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Come with us as we report through 2020



These news reports are updated on an ongoing basis. Check back regularly for the latest news as it develops – where necessary refresh your page at

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Northern Debonair. Picture by Keith Betts

The Liberian-flagged, German-owned container ship with the rather jaunty name of NORTHERN DEBONAIR (IMO 9353228) enters the port of Durban earlier this year. Capable of carrying up to 3,554-TEU the 231 metre long, 32m wide ship is managed by V Ships of Hamburg. The 42,185-dwt Northern Debonair was built in 2007 at the Shanghai Shipyard in Shanghai, China.
This picture is by Keith Betts



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Carnival Fascination, cruising towards South Africa, fgeatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carnival Fascination, cruising towards South Africa


Long after the date when cruise ships would ordinarily have left our shores, the passenger vessels continue to arrive, with this coming week proving to be one of the busiest. As this report is being written early on Sunday evening, the port or anchorages of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban have cruise ships either present or facing the arrival of vessels already on the coast or approaching from deep sea.

The reason why these ships remain active is a result of thousands of crew and workers involved with the cruise industry who find themselves out of work and unable to return home. Carnival Cruises alone has almost 26,000 crew members who need to be repatriated.

The only choices are for charter flights, which are expensive and limited in their capacity, or to utilise some of the cruise fleets to move these employees halfway across the world back to their homes and families.

Two cruise companies so engaged and on our shore are Holland America and a newcomer to these sealanes, Carnival Cruises. On Sunday evening we find Holland America’s VEENDAM and ZUIDERDAM at anchor in Table Bay opposite Milnerton, awaiting a berth in Cape Town before continuing their way to the east in the paths of another company ship, ROTTERDAM and associated company Princess Cruises’ ISLAND PRINCESS.

The second cruise company whose ships mostly operate in North American and Caribbean waters, is Carnival Cruises, whose parent company happens to be the biggest cruise company and owner of a number of individual lines including Carnival Cruises, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Cunard, Costa Cruises, Seabourn, P&O (Australia), P&O Cruises (UK), and AIDA Cruises.

Apart from the movement of the Holland America and Princess line ships, Carnival Cruises has despatched 12 ships to move crew and workers to their homes across the world. Five of these are calling in South Africa this week, with one, CARNIVAL DREAM already taking bunkers offshore in Algoa Bay and two others, CARNIVAL LIBERTY and CARNIVAL CONQUEST, motoring along the Cape south coast and closing in on Algoa Bay for the same purpose.

The final two, CARNIVAL FASCINATION and CARNIVAL ECSTASY are approaching the Cape from the South Atlantic in the wake of their three Carnival sisters. All will stop in Algoa Bay to load bunker fuel ahead of the long journey across the Indian Ocean, but first will call at Durban to take supplies from the ship chandler.

With Carnival Dream already at Algoa Bay and Liberty and Conquest about a day behind, their arrivals off Durban appear likely between midweek onwards. At present these ships with their distinctive red, white and blue funnels not unlike a T-Tail on an aircraft, are booked down for O and O/P berths on the T-Jetty, facing the Esplanade.

Oh yes, that’s right, we’re all in lockdown so where they berth doesn’t matter!

Carnival LIberty, now off the Cape south coast approaching Algoa Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carnival LIberty, now off the Cape south coast approaching Algoa Bay


Transnet’s Acting Chief Harbour Master, Captain Sabelo Mdlalose said in a statement issued at the weekend that the banning of cruise ship operations at a number of ports globally as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak has left the cruise industry in limbo.

“These vessels would have disembarked passengers several weeks ago elsewhere and their crews have had to remain on board for an extended period as the ships make their way across the globe,” Mdlalose said.

“As the port landlord, TNPA works closely with the Department of Transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority to ensure the safety and security of shipping, as is required by any signatory of the International Maritime Organization. This means we have a duty to assist ships requiring essential services like bunkering and replenishment of supplies, as this becomes an issue of safety of life at sea.

“However, we ensure that all safety precautions are taken and that a risk assessment is conducted for each vessel by the Joint Operations Centre at each port.” He added that the vessels have been at sea for a 14-day quarantine period before docking in South Africa, and any disembarking individuals will go into quarantine when they come ashore.

Meanwhile, Durban’s Acting Harbour Master, Captain Justin Adams, confirmed that the Port of Durban will this week see five Carnival Cruise ships calling. He said the five ships will be refueling and restocking inventory to meet their daily operational requirements.

He said according to information Carnival Fascination is taking crew back to Mumbai, India, and Durban, South Africa; Carnival Dream Is sailing to east Asia with stops in Durban, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Manila, Philippines; Carnival Liberty is also sailing to Durban and Mumbai; Carnival Conquest is sailing to east Asia with stops in Durban and Manila, and Carnival Ecstasy is also sailing to Mumbai, with a stop in Durban.



The Port of Lüderitz, picturesque and now on offer as safe haven for cruise ships, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Port of Lüderitz, picturesque and now on offer as a safe haven for cruise ships

Namport says it is considering requests to accommodate empty cruise ships at anchorage off the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz .

According to the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) the turn of events involving the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for Namport to provide berthing/parking space for the empty cruise ships off the two ports at designated points of anchorage.

“Having conducted detailed reviews of procedures to be put in place in hosting the said ships, we have concluded that the move would neither contradict nor contravene any of the existing measures implemented nationally to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 suffice to say all existing COVID-19 mitigation,” the company said in a statement.

“The cruise ships will join offshore supply vessels and oil rigs which, as a result of the fall in oil prices, have also been recalled from the oil fields and are being safely stored at anchorage at the port of Walvis Bay.

“Measures by the Ministry of Health and Social Services and Namport will be strictly complied with when dealing with such passenger vessels at anchorage. We therefore kindly request and urge members of the public not to panic when they see these vessels at anchorage either and or off the ports of Lüderitz and Walvis Bay.”

Asked whether any cruise ships were lining up to idle off Walvis Bay or Lüderitz, we were told that several enquiries had been made.



Port of Durban Container Terminal Pier 2, North Quay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Durban Container Terminal Pier 2, North Quay

This update issued by Ocean Network Express (ONE), the unified Japanese carrier consisting of NYK Line, K Line and Mitsui OSK (MOU) Line, reflects their experience of the South African port terminals as it was on 20/21 May 2020.

Durban and Coega/Port Elizabeth terminals continue to perform well with no significant delays. Durban has increased resources with an increase in crane capacity. Cape Town Container Terminal continues with reduced resources and no night shifts. Berthing delays continue to average 6.5 days, ONE reported.

On 20 May this was how ONE reported the terminal situation:

The berthing situation on 6 May was:

TERMINAL Berths Gangs
Cape Town Container Terminal 3 3-4, 16-hour total shift time)
Cape Town Multipurpose Terminal 1 2
Ngqura Container Terminal 2 4-5
Port Elizabeth Container Terminal 1 3
Durban Pier 1 Container Terminal 2 5, (one training)
Durban Pier 2 Container Terminal 4 13 (one training)
Durban Multi-Purpose Terminal 2 2 (one crane destroyed in fire – AP&S)



Montpellier, now in quarantine outside the port of Durban, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Montpellier, now in coronavirus quarantine outside the port of Durban. Picture: Fleetmon

The number of ships at anchor outside the Port of Durban seems to hover around 35 – 40 on most days, with products size tankers being in the majority. On Sunday evening, 25 May the Port of Durban has 26 ships working cargo or on berths inside the port, excluding ship repair berths and service vessels, dredgers etc. At anchor outside port in the anchorage were 40 vessels.

Among those outside were one cruise ship, MSC ORCHESTRA which is on layby awaiting the lifting of cruise restrictions, and a container ship, Hapag-Lloyd’s MONTPELLIER which is on a 14-day enforced quarantine after two seafarers on board tested positive for the coronavirus – see that report by CLICKING HERE

In addition to the reports above, our own observations based on 21 May saw a mere five ship movements recorded at the port of Durban – three sailings (two bulk carriers OKTEM AKSOY & PPS TOMO and one chemical tanker AMBER II) and two arrivals (a container ship MSC Michela and one foreign fishing vessel Franivan). It was a quiet day.


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Head Quarters Ship (HQS) Wellington of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. She is berthed on the Thames, by Temple Underground station, not far from The Strand, the Law Courts (and the Inns of Court of the legal profession) and Fleet Street where the nation’s newspapers were printed. Wellington, built in 1934 was commissioned as HQS in London in 1948. For more information see:, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Head Quarters Ship (HQS) Wellington of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. She is berthed on the Thames, by Temple Underground station, not far from The Strand, the Law Courts (and the Inns of Court of the legal profession) and Fleet Street where the nation’s newspapers were printed. Wellington, built in 1934 was commissioned as HQS in London in 1948. For more information see:

Election of new Master – Captain Derek Chadburn

Commodore Angus Menzies RN, Clerk to the Honourable Company of Master Mariners* reports that The Master for 2020/2021 is Captain Derek Chadburn.

He was installed on 1 May 2020.

Captain Derek Chadburn was born in March 1951 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and attended Leeds Central High School.

He joined Houlder Brothers & Co as an Apprentice in 1968, and served in all ranks to Chief Officer serving in a variety of vessel types: ore carriers, oil tankers, general cargo vessels (both liner and tramps), refrigerated cargo vessel and gas tankers (both fully refrigerated and semi-pressure, semi-refrigerated).

In 1980 he obtained his Master Mariner (FG) Certificate then joined Geophysical Services International as Chief Officer and gained command the following year.

Captain Chadburn

In 1981 he moved in to education at Hull Nautical College a part of the then Humberside College of Higher Education. The organisation went through various stages of development finally becoming the University of Lincoln in 1996.

With the demise of Nautical Education in Hull, Derek moved to the Business School and having obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies (Shipping) and an MSc in Management Studies became Principal Lecturer in Corporate Strategy, also taught Human Resource Management.

He taught in the Business School and also overseas in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong as well as designing and implementing joint undergraduate programmes with universities in New Zealand and Australia.

While in Hull he undertook a number of consultancy projects including formation of Humberside Offshore Training Association (HOTA) and worked for the (UK) Overseas Development Administration in Lithuania on the restructuring of the Lithuanian Fishing Fleet. In 2000 was appointed to head the international office before leaving the University in 2005 to become HR Manager for a logistics company based in Grimsby.

Derek Chadburn joined the Honourable Company of Master Mariners in 2006 and became a Liveryman in 2014. Was elected to the Court of Assistants in 2014 and elected as Warden in 2016.

He served as Honorary Secretary of the North East Outport from 2007 until 2017 and has mentored a number of Apprentices of the Honourable Company and continues to do so.

Since 2016 Derek has been acting as a mentor to the Logistics Academy at Franklin 6th Form College in Grimsby as well as serving on the Advisory Board.

Derek has been married to Christine for 42 years and has two daughters, two granddaughters and two grandsons. He is a qualified cricket umpire and officiates in the York and District Senior Cricket League and is said to be a long suffering season ticket holder of Leeds United FC, “The Whites”.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

* Formed in 1926 Formed in 1926 with aims to:

* Encourage and maintain a high and honourable standard of ability and professional conduct in the officers of the British Merchant Navy

* Promote and maintain in all respects efficient and friendly co-operation between the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy

* Be available for advice and consultation on all questions concerning or affecting the Merchant Navy, or judicial, commercial, scientific, educational or technical matters.

HM The Queen is Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets and the Admiral is HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.


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An aerial view of Lagos sea port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
An aerial view of Apapa port in Lagos

Restrictions and the lockdown regulations across Nigeria have brought blockages and added congestion to the country’s seaports, according to reports received.

One report quoted Tony Nwabunike, president of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, as saying the ports are jammed because a lot of cargo is not being cleared. He said access to the ports was…


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Deepsea Stavanger passing Cape Town during her previous visit to South Africa to drill successfully for gas condensate in the Brulpadda Field of the Outenique Basin, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Deepsea Stavanger passing Cape Town during her previous visit to South Africa to drill successfully for gas condensate in the Brulpadda Field of the Outenique Basin

The semi-submersible DEEPSEA STAVANGER which is contracted to TOTAL South Africa to continue with further drilling of the gas condensate discovery on the Brulpadda Field in the Outeniqua Basin, 175 kilometres off the southern coast of South Africa, will remain in Norwegian waters prior to the mobilisation of the rig.

In a statement Odfjell Drilling, which owns the rig, said…


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Joint ICS / ITUC / ITF communication

Message to UN and otherbodiesregarding the plight of seafarers trapped on board their ships, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIP maritime news

The UN Secretary General has been urged by global industrial and shipping leaders to persuade his 193 member states to act urgently to avoid a humanitarian crisis, with over 200,000 tired, mentally-stretched seafarers currently stuck working on vessels across the globe and unable to be relieved of their duties.

In a joint letter to António Guterres, the leaders of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), urged the Secretary-General to ensure governments were adopting the 12-step set of protocols issued by the UN’s own maritime regulator, the IMO.

The letter published on 22 May explained that: “There are now over 200,000 seafarers onboard vessels worldwide who have completed their contractual tour of duty, but have been prevented from returning home. Many of these seafarers will be experiencing adverse effects on their mental health and reduced ability to safely perform their roles in the face of increasing fatigue.

“Additionally, stringent restrictions imposed by many countries, including denial of shore leave and access to essential medical assistance, is contributing to fatigue and exhaustion. We are concerned about suicide and self-harm amongst this vulnerable population of workers.”

The letter highlighted the responsibility of governments to adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in which states have a duty to protect human rights that are ‘built on the fundamental obligation of governments to protect rights-holders, which applies both under normal circumstances and at times of crisis.’

While there has been engagement from some national governments, taking positive steps such as by designating seafarers essential workers. This provides a blueprint for other nations on what steps can be taken to resolve this issue.

As thousands of seafarers face exhaustion at the helm of critical supply routes, the clock is ticking for governments.

The industry had previously agreed with workers’ representatives to two contract extensions beyond the usual regulated period for time onboard due to Covid-19, the leaders say this is ‘not a sustainable solution’.

As the joint statement says: “Time is running out. We ask action be taken immediately, ahead of 16 June 2020 – the final agreed deadline to implement crew changes for our seafarers.”

Here are quotes attributable to Steve Cotton, General Secretary – International Transport Workers’ Federation

“There are 200,000 seafarers out there right now desperate to get home to their own beds, see their families and hug their kids. They’ve been stuck on these ships, keeping global trade running since this pandemic blew up. Enough is enough – they have earned their ticket home. Now governments must make that happen.

“It’s time for governments to open their hearts, and open their borders, to the world’s seafarers. The alternative is exhausted crews and the shutting down of global trade. The world can’t afford that.”

Quotes attributable to Guy Platten, Secretary General, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)

“We have addressed the letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres to signal the seriousness of this situation. Seafarers have stepped up to keep countries supplied. We now need governments to recognise this commitment by facilitating crew change for these key workers.

“Since the onset of the crisis, the well-being and safety of our seafarers has been our number one priority. While progress has been made, and limited numbers of crew changes have occurred, there is a pressing need to increase the speed and scale at which national governments adopt the crew change protocols.

“Every day that governments fail to adopt these protocols, and fail to enable crew changes, they neglect to recognise the sacrifice made by seafarers on behalf of their populations.’

Background on crew change

As travel restrictions swept across global economies, trade continued thanks to seafarers onboard ships across the world. This commitment to keeping supplies of food, fuel and goods, including vital medical supplies, has enabled governments to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic in their countries. What stopped however, was the ability of nation states to allow crews to safely rotate on and off ships at ports and return home to their countries of origin.

Having identified crew change as the most significant threat facing supply chains at the onset of the crisis, the shipping industry converged to produce a set of globally applicable protocols for national governments.

Of the signatories

Member companies of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) operate over 80% of the world’s merchant tonnage

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) represents around 250 million workers around the world

Paul Ridgway, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

Naval News

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



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