The below statement has been received from Robben Island Museum commenting on the recent incident of a ferry needing assistance from the National Sea Rescue Institute.
Robben Island Museum (RIM) Chartered Ferry Evacuation on Friday 15 September 2017
On Friday 15 September 2017, Thandi, one of Robben Island Museum’s (RIM) chartered passenger ferries, experienced trouble during its return trip to Cape Town. Once Port Control received the distress call from the ferry, Port Control immediately implemented emergency procedures, along with notifying the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) to get everyone back to shore safely. RIM’s other chartered ferry, Madiba 1 also arrived at the scene to assist with the rescue.
Due to the quick response and effective communication from all parties involved all 64 passengers and five crew members were returned safely to Cape Town. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the NSRI, ER24, V&A Waterfront, all other emergency services and the RIM team for their quick response to the scene and for a successful rescue operation.
Upon the Thandi ferry’s departure from Robben Island on Friday afternoon, the conditions at sea were suitable to proceed with the boat trip. As a part of our stringent sea safety protocols we undertake daily consultations with our ferry master. The consultation on Friday confirmed that the forecast for the day was not a reason for concern. However as we all know, the weather is very unpredictable, and the strong winds soon caused unplanned adverse conditions.
As soon as the ferry got into trouble, all the passengers and crew members were informed, fitted with life jackets and directed to the evacuation section on board before being picked up by the NSRI’s rescue vessels.
On behalf of RIM I would like to extend an apology to all who were impacted by the incident We have made counsellors available to all the passengers to deal with their experience.
The safety of our passengers has always been a key priority for us. One of our strict requirements for any chartered ferry to conduct business with RIM is for the vessel to have a maintenance plan or maintenance schedule to ensure all machinery and equipment are always in perfect running condition, they are also required to have all the safety certificates for the vessels.
Following this incident, we have initiated our own internal investigation which will help us determine the cause of the incident. South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will also be conducting an investigation; RIM will support them throughout the process. RIM will continue to look at the incident and see if there are any areas that need further improvement. The success of having no casualties means that our current risk mitigation plans that we have in place are working.
Please be assured that it is business as usual. We look forward to sharing the Robben Island Museum experience with you.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any specific questions in this regard.
Chief Executive Officer