South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) saddened by death of SA seafarer in Arabian sea

mhonam11

Pretoria: 13 March 2018

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has expressed sadness at the confirmed death of a South African seafarer, Mr Stephen John Bouch of Johannesburg on board a Maersk Line cargo vessel that caught ablaze in the Arabian Sea near Oman a week ago.

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South African marine engineer, Mr Stephen Bouch of Johannesburg, one of a number of seafarers that’s been confirmed as casualties of a fire that broke out on board a Maersk Line shipping company cargo vessel on the Arabian Sea on 6 March 2018

Mr Bouch, 53, a veteran seafarer was believed to be among four missing crew members of the Maersk Honam cargo vessel that caught alight on Tuesday last week while en route from Singapore to the Suez in Egypt.

At the time of the incident, the vessel had 27 crew on board of which 23 were evacuated. One crew member, a Thai national, had passed away due to injuries sustained while four others remained missing until on Monday after three of the bodies were found, Maersk Line reported.

According to the shipping company’s statement, the three bodies found had not yet been identified and the search for the fourth person, now presumed dead, was continuing.

It was not clear on Tuesday whether the South African seafarer, Mr Bouch was among those whose bodies had been found, since no identity had been established of any of the bodies.

In Pretoria on Tuesday, SAMSA which had been in touch with all relevant authorities as well as the affected family since reports of the incident last week, expressed sadness at the turn of events involving the death of Mr Bouch and the other sailors.

In a statement SAMSA said: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority joins the South African maritime fraternity in mourning the loss of seafarers on board the Maersk Honam.

S.Bouch_1“South Africa has lost Mr Stephen John Bouch, of Johannesburg. Our condolences goes to his family, colleagues and fellow seafarers.”

According to SAMSA, Mr Bouch was a qualified and experienced Marine Engineer with seafarer certificates inclusive of a Certificate of Competency as an Officer in Charge of Engineering Watch or Designated Duty Engineer for which he Qualified 24 June 1991.

He had been an employee of Safmarine, later becoming part of Maersk, for the most part of his life.

SAMSA said during his time with Safmarine (Maersk), he worked and mentored many other young South African officers.

Mr Bouch is survived by his wife and a son.

End.

South African seafarer among casualties of a container ship stricken off the Arabian Sea; Maersk Line confirms.

mhonam11

Pretoria: 13 March 2018

A South African seafarer has been confirmed dead along with three other crew members of a Maersk Line ship container that caught on fire in the Arabian Sea a week ago.

S. Bouch
South African marine engineer, Mr Stephen Bouch of Johannesburg, one of a number of seafarers that’s been confirmed as casualties of a fire that broke out on board a Maersk Line shipping company cargo vessel on the Arabian Sea on 6 March 2018

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the name of the South African seafarer is Mr Stephen Bouch, a marine engineer from Johannesburg.

On Monday, Maersk Line, owners and operators of the container ship named Maersk Honam that caught on fire at sea some 900 km south of Oman while sailing from Singapore to the Suez last Tuesday, confirmed that three bodies of the four crew members who had been lost inside the vessel during an evacuation, were found in the vessel.

A fourth crew member of the container ship had not yet been found, but was also presumed dead, said Maersk Line Chief Operating Officer, Søren Toft.

It was not clear if Mr Bouch was among the three bodies found or might be the one whose body is still missing.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce that the human remains of three of the four missing crew members after the fire aboard Maersk Honam have been found on board the vessel. At this point in time our three colleagues are unidentified,” said Mr Toft

He said: “Given the time passed and the severe fire damages of the vessel we must conclude by now that we have lost all four colleagues who have been missing since the fire onboard Maersk Honam which began on 6 March. All four families of our deceased colleagues have been informed.

“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to families of our deceased colleagues. We share their sorrow and do our outmost to support them in this devastating time,” said Mr Toft in the statement.

maersk honam 5A thorough search on board the Maersk Honam would continue, said Mr Toft adding that active search and rescue mission at sea would however be terminated.

A week ago, the company had confirmed that among the four crew members missing was a South African seafarer. The four were among a crew of 27 manning the vessel during its voyage when the massive blaze broke out of a cargo hold.

The 27 crew members were mostly from India (13), the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).

Twenty three of the seafarers were successfully evacuated a while after the ship caught fire after it had become clear they could not contain the blaze themselves and called for assistance.

One of the 23 evacuated sailors, a Thai national, was reported eventually to have succumbed to his injuries last week while the rest of the crew was transferred to hospitals in India for treatment.

maersk honam 1SAMSA which on behalf of South Africa, has declared itself a “substantially interested party” in the matter, said it would maintain contact with all relevant authorities while investigation of the incident continue.

These include the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB) of the Singapore Transport Ministry which confirmed the launch of an investigation a week ago. The Maersk Line vessel built a year ago with a nominal capacity of 15 262 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), is registered in Singapore.

Now also confirmed to be involved in the investigation is the India Marine Police, said Maersk Line on Monday.

The shipping company said in terms of the rest of the surviving crew of the Maersk Honam , all were recovering well and some had already been released from hospital.

“On land, the medical conditions of the evacuated crew members are progressing positively. All 22 have received medical treatment and the majority have been released from hospitals. Colleagues who initially received intensive care have been moved to a general ward and are recovering well. A crisis psychologist has been made available to all crew.

“Our colleagues that were evacuated to local hospitals in varying conditions of health are improving and we are now preparing to bring them back to their families as their condition allows,” said Mr Palle Laursen, Chief Technical Officer for Maersk Line.

End

Singapore confirms probe into Maersk cargo vessel fire that’s claimed at least one life so far, and a South African missing.

This is a developing story.

mhonam11

Pretoria: 09 March 2018

While efforts continue to find four missing crew members – one a South African – on board a  Maersk Line container ship currently on fire since Tuesday off the Arabian Sea near Oman, Singapore transport ministry officials have begun a probe in the incident that’s already claimed one seafarer’s life.

The dead seafarer was confirmed by Maersk Line on Thursday as a Thai national and one of 23 seafarers that were successfully evacuated from the ship, the VM Maersk Honam, after a massive fire had broken out on board a cargo hold and went completely out of control on Tuesday this week.

The 27 seafarers on board the ship at the time of the incident included 13 from India, the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).

According to Maersk Line in a statement on Thursday, rescuers were still busy trying to locate and retrieve the four missing crew members even as hope was increasingly fading that they would find them, and if so, still alive.

One of the missing seafarers is a South African from Johannesburg, and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said early on Thursday that it was closely monitoring the situation and was in touch with relevant authorities.

Among such parties to the incident is the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau  (TSIB) operating under the Singapore Transport Ministry and under whose flag the Maersk Line container ship is registered since it was built in 2017.

In terms of the TSIB investigation of the incident now already underway, SAMSA is officially acknowledged as a ‘substantially interested party’ in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident (Casualty Investigation Code)

The code, adopted by IMO Member States in May 2008 as an improvement to a previous code in place since 1997, facilitates for, among other things;  ‘co-operation and a common approach to marine casualty and marine incident investigations between States.’

In Singapore early on Friday, the TSIB in communication with senior SAMSA officials, said it had begun investigation into the Maerk Line container ship incident involving a South African seafarer off the coast of Oman this week, and would keep relevant authorities abreast of developments.

This is a developing story……..

 

 

 

Hopes of finding seafarers, one South African, in burning cargo vessel fading: Maersk

 

mhonam11
(Photo: Courtesy of maritimebulletin.net)

Pretoria: 09 March 2018

Hopes of finding four crew members of a Maersk Line cargo vessel that caught on fire  in Arabian Sea early this week are fading, the shipping company has said in a statement published on its website.

The missing crew members, one a South African, were among 27 others sailing with the cargo vessel from Singapore towards the Suez on Tuesday, when a cargo handling bay caught on fire with the vessel located approximately 900 nautical miles southeast of Salalah in Oman.

According to Maersk in statements this week, 23 of the crew members were soon evacuated after the fire went out of control, but that sadly, one of these sailors – since confirmed as a Thai national – succumbed to his injuries and died while two others who received serious injuries were receiving medical care.

The rest of the crew, 19 in total were being transported to India for further medical attention.

Meanwhile, the four other crew members now confirmed as one South African, one Indian and (2) Phillipino were still missing and that hopes of finding them were dim.

The Maersk Line statement reads:

Four crew members remain missing despite comprehensive search efforts as a response to the fire that broke out aboard Maersk Honam on Tuesday, 6 March.

“While search operation continues the hope of finding our missing colleagues is fading. We are in contact with their families and they know that tragically, the time passed decreases the likelihood of finding their loved ones alive. Our thoughts and prayers go to them,” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer of A.P. Moller – Maersk.

The nationalities of the four missing crew members are: two Filipinos, One South African and one Indian. All male.

23 crew members were evacuated by the vessel ALS Ceres after the fire broke out. One is reported dead due to injuries sustained in connection with the fire. Furthermore, two crew members, one Thai and one Filipino, were in urgent need of medical care as their conditions worsened. They have been evacuated by an Indian navy vessel and handed over to the Indian coast guard of Trivandrum and are now receiving medical treatment. They are accompanied by one of the evacuated Indian colleagues with local language skills.

The remaining 19 crew members onboard ALS Ceres are en route to Cochin, South West India, where medical professionals and crisis psychologists have been arranged for.

“We are doing our outmost to care for and closely follow the conditions of all evacuated colleagues. Also, we have an ongoing contact with their closest relatives”, Søren Toft says.

Maersk Line will continue to provide updates on the situation.

On Thursday, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed that it was aware of and monitoring the situation closely, and that it was in constant contact with Maersk Line officials.

End

South African seafarer in fire ravaged cargo vessel in Arabian Sea: South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in touch and closely monitoring situation.

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Pretoria: 08 March 2018

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it has noted reports concerning an outbreak of a fire on board a Maersk owned cargo vessel, the Maersk Honam, off the Arabian Sea in the Middle East and in which incident a South African seafarer is confirmed to be involved.

maersk honam 5In a brief statement on Thursday, SAMSA said reports of the incident indicated that a South African seafarer who was part of the vessel’s crew was among those reported to have gone missing during an evacuation. At least one of the missing was reported dead.

“SAMSA is aware of the situation and is in contact with the company (Maersk) regarding the incident,” the agency said.

According to the shipping company in a media statement released on Thursday , one of its vessels, the Maersk Honam with 27 crew members on board, reported a serious fire in one of its cargo holds.

The fire reportedly broke out on the vessel on Tuesday while it was sailing from Singapore towards the Suez, in an ocean area approximately 900 nautical miles southeast of Salalah in Oman.

The 27 crew on board consisted of 13 seafarers from India, the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).

At the time of the incident the Singapore registered vessel built only last year (2017) with a nominal capacity of 15 262 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), was carrying 7 860 containers.

maersk honam 1According to Maersk after initial efforts by the crew to put out the fire and failed, the crew called for assistance and were soon evacuated with the assistance of another vessel nearby, the ALS Ceres. However, four of the 23 crew members were reportedly missing and efforts were continuing to try and find them from the burning vessel.

A.P Moller-Maersk Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Executive Board, Mr Søren Toft said: “After being unsuccessful in their firefighting efforts, the crew sent out a distress signal and a total of 23 crew members were safely evacuated to the nearby vessel ALS Ceres, which arrived at the scene around 18:30 GMT (on Tuesday).

As of Thursday, Mr Toft said the 22 crew members rescued were on their way to Sri Lanka on board the vessel ALS Ceres. According to Mr Toft, the cause of the fire was currently unknown.

“Regrettably,” he said: “four crew members remain missing and one was reported dead.

“We’ve received the news of Maersk Honam and the four missing crew members with the deepest regret and are now doing our outmost to continue the ongoing search and rescue operations. This by rerouting our own vessels, with assistance of vessels in the area – most notably ALS Ceres that thankfully acted promptly upon our distress call – and the local authorities.”

Mr Toren added that a search and rescue mission was ongoing and that the container vessels MSC Lauren, Edith Mærsk and Gerd Mærsk – all in vicinity – had diverted their routes and were approaching the area with expected arrivals in the early morning on Wednesday.

He reported weather conditions in the area as having been currently fair.

“Maersk Line is in the process of informing the relatives of all crew members and acknowledge this is a very difficult time for them. The evacuated crew is obviously distressed, with two crew members currently receiving medical first aid onboard the ALS Ceres. We will offer crisis counselling for the seafarers signing-off and returning to their families and our thoughts and deepest empathy go out to the families of the crew members that are still unaccounted for. We will offer them all the support we can in this very difficult situation,” said MrToft.

According to Mr Toft, Maersk Line will investigate the matter thoroughly in cooperation with all relevant authorities.

End

Skipper’s lack of weather conditions awareness cause of Robben Island vessel incident: SAMSA

Thandi.jpgCape Town: 27 November 2017

An apparent lack of awareness of weather conditions by the skipper of Thandi at Robben Island in September 2017, led to the tourists ferry getting into trouble after taking in water that eventually shut down its engines during a stormy afternoon; an investigation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has concluded.

SAMSA in a statement issued on Monday (see below) said that at the time of the incident on 15 September 2017, the ferry had 65 occupants on board – mostly tourists – and all of whom were safely evacuated after the crew of the vessel issued a distress call.

According to SAMSA chief operations officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, a preliminary report following an investigation into the incident, found that the accident was due to the skipper of the ferry having been unaware of prevailing weather conditions on the day.

“Before the boat departed, neither the appropriate forecasted weather nor the prevailing weather conditions were taken into account,” the SAMSA statement said.

IMG_0241 (2)
South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) COO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Mr Tilayi said: “Now that the report has been completed, we will continue with remedial steps to avert a similar crisis. ”

Below is the full SAMSA statement:

SAMSA completes Thandi accident

Cape Town, South Africa: November 27, 2017: The South African Maritime Safety Authority has completed a preliminary enquiry on the passenger vessel Thandi which encountered bad weather on its way to Robben Island two months ago.

On the afternoon of the 15th September 2017, Thandi, an under 25GT small passenger vessel departed Murray Harbour for the Nelson Mandela Gateway in the V & A Waterfront.  The vessel was carrying 65 Passengers and five crew.

Shortly after departure to Robben Island, the vessel started taking on water. The skipper issued a distress call which was received by Port Control. The National Sea Rescue Institute were activated and responded with a number of rescue vessels.

All crew and passengers were disembarked from the Thandi and returned to Nelson Mandela Gateway on the Class VI passenger vessel Madiba 1 or on the NSRI vessel Rescue 3. No one was injured.

SAMSA Chief Operating Officer Sobantu Tilayi confirmed the preliminary report found the accident was due to the skipper being unaware of prevailing weather conditions on the day.  Before the boat departed, neither the appropriate forecasted weather nor the prevailing weather conditions were taken into account. 

The vessel was overcome by the rough sea conditions prevalent on the day of the incident.

“Now that the report has been completed, we will continue with remedial steps to avert a similar crisis,” said Tilayi. He confirmed the owners of the vessel have indicated that the boat would be repaired.

The preliminary investigation has determined that a possible sequence of events may be as follows:

  • Vessel was moving into rough weather when leaving Robben Island – strong wind and high seas/ swell from slightly to port.
  • There was a significant amount of water washing onto the bow of the vessel, likely more on the port side.
  • Water could have leaked into the chain locker space at a faster rate than could drain out.
  • Water washing up against the accommodation specifically on the port side may have leaked into the front below deck compartment.
  • It appears water may have entered the port engine compartment space via the electrical cable ducting running from the port chain locker.
  • Water may have entered the engine compartment through the engine room vent.
  • The port engine compartment bilge alarm was triggered.
  • The skipper stopped the port engine and then could not restart it.
  • As the vessels list increased to port and trimmed further by the head, the front windows, port and starboard were broken by waves coming over the bow.
  • The water washing in through the front windows added to the water on the port side, forward.
  • With the vessel being bow down and a port list the flow of water into the chain locker and the forward port watertight compartment would have increased.

ENDS

Four South Africans rescued from sinking yacht off Mozambique Channel: SAMSA

Fast action out at sea saves the life of a SA Agulhas crew member: SAMSA

img_3091-7272017

Pretoria: 25 October 2017

High alertness and fast action have been attributed as key to the reaction of the crew of the SA Agulhas that saved the life of a crew member on Tuesday night after the sailor had taken seriously ill while the vessel was out at sea on its way from the Eastern Cape to Cape Town harbour.

According to an incident report filed by the vessel’s crew on Wednesday, the young sailor had taken ill while the SA Agulhas, the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel was sailing south west on the Indian Ocean, at position 34-24S 022-06E, about 13 nautical miles off the coast of Cape St Blaize south of Mossel Bay.

The report said the ill-disposed crew member was believed to have suffered a severe diabetic attack that led to vomiting, weak respiration and a low consciousness responsiveness.

SAR SITREP 02 - SA AGULHAS MEDEVAC (2)
A graphic map indicating the geographic point at sea where the SA Agulhas had to turn back and head for Mossel Bay on Tuesday night after one of its crew, a 21 year old sailor fell sick while the vessel was on its way from the East London in the Eastern Cape to Cape Town harbour.

Sea sailing conditions at the time were characterized broadly by relatively calm ocean waters featuring an easterly breeze blowing at about three knots per hour and waves of about two meters in height in a south westerly direction.

According to the report, the SA Agulhas team on spotting the sick sailor, immediately alerted the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) operated Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town for assistance.

The MRCC responded by ordering the vessel to turn around and head towards Mossel Bay, while onshore medical assistance was being activated through the Mossel Bay Port Control as well as the National Sea Rescue Institute. Medical advice was provided by the METRO EMS duty doctor.

The SA Agulhas eventually rendezvoused with a NSRI rescue craft in the bay just after midnight on Tuesday night. A medic was onboard the rescue boat to take care of the sick crew member who was successfully transferred ashore to a waiting ambulance.

The 21 year old patient from Cape Town was taken to a hospital in the coastal town. He’d  joined the SA Agulhas crew earlier this year.

Early on Wednesday, the SA Agulhas reported being back on course on its way to Cape Town.

End

Cape Town ferry incident under investigation: SAMSA

Update One: 14:06 (Saturday, 16 September 2017)

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Pretoria: 16 September 2017

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident involving a tourists cruise ferry in Cape Town from which about 60 people had to be rescued after it got into trouble off Robben Island on Friday, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has confirmed.

According to Captain Pierre Schutz, a senior ships examiner (deck) and deputy Principal Officer at SAMSA’s Cape Town Office, the incident involving the ferry named Thandi occurred on Friday afternoon, shortly after lunch, while it was returning from Robben Island to the port of Cape Town, with about 64 passengers on board and a crew of five.

Thandi 3The vessel  is owned and managed by Silver Buckle Trade 21, said Capt Schultz.

He said according to preliminary reports, the drama began at about 2pm (CAT) after the ferry, packed with passengers, and sailing over a choppy sea due to a surge of wind over the Atlantic Ocean, began taking water over the bow.

“She was taking water over the bow due to the swell and wind when the port engine room bilge alarm sounded.

“A crew member attended and reported to the skipper that the bilge pump couldn’t cope. A ‘May Day’ (distress call) was raised. At this stage the forward windows of the vessel were apparently broken by wave action. The main life raft was apparently swept away,” said Capt Schultz.

He said at that point, at approximately 2.18pm, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was activated and shortly thereafter, all the passengers and crew were rescued.

“This involved transfer to multiple vessels, principally the Madiba 1 and all passengers and crew were landed at Mandela Gateway by approximately 4pm. SAMSA has initiated a preliminary inquiry to determine the cause of the incident,” said Capt Schultz.

On Saturday afternoon, the vessel remained afloat and had been secured at Murray Harbour, in Robben Island, confirmed Capt Schultz.

End

Please note that this article has been updated to correct the number of passengers an earlier version stated as 68. This was apparently due to erroneous inclusion of some crew members of the Thandi’s sister ferry, the Madiba I who assisted with the passenger rescue.