On 03 September 2021, a local newspaper published an article titled “Container collapses under sheer weight of rosewood”.
The Namibian Ports Authority would like to use this platform to address the incorrect information published in the said article, as we believe this will provide the needed assurance to not only the newspaper, but also to the Namibian nation of Namport’s commitment to adhere to all safety, environmental and health regulations that are stipulated in the ISO 9001 Standard (Quality Management System), the ISO 14001 Standard (Environmental Management System) and the ISO 45001 Standard (Health and Safety Management System).
On 29 July 2021, the M/V Northern Jupiter (the vessel that was used to transport the consignment in question) experienced a container stack collapse while at anchorage in Cape Town, South Africa. At the time, Cape Town’s terminal experienced severe congestion, following the cyber-attack on Transnet terminal systems. The impact of the cyber-attacks meant the vessel could only be berthed at the Cape Town Terminal on the 5th of August 2021 to undergo emergency operations to stabilize the vessel. This was not ideal considering the potential risk posed to the vessel and crew members.
With no congestion issues at the Port of Walvis Bay, a decision was taken by the carrier responsible for the vessel to sail to Walvis Bay and conduct the stabilization operation of the vessel at Namport.
Investigations carried out on the load indicated that the collapsed stacks may have been caused by cargo not securely lashed in the containers, in this case timber logs loaded in the Port of Douala and Port Pointe Noire.
Operation carried out at the Port of Walvis Bay:
To ensure safety of the vessel, its crew and stevedores, it was decided to discharge all containers containing timber in order to conduct landside inspections to confirm the packing process and container weights before securely reloading the cargo to its final destination in Asia.
It is important to stress that this cargo did not come through Namibia and none of the containers left the Port of Walvis Bay; thus, it was treated as pure transhipments under the supervision of all relevant authorities (Namibian Customs Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and Namport). This operation is still on going.
Namport remains committed to its mission of providing best quality port services to all seaborne trade through excellent customer service, sustainable growth and social responsibility, to contribute to the transformation of Namibia as a logistics hub.
There are a number of factors that clients consider when identifying a port to use such as;