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Minister of forestry, fisheries and the environment Barbara Creecy has expressed “shock and sadness” over the sinking of a fishing trawler off Cape Town’s Atlantic coast.

Nine fishermen have been rescued as a search and rescue mission continues for 11 others still missing after the tragedy.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the missing fishermen and their families as we await news of the search and rescue operation,” said Creecy. 

The NSRI Hout Bay and Table Bay duty crews were activated on Friday at about 3.40pm after reports of the fishing vessel sinking about 30 nautical miles offshore of the Atlantic seaboard.

According to NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon the mayday distress call, intercepted by Telkom Maritime Radio Services at 3.30pm, was relayed to vessels in the area that responded to assist.

He said the NSRI Hout Bay rescue craft Nadine Gordimer and Albie Matthews, and an NSRI Table Bay rescue craft, DHL Deliverer, were launched.

Lambinon said it was not known what caused the vessel to sink.

At least five fishing vessels reached the search area, locating and recovering nine of 20 local fishermen from a life raft, he said.

“The nine survivors are not injured and they were brought to the Port of Table Bay aboard a fellow fishing vessel during the night. They are in the care of their fishing company.”

Lambinon said despite an extensive air and sea search there remain no signs of the 11 missing fishermen and a search operation is ongoing, he said.

Creecy has expressed gratitude to the vessel that rescued the nine fishermen who managed to deploy an emergency craft. 


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