SA to pay for Clifton salvage

2012-05-16 23:09
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Trawler runs aground at Clifton beach

A 50m fishing trawler has run aground at First Beach in Clifton, Cape Town. Salvage operations are under way.

Cape Town - South Africa will be covering the costs involved with the salvage of the Japanese fishing vessel stranded on Clifton's First Beach, according to the SA Maritime Safety Authority.

The Eihatsu Maru, which ran aground early on Saturday morning, has not yet been pulled from the shore, with sea conditions hampering salvage attempts.

Ward councillor for the area Beverley Schafer said time was of the essence as the boat had already moved 25m towards the beach since it ran aground.

Now it has emerged that South Africa will be paying for the salvage amid concerns it may turn into a repeat of the Seli 1 debacle.

Samsa regional manager Dave Colly said on Wednesday that the national transport department is footing the bill for the operation. It has a contract with Smit Amandla Marine.

The organisation, in turn, is hoping to get payment from the ship's owner.

But the owner has provisionally refused to cover the mounting costs of the salvage, and it is unclear whether he has insurance or not.

Samsa has reportedly spent in the region of R40m on the ill-fated Seli 1 since that vessel ran aground off Bloubergstrand in Table Bay on 7 September 2009.

Its owner abandoned the ship, while its insurers, Russia Club, also walked away from the wreck and left South Africans to pay for its removal.

A permanent solution for the management of the wreck has never been reached, and there is no maritime legislation that compels any party to clear the wreckage.

Money woes

While the Eihatsu Maru has been in the headlines, another ship lies stranded in False Bay. The Panos Earth has been anchored there for several weeks, after its generators failed.

The Cape Times reported that the engines became faulty as a result of dirty fuel taken in South America.

According to the newspaper, it will take $500 000 (R3.6m) to repair, but the vessel's Chilean owner does not have the cash to do so.

The reason is because the Chinese charterer, which hired the Panos Earth to transport iron ore to Shanghai, has stopped paying charter fees - because the ship is in False Bay with the cargo of iron ore going nowhere, it said.

The Cape Times reported that the ship owner has no cash flow, and no money to repair the generators.

And in the background there is a stand-off between the owner and the ship’s insurers, Swedish Club.

Its 18 crew members remain stuck on board.

Read more on:    cape town  |  maritime  |  seli 1

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