Port of Mossel Bay
Located halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth is the Mossel Bay Port. Although this port doesn’t see much commercial activity, it is home to the fishing and oil industry. The oil industry started in the 1980’s with the Mossgas Project. Mossel Bay Port is the smallest commercial harbor in South Africa, but is evident that in the port’s history many seafarers made use of this port for watering and for posting letters home to loved ones. The Post Office Tree, an old tree with a cleft in it, was used as a primitive post box. Today this tree is a landmark of Mossel Bay.
There are two mooring buoys just offshore, but still within the port limits. One is utilized as a marine tanker terminal and the other is used by feeder vessels. Pilotage is enforced at the Mossel Bay Port, from 2n miles, and the entrance channel is at a depth of –8m. Vessels up to 130 meters and a 6.5 draught can be accommodated inside the harbor, and vessels up to 200 tonnes can make use of the slipway for repairs. Repairs are done to who ever is there first, and berthing is subject to weather conditions.
The Mossel Bay Port has a tug boat named Arctic Tern, and a mooring launch, Snipe, that is commonly used to transfer crew and as a pilot boat. The port handled 2323 vessels during the 2005/6 financial year, of which 1 643 were South African trawlers.
As the Mossel Bay Port deals mostly with fishing and service craft, it has a restrictive, somewhat primitive infrastructure. The fishing industry is extremely important to the local community of the Southern Cape. There are numerous oil rigs operating off the coast of Mossel Bay, and the oil industry is increasing in this area. Therefore, the Mossel Bay Port provides this industry with a diving service, to inspect craft for any damage, salvage, cleaning and any other related service, in regard to maintaining these craft. Stevedoring and bunkering are also available.
Even though the Mossel Bay Port is not popular for commercial traffic, it remains an important port for the oil industry and the local community who make their living from fishing.