Cape Town – Tourists wanting to visit the landmark Robben Island have had anything but a smooth ride, after the Susan Kruger ferry suffered a malfunction with its radar, motored past the island and had to be rescued.
Times Live reports the skipper responsible for the latest incident is "a former domestic cleaner" who is now facing a formal investigation into her navigational abilities.
The latest maritime malfunction, said to be one of a long list over the last couple of years, has prompted concern that skipper Joyce Mtingeni might have been "fast-tracked'', despite not having the necessary skills. Other incidents reportedly include a ferry getting lost in the fog and a skipper being so drunk he could barely stand.
Tourism stakeholders have expressed alarm, stating that people are being put at risk and all that was needed was for “another Hout Bay incident to happen”. A boat capsized three years ago, claiming two lives.
Spokesperson for Robben Island Quinton Mtyala confirmed that Mtingeni was suitably qualified with a certificate of competency from the SA Maritime Safety Authority.
The Susan Kruger getting lost comes on the back of an underwater survey of Robben Island's Murray's Bay Harbour, which shows that an outcrop of rocks has seen repeated damage caused to the R26-million Sikhululekile tourist ferry.
IOL reports the previous Robben Island Museum management was not aware of the rocky outcrops in Murray’s Bay harbour, and failed to commission a ferry with a shallow enough draught.
The survey has prompted the sale of the Sikhululekile ferry, which has been out of operation for nearly a year, as it continuously damaged its hull on the rocks, especially at low-tide.
The rocks however pose no problems to the Dias and the Susan Kruger ferries since these both have shallower draughts.
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