Cruise ship murder a 'stupid rumour'

2012-11-30 15:58

Cape Town South Easter

2012-11-30 13:33

Take a look at this video illustrating the full gale force effects of the South Easter in Cape Town.WATCH

Cape Town - Strong winds have shut the Table Bay harbour port for certain ships - resulting in a host of disgruntled MSC Sinfonia passengers stranded on board.

The luxury cruise ship was due to leave for Walvis Bay in Namibia on Wednesday but remains stuck until The Cape Ports Authorities declare the wind conditions safe enough for the three-storey vessel to exit the harbor.

Allen Foggitt, Director of Sales and Marketing for MSC Cruises says rumours that there has been a murder on board, causing its delay, are “just stupid.”

Foggitt said “There have even been rumours that MSC Cruises is insolvent. The Ports authority has closed it for Sinfonia and it has nothing to do with people dying. We’re holding thumbs to be able to get it out by this evening."

Transnet National Ports Authority spokesperson Coen Birkenstock said that from Wednesday afternoon, certain vessels had been halted from sailing because it was too risky.

He said two container ships, two break bulk ships, and a tanker were anchored within the port.

Three break bulk ships, two container ships, and two tankers were anchored outside the port and were waiting for the winds to subside so they could enter.

"The port is not closed. Certain ships are affected, depending on vessel type and characteristics. Every vessel is assessed on a case-by-case basis," Birkenstock said.

One of the vessels stuck inside the port was the luxury cruise ship, MSC Sinfonia.

"The wind speed is 65 knots (120km/h). It's been between 50 and 70 knots (93km/h to 130km/h) since Wednesday, which is absolutely gale force," said Mediterranean Shipping Company operations manager Rob McEwan.

Cruise liners were especially risky to launch because their height offered a lot of wind resistance. This was combined with a narrow pathway that had to be negotiated in and out of Duncan Dock.

McEwan said a few passengers had decided to get their passports stamped so they could leave the cruise ship. Regulations prevent them from getting back onto the boat. Most passengers, however, had remained on board despite the casino and duty-free shop being closed -- they are not allowed to operate in port without licences.

The South African Weather Service issued a warning for gale-force winds and veld fires on Friday.

According to a passenger’s comment posted on the MSC Cruises Facebook, a 35% discount on the next cruise booked before the end of Jan has been offered as compensation.

Following is an extract of other comments posted on the page. Are you on board the Sinfonia, why not post a comment below and tell us about it.

Duane Lightfoot @ Mark that is a decent deal I believe - if you are an MSC club member you can add an additional 5 - 20% on top of that.

Audrey Martheze Cresswell that’s how our first cruise from ct to Durban started it was a cooking hot day x meant to leave at 3 x then the wind pumped badly x we only left at 2 am next morn but we made the most of it x enjoyed ourselves Carl Kleinhans Not the Cape of storms for nothing guys. As I've said before, you can pick your departure date but not the weather. Being on a ship in stormy waters is NASTY!!

Zelna Van Tonder It is still an absolute pleasure to be on that ship - even if is still in the harbour. Just make the best of it.

Desiree Retief Harmse @ Carl Kleinhans ask me about a storm at sea. Last year on the Melody North Bound cruise going through the Straits of Gibralter was a nightmare. No one slept that night. It was one scary night that I do not want to experience ever again!

Marie Venter I am on board the cruise ship. If they were on time yesterday and we haven't had to stand in the sun for 3 1/2 to 4 hours waiting to board the ship we would have been able to leave in time to miss the winds.

Catherine Ann Roomes Not too bad sitting on the MSC Sinfonia in harbour at least we onboard and not

Tony Siepman we sailed from cpt to dur on opera 2 weeks ago water was also bad from cpt but what a great cruise everything was great thanks msc.

Johann Pieter Breytenbach @Jerome- as far as my knowledge goes it is cheaper to have a ship sailing than been in a harbour on moorings. Please find out and correct me if I'm mistaken. To everyone on board the SINFONIA, enjoy every minute of it. I'm embarking this grand lady of the sea on 07 December.

Neel En Ebin Let's hope pax understand that the ship doesn't bring the bad weather, in actual fact the port is closed and I don't think MSC pulls such strings....the wind was at 100kms, who in their mind will take over 2000 people out of port in such winds? Your safety in the hands of a capable captain and fortunately not in those of a brave moron. All of the best to the sa season!!!! It’s going to be good!

Mark Van Der Merwe @Neel - you work on the ship chicken ....... you not paying R13,000 to look at the docks from your balcony ...... if we not cruising cancel the cruise, let us get off and refund us in full

Wendy Loots I agree with Neel. I've been on Melody once. Sinfonia twice. The Captain puts the safety of passengers first. Mark - very sad that you think your R13000 is more important than your life. Just a small tip - next time - cruise in February. Weather is better then - going to Mozambique

Declan K Dyer Ultimately
; it’s up to the pilots to actually get the ship out safely. Give the ship a daredevil pilot and it will out faster than you can say Sinfonia.
Mark Van Der Merwe OK maybe a bit harsh ....... Just a bit pissed off right now. We need to know if we sailing or not. Apparently there will be a call at 14H00 on what is happening. Best I get up to the bar and have a dop.

Tougeedah Jacobs I can't wait for my cruise on the 10 Dec! I hope the wind will subside for you who are leaving today:).

Duane Lightfoot @ Mark and the rest of the passengers aboard, and I know it is easier said than done but try make the most of it , the ship is after all the destination and just be thankful you are not taking a flight - in similar circumstances you would be sleeping on the terminal floor bathing in the public toilets ;-)

Wendy Loots LOL good one Mark! Deck 12 has brilliant views and the bar service there is Brilliant!

Edwin Ross Went on a cruise from Durban to Portuguese Islands a couple of years back. Hit a storm/hurricane or whatever it was called. Heard that the wind speed was way in excess of 100km and the waves were close on 8m high. THAT was not fun!!

Margaret Lakay’s unfortunate about the wind but that's Mother Nature and no one can be held responsible for Gale force winds! So all those on board make the most of the facilities and stop moaning!!!!! I just hope that my trip to Mossel bay in January will be smooth sailing :-)

Mark Van Der Merwe
Latest Update : Not sailing today and may sail tomorrow ........ 6:15 - 7:15 today they gonna have drinks for free AND we get 35% discount on next cruise this season booked before end of Jan. So excited about that ...... NOT

Duane Lightfoot @ Mark that is a decent deal I believe - if you are an MSC club member you can add an additional 5 - 20% on top of that.

Tougeedah Jacobs Lol@ Wendy! My sister went last year on cruise and she was so seasick, but through it all she wanted to enjoy everything! I must tell her about the plaster on the belly button:)

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