A vessel upon which fire broke out at the port of Port Elizabeth on Sunday will remain berthed until an investigation into the cause of the fire has been completed, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed on Monday.
According to SAMSA, the investigation which is already underway follows the breakout of a fire on board the Motor Fishing Vessel Lubbetje, some time on Sunday morning while it was docked at the port of Port Elizabeth.
The fire was successfully put out within hours and, according to SAMSA, only one person sustained minor injuries.
SAMSA Principal Officer (for the Port Elizabeth office), Capt. Neville Noble said on Monday: “I can confirm that SAMSA started an investigation into the fire onboard the Lubbetje yesterday. The fire was extinguished and the vessel is currently not in danger of sinking, but was prohibited from sailing pending further investigation. Received reports indicate that there was only minor injuries.”
According to Capt. Noble, the investigation is being prioritised and it is expected that it will completed soon.
The vessel is a 377 GT (34.87m) local fishing vessel owned by Premier Fishing.
The incident is reported to have not caused any disruption in shipping traffic through port of Port Elizabeth harbour.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will launch an investigation into the capsizing of a leisure vessel in Knysna on Wednesday with eleven people on board.
According to SAMSA in a statement in Pretoria on Thursday, the incident reportedly occurred shortly after lunch on Wednesday when the boat, with eleven people on board, including the skipper, capsized.
All the people on board the vessel – described as a 9 metre RIB “adventure harbour cruise” boat with twin 300HP engines known, and named the MOONRAKER – escaped without injury except for shock and suffering cold, said SAMSA.
The organization reported: “At approximately 1300 local time today (4 July 2018), MRCC Cape Town received an initial report via Cape Town Radio informing that NSRI Knysna had launched to assist a small boat that had capsized in Knysna area leaving unknown number of people in the water – all wearing lifejackets. The weather conditions experienced was waves of up to 4 metres and wind speeds of up to 10 knots.
“MRCC Cape Town immediately initiated a MAYDAY relay broadcast for vessels in the area to assist.
“Subsequent reports indicated that the charter boat SPIRIT OF KNYSNA had sighted the capsized Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RIB) and had called NSRI Knysna to assist. The radio call was intercepted by Cape Town Radio.
“MRCC informed Mossel Bay Port Control, SAMSA Mossel Bay and NSRI Mossel Bay to activate and assist.
“SAMSA Mossel Bay established that the name of the capsized RIB was the MOONRAKER (a 9 metre RIB with twin 300HP), a private “adventure harbour cruise” boat operating from Knysna. There had been 11 persons on board and all had been rescued. SAMSA had made contact with the owner of the vessel to confirm information.
“NSRI Mossel Bay confirmed that all of the persons from the MOONRAKER were safe ashore at the rescue base and that there were actually 11 people on board – 10 passengers plus 1 skipper. The survivors were suffering from shock and cold but no injuries. Upon arrival back at the NSRI Knysna additional medical support was provided by the ambulance on-scene. The boat was not recovered.
“Since then NSRI Knysna have relaunched two boats and are attempting to retrieve the capsized boat and debris.”
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it will begin investigation into the sinking of a fishing vessel in the Western Cape early on Friday morning and from which about 22 fishermen were successfully rescued.
According to SAMSA in a statement on Friday morning, the incident involving the fishing vessel, Ellis C, owned by the Selvak Investments group, got into trouble and sunk in rough sea conditions shortly after its entire crew of 22 was rescued some 70 kilometers south west of Danger Point off the Cape South Coast.
The SAMSA statement issued about an hour ago read as follows:
Cape Town, South Africa, December 08, 2017: The South African Maritime Safety Authority’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) coordinated the rescue of 22 crew members in the early hours of this morning after their fishing boat encountered rough seas approximately 70km south west of Danger Point off the Cape South Coast.
The fishing vessel Ellis C, owned by Sevlak Investments, sunk after the crew was rescued.
The vessel took in water after wrestling with waves of approximately three to four meters in height and with wind blowing at around 30km per hour.
MRCC received a distress signal at 00h:49am this morning (Friday) via the Maritime Radio Service, that the fishing vessel was taking in water and starting to sink.
MRCC Chief, Jared Blows said they acted promptly to coordinate the rescue. “MRCC also used the Automatic Identification System installed at the centre for monitoring vessels to quickly identify which vessel it was and as well contacted vessels that were in close proximity to the scene.”
“Vessels that were identified to be the closest to the scene were requested to change course to the location to assist.”
First on the scene was the I&J fishing vessel Fuchsia, following was the Realka and finally the Singaporean flagged motor tanker Aral Sea.
The Fuchsia, even with waves breaking over the stern of the partially submerged Ellis S, was able to go alongside it and transfer all 22 crew on board.
The Aral Sea stood by and provided lighting using its spotlights thereby enabling an easier handling of the transfer.
All crew members were brought to safety on board the Fuchsia. The distressed vessel sunk within minutes of them being saved from it.
The National Sea Rescue Institute was initially dispatched to assist. However, nearby ships came to the rescue.
“Rescue efforts concluded at 08:24 this morning when all rescued crew were landed safely ashore in Hermanus.”
The Fuchsia proceeded towards Hermanus with the assistance of the NSRI. The crew of the Ellis S were taken ashore to waiting medical services and other relevant authorities who attended to them.
SAMSA will conduct further investigations as to what caused the vessel to flood and eventually sink.
Six fishermen were successfully evacuated from a fishing vessel off the west coast near Port Nolloth in the Western Cape during the early hours of Friday in a dramatic rescue that ensued following to the vessel running aground.
In command of the rescue effort was South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) surveyor and acting Principal Officer for the Port Nolloth region, Captain Justin Coraizin and a De Beers/SAPS team, during which Capt Coraizin personally saw to it that the men were safely evacuated in conditions he described as extremely dangerous.
Capt Coraizin said the Luderitz registered vessel, MV. Fukula, (previously, African Bounty) apparently drifted and ran aground in an unhospitable area off the Atlantic Ocean some 12,7 nautical miles, south of Port Nolloth while on route to Saldanha Bay.
“It is not clear yet how the vessel got involved in the accident in clear calm seas. When we reached it, it was already two-thirds underwater and we immediately made the effort to rescue the 6-member crew, using ropes. The vessel is lying in a very difficult position that makes it hard to reach from the shore,” said Capt Coraizin
He described the area as being in the vicinity of De Beers mining area in the Atlantic Ocean and the site of the accident as being very remote, only reachable with off-road vehicles as the terrain is very rocky and sandy.
Shortly after the accident, the crew raised an alarm that was picked by the SAMSA Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town and to which Captain Cozairin and the charter vessel the Aukwatowa which was the first responded to the scene from the local port in Port Nolloth.
He said the vessel Aukwatowa had been first to reach the scene within a hour and half after incident occurred, and whereupon arrival, a rubber duck team was launched to investigate the accident. However due to dark conditions, this first effort was abandoned.
“However, we were lucky that our efforts worked well from the onset. We threw rope and it connected the first time, and after tightening it hard around some rocks, we managed to get each crewmen to climb towards shore and fortunately, each one of them was safely evacuated. The rescue effort took about 45 minutes,” said Capt Coraizin.
The rescue team had very limited – less than an hour window to get the crew to safety as the tide was coming in, said Capt Coraizin.
He said the fishing vessel had about 2500liters of diesel onboard and it appeared to be leaking. “We are closely monitoring the situation and taking such measures are are necessary to contain any spillage while we continue with our investigation of the incident,” he said.
Investigations into the cause of the fire that broke out on board a Liberian cargo vessel, the APL Austria, while sailing off the Indian Ocean along South Africa a few weeks ago continue in Port Elizabeth, with authorities indicating that it may be a while before they find answers.
According to the Captain Daron Burgess, a Principal Officer at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) southern region office in Port Elizabeth, the suspected cause of the fire currently is possibly a chemical known as a “calcium hypochlorite” that was found stowed under deck in No.4 cargo hold.
Wikipedia describes calcium hypochlorite as a chemical “commonly used to sanitize public swimming pools and disinfect drinking water. Calcium hypochlorite is also used in kitchens to disinfect surfaces and equipment. Other common uses include bathroom cleansers, household disinfectant sprays, algaecides, herbicides, and laundry detergents.”
Apparently according to Capt. Burgess, the presence of the chemical on board the vessel was somewhat mysterious as the vessel’s crew was “unaware of it as it was not declared as such.” Capt. Burgess stressed in statement on Tuesday however that: “The final report by fire experts has not been released yet and so we cannot confirm the cause.”
The APL Austria – a 72 000 ton, 280m wide cargo vessel – had been some 30 nautical miles south west of Jeffreys Bay – about 50-70 kilometers west of Port Elizabeth – when it reported a fire on board at about 5pm on Sunday, 12 February 2017. Shortly thereafter with rescue operations scrambled, it was then redirected overnight back to Port Elizabeth and eventually to its current docking location at the port of Ngqurha following to which its crew was evacuated while firefighters battled the blaze
On Tuesday this week, reporting on the continuing mop up operation on board the vessel Capt. Burgess said: “All damaged containers have been discharged from the vessel and the No.4 cargo hold is now empty and being mopped up. All empty CO2 cylinders (45kg x 444) have been replenished and placed back on board. ”
He said high pressure hose cleaning began on Tuesday and was expected to be completed on Wednesday afternoon after which investigators hoped to have a full view of the damage to the vessel.
According to Capt. Burgess repairs to damage caused by the fire on board the vessel was unlikely to be conducted at the Ngqurha port. “The vessel has had SA repair companies attend to inspect damage and to give quotes for seen damage to ship and hatch covers.” He said it was likely the vessel might set sail again to elsewhere sometime next week.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed on Sunday that it had begun an investigation into a tragic incident of a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) owned vessel that capsized at the port of Cape Town on Saturday, leading to the death of one person, while two others narrowly escaped.
According to SAMSA in a statement on Sunday evening, the incident occurred at about noon on Saturday when a TNPA service launch vessel apparently capsized some 300 meters off-shore of the eastern breakwater with a skipper and two (2) crew members on board.
With recovery efforts set in motion shortly thereafter, the crew members were rescued and given medical attention but the skipper tragically lost his life, with his body recovered a day later, only on Sunday afternoon.
SAMSA extended its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the skipper, and confirmed that it had begun an investigation into the incident.