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Ports & Ships Maritime News

26 February 2013
author: Terry Hutson




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The cruise ship QUEST FOR ADVENTURE (18,627-gt, built 1981) which arrived in Durban yesterday. The ship is the former Saga Pearl II and before that was named Astoria. Picture by Trevor Jones News continues below…



Candidates are invited to apply for the position as CEO for SAASOA (South African Association of Ship operators and agents).

The incumbent should have an excellent working knowledge as well as extensive experience in the port and logistics interfaces that ship operators and agents deal with in their day to day business. The incumbent needs to provide evidence of at least 10 years’ experience in a senior position in the shipping industry, and must clearly evidence a high level of engagement with logistics infrastructure organizations.  


The position may possibly suit a recently retired “Captain of Industry”.               

The position will be based in Durban and remuneration will be commensurate with experience and negotiated contract terms.

Interested persons may apply only in writing with a full CV, including references, to:

Att: The Chairman
Closing Date: 06 March 2013


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Traffic on the South Africa-Maputo line has been halted after a serious derailment inside Mozambique

Maputo — Rail traffic on the Ressano Garcia line, which links the port of Maputo to South Africa, could be interrupted for up to six weeks following a serious accident that occurred last Monday (18 February).

Railway sources cited in Saturday’s issue of the Maputo daily Noticias said that the accident, involving a South African goods train, occurred in the area of Tenga.

The train derailed near a bridge, the structure of which was affected, making the movement of trains impossible.

The Ressano Garcia line was rehabilitated between 2006 and 2009, allowing it to carry heavier trains.

The rehabilitation cost US$20 million, which shortened the times taken by trains between the border and the port, and allowed larger volumes of cargo to use the line.

Mozambique’s port and rail company, CFM, has set up a commission on inquiry to establish the causes of the accidents and to present a report on the losses.

Details of the accident have not yet been published. CFM rail director Augusto Abudo declined to provide any information on the accident, on the grounds that he is a member of the commission of inquiry, and cannot make statements on the accident before the commission has finished its work.

A six week interruption is a serious blow to CFM, and particularly to Maputo port. The Ressano Garcia line is used to take South African coal and iron ore (magnetite) to the port. This accounts for a high percentage of the total volume of cargo handled by the port.

One alternative would be to divert this mineral traffic through Swaziland. But the Goba line, from the Swazi border to Maputo is unable to handle the same volumes of traffic that were using the Ressano Garcia line.

Not only will the interruption to traffic cut the income of Maputo port, but clients who have been won over to the port in recent years thanks to the substantial investment in new equipment, could switch back to South African ports such as Durban or Richards Bay. In recent months, 30 mineral trains a week have reached the port along the Ressanio Garcia line.

Some of the iron ore for export reaches Maputo by road – at a current rate of 900 trucks a week. Source – AIM


Sena railroad to be re-opened with speed restrictions

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Rehabilitation of the Sena Railway, Picture by Jason Quessouji/Irin

The Sena railroad in Mozambique was due to be re-opened either yesterday or today (Tuesday), Mozambique’s Minister for Transport and Communications, Paulo Zucula said last Thursday at the site of emergency repair work.

In addition to a section that was destroyed following a derailment, a section of around 800 metres disappeared when floods washed away rails, sleepers and ballast and destroyed some small bridges.

However, even when the repair work is finished, trains using the line will have speed restrictions, which will prevent Brazilian group Vale and Anglo-Australian group Rio Tinto from re-launching normal transport of coal from the mines in Tete province to the port of Beira for export.

Before the railroad came to a standstill six loaded coal trains loaded a day travelled along the line, five of which were loaded with Vale’s coal and one with Rio Tinto’s.

The two groups have formally announced they are unable to honour the coal purchase contracts they had signed, given that it was impossible to transport the coal. Rio Tinto went so far as to announce it was bringing production to a complete standstill. Source – Macauhub


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Nils Andersen, AP Moller-Maersk group CEO

Nigeria will, along with other growth markets, be a driver for future global growth with its rich natural resources in agriculture, oil and gas, said AP Moller-Maersk CEO Nils Andersen in an extended interview with the Nigerian Guardian newspaper.

Andersen was interviewed during the ground-breaking ceremony marking the final phase of development and expansion of the Apapa terminal in Lagos. “It [the next phase] will make the terminal the largest and most modern terminal in West Africa with a capacity to 1.2 million TEU per year. It will benefit the people working in the terminal, safer conditions, it will be good for the environment, because pollution will be reduced, and it will further enable Nigerian business to import and export goods and products.”

Andersen said that Apapa has already for years promoted trade and development and attracted customers, making it the busiest terminal in West Africa. “This is another important step in this exciting journey,” he said.

“Many efficiency measures and modernisations have been carried through in recent years, lifting the productivity and developing safety and transparency, so much so that we use it as a best-practice example for terminals in other markets. We hope and believe that Apapa will continue to be a terminal that we can be proud of.”

Andersen said the expansion of Apapa shows that the Nigerian economy is still growing and has potential for more growth. “A more efficient and larger terminal will be good for Maersk, for the Nigerian economy and for the Customs officials.”

Andersen said that APM Terminals is currently one of the largest port and terminal operators in Africa, and in West Africa in particular where APM Terminals Global Terminal Network include nine facilities in eight West African countries, including Apapa Container Terminal and West Africa Container Terminal in Onne, Nigeria.

“APM Terminals Apapa, which assumed operations at Lagos’ Apapa Container Terminal in 2006 is now the busiest container terminal in West Africa, handling 600,000 TEUs in 2011 with throughput for 2012 projected at 720,000 TEUs.

“Nigeria’s container volume, which totaled 1.4 million TEUs last year, will outstrip existing port capacity by 2017. At present, about 85 percent of all Nigerian non-oil cargo passes through the port of Lagos.

“Over the next three decades, Nigerian annual container traffic is expected to grow to 10 million TEUs,” said Andersen.

He said the Badagry Mega-Port project fits well into APM Terminals’ strategy of infrastructure development in targeted high-growth markets.

“The Badagry port project fits well into our strategy and competencies. When Badagry is developed, we will have three ports to call with WAFMAX, which will reduce waiting time for importers and exporters as well as pollution.

“We are very pleased with the support this project has received from authorities and key stakeholders. The business case is good for all parties.”

Andersen said the Badagry project, which has World Bank funding, was a huge one with the first phase, the construction of the breakwaters, costing over a billion (US) dollars.

“Nigeria will, along with other growth markets, be a driver for future global growth. It is rich in natural resources, not least in agriculture and oil and gas.”

Read the full interview with Nils Andersen in The Guardian Nigeria.


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Delicate brewery equipment destined for West Africa loaded and handled with care onboard a specialised Safmarine MPV vessel.

Safmarine MPV has appointed Socopao South Africa to provide a complete shipping agency service in the South African market and main ports, and to handle the MPV vessels as of April.

“Socopao is part of Bolloré Africa Logistics, one of the leading integrated logistics networks in Africa and a shipping agency with the knowledge, experience and presence we need to link South Africa with the rest of the continent and help us grow our and our customers’ business in this region,” says Jorg Knuttel, managing director of Safmarine MPV, the specialist project cargo and break bulk operator to West Africa.

He says that using an experienced, knowledgeable shipping agency can help South African shippers minimise the risks and complexities of shipping project and break bulk cargo to West Africa.

“Our advice to shippers looking for reliability, flexibility and consistency when shipping their project and break bulk cargo to West Africa is to partner with companies who have a sound knowledge of African ports and conditions and who are able to offer the services that suit the market.”

He said that finding the right shipping partner is also key to Safmarine MPV’s growth aspirations in West Africa and one of the reasons behind the company’s recent appointment of Socopao as its full liner agent in South Africa from April 2013.

“The combination of Safmarine MPV and Socopao’s specialised and complementary skills not only provides the market with a trustworthy, reliable product, but it will also go a long way to helping South African businesses take advantage of the many opportunities in the West African project cargo market.

“From a project cargo perspective, South African companies have the technology, the infrastructure and the connections they need to maximise the opportunities and we see enormous potential for increasing business between South Africa and West Africa on the back of the new Safmarine MPV-Socopao South Africa partnership.”

The appointment of Socopoa as Safmarine MPV’s new liner agent also follows the decision of Danish maritime giant AP Moller-Maersk Group to establish Antwerp-based Safmarine MPV as an independent business unit with its own, separate agency network.

Safmarine MPV is leaving the Maersk Line/Safmarine agency network, which will continue to represent the AP Moller-Maersk Group’s Container Business.

“The decision to establish a separate agency network has the advantage of allowing the Maersk Line and Safmarine liner agencies to continue focusing on the container business, while Safmarine MPV focuses on project and break bulk cargoes,” explains Knuttel.

Safmarine MPV connects the US, Europe and South Africa with the main oil and gas ports along the West Africa coastline. The company’s specialised multipurpose vessels are purpose-built to carry project and break bulk cargoes and are also able to load containers.


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Safmarine ChaChai entering Cape Town harbour from Table Bay. Picture by Ian Shiffman

NSRI Table Bay station (Cape Town) reports that on Sunday, 24 February the volunteer sea rescue duty crew was activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following reports of a stowaway adrift at sea on a life-raft in the vicinity of Robben Island.

“Our NSRI Table Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched our sea rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom and the SA Police Services Sea Borderline responded,” says Pat van Eyssen, NSRI Table Bay station commander.

“It was reported that the Safmarine ship SAFMARINE CHACHAI, lying at anchor at 4 Buoy in Table Bay and waiting to enter the Port of Table Bay, had noticed an unidentified man launching a life-raft from their ship. The life-raft was successfully launched by the man but he was drifting towards Robben Island and the ship requested assistance from the TNPA.

“On arrival on-scene a search commenced and in full moon and good sea conditions the life-raft was located east of Robben Island by the police boat and police officers recovered the man from the life-raft.

“The man, a 19 year old from Libya, was then transferred onto our sea rescue craft where he was medically checked by our NSRI medics and although dressed only in a pair of shorts he was found to be suffering only mild dehydration.

“The life-raft was returned to the ship.”

Van Eyssen said the police boat escorted the NSRI sea rescue craft (with the man onboard) to the NSRI sea rescue base and a Netcare 911 ambulance was dispatched to further evaluate the medical condition of the man. “He was in a satisfactory condition suffering only mild dehydration.”

The stowaway was taken to the Table Bay Port Police Station and he remains in police custody. The operation was completed at 01h30.

“The man, who speaks very good English, told NSRI rescuers that he was from Jobey in Libya, and that he had boarded the ship in Ghana as a stowaway and he claimed that he was not aware where the ship was headed.”

Police are investigating and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation have been informed, van Eyssen reported.


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cruise reports by Sheila Hutson

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The former Russian cruise ship LYUBOV ORLOVA, which was cast adrift in international waters by a Canadian tug and left to drift away from the Newfoundland coast, is still afloat and has been sighted about 1300 n.miles off the Irish coast.

The saga of the ice-strengthened Lyubov Orlova, named after a noted Russian actress, began when the ship was freed from a two-year detention in St John’s Harbour to be towed to a breaker’s yard in the Dominican Republic. Not 24 hours after leaving port the tug handling the tow developed problems and had to return to harbour, where it was detained with various defects.

Canadian safety authorities arranged for a second tug to take the ship in tow after she began drifting dangerously close to an offshore oil installation. However, once the tow was outside Canadian territorial waters the tug was authorised to slip the tow and return to her offshore duties, leaving Lyubov Orlova to drift away at the mercy of the current.

Contact with the abandoned ship was quickly lost, leading to speculation about her possible fate - whether she might strike an iceberg and sink, or whether she remained a danger to other shipping. Then this week, three weeks after being left adrift, reports were received that the ship was slowly approaching the coast of Ireland although still a long way off.

A St John’s lawyer and chairman of the Canadian Bar Association’s Maritime Law Section told a Canadian newspaper, National Post that if the drifting ship became a threat he thought the Irish government would take the ship under tow into an Irish port and would seek compensation from the owner for any costs involved.

That of course is exactly what the Canadian authorities could have done, but didn’t.

“You would be hard pressed to say the Canadian government is responsible for a non-Canadian registered ship,” said the lawyer.


How was this allowed to happen

Surely this must be against the Law? What will happen should this vessel (Lyubov Orlova) strike some other craft or eventually land on some beach somewhere in the world, asks reader Bryan Church of Kei Mouth in the Eastern Cape.

“Who will be responsible for any damage or fatalities should another vessel collide with it and in the event of it landing on some beach, who will be responsible for the salvage bill?

I know you are going to say that should it come close enough to a beach, tugs will be sent to tow her away from the danger area but that will then lead to other legal ramifications. Ships collide in the Gibraltar channel when they are within sight of each other, so what chance would a ship have should it strike this darkened vessel at night?

“I simply cannot believe that this is allowed, it boggles the mind.”


Seabourn sells three oldies

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Seabourn Pride

Carnival Corporation subsidiary Seabourn says it has sold three of its older cruise ships and is intending building a new ship.

The three ships sold are the 1988-built SEABOURN PRIDE, the 1989-built SEABOURN SPIRIT, and the 1992-built SEABOURN LEGEND. They will be transferred in April 2014, April 2015 and May 2015 respectively.

The transaction will leave Seabourn with a modern fleet of three ships of which the oldest was built in 2009.

The three ships sold have gone to a newish cruise operator, Xanterra Parks & Resorts which commenced operations in 2011with the acquisition of Windstar Cruises. The three ex-Seabourn ships will sail under the Windstar brand.


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Sir Ranulph Fiennes in Cape Town shortly before leaving for the Antarctic. Picture by Terry Hutson

In late breaking news, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it is working round the clock with maritime experts to provide assistance to international expedition leader Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who has withdrawn from the Coldest Journey Expedition after developing a case of frostbite in the Antarctica.

The team was transported to the Antarctica with SAMSA’s training vessel, the SA AGULHAS, which returned to Cape Town last week.

Sir Fiennes has reluctantly decided, with the support of the Coldest Journey team members to withdraw from Antarctica while the possibility to do so still exists, before the onset of the Antarctic winter where the team is hoping to carry out the first Winter Crossing traverse.

Anton Bowring, co-leader of the expedition said the expedition will continue, adding the decision had not been taken lightly and it was, naturally, a huge disappointment to Fiennes and his colleagues.

SAMSA CEO Commander Tsietsi Mokhele said on Monday: “We are concerned about the condition of Sir Ran and offer our assistance in whatever way necessary to ensure his safe return to Cape Town from where he will be given medical attention. We have come to understand that the team is working towards evacuating Sir Ran from Antarctica. It is not an easy task due to hazardous weather. But we are confident and are working with maritime experts to ensure him being transported is successful. We remain on standby to assist.”

Mokhele added the courage and determination provided by Fiennes is a testimony that despite the odds, he will remain fully dedicated to the project. “This is a man of steely determination and we are confident of his speedy recovery.”

The Coldest Journey has reported that Fiennes will be transported by skidoo to the Princess Elisabeth Station about 70km away from his current position, from where he will be flown to Novo to get a connecting flight to Cape Town.

“This plan is currently being hampered due to a blizzard at their present location which is making the first stage of the evacuation impossible. Until there is a let up in the weather conditions, Fiennes will be unable to leave,” Bowring said.

The remaining expedition members, under the experienced leadership of the Traverse Manager, Brian Newham, have unanimously elected to continue with the winter crossing of Antarctica and will undertake the scientific and educational aspects of the project as originally planned, with its humanitarian benefits.



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The Norwegian research vessel ARTEMIS ATLANTIC (3276-gt, built 1986) arriving in Cape Town harbour. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The Angolan LNG tanker SONANGOL BENGUELA (104,537-gt, built 2011) which also arrived in Cape Town harbour this month. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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