Durban - The container ship MSC Ines brook from its mooring in heavy storm weather this morning and lodge itself on a sandbank, blocking the channel to shipping.
Yachts in the harbour too suffered heavy damage with members of the Royal Natal Yacht Club working overtime to secure vessels in the howling winds. There was also damage to roofs, guttering and a wall fell onto a vehicle at the marina.
Reports indicate that three ships have run aground in Durban harbour and that all vessel movements have been suspended. No injuries have been reported.
The Port Authority stated that Durban harbour was closed.
The container ship of over 300m in length had blown sideways blocking the harbour entrance. Two other ships had broken from their moorings and collided with each other. Others were blown onto sand banks.
It said authorities were working hard to assist those in need.
Meanwhile, at least five hospitals have been adversely affected by the heavy rains. King Edward, Addington, King Dinuzulu and Wentworth and Prince Mshiyeni Memorial hospitals have borne the brunt of the storm.
The KZN department of Health said management at these health facilities are currently assessing the extent of the damage and are doing all they can to ensure patient care and safety. The Department urged people who do not have serious ailments to delay their visits to the affected hospitals.
Also read: #DurbanStorm leaves deadly aftermath
The South African Weather service said to expect the rains to continue into this evening.
A major rain-producing weather system known as a cut-off law has been around for the past few days, according to Aslam Sardiwalla, meteorologist and weather forecaster at SA Weather Services, based at King Shaka Airport.
"What's made it so intense is the existence of a deep surface low off the coast. It has enhanced the effect of the system and intensified it. Hence the heavy downpour. Out to sea it's worse."
Sea conditions are terrible, he said.
"It's very rough to high. At the airport we've had winds of up to 120km/h."
Sardiwalla said the rain should ease off late tonight and tomorrow should see partly cloudy conditions.
The Independent on Saturday