The Bos 400 wreck at Maori Bay on the Atlantic Seaboard is a no-go area, says the NSRI. Boarding the wreck is prohibited as it poses serious dangers to the public.
Entering the sea around the wreck also poses serious dangers to the public because of jagged corroding metal that has collapsed into the sea surrounding the wreck.
NSRI are appealing to the public to avoid the wreck and the surrounding rocks at all costs.
According to the NSRI, there have been three rescue operations conducted over the past month, highlighting the increasing danger that the wreck poses to public members who may be drawn to the wreck for recreational purposes.
A rescue operation was launched on Saturday afternoon [February 20], following reports of a drowning in progress at the Bos 400 wreck.
On arrival on the scene, NSRI discovered a group of twelve young adults, believed to be Stellenbosch students, and one member of the party, a young man, had suffered a non-fatal drowning accident and he was suffering from hypothermia.
It appears that while swimming towards the wreck he was caught in currents that naturally swirl around the wreck. The group admitted that they had come to the wreck to jump into the water from the crane and from the superstructure.
The patient was secured into an NSRI Croc and he was taken off the rocks and swum, by NSRI rescue swimmers, to a sea rescue craft where he was taken onboard an NSRI sea rescue craft. He was brought to the NSRI base in Hout Bay where following medical treatment he was released requiring no further assistance.
The remaining members of their party hiked up the mountain to their vehicles.
In the past few weeks in two separate incidents a young female and a young male suffered serious injuries after jumping off the Bos 400 crane into the sea.
The concern is that increased recreational activity in and around the wreck may lead to something more serious.
The Bos 400 wreck ran aground in June 1994. Salvors salvaged what could be salvaged despite increasing dangerous conditions in and around the wreck until salvage operations were completed and SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) posted signage prohibiting the boarding of the wreck citing the dangers the wreck poses from the corroding and collapsing metal infrastructure.
The signage prohibiting boarding of the wreck has also corroded and is no longer visible.
Over the years, the wreck has corroded significantly resulting in part of the crane and the super structure to collapse into the sea and storm conditions have washed metal debris in amongst the rocks surrounding Maori Bay.
“The corroding metal that has fallen into the sea surrounding the wreck adds to the inherent dangers with jagged rusting metal lying submerged or semi-submerged around the wreck and in and around Maori Bay,” said the NSRI in a statement.
“It is simply a matter of time for corrosion to cause more of the crane and the super structure to collapse creating an extremely dangerous environment to unsuspecting public members who it appears are being encouraged to use the wreck for recreational purposes.
“To add to the danger this is an extremely difficult area in which to conduct a rescue operation.”
The metal infrastructure corrodes and rusts from the centre of the metal outwards, due to salt water corrosion, meaning that where rust is visible on the surface of the metal it has completely corroded on the inside and is at risk of total collapse.
The pathway leading to the wreck, made up of a section of the Karbonkelberg hiking trail that starts at Rocket Road, Llandudno, is also barely accessible, where parts of the trail are steep inclines with no visible pathway. This also hampers land based rescue operations to reach the barely accessible area.
Picture: Cape Town ETC gallery