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'Unlikely that Robben Island ferry had flaws'

Briefing Parliament’s Tourism Committee, South African Maritime Safety Authority's Sobantu Tilayi says the vessel has no design flaws.

Screengrab of crew members and passengers rescued from a sinking Robin Island ferry, two passengers were treated at a local hospital.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) says it’s unlikely that the chartered Robben Island vessel that ran into trouble at sea last month has design flaws.

Briefing Parliament’s Tourism Committee on Friday, Samsa chief executive Sobantu Tilayi says if this was the case, the boat would not have stayed afloat after its passengers were helped to safety.

The Thandi started taking on water less than half an hour after it left the island with 65 passengers on board.

Samsa says it is still investigating the causes of last month’s incident.

But preliminary findings indicate that the ferry lost one engine and its steering stopped functioning as soon as it left the island.

A crew member then noticed that the vessel was taking on water and the bilge pump couldn’t cope.

But Tilayi says it’s important to note that the boat retained its stability after the incident.

“What we want for the boat is that after the incident it must stay afloat, it must not sink, and this is what transpired.”

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