Authorities escalate Clifton salvage

2012-05-14 22:15

Cape Town - The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) will lead attempts to pull the stricken Japanese longliner, Eihatsu Maru, from the shore at Clifton First Beach, after previous attempts failed, the City of Cape Town said on Monday.

Samsa, which made the call to elevate the salvage to a national issue, has appointed Smit Amandla Marine, a maritime services provider, as the lead salvage agent.

City spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said the operation would take place between 10:00 and 13:20 on Tuesday.

After the vessel ran aground on Saturday, a salvage attempt later in the day failed when a tow rope snapped.

Then, on Sunday, the salvage operation was suspended due to unfavourable surf conditions that would have endangered the safe operation of the tug boats and the crew on-board.

"The key issue with the attempt is the establishment of a connection point on the vessel that will withstand the estimated 80 ton pull force that is required. The tow rope snapped when 20 tons of pull force was applied.

"As a result, Smit will be putting a team of engineers on board today [on Monday] to establish a connection and pull point on the vessel," Solomons-Johannes said.

Pulling the vessel off the shore remains the best method for salvaging the ship, he said.

Grounding questioned

The cause of the incident has not been established, but considering that the vessel's engine remains in working order, and the generators are still operating, questions are being asked as to whether the  grounding was possibly deliberate.

A source told 2oceansvibe that fog should not have played a role in the incident, and it is very unlikely the fishing vessel wouldn't have known where it was positioned.

It is also strange that port authorities hadn't alerted the captain to the vessel's proximity to the shore.

The navigational equipment and engine appear to be in working order, which led the source to question whether it could have been a "purposeful grounding".

This would lead to the vessel being written off, and an insurance payout.

"That trawler has enough hi-tech marine electronics onboard to know exactly its position within minimum 5m; there has to be another reason here," the source told 2oceansvibe.

"These trawlers operate in deep sea conditions, they know exactly where they are at any given moment on the high seas, don't think fog played a role here as there is fog at sea around the world."

A live webcam is capturing all the action from the Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club.

  • Colin - 2012-05-15 01:47

    So who's paying the bill for all this? And what was the ship doing in our waters anyway, unless our government have given them permission to take 50 tonnes of our food. Arrest the crew, fine the owners, skuttle the ship offshore. Give the navy some target practice.

      Koos - 2012-05-15 02:23

      What navy?

      Burtfred - 2012-05-15 03:55

      I bet our navy couldn't hit the ship from 100 metres away - that's if they could even find it in the first place.

      Hector - 2012-05-15 07:43

      You are paying for this ... Ships generally have right of free passage in any counties waters .. even ours ... not that we could stop them anyway. They don't have the right to fish in SA waters but they do fish outside the territorial waters then come restock and refuel in port. Arrest the crew .. wtf for .. Captain by all means .. he is in charge but the cook ?? Fine the owner.. will do they can be held accountable for the cost too. Skuttle .. you mean Scuttle..? Have to get it off the beach first would selling it not make more sense .. pay for the cost ??!! The Navy has there own problems lets not embarrass them any more then required.

  • Frans - 2012-05-15 03:44

    How about removing all the fish and fuel. The vessel should be much lighter that way. Give the fish to the poor, if it's still good for human consumption.

      Burtfred - 2012-05-15 03:56

      Rather dump the fish overboard and give the fuel to the poor. At today's prices it's worth more than the fish.

      Matti - 2012-05-15 09:29

      Haha Burtfred, Good point, except that if they dump all the fish overboard, next time someone gets attacked by a shark anywhere on the african coast everyone will blame the chumming in Camps bay!

  • elenor.besteman - 2012-05-15 05:55

    What i want to know is WHAT are they doing in our WATERS??? Taking all our fish because their waters are depleted??

  • Dennis - 2012-05-15 06:06

    No matter how good we think we are, this is an indication of excatly how ready we are for disasters !!

  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-05-15 06:20

    Taiwanese.....stealing our fish from the ocean and killing our rhino! Hand them a heavy fine and ban them from our waters!

      Hector - 2012-05-15 07:43

      How ??

  • Janice - 2012-05-15 07:32

    Go 'STACK' your finger up you a*** Sechaba!!!

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-05-15 09:52

    Should the fish not be removed to make the vessel lighter, the fish can be donated to the poor, it will be a laborious task to pulley hoist all the tonnage off, but I am sure many volunteers will give a helping hand in making the load lighter in order to free the vessel? It seems that if this is not done the fish and ship might be lost anyway.

  • Bob - 2012-05-15 13:03

    When the two fishing boats ran onto the hard at Melkbos beach about 3 years or so ago, they pumped water under the ships to remove the sand from under the keel, then they pulled it off the sand. Why don’t they just do that again. The way they doing it now will take too long and the result will be catastrophic should they take too long.

  • Bob - 2012-05-16 16:47

    They can open a "fish and ship shop"

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