Operations at Durban port resumed
The marine operations at the port of Durban were partially resumed on Oct 11 at around 6.30 p.m. although a number of berths and adjacent navigation areas remained unavailable to shipping. According to Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) 80% of the navigable area of the port was declared safe for marine operations. The berths D, C and E at the City Ro-Ro Terminal (Point), 104, 105, 107 at Pier 1, 108 on the cross berths, and 200, 202 and 203 at DCT Pier 2 remained unavailable until Oct 12. The results of sounding surveys that were conducted indicate that there is some obstruction on the seabed that could pose a risk to navigation but that in the interest of ensuring safe navigation of vessels, operations have commenced in channels that are clear from obstruction. Port teams remain on scene and the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) will remain in place until normality is restored at the port.
The swift action by TNPA, in collaboration with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and African Marine Solutions (AMSOL), saw the successful delivery of a multi-vessel emergency operation during the inclement weather on Oct 10. By 6.30 p.m. the three vessels that were grounded had been successfully refloated and remoored. The 2,5 hour operation included up to eight tugs and 70 individuals working to secure the vessels. Among the tugs assisting in operation was the Port of Durban’s powerful new "Umbilo" which was recently built.
First priority was the stricken "MSC Ines" which was grounded across the port’s entrance channel. Five tugs successfully towed the vessel to safety. Next to be secured was the tanker "Bow Triumph" at Island View berth 4, followed by the "SM New York" which was remoored and stabilised at the Durban Container Terminal. Teams had also managed to refloat the floating dock at the premises of Southern African Shipyards together with one of TNPA’s nine new tugs which was still under construction at the shipyard.
Mopping up operations continued on Oct 11. TNPA’s Dredging Services division, Subtech – a private marine service company – and drones conducted sounding surveys to highlight any unsafe build-up or obstruction on the seabed that could pose a risk to navigation. Engineering teams aided by aerial drones were conducting physical assessments of affected port buildings and infrastructure to assist in quantifying damage.
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