SAMSA launches investigation into KZN Sharks Board tragic boat incident in Richards Bay

tPretoria: 08 August 2018

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has confirmed launching an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the capsizing of a KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board boat and in which two people reportedly died, while a third was still missing in Richards Bay early on Wednesday.

According to SAMSA, the tragic incident involving a total of five (5) employees of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, reportedly occurred shortly after 06h00 at the port of the Richards Bay.

The skipper of the boat – described as a 6.6-meter shark-meshing type vessel, named “Typus III” – was said to have been one of those who fatally lost their lives. He reportedly had more than 18 years of experience as a skipper.

According to the SAMSA report, the incident occurred while the boat crew were conducting shark net inspections and replacements along the Alkantstrand beach in Richards Ba= when strong waves hit the vessel and it capsized.

SAMSA Principal Officer for the agency’s Richards Bay office, Captain Winston Lobo said: “This morning at about 06h45 the Sharks Board owned boat “Typus III” with five (5) people on board, capsized whilst carrying out shark netting operations.

“NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) was activated and two (2) persons were recovered and are currently in a stable condition in hospital. Tragically, two (2) others are deceased and one (1) is still missing.”

According to Captain Lobo, the rescue operation of the boat crew and sea search for the missing employee – conducted jointly between the SAMSA’s Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) port control in Richards Bay as well as NSRI and SAPS divers – continued for the better part of the day on the Wednesday.

In addition, he said, SAMSA officials along with South African Police Services (SAPS) members had been working closely since early in the day to establish the circumstances of the tragic incident.

Captain Lobo reported that the search for the missing person, which also involved a TNPA helicopter in and around the Alkantstrand beach, had been called off after several hours of searching.

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

UPDATE 1 – Pretoria: 21 November 2016

nsri
(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.”

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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.”

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Fate of arrested Chinese vessel in Cape Town to be determined soon

Pretoria: 16 May 2016

An image of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186. Courtesy of Independent Online
An image of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186 arrested by South African authorities off the Eastern Cape coast at the weekend now berthed at the Cape Town harbour. (Image courtesy of Independent Online

The fate of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186, currently docked in Cape Town after being successfully chased and captured by South African authorities off the Eastern Cape coast at the weekend will soon be fully determined by the extent to which it violated both the country’s laws and international conventions.

The vessel is one of several – about nine – possibly from the same company believed to have entered and operated in South African waters illegally about a week ago.

On Monday (May 16) the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed that it had begun investigations of the vessel relating to its conduct in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Captains Karl Otto and Gustav Louw confirmed that SAMSA surveyors boarded the vessel on Monday afternoon and their findings would be shared as soon as they were available.

According to SAMSA, the investigation is looking precisely into the vessel’s seaworthiness inclusive of its condition, its operation certificates as well as those of the crew, the vessel’s manning conditions, as well as its general conduct in South African waters involving its radio availability and responsiveness to South African authorities.

A SAMSA team set out early Monday to investigate the vessel and to make a determination of its overall condition and conduct.

The SAMSA ship surveyors team’s findings will add to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) investigations and findings at the weekend shortly after the cornering and arrest of the vessel in Cape Town.

Shortly after its berthing at the Cape Town harbour on Saturday, according to DAFF, rummaging was conducted on the captured vessel involving the South African Police Services (SAPS), the South African Revenue Services (SARS) as well as the Department of Home Affairs.

“There was a total of nine crew members on board,” said DAFF’s spokesperson, Bomikazi Molapo, also confirming that no fish was found onboard the vessel.

She said: “The crew claimed to have been travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo where they claim they were going to fish and claim to have the necessary permits to do so. We have also established that this fleet of nine vessels is related and belong to the same company.”

Ms Molapo said while the early investigators found no fish on board the vessel, it had however violated the country’s Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) in that the fishing vessel entered the country’s EEZ without the authority of a valid permit.

“The vessel also contravened Section 56 (2) in that (the) Master or crew member of the fishing vessel in question, did not immediately comply with lawful instruction as given by a fishery control officer and also did not facilitate the safe boarding, entry and inspection of the fishing vessel,” she said.

Due to these violations, DAFF issued a seizure notice that will involve the vessel, its gear and equipment, stores as well as cargo.

In terms of this, the vessel will not be allowed to leave the port of Cape Town or relocate to any other berthing space within the port, unless authorized to do so by DAFF.

According to DAFF, SARS had also fined the vessel R8 000 for tobacco and cigarette related charges. SAPS was also following up and investigating a case involving the keeping of dogs in the vessel.

Meanwhile, Ms Molapo confirmed that an alert had been issued to neighboring countries, Namibia and Mozambique to be on the look for the rest of the vessels that have since disappeared. “DAFF has notified and registered an intention to get all the nine vessels red flagged with regional fisheries management organizations,” she said.
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