Queen Mary 2 departs Durban after six South Africans disembark

South Africa’s Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has confirmed that 149,215 gt cruise vessel Queen Mary 2 (IMO 9241061) had departed the port of Durban after six South African crew members disembarked. “The ship had been positioned outside the port since Friday (March 27th) after requesting clearance to berth to receive bunkers and stores. Approval was granted on Tuesday by the department of transport and the port health unit of the department of health for the vessel to dock, refuel and allow the six crew members to come ashore,” said TNPA said on April 2nd.

The Bermuda-flagged, 2003-built ship, owned and managed by Carnival and entered with UK Club and Steamship, arrived in Durban with 1,215 crew and 264 passengers. She will now sail to Southampton, UK with the remaining 1,209 crew and 264 passengers.

The South African crew were granted permission to disembark in Durban after testing negative for Covid-19. Minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize said the six would be required to self-quarantine for 14 days as a precautionary measure,”

TNPA said that it had been working closely with the department of transport, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) and the department of health to manage requests from cruise liners after new regulations were promulgated by transport minister Fikile Mbalula on March 18th.

“These regulations essentially prohibit cruise liner calls, any crew changes, any disembarkations apart from returning South African citizens or permanent residents, and any embarkations unless they are for departing foreign nationals. However, all parties have worked together to manage individual scenarios,” said TNPA.

The Covid-19 tests related to cruise liners in South Africa to date have included:

  • The AIDAmira (IMO 9172777, 48,123 gt, Italy-flagged, 1999-built), which docked in Cape Town on March 16th after a Covid-19 scare involving six AIDAmira passengers and two MV Corona bulk carrier crew, all of whom tested negative. AIDAmira is owned by Costa Crociere of Genoa, Italy, and managed by Carnival Maritime of Hamburg, Germany. It is entered with Steamship, UK Club and Gard.
  • The Arcadia (IMO 9226906), which docked in Durban on March 26th after results were negative for 13 symptomatic individuals on-board. The vessel docked to refuel and restock provisions, as well as allow six South African crew members to disembark and return home. 2005-built, Bermuda-built, 84,342 gt is owned and managed by Carnival Corp of Southampton, UK. It is entered with Steamship and UK Club.
  • The MSC Orchestra (IMO 9320099), which is now working with the department of health to trace passengers after confirmation of positive test results for two individuals who travelled on the vessel  on February 28th and March 13th respectively. 2007-built, Panama-flagged, 92,409 gt is owned by Orchestra Bail care of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co of Geneva, Switzerland. ISM manager is MSC Cruise Management UK of Uxbridge, UK. It is entered with UK Club (Area Group E1 EMEA) on behalf of MSC Cruise Management UK Ltd.

Meanwhile, the port of Durban had a final call from cruise ship Amsterdam (IMO 9188037) scheduled for Sunday. “Officials are in communication with the vessel agent and master to determine how this ship will be managed and any measures that need to be put in place,” said TNPA. 2000-built, Netherlands-flagged, 62,735 gt Amsterdam is owned by HAL Antillen NV care of manager Holland America Line NV of Seattle, Washington, USA. It is entered with Steamship Mutual and with UK Club.

Cunard North America said that “most guests disembarked Queen Mary 2 in Fremantle, Australia on March 14th and 15th. The ship today made a technical stop in Durban, South Africa,”