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Dept wants thorough probe into trawler tragedy

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There needs to be a thorough investigation into the deaths of nine fishermen who, with the rest of their crew, abandoned a fishing trawler, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) said on Tuesday.

“We are in contact with the Viking Fishing Company and will make contact with family members of the deceased fishermen once we have all their particulars,” acting fisheries branch deputy director general Siphokazi Ndudane said in a statement.

The DAFF’s fisheries branch sent its condolences to the families and colleagues of the fishermen who died at sea.

“DAFF is also hoping for the safe return of the other crewmen who are still missing.”

On Monday Viking Fishing, the company that owns the trawler, said the bodies of two missing fishermen were recovered but then lost to the ocean.

“We have two confirmed losses. As the bodies were being recovered, two slipped out of their life jackets into the ocean,” financial director Rory Williams told News24.

He said they were still searching for a third fisherman.

“Realistically, I suppose he is presumed drowned.”

The company said its fishing vessel, the MFV Lincoln, was apparently swamped by heavy seas about 18:00 on Sunday.

It immediately sent out a Mayday call.

The 21-man crew abandoned the ship. At the time the vessel was about 30 nautical miles south of Hermanus.

Williams said it was believed the crew had to abandon ship because it had turned on to its side. This was based on an assessment of the swamping and damage to the vessel. News24

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