The chairperson of the Western Cape Parliament’s Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer,…

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The chairperson of the Western Cape Parliament’s Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer, has commended the Robben Island Museum management for implementing safety recommendations regarding the transportation of visitors to and from the island. Today, representatives from both the museum and the South African Maritime Safety Authority appeared before the standing committee to explain what they have done since the incident involving the passenger ferry, Thandi, in September last year. The vessel ran into trouble and started taking in water with more 60 passengers on board when it left the island. The museum management says they have decided to discontinue using Thandi and two other similar 25 ton ferries. Schäfer says the safety of the public and tourists is crucial: “They have taken that very seriously, and understood the negative perception of tourism. Safety is an issue internationally, my concern really is the clarification of the SAMSA report. The issue of being the judge and the jury at the same time, they are the once who do the preliminary checks and give the go ahead of the boats safety.” Gustav Louw from SAMSA says investigating this case, they have found the skipper to be in the wrong in some aspects: “You can pick a lot of holes in the report, I think as SAMSA we need to change the way we report, it;s difficult for me but I can say in 70 percent certainty the skipper made a wrong decision at the time.”

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