Ships lift anchor after coup leaders reopen Gabon’s transport links


Gabon reportedly reopened its borders on Saturday, 2nd of September. Vessel tracking platforms also showed ships heading in and out of the oil-rich African national earlier today. “Gabon is highly dependent on revenues from the sale of oil and unless the country becomes subject to sanctions, exports will go back to normal,” Poten noted in its most recent weekly report.
Shipex’ contacts within MSC, CMA CGM and Hapag Lloyd confirmed that its vessels are being (un)loaded. We have been informed that the following operations are ongoing:

- Discharged containers on terminals in Libreville and Port Gentil are available for pick-up
- To date, no booking stop to Gabon was announced
- Inbound containers arriving in the main ports are being discharged
- Cargo destined for hinterland outside of Gabon is blocked until further notice

Despite positive feedback regarding reopening of the transport links, Shipex advises its shippers to verify with customers whether they want to proceed with upcoming shipments.

Last Wednesday, Aug 30th - At least 30 commercial ships dropped anchor in Gabonese waters on Wednesday after military officers said they had seized power in the central African country, according to Reuters. Officers in the oil-producing country have reportedly placed President Ali Bongo under house arrest. The move comes after the country's electoral body declared Bongo the winner of a controversial third term in office. Borders have been closed and state institutions dissolved.

Analytics company MarineTraffic showed on Wednesday there was already a build-up of ships near the country's main ports, including the port of capital Libreville and Port Gentil further south. The vessels included commercial cargo ships as well as tankers.

British maritime security company Ambrey said port operations in Libreville had stopped and no ships had entered or left the port since the coup was announced. "Ambrey is aware that movements in and out of Gabon have been suspended following an early morning announcement by military officials," it said in a statement.

German container shipping group Hapag Lloyd had one of its vessels in Libreville and the ship was unable to sail due to the border closures, a company spokesman said on Wednesday. Ship tracking data showed another container ship operated by Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk in similar situation.