South Africa’s coronavirus precautions at ports

Port of Cape Town. Credit: SkyPixels

With the coronavirus declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization, South Africa’s port authority, working with the National Department of Health and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, has implemented strict health measures for all vessels entering the country’s ports.

These include:

·         All foreign vessels entering the ports must receive free pratique by the Port Health Department and details of the last 10 ports of call are to be recorded

·         Separate lists of vessels calling from affected areas are to be recorded

·         During the warning period, all South African citizens – including marine pilots – are to refrain from consuming foods and liquids on board vessels from high-risk areas

·         Should reports of infection be reported on board a vessel, the vessel may dock. However, no persons will be permitted to go on board until Port Health has cleared the vessel

·         No crew will be taken off a vessel without obtaining Port Health clearance

·         A thorough sweep of stowaways will be conducted. Should stowaways be found, the vessel is to remain at anchor until stowaways are examined and cleared by Port Health

·         All waste from the vessels from affected areas will be incinerated and not accepted ashore

·         All yachts arriving in the country from all areas must report to the South African Police Services and Port Health Department. The skipper is to be informed to ensure that he and his crew remain isolated on board the vessel until cleared by Port Health

·         Marine pilots to use appropriate medical masks and gloves when receiving vessels from affected areas

·         All Transnet National Port Authority employees dealing with affected vessels have been made aware of the procedures to be followed and have been provided with appropriate masks and gloves to be worn when going on board the vessels. Additionally, Port Health employees have been apprised of government’s national response plan to diagnose infected people and refer them to designated sites/hospitals