Cape Town – The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has called on the public to avoid the sinking of the barge Bos 400 between Llandudno and Hout Bay in Cape Town.
“The wreck of the Bos 400 in Maori Bay on the Atlantic coast is a no-go area. It is forbidden to board the wreck. The wreck presents serious dangers to the public. NSRI is calling the public to avoid the wreckage and surrounding rocks at all costs, ”NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said in a statement.
Entering the sea around the wreck also posed serious dangers to the public due to the shredded corroded metal that had collapsed into the sea surrounding the wreck, he said.
Three rescue operations carried out over the past month have highlighted the growing danger the wreck posed to people who “appear to be drawn to the wreck for recreational purposes which can be encouraged by social media sites.”
“NSRI is using professional tour guides to spread the word to highlight the dangers the wreck poses to the public and to deter members of the public from the wreck of the Bos 400,” Lambinon said.
A rescue operation was launched on Saturday afternoon following reports of an ongoing drowning on the wreckage. NSRI Hout Bay and NSRI Bakoven dispatched lifeboats to sea as Western Cape Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) were put on high alert.
“Upon arrival at the scene, the NSRI discovered a group of 12 young adults, whom we believe to be students from Stellenbosch, and a party member, a young man, had suffered a non-fatal drowning accident and was suffering from hypothermia. “
It turned out that while swimming towards the wreck, he got caught in currents that naturally swirl around the wreck. The group admitted that they came to the wreckage to jump into the water from the crane and from the superstructure, he said.
“Friends were helping the injured on the land side. The patient was strapped to an NSRI hook and was carried off rocks and swam by NSRI rescue swimmers to an at-sea lifeboat where he was taken aboard an NSRI-at-sea lifeboat.
“The patient was accompanied by four friends, two women and two men, and under the care of an NSRI paramedic, he was brought to the NSRI base in Hout Bay where, after medical treatment, he was released without other help. The rest of their party members climbed the mountain to their vehicles, ”Lambinon said.
In recent weeks, in two separate incidents, a young woman and a young man have been seriously injured after jumping from the Bos 400 crane into the sea.
“The concern is that the increase in recreational activities in and around the wreck may lead to something more serious and we strongly urge the public to stay away from this wreck,” he said. he declares.
The wreck of the Bos 400 ran aground in June 1994. Rescuers recovered what could be salvaged despite the increasing dangerous conditions in and around the wreck until the rescue operations were completed and the The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) posted signs prohibiting the boarding of the wreck, citing the dangers it posed due to corrosion and collapsing metal infrastructure.
The signage prohibiting boarding the wreckage had also corroded and was no longer visible.
Over the years, the wreckage had corroded significantly, causing part of the crane and superstructure to collapse into the sea, and the stormy conditions had resulted in metal debris among the rocks surrounding the Maori bay.
Corroded metal that had fallen into the sea around the wreck added to the inherent dangers, with shredded rusty metal submerged or semi-submerged around the wreck and in and around the bay.
“It is simply a matter of time for the corrosion to cause more of the crane and superstructure to collapse, creating an extremely dangerous environment for unsuspecting members of the public who seem encouraged to use the wreck for recreational purposes, ”Lambinon said.
To add to the danger, it was an extremely difficult area in which to conduct a rescue operation.
Despite the limited cellphone coverage and the reduction in radio communications to the barely accessible terrain, wreckage rescue operations at times involved multiple rescue resources – NSRI, EMS, WSAR, EMS / AMS rescue helicopter Skymed, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue. The services, CoCT law enforcement, Table Mountain National Parks and the South African Police Service – at an incredible cost, not only financially, but also posing risks to the rescuers themselves.
“Metal infrastructure corrodes and rusts from the center of the metal outwards due to corrosion from salt water, which means that where rust is visible on the surface of the metal, it has completely corroded. inside and may collapse completely.
“The trail to the wreck, which is a section of the Karbonkelberg hiking trail that begins at Rocket Road, Llandudno, is also barely accessible, where parts of the trail are steep inclines with no visible trail. land rescue operations to reach the barely accessible area.
“We cannot stress enough that this wreck presents serious dangers to the public and the wreck should be avoided at all costs,” Lambinon said.
African News Agency (ANA)