The tragedy aboard the MFV Lincoln which ran into trouble near False Bay resulting in the deaths of 11 fishermen received a lot of coverage in the press this week. The search for the remaining missing crew member continues.
According to survivor Peter Julies, the weather was extremely turbulent and the boat started taking water on the port side. Soon the boat was leaning completely to the one side.
“I jumped from the starboard side into the freezing water. Soon I could not feel my legs. The rain was pelting and the gale-force wind had no mercy. Fortunately help did not take too long. But it was too late for some of my friends.”
The Financial Director of Viking Fishing, who own the vessel, said that their first priority was to support the families of those who lost loved ones.
The vessel has been towed to Cape Town harbour and SAMSA is investigating the incident.
History was made this week with the vessel, the Cape Orchid, being the first merchant vessel to register in South Africa since 1985.
Tsietsi Mokhele, SAMSA chief executive said, “About 98 percent of the country’s internationally bound trade is carried by ships and at least R160bn a year is paid for shipping services to foreign owners and operators.”
The Department of Transport said that the Cape Orchid “would be a boost to our maritime economy.”
According to the press many residents from Walker Bay are expressing their concern about mother and baby whales being harassed by over eager onlookers entering the bay during the whale breeding season and disturbing the mammals.
The question has been raised as to why the Department of Environmental Affairs is not monitoring whale-watching tourism boats and other vessels in the bay. Residents are saying that complaints to government, the local authority and the tourism body are simply receiving no response.
Environmental Affairs Oceans and Coasts spokesperson Zolile Nqayi confirmed that Walker Bay was in fact a sanctuary and that no unauthorised boats were allowed in the bay during whale season.
He appealed to the public to report any incidents of boats getting to close to the whales to the department.