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 22 May 2020

Niël Terbanché

PEOPLE living along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean might soon see the sun set over a fleet of giant passenger ships anchored in the bay off of Walvis Bay.

A golden opportunity presented itself when cruise line companies approached the Namibian Ports Authority with an urgent request to dry stack idle passenger ships taking up costly mooring space in other ports around the globe.

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting collapse of cruise tourism because of worldwide restrictions on travel has left all passenger cruise liners stuck in ports.

The same fate befell the oil industry and currently no less than six giant drill ships and oil platforms are already being dry stacked at anchorage in the bay off of Walvis Bay.


Atlantic Ocean fleet passenger ships anchored Walvis Bay
GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY: Oil rigs and drill ships being dry stacked in the bay off of Walvis Bay might soon be joined by a fleet of passenger ships. – Photo: Niël Terblanché


Kavin Harry, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Namibian Ports Authority said in a statement that travel restrictions have invariably unfortunately impacted upon cruise tourism industry as tourists have ceased travel.

“Consequently, multitudes of cruise liner ships which are used to ferry tourists to and from destinations around the world are now idling and seeking parking space,” Harry said.

He said whereas the situation is unfortunate for the cruise line industry, the turn of events presented an opportunity to Namport to provide berthing and parking space for the empty cruise ships off Namibian ports at designated points of anchorage. He said Namport decided to accommodate the calls for anchorage facilities for cruise passenger liners of the country’s ports.

“Having conducted detailed reviews of procedures to be put in place in hosting the ships, we have concluded that the move would neither contradict nor contravene any of the existing measures implemented nationally to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Suffice to say all existing COVID-19 mitigation measures by the Ministry of Health and Social Services and Namport will be strictly complied with when dealing with such passenger vessels at anchorage,” he said.

According to Harry the cruise liners will join offshore supply vessels and oil rigs 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 at the port of Walvis Bay.

“We therefore kindly request and urge members of the public not to panic when they see these vessels at anchorage either off the ports of Lüderitz and Walvis Bay,” Harry said.

SOURCE: Informanté