SA ports permit cruise liners to dock

Cruise ships in SA waters may dock for essentials such as fuel.
Cruise ships in SA waters may dock for essentials such as fuel.

Despite a ban on passenger liner operations, SA's ports are continuing to receive urgent requests from international cruise vessels to dock for fuel, supplies or the repatriation of local crew.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) told Sowetan's sister publication TimesLIVE it has been considering requests from passenger liners "case by case".

"As the port landlord, we have a duty to assist ships requiring essential services like bunkering and replenishment of supplies, as this becomes an issue of safety of life at sea.

"However, we ensure that all safety precautions are taken and that a risk assessment is conducted for each vessel by the joint operations centre at each port," said Capt Sabelo Mdlalose, TNPA's acting chief harbour master.

SA's 2019-20 cruise season typically ends in late April to early May.

Mdlalose said subsequent marine notices issued by the South African Maritime Safety Authority provided for the accommodation of cruise liners in specific circumstances.

"We assure South African citizens that these vessels are being managed in accordance with the regulations and all Covid-19 protocols," said Mdlalose.

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