Cape Town  - Eihatsu Maru

The refloating of the
Eihatsu Maru

On Friday the 18th of March 2012 at around 12.30 I arrived in Clifton to watch the third attempt to drag the Eihatsu Maru off the beach.

This is the story in pictures.


Geoff Fairman

The Eihatsu Maru lying on Clifton's 1st Beach

The trug Smit Amandla sailing in circles in the bay

A rubber dinghy with a pilot rope attached to the The Eihatsu Maru

Eihatsu Maru with the pilot rope stretching out to sea from its stern

Clifton's four beaches with the Eihatsu Maru lying on 1st beach

The ZA298 sailing towards Clifton from the Table Harbour

One of two large large rocks that the Eihatsu Maru could have run aground on finding its way onto the beach.

The Smit Amandla and the ZA298 passing one another at the entrance to Clifton bay with one of the large rocks to the right of the ZA298

The crew of the rubber duck getting ready to rendezvous with the ZA298 to hand over the pilot line.

The ZA298 sailing towards the beach to take over the pilot line from the rubber duck waiting for her

The action begins as the Smit Amandla turns to sail into the bay.

Heavy rain clouds start rolling in as the ZA298 turns around in order to take over the towing line linked to the Eihatsu Maru

The ZA298 turns around while a boat with divers on board enters the bay

The ZA298 with the towing hawsers on deck

The rubber duck approaching the ZA298 dragging the pilot line

The ZA298 waiting for the rubber duck to arrive with the towline

Clifton bay with the rain clouds approaching

The rubber duck approaching the ZA298

The handover of the pilot line to the ZA298 begins

The Smit Amandla sailing in the bay before receiving the towline

The crew pulling the pilot line onto the ZA298

The Smit Amandla rolling in the waves on its way to a rendezvous with the ZA298

The ZA298 now pulling in the blue part of the towing hawser

The Smit Amandla has turned around and is reversing slowly towards the shore

The Eihatsu Maru, the ZA 298 and the Smit Amandla all in a row before the towing hawser was attached to the Smit Amandla

The ZA298 paying out the yellow towing hawser as it approaches the Smit Amandla

The stern of the Eihatsu Maru with a rock marked by a red arrow that will serve as a marker to see if any progress is being made when the pull begins

The ZA298 approaching the tug Smit Amandla with the towing hawser floating behind it.

The crew on the Smit Amandla about to throw a grapple hook to snag the towing hawser

The blue grapnel line has been thrown and the hawser is about to be pulled aboard the Smit Amandla

In the meantime the Eihatsu Maru is being battered by the waves of the high tide

The hawser being pulled aboard the Smit Amandla

The hawser has been hooked up to the Smit Amandla and it is slowly moving forward taking up the slack

The line starting to pull taught behind the Eihatsu Maru

The hawser has pulled tight but the ship won't budge

Notice how the ship has been pulled upright but has not moved an inch yet

The crowds have gathered to watch the salvage attempt

Watch this gap to see if any progress is being made. No backwards movement yet

The Eihatsu Maru has keeled over on to its port side and the crew have moved to the bow in case the line breaks

The Smit Amandla at full power now and battling with the wind and waves as well as the Eihatsu Maru

The tug is starting to win the battle, gap between ship and marker rock closing

Closeup of the stern pulling level with the marker rock. Ship has moved some 10 metres at this stage

Tug has not given up yet and is just keeping the power on hoping for some help from the waves

Eihatsu Maru about to move past the marker rock

Slowly but surely the ship is being pulled off the beach

Stern is well past the marker rock and nearly in deep water

When the pull started the ship's bow was lying where the arrow is pointing to on the beach. Lots of progress has been made by the Smit Amandla

Shortly before the ship pulled free a rainbow appeared and touched the ship making it a pot of gold for someone

Waves smashing against the stern start assisting the tug by lifting the stern out of the sand

Marker rock now level with the centre of the ship

Waves lift the bow loosening the grip of the sand

Just another metre or so and the Eihatsu Maru will once more be a ship and not a wreck

The wave that lifted the ship off the sand

Floating free

Moving steadily out to sea pulled by the Smit Amandla

In the middle of the Clifton bay on her way to the open sea

All the boats that assisted in the salvage follow the Eihatsu Maru out of the bay

Clifton 1st beach once again in a pristine condition with the ship gone

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Cape Town - Eihatsu Maru salvaged
Page updated 13.5.2015

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