The Durban Harbour – Port of Durban is the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa. Durban Harbour is a natural harbour that still resembles the original bay’s shape. Apparently Vasco da Gama, discovered the bay in 1497. Soon, it became a major point of access that was conveniently located between Algoa Bay and Maputo Bay.
The Durban Harbour – Port of Durban operates a fleet of tugs owned and operated by the National Ports Authority (NPA). Six of these are Schottel type with bollard pull between 34t and 41t – Umzumbe (ex Otto Buhr), Umsunduzi (ex Dupel Erasmus), Umvoti (ex Bertie Groenewald), Nonoti (ex Jannie Oelofsen), Inyalazi (ex Piet Aucamp), and Umhlali (ex Bart Grove). Some of these older tugs are in the process of being withdrawn from service to be replaced by newer Voith Schneider-propelled vessels. Later type tugs of a new series of Voith Schneider 49t and 65t bollard pull tugs which were built at SA Shipyards in Durban began to be introduced from 2001. The four stationed at Durban are named uThukela, Mkhuze, Pholela and Lotheni.