October 11, 2017 / 12:55 PM / 10 days ago

South Africa's Durban Port remains closed after severe storm

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s largest port remains closed on Wednesday after vessel movements were suspended when a severe storm lashed the coastal region resulting in at least eight deaths in the province, a port official said.

A container ship blocks the harbour mouth in Durban, South Africa, October 10, 2017 in this still image obtained from a social media video. BLUE SECURITY via REUTERS

The Durban Port manager Moshe Motlohi told Reuters it was still too early to assess the extent or costs of damages to sub-Saharan Africa’s largest port, which is a key transit point for commodities such as maize.

“It’s going to take a few days to access how much was involved in terms of cost,” said Motlohi.

Three vessels were grounded, containers had blown into the bay and mooring lines were broken in the channel in the Port of Durban on Monday, the Transnet National Ports Authority said in a statement.

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial officials confirmed on Wednesday that at least eight people had died as a result of the storm with further reports of missing people.

Motlohi could not estimate when the port would be opened again but said it is unlikely it will open on Wednesday.

Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Ed Stoddard

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