Robben Island to report to Western Cape legislature on ferry sinking

2017-10-04 05:48
People queue to catch the ferry at the Nelson Mandela Gateway, where the ferries to Robben Island leave from. (Rodger Bosch/AFP)

People queue to catch the ferry at the Nelson Mandela Gateway, where the ferries to Robben Island leave from. (Rodger Bosch/AFP)

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Cape Town – The Western Cape legislature's standing committee on economic opportunities will on Wednesday scrutinise the partial sinking of a Robben Island Museum ferry when the museum and the South African Maritime Safety Authority appear before it. 

On Friday, September 15, 64 passengers and four crew members aboard the ferry, Thandi, had to be evacuated when the nose of the boat started to sink in rough seas, 3km from the Cape Town waterfront.

Two women were taken to hospital for treatment – one complaining of back pain and another for mild hypothermia.

Robben Island Museum senior ferry manager Sandresan Thandroyan said the ferry was used for the first time that Friday after undergoing lengthy maintenance work. 

READ: 'Technical problem' possibly to blame for Robben Island ferry sinking – museum

He said the "technical problem" could have been made worse by severe weather conditions. 

The museum is believed to have overlooked one of its own warnings which stipulate that the ferry can "only be used in fine weather conditions".

News24 established, via the South African Weather Service, that a "severe weather watch" for possible gale force winds along the Cape Town coast had been issued at 16:22 that day.

READ: Robben Island Museum 'not aware' of its own weather warning for ferry that nearly sunk


This was about two hours after the ferry started taking on water.

Thandroyan said ferrying was declared safe by Thandi's master on Friday morning. 

"We all are fully aware that in Cape Town the weather does turn quite quickly, especially with the South Easter, so we could not predict that it [would]," he said.

Read more on:    cape town

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