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TNPA > Our Ports > Saldanha > Functions

Saldanha : Functions

Port Control / VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) Centre

Channels 11,12 14 & 16 are available, 29 Mhz and ChA, radio tel. 2182.

The estimated time of arrival of a vessel destined for Saldanha should be confirmed by calling the Port Control on Channel 16; 48 hours, 24 hours and 12 hours then again at least four hours before that arrival time.

Thereafter when the vessel is in a position 12 miles from the pilot boarding station, again call Port Control to receive pilot boarding time and final berthing instruction.

A telephone is compulsory for tankers and is placed on board immediately after docking.

Navigation and docking

Navigational services are offered by the Port Control centre on a 24-hour basis. Communication is effected by VHF recognised marine frequencies.

Vessels which load to 21,5 m draught must, when sailing, have at least 1 metre on the tide gauge when passing down the channel.

Incoming vessels with a draught of over 19,5 m must have the equivalent of the excess over 19,5 m on the tide gauge when turning in the basin. If the tide is ebbing, the pilot will decide whether there is sufficient time for the operation to be completed safely.

Vessels docking with a draught in excess of 14 metres are handled in daylight hours only.

Vessels with draught over 19 m, movement is tidal and daylight only. NB: Ships smaller than 100 000 DWT are docked port side to, on east or west. Larger vessels are docked bow to sea.

Under normal conditions the typical tanker will be required to put out 6 lines each end, 4 breasts and 4 springs. A launch will assist in running the longer lines.


After boarding the vessel upon completion of docking, a single officer will handle the formalities for customs, immigration and port health. The documents and papers normally required are: 5 crew lists, 1 store list, 1 crew effects list, 1 animal list, 1 health narcotics list, 1 passenger list, 1 maritime declaration of health, 1 DA5 list of sealable goods. The following must be available for inspection:

  • Safety radio certificate, load line certificate.
  • Safety equipment certificate International or pollution prevention certificate, de-rat certificate.
  • Light dues are paid at the first South African port and are valid for one month.


A fast pilot launch with radar and VHF operates at Saldanha. Pilotage is compulsory. The pilot rendezvous position is located in a position with North Head Light bearing 058 degrees (T) x 5,0 nautical miles. Tankers should stay 6 miles off and south of the 080 degree line before boarding. Pilot ladders must comply with SOLAS regulations. The ladder must be a clean pilot ladder, well secured and clear of obstructions or discharges. The ladder must have the following:

  • 2 bulwark or rail stanchions,
  • 2 separate man ropes of manilla free of knots, with diameter of about 25 mm and of sufficient length and well secured,
  • spreaders to ensure the ladder cannot twist,
  • a lifebouy with line and safety light.

The ladder and immediate area must be adequately lit at night. During boarding or disembarking, a ship’s officer and at least one deckhand should be in attendance. All vessels with a freeboard in excess of 9,0 m must have an accommodation ladder rigged in conjunction with the pilot ladder and man ropes must be provided.

The lower end of the accommodation ladder must not be less than 5 m or more than 9 m from the water. Pilot hoists are not acceptable at this port. Under certain adverse conditions it may be necessary for the pilot to board by helicopter. The master, in consultation with the pilot must authorise the agent to order a helicopter for boarding.

The operational limits are 46 m cloud height and 1000 m visibility. The recommended boarding positions are marked on the chart. Vessels in ballast are boarded in position 230 by 2 miles from North Head and loaded vessels in position 283 by 3,7 miles from South Head. For final boarding, consult Port Control.

Ballast requirements

Vessels must be sufficiently ballasted to permit safe navigation within the harbour. The following table illustrates the Required Actual Draught (Ballast).

Actual Draught (Ballast)
600 183 6,0 7,5
700 213 7,5 8,5
800 244 8,0 9,0
900 274 8,5 10,0
+900 +274 8,5 10,5

Too light a draught could well delay the docking of a vessel in windy conditions or prejudice her safety.

Vessel Berth Draught Service Remarks
All Anchor N/A Anchor Minimum 1 tug to stand by.
  Main +14,0 m Dock Daylight only. Turning circle to be used. Well – 2 m.
    17 – 19m Dock compulsory. 3 tugs to assist. 056° approach
    + 19,0m Dock compulsory. 4 tugs to assist. 056° approach
    + 20,5 m Load Only with Port’s permission.
    + 21,5 m All Maximum draught with 1,0 m water on Chart Datum.
Tanker Tanker +19,5 m Dock Minimum tide turning circle (Draught – 19,5 m).
  All N/A PLO From 18:00 local or when mean swell 1,5 m.
  All Loaded Sail Daylight only.
Bulk OBS N/A Sail 2 tugs when tanker alongside.
General MPT* N/A Dock At any side, 24 hr service.
  MPT-201 + 12,0 m    
  MPT-202 + 13,5 m Load Only with Port’s permission.
  MPT-203 + 13,5 m Sail  
  MPT-201 + 12,0 m    
  MPT-202 + 13,5 m   At any time
  MPT-203 + 13,5 m    
Trawler All N/A Docking Daylight only, 06:00 – 18:00 weekends, reefer + PPH.
      Shifting Daylight only, 06:00 – 18:00 weekends + PPH.
      Sailing Daylight only, 06:00 – 22:00.
* Multi Purpose Terminal       0600 – 1800 PPH.

Assistance e.g.tugs

Tug attendance is compulsory. Tugs will meet an incoming vessel about 1 mile to seaward of the entrance channel.

Three tugs (owned and operated by Transnet National Ports Authority) are stationed at the port for assisting with docking and undocking operations. The tugs have a bollard pull of 42 tons each and are maintained to the Department of Transport’s standards.

All tugs are equipped with radar, echo sounders, direction finders, radio telephone (SSB), VHF transmitters, fire- fighting and salvage equipment.