The wreck of the Baratz off of Cape Recife has been declared an absolute no go area for all boats, divers and fishermen.
This after the NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at 14h00 on Thursday, 26th November following a request for urgent assistance from the 29 meter steel Crayfish boat Baratz reporting to be taking water with no motor power and adrift at sea South East of Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth, with 25 crew on-board in rough sea conditions of 4 to 5 meter swells and up to 20 knots South Easterly winds.
All crew were rescued.
Today Neville Noble from the South African Maritime Association (SAMSA) instructed the Tactical Task Force to enforce a no go area of two nautical miles around the Cape Recife Lighthouse. Any vessel found within the area runs the risk of being confiscated along with any equipment. If convicted in a court of law the operators could also receive a large fine and be banned from any commercial operations along the Eastern Cape coast.
Tom Swartz, Commander of the Tactical Task Force confirmed today that he has already escorted one vessel out of the area.
The approximate position of the wreck is 34°01’0.14?S 25°43’0.3?E – please give this mark a wide berth as any vessel found within the no go area will be approached by members of the Tactical Task Force Team who are empowered to confiscate vessels and equipment, escort them to the harbour and have the crew arrested.
The hazards from the wreck include the seepage of 70 tons of diesel and an unknown quantity of oil, 30 tons of bait which makes for wonderful shark bait and tons of 20 mm rope slowly uncoiling and rising to the surface.
According to side and sonar scans the Baratz is upright on her keel and has sunk about 1 metre into the reef.
Swartz is busy with an abalone seeding programme off of the Cape Recife Nature Reserve. He and his team have seeded 864 000 abalone sprats this year and may not reach their target of a million sprats if the diesel and oil plume reaches the seeding area. According to Tom; “The slightest hint of oil in the water will suffocate the sprats and, if the combination of an east south east current with an east wind occurs, then the seeding programme could suffer a serious setback.”
The seeding of the remaining 136 000 abalone sprats has now been put on hold until the wreck of the Baratz is made safe.
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