On 12 May, in thick fog and darkness, the Chinese-owned former Japanese tuna longline fishing vessel Eihatsu Maru ran aground on Cape Town’s popular Clifton beach about 8km from the Port of Cape Town on the scenic Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula.

Nineteen crew members were taken off by NSRI lifeboats at first light, but the captain and officers remained on board. Several attempts at refloating were made by the salvage company Atlatech using the powerful salvage tug Smit Amandhla (ex-John Ross) but these failed. SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) elevated the salvage of the vessel, which had about 100 tons of fuel on board, to national level and took charge of operations.

On 18 May, to loud cheering and applause by hundreds of onlookers, the vessel was refloated shortly after high tide. The fuel had been pumped out of the vessel so that the salvage tug Smit Amandhla was able to pull the vessel off the beach.

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