The view of MS Volendam which arrived in Cape Town this week.Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency.
The view of MS Volendam which arrived in Cape Town this week.Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency.

The mystery of cruise ships in Cape Town: Are SA crew being repatriated?

By Travel Reporter Time of article published May 19, 2020

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Over the past few days, social media has been abuzz about ships being docked at Cape Town Harbour. Twitter user @LorindasWorld posted: “Question, why have we had a few cruise liners coming in and out of Cape Town harbour the last few days?”(sic)

Another Twitter user @mithisa_motho posted: "I hear there are cruise ships loitering around Cape Town. I thought the ports were closed." (sic) It seems that one of the reasons for the arrival of cruise ships is the repatriation of crew members back to South Africa. 

Last week, IOL Travel posted an image of the MS Volendam which arrived in Cape Town. The image was captured by ANA photographer Armand Hough, who said on Instagram that several cruise liners were seen at the Cape Town Harbour. 

He said that three South African crew members disembarked and that many cruise ships were currently repatriating its crew members from all corners of the world.

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Three Anchor Bay - The MS Volendam arrives in Cape Town. There has been several cruise liners seen entertaining and leaving the harbor in Cape Town in recent days. At this point the ships are only refueling and stocking supplies for the next leg of their journey. Three South African crew members have disembarked and will remain in quarantine for at least two weeks. Many cruise ships are currently sailing the seven seas in the process of repatriating its crew members from all corners of the world. I couldn't find any stats on the situation but I can only imagine the cost of getting these souls to safety. In other areas of the globe this story is not one of reuniting families. A 39 year old Ukrainian woman died Sunday after jumping from the Regal Princess cruise ship off the Netherlands coast and on Saturday, a man died after jumping from the Carnival Breeze as it headed to Europe from the Bahamas to repatriate its crew. It was the third death over the weekend on ships with crew trapped on board since the explosion of the coronavirus pandemic, and the fourth worker to die in less than 10 days under unclear circumstances. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency @ana_pix_1 #onassignment #streetsacademy #coronavirusnews #socialdistancing #covid_19 #streetphotography #pandemic #sunrise #oceanlife #thestreetphotographyhub #cruiseship #photojournalism #zonestreet #capetownmag #capetown #documentaryphotography #streetlife #myspc #myfeatureshot #spicollective #sunset #lensculture #publicart #streetart #lockdown #yourshotphotographer #southafrica #storytellers #visualart #lockdown @iolnews @thecapeargus

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Twitter user @gnocchikenyal_, a crew member of a cruise ship, confirmed that this may be the case.  She said on Twitter that she was on her way to Cape Town. 

She directed her message to the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Cape Town. 

“@KJRI_CapeTown hallo, im a crew member of a cruise ship with netherland flag, and we re on our way to cape town now. We've been stuck at sea for 2months and the company keep asked us to be patient more and more, alot of people getting so stressfull here” (sic). 

Another Twitter user named Andrew Sturrock replied to an image posted by @shipspotterCT. 

Sturrock, who seems to be in the maritime shipping industry, said that South African crew members were being repatriated. 

He commented: “SA crews coming off and being repatriated in their droves. Right now the cruise vessels at sea are simply large repatriation exercises for their own. SA’s going into 14 day quarantine after testing first.” (sic). 

There has been no formal communication from the Cape Town Harbour to confirm that repatriation is currently taking place. 

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