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 28 Jan 2020


Passengers disembarking from MSC Orchestra while it’s docked at Berth 9 in the Port of Walvis Bay. Photo contributed

Passenger vessels can sojourn in the Port of Walvis Bay for longer periods thanks to the dedicated passenger liner jetty.

The port authority has already hosted more than 11 cruise liners in its current financial year.

This means that the frequency of passenger vessel visits have increased since the commissioning of the dedicated passenger liner terminal in August 2019.

A member of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) fleet, the MSC Orchestra, became the latest passenger liner to dock at the Port of Walvis Bay last week.

The passenger liner carrying 3 100 passengers weighing 92 409 tons and with its length of 294m, also became one of the longest vessels to call at the Port of Walvis Bay.

The Queen Elizabeth (294m) that called at the port on 17 November 2019, is the second-largest passenger vessel yet to dock at the Port of Walvis Bay. She follows in the wake of the Queen Mary, which is 310.7m long and visited in February 2018.

The container vessels COSCO Osaka due on 16 February, COSCO Kawasaki due on 1 March, COSCO Fukuyama due on 8 March and RHL Concordia due on 15 March, are all 260m in length.

Due to its astronomical length, the COSCO Kawasaki occupied two berths in the port of Walvis Bay during its maiden visit in 2017.

The MSC Orchestra, which was packed to capacity on its maiden voyage, was on a 6-day return cruise from Cape Town to Walvis Bay and docked at berth 9 - the designated passenger vessel berth of the port.

During a presentation on-board the vessel, MSC South Africa’s managing director Ross Volk, said that Namibia should be ready to host more MSC vessels.

“The country is fast developing into a favourable tourism hub. From next season we will have two vessels based in Southern Africa - one catering for the east coast and the other for the west coast. So, instead of us only having between two or three calls in Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, we will increase the number to 22 from Cape Town”.

The MSC Orchestra is part of the fleet of luxury cruise liners operating on a global scale with cruises from South African ports to Namibia on a regular basis.

Namport’s Port Captain, Lukas Kufuna, said that the port authority was ensuring that Namibia - with its strategic position and the services of the newly built passenger jetty - provides safe passage to vessels in Namibian waters.

Namport’s executive for commercial services Immanuel !Hanabeb said the port had so far received more than 4 500 passengers from passenger vessels that docked since the beginning of this year.

“We are looking forward to welcoming another five passenger vessels for the remaining month of January. The MSC Orchestra is expected back at the Port of Walvis Bay soon and again in April.”

SOURCE: Erongo