Japanese trawler finally towed off Cape Town beach
Japanese trawler towed off Cape Town beach
A 50-metre fishing trawler that ran aground off First Beach in Clifton was successfully towed off the beach on Friday, the Cape Town disaster risk management centre said.
"The ship has been moved off the sand banks and is being towed into deeper waters," said spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes.
The trawler would be taken to Cape Town harbour where it would be checked for structural damage.
The Japanese vessel, Eihatsu Maru, ran aground at 5.15am on Saturday in thick fog.
The City of Cape Town said earlier in the week that salvage attempts would continue on Friday.
On Wednesday, the salvage team welded a bracket which could withstand the required pull force onto the trawler.
The team also drained 90 to 110 tons of diesel fuel from the ship into a rubber bladder on the beach which would then be transferred to a fuel tanker.
Solomons-Johannes said the salvage operation started at 1pm on Friday.
"The salving crews and disaster response experienced challenges to remove the vessel," he said, explaining that the tug boats battled to remove the vessel from the sand.
On Thursday, the Japanese embassy said it was concerned about the trawler.
The government of Japan had urged the owner of the vessel to fully co-operate with the South African authorities and to take urgent action to help salvage it.
It expressed "sincere appreciation" to the SA Maritime Safety Authority, the National Sea Rescue Institute, and the South African government for attempting to salvage the ship.
Of the 28 Taiwanese crew members on board, 19 were evacuated. The remaining crew and the captain were required to stay on the ship under international maritime law.