The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has issued an appeal to the public to be cautious around the South African coastline during the full moon Spring tide that has already begun and peaks during the full moon period over the 30th and 31st of August, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
SAMSA says according to the NSRI: “This Blue Moon (a blue moon is a rare second full moon during the same month) will be a supermoon, meaning the moon is closer to earth than is normal. And it is the third of four supermoons in a row and this one will be the biggest (closest) full supermoon of 2023.
“This coincides with planet Saturn, that can seen in the sky near to the moon, also in her planetary position closest to the earth for 2023. As is normal this full moon brings the Spring tide – where high tide is higher than normal and low tide is lower than normal.
“With spring tides occurring at full moon and at new moon every month, these occurrences can have an increased affect on the strength of rip currents and caution is advised. NSRI are appealing to bathers, coastal hikers, shoreline anglers, boaters, sailors, paddlers and the maritime community to be cautious around our coastline during this full blue supermoon’s Spring tide.
“Already you will have noticed the growing Spring tide’s high tide higher than normal and the growing Spring tide’s low tide lower than normal – building gradually over the past few days.
“The full affect of this Super Moon Blue Moon Spring Tide peaks during the full moon period over the 30th and 31st of August / and then gradually begins to decline over the next few days into the new week.
“Together with winter rough sea conditions that are prevailing around our coastline with cold fronts that have past in recent days and weeks and with storms prevailing deep sea off the South African coastline – NSRI are appealing to the public around our coastline to be cautious during this Spring tide,” said the NSRI.
An urgent search and rescue operation commenced in the southern seas of South Africa early Tuesday morning for a fisher who went missing from a fishing trawler.
This was prompted by a distress signal received from the vessel, which was later discovered to have run aground near Mossel Bay in the Gouritzmond area, according to a report by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
The incident began when a distress call was transmitted by the fishing vessel DIJAANDA, pinpointed to the Gouritzmond region. Responding swiftly, the fishing vessel Vuna Elisa headed toward the potential emergency location, while the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Mossel Bay initiated a search along the coastal shore.
Ultimately, the NSRI managed to locate the vessel stranded on the rocks and successfully rescued the crew members on board. Sadly, out of the seven (7) crew members, four (4) were discovered to have perished, one (1) was injured, and another remained missing.
“The NSRI teams stationed in Mossel Bay and Stilbaai have launched a search and rescue operation for the missing crew member since approximately 7:30 am today,” SAMSA informed.
Further updates are anticipated throughout the day.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) kickstarts its annual Corporate Social Investment & Sustainability (CSI) programme on Nelson Mandela month with an initiative aimed at contributing to drownings prevention in Gauteng.
The SAMSA CSI initiative, involving mostly young people at school level, is being undertaken in partnership with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), a national organisation already engaged with the crisis since 2006.
“The target population will be school children in Gauteng where we plan to contribute to
their basic water handling skills, involving approximately 10 000 pupils from several schools located in communities across the social spectrum,” said SAMSA and the NSRI in a joint statement.
According to SAMSA, the decision by the entity to join the NSRI initiative this year is driven by its commitment to contributing annually to addressing identified socio-economic development needs of particularly the poor, deprived and marginalised. Drowning prevention was identified for this current year as but one such critical water-based crisis in South Africa requiring urgent attention.
According to SAMSA, a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2021 indicates that on average, 236 000 people deaths occur every year due to drowning.
Closer home, according to the National Library of Medicine (National Centre for Biotechnology Information), said SAMSA; South Africa is globally listed in the top 45 countries with a drowning rate of 4.06 per 100,000 population, or an average 1477 drownings per year, of which fatal drownings accounted for a rate of 2.54 per 100,000 population from 2016 to 2021
The National Library of Medicine states that: “…drowning is a serious public health concern with low-and-middle-income countries [being] the most affected by drowning, as they carry 90% of the global drowning burden.”
Furthermore, drowning is reported to be one of the leading causes of death among mostly people aged 1–24 years, thus denoting the population group that seems more vulnerable. Dr Jill Fortuin, Executive Director of Drowning Prevention Services at the NSRI states that since the inception of the NGO’s water safety programme in 2006 the organization has reached four (4) million children through the project.
“We are delighted as the NSRI that organizations such as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) are collaborating with us to reach more people, specifically under 14’s through this programme,” she states.
In response, said SAMSA; “From a SAMSA perspective, it is a laudable achievement, but one that requires more support, hence our involvement this year directly with the NSRI.”
According to SAMSA, its CSI focus is shaped by the organisation’s period five-year trategic Plans (2020-25) and attendant Annual Performance Plans developed to advance and maintain consistent attainment of the entity’s mandate which encompasses ensuring safety of people and property at sea, prevention and combating of pollution of the sea by ships, promotion of South Africa’s maritime interest, as well as promotion of safe boating in the country’s inland waters.
“The consistent theme in the mandate is the promotion of safety of people and the environment, be it in our three oceans, the Atlantic, Southern and Indian Oceans; or in our vast inland waterways punctuated by hundreds of small and big dams as well water-based leisure facilities along dozens of rivers
“We are trying to reduce the drowning statistics in our country, and we are delighted in such partnerships as we would like to also change lives for the better and create futures, one child at a time,” said SAMSA.
The organisation also explained what it targeted Gauteng for the drownings prevention campaign support. “According to latest available data on drownings in South Africa, Gauteng is the province with the third highest drowning incidence in South Africa after KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, even as landlocked and being the smallest of the country’s nine provinces, and with the least number of rivers and dams compared to other provinces.
“As it were, according to the NSRI, inland locations in South Africa significantly contribute to the country’s drownings statistics. Meanwhile, it is highly significant that Gauteng just so happens to be home to the country’s highest provincial population (15.8-million 2021 estimates) inclusive of the most poor, deprived, and marginalised. It also holds the record for the highest incidence of drownings across all nine provinces in the 5-19 years age category.
“We have joined forces with the NSRI expertise in this area and we specifically chose to run the campaign in July because this year is the 10th anniversary of Madiba’s passing, thereby making it fit with the theme of The Legacy Lives on Through You”, said SAMSA Acting Head of the Centre for Corporate Affairs, Government and International Relations, and head of SAMSA CSI.
Ms Dlepu said key outputs planned would include 10 000 persons receiving Water Safety Education Lessons, deployment of 46 Pink Rescue Buoys, provision of 460 Survival Swimming Lessons and orientation of 46 Drowning Prevention Champions
“To kick start this project we have selected Glen Austin Primary School as the first beneficiary and this school has 200 children who range from Grade 1 to Grade 7. This is the critical age in which they need to be water safe as they are the most vulnerable,” Dr Jill added.
In addition to this, in the summer season, survival swimming lessons would be taught to persons who are residing in the area in which the NSRI teaches survival swimming lessons in the Gauteng province.
A salvage operation at sea south of Cape Town has begun on Friday to recover a stricken fishing vessel that caught on fire, leading to its crew of 26 fishermen abandoning it in the early hours of the day, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported.
SAMSA said the 26 crewmen were safely brought onto dryland early on Friday following a frantic effort involving no less than three ships which had responded to a mayday call by the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre based in Cape Town.
According to the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch & Response based MRCC; “MRCC Cape Town was informed by Telkom Maritime Radio at 01:00 of the FV requiring immediate assistance due to fire in the engine room. The 26 crew then abandoned ship to life raft sighting the whole fishing vessel to be ablaze,” said the MRCC.
It added that: “A MAYDAY Relay was issued through Telkom Maritime Radio wherein vessels were requested to render immediate assistance. NSRI Stations Hout Bay and Simon’s Town were activated. The MV AQUA EXPLORE, a Bulk Carrier, and FV UMFONDINI diverted to assist. The AQUA EXPLORE, not being able to recover the survivors from the life raft, remained on-scene until the UMFONDINI arrived.
“All crew were safety transferred to the UMFONDINI with the prevailing winds reported to be South-westerly at 15 knots and a water swell of up to 2.6 metres. The AQUA EXPLORE proceeded with normal voyage.
“FV UMFONDINI was intercepted by NSRI Stations Hout Bay and Simon’s Town after which the OLIVIA MARIE crew were transferred to the NSRI Simon’s Town craft. The survivors were safely delivered to Simon’s Town and transported back to their home base at Hout Bay.
“Efforts from MV AQUA EXPLORE, FV UMFONDINI, NSRI, and Telkom Maritime Radio supported MRCC Cape Town in the successful outcome of this maritime SAR incident.
“A Navigation Warning was issued, requesting vessels to report sightings of the OLIVIA MARIE and the life raft, this being in an effort not only to warn of the possible navigation hazards, but also to assist in the recovery of these craft,” said the MRCC.
Late on Friday, SAMSA said the vessel had since been sighted by another ship, the F/V Langenberg at a point where it was some 3.5 nautical miles from the abandoned fishing vessel, in an approximate position 34 11.8 S018 19.8 E from the Coast South of Scarborough.
“The F/V Langenberg is about 3.5 nautical miles from the abandoned vessel and spotted some debris but not a lot, no smoke on the vessel. Visibility is clear. SW wind force 5 of the current Is pushing Olivia Marie to the shallow waters.”
Efforts will continue to recover the abandoned vessel.
Efforts to recover the remains of a sailor whose yacht, named the PANACEA; sank at sea off Cape coast south of Mossel Bay a week ago continue, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
In a statement on Monday, SAMSA said the continuing effort occurs against a backdrop where earlier efforts involving the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and others to recover the yacht with the body of the deceased sailor were thwarted by bad weather.
SAMSA said: “On Saturday 20 August, after the body of the solo sailor was located onboard the yacht adrift at sea, arrangements were prepared for the yacht to be towed to Stilbaai where SA Police officials would board the yacht and recover the body of the sailor.
“The yacht was found to have sustained some damage. While NSRI Stilbaai were towing the yacht weather conditions deteriorated and the tow was released. Further arrangements were made for NSRI Mossel Bay to respond on Sunday during the early morning to tow the yacht to Mossel Bay.
“NSRI Mossel Bay took up a tow of the yacht and while towing the yacht towards Mossel Bay the yacht took on water and sunk approximately 12 nautical miles from Mossel Bay. The SA Police Services and the Police Dive Unit are assessing the situation around the possible recovery of the body of the sailor from the sunken yacht.
“The family has been informed of the matter by the authorities and our thoughts remain with them in this difficult time.”
According to SAMSA in an earlier statement on Saturday, the ordeal of the recovery of the vessel and its sailor began after the yacht with the solo sailing skipper was reported missing after it had left Cape Town harbour on Friday, 12 August 2022, headed for Mossel Bay, but had failed to arrive at the scheduled time.
SAMSA related that: “The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town was made aware of a sailor onboard the yacht PANACEA that had departed Cape Town on Friday the 12th of August and was headed to Mossel Bay.
“After three days of no contact with his family, the sailor’s mother informed MRCC that she was concerned however not overly so, as her son was reportedly in no immediate rush to reach Mossel Bay. MRCC Cape Town, out of concern requested Telkom Maritime Radio to broadcast marine messages requesting vessel routing along the south coast between Cape Town and Mossel Bay to lookout for and report any sightings of the yacht and report it to the MRCC.
“On Friday 19th August a report from a passing vessel was received. Due to very bad weather the vessel could not remain on scene. However a different vessel managed to locate the yacht as well, and tried to confirm the safety of the lone sailor without success.
“With the concern and need to establish the safety of the sailor, MRCC Cape Town activated and tasked the National Sea Rescue Institutes’ rescue boat from the Hermanus station to proceed to the area, establish safety of the sailor, and render any assistance that may be required. Following an extensive search lasting well into the early hour of Saturday, morning the rescue boat – having operated for over 10 hours under very difficult sea condition and in near zero visibility – was stood down.
“The South African Air Force at 22 Squadron in Cape town was tasked along with the Air Sea Rescue team from the NSRI to prepare to launch at first light to head to the scene and provide assistance. Due to bad weather the flight departed later than planned and arrived on scene during the early afternoon of Saturday.
“Once on scene a rescue swimmer from the NSRI team was deployed from the helicopter to board the vessel. Unfortunately, the lone sailor was found but deceased. Plans are currently underway to recover the sailor and the yacht,” said SAMSA
In the meantime, the entity expressed condolences to the family of the sailor. Further, SAMSA expressed its gratitude to the crews from the NSRI and the South African Air Force “for the excellent efforts under very challenging condition present during this operation.”
A three day search for a group of fishermen at sea off the coast of Cape Town ended happily on Wednesday after they were all found along with their boat in the earlier hours of the day.
The group, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s (SAMSA) Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC)reportedly got into trouble at sea on Sunday and after an initially fruitless search fouled by poor weather conditions, they were found by another fishing vessel that took them to Cape Town for medical attention.
The MRCC in a report said the rescue of the five (5) fishermen at about 3.45am on Wednesday eventually ended happily three hours later when the men were dropped off the port of Cape Town by the the crew of the Silver Dolphin.
This was exactly three days after the fishermen were believed missing after a National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) report of a fishing boat thought to have been in distress following its firing of flares off the sea near Noordhoek Beach.
“MRCC received information on Sunday night, 02 February 2020 from the National Sea Rescue Institute Emergency Operations Centre of a red flare sighted by a member of the public at Noordhoek Beach. NSRI Stations at Houtbay and Kommetjie were launched to investigate.
“The initial report was relayed as the vessel had run out of fuel and had fired off flares to attract attention to its plight. It was stated that there may be 6 (six) persons onboard the vessel at the time. Additional rescue stations were tasked and set to sea to try and locate the vessel,” reported the MRCC
It added: “Search efforts continued into the night and the surface search accompanied by an aerial search using the SANDF Air Force Oryx helicopter took place Monday 03 February.
“All the while the weather in the form of heavy fog persisted and made search efforts very difficult and very low levels of visibility was very challenging. Efforts were suspended late on the evening and a reassessment was done.
“Five NSRI boats conducted a search again late Monday night well into Tuesday morning but as the weather again got worse efforts needed to be suspended. MRCC Cape Town made provision for another SANDF helicopter and a helicopter from EMS Western Cape but with the heavy fog persisting flying was not possible. Surface craft were alerted of the situation with a continuous MAY DAY Relay being broadcast.
“Assets from the TNPA were also placed on alert but with the visibility challenges no search efforts could be undertaken,” said the MRCC.
According to MRCC, the drama ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning after the crew of another fishing vessel, the Silver Dolphin, reported to have found the missing fishermen, together with their boat.
The MRCC report on Wednesday stated further: “At around 03.45 this morning, MRCC Cape Town was contacted by the Silver Dolphin reporting they had located the missing boat and crew. The fishing vessel was bound for St Helena Bay but was requested to change course and head towards Cape Town and to rendezvous with the NSRI Table Bay Station 3 vessel, with a medical team, which was activated by MRCC to render assistance and bring the crew back to Cape Town.
“The families have been notified along with the Maritime Authorities, who have sent a representative down to the port. The stricken vessel and crew arrived at the NSRI base just after 0630am and are being evaluated by the Western Cape Metro medical personnel.
“The efforts and commitment by all involved actively and those who stood by to deploy while the weather created challenges are highly commended and the MRCC wishes to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation during the operation.”
Methanol poisoning is believed to be the cause of the death of one crew member and hospitalization of five others in Durban, South Africa, from a Netherlands ship that was sailing past the country early this week.
According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) activated a rescue mission at about 7.51am on Tuesday after receiving a call for assistance from the Captain of the BOKA VANGUARD to help evacuate and seek urgent medical attention for five crew Brazilian crew members who had apparently fallen sick on board. An additional crewman had already died before MRCC was notified.
This occurred while the vessel – described as a heavy lift ship – was sailing on the Indian Ocean, approximately 276 kilometres East from the port city of Durban on its way from Qindao in China to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
On receiving the urgent call for assistance, MRCC said medical and evacuation support was activated involving the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Western Cape Metro Emergency Medical Services, the South African Air Force as well as the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Durban.
At the time of rescue and evacuation of the vessel’s sick crew, all five were in a critical condition with the potential risk of death, said the MRCC. It was reported by the Captain that the methanol poisoning happened during the evening but he only got to know about it that morning.
Both the TNPA and SAAF readied aircraft for use in the evacuation. The Air Force’s resources were utilised as it could carry all five casualties at once, while the NSRI also launched a boat from Durban as an additional safety measure. The MRCC described the sea and weather conditions during the operation as calm with the wind at 13 km/h and with a swell at 1.7 metres
At the time of writing, it could not be established what condition the sick crew were in since hospitalization on Tuesday.
MRCC Cape Town expressed its appreciation for the support provided by the SASAR Signatory Agencies and the contribution to the successful medical evacuation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.