Queen Mary 2 still awaiting clearance to enter Durban after doctor does Covid-19 swab tests
The Queen Mary 2 luxury cruise liner was still awaiting clearance to dock at Durban's port on Monday morning.
On Friday, a ShipMed doctor boarded the vessel to carry out Covid-19 tests on board.
NSRI Durban station commander Jonathan Kellerman said duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Alick Rennie, accompanied by a ShipMed doctor, to meet the Queen Mary 2 at the outer anchorage off-shore in Umhlanga, Durban, at 7pm on Friday.
"The ShipMed doctor, under the authority of the department of health port health unit and the department of transport, was tasked to carry out routine Covid-19 tests on board," Kellerman said.
"All precautions, personal protective equipment and protocols as outlined by the department of health were followed during the operation," he said.
The operation was completed at 11pm.
It is understood that there are 1215 crew and 264 passengers on board. Most of the passengers were flown home by the shipping line apart from those with medical conditions that prevented them from flying.Of those on board, 6 crew are South African. They will have to be tested before they are allowed to leave and enter the port. The ship’s capacity is 2691 people.
On Saturday, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) said the passenger vessel had requested clearance to be allowed to dock in the port to receive bunkers and stores.
"If approval is granted by the department of transport and the port health unit of the health department, the vessel will dock, refuel and disembark six South African crew members before setting sail for Southampton in the United Kingdom," said TNPA.
Port of Durban general manager Moshe Motlohi said the ship’s line, Cunard, announced earlier this month that it had ended its three international voyages early in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The cruise liner was already on her way to South Africa when the South African government announced a ban on cruise ships from March 18. She was not among the initial six cruise ships which authorities confirmed would be permitted to dock in the country as an interim measure, following new regulations promulgated by the transport minister on March 18.
"The regulations prohibit any disembarkations, apart from returning South African citizens or permanent residents, and prohibit embarkations unless they are for departing foreign countries," Motlohi said.