Sea cadets salvage local fishing trawler

Sea Cadets from TS Woltemade in Lakeside were invited by Hout Bay maritime businessman, Ken Evans, to attend the salvaging of a local fishing trawler.

The trawler Constantiaberg had had her sea cocks damaged over nine months previously in an attempted theft, resulting in her sinking at her berth.

The small amount of cash hoped to be received for the brass fitting unfortunately negatively affected the livelihoods of local fishermen and their families.

A major loss was also encountered by the owner of the vessel.

Ken explained the salvaging operation to the sea cadets which included experienced salvage divers, high volume pumps, mooring lines and a cofferdam constructed (to seal the large opening to the fish hold) on the more or less watertight but flooded deck.

The intent (successful !) was to pump out the water faster than it filled in while plugging the holes and ensuring that the vessel returned to her watertight integrity.

Once the fishing vessel righted herself, the sea cadets assisted, using seamanship skills learnt at the unit, by the transfer from the shore to ship of a small pump onto the stern deck.

This pump was used to pump out the lower parts of the ship which the other, much larger, suction hoses could not reach.

During the salvage operation one of the Sea Cadets noticed that the national flag was flying upside down on a vessel berthed nearby. This flag hoist represents a vessel in distress according to international maritime signal code. The sea cadets located a crewman and enquired whether there were any challenges onboard. After assurance that all was well the sea cadets were permitted to resolve the error and paid due respects to the national flag.

Ken, at one time a South African Navy executive officer, has previously also kindly taken sea cadets out on the tourist launch Calypso to experience the bay and visit Seal Island.

This opportunity was enjoyed by the group who were exposed to several aspects of seamanship as well as ship handling. The offer has been extended to other TS Woltemade Sea Cadets. The practical experience re-inforced the sea cadets training at TS Woltemade and they did themselves, their unit and their
volunteer adult Instructors proud.