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Skipper and Boat Owners Charged

/Skipper and Boat Owners Charged

Skipper and Boat Owners Charged

Die Burger

Melanie Gosling – Environment Writer

Skipper and Boat Owners Charged

I don’t know how long we were in there … When I heard that voice it was like a sound out of heaven

The skipper and owners of the tourist boat Miroshga, which capsized  in Hout Bay last year  leading to the deaths of  two people, have been  charged with  two counts of culpable  homicide, police have said.

They also face several charges under the Merchant Shipping Act. Police said those charged  could not be named until they had  pleaded in court.

A date for their court appearance has not yet  been set.

The charges come just days after the first anniversary of the Miroshga’s capsizing  on  October 13, which led to one of  the biggest sea rescues off the Cape Peninsula. The 10m whale watching catamaran, which operated out of  Hout Bay, capsized  in  big swells with three crew  and  35 passengers, including four children, on board.  It had set  out on a  trip  to the nearby Seal Island.

Local crew member John Roberts and British tourist Peter Hyett drowned.

One of the survivors, Anna- Marie Wever of Stellenbosch, said “ I did not know about the  charges, but I believe it must be done. Those people must never again be allowed to operate a  boat that way. People can  try to duck and  dive  about what happened  but the  boat  didn’t sink  it is there as evidence”.

Wever was  one of three  women who were  trapped  under the  Miroshga  for more than  three  hours and who survived  by  pulling themselves  into a small  cupboard  where a  pocket of air  kept them alive.

They were rescued by divers.

Weversaid  at time : “It was  dark in there. The  boat  was  moving and the water  rushing  backwards and forwards, very  strongly. I  don’t know  how long we were in there when we  heard someone   shouting from  outside, knocking on the hull.

When I  heard that voice it was like a sound out of  heaven.”

The divers located the women when they saw the legs of one of them hanging in the water.

Weversaid yesterday she believed the SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) should take come of the blame.

“Samsa had to see that the  boat was  seaworthy  and give them certificates. Now everyone  is looking  at the crew, but they would not  have been operating  if Samsa  had done their  job.”

Wever, who was  taken to hospital with injuries, has  incurred R 50 000 in medical expenses.

An investigation by Samsa, released in February, concluded  that the incident  could  have been  prevented  had the  owners and crew taken  action  to put  right what was  wrong with the  vessel  and the  crew.

Had the crew been properly  trained in emergency procedures  and  had they carried them out  effectively, the vessel might not have capsized  and  two people  might not have lost their lives.

The investigation found that  there had been  flooding  below decks through vents, that bilge  pumps were not working, that compartments  beneath the deck were not  watertight , the  alarm system on the bilge pumps had been disconnected, the  battery  flooded and  the  engines failed.

The skipper was not licensed  to carry passengers.

The crew had failed to execute  efficiently  the  launching  of the  life raft, anchoring  of the  boat and raising  of the  distress alarm.

2018-11-04T10:55:21+02:00May 21st, 2015|

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