Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simon’s Town station commander, said:
At 16h21, Tuesday, 22nd August, NSRI Simon’s Town duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following eye-witness reports of a whale entangled in rope off-shore of Clovelly, between Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek.
The NSRI Simon’s Town sea rescue craft Spirit of Surfski II launched immediately, carrying SAWDN (South African Whale Disentanglement Network) cutting equipment, with the intention to respond to the scene to recce the situation.
The NSRI Simon’s Town sea rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III followed later accompanied by members of SAWDN and NSRI Kommetjie responded with additional SAWDN cutting equipment, that is stored at the NSRI Kommetjie sea rescue station, and the NSRI Kommetjie sea rescue craft IL Battello was towed to Simon’s Town and launched.
The NSRI Simon’s Town rescue vehicle was dispatched to Clovelly parking area to assist with communications and crowd assistance and Cape Town Traffic Services responded to assist with traffic control at Main Road, Clovelly, where a bottle neck on the roadway was caused from concerned onlookers and traffic flow was further hampered by road works taking place in the area.
Local radio stations assisted in advising motorists to be cautious on Main Road, Clovelly, and to seek an alternative route during the afternoon peak traffic.
Our sea rescue craft Spirit of Surfski II, with myself Darren Zimmerman and NSRI crew Harry Marais, Herby Meth and Andre Nortje, arrived swiftly on the scene first and we found a large Southern Right whale, 10 to 12 meters in length, entangled with at least 8 wraps of rope around its tail.
The whale appeared to be healthy and it was very active.
Using the SAWDN cutting gear we immediately began cutting away at the rope and we were able to cut free all of the wraps of rope which were recovered and the whale swam away appearing to be healthy and the disentanglement operation has been successful.
Our NSRI Simon’s Town sea rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III and the NSRI Kommetjie sea rescue craft IL Battello then arrived to join us on the scene and together we investigated additional Southern Right whales that were in the area at the time and all of the whales that we encountered were swimming freely with no further entanglements identified.
NSRI commend the many concerned members of the public who raised the alarm and we are thankful to Cape Town Traffic Services for their assistance with traffic control on Main Road, Clovelly, and for the assistance of local radio news stations for alerting peak hour traffic users to avoid Main Road, Clovelly, and to seek alternative routes home during the incident.
The operation was successfully completed at 17h47.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE