The FV Olivia Marie off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, April 14, 2023. Photo courtesy SAMSA

Salvage Operation Begins to Recover Stricken Fishing Vessel South of Cape Town

Mike Schuler
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April 14, 2023

A frantic rescue operation was launched early on Friday morning to save 26 fishermen after their fishing vessel caught on fire in the waters south of Cape Town, South Africa.

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the crew of the fishing vessel, named Olivia Marie, was forced to abandon ship and take to life rafts when the engine room caught fire. A mayday call from the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town alerted nearby ships to the situation and the crew was rescued safely.

Three vessels, including the MV Aqua Explore and the FV UMFONDINI, responded to the call for help and successfully rescued the crew. The MV Aqua Explore remained on scene until the FV UMFONDINI arrived to transfer the crew to safety.

After the rescue, a navigation warning was issued to all vessels in the area to report any sightings of the abandoned vessel to aid in the recovery efforts.

On Friday afternoon, SAMSA reported that the abandoned fishing vessel had been spotted by another ship, the FV Langenberg, approximately 3.5 nautical miles from its original position.

Efforts to recover the stricken vessel are ongoing, and the FV Langenberg is said to be keeping watch over the site while the recovery operation continues.

No injuries were reported in the incident, and all crew members were safely transported back to their home base at Hout Bay.

The successful outcome of the rescue operation was a result of the coordinated efforts of the MRCC, SAMSA, Telkom Maritime Radio, NSRI Stations Hout Bay and Simon’s Town, MV Aqua Explore, FV UMFONDINI, and the FV Langenberg. Their swift response and teamwork ensured the safety of all those involved, the MRCC said.

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