Three cruise liners in Algoa Bay
Three cruise liners — the Carnival Conquest, Carnival Dream and Carnival Liberty — have arrived in Algoa Bay.
This was confirmed by the Transnet National Ports Authority, which said the ships would refuel and restock in the Port of Port Elizabeth under strict Covid-19 safety protocols.
None of the vessels are accommodating any leisure passengers.
“The Carnival Conquest, Carnival Dream and Carnival Liberty have arrived in the Bay — one of the vessels is carrying 1,601 crew members,” Transnet’s acting corporate affairs manager at the port, Zinhle Small, said in a statement on Monday.
“Four of the crew members are South African. The vessels are [among] nine cruise liners expected to arrive in different South African ports from abroad.
“Already two passenger vessels arrived at the Port of Cape Town last weekend — the Crown Princess and the Island Princess arrived on a scheduled stop.”
Small said The Crown Princess had arrived with 2,139 crew members, of whom 30 were SA citizens.
“A fresh medical team was also allowed to embark the Crown Princess while it was in Cape Town as per maritime requirements.
“The Island Princess disembarked 62 South African crew members.
“The South African Maritime Safety Authority said all the disembarked crew were subjected to the local Covid-19 regulations and will quarantine for 14 days before they can join their families.
“South African ports have been considering requests on a case-by-case basis from passenger liners urgently seeking permission to dock in order to refuel, restock or to repatriate South African crew,” Small said.
The acting chief harbour master at Transnet National Ports Authority, Captain Sabelo Mdlalose, said passenger liners globally were banned from operating due to the pandemic.
“These vessels would have disembarked passengers several weeks ago elsewhere and their crews have had to remain on board for an extended period as the ships made their way across the globe.
“Transnet National Ports Authority works closely with the department of transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority to ensure the safety and security of shipping as is required.
“[Being a] signatory of the International Maritime Organisation, this means we have a duty to assist ships requiring essential services like bunkering and replenishment of supplies.
“As this becomes an issue of safety of life at sea, however, we ensure that all safety precautions are taken and a risk assessment is conducted for each vessel by the joint operations centre at each port,” Mdlalose said.
Small said the SA 2019/2020 cruise season typically ended between late April and early May.
Ministerial regulations signed into effect by transport minister Fikile Mbalula on March 18 prohibited further cruise liner calls unless for the purpose of disembarking returning South African citizens.
Mdlalose said the vessels were being managed in accordance with the regulations.
“All Covid-19 protocols have been observed, including ensuring that the vessels have been at sea for a 14-day quarantine period before docking in South Africa.
“Disembarking individuals will go into quarantine when they come ashore,” Mdlalose said.
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