Cable snaps on Cape Town shipwreck

2012-05-15 14:25

Cape Town - Towing operations on the stricken Japanese long-line fishing vessel, the Eihatsu Maru, stranded at Clifton has been suspended on Tuesday after the cable snapped, the South African Maritime Safety Association (Samsa) has said.

"Pulling the stranded fishing trawler on Clifton First beach has been suspended due to a snapped towing cable," Samsa told News24.

The 50m vessel ran aground on Saturday morning and efforts to tow it out to sea have hit obstructions with rough seas and the size of the ship.

Samsa began towing operations on Tuesday as the weather calmed, and a News24 reporter saw a tugboat having some difficulty in pulling the vessel from the beach.

The decision to make the towing effort at 12:00 was taken because it was hoped that the tide would help lift the ship, but the cable snapped.

Samsa said that a helicopter will arrive at 15:00 with a pump so that the fuel can be pumped out of the vessel to lessen its weight and hopefully aide buoyancy.

The fishing vessel was tracked along the South African coast and some are questioning whether the incident could have been a deliberate act.

There was heavy fog on Saturday, but this should not have affected navigation equipment on board.

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