Fire kills one, destroys vessel

19 August 2019 | Infrastructure

A man was killed when the hake trawler Ocean Tide moored at the jetty of Seawork Fish Processors in Walvis Bay caught fire below deck around 8:00 on Saturday.

He formed part of the maintenance crew doing repair work on the vessel at the time.

The fire quickly spread to the upper decks and completely destroyed the bridge and the living quarters of the crew.

According to sources at the scene, it is suspected that sparks from an angle grinder caused the fire which resulted in considerable damage and the suspension of activities at the on-land fish processing facility due to the presence of smoke.

The vessel carried no load and was moored for the past two weeks while repairs were being made.

Three fire brigade trucks, and two Namport tugs - the Onkoshi and Onyati - were deployed to the scene. Onkoshi's crew used the tug's water cannon to douse the flames on the vessel from its starboard side while firemen boarded the vessel and battled the flames from the portside.

Port Captain Lukas Kaufuna who was at scene confirmed the death of the maintenance worker. Once the flames were subdued, mobile pumps were deployed on the deck to pump out water from the hull of the vessel and to keep the vessel from capsizing or sinking next to the jetty.

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