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TNPA > Our Ports > East London > Vessel Reception Facilities
Tidal range: 1.67m (Highest Astronomical Tide is 2.04m)
Weather forecasting service:

Weather forecasting is provided by the SA Weather Bureau and on Channel 26 VHF

a weather monitoring systems - IPOSS -  which is maintained by the CSIR, has been implemented by the Port.

Pilotage (Private or part of port)

The Port of East London is a compulsory pilotage area in terms of Port Rules and this service is provided by the port authorities. Masters of vessels less than 70.0 meters  LOA mya apply for pilotage exemption. Pilot ladders must comply with SOLAS regulations.

 All vessels with a freeboard in excess of nine meters must have an accommodation ladder rigged in conjunction with the pilot ladder. Man ropes must be provided. The pilot boarding area is approximately two nautical miles north-east of the main breakwater. The port has two fully equipped tugs and a pilot/work boat to provide assistance in the handling of ships.

Towage (Private or part of port

Tug attendance is compulsory for all vessels entering and leaving the Port of East London. There are two Z Peller tugs and one Twin Screw Workboat/Pilot Boat. The former have a bollard pull of 43 tons and are maintained to Class VIII standards.

 The pilot/workboat has a 19 ton bollard pull. Tugs are equipped with radar, echo sounders, direction finders, radio telephone (SSB), VHF transmitters, and fire-fighting and salvage equipment. The Z Peller engine output is 2950 kW and its maximum speeed 12 knots, while the Twin Screw engine output is 1044 kW and its maximum speed is 11 knots. Towage is provided by the port authority.

Communications: System & Channel

East London Port Control is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The calling frequency is VHF Channel 16, thereafter general communication is carried out on VHF Channel 12.

A world class Port Control Centre situated on Signal Hill, supplies relevant information to ensure the safe navigation of vessels through areas of high-density traffic, channels and the approach to the port. Port Control plays a significant role in the dissemination of information within and around the port and is the core of the information chain with the excchange of information between vessels and the wider port community. Vessels calling at the Port of East London are required to call Port Control when they are 10 miles from the port, thereafter when they are 4 miles from the port.

Ship repair facilities

Ship repairs are undertaken in the East London Graving Dock which has a docking length of 200 meters. In cases of emergency, a docking length of 210 meters can be obtained by placing the caisson in the emergency stop at the entrance.

Private contractors undertake repair and maintenance.

A repair quay of 106 meters is available adjacent ot the dry-dock.

Facilities include:

Floodlighting of 24-hour working, compressed air shore power, fresh and salt water, telephone lines, ablution facilities.

The dock is equipped with:

2x15 ton electric cranes

1x5 ton electric crane

1x4 ton electric crane


+ Overall Docking Length                               200,0m

       (210m in emergency cases)

+ Length on Keel Blocks                               193,1 m

+ Length on Bottom                                       198,5 m

+ Width at Coping                                           31,2 m

+ Width at Entrance Top                                27,2 m

+ Maximum Width at Bottom                          22,9 m

+ Depth over Entrnce Sill at MHWS               10,2 m

+ Depth over Inner Sill at MHWS                    10,2 m

+ Maximum beam of vessels                          24,8 m

Tariffs of drydock charges, can be downloaded from our website.

Bunkering and supplies Fuel and gas oil are available by road tankers.

Custom formalities









Customs officials have easy and quick access to the port. They are responsible for the customs clearance of ships and import/export consignments.

Requirements of the Agent to the collected at vessel and handed in at Customs.

  • Port requirement list
  • Two crew lists
  • List of narcotics on board
  • List of ship's stores
  • Crew personal effects declaration
  • Customs form DA5
  • Ports of call
  • Livestock list

Contact details:

+27 43 722 4841

Price settings

Port tariffs, applicable to all South African Ports are published in an annual tariff book

which is available on our website.

Health formalities

The Port Health Services office is in close proximity with relative easy and quick access to the Port.

They are responsible for the health clearance of ships, overseeing of general environmental health in the port and on board ships including the control of imported health risk consignment. Masters of vessels are urged to supply fully information with respect to health conditions on board and if any uncertainty exists to contact Port Health for guidance.

Strategies are in place to deal with any diseases such as the recent H1N1 virus.

Port Health requirements include:

  • Marpol Waste Disposal Certificate
  • One Maritime Declaration of Health
  • One vaccination list
  • Full crew list
  • Ports of call
  • Valid de-rating exemption certificate
  • All international vessels must apply for free pratique.

Radio advice to and request for free pratique from port health authority is direct via East London radio.

Free pratique should be requested 48 hours prior to arrival of a vessel, providing the following information:

  • Name and nationality of vessel
  • Last port of call
  • Date of departure
  • Destination
  • Health conditions on board
  • Number of crew and passengers
  • ETA (Date and Time)

Port health will cable a vessel directly, either granting pratique or requesting further details. No person may board or disembark the ship prior to clearance given by Port Health Authority.

Contact details:

+23 43 7222988 

Security Compliance

The port is ISPS certified and operated on ISPS level one.

Port activity is monitored by a comprehensive CCTV network encompassing cameras monitored by a security control room.

All access points are manned 24 hours and a strict permit system is in place for port users and visitors. All terminals are ring-fenced and access to these terminals is controlled.

Environmental formalities

Only authorized waste service providers are permitted to operate in the port for the removal of slops and galley waste.

All vessels arriving in South Africa from international or national waters are required to submit an all inclusive and fully completed Ballast Water Report and comply with relevant parts of IMO Guidelines.