Ports Authority rescues stranded flood survivors

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Transnet National Ports Authority has rescued at least 80 people during the torrential flooding in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal.

The areas has received significant downpours of rain that have claimed numerous lives over the past few days and destroyed homes, infrastructure and businesses.

A statement from the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) reports that the people were rescued from “various flooded areas” using the ports authority’s helicopters.

Meanwhile, the department said operations at the Port of Durban have resumed gradually, “with ongoing risk assessments… to ensure the safety of employees and infrastructure”.

Operations – including shipping – were suspended also due to the heavy rains.

The department said shipping operations will recommence “once safety has been established for marine craft and vessel navigation”.

The DPE said it is working with several stakeholders, including Transnet, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and Eskom, to implement key interventions at the port.

“Priority interventions include repairing Bayhead Road, which is the main access road to the container terminals at the port and Island View, and investigating alternative access roads into the port while Bayhead Road is being repaired.

“There was a washaway of a section of Bayhead Road at the outfall of the Umhlathuzana canal into the harbour. Cargo which will be prioritised for evacuation from the port today includes food, medical supplies and petroleum products.

“Eskom is assisting the municipality to repair damaged infrastructure and electricity was restored overnight to the Island View precinct.  [Electricity] safety checks are being conducted before operations by customers can resume, as some customers’ facilities were damaged by the flooding,” the statement said.

According to the department, operations at the Richard’s Bay Port are continuing at a less efficient pace, with wet cargo presenting difficulties.

The DPE said Transnet’s rail operations in eThekwini are being assessed.

“Transnet Freight Rail is carrying out ongoing assessments on the rail network in Durban and surrounds to determine the extent of damage before any train services into and out of the port can resume. The North Coast, South Coast and mainline from Durban to Pietermaritzburg remain closed,” the department said.



Transnet uses A109 helicopters to transfer harbour pilots on and off vessels entering and leaving its ports.