Latitude 33 ° 02’ S, Longitude 17 ° 58’ E Salinity = 1 025
Situated on the west coast of Africa, 60 nautical miles north-west of Cape Town, the port of Saldanha is the deepest and largest natural port in Southern Africa and is partly protected by an artificial breakwater.
The land and sea area covered by Portnet jurisdiction totals 18 300 hectares with a circumference of 91 km.
The Port of Saldahna is the only iron ore handling port in South Africa. Proper management of a synergy between (Transnet National Port Authority) management and Spoornet (Orex) management has ensured reliable connection between the port and the iron ore mines at Sishen (some 860 km north-east of Saldanha). The port also serves base metal mines, an adjacent heavy minerals smelter as well as the crude storage facility near the port.
Originally constructed during the early 1970’s to facilitate the export of iron ore, bulk crude oil and breakbulk terminals were subsequently added to the facilities in the port. Port facilities consist of a 990m long jetty with two iron ore berths and one crude oil berth joined to the north shore of the harbour by a 3 100m causeway.
In addition, a 874m multipurpose terminal quay, facilitates break-bulk cargo handling. The iron ore and oil jetties are fendered with Yokohama pneumatic (floating) fenders of 3,3m in diameter and vary in length from 6,5m to 10,6m, whereas the multi-purpose terminal quay is fendered with tyre fenders.
Also within the port area are the SA Navy Base, SAS Saldanha, and a fishing harbour which is administered by the Department of the Environment.
The Port of Saldanha is operated on a common-user basis. All activities within the port limits are governed by the Harbour regulations and charges are as per the Port Tariff Book. The pilotage and tug services and infrastructure is the responsibility of the National Ports Authority. The cargo operations, bulk terminal and oil terminals are operated independently. Cargo handling is provided on a non-discriminatory basis and ships are served on a first planned first served basis. Tanker movements will be given priority.
This includes two ore berths. The jetty consists of twenty five caissons joined by a platform some 991.65m long and is joined to the north shore of the harbour by a 3100m causeway. The semi-automatic bulk handling facility is equipped with state of the art tippler of the Tandem rotary type capable of handling 170 t per tip at a rate of 8000 t/h. Bulk ore loading is effected by means of two luffing, slewing and travelling ship loaders, fed by two separate conveyor belt and intended to operate on a continuous basis at a loading rate of 8000 t/h for one loader and 15000 t/h two loaders simultaneously.
The Maximum permissible age of vessels scheduled for loading at BTS is twenty (20) years from ex dock-yard.
All Vessels between the ages of fifteen (15) and twenty (20) years will be inspected at least once a year.
Max Airdraft – 22 m
Min Beam – 32 m
Vessels less than 80000 DWT and/or vessels with Mast Poles will be permitted at the discretion of the Terminal Operator, whose written authorisation for such berthing is required
Min Hatch size 20m length and 14 m width
This facility has a capacity of three million tons. It includes three stockpiles, allowing two grades with a total available stacking area of 13 ha.
This includes 1 oil berth. Bulk crude oil is loaded/discharged by means of three hydraulic arms, placed 11 m apart on the jetty. The port amidships derrick/crane is required on berthing. Special spooling pieces are bolted onto the ship’s manifold to enable the arm to be attached. The maximum freeboard is 23.0 m. The arms have a limited ranging capacity and are fitted with audible alarms to warn of their limits. The storage tanks are about 8 km away. A discharge/loading rate of up to 10 000t/h can be obtained. The Surveyor, Discharge Advisor and Agent stay on board throughout discharge/loading.
MULTI PURPOSE TERMINAL
Consists of three berths. Concentrate Cargo for loading is trucked in by road in 12 t. skips towed by tractors.
All cargo loaded by ships gear – no fixed shore cranes are available.
GENERAL MAINTENANCE QUAY
This quay is used for fender maintenance, buoy maintenance and is available for other purposes on request.
This is administered by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and consists of:
- The Government Jetty, located on the south-western side of the Harbour (the northern end is derelict and not used)
- Slipway Jetty
- A Slipway is situated to the north west of the Government Jetty. The maximum dimensions of a vessel using this facility is 1200 t. maximum length 70m, maximum beam 11m and maximum draft 5m
- The Sea Harvest Jetty. (Private, on lease from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism)
SMALL CRAFT HARBOUR
Situated below the Port Control Building and is primarily used by harbour tugs and Fishing industry
Weather Affecting Port
The Port of Saldanha operates under open sea conditions. The wind and swell are always factors to take into consideration as they may affect operations.
Winter months: May, June, July and August, winds predominantly north north-east with rain.
Summer months: November, December, January and February, winds south-east in the mornings swinging south-west in the afternoon.
Saldanha Bay is periodically affected by heavy swells particularly in the winter months. (At spring HT swells can often exceed 7m as monitored by a devise moored in the entrance channel.) This can sometimes affect ships on the jetty causing them to see-saw on the fenders and break lines. In extreme cases ships have to be taken off the berth and go to anchor or stand out to sea. Ships should therefore not immobilise without written permission from the Port Captain and sufficient crew must always be kept on board.
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