Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 8 December 2023

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Week commencing 4 December 2023.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return.   

FIRST VIEW:   Transnet Helicopter Service


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 FIRST VIEW:  Transnet Helicopter Service

Picture: TNPA
Picture: Terry Hutson

The two pictures above are but a small reflection of the daily activity of the Transnet Ports of Durban and Richards Bay helicopters, which have been operating a marine helicopter service at the two KZN ports since the 1990s.

The top picture shows a safety drill being carried out in Durban harbour involving members of the NSRI being lifted from a small craft while moving across the bay.

The lower picture is a common sight in the Durban entrance channel, with a TNPA marine pilot being lifted from a departing bulk carrier. Pilots are placed on incoming ships outside the port from where they direct vessels safely into the harbour.  With departing vessels, the pilots are lifted off as the ship travels along the entrance channel.

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Transnet Recovery Diary 8 December 2023

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Transnet Recovery Diary 8 December 2023

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Transnet Recovery Diary 7 December 2023

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Added 7 December 2023


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DNV approval for world’s largest car carrier design

AiP presentation at China Merchants’ booth at Marintec China in Shanghai

Africa Ports & Ships

DNV has granted an Approval in Principle (AiP) certificate to a Chinese shipyard for the construction of a groundbreaking 11,000-CEU capacity pure car and truck (PCTC) design.

The China Merchants Jinling Shipyard (Nanjing) Co, Ltd shipyard intends building the world’s largest PCTC, the 234 metre long and 40m wide ship, which will have 14 decks allowing 11,000 car equivalent units (CEUs) to be stored simultaneously.

The design not only increases efficiency but also reduces the transport cost per vehicle.

By implementing a combination of decarbonisation measures, the so-called ‘Super Large Smart Green 11,000’ design will result in a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

This is in line with the stringent requirements of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) Phase 3 and NOx Tier III. The PCTC will use LNG as its primary fuel and will be equipped with a 4,200cbm LNG storage tank.

With the assistance of ship designer Deltamarin, the hull line of the vessel has been optimised through numerous CFD calculations and ship model tests.

Additional energy-saving features include a stern flow optimisation device and an air lubrication system, which effectively minimises resistance and reduce the required propulsion power. The integration of hybrid propulsion systems and solar power further underlines the commitment to reducing energy consumption.

“We expect the market for electric vehicles to continue to grow, driving demand for PCTCs. Scale, energy efficiency and low carbon fuel are key to reducing emissions from the transport of these vessels,” said Norbert Kray, Regional Manager Greater China at DNV Maritime.

“As a leading class for car carriers, DNV is honoured to be entrusted with the assessment of this next generation of car carriers and we look forward to working with China Merchants to bring these vessels to the water.”

According to China Merchants, the shipyard is already in discussions with potential customers for the 11,000 CEU PCTC.

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WHARF TALK:handysize bulk carrier – CINNAMON

As the South-Easter creates a chop on the waters of Cape Town harbour, the bulk carrier Cinnamon is assisted by tugs towards the port entrance. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The constant stream of bunker only callers seems to be never ending in Cape Town. At least it is a nice earner, both for Transnet, for the bunker providers, the ship chandlers, and the marine engineering and technical service providers. Such calls appear to be flourishing, and this aspect of port operations seems to be working nicely in an apparent efficient, streamlined manner, with most vessels being in and out within half a day, or a day at most.

On 4th December, at 16h00 in the afternoon, the handysize bulk carrier CINNAMON (IMO 9239800) arrived off Cape Town, from the Moma anchorage in Mozambique, and under a strong ‘Cape Doctor’ Southeaster wind, she immediately entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside the outer berth on the Eastern Mole. As always, such a call to a non-commercial berth indicates that the visit is for bunkers and associated services only.

Cinnamon. Cape Town, 5 December 2023. P:icture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2003 by Xinlian Shipbuilding at Wuhu in China, ‘Cinnamon’ is 187 metres in length and has a deadweight of 26,738 tons. She is powered by a single Hudong MAN-B&W 7S42MC-C6 seven cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 8,769 bhp (6,450 kW), and driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14.5 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar 6N21L-SV generators providing 745 kW each, and a single MAN D2866E emergency generator providing 168 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg AQ-16 Composite boiler. For added manoeuvrability ’Cinnamon’ has a Schottel STT1010 bow transverse thruster providing 855 kW.

Cinnamon. Cape Town, 5 December 2023. P:icture by ‘Dockrat’

Unusually, even for a Handysize bulk carrier, ‘Cinnamon’ has six holds, but only served by three MacGregor electro-hydraulic cranes capable of lifting 40 tons each. Her six hatches are all fitted with MacGregor folding type hatch covers. She has a cargo carrying capacity of 36,297 m3, and her holds are strengthened for heavy cargoes, with a tanktop deck strength of 28 tons/m2. She can sail part loaded with cargo loaded only in holds 1, 3 and 5, or in holds 2, 4 and 6 only.

One of four sisterships, of which three are still operated within the same fleet, ‘Cinnamon’ is nominally owned by Free Wings Shipping Ltd., and operated by Canfornav Co. Ltd., of Montreal in Canada, whose company houseflag colours are displayed on her funnel, and she is managed by Navarone Marine Enterprise SA, of Athens in Greece.

Cinnamon. Cape Town, 5 December 2023. P:icture by ‘Dockrat’

Canfornav Co. Ltd., started life under the name of Canadian Forest Navigation Co. Ltd., and was founded to provide export opportunities for Canadian forest industry lumber and paper products, originating from the Eastern Canada seaboard, and ports along the St. Lawrence Seaway, to ports in Europe and the Mediterranean.

The company name was shortened to Canfornav Co. Ltd., to remove the perception that the company was involved solely in the carriage of Canadian forest products. The fleet size was increased to larger vessels capable of operating in the Canadian Great Lakes trades of steel products and grain exports.

As a handysize bulk carrier, ‘Cinnamon’ is the perfect size for operations in both the Great lakes bulk trades, and for passage along the St. Lawrence Seaway. She has an ice classification of ICE 1C, which allows her to operate in waters with a first year ice thickness of 0.4 metres, which allows her to operate, partly unassisted, in the winter conditions of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Cinnamon. Cape Town, 5 December 2023. P:icture by ‘Dockrat’

On arrival in Cape Town, it was obvious from the draft of ‘Cinnamon’ that she was almost fully loaded with a bulk cargo. Her time in the Moma anchorage, in Mozambique, was for a period of nine days. Moma, which is located in Nampula Province at 16°45’ South 039°19’ East, lies 150 nautical miles north of Quelimane, and 139 nautical miles south of Nacala.

Moma is the location of one of the world’s largest titanium mineral sands deposits, which contains Ilmenite, Zircon, and Rutile. The mineral sands are mined using the dredge mining method, which is similar to that used by De Beers on their coastal beach diamond mining operations at Oranjemund in southern Namibia. The mine is operated by Kenmare Resources PLC, of Dublin in Ireland.

Cinnamon. Cape Town, 5 December 2023. P:icture by ‘Dockrat’

In 2021 the mine produced 1.2 million tons of titanium sands. The minerals are separated, with the Ilmenite being removed by using a powerful electro-magnet. The mine has a storage facility for 185,000 tons of Ilmenite, which is transferred on a 2.4 kilometre long conveyor system to a 400 metre long jetty, where is it loaded onto transshipment vessels. The transshipment vessels, of which Kenmare Resources operate two, take the cargo out to the Moma anchorage, which lies 6 nautical miles offshore, for loading onto ocean going bulk carriers, such as ‘Cinnamon’.

After just over eighteen hours alongside in Cape Town, where ‘Cinnamon’ took on bunkers from the Cape Town harbour bunker tanker ‘Lipuma’, she was ready to sail. At 11h00 in the morning of 5th December, ‘Cinnamon’ sailed from Cape Town, with her AIS showing her destination being the port of Sorel, in Canada.

Cinnamon. Cape Town, 5 December 2023. P:icture by ‘Dockrat’

Sorel is the fourth oldest city in the Canadian province of Quebec, being founded in 1642 by French colonists, and is located on the St. Lawrence River at 46°02’ North 073°06’ West, and lies 45 nautical miles equidistant downstream from Montreal, and upstream from Trois-Rivières. The port of Sorel is the location of the Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) plant, which is a metallurgical complex whose sole purpose is the processing of Ilmenite into Titanium slag.

The RTFT plant is also the only metallurgical complex of its kind in the world, and the complex is so big, with a capacity to produce more than one million tons of Titanium slag annually, that it is recognized around the world as the key supplier of Titanium Dioxide pigment, which is a compound used in the manufacture of paints, plastics, textiles, and papers.

Cinnamon. Cape Town, 5 December 2023. P:icture by ‘Dockrat’

Due to her ownership, ‘Cinnamon’ regularly undertakes voyages up the St. Lawrence Seaway, but not all voyages have been without incident. In June 2018 she was proceeding upriver on the St. Lawrence River, en route to the port of Hamilton, in the Canadian province of Ontario, when she suffered a total failure of her emergency generator when passing Sorel.

Then in June 2021, again whilst proceeding upriver on the St. Lawrence River, and en route once more to the port of Hamilton, ‘Cinnamon’ suffered a main engine failure in position 45°18’ North 073°55’ West, while entering the No.4 Lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway, at Beauharnois, in Quebec. Repairs were carried out on the main engine, and ‘Cinnamon’ was able to continue her intended voyage to Lake Ontario, and onwards to Hamilton.

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Maputo Karpowership project: Second public consultation on 19 December

Kaya Bey Karpowership

Africa Ports & Ships

Maputo’s second public consultation for Karpowership’s Floating Power Plant Project is to be held on 19 December.

The report in independent newssheet Carta de Moçambique says the project to be developed by the Turkish company Karpower Global DMCC (Karpowership), in partnership with the Mozambican publicly owned electricity company, EDM, is aimed at introducing a Floating Thermoelectric Power Plant with an installed capacity of 415 megawatts.

A Karpowership has been successfully in operation at the port city of Nacala in northern Mozambique for a number of years.

In terms of the project, a Karpowership will be moored in the Espírito Santo Estuary in Maputo Bay and linked to the 275 KV substation in the city of Matola by a four kilometre transmission line.

The floating power plant will be fueled by way of a three kilometre gas pipeline connecting with the Maputo Thermal Power Plant.

At the first public consultation held in November 2022, environmental groups voiced strong opposition, citing risks of gas leakages or spills, fire and explosions. They even went to the extreme of suggesting a collision with another ship was possible. source: Carta de Moçambique & AIM

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COP28: APM Terminals and DP World launch Zero Emission Port Alliance

Left to right: Tiemen Meester – Group COO of Ports & Terminals, DP World, Sahar Rashidbeigi – Global Head of Decarbonisation, APM Terminals, Jack Craig – Global Head of Technical, APM Terminals and Piotr Konopka – Group VP, Global Decarbonisation & Energy Programmes, DP World

Africa Ports & Ships

APM Terminals and DP World have announced the formation of the Zero Emission Port Alliance (ZEPA), an industry-wide coalition with the vision to accelerate port decarbonisation.

ZEPA’s mission is to make battery-electric container handling equipment affordable, accessible and attractive this decade through collective action, as a catalyst to zero-emission ports.

APM Terminals and DP World have announced the formation of the Zero Emission Port Alliance (ZEPA), an industry-wide strategic coalition with the goal of accelerating the journey to zero emissions for container handling equipment (CHE) at ports.

ZEPA membership is open to all industry participants, including terminal operators, OEMs, port authorities and government entities. The alliance will start its activities in early 2024.

During the session to announce the alliance at COP28, APM Terminals and DP World explained that ZEPA will work to increase industry-wide adoption of battery-electric CHE and catalyse further emissions reductions at ports.

The focus on battery-electric container handling equipment (BE-CHE) is grounded in research published in a white paper in October 2023, commissioned jointly by APM Terminals and DP World.

The findings show that it is possible for battery-electric container handling equipment to become as or more competitive than diesel container handling equipment as it becomes more affordable, attractive, and accessible.

The point where this happens can occur in the next 2-8 years, but only with focused collective action by the entire port ecosystem.

Key Workstream Objectives

ZEPA’s work focuses on four key workstream objectives to overcome challenges in affordability and accessibility:

1] Encourage scaled up production capacity of BE-CHE by manufacturers & reduce product costs.
2] Bring down the cost of batteries and charging solutions, simplify implementation and increase equipment interoperability.
3] Ensure terminal operators and the grid infrastructure are ready for BE-CHE & shore power roll-out.
4] Create better implementation conditions for zero-emission fleets and help accelerate adoption of zero-emission CHE.

ZEPA members will inform the work program and deliverables based on their practical experience and needs. Through their membership, companies will accelerate the availability of affordable BE-CHE and will benefit from advantages gained from having a seat at the table in this industry-wide collective action.

ZEPA encourages all industry peers to review the findings of the white paper and to signify their interest in potential ZEPA membership by contacting zepalliance@systemiq.earth.

Laws and Transparency

ZEPA is governed to work in compliance with antitrust/competition laws and to foster transparency about the process and progress of its activities. Key findings will be accessible to the whole industry, not just ZEPA members.

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Maersk advisory on shipping emission surcharges

Maersk All the Way to Zero

Africa Ports & Ships

The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is a cornerstone of the EU’s policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. It is the world’s first major carbon market and remains the biggest one.

Under the European Climate Law, EU Member States will become climate neutral by 2050. As a first milestone, they aim to reduce net emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. The EU says that EU ETS is critical to achieving this in a cost-efficient manner.

You can read more about the EU ETS here.

Emission Surcharge on shipping cargo into/from Europe

Further to this, it was announced that from 1 January 2024 shipping cargo into or from the European Union (EU) will be subject to an emission surcharge.

The surcharge is the next step in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

According to an advisory from A.P. Moller-Maersk, this will apply only where the Load Port and/or Discharge Port of the ocean journey is located in the EU/EEA (European Economic Area) countries.

The Maersk advisory says the EU ETS sets an annual absolute limit on emissions of certain greenhouse gases (GHG) and requires the purchase of allowances for emissions. Therefore, the inclusion of shipping in the EU ETS puts a price on GHG emissions.

“The additional cost incurred to comply with the EU ETS directive will be applied to bookings under the EU ETS scope as a standalone surcharge, known as ‘Emissions surcharge’, defined on trade basis. Only bookings where the Load Port and/or Discharge Port of the ocean journey is located in the EU/EEA (European Economic Area) countries in EU ETS scope will be charged with the emissions surcharge.”

The advisory gives as an example for cargo moving from Country of Receipt as Malaysia to Country of Delivery as Switzerland:

“If the Discharge Port (Ocean) of the Booking is Netherland (EU/EEA Country), we will apply emissions surcharge.

“If the Discharge Port (Ocean) of the Booking is Turkey (Non EU/EEA country), we will not apply emissions surcharge.”

Maersk says that for bookings under contracts with validity more than 31 days, surcharge codes will be presented on invoices as ‘EMS’, while for Spot bookings and Contracts with validity less than or equal to 31 days the surcharge will be presented as ‘ESS’ (Emission Surcharge for Spot and Contracts with validity equal to or less than 1 month).

“Emission surcharge will be applied on top of the contracted rates. Emission surcharge will be updated every quarter based on latest EUA price. To ensure that invoices are processed correctly and all payments are settled on time, we ask for your collaboration in updating your invoice registration systems to reflect the new surcharge.

“For all bookings into & from Djibouti and Ethiopia, exceptional pay terms will apply due to regulatory reasons. EMS/ESS surcharge for imports into Djibouti and Ethiopia will be on prepaid basis. EMS/ESS surcharge for exports from Djibouti and Ethiopia will be on collect basis.”

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Transnet Recovery Diary 6 December 2023

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Transnet Recovery Diary 6 December 2023

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Red Sea security: IMO enhancing mechanisms

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

It is reported by the IMO news service that the organization is working with other stakeholders to ensure maritime security and safety in the Red Sea Area, in line with the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM Strategy).

As part of the Regional Programme for Maritime Security in the Red Sea Area, otherwise known as the Red Sea Project, IMO took part in a regional maritime law enforcement forum in Addis Ababa on 27and 28 November organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The event was designed to enhance awareness of the regional maritime domain and to promote dialogue in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Joint agency coordination

The Red Sea Project is jointly coordinated by INTERPOL, IMO, UNODC and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

National and regional port security network

It aims to establish a national and regional port security network – a mechanism enabling the sharing of operational data on vessels, cargo, crew and passengers between Law Enforcement Agencies, Maritime Authorities, Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) and Customs Officers.

The Red Sea, as we know, stretches from the Suez Canal through the Bab el Mandeb Strait to the Gulf of Aden, connecting Europe and Asia. It is one of the most critical maritime routes for global trade and presents significant opportunities for development and increased prosperity in the region.

Instability and conflicts increasing

Since 2012, the region has seen a reduction in piracy and armed robbery incidents against ships in the region, but instability and conflict are increasing once again. see here (issued by US CENTCOM on 3 December. Additionally, transnational organised crime and other illicit maritime activities continue.

Together, these endanger the freedom of navigation of vessels transiting through the region’s waters, and limit investment in port infrastructure and maritime commerce.

EU funding

Participating countries in the Red Sea Project are: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. It is funded by the European Union.

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WHARF TALK: Pure Car and Truck Carrier – HELIOS LEADER

The Pure Car and Truck Carrier Helios Leader arriving in Cape Town, an unusual visitor. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

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

The movement of motor vehicles around the world, from the major manufacturing nations, has developed into a maritime industry that is dominated by what are known in the maritime industry as Pure Car and Truck Carriers (PCTC), or more disparagingly called ‘Floating Shoe Boxes’. These huge vehicle carriers, which are nothing more than moving garages, are seen on a regular basis in three of the ports along the South African coast.

The monthly port statistics of Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth always include figures that represent the number of cars exported from these three ports, notably due to their proximity to major motor manufacturing company factories. The numbers of exported vehicles connected to these ports, on a monthly basis, amounts to thousands of units.

One thing that sticks out from the monthly ports report is that Cape Town’s export of cars can by numbered, not by the hundreds or thousands, but by less than the number of fingers you have on one hand. The result is that Cape Town virtually never gets to see the arrival of a Pure Car and Truck Carrier. If one does arrive in the Mother City, there has to be a very good reason for it, and it is unlikely to be in regard to the import, or export, of motor vehicles.

Helios Leader, Cape Town, 3 December 2023. Picture by Frank Atherley

On 3rd December, at 16h00 in the afternoon, the unusual sight of the Pure Car and Truck Carrier HELIOS LEADER (IMO 9476745) arrived off Cape Town, from her loading ports of Incheon in South Korea, Nagoya in Japan and Shanghai in China, via a bunker stop in Singapore, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside the Landing Wall. This was a sure sign that she had not arrived to load, or discharge, any vehicles, and was most likely a caller for bunkers, or possibly for engineering support.

Built in 2009 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Shipyard at Nagasaki in Japan, ‘Helios Leader’ is 200 metres in length and has a deadweight of 18,692 tons. She is powered by a single Mitsubishi Kobe Diesel 7UEC60LS seven cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 14,318 bhp (10,531 kW) and driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 20 knots.

Helios Leader. Cape Town, 3 December 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 1,080 kW each, and a single emergency generator providing 160 kW. She has a single Osaka OVS2-160-120-20 auxiliary vertical composite boiler. For added manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster providing 1,350 kW.

Her car decks are accessed by a stern quarter ramp, which has a capacity of 100 tons, and a deck strength of 5 tons/m2. She has a vehicular cargo carrying capacity of 6,341 motor cars. She is one of three sisterships. Owned by Nippon Yusen Kabushiki (NYK) Kaisha, of Tokyo in Japan, ‘Helios Leader’ is operated by NYK Line, also of Tokyo, and is managed by NYK Shipmanagement Pte. Ltd., of Singapore.

Helios Leader. Cape Town, 3 December 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

Her arrival in Cape Town is certainly unusual, but a look at her routing to get there gives some clues. Her previous voyage, and possibly her normal routing, had her calling at the Red Sea port of Eilat in Israel in late September, prior to sailing for Japan and her loading for her current voyage. After taking bunkers in Singapore, ‘Helios Leader’ again set course for the Red Sea.

However, recent terrorist activity in the Red Sea, off the coast of Yemen by Houthi Rebels, who are enabled by Iran, has included attacks on shipping that has links to Israel. This is amplified by the fact that on 19th November, a chartered PCTC of NYK Line, ‘Galaxy Leader’, was boarded and hijacked by Houthi Rebels, when sailing from Turkey to India, and taken to the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, where she still lies. This action led to speculation that many owners may now decide to abandon routing via Suez and the Red Sea, and divert their vessels around the Cape.

Helios Leader. Cape Town, 3 December 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

It seems apparent that the owners of ‘Helios Leader’ determined that her passage through the Red Sea was now deemed dangerous, and she appears to have been diverted around the Cape, as her track shows her proceeding down the East African coast, past Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and through the Mozambique Channel, and onwards to Cape Town. Such a routing is not one that any vessel on a predetermined route from Singapore to Cape Town would take.

One wonders if she is the first of many to take this action, as Houthi rebels have continued to attack shipping in the Red Sea, even as recently as the past few days. Her destination from Cape Town seemed to confirm the thought that her arrival in Cape Town was diversionary.

Helios Leader. Cape Town, 3 December 2023. Picture: ‘Dockrat’

After just under eight hours alongside in Cape Town, ‘Helios Leader’ was ready to sail, and at Midnight on 3rd December, she departed from Cape Town, bound for Piraeus in Greece. A direct sailing, and obvious route from Singapore to Piraeus would normally be via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

Back In November 2022, ‘Helios Leader’ was sailing on a similar route to that she is currently on, and routing from Nagoya in Japan, to Singapore, when she was requested by the MRCC in Vietnam to go to the assistance of a Myanmar flagged fishing vessel, named ‘Lady R3’, that had reported to be taking on water, and had been drifting for 40 hours after breaking down, some 260 nautical miles off Vung Tau province in South Vietnam.

Helios Leader and Lady R3 rescue of 303 Sri Lankans. November 2022. Picture NYK

Arriving at the casualty just before 16h00 in the afternoon, it transpired that the fishing vessel had onboard no less than 303 Sri Lankan immigrants who, astonishingly, were packed into the vessel and were attempting to undertake a transpacific voyage from Myanmar to Canada, a voyage of over 6,000 nautical miles.

The rescue operation began immediately, and took just under four hours to complete, and all 303 persons on ‘Lady R3’, including 40 women and children, were safely transferred across to ‘Helios Leader’. All of the rescued persons were in good health, and she then proceeded to the port of Vung Tau, where all of the rescued immigrants were landed.

Helios Leader and Lady R3 rescue of 303 Sri Lankans. November 2022. Picture NYK

In 2022, more than one million people Sri Lankans had made an attempt to emigrate from Sri Lanka, both via legal channels, and illegally. This exodus was prompted by the collapse of the Sri Lankan economy, which led to severe inflation, and high prices for everyday commodities such as food and fuel. The collapse of the economy, through incompetence, and mismanagement, was one of the reasons why the Sri Lankan Government defaulted on their ‘debt trap’ loans from the Chinese Government, and had to handover Hambantota Port to the Chinese.

In May of this year, as a result of the skillful rescue of everybody from ‘Lady R3’, Captain Anil Choudhary, who was Master of ‘Helios Leader’ at the time, and his crew, was nominated for the IMO Annual Exceptional Bravery at Sea Award. The announcement was made in London, and the nominations came from both the Indian and the Singapore Governments. The IMO has already announced that a Letter of Commendation will be sent to Captain Choudhary.

Helios Leader and Lady R3 rescue of 303 Sri Lankans. November 2022. Picture NYK

For the nomenclature fan, the use of the suffix ‘Leader’ is used throughout the NYK Line fleet of Pure Car and Truck Carriers. The name ‘Helios’ is from Ancient Greek mythology, and is the name for one of the Titans, with ‘Helios’ being the God of the Sun.

As most scholars of ancient history are aware, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was ‘The Colossus of Rhodes’, which was a giant statue that straddled the entrance to the harbour of ancient Rhodes in ancient Greece. The statue was that of Helios.

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Progress being made in fixing SA Navy – Lobese

The SA Navy’s new inshore patrol vessel SAS King Shaka Zulu (P1572), entering Durban Harbour. Picture by Trevor Jones

by Guy Martin

Submarine and frigate refits, new inshore patrol vessels and a new hydrographic survey vessel are some of the markers of progress the SA Navy has reached on its Journey to Greatness, SA Navy Chief, Vice Admiral Monde Lobese has affirmed.

Speaking on 2 December at the SA Navy Gala Evening held at Unisa, Lobese said the SA Navy “is ready to rise again. The SA Navy has charted the course. I am leading the South African Navy to the Journey of Greatness.”

In his prepared remarks, he reminded guests that at last year’s SA Navy Gala Evening, he said the Navy had a mammoth task ahead, with an immediate focus of taking the navy back to where it belongs – at sea – in spite of the budget conundrum confronting it.

“I am very happy to report that the National Treasury has made R1.4 billion available over the three year’s medium cycle to refit our ships and submarines,” Lobese said during the Saturday evening function. “Very soon, Armscor will pronounce on the refit contractor who will work hard to complete the refits of one frigate and one submarine. The SA Navy, Armscor and the refit contractor will work hard together to get our ships to sea. This will allow our ships to again project the might of the SA Navy.”

Lobese explained that the Navy’s leadership has resolved to renew the organisation as part of its Journey to Greatness. “We have taken the fix and now we are plotting a way forward in realisation of this greatness,” he said, adding it will require collaboration and cooperation across the entire spectrum. “The Journey to Greatness is not a destination but an ongoing pursuit of growth and self-improvement.”

The SAN Chief reminded assembled guests that the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force has made some in-roads in terms of capacitation to better execute its mandate. “As recent as this past October in Durban, Damen Shipyards Cape Town delivered the second Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessel, SAS King Shaka Zulu,” Lobese said. The ship is undergoing Operational Training and Evaluation that will be followed by her commissioning.

“The commissioning will signify the operational capability of the ship and that she is ready to fulfil her duty in patrolling our long coastline against any maritime threats and criminals who think that they can undermine our country,” the Vice Admiral said.

The construction of the last Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels, SAS Adam Kok, is on track and it is due to be delivered next year (SAS King Sekhukhune I is already in service). These new vessels are the first locally built large vessels for the SA Navy since 1986 following the SAS Drakensberg and six Warrior Class Strike craft that were built in Durban.

“The construction of the Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels is a major rejuvenation of the South African shipbuilding industry. This industry is again emerging from its slumber, to take part in Government’s Operation Phakisa, which seeks to unlock the vast economic potential of the Blue Economy,” Lobese stated.

“These vessels will provide the SA Navy with a robust patrol capability due to their flexibility. Furthermore, they will have the ability to conduct multiple missions such as patrolling our coastal waters, conducting mine countermeasures, torpedo recovery and deep diving support operations.

“With the same hard-work and dedication we will see Project Hotel also come into fruition and yield the much needed relief that our hydrographers so desperately need. The aim of this project is to capacitate our hydrographic capability by replacing the ageing SAS Protea with a Hydrographic Survey Vessel and three Survey Motor Boats as well as upgrading the South African Naval Hydrographic Office production system,” he explained.

However, Lobese was adamant that the three new inshore patrol vessels are not enough to protect South Africa’s maritime resources from sea robbers. “In fact, we need 15 of these inshore patrol vessels, and at least 12 of the larger offshore patrol vessels. In addition to this we need two hydrographic survey vessels, as well as three combat support vessels. Should this not happen, we as your Navy will not be able to stop the ever-rising scourge of maritime crime and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.”

Returning to more positive developments, the SAN Chief revealed that the Chief Director Maritime Strategy, Rear Admiral Mkhonto, “is hard at work in ensuring the enhancements of the Maritime Domain Awareness Centres,” which will enable the SA Navy to respond swiftly to illicit and piracy activities in its waters.

“These Maritime Domain Awareness centres will allow the South African Navy to integrate and share our maritime picture with those of our neighbouring countries. There have been so many of my counterparts in our neighbouring countries who have pleaded with me to provide this cooperation with them. As you can imagine, threats to our maritime security requires a cooperative response. We simply cannot try to meet this challenge on our own, a properly functioning Maritime Domain Awareness network will be the eyes and ears of the security forces of the entire African continent,” he said.

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

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Groenriviermond Lighthouse marks 35 years of service

Groenriviermond Lighthouse was first lit on the night of 21 November 1988. The lantern house and optic were previously in use at Cape Agulhas Lighthouse between 1968 and 1988 and were relocated to Groenriviermond after the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse was restored. Groenriviermond Lighthouse is one of only two South African lighthouses to have a yellow tower. The other is Cape Vidal which is situated on the KwaZulu-Natal coast

Africa Ports & Ships

Groenriviermond Lighthouse on the Northern Cape coast will mark 35 years of service this month.

It is one of three lighthouses along this stretch of South Africa’s coastline and is one of only two South African lighthouses to have a yellow tower.

Groenriviermond Lighthouse is situated 80 kilometres from the inland town of Garies. The 17.2 metre cylindrical concrete tower is painted yellow with a black band and has a yellow lantern house. The rotating lens system produces one flash every five seconds.

It was first lit on the night of 21 November 1988.

The lighthouse is not connected to the mains electricity supply and uses solar technology as the primary source of power. Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into electrical energy, which is stored in batteries and used to power the lighthouse at night.

Before the installation of solar technology, the lighthouse was powered by diesel generators that ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The lighthouse still has one diesel generator on site, that is used as back-up.

The lighthouse is fully automated and is not manned. Scheduled maintenance is carried out by teams from Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in Port Nolloth and Cape Town. Teams can spend up to a week at the station, checking and servicing the light, the solar system, and the standby engine.

The change to solar has reduced the amount of fuel that must be purchased, transported to and stored on site, which in turn has reduced the environmental and safety risks, and associated costs.

Northern Cape Coast

Groenriviermond Lighthouse is one of three lighthouses along the Northern Cape coast. The other two are: Port Nolloth and Hondeklipbaai. TNPA is mandated by the National Ports Act, 2005 (Act No.12 of 2005) to provide, operate and maintain lighthouses and other marine Aids to Navigation (AtoNs) to assist the navigation of vessels within commercial port limits and along the coast of South Africa.

A marine AtoN is defined as: ‘A device, system or service, external to vessels, designed and operated to enhance safe and efficient navigation of individual vessels and/or vessel traffic.’

Lighthouses, beacons, and buoys are the most common types of visual AtoNs. Virtual AtoNs are new technology that use digital signals to warn of dangers in specific locations, without the need for physical buoys or lighthouses.

The digital signals are transmitted from Automatic Identification System (AIS) stations and are received by AIS units onboard vessels. Large vessels – such as container ships and passenger ships – are required to carry AIS in terms of International Maritime Organisation regulations, but smaller vessels are not.

Therefore, visual marine AtoNs cannot be done away with.

TNPA AtoNs conform to the standards set by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). South Africa, represented by TNPA, is a founder member of IALA.

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Long-distance passenger trains return to service in time for Christmas

Shosholoza passenger train moving through the Karoo. Picture: YouTube

Africa Ports & Ships

It’s December and the month we celebrate Christmas,a time when hundreds of thousands will head off home after spending the year working in the big cities. That means pressure on the taxi industry and the buses, but this year we will see a welcome return to long-distance passenger trains, after a hiatus of some years.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) announced this week that the long-distance Mainline Passenger Services (MLPS) under its rail division has resumed the Johannesburg to Durban and Johannesburg to Cape Town services that operate with the name of the Shosholoza Meyl.

“Resuming the long-distance passenger rail services is our commitment to offering an alternative mode of transportation, connecting people with to families and friends, and offering holiday-makers an affordable and convenient means to reach their destinations,” PRASA said in a news release.

The long-distance passenger services, which were both suspended in 2021 due to operational and network infrastructure challenges, are resuming just in time for the December holiday period.

“These services resume as cash-strapped consumers are battling with the costs of long-distance travel. For just less than a R1,000 for a single trip, PRASA is inviting passengers to a unique experience to their destinations far from the hassles of traffic congestion and escalating travelling costs.

“The trips are more than just reaching one’s destination; it promises a unique an unforgettable experience for families and friends alike,” the agency said.

PRASA announced that Shosholoza Meyl will be offering an affordable private car transportation service at an additional cost for passengers travelling to Durban.

This service is also open to the general public, providing a convenient option for those who wish to transport their vehicles.

According to PRASA, it is making significant strides in rebuilding and recovering the rail infrastructure, with 27 commuter rail lines restored to date.

“The business is also working on restoring long-distance passenger rail services, with Shosholoza Meyl currently transporting people from Johannesburg to Queenstown and Musina. The resumption of the Johannesburg to Durban and Cape Town services mark another milestone in the revival of long-distance passenger rail services.”

The agency reminded customers that limited seats and space are available and recommended that passengers make a booking and finalise travel arrangements well in advance by calling the call centre on 011 013 0231/2/3 alternatively 012 748 7362 or 015 299 606 or visiting the nearest Shosholoza Meyl Ticket office.

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Transnet Recovery Diary 5 December 2023

Transnet Recovery Diary 5 December 2023

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TNPA issues Request for Proposals for DCT2 North Quay deepening & lengthening

Durban Port Master Plan

Africa Ports & Ships

As part of the R154 billion (USD 8.171bn) KZN Ports Master Plan, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a contractor to reconstruct, deepen and lengthen berths 203 to 205 at Durban Container Terminal’s (DCT) Pier 2.

The berths are on the North Quay at the Port of Durban. The project has a 5-year construction period starting in 2024.

The project aims to improve efficiencies and reduce costs for vessels calling at the port by deepening berths 203, 204 and 205, including the basin and approach channel, deepening from 12.8m to 16.5m.

The effective berth length will be increased from 914m to 1,210m to safely accommodate the simultaneous berthing of three Super Post Panamax vessels of 350m in length and draught of 14.5m.

Super Post Panamax vessels currently take up two berths on the North Quay which decreases port container capacity.

An added benefit of increasing the draught is the enablement of vessels requiring a draught deeper than 12.2m to enter the port at any time, thereby reducing the queue of vessels waiting at anchorage and reliance of entering the channel at high tide.

The RFP for the multi-billion-rand main marine construction works package has gone out on tender following all the necessary internal governance approvals and environmental approvals, which were secured in 2015 from competent authorities.

Durban Port Master Plan Timeline

Mega Project

This mega project is one of the TNPA KZN Logistic Hub’s initiatives of positioning the Port of Durban as an international container hub, by growing its container volume capacity from 2.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 11.4 million TEUs as per the Transnet Segment Strategy.

“The increased size of container vessels calling the Port of Durban has necessitated a project of this magnitude, as DCT Pier 2 berths are now operating beyond their original design specification regarding water depth,” said Dr.Gasa-Toboti, TNPA Portfolio Director.

“Our continued investment in infrastructure and the modernisation of the Port of Durban’s infrastructure is pivotal in meeting the ever-increasing demands of the maritime industry – in particular the ever-increasing size of container vessels calling at our ports.”

DCT Pier 2 handles approximately 65% of the total containerised cargo of South Africa and is the main link to the country’s hinterland – supporting the industrial and economic hub, Gauteng. It is estimated that the demand through the Port of Durban is expected to grow from 2.7 million TEUs to 4.5 million TEUs over the next 10 years.

Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 North Quay, berths 203, 204 and 205, which are to be deepened and lengthened

Automotive Hub

The segment strategy also seeks to position the port as a premium automotive hub, increasing its automotive capacity from 520,000 fully built units (FBU) per annum to 1 million FBU. These efforts will enable effective, efficient and economic functioning of an integrated port system to promote economic growth.

RFP Documents

RFP documents can be accessed from the National Treasury’s e-tender portal www.etender.gov.za and/or the Transnet website: www.transnet.net.

A briefing session has been scheduled for 29 January 2024. RSVPs for the briefing session and queries for clarification in respect of this RFP must be directed to berthdeepeningkzn@transnet.net

Responses to the RFP must be submitted by no later than 29 March 2024 at 16h00 as per the submission requirements of the RFP.

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WHARF TALK: heavylift project freight carrier – BBC SEBASTOPOL

BBC Sebastopol at her berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The geographical position of Cape Town gives it an important role in ensuring that the flow of goods and trade, on those ultra-long distance routes, that start in the western hemisphere, and end in the eastern hemisphere, or vice-versa, are completed safely. This is the reason that unlike most other ports along the South African coast, Cape Town receives, almost daily, a flow of vessels who are calling solely to receive an uplift of bunker fuel, and nothing else.

On 28th November, at 03h00 in the early hours of the morning, the heavylift project freight carrier BBC SEBASTOPOL (IMO 9812004) arrived off Cape Town, after a long voyage from Adelaide in Australia, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and went alongside the outer berth of the Eastern Mole. Such an arrival, and such a berth, is a clear sign that the vessel in question is calling for nothing other than bunkers and fresh stores.

Built in 2022 by Taizhou Sanfu Shipyard at Taizhou in China, ‘BBC Sebastopol’ is 147 metres in length and has a deadweight of 12,325 tons. She is powered by a MAN-B&W 5G45ME-C9.5 Tier II, five cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 6,437 bhp (4,800 kW) to drive fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 15 knots.

BBC Sebastopol. Cape Town, 28 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery three MAN 5L23/30H generators providing 580 kW each, and a single Scania D109M emergency generator providing 257 kW. She has a single EGH538V30 exhaust gas boiler, and a single TOH1350H40 oil fired boiler. For added manoeuvrability ‘BBC Sebastopol’ has a Schottel STT001CP bow transverse thruster providing 600 kW.

She has two holds, serviced by two portside offset Liebherr cranes, each with a lifting capacity of 250 tons, and which when used in tandem can lift 500 tons. Her cargo carrying capacity is 17,600 m3, with a hold area of 2,940 m2, and a tanktop deck strength of 20 tons/m2. Her container carrying capacity is 842 TEU, with deck plugs provided for 50 reefers.

She is the third of four sisterships, with three more being introduced over the next year, and known as the F500 type. Owned by Briese Schiffahrts GmbH, of Leer in Germany, ‘BBC Sebastopol’ is managed by Briese Heavylift GmbH, also of Leer, and is operated by BBC Chartering GmbH, also of Leer, and well known for operating a large fleet of specialist heavylift project freight carriers.

BBC Sebastopol. Cape Town, 28 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

All of the class of the F500 type vessels are named after nations and cities of Russia, Ukraine and the Philippines. It is a surprise to think that a world class company such as Briese Schiffahrts GmbH, would have named one of their most modern vessels after a city, in the Crimea Peninsula, that is considered by almost every nation in the United Nations, and especially Ukraine, to have been illegal annexed by Russia. The spelling of Sebastopol is considered to be the older version of the city. The current prevalent spelling is considered to be Sevastopol.

Due to her design being specifically for project freight, ‘BBC Sebastopol’ is certified for open hatch voyages. However, on this voyage from South Australia, she had a deck cargo of containers, and a number of ‘used’ mining and construction vehicles, fuel tankers, and heavy plant spare tyres. Most of the vehicles were heavy plant vehicles manufactured by Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG) of China. Her next destination may explain where, and what, the deck cargo might be destined for.

Having spent nine days alongside in Adelaide, the ‘used’ mining and heavy plant machinery on ‘BBC Sebastopol’ may have come from one of the many mines to be found in South Australia. Most casual maritime observers are very aware of Australia’s vast Iron Ore export trade out of the Western Australia ports of Dampier and Port Hedland, and the Coal export trade out of the east coast ports of Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point in Queensland, and Newcastle in New South Wales. However, very few are aware of the importance of the production coming out of mines in South Australia, and which are mainly of other vital minerals and ores.

BBC Sebastopol. Cape Town, 28 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Inland from Adelaide, South Australia boasts having Australia’s largest mine at Olympic Dam, which has over 450 kilometres of tunnels, and which produces no less than four essential minerals and ores, namely Gold, Silver, Copper, and Uranium. It also has Australia’s largest Copper mine, and on an even larger scale, South Australia has the world’s largest Graphite mine, the world’s largest Zircon mine, and the world’s largest Uranium mine deposit.

After just fifteen hours alongside in Cape Town, and having completed the uplift of her bunkers from the AMSOL harbour bunker tanker ‘Lipuma’, ‘BBC Sebastopol’ was ready to sail. At 18h00 in the late afternoon, on 28th November, she sailed from Cape Town, with her AIS set for the deepwater port of Kribi, in Cameroon. Her destination may explain her vehicular deck cargo.

The port of Kribi is in the process of being further developed with the addition of an iron ore export terminal for large Capesize bulk carriers. This is due to the Cameroon government giving the go-ahead to three iron ore mine projects in 2023. As expected, as elsewhere in Africa, the projects are all being undertaken by Chinese state-owned mining companies, but with some Australian mining expertise.

The Lobé-Kribi iron ore mine project is currently in development, with the main access road construction only having been started in September 2023. The mine construction, and operation, is by the Chinese state-owned Sinosteel Company. When in production, the iron ore mined from this new mine will all be exported from Kribi deepwater port.

BBC Sebastopol. Cape Town, 28 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

A second iron ore project is at Mbalam-Nabeba, which straddles the border region with the Congo Republic. To enable the export of the iron ore production from the new Mbalam-Nabeba mine to Kribi deepwater port, a joint Chinese-Australian company will be building a dedicated 540 kilometre long railway line, linking the mine to Kribi. A further railway link will be made from this new railway line, to enable the export of the Iron Ore production from the mine that will be developed over the border in the Congo Republic.

Interestingly, despite their fine international image, and contrary to most casual maritime observers considerations about the safety reputation of BBC Chartering, they have recently had two vessels banned from all Australian ports, both within weeks of each other. The banning orders were made by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), after completing Port State Inspection on both vessels.

In July 2023, AMSA conducted a Port State Inspection on the Briese Schiffahrts vessel ‘BBC Pearl’ in the Queensland port of Cairns. The inspection on ‘BBC Pearl’ reported multiple failures of the shipboard Safety Management System (SMS), defective fire dampers, and a defective emergency generator. She was detained until the emergency generator was repaired. She then sailed on to Port Hedland in Western Australia.

BBC Sebastopol. Cape Town, 28 November 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

It transpired that this was the second Port State Inspection by AMSA of ‘BBC Pearl’ where her emergency generator was defective. This resulted in AMSA issueing a 180 day banning order from all Australian ports of ‘BBC Pearl’ when she sailed from Australia. However, she was not the first Briese Schiffahrts vessel to have recently received a total banning order in Australia.

Less than one month earlier, in June 2023, AMSA had ordered a 90 day ban from all Australian ports of the Briese Schiffahrts vessel ‘BBC Weser’, after a Port State Inspection had found serious deficiencies onboard with defective ballast air vents. Strikingly, AMSA stated that no less than one in five of all Briese Schiffahrts vessels, that had called into Australian ports since 2021, had failed Port State Inspections, and that had resulted in their detention.

To end on a positive note, for the nomenclature fan, and who has ever wondered about how cities get their names, such as Durban. The loading port of ‘BBC Sebastopol’ was Adelaide, which is the State Capital city of South Australia. The city itself was founded by British colonists in 1836, and named after the wife of the then reigning British Monarch, King William IV. His Queen was named Adelaide.

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Durban Container Terminal’s berth 108 dredging completed

The TNPA plough tug Mohoma. Picture: Andy 

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority recently handed over Berth 108 at the Durban Container Terminal to the Pier 2 terminal operator, Transnet Port Terminals.

This followed the conclusion of a dredging exercise to remove accumulated silt that was reducing the berth’s correct alongside draught of 12.8 metres.

The still relatively new departmental plough tug MOHOMA undertook the dredging project and has successfully completed the task.

The plough tug is used as a bed leveller to smooth out high spots created by marine traffic in high-volume berth areas, allowing the docking of bigger vessels.

“This intervention is anticipated to yield favourable results for our terminal operator as it will reduce the duration of the dredging maintenance work and berth downtime at our busiest container terminal,” said TNPA Managing Executive for the Eastern Region Ports – Durban and Richards Bay, Moshe Motlohi.

He said the collaboration between the ports authority and terminal operator is destined to accelerate the recovery plan.

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Airfreight: Kenya Airways adds two Boeing 737-800 conversions

Kenya Airways soon to introduce Boeing 737-800s into freighter service

Africa Ports & Ships

Kenya Airways plans to include two Boeing 737-800 conversions to its freighter service, as it goes about growing the service.

The Kenyan airline says these freighters form part of its diversification strategy which aims at meeting the region’s rising demand for cargo transport.

The airline currently operates its dedicated freighter service with two older version and smaller 737-300 aircraft.

“With the addition of this freighter, Kenya Airways will now offer increased cargo capacity to existing routes as well as new cargo destinations,” said CEO Allan Kilavuka.

He intimated that the second of the two 737-800s will enter service in February 2025.

Kilavuka expressed a need for African entities to invest in sustainable freight operations, including air cargo, to advance socio-economic development.

Kenya Airways intends using the new 737s on routes to Dubai World Central – the location of the city’s Al Maktoum airport – and to Sharjah Airport nearby, as well as to Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

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Missile and drone attacks on Israeli linked ships in Red Sea

Maersk’s Mesawa service – Maersk Pangani redeployed for fear of terror attack

Africa Ports & Ships

Ships Diverted Around the Cape

Several Israeli-linked commercial ship have diverted around the Cape to avoid sailing through the Suez Canal and Red Sea, as number of other ships are reporting having been attacked by what is assumed to be Houthi rebels.

On Sunday morning missiles fired from the direction of Yemen struck three ships in the Red Sea. At the same time a U.S. Navy destroyer, USS Carney, is reported to have shot down three drones during an assault lasting about an hour.

“These attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security. They have jeopardized the lives of international crews representing multiple countries around the world,” the U.S. military’s Central Command said in a statement.

It added that there was every reason to believe that the attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, were enabled by Iran.

According to Central Command, USS Carney detected a missile launched from a Houthi-controlled area in Yemen, approaching and striking near the 2016-built bulk carrier Unity Explorer (IMO 9726035). Shortly afterwards the American destroyer shot down a drone heading towards the Bahamas-flagged merchant ship.

Half an hour later the bulk carrier was hit by another missile and as the USS Carney responded to her mayday call the destroyer shot down another incoming drone.

Unity Explorer reported minor damage from the missile attack.

Two other ships reported having experienced missile attacks. The Panamanian-flagged Number 9 was struck and experienced a certain amount of damage, while the Sophie II was also struck by a missile but reported no significant damage.

USS Carney, responding to the attack on Sophie II, shot down another drone that appeared to be heading in the warship’s direction.

Only one of the ships, Unity Explorer, appears to have an Israeli link in its ownership. The Houthi’s claim they are preventing Israeli ships from navigating through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, in support of their “steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip.”

Maersk’s Mawingu Express service with East Africa

“The Yemeni armed forces renew their warning to all Israeli ships or those associated with Israelis that they will become a legitimate target if they violate what is stated in this statement,” said Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree.

Meanwhile, the car carrier Galaxy Leader, which is owned by an Israeli but operated by a Japanese company, remains in Houthi hands outside the port of Hodeida. The ship was seized on 19 November while sailing through the Red Sea.

Another ship sailing in the affected region, the Pacific Eastern Shipping-owned CMA CGM Stymi, came under drone attack at about the same time. Pacific Eastern Shipping is controlled by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.

The situation in the Gulf of Aden and lower Red Sea region opposite the coast of Yemen has so far resulted in several ships with Israeli connections, being diverted around the Cape of Good Hope.

The first to divert was the Zim Line Liberian-flagged ZIM EUROPE (5,618-TEU) which changed course while well into the Mediterranean Sea before turning about, retracing its course back through the Gibraltar Strait, and into the Atlantic on a course for the Cape.

Zim Europe is sailing from Boston in the USA, bound for Malaysia.

Zim has since confirmed it is taking proactive steps to avoid at risk areas by rerouting these on the longer route around the Cape.

“As a result of these measures, longer transit times in the relevant Zim services are anticipated, though every effort is being made to minimise disruptions,” Zim said.

Maersk Line has withdrawn two ships with links to Israel from operating in the Red Sea or Middle East, the 4,259-TEU Lisa, and the 5,300-TEU Maersk Pangani.

Both ships have been diverted from operating in the Middle East. Maersk Pangani is deployed on the Mesawa service (India-West Africa with transshipment calls in the Middle East). The ship was diverted away from her scheduled call at Salalah and is heading to Mundra to transfer her Gulf-destined cargo onto another non-Israeli-linked Maersk ship, Maersk Iyo, waiting at Mundra.

Lisa operated the Mawingu Express service between the Indian sub-continent and East Africa via Salalah. The ship was diverted to Salalah to discharge all her cargo before heading to the Far East for redeployment.

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Transnet recovery Diary 4 December 2023

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet Recovery Diary 4 December 2023

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Transnet gets its R47 billion facility

by Terry Hutson
Africa Ports & Ships

Despite earlier indications that no National Treasury support would be forthcoming, Transnet is to receive an immediate R47 billion guarantee facility.

This about face has been made in support of the company’s Recovery Plan and to meet the state-owned entity’s immediate debt obligations.

The decision will bring more than just relief within Transnet and its tens of thousands of employees, with the company having to face repaying substantial loans in the coming weeks and months.

The relief will be felt equally among industry and the business sector generally as well. Transnet, whatever its ailments and never mind the reasons that brought it into such a mess, cannot afford to be in default – there’s just too much at stake and too many in South Africa and further afield who are utterly dependent on the company performing its necessary functions.

Rather like Eskom, in fact.

Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that this is all it needs for more internal ‘feeding’ to take place, the R47 billion facility is not a cash injection. It is instead a guarantee to take to banks and other lenders to raise more loans, and to settle existing debt obligations, although someone else has described it as “putting band-aids over a gaping, gushing wound.”

Transnet is sitting with a debt of R135 billion along with annual losses extending into billions of rands. With almost R10 billion due at the end of December, the need for some sort of urgent government intervention was obvious, unless Transnet was to default.

In its recovery plan Transnet was asking government to take over R61 billion of its debt, similar to the way Treasury assisted Eskom (and SAA for that matter). In addition it asked for a R47-billion equity injection, all of which is based on Transnet bringing in the private sector to partner on its rail and port operations while restructuring its balance sheet by having government help with settling the huge debt.

According to National Treasury and the Department of Public Enterprises, “Transnet will drawdown an initial amount of R22.8 billion to deal with immediate liquidity matters such as settling maturity debt.

“Government has not considered an equity injection given that the budget for 2023/24 is closed and is confident that this guarantee facility alongside swift implementation of the Transnet Recovery Plan will be sufficient to resolve Transnet’s challenges,” the statement from Treasury and the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) said.

To allay fears widely expressed, the agreement between the National Treasury, DPE, and Transnet will include strict guarantee conditions that will be continuously reviewed and amended when deemed necessary.

“Any further drawdowns will be subject to Transnet meeting these conditions,” the statement read.

Reviving Operations

Treasury says it will continue to work with Transnet to pursue other initiatives to revive its operations and financial viability.

It stated that Transnet must explore further the divestment of non-core assets, reduction of the current cost structure, alternative funding models for infrastructure and maintenance requirements.

“The latter includes but is not limited to project finance, third party access, concessions, and joint ventures.”

The two government departments highlighted that the freight and logistics company plays a central role in the South African economy and the government’s goal of inclusive growth but has been facing obstacles over the last few years.

Acknowledging that Transnet has suffered significant operational, financial and governance challenges in recent times and is struggling to fulfil this strategic role and in recognition of the seriousness of these challenges, the departments are working with Transnet to find a solution to the company’s immediate and longer-term problems.

“The decision to grant the guarantee facility is a result of these discussions.”


The statement issued by the two departments said government is continuing to pursue deep-running, broader reforms of Transnet and the logistics sector as a whole.

“Without a comprehensive reform of the sector, rather than that of single entity, we risk being faced with similar challenges in the future,” the statement acknowledged.

Minister Pravin Gordhan [DPE] highlighted the fact that Transnet is critical to the South African economy. “A well-functioning logistics company is particularly important given the geographical distribution of economic activity in the country, our reliance on commodity and other exports, as well as our distance from key export markets,” he said.

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South Africa and Nigeria lose out on IMO Council

Africa Ports & Ships

In London the Assembly of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has elected the following States to be Members of the Council for the 2024-2025 biennium:

Category (A): 10 States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services (listed in alphabetical order):

China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Norway, Panama, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States

Category (B): 10 States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade:

Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates

Category (C): 20 States not elected under (a) or (b) above, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world:

Bahamas, Bangladesh, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Türkiye.

This means that South Africa and Nigeria, which was another nation hoping for representation on the Council, remain unrepresented on the international body for yet another term. South Africa received a total of 114 votes. The country voted onto Category C with the least number of votes was Jamaica (120). Those with more votes above SA and who remained unelected were Belgium (115) and Thailand (116).

It is clear that South African maritime authorities and the Department of Transport have lots of hard work ahead if they hope to win re-election in two years time.

African countries that were elected under category C are Kenya (128), Morocco (132), and Egypt (142), i.e. two in North Africa and one in East Africa. Liberia by virtue of its register was elected under category A.

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WHARF TALK: reefer vessel – WHITNEY BAY

The pure reefer vessel Whitney Bay seen departing Cape Town for Europe with a consignment of South African deciduous fruit. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

It is that time of the year again, where the start of autumn in the agricultural industry of the Western Cape means one thing that is not generally found elsewhere in South Africa. That is the start of the narrow export window for Deciduous Fruits, namely Apples, Pears and Grapes, the vast majority of which will be exported solely from Cape Town. This export season means the arrival once more, of reefer vessels into Cape Town harbour.

The first arrival of the Reefer Alliance fleet to pick up the best Deciduous Fruit that South Africa can offer occurred on 22nd November, when the reefer WHITNEY BAY (IMO 8911085) arrived off Cape Town at 22h00 in the late evening, from Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside D berth, at the Fresh Produce Terminal (FPT) to begin her fresh fruit cargo onload.

Built in 1990, which makes ‘Whitney Bay’ 33 years old, and thus quite an elder statesman of the reefer world. She was built by the Shin Kurushima Shipyard at Onishi in Japan, and is 141 metres in length and has a deadweight of 9,687 tons. She is powered by a single Mitsubishi Kobe Diesel 6UEC52LSH six cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 10,805 bhp (7,945 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 17 knots.

Whitney Bay preceded by tug Umbilo, Cape Town 30 November 2023. Picture ‘Dockrat’

The auxiliary machinery of ‘Whitney Bay’ includes four generators providing a total of 1,848 kW, and a single Tortoise Auxiliary Vertical oil fired boiler. She has four holds, which are serviced by eight 5 ton derricks, which can be used in Union Purchase to provide four lifts of 3.5 tons. Her cargo carrying capacity is 12,721 m3, with an area of 5,208 m2 capable of holding 3,940 pallets of fruit.

Unusually for a reefer, her container carrying capacity is NIL TEU, and is not fitted for the carriage of containers. She has nineteen refrigerated compartments within her four holds, which can be set to operate within a temperature range of +15°C to -25°C. Her cargo holds receive 90 air circulations per hour, and 4 air renewals per hour.

One of two sisterships, known as the Triunfo Class, ‘Whitney Bay’ is nominally owned by Whitney Bay Shipping Co. BV, of Groningen in Holland, She is both operated and managed by Seatrade Groningen BV, also of Groningen, as witnessed by the Seatrade houseflag on her funnel, and the Seatrade name emblazoned on her hull.

Whitney Bay preceded by tug Umbilo, Cape Town 30 November 2023. Picture ‘Dockrat’

She is chartered by Seatrade Reefer Chartering BV, also of Groningen, and is operating as the first Reefer Alliance sailing of the season out of Cape Town. The Reefer Alliance was set up in January 2013 between the Baltic Reefer Group Ltd., and the Seatrade Group of companies, by combining both the marketing, and sales, of both Baltic Shipping and Seatrade Reefer Chartering NV in specific trades, by combining both fleets of the two reefer companies.

The purpose of the Reefer Alliance is to achieve improved flexibility, improved service levels, and increased efficiency by joint operation of the combined fleet of about 96 specialised reefer ships in three core trades, one of which is from South Africa to St. Petersburg in Russia.

Outside of the fruit season, ‘Whitney Bay’ is also licensed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) to undertake transshipment of tuna, and tuna-like, species at sea from Large-scale tuna longline fishing vessels (LSTLFV), also licensed by IATTC. Transshipment at sea is strictly monitored to prevent any IUU activities, with published procedures applicable to the transshipment vessel, known in IATTC parlance as the ‘Receiving Carrier Vessel.’

The master of the Receiving Carrier Vessel must both complete, and transmit, the IATTC transshipment declaration to the owners, and flag state, of the LSTLFV, and Coastal States where applicable, along with its number in the IATTC Record of Carrier Vessels, within 24 hours of the completion of the transshipment.

Whitney Bay, Cape Town 30 November 2023. Picture ‘Dockrat’

IATTC also demands that the master of the Receiving Carrier Vessel shall, 48 hours before landing, transmit an IATTC transshipment declaration to the competent authorities of the state where the landing is expected to take place. Receiving Carrier Vessels shall be prohibited from commencing, or continuing, at-sea transshipping in the Convention Area without an official IATTC Observer on board.

Each participating reefer company must ensure that all of its licensed Receiving Carrier Vessels, that conduct transshipment at sea, have on board an IATTC observer, in accordance with the IATTC Regional Observer Program. The IATTC observer is expected to monitor compliance with all IATTC resolutions, and notably that the transshipped quantities are consistent with the catch reported on the IATTC transshipment declaration.

For ‘Whitney Bay’, being the first caller for deciduous fruit of this season, exports are expected to grow in the 2023-2024 season, from previous years, with Apples increasing by 7%, Pears by 2%, and Table Grapes by 8%, with the Western Cape region being the largest growing region of all three export crops within South Africa.

Whitney Bay, Cape Town 30 November 2023. Picture ‘Dockrat’

Some of this year’s increases are due to an expected decline in South African internal sales and consumption, due to food inflation pressures on domestic consumers, which will shift higher quality fruit produce toward export markets, where higher returns are to be had.

For the Apple export market, there are six varieties of Apple, which make up 80% of the production of the fruit in South Africa. These are Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Fuji, and Top Red. The largest export market for South African apples is to the United Kingdom. For the Pear export market, three varieties of pear make up 80% of the South African production. These are Packhams, Forelle, and Bob Chretien, with the largest export market for South African Pears being to Holland.

The Table Grape export market is a combination of the produce from both the Western Cape region, which makes up 61% of South African production, and the Northern Cape region, which makes up 29% of national production. The six main varieties of export Table Grapes are Autumn Crisp, Sweet Globe, Sweet Celebration, Crimson, Scarlotta, and Prime. The two major export markets for South African Table Grapes are collectively to the European Union, and to the United Kingdom.

Whitney Bay, followed by tug Usiba, Cape Town 30 November 2023. Picture ‘Dockrat’

Despite this call being for Deciduous Fruit, ‘Whitney Bay’ has made a number of other calls to South Africa during 2023, all connected with the Citrus Fruit export trade. In May of this year she sailed from Durban, bound for Yokohama and Osaka in Japan, and then returned in July to load a further citrus cargo in Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town, for discharge in Europe.

After over one week alongside loading, ‘Whitney Bay’ was finally ready to sail from Cape Town. At 10h00 in the morning, on 30th November, she sailed from the Mother City, with her Deciduous Fruit cargo, bound for discharge in Rotterdam in Holland, and Dover in the United Kingdom.

These two discharge ports point strongly to the data which shows that these two states are where South African fruit is wanted the most. The arrival of ‘Whitney Bay’ in Rotterdam is scheduled for 14th December, and for Dover it is scheduled for 17th December, with the outcome that the folk in these two nations are likely to have fresh, sweet, South African fruit adorning their festive tables over the Christmas period.

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TFR adds extra locomotives to ramp up service on the Richards Bay line

208-wagon TFR coal train heading for the Richards Bay Coal Terminal behind 19E class dual voltage electric locomotives. Picture by Keith Betts

Africa Ports & Ships

North Corridor News

In a development that should have a positive effect on reducing the road congestion outside the Port of Richards Bay, Transnet is returning to service additional locomotives on the North Corridor to bring the number of trains heading to the port each week to 28.

This is an increase of seven trains each week, with each of these trains hauling a total volume of 2,200 tons, equating to an additional 15,400 tons per week.

These are not trains heading for the Richards Bay Coal Terminal with jumbo wagons (83 tons per wagon) in sets of 200 or 208, but shorter trains of 40 x 55-ton capacity wagons, delivering minerals such as export coal or chrome to the Richards Bay Multipurpose terminal.

At present TFR has been operating 21 of these trains each week. These will now ramp up to 28 for a total volume of 61,600 tons.

The amount of ore carried by the additional seven trains each week is the equivalent of what 452 road truck trips would require every week, or 22,600 road truck trips per 50-week annum.

TFTR says it will be able to bring in a further seven trains a week between now and March 2024, resulting in 35 trains each week running to the port.

Decongesting the Port

These measures will support efforts that are underway to decongest the port and its road approaches.

TFR says the increase in the number of locomotives available is partly as a result of additional locomotive capacity which has been repaired and is being deployed to the corridor.

Another positive is that improvements in cable theft incident also means that TFR is able to turn trains around faster, for a more efficient service.

As part of efforts to improve the condition of the network and increase slot capacity, TFR is reinstalling some signalling equipment, with most expected to be functional by February 2024.

None of this means the overnight disappearance of road trucks and Transnet says it will continue to work with the road carriers and the local municipality in Richards Bay to reduce congestion into the port.

In this regard, the company is working on a plan to implement a last-mile strategy, where road carriers will haul cargo to inland terminals and Transnet conduct a shuttle service into the Port. If successful, Transnet anticipates having the strategy operational by March 2024.

North Corridor

The North Corridor handles roughly 41% of total Transnet Freight Rail volumes. The corridor generates 38% of TFR revenue and supports critical markets that contribute approximately 3% of South Africa’s GDP.

The Corridor, which runs from Lephalale to the Port of Richards Bay, and rails commodities such as export coal and chrome, has experienced significant challenges in recent years which have hampered its performance. These include locomotive availability and reliability, and the high levels of cable theft and infrastructure vandalism.

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Port of Durban pilot helicopter service now available 24 hours a day

Transnet port helicopter at Port of Durban. Picture: TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has announced it is enabling terminal operators to implement the Container Recovery Plan at the Port of Durban with agility by providing a 24-hour helicopter service and ramped-up dredging service.

The intervention was implemented on Saturday, 2 December 2023.

The ramping-up of the TNPA helicopter service availability at the Port of Durban from a 12-hour to a 24-hour operation is another recovery intervention of the port’s authority to ensure vessels are turned around quicker, said TNPA.

The TNPA helicopter service efficiently transports marine pilots to board vessels at anchorage for safe vessel navigation into the port.

“Whilst TNPA operates a complimentary marine craft service with an option of deploying pilot boats for the same, the helicopter service is quicker and offers better efficiencies in vessel movements,” said TNPA Managing Executive for the Eastern Region Ports – Durban and Richards Bay, Moshe Motlohi.

He said TNPA is certain that the increase in helicopter availability will make a significant contribution to the clearance of vessel delays.

When the helicopter service was first introduced at the Port of Durban in 1996/97 it operated a 24/7 service, which was later restricted to 12 hours in daylight. The service was pioneered in South Africa some years earlier at the Port of Richards Bay.

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Transnet acquires seven refurbished RTGs from Los Angeles

Port of Cape Town Container Terminal. The red machines are the RTGs

by Terry Hutson
Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet will shortly take delivery of seven refurbished rubber tyre gantry cranes from Los Angeles in the USA, which will help alleviate some of the delays being experienced in the container terminals.

It is thought these will enter service at the Port of Cape Town Container Terminal, where of its fleet of 30 RTGs just over half are reported as operational.

The Cape Town terminal was recently reported as operating at an alarming level of as low as between five and ten container moves an hour, amidst claims of not having sufficient working equipment.

The refurbished RTGs are expected in South Africa this week.

Andile Sangqu, chairman of the Transnet Board described the acquisition of the cranes as a capital-intensive undertaking.

“We must thank all our customers who have taken up an opportunity to work with us to find solutions and raise the finance to make it possible,” he said.

While the arrival of the RTGs will be welcomed, what remains unanswered is why Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has allowed its considerable fleet of RTGs, straddle carriers and other equipment to become so disfunctional.

DCT2 owns a fleet of 102 straddle carriers, of which half is frequently out of service. On one week recently the terminal was reported to be down to just 51 operational straddle carriers.

Many if not all of DCT’s fleet cannot be described as ‘old’ but a regular system of maintenance is necessary to keep them in working order.

Dr Juanita Maree, CEO of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) was quoted recently as saying that fleet maintenance requires a constant programme of servicing, refurbishing and overhauling equipment. This is costly equipment but was not done, mainly due to lack of money, Maree said.

Therein lies a problem – a lack of maintenance. Meanwhile, the number of ships outside Durban remains abnormally high as the port struggles to turn round the vessels – not only container ships – in as quick a manner as possible.

Please see the daily (weekdays) Port Recovery Diary in these pages.

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Added 4 December 2023


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French Navy ship Jacques Chevalier on maiden visit to South Africa

FS Jacques Chevalier, French Navy replenishment vessel A725. Picture: Chantier de l’Atlantique

Africa Ports & Ships

The latest ship to enter service with the French Navy, or in French, Marine nationale, is the logistic supply ship FS JACQUES CHEVALIER (A725), which will call at Cape Town on Thursday this week, 7 December. The ship is likely to remain in port until 12 December 2023.

The first-in-class vessel formally entered service on 18 July this year, having already carried out several replenishment exercises on navy ships, including the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and one of the frigates.

The class of ships – four are planned, are second in size only to Charles de Gaulle.

Jacques Chevalier was constructed in Saint-Nazaire, at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, as will her three sister ships. Steel cutting took place in May 2020, with a floating hull section being built in Italy at Fincantieri.

Even prior to her commissioning, Jacques Chevalier set out in September on her first operational deployment into the Atlantic and Indian Oceans on a three-month deployment which the end of the year.

The four replenishment ships, or Bâtiment Ravitailleur de Forces (BRF) will replace the French Navy’s Durance-class tankers, which were built between 1973–1990. Each will have a capacity of 31,000 tons of fuel, ammunition, spare parts, as well as supplies to enable long-range operations by the French Navy.

FS Jacques Chevalier, French Navy replenishment vessel A725. Picture: Chantier de l’Atlantique


Length: 194 m
Beam: 27.4 m
Draught: 9 m
Gross tonnage: 28,700 grt
Displacement: 16,000 tons empty, 31,000 tons full load
Crew: 130 crew, with up to 60 passengers
Diesel-electric propulsion
Capacity: 13,000 m3 (3,400,000 US gal) of fuel
Speed: 20 knots, 10 knots on electric engines
Range: 7,000 n.miles at 16 knots
Endurance: 30 days
Armament: 2 × twin Simbad-RC/Mistral Mk3 SAM/SSM; 2 × Thales/Nexter 40mm RAPIDFire guns

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Mozambique: CFM’s new Indian locomotives + Port & Rail volumes

Ten new locomotives for Mozambique’s CFM

Africa Ports & Ships

The ten diesel-electric locomotives that Mozambique’s rail and port company, Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), is purchasing from India, will cost US$ 376 million, or $3.76 million each.

The much-needed locos are being built by Indian state-owned company, Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES).

It is understood that Rites offered the lowest price for new locomotives within the spec.

As reported in these pages in an earlier article, CFM awarded a contract to another supplier for 300 open wagons for the railway.

Port & Rail Volumes

In the 2022 year, CFM is reported to have carried 5.6 million passengers and hauled a total of 24.6 million tonnes of cargo. These figures represent increases of 81% for passengers and 30% for cargo on the previous year.

The same report says that port terminals falling under CFM management handled 13.21 million tonnes of cargo during the 2022 fiscal year, which is a growth of 6% year on year.

It should be noted that the above figures reflect cargo and passengers carried on CFM railways or handled in CFM-managed and operated port terminals and do not include figures for privately operated ports and railways, including those of Maputo, Beira and Nacala and Nacala-a-Velha.

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Arsenio Dominguez Velasco confirmed as next IMO Secretary-General

Africa Ports & Ships

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) at the IMO Assembly held in London last week, confirmed Panama’s Dominguez Velasco as Secretary-General with effect from 1 January 2024.

Arsenio Dominguez Velasco, confirmed as the new secretary-general for the IMO

The IMO Assembly on Thursday (30 November) unanimously approved the decision of the Council at its 129th session (C129) to appoint Mr Velasco to the role.

He will take up the office of Secretary-General on 1 January 2024 for an initial term of four years, ending on 31 December 2027. Velasco becomes the Organization’s 10th elected Secretary-General.

The retiring Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim, handed a comprehensive briefing paper to Mr. Velasco to assist him in his preparation for the role of Secretary-General.

“I am confident that the Membership as a whole has made a wise decision, and that Mr Dominguez Velasco will ably lead the Secretariat in promoting the mandate of the Organization and in the delivery of its objectives,” said Mr Lim.

Kitack Lim, retiring secretary- general of the IMO

Lim pledged to work with Mr Velasco to ensure an orderly and successful hand-over and, in what he called a “symbolic act of transition and succession”.

Addressing the Assembly, Mr. Dominguez Velasco said he was looking forward to leading IMO, to continue working with an extraordinary group of people who have demonstrated time and time again that they can deliver.

I’m very lucky to start with an already great team of professionals in the Secretariat who also want what is best for the Member States and all our stakeholders.”

Velasco is currently Director of IMO’s Marine Environment Division, a post he has held since January 2022. He joined the IMO Secretariat in 2017 as Chief of Staff to the Secretary-General, Kitack Lim. In 2020 he was appointed as Director of the Organization’s Administrative Division.

His maritime career began in 1996 as a port engineer at Armadores del Caribe in Panama, then becoming a Drydock Assistant Manager at Braswell Shipyard.

In 1998 Mr. Dominguez Velasco moved to London to join the Panama Maritime Authority as Head of the Technical and Documentation Regional Office for Europe and North of Africa. He went on to represent Panama in a variety of roles at the organization, culminating in his appointment as Panama’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to IMO between 2014 and 2017.

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Xeneta Update: Ominous signs on the Xeneta XSI® point to a brutal 2024 for ocean freight carriers

Container ship at sea

Africa Ports & Ships

Container Rates Alert

The warning signs were already there, but the latest data from Oslo’s Xeneta suggests 2024 could be even more brutal than expected for carriers in the ocean freight shipping market.

The Xeneta Shipping Index (XSI®) tracks real-time developments in global long-term contracted rates and figures released today shows it fell by a further 4.7% in October.

The XSI® now stands at 158.5 points, which is 62.3% lower than November 2022.

Emily Stausbøll, Xeneta Market Analyst, believes this latest development is an ominous sign for carriers.

“The XSI® is an average of all long term contracts on the market – so in essence the global index is currently being propped up by those older contracts which were signed back in 2022 when rates were much higher,” Stausbøll said.

Emily Stausbøll, Market Analyst, Xeneta

“These older contracts with higher rates should have afforded some financial insulation throughout 2023, however we have still seen four of the major carriers post big financial losses in Q3.”

Stausbøll stated the situation will get even worse as we enter 2024.

“Those older contracts will largely be replaced in the early part of next year and carriers will be left exposed to the current weak market.

“We can be absolutely certain the new contracts will be signed at much lower rates than those signed at this time last year, so if carriers are already reporting losses, what are they going to be next year? We could be talking about extremely big numbers,” she said.

Stausbøll pointed to Maersk’s loss of EBIT USD 27 million in Q3 as a particularly significant development in light of the latest XSI® figures.

“Maersk relies heavily on the long term market so they should have been less impacted by the collapse in spot rates during 2023.

“The fact they still posted a loss in Q3 suggests there could be serious problems down the line when the XSI® drops further next year.

“We always knew there was a storm coming in Q1 2024 when the older contracts expired, but it seems as though it has arrived earlier than expected.”

While the XSI® is down from the same period in 2022, long term rates remain up by 39.5% compared to November 2020.

Stausbøll said that long terms rates are solid compared to pre-pandemic, but this still hasn’t been enough for some of the biggest ocean liner shipping companies to deliver a positive operating margin in Q3 this year.

“The only way carriers can hope to avoid catastrophic financial losses in 2024 will be through capacity management, but it will be extremely tough to achieve,” she added.

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Grindrod transforms education and mobility along the Ressano Garcia Corridor

Picture: Grindrod/Mozambikes

Africa Ports & Ships

Grindrod, a company with extensive interests in Mozambique, including in the management and operation of Port Maputo, announced its collaboration with Mozambikes in a transformative project to provide bicycles to students and teachers in the Moamba district.

In the latest phase of this initiative, Grindrod donated 365 bicycles along the strategic Ressano Garcia corridor, benefiting seven schools in the Moamba District through which the Ressano Garcia corridor.

The contribution directly touches the lives of 222 students, 136 teachers, employees, and seven mechanics involved in the Bike Negocio programme, which is managed by the schools.

The bicycles simplify daily lives, enhance mobility, and contribute to improved attendance rates. The initiative goes beyond mobility, creating an environment conducive to academic growth.

The programme recognises the top 20% of students along both rail corridors, rewarding them with bicycles for their exceptional performances. As students transition from 6th grade to secondary school, these bicycles become invaluable assets, bridging the gap between distant education centres and ensuring continuity in education.

Beyond distribution, the initiative empowers local youth by providing training in mechanics and small business management. Establishing Rural Bicycle shops within communities ensures the programme’s sustainability while fostering economic independence among the younger generation.

Pedro Alberto Poh-Quong, General Manager Operations at Grindrod in Mozambique, says the initiative is personal to him. “We pedal towards a brighter future for our children and communities through education, mobility, and empowerment!”

With a total of 542 bicycles distributed, Grindrod has made a significant impact on education, mobility, and community development along the Ressano Garcia and Goba rail corridors. The programme forms part of Grindrod’s commitment to making a positive difference in Africa’s global trade and uplifting the communities it serves.

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Added 4 December 2023


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IMO update to COP 28

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

IMO’s Camille Bourgeon (pictured, centre) presented the organization’s update at COP 28, to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). Readers are invited to see the submission below at footnote 1. This was reported by the IMO news service on 30 November.

An introductory piece titled IMO at COP 28 is available below at footnote 2.

The 2023 IMO GHG Strategy: defining the global level-playing-field for shipping decarbonisation, the IMO-UNCTAD-IRENA side event at COP 28 is to be found at footnote 3.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The fifty-ninth session of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 59) is being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It opened on 30 November and runs to 12 December.

In representing IMO Camille Bourgeon said:

I am pleased to report that in July this year, IMO Member States adopted the 2023 IMO Strategy on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships in a historic moment of unanimous commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping sector.

“The IMO Strategy foresees reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by or around, that is close to, 2050, taking into account different national circumstances. The Strategy also defines the reduction pathway towards net-zero, namely by reducing emissions by at least 20%, striving for 30%, by 2030, and by at least 70%, striving for 80%, by 2040.

“In response to the urgency of addressing the climate crisis, IMO Member States also agreed that by 2030, at least 5% of the energy used by the global shipping fleet should comprise of zero or near-zero greenhouse gas emission fuels and technologies which will drive rapid action in this decade.

“IMO Member States also agreed to develop binding measures to effectively deliver on these reduction targets, which are set to be adopted in the autumn of 2025 with entry into force in 2027.

“To that purpose, IMO is developing measures that would require the gradual reduction of the greenhouse gas intensity of marine fuels in combination with a global maritime greenhouse gas emissions pricing mechanism.

“IMO’s global ruleset will promote the energy transition of shipping by incentivising technological innovation in the sector, by scaling up the production of clean and renewable marine fuels and by attracting investments in port and bunkering infrastructure.

“IMO is equally committed to creating opportunities for all States in the decarbonisation of maritime transport in contributing to a just and equitable transition. For that reason, we have initiated a comprehensive assessment of possible impacts on the global fleet, on world trade and on States of the proposed measures to ensure that shipping’s net-zero future will leave no one behind.

“As the number of ships using alternative fuels rapidly increases, a ‘just transition’ of the almost two million seafarers serving global trade is at the core of IMO’s climate discussions. IMO is actively working on the necessary measures that will ensure the safety of ships using new fuels and technologies and the seafarers.

“IMO Member States have clearly mapped out the net-zero future of global shipping in IMO’s 2023 greenhouse gas Strategy. We are now keen to collaborate within the UN family, with the private sector, the energy and port sectors to deliver on the ambitious targets in our Strategy.”

Footnote 1

Footnote 2

Footnote 3

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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

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




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Total cargo handled by tonnes during October 2023, including containers by weight

PORT October 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 6.539
Durban 5.981
Saldanha Bay 4.304
Cape Town 1.099
Port Elizabeth 1.261
Ngqura 1.164
Mossel Bay 0.112
East London 0.216
Total all ports during October 2023 21.725 million tonnes

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