Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 13 July 2024

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FIRST VIEW:   Ipek – off to the boneyard


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FIRST VIEW:   IPEK – off to the boneyard

Ipek. – inal departure.  Durban 19 June 2024 Picture by Trevor Jones
Ipek.   Final departure.  Durban 19 June 2024 Picture by Trevor Jones

Vessels that are nearing the end of their lives are often of greater interest than more modern units, wrote Trevor Jones in a recent Durban Branch World Ships Society newsletter.

“It was therefore a pleasant surprise to see a brick-red coloured freighter of rather tatty external appearance berthed at A/B shed, the Cruise Terminal berth, two days before the winter solstice. The vessel in question carried the short name of Ipek (2001/12,939 grt) and was flying the flag of St Kitts Nevis. This is often an ominous sign, as the St Kitts registry is quite frequently used by ships on their final one-way voyages to the scrapyard.

“It is also quite common for vessels to have their names shortened for these voyages, and this was my initial thought in this instance, although this was not entirely correct, as the vessel had been operating previously as Ipek Oba. This name was totally unfamiliar, but once again a small piece of web research revealed her owners as Devmarin Denizcilik of Istanbul, Turkey.

This then made some sense, as the vessel has been Turkish pretty well throughout her life. I had also initially, but incorrectly, thought that she was built to an East German design, but in fact she was built at the Türkiye Gemi yard near Istanbul in 2001 for Turkish Maritime Lines (TML) as their Bakü, and as such, to the best of my recollection, she was the last vessel to call at Durban with the quite splendid mustard-and-white with crossed-anchors stack of TML, although that was back in 2003, when the vessel was quite new.

“She is far from new now, and for once I happened to be in the right place at the right time, as a pilot flag fluttered up above her bridge just as I was pulling up in Mahatma Gandhi Road (old Point Road), and two tugs appeared. What looked to be a rag-tag crew then popped up on board, lines were dropped, and the ship sailed, but unusually without her scanners turning, and at a snail’s pace she crept over the bar and headed out to sea, as shown in my photograph overleaf.

A quick look at showed her next port as Bhavnagar, India, the centre close to the scrapping beaches of Alang, so the vessel is virtually certainly headed for the breakers. On the evidence of her pedestrian exit from Durban, this might turn out to be quite a long voyage, and one hopes the old girl makes it.” – Trevor Jones
Acknowledgements to The World Ships Society, Durban Branch

Pictures are by Trevor Jones

Africa Ports & Ships


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Marine Bursary Golf Day 24 July 2024

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

Africa Ports & Ships


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Container ship CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin loses 44 containers overboard off Durban

CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin in the port at Los Angeles, December 2015. One of the biggest container ships afloat, in terms of length and width, but not in capacity. Picture: Port of Los Angeles
Africa Ports & Ships

It’s been confirmed that the 18,000-TEU container ship CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin lost 44 containers overboard during rough weather, while sailing along the South African coast near Durban.

The vessel is a divert from the Red Sea/Suez Canal route.

CMA CGM has confirmed that the 400 metre long, 54m wide vessel lost 44 containers overboard during bad weather condition off the KwaZulu-Natal coast, opposite the port city of Durban.

The ship was on her westbound voyage from Asia to Europe when she encountered strong adverse weather conditions off the KZN coast, during which a total off 44 containers were lost overboard and a further 30 boxes are reported damaged on the vessel.

The incident occurred on Tuesday 9 July. CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin has since proceeded to Algoa Bay off the Eastern Cape coast where she is currently at anchor.

The French company said there were no injuries to the crew reported, no pollution [yet], and no bad damage to the ship which remains seaworthy.

How big is the Benjamin Franklin?  Image – Marex

“After due inspection, it is assessed that all containers lost at sea contained harmless goods and do not contain any dangerous cargo,” said CMA CGM.

The vessel is undergoing a thorough assessment of the situation and taking all relevant and necessary measures to ensure a safe prosecution of the sea voyage to Europe, the company added.

Customers impacted by the incident are being contacted individually to share all available information and grant best assistance in the next steps, CMA CGM said.

It’s has since been reported that some of the lost containers have been sighted on the KZN coast near Port Shepstone, about 100km south of Durban.

A navigation warning has been issued to all vessels operating in the area, advising them to navigate with caution. Vessels and the public are urged to report any sightings of the lost containers to the relevant authorities.

Added 13 July 2024


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Inland Navigation: Pathway for sustainable urbanization & industrialisation in Africa

Handling cargo on the Congo River, circa early to mid 1900s. Picture by Annemarie Schwarzenbach / Wikipedia Commons
Africa Ports & Ships

This is an abridged version of a paper presented at the 35th World Association for Waterborne Infrastructure (PIANC) World Congress – 29 April to 3 May 2024, Cape Town, South Africa. The full paper will be made available in the next few days in the FEATURES section, – see link below.

By Lanre Badmus

Whilst Africa is blessed with long and expansive inland waters, the continent continues to battle with chronic mobility and developmental issues. About seventy percent of major cities and national capitals on the continent are located along or by a waterfront, however connectivity in Africa is poor and disjointed; the continent has the lowest per capita water transport infrastructure stock of any region of the world.

Many of her water cities lack basic social amenities; residents are faced with limited economic opportunities and serious environmental pressures, unlike in North Americas and Europe, where the coastal settlements enjoy easy access to both domestic and foreign markets.

The under-performance of Africa’s inland waterways has been linked to historical and institutional neglect. Under a colonised Africa, the European rulers focus was on exploiting the continent’s resources, thus they invested entirely on rail infrastructure, which provided the best returns on investments.

The national governments that took over the reins after independence did very little to improve on what was inherited. The institutions created were poorly funded; those responsible seem to regard water transport as old fashion.

The development of the waterways was not a priority, in strong contrast to the attention and financial allocations made to the building of infrastructure on land. City planners turn their backs on the waterways and try to redesign settlements to conform to the geometry and demands of the road network. Today, road transport is the dominant mode in Africa with low reliability and congestion issues, despite the transformative potential of inland water transport (IWT).

Picture 1 Major rivers of Africa

Across the continent, the waterways system is populated by wooden boats powered by motor engines usually over-tasked with passengers and goods. The business receives little encouragement from state institutions, the wooden boats operate from facilities deemed unsafe and inefficient; they are manned by non-certified personnel and unregulated.

Many littoral communities are very difficult to reach for the supply of food, fuel and other essential goods. Residents rely on dugout canoes to transport their wares; these local boats are not integrated into the dominant land centered transport network.

The delta of the Niger River is largest oil and gas producing basin in Africa, crisscrossed by network of rivers and lakes, almost half of the residents live in remote, isolated and inaccessible communities with no motor-able roads. For people in the region, the waterway is absolutely imperative for survival and for accessing social services-education and health services.

The neglect of these river communities, ravaged by poverty and insecurity, have seen them become hotbeds of transnational crimes – armed robbery, piracy, drug smuggling, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing etc.

The Congo River boasts of the continent’s largest network of navigable waterways, about 14,000km; however of this total, just about 1,000km are accessible all year, depending on the height of the water. The amount of goods transported on the Congo River – consisting mainly of agricultural produce, wood, minerals, and fuel – is very modest (less than 5%) in comparison with the situation in Europe.

Wooden boat on the Congo River. Picture: BBC News

African countries have over the years promoted a number of legal instruments on maritime transport, trade and trans-boundary rivers for the economic development of the continent. The African Maritime Transport (AMT) Charter, first adopted June 1994 in Tunis and later revised, is the main continental cooperative agreement that deals particularly on maritime transport in the promotion of trade and industrialization in Africa.

The rising threats of piracy, hijacking of ships and other crimes such as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, smuggling, drugs, human and small arms trafficking, led to the adoption of the African Charter on Maritime Security and Safety (Lome Charter) in 2016, to promote safety and sustainable development of continent’s blue/ocean economy as well as deal with challenges of insecurity.

Another supportive agreement is the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), adopted in 2018, that seeks to create a single market for goods and services, thus increasing the demand for inland and maritime shipping services.

Africa has never lacked good policies, the down-side has been the political will. For the continent to transit from a land of poverty to prosperity, the revised AMT charter must be made active as soon as possible. A supra-national body is required, dedicated to the rapid and sustainable development of Africa’s navigation infrastructure, inland waterways and rivers.

The AU Commission should take steps to constitute a body of experts that would commence the groundwork to fast track the implementation of the AMT charter prior to securing the requisite endorsements of her member States. The Commission should galvanize AU Heads of State and Government to invest the kind of energy that made it possible for AfCFTA to be adopted and come into force within a span of two years.

Picture 2 River Basins of Africa

With the support of technology, water transport has grown to become the most economic and attractive means of transiting persons and freight, within and between communities. Investments in water resources help cities to grow sustainably and become attractive places to live.

Cities benefits by putting water at the core of their urban planning, cities that have successfully integrated water resources (rivers, canals, lakes and harbours) in their urban planning tend to have a pull-effect on people. Homes with a glimpse of the sea or a piece of the riverside attract significantly higher market value.

In Europe, USA and Asia, river banks and waterfronts have become places where people gather to socialize. Motorways have been remodelled and turned into open, urban waterways with lots of recreational value for residents and tourists. The trans-boundary river basins of Africa cover a larger area than in the EU territory, however in the last two centuries, Europe has been able to harness her river basins to drive its industrial growth and transform hinterlands into modern cities.

The situation in Africa is very different; many of coastal settlements lack basic services like electricity, water and sanitation – contributing to disease outbreaks, untreated waste and waste water. Poor planning has further exposed these settlements to flooding, coastal erosion and landslides. Yet these settlements are in geographical proximity, thus connecting them by constructing canals as links create trans-boundary marine highways, which supports the economy and urban development.

The challenge of chaotic urban planning and stunted industrialization that characterize African settlements blessed with large water bodies can be addressed by integrating basin management of water in a town or city with its development plans. The integrated urban water management (IUMW) approach ensures water usage (waterways, water supply, sanitation, storm water, waste water) are managed in a holistic and sustainable manner.

It considers the intersection of the urban water cycle with other aspects of urban planning such as city infrastructure, mobility and land use. IUMW also ensures that all sources and uses of water are managed to satisfy the different demands of the city residents (domestic, agriculture, industry, recreation and the environment) for a sustainable urban economy.

Other value adding approaches include Working with Nature (WwN) concept promoted by the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure, formerly Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses (PIANC) and Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) – promoted by the US Army Corps of Engineers (UASCE), on the use of nature-based solutions (NbS) that yield economic, environmental, and social benefits in the delivery of navigation infrastructure projects; the use of wetlands, ponds and streams to enhance climate adaptation/reduce negative impacts of climate change hazards.

Water transportation accelerates economic development, it allows businesses to lower production and delivery costs, influences land use pattern, supports urbanization and inflicts less damage on the environment compared with other transport modes. Africa’s inability to effectively harness her river systems and integrate with other modes (rail and road) is a major pointer to why supply chain costs is the highest of any region of the world.

In the context of urban development, the waterways have been shown as a major contributor in the transformation of an urban slum into a livable city. The role of water in sustainable urbanism cannot be overstated – low cost transport of goods and people, healthy environment to live in, fosters social cohesion and prosperity. Africa’s inland waterways provide a sustainable path for the rapid transformation of her urban and coastal settlements into livable modern cities.


Lanre Badmus is Lead Consultant to the West Coast Business Support Services (Nigeria) and Transport Infrastructure & Policy Specialist. He is a Member of the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC).

The full unabridged paper as presented at the Cape Town meeting will appear shortly in the Africa Ports & Ships FEATURES section and will be found HERE.

Added 12 July 2024


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Ultra Galaxy update – salvage operations take centre stage

Video courtesy SAMSA / YouTube

Africa Ports & Ships

In the latest update received from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), salvage work is continuing on the stricken Panama-flagged cargo ship, Ultra Galaxy, which has gone aground off the coast of Duiwegat just South of Brand se Baai on the West Coast.

Expert salvage teams are now on site conducting a survey of the surrounding areas and the vessel.  The general cargo ship is lying on its starboard side in the surf.

SAMSA says all efforts are currently focused on preparing the equipment that will allow salvors to access the vessel once the heavy weather subsides.

Pollution clean-up teams are already working on removing flotsam from the beaches. Additionally, SAMSA has issued a Navigation Warning to all ships in the area to be on the lookout for any flotsam, as these may present a danger to navigation.

The vessel was abandoned by its crew of 18 Filipino seafarers after developing an excessive list and grounded at 22:06 local time on Tuesday evening. The vessel has a full load of fertilizer in bags on board and also contains low sulphur bunkering fuel in addition to hydraulic and related oils.

The vessel’s 18 Filipino crew members arrived in St Helena Bay on Tuesday after being rescued earlier on Monday following an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert from the vessel, then positioned approximately 60 nautical miles west of Doringbaai, which was detected at 03:00 local time, prompting an immediate response.

The Panama-registered Ultra Galaxy (previously known as Thor Galaxy and Thorco Galaxy) is a 124.56-metre-long general cargo vessel built in 2008. At the time of its distress call early on Monday, it was en-route from Spain to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

With the crew safely rescued, all efforts are now fully focused on salvaging the vessel, SAMSA said.

Added 11 July 2024


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Transnet gradually resuming port operations at Cape ports

Santa Rita, one of the container ships trapped in Cape Town port by the inclement weather. Picture: TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is gradually resuming its port operations after suspending shipping movements at Eastern and Western Cape ports for safety reasons due to adverse weather conditions.

Operations at the Port Elizabeth Bulk Terminal and at Saldanha and the Cape Town Multipurpose Terminals resumed on Wednesday 10 July 2024.

The Cape Town Container Terminal is still experiencing high swells and remains wind-bound. Three ships, Santa Rita, MSC Carole and CMA CGM Aqaba, remain on berth at CTCT. This has impacted two vessels that are unable to dock.

TNPA is assessing the movements of smaller ships, which can be docked during this period.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape terminals are operating intermittently in the interest of employee safety, according to Transnet Port Terminals (TPT). Western Cape terminals are expected to resume operations on Friday afternoon.

KwaZulu-Natal terminals are operating normally.

Diverted ships delayed

According to researchers at the London Stock Exchange Group, the stormy weather has severely impacted container shipping around the Cape – mostly vessels diverted because of the Houthi menace in the Red Sea.

“We have a complete stop at the Cape of Good Hope for containerships – east and west,” the report stated, adding that some ships had paused their journeys outside Durban to await an improvement in the Cape weather.

Africa Ports & Ships data on ships in the Durban outer anchorage and along the coast confirm this fact.

Added 11 July 2024


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Korean Register successfully installs onboard carbon capture system onto container ship

Africa Ports & Ships

Korean Register (KR) has announced that it conducted a risk assessment on Korea’s first onboard carbon capture system (OCCS).

The installation of the OCCS was achieved with purely domestic technology, and it will soon undergo internal verification testing.

The project began in April 2023 as a collaborative effort with HMM (the former Hyundai Merchant Marine), Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), and PANASIA. As a result of this collaboration, the system was installed on the 2,200 teu container ship, HMM Mongla.

KR conducted the risk assessment and application of relevant regulations in this OCCS project.

The OCCS applies a technology that captures, liquefies, and stores carbon dioxide from the exhaust gases generated during the ship’s operation.

This technology has the potential to be recognized by international organizations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as one of the most promising carbon reduction technologies, making it a proactive solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships in the future.

Amidst the growing global interest in carbon capture technology, this system is expected to demonstrate technological leadership in the international maritime industry.

It is hoped that this will assist global maritime leaders when they meet to discuss the possible future adoption of OCCS at the meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee.

A KR official stated, “Carbon capture technology is highly regarded as one of the effective measures for reducing greenhouse gases, drawing significant attention from the international community and the shipping industry.

“Based on the experience and outcomes of this successful project, KR will make every effort to support the shipping industry in timely decarbonization.”


KR (Korean Register) was established in 1960 with the purpose of promoting safety of life, property and the protection of the marine environment. KR currently classes an international fleet of 3,093 vessels totaling 83 million GT. It is headquartered in Busan, South Korea with a network of 80 offices around the world. KR is authorized to perform statutory and certification services in 79 countries around the world.

Added 11 July 2024


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Stricken Ultra Galaxy goes aground off West Coast

Ultra Galaxy. Brunsbüttel, 30 May 2024. Picture by Olaf Kuhnke / VesselFinder
Africa Ports & Ships

South Africa’s West Coast has claimed yet another victim. The general cargo vessel, Ultra Galaxy (IMO 9449352), whose crew of 18 abandoned her while the ship was some 60 nautical miles west of Doringbaai, has gone aground off the coast of Brand se Baai, which is to the north-west of Doringbaai.

The unfortunate ship went aground at 22:06 on Tuesday 9 July 2024, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

SAMSA had meanwhile sent two salvage tugs, POSH Champion and POSH Hawk to attempt a salvage of the vessel as it was drifting towards the coast. Ultra Galaxy’s crew had earlier abandoned the ship onto a liferaft after the vessel took on an excessive list.

Ultra Galaxy was voyaging from Malaga in Spain to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

The tugs despatched by SAMSA were fortuitously in Cape Town after delivering a FPSO to Brazil. (A third POSH tug had meanwhile gone to the assistance of a container vessel sailing off the South Coast and had escorted her to the port of Ngqura.)

The crew of the general cargo vessel were rescued by three other ships closest to the casualty vessel — the MV Fivos, MV Rio Grande Express, and a local fishing vessel, the FV Malachite — which were diverted to assist.

The rescue vessels successfully located a life raft in the water and confirmed that there were 18 seafarers – all Filipino – onboard. A coordinated rescue operation ensured the survivors were safely transferred to the FV Malachite and transported to St Helena Bay near Saldanha.

SAMSA has advised that, with the crew safely rescued, all efforts are now fully focused on salvaging the vessel.

Ultra Galaxy was previously known as Thor Galaxy and Thorco Galaxy. The ship was built in 2008 and has a length of 125 metres.

SAMSA also reported that Ultra Galaxy is carrying a full cargo of bagged fertilizer. She also has low sulphur bunkering fuel in addition to hydraulic and related oils.

This remains a developing story.

Added 10 July 2024


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WHARF TALK: multi-purpose heavylifter – KEITH

The multi-purpose heavylifter vessel, Keith, which called at Cape Town on 2 July 2024. Picture is by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The bunker callers, escaping the Houthi menace, and calling in to Durban and Cape Town continue apace, with no sign of a slowdown, and especially not with the Houthi attacks now becoming a textbook terror operation, as their pretense that these attacks are in support of the Gaza Palestinians, and targeted at Israel, and Israeli supporting nations, or shipowners, is shown up for what it is. A load of tosh, enabled and encouraged by Iran to simply hit the west.

From the disparate callers that do arrive in South African ports, many of them give a visual clue as to the kind of cargo that is in vogue around the world, and not ordinarily seen in South African ports. Over the last six months one of these export cargoes that support a mushrooming industry worldwide, is that of the wind farm. The traffic is either the brand new Wind Farm construction and support vessels, or multi-purpose heavylifters arriving with a deck cargo load of extraordinarily long wind turbine blades.

Keith. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 2nd July, at 06:00 in the morning, before the arrival of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force training squadron arrived off the port, the multi-purpose heavylifter ‘Keith’ (IMO 9736195) arrived off Cape Town harbour, from Chennai in India. She entered Cape Town harbour and proceeded into the Duncan Dock, going alongside the Landing Wall, and another obvious arrival that was calling to seek a bunker uplift, together with some stores and fresh provisions.

Built in 2019 by Sanfu Shipyard at Taizhou in China, ‘Keith’ is 145 metres in length and has a deadweight of 12,234 tons. She is powered by a single MAN-B&W 5G45ME-C9.5 Tier II five cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 6,526 bhp (4,800 kW),and driving a Wärtsilä fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Keith. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three MAN D2842 LE301 generators providing 590 kW each, and a single Scania D109M emergency generator providing 268 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg EXVS-40-57-900-DD exhaust gas boiler, and a single Alfa Laval Aalborg H4-TFO-015 oil fired boiler. For added manoeuvrability ‘Keith’ has a Schottel STT001CP bow transverse thruster providing 600 kW.

She is known as a F-500 design, which equates to her lifting capacity (500), and if the cargo deck and cargo lifting equipment is located forward of the accommodation (F). She is also an eco-vessel and is fitted with a Becker Mewis duct, forward of her propeller, and a Becker Rudder, and the use of both of these efficient systems give her good fuel savings on every voyage.

Keith. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For her cargo work ‘Keith’ has two offset port side Liebherr cranes, each with a lifting capacity of 250 tons, and which can lift 500 tons when used in tandem. She has two holds, with a cargo carrying capacity of 17,612 m3, and a tanktop deck strength of 20 tons/m2. She has a container carrying capacity of 872 TEU. Her hatchtops ahead of the forward crane, and astern of the aft crane, are fitted with hydraulic, folding, hatch covers, but between both cranes ‘Keith’ is fitted with lifting pontoon hatch covers.

Nominally owned by Keith Schiffahrts GmbH, of Hamburg in Germany, ‘Keith’ is part of the Deugro Group, of Pfäffikon in Switzerland, and operated by the Deugro Group shipping subsidiary company D Ship Carriers GmbH, of Hamburg, whose corporate logo is displayed on the side of her accommodation block, and whose name is displayed on her hull. She is managed by BF Shipmanagement GmbH, of Stade in Germany, whose logo is displayed on her funnel.

Keith. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Deugro Group has been in operation for exactly one century, having been founded in 1924 at Frankfurt-on-Main in Germany, by Carl Press, as a freight forwarding company, and remains a family owned concern to this day. In the mid-1970s, the family entered the shipping industry, investing in heavy lift and Ro-Ro vessels, and in 2014 they set up D Ship Carriers GmbH.

One of four sisterships, and the second of the quartet to enter service, the naming of ‘Keith’ is definitely one for the nomenclature aficionado. Whilst the name of the vessel itself is rather bland, the sisterships of ‘Keith’ are named ‘Mick’, ‘Ronnie’, and ‘Charlie’. For those who are still none the wiser, these equate to Keith (Richards), Mick (Jagger), Ronnie (Wood) and Charlie (Watts). It seems that Thomas Press, who set up the company might be a Rolling Stones fan. Other vessels in the D Ships Carriers GmbH fleet also have names associated with rock stars.

Keith. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

This is not the first time this year that ‘Keith’ has called into Cape Town for bunkers. On 9th March she arrived in Cape Town, ostensibly on her outward voyage, arriving from Dakar in Senegal, but where the voyage began in Rotterdam. She remained alongside for just 16 hours, and on completion of her bunker uplift, she sailed on 10th March, and bound for Singapore, and five ports in Japan to conduct her offload.

Her inward voyage, which has brought ‘Keith’ to Cape Town included loading in Dafeng, located in Jiangsu province in China. Here she will have loaded her clearly visible deck, and possible hold cargo, of Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG) excavators. From there she proceeded to Laem Chabang in Thailand, where she might have loaded her visible deck cargo of multiple cable reels. Laem Chabang is the location of a major, German owned, overhead HV electrical cable reel manufacturer.

Keith. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her port of call prior to Cape Town, was Chennai in India. This is the location of India’s largest wind turbine blade manufacturing company, and the possible source of her deck cargo of six large blades, ostensibly destined for a wind farm somewhere in Europe. After a stay alongside of just 34 hours, ‘Keith’ was ready to continue her northward journey, and at 16:00 in the afternoon of 3rd July, she sailed from Cape Town, once more bound for Dakar in Senegal, where she had called outbound, prior to her call at Cape Town in March.

Interestingly, two days after ‘Keith’ had sailed from Cape Town, one of her sisterships also called into Cape Town for a bunkers uplift, when at 08:00 in the morning of 5th July, ‘Charlie’ arrived from Emden in Germany. After just 12 hours alongside, she sailed at 20:00 in the evening of the same day, outbound to Jiangyin in China. It may be that we see her back in Cape Town on her inward voyage, assuming she comes back this way, for yet more bunkers.

Added 11 July 2024


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Houthis resume attacks on shipping

by Guy Martin

Houthi rebels have resumed attacks on shipping off Yemen, with two vessels targeted this week, including the furthest attack recorded to date from Yemen.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) on 10 July said that a ship 40 nautical miles of Al Mukha, Yemen, on Wednesday reported an explosion in close proximity to the vessel, but the vessel and crew were safe and the vessel was proceeding to its next port of call.

The previous day, the UKMTO received a report of an incident 180 nautical miles east of Nishtun, Yemen, with an explosion close to the vessel, but that the crew and vessel were safe.

The vessel targeted on Tuesday was the Maersk Sentosa, and marked the first Houthi attack recorded this month. Maersk confirmed the vessel reported being targeted by a flying object in the north of the Gulf of Aden.

The Joint Maritime Information Centre, which is overseen by the US Navy, said the attack was the furthest yet attempted by the Houthis.

On Tuesday night, the Houthis claimed responsibility for three attacks, including the Maersk Sentosa. Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarea said it had targeted the Marathopolis in the Arabian Sea and MSC Patnaree in the Gulf of Aden with drones.

The previous reported Houthi attack in the region took place on 28 June.

The Iran-backed Houthis have launched drone and missile attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandab Strait and Gulf of Aden since November in solidarity with Palestinians over the war in Gaza. More than 70 vessels have been targeted, and four sailors killed. Two vessels have sunk, and global shipping disrupted.

The increase in Houthi attacks after a period of relative quiet comes as the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt enters the Middle East region and replaces the USS Dwight D Eisenhower, which had spent months in the Red Sea to counter the Houthis.

US naval forces in the region continue to destroy Houthi unmanned vehicles – US Central Command (CENTCOM) on Tuesday said it had destroyed one unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Yemen in the past 24 hours; two UAVs were destroyed on 7 July.

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

Added 10 July 2024


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Xeneta Update: Global demand for ocean freight container shipping hit an all-time record in May

Africa Ports & Ships

Amid soaring spot rates and severe port congestion

The 15.94 million TEU (20-foot equivalent container) transported by ocean in May beats the previous record of 15.72m TEU set in May 2021, according to data released by Xeneta and Container Trades Statistics.

The record levels of demand in May brings year-to-date volumes to just under 74 million TEU, which is an increase of 7.5% compared to the first five months of 2023.

“More containerized goods are being shipped by ocean than ever before at a time when available capacity is impacted by diversions around Africa due to conflict in the Red Sea and severe port congestion in Asia and Europe,” said Emily Stausbøll, Xeneta Senior Shipping Analyst.

“This is a perfect storm of pressure on ocean supply chains which has resulted in the chaos of recent months. In many respects it is impressive that global shipping networks have been able to transport this enormous volume of containers under such challenging circumstances.”

Emily Stausbøll, Xeneta Senior Shipping Analyst

The record-breaking level of global demand is largely driven by volumes out of the Far East, with China seeing an all-time-high 6.2 million TEU exported in May (including 853,000 TEU of intra-China container demand). This accounts for 39% of global container trade in May and coincided with spiraling spot rates on major fronthaul trades.

The latest data from Xeneta – the leading ocean and air freight rate benchmarking and intelligence platform – shows average spot rates from the Far East to US West Coast stood at USD 7,840 per FEU on 9 July, up by 200% since 30 April.

Into the US East Coast, average spot rates have increased by 130% in the same period to stand at USD 9,550 per FEU. Into North Europe and the Mediterranean, spot rates have increased by 148% and 88% respectively to stand at USD 8,030 and USD 7,830 per FEU.

“Given we are already seeing record-breaking volumes in May ahead of the traditional peak season in Q3, you can understand why shippers are so concerned,” said Stausbøll.

“The spot market is still climbing, the conflict in the Red Sea shows no signs of ending and the port congestion we are seeing in Asia and Europe will take time to de-pressurise.

“The big question for the market is whether the record volumes in May will mean reduced volumes in the traditional peak season. Numerous factors come into play, not only underlying consumer demand, but also nervous shippers frontloading imports and the potential for further tariffs on China imports.

“While this combination could keep demand high moving through the next few months, there must be a limit to how long the record-levels of demand can last.”

The impact of the record levels of demand combined with longer sailing distances around the Cape of Good Hope is demonstrated through TEU-mile calculations. This data reflects the distance each container is transported globally.

TEU-miles have increased by 17.9% globally in 2024 to date compared to the same period in 2023. This is mostly driven by the Red Sea diversions and longer sailing distances around the Cape of Good Hope.

However, the trades most impacted by the Red Sea diversions are the major deep sea trades out of the Far East, which are also the trades which are driving the record-breaking levels of ocean container shipping demand.

Had ocean container carriers continued to utilise the Suez Canal, TEU-miles would have increased by a lesser, but still significant, 8.6% in 2024 to-date.

“Earlier this year we saw increasing ocean freight shipping spot rates and wondered if there really was a capacity crunch or whether it was a case of the market panicking unnecessarily following the escalation of conflict in the Red Sea,” said Stausbøll.

“We can now clearly see in the data the squeeze on capacity was very real, especially when you factor in the TEU-mile increase on top of the record-breaking global volumes and port congestion.

“It also demonstrates how much oversupply of capacity there would have been in the market in 2024 had the Red Sea conflict not occurred.”

Added 10 July 2024


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Voith Schneider about to supply propellers for 1000th Voith water tractor

Diagram of Voith Schneider-propelled tractor tug. Picture VWT. This is the corrected diagram of the tug in the article below and replaces the diagram originally provided with this report.
Africa Ports & Ships

Within the next few months, a total of 22 Voith Schneider Propellers (VSPs) for eleven new Voith water tractors (tugs) will be delivered to the Egyptian Ship Repairs & Building Co.

Four of these will go to the Red Sea Ports Authority in the south of Egypt, another four will head north to the Damietta Port Authority, and three will join the Alexandria Port Authority fleet.

What makes this additionally noteworthy is that two of these will be used in the 1000th Voith water tractor (VWT).

The Voith water tractor (VWT), which is powered by two VSPs, has for decades proven effective in daily operation and is a familiar sight at many major ports around the world.

Voith Schneider-propelled tugs are in use among the Transnet fleet in South Africa.

Durban-built Transnet tug Mkhuze, propelled by VSPs, about to be launched into the waters of Durban Bay for the first time. Note the Voith Schneider propellers underneath. 31 January 2003. Picture by Terry Hutson

The VWT is an ideal solution wherever compact and manoeuvrable tugs with precision steering are required to assist ships.

Its centerpiece is the Voith Schneider Propeller (VSP). From full speed ahead to full speed astern in just a few seconds – according to Voith Schneider, no other maritime propulsion system can do this so precisely and at such a high speed.

Nor, it is claimed, can any other tug design also offer higher dynamic forces during escorting procedures.

The VWT is also often used as a salvage tug in recovery operations or as a fire boat.


Following the expansion of the Suez Canal 2015, Egypt is proceeding to an equally ambitious upgrade of all its seaports.

“The first VWT was delivered to the 193 km long Suez Canal in 1957, about 67 years ago! It is still in operation to this day, a remarkable testimony to the reliability and longevity of the VSP,” says Michael Rommel, Head of Sales & Application Management Marine at Voith.

Rommel added that the ports of Egypt have also adopted the indefatigable VWT to ensure the safe and efficient handling of more and more goods in shorter and shorter time spans around the clock.

“It is therefore hardly surprising that the 1000th VWT sold worldwide will be built and delivered locally in Egypt.”

A VSP unit under the Durban-built tug Pholela, Durban Bayhead 10 July 2010. Picture by Terry Hutson

“Naturally, the demand for tugs is also increasing in proportion with this development,” stresses Andreas Amelang, Senior Vice President Sales Marine at Voith. “It therefore fills us with great pride and gratitude that we are able to continue and even expand on the successful collaboration we have enjoyed with our reliable partners in Egypt for many decades.”

Egyptian Ship Repairs & Building Co. (ESRBC)

A total of 22 VSPs for eleven new VWTs will be supplied to the ESRBC, part of the MIASO holding group. MIASO yards have been awarded over 40 VWT builds, with ESRBC alone accounting for two thirds of these. With so much experience ESRBC has developed systems that make it a VWT factory more than a traditional shipyard.

At the latest next year, the first VWTs from this series will go into service at the Red Sea Ports Authority (RSPA). The RSPA owns several systemically important ports where the Red Sea connects to the Suez Canal.

Another four VWTs have been ordered by the state-owned Damietta Port Authority (DPA) in the north of Egypt, to effectively strengthen the strategically important location on the Mediterranean.

Alexandria port Authority, the largest port of Egypt, will receive the last three in 2026.

All eleven VWTs are based on the proven VWT design developed by Voith. Each is driven by two powerful VSP 32RV5/265-2. They have a bollard pull of up to 70 tons and achieve speeds of more than 13 knots.

Added 10 July 2024


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Salvage tugs head for the stricken Ultra Galaxy

Ultra Galaxy. Brunsbüttel, 30 May 2024. Picture by Olaf Kuhnke / VesselFinder
Africa Ports & Ships

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) advised late Tuesday (9 July) that salvage operations were underway for the stricken vessel Ultra Galaxy off the coast of Brand se Baai on the West Coast.

On Monday one tug (POSH Champion) was dispatched and arrived at the location of the listing general cargo vessel Ultra Galaxy at around 14:00 on Tuesday 9 July 2024. Another tug (POSH Hawk) with more personnel and extra equipment was set to depart from Cape Town Tuesday evening to assist in the salvage efforts.

Ultra Galaxy is currently drifting towards shore, and the situation is being closely monitored.

Earlier on Tuesday, all 18 Filipino crew members of the Ultra Galaxy arrived in St Helena Bay after being rescued on Monday. The master ordered the crew to abandon ship after the vessel developed an excessive list.

The rescue operation commenced early Monday after an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert from the vessel, positioned approximately 60 nautical miles west of Doringbaai, was detected at 03:00 local time, prompting an immediate response.

Following the EPIRB alert, a Mayday relay was broadcast to nearby vessels. Three ships closest to the casualty vessel — the MV Fivos, MV Rio Grande Express, and a fishing vessel, the FV Malachite — were diverted to assist.

Weather conditions at the time included winds of up to 12 knots and swells between five and six metres. The rescue vessels successfully located a life raft in the water and confirmed that there were 18 seafarers – all Filipino – onboard. A coordinated rescue operation ensured the survivors were safely transferred to the FV Malachite and transported to St Helena Bay.

The Panama-registered MV Ultra Galaxy (previously known as Thor Galaxy and Thorco Galaxy) is a 124.56-metre-long general cargo vessel built in 2008. At the time of its distress call early on Monday, it was en route to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

With the crew safely rescued, all efforts are now fully focused on salvaging the vessel. source: SAMSA

Added 10 July 2024


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Transnet closely monitoring port operations amid adverse weather conditions

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet said on Tuesday 9 July that it is continuously monitoring operations at the ports of Cape Town, Saldanha, Port Elizabeth and Ngqura amid adverse weather conditions in certain parts of the country.

Strong winds reaching 35-50 knots and high sea swells exceeding 3.5 metres have led to shipping movements being suspended at some ports for safety reasons.

Vessels alongside are currently on standby and no major incidents have been reported thus far.

The strong winds, which have created high swell conditions, must subside before vessel movements can resume. Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) marine operations are currently on standby to assist vessels, where required.

Industry stakeholders are being kept updated on the situation.

The Cape Town Container Terminal, which will experience high swells until Saturday, has three vessels on berth that are unable to work due to the terminal’s wind-bound status – Santa Rita, MSC Carole and CMA CGM Aqaba.

Another container vessel, MSC Nuria, is in the Duncan Dock.

Another four vessels are planned to arrive off Cape Town by Thursday.

In Gqeberha, the Ngqura Container Terminal had its last vessel finish in the early hours of Sunday. The port authority resolved on not berthing any more vessels until Wednesday and port terminal gates have been closed since. MSC Capella remains in the port, along with two other vessels, a bulk carrier and the towing tug POSH Commander.The Port Elizabeth Container Terminal is also windbound, with one vessel (MSC Eugenia) on berth. There are five other non-container vessels in port.

The floods experienced in the Eastern Cape in June, along with current weather disruptions, have resulted in vessel congestion at the Port Elizabeth Bulk Terminal where manganese is handled. This has slowed down the progress. Despite this, vessel nominations continue.

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) says it is confident of managing the resulting vessel backlog with the recent acquisition of new cargo handling equipment across some of its terminals, as well as the support of contracted original equipment manufacturers supplying spares in the case of breakdowns.

The port of Durban experienced a south-westerly ‘ buster’ on Monday 8 July of between 25 and 40 knots which impacted container and other port working for part of the day.

Wave heights of 4 metres and very rough seas were expected with the strong winds. The rough seas were expected to subside by the evening of Tuesday 9 July.

Transnet issued an advisory to stakeholders warning of the expected ‘buster’ and instructed that all the necessary mitigation measures deemed appropriate were “actioned in line with the impact of the warning issued.”

The advisory continued: “Kindly ensure where appropriate operations are suspended all superstructure, other equipment is made safe, and all vessel Masters are advised accordingly. All vessels to have crew available, engines and other auxiliary equipment are placed on immediate notice, extra moorings are put in place, anchors are prepared etc.”

By nightfall the strong winds of the ‘buster’ died down and conditions improved.

Added 10 July 2024


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WHARF TALK: guided missile destroyer – JS SHIMAKAZE

JS Shimakaze. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
or as indicated
Story by Jay Gates

The arrival of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Overseas Training Cruise 2024 into Cape Town was the first time that this annual event has called into a South African port. One might ask why this 68th training cruise was only the first to do so. The clue as to why that might be almost certainly lies along the same reasoning as to why so many vessels are currently routing around the Cape sea route. The answer is, of course, the Houthi menace. Previous cruises into the Mediterranean Sea routed via the Suez Canal.

The training cruise squadron consists of two vessels, one a purpose built training ship, ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508)’, and the other being ‘JS Shimakaze (TV-3521)’. Whilst outwardly looking very much like a Destroyer, she is in fact designated as a training ship. The question would be when is a Destroyer not a Destroyer? The answer would be when it has been re-designated as a Training Ship, as happened to ‘JS Shimakaze (TV-3521)’ in March 2021.

The first vessel of the Overseas training Cruise to enter Cape Town harbour was ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508)’, which entered at 0800 on the morning of the 2nd July, becoming the 15th JMSDF warship to enter Cape Town harbour since the inception of the JMSDF back in 1954. Less than one hour later, at 0900 on the morning of 2nd July, ‘JS Shimakaze (TV-3521)’ entered Cape Town harbour, becoming the 16th JMSDF vessel to call into the Mother City. She proceeded into the Duncan Dock, going alongside at F berth, immediately astern of ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508).

SAS Shaka Zulu and JS Shimakaze. Table Bay 5 July 2024. Picture: JMSDF
JS Shimakaze and SAS Shaka Zulu. Table Bay 5 July 2024. Picture: JMSDF

Built by the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Dockyard at Nagasaki in Japan, ‘JS Shimakaze (TV-3521)’ was launched in January 1988, and commissioned into the JMSDF in March 1988. She was the second of two sisterships, known as the ‘Hatakaze Class’ of guided missile destroyer, and she was initially given the naval pennant number DDG-172. She was built at a cost of JPY69.28 billion (ZAR7.81 billion). Both vessels of the class were re-designated as training vessels, with ‘JS Hatakaze (TV-3520)’ in 2020, and ‘JS Shimakaze (TV-3521) in 2021.

The destroyers of the Hatakaze Class were the first warships of the JMSDF to be powered solely by gas turbine engines, with ‘JS Shimakaze (TV-3521)’ being powered by two Kawasaki Rolls-Royce Spey SM1A gas turbine engines, which are used for normal cruising, and two Rolls-Royce Olympus gas turbine engines, producing 72,000 bhp (54,000 kW), to drive two fixed pitch propellers for a sea-speed of 30 knots. They are 150 metres in length, with a displacement tonnage of 4,674 tons, and operate with a crew of 260 officers and men.

JS Shimakaze. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The majority of gas turbine engines used as propulsion on warships were, generally, marinised aircraft jet engines. The Rolls-Royce Spey engines were used as the powerplants for aircraft such as the Blackburn Buccaneer, as used by the South African Air Force, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom, and the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft. The Rolls-Royce Olympus engines powered the Avro Vulcan nuclear bomber, and the Anglo-French Concorde supersonic airliner.

JS Shimakaze. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The main armament of ‘JS Shimakaze (TV-3521)’ is to single 130 mm gun mounts, one forward and one aft. As a guided missile destroyer she is equipped with a forward mounted eight cell anti-submarine rocket (ASROC) missile launcher, a forward mounted single RIM SM1-MR surface to air missile launcher, and an amidships mounted four cell Harpoon anti-ship missile launcher. Her defensive armament includes two 20mm Vulcan-Phalanx CIWS 6 barreled Gatling guns. She has an aft helideck suitable for an SH-60 Seahawk helicopter, but no hangar facility.

She is the third Japanese warship to receive the name ‘Shimakaze’, which for the nomenclature aficionado means ‘Island Wind’, where ‘kaze’ means wind (for example Kamikaze – Divine Wind). The first two vessels were destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), both of which were lost to attacks by elements of the United States Pacific fleet in the Second World War.

The first Shimakaze. 1920-1943. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

The first ‘Shimakaze’ was a Minekaze Class destroyer, launched in March 1920, and commissioned into the IJN in November 1920. Her primary armament was four single 120 mm guns, and she was fast with a sea-speed of 39 knots. She was lost in January 1943 when she was sunk by torpedoes fired by the ‘USS Guardfish (SS-217)’, a Gato Class submarine of the United States Navy (USN), when she was west of New Ireland, off the north coast of Papua New Guinea.

The second Shimakaze, 1942-1944. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

The second ‘Shimakaze’ was launched in July 1942, and commissioned into the IJN in May 1943. She was the lead vessel of a new class of fast destroyer, but no further units were built due to the increasing logistical difficulties that the Japanese shipbuilding industry was coming under due to effects of the war in Japan. Her primary armament was six 127 mm guns mounted in three twin turrets, and she was considered to be the fastest warship in the IJN with a sea-speed of 40.9 knots. In November 1944 she was sunk by attacks by aircraft operating from the USN aircraft carrier ‘USS Hornet (CV-12), whilst in Ormoc Bay in the Philippines.

The JMSDF warships of the Overseas Training Cruise 2024 are all based at the Kure naval base in Japan, which is the location of the JMSDF Training Division. The Training Division HQ vessel is ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508), and Training Squadron 1 is made up of ‘JS Hatakaze (TV-3520)’ and ‘JS Shimakaze (TV-3521)’.

JS Shimakaze. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Trainee Officer Cadets and Ensigns on the Overseas Training Cruise 2024 are all graduates of the Officer Candidate School at the Naval Academy of Etajima, which is located in the Kure Naval District. The building at the academy utilised by the Officer Candidate School is the building formerly used as the Imperial Japanese Navy Academy for Officer Candidate training.

Graduates of what is known as ‘four-year universities’, which are completed at the National Defense Academy, and particularly outstanding enlisted personnel, all undergo a year long officer course at the Officer Candidate School at Etajima. The graduates of this one year course then join the next annual Overseas training Cruise to receive long distance, on the job, at sea on one of the vessels of the JMSDF Training Division.

JS Shimakaze. Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Back in Cape Town, the original programme of the squadron sailing at 09:00, on the morning of Saturday 6th July, had to be amended due to the weather forecast of an oncoming severe northwesterly gale, the strongest one of the current Cape winter season. So on Friday 5th July, both ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508)’ and ‘JS Shimakaze (TV-3521)’ sailed from Cape Town harbour in order to conduct their planned Passing Exercise (Passex) with the two units of the South African Navy, the frigate ‘SAS Amatola (F145)’, and the inshore patrol vessel SAS King Shaka Zulu (P1572)’.

JS Shimakaze. Cape Town 4 July 2024. Picture by Phil Short

After the completion of the Passex, and the planned naval manoeuvres out in Table Bay, the JMSDF Overseas Training Cruise 2024 departed from South African waters, and set course for their next destination on their 175 day, 13 port world cruise, that of the port of Dakar in Senegal, and by 17:00 in the afternoon the JMSDF Training Squadron under the overall command of Rear Admiral Takahiro Nishiyama, with ‘JS Shimakaze (TV-3521), under the command of Commander Go Kajiyama, and ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508), under the command of Captain Kiichiro Sakai, had both headed north.

Hopefully, this visit will not be a one-off, and the JMSDF will return in the upcoming years, with a positive relationship being built up with the SAN going forward. If the relationship does develop, it will be interesting with the new ANC/DA government now in place, as the former has been trying to cosy up to the autocratic Chinese PLAN, and Russian Navy, in recent years. In the Far East geopolitical arena, the JMSDF is an AUKUS and west leaning Naval Force, and if tensions explode in that area, Japan and China, with Russia, are likely to be foes of Japan, who can rely on the full military support of the USN Pacific 7th Fleet. Interesting times are ahead.

Added 10 July 2024


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Maputo railway section to SA border now a double track line

The street side of Ressano Garcia railway station, on the border with South Africa. Picture by Teixant / Wikipedia ‘open domain’
Africa Ports & Ships

CFM, the port and rail company of Mozambique, has completed doubling the railway tracks between Secongene, in the Moamba district, to the South African border at Ressano Garcia/ Komatipoort, a distance of 42 kilometres.

The doubling of the track and the upgrading of the Maputo main passenger terminal was undertaken by CFM which used it’s own financing at a total cost of USD 98 million. The number of passengers using the railway station could now be increased from the current 25,000 to 75,000.

At the combined inauguration of the station terminal and the double track railway, Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, said the Mozambique railway network is set to increase annual traffic volumes from the peak of 48 million tonnes achieved in 2019, to a potential 83 million tonnes.

Nyusi said that in the past five years CFM has invested in infrastructure, technical equipment and human resources. This investment, he said, should now show results leading to the company making profits.

He said the government is proud that CFM has been able to finance doubling the railway tracks using its own funds.

“Our pride will be all the greater when we manage to recover what we have invested,” President Nyusi said.

He added that the doubling of the railway on the Ressano Garcia line met the demands of neighbouring countries, particularly South Africa, which were being made on the Mozambican port and rail system.

The doubling will help ease the pressure on the EN4 motorway between Maputo and the South African border, brought about by the road transport of South African minerals to the port at Maputo. He trusted that much of this traffic would now switch from road to rail.

As a result the increased capacity of the railway should go a long way to reducing congestion on the road, President Nyusi said.

Added 10 July 2024


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Over 500 tankers will call at Dangote Refinery this year

Map: Wikipedia
Africa Ports & Ships

The recently opened Dangote Refinery at Lekki in Nigeria will have received more than 500 tanker vessel calls by the end of this year.

In the the first six months of 2024 a total of 120 tankers have already made calls to uplift refined fuel at the 650,000 barrels a day refinery, Africa’s largest and said to the the world’s largest single train refinery.

Another notable fact is that the refinery is supplied with crude oil via the world’s longest sub-sea pipeline infrastructure, all of 1,100 km in length. When fully operational it will provide 135,000 permanent jobs in the region.

According to Nigerian Ports Authority managing director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, the massive refinery that covers an area of 2,500 hectares (6,180 acres), will receive another 415 tankers between July and end December this year.

In addition another 17 vessels called to load granulated urea fertilizers at Dangote Fertilizer, with another 41 scheduled by year-end.

Bello-Koko made these comments during the commissioning of Lekki port’s two new 80-ton bollard pull tugboats, Iragbiji and Bama, which are reported in this edition and can be found here.

The two latest tugs (Lekki port has a further two 80-ton tugs for the MPS container port) have entered service at the Dangote refinery in the Lekki Free Trade Zone.

Added 9 July 2024


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Technology: DNV rules create new in-operation class framework

Classification society DNV has published updates to its rules for classification of ships and offshore structures.   Picture:  DNV
Africa Ports & Ships

Enable hydrogen vessels and on-board carbon capture

Classification society DNV has published updates to its rules for classification of ships and offshore structures.

In addition to rules supporting the development and deployment of decarbonization technologies, the new in-operation class notations seek to bring clarity to the responsibilities of class customers for notations that have a mix of design and operational requirements.

“One of the most striking aspects of the maritime industry today, is the huge diversity of challenges and opportunities where our customers are looking for classification support,” said Geir Dugstad, DNV Maritime’s Global Technical Director.

“It’s not just new fuels, but ways for owners and managers to demonstrate their own efficiencies, new vessel types to unlock new markets, through to advanced technologies like on-board carbon capture.”

With the in-operation notations, DNV has developed the first classification framework with dedicated Fleet in service notations that enables owners and operators to showcase how they are differentiating themselves in the market by deploying advanced procedures and reporting processes for greater safety and efficiency.

Split of responsibilities

The new notation clearly shows the split of responsibilities between the yards for the new building phase and the owners and operators in the operational phase of the vessel.

Designed to unlock innovation in the shipping industry while enhancing safety, the new rules also build on DNV’s leading expertise in maritime decarbonization with the introduction of two new class notations, Gas fuelled hydrogen and OCCS (for carbon capture and storage on board vessels).

While hydrogen is a potential zero-carbon fuel for shipping it is presently not covered by international regulations. The Gas fuelled Hydrogen notation, sets out the requirements for the ship’s fuel system, fuel bunkering connection, and consumers, providing owners a practical path to develop hydrogen fuelled newbuildings.


Onboard carbon capture and storage (OCCS) systems are currently being trialled and offer a way for vessels to reduce emissions and contribute to greater sustainability and regulatory compliance.

The OCCS notation offers a framework and requirements for these new systems, including exhaust pre-treatment, absorption, after-treatment systems, liquefaction, CO2 storage, and transfer ashore.

Some of the additional highlights of the rules include:

The new BOG (boil-off gas) notation provides requirements for the design and installation of pressure and temperature control systems for liquefied gas tanks,
• New notation for the transport of live fish creates a new vessel type for this growing industry,
• New class notation for stability pontoons provides guidance and requirements for pontoons used in heavy lift operations to increase stability,
• Introduction of a new qualifier “NC” for the notation Hatchcoverless, enables vessels not intending to transport combustible materials to reduce investments in fire detection and fire-fighting equipment,
• New service notation for Floating spaceports sets requirements for units and installations intended for launch and/or recovery of spacecraft.
• New qualifier “EV” for the class notation Additional fire safety, specifically developed to target vessels transporting electrical vehicles,
• Revised rules and standards for diving systems aligned with IMO 2023 diving code.

The publication of the new rules took place on 1 July and the new rules will enter into force on 1 January 2025. To find out more go here

Added 9 July 2024


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Cargo ship Ultra Galaxy listing off West Coast, crew rescued

Ultra Galaxy. Brunsbüttel, 30 May 2024. Picture by Olaf Kuhnke / VesselFinder
Africa Ports & Ships

The general cargo ship Ultra Galaxy, (IMO 9449352, built 2008) is reported to be listing dangerously some 60 nautical miles west of Doringbaai, a fishing village on the Cape West Coast about three hours drive north of Cape Town.

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the list grew excessively, forcing the crew of 18 Filipino seafarers to abandon their ship into a liferaft.

SAMSA reported the crew had all been accounted for and taken on board the South African fishing vessel Malachite (IMO 9880506), which is headed for St Helena Bay where they are due to land after 22:00 tonight (Monday 8 July).

A navigation warning has been issued for the drifting Ultra Galaxy. The reason for its listing, described as “excessive”is not currently known.

An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert had been detected at 03:00 local time, prompting an immediate response by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Cape Town). Two nearby cargo vessels were dispatched to the location of the alert to investigate the situation.

That was prior to the rescue of the crew by the fishing vessel Malachite.

Ultra Galaxy was sailing between Malaga in the south of Spain where she departed on 13 June 2024 and was bound for Dar es Salaam and a scheduled arrival of 16 July 2024.

Further details are awaited.

Added 8 July 2024


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WHARF TALK: Japanese naval visitors to South Africa, including – JS KASHIMA

The more powerful Japanese icebreaker JS Shirase (AGB-5002) which called at Cape Town on several occasions in the 1980s and 1990s. Picture is by JMSDF

Pictures as indicated
Story by Jay Gates

A lot has already been said about the arrival in Cape Town of the two training vessels of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) which, understandably but incorrectly, many folk refer to as the Japanese Navy. A piece of historical education is that the Naval Forces of Japan were never known as the Japanese Navy, as Japan was an Empire until 1945, ruled by an Emperor, and as such was always known as the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).

Yes, a minor error it may be, but in referring to the JMSDF by that identification, i.e. the Japanese Navy, is no different to referring to the Royal Navy as the British Navy, or the United States Navy as the American Navy. To a purist it is akin to running your finger nails down a classroom blackboard. It grates! To put the record straight, the education continues.

Following the surrender of all the military forces of Japan, at the end of the Second World War in August 1945, Japan was occupied by the Allies, and the Imperial Japanese Navy, along with the all other Japanese military forces, was dissolved completely. Japan no longer had a Navy of any kind. A new constitution was drawn up in 1947, where a new democratic Japan became an effective constitutional monarchy, with the role of the Emperor becoming purely ceremonial, with no powers related to Government, so removing the use of the word Imperial.

Within the new constitution of 1947, which is still active, sits Article 9, which states “The Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.” The understanding of this Article is that it allows for Japanese military forces to be kept solely for the purposes of self-defense. In 1954, the JMSDF was formally created, as the naval branch of the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF), following the passage of the 1954 Self-Defense Forces Law.

JS Shimakaze (left) and JS Kashima in Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

So those who write that it is the first visit of the Japanese Navy since the Second World War are also incorrect, as no Navy existed in Japan between 1945 and 1954, when the JMSDF only came into existence in 1954. This same error was repeated all around the articles that came out in the local press to highlight the visit of the training squadron in Cape Town. Even worse was a Cape Town radio show claiming that it was the first visit since 1918. Again untrue.

Between 1966 and 1998, vessels of the JMSDF have actually visited Cape Town, officially, on no less than 14 occasions. How might that be, one might ask? The answer is simple if you know your Antarctic history. Most people who know me also know that Antarctic maritime history, and Antarctic expeditionary vessels, of all persuasions, are my primary interest.

Japan was one of the founding 12 nations who signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, along with South Africa, and for their initial Antarctic expeditions to set up their ‘Syowa’ scientific station in Antarctica, they utilised the ‘Soya (PL-107)’ as their expedition vessel. The first six Japanese Antarctic Research Expeditions (JARE 1 to 6) utilised ‘Soya (PL-107)’, and every year she called twice into Cape Town, at the start, and at the end, of each expedition to Syowa.

JS Kashima in Cape Town, 2 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Most folk assume that, even today, the Japanese Antarctic icebreakers are operated by JARE themselves, or by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), similar to the American Antarctic programme. In fact, ‘Soya (PL-107)’ was operated by the JCG until 1962, but the long journey to Antarctica was considered too much of a burden for a maritime safety organisation that was focused on coastal security. At the time, it was becoming apparent that ‘Soya (PL-107)’ was underpowered, and too small, to conduct all JARE requirements, and a more powerful icebreaker was ordered.

Meanwhile, the JMSDF was seeking to improve its own public image, which resulted in the JARE Antarctic voyages being transferred from the JCG to the JMSDF in 1965. In this manner, the transportation of personnel and equipment to Antarctica became the role of the JMSDF, and Yokosuka Naval Base was designated as the home port for the new Icebreaker.

She entered service in 1965 as ‘JS Fuji (AGB-5001)’ and embarked on JARE 7. As a JMSDF vessel, all of the crew members were navy personnel, and she carried light arms, such as 9mm pistols and assault rifles on board, for use in anti-piracy or anti-terrorism scenarios. The first call of ‘JS Fuji (AGB-5001) into Cape Town was on her maiden voyage, and on 24th February 1966, enroute back to Japan from Syowa. It was to be the first of her 11 official calls into Cape Town.

JS Fuji (AGB-5001), Antarctica. Picture: JMSDF

Every year from 1966, until 1976 (JARE 7 to JARE 17), her outbound route to Antarctica was via Australia, and her return to Japan was always via Cape Town. Her final official call being in March 1976. Sadly, the Soweto riots, and international condemnation of Apartheid later that year meant that the Japanese government took the decision to drop all future calls into Cape Town, and ‘JS Fuji (AGB-5001)’ subsequently routed back to Japan via Port Louis in Mauritius.

This was not to be her final call though, as on 21st February 1980 ‘JS Fuji (AGB-5001)’ arrived in Cape Town with a medical evacuation from Antarctica on JARE 21. This was to be her last call, as she was retired in 1983 at the conclusion of JARE 24. She was replaced by the even larger, and more powerful ‘JS Shirase (AGB-5002)’ in 1983, who again would route home via Mauritius.

However, on her maiden voyage (JARE 25), ‘JS Shirase (AGB-5002)’ was also called upon to conduct a medical evacuation from Antarctica, and she arrived in Cape Town on 3rd March 1984, sailing the next day to Port Louis. She was not seen again until 1998, when again during JARE 39 she was called on to conduct another medical evacuation from Antarctica, and she arrived in Cape Town on 16th January 1998. She sailed the following day for Port Louis and this, the 14th JMSDF ship to arrive in Cape Town, was to be the last visit of the JMSDF to Cape Town.

JS Shirase (AGB 5002). B Berth, Cape Town, 3 March 1984. Picture by Jay Gates

With the decommissioning of ‘JS Shirase (AGB-5002)’ in 2008 at the conclusion of JARE 49, she was replaced by the current JMSDF icebreaker, ‘JS Shirase (AGB-5003)’, which has never visited Cape Town up to now. All three previous JARE support icebreakers have been preserved as museum ships, and are open to the public in Japan, with ‘Soya PL-107)’ lying in Tokyo, ‘JS Fuji (AGB-5001) lying in Nagoya, and ‘JS Shirase (AGB-5002)’ lying in Funabashi.

So, at 08:00 on the morning of 2nd July ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508)’ was the first of the two JMSDF vessels to arrive off Cape Town harbour, and she became the 15th JMSDF vessel to enter Cape Town harbour since the inception of the JMSDF in 1954. She proceeded into the Duncan Dock, and was placed alongside the Passenger Cruise Terminal at E berth. The two JMSDF warships are officially known as the ‘Overseas Training Cruise 2024’, although some referred to them as the vessels of the ’Japan Training Squadron 2024’.

Built by Hitachi Zosen Dockyard at Maizuru in Japan, ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508)’ was launched in February 1994, and commissioned into the JMSDF in January 1995. She is a unique design, and is a one ship class of warship, known as a ‘Kashima class cadet training ship’. She is 143 metres in length and has a displacement tonnage of 4,050 tons.

Her propulsion system is ‘Combined Diesel of Gas’ (CODOG), and she is powered by two Mitsubishi S16U-MTK eight cylinder, four stroke, main engines which are used for cruising and produce 4,868 bhp (3,580 kW) each, or two Kawasaki Rolls-Royce SM1C Spey gas turbine engines producing 26,150 bhp (19,500 kW) each, for a maximum sea speed of 25 knots.

JS Kashima (left) and JS Shimakaze. Cape Town, 5 July 2024. Picture by Phil Short

As a training vessel, ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508)’ is lightly armed with a single OtoBreda 76mm gun, and two triple torpedo tubes. For official duties she has four signaling cannons, and provides a helideck, capable of taking a SH-60 Seahawk helicopter, but she does not provide any helicopter hangar facilities, although she has an awning tent structure that can be run out to cover the helideck area.

She operates with a crew of 370 officers and men, and on this training cruise carries a full complement of 190 naval officer cadets, who graduated from the 74th General Officer Candidate Course as Ensigns. The 190 cadets include 30 female officers, and one international cadet from the Royal Thai Navy. As a dedicated training vessel ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508)’ is equipped with comfortable accommodation, and good lecture classrooms, designed to develop Officer seamanship skills, provide an international perspective to the Cadets, and promote international relations between the JMSDF and other nations.

The commanding officer of the Overseas Training Cruise 2024 is Rear Admiral Takahiro Nishiyama, who commands the JMSDF Training Squadron, and whose home port is the Kure Naval Base in Japan. As reported in an earlier article, the Overseas Training Cruise 2024 departed from Japan on 20th May for a 175 day cruise, which will return to Kure on 11th November, after a cruise of 35,000 nautical miles and thirteen port calls. The Overseas Training Cruise has been conducted every year since 1957, and this is the 68th such cruise by the JMSDF.

Of all the nations being visited, only the USA, with Norfolk and Pearl Harbour, and the UK, with London and Southampton, will receive two port calls. The call to London will be the third since 2016, when her arrival alongside ‘HMS Belfast’ at Tower Bridge was the first London call by a Japanese warship since 1902.

Battleship Kashima. 1906. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

However, the first ‘Kashima’ built for the Imperial Japanese Navy was completed in 1906 by the Armstrong Whitworth Shipyard at Elswick on the River Tyne. She was one of two ‘Katori’ class pre-dreadnought battleships, which were improved and modified versions of the King Edward VII battleships of the Royal Navy, with a main armament of two twin 12 inch guns, and four single 10 inch guns as secondary armament. She was eventually scrapped in 1924.

After her delivery voyage back to Japan, ‘Kashima’ did return to the UK. In May 1921 ‘Kashima’ arrived in the Royal Navy base at Portsmouth, carrying the Japanese Crown Prince Hirohito, who had arrived in the UK at the start of an extended tour of Europe. Crown Prince Hirohito became the last Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy, who surrendered to the Allies in August 1945.

For the current ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508)’, her four day stay in Cape Town was deemed a great success, with many interactions with the South African Navy, and with open days to the Cape Town public to board the vessel. From one account received by a visitor, the crew of ‘JS Kashima (TV-3508)’ were all impeccably polite, and the vessel itself was spotless. At 09:00 on the morning of 6th July, she sailed from Cape Town, bound to her next Overseas Training Cruise 2024 port of call, namely Dakar in Senegal.

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80-ton Lekki port tugs named and  commissioned

Lekki port’s two newly commissioned 80-ton bollard pull tugs, Bama and Iragbiji. Picture: Business & Education
Africa Ports & Ships

The two new Damen-built ASD tugs for the Port of Lekki, were officially commissioned at the Nigerian port by the minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola.

The Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) tugs each have a bollard pull of 80 tons and will see service in Nigeria’s newest and largest deepest port at Lekki, near the port and city of Lagos.

The names given to the two vessels are Iragbiji (IMO 9970882) and Bama (IMO 9970909).  They join two similar 80-ton tugs named Da-Opukuro and Maikoko, which entered service at Lekki in 2023.

Minister Oyetola said the equipment will enhance smooth berthing of ships and enhance the marine operations at the Lekki port. They will also serve the recently completed Dangote petroleum and fertiliser refinery.

“This milestone marks another significant step further in the government’s efforts to enhance port efficiency and strengthen Nigeria’s position as a leading maritime nation in the region,” said Oyetola.

“The acquisition of these two multi-functional capacity tugboats will complement the existing fleet of ASD Neoteric 80 Tons bollard pull tugboats. This administration’s commitment to investing in the development of our maritime assets is resolute.

“We recognise the critical role that efficient port operations play in accelerating economic growth and will do all that is required to update the existing facilities to deliver on this.”

The minister said the smooth operation of the Lekki corridor, which hosts Nigeria’s fully automated deep seaport, Africa’s largest granulated urea fertiliser complex, and the largest single-train 650,000 barrels per day refinery in the world will be enhanced by the deployment of these crafts.

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Benin: Port of Cotonou loses its Niger trade but “still doing well”

8,700-TEU CCNI Arauco at the Port of Cotonou container terminal. Picture: PAC
Africa Ports & Ships

The continuing crisis involving two West African countries, landlocked Niger and coastal Benin, is having repercussions affecting throughput at the key Benin Port of Cotonou (PAC).

Some 83 percent of Niger’s imports ordinarily pass through the PAC, but this has suddenly decreased sharply following the closure of the border between the two countries.

It appears the reason for the closure is the accusation by Niger’s military government, headed by army leader General Tiani, which accuses Benin of sheltering terrorists who attacked and killed twenty soldiers and a civilian.

Niger says that Benin is allowing terrorist bases to exist inside Benin who can freely cross the border to carry out indiscriminate attacks on civilians and isolated military camps within Niger.

Restrictions have been placed on the official border crossing which are now impacting trade, including those imports destined for Niger.

The result, according to management at the Cotonou port, has been a sudden decrease in the number of ships arriving in port.

Whereas previously between 95 and 100 ships a month would call at the port, this figure has dropped to between 70 and 80 vessels monthly.

The port has an annual throughput of 10 million tons, according to Kristof Van Den Branden, PAC’s Sales and Marketing Director. The current situation at the border is causing a drop of about 15 percent, he said.

Van Den Branden said that of the 10 million tons, 30 percent was for export to neighbouring countries. Of that 30 percent, 90 percent was for Niger.

PAC managing director, Bart van Eenoo, however, stressed there was no danger to the situation, saying the port was continuing to do well despite the Niger border crisis. “The port is not empty and is continuing to receive enough ships.”

About 1,000 ships a year dock at the Cotonou port, he said.

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Houthi’s score another success – Port of Eilat facing bankruptcy

Africa Ports & Ships

The Houthis of Yemen have scored another success, arising from their semi-successful attempts to blockade the lower Red Sea and
Gulf of Aden.

The striking of ships with missiles and drones and a resultant loss of life and the sinking of several ships has seen the majority of vessels diverting around the Cape of Good Hope, shutting off the majority of traffic via the Red Sea.

The Israeli port of Eilat is situated within the Gulf of Eilat at the northern tip of the Red Sea and is hard hit and while it remains open to shipping coming from the north via the Suez Canal, it is virtually cut off from shipping from the south where vessels have to pass close to the Yemen coast.

As a result of this, cargo throughput at Eilat port has been reduced to almost zero and ship traffic has fallen by nearly 90 percent. Faced with significant financial challenges, port management has announced its intention of laying off half of its 120 employees and is reported to have either declared bankruptcy or is in the process of preparing papers to that end.

Eilat is smaller than Israel’s Mediterranean ports of Ashdod and Haifa and its effective closure will not cripple Israel’s economy. Nevertheless the port serves as a crucial gateway to the east without the necessity of ships having to cross the Suez Canal and its loss of use will be felt.

The port does handle a significant number of motor vehicles and was also a popular destination for cruise ships.

Port CEO Gideon Golber said the port had received no income for eight months, due to the failure of the coalition countries in the Red Sea. “We have not had any income for the last months, and it is time for the state to put its hand in its pocket and understand that the closed port must be helped,” he is reported to have said.

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Iranian frigate Sahand capsizes at her mooring  UPDATE – ship sinks

The Iranian Navy frigate Sahand (74) which has capsized in Bandar Abbas. Picture: Islamic Republic of Iran Navy
Africa Ports & Ships

The Iranian frigate Sahand capsized while undergoing maintenance repairs at the port of Bandar Abbas, the Iranian state press IRNA reported on Sunday 7 July 2024.

Several people working on board the vessel were injured and have been taken to hospital.

UPDATED 10 July 2024:  Sahand has now fully sunk onto her side after unsuccessful attempts to de-list the vessel. According to reports the cable holding her upright after these attempts snapped.

According to sketchy reports received, the frigate, which is locally built and entered service in December 2018, began suddenly taking in water, presumably in the engine room, resulting in the vessel turning on her side and half sinking at her mooring alongside the repair wharves.

Photographs that have appeared on social media and other sources show the vessel lying on her side semi-submerged.

A report from IRNA said the vessel “is being returned to balance quickly” quoting a navy statement.

Ironically, Sahand is named after another Iranian Navy ship that was sunk by U.S. forces during during the Iran-Iraq war in 1988 (Operation Praying Mantis).

The current Sahand made news in June 2021 when, accompanied by a small tanker, the frigate rounded the Cape of Good Hope to become the first Iranian navy ship to enter the Atlantic. The two vessels then continued to Saint Petersburg, Russia, to attend the Navy Day commemorating the 325th anniversary of the Russian Navy.

An earlier attempt by two other ships of the Iranian Navy to enter the Atlantic ended in embarrassment in December 2016 when one of the vessels, the naval logistics vessel Bushehr had to seek urgent repair at the Dormac floating dock at Durban.

At the time the Bushehr and the destroyer Alvand were attempting to become the first to cross from the Indian Ocean into the Atlantic to demonstrate Iran’s navy’s ‘blue water’ capabilities.

The Moudge-class Sahand is deployed with the Southern Fleet of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and carries the pennant number 74. Displacing between 2,000 and 2,500 tons, the ship as a length of 95 metres and is powered by four diesel engines, giving her a maximum reported speed of 30 knots.

In service Sahand carries a complement of 140 personnel.

The ship’s armaments include a 76mm naval gun, a 40mm AAA weapon, 2 x 20mm Oerlikon cannons, 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns, surface to air and surface to surface missiles, anti-ship missiles and two triple 324mm torpedoes. The ship carries a Bell 212 ASW helicopter for anti-submarine warfare.

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WHARF TALK: Capesize bulk carrier – GEORGE ISLAND

The Capesize bulk carrier George Island (IMO 9573749) which arrived off Cape Town, from Jingtang in China. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

To some shipowners it matters not what idiocy the Houthis throw indiscriminately at international shipping as they ply their legal trade transiting through the Gulf of Aden and the southern Red Sea. The reason for this limited concern, as to the terrorist acts of the Houthis targeting vessels that have absolutely no connection to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is that the vessels that these shipowners operate are simply unable to pass through the Suez Canal.

The lack of any ability to utilise the Suez Canal by these vessels is not down to the shipowner, operator, manager, charterer, or insurer, taking the decision to reduce the risk to their vessel, crew, or cargo, by diverting the vessel to complete the voyage via the longer Cape sea route. The sole reason for their inability to voyage through this region is that the vessels in question are simply too big. The fact is that they belong to the class of gearless bulk carrier vessel known as the Capesize.

The Capesize vessels are the largest dry bulk cargo ships on the planet. They range in size, and are generally in excess of a deadweight tonnage of 160,000 tons. They are too big to utilise the new Panama Canal locks, which limits any ‘NeoPanamax’ vessels to a deadweight tonnage of around 120,000 tons. They are also too big to utilise the improved Suez Canal, which has upper deadweight tonnage ‘Suezmax’ vessel limits of about 160,000 tons.

As they are too large to make transits of both the Panama Canal, and the Suez Canal, they have no alternative but to make transits of either the Cape of Good Hope, or Cape Horn, in order to get from one ocean to the other, hence ‘Capesize’. These vessels, mostly with a lower deadweight tonnage of 170,000 tons, are regular visitors to both Richards Bay for loading coal, and Saldanha Bay for loading Iron ore. It is rare for them to call at any other South African port.

On 1st July, at midday, the Capesize bulk carrier ‘George Island’ (IMO 9573749) arrived off Cape Town, from Jingtang in China. She was in ballast, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and was placed alongside the Eastern Mole. Such a call would indicate a call for bunkers, but for the sheer size of a Capesize arrival, the reasons normally for calling are for purposes of receiving engineering maintenance support, or seeking technical assistance.

George Island  Cape Town, 1 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2011 by Koyo Dockyard at Mihara in Japan, ‘George Island’ is 292 metres in length and has a deadweight of 181,352 tons. She is powered by single Mitsui MAN-B&W 6S70MC-C8 six cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 25,024 bhp (18,660 kW) to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 600 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 120 kW. She has a single Miura GK-2730 economiser composite, auxiliary vertical boiler. With nine cargo holds, ‘George Island’ is gearless and has a cargo carrying capacity of 201,243 m3. She is strengthened for part loading, where holds 2, 4, 6, and 8, may be left empty.

She is an Imabari 181 designed bulk carrier, which is a very popular design with over 50 built for various shipowners. One of the Imabari 181 sisterships is ‘Cape Magnolia’, which is one of the three Japanese K Line bulk carriers that transferred onto the South African register, in a joint venture with Vuka Marine.

Cape Magnolia. Picture by Lim Hock Wu / MarineTraffic

Now owned by a single ship company, ‘George Island’ was previously called ‘Frontier Island’ and was one of group of sisterships that operated for the Japanese NYK line, carrying iron ore and coal, mainly from Australian ports to Japan. She was sold on in 2021 for US$25.2 million (ZAR458.04 million). She is currently owned, operated and managed by Silva Mare SA of Manila in the Philippines.

Her previous voyage to that currently being undertaken by ‘George Island’ was carrying iron ore from Dampier, located in the far north of Western Australia’, to Jingtang in China. Before this she has made two calls, relatively recently, at Pivdennyi Port, which is located next to Yuzhnyy in Ukraine. Both calls were to load coal for discharge in ports in China, which is an unusual trading pattern, based on China’s tacit military support for Putin, and his invading thug army.

George Island  Cape Town, 1 July 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As a result of the Russian Black Sea fleet naval blockade of Ukrainian ports in the western Odessa region at the start of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, Pivdennyi port had been closed to commercial traffic throughout 2022, and for most of 2023. However, the first arrival in the port for ‘George Island’ took place over a week period in November 2023, with a discharge in Yingkou in China. This was immediately followed by a further week of loading in Pivdennyi in February 2024, for discharge in Lianyungang in China, before she headed to Dampier.

After just 24 hours alongside in Cape Town, sorting out her requirement for the Capesize bulk carrier having to call in, ‘George Island’ was ready to sail. At midday on 2nd July, she departed from Cape Town, with her AIS indicating that her destination was to be the port of Tubarao, located at 20°17’ South 040°14’ West, in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo.

Tubarao is the second busiest port in Brazil, and was opened in 1966 by Vale, the Brazilian iron ore mining conglomerate, to export their ore to Japan. It is considered to be amongst the fastest iron ore loading terminals in the world, with an average loading rate of 12,000 tons per hour, and a nominal loading rate of 16,000 tons per hour. Compare this to the Transnet port of Saldanha Bay, opened in 1976, and with an iron ore loading rate of just 8,000 tons per hour.

George Island as Frontier Island. Picture by Michael Schindler / MarineTraffic

By 2007 Tubarao was the largest iron ore exporting port in the world, with exports of 80 million tons of iron ore. By 2021 this has grown to an annual export total of 120 million tons of iron ore. However, it is not just iron ore that is exported from Tubarao, as agribulk shipments of both grain and soybean meal also takes place from the port.

An idea of the size of the port in terms of bulk exports is that as much as 40% of the whole of the rail freight of Brazil passes through the port. In 2016 Tubarao accounted for 13% of the GDP of Espirito Santo state, and currently 35% of the iron ore output of Vale is exported from Tubarao. Such numbers mean that there is bound to be a downside. In 2016 the port was temporarily closed as a result of concerns linked to air and water pollution, which are still not resolved to the satisfaction of the environmental authorities.

In January 2016, ‘George Island’ was alongside at the Dutch port of Ijmuiden, and discharging at the Tata Steel Works berth in the port. She was struck by the arriving Panamax bulk carrier ‘Golden Ruby’, which had just arrived from Port Talbot in Wales. The collision caused serious hull damage to ‘George Island’, which resulted in her hull being opened up above the waterline. She was moved to a repair berth where hull repairs were carried out prior to her sailing.

In April 2023 when off the Indonesian island of Pulau Cula, located at 01°03’ North 103°29’ East and lying in the Strait of Singapore, ‘George Island’ was boarded by three pirates. The alarm was sounded and the pirates escaped from the vessel. There were no reports received of any harm coming to any of the crew, nor of any items of stores or equipment being stolen.

Added 7 July 2024


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Hello Ceva Logistics, totsiens Bolloré Logistics

Picture: CEVA Logistics
Africa Ports & Ships

It will soon be a final farewell to one of the best-known trade names in international logistics as CMA CGM’s subsidiary logistics arm, CEVA Logistics, fully absorbs another French company into itself under a single brand of CEVA Logistics.

The rebranding is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

CEVA Logistics said the absorption of Bolloré Logistics is adding significant scale in its quest to become a worldwide product-driven organisation.

The new vertical organisation is aimed at allowing customers to more easily benefit from its global logistics capabilities across its breadth of services in air, ocean, ground and rail transport, contract logistics, finished vehicle logistics, project logistics and customs solutions, said CEVA.

Bolloré Logistics was acquired by the CMA CGM Group on 29 February 2024. As a leading global logistics provider, CEVA generated pro forma 2023 revenue of USD 20.2 billion through transporting 1.9 million TEUs of ocean freight, 800,000 tons of air freight and managing 11.7 million square metres of warehouse space.

According to CEVA, the new organization reinforces its ability to offer consistent global services to customers across the breadth of its product offering.

With a vertical alignment of its product teams down to the local level, CEVA expects improved product development and operational excellence.

The vertically aligned product teams are expected to accelerate CEVA’s ability to engineer new solutions and then apply them more quickly to customer challenges across all geographies, said the statement.

In addition, CEVA is combining its Air and Ocean operations in order to capitalise on best practices and technology investments, notably in finalising its implementation of CargoWise.

The company expects to complete its rebranding process by the end of 2024.

Bolloré Africa Logistics

On 21 December 2022 MSC completed its acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics for a purchase price that was based on an enterprise value, net of minority interests, of €5.7 billion.

Bolloré Africa Logistics now operates under the MSC umbrella with the trade name of Africa Global Logistics (AGL).

Added 7 July 2024


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Mombasa port embraces the reefer sector

Maersk ship at the Kenya Container Terminal. Picture: Kenya Port Authority
Africa Ports & Ships

Kenya’s port of Mombasa is experiencing a rise in the number of reefer containers handled.

This comes after the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) installed 1,367 reefer new points in several of the port and inland facilities in the last year.

According to KPA managing director, William Ruto, 795 reefer points were installed at the port of Mombasa, 336 at the Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD), 216 at the port of Lamu and 20 at the Naivasha ICD.

This also follows a USD 380 million Business Environment and Export Enhancement Programme that was introduced by TradeMark Africa in a programme aimed at reducing carbon emissions throughout the East African fresh produce logistics chain.

The result of this programme has seen a movement towards shipping fruit and fresh produce by sea instead of by air.

Ruto added this followed a pact signed between Kenya and the European Union – a major trading partner of Kenya – in which Kenya agreed to transport more perishables by sea after the port of Mombasa had met with EU requirements in 2023.

This is also after Kenya signed a pact with the European Union, one of its major export destinations, agreeing to transport fresh produce via sea once Mombasa port had complied with requirements in 2023, said Capt Ruto.

The port director added that the goal is to “enhance the competitiveness and share of exports of Kenyan avocado, mangoes and vegetables to Europe and other international markets, by focusing on resolving production, storage, logistics and value addition challenges that the sector faces.”

He said Kenya was receiving fresh produce from Uganda, Tanzania and other parts of the region. “The demand made us increase plugging points,” Ruto said. “In handling this fresh produce, shippers of containerised perishable produce are granted priority to land at all our entry gates.”

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Ballast water management: New IMO online course – Free-to-access

Ballast water drain from the ship close-up. Picture: IMO ©


Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

A new free-to-access course on ballast water management in international shipping is now publicly available on IMO’s e-learning platform.

The course: Introduction to Ballast Water Management and Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, is targeted at government staff. These are individuals working in national authorities responsible for the prevention and control of pollution from ships, particularly in relation to the control and management of ships’ ballast water and sediments.

This control and management prevents the introduction of invasive aquatic species, and the implementation and enforcement of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention.

Public access

The course is open to the public, giving all stakeholders in the maritime community and beyond the opportunity to learn about IMO’s work in this area.

Overview of BWM

The course provides an overview of ballast water management and how it helps protect the marine environment, the BWM Convention and its associated guidelines, the role of Administrations and other stakeholders such as shipping companies and seafarers in implementing global standards, and practical information to ensure compliance with the regulations.

All stakeholders in the maritime community are invited to take advantage of the free, self-paced course, which covers the following specific topics, with an emphasis on interactive activities thus:

* Invasive aquatic species and ballast water management (BWM).

* Ballast Water Management Convention and Guidelines.

* Obligations of Parties under the BWM Convention.

* Compliance monitoring and enforcement for port State control.

* Risk assessment and management.

Why ballast water management?

Ballast water taken onboard ships to ensure stability can carry thousands of aquatic organisms. These can potentially become invasive when carried to a new location, threatening local biodiversity and resources.

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) was adopted in 2004 to introduce global regulations to control the transfer of potentially invasive aquatic species. With the treaty in force since 2017, ships are required to manage their ballast water in accordance with its provisions.

To access

To access the course readers are invited to visit IMO’s e-learning platform see here.

Added 7 July 2024


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Port of Tema: MPS installs latest simulator facility at Tema port

MSC Danit alongside Terminal 3, Port of Tema. Picture courtesy MPS
Africa Ports & Ships

Meridian Ports Services (MPS), a joint venture between Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and Meridian Port Holdings Limited which is in turn a joint venture with Africa Global Logistics (AGL) and APM Terminals, has introduced a state-of-the-art simulator facility for the port at Tema.

The first of its kind in Ghana, aims to significantly enhance productivity and safety in cargo handling operations by providing comprehensive, realistic training for operators and ultimately adding value to Tema Port Stakeholders.

The cutting-edge simulator is among the most advanced globally and marks a significant milestone in MPS’s quest to establish itself as the ‘Hub of the Gulf of Guinea.’

Developed by ARI Simulation in New Delhi, the sophisticated equipment simulator addresses critical aspects of crane operations, focusing on safety and efficiency.

Tema’s new port simulator. Image courtesy MPS

Custom-built to mirror the specific crane models and terminal environment of MPS’s Terminal 3 in Tema, the simulator suite includes Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes for wharf operations, electric Rubber Tyre Gantry (eRTG) cranes for container yard operations, and Reachstackers.

Each module is meticulously designed to emulate the actual equipment and conditions at Tema.

Leveraging the latest technologies, the simulator creates an ‘almost-real’ training environment using advanced physics and visual modelling. Trainees can experience a variety of weather conditions, equipment failures, malfunctions, and obstacles.

A high-fidelity audio system provides stereoscopic surround sound effects, including motor noises, collisions, alarms, radio communications, wind, and environmental sounds. Additionally, the simulator features a high-fidelity motion platform, replicating the physical sensations experienced by crane operators.

Image courtesy MPS


The commissioning ceremony at MPS’s Terminal 3 headquarters in Tema was attended by notable dignitaries, industry stakeholders, and media representatives. The event showcased MPS’s shareholders’ and management’s commitment to innovation and excellence in port operations, in line with its broader vision of transforming the port into a leading maritime hub in the region.

In an interview, MPS CEO Mohamed Samara highlighted the significance of this investment, stating, “The shareholders’ investment in this state-of-the-art simulator is dedicated to training operators of heavy container handling equipment.

Image courtesy MPS

“It aims to transfer critical knowledge, create job opportunities, and significantly boost the skills of operators within the Tema port enclave and enhance the service levels to our customers,” he said.

He described the setting like a virtual reality game, combining high visual detail, realistic sound cues, motion feedback, and a spontaneous interface, the simulator provides an unparalleled immersive training experience.

“Moreover, the simulator’s capabilities allow for continuous monitoring and assessment of trainee performance. Simulated equipment malfunctions and adverse weather conditions serve as learning opportunities, ensuring trainees are well-prepared for real-world challenges,” Samara said.

He added that this sophisticated facility represents a substantial advancement for MPS as it continues to strive for excellence in port operations and training, reinforcing its commitment to becoming a premier hub in the Gulf of Guinea.

Human Resource Manager, Julia Acquah, added that the new simulator embodies the apex of modern training technology, offering trainees a realistic and immersive experience.

It replicates the complexities of crane operations under various conditions, including day, night, rain, fog, and handling all types of containers, even during technical difficulties.

This setup allows operators to gain hands-on experience and master the specifics of container handling without the risks associated with real-world operations she said.

Tema Port Director, Sandra Opoku, acknowledged that the simulator will play a crucial role in boosting the safe and efficient operations of the container terminal. She was impressed with the fact that trainees can be evaluated and trained in a virtual environment, preparing them for potential emergencies without risking actual equipment damage.

Added 7 July 2024


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In Conversation: The story of how Swahili became Africa’s most spoken language

Friday, 5 July 2024, was internationally recognised World Kiswahili Language Day
A language that has certain maritime origins and connotations
Africa Ports & Ships

John M. Mugane, Harvard University

Once just an obscure island dialect of an African Bantu tongue, Swahili has evolved into Africa’s most internationally recognised language. It is peer to the few languages of the world that boast over 200 million users.

Over the two millennia of Swahili’s growth and adaptation, the moulders of this story – immigrants from inland Africa, traders from Asia, Arab and European occupiers, European and Indian settlers, colonial rulers, and individuals from various postcolonial nations – have used Swahili and adapted it to their own purposes. They have taken it wherever they have gone to the west.

Africa’s Swahili-speaking zone now extends across a full third of the continent from south to north and touches on the opposite coast, encompassing the heart of Africa.

The origins

The historical lands of the Swahili are on East Africa’s Indian Ocean littoral. A 2,500-kilometer chain of coastal towns from Mogadishu, Somalia to Sofala, Mozambique as well as offshore islands as far away as the Comoros and Seychelles.

This coastal region has long served as an international crossroads of trade and human movement. People from all walks of life and from regions as scattered as Indonesia, Persia, the African Great Lakes, the United States and Europe all encountered one another. Hunter-gatherers, pastoralists and farmers mingled with traders and city-dwellers.

Africans devoted to ancestors and the spirits of their lands met Muslims, Hindus, Portuguese Catholics and British Anglicans. Workers (among them slaves, porters and labourers), soldiers, rulers and diplomats were mixed together from ancient days. Anyone who went to the East African littoral could choose to become Swahili, and many did.

African unity

The roll of Swahili enthusiasts and advocates includes notable intellectuals, freedom fighters, civil rights activists, political leaders, scholarly professional societies, entertainers and health workers. Not to mention the usual professional writers, poets, and artists.

Foremost has been Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. The Nigerian writer, poet and playwright has since the 1960s repeatedly called for use of Swahili as the transcontinental language for Africa. The African Union (AU), the “united states of Africa” nurtured the same sentiment of continental unity in July 2004 and adopted Swahili as its official language. As Joaquim Chissano (then the president of Mozambique) put this motion on the table, he addressed the AU in the flawless Swahili he had learned in Tanzania, where he was educated while in exile from the Portuguese colony.

The African Union did not adopt Swahili as Africa’s international language by happenstance. Swahili has a much longer history of building bridges among peoples across the continent of Africa and into the diaspora.

The feeling of unity, the insistence that all of Africa is one, just will not disappear. Languages are elemental to everyone’s sense of belonging, of expressing what’s in one’s heart. The AU’s decision was particularly striking given that the populations of its member states speak an estimated two thousand languages (roughly one-third of all human languages), several dozen of them with more than a million speakers.

How did Swahili come to hold so prominent a position among so many groups with their own diverse linguistic histories and traditions?

A liberation language

During the decades leading up to the independence of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in the early 1960s, Swahili functioned as an international means of political collaboration. It enabled freedom fighters throughout the region to communicate their common aspirations even though their native languages varied widely.

The rise of Swahili, for some Africans, was a mark of true cultural and personal independence from the colonising Europeans and their languages of control and command. Uniquely among Africa’s independent nations, Tanzania’s government uses Swahili for all official business and, most impressively, in basic education. Indeed, the Swahili word uhuru (freedom), which emerged from this independence struggle, became part of the global lexicon of political empowerment.

The highest political offices in East Africa began using and promoting Swahili soon after independence. Presidents Julius Nyerere of Tanzania (1962–85) and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya (1964–78) promoted Swahili as integral to the region’s political and economic interests, security and liberation. The political power of language was demonstrated, less happily, by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (1971–79), who used Swahili for his army and secret police operations during his reign of terror.

Under Nyerere, Tanzania became one of only two African nations ever to declare a native African language as the country’s official mode of communication (the other is Ethiopia, with Amharic). Nyerere personally translated two of William Shakespeare’s plays into Swahili to demonstrate the capacity of Swahili to bear the expressive weight of great literary works.

Socialist overtones

Nyerere even made the term Swahili a referent to Tanzanian citizenship. Later, this label acquired socialist overtones in praising the common men and women of the nation. It stood in stark contrast to Europeans and Western-oriented elite Africans with quickly – and by implication dubiously – amassed wealth.

Ultimately, the term grew even further to encompass the poor of all races, of both African and non-African descent. In my own experience as a lecturer at Stanford University in the 1990s, for instance, several of the students from Kenya and Tanzania referred to the poor white neighbourhood of East Palo Alto, California, as Uswahilini, “Swahili land”. As opposed to Uzunguni, “land of the mzungu (white person)”.

Nyerere considered it prestigious to be called Swahili. With his influence, the term became imbued with sociopolitical connotations of the poor but worthy and even noble. This in turn helped construct a Pan African popular identity independent of the elite-dominated national governments of Africa’s fifty-some nation-states.

Little did I realise then that the Swahili label had been used as a conceptual rallying point for solidarity across the lines of community, competitive towns, and residents of many backgrounds for over a millennium.

Kwanzaa and ujamaa

In 1966, (activist and author) Maulana Ron Karenga associated the black freedom movement with Swahili, choosing Swahili as its official language and creating the Kwanzaa celebration. The term Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili word ku-anza, meaning “to begin” or “first”. The holiday was intended to celebrate the matunda ya kwanza, “first fruits”. According to Karenga, Kwanzaa symbolises the festivities of ancient African harvests.

Celebrants were encouraged to adopt Swahili names and to address one another by Swahili titles of respect. Based on Nyerere’s principle of ujamaa (unity in mutual contributions), Kwanzaa celebrates seven principles or pillars. Unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), shared purpose (nia), individual creativity (kuumba) and faith (imani).

Nyerere also became the icon of “community brotherhood and sisterhood” under the slogan of the Swahili word ujamaa. That word has gained such strong appeal that it has been used as far afield as among Australian Aborigines and African Americans and across the globe from London to Papua New Guinea. Not to mention its ongoing celebration on many US college campuses in the form of dormitories named ujamaa houses.


Today, Swahili is the African language most widely recognised outside the continent. The global presence of Swahili in radio broadcasting and on the internet has no equal among sub-Saharan African languages.

Swahili is broadcast regularly in Burundi, the DRC, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland and Tanzania. On the international scene, no other African language can be heard from world news stations as often or as extensively.

At least as far back as Trader Horn (1931), Swahili words and speech have been heard in hundreds of movies and television series, such as Star Trek, Out of Africa, Disney’s The Lion King, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. The Lion King featured several Swahili words, the most familiar being the names of characters, including Simba (lion), Rafiki (friend) and Pumbaa (be dazed). Swahili phrases included asante sana (thank you very much) and, of course, that no-problem philosophy known as hakuna matata repeated throughout the movie.

Swahili lacks the numbers of speakers, the wealth, and the political power associated with global languages such as Mandarin, English or Spanish. But Swahili appears to be the only language boasting more than 200 million speakers that has more second-language speakers than native ones.

By immersing themselves in the affairs of a maritime culture at a key commercial gateway, the people who were eventually designated Waswahili (Swahili people) created a niche for themselves. They were important enough in the trade that newcomers had little choice but to speak Swahili as the language of trade and diplomacy. And the Swahili population became more entrenched as successive generations of second-language speakers of Swahili lost their ancestral languages and became bona fide Swahili.

The key to understanding this story is to look deeply at the Swahili people’s response to challenges. At the ways in which they made their fortunes and dealt with misfortunes. And, most important, at how they honed their skills in balancing confrontation and resistance with adaptation and innovation as they interacted with arrivals from other language backgrounds.

This is an edited extract of the first chapter of The Story of Swahili from Ohio University PressThe Conversation

John M. Mugane, Professor, Harvard University

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

Added 7 July 2024


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Angola’s Port of Luanda honoured by ESQR award

Port of Luanda including Administration Building in foreground. Picture: AD Ports

Africa Ports & Ships

The European Society for Quality Research (ESQR) held its annual awards ceremony in Brussels, Belgium on Sunday 30 June 2024.

ESQR recognises outstanding leadership by awarding the Best Quality Leadership Award to selected companies, organisations, institutions and public administrations from Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and Australia.

The awards are given in recognition of their outstanding leadership and initiative-driven steps to improve and advance the development of quality.

Participating were renowned business leaders from different countries, academic experts, quality professionals, civil servants and diplomats.

Among the recipients of the awards was the Angolan Port of Luanda, which received the prestigious honour for their innovative and initiative-driven efforts to improve and advance quality management.

Award winners are selected by ESQR based on the results of its polls, consumer opinion research and market studies. The voters are made up of customers, consumers, former ESQR award winners and collaborators.

All participating companies, institutions, public administrations and organisations had the opportunity to present and share their achievements, exchange professional experiences, propose initiatives and network with their potential partners from across the world.

The ESQR is based in Lausanne (Switzerland) and handles strategic questions in quality management and promotes quality culture and continuous improvement through its annual conventions.

These serve as a global forum to perfect quality management techniques and provide an excellent networking opportunity for all participants.

Added 7 July 2024


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In Conversation: Shell didn’t consult communities properly about mining the Wild Coast – but how much legal protection do South Africans have?

Robert Krause, University of the Witwatersrand

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal recently dismissed an appeal by Shell, Impact Africa and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to overturn a High Court judgment that halted a seismic survey off the country’s pristine Wild Coast. The High Court found that the right to carry out a seismic survey had been granted to Shell and Impact Africa unlawfully. This was because they had failed to adequately consult the Wild Coast’s affected communities, ignoring the communities’ cultural rights and their use of the land and sea for fishing and generating livelihoods.

Environmental law researcher Robert Krause of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies explains what South Africa’s laws say about genuine consultation, and how courts have ruled on this. He argues that communities need to organise against fossil fuel mining because the law offers them only limited protection.

What is genuine community consultation?

The legal requirements of consulting before making decisions are rooted in principles of reasonable, lawful and procedurally fair administrative action. These principles have been adapted and incorporated into South Africa’s constitutional democracy. They are also codified in Section 33 of the constitution and the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act of 2000. The act says that people or communities who might be negatively affected by a decision should be given:

    • enough notice about what the decision could mean for them
    • a clear statement describing what changes the decision could mean
    • notice that they can ask for reasons for the decision and letting them know how to appeal against the decision
    • an opportunity to explain how the decision could negatively affect their lives.

There are even more specific requirements found in different laws. For example, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002 details how communities should be consulted when mining companies apply for exploration permits.

The requirement to consult communities has also been interpreted by the Constitutional Court of South Africa in the Bengwenyama case. In this case, the court ruled that a company that wants to prospect for minerals on land that does not belong to it must give interested and affected persons enough information about what exactly it will be doing (for example, digging huge pits in the land, extracting water from a river or blasting in the sea).

This information is important because it enables the interested and affected parties to comment on the decision and engage from an informed position.

Second, a company seeking a mining licence must engage in a dialogue that aims to reach a common understanding. This requires that consultation be conducted with an open mind – in other words that a mining company is willing to change its mind.

Since December 2014, all mining licence applications have been subject to the National Environmental Management Act regulations, which contain some of the most detailed requirements for public consultation. (This did not apply in the Shell case because its application for exploration rights on the Wild Coast was approved before December 2014.)

What could Shell and Impact Africa’s next move be?

I do not see it as very likely that Shell will abandon its project as there are vast potential profits. It is, therefore, likely that Shell will follow the path laid down by the Supreme Court of Appeal: hold consultations with affected communities and other interested parties so that it can apply again for the renewal of its exploration rights. I can see Shell being more careful to tick the boxes to comply with the letter if not the spirit of the judgment.

This new consultation would have to ensure that notices about the seismic survey activities (where, how and when they were to be carried out) were given to communities in language as easily understandable as possible and not overly technical. Communities would have to be invited to give their views. In the Shell case, the Supreme Court of Appeal said there should be notices published in the local languages of the Wild Coast – isiXhosa and isiMpondo.

These notices should also be broadcast on public radio stations such as Ukhozi FM and Umhlobo Wenene, the main sources of information for communities on the Wild Coast.

The Supreme Court of Appeal also said Shell had not considered the negative impacts of seismic surveys on cultural and religious practices, and food security and income from fishing. This suggests that cultural and religious practices of affected communities must be considered during consultations because Indigenous knowledge about sustainable living is important.

What’s next for the affected communities?

Communities must be consulted when their land or sea is mined. But public participation processes in South Africa do not give communities the power to veto a decision by a developer.

It is possible that Shell might now hold a consultation process with better notice and wider participation at public meetings. Business and political networks with an interest in a particular development work may also make sure that participation meetings are dominated or disrupted by those voicing support. Manipulation of public participation can be hard to trace to the company.

Discussions about “where to next” are best left to the communities and civil society organisations involved. My observation is that the Shell judgment shows the limits of the South African legal system. It is designed to preserve the capitalist economy and state. Legal cases tend to be won on procedural arguments (for example, that the public participation process did not meet the required standards).

The Shell case also shows that the courts might agree that proper processes were not followed, but might not do enough to assist communities (for example, by setting aside Shell’s permit).

Environmental issues are rooted in unequal power dynamics. Tackling them therefore requires a strong environmental and climate justice movement made up of mining-affected community organisations, labour, and environmental civil society organisations. In South Africa, these are connected under the Climate Justice Coalition. International solidarity is also vital and is easier to build around multinational corporations such as Shell that are already opposed globally.

South Africa is a society of grinding poverty and extreme levels of unemployment. Destructive projects often use the argument that they will provide communities with jobs and development. It is vital that movements outline alternative, democratically controlled community-driven development paths that harness the full potential of the area.The Conversation

Robert Krause, Acting Head of Environmental Justice, Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), University of the Witwatersrand

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

Added 7 July 2024


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Port Advisories and general shipping news

Cape Town Container Terminal, no sign of congestion today (see below). Picture: TNPA
Africa Ports & Ships

SAECS Service

Maersk advises the provision of an extra loader during July. The vessel EF Olivia will be calling at Durban, East London & Port Elizabeth. The vessel will then proceed directly to Algeciras & Rotterdam, ensuring a faster transit time to market with this vessel.


PORT                ETA                 ETD
Durban             20 July 2024     27 July 2024
East London     28 July 2024     30 July 2024
Ngqura             03 Aug 2024     04 Aug 2024
Algeciras          18 Aug 2024      19 Aug 2024
Rotterdam        22 Aug 2024      23 Aug 2024


Peak Season Surcharges (PSS)

CMA CGM advises its customers that the following Peak Season Surcharges (PSS) will apply:

Dry cargo from India to West Africa

From 15 July 2024 (gate-in date) until further notice: USD 500 per 20ft container USD 300 per 40ft container

– Origin range: From Mundra, Nhava Sheva, Cochin, Mangalore & Tuticorin- Destination range: To Namibia (Walvis Bay), Angola (Luanda, Lobito, Cabinda, Namibe), Congo (Pointe Noire), DRC (Matadi), Gabon (Libreville, Port Gentil), Benin (Cotonou), Ghana (Tema), Nigeria (Apapa, Tincan, Lekki)


Dry cargo from India to South Africa

From 15 July 2024 (gate-in date) until further notice:

USD 500 per 20ft container
USD 300 per 40ft container

– Origin range: From Mundra, Cochin, Mangalore, Nhava Sheva & Tuticorin- Destination range: To South Africa


AMEX service – MSC Rowan 429N

Maersk advises that a 9th vessel has been added to the AMEX service from South Africa to the USA to better accommodate the increasing citrus volumes. This vessel will only cover one rotation.

Durban: 29th July
Cape Town: 3rd Aug
Newark: 21st Aug


AMEX service – vessel phase out / vessel phase in

MSC Nuria will phase out of the Amex service and be replaced by the phasing in of MSC Jersey. Port rotation and tentative schedule is as follows:

MSC Nuria

Cape Town (CTMPT) – 5 July
Ngqura – 9 July (vessel omitting Port Elizabeth for Ngqura)
Durban – 11 July

MSC Jersey

Durban – 9 July
Port Elizabeth – 12 July
Cape Town – 17 July

All exports currently on the MSC Nuria 427N will be moved to the MSC Jersey 427N.

Imports on the MSC Nuria will discharge on their respective dates as per above


Discharge call at Durban Point

VL1 CMA CGM Valparaisio, voyage 423S / ZADUR11

Due to the current delays/ equipment issues in Durban Container Terminal (ZADUR), vessel VL1 CMA CGM VALPARAISIO 423S will have a split call at Point Terminal to perform discharge and thereafter shift to DCT.

In the event that a berth at DCT Pier 2 becomes available the vessel will complete remaining discharge at this terminal.Discharging at Durban Point from 12/07/2024 to 13/07/2024.


Phase Out/Phase In MW1 service

Maersk Euphrates Phase out/Maersk Florence phase in M1 service

Maersk advises that the vessel Maersk Euphrates will phase out of the MW1 service and the Maersk Florence will phase in.

Maersk Euphrates will phase out in Jebel Ali on 14 July and Maersk Florence is expected to phase in on 16 July.

Maersk advises that all cargo destined for Mundra and Jawaharlal Nehru will discharge in Jebel Ali and connect to the Maersk Florence. No change in ETA is expected.


SAECS Service Europe-South Africa

Santa Cruz Voyage 242S Delay into Port Elizabeth

Please note that the Santa Cruz/242S is running late from Europe due to congestion in European ports. Berthing is expected in Ngqura around 12 July, weather permitting.


Iraq- Umm QASR

Customer Advisory: IRAQ – UMM QASR | Booking Acceptance Re- Opening

Maersk advises that they have re-opened the product from South Africa into Iraq- Umm QASR as a result of previous temporary suspension with feeder constraint.

Booking acceptance will be effective from the Maersk Euphrates (422E), scheduled to arrive in Jebel Ali on 14 July 2024.


News Briefs

Höegh London repairs

The car carrier, Höegh London (IMO 9342205), which had a full deck collapse shortly after sailing from Port Elizabeth, is continuing with repairs at berth 104 in Durban harbour.

An entire adjustable cargo deck loaded with motor cars taken on board at Port Elizabeth, collapsed as the ship headed out of Algoa Bay into heavy seas. The ship was forced to return to PE and discharge the many badly damage motor vehicles (mostly VW Polo Hatchbacks).

See that report here

Added 7 July 2024



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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Total cargo handled by tonnes during 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