Waiting game for Sinfonia

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sinfonia dec 11 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS The MSC Sinfonia seen off Sea Point. Picture: Henk Kruger

Cape Town - The MSC Sinfonia cruise liner that has been floating off the coast of Cape Town was prevented from docking on Monday morning, but was expected to dock on Tuesday morning.

The three-storey vessel en route from Mossel Bay was kept at sea by near gale-force winds and was ordered to wait for them to subside.

It was in no immediate danger.

Marine Shipping Company (MSC) Cruises SA apologised to passengers for the inconvenience caused by weather conditions “outside of its control”.

Out-of-town passengers boarding in Cape Town for the trip to Mossel Bay were accommodated overnight while travel plans were arranged for those waiting to disembark.

Ingrid Roding-Tudor from MSC said the ship had since Monday morning been “denied access to the Cape Town port”.

“The port was closed in the early hours of this morning due to gale-force winds resulting in safety concerns,” she said.

The ports authority had advised that winds were expected to drop on Tuesday and that there were plans for the Sinfonia to dock at about 6am.

Passengers would be given full use of the ship’s facilities for their “extended cruise”.

On Monday morning the MSC tweeted: “Good morning Fans. Due to bad weather the docking of MSC Sinfonia in Cape Town has been delayed. We will provide you updates as we get them.”

At 11.55am on Monday the MSC tweeted: “We have received word that MSC Sinfonia will make an attempted entry into the Cape Town Port in the next 30 minutes. Stay tuned for updates.”

The wind did not subside.

Independent Newspapers Cape illustrations editor Ian Landsberg who was on board the ship this weekend, said they had boarded on Friday at 4.30pm and set sail for Mossel Bay on the “Oh Ship 2012” cruise.

A party was hosted on board with celebrity DJs who kept revellers entertained. Passengers had expected to be back in town at about 8am on Monday.

They left at 2am on Sunday.

“Around 7.20am or 7.30am [yesterday] they told us that we won’t be docking because of the strong winds,” he said.

Landsberg said despite the delay, most passengers were tolerant.

“The mood is generally good. There are a lot of people on board who are still on leave and they don’t seem to mind too much,” he said.

Many passengers had been relaxing in the bars or playing cards on deck.

“There are some people from Durban and Joburg who were supposed to fly home this evening, but have had to make other arrangements.”

It is not the first time strong winds have hindered the ship’s sailing plans. It was trapped in the harbour between November 28 and December 2, along with a tanker and two container ships.

- Cape Argus

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