Namport looking to provide safekeeping for empty cruise liners

The unfortunate turn of events brought along by the Corona pandemic has presented the Namibian Port Authority with an opportunity.

22 May 2020 | Infrastructure

Walvis Bay

Travel restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic have invariably and adversely impacted the cruise tourism industry with tourist not travelling any more.

The prevailing situation has however brought along an opportunity for the Namibian Port Authority (Namport) according to Kavin Harry the acting chief executive officer (CEO) of the state owned company.

“Multitudes of cruise liner ships which are used to ferry tourist across destinations around the world are now idling and seeking parking space due to the travelling restrictions that was introduced as a measure to combat the spread of Covid-19. Whereas this is unfortunate, it presented Namport with an opportunity to provide berthing/parking space for the empty cruise ships off our ports at designated points of anchorage,” he explained.

Namport could earn a significant amount of money from this initiative should it materialise and depending on the number of days a vessel will be on anchorage.

The Port and Syncrolift Tariffs 2020/2021 booklet indicates that the basic charge (port dues) per 100 gross tonnage (GT) or part thereof per call amounts to N$ 174.00 per day.

This for example translates to a vessel such as the MS Queen Elizabeth which is 92,000 GT, having to pay an estimated N $ 13 340 (USD 741) per hour for the provision of such a service. It amounts to N$ 160 080 per day.

The approved Ports Regulators of South Africa tariff book for the 2019/2020 financial year, shows that the Port of Richards Bay is the most expensive and charges a basic fee of R 22 313.36 per 100 tons or part thereof.

Harry further said that after Namport conducted detailed reviews of procedures to put in place in hosting the said ships and concluded that a move to allow this, would not contradict or contravene existing measures implemented nationally to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“This also goes for existing Covid-19 mitigation measures by the ministry of health and social services which Namport will strictly comply with when dealing with such passenger vessels at anchorage. The cruise liners will join offshore supply vessels and oilrigs which as a result of the fall in oil prices have also been recalled from the oil fields and are being safely stored at anchorage outside the pot of Walvis Bay,” he said.

Harry called on members of the public not to panic when they see the vessels at anchorage either and or off the ports of Lüderitz and Walvis Bay.

The Namport manager for business development Elias Mwenyo, confirmed that Sturrock Grindrod Maritime, a company which provides integrated logistic solutions to the maritime and offshore industry business, approached the port authority with a request to provide parking space for empty cruise liners.

Sturrock Grindrod Maritime Walvis Bay unit manger Dirk Kotze said the company was trying to assist via looking at and facilitating the provision of anchorage for passenger vessels on behalf of clients.

“We have put in a request for the provision of anchorage or parking space for cruise ships. The outcome and the way forward depends on the response we receive from Namport and government. We are however encouraged by the hands-on approach from Namport.”