On February 11, the 12 meter long fishing vessel Alley Cat ran aground at Hobie Beach near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The Alley Cat had been fishing mackerel when it went ashore on the rocks. Witnesses reported the vessel to NSRI who dispatched a lifeboat to the scene. The lifebout found all nine crew of the the Alley Cat safe. Reports state the NSRI help remove fuel off the Alley Cat while the crew removed equipment and personal items off the vessel. The Alley Cat was reported to be refloated on the following high tide. Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.
On February 13, the 295 meter long, 72807 dwt container ship APL Austria caught fire off Cape St. Francis, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The fire started in the No. 4 hold when something inside a container ignited. The fire spread to adjacent containers spewing out plumes of dense smoke. The crew attempted to put of the blaze as a dozen containers were on fire.
Unable to extinguish the fire, the crew sent out a distress call for assistance to South African authorities. The vessel was instructed to proceed to an anchorage in Algoa Bay. A NSRI lifeboat from Port Elizabeth was launched while several tugs with a firefighting team were dispatched to the scene. While tugs attempted to contain the blaze by dousing the containers with water, all four non-essential crew members were evacuated off the container ship. One crewman of the APL Austria had sustained a leg injury and taken to hospital for treatment.
The APL Austria was escorted by the tugs to the Port of Ngqura. There local fire tugs finally extinguished the blaze. Reports state the APL Austria had hazardous materials on board, but those containers did not catch on fire. The exact cause of the fire has not yet been reported. Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.
On November 26, the 29 meter long fishing vessel Baratz became disabled and sank off Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The crayfish boat had suffered engine failure and water ingress in heavy seas with winds reaching 20 knots and swells reaching 5 meters. The Baratz requested assistance with it’s sister ship, Helena Marie coming to her aid. The Helena Marie attempted to tow the Baratz back to port, but the Baratz flooding caused the vessel to list. The 25 crew on board were forced to abandoned ship into the fishing vessel’s two life rafts before the Baratz sank. The NSRI dispatched a lifeboat which was joined by two helicopters to the scene. All 25 crew were later rescued. No reports of injuries. Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.