Salvaging of wrecks to get under way

Harbour master Pumla Feni-Gela is pictured alongside one of the wrecks in the harbour scheduled for salvaging.

For the next four months, residents and visitors to Hout Bay can expect to see huge cranes in the harbour as the long-awaited wreck salvage operation gets under way.

This week, representatives of the national Department of Public Works gathered at the offices of harbour master Pumla Feni-Gela to put the finishing touches to the logistical planning of the operation.

Salvaging of the wrecks, whose number is estimated between 14 and 16, is set to begin within the next fortnight.

Earlier this year Ms Feni-Gela suggested the operation would begin in August, and was delighted that Hout Bay would finally be seeing the back of the wrecks.

“I am so excited about this project. I think many boat owners in Hout Bay had given up all hope, but now we are finally able to move forward,” she said this week.

“Once the wrecks have been removed, a lot of mooring space will be freed up. We can then begin the process of allocating these spaces.”

PublicWorksisfunding the project while the Eastern Cape’s Coega Development Corporation is the service pro-
vider.

In June, the City of Cape Town drafted a by-law that would allow it to wrest control of Cape Town’s harbours, including Hout Bay, from national government. The City lays blame for the deteriorating condition of the harbours squarely on the departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and Public Works.

While implementation of the by-law is still being discussed, Public Works is moving ahead with the salvaging of wrecks at all Cape Town’s small-boat harbours, with Hout Bay harbour being the first.

“We will see the first salvaging equipment arriving in a week or two. There have been days when I have become desperate for the salvaging to begin, but Public Works has responded to my plea,” Ms Feni-Gela said. “If we can have every wreck brought up and removed by Christmas, it will be a real bonus for Hout Bay during the peak holiday sea-
son.”

She said the people of Hout Bay as well as the local fishing community deserved to have a wreck-free harbour.

“People have been waiting 20 years for this, and finally it’s going to happen. It is said patience is a virtue, and I believe our patience has now paid
off.”

Queries sent to Public Works spokespersonThamsanqa Mchunu were not responded to by the time this edition went to print.