On August 28, the fishing vesselSikelela ran aground in St. Francis Bay near St. Francis, South Africa. The vessel had suffered a power blackout while attempting to return to harbour in 5 meter swells and high winds. The crew was unable to gain control of the Sikelela as the waves drove the vessel ashore. The eight crewmen escaped the fishing vessel to the shoreline. A few others were unable to leap ashore and were left hanging onto the vessel as waves crashed over the vessel. The NSRI lifeboat arrived on scene and rescued three crew. The NRSI also rescued the master of the Sikelela. He had suffered injuries after loosing his footing. The Sikelela continued to be battered into the rocks the following days until it was smashed into a total loss. Some oil and fuel was released but was dissipated by the waves.
The 220 meter long, 39295 dwt container ship Lilac suffered a fire while moored off-shore of Table Bay, South Africa. The crew alerted the South African authorities that a fire had broken out in one their holds. The master of the vessel stated they were fighting to contain the fire, but he had not declared an emergency. The NSRI dispatched boats from Table Bay, Bakoven and Hout Bay to the scene to standby in case the 21 crewmen of the Lilac need to abandon ship. A short time later the Lilac entered the port at Table Bay and berthed at the container terminal where it was met by the local fire brigade and rescue services. No reports of injuries or pollution released.
The 273 meter long, 151279 dwt bulk freighter Smart went aground on a sandbar off Richards Bay, South Africa. The bulk freighter had finished loading its 147,650 tons of coal at the terminal at Richards Bay when left the harbour. The Smart only travelled a short distance when its engines failed. The heavy swells pushed the bulk freighter onto the shallows. The Smart suffered a massive crack and eventually broke-in-two by the following day. All 23 crew were rescued by NSRI helicopter crews. No reports of injuries.
Authorities state they are fearing the worse case scenario as the vessel had 1,500 tons of heavy fuel oil and a large quantity of diesel fuel. Some pollution has already been spotted and clean up operations have begun.
Reports state the vessel did not have a pilot on board when it left the harbour. The vessel’s owners, Esmeralda Schiffahrts, has stated that clean up operations will be covered by the company and its insurers.