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.

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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. 

Newly designed SAMSA certificates find proud owners

Pretoria: 20 June 2016

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COMPETENCY CONFIRMED: (From Left) Mr Ryan Smith, Chief Navigating Officer at Smit Amandla Marine in Cape Town receiving recently his copy of the newly designed SAMSA Certificate of Competence from Captain Antoinette Keller, Deputy Principal Officer for the SAMSA Cape Town Office.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) issued newly designed Certificate of Competence for seafarers has begun finding home with the country’s sailors and who are simply almost wholly impressed with its features. The CoC is one of two newly designed certificates launched by the organization a month ago.

IMG_4705 (2)IMG_4707 (2)Modeled on South Africa’s Passport with intricate security features, the new certificates according to SAMSA’s Centre for Seafarers,  are in compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention) and the Merchant Shipping (Safe Manning, Training and Certification) Regulations, 2013, as amended (MS (SMTC) Regulations, 2013.

Chief Examiner at the Centre for Seafarers, Captain Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi says the STCW Convention is one of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) cornerstone convention.

“It is a comprehensive set of international regulations intended to ensure that the highest standards of seafarer competence are maintained globally. The STCW 2010 amendments are intended to ensure that STCW standards stay relevant, so that seafarers can continue to develop and maintain their professional skills,” says Captain Mulaudzi.

IMG_6394To produce the new certificates featuring a set of new intricate security measures – inclusive of a watermark with the SAMSA logo; a background watermark featuring a South African Vessel which is visible when the document is held to the light, as well as hidden elements such as invisible ink and micro-printed text – SAMSA worked closely with the Government Printing Works (GPW.

According to Captain Mulaudzi: “These are all intended to prevent tampering, alteration, forgery and to allow for easy recognition of the genuine items and also to ensure that seafarers’ identities are protected.”

The first proud sailor to lay claim to the new CoC earlier this month is Ryan Smith, a Chief Navigating Officer (<3000GT>) at Smit Amanda Marine in Cape Town, a company he has been with since about 13 years ago.

Smith, a graduate of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and a seafarer who has gone through the ranks on board various scientific research vessels managed and operated by Smit Amanda Marine, as well as the Offshore Division of the company involving various Offshore Tugs, said he was impressed with the overall layout of the new CoC.

“The layout of the new COC is more refined and substantially simplified, with useful additional general information notes at the rear of the booklet,” said Smith.

Being the first seafarer in the country to lay claim to the new CoC will remain a matter of pride for him for a while yet, he mused.

Of his now over a decade old career at sea, Smith quipped: “My most memorable moment in my short career thus far was the salvage of the jack-up rig, Perro Negro 6 which capsized off Angola. At this time I was serving onboard the AHTS Smit Madura, under the command of Captain Toralf Grapow, my friend and mentor, and coincidentally the Master of the very first vessel I joined as a cadet!”

Meanwhile, according to Captain Pierre Schutz, a deputy Principal Officer and a chief examiner (deck) at SAMSA’s Cape Town office, one or two other sailors have since collected theirs as well.

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