Sinfonia welcomed with a disgusting wharf

2015-12-09 06:00

THE MSC Sinfonia is back in Durban to start the local cruise season. Bigger and longer, it’s all the better to stretch the girths of food and fun-loving South Africans.

On its long voyage from Genoa to Durban, the refurbished ship visited several little ports but, except for the Italian port of Civitavecchia where 11 cruise liners were docked on one day, none of them can compare to Durban Bay.

As you approach the city from the sea, the beach-front skyline looks imposing and as the ship enters the entrance channel the bay opens out, big and impressive. Only then do you realise what a gem of a natural resource we are endowed with.

The MSC Sinfonia entered the port at am. The stretched cruise liner was too long for the passenger terminal at N shed and had to dock at the adjacent M shed. And there to greet the ship were not the traditional Zulu dancers but South Africa’s national flower, the ubiquitous plastic, a pile of it floating alongside the wharf.

Some of it had been scooped from the water and left lying on the wharf. The Ocean Terminal looked unkempt and run down, much like a building in Africa. A lone worker with a spade was removing weeds and mud from the parapet while a group of port workers idled about watching the ship.

We had been to several ports en route and nowhere had we seen a dirty dockside. Port authorities had probably known for some time of the ship’s date of arrival, but had done nothing to tidy up the Ocean Terminal. Yet there is a dedicated pollution team whose job it is to keep the bay clean.

Durban Tourism wants to attract big-spending overseas tourists. There were over 800 foreign passengers on board and Durban missed a wonderful opportunity to give them a warm welcome. The tourists will not remember the beautiful bay and the city, but the pile of plastic floating next to the wharf.



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