Port of Saldanha Bay
South Africa's Port of Saldanha Bay is the largest natural anchorage in South Africa. Located just 60 n.miles from Cape Town, Saldanha Bay's port plays a large role in the iron ore industry.
Back in 1601 Van Spilbergen, a Dutch explorer came to Saldanha Bay. Had there been fresh water at this brilliant natural harbor, Saldanha may have taken Cape Town’s place as a major port. Only in recent years has Saldanha’s port been developed and modernized so as to enable the export of iron ore from South Africa’s Northern Cape Province. A railway line, called Orex, was built to the Shishen mines, stretching a distance of 800km. A deepwater jetty was also constructed at the port of Saldanha Bay to handle the Capesize ore carriers. The nearby Saldanha Steel Mill has received the commission to export manufactured steel.
The port of Saldanha Bay is located at Logitude 17º 58′ E and Latitude 33º 02′ S and operates for 24 hours of the day. The bay receives some protection from the 3.1km man-made breakwater. The port encompasses a total area of 18 300 hectares. Saldanha Bay’s port is able to handle vessels up to 20.5 m drought. The entrance is at a depth of -23m Chart Datum following dredging. Pilotage of ships is compulsory. Tugs must be used for ship working. The port of Saldanha Bay has a 3 strong tug fleet. Saldanha Bay operates with a 990m jetty where you will find 2 iron ore berths. These berths are joined to the shore via the breakwater. The multipurpose quay measures 874 m and deals with breakbulk cargo such as steel coils, pig iron, mineral exports, anthracite, steel pellets and coal. Ending of the jetty is a 365m tanker berth. The port of Saldanha Bay has a complete diving serve to inspect ships; however, ship repair is chiefly limited to fishing vessels. Also located at Saldanha Bay is the NSRI sea rescue base and a yachting marina.
As the port of Saldanha works under open sea conditions it is important to consider wind and swell. In the winter Saldanha can be impacted by heavy spells causing ships to break lines. In extreme weather ships are removed from the berth and anchored at sea. The Port of Saldanha certainly plays a vital role in a major industry for South Africa.