23 Mar 2018

Breaking News: Richards Bay & Durban, South Africa - Suspension of Helicopter Operations for Marine Pilot Transfers

by Tony Edwards, Partner, Durban,
Practice Area(s): Shipping & Logistics |

The Richards Bay Harbour Master has circulated a Port Information Update regarding the use of the port authorities’ helicopter for Marine Pilot transfers.

According to the Harbour Master’s update, the Richards Bay helicopter is undergoing planned maintenance from 15 March 2018 to 25 March 2018.

The Richards Bay Harbour Master has further advised that on 20 March 2018, the manufacturer of the port helicopter issued a bulletin providing for an emergency crack inspection to be conducted immediately on its helicopters in use around the world.  All its helicopters were to be grounded until completion of the emergency crack inspection and any repair.  Upon inspection of the helicopters in use at Richards Bay and Durban, the suspected cracks were found on both helicopters.  Replacement parts are on order and delivery is expected in three weeks’ time.  The helicopters are expected to be back in commission by 13 April 2018.

In the meantime, the pilot boat is available as a primary Marine Pilot transfer craft at Richards Bay, with a work boat available as a backup craft.

As pilot boats are obviously slower than helicopters for Marine Pilot transfers, and more sensitive to the weather, some berthing delays can be expected at Richards Bay and Durban until the helicopters are back in use.