14th October, 2019
We arrived in Oran on a warm clear morning. The tug in Oran is compulsory, and we needed it to berth as it was a very tight turn onto the berth.
This was the first call of the Saga Sapphire to the Port of Oran and the harbour master had arranged to present us with a gift of a painting of the Port and City. We of course responded with presenting them with the Saga Sapphires plaque.
In Algeria, unless you have your own visa, you can only go ashore on an organised tour. Some of the passengers were amused that the coaches were escorted front and rear by police cars, and also there were ambulances in attendance as well. They take security very seriously after all the recent events and the number of refugees around.
We had a visit from the agent at around midday to inform us that we were flying the wrong flag. Somehow the flag makers had managed to get the symbols on the flag the wrong way round and an eagle eyed port officer had spotted this. Luckily we had another flag on board that was the correct way round and we changed it before the situation escalated.
When we came to leave Oran, there was a delay as the Harbour Master decided that we had to wait until the ferry berthed next to us had departed and this introduced a 1 hour delay.
Captain Richard Lambert
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