Durban - A R25 000 reward is being offered to anyone who finds a remote controlled underwater inspection vehicle (ROV) that broke off its tow in the ocean on Sunday and is expected to wash up on one of the beaches near Durban.
The specialised craft was being used by marine and civil construction company, Subtech, to inspect the effluent piplines running into the ocean off the Bluff when the propellors of the company’s boat cut the cable to the ROV.
By the time the crew realised what had happened the ROV had floated away.
The vessel, which has a camera attached to it, was taking pictures of the pipeline and beaming it to the crew.
According to Subtech, the unit is probably floating just below the surface, and is trailing around 30m of cable behind it, and had initially washed northwards but may well be heading southwards again.
A helicopter was commissioned to look for the ROV and had spotted it just off the Durban harbour mouth, heading north east.
However, when support boats arrived near the last sighting, the ROV was no where to be seen. There are strong currents in the area.
The insurers are now offering a R25 000 reward to anyone who finds the craft.
Brett Arde, a manager at Subtech, said the ROV was a valuable piece of equipment.
“But it is of no use to someone who doesn’t know anything about it.
“We are appealing to anyone who comes across it to please contact us,” he said.
Arde said that with the present currents, the ROV is likely to be in the Upper South Coast area.
“The vessel is neutrally buoyant, meaning that it will neither sink or float. It will be just below the surface of the water. It may likely wash up around the Scottsburgh area today,” he said.
Arde said that while they had put up a helicopter to search for the ROV on Sunday they were not actively searching for it as the coastline was far too big.
“That is why we are depending on members of the public to assist us. The coast is too big to be searching willy nilly,” he said.
Anyone finding this unit is urged to Anton Kieser at 083 500 0422 or Dave Miller at 082 448 8891.