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Ports & Ships Maritime News

25 October 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002


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The South African Navy offshore patrol vessel SAS ISAAC DYOBHA (1565), the former missile strike craft, heads out from Durban on patrol in this scene taken about a week ago. Launched on 16 March 1979 as SAS Frans Erasmus, she is one of nine vessels of her class introduced into the SA Navy between 1977 and 1986 as front-line strike vessels, being equipped then with eight fixed launchers for Skerpioen SSMs, two single OTO Melara 76mm guns, two single 20mm guns and two twin 12.7mm machine guns. They had a complement of eight officers and 44 ratings and saw action in several theatres of the 'hidden' or unspoken war along the east and west coasts of Africa. Today just three of these Israeli-designed, Durban-built ships remain in service, stripped of their missiles following the arrival of the four frigates, and an empty shell of a main gun up front more for buoyancy purposes than anything else. Nevertheless, the three survivors continue to provide excellent service and have on several occasions taken up the counter-piracy patrols in the Mozambique Channel. In fact at present one of these ships is performing just that duty, having replaced the frigate SAS SPIOENKOP which experienced engine failure shortly after arriving in the channel on station. With a range of 3,600 nautical miles and a top speed in excess of 35 knots, these must rank as among the SA Navy's most successful ships. This picture is by Keith Betts

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At least 50 containers, with 1,500 cubic metres of wood destined for export to China, were seized last week in the Port of Beira, in Sofala province, for being above the thickness allowed by law.

The wood, from a protected species known as Chanate [Colophospermum Mopane], came from Tete province, and is thought to belong to a company only identified by the initials GPZ, and is cut into boards 18 cm thick, whereas the legal limit for exported planks is 12.5 cm. Some containers were already sealed and ready to be shipped to China.

According to the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development (MITADER), the approximate fine for such an offence is three million meticais, and confiscation of the timber which reverts to the state for sale at public auction.

According to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), China is the largest consumer of illegal timber, often imported on a large scale by criminal organisations. The EIA says Mozambique is a prime example of "chronic failure of forest management when the insatiable demand for wood from China converges with weak law enforcement and corruption in the country".

The inspection team that seized the illegal cargo was composed of officials from MITADER and the Forestry and Wildlife Services.

A few days ago, nearly 500 cubic metres of wood also due to be exported to China were seized in the port of Nacala in Nampula province. The wood was supposedly from Malawi and had been falsely declared as cotton fibre. source: A Verdade

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The winners of the 16th edition of the 2016 KZN Exporter of the Year Awards, a partnership between Transnet Port Terminals [TPT] and the Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry [DCCI], were announced at a glitzy gala banquet held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban on Thursday night, 20 October 2016.

This year saw the introduction of four new categories, of which three of these awarded recipients for exporting 'soft skills' rather than just the usual exporters of tangible products. Driving exports and promoting economic growth in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal is the spark to ignite a growing export industry -- and ultimately a stronger economy. The event and awards provide a platform and ideal showcase for emerging and established businesses exporting a wide range of products and services.

Transnet Port Terminals CE, Karl Socikwa, said that TPT's participation in these awards for KZN is vital, considering the role that the terminal operator plays within the province. "The Port of Durban handles about 60 percent of the country's imports and exports and is regarded as the busiest port in Sub-Saharan Africa. As the cog that ensures that the wheels of this country's economy are continuously turning, it stands to reason that we continue to be involved with an event of this magnitude. Operation Phakisa, the government led initiative which will unlock the economic potential of South Africa's maritime sector, also relies on the success of our country's exporters in order to see the full benefits of the Blue Ocean Economy," he said.

Durban Chamber CEO, Dumile Cele said she recognised the vital role that exports play in the growth and development of the economy. "I am delighted that the awards have grown over the past 16 years, so much so that we were able to introduce four new categories this year. The Durban Chamber will continue to support and help grow our exporters through our Policy and Advocacy function, especially our Durban Port, Trade and Investment and Manufacturing Forums."

The awards are supported by partners, such as the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Economic Affairs (EDTEA), Trade & Investment KwaZulu Natal (TIKZN), Ethekwini Maritime Cluster (EMC), Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and the Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) to highlight successful exporters in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

This year's category finalists and winners were the following:

Emerging Exporter: Sponsored by edtea
Rocket Works (Pty) Ltd

Small: Sponsored by SEDA
Saddler Belts & Leathercrafts (Pty) Ltd

Medium: Sponsored by ECIC
SBS Water Systems (Pty) Ltd

Large: Sponsored by TPT
SUMITOMO Rubber South Africa (PTY) Ltd

Africa: Sponsored by TIKZN
Toyota SA Motors (Pty) Ltd

Service Provider: Sponsored by EMC
Mediterranean Shipping Company (Pty) Ltd

Manufacturers: Sponsored by Durban Chamber
SAPPI Southern Africa

New category -- Agro Processing: Sponsored by Durban ICC

New category -- Creative Industries: Sponsored by Igagasi FM
Africa! Ignite

New category -- Services Sector: Sponsored by Independent Newspapers
Indian Ocean Exports

New category - BEE Award: Sponsored by TPT
Rohlig Grindrod

The awards were adjudicated by, Zine Icheku of Transnet Port Terminals, Thato Tsautse of Ethekwini Maritime Cluster, Farai Moyo of EDTEA , Louise Pelser of Chairperson of the Durban Chamber Trade and Investment Forum, Claude Moodley of Trade & Investment KZN, Cedric Mnguni of SEDA and Odirile Ramasodi of ECIC. PricewaterhouseCoopers were the award auditors.

The awards continue to grow from strength to strength and KZN companies within the export industries are encouraged to apply for next year's awards.

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On 20 October in Paris, the UK Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart, Laurent Collet-Billon, launched the next phase of a GBP117 million joint Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) programme.

Working with French allies, the MMCM programme will develop advanced maritime mine warfare capability: a capability which will keep the UK and France at the forefront of autonomous systems technology. This development and deployment of unmanned mine clearance vehicle will help keep personnel safe in challenging maritime environments.

The Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: "This innovative project further strengthens the UK-French defence relationship and supports cutting edge research on both sides of the Channel. The development of advanced autonomous mine counter measures capability will safeguard our strategic interests, secure around 150 jobs in the UK supply chain, and protect our brave and skilled personnel."

The MMCM programme builds on the commitment of the 2010 Lancaster House Treaty to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the UK and France in order to improve collective defence capability within Europe and NATO.

At the launch of the scheme on 20 October Laurent Collet-Billon, Delegue General pour l'Armement commented: "Harriett Baldwin, Minister for Defence Procurement, and I launched today the construction phase of the MMCM project, cornerstone of France's Systeme de lutte anti-mines future (SLAMF) programme. It is a step further in the accomplishment of the strategy initiated since the Lancaster House Summit in 2010 aimed at strengthening the effectiveness and operational interoperability of our mine warfare systems, and to support the excellence of the Franco-British industrial base."

Such cooperation allows the UK and France to share costs, build expertise, and increase the ability of both nation's Armed Forces to work together effectively and flexibly. A prototype will be delivered to each navy in 2019, it is understood.

Led by Thales, this joint programme draws on the expertise of companies from both sides of the English Channel to the benefit of both France and the United Kingdom. Work will be shared between the two nations' supply chains, as will the considerable export opportunities arising from such innovative technology. This programme will secure around 150 jobs across the UK, including Somerset, Manchester and Fareham in Hampshire. Delivery of the programme will also open up opportunities for further collaboration on equipment and operations, supporting the security and prosperity of both nations.

In the UK the Innovation Initiative of the Ministry of Defence will drive the development of advanced technology and create a culture that is innovative by instinct and international in scope. This commitment to innovation was on display recently at the Unmanned Warrior exercise in Scotland, during which 40 companies and organisations demonstrated the latest unmanned systems technology. This drive for international innovation will be further strengthened by UK-French collaboration on MMCM. The success of the programme's design phase is testament to the benefits of such a cooperative approach.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

UM MCM Thales graphic 480
Here the organigram shows autonomous systems technology as applied to Mine Counter Measures and an example of a typical craft demonstrated at the recent Unmanned Warrior exercise in Scotland. Illustrations Crown Copyright 2016 / Thales.

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SAS Amatola st sea. Picture courtesy SA Navy

A South African Navy frigate, SAS AMATOLA F145 will journey to the UK to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the troopship SS MENDI in February 2017.

SS Mendi (4,222-gt, built 1905) had sailed from South Africa via Lagos with 823 men of the 5th Battalion of the South African Native Labour Corps, who were to serve in France, along with their 23 white officers and NCO's. On 21 February 1917, as the troopship was approaching the isle of Wight she collided with the larger SS DARRO (11,484-gt) which was en route for South America. Mendi was breached in her forward hold and rapidly filled with water.

As the ship sank, legend has it that the men gathered on the deck to go down with the ship, as most could not swim. Altogether 616 South Africans died that day, 606 of them being black soldiers of the Native Labour Corps. Thirty of the crew, of which a number were from Sierra Leone in West Africa, also died. The few survivors were picked up by an accompanying warship, but SS Darro did not stop to help but sailed on. The master of that ship was later found guilty of "having travelled at a dangerously high speed in thick fog, and of having failed to ensure that his ship emitted the necessary fog sound signals." It being wartime, his licence was suspended for just a year.

The wreck of the Mendi was positively identified in 1974 11.3 nautical miles off Saint Catherine's Light.

To commemorate this centenary SAS Amatola will sail via the west coast where she will conduct a patrol in terms of Operation Corona before heading for the UK and later to Germany. When in the UK the ship will undertake the Royal Navy's Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST) work-up inspection. This involves the combining of surveys of the physical condition of the ship with tests of the crew's readiness for deployment, including a warfighting and damage control scenario. The objective is to ensure the ship is at the right level of operational capability to progress to multinational, task group training.

SAS Amatola has conducted such a Royal Navy BOST work-up previously, in 2007, four years after she entered service. Since then the ship has completed a full R400 million refit at a Durban shipyard in which both main propulsion engines were replaced, her gas turbines were refurbished as were various other parts of the ship.

The ship will be at Plymouth on 21 February 2017 and will proceed from there to commemorate the sinking of the Mendi, an event which has come to assume much importance post 1994.

While in northern waters SAS Amatola will sail to Kiel in Germany where she is to take part in Exercise Good Hope VII, the bi-annual naval exercise between the South African and German Navies. These are usually held in South African waters.

During the return to South Africa SAS Amatola will call at several ports on the West Coast of Africa, before arriving back in Simon's Town on 19 April, after a three month deployment.

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Courtesy of Humans at Sea and YouTube, please watch the video above [9:14] in which a variety of ships, from small tugs to giant container or general cargo ships, and even a navy corvette, get launched into some scairy environments. Compare what you see with those Maydon Wharf launches in Durban that caused such concern some years ago.......

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Ghana's Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, says that the main propeller of growth in the West African country in 2017 will be the oil and gas sector with the Jubilee oil field taking centre stage.

Oil production in Ghana's first oil field, Jubilee, was pegged at over 90,000 barrels per day when running at optimum level but technical hitches have since prohibited the field from achieving full production capacity, reports the financial paper B&FT Online.

In spite of Mr Terkper's optimism, he admitted that the decline in the crude oil prices has led to the country to realise a deceleration in the sector, a situation which is likely to affect production from the Tweneboah-Enyerra-Ntomme (TEN) fields and the Sankofa Fields.

Apart from the potential in Jubilee, Mr. Terkper said it is important to also look at oil services, to add to transportation services as well as financial services.

"We should also remind ourselves that growth is not propelled by just oil and gas, because even though we welcome oil and gas, as we have been pointing out it constitutes something less than 5 percent of our revenues and about 1 to 1.5 percent of our GDP, which means that we must keep an eye on the services sector which is growing and continue to implement policies that will make it grow further," he told B&FT in Parliament.

According to the Finance Minister, the country must utilise the downstream and midstream oil sectors particularly petrochemicals to accelerate growth. He added that the potential for agriculture was key.

"The mix of petrochemical product with salt for example could result in fertiliser production which could give a boost to agriculture," he added.

Another strategy the Finance Minister touched on as far as accelerating growth next year was the launch of the EXIM bank. "We just launched an export oriented economy through the EXIM bank, which is another mechanism for facilitating growth, in that it will help those who want to export particularly through export credit and export guarantee backed by standards and promotions." Source: B&FT Online

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Port Louis - Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section, but this is also available in a dedicated Cruise News section. This section will include various stories and news not covered in the general news so if you have an interest in this sector don't forget to check regularly on our CRUISE NEWS page.

This you will find here in CRUISE NEWS & REVIEWS

Naval News
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Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories which also have their own dedicated section, although some stories may be duplicated in the general news section.

Find the Naval Review section HERE

Remember to use your backspace key to return to this page.


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msc sindy st 2016 oct 19 480

Mediterranean Shipping Company's 9,580-TEU container ship MSC SINDY (115,000-dwt, built 2007) makes an impressive sight as she manoeuvres in Cape Town harbour last week. The 335-metre long, 45.6m wide ship was built at the South Korean Samsung Shipbuilding & Heavy industries Co Ltd, as their hull number 1611. The ship has also operated with the name MSC SYLVANA and as with almost every MSC-owned ship, she is flagged in Panama. These pictures are by Ian Shiffman


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