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Cargo ships stranded and container ships stopped due to bad weather in South Africa

Bad weather and high seas off South Africa’s coast continue to affect most shipping in the region and forecasters are warning of more storms. Several of South Africa’s major ports remain closed due to strong winds, while analysis shows the weather has brought container traffic in the region to a standstill. SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) also reports that an urgent salvage operation is underway after an abandoned cargo ship washed ashore on Tuesday evening.

“We have a complete stoppage at the Cape of Good Hope for container ships, both from the east and the west,” said Fabrice Maille, global head of Transport and Agriculture at LSEG Shipping Research. Their data shows that since Monday 8 July, no container ships have passed through the Cape, which they say is increasing congestion and delays due to rerouting through the Red Sea.

Isaac Hankes, Senior Weather Analyst at LSEG, said the waves on the South African coast coincided with a strong cyclone that hit the region on Sunday 7 July, along with temperatures well below normal. Large parts of the coastal region experienced strong winds and heavy rainfall, with Hankes saying conditions were similar to those in June.

“Another cyclone is likely to hit South Africa later this week,” Hankes warns before weather patterns begin to moderate next week. Local forecasters are also warning that damaging waves will also reach the east coast around Durban.

The Panama-flagged bulk carrier Ultragalaxy what was it abandoned On Monday morning, the ship was still being tossed around by heavy seas after it listed severely. SAMSA reports that a salvage tug reached the ship on Tuesday and was monitoring the situation when the ship ran aground late in the evening in a remote area of ​​the coast known as Brand se Baal, north of Cape Town. A second salvage tug left Cape Town on Tuesday evening bound for the area with additional crew and equipment.

SAMSA is taking measures to prevent a major oil spill and has reported that the vessel is carrying low-sulphur bunker fuel, as well as hydraulic and other oils. They also determined that the vessel was carrying a cargo of bagged fertilisers.

South African port operator Transnet also provided an update saying three vessels are stranded by wind at the Cape Town Container Terminal as the port has been experiencing strong waves since Saturday. Another four vessels were due to arrive on Thursday as Transnet continues to monitor the port. One vessel is also stranded by wind at the Port Elizabeth Container Terminal. The Ngqura Container Terminal in Gqeberha has been closed with its gates locked since Sunday.

Maersk had already warned that it expected delays to its vessels. Like most major shipping companies, it is diverting its ships to Cape Town due to security concerns on the Red Sea routes.

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