Sea travel:what is allowed and not allowed

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This week Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced new transport regulations and directives that follow President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pronouncement of opening the economy and moving to Level 2 of the government’s risk-adjusted approach.

According to the regulations, sea travel is not permitted for leisure travel except for disembarking.

South African citizens and holders of permanent residence permits are advised to refrain from making use of international maritime transport or cruise ships.

Foreign crew changes are permitted only at the Cape Town Port and the Port of Durban with the below exceptions:

  • A request for crew changes must be completed by a shipping company at least 96 hours prior to the crew changes to the Department of Transport.
  • The crew must comply with all the travel and health protocols of the port of entry.
  • Crew changes may take place at port and off-port limit.
  • Signing-on crew may directly transit from the airport to the board and the vessel, if a layover is necessary, the crew must be quarantined, as per the port health protocols, at the employer’s cost and the name of the quarantine facility must be specified on the form.
  • Signing-off crew of a passenger vessel may directly transit to the airport.
  • Only in exceptional circumstances may the signing-on and signing-off crew be permitted to layover.
  • Cruise ships remain prohibited from calling at any of the South African ports, except for the disembarkation of returning South African crew, South African citizens or holders of permanent residence permits.