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Five cruise liners to dock in Durban

Durban harbour. File photo
Durban harbour. File photo
Image: Supplied

Five cruise ships will call at the Port of Durban over the next few days to refuel and restock under strict Covid-19 safety protocols.

Transnet said on Sunday that SA ports had been considering, on a case-by-case basis, requests from passenger liners urgently seeking permission to dock in order to refuel, restock provisions or to repatriate SA crew.

Acting chief harbour master at Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Captain Sabelo Mdlalose, said in a statement: “The banning of passenger liner operations at a number of ports globally, including SA, due to the Covid-19 outbreak has left the cruise industry in limbo. These vessels would have disembarked passengers several weeks ago elsewhere and their crews have had to remain on board for an extended period as the ships make their way across the globe.

“As the port landlord, TNPA works closely with the department of transport and the SA Maritime Safety Authority to ensure the safety and security of shipping, as is required by any signatory of the International Maritime Organisation.

“This means 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.”

None of the cruise liners currently calling have any passengers on board.

Acting harbour master at the Port of Durban, Captain Justin Adams, said five Carnival Cruise ships would be calling between Tuesday, May 26 and Thursday, May 28 to refuel and restock their inventory.

According to Cruise Hive, of the five, Carnival Fascination is taking crew back to Mumbai, India, and Durban; Carnival Dream Is sailing to east Asia with stops in Durban, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Manila, Philippines; Carnival Liberty is also sailing to Mumbai, India, and Durban; Carnival Conquest is sailing to east Asia with stops in Durban and Manila, Philippines and Carnival Ecstasy is also sailing to Mumbai, India with a stop in Durban.

Regulations signed into effect by transport minister Fikile Mbalula in March prohibited cruise liner calls at SA ports unless for disembarkation of a returning SA citizen or permanent resident, or embarkation of a departing foreign national.

“We assure SA citizens that these vessels are being managed in accordance with the regulations and all Covid-19 protocols, including ensuring that the vessels have been at sea for a 14-day quarantine period before docking in SA, and also ensuring that any disembarking individuals go into quarantine when they come ashore,” said Captain Mdlalose.

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