Public warned off Cape Town shipwreck after three rescue missions in the past month

NSRI crew at the Bos 400 shipwreck in Hout Bay, Cape Town.
  • The NSRI has urged the public to avoid the site of the Bos 400 shipwreck in Hout Bay, Cape Town.
  • Three rescue missions have been carried out at the site in the past month.
  • According to the organisation, the site poses a danger to the public and emergency responders.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has appealed to the public to avoid the Bos 400 shipwreck in Hout Bay, Cape Town, after three rescue operations at the site in a month.

The site poses serious dangers to both the public and emergency responders, the NSRI said in a statement.

The latest rescue operation took place on Saturday when a group of 12 students was at the wreck.

"One member of the party, a young man, had suffered a non-fatal drowning accident and he was suffering from hypothermia. It appears that while swimming toward the wreck he was caught in currents that naturally swirl around the wreck," NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said.

READ | Have a swimming monitor and know the signs of drowning, warns NSRI

He said the group admitted they had gone to the wreck to jump into the water from the crane and from the superstructure.

Earlier this month, in two separate incidents, a young woman and a young man were injured while jumping off the Bos 400 crane into the sea.

"The concern is that increased recreational activity in and around the wreck may lead to something more serious and we are strongly urging the public to stay clear of this wreck," he said.

The Bos 400 wreck ran aground in June 1994.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority has posted signage prohibiting the boarding of the wreck due to the corroding and collapsing metal infrastructure.

"Over the years, the wreck has corroded significantly… It is simply a matter of time for corrosion to cause more of the crane and the superstructure to collapse, creating an extremely dangerous environment to unsuspecting [members of the] public who it appears are being encouraged to use the wreck for recreational purposes," Lambinon said.

It is also extremely difficult to conduct rescue operations in the area.

"Despite there being limited cell signal coverage and reduced radio communications in the barely accessible terrain, rescue operations at the wreck have at times involved multiple rescue resources… at incredible cost not only financially but also posing risks to the rescuers themselves," Lambinon said.

"We cannot stress enough that this wreck poses serious dangers to the public and the wreck should be avoided at all costs."

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