The crew members of a 50 metre fishing trawler that ran aground at First Beach in Clifton, Cape Town on Saturday morning, have been rescued, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.
“Two NSRI rescue swimmers were placed onboard the vessel and Taiwanese consulate staff and the ships agent assisted the NSRI with language interpretations between the... crew and NSRI rescuers,” spokesman Craig Lambinon said.
Of the 28 Taiwanese crew members and dog on board, 19 were evacuated. The dog remained on board on the insistence of the captain, its owner.
NSRI station commander Bruce Davidson said: “We monitored the vessel gradually being swept, in an incoming tide, gently closer to land until she came to rest... on a sand bank about 35 meters from the beach line.”
A salvage company made a damage assessment on behalf of the SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) and found that the hull's integrity was not compromised.
“Authorities are cautiously optimistic that the vessel will be able to be towed out to sea tonight,” Lambinon said.
A tug boat was en-route from Simonstown to tow the vessel out to sea around 9pm, at high tide.
Environmental department and disaster management officials would remain on scene to evaluate the environmental risk. There were reportedly 90 tons of fuel and ammonia on board.
It was not known what made the trawler run aground. Its engines remained in working order and generators continued to work.
The thick fog was suspected to have played a role.
A formal investigation would be conducted by Samsa, said Lambinon.
The trawler ran aground around 5.15am, City of Cape Town disaster risk management centre spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said. - Sapa