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The Antipolis wreck washes ashore after 44 years in Cape Town

The Antipolis has washed ashore at the 12 Apostles in Cape Town. Photo: City of Cape Town

The Antipolis has washed ashore at the 12 Apostles in Cape Town. Photo: City of Cape Town

Published Jan 21, 2022

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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town has confirmed that the remains of the wrecked ship which washed ashore at the 12 Apostles on Friday was that of The Antipolis which sank 44 years ago.

The City said the increased wave and wind activity after a full moon two days ago, had resulted in the wrecked Greek Tanker built in 1959 which sank in July 1977, being washed ashore 44 years later.

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The Antipolis and the Romelia are the best known shipwrecks in Cape Town.

The Antipolis has washed ashore at the 12 Apostles in Cape Town. Photo: City of Cape Town

Records show that the ships were being towed by a tug boat from Greece to the Far East and as the convoy was approaching Table Bay it was met by strong gale force winds. This resulted in the Antipolis’ tow rope breaking. The tanker was cast adrift and blown to shore at Oudekraal where it crashed into a reef and became partially submerged.

The wreck became a popular shore dive and was quite visible at low tide.

On Wednesday, large swells on the Cape’s coast were reported.

The Antipolis has washed ashore at the 12 Apostles in Cape Town. Photo: City of Cape Town

According to the South African Weather Service’s (SAWS) senior marine scientist Marc de Vos, the swells were the result of a big storm in the Southern Ocean – a mid-latitude cyclone, to be exact.

“Winds associated with the storm blew strongly over a large area of the ocean, generating large waves. These waves continue to radiate outward from their source, reaching our coastline on Wednesday,” de Vos told the Cape Argus.

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Considering the wave height, he said it was not uncommon to see Wednesday’s wave heights at some point during one out of every five summers but overall, they were rare and occurred less than 1 % of the total time during summer (they appeared in roughly one out of five summers).

Waves with large heights and short periods, or small heights and long periods, were common throughout the year, but the real question was what the likelihood was of the combination of wave heights and periods which occurred on Wednesday for this time of the year, the publication reported.

De Vos confirmed that it was rare and they had only noted one such occurrence in 19 summers ( meaning a one in twenty year event).

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