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Home Africa Travel SAMSA releases Robben Island ferry incident report

SAMSA releases Robben Island ferry incident report


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The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has completed its investigation into the near sinking of the small passenger vessel transporting visitors to and from Robben Island on 15 September

In a statement it said that one of the key factors that led to the incident was as a result of the weather conditions.

Robben Island Museum (RIM), who charted the ferry to transport passengers to and from the island, has commended SAMSA on their detailed and swift investigation.

“The report has helped us evaluate our current safety procedures and to provide an even better and safer experience for all the visitors to the Island. Safety is and always has been our main priority. Based on the learnings highlighted in the report and our own internal assessment, we will be implementing a number of additional safety measures to further improve the current safety protocols,” says Mava Dada, RIM CEO.

To take further precautions to the current weather assessment, RIM will install additional wind monitoring equipment on the island so that actual wind conditions can be monitored in Cape Town and at Robben Island, and will ensure that all ferries are fitted with wind monitoring equipment, which will frequently be monitored during trips. RIM will also be appointing a Harbour Master for Murray’s Bay Harbour at Robben Island.

As an additional precaution, RIM has updated its systems and processes for the monitoring of weather conditions and weather warnings. Steps have been taken to improve the frequency and quality of reports as well as the interactions with masters with regard to weather conditions. RIM are engaging with Transet National Port Authority to agree on added reporting processes.

Over and above the existing regulatory framework, RIM will carry out additional assessments of all their vessels serving Robben Island; in order to affirm their suitability for continued operations, and to enhance safety measures as well as add to the comfort of passengers and crew. These additional restrictions will apply to both the current vessels and any future vessels that RIM may engage or operate.

RIM will furthermore carry out investigations into the type of vessels that are sustainable, reliable and comfortable to provide a consistent passenger and crew experience in the unpredictable and sometimes severe weather conditions of Cape Town, so that it is able to provide to the provision of a reliable, safe, comfortable and world-class service to visitors.

There are a number of improvements and changes that RIM have already implemented. Visitors to and from the Island are scanned prior to the commencement of every voyage. Each visitor needs to show identification when boarding a ferry, a similar process as to when you board an aeroplane.

“We recognise and commend the recommendations made by SAMSA with regards to the possible changes to the regulations and legislation relating to passenger ferry operations, which will play a significant role in ensuring both higher quality vessels, as well as improved quality of operations.

“We assure visitors to Robben Island that the measures already in place, and the updated safety measures now being implemented are such that visitors are assured of the best possible safety standards on all our vessels,” concludes Dada.

Jeanette Briedenhann
Jeanette Briedenhann
Jeanette Phillips joined the team in 2016. She developed a passion and love for all things-travel related in her role as travel journalist, a position she held for over seven years. A brief exodus into the corporate marketing sphere proved that there is no better industry than the travel industry. Research and writing are two of Jeanette’s greatest passions, but she is always open to new challenges and different ways of doing things.

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