Stricken vessel edging closer to beach

2012-05-16 18:19

Johannesburg - Attempts to salvage a 50m long fishing vessel off First Beach, Clifton, would continue beyond Wednesday, the City of Cape Town said.

"The attempt to salvage the stranded Japanese longliner, the Eihatsu Maru, will continue into Friday," said the city in a statement.

On Wednesday, the salvage team would weld a bracket into the trawler which could withstand the required pull force and 90 to 110 tons of diesel fuel would be drained from the ship.

The fuel was to move to a rubber bladder on the beach, then it would be transferred to a fuel tanker.

"Traffic Services has been requested to assist in securing access on the road, for the fuel tanker to park at the most efficient point for fuel loading," the city said.

Disaster risk management centre officials, environmental officers, police, and fire officials were to remain on site until the salvage operation had been completed.

"The salvage team will attempt to tow the vessel off the beach on Friday, once the fuel has been removed and the bracket secured," the municipality said.

Traffic would be affected on Victoria Road near the beach.

Earlier on Wednesday, SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) regional manager Dave Colly told radio station 567CapeTalk that low high tides and the need to weld on a new towing point had hampered salvage efforts.

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, the radio station reported.

The Eihatsu Maru ran aground at 05:15 on Saturday in thick fog.

The salvage attempts would not affect Fourth Beach's Blue Flag status, the city assured residents.

A Blue Flag is an international award given to beaches that meet excellence in areas of safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards.

Of the 28 Taiwanese crew members on board, 19 were evacuated. The remaining crew and the captain were required to stay on the ship under international maritime law.

Read more on:    cape town  |  maritime

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