DAR ES SALAAM: THE Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has described the arrival of the largest cruise ship, MV Norwegian Dawn, as strategic and confidence-inspiring for other ships of similar size to dock at the Dar es Salaam Port.
The arrival of the 294-meter-long ship, operated by the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), set a new record for the Dar es Salaam port.
With over 2,210 tourists aboard, the cruise vessel docked at around 6 am yesterday and is scheduled to depart later in the evening.
At a colourful event to receive the vessel at the port, Dar es Salaam Port Director Mrisho Selemani, speaking on behalf of TPA’s Director General Plasduce Mbossa, said the ship has a capacity to carry 4,700 tourists but arrived with 2,210 tourists and 1,000 crew members.
“There are things to be proud of here, one is that the Royal Tour campaign continues to bear fruit. These tourists are heading to Selous National Park and other tourist attractions in the country. As the port, we are happy that such a big-sized ship has arrived at the berth safely due to improved infrastructure at the port,” Mr Mrisho said.
He said for the port of Dar es Salaam, this was the largest ship ever to dock due to improvements in port infrastructure, including deepening the berths and widening the entrance channel.
“Our expectation is to serve ships with a length of up to 305 meters,” he said, thanking the government and TPA for the port expansion.
TPA’s Director of Marine and Port Operations, Captain Abdula Mwingamno, said, “Today we have witnessed the largest passenger ship to dock at the country’s ports.”
“The arrival of this ship is strategic for luring other ships of this size because it gives confidence that they will dock here at the Dar es Salaam Port safely,” Captain Mwingamno stated.
Captain Mwingamno and his team from TPA were the ones who took the ship from the entrance channel to the berth.
“When I took over from the ship’s captain, he was at first doubtful about the marine fenders at the port, but later on, he acknowledged that of all the ports he visited in Africa, Tanzania’s Dar port is the best.”
Marine fenders are used at ports and docks on quay walls and other berthing structures. They absorb the kinetic energy of a berthing vessel and thus prevent damage to the vessel or the berthing structure.
He said he encountered no challenges when steering the vessel to the berth. Since it is the longest ship, it occupied the space of two berths at the port (berths no. 2 and 3).
Captain Mwingamno, who is also a master mariner, added, “Three weeks ago, my team and I were in Germany where we did a simulation on sailing the ship through the improved entrance channel of the Dar es Salaam Port. We managed to steer the ship of up to 350 meters long to the port.”
The Managing Director of the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), Damasi Mfugale noted that the arrival of the largest ship with 2,200 tourists was a big boost for the tourism sector.
“We expect that in the coming one to two years we will receive more cruise ships. Marine tourism will further grow,” Mr Mfugali stated.
Speaking to the ‘Daily News’, some tourists from the ship expressed their feelings about arriving in Tanzania to see tourist attractions.
Mr Ken Orner, a tourist from the US, said it was his first-time visiting Tanzania, adding, “It’s a wonderful country.”
He said it was good for the port to accommodate such a big ship, saying having deep water for the ship to sail in is very good, as well as safety.
A total of 16 international ships were scheduled to call at the Dar es Salaam Port between Friday and Sunday last week, in addition to the 38 vessels that recently docked at the port.
A vehicle carrier, Dream Diamond, arrived on Saturday and departed on Sunday after unloading 2,500 cars, paving the way for another vehicle carrier, Sunshine Ace, which docked at the Ro-Ro berth yesterday afternoon with 1,500 vehicles on board.