Probe gets underway into cause of Hartbeespoort Dam boat fire tragedy.

UPDATE 1 – Pretoria: 21 November 2016

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(Photo: Courtesy of NSRI)

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the South African Police Service Forensic Fire department are in the process of investigating the cause of the fire on board a cruising passenger vessel  that led to the death of four people at Hartbeespoort Dam north of Pretoria on Saturday.

In a statement on Monday, SAMSA said it would also from Monday start taking witness statements from all the involved and or affected parties, with its primary focus being on the cause of the fire.

SAMSA said: “The vessel, named Prime Time (DTD 1523 R), caught fire while cruising on the dam. The vessel is certified by SAMSA to carry two hundred passengers plus three (3) crew on board. Initial investigations indicate that the vessel caught fire in the after part (rear of the vessel) where the kitchen, the bathrooms and the outboard motors (engines) are situated.”

SAMSA said as of Monday, it could confirm that at least one person died reportedly after being trapped in the bathroom of the vessel during the breakout of the fire, and that three (3) others also lost their lives after a boat out to rescue passengers of the burning cruiser apparently capsized reportedly due to overloading.

SAMSA further confirmed that the vessel that caught on fire had a valid Local General Safety Certificate for the period from August 2016 to July 2017.

In the statement the organization added: “SAMSA and the Department of Transport also send their condolences to the families of the deceased following this tragic incident.”

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Hartbeespoort Dam boat fire tragedy, SAMSA to investigate

Pretoria 19 November 2016.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has launched an initial investigation on the cause of the fire on board a cruising passenger vessel at Hartbeespoort Dam north of Pretoria on the afternoon of Saturday the 19th of November 2016.

SAMSA will also be investigating the cause of death of 3 passengers who drowned and one who died on board the vessel during the fire, the organization said in a statement on Saturday night.

SAMSA said: “Initial indications are that the vessel named Prime Time, caught fire while cruising on the dam with two hundred passengers on board. According to the SAMSA surveyor who was at the scene, the vessel caught fire at the aft (the back of the vessel) where the kitchen, the bathrooms and the outboard motors (engines) are situated.”

As of Saturday night, SAMSA said it could confirm only that one passenger died after being trapped in the bathroom during the fire, and that “in an effort to rescue the passengers from the burning vessel one of the smaller vessels took on too many passengers and capsized, leading to the drowning and death of three other passengers.”

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National maritime sector skills development gathers speed

Curriculum for eight (8) new national maritime occupational qualifications completed in record time, now for SAQA ratification.

PUTTING PEN TO PAPER: Officials involved in the development of eight (8) maritime sector national occupation qualifications curriculum (From Left) Henry Maringa, Mrs Yolandi Raath-Booyens and Mr Victor Muhlberg during the handover of the qualifications curriculum to the Quality Council of Trades and Occupations (QCTO) in Cape Town this week.
PUTTING PEN TO PAPER: Officials involved in the development of eight (8) maritime sector national occupation qualifications curriculum (From Left) Henry Maringa, Mrs Yolandi Raath-Booyens and Mr Victor Muhlberg during the handover of the qualifications curriculum to the Quality Council of Trades and Occupations (QCTO) in Cape Town this week.

Cape Town: 17 November 2016

The reorganization and further development of South Africa’s maritime sector education and training now formally in its sixth year continues to gain impetus.

This was evidenced by the formal completion of yet another curriculum development initiative for eight (8) national occupational certificate courses in Cape Town this week.

img_3850Highly significant is that the curriculum development initiative, the second project of its kind driven by the maritime industry in collaboration with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) among others, began in May 2016 with an initial set of seven national maritime sector occupational qualifications, and was completed in under six months with eight courses – a record time.

This emerged during the formal signing off and hand-over of the developed qualifications’ curriculum documentation to QTCO officials at an event held Cape Town on Tuesday.

The eight national maritime sector occupation qualifications for which a new curriculum was developed include;

  1. Port Operations Master,
  2. Marine Electro-Technical Officer,
  3. Aids to Navigation Manager,
  4. Aids to Navigation Technician,
  5. Dock Master,
  6. Traffic Controller (Vessel Tracking System),
  7. Maritime Search & Rescue Mission Coordinator
  8. Diver (Commercial).
Mr Edward Pines, Senior Manager, Curriculum Development at South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence.
Mr Edward Pines, Senior Manager, Curriculum Development at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence.

According to SAMSA senior manager, curriculum development; Mr Edward Pines, the qualifications conceptualized and proposed by SAMSA consistent with the objectives of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) project, will once formally endorsed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), greatly enhance the position of holders both locally and for the African region, while providing international recognition.  (For Mr Pine’s full remaks Click Here)

However, more crucial to development of the set of qualifications, said Mr Pines, was the direct involvement and input of the country’s maritime sector industries, the critical guidance role played by the QCTO, as well as highly useful contributions by the TETA.

The QCTO is one of three national quality councils established in 2010 in terms of the Skills Development Act, with its role being to oversee the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF).

Officials attending the handing over newly developed curriculum for eight (8) national occupational qualifications for the the maritime sector education and skills development, being taken through a summary of the process by SAMSA Senior Manager, Curriculum Development, Mr Edward Pines at function in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Officials attending the handing over of newly developed curriculum for eight (8) national occupational qualifications for the maritime sector to the Quality Council of Trade Occupations, being taken through a summary of the process by SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence Snr Manager, Curriculum Development, Mr Edward Pines at a function in Cape Town on Tuesday.

The TETA on the other hand, established in 2000 in terms of the Skills Development Act (1998) fulfills the role of a quality assurer consistent with the country’s Skills Development Framework in eight subsectors of the transport sector that include Aerospace, Forwarding & Clearing, Freight Handling, Maritime, Rail, Road Freight, Road Passenger and Taxi Sub Sectors.

img_3782Essentially, the qualifications curriculum development team for the set of maritime national occupation qualifications comprised qualification development facilitators, learner qualification development facilitators, a team of Community Expert Practitioners as well as representatives of the respective organizations.

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Quality Council for Trade Occupations (QTCO) senior executive, Mr Mandlenkosi Ndukula

At Tuesday’s handover function, representing the QCTO and TETA – the latter a project funder and development quality facilitator – were several senior officials among them, Mr Mandlenkosi Ndukula and Mr Victor Muhlberg respectively.

Both described the process of development of the eight national qualifications, in record time, as an important milestone in the national effort for reorganization and further development of education and skills in the country’s maritime economic sector.

Mr Ndukula praised SAMSA for spearheading the process and for remaining involved in gallant efforts to ensure that the maritime sector’s education and skills development expanded exponentially also to the Higher Education and Training band in which Technical Education and Vocational Training (TEVT) colleges operate.

“The expansion of maritime education and training to this TVET sector will, without doubt, have positive impact in the upskilling of people,” he said.

[For Mr Ndukula’s remarks, Click Here]

Mr Victor Muhlberg, executive manager at TETA
Mr Victor Muhlberg, executive manager at TETA

Mr Muhlberg who said he’d worked closely with SAMSA for a number of years, described the process as indicative of the huge process to be achieved when there was greater collaboration among stakeholders.

He said the latest batch of eight qualifications had brought to 13 the total number of maritime sector full qualifications developed recently in addition to about 16 part-qualifications.

“We were signing off today the second batch of qualifications to the QCTO and from whom they will be taken over to the SAQA for registration in the National Qualifications Framework. It is a very big achievement and we are very proud of what we have done here,’ said Mr Muhlberg

For his full remarks: Click Here

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Ms Yolandi Raath-Booyens, Project Manager and Qualifications Development Facilitator for the maritime sector national occupational qualifications curriculum

Also full of praise for the high level of cooperation experienced by the qualifications curriculum development team and which greatly contributed to process speed, was Yolandi Raath-Booyens, a project manager and qualifications development facilitator.

She described the experience as ‘inspiring.’

She said the developed set of qualifications would benefit not just the maritime and marine transport subsector but also the country’s fishing subsector. This was in reference to the Commercial Diver qualification in three stages, Class 4 30m SCUBA Commercial Diver, Class 3 30m SSDE Commercial Diver, and Class 2 50m Air-Diver.

For her full remarks; Click Here

End

Vessels fires put out; investigation into their cause to follow

The MFV Verano, a Russia registered, South Korea owned fishing trawler that caught alight on Wednesday last week a the port of Cape Town has since had the fired put out.  An investigation into the cause of the fire is expected to commence as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
The MFV Verano, a Russia registered, South Korea owned fishing trawler that caught alight on Wednesday last week a the port of Cape Town has since had the fired put out. An investigation into the cause of the fire is expected to commence as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

Pretoria: 10 November 2016

A fire that consumed a Russia registered fishing trawler, the MFV Verano at the port of Cape Town for seven straight days has finally been put out, a joint operations team tasked with battling the blaze has confirmed.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) also confirmed that another flareup on the bridge of a vessel, the Da Yuan Yu, also docked at the port was also dealt with quickly and successfully on Wednesday afternoon. The cause of the fire on the second vessel had also not yet been established.

Meanwhile, a joint task team tasked with fire onboard the Verano which began last week Wednesday, reported that it had finally subdued the flames at about 6pm on Tuesday.

“All boundary cooling activities are discontinued, though fire services have been placed on standby for any emergencies.The vessel is still listing to starboard but remains stable. The appointed Salvors have fully mobilized on site. Daily operational meetings with Salvors continue. The cause of the incident remains undetermined at this stage. The port continues to operate as per normal, with the incident having no further impact on operations,” the statement said.

SAMSA had earlier said an investigation into the cause of the fire on the MFV Verano would get underway as soon as conditions allow.

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Russian registered fishing trawler in stable condition, with port operations back to normal at Cape Town Harbour – SAMSA in conjunction with TNPA reports.

Latest Update: 4.pm Tuesday, 08 November 2016

The MFV Verano, a Russian registered fishing trawler that caught fire at the port of Cape Town last Wednesday is still burning, and although listing, it remains stable. Its crew was reportedly safely evacuated.
The MFV Verano, a Russian registered fishing trawler that caught fire at the port of Cape Town last Wednesday is still burning, and although listing, it remains stable. Its crew was reportedly safely evacuated.

The  MFV “Verano”, a fishing trawler berthed at quay 703  at the port of Cape Town and which has been on fire since Wednesday last week,  is reported to have cooled down substantially, and that even though she is listing to starboard, she remains in a stable condition.

Shortly after the fire broke out,  five crew members on board were safely evacuated with no injury or loss of life and a Primary Joint Operations Centre involving the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) was established with a mobile incident command on site on a 24 hour basis.

Heavy plumes of smoke, believed to be coming from burning plastic packaging material and polystyrene stored in a fish hold within the vessel, covered the area as firefighters from the Cape Town Firefighting Department joined forces with tugs to try and extinguish the blaze.

A fishing vessel adjacent to the burning vessel had to be shifted to another area in the port and the Transnet temporarily shut down the container terminal operations.

The following day, Thursday the fire at the front of the vessel as well as the accommodation section had been contained but remained burning aft of the vessel due to the plastic packaging material onboard.

Plans were discussed to debunker the fuel onboard.

On Friday the fire was still emanating in number 2 fish hold and in the paint store located in the forecastle. This prompted plans to pump water out from the hull and open hatches to apply high expansion foam into the vessel.

Over the weekend the fire situation continued to be at a moderate condition and to secure the area, an oil boom was deployed around the vessel to prevent any pollution that could occur. By this time, Transnet Port Terminals Container Terminal was back to full operational.

On Monday this week the joint operations team reported further improvement in the situation with the vessel now substantially cooled down. It reported the vessel as still listing to starboard but  in a stable condition.

Early Tuesday  smoke still bellowed from the number one fish hold while boundary cooling continued on either side of the vessel.

In a statement during the day, it was announced that an assessment has been undertaken by a TNPA appointed Marine Surveyor and P&I surveyor while the vessel owners had also appointed Salvors, to help extinguish the fire, de-water and make the vessel safe.

Meanwhile, records indicate that the MFV “Verano”, a Russia registered but South Korean owned vessel, has been stationed at the port of Cape Town since October 2013 after it had reported for cargo discharge, thereafter berthed for repairs before uplifting bunkers after which it docked at quay 703 – its current position.

SAMSA is maintaining a close eye on the process and will conduct an investigation when once it is safe to do so.

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Report Updated: 3.20pm Thursday.

UP IN SMOKE: A Russian registered vessel on fire at the Cape Town harbour on Tuesday.
UP IN SMOKE: A Russian registered vessel on fire at the Cape Town harbour on Tuesday.

Cape Town: 02 November 2016

Efforts by firefighters to put out a fire engulfing a Russia flag bearing vessel docked at the Cape Town harbour continued into late afternoon on Wednesday.

According to the website, sea-web.com; the 41 year old vessel, known as a ‘factory stern trawler’ type, is owned and operated by Insung Corporation of South Korea.

The cause of the fire which broke out on the vessel named Verano, at about noon on Wednesday, was still unknown, according to the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Samsa’s Western Region acting Regional Manager, Captain Gustav Louw confirmed

  • that a surveyor had been dispatched to do some preliminary inspection soon after the fire broke out on the vessel.
  • Full investigation would take place only after the fire was put out.
  • He also confirmed that crew of the vessel had successful escaped the fire on the vessel.
  • At 17h00 the Cape Town Fire Department and TNPA tugs were still on the scene trying to extinguished the fire.

IN PICTURES:

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UP IN SMOKE: A Russian registered vessel on fire at the Cape Town harbour on Tuesday.

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End.