Following an intensive week-long operation involving aerial, sea and land-based resources, the recoverable fuel as well as non-fuel pollutants aboard the grounded fishing vessel ‘Elke M’ have now been removed from the wreck.

24 700 litres of fuel has been recovered from safely accessible tanks on board and debris including fishing nets, crates and related equipment has been removed from the wreck and surrounds.

A Wreck Removal Directive has been issued by the South African Maritime Safety Authority in terms of the Wreck & Salvage Act and it is expected that this operation will commence in due course following the appointment of a Contractor by Owners P&I Club (Insurers).

In preparation for this, a Bathymetric Survey was completed yesterday morning (16 January 2024) to provide more information on the underwater terrain in the vicinity.

The Department of Transport and SAMSA will continue monitoring the operation, working in collaboration with the Incident Management Structure (IMS).

This includes Owners, the insurers (P&I Club), municipality officials, the NSRI, salvors AMSOL, environmental management organisations, and other relevant parties.

The vessel had 24 crew on board when she ran aground 1 mile from Port St Francis at 22h30 on Saturday 6 January.

All were brought to safety after they abandoned ship.