MSC Orchestra departed Durban on Monday 16 March for a five day-cruise, as part of its current season. The vessel did so after receiving confirmation from all authorized persons that the port was open and operating as normal. In addition, the vessel was cleared for departure by all relevant port authorities. After MSC Orchestra had already left Durban, on 18 March the South Africa government published new regulations to ban all passenger cruise ships coming from international waters at a number of ports.
MSC Orchestra has remained at sea during her entire cruise as the ship’s only scheduled call along her itinerary, a visit to Pomene in Mozambique, was cancelled. The vessel will not call anywhere before her final port of disembarkation, Durban
There are 3,337 people on board the ship; 2,408 passengers and 929 crew. The numbers include 2,366 South African passengers and 132 South African crew members. The gazetted regulation 3.2a does advise that the disembarkation of returning South African citizens and a permanent resident are allowed.
Approximately 99 per cent of the passengers on board MSC Orchestra are either South African citizens or foreigners with permanent residence in South Africa and who live in the country. There are no foreign nationals on board who have travelled from a high-risk area in the last 14 days.
All passengers and crew are in good health. There have been no cases of any passenger reporting to the Medical Centre with any flu-like symptoms during the ship’s time at sea since she set sail on Monday.
Since January, MSC Cruises has strict preventative measures in place to screen all passengers and crew both in terms of their health and travel history, all of which would result in denial of boarding prior to the vessel’s departure. These measures are in place across MSC Cruises’ entire fleet, both prior to embarkation and along the cruise, and are in addition to deep sanitation measures both at the beginning and at the end, as well as during the cruise.
Finally, the vessel has submitted to the relevant authorities a disembarkation plan that will only permit 100 passengers at a time to disembark from the ship in order to comply with regulation preventing more than 100 persons from gathering in a seaport precinct. Once they have cleared Port Health and Immigration, passengers will leave the terminal and the next 100 passengers will be disembarked until the ship has been completely disembarked.
MSC Orchestra with this cruise officially ends her current season in South Africa.