The Queen Mary 2, a cruise liner that had more than 1 200 passengers on board, has left South African shores after dropping off six locals and replenishing its supplies.
Transnet National Ports Authority acting chief harbour master Captain Sabelo Mdlalose confirmed the departure of the vessel at 07:00 on Thursday.
The ship was docked outside the Port of Durban after requesting clearance to berth and receive supplies.
"Approval was granted on Tuesday by the Department of Transport and the port health unit of the Department of Health allowed the vessel to dock, refuel and allow six crew members to come ashore," Mdlalose said.
The six, who included one person from Gauteng, two from KZN, two from the Western Cape and one from the Eastern Cape, were among 1 226 people on board the cruise liner.
The ship's line, Cunard, announced this month it had ended three international voyages early in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The cruise liner was already on its way to South Africa when the government announced a ban on cruise ships effective from 18 March.
Due to the national lockdown, none of the ship's other passengers were allowed ashore.
"The six South African crew members were among 27 on board, including passengers and crew who were tested for Covid-19 after presenting flu-like symptoms or encountering symptomatic individuals on board," Mdlalose said.
The test results of 27 people came back negative. However, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the six South Africans would be required to self-quarantine for 14 days as a precautionary measure.
He added the Port of Durban was expecting one more ship, the Holland America cruise ship, Amsterdam, on Sunday.
"Officials are in communication with the vessel's agent and master to determine how it will be managed and any measures that need to be put in place."
Thus far, the authorities have tested individuals on various ships since 16 March including the AIDAmira on which six passengers and two crew members tested negative for Covid-19.
The test results of 13 passengers on board the Arcadia, which docked in Durban on 26 March, all came back negative.
Two individuals on board the MSC Orchestra, which was at sea from 28 February to 13 March, tested positive for the virus.
Mdlalose said they were working with health officials to trace the passengers.
Stay up to date and stay healthy. Subscribe to Health24’s Daily Dose newsletter for important updates on the spread of the coronavirus. Register and manage your newsletters in the new News24 app by clicking on the Profile tab