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Latest Report On Port Of Aden

By doina — last modified Mar 08, 2005 12:54 PM

Published: 2005-03-08 12:54:00
Countries: Yemen

We arrived from the Maldives late in the evening, and we called Aden Port control about 10 miles off, at first they were difficult to obtain, but after repetitive calling they answered on channel 16. 2182 saw absolutely no traffic at all. They told us to call them again when closer to the port. This we did when we were about 1 mile off the pilot station, this being about 9pm. Going by the pilot book and charts that I had, the entrance was well defined.

The Port control told us to proceed into the harbour at our own pace, and to call them once we were passing their control tower. As we had limited fuel (one week of doldrums in the gulf of Aden) we continued sailing in. We finally passed their tower about 11:30pm and motored the rest of the way to the yacht anchorage.

Note, there is no sign of either wreck on either side of the fairway that are marked on the chart, no buoy or marker of any sort. Therefore it seems that these wrecks have either been cleared or are invisible obstructions to be aware of. The wreck that is just before arriving at the yacht anchorage of Prince of Wales wharf remains in place.

We finally arrived at 1am at the wharf and as we had a friend waiting on the dock we went to meet him. He was permitted to enter the wharf area without any problems. He had been chatting with a local who of course took us under his wing the moment we arrived and guided us to the immigration officer. This building around the back of the wharf, was a cowboy western looking office (on our last day they moved into a new typical white cement block house building alongside their old office). Although they are supposed to be a 24hr operation we ended up waking the officer, but with the friendliness normal in Arab countries he welcomed us in, and formally signed us in. Crew change and everything else we completed the following morning. A little present of course was asked for.

The following morning we completed all formalities, this included immigration blue form of arrival. One photocopy of each passport with one photo attached. A letter written by the captain if any crew change is required. One copy of the crew list. At customs one copy of the crew list and a form to be completed. The Harbour police also required one copy of the crew list.

Nothing further was required, and no fees were due, presents of course were expected.

Immigration held on to the passport of the crew members, and shore passes were issued. You could retain your passport but it made leaving and returning to the wharf extremely difficult. Whereas with the shore pass it was a matter of them taking the shorepass number, you telling them your name, country and boat name. They were always very courteous and if anything lax about the procedures.

Omar the taxi driver was present, and helpful as ever. We used his services and were happy with his help. He especially helped us in locating a Yanmar dealer for a spare part we urgently needed for our engine. Omars mobile number is: 738 68 127

We did not stop off at the Sailors club, as it did not paint a pretty picture from the outside. Showers and toilets were available on the wharf reserved especially for yachts. We did not use them, so cannot say much about them.

For water we were allowed to come alongside and connect to the tap on the wharf. This incurred a flat charge of 3 dollars. I believe this was if we did not use more than 600L. We needed about 350L. For fuel we moved to the bunkering dock nearby. This was an involved process as ever. Once docked you had to see one person in charge who completed a form with the projected maximum amount of fuel you thought you needed. Then you go to the other building across the yard to pay for the projected amount. You return to the first person, who gives the go ahead to the control room to start pumping. Back on the yacht they come with their fairly large hose and fill the boat in 3 secs. You return to the first person, who writes a note with which you head back to the cashier who returns the excess money. All cash flow is in US dollars.

LPG gas filling we had Omar do for us, as we were told this had to be done at a location outside of town. Here I am sure we were ripped off as Omar charged us US$19 for the filling.

For departure we only had to pass by the immigration who completed a form in Arabic which we had to take to the Harbour control. A green building up on the hill. There they issued us with a clearance certificate, this we had to present to the immigration officer who then cleared us from their computer. With that we left.

I made a query with the Immigration boss as to the possibility of leaving the yacht there for a time. He said this would be no problem they would station a guard to look after the boat.

Our joining crew member came with a direct flight (Yemeni Air) from London to Aden, on board a brand new plane. Our departing crew member had to catch his plane from Sa'na and thus caught an overnight bus. To be able to travel with this bus he needed a permission from the Police. He luckily made photocopies of this permission, because at the first checkpoint they already wanted to keep the original. He managed for them to be happy with a photocopy.

All in all I recommend Aden as a stop, even though not a tourist stop, they have everything required to reprovision, and is an interesting town that will keep you entertained for a couple of days. Yemen in itself of course is a spectacular country well worth a visit.

Happy sailing, Tim Gorter

S/Y J'Arrive