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Cape Town FAQs

How are bunker calls managed in Cape Town?

The port of Cape Town has 4 dedicated bunkering berths (Landing Wall 1 & 3 / Eastern Mole 1 & 2)  supplying marine fuel oil & gas oil, bunkers are delivered by pipeline and or either by bunker barge but only inside the port, the barge cannot operate at anchorage thus all vessels have to enter the port to replenish bunkers.
Joint Bunkering Services is a joint venture between BP South Africa, Caltex Oil, Shell South Africa and Engen Petroleum.  Consumers can choose which oil company they want to supply their fuel, while gaining from the economy of scale from the shared distribution system of the JBS.  JBS is a highly efficient operation, offering fuel and lubricants to its marine customers while working within stringent health, safety and environmental controls.
More than 80% of fuel oil supplied by JBS comes from Caltex Oil.  Caltex owns and operates a large modern 110,000 bpd refinery at Milnerton on the edge of the city, and this is connected with most parts of the port of Cape Town via 11km of pipeline and a barge.
BP’s operation supplies a wide variety of special lubricants for the maritime industry.  It is the only oil company to offer a bulk lubricant supply facility with resulting cost saving advantages.

Can we send ships spares to Cape Town?

ISS Cape Town can accommodate ships spares & cargoes via airfreight or sea freight through the use of our clearing and forwarding agents who are locally based and who are very experienced in handling all types of ships spares & cargoes entering and leaving Cape Town.

We can accommodate customers 24hrs and 7 days a week dependant on the requirements, we make use of sea freight for cargoes and mainly airfreight for ships spares and supplies.

Our closest airport is Cape Town International which is 20km away from the port or 15 minutes drive by vehicle.

We can arrange to supply suitable vehicles or trucks to deliver any types of spares to vessels inside the port facility; we only require prior notification of the following documents in order to make arrangements in advance and also to arrange clearance through Customs.

Copy of the Master Airway Bill

  • Copy of the Commercial Invoice
  • Copy of the Packing List

All ships spares must be addressed as follows for easy collection, clearance and delivery from and to the airport & vessel.


Master & Owners MV------VESSEL NAME
C/O Inchcape Shipping Services (Pty) Ltd
Block D, Ground Floor, Lagoon Beach Office Park
Boundary Road
Cape Town
Office Tel:  +27 (0) 21 522 8599
Office Fax:  +27 (0) 21 551 8618
Contact:  Operations Department

Notify parity:

Roedolf Muller
Clearing & Forwarding – Inchcape Shipping Services (Pty) Ltd
Direct Tel:  +27 (0) 21 522 8535
Office Fax:  +27 (0) 21 551 8618

Can we arrange Cash to Masters in Cape Town?

 ISS can arrange Cash to Masters to vessels in all the major South African ports, through accredited Security companies.  Cash to Master can be arranged to off port limits via launches.  ISS is not insured to carry Cash to Masters; hence we use reputable security companies, who have armed staff delivering the cash on board.  These security companies work with all the major banks.  They do charge a standard transportation fee for delivery of the cash to master.

Can crew changes be affected in Cape Town?

ISS South Africa specialized in crew changes with crew changes being done in all major ports in South Africa.  Crew change3s are done in Cape Town either once vessels are in port alongside taking bunkers or when they are engaged in cargo operations or at Off Port Limits using a launch.  Cape Town can also do crew changes via helicopter but this is weather dependant and the helicopter can only carry 750kg per trip at a rate of USD6200.00 per flying hour.  Details of the crew changes must be forwarded to ISS 3 day’s prior vessel arrival.  Theses details are required to process the “OK TO BOARDS” and letter of guarantees for on – signing crew members.  All off – signing crew must have firm and valid onward travel details.  All crew members on the vessel’s crew list must be in possession of a valid passport and valid seaman’s book.  According to the South African Immigration laws, port agents are no longer allowed to arrange visa’s on behalf of crew members, passengers, superintendents and visitors. These persons have to arrange for SA visas in their home country prior to arriving in South Africa as they do not form part of the official vessel crew list.

Can we arrange for underwater Hull cleaning in Cape Town?

Due to the South African Environmental rules, underwater hull cleaning is forbidden in South African ports.  Special permission can be granted for underwater hull cleaning at off-port limit anchorages but vessels have to strictly comply with the South African Maritime Association’s (SAMSA) rules and regulations.  It is not advisable to carry out this operation at Cape Town's anchorage because of the weather conditions where winds and swell can interfere with operations.

How are Off Port Limits handled in Cape Town?

Off Port limits are handled in Cape Town by launch service or helicopter dependant on the quantity of requirements, costs and weather on the day of the vessels arrival.  The launch and helicopter services in Cape Town operate 24/7, depending on the weather conditions.  Cape Town winter conditions can cause delays with swells and strong winds making conditions dangerous to operate at Off Port Limits.

Below please find relevant information for the launch boat during OPL calls at Cape Town:

  • The launch boat service used during OPL calls can be contracted on VHF Channel 16
  • Cape Town Radio also calls all vessels on the same channel
  • Cape Town Port Control can be contacted on VHF Channel 14
  • The rendezvous position is 7 Miles West of Green Point Light House
  • Co-ordinates are as follows:  Lat. 33d 51m S & Long.018d 14Me

What size vessels can call at Cape Town?

Cape Town has three (3) entrances and there measurements are as follows:

Container Terminal:  entrance depth – 12.80 meters / width – 180.00 meters:
Mainly container vessels calling at the basin

Commercial Basin:  entrance depth – 12.20 meters / width – 180.00 meters:
Mainly bunker, tankers, cargo vessels, repair vessels, fruit vessels, fishing vessels

V&A Waterfront:  entrance depth – 10.00 meters / width – 80.00 meters
Mainly fishing vessels and small Passenger and Naval vessels calling this basin

Fully laden Panamax, Capesize and VLCC vessels will not be able to call at Cape Town as their drafts will exceed the port restrictions.

Some vessels can call at drafts of 13.00 meters but then this will be tidal bound call and also permission would have to be obtained from the Harbour Master’s office.



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