Passenger liner visits recommence

25 November 2021 | Infrastructure

The Namibian Port Authority announced the resumption of passenger vessel services.

The port of Walvis Bay will be welcoming the MS Europa today. The vessel will be docked in the port for two days before sailing for the Port of Lüderitz. The MS Europa is also expected to make a return call to the Port of Walvis Bay on 5 December.

The 11-deck vessel with a length of 199 metres can carry 408 passengers and 275 crew members.

The MSC Lirica (9,15,20 and 25 December) and the Norwegian Jade (31 December) will also call at the port of Walvis Bay before the end of 2021.

“After assessing the situation locally and globally and in consultation with stakeholders such as the Health and Immigration Authorities, we are pleased to announce that the Namibian ports are once again ready and open to received passenger vessels subject to meeting approved health protocols,” said Elias Mwenyo the Namport executive for commercial services.

Mwenyo said that Namport is confident that the measures put in place are adequate and will be able to give visitors a safe and enjoyable Namibian experience.

“Our first responsibility lies with ensuring the safety of our workforce, port users and the Namibian community at large. We are also appreciative of the fact that the tourism industry is a key player in Namibia’s economy and are committed to advancing the country’s drive of economic recovery.”

Namport had preciously put various measures in place that included the temporary suspension of passenger vessel services at Namibian ports as a way of curbing the potential spread of the Covid-19 virus in line with prevailing practices.

Mwenyo gave the assurance that the ports authority has put extra reinforcements measures in place not only for the safety of passengers but for the ease of mind of all citizens.

These include that international cruise ships will be allowed only in the ports provided that “Free Practique” has been issued by the Port Health Officer (PHO) from the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Thermal screening of all passengers and crew onboard will be carried out. Alternatively, this activity can be carried out by the cruise medical personnel with the assistance of the PHO. Until such time that clearance by the PHO is completed, passengers will not be allowed ashore. The Port and local hospital will also assist the PHO by supplying additional doctors and medical staff.

The shipping agent or master of the vessel are required to submit all documents related to the crew and passengers regarding their travel to/from Covid-19 affected countries. No sick passenger/ crew will be allowed onboard a vessel by the shipping agent od master of the vessel.

Passengers or crew members with symptoms of Covid-19 will not be allowed to disembarked. Samples of the patient will be sent for lab testing. If the outcome of the tested sample is positive, the passenger will be taken to an isolation facility attached to the Port and the vessel will be required to leave. Should the outcome of the test be negative, passengers and crew will be allowed to disembark from the vessel. A declaration to follow this procedure must be adhered to by all vessels before entering Namibian Ports.