Risk of oil spill from stricken trawler

Onlookers walk past a stranded Taiwanese fishing trawler off Cape Town's Clifton beach on May 12.

Onlookers walk past a stranded Taiwanese fishing trawler off Cape Town's Clifton beach on May 12.

There is a risk of oil spilling from the 50m fishing trawler that ran aground off Cape Town’s Clifton beach, the city’s disaster risk management centre said on Sunday.

The Eihatsu Maru—which reportedly has 90 tonnes of fuel and ammonia on board—ran aground at about 5.15am on Saturday.

“The situation poses a risk of a possible oil spillage and oil contamination of the coastline that will result in significant costs,” disaster risk management centre spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes told the Mail & Guardian on Sunday.

He said the owners of the vessel will be held responsible for the costs of any potential damage to the coastline or toxic spillage.

“They [the owners] have so far been very cooperative and have appointed a local agent to manage the process for them,” he said.

Of the 28 Taiwanese crew members and dog on board, 19 were evacuated on Saturday. The dog remained on board on the insistence of its owner, the captain

“There has to be personnel on board as there are still operational components in working order on the vessel,” Solomons-Johannes said.

It was not known under what circumstances the trawler run aground. Its engines remained in working order and generators continued to work.

The thick fog was suspected to have played a role.
- Sapa and Nickolaus Bauer

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