Plastic pellets clean up along Durban coastline now fully underway: SAMSA

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Durban: 30 October 2017

A massive, painstaking and possibly long term clean up of the coastline for miles north and south of Durban to rid it of very tiny pellets that have polluted the area since the blistering rainstorm of 10 October 2017 and which left the port city with a repair bill worth an estimated R600-million, is now fully underway.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) a State agency charged with among other things, the environmental sound integrity of the country’s oceans.

DSC_1983.JPGAs of Monday 30 October 2017, teams of workers have been hard at work since about a week ago retrieving the tiny pellets from the coastline sand in Durban with hope to reduce as much as is possible the float of the nurdles.

This followed a SAMSA directive to shipping group, the Mediterranean Shipping Company – operators of a shipping vessel from which the damaged containers carrying the cargo were lost and apparently deposited at sea – to conduct an assessment of the scale of pollution caused following the loss of cargo into the water in Durban harbour during the torrential natural disaster rainstorm that took place in earlier October .

On October 10, the day of the rainstorm, SAMSA and the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) had to prioritize the refloating and remooring of five drifting vessels and three of which had grounded in the port due to the extraordinary weather conditions characterized by very strong winds and rain.IMG_8083.JPGFrom the day onward, SAMSA supported by TNPA had been actively involved in containing and minimizing the impact of the damage caused in the Durban harbour.

On the day, two damaged shipping containers that had fallen into the harbour waters were secured and retrieved as soon as available resources had been successfully deployed on the five storm affected vessels.

Containment measures were implemented as soon as it was discovered that at least one of the fallen containers had held bags of plastic pellets. A while later, several bags were retrieved within the port waters and a clean-up operation was implemented by the Port Pollution Control department.

Later, sounding surveys were conducted by TNPA’s Dredging Services division supported by divers and drones, and which found no further obstructions or obstacles on the seabed within the port limits  The port was declared safe for navigation on 13 October.

The port authority’s ongoing clean-up operations within port limits had also been targeting a significant inflow of waste that had discharged into the port from Umbilo, Amanzimnyama and Umhlatuzana Rivers, as well as the municipal stormwater system.

DSC_2004.JPGHowever, in the next few days a mixture of high and low density plastic cargo has been found in some parts of the ocean.

SAMSA Chief Operating Officer Sobantu Tilayi said MSC cooperated with the authorities for the clean-up operation which started a week ago, conducted surveillance and assessment of the extent of pollution in Durban harbour and the affected coastal areas.

Later SAMSA also met with the Durban Harbour Master and Pollution Control department, the Department of Environmental Affairs, and KZN Provincial Government, and KZN Wildlife.

From these meetings, Mr Tilayi indicated that SAMSA would undertake the monitoring and oversight role of the process while MSC would consult with the cargo owners for the technical details of the pollutant plastics.

He said area surveys of beaches up to Umhlanga on North Coast and Umkomas on the South Coast beaches was conducted by a service provider accompanied by SAMSA.

Mr Tilayi said: “A team to assess the extent of damage has traveled northwards and south wards. Local municipalities will be kept informed to enable surveillance team to access beaches.”

In the meantime on the direction of SAMSA, Drizit Environmental, was appointed and is leading the clean-up operation. On the weekend of 28 October 2017 strong winds interrupted the operation. However, favorable  weather conditions prevailed on the Monday, 30 October 2017, and teams were back at work, cleaning the Durban beaches.

On Monday, Captain Hopewell Mkhize, a Principal Officer in the Durban SAMSA office said the clean up might take a while yet, hopefully with no severe interruptions by windy conditions. According to Capt Mkhize, windy conditions, such as was experienced on Sunday, 29 October 2017 were not useful as the tiny pellets simply blew away along with the sand.

For more comment from Capt Mkhize, click on the video.

Meanwhile, the SAMSA appointed  environmental cleanup company, Drizit, has established a central collection point for the nurdles at Durban Ski Boat Club (79 Browns Rd, Point, Durban) where the pellets may be dropped off.

Drizit can be contacted on their 24- hour toll free line 0800 202 202.

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Inclement Durban weather keeps SAMSA on its toes

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Image: The Mirror. UK

Pretoria: 11 October 2017

The horrible wet and stormy weather that hit the port city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday resulting in a massive flooding in parts of the city and causing chaos with shipping at the port, will continue to be monitored for its effects on sea traffic, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has said.

In a media statement shared on social media early on Wednesday, SAMSA said after the breakout of the heavy downpour of rain and massive storm that led rapidly to some vessels at the port of Durban breaking loose and drifting dangerously, the organisation – jointly worked closely with the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA)  round the clock to manage the chaotic situation.

The SAMSA statement released early today reads as follows:

October 10, 2017: Durban, South Africa:

The South African Maritime Safety Authority, working with the Transnet National Ports Authority in the emergency response operations within the Port of Durban today (Tuesday), will continue to monitor Durban’s and the coastal weather and sea conditions.

Chief Operating Officer for SAMSA, Sobantu Tilayi confirmed together with TNPA, SAMSA provided technical support during the multi vessel emergency operation. This was as a result of the major storm that hit Durban at about 09h30 this morning.

Tilayi said: “Our principal officer from SAMSA Durban office, Captain Hopewell Mkhize together with the Port of Durban Harbour Master, Captain Alex Miya convened a Joint Operations Committee which managed the emergency response operations. Five container ships in total were affected. We will continue monitoring weather conditions along the coast and monitor the situation in Durban for the next 48 hours.”

He said the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, has been kept abreast of the emergency response and salvage operations.

An emergency meeting was convened at approximately 11h30 today with Mkhize and Miya to form a joint command and engage on the re-floating for the vessels MSC Innes, SM York, Bow Triumph and SA Shipyard floating dock with the new harbour tug. The meeting also dealt with vessels MSC Susanna and Maritime Newanda that broke moorings and had to be held by harbour tugs to prevent them also running aground.

The vessel, MSC Innes took priority as it blocked the port entrance. It took 5 tugs to re-float the 330-metre long container vessel and once re-floated, she was allocated a berth in the port for damage inspection.

The vessel, Bow Triumph, a 183-metre long product tanker, which was berthed in Island View broke its moorings and ran aground on the sand bank near the Island View Terminal. The vessel was re-floated at 16h30 and it took further effort to clear the anchors which were still stuck. All re-floating operations were completed at 17h30 and the vessel was allocated a berth overnight for damage inspection.

The vessel, MS New York, a 330-metre long container vessel, which ran aground near Maydon Wharf was also re-floated successfully and was allocated a berth for damage inspection. By 7pm tonight the vessel, MSC Susana, which had earlier broke from its mooring ropes, was secured.  The Maritime Newanda vessel which broke loose was held by tugs and is currently berthed at Maydon Wharf.

The SA Shipyards’ floating dock and new tug remain grounded on bank. It will be attended to in daylight hours.

TNPA reported that there was a straddle carrier which was blown into the water and remains unsecured. There are also reports that some cranes were derailed by strong winds. Of concern, according to Tilayi, are reports that there were about three containers believed to have been lost into the water with the exact position unknown. These pose a danger to navigation within the vicinity. TNPA confirmed that a search will be conducted in daylight hours.

There were no injuries no pollution reported on all the above incidents. Durban Port was closed due to debris in the water and unknown position of some containers which pose danger to navigation and damages to vessels.

“We are pleased with the overall cooperation from all stakeholders and the swift action to ensure the safety of people and equipment. More importantly is the demonstration of emergency preparedness that was displayed during this major incident. It is the first time that we have had to attend to this number of casualties simultaneously.

“We are pleased by the reaction of TNPA and their handling of the incident. We are increasingly getting confronted with deteriorating weather patterns and can expect similar incidents in the future given the effects of climate change. It was a saving grace that all this took place within the harbour where all resources are concentrated, it could have been worse if it was over a large open sea area. A full SAMSA report will be done once all salvage operations are completed,” Tilayi said.

Ends

 

Confirmed construction of a new Durban cruise terminal a boost for South Africa’s marine tourism

World Class Cruise Terminal Durban 3152017. An artist's impression

Pretoria: 04 June 2014

The formal confirmation of the winning bidder to construct a new modern multi-million rand worth cruise terminal at the port of Durban by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) this past week has been roundly welcomed in the country’s marine tourism sector.

Adding to the round of applause at the weekend was the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), a state agency that has been instrumental over the last few years in the drive to promote development of particularly the country’s coastal and marine tourism subsector as a critical part of the country’s economic development agenda.

The reaction came in the wake of TNPA on Wednesday (May 31, 2017) announcing KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd (KCT) as its preferred bidder for the design, development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the new cruise terminal facilities at the port of Durban on a portion of land measuring 27 800 meters at “A” and “B” Berths at point precinct, for a period of 20 years.

KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd is a joint venture between MSC Cruises SA (a subsidiary of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA) and Africa Armada Consortium (a black empowerment partner).

For the full story of the actual TNPA announcement, Click Here, or Here

In Pretoria at the weekend, SAMSA said the formal announcement of the winning bidder for development of the new cruise terminal at the port of Durban was a major boost for the country’s coastal and marine tourism.

“It is an impressive, bold and great step for tourism, and particularly so for the maritime sector and the general oceans economy,’ said the organization.

With coastal and marine tourism now having been included in the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) labs since about a year ago, SAMSA continues to contribute to plans development for the country’s maritime economic sector in general.

“The final formal go ahead given the construction of the new cruise terminal in Durban marks the beginning of more similarly exciting developments the country can expect,” said SAMSA.

End.

South Africa remains posed for a pioneering role in Africa’s ocean economy development: SAMSA

Pretoria: 14 March 2017

The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel on arrival Port Elizabeth on Friday after a three month research and training expedition in the Indian and Antarctic oceans with 30 cadets on board.

South Africa is well positioned to play a pioneering role in the African continent’s drive for expansive growth of its ocean’s economy sector, but especially if stakeholders and key role players both in the public and private sector continue to strengthen co-operation and collaboration towards the goal.

That is according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting chief executive officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi in the wake of yet another highly successful collaborative effort that saw a group of Indian scientists along with 30 South African cadets complete on schedule a three-months long research and training expedition both along the Indian Ocean and the Antarctic region.

Crucially, according to Mr Sobantu, the expedition was successfully undertaken aboard the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas, this past week.

After dropping off the Indian scientists in Mauritius a few days earlier, the vessel – under the command of SAMSA – docked in Port Elizabeth on Friday, to a warm welcome by senior officials of several institutions in both the public and private sector. These included SAMSA, the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the Transnet National Ports Authority(TNPA), the National Skills Fund under the Department of Higher Education and Training, recently established bunker services group, Aegean; the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA, the Maritime Crew Services (MSC) and a few others.

The SA Agulhas was acquired by SAMSA in 2011 for training in support of the National Cadet Programme, which is being managed by the Port Elizabeth-based SAIMI.

The training is being funded by the National Skills Fund.

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA greeting the 30 deck and engine cadets that were on board the SA Agulhas in in its three months research and training expedition to the Antarctic region over the last three months
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA greeting the 30 deck and engine cadets that were on board the SA Agulhas in in its three months research and training expedition to the Antarctic region over the last three months

The vessel sailed on 14 December 2016 from Cape Town with 30 cadets under the guide of SAMTRA and MCS.

The group of seven (7) engineering and 23 deck cadets along with two training officers joined the South African crew on a research voyage chartered by India’s National Centre for Antarctic Research.

Her first port of call was Port Louis in Mauritius on Christmas Eve where she took on board the team of Indian scientists and five container loads of equipment. The ship sailed south from Mauritius before heading West of Kerguelen Island and on to Antarctica and back to Mauritius carrying out operations at various scientific stations along the way.

On completion of the expedition Friday, Mr Sobantu said the event was just one to possibly vindicate the brave stance taken by the maritime safety authority  a few years ago to acquire the vessel with the sole intention  of providing a viable yet necessary intervention in the development of a local cadre of seafarers.

More than 350 cadets have been trained aboard the SA Agulhas since 2012 after SAMSA acquired the vessel from the Department of Environmental Affairs and re-purposed the former Antarctic research and supply vessel as a training vessel to support the National Cadet Programme.

The cadet programme enables aspiring sea-farers to obtain the practical sea-time experience required to attain a Certificate of Competency (COC) as either a Deck Officer or Marine Engineering Officer. The COC is an internationally recognised qualification, issued by SAMSA in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Convention on the Standards, Training and Certification of Watch-keepers (STCW), and opens up a global sea-faring career for these young South Africans.

The programme is a skills development initiative linked to Operation Phakisa which aims to grow South Africa’s participation in the maritime economy. The initiative is managed by SAIMI and financed by the National Skills Fund.

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

On Friday Mr Tilayi noted that: “The three-month cruise took the vessel and the cadets all the way down to 68 degrees south where they encountered severe weather. Both the vessel and the cadets passed with flying colours.”

Key to the success, he said, was ongoing cooperation and collaboration among a group of stakeholders, interested parties and the investment community. For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (video), Click Here

Meanwhile, SAIMI chief executive officer, Dr Malek Pourzanjani was also full of praise of the success of the SA Agulhas’ latest venture into a research and training expedition.

“The fact that the Indian government was willing to entrust leading scientists and important multi-disciplinary scientific research to a South African training vessel crewed by South Africans is a tribute to the quality of our mariners and the training offered in South Africa,” Dr Pourzanjani.  For his full remarks, Click Here

Ms Phyllis Difeto, chief operations officer of TNPA was in agreement with her counterparts at SAMSA and SAIMI: “South Africa needs more world class maritime expertise at all levels,” she said, also stressing the need for

ongoing collaboration between TNPA, SAMSA, SAIMI and the private sector to ensure that South African mariners received world class training that would position them well for seafarer work around the globe.

For Ms Difeto’s full remarks, Click Here.

Meanwhile, the cadets on the expedition were full excitement, sharing their experiences as well as hopes for the future as seafarers. Two of the cadets, Afrika Masuku and Sandisiwe Ngcobo spoke briefly before their welcoming audience on Friday, thanking both their trainers and training sponsors for the opportunity. In separate interviews, five other cadets opened up about their experiences as did one of their trainers. For these interviews Click Here.

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Fire on Korean fishing vessel at port of Cape Town under control: port services uninterrupted

Pretoria: Sunday, 19 February 2017

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Korean fishing vessel, the No.101 GEUMJEONG listing to port as firefighters continued to battle a blaze on board in Cape Town on Sunday.

Port authorities at the port of Cape Town, working closely with the city’s firefighting services team, have managed to keep under control a raging fire that broke out on board a Korea fishing vessel, the No.101 Geumjeong on Saturday morning, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported Sunday.

sam_3528“The fire is under control, but has spread to the back (aft) of the vessel. The City of Cape Town Fire Services are rendering boundary cooling from the quay side and a TNPA tug from the waterside. The vessel is still listing to port and is trimmed by the stern, limiting firefighting capabilities on board,” said SAMSA acting Principal Officer for Cape Town, Captain Antoinette Keller.

According to Capt. Keller, the incident also has had no impact on shipping and posed no pollution risk currently even as pollution equipment was kept on standby should deployment become necessary.

Heavy smoke could be seen from a quite a distance in Cape Town yesterday after a fishing vessel docked at a repair quay caught alight in the early hour of Saturday.
Heavy smoke could be seen from a quite a distance in Cape Town yesterday after a fishing vessel docked at a repair quay caught alight in the early hours  of Saturday.

Capt. Keller said local authorities were alerted to the fire on board the No.101 Geumjeong at about 1.20am Saturday, prompting the City of Cape Town Fire Department to race to the scene – a repair quay at the port of Cape Town – where they were joined by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) crews.

“There is no reported loss of life and all individuals are accounted for. Currently there is no personnel on board and the fire is being addressed via boundary cooling for safety reasons, both from shore side and sea side. The vessels in the immediate vicinity have been safely moved to alternate berths,” she said.

According to Capt. Keller, an investigation will be conducted by SAMSA into the cause of the fire as soon as it has been put out.

Meanwhile in Port Elizabeth, where a cargo vessel had to make an emergency docking earlier in the week after it also caught on fire while sailing towards the Cape Peninsula, mopping up operations continued following to successful evacuation and dousing out of the fire.

Liberia flagged cargo vessel, APL Austria resting uneasily at the port of Ngqrurha near Port Elizabeth yesterday as a mop up phase began after rescue operations succeeded in putting out a raging fire on board the vessel since Sunday afternoon.
Liberia flagged cargo vessel, APL Austria resting uneasily at the port of Ngqrurha near Port Elizabeth yesterday as a mop up phase began after rescue operations succeeded in putting out a raging fire on board the vessel since Sunday afternoon.

“Mop-up operations and discharge of damaged containers are in progress, and causalty/incident investigation is in progress,” confirmed Captain Daron Burgess.

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Fire on cargo vessel at Port of Ngqurha under control: SAMSA

Pretoria: 15 February 2017

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Work to salvage the last batch of about 32 containers in hatch No4 of the fire ravaged Liberian flagged cargo vessel currently docked at the port of Ngqurha was due to begin on Wednesday morning, on condition that the fire in the hold had been successfully extinguished, the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) reported on Tuesday night.

img_6445According to SAMSA, fires in the lower hold No4 of the APL Austria vessel had already been extinguished except for two containers in the cargo holding area that had been packed with candles and which had since melted into wax.

This was despite the No4 cargo hold having filled with water equivalent the height of four containers as result of firefighting efforts that began on board the vessel on Sunday afternoon on the eastern ocean of South Africa, some 30 nautical miles south west of country’s world reknowned surfing mecca, Jeffrey’s Bay.

At the time, according to SAMSA, the 280 metres wide and 72 000 ton cargo carrier was headed west towards the Cape Peninsula.

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After reporting the blaze on board, SAMSA’s Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre (MRCC) based in Cape Town, redirected the vessel back to the port of Port Elizabeth and eventually its current anchor alongside the port of Ngqurha, some 30 kilometres east of Nelson Mandela Bay, where rescue operations continued including the safe evacuation of its entire crew.

On Tuesday night SAMSA reported that as many as 281 containers had been removed from the vessel and that to maintain ongoing stability of the situation, containers forward and aft of No.4 cargo hold on deck were also being discharged to create working space and a fire-break on deck, while contents of burnt damaged containers which were discharged were being de-stuffed into skips ashore.

Burned damaged containers would be moved off site as from Wednesday, said SAMSA. Meanwhile, firefighting services remained on site including TNPA tugs are boundary cooling and on standby.

 

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Firefighters battle blaze on board Liberian flagged vessel in Port Elizabeth!

The APL Austria cargo vessel (Photo: Courtesy of
The APL Austria cargo vessel (Photo: Courtesy of shipspotting.com)

Pretoria: 13 February 2017

The cause of a major blaze on board the APL Austria, a Liberian flagged cargo vessel now docked at Ngqura harbour, some 30km east of Port Elizabeth, may take time to determine; the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said on Monday as firefighters continued to battle the blaze earlier in the day.

According to Captain Daron Burgess, a Principal Officer for SAMSA’s Southern region; rescue services were set in motion on Sunday afternoon, at approximately 5.49pm, after the SAMSA Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) located in Cape Town was alerted of a fire on board the container vessel.

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At the time, according to Capt Burgess, the vessel was 30 nautical miles South-West of Cape St Francis – some 50-70 kilometers west of the city of Port Elizabeth.

He said when alerting the MRCC, the crew of the vessel had been of the impression that the fire was on the vessel’s “No.3 cargo hold” only to be later established as having broke out in its “No.4 cargo hold”.

The APL Austria built in 2007 is about 280 meters in length overall,  with a beam of about 40m and a gross tonnage of about  71 867 tons and a deadweight of some 72 807t.

“The vessel was instructed to proceed to Algoa Bay anchorage and she arrived at the anchorage area at 02h00 this morning, Monday 13 February 2017. There are several containers containing hazardous cargo on deck above No.4 cargo hold, but fortunately none of them were on fire,” said Capt Burgess.

According to Capt Burgess, relevant senior officials of the port of Ngqurha, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and SAMSA boarded the vessel from about 4am on Monday for an assessment of its conditions while firefighters, inclusive of three TNPA harbour tugs assisted with the firefighting operation by providing boundary cooling.

“Lots of black smoke was emanating from the vessel. The weather conditions have been favourable since the incident occurred, with a light South-Easterly wind. The vessel heaved anchor at about O5hOO this morning and was instructed to proceed further out in the bay to clear the other vessels at the anchorage area. The tugs continued with boundary cooling during the morning hours; during the night the vessel used their on board fire extinguishing media.

“After the fire was relatively under control, arrangements were made to take the vessel into the Port of Ngqura with the Metro Fire Fighters on standby and to deal with the situation upon arrival alongside. The vessel entered the Port of Ngqura at approximately 10h00 this morning. It is not yet clear at this stage what caused the fire. An investigation will be undertaken once the fire is extinguished to try and establish the cause of the fire,” reported Capt Burgess.

End

SAMSA investigates tragic vessel incident at Cape Town harbour at the weekend

A Transnet National Ports Authority vessel that capsized at the port of Cape Town on Saturday leading to the tragic death of one person.
A Transnet National Ports Authority vessel that capsized at the port of Cape Town on Saturday leading to the tragic death of one person.

Pretoria: 06 February 2017

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.

End

Vessels fires put out; investigation into their cause to follow

The MFV Verano, a Russia registered, South Korea owned fishing trawler that caught alight on Wednesday last week a the port of Cape Town has since had the fired put out.  An investigation into the cause of the fire is expected to commence as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
The MFV Verano, a Russia registered, South Korea owned fishing trawler that caught alight on Wednesday last week a the port of Cape Town has since had the fired put out. An investigation into the cause of the fire is expected to commence as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

Pretoria: 10 November 2016

A fire that consumed a Russia registered fishing trawler, the MFV Verano at the port of Cape Town for seven straight days has finally been put out, a joint operations team tasked with battling the blaze has confirmed.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) also confirmed that another flareup on the bridge of a vessel, the Da Yuan Yu, also docked at the port was also dealt with quickly and successfully on Wednesday afternoon. The cause of the fire on the second vessel had also not yet been established.

Meanwhile, a joint task team tasked with fire onboard the Verano which began last week Wednesday, reported that it had finally subdued the flames at about 6pm on Tuesday.

“All boundary cooling activities are discontinued, though fire services have been placed on standby for any emergencies.The vessel is still listing to starboard but remains stable. The appointed Salvors have fully mobilized on site. Daily operational meetings with Salvors continue. The cause of the incident remains undetermined at this stage. The port continues to operate as per normal, with the incident having no further impact on operations,” the statement said.

SAMSA had earlier said an investigation into the cause of the fire on the MFV Verano would get underway as soon as conditions allow.

End

 

 

 

Russian registered fishing trawler in stable condition, with port operations back to normal at Cape Town Harbour – SAMSA in conjunction with TNPA reports.

Latest Update: 4.pm Tuesday, 08 November 2016

The MFV Verano, a Russian registered fishing trawler that caught fire at the port of Cape Town last Wednesday is still burning, and although listing, it remains stable. Its crew was reportedly safely evacuated.
The MFV Verano, a Russian registered fishing trawler that caught fire at the port of Cape Town last Wednesday is still burning, and although listing, it remains stable. Its crew was reportedly safely evacuated.

The  MFV “Verano”, a fishing trawler berthed at quay 703  at the port of Cape Town and which has been on fire since Wednesday last week,  is reported to have cooled down substantially, and that even though she is listing to starboard, she remains in a stable condition.

Shortly after the fire broke out,  five crew members on board were safely evacuated with no injury or loss of life and a Primary Joint Operations Centre involving the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) was established with a mobile incident command on site on a 24 hour basis.

Heavy plumes of smoke, believed to be coming from burning plastic packaging material and polystyrene stored in a fish hold within the vessel, covered the area as firefighters from the Cape Town Firefighting Department joined forces with tugs to try and extinguish the blaze.

A fishing vessel adjacent to the burning vessel had to be shifted to another area in the port and the Transnet temporarily shut down the container terminal operations.

The following day, Thursday the fire at the front of the vessel as well as the accommodation section had been contained but remained burning aft of the vessel due to the plastic packaging material onboard.

Plans were discussed to debunker the fuel onboard.

On Friday the fire was still emanating in number 2 fish hold and in the paint store located in the forecastle. This prompted plans to pump water out from the hull and open hatches to apply high expansion foam into the vessel.

Over the weekend the fire situation continued to be at a moderate condition and to secure the area, an oil boom was deployed around the vessel to prevent any pollution that could occur. By this time, Transnet Port Terminals Container Terminal was back to full operational.

On Monday this week the joint operations team reported further improvement in the situation with the vessel now substantially cooled down. It reported the vessel as still listing to starboard but  in a stable condition.

Early Tuesday  smoke still bellowed from the number one fish hold while boundary cooling continued on either side of the vessel.

In a statement during the day, it was announced that an assessment has been undertaken by a TNPA appointed Marine Surveyor and P&I surveyor while the vessel owners had also appointed Salvors, to help extinguish the fire, de-water and make the vessel safe.

Meanwhile, records indicate that the MFV “Verano”, a Russia registered but South Korean owned vessel, has been stationed at the port of Cape Town since October 2013 after it had reported for cargo discharge, thereafter berthed for repairs before uplifting bunkers after which it docked at quay 703 – its current position.

SAMSA is maintaining a close eye on the process and will conduct an investigation when once it is safe to do so.

End

Report Updated: 3.20pm Thursday.

UP IN SMOKE: A Russian registered vessel on fire at the Cape Town harbour on Tuesday.
UP IN SMOKE: A Russian registered vessel on fire at the Cape Town harbour on Tuesday.

Cape Town: 02 November 2016

Efforts by firefighters to put out a fire engulfing a Russia flag bearing vessel docked at the Cape Town harbour continued into late afternoon on Wednesday.

According to the website, sea-web.com; the 41 year old vessel, known as a ‘factory stern trawler’ type, is owned and operated by Insung Corporation of South Korea.

The cause of the fire which broke out on the vessel named Verano, at about noon on Wednesday, was still unknown, according to the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Samsa’s Western Region acting Regional Manager, Captain Gustav Louw confirmed

  • that a surveyor had been dispatched to do some preliminary inspection soon after the fire broke out on the vessel.
  • Full investigation would take place only after the fire was put out.
  • He also confirmed that crew of the vessel had successful escaped the fire on the vessel.
  • At 17h00 the Cape Town Fire Department and TNPA tugs were still on the scene trying to extinguished the fire.

IN PICTURES:

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UP IN SMOKE: A Russian registered vessel on fire at the Cape Town harbour on Tuesday.

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End.