Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced a total ban on cruise ships at all South African ports, effective 18 March 2020. These measures are in place to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This affects all leisure travelers. With effect from today, no cruise ships will be permitted to call into South Africa or will in any way be allowed to leave our shores,” said Mbalula.

The regulations also prohibit crew changes for all types of vessels as this is one point of possible contamination.

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Cargo ships will still be allowed into South African ports to load and offload cargo to minimise the adverse effects of the virus on the economy.

South Africa, as a member of the International Maritime Organisation, has a responsibility over the vessels that transits its waters. As such there will be cases when international ships will need emergency and medical assistance and South Africa has an obligation to assist, said Mbalula.

WATCH: Press briefing on Sea Ports travel ban