Mandela Bay’s port managers provide assurance on Ebola virus

OCTOBER 10, 2014

The port managers of the ports of Port Elizabeth and Ngqura, Rajesh Dana and Mpumi Dweba have issued a statement providing an assurance with regard to the Ebola Virus.

They state that Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) “is aware of the Ebola threat and can confirm that it is working closely with all relevant state organisations to ensure that there are procedures in place to monitor and control the access of communicable diseases through South African ports”.

The port managers point out that when ships arrive at anchorage outside a port it has “always been a legal requirement for all ship captains to report any illness on board to port health authorities”.

They add that the responsibility lies with these officials and doctors “to decide if the ship is cleared to enter the port. This is relayed to port control and then the ship is brought in by the Ports Authority.”

TNPA Chief Harbour Master Rufus Lekala explains that “should there be a concern of crew suspected to be suffering from a communicable disease on board a ship, port health authorities will put in place controls and measures required to contain it.

“Should a captain report that he suspects a case of a communicable disease, for example Ebola, on board, the ship would be quarantined outsider the port for seven to 14 days until the suspected case has been confirmed as clear.” He added that so far “there has been no reported case of Ebola in the South African port system”.

A report to the Safety and Security Committee meeting this week from the Nelson Mandela Bay Emergency Coordinating Committee said that the Port of Port Elizabeth had been placed on “high alert,” for the Ebola Virus.

Senior Management Disaster Officer in Nelson Mandela Bay Thomas Cameron told the committee that all services, including private ambulance services, “should be aware of how serious the situation is with regard to the Ebola Virus, because some vessel might be carrying the infection”. - metrominutes

 

CAPTION: Port Elizabeth harbour. IMAGE sourced from www.roomforafrica.com