Western Cape Red Tape Reduction Unit saves huge ship repair project

Most seafarers are happy to get into Cape Town Port.

But a foreign crew were only to happy to get out, eventually, after being stuck aboard a massive mining vessel during Covid-19 lockdown, according to the Western Cape provincial government.

The hold-up late last year almost scuppered a massive ship repair project in the Cape Town dry-dock worth millions to the local economy. A foreign crew of 44 were stranded aboard the De Beers Gariep vessel which had arrived in Cape Town on August 1. They were held up by complications related to international crew change procedures and immigration regulations.

However intervention for the Western Cape’s Red Tape Reduction Unit helped expedite the crew’s release — a precondition for the start of the repair job, according to the Province.  The Unit had already assisted De Beers with initial approval for the 112-day maintenance and refit project after concerns about Covid-19 workplace protocols.

“As the crew could not stay on board while the maintenance was being done but were needed on-site to sign off the maintenance upgrades, this caused further delays to the project and risked a cancellation of the project entirely,” said Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier in a statement issued late last month.  “The Red Tape Reduction Unit again assisted by convincing the National Joint Committee on Immigration of the importance of the economic value of the project and reassuring them that all workplace safety precautions had been implemented. The Committee issued a special clearance for the crew to disembark and the project was able to continue to completion on the 24 November 2020,” Maynier said.

He said the successful intervention had paved the way for two more ship repair projects scheduled for later this year.  It also proved the importance of fostering partnership between different tiers of government, and between government and the private sector, Maynier noted.

In the past financial year the Red Tape Reduction Unit had tackled over 1270 cases and achieved an overall resolution rate of 80%.

“And so, I would like to thank all stakeholders involved in the success of the Gariep mining vessel maintenance project, especially during a very challenging time,” Maynier said.

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