Port of Durrės, Albania

41°19'N 19°27'E

[Port of Durres - 20.3K]

[Durres Port - 13.6K]

Durrės, one of Albania's oldest cities, the country's main seaport and the second largest industrial center, lies on a small peninsula on the coast of the Adriatic Sea at the north end of the Bay of Durrės.  The Port, with 2,000 meters of quays with alongside depths varying from 7.5 meters to 11.5 meters allowing vessels of up to 25,000 dwt to berth, handles about 90 percent of Albania's international-maritime traffic at its 10 berths.  When AFOR arrived the port had a capacity of 8 ships per day. AFOR quickly established a Port Management Co-ordination Centre, in conjunction with civil harbour authorities, which planned and coordinated the flow of military and civilian vessels, as well as facilitating the management of the throughput of humanitarian aid.  This improved ship turn around times, allowing 12 to be off-loaded daily.  AFOR also improved the road network within the port area and established 120,000 square metres of secure storage and marshalling areas for equipment, containers and personnel.  This effort involved the reclamation of large areas that had previously been used to dump industrial by-products and scrap metal.

The Port of Durrës is located at the north end of the Bay of Durrës (Gjiri I Durrësit), an extensive body of water entered between Kala e Turrës (41°09'N 19°26'E) and Cape Durrës (Kepi I Durrësit) (41°19'N 19°26'E).  Cape Durrës is located approximately 1 nmi west of the Port of Durrës.  The city and its harbour is located on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea.

Anchorage for U.S. Navy and other deep draft ships can be made on a mud bottom in depths of 26-43 ft (8-13 m) approximately ½ nmi (0.9 km) south-southeast of Cape Durrës.  Although the harbor can accommodate ships as large as 4,000 tons, large U.S. Navy ships normally anchor out rather than occupy valuable commercial pier space.  Ships with drafts of 21.3 ft (6.5 m) or less can anchor east of the channel.  Local harbor authorities state that holding is good on a sand bottom, but ships may drag anchor in winds greater than 39 kt (20 ms -¹).

The seaward end of the initial approach channel to Durrës lies south-southwest of the harbor.  Small ships may not be required to use the channel for its entire length, but to avoid danger, all vessels should be in the channel by the time 19°24'E longitude is reached.  Lighted buoys, using what is locally called the "Yellow System," mark the final 2.1 nmi long entrance channel to the Port of Durrës.  The minimum width of the channel is 50 yd (46 m).  Because of hidden dangers, vessels with drafts greater than 21.3 ft (6.5 m) must stay in the marked channel.  Vessels with drafts of 21.3 ft (6.5 m) or less can enter safely by keeping all of the channel buoys on the port side of the ship until Buoy #1 is reached.  The controlling depth in the entrance channel is not exactly known because, as of a May 1998 port visit, it had not been dredged in recent years.  As a result, access to the Port of Durrës is limited to vessels with drafts of 26.25 ft (8 m) or less.