All cruise ships docking in SA doing so in line with Covid-19 regulations
This follows an influx of queries from the public who questioned why the cruise ships were being allowed in our ports after being banned by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
The acting chief harbour master at TNPA, Captain Sabelo Mdlalose, said South Africa’s 2019-20 cruise season typically ended in late April to early May, but due to the regulations, on March18 Mbalula prohibited further cruise liner calls unless for disembarkation of a returning SA citizen and/or a permanent resident or embarkation of a departing foreign national.
“We assure South African citizens that these vessels are being managed in accordance with the regulations and all Covid-19 protocols, including ensuring that the vessels have been at sea for a 14-day quarantine period before docking in South Africa, and also ensuring that any disembarking individuals go into quarantine when they come ashore,” said Mdlalose.
Mdlalose said the banning of passenger liner operations at a number of ports globally, including South Africa, due to the Covid-19 pandemic had left the cruise industry in limbo.
“These vessels would have disembarked passengers elsewhere several weeks ago, and their crews have had to remain on board as the ships make their way across the globe,” he said.
TPNA said South African ports had been considering requests on a case-by-case basis from passenger liners urgently seeking permission to dock to refuel, restock provisions or repatriate South African crew.
None of the cruise liners calling had any passengers on board, said the ports authority.
Mdlalose said that as the landlord, TNPA, had been working closely with the Department of Transport and the SA Maritime Safety Authority to ensure the safety and security of shipping.
“This means we have a duty to assist ships requiring essential services, as this becomes an issue of safety of life at sea,” said Mdlalose.
He added that TPNA ensured that all safety precautions were taken and that a risk assessment was conducted for each vessel by the Joint Operations Centre at each port.
Captain Justin Adams, the acting harbour master at the port of Durban, confirmed that five Carnival Cruise ships would arrive at the Durban port this week. The ships would be refuelling and restocking inventory, he said.