Adverse weather conditions halts shipping

Published Jul 10, 2024


The impact of the country’s adverse weather conditions led to Transnet suspending shipping movements at some ports, citing safety reasons.

“The strong winds, which have created high swell conditions, must subside before vessel movements can resume. Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) marine operations are currently on standby to assist vessels, where required.

“The Cape Town Container Terminal, which is experiencing high swells until Saturday, has three vessels on berth that are unable to work due to the terminal’s windbound status. Another four vessels are planned to arrive by Thursday.

“In Gqeberha, the Ngqura Container Terminal had its last vessel finish in the early hours of Sunday. The port authority resolved on not berthing any more vessels until Wednesday and port terminal gates have been closed since.

The Port Elizabeth Container Terminal is also windbound, with one vessel on berth.

“The floods experienced in the Eastern Cape in June, along with current weather disruptions, have resulted in vessel congestion at the Port Elizabeth Bulk Terminal where manganese is handled. This has slowed down the progress.

Despite this, vessel nominations continue,” the entity said in a statement on Tuesday.

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) said it was confident of managing the resulting vessel backlog.

The South African Weather Service on Tuesday issued a Level 8 warning for disruptive rain on Thursday over Cape Town, Drakenstein and Stellenbosch; 24-hour rainfall accumulations of 40 to 60mm were expected reaching 80 to 100mm in mountainous areas.

This is set to further complicate relief efforts undertaken by a number of organisations assisting residents impacted by the floods.

Gift of the Givers is providing aid to more than 20 200 people across the province.

Gift of the Givers project manager Ali Sablay said they had to pull in additional resources and supplies from KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as suppliers in the province could not cope with demand.

“Gift of the Givers were first activated on Friday morning where Khayelitsha was hit hard.

“The main concern was where people would be accommodated...and working with community leaders, some were provided shelter while others preferred to go to relatives. Calls from many informal settlements increased on Sunday and teams were dispatched to different communities for assessment and by Monday it was more than 15 000 people who have been affected by the weather and have been provid(ed) meals daily and other humanitarian aid.

“We have now also had to dispatch teams to areas outside the Metro such as Drakenstein and Cederberg. Our list shows that as of yesterday 20 220 people, majority from informal settlements, are in need of assistance. Our operations are expected to continue until Sunday as weather warnings are still coming through,” said Sablay.

In the Cederberg municipality, 22 people were evacuated in Riverview informal settlement, Citrusdal and 260 households were cut off in the Wupperthal area due to flooded roads.

People were also cut off in Drommadaries in the Drakenstein municipality, while the City of Cape Town reported Khayelitsha, Lwandle, Nomzamo in Strand, Gugulethu, Philippi, Masiphumelele, Philippi East, Mfuleni, Tafelsig, Vygieskraal, Joe Slovo Park in Milnerton, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, Driftsands, and Dunoon as areas affected by adverse weather.

The impact of the country’s adverse weather conditions led to Transnet suspending shipping movements at some ports, citing safety reasons.

Damage was reported at 82 schools on Tuesday with five officially closed. Forty-three roads have been closed across the province due to flooding and snow.

Cederberg municipality mayor Dr Ruben Richards said all emergency protocols were activated and residents notified through various channels to be in a state of readiness.

“A rescue team has been dispatched to assist the Wupperthal area which is currently cut off from the main towns. The communities affected include 33 households in Heuningvlei, 35 in Langbome, 21 in Suurrug, 35 in Nuweplaas, 23 in Prinsekraal, 24 in Langkloof.

There were 33 affected households in Kleinvlei and Agterstevlei, 10 in Martiensrus and 35 in Eselbank.

There were also reports of three in Langkuishoek and eight in Grasvlei and Witwater,” said Richards.

Of the more than 1 550 schools in the province, five could not resume teaching and learning, said Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond.

“The schools were closed as a result of either flooding, inaccessibility to access routes and damage to the school building.

In total, 82 schools have reported damages. The majority of cases are minor, with 31 cases regarded as more serious. This includes schools where roof sheeting was blown off.

We are aware that some learners may have been affected by the weather at home, either having their homes damaged or couldn’t access routes.

These are some of the reasons why some learners may have not attended school. The absenteeism levels at schools, these are still being collected,” said Hammond.

Cape Times