Dead fisherman 'lived for the sea'

2015-09-30 06:15
John Diedericks, one of the fishermen who died in a trawler tragedy at the weekend. (Picture: Supplied)

John Diedericks, one of the fishermen who died in a trawler tragedy at the weekend. (Picture: Supplied)

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Cape Town - October 10 will no longer have happy memories for Rosemarie van der Heever. Instead of celebrating her wedding anniversary next week, she will be burying her husband.

Derrick van der Heever was among the nine fishermen confirmed dead when the MFV Lincoln overturned on Sunday night.

“Ek kan nie glo my meerkat kom nie weer huistoe nie [I can’t believe my meerkat isn’t coming home ever again],” she said on Tuesday.

“He used to hate it when I called him that,” she admitted, with a sad smile.

She had been in bed on Sunday when Derrick’s friend, also a fisherman, came to tell her that he had heard the vessel had overturned at sea.

“It was 23:00 and when I phoned Derrick’s employers, Viking Fishing Group, there was no one who could give me any information,” she said.

“I tossed and turned that night, praying that he was okay. But he wasn’t.”


Rosemarie and the families of the other fishermen were informed of the tragedy on Monday at the company’s Cape Town offices.

“I heard the loved ones of the dead fishermen screaming as they cried, but I just stood there. He was my husband of six years. We had been together for 10 years and grew up across the road from each other.

“But then just like that, he was gone.”

Nine fishermen survived and three are still missing after the 42-metre Cape Town fishing trawler reportedly took on water in heavy sea swells 20 nautical miles south of Hangklip (35 nautical miles South East of Cape Point). The 21-member crew had to abandon ship after the vessel started keeling over.

Derrick, a father of six, had been working on the trawlers since he was 15.

“He lived for the sea,” Rosemarie van der Heever said.

“And the fishermen he died with were his best friends. After his own family, those men were the most important people in his life.”

'So much he still needed to do'

Kalen Davids’s eyes well up every time she speaks about her brother, John Diedericks.

“All of this feels like a dream,” she said.

“He hadn’t got married yet. He didn’t have any children. There was so much he still needed to do.”

Diedericks and Derrick van der Heever had been inseparable, Davids said.

“They were drinking buddies and did everything together. I’m glad that when he died, he was with Derrick. At least he wasn’t alone.”

She said she would miss his jokes and infectious laugh the most, as she wiped her eyes with her palms.

“He was my everything. I will miss him so much.”

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) on Tuesday called for a thorough investigation into the incident.

Read more on:    cape town  |  maritime

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