The Port of Cape Town is to get helicopter pilot transfer services to reduce disruption in heavy weather, the third port in South Africa to do so.
The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has made the decision following a successful trial in October last year of the service to transfer pilots to vessels via helicopter rather than boat. The introduction of helicopter pilot transfers services where studied due to the impact on the Port of Cape Town from weather-related disruptions and high swell conditions.
The TNPA expects to commission the helicopter in 2021.
Port of Cape Town Harbour Master, Captain Alex Miya, said: “We are extremely pleased to moving forward with a helicopter marine pilotage service at our Port of Cape Town after our recent successful test exercise in 2018 indicated that this is a viable service to offer here.”
The TNPA has an existing fleet of three ageing AgustaWestland (AW 109) helicopters and procured two new helicopters under a fleet replacement programme.
The Port of Cape Town will join Richards Bay and Durban in using helicopters for pilot transfer in difficult weather conditions. According to TNPA it believes just three countries worldwide offer such services.