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Noisy ships in Cape Town docks have turned life into 'a nightmare' for Atlantic Seaboard residents

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) spokesperson Lorraine Mabindisa said they were aware of the noise complaints from residents. Picture Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) spokesperson Lorraine Mabindisa said they were aware of the noise complaints from residents. Picture Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 22, 2021

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Cape Town - Green Point resident Lynn Dare is at the end of her tether with the loud and constant noise coming from the electricity generators on ships coming in to dock.

Dare says the noisy ships have turned her life on the much-desired Atlantic Seaboard into a nightmare.

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“This loud reverberating continues for days and weeks, and can be heard at all hours.

“It began in mid-2020 and got progressively worse. When we complain to Transnet, they tell us to give them the names of the ships making noise.

“The noise of the loading and off-loading of containers on ships just makes it even worse. I don’t know why they load the containers here; they have Paarden Eiland for that,” she said.

Dare said that she had been informed by friends from the Simon’s Town naval base that previously the ships had an agreement with the City to allow them to plug into electrical supplies, but that since last year this arrangement was no longer in place.

“I’m not sure when it was decided that this is no longer an option, but now they all run on their loud generators,” she said. Dare and some of her neighbours have complained to the City several times, but to no avail.

“I have done so five times now, yet the noise continues. I have been living on the same property for 25 years and now this noise is just a nightmare,” she said.

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Another Green Point resident, attorney Gary Trappler, said that while many houses on the Atlantic Seaboard, particularly Green Point and De Waterkant, are mountain-facing, they are still affected by the sounds from the harbour.

However, sea facing-homes were more exposed to direct noise. He said that for homes on the Atlantic Seaboard backed up against Signal Hill, the noise is aggravated by the acoustics of the area in that the sounds emanating from the harbour reverberate against the mountain and echo back into the residential areas.

“I think the problem is partly topographical rather than being an actual nuisance in itself.

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“The same applies to noise emanating from events at the stadium when speakers are sometimes made to face the mountain instead of the sea. This, likewise, causes reverberative or secondary noise pollution,” he said.

Trappler said that either way, the noise was bothersome, especially now that so many residents were spending more time at home over the holiday period.

Reached for comment, the City’s Environmental Health Department referred the Argus to the Ports Authority.

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Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) spokesperson Lorraine Mabindisa said they were aware of the noise complaints from residents living in the port’s surrounding areas, about the sound from ships waiting at the anchorage area to dock in the port.

“The sound mainly originates from the vessels’ on-board generators. The generators are necessary for the running of the vessels’ equipment, such as navigation systems and refrigeration, while they are out at sea. Port control is closely monitoring the noise situation,” said Mabindisa.

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