SAMSA launches a probe into deadly vessel fire at port of Durban


PRETORIA: 15 February 2019

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has confirmed launch of an investigation into the incident of a vessel that caught on fire in Durban on Thursday and in which there were several casualties.

SAMSA confirmed that six (6) people had died during the fire incident on board the vessel.

SAMSA said the fishing vessel known as the TROPICAL 1 was Mozambique registered and that the agency was in the process of formally making contact with the Mozambican authorities to inform them about the incident.

According to SAMSA, the fishing vessel was docked at the Durban harbour for repair work when it caught on fire. The cause of the fire had not been established yet.

SAMSA said on Friday that bodies of the deceased crew had been retrieved and placed at a mortuary in Durban. Five of the deceased were Mozambican nationals while a sixth crew member was of Portuguese origin.

SAMSA said 12 other crew members were being attended to and that a SAMSA team was scheduled to meet them for a statement at about lunchtime on Friday.

SAMSA further said actual inspection of the vessel with the view to determining the cause of the fire would be undertaken as soon conditions allowed.

Mozambican authorities had already been verbally briefed via telephone, with a full report due to follow soon.

Meanwhile, photographs taken of the rescue effort on Thursday reflect on the ferocity of the fire and which led to the vessel listing on the port side.

Firefighters are seen doing to their best to save the vessel from complete destruction.

*This story has been updated with more detail



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.


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……..




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

UPDATE 1 – Pretoria: 21 November 2016

(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.”


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.”