On 20 May 2023, after an overhaul on the syncrolift in the maintenance facility in the Port of Cape Town, the 112-year-old barque Europa ‘lost her balance’ as she was being pushed back into the water.

The incident bears some similarity to a March 2023 incident in which Paul Allen’s former research vessel Petrel toppled over in dry dock, presumably due to heavy winds.

An official statement from the management company stated that the incident occurred as the maintenance crew was trying to put Europa into water.

Twenty-six crew members and two contractors were onboard when the ship toppled over, but only one sailor was injured. An investigation will determine the exact causes of the incident and the exact extent of damages, which remains unknown for the time being.

Europa was built as Senator Brockes in 1911 as a lightship for service on the river Elbe in Germany.

In 1986 she ended up in the Netherlands, where she underwent a complete interior and exterior transformation, becoming a barque, an old, three-masted sailing ship used for cargo.

Today, Europa is one of the few remaining barques still being used for sail training. With a capacity for 48 trainees and 16 crew, Europa has a galley and common areas.

Photo by Louis Vosloo

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