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Tragic Explosion on Fishing Vessel in Table Bay Leaves One Dead and Four Injured



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A fishing vessel moored in Table Bay was shaken by a fatal explosion on Monday, leading to the death of one person and the hospitalization of four others. The incident occurred on the Realeka, a trawler owned by the Oceana Group, with the explosion reportedly originating from a nitrogen tank onboard.

Tiana Fataar, the communications manager for Oceana Group Limited, revealed that the tragic event unfolded at approximately 5 pm during the installation and testing of new equipment on the vessel. An explosion erupted on board the Realeka while being upgraded alongside Elbow Quay.

The City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, along with emergency responders, rushed to the scene following the blast, only to be advised to stand down by the Ports Authority and the ship’s owners.

Despite requests from health and safety officials to access the vessel for ventilation purposes due to potential ammonia gas, Oceana Group’s priority remains supporting the affected families. Fataar stated, ‘Our thoughts are with all the affected families, and we are working closely with the manufacturer to offer any necessary assistance.’

Authorities, led by SAPS spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi, have initiated an investigation into the incident to determine if foul play was involved. Swartbooi confirmed the tragic outcome, with one person, aged 49, succumbing to the injuries at the scene, while the four injured individuals were swiftly transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Considering the risks of working aboard sea-faring vessels, this incident serves as a reminder of the dangers faced by maritime workers. Similar incidents, like the unfortunate fire aboard the , are a stark reminder of the perils associated with such professions.

As the investigation into Monday’s explosion continues, authorities urge anyone with information that could assist the case to collaborate by reporting sightings to Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Rachel Adams

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