Coronavirus COVID-19 south african ports

Image via Twitter: @MbalulaFikile

Coronavirus: Passenger liners heading to SA will be quarantined [video]

On Wednesday 18 March, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula issued a ban on passengers liners entering South Africa.

Coronavirus COVID-19 south african ports

Image via Twitter: @MbalulaFikile

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said during the seaports press briefing that passengers aboard cruise liners wouldn’t be allowed to disembark at South African ports.

This follows after the MSC Orchestra left for Mozambique without heeding regulations. According to Mbalula, the vessel will be quarantined when it returns.

“There has been an unfortunate incident of the MSC Orchestra that, despite the imposition of the ban, left port headed for Pomene, Mozambique. This cruise liner understood clearly when they left today with passengers that by the time the ship returns, the ban will be in full force. This ship will be dealt with in terms of the new regulations and will have to be isolated as a quarantined vessel”.

‘No passenger vessels will be allowed in our ports’

The ban and regulations were put in place as a preventative measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19; the ban was gazetted on Wednesday.

The ban takes immediate effect, with Mbalula explaining that the regulations pertain to the “prohibition of embarkation and disembarkation of passengers at all the eight seaports”.

“In terms of these regulations, no passenger vessels will be allowed in our ports. In essence, there is a total ban on cruise ships. This affects all leisure traveller. With effect from today, no cruise ships will be permitted to call into South African ports, nor will any be allowed to leave our shores”.

Mbalula added the Astor vessel headed to Mozambique may divert to Durban. In addition, the passenger vessels headed to Cape Town ports have been identified as:

Silver CloudCape Town18 March 2020, 6:30
Norwegian SpiritCape Town19 March 2020, 8:00
ArcadiaDurban22 March 2020, 6:00
Le LyrialCape TownD berth
World OdysseyCape TownE Berth
AidamiraCape Towndocked

Watch: Sea Ports press briefing

Furthermore, the regulations will also prohibit crew changes for all types of vessels, including merchant ships, to prevent the spread of the infection from crew to dock hands.

Sea trade to continue

As an added measure, port authorities have been requested to provide protective gear to the local dockworkers and to take these measures seriously as about 95% of South Africa’s trade cargo comes through seaports.

The ban will not prohibit trade and seaport operations will continue as it’s vital to “keep supplies coming into the country to keep the economy running. Mbalula said:

“Cargo ships will still be allowed to call into our ports to offload and to load cargo. This is to minimise the adverse effects of the virus on our economy and our global trade position”.