A decommissioned SA Navy tug sank in Simon’s Town Harbour on Saturday.
At first light, navy personnel patrolling the harbour noticed Tug De Mist had a slight list. There was no one on board the vessel.
The previous night the wind was recorded at about 30 knots (50km/h).
Navy divers tried to save the tug but the sea and wind conditions made it difficult.
The wind was blowing the tug onto its pneumatic fender, which stops a vessel banging against the quay.
The fender burst causing the tug’s gunwale to dip underwater, and then it sank within minutes.
The 39-year-old vessel had been decommissioned two and a half years ago and had been up for disposal. She last sailed in June 2015 for the arrival of Tug Imvubu, one of the tugs that replaced her.
Navy spokesman Commander Greyling van den Berg said the navy would salvage the vessel and investigate what led to its sinking.