Huge ship drops anchor at Coega - published 10 Jul 2012
THE Port of Ngqura’s true potential was tested yesterday when the largest container vessel to visit a South African port docked successfully at the Coega harbour. This was the second of two stops in South Africa. The ship first docked in Durban last week.
Arriving in the Bay at about 1 lam yesterday, the 131 771-ton, 363.5m MSC Sola was steered into the harbour by marine pilot Xoliswa Bekiswa and fully berthed at the container terminal by 2pm. Ngqura is designed to accommodate container ships of up to 397m.
Port representatives said the success of the operation was a good indication of the harbour’s potential for similar projects. "I believe today is a true translation of the potential of this port and its world-class infrastructure," acting Ngqura port manager Rajesh Dana said. Bekiswa manoeuvred the ship into the port with the aid of two tugboats, while two others remained on standby.
The ship was repositioned during this time, with the bow facing out to sea. Deputy harbour master Thulani Dubeko said this had been done to make the ship’s departure easier. "When you dock a ship, you always want to have the starboard positioned alongside the quay, so that the vessel can leave without having to reverse."
The ship will discharge 1 872 containers and load 3536, making this - at 5 408 containers - the largest load to be handled by a vessel at the terminal. The Sola leaves for Singapore on Wednesday.