The Knysna Municipality has lauded the efforts of parties involved in the management of a cargo ship going to ground near Buffalo Bay, and has appealed to the public to adhere to access restrictions.
The bulk rice cargo ship Kianu Satu reported mechanical problems in the early hours of 8 August (last Thursday) and ran to ground inside the marine protected area of the Goukamma Nature Reserve. Nineteen crew members were rescued off the ship and salvage operations were initiated the same day.
Buffalo Bay and Goukamma Nature Reserve are within the Greater Knysna Municipal Area, which stretches from Brackenhill in the east to Sedgefield in the west. It includes three estuaries: Knysna, Goukamma and Swartvlei.
Knysna Municipal Manager Lauren Waring today lauded the quick and efficient action of nearly 20 different stakeholders who have been working together seamlessly to ensure the best possible outcome under very trying circumstances.
“It should be remembered that this incident happened in stormy conditions and most of these people braved exceptional cold, rain and wild seas for long periods of time without reprieve. A special mention should be made of the NSRI in Knysna and Wilderness who are volunteers and who have daily been supporting the process since Thursday as safety divers, patrol boats and rescue operations – we are so very proud of our local NSRI.
“We express our immense gratitude and amazement at the skills, expertise and commitment of local, national and international people who have flown and driven in to manage this situation. While we are painfully aware of the potential impacts that this incident may hold now and in the future, we know that we are in good hands and that everything is being done to minimise damage.
“As we cannot comment on anything other than our own involvement – which mainly relates to traffic management, crowd control and aspects of disaster management – the municipality appeals to members of the public to respect the boundaries set out for salvage and clean-up operations.
The Goukamma Nature Reserve is now closed to the public and a kilometre exclusion zone applies, which is applicable to all land, air and water craft. Persons or organisations who come into this area without permission may be arrested and will be removed. It should be remembered that the Goukamma Nature Reserve is a protected area, which now more than ever requires our respect and care.”
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