Nine fishermen died and three are missing in Cape Town after the fishing boat started to sink and the crew decided to abandon shop in heavy swells..
The incident happened yesterday evening 20 nautical miles South of Hangklip (35 nautical miles South East of Cape Point). Despite extensive sea and air searches the three remain missing. Eight crew survived the ordeal
NSRI stations Hermanus and Simonstown and Air Sea Rescue (ASR were alerted by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following a Mayday distress call from a 42 meter Cape Town fishing trawler reporting to be taking on water in heavy sea swells 20 nautical miles South of Hangklip (35 nautical miles South East of Cape Point) with their 21 crew on board reported to be abandoning ship.
Telkom Maritime Radio Services broadcast an all ships alert for any vessel in the area to respond to the distress.
NSRI Hermanus launched the sea rescue craft South Star and NSRO Simonstown launched the sea rescue craft spirit of Safmarine III. An SA Air Force 22 Squadron Lynx helicopter responded carrying an NSRI ASR rescue swimmer. WC Government Health EMS were placed on alert.
The cargo vessel Harvest Rising, and the fishing trawlers Fucshia, Armana and African Queen that were in the area at the time, responded and on arrival on the scene it was confirmed that all 21 crew of the casualty fishing trawler had abandoned their vessel.
A search was initiated by the cargo vessel and by the fishing vessels that had responded to the scene and the search was joined by the sea rescue craft South Star, Spirit of SafmarineIII and by the SA Air Force Lynx helicopter.
9 survivors were rescued and 9 bodies were recovered initially from the water. It Later one 1 of the survivors who had been rescued succumbed to injuries and died. (Rescues were made by all of the vessels in the search area).
Sea conditions were 6 meter swells with gusting to 45 knot South Easterly winds but sea conditions improved during the search and rescue operation.
Despite an extensive air and sea search coordinated by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) f the 3 missing crew have not been found and a search is continuing. Radio communications are being assisted by Telkom Maritime Radio Services.
The casualty fishing vessel has been boarded by engineers and attempts will be made to bring her to the Port of Table Bay.
The cause of the sinking has not been determined. Survivors and the bodies of the deceased were brought to shore and the bodies handed into the care of Police and the Forensics Pathology Services.
The 8 survivors have been assessed by paramedics and are in the care of police trauma counsellors. This fishing company is attending to the families of the deceased those of the 3 missing fishermen.
An inquest docket has been opened by Police. SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) will open an investigation into the incident.
Sincerest Condolences have been are expressed to the families of the deceased fishermen.