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Samsa assessing Kiani Satu

Salvage operation assessments will start soon after bulk carrier Kiani Satu ran aground in Knysna.

Salvage operation assessments will start soon after bulk carrier Kiani Satu ran aground in Knysna.

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Alan Winde said on Thursday salvage operation assessments will begin after a German-owned bulk carrier ran aground near Knysna.

The Kiani Satu got into difficulty in rough seas off the Cape's South Coast on Thursday.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) is looking at potential environmental risks that the stricken 165 metre-long rice carrier poses.

Two of the 19 Filipino and Ukrainian crew members were injured and had to be airlifted to safety.

Winde said, "Obviously this is a concern because this is in the middle of a Garden Route, it's at the Goukamma Nature Reserve area. It's at a very sensitive piece of our coastline."

Knysna's National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) station commander said rescuing the crew off the stricken bulk carrier was tricky and dangerous.

The institute's Graeme Harding said, "We did have the surf crashing right over the boat. When it hit the side of the ship, it washed right over the ship. It was really dangerous. The helicopter pilot was absolutely phenomenal and the guys hanging from the end of the line literally put their lives on the line."