Cape Town - 120512 - The 50 meter Eihatsu Maru Japanese fishing ship built in 1986 ran aground just off Clifton Beach at 5:15AM on Saturday 12th May. After a failed attempt on Saturday evening to pull the ship off the shore, another rescue operation was called off on Sunday evening as surf conditions were not favorable. Picture: David Ritchie
Cape Town - 120512 - The 50 meter Eihatsu Maru Japanese fishing ship built in 1986 ran aground just off Clifton Beach at 5:15AM on Saturday 12th May. After a failed attempt on Saturday evening to pull the ship off the shore, another rescue operation was called off on Sunday evening as surf conditions were not favorable. Picture: David Ritchie

Ship grounded for the weekend

By Sibusiso Nkomo Time of article published May 14, 2012

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The Japanese longliner that ran aground at Clifton First Beach on Saturday could not be towed out in a second attempt on Sunday.

Authorities said they did not remove the 50m fishing vessel Eihatsu Maru because the surf was too rough and they did not want to risk beaching another vessel.

Disaster Risk Management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said they would try to move the vessel again on Monday, depending on conditions.

On Sunday crowds gathered to watch from the edges of the beach, with others looking out from their homes, and above from Victoria Road, until rain forced them to leave.

The vessel ran aground in thick fog early on Saturday morning. It had not been significantly damaged, a salvage company said, allaying fears of possible oil pollution.

The first attempt to tow the vessel off the beach was made at high tide on Saturday night.

None of the 28 Taiwanese crew aboard – along with a dog named Ally – was hurt when the ship ran aground.

National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesman Craig Lambinon said rescuers evacuated 19 fishermen.

Nine crew, including the captain, stayed on board.

Lambinon said the damage assessment had shown that the integrity of the hull was not compromised.

The vessel, carrying 90 tons of diesel, 50 tons of fish and some bait, also had ammonia for refrigeration, said Solomons-Johannes.

Clifton resident Annette Hepburn said on Saturday she could see the ship’s lights when she woke up at about 5.45am.

“The people on the ship were looking and shouting. At that point the ship was swaying, but about 30 minutes later it stopped moving.”

Paula Leech, NSRI Table Bay station commander, said: “At first even the NSRI had trouble locating the vessel on the shoreline in the fog. Our mobile units searched for the vessel from the shoreline, but the fog was too thick to see anything. Only when we heard its motors did we get an indication it was off Clifton First Beach.”

The 19 crew were taken to customs immigration offices for processing and accommodation was organised for them.

“The city’s law enforcement will… keep a watchful eye on the vessel with the assistance of the tug boats,” Solomons-Johannes said.

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