Video footage of this month’s Robben Island ferry disaster seems to suggest that the Thandi may have been overloaded when it began to sink.
According to Tourism Update, the Democratic Alliance’s Beverley Schäfer has accused Robben Island Museum staff of illegally boarding tourist-designated ferries on a regular basis.
Tourism Update has released a video recorded by a RIM employee that seems to show an overloaded ferry, with passengers being rescued and transferred to another boat.
“Employees should not be using touring ferries,” says Schäfer. “I call on the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to investigate these alleged acts of malpractice in the interests of passenger safety, and in order to get to the bottom of the September 15 incident”.”
According to Schäfer, there are separate ferries for employees, but they are far slower than tourist boats like the Thandi.
Speaking to Tourism Update, RIM CEO Mava Dada says that the incident is still under investigation, and that passenger safety remains a top priority for the company and ferry masters.
Meanwhile, one of the Thandi’s crew members, Phirial Williams has denied that the boat was overloaded.
“The skipper and crew were confident that the vessel had the capacity to carry the amount of passengers that were on board,” she says.
The incident has dampened the reputation of the RIM, but tourists will no doubt continue to flock to the island to experience its incredible history.