Three vessels are still docked in the Port of Cape Town because of various protocols being conducted before the passengers are allowed to disembark. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Three vessels are still docked in the Port of Cape Town because of various protocols being conducted before the passengers are allowed to disembark. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

New regulations tie up three vessels in the Port of Cape Town

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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Cape Town - Three vessels are still docked in the Port of Cape Town because of various protocols being conducted before the passengers are allowed to disembark. These procedures follow the new Covid-19 port restrictions.

The vessels are the Aidamira, Norwegian Spirit and the Silver Cloud.

The Norwegian Spirit had an initial total of 1759 passengers. The vessel was already en-route to Cape Town before the new port restrictions were implemented by the government.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority's (Samsa) deputy chief operations officer, Vernon Keller, said it was not possible for the vessel to turn back while they were out at sea when the new restrictions were made.

“The vessel required fuel, stores and other provisions and was also already drifting 12 nautical miles offshore.”

According to the Samsa Covid-19 passenger vessel evacuation report, some passengers on the Norwegian Spirit vessel were sent back to their home countries yesterday and the remainder would be sent home today.

“The Aidamira crew ship that had been docking with an initial total of 1240 passengers had already disembarked some of them.

"About 566 passengers disembarked already and 674 will disembark over the next two days.”

The six passengers on the Aidamira that were evacuated from the vessel for Covid-19 last week tested negative.

“It is important to note that none of the passenger ships that recently docked in Cape Town showed any signs of the coronavirus. The Aidamira was a precautionary measure because six passengers travelled on the same flight as South Africa's Patient Zero, however this led to restrictions being placed on all passenger and cargo vessels calling at South African ports.”

He said that no crew was allowed ashore while docking and there was no need to do any tests because no one displayed symptoms. According to the National Ports Act Regulations 2020 relating to the Covid-19 restrictions on passengers and crew members, embarkation and disembarkation of certain passengers and crews at South African seaports are prohibited; there needs to be improved hygiene control and sanitation facilities on ships, sea ports and port facilities; a tracking, reporting and monitoring system is to be implemented at the sea port.

Keller said 131 passengers on the Silver Cloud have disembarked already, 13 disembarked on Sunday and 23 will leave today. Another two passengers are scheduled to return home on Tuesday.

@Sukainaish

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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