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Shark boat crew anchored in ‘foul ground’

Cape Town -

The vessel Shark Team anchored in “foul ground” where a wave was bound to break, and its skipper and crew didn’t seem to know how many people were on board, according to a maritime expert.

The skipper of Shark Team, Grant TuckettFile photo: Tracey Adams. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

The shark cage diving vessel capsized off Kleinbaai nearly six years ago after it was hit by a wave, killing three tourists.

Sarah Tallman, the widow of one of them, US tourist Chris Tallman, has now turned to the Western Cape High Court in a $2.2 million (R24m) damages claim.

Testifying as a witness for Sarah Tallman, master mariner Bill Dernier said skipper Grant Tuckett anchored Shark Team in what he called “foul ground”, where there were unknown boulders, reefs and rocks.

Dernier said Tuckett should have been aware that in the case of a swell, these boulders and and scattered rocks could cause a wave to break.

Dernier also came to several other conclusions in a report he compiled on the incident. Among these was that the skipper and crew hadn’t known how many people were on board, nor had they the necessary safety induction training. Dernier said it was discovered only later that morning two people were missing.

Advocate Michael Wragge SC, acting for the three defendants, said the skipper and crew had known how many people there were, but the difficulty had been in counting them after the capsizing.

The hearing continues on Monday.

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