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Week commencing 3 April 2023.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return 



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Queen Mary at the old N-Shed passenger terminal, in Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones
Queen Mary 2, sailing from Durban 2010. Picture by Trevor Jones
This lovely aerial view of Queen Mary 2 on the T-Jetty O/P berth, with MSC Sinfonia occupiying what was her usual beth at N-Shed, and a Hoegh Autoliner car carrier making her way to one of the car terminal berths (R shed). Picture is by Brian Spurr

The Cunard liner/cruise ship Queen Mary 2 is due in Durban early Monday morning, 3 April, at the start of her cruise along the South African coast, with calls scheduled also at Port Elizabeth and Cape Town later in the week.  The above photographs are from an earlier visit to Durban.  It is understood that Queen Mary 2 will be gracing the new Durban Cruise Terminal where she will make for a fairly tight fit.

Pictures by Trevor Jones & Brian Spurr


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Bolloré Africa Logistics rebranded as Africa Global Logistics (AGL)

There’s a new name to watch on the African continent, a name we will no doubt become quickly familiar with. The name is Africa Global Logistics (AGL).

This is not a start-up, but the rebranding of another well-known name across many lands – Bolloré Africa Logistics which Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) acquired last year.

It was inevitable that the new MSC subsidiary would be renamed. Africa Global Logistics it has become.

MSC is the world’s largest container carrier. The new subsidiary must also be one of if not the largest international logistics providers on the continent.

MSC said in a statement announcing the fact of its rebranding that this is a reinforcing of its “continuous investment in Africa”.

AGL is not confined to Africa although much of its business in logistics and ports is here, in addition to the vast MSC shipping activities.

With more than 21,000 employees working in 49 countries, AGL is a reference multimodal logistics operator and is now part of the Cargo Division of MSC Group.

AGL has more than 250 logistics and maritime agencies, 22 port and rail concessions, 66 dry ports and 2 river terminals. Most of those are in Africa.

“AGL will continue to operate as an independent entity with the full support of family-owned MSC Group’s strength and scale,” said MSC in its statement.

“MSC will count on AGL as a preferred logistics partner, in addition to MSC’s existing MEDLOG inland transportation and logistics business.

AGL has a thriving logistics footprint in Africa, from warehousing and cold storage to other logistics solutions. AGL will also support MSC and all other shipping lines with productive maritime container terminals, as well as efficient multipurpose terminals and rail operations.

AGL said in its statement that with centuries-old know-how on the continent, it will continue to provide its local and international customers with a competitive integrated logistics network.

“As a leading multimodal logistics operator (port, logistics, maritime and rail) in Africa, AGL will improve the productivity of the terminals we operate for the benefit of all shipping companies. AGL will develop multimodal logistics solutions to meet the expectations of its customers.”

MSC said it is excited about the AGL brand reveal and will continue to invest in all its cargo businesses that operate in Africa, while supporting the sustainable growth and development of the continent.

“As a global supply chain leader, MSC understands the critical role that logistics plays in enabling trade, and in growing economies. MSC and AGL remain committed to participating in driving the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as connecting Africa with the rest of the world.”

Phillipe Labonne, AGL President said they were pleased to begin this journey within the MSC family.

“This new brand reinforces our ambition to be a trusted logistics partner for our customers in Africa and around the world,” he said.

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Added 3 April 2023


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Bolloré Africa Logistics devient Africa Global Logistics (AGL)

Il y a un nouveau nom à surveiller sur le continent africain, un nom avec lequel nous allons sans doute nous familiariser rapidement. Le nom est Africa Global Logistics (AGL).

Il ne s’agit pas d’une start-up, mais du changement de marque d’un autre nom bien connu dans de nombreux pays – Bolloré Africa Logistics, que Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) a acquis l’année dernière.

Il était inévitable que la nouvelle filiale MSC soit renommée. Africa Global Logistics c’est devenu.

MSC est le plus grand transporteur de conteneurs au monde. La nouvelle filiale doit également être l’un des plus grands prestataires logistiques internationaux du continent, sinon le plus important.

MSC a déclaré dans un communiqué annonçant le fait de son changement de marque qu’il s’agit d’un renforcement de son “investissement continu en Afrique”.

AGL ne se limite pas à l’Afrique, bien qu’une grande partie de son activité logistique et portuaire s’y trouve, en plus des vastes activités maritimes de MSC.

Avec plus de 21 000 collaborateurs travaillant dans 49 pays, AGL est un opérateur logistique multimodal de référence et fait désormais partie de la Division Cargo du Groupe MSC.

AGL compte plus de 250 agences logistiques et maritimes, 22 concessions portuaires et ferroviaires, 66 ports secs et 2 terminaux fluviaux. La plupart d’entre eux se trouvent en Afrique.

“AGL continuera à fonctionner en tant qu’entité indépendante avec le soutien total de la force et de l’échelle du groupe familial MSC”, a déclaré MSC dans son communiqué.

“MSC comptera sur AGL en tant que partenaire logistique privilégié, en plus de l’activité de transport et de logistique intérieure MEDLOG existante de MSC.

AGL a une empreinte logistique florissante en Afrique, de l’entreposage et du stockage frigorifique à d’autres solutions logistiques. AGL soutiendra également MSC et toutes les autres compagnies maritimes avec des terminaux à conteneurs maritimes productifs, ainsi que des terminaux polyvalents et des opérations ferroviaires efficaces.

AGL a déclaré dans son communiqué qu’avec un savoir-faire séculaire sur le continent, elle continuera à fournir à ses clients locaux et internationaux un réseau logistique intégré compétitif.

“En tant qu’opérateur logistique multimodal (portuaire, logistique, maritime et ferroviaire) de premier plan en Afrique, AGL améliorera la productivité des terminaux que nous opérons au profit de toutes les compagnies maritimes. AGL développera des solutions logistiques multimodales pour répondre aux attentes de ses clients .”

MSC s’est dit ravi de la révélation de la marque AGL et continuera d’investir dans toutes ses activités de fret qui opèrent en Afrique, tout en soutenant la croissance et le développement durables du continent.

“En tant que leader mondial de la chaîne d’approvisionnement, MSC comprend le rôle essentiel que joue la logistique dans la facilitation du commerce et dans la croissance des économies. MSC et AGL restent déterminés à participer au succès de la zone de libre-échange continentale africaine (AfCFTA), ainsi qu’à reliant l’Afrique au reste du monde.

Phillipe Labonne, président d’AGL, s’est dit ravi de commencer ce voyage au sein de la famille MSC.
<p. “Cette nouvelle marque renforce notre ambition d’être un partenaire logistique de confiance pour nos clients en Afrique et dans le monde”, a-t-il déclaré. p>

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Ajouté le 3 avril 2023


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WHARF TALK: Islamic Republic of Iran Navy 86th Flotilla

Dena and Makran (441), Cape Town 31 March 2023 Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Never a true word is spoken in jest with “You are the company that you keep.” It is a well-known saying, which warns you that the people that you choose to associate with, and their actions, will influence how other people think about you, and how they will choose to deal with you going forward. If you associate yourself with thugs and pariah states, you risk being considered to be a thug yourself, and risk becoming a pariah state to boot. And so it is with the current ANC Government, who seem to consider those risks to be a worthwhile endeavour.

It was only back in February, which is not that long ago, and on the first anniversary of the ‘three day special military operation’ in Ukraine, conducted by a thug nation, with no consideration for international law, state sovereignty, and national self-determination, we saw the arrival of a small two ship flotilla of Russian warships arriving in South African ports. The lead warship, Admiral Gorshkov, was gleefully displaying the ‘V’ and ‘Z’ motifs of a barbaric, invading army, in the harbour of a self-proclaimed ‘neutral’ country.

The warship was embraced warmly by the ANC government apparatchiks, and the senior officers of the South African Navy. They were joined by more warships of a third nation, one that is threatening to invade another country, land grabbing on a grand scale in the South China Sea, denying agreed democracy to the populace of Hong Kong, and suppressing elements of its own people. Both nations are showing an affinity for each other that goes against common decency, and in light of events in Ukraine, one questions why the ANC would want to invite them in at such a time of international tension. Surely, things could not get any worse? Wrong!

The Iranian corvette Dena arriving in Cape Town, 31 March 2023, from a tv image

Late on the 30th March, there was a lot of blue light activity spotted going on around G berth, in the Duncan Dock of Cape Town harbour. On 31st March, in the early afternoon, the reason for this became apparent, when two warships of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN), arrived, unannounced, with no warning, and like the Russians before them, no doubt hoping to sneak in with little local press intrusion. The warships were the Islamic Republic of Iran Ship (IRINS) ‘Makran’, pennant number 441, and the IRINS ‘Dena’, pennant number 75. The ‘IRINS Makran’ is best described as a Forward Operating Base and Support vessel, and the ‘IRINS Dena’ is best described as a Corvette, or a Light Frigate.

They are operating under the name of ‘The 86th Flotilla’, which has the ironic operating title of ‘The Peace and Friendship Flotilla’, and are on a round the world voyage, to try and show they are a true ‘blue water’ navy, able to operate anywhere on earth, as an independent fighting force. The journey started back in September when the two vessels sailed from Iran, bound for Jakarta, in Indonesia.

On 28th September, when they were abeam Mumbai, in India, one of the crew of ‘IRINS Makran’ suffered a cardiac arrest, and medical assistance was sought from the Indian authorities. An ALH Dhruv Mk.3 Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter of the Indian Navy was despatched from the Indian Naval Air Station, INS Shikra, located in South Mumbai. The Iranian Navy crewman was airlifted to the impressive Indian Navy Hospital, INHS Asvini, also located in South Mumbai, and which houses a specialist cardiac surgical and critical care unit. Once the crewman was undergoing treatment, the ‘IRINS Makran’ continued on her voyage to Jakarta, in company with ‘IRINS Dena’.

On 5th November, one week before the G20 Summit, which was hosted in Bali, by Indonesia, both vessels arrived at the Indonesian Naval Base, at Tanjung Priok, in North Jakarta. Over the next five days they held a Search and Rescue exercise with units of the Indonesian Navy. On 10th November, both IRIN vessels sailed for a Trans Pacific voyage, and an expected passage through the Panama Canal. It was the first time in the history of the IRIN that any of their warships had entered the Pacific Ocean. It was unclear where the next port visit would take place, with Venezuela and Cuba topping the list.

The Iranian Navy corvette Dena alongside support ship Makran, Cape Town 31 March 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As it happened, both vessels crossed the South Pacific, heading away from Panama, and they went around Cape Horn, achieving another first when they arrived off Rio de Janeiro, the first time that an IRIN vessel had called at a South American port. On 27th February, both vessels entered the Arsenal de Marinha de Rio de Janeiro (AMRJ), which is the Brazilian Naval Base at Guanabara Bay. The visit was originally scheduled for 23rd January, but President Lula da Silva of Brazil was about to leave for a visit to Washington DC to meet President Joe Biden, and such a visit was deemed to be too sensitive at the time, so it was delayed until he had left the USA.

From Brazil, the two IRIN warships were expected to head north, either to Venezuela or Cuba, or even to the Panama Canal, as originally stated by the Commander of the Iranian Navy. On 4th March, both vessels departed from Rio de Janeiro, and lo and behold, on 31st March they both fetched up off Cape Town.

An indigenous design of warship, ‘IRINS Dena’ is one of a planned 7 units known as the Moudge, or Mowj, class of Light Frigate, or Corvette. Four of the class have entered service so far, although the second of the class, ‘IRINS Damavand’ struck a breakwater at speed, causing the hull to rupture, and she became partially submerged. She is still under repair. The next, or fifth vessel of the class, ‘IRINS Talayieh’, rolled over whilst in a partially flooded builder’s drydock, and is also being repaired.

Built by the Shahid Darvishi Industries shipyard at Bandar Abbas in Iran, ‘IRINS Dena’ was laid down in 2012, launched in 2015, and commissioned in June 2021. The shipyard is a division of the Marine Industries Organisation (MIO), which is a subordinate organisation of the Iranian Defence Ministry.

At 95 metres in length, ‘IRINS Dena’ has a displacement of 1,500 tons. She is powered by two 10,000 bhp (7,500 kW) diesel engines, capable of achieving a maximum sea speed of 30 knots. Her auxiliary machinery includes four generators providing 550 kW each. She has a crew of 140, and her commanding officer is reported to be Junior Captain Omid Moghani.

Her armament is made up of mostly unlicensed weapons that have been reverse engineered, and copied, from other sources. The main armament of ‘IRINS Dena’ is a Fajr-27 76mm gun, which is an unlicensed copy of the Oto-Melara 76mm gun, as found on the Valour Class of frigate in the South African Navy. She has an aft mounted Fath-40 40mm anti-aircraft gun, which an unlicensed copy of the Bofors L/70 gun. Her lighter armament includes two 20mmm Oerlikon cannons, and two 12.7mm heavy machine guns.

The Iranian Navy corvette Dena alongside support ship Makran, Cape Town 31 March 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is also armed with four Mehrab Surface to Air Missiles (SAM), which are reverse engineered copies of the American RIM-66 SAM. She also has four Noor Surface to Surface Missiles (SSM), which are reverse engineered copies of the Chinese C-802 anti-shipping SSM. She also has two triple launchers for 324mm torpedoes, and two, eight tube, chaff launchers for decoy defense. Her helideck is capable of operating the Bell-212 helicopter.

The ‘IRINS Makran’ is quite an interesting vessel and, for a warship, very unique. She started life as the Aframax tanker ‘Al Buhaira’ (IMO 9486910), whose owners were based in Dubai. She was built in 2010 by Sumitomo Heavy Industries at Yokosuka in Japan. With a length of 230 metres, she had a deadweight of 105,319 tons. In 2013 she was renamed ‘Beta’, with new owners based in Fujairah. She had a very patchy career as ‘Beta’, with the ITF getting involved in crew welfare issues on at least one occasion. Then in 2019 her AIS was switched off, and she was spotted under tow from Fujairah by a tug of the Iranian Navy, and headed for Iran.

Over the next two years she was converted at the Shahid Bahovar shipyard, and at the Iran Shipbuilding and Offshore Industries AGH drydock complex at Bandar Abbas. She reappeared in 2021 as the ‘IRINS Makran’, allocated to the Southern Fleet of the IRIN, with a length of 228 metres and a displacement of 121,000 tons.

She has a maximum sea speed of 14.5 knots, driven by a fixed pitch propeller, and has an endurance of 100 days. She has retained many of her cargo tanks, used previously as a merchant tanker, and has a carrying capacity of 80,000 m3 of fuel oil, and 20,000 m3 of potable water. This allows her to act as a fleet auxiliary oiler, although she has no replenishment at sea equipment fitted.

In November 2016 two Iranian Navy ships, the small frigate Alvand and support ship Bushehr, arrived in Durban. Here Alvand (71) enters port under the background of the Bluff. Picture by Trevor Jones

She has a large forward helideck fitted, with dimensions of 75m by 42m, with one landing spot, and capable of parking between 5 to 7 helicopters at any one time. Her helicopter mix includes Bell 212, Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King, and Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion. She carried a single Bell 212 on deck on arrival in Cape Town. There is no hangar provision. She is also able to launch any number of Shahed reconnaissance, or kamikaze, drones.

Her midships crane can be used for alongside refuelling purposes, and is track mounted, to allow it move laterally across the deck. This allows her to pick up the four Zolfaqar fast combat speedboats that she can carry on deck, or the two mini-submarines she can also carry. Of interest is that the speedboats are generally operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN), which is a separate force to the IRIN, under a different command, and whose role is not to protect Iran, but to protect the dictatorial religious leadership of Iran.

Her fixed armament is light, with up to six 20mm anti-aircraft cannons, and two 12.7mm heavy machine guns. She is also capable of carrying two deck loaded 40 foot shipping containers, said to be loaded with anti-ship SSM. There is also accommodation for up to 150 Special Forces to be carried, if required. Her commanding officer is reported to be Captain Ali Asghar Mazloumi.

The IRIN is considered by other Navies to be a professional force, despite being involved in seizing tankers and crews for political ends. However, the IRGCN is seen as something else. It is the IRGCN which is accused of laying mines in the Persian Gulf, of planting limpet mines on anchored tankers, using swarm terror tactics on vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz. It is not known if any IRGCN members are being carried on ‘IRINS Makran’.

Iranian frigate Alvand alongside at Durban, 21 November 2023. Picture by Trevor Jones

Last year ‘IRINS Makran’, accompanied by the Moudge light frigate ‘IRINS Sahand’ pennant number 74, and under the title of ‘The 75th Flotilla’, undertook a mammoth nonstop voyage from Bandar Abbas, via the Cape of Good Hope, to St. Petersburg in Russia. She did not call into any South African port, nor any other port en route. She was sent to represent Iran in the 325th Russian Navy Day celebration. It was the first time ever that any vessel of the IRIN had entered the Atlantic Ocean. However, the IRIN had hoped to reach that first milestone a few years earlier.

In 2014, the IRIN sent ‘The 30th Flotilla’ south to round the Cape, to enter the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. They were expected to call into Durban en route, but they never arrived. Shortly after leaving Dar es Salaam, one of the vessels developed serious mechanical problems, and the flotilla had to turn around and limp back home to Bandar Abbas.

The IRIN is forced to go the long way round to reach the Atlantic, and St. Petersburg, as they are unable to go via the Suez Canal, as all Iranian warships have been banned from using the canal by the President El-Sisi of Egypt.

In 2016, the Commander of IRIN stated that ‘IRINS Bushehr’ pennant number 422’, a fleet support vessel, and ‘IRINS Alvand’, pennant number 71, a frigate, would proceed around the Cape, known as ‘The 44th Flotilla’, and enter the Atlantic Ocean, and head to the shores of the United States, to show that they could operate in the same way that the US 6th Fleet does in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian ships Alvand (71) and Bushehr at Durban, 21 November 2016

Shortly after entering the Mozambique Channel, ‘IRINS Bushehr’ reportedly struck a partially submerged object, though to be a floating container. The collision resulted in her hull being breached, and a drydock was urgently needed. On 15th November 2016, both ‘IRINS Bushehr’ and ‘IRINS Alvand’ entered Durban Harbour. It was the first visit to any South African port since 1979, when the Shah of Iran was overthrown.

Both vessels headed into the Maydon Channel, with ‘IRIN Alvand’ going to Bayhead, and ‘IRIN Bushehr’ going into the Dormac Floating Drydock, in order to receive her hull repairs. Things did not go well for ‘IRIN Bushehr’. There was a problem with transferring money to affect the repairs, and she languished in Durban harbour for several months. The extended stay, without financial support, meant that food rations ran out on the vessel, and the crew were reduced, at one point, to have to beg the authorities for food.

It is not known how long the current ‘86th Peace and Friendship Flotilla’ will stay in Cape Town, nor if they will visit Durban, or any other South African port, as they continue on their epic round the world cruise, presumably on the last leg back to Iran. The crew were seen leaving the vessel, en masse, later that day, but as it was late, and they were not spotted in the adjacent V&A, the conjecture was that they had been invited to a local mosque to celebrate Ramadan.

As with the Russian two ship flotilla, it is not known how an Iranian two ship flotilla can exert any kind of force projection on their travels, which was the aim of the Commander of the IRIN. He even boasted that, as well as having a current Command for the Indian Ocean, that the IRIN would set up additional Commands in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Where these so-called commands would be based, and using which IRIN vessels, is unknown. It is considered by defence analysts to be nothing more than bluster, to divert attention away from the domestic woes that Iran is currently experiencing with a restless populace.

Iranian support ship Bushehr, Durban T-Jetty, 16 November 2016. Picture by Trevor Jones

It all begs the question, as to what the ANC government can possibly get out of pushing out an invitation to yet another pariah state to come and visit South Africa. Trade, yes, but at what price internationally. There is a very good reason why Iran is a pariah state. The continuing attempts at destabilisation of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, using the Sunni-Shia schism as their weapon. The attempt at production of a nuclear weapon, the oppression of its people, especially women, the terror tactics it carries out to international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, and the arrest of foreign nationals, on trumped up charges, for political leverage.

There is not one value that aligns with the ANC in this relationship, and the price of this visit may not bode well for relations with other nations. Is it because that Iran is now firmly in bed with Russia, in providing weapons, such as Shahed drones, to rain destruction down on the civilian population of Ukraine, that the ANC is happy to welcome them in? We already know that South Africa was, or is, training pilots of the Iran Air Force. A friend of Russia, is a friend of mine? What is obvious here is that there is also no neutrality display in this optic.

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Added 3 April 2023


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Missing tanker Monjasa Reformer found, but 6 crew taken away hostage

The pirated Danish tanker Monjasa Reformer. Picture: French Navy

The Danish products tanker MONJASA REFORMER, which was boarded by armed pirates off the coast of Port Doula more than a week ago, and which subsequently went missing without any news of the 16 crew members on the ship, has been found.

A French naval ship, FS Premier Maître L’Her, located the missing ship by means of an aerial drone, which showed the pirated vessel on a course for the coast of Nigeria.

Also seen by the drone was a smaller vessel, believed to belong to the pirates, alongside the Monjasa Reformer, which seemed to indicate the vessel had been taken by the pirates for use as a possible mother ship.

A subsequent reconnaissance by an aircraft however, showed the smaller vessel to have departed from the scene of the tanker.

Next a message was received from the tanker, saying that the pirates had departed, taking six members of the crew with them. Monjasa Reformer by this stage was about 90 nautical miles south of Bonny.

Steps were then taken by the French naval ship to effect a rescue operation towards the tanker.

A doctor and nurse have boarded the tanker to provide any necessary treatment for the remaining crew.

Meanwhile, a Nigerian naval ship, NS Gongola also arrived to provide any necessary assistance and support and to escort the tanker to the port of Lomé

After a lengthy lull in pirate activity in the Gulf of Guinea, a warning has now gone out from the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) to all mariners in the region to be extra vigilant and to exercise extreme caution while transiting the area.

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Added 3 April 2023


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ONE on expansion programme with 28.7% stake in Seaspan Corp

ONE Stork, ONE’s first 14,000-TEU newbuild in 2018

Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE) – the pink ship operator – has embarked on an expansion programme with the acquisition of a 28.7% stake in the Seaspan Corp.

Seaspan is the world’s largest non-operating container ship owner.

The acquisition has become possible by way of ONE and its partners forming Poseidon Acquisition Corp, having acquired all of the outstanding common stock of Atlas not previously owned by Poseidon.

Atlas is the parent company of Seaspan Corp. The deal cost US$ 10.9 billion.

Poseidon is an entity formed by affiliates of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, affiliates of the Washington Family, David Sokol, Chairman of the Board of Atlas, and Ocean Network Express Pte Ltd (‘ONE’).

Seapsan set about transforming the composition of its fleet and expanding its capacity in 2018. Having focused on vessels of under 10,000 TEU capacity, half of the fleet in 2023 averages around 13,000 TEU capacity.

The number of ships within the fleet grew from 89 in 2017 to 189 currently, including vessels on order.

ONE is the largest charterer with about 25% of the fleet, while MSC, Cosco, Zim and Yang Ming each have around 10%, leaving 80% of the Seaspan fleet under charter with those five.

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Added 3 April 2023


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The Magnetism of Antarctica: The Ross Expedition 1839-1843

By John Knight

Published by Whittles Publishing
Dunbeath, Caithness, Scotland KW6 6EG
ISBN 978 1 84995 501 0
Pages c.256. Softback. Price £18.99

For more years than I care to remember I have been absorbed by polar business in one form or another. In another life I had the privilege of working for Captain Tom Woodfield at Trinity House. He had served in RRSs Shackleton and John Biscoe and commanded RRS Bransfield. He was a polar medallist and wrote Polar Mariner Beyond the Limits in Antarctica, published by Whittles and still available.

The first thorough account

The Magnetism of Antarctica: The Ross Expedition 1839-1843 is said to be first thorough account of this expedition. Never before or since has the Antarctic pack ice been breached by two wooden sail-powered warships without the aid of charts or any prior knowledge of what they were about to encounter.

This under-documented expedition was a pivotal moment in the annals of polar exploration and was the starting point, in historical terms, of revealing the great unknown continent of Antarctica. It was the first time in nearly 70 years since Captain James Cook had circumnavigated Antarctica, that a Royal Naval voyage of discovery had ventured so far South. They set a new ‘furthest south’ record in the process beating the one set up by James Weddell in a whaling ship in 1823.

James Clark Ross and Francis Crozier

The expedition set sail from Greenwich in 1839. It consisted of two wooden sailing ships commanded by Captain James Clark Ross and Commander Francis Crozier. The ships were manned exclusively by Royal Naval personnel and each ship had a complement of 64. Their primary task was of a scientific nature to study the Earth’s magnetic field and build up a set of results that could provide a greater understanding of the effects of magnetism on compasses and their use in global navigation. This voyage had a set of targets and all were accomplished. In the process a vast amount of scientific information was collected.

Erebus and Terror

This voyage included port calls at Madeira, St. Helena, Cape Town, Kerguelen Island, New Zealand, Australia and the Falkland Islands. The pinnacle was the discovery of the Ross Sea, the Ross Ice Shelf and the mighty volcanoes of Erebus and Terror named after the two ships.

Ships’ companies experienced the dangers of navigation in ice-strewn waters and narrowly escaping being crushed by icebergs. Illness was kept at bay although several lives were lost due to accidents.

It would be another sixty years before the scenes of these greatest discoveries were visited again and then the Golden Age of Discovery was ushered in with the expeditions of Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen.

The book is well illustrated and laid out in three parts. Part 1 – The Expedition. In the Beginning; Targets and instructions; James Clark Ross and Francis Crozier; Setting sail to Madeira and the Atlantic Islands; Cape Town and beyond; Next stop – Hobart, Tasmania; First taste of the ice; Amazing discoveries and wonders to behold; Turning North; South again to the Great Ice Barrier; Impending Disaster; Wild cattle hunt and a third winter away; Return to the Antarctic.

Part 2 – The sailors’ stories.

Part 3 – The ships and their sailors. Muster list for HMS Erebus; Muster list for HMS Terror. Postscript. To these are added the acknowledgements, arrival and departure dates at ports of call and a bibliography.

Whittles Publishing has an established polar list that includes: Scott’s Forgotten Surgeon Dr Reginald Koettlitz, Polar Explorer, by Aubrey A Jones, and My Arctic Summer by Agnieszka Latocha.

Reviewed by Paul Ridgway

London Correspondent
Africa Ports & Ships

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Added 3 April 2023


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IN CONVERSATION: Torrents of Antarctic meltwater are slowing the currents that drive our vital ocean ‘overturning’ – and threaten its collapse

Thwaits Gkacier, Antarctica. Picture: NASA

Matthew England, UNSW SydneyAdele MorrisonAustralian National UniversityAndy HoggAustralian National UniversityQian LiMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Steve RintoulCSIRO

Off the coast of Antarctica, trillions of tonnes of cold salty water sink to great depths. As the water sinks, it drives the deepest flows of the “overturning” circulation – a network of strong currents spanning the world’s oceans. The overturning circulation carries heat, carbon, oxygen and nutrients around the globe, and fundamentally influences climate, sea level and the productivity of marine ecosystems.

But there are worrying signs these currents are slowing down. They may even collapse. If this happens, it would deprive the deep ocean of oxygen, limit the return of nutrients back to the sea surface, and potentially cause further melt back of ice as water near the ice shelves warms in response. There would be major global ramifications for ocean ecosystems, climate, and sea-level rise.

Schematic showing the pathways of flow in the upper, deep and bottom layers of the ocean.

Our new research, published today in the journal Nature, uses new ocean model projections to look at changes in the deep ocean out to the year 2050. Our projections show a slowing of the Antarctic overturning circulation and deep ocean warming over the next few decades. Physical measurements confirm these changes are already well underway.

Climate change is to blame. As Antarctica melts, more freshwater flows into the oceans. This disrupts the sinking of cold, salty, oxygen-rich water to the bottom of the ocean. From there this water normally spreads northwards to ventilate the far reaches of the deep Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. But that could all come to an end soon. In our lifetimes.

Why does this matter?

As part of this overturning, about 250 trillion tonnes of icy cold Antarctic surface water sinks to the ocean abyss each year. The sinking near Antarctica is balanced by upwelling at other latitudes. The resulting overturning circulation carries oxygen to the deep ocean and eventually returns nutrients to the sea surface, where they are available to support marine life.

If the Antarctic overturning slows down, nutrient-rich seawater will build up on the seafloor, five kilometres below the surface. These nutrients will be lost to marine ecosystems at or near the surface, damaging fisheries.

Changes in the overturning circulation could also mean more heat gets to the ice, particularly around West Antarctica, the area with the greatest rate of ice mass loss over the past few decades. This would accelerate global sea-level rise.

An overturning slowdown would also reduce the ocean’s ability to take up carbon dioxide, leaving more greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. And more greenhouse gases means more warming, making matters worse.

Meltwater-induced weakening of the Antarctic overturning circulation could also shift tropical rainfall bands around a thousand kilometres to the north.

Put simply, a slowing or collapse of the overturning circulation would change our climate and marine environment in profound and potentially irreversible ways.

Signs of worrying change

The remote reaches of the oceans that surround Antarctica are some of the toughest regions to plan and undertake field campaigns. Voyages are long, weather can be brutal, and sea ice limits access for much of the year.

This means there are few measurements to track how the Antarctic margin is changing. But where sufficient data exist, we can see clear signs of increased transport of warm waters toward Antarctica, which in turn causes ice melt at key locations.

Indeed, the signs of melting around the edges of Antarctica are very clear, with increasingly large volumes of freshwater flowing into the ocean and making nearby waters less salty and therefore less dense. And that’s all that’s needed to slow the overturning circulation. Denser water sinks, lighter water does not.

Antarctic ice mass loss over the last few decades based on satellite data, showing that between 2002 and 2020, Antarctica shed an average of ~150 billion metric tonnes of ice per year, adding meltwater to the ocean and raising sea-levels (Source: NASA).

How did we find this out?

Apart from sparse measurements, incomplete models have limited our understanding of ocean circulation around Antarctica.

For example, the latest set of global coupled model projections analysed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change exhibit biases in the region. This limits the ability of these models in projecting the future fate of the Antarctic overturning circulation.

To explore future changes, we took a high resolution global ocean model that realistically represents the formation and sinking of dense water near Antarctica.

We ran three different experiments, one where conditions remained unchanged from the 1990s; a second forced by projected changes in temperature and wind; and a third run also including projected changes in meltwater from Antarctica and Greenland.

In this way we could separate the effects of changes in winds and warming, from changes due to ice melt.

The findings were striking. The model projects the overturning circulation around Antarctica will slow by more than 40% over the next three decades, driven almost entirely by pulses of meltwater.

Abyssal ocean warming driven by Antarctic overturning slowdown, Credit: Matthew England and Qian Li

Over the same period, our modelling also predicts a 20% weakening of the famous North Atlantic overturning circulation which keeps Europe’s climate mild. Both changes would dramatically reduce the renewal and overturning of the ocean interior.

We’ve long known the North Atlantic overturning currents are vulnerable, with observations suggesting a slowdown is already well underway, and projections of a tipping point coming soon. Our results suggest Antarctica looks poised to match its northern hemisphere counterpart – and then some.

What next?

Much of the abyssal ocean has warmed in recent decades, with the most rapid trends detected near Antarctica, in a pattern very similar to our model simulations.

Our projections extend out only to 2050. Beyond 2050, in the absence of strong emissions reductions, the climate will continue to warm and the ice sheets will continue to melt. If so, we anticipate the Southern Ocean overturning will continue to slow to the end of the century and beyond.

The projected slowdown of Antarctic overturning is a direct response to input of freshwater from melting ice. Meltwater flows are directly linked to how much the planet warms, which in turn depends on the greenhouse gases we emit.

Our study shows continuing ice melt will not only raise sea-levels, but also change the massive overturning circulation currents which can drive further ice melt and hence more sea level rise, and damage climate and ecosystems worldwide. It’s yet another reason to address the climate crisis – and fast.The Conversation

Matthew England, Scientia Professor and Deputy Director of the ARC Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science (ACEAS), UNSW SydneyAdele Morrison, Research Fellow, Australian National UniversityAndy Hogg, Professor, Australian National UniversityQian Li, , Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Steve Rintoul, CSIRO Fellow, CSIRO

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

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Africa expects action – and funding – for climate justice

Tropical Storm Gombe in March 2022 – a washed-away bridge near Pebane in Mozambique – in 2023 more than 1200 reported dead and counting in Malawi as a result of abnormal behaviour of Cyclone Freddy

With top scientists warning that Africa is paying an intolerable price for the impacts of climate change, it’s time for the rich world to honour its pledges on climate finance and investment

By Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation

The latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came with all the usual warnings of the calamities that will befall us if we do not stop global warming now.

But this is hardly news in Africa, where people are already living with some of the worst effects of climate change – a problem they did not cause and are powerless to stop.

It is the rich world’s accumulated greenhouse gas emissions that are inflicting devastating droughts or torrential floods across vast swathes of the continent. It is here where hunger is on the rise and decades of economic and social progress have been thrown into reverse.

Worse, African countries are having to borrow more, and get deeper into debt, to recover after climate disasters. How is this fair?

Too little, too late

The IPCC report puts climate justice into sharp focus. It says: “
Prioritizing equity, climate justice, social justice, inclusion and just transition processes can enable adaptation and ambitious mitigation actions and climate-resilient development.

But, as yet, we have no mechanism to bring about climate justice. The COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, last year agreed to set up a ‘loss and damage fund’ to compensate poor countries for the harm caused by climate change.

So far that fund is empty. The expectation is that it will attract some pledges by the time the next U.N. climate summit convenes in the UAE later this year, but we are not holding our breath.

International finance for reducing emissions and adapting to climate risks in the developing world has repeatedly fallen far short of the $100 billion annual target set by donors, including the United States, Japan and European Union, 14 years ago. The trickle of money that arrives is tied up in red tape.

That is why vulnerable countries are having to borrow to pay for the increasing costs of climate catastrophes.

Last year’s heavy monsoon rains caused more than $30 billion of damage and financial losses in Pakistan, nearly 9 per cent of the country’s GDP. When a country is small, climate losses can exceed its entire economic output. In Dominica, for example, storm damage from Hurricane Maria in 2017 cost the country more than twice its annual GDP.

African countries face seeing their GDP growth rate fall by up to 64% by the end of the century, even if the world succeeds in limiting global heating to 1.5C. The economic cost of climate disasters in developing countries is projected to reach as much as $580 billion a year by 2030.

In 2021, more than 30 million people were displaced by climate-related disasters. In Africa, 52 million people – 4 per cent of the population – have suffered either drought or floods over the past two years, according to the latest State and Trends in Adaptation in Africa 2022 report.

A drought in the Horn of Africa, now in its fourth year, is worse than the conditions that led to famine in 2011. Close to 23 million people are currently highly food insecure in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

How does the world expect countries to protect vulnerable populations if the international funds promised are not there?

Investing for a more resilient future

Africa does not want aid or emergency relief funds. It wants to invest in a climate-resilient future. It needs funding to rebuild roads, bridges and buildings so they can withstand frequent flooding and storms. It needs to invest in R&D to develop new crop strains that can withstand prolonged droughts. It needs to give farmers access to climate data services, and much else besides.

Climate adaptation needs to be built in so that communities not only build back after a natural disaster, but also build back better.

The key is to be able to do this quickly and at scale, because right now the world’s poorest and most climate-vulnerable nations are at risk of falling into a destructive debt and climate-disaster trap.

Africa has a plan on how to do this – the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program is an Africa-owned and Africa-led initiative developed by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in close collaboration with the African Union. It serves as the implementation of the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) to mobilize $25 billion to implement, scale and accelerate climate adaptation across Africa. Since 2021, AAAP has mainstreamed climate adaptation in over $5.2 billion of investments in 19 countries.

Restoring Trust

Africa put its faith in the Paris Agreement on climate change but has been shortchanged. It is time for industrialized countries to make good on their broken promises and fully fund the need for climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.

Doing so will not only restore the fractured trust between climate-vulnerable regions and the rich world; it will also be the surest way to achieve climate justice and build a more stable global order.

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Transnet gas pipeline accident in Durban


The Transnet gas pipeline in Springfield Park, Durban, which is near the Bisasar Road Landfill site, was damaged by a tractor loader backhoe (TLB) on the afternoon of Thursday, 30 March 2023.

It appears the TLB accidentally struck the pipeline, while engaged in cleaning up illegal dumping at the site.

Due to a fire on the adjacent landfill site, the Transnet Pipelines (TPL) team could not access the pipeline to establish the full extent of the damage and as a safety precaution the pipeline was isolated and gas flow through the pipeline was stopped.

The fire was brought under control late that night and the repairs to the pipeline were able to commence on Friday morning, 31 March.

According to Transnet Pipelines all downstream users of the gas were notified and TPL was undertaking the necessary repairs.

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Ghana: Veep Bawumia Lauds Methodist Church As Obuasi Diocese Marks 25th Anniversary

Dr. Bawumia said, the Methodist Church, has over the years, contributed enormously not only to the development of the country, he added, the Church has also nurtured men and women of high morals

Egypt: President El-Sisi Follows-up on Community Development Efforts in Sinai

Counselor Ahmad Fahmy, said the meeting followed-up on current and future programs to enhance community development efforts for Egyptian citizens from Sinai

Missing Ramadan: Indonesian Communities and Students in Sudan Attend Iftar and Tarawih Prayers at the Indonesian Embassy in Khartoum

Ramadan activities and worship, which provide opportunities to gather and stay in touch, are the moments that Indonesian people and students in Khartoum have been waiting for and longing for

Qatar Affirms Peace, Security are Crucial for Sustainable Development, Stability and Prosperity

The focus of the State of Qatar, through its bilateral and international partnerships, is on giving priority to achieving inclusive economic growth

Egypt: President El-Sisi Receives Speaker of the House of Representatives of Iraq

President El-Sisi welcomed the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Iraq, asking him to convey his greetings to Iraq’s President Abdul Latif Rashid and Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani

Distributed by APO Group

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