Cyclone Dineo made landfall in Mozambique Thursday, killing at least seven people at the time of writing and destroying more than 20,000 homes. The tropical storm was upgraded to a category one cyclone just before hitting the country.
Dineo hit the country packing winds of 100 kmh (62 mph), and dumping torrential rain. Seas also built to at least 20-feet as she came ashore. The area worst hit was Inhambane, which is also home to the popular cruise island of Inhaca and Portuguese Island.
The cruise ship MSC Sinfonia was meant to be sitting at anchor off Portuguese Island Thursday, just as Dineo was due to come ashore. However, MSC Cruises decided to leave the island early, departing Wednesday instead of staying overnight at anchor.
The ship made a run down the coast of South Africa for Durban, reaching her top speed of 20-knots, according to the AIS tracking site Marine Traffic.com. MSC Cruises SA has not responded to a request for comment, but the move was likely taken in an abundance of caution.
According to reports from passengers, the ship’s lifeboats were tested by crew as they left the island, likely also as a routine precaution when faced with possible rough weather. The ship was hit by rough seas, but according to passengers, there was no concern and all on-board activities continued as normal.
MSC Sinfonia departed Durban again Friday bound for Portuguese Island once more, she sailed up the coast at 16-knots and arrived off the island 6am SA time on Saturday.
Although the weather is still likely ‘inclement’, it poses no danger as Dineo had been downgraded at the time of writing to an overland depression, veering north toward Zimbabwe.
Another cruise ship homeporting in South Africa this year is Silver Cloud, of the ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises. Silver Cloud was bound from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth at the time of writing, her cruise itinerary on the South African coast has been unaffected by the storm.
Editor’s note: Full disclosure, the pic used isn’t from the cruise in question, it isn’t even Sinfonia, its MSC Melody from an SA cruise several years ago.