Pre-arrival Information

Pre-arrival information requirements 

Pre-arrival information is required from foreign passenger ships, cargo ships of 500 or more gross tonnage and mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) on international voyages bound for South African ports, including ships calling Outer Port limits (OPL) at a South African port for the transfer of stores, crew, landing an ill crew member, offshore bunkering, and any interaction between shore and ship, etc.

Masters are advised to exercise care when drafting reports. It should be noted that in the format of the report field “B” is the time of making the report and field “J” is the ETA at the first port of call. There should be at least a 96 hours difference in the times.
Any vessel that will arrive at the Outer Port limits of the South African Port 12 hours later than its ETA on a Pre-Arrival Notification must submit an amendment to its Pre-Arrival Notification.

Any vessel that has not arrived at the Outer Port limits of the first South African Port indicated on the Pre-Arrival Notification within 108 hours (4,5 days) of submitting the PAN and has not submitted an amendment, will be required to re-submit a new PAN.
The report must be made at least 96 hours before the ship’s expected time of arrival (ETA) at the first South African port.If the ship is arriving from a foreign port where the voyage time between ports is less than 96 hours, the Master must ensure that the pre-arrival/pre-entry information is sent in compliance with the 96 hour requirement and amended when the ship clears the last foreign port.

An amended report must be made if:
- the ETA date for the ship changes; however, a change in time on the same day need not be reported; or
- there has been a ship-to-ship or ship/port interface after the original report was made; or
- any other information in the original report changes, excluding those noted in 11.1 and 11.2.

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town is the first point of contact for pre-arrival/ pre-entry information. The pre-arrival/pre-entry information report must be in English and in writing, and is to be transmitted to the MRCC Cape Town, (the first point of contact). The MRCC will only accept reports directly from the ship; no reports by voice communication will be accepted. The role of the MRCC is to scrutinise reports for correctness and completeness.

The preferred means of ship-to-shore communication for pre-arrival/pre-entry information reports must be by email and sent as an attachment (excel format) to the MRCC – Cape Town, the official email address is The email’s subject line to indicate the vessel’s name. 
This change in PAN communication process comes into effect as of 01 August 2016.

Masters are cautioned that failure to timeously transmit complete and correctly formatted pre-arrival/ pre-entry information may result in delays and, in appropriate cases, denial of port entry. Ships whose Masters refuse to give pre-arrival/pre-entry information will be denied port entry.

Masters, owners and operators are reminded that it is an offence in terms of the Marine Traffic Act, 1981, to anchor or stop a ship (for repairs or otherwise) in South Africa’s territorial or internal waters outside port limits without permission from SAMSA. Permission to anchor or stop may be obtained by submitting to the MRCC a pre-arrival information report together with a request to anchor or stop. The MRCC will forward the request to the local SAMSA Principal Officer for a decision.

A ship that has to anchor or stop in an emergency must inform SAMSA as soon as possible, but at least within one hour after anchoring or stopping. Masters are reminded that SAMSA has the authority, even in an emergency, to set conditions for anchoring or stopping.

For information about operations in South Africa contact GAC South Africa at

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