Passengers still aboard in Cape Town due to coronavirus quarantine

Geo Searcher's March-April 2020 Voyage

Reports from Cynthia Green and Fiona Kilpatrick

Arrival at Cape Town

Quarantine arrangements prevent passengers' disembarkation

The ship, with nine passengers aboard, arrived at Cape Town on Easter Sunday 12th April. In line with arrangements for all incoming vessels with passengers, MFV Geo Searcher was unable to enter port, but dropped anchor offshore in Table Bay for a standard period of quarantine as a precaution against introducing Covid-19 into South Africa. The vessel was allowed to dock on Thursday 16th April, but it is believed passengers must remain on board until Tuesday 28th April, when it is hoped they may be allowed to disembark.

Sean Burns' photo shows MFV Geo Searcher off Inacessible Island in January 2019
with Nightingale Island visible far right

Departure from Tristan

The MFV Geo Searcher backloaded cargo on Friday 3rd April and the following passengers boarded on Saturday 4th April 2020 at about 08.30: Craig Bergh, Thulani Mofu, Vivini Xambesi and Gavin Jack. The ship sailed for Cape Town via Gough Island at 9.15am the same day. The ship picked up five members of the Gough Restoration Team from the island on its return passage to South Africa, as the restoration project has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Arrival at Tristan

The MFV Geo Searcher arrived at Tristan at about 8pm on Friday 20th March 2020 and passengers came ashore safely during the morning of Saturday 21st March. Incoming passengers (all resident islanders) then entered a 7-day isolation period as an additional precaution against the possibility that they may spread coronavirus. All were well on arrival and the passage itself was over the expected seven day incubation period, which provides Tristan da Cunha with perhaps a unique built-in quarantine period. Nevertheless, the Tristan Government is taking the threat of coronavirus very seriously and another page will be published setting out procedures that have and will be followed.

Departure from Cape Town

The MFV Geo Searcher departed Cape Town on the evening of Friday 13th March 2020.

Passengers on board are: Islanders Sandra & Deanna Rogers, Gerald Repetto, Ricky Swain, Clive, Vera & Herbert Glass, Eugene, Kirsty, Aiden & Ella Repetto.