A number of passenger ships have been sighted docking at the Cape Town harbour over the past week. On May 16, two cruise ships were spotted in the port. It is unclear whether the ships are being quarantined and whether passengers will be allowed to disembark.

According to Vessel Finder, a vessel tracking service who provides real-time data on the positions and movements of over 100,000 vessels every day, over 10 ships arrived in Cape Town’s harbour yesterday. However, only two of these were passenger (cruise) ships. These were the Crown Princess and the Island Princess, both sailing under the flag of Bermuda.

Have a look at yesterday’s arrivals here:

Credit: Vessel Finder

An Instagram account called Ship Spotter CT, posted pictures of the ships yesterday and alleged that they had docked in the Mother City for supplies adding that it was unclear whether the crew would be allowed to disembark.

However, in response to a question on Twitter, Andrew Sturrock, who appears to be in the Maritime Shipping industry, said that this was repatriation taking place. His comment read: “SA crews coming off and being repatriated in their droves. Right now the cruise vessels at sea are simply large repatriation exercises for their own. SA’s going into 14 day quarantine after testing first.” This information has not been confirmed by official maritime sources.

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Ships passing in the night. Cruise ships are docking in Cape Town for supplies. I’m not sure if any crew are allowed to leave the ships. The crews are living a nightmare. From The Guardian “Several deaths, a hunger strike and disturbances on board cruise ships have raised fresh concern about what crew members say is the deteriorating mental health of staff stranded aboard cruise ships still floating at sea. A worldwide standoff between cruise companies and health authorities has left approximately 100,000 crew stranded at sea. Many have spent more than a month self-isolating in cabins, unable to leave, and have lost their jobs during the pandemic” Update on crew repatriation in my comments below. #lockdown #coronadiaries #concern #harbour #tablebay #capetowndocks #linkinbio

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According to Ship Spotter CT, “crews are living a nightmare”, as they are at sea and unable to be sent home. A personal account from a crew member on an unknown ship making its way to Cape Town detailed the trauma they were going through.

The crew member explained that they had been stuck on the ship for two months and they are still not sure when they will return home, as they continue to await feedback from their company. She has reached out to the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Cape Town, pleading for help as a result of her stress.

A crew member, who wished to remain anonymous, currently aboard the Island Princess said that Princess Cruise line were doing their absolute best.

“We work for an incredible company Princess Cruise line, who are literally going to the ends of the earth to try and repatriate their staff to each and every crew member’s respective home. They have been met with the most challenging task of getting their employees home while virtually every government has shut their borders and many are even turning their backs on their own citizens,” said the crew member.

The person informed Cape Town Etc that currently, the ship consists of only staff and crew who are trying to get home. Coming from Miami, the Island Princess has been out of operation for 2 months. They have been stuck at sea due to closed borders.

With respect to why they stopped in Cape Town’s harbour, the person said that citizens were indeed being repatriated. “Most of the crew are from various Asian countries, and South Africa from 4 different ships in Miami were collected and placed here to repatriate us. The rest will continue on to India, Philippines and other countries. Unfortunately they all have to wait while our COVID tests are being done. They all want to get home to their families too.”

“SA will technically be our first stop with regards to actually docking and receiving supplies. But only South Africans will get off.”

The crew member said that COVID-19 tests were done yesterday and that there are about 100 South Africans waiting for their results. Once received, the crew can disembark and be taken to a quarantine facility for 14 days.

Here are some photos of the ships taken from Milnerton:

Cape Town Etc reached out to the Cape Town Harbour for comment but did not hear back in time of publication.

Picture: Instagram / shipspotterct

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