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Sheffield Beached!

Wednesday, August 3. Dive teams have been inspecting the structure of the tanker The Phoenix on the seaward side of the vessel, and also to investigate the nature of the reef/rocks on which the tanker is grounded.

See our picture gallery below.

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority, it was necessary to check on exactly what stood in the way of the tanker being freed, to ensure they had not underestimated the extent of the rocks.

East Coast Radio’s website reported that Saroor Ali, from the South African Maritime Safety Authority, says there is no major damage to the hull so they should be able to get her back out to sea.

He says the bulk tanker moved slightly yesterday, but the chain being used to pull it broke. Ali says they will make further attempts to free the ship today.

Sunday, July 31. A brand new tourism industry has popped up on the KZN North Coast . . . it’s at the coastal hamlet of Sheffield Beach near Salt Rock, where the stricken tanker The Phoenix is left high and dry on the rocks.

In the picture: The Phoenix, sitting proud on the rocks, drew hundreds of curious onlookers on Sunday. Pictures by Garth Johnstone. See more pictures in our picture gallery below.

As the sun came out on Sunday hundreds and hundreds of people flocked to get a peek at the vessel, causing quite a traffic jam. Surely it won’t be long before the boerewors roll brigade and cold drink vendors set up shop to take advantage of the passing trade.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority has said every effort will be made to remove The Phoenix as soon as is possible, and the public has been restricted from a cordoned off area close to the huge vessel. Road access was also restricted to residents only, leaving a walk of at least 15 minutes to get down to the beach.

The Phoenix Sheffield Beach near Ballito

A photographer in focus ahead of The Phoenix at Sheffield Beach

A tug was seen on Sunday trying to pull the vessel off the rocks. Judging by the comments from bystanders, this was generally deemed to be highly likely in the current weather and tide conditions. – Ridge Reporter

After the dramatic and successful operations to rescue crew from the stricken tanker The Phoenix, thoughts immediately turned to what to do with the ship, who would pay for the costs of the operation (the owner is no longer contactable) and what threat there is to the environment.

The website The Ballito News Online has published a letter under the heading “Exclusive: Open Letter to Residents of Sheffield Beach and Salt Rock”.

The letter is from the South African Maritime Safety Authority to the residents of Sheffield Beach and Salt Rock, addressing what happened and the way forward.

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One Response to Sheffield Beached!

  1. Sophie August 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Stunning images Mr Editor capturing the possible horrific moment that lurks on our coastline. Thank you for sharing!
    Kind regards,
    Sophie :)

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