Investigations under way following Durban car carrier accident

The SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) is investigating the cause of an accident in Durban Port after a Höegh Autoliner car carrier crashed into a tug while berthing at the R-Shed in the point precinct on Friday morning.

A video of the approaching vessel and its inevitable moment of impact with the inactive tug, Inyalazi, filmed from the quayside as onlookers tried in vain to shout and whistle to get the attention of the crew, was circulated widely on Facebook at the weekend.

A spokesman for Transnet National Ports Authority said Durban port authorities had been notified that the car carrier vessel, CSCC ASIA, operated by Hoegh Autoliners, had collided with the inactive tug while berthing.

“No injuries were reported as there were no employees on board the tug Inyalazi. Damage occurred to the quayside and the tug sustained a hole on its side which has resulted in an ingress of water into the tug. Tug Umbilo was deployed to the site with a salvage pump to remove the water from Inyalazi,” he said.

Divers and Port of Durban marine crew attended the scene to assess the extent of the damage for the purposes of blocking water from entering the tug. Samsa arrived at the scene to assess the damage to the tug and the commercial vessel.

“Port operations have not been affected. The car carrier vessel was able to commence operation and the tug Inyalazi will be moved to the dry dock for repairs. The incident will be investigated,” he said. Samsa regional manager Captain Saroor Ali said the authority was investigating the incident.

“The investigation is in progress and the cause leading to the incident can only be determined on concluding the investigation which involves statements from the ship and tug boat crew and relevant eyewitness personnel,” Ali said.

The full extent of the damage could only be assessed once the tug boat had been taken out of the water, he added.

“Samsa accident investigations are conducted to ascertain the factors contributing to the accident, give recommendations so as to avoid recurrence and are guided by the South African Merchant Shipping Act,” Ali said.

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