their family members, who would be more vulnerable to poverty.

What we found

At nearly 70,000 square kilometres, Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa, spanning three countries and fished by more than 200,000 people. The fishers mostly fish from small boats, which are unlikely to be stable in heavy storms.

These fishers already face a high risk of drowning. Up to 1,500 fishers drown on Lake Victoria every year, an estimated 1,000 of them during bad weather. We identified 141 fisher drowning deaths across 43 landing sites. Our study found that most of the fishers who drowned were men aged under 40.

Bad weather conditions, including rough water, strong wind and heavy rainfall, were described as the cause in 42% of recent fisher drowning deaths. While boats were generally in good repair, navigation equipment and life jackets were rarely made available by the boat owners despite Kenyan laws requiring life jackets. This increased the drowning rate: 69% of the fishers who drowned in storms were not wearing life jackets.

About half the drownings occurred at night. On Lake Victoria, intense thunderstorms are also most likely to occur at night. Visibility is also limited at night, making it harder to observe weather shifts or for fellow fishers to carry out rescues – the only kind of rescue services that we found were available.

Another reason for the high drowning rate was that fishers were often key providers (breadwinners) within their households. The pressure to fish and earn an income, even in poor weather, could be high.

Our research also found that even though only 20% of the small boats were motorised, over 40% of fisher deaths occurred in motorised boats. This could be because the motorised boats go out much further into the lake where fish are more abundant, and cannot return to land quickly if a storm breaks out.

What needs to be done

Our research found that fishers balance their need to earn an income with the potential risks of fishing under bad weather conditions. Just as drowning risks may escalate with climate change-driven storms, climate change may also alter other aspects of their livelihoods.

For example, water temperatures that are heating up because of climate change could reduce dissolved oxygen, and lead to the uncontrolled growth of harmful algal blooms. Such environmental stresses cause fish health and stocks to decline. When fish stocks fall, fishers often face pressures to fish farther and for longer to catch enough to earn an income.

Fisher drowning deaths are often the result of constellation of risk factors coming together (bad weather, fishing far from shore, and not having life jackets). This means that all the different people and organisations involved in Lake Victoria, such as the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, Lake Victoria Basin Commission, national governments of riparian countries, boat makers, boat owners and fishing communities, need to come up with a joint plan to prevent the fishers from drowning.

This should include enforcing and promoting the wearing of life jackets. Boat owners who are responsible for providing life jackets should be targeted, not the labourers in the boats. In Uganda’s Lake Albert, peer-led awareness campaigns and training were effective strategies to increase the use of life jackets.

Fishers also need to be supported with swimming, water safety and safe rescue skill programmes.

While early warning systems are being developed, communities in the Lake Victoria basin lack effective and accessible weather advisory and warning systems. Early warning systems that provide alerts to poor weather need to be put in place widely and consistently to help fishers avoid risky weather conditions brought about by climate change.

As climate change alters the environment, it will also reshape the risks faced by the people most reliant on it.

(Ranaivo Rasolofoson and Kathryn Fiorella work in partnership with researchers at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, a government research institute that works closely with fishing communities to research and manage fisheries.)The Conversation

Ranaivo Rasolofoson, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto and Kathryn Fiorella, Cornell University, Cornell University

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

Added 26 June 2024


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SA Navy ensures continuous hydrographic services amid capability gap

The future SA Navy hydrographic survey vessel under construction at the Durban Sandock shipyard. Picture by Trevor Jones

by Dean Wingrin/defenceWeb

The SA Navy celebrates World Hydrographic Day.

Last week, the South African Navy (SA Navy) hosted a seminar in Cape Town to celebrate World Hydrographic Day, underscoring the critical role of hydrography in ensuring maritime safety and efficiency. Despite facing capability gaps, the SA Navy continues to deliver quality hydrographic data and charts to the fleet, the local and international maritime communities without interruption.

World Hydrographic Day, observed globally on 21 June, focuses this year on the theme: “Hydrographic Information – Enhancing Safety, Efficiency and Sustainable Marine Activities.”

In his opening address, Rear Admiral Musawenkosi Nkomonde, Flag Officer Fleet of the SA Navy, highlighted the critical role of hydrography in various maritime activities, from safe navigation to environmental planning and maritime defence. He illustrated hydrography’s historical significance by referencing its pivotal role in the success of the D-Day landings during World War II, particularly in the creation of Mulberry Harbours to supply invading forces.

Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane from the Department of Transport provided insights into South Africa’s international obligations under the Convention on the International Hydrographic Organisation, ratified in 1968. South Africa is also a member state of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and bound by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

Commander Nicolette Le Roux, Acting National Hydrographer, elaborated on the synergy between the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the SA Navy Hydrographic Office (SANHO), stressing the importance of hydrography.

Former SA Navy Captain Theo Stokes, appointed the first National Hydrographer under the Hydrographic Act in 2020, shared his perspective on the progress made in South African hydrography. He highlighted the successful upgrade of the Hydrographic Office and the transition to a new production system, which ensured uninterrupted service.

Commander Carina Grove, Acting Project Officer for Project Hotel, discussed the future of hydrographic capabilities, focusing on the replacement of the aging Hydrographic Survey Vessel (HSV) SAS Protea, which has served for 52 years, with a newer vessel.

The contract to acquire a new HSV was signed in December 2017 with Durban-based Sandock Austral Shipyards. Project Hotel is more than just a single vessel replacement. It includes acquiring smaller survey motorboats, a sea boat and upgrading SANHO infrastructure.

While the main HSV is only 55% complete, Survey Motor Boat (SMB) 1 has been delivered with SMB 2 and 3 ready for delivery alongside the main vessel. The Sea Boat has successfully completed Sea Acceptance Trials and is in preservation. The SANHO upgrade was completed in late 2020, ensuring continuity in providing hydrographic services.

In response to a question by defenceWeb, Nkomonde addressed the delays with the new HSV: “Yes, it is true that there is a delay in the delivery of the hydrographic survey vessel. However, the function hasn’t stopped. Through the use of the Survey Motor Boats that have been delivered and the upgrade in the Hydrographic Office, the capability is being continued. We are also partnering with other states … so that we to close the gap where we will be lacking until delivery [of the new HSV].”

“Training, work is carrying on. Nothing has stopped,” he emphasised, “You cannot stop providing the services.”

Le Roux added that using Survey Motor Boat One is not only valuable for obtaining data for the Navy’s own surveyors, but also as a training platform to gain experience.

Despite challenges, SANHO has maintained uninterrupted service delivery. Stokes explained that SANHO transitioned from the old legacy system to a new production system, ensuring no disruption in service. The introduction of a print-on-demand system allows the production of charts in-house, moving towards a data-centric approach.

He highlighted the proactive measures taken to maintain hydrographic services: “We (via Simon’s Town-based Institute for Maritime Technology) installed data loggers (on merchant vessels) and established data-sharing agreements with the survey industry. In the last two years, we’ve made significant progress in establishing partnerships and ensuring continuous service delivery despite limited survey capabilities.”

The Hydrographic Office adheres to strict bilateral agreements for data sharing and sales, contributing revenue to the National Treasury. Stokes noted that the Hydrographic Office, unlike the rest of the Department of Defence, meets its financial obligations and faces minimal budget cuts.

“So despite the fact that there is a limited survey capability, the actual delivery of products and services, from the branch itself, has not stopped and in fact, the only finding (of a recent) IMO audit made against the Hydrographic service in delivering the way it’s supposed to in terms of SOLAS was the fact that we’ve got a diminished survey capability at this point.”

Despite facing capability gaps, the SA Navy’s commitment to providing reliable hydrographic services remains steadfast, ensuring the safety, efficiency and sustainability in marine activities.

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

Added 25 June 2024


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WHARF TALK: Handy class products tanker – GUNES K

A puzzling Handy class tanker named Gunes K arrived in Cape Town earlier this month. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

There is a glaring fact about the constant, almost daily, arrival of vessels into Durban and Cape Town as a result of diverting away from the Red Sea because of the indiscriminate Houthi idiocy. The fact is that the arrival of every single one of these vessels is for no other reason than the need to uplift bunkers, as a result of the enforced long voyage around the Cape sea route.

The second fact that arises from the first fact is that South Africa is required to stock a sufficient amount of bunkers, of which there are a number of different marine fuel varieties, to ensure that every vessel that calls gets the order of bunkers that it has ordered. Now we already know that the declining state of South Africa’s refinery complexes is such that sufficient production of important, everyday, domestic fuels cannot be achieved by the internal oil refining industry.

This is the reason for the continuous arrival of product tankers that bring in this national requirement. Whilst these tankers will mostly be carrying the essentials such as petroleum, diesel, aviation fuels, and kerosene, some will also be carrying parcels of marine bunker fuels for local storage. However, bunker fuels are not in demand, in volume requirements, at the same high rate as are the staple fuels that power industry, keep the country moving, and the homes comfortable.

There is some local production of marine bunker fuels, and recently the newly reopened Astron Energy refinery, at Milnerton in Cape Town, announced an uptick in bunker fuel production to meet the current increased demand. However, this domestic production is still not enough to meet the constantly changing demand. Every now and again a product tanker arrives that looks out of place, as it is too small to be undertaking the kind of voyage that it is engaged upon. It is only when the voyage is broken down that it starts to make a little bit of possible sense.

Gunes K. Cape Town, 19 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Over one month ago, on 19th May, and at 15:00 in the afternoon, the small Handy class product tanker ‘Gunes K’ (IMO 9479553) arrived off Cape Town harbour, from Port Louis in Mauritius. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and went alongside her berth in the Tanker Basin. On arrival she appeared to be in a near lightship condition.

The voyage of ‘Gunes K’ had started back on 22nd April when she sailed from Fujairah at 20:00 in the evening, bound for Port Louis, where she had arrived on 5th May, at 09:00 in the morning to begin her first discharge. Her discharge in Port Louis lasted for less than one day, and after 22 hours, she sailed at 07:00 in the morning of 6th May for Cape Town. It was the start of a strange voyage itinerary, which initially made little sense. Her voyage from Port Louis to Cape Town had taken 13 days, covering 2,398 nautical miles, at a steady average speed of 10.7 knots.

Built in 2009 by Cicek Tersanesi shipyard at Tuzla in Turkey, ‘Gunes K’ is 150 metres in length and has a deadweight of 19,987 tons, which is less than half the size of the normal 50,000 dwt MR class tankers that arrive at South African ports. She is powered by a single MAN-B&W 8S35MC-C eight cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 8,049 bhp (5,920 kW), which drives a controllable pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 750 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 99 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg CHR exhaust gas boiler, and a single Alfa Laval Aalborg CHO oil fired boiler. For added manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster providing 474 kW.

Gunes K. Cape Town, 19 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

With a total of twelve cargo tanks, ‘Gunes K’ has a cargo carrying capacity of just 20,974 m3, and is able to carry seven grades of fuel products at any one time. For her loading and discharging requirements she has twelve cargo pumps, with each pump capable of pumping at a rate of 335 m3/hour.

One of two sisterships, ‘Gunes K’ is owned by Kaptanoglu Brothers Maritime Ltd., of Istanbul in Turkey, and whose houseflag she displays on her funnel. She is operated by the Kaptanoglu subsidiary company K Tankercilik Ve Gemi Isletmeciligi AS, also of Istanbul, and managed by KPT Shipmanagement Co. Ltd-TRK, also of Istanbul.

Her discharge period in Cape Town lasted for just over two and a half days, and at 06:00 in the morning of 22nd May, ‘Gunes K’ sailed from Cape Town, bound now for Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, which was the third port call for a small Handy sized tanker. She arrived at Richards Bay on 28th May at 15:00 in the afternoon, and commenced a further discharge. After just over a day and a half, she had completed her discharge, and she sailed from the Zululand port, strangely now bound straight back to Cape Town.

However, after almost a one week passage, she arrived off Cape Town, but did not enter port, and instead entered the Table Bay anchorage at 08:00 in the morning of 6th June, and promptly went to anchor for almost four and a half days. At 17:00 in the afternoon of 10th June, ‘Gunes K’ re-entered Cape Town harbour, and into the Duncan Dock, but went back alongside her berth in the Tanker Basin. She remained there for less than a day, and early on 11th June she shifted back one berth, to go alongside the inner tanker berth of the Eastern Mole.

Gunes K. Cape Town, 19 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

It was all getting very strange. Once there, she was joined by the Cape Town harbour bunker tanker ‘Southern Valour’, which went alongside her. The question was whether ‘Gunes K’ was now making a discharge into ‘Southern Valour’, or whether she was receiving an uplift of bunkers from the bunker barge. Again, less than a day later, at 06:00 in the morning of 12th June she was ready to sail for the second time from Cape Town.

To add to the strangeness of her itinerary, ‘Gunes K’ sailed from Cape Town, bound all the way back to Port Louis in Mauritius, from where she had first arrived almost a month earlier. The itinerary thus far, and her use of a bunker tanker in Cape Town, firmly indicated that ‘Gunes K’ might be carrying a full cargo of marine bunker fuels. Her arrival back in Port Louis almost confirmed this when she arrived at 21:00 in the evening of 21st June and immediately went alongside the bunker tanker ‘Splendour’ which was anchored just off Port Louis port limits.

Again, the question would be who was giving to who, and what? Built in 2009, ‘Splendour’ (IMO 9535448) has a deadweight of 21,946 tons, and when built she was considered to be the largest purpose built bunker tanker in the world. She is currently one of a number of permanently stationed bunker tankers, lying off Port Louis and taking advantage of the increased number of diverted callers, also as a result of the Houthi menace.

Gunes K. Cape Town, 19 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Now one would think that South Africa, SARS and Transnet (TNPA) would have been in pole position to take maximum advantage of the 53% increase of maritime traffic that diverted around the Cape sea route as a result of the Houthis, but you would be wrong. South Africa has come off particularly badly on this score. Bunker services were suspended in full in Algoa Bay, in September last year, after the South African Revenue Service (SARS) detained five bunker tankers operating in Algoa Bay for BP, Trafigura Marine, and Minerva Bunkering, on suspicion of customs tax violations. All operating permits were withdrawn from all operators.

Whilst Durban and Cape Town saw a rise in bunker callers, they have also seen a consequent rise in bunker costs, with South Africa still a net importer of fuel oils, and the problem of ever continuing port congestion issues. With previous offshore bunkering limited entirely to Algoa Bay, many shipowners do not want to chance getting stuck in a portside traffic jam waiting to take on bunkers. South Africa’s capacity to act as a major bunker destination has been in question for years, with concerns over port charges, and administrative framework, dogging the efforts of South African bunker providers trying to draw in international trade.

Transnet (TNPA) is billions of dollars in debt, and has required hefty cash injections from the South African government to stay afloat. All that being so, it is no wonder that vessels requiring bunkers on the longer Cape sea route have largely been bypassing South African ports. So despite this hugely increased passing trade, which shows that the recent average gross tonnage rounding the Cape was up 85% on December, Transnet (TNPA) and SARS have failed to expedite the reintroduction of offshore bunkering in Algoa Bay, or anywhere else for that matter, and SAMSA have yet to reissue a single permit.

Gunes K. Cape Town, 19 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The amount of lost dollar revenue to the state coffers, let alone to the local Gqeberha economy, must be colossal, not to mention the lack of jobs that the bunkering industry provided, and the connected income from passing vessels requiring stores and fresh provisions. The inability of these state organisations to take advantage of a guaranteed cash injection to their coffers is staggering. Naturally, one man’s loss is another man’s gain, and both Port Louis, and Walvis Bay, have stepped in to take up the slack offered by this lack of business acumen.

Flexibility has certainly proved to be useful, in the circumstances. At the start of the year, an additional three bunker tankers arrived in Namibia to serve the uptick in demand in Walvis Bay. The availability of offshore bunkering, via bunker tankers operating out of Walvis Bay, has been able to weather the surge in demand comparatively easily. To increase trade further, the Namibian Ports Authority announced in mid-April that it was going to allow bunkers-only calls within port limits, thus adding further shipowners an incentive to use Walvis Bay as a bunker stop en route to, and from, Europe.

The resulting shutdown of the bunkering operations in Algoa Bay resulted in both the Trafigura and the Mercuria bunker operations transferring immediately to Port Louis, where they have entered into joint ventures with local Mauritian companies, who now cater for all of the increased bunker traffic, along with at least a half dozen other bunker providers who operate under a very benign taxation and regulatory control and oversight system, put in place by the Mauritius government to encourage the offshore bunker industry.

Gunes K. Cape Town, 19 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Meanwhile, back in South Africa all of this is happening in a regulatory vacuum. Believe it or not, marine bunkering operations are not included under South African environmental legislation as an activity which requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), despite advocacy efforts to secure such regulation. This means that bunkering activities are not scrutinised from an environmental perspective before being authorised by SAMSA, and Transnet (TNPA). As things stand, it appears to be the responsibility of nobody.

Interestingly, for ‘Gunes K’, the voyage that preceded her current voyage to Mauritius and South Africa, was from Salalah in Oman, also to Port Louis, where she had discharged between 2nd and 4th April, before sailing back to Fujairah, where she had loaded for this current voyage. One can only assume that this previous voyage was also for purposes of providing bunker fuels.

Gunes K. Cape Town, 19 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Now back in Mauritius on her current voyage, ‘Gunes K’ then detached from ‘Splendour’ at 16:00 on 23rd June, after a ship-to-ship transfer lasting 43 hours, and entered Port Louis harbour, going alongside the single tanker berth at the port. Once more, whether or not this was to continue to discharge her cargo, effectively on her fifth discharge operation, or to load, is not known.

However, whatever the reason for requiring to use the Port Louis pipeline and oil storage tank facilities, ‘Gunes K’ had completed that requirement by 23:00 in the late evening of 24th June. The question marks continued as, on sailing from Port Louis, her AIS showed that she was now bound, wait for it, for Cape Town, with an arrival set for 3rd July at 13:00 in the afternoon. But is it to load in the Mother City, or to discharge? The mystery continues.

Added 25 June 2024


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Marine Bursary Golf Day 24 July 2024

S.A.T.S. General Botha Old Boys Association Bursary Fund

Added 25 June 2024


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Impact of maritime decarbonisation on seafarers: An ISWAN* survey with Shipowners’ Club*

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

Decarbonisation is one of the key drivers of transformation in the maritime sector. To address shipping’s contribution to the climate emergency, maritime companies are being required to take rapid steps to meet mandatory carbon emission regulations. At an institutional level, there is widespread acknowledgement that seafarers are central to meeting the maritime sector’s decarbonisation obligations.

However, through ISWAN’s daily conversations with seafarers, via its helplines and in-person work in India and the Philippines, the charity became concerned that, in practice, seafarers’ wellbeing is often overlooked amidst the urgent pressure to decarbonise.

For this reason, from June to September 2023, ISWAN ran a survey to ask seafarers and others working in the maritime sector about the impact that the rapid adoption of new technologies and regulatory regimes is having on their mental health and job satisfaction.

ISWAN, in collaboration with the Shipowners’ Club as sponsors, have conducted this survey that investigates the impact of decarbonisation, and the resulting workload, on seafarers’ wellbeing and safety.


In the words of Louise Hall, Director Loss Prevention, Corporate Responsibility & Marketing at The Shipowners’: “We look forward to working with ISWAN and other industry stakeholders to take forward the recommendations of this report and ensure that seafarers have the support they need to meet the challenges of the zero carbon transition.”

The survey received 400 valid responses from seafarers, including crew from 29 different nationalities, with the majority from India (42.8% of responses) and the Philippines (15.6%). The largest number of responses were received from engineering officers (42.5%), followed by deck officers (39.4%).

The sample size was much smaller amongst shore-based staff: valid responses were received from 55 staff of 17 nationalities, with the largest number of responses from staff from India (37.7%), the United Kingdom (13.2%) and the Philippines (11.3%)

The report

To download the report readers are invited to see here.

For the 2023 Annual Report see here.

Added 25 June 2024


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International Day of the Seafarer spotlights safety at sea – Celebrating seafarers worldwide


Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

On the International Day of the Seafarer, IMO Secretary-General Mr Arsenio Dominguez pays tribute to the two million seafarers who keep global markets functioning and supply chains going.

Video message

In a video message to seafarers, Mr Dominguez said: “Seafarers have been sorely tested in recent years – facing hostile acts from piracy or in conflict zones. I humbly acknowledge seafarers’ resilience and sacrifice in the name of work.”

Without seafarers there would be no shipping. And shipping is a lifeline for global trade.

UN S-G speaks

UN Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres marked the day, saying: “Seafarers are vital in ensuring a seamless flow of essential goods that eventually make it into markets, homes, and onto our tables… But their own lives have been put on the line in the face of grave threats. Let us together salute them for their essential work and support their safety.”

To read the UN S-G’s full statement see here

Attacks in the Red Sea

Attacks against international shipping can never be justified.

Since November 2023, innocent seafarers have been targeted in ongoing attacks on ships traveling through the Red Sea, stemming from geopolitical tensions. Too many attacks have been launched, damaging or sinking vessels, and resulting in at least four deaths, with many others injured.

IMO calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the Galaxy Leader and its crew, held for more than eight months.

Lest we forget

IMO Secretary-General Dominguez said: “On this Day of the Seafarer, let us remember those who have lost their lives while simply doing their jobs, serving on these ships. Their dedication and sacrifice must not be overlooked. Attacks on the innocent can never be justified, and I will continue to advocate incessantly for the safety and well-being of seafarers.”

See also:  Honouring seafarers who have lost their lives in attacks on ships in the Red Sea

Join the campaign: Share safety tips and experiences

To raise awareness about the safety of seafarers, an IMO social media campaign has been launched, focusing on safety at sea.

Seafarers are invited to share photos and top tips for safety at sea, using the hashtag, #SafetyTipsAtSea on Facebook, LinkedIn, X or Instagram.


Ms KC Abigail Chin-Sood, a seafarer from the Philippines, shared her tips for women in the sector: “Safety at sea involves not only adhering to the highest standards of work safety but also, for women, establishing and maintaining clear boundaries with male colleagues. Preserving your dignity on board is crucial for ensuring your personal safety. By maintaining professionalism and setting boundaries, you can protect yourself from potential scandals and preserve your mental well-being, contributing to a safer and more positive experience on the ship.”

Mr Yrhen Bernard Sabanal Balinis, also from the Philippines, added: “Communication is key onboard ships. Whether it be anchoring, pilot boarding, or mooring, the officers need keen situational awareness to ensure that things are running safely… But effective shipboard communication is not only limited to those. Is a crewmate feeling down, homesick, or anxious? Is abruptly agitated or constantly isolated? Has their performance drastically plummeted? Tactful communication plays an instrumental role in seafarers’ psychological safety.”

Organizations, shipping companies and anyone in the wider maritime community and public are also invited to show support for seafarers by joining the conversation with the hashtag.

Readers are invited to follow the conversation using #SafetyTipsAtSea or #DayOfTheSeafarer and to browse digital assets HERE/.

Added 25 June 2024


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AMSOL celebrates ‘Day of the Seafarer’ – A commitment to Seafarer Safety & Wellbeing

Africa Ports & Ships

Feature written by AMSOL:
25 June 2024

On International ‘Day of the Seafarer’, we reflect on the invaluable contributions seafarers make to keep the economy moving. This year’s global campaign focuses on ensuring a safer workplace at sea. With safety of people at the heart of AMSOL, it is a good opportunity to connect with the hundreds of seafarers working across our fleet in the region and to raise the importance of wellbeing and peer support.

To engage seafarers in this important discussion, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has encouraged them to share their best safety tips as part of a social media campaign with the hashtag #SafetyTipsAtSea.


Whether it’s about the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they wear or the advice they give each other onboard, these insights are vital for building a culture of safety and increasing awareness of the risks seafarers face.

At AMSOL, seafarers work in a high-risk environment and it is our qualified and experienced Masters, Officers and Crew who ensure that safety is top of mind. AMSOL’s Chief Executive Officer Dan Ngakane believes a robust safety culture is built on good communication, mindfulness of the wellbeing of colleagues and a commitment to continuous improvement.

“We’re proud of the safety leaders across our business who remind their colleagues about the value of their lives to loved ones at home and the importance of focusing on the task at hand.”

Dan Ngakane, AMSOL CEO

Earlier this month and in support of ‘Day of the Seafarer’, AMSOL launched a 6 week ‘SAFER TOGETHER’ campaign across the business which supports our collective commitment to working safer, together – and being more aware of how those around us are doing.

Wellbeing is a key focus at AMSOL and, in addition to the services of a social worker across our sites, offices and vessels, we offer employees and their family’s full access to an Employee Wellness Service which provides support on a range of matters that impact employee wellbeing.

As we celebrate the ‘Day of the Seafarer’ today at events in Cape Town, Durban and Gqeberha, we honour the commitment of AMSOL seafarers to start each day and each task with fresh eyes. Working in challenging conditions, these men and women go the extra mile to deliver a professional service to our clients. Together, through shared knowledge, collaboration and a commitment to looking out for one another, we can create a safer and more supportive maritime industry.

About ‘Day of the Seafarer

The ‘Day of the Seafarer’ is celebrated on the 25th of June each year and was established through a resolution adopted at the 2010 Diplomatic Conference in Manila; coinciding with the revision of the STCW Convention. This day is dedicated to acknowledging the unique contributions of seafarers to international seaborne trade, the global economy and civil society. The resolution calls on governments, shipping organizations, companies, shipowners and all relevant parties to promote and meaningfully celebrate this day, highlighting the crucial role of seafarers.

Added 25 June 2024


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WHARF TALK: ocean towing and anchor handling tugs – POSH HAWK & POSH COMMANDER Part Two


POSH Commander, which followed POSH Hawk into Cape Town port on 19 June 2024, to load supplies and bunkers. Picture by ‘Dockrat’


Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Part Two

Whenever two large towing vessels arrive together in any port, it is often indicative of one or two things. One is that they are part of a larger towing team, arriving for reasons of requiring bunkers, stores, fresh provisions, or a crew change, whilst other member of the towing team remain offshore holding the tow, and awaiting the return of the recent arrivals.

The other reason for the possibility of two large towing vessels arriving together is that they form the whole team of a towing contract that is now ended, and the pair have arrived en route elsewhere and are in need of bunkers, stores, fresh provisions, or a crew change. Equally, they may be en route to undertake the start of a towing contract elsewhere.

There was a time when there were literally dozens of ocean towing companies scattered around the world, vying to get hold of any job to maintain gainful employment. Sadly, some of these towing companies employed tugs that were simply not up to the job, and the outcome was an unsavoury mess scattered on a foreign shore. South Africa had its fair share of these outcomes, and ‘Romelia’ and ‘Antipolis’ immediately spring to mind.

That is not to say that all towing companies were not up to scratch. There were some great companies around, sadly no longer with us, such as the United Towing Company, of Hull in the UK, and the company where one of South Africa’s greatest Tugmasters, Captain Danny Betts, cut his teeth. Safmarine is the prime example of a towing operation no longer extant with the two greatest tugs afloat, S.A. Wolraad Woltemade and S.A. John Ross, now mere razorblades.

POSH Commander (right) and POSH Hawk (left). Cape Town, 20 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Some of the other great towing companies such as Wijsmuller, Fairmount Marine, Smit International, Semco Salvage, and ALP Maritime Services are no longer individual operating companies, if they are operating at all. Just as with the great shipping companies of the past, they have all been subsumed, bought out, closed down, or absorbed by bigger operators. Now only two big towing companies roam the oceans, namely the Dutch giant of Royal Boskalis BV, and Singapore based PACC Offshore Services Holdings Pte. Ltd.

Even with these specialist towing operators around, many of the specialist offshore oil and gas industry marine companies now operate fleets which have the kind of giant anchor handler and supply vessels, ones which have a bollard pull that would put most salvage tugs to shame. Some companies even operate both anchor handlers and ocean towing vessels as part of their mix.

Modern day design of both anchor handlers and large ocean tugs is now so close that it is often hard to tell them apart. Luckily for the casual maritime observer in South Africa, these vessels are regular callers in both Cape Town and Durban, whilst moving assets around the world. Occasionally, a company that operates both vessel types will place one of each on a particular towing job, and you get to see them both together.

POSH Commander. Cape Town, 20 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

So it was when ‘Posh Hawk’ and ‘Posh Commander’ arrived together in Cape Town on 19th June. Yesterday a look was taken at ‘Posh Hawk’, which is listed by the owner as an Ocean Towing and Salvage vessel, as well as an Anchor Handling Tug (AHT) vessel. Today we will look at her consort, which is listed by the same owner as an Anchor Handling Tug and Supply (AHTS) vessel. As with ‘Posh Hawk’, so ‘Posh Commander’ was placed alongside the seaward arm of Berth 703, an unusual place for her to be berthed. She had arrived from a crossing of the South Atlantic.

Built in 2011 by USC Keihin shipyard at Yokohama in Japan, ‘Posh Commander’ (IMO 9514286) is 75 metres in length and has a deadweight of 3,180 tons. She is powered by two Wärtsilä 12V32 twelve cylinder, four stroke, main engines producing 8,000 bhp (5,966 kW) each, and driving two nozzled Wärtsilä controllable pitch propellers, each with a Rolls-Royce independent high lift flap rudder, and giving her an intervention sea speed of 12 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes two Caterpillar C18 generators providing 500 kW each, and a single Caterpillar C4.4 emergency generator providing 72 kW. For added manoeuvrability ‘Posh Commander’ has two Kawasaki bow transverse thrusters providing 800 kW each, and a single Kawasaki stern transverse thruster providing 800 kW.

POSH Commander. Cape Town, 20 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her extensive mix of propulsion, rudder and thrusters means that ‘Posh Commander’ has a Dynamic Positioning classification of DP2. This increase in dynamic positioning capability, compared to the dynamic positioning capability of DP1 for ‘Posh Hawk’ is due to her close positioning requirement needed for her supply role. Her DP2 capability is provided by a Converteam ADP21 system, which utilises two DGPS systems, two VRU units, a single Cyscan system, and a Radascan system.

For her towing operations, she has a bollard pull of 195 tons. She is fitted with a Rolls-Royce SL360W towing winch with a drum holding 1,500 metres of 76 mm towing wire, and she is also fitted with two spare reels of 1,500 metres of 76 mm towing wire. For anchor handling and supply operations ‘Posh Commander’ has an aft working deck with an area of 516 m2, and a deck strength of 10 tons/m2.

She is fitted with a TTS knuckleboom deck crane with a lifting capacity of tons, and a rail mounted, moveable, Triplex deck crane with a lifting capacity of 4.5 tons. For supply operations she has underdeck cargo tanks capable of holding 1,542 m3 of fuel, 591 m3 of potable water, 706 m3 of drill water, and four dry bulk tanks, each holding 250 m3. She can discharge fuel at a rate of 150 m3, and fresh water at a rate of 200 m3/hour. Unusually, ‘Posh Commander’ is also fitted with eight deck plugs for reefer containers.

POSH Commander. Cape Town, 20 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of two sisterships, ‘Posh Commander’ has accommodation for 30 persons, and has an endurance of 32 days. For her salvage operations she is categorised with a firefighting capability of FiFi1, and is fitted with two monitors capable of throwing water at a rate of 1,200 m3/hour, and she has a foam tank holding 24 m3. For oil pollution operations she is fitted with two 6m spray booms, and has an oil dispersant tank holding 12 m3.

Nominally owned by Semco Salvage 1 Pte. Ltd., ‘Posh Commander’ is part of the fleet of PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH) Pte. Ltd., of Singapore, and operated by Posh Projects Pte. Ltd., also of Singapore, with management by Posh Fleet Services Pte. Ltd., of Singapore. Semco Salvage was absorbed by PACC Offshore to form POSH. The casual maritime observer will recall that any ocean towing vessels that arrived in South African ports with name prefixes starting with ‘Sal’, such as ‘Salviscount’ or ‘Salvanguard’ were all from the Semco Salvage fleet.

As with ‘Posh Hawk’ back in May, ‘Posh Commander’ had previously arrived in Cape Town, for bunkers, on 4th May at 13:00 in the afternoon, and sailed after 12 hours at 01:00 in the early morning of 5th May. She had arrived from Port Louis in Mauritius, also a bunker call, and the voyage of ‘Posh Hawk’ and ‘Posh Commander’ had begun on 24th February when they had sailed from the CIMC Raffles shipyard at Yantai in China. They had sailed with a newly converted Floating Production Storage Offshore (FPSO) vessel in tow, bound for Brazil.

POSH Commander. Cape Town, 20 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The FPSO was the ‘Marechal Duque de Caxais’ (IMO 9292632), which was owned by the Malaysian shipping company, MISC, and has been converted from their 2005 built, 300,000 dwt, VLCC ‘Bunga Kasturi Dua’. Her conversion resulted in a 341 metre long vessel capable of processing 180,000 barrels of oil per day, the storage of 1.45 million barrels of oil, and the processing of 12 million m3 of natural gas per day.

She had been chartered by the Brazilian state owned oil company, Petrobras, for operating in the Mero field, located in the Santos Basin, in a water depth of 2,070 metres. The Mero field is the third largest oil field in the Brazil offshore estate. To bring ‘Marechal Duque de Caxais’ into service as a FPSO, she will be connected to 15 production and injection wells, which are linked to the FPSO by 80 kilometres of pipelines, 47 kilometres of flexible flowlines, and 44 kilometres of control umbilical cables.

The ‘Marechal Duque de Caxais’ arrived on station on 27th May, courtesy of ‘Posh Hawk’ and ‘Posh Commander’, and was the third FPSO, of four planned, to enter production in the Mero Field to enable a field production capacity of 590,000 barrels per day. She is scheduled to enter full production service in September 2024, with the final FPSO for the field scheduled to enter full production service in 2025.

Added 24 June 2024


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TNPA calling for RFIs to refurbish the Mossel Bay SPM and CBM

Liquid bulk cargo operations off the port of Mossel Bay. Picture: TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) on Monday said it has published a Request for Information (RFI) regarding two important facilities at the Port of Mossel Bay.

The request concerns interested terminal operators to submit proposals for the refurbishment, financing, operation, maintenance, and hand-back of the Single Point Mooring (SPM) and Conventional Buoy Mooring (CBM) Marine Loading Facilities at the Southern Cape port.

The marine loading facilities are located offshore at the Port of Mossel Bay and are used to load and discharge petroleum products to meet liquid bulk customer demands and ensure security of supply for mainly the Garden Route and Southern Cape region.

Managing Liquid Bulk operations at Mossel Bay

TNPA says the RFI seeks to gauge market demand to indicate how to structure a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will be responsive to market demand and enable TNPA to sign a Facility Operator Agreement with an operator who will manage Liquid Bulk operations at the Port of Mossel Bay.

To remain competitive and continue making a solid contribution to the growth of the sustainable energy sector in the region, TNPA identified renewable energy, liquefied natural gas and oil and gas operations as the three main growth and revenue diversification enablers for the Port of Mossel Bay.

“The facilitation of liquid bulk operations within port limits positions the Port of Mossel Bay as a competitive and strategic role player in the Sustainable Energy Sector,” says Captain Vania Cloete, Acting TNPA Port Manager for the Port of Mossel Bay.

RFI documents can be accessed from the National Treasury’s e-tender publication portal and/or the Transnet website:

Responses to the RFI must be submitted by no later than 13 August 2024 at 16h00.

After receiving and reviewing RFI responses, TNPA may release a Request for Proposals provided that sufficient information is obtained from the RFI submissions.

Added 24 June 2024


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Research ship Dr Fridtjof Nansen arrives in Luanda

The Norwegian oceanic research vessel Dr Fridtjof Nansen arriving at the Mozambique port of Maputo. 6 June 2023. Picture: FAO.

Africa Ports & Ships

The Norwegian research vessel, Dr Fridtjof Nansen, docked at the Ghana port of Tema on 8 June, coinciding with World Oceans Day* which was celebrated appropriately.

The research ship forms part of the EAF-Nansen Programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and Norway, together with other partners.

While in port at Tema an event for World Oceans Day was held with representatives of FAO, the Government of Ghana’s Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Royal Norwegian Embassy on the dockside.

Also present were representatives from the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), as well as members of the public and private sectors who could also take a guided tour of the research vessel.

After completing her visit to the Ghanaian port, the research vessel headed south for an appointment with Angolan authorities and further research voyages.

On arrival in Angola the vessel took up her berth in Luanda where scientists and others on board prepared for the next cruises off the Angolan coast.

This entails the first of two expeditions to study the pelagic species of sardine, horse mackerel, and mackerel along the Angolan coast.

The research will cover a period of 26 days with a second 13-day cruise starting on 18 July 2024 in the area around Cabo Ledo, about 120 kilometres south of Luanda.

After completing this phase of research off the Angolan coast, Dr Fridtjof Nansen will move into Namibian waters to undertake similar research further south.

* World Oceans Day was first declared on 8 June, 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a parallel event at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

Added 24 June 2024


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PRASA CEO calls on SADC to invest more in rail

SADC urged to invest more in its rail infrastructure. Picture: Transnet Freight Rail/ Bombardier

Africa Ports & Ships

The railway transport sector in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region has been encouraged to continue to invest in the development, upgrade and maintenance of rail infrastructure.

The urging came from the chief executive officer of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), Hishaan Emeran.

“The introduction of modern rolling stock will boost efficiencies and help divert traffic from the roads,” Emeran said.

“We need to collaborate to solve shared challenges because rail transport provides both an efficient and the most affordable mode of transport for passengers and goods,” Emeran said last Thursday in Cape Town.

His comments were made during his acceptance speech as the newly elected President of the Southern African Railways Association (SARA), an organisation dedicated to promoting and enhancing rail transport services across the SADC region.

The new president committed to acquainting himself with the state of rail in the SARA region by visiting as many of the member countries as possible in an endeavour to address challenges in the sector.

PRASA passenger train. Picture

“With our collective commitment to making the railway industry the preferred means of transportation for goods, services, and people – we also acknowledge that the region’s railway transport sector has not been without challenges.

“The efficiencies of our rail networks have been compromised by inadequate, in some cases obsolete and poorly maintained rail infrastructure and rolling stock,” Emeran said.

He said the region is at the centre of efforts to promote regional trade and harness sustainable regional economic growth.

“We are at a critical point in our region’s history, at the intersection of opportunity and preparedness and as SARA we have to be ready to play our role in supporting sustainable social and economic growth of our region by delivering robust rail services.” source:

Added 24 June 2024


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Reports of another ship abandoned in Red Sea after Houthi attack

Africa Ports & Ships

On Sunday 23 June 2024 UKMTO (United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations) reported having received a distress call from a vessel 96 nautical miles south east of Nishtun in Yemen.

A subsequent report stated a distress call had been received from this vessel with an update saying the ship has suffered flooding that cannot be contained.

“This has forced the master and crew to abandon the ship. They have been recovered by an assisting ship. The abandoned vessel remains adrift at position 14˚31’ N 053˚08’ E. The relevant authorities have been informed. This is confirmed as a SOLAS incident.”

Bulk carrier attacked

Also on Sunday (23 June) a Greek-owned Liberian-flagged bulk carrier, Transworld Navigator (IMO 9469924) became yet another of the merchant ships sailing in the lower Red Sea or Gulf of Aden to be attacked by drones or missiles launched by the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.

The 177,897-dwt Transworld Navigator was journeying from south east Asia bound for Egypt when she came under attack from at least four uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) directed towards the vessel.

One of these struck the ship, with the crew reporting minor damage. The attack took place at 04:00 Sanaa (local) time. The vessel is reported to have continued her voyage.

Meanwhile, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) reported on Saturday 22 June that CENTCOM forces in the area had destroyed three uncrewed surface vessels (USV) in the Red Sea.

The Houthis also launched three anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBM) from a Houthi controlled area of Yemen into the Gulf of Aden. CENTCOM said there were no injuries or significant damage reported by US, coalition, or merchant vessels.

CENTCOM denied Houthi claims that a “successful” attack by Houthi forces had been made on the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN-69), calling the claim “categorically false”.

On 20 June CENTCOM reported that US forces had destroyed four Houthi USVs plus two UASs in and over the Red Sea. On the previous day (19 June) two USVs had been intercepted and destroyed.

CENTCOM also reported having destroyed a ground control station and a command and control node in a Houthi controlled area of Yemen.

Added 24 June 2024


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Transnet issues disciplinary charges against TNPA chief executive, Pepi Silinga

Africa Ports & Ships

Five months after Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) chief executive Pepi Silinga took a voluntary leave of absence over allegations that included his having allegedly influenced the awarding of a lucrative fencing contract, Transnet’s Board of Directors and the TNPA Board have agreed to issue disciplinary charges against him.

Pepi Silinga, TNPA chief executive

Transnet SOC Ltd said it was acting on legal advice and the recommendations arising from the investigations.

This followed Transnet SOC Ltd having appointed Bowmans attorneys earlier this year to investigate allegations of impropriety at Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

Bowmans was also appointed to assist with implementing the recommendations of a forensic report by Fundudzi Investigators which considered the award of a tender for the multi-purpose terminal at the Port of Ngqura.

Transnet said on Saturday that it has instituted disciplinary charges against managers implicated in the Fundudzi report as well as other managers at TNPA implicated in acts of impropriety.

External independent chairpersons have been appointed to chair all disciplinary proceedings.

The fencing contracts were awarded for the ports of Richards Bay and Saldanha in favour of the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) as implementing partner, an organisation of which Silinga was CEO prior to his move to TNPA.

It is alleged that the value of the contract to fence the ports of Richards Bay and Saldanha rose from R80 million to R300 million following the appointment of the CDC.

Transnet says it will ensure this matter is dealt with swiftly and with the necessary sensitivity.

See related reports here in Africa Ports & Ships

TNPA’s Pepi Silinga takes voluntary leave of absence

Transnet reacts to allegations against TNPA chief executive Pepi Silinga

Added 23 June 2024


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WHARF TALK: ocean towing and anchor handling tugs – POSH HAWK & POSH COMMANDER

The ocean towing and anchor handling tug POSH Hawk, in Cape Town 20 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Part One

One aspect of international shipping, and the movement of assets around the globe that the Houthi menace has very little effect on is that of the worldwide Oil and Gas Industry. The main reason for that is that there is scant, if any, traffic which is required to transit the Suez Canal, and the Red Sea when moving between oil and gas regions.

The huge, and well developed, oil and gas regions of Brazil, the North Sea, West Africa, the Far East, India, Australia and the Gulf of Mexico are linked with maritime highways that move north to south, or east to west, with little requirement to move through the Mediterranean Sea to get between any two of these regions.

The Cape sea route links just about all of them when it comes to moving oil and gas assets around, either directly from the shipyards, mostly in the Far East, to the new operating area, or when moving from one contract to the next. These two requirements means that Cape Town, and occasionally Durban, gets to see a vast variety of oil and gas related traffic, either for a bunkers call, a short maintenance call, or even a major overhaul and refit call.

Many of these assets do not possess the ability to move themselves from one region to the next, such as jack-up oil rigs, some semi-submersible oil rigs, work barges, floatels, and the large FPSO units. The development of the offshore, deep water, regions such as Angola and Brazil is where the FPSO units are usually headed to.

For the FPSOs to get to where they are needed, they need a couple of powerful oceanic tugs to deliver them. Once delivered, these same tugs have to return to somewhere to start the next job, which often means two visits over a short space of time, as they first transit in one direction, and then return a few months later in the reverse direction.

POSH Hawk. Cape Town, 20 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 19th June, within a half hour of each other around 08:00 in the morning, the ocean towing and anchor handling tugs ‘Posh Hawk’ (IMO 9624598) and ‘Posh Commander’ (IMO 9514286) both arrived off Cape Town harbour, from an offshore location off the coast of Brazil. They both followed each other into Cape Town harbour, but not quite entering the Ben Schoeman Dock, and in an unusual berthing arrangement, both were placed alongside the outer wall of the 703 berth area, which is nominally used as a Lay Up, or a Lay By, berth.

They had previously called westbound, back in late April and Early May, when first ‘Posh Hawk’ arrived in Cape Town on 29th April, at 22:00 in the late evening, for a bunker stop. She then sailed on 2nd May, at 08:00 in the morning, after a 58 hour call. As always happens with big oceanic tug calls, a second tug waits offshore with the towing charge, whilst the first tug calls in, and once the first one has returned to take the tow, the second tow arrives shortly thereafter.

Looking in this article at ‘Posh Hawk’, she was built in 2013 by JMU Japan Marine United Corporation shipyard at Tsurumi in Japan. She is 75 metres in length and has a deadweight of 3,381 tons. She is powered by two Wärtsilä 12V32 twelve cylinder, four stroke, main engines producing 8,160 bhp (6,085 kW) each, which drive two, nozzled, controllable pitch propellers which gives her an intervention sea speed of 15 knots. Each propeller is linked to a Rolls-Royce high lift flap rudder.

Her auxiliary machinery includes two generators providing 400 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 60 kW. For added manoeuvrability ‘Posh Hawk’ has a single transverse thruster providing 800 kW, and a single transverse stern thruster providing 600 kW. Her propeller and thruster configuration gives her a dynamic positioning classification of DP1, which is controlled by a Rolls-Royce RRM Icon DP1 system.

POSH Hawk. Cape Town, 20 June 2024.

As a combined ocean towing, and salvage tug, ‘Posh Hawk’ has a bollard pull of 207 tons. Her aft towing deck has a working area of 450 m2, and a deck strength of 10 tons/m2. For towing operations she is fitted with a Fukushima DDW-350H-4M towing winch, with 1,500 metres of 76mm towing wire. She also has two spare 1,500 metre reels of 76mm towing wire. Her operational endurance for towing, or salvage, operations is 45 days.

For salvage operations, and for moving salvage gear around her working deck, ‘Posh Hawk’ is fitted with a knuckleboom deck crane capable of lifting 5 tons. She is classified with a firefighting capability of FiFi1, and has two fire-fighting monitors able to throw water at a rate of 1,200 m3/hour, and has a foam tank capacity of 24 m3. For anti-pollution operations she has two spray booms of 6 m in length, and has an oil dispersant tank capacity of 18 m3.

POSH Hawk. Cape Town, 20 June 2024.

One of four sisterships, known as the ‘Raptor’ class, ‘Posh Hawk’ is nominally owned by Condor Shipping Pte., Ltd., and is part of PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH) Pte., Ltd., of Singapore. She is operated by POSH Projects Pte., Ltd., also of Singapore, and managed by POSH Fleet Services Pte., Ltd., of Singapore.

Her previous arrival in Cape Town on 29th April, had been from Port Louis, in Mauritius, where she had called for an 18 hour bunker stop between 11th and 12th April. From departing from Cape Town on 2nd May, to returning back to Cape Town on 19th June, ‘Posh Hawk’ had completed a 47 day round trip, over 6,667 nautical miles, with an average speed of 6.5 knots.

POSH Hawk. Cape Town, 20 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has been a visitor to Cape Town prior to these last two visits, as she called into Cape Town on 3rd May 2014. She had arrived to collect the Saipem owned, semi-submersible drilling rig, ‘Scarabeo 7’, which had arrived in Cape Town on 13th December 2013, from offshore Angola, where she had completed a deepwater drilling contract for BP.

She then spent the next five months lying at A berth in the Duncan Dock, and work on the ‘Scarabeo 7’ included the renewal of about 245 tons of steel, repairs to the thrusters, and the fabrication, installation and outfitting of a new accommodation module, with 4.5 km of pipework having been replaced on the rig. For the local Cape Town economy, the maintenance refit had involved almost 600,000 working man hours, with almost 4,000 people employed on the project.

Scarabeo 7 arriving in Cape Town on 13 December 2013.   Picture by Zayyaan Darries

The stay of ‘Scarabeo 7’ at A berth made her a bit of a local landmark, over the extended period whilst undergoing her post contract maintenance refit. On completion she was towed from the Mother City by ‘Posh Hawk’, and across the Indian Ocean to Balikpapan, located in the province of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, in Indonesia, to start a four year drilling contract for the local subsidiary of the Italian oil major ENI.

The current stay in Cape Town of both ‘Posh Hawk’, and ‘Posh Commander’ is for an, as yet, unknown period. Of interest, but not necessarily connected, is that two of her sisterships, ‘Posh Falcon’ and ‘Posh Eagle’, are both currently steaming for Cape Town, both from West Africa, with an ETA at the end of June. It is not known if their arrival is linked to the current stay in Cape Town of the two fleetmates.

Added 23 June 2024


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Cruise ship Insignia in rescue of migrants off NW African coast

Cruise ship Insignia arriving in Durban as part of her world tour, 29 May 2024. Picture by Keith Betts

Africa Ports & Ships

The cruise ship Insignia, which was completing her world cruise with a tour of Southern and West African destinations, was unexpectedly caught up in the dramatic rescue of 68 migrants at sea.

Insignia, which is managed an operated by Oceania Cruises, recently called in South Africa as part of its 180-day world cruise, before heading along the west coast towards West Africa and Europe.

As Insignia rounded the bulge of West Africa and headed northwards towards the Canary Islands, she was requested to rendezvous with a bulk carrier, Philipp Oldendorff some 440 nautical miles south of Tenerife.

The bulk carrier had come across the migrant boat drifting south of the Canary Islands, which is an autonomous community of Spain off the north-western African coast.

The bulker stopped to render assistance to the ocean-going pirogue, a large canoe-type boat common to Senegal and other West African states. These are commonly used for fishing but increasingly now to take migrants on the perilous journey to the Canaries.

According to the Spanish authorities on the Canary Islands, a total of 68 people were rescued from the pirogue – 62 men, three women and three children, in addition to three bodies.

Two other bodies could not not be recovered due to the poor weather conditions.

A fourth person who was in such poor health that a helicopter was sent from the islands to uplift him to a hospital, died before the search & rescue aircraft could reach the ship.

Once transferred on board the Insignia, which is no stranger to the African continent, the migrants received food and water as well as medical treatment, and placed in the ship’s lounge, which was closed off to the passengers.

They were later taken safely ashore at the port of Santa Cruz on Tenerife.

Each year many thousands of migrants, mostly from Africa, arrive in the Canary Islands by sea, and an estimated 5,000 have already died making this dangerous journey between January and end May 2024.

Added 24 June 2024


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Transnet disappointed with court judgement over pipeline dispute

Africa Ports & Ships








Transnet SOC Ltd says it is disappointed by the judgment handed down on 18 June 2024 in an action instituted against it by Total and Sasol.

This concerned the recovery of amounts paid to Transnet for the conveyance of crude oil in Transnet’s crude oil pipeline from Durban to the Natref refinery in Sasolburg, which is jointly owned by Total and Sasol.

The case concerned the application of an agreement (which took the form of an exchange of letters between the parties) concluded in 1967 between Total, Sasol and the South African government at the time. This was varied by the parties (also by way of an exchange of letters) in 1991.

This agreement, which has since been cancelled, had as its central feature that, in calculating the tariff from Durban to the Natref refinery, the so-called “neutrality principle” would apply in terms of which Natref would neither be advantaged nor disadvantaged by its inland location.

The judgment handed down by the High Court concerns the application of the neutrality principle in the face of uncontested evidence that Total and Sasol made vast transport profits during the claim period.

According to Transnet the judgment “thus has enormous implications not only for the public purse but also for Transnet’s ability to discharge its obligations under the applicable legislation and its licence conditions.”

Transnet says it intends to appeal the judgment and is in the process of instructing its legal team accordingly.

Added 23 June 2024


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Beira port sets new productivity record loading granite into ship

Port of Beira. Picture : Cornelder de Moçambique

Africa Ports & Ships

The Mozambique port of Beira, managed and operated by Cornelder de Moçambique, recently achieved impressive productivity levels when loading granite blocks onto a ship.

Granite blocks, heavy and awkward objects to handle, let alone load into the hold of a ship, are mined in Mozambique and in neighbouring Zimbabwe ad are handled at the Beira General Cargo Terminal.

The record recently achieved is reported as being an average daily productivity of 6,384 tons, well above the general average of 3,400 tons a day.

The blocks were loaded into the bulk carrier True Mariner (IMO 9599822) over a period of 39 hours in late May, according to the source.

A total of 10,374 tons was loaded into the vessel.

The improvement in productivity was made possible by utilising forward planning and improved coordination between the storage area and dock operations, including improving the location of the granite in the storage area.

Ensuring the correct cargo handling equipment was available and on hand was also a factor.

Added 24 June 2024


As notícias continuam abaixo

Porto da Beira bate novo recorde de produtividade no carregamento de granito para o navio

Porto da Beira. Imagem cortesia: Cornelder de Moçambique

Africa Ports & Ships

O porto moçambicano da Beira, gerido e operado pela Cornelder de Moçambique, atingiu recentemente níveis de produtividade impressionantes no carregamento de blocos de granito para um navio.

e difíceis de manusear, quanto mais carregar no porão de um navio, são extraídos em Moçambique e no vizinho Zimbabué e são manuseados no Terminal de Carga Geral da Beira.

O recorde alcançado recentemente é de produtividade média diária de 6.384 toneladas, bem acima da média geral de 3.400 toneladas diárias.

Os blocos foram carregados no graneleiro True Mariner (IMO 9599822) durante um período de 39 horas no final de maio, segundo a fonte.

Um total de 10.374 toneladas foram carregadas na embarcação.

A melhoria da produtividade foi possível graças ao planeamento antecipado e à melhoria da coordenação entre a área de armazenamento e as operações da doca, incluindo a melhoria da localização do granito na área de armazenamento.

Garantir que o equipamento correto de movimentação de carga estivesse disponível e disponível também foi um fator importante.

Adicionado em 24 de junho de 2024


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Hundreds of vehicles damaged inside car carrier Höegh London after leaving PE

Africa Ports & Ships

Hundreds of motor vehicles for export had to be discharged back into the car terminal at Port Elizabeth after the Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC) Höegh London (IMO 9342205) ran into heavy weather shortly after sailing from the Eastern Cape port.

Höegh London arrived in PE on 5 June to load several hundred Ford Ranger bakkies (pickups) and VW Polo Hatchbacks for export. Shortly after departing for Durban the 8,500-ceu, 229-metre long car carrier ran into bad weather including strong winds and seas, during which, it appears, the hydraulics on one of the adjustable cargo decks may have failed.

At any rate, damage was caused to hundreds of the South African-built motor vehicles as the ship experienced the strong winds and seas and the ship returned to Port Elizabeth to discharge those vehicles that were damaged.

It appeared from observation that most of the vehicles with damage were the VW Polo Hatchbacks.

Höegh London has meanwhile continued her voyage, departing again from PE on 15 June and arriving off Durban 17 June. On Saturday 23 June the car carrier remained in the Durban port (coincidentally also a day of strong winds) and the length of stay hints that the ship is possibly undergoing internal repairs.

Added 23 June 2024


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‘Solly’ Letsoalo returns as Transnet SOC Ltd Chief Operating Officer

Lekau ‘Solly’ Letsoalo

Africa Ports & Ships

The appointment of Mr Lekau ‘Solly’ Letsoalo as Group Chief Operating Officer of Transnet SOC Ltd with effect 1 July 2024, has been announced.

‘Solly’ Letsoalo, who will report to the Group Chief Executive, will oversee the work of the Chief Executives of all Transnet’s Operating Divisions, as well as Group Safety, Security and Digital Transformation.

He is no stranger to Transnet, having been former Chief Operating Officer of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT). Mr Letsoalo has also spent 14 years in the private sector – first, as Managing Director at Aveng Manufacturing and more recently as Chief Executive Officer of Cargo Carriers Pty Ltd.

He has extensive knowledge of Transnet’s business operations. While at TPT, he was involved with the expansion and construction of the Pier 2 and Pier 1 and Ngqura Container Terminals, and also the modernisation of the Cape Town Container Terminal.

His global exposure, including learning experiences in the USA, UK, Belgium, Germany, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan, has further enriched his leadership capabilities.

“It is great to welcome Mr Letsoalo back to Transnet and to be able to draw on his global knowledge of the logistics industry at such an important time in our organisation’s history,” says Group Chief Executive, Ms Michelle Phillips.

Added 20 June 2024


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Grindrod appointed as preferred bidder for Richards Bay container handling facility

Berth 608, the Richards Bay Port container handling facility. Picture: TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

There’s an avoidance of referring to it as a terminal (just yet) but Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has appointed Grindrod South Africa as the Preferred Bidder to develop and operate a container handling facility at the Port of Richards Bay.

As part of overall plans to improve port efficiency and service levels, the development is aimed at driving an increase in the port’s container handling capacity from 50,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 200,000 TEUs per annum.

This is in alignment with the TNPA KZN ports master plan, but also responds to historical calls from industry for a container terminal in Richards Bay (there’s that word).

The award follows the successful conclusion of a Section 56 concession process in terms of the National Ports Act, Act no. 12 of 2005, which began with the issuing of a Request for Information (RFI) and subsequently the Request for Proposals (RFP) to market.

With over 20 years of expertise in the container sector, Grindrod SA is ideally positioned to spearhead the development and operation of this facility. The project entails an estimated capital investment of approximately R285 million, offering a substantial boost to the region’s container industry.

The facility is scheduled to become operational in 2027.

The project is likely to help stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and foster skills development in Richards Bay.

TNPA says the partnership with Grindrod SA, a Level 1 B-BBEE South African registered company, underscores TNPA’s commitment to transformation. Grindrod SA has indicated it intends to partner with Eyamakhosi Resources (Pty) Ltd, a local entity within the local Umhlathuze municipality.

This will ensure that the benefits of the project extend to the local community.

Phyllis Difeto, acting chief executive, TNPA

Phyllis Difeto, TNPA acting chief executive, described it as a significant step forward in TNPA’s efforts to enhance the Port of Richards Bay’s infrastructure and capacity.

“We are confident that Grindrod South Africa’s experience and commitment to local partnership will drive the success of the facility, bringing considerable economic and logistical benefits to the region,” she said.

The strategic location of the proposed container handling facility will serve the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal province (KZN) effectively, providing vital proximity to the hinterland market.

This positioning is anticipated to lower logistics costs and reduce transportation lead times, benefiting both local and regional economies.

Xolani Mbambo, chief executive officer of Grindrod Limited, said they believe that the Richards Bay container handling facility will significantly impact global trade and the region’s economic growth, contributing to employment and uplifting local communities.

“We are honoured to have been awarded the preferred bidder,” he said.

Added 20 June 2024


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SA Port Statistics for May 2024

TNPA provides a helicopter service for the transfer of marine pilots at Durban and Richards Bay. At the port of Durban this service has reverted to a 24-service in response to the Container Recovery plan. The photo above was taken during a training exercise involving the NSRI.   Picture: TNPA

By Africa Ports & Ships

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

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

Figures for the respective ports during May 2024 are:


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

PORT May 2024 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.467
Durban 6.120
Saldanha Bay 5.548
Cape Town 1.348
Port Elizabeth 1.437
Ngqura 1.520
Mossel Bay 0.020
East London 0.158
Total all ports 22.619 million tonnes

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

PORT May 2024 TEUs
Durban 217,904
Cape Town 64,248
Port Elizabeth 19,955
Ngqura 72,002
East London 0,288
Richards Bay 0
Total all ports 374,397 TEU

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

PORT May 2024 CEUs
Durban 37,586
Cape Town 3
Port Elizabeth 14,824
East London 6,733
Richards Bay 0
Total all ports 59,146

SHIP CALLS for May 2024

PORT May 2024 vessels gross tons
Durban 227 7,655,889
Cape Town 243 3,959,479
Richards Bay 105 4,543,620
Port Elizabeth 113 2,475,617
Saldanha Bay 50 3,353,585
Ngqura 51 2,366,097
East London 29 870,409
Mossel Bay 24 146,754
Total ship calls 842 25,371,450
— source TNPA, with adjustments regarding container weights by Africa Ports & Ships

Added 19 June 2024



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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

PORT May 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.467
Durban 6.120
Saldanha Bay 5.548
Cape Town 1.348
Port Elizabeth 1.437
Ngqura 1.520
Mossel Bay 0.020
East London 0.158
Total all ports during May 2023 22.619 million tonnes