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TNPA > Our Ports > Richards Bay > Functions

Richards Bay : Functions

Radio Port Control

The Port Control Centre is manned 24 hours a day. Channel 16 VHF is the calling frequency, with messages being passed on VHF channels 12. Vessels should radio Harbour Master, Richards Bay 48 hours prior to arrival advising ETA, draught, freeboard and reason for calling at the port. Note: The order of berthing will be done in accordance with the Marine Service Reservation System (MSRS).

Ballast requirements
Length Draught – fore Draught – aft
up to 250 m 2 % of length 3 % of length
above 250 m 2,5 % of length 3,5 % of length

The maximum permissible draft is 17.5m. Details of where ballast water was taken on board and the quantity taken must be forwarded to Port Control. (Telephone: (+27 35) 905 3444 / Facsimile: (+27 35) 905 3061). Any vessels unable to comply with ballast requirements should contact Port Control.

Port Health

Radio advice to “Port Health Richards Bay” should be directed through Durban Radio 24 to 48 hours prior to arrival advising ETA, last port, date sailed, number of crew, full inoculation and vaccination status, state of health of crew and requesting radio pratique.

NB: these are paid messages.


Tides: Maximum rise and fall of the tide = ± 2 metres.


The suggested anchorage is three to five nautical miles south-east of the south breakwater. Caution should be exercised in high south-westerly and north-easterly winds.

NB: ships have lost their anchors in the past.

Anchorage immediately to the north of the entrance channel is prohibited due to the location of an offshore pipeline
(Ref: Notice to Mariners No. 44/83).

Inner anchorage is for emergency use only.


Pilotage is compulsory. Marine Pilots are transferred to and from vessels by helicopter. A work boat is on standby should the helicopter not be available. International procedures for ship-helicopter transfer must be followed. Boarding points are determined by the Marine Pilot but will general be within an area of approximately three to five nautical miles south-east of the south breakwater. Pilot ladders must comply with SOLAS regulations.

Vessel Traffic Service

A world class Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) which supplies relevant information to ensure the safe navigation of vessels through areas of high-density traffic, channels and the approaches to ports, has been installed at Richards Bay.

Tug Assistance

There are three tugs, all having Voith Schneider propulsion units. Each tug has a bollard pull of 54 tonnes and is maintained to Class VIII standards. Tug are equipped with radar, echo sounders, direction finders, radio telephone (SSB), VHF transmitters, fire-fighting and salvage equipment. Engine output = 2 950 kW, maximum speed 10,7 knots.

Workboat/Pilot boat

1 x twinscrew boat of 17,5 ton pull. Engine output = 1044 kW and Max speed of 11 knots.


1 x Agusta ( A 109k22 HPS) which is used for the transfer of marine pilots to/from vessels.