From the news desk

Thandi crew lauded for successful rescue operation

Share this article

While the investigation into the cause of the sinking of the Thandi gets underway, the crew has since been lauded for their efforts to ensure the safety of passengers aboard. The Thandi on Friday departed from the Cape Town harbour at 10h42 and left the Island at 13h05. After its departure, the National Sea and Rescue Services (NSRI) was activated at 14h18 to assist in the rescue mission of 64 passengers and four crew members with reports of water seeping into the boat. Speaking to VOC News, captain of private luxury yacht Only One, Nizaam Fakier says that while he is unable to speak to the decision to enter the sea with threats of gale force winds, the crew proved themselves during Friday’s rescue mission.

Fakier says that having previously worked on the Thandi, he has first-hand knowledge of the professional standards of both the skipper and the crew.

He further asserts that the decision to take to the sea rests with the captain.

“I don’t want to speculate if he was wrong, like I said the conditions were terrible – it is what it is – and luckily no life was lost.”

Watch as passengers and crew disembark the Thandi:

Commenting on the actual cause of the vessel taking in water, Fakier says that “there is speculation that they lost an engine on the way over” and the boat stalled.

“With conditions like that, the last thing you want is to be standing still, because then you just going to get smashed.”

With 14-years’ experience at sea, he says that given the fact that images of the incident show that the roof over the pilot’s cabin was damaged, the vessel in all probability dug into a swell tearing-off the roof, resulting in water entering the vessel from the front.

“That is why the boat was leaning to the front and to the side,” he adds.

Fakier who launched the Thandi when it first took to sea, says that having trained the crew, in his opinion, they are well equipped to deal with rescue operations.

“It is because of their actions that everybody got off safe. It is a terrible thing that happened…but in those conditions that was very well done. So, I think a big up to the crew of the Thandi.” – Nizaam Fakier

Fakier’s involvement in the rescue operation

Fakier explains that following Friday prayers, just after 14h00, he received a call from a colleague informing him of a distress call in the bay.

“I turned on the marine radio and heard the commotion of the radio…I decided to get involved when I heard that they did not have enough boats to ferry the people from the distressed vessel to the vessel standing by.”

With the Black South Easter pounding, Fakier says after picking-up divers and paramedics, he arrived at the Thandi some 20 minutes later.

By the time he and his crew arrived, all passengers had disembarked, with only the captain and crew still to be transferred onto the last NSRI vessel.

“Conditions were terrible – we call it the Black South Easter. Usually that is almost gale force winds of [between] 55-60 knots and it normally brings up the sea swell. So conditions were not favourable.”

Watch: Gale force winds creates unfavorable conditions for the rescue operation

“They said that all casualties are all accounted for, but they just would like us to escort them back, because going into it, coming back to the harbour, was really treacherous. So we just stood with them, with the rescued people on board, until we escorted them back into the harbour,” Fakier states.

While South African training standards at sea remain of the highest in the world, Fakier notes that incidents such as this appear to be on the increase.

“A small thing needs to happen – if you get a crack or a pipe might leak – for a big thing to happen to the vessel and it happens very quickly. So, there are a lot of factors involved.” – Nizaam Fakier

The Thandi has since been transferred to Robben Island, where it remains afloat despite water having seeped into the hull; a factor Fakier says speaks to the water-tight integrity of the vessel.

The Thandi is currently docked at Robben Island. Photo: Supplied

VOC 91.3fm


Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WhatsApp WhatsApp us
Wait a sec, saving restore vars.