Fishermen Rescued After Sea Harvest Fishing Trawler Disaster

How Did the FV Lepanto Sink So Quickly?

Fishermen Rescued After Sea Harvest Fishing Trawler Disaster

The fishermen who were saved following the Sea Harvest fishing trawler disaster recounted that it took merely three minutes for the 35-metre vessel to sink.

The FV Lepanto, which had 20 crew members on board, had been at sea for three days before the catastrophe occurred on Friday, 30 nautical miles off the coast of Hout Bay.

Nine men survived by launching a lifeboat. They were later rescued by vessels that responded to the mayday distress call.

On Wednesday, Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy met with the families of the 11 missing crew members and the survivors.

The minister said: “This was a difficult and painful experience, we met with the management of Sea Harvest and they shared the little that is known about the accident that occurred with the Lepanto.

“Essentially what we know is that three vessels were fishing together, roughly 30 nautical miles offshore from Hout Bay. One of the vessels encountered distress and the sister vessel issued the mayday.

“The vessel that was in distress sank very quickly. There were 9 crew that were rescued and there are 11 that are still missing, presumed to be deceased at this stage.”

The search for the missing seamen was called off on Sunday. The South African Maritime Safety Authority is now investigating the cause of the tragedy.

Creecy mentioned that the investigation will include oral and written testimonies from the survivors, as well as an examination of the vessel’s history and any recent repairs.

“The survivors are still in a state of shock and they themselves are meeting to support each other,” she says.

“I met with the family of the missing, not all were there. The situation is painful and raw. To be facing a situation of loss is terrible but to face it where there’s no confirmation of the deceased in terms of a body is a very difficult situation. They shared with me the feeling of despair.”

The families expressed that meeting with the minister provided them with some clarity.

“We met with the minister and though we have clarity, we will also wait to hear what the others have to say in the next two days when we meet,” a spokesperson said.

Creecy noted that in her five years in office, this was the most significant disaster she had encountered.

“We’ve had a number of smaller accidents. Fishing is a very dangerous industry but we haven’t had a major industrial accident with fatalities on this scale during my tenure.”

A large meeting with all the families will be held over the next two days, including representatives from SAMSA, Creecy, and Sea Harvest.

Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FAWU) provincial secretary general Zolani Mbanjwa reported that the survivors briefly described the terrifying moment they realised the boat was sinking.

“They said it was a matter of minutes, three minutes, it was very quick. They can’t describe what happened, the next minute the boat was upside down.

“One of our concerns is the issue of safety at sea, we are going to call all these companies and talk about it. Sea-going employees are essential to the economy of this country but they are vulnerable”

On Monday, Sea Harvest spokesperson Anthea Abraham mentioned that the vessel had recently undergone a mandatory service.

“She had an excellent safety track record with zero reportable safety incidents in the last five years,” said Abraham.

The investigation into this tragic incident continues as the families of the missing await further updates.

What do you think?


Written by CapeGuy


Leave a Reply

SEC Nears Approval of Spot Ethereum ETFs

SEC Nears Approval of Spot Ethereum ETFs

Russia's Recognition of Palestinian Statehood

Russia’s Recognition of Palestinian Statehood