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OPERATION CENTRE (EOC)

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[video width='640' height='480' mp4='https://www.nsri.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/WhatsApp-Video-2020-03-06-at-19.48.39.mp4'][/video]DASSEN ISLAND:At 10h40, Thursday, 05th March, SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) were activated to reports of a whale entangled off-shore of Dassen Island.SAWDN volunteers including additional crew from Cape Town and NSRI Melkbosstrand launched from Yzerfontein harbour aboard two NSRI Yzerfontein sea rescue craft, Rotary Onwards and Sonja.Following an extensive search a Humpback whale was located 8 nautical miles South West of Dassen Island entangled in 4 rope wraps around the right flipper including floatation buoys making the disentanglement operation all the more difficult as the entanglements tend to remain deep under water when they are around the flipper and with poor under water visibility and big sea swells making this particular operation even more difficult and the whale had an additional rope entangled around the whales body.Using the specialised cutting equipment and with kegging lines attached to the larger sea rescue craft to slow the whale down the specialised cutting equipment was used and the rope around the body was cut first and then the remaining ropes cut in a difficult operation and all rope and floatation buoys were recovered.The whale showed strong movement in the water and SAWDN are satisfied that this operation has been been successful.At 07h04, Friday, 06th March, SAWDN were activated to reports of a whale entangled off-shore of Dassen Island.SAWDN volunteers including additional crew from Cape Town and an additional NSRI Mykonos crewman launched from Yzerfontein harbour aboard the NSRI Yzerfontein sea rescue craft Rotary Onwards.Following a search a Humpback whale was located off-shore of Dassen Island entangled in 5 rope wraps around the tail including floatation buoys and the ropes were lying deep underwater making this an equally challenging operation.Using the specialised cutting equipment and with kegging lines attached to the larger sea rescue craft to slow the whale down the specialised cutting equipment was used and the ropes were cut and all rope came free in one cut.All rope and the floatation buoys were recovered and the whale has strong movement in the water and SAWDN are satisfied that this operation has been successful.OUDEKRAAL:At 10h17, Friday, 06th March, SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) were activated to reports from the recreational Charter boat Ocean Wonder of a whale entangled off-shore of Oudekraal on the Atlantic Seaboard.Paul Lipschitz, skipper of Ocean Wonder, has been providing sightings and coordinates of possible whale entanglements to SAWDN over the past few weeks and is commended for his vigilance.The NSRI Bakoven sea rescue craft Rotarian Schipper and the NSRI Hout Bay sea rescue craft Albie Matthews was launched, both accompanied by SAWDN volunteers.Following an extensive search, with sightings of at least 15 whales that were not entangled, the entangled whale, a 7.5 meter Humpback, was located and found to have fishing rope and floatation buoys entangled around the whales body and trailing an approximately 50 meter fishing rope behind the whale.The trailing rope was cut first, using the specialised cutting equipment, and 2 kegging lines were attached to the rope around the body and the NSRI Hout Bay sea rescue craft was used to slow down the whales movement while the SAWDN crew on the NSRI Bakoven sea rescue craft approached the whale to begin attempts at cutting free the entangled fishing rope.The body fishing rope line was then cut but the rope seemed to remain on the whale when it was noticed a fishing rope wrapped around the tip of the whales mouth essentially holding the mouth shut possibly indicating the docile movement of the whale may be related to the whale having not been able to feed even though the whale had good movement and seemed healthy.While the NSRI Hout Bay sea rescue craft continued to slow down the whales movement and with the whale diving regularly despite the floatation buoys and kegging lines the NSRI Bakoven sea rescue craft was used to approach the whales mouth to give opportunity to the SAWDN crew to cut that rope free.This proved difficult as the whale had full vision of the approaching boat that was unable to creep up on the whale (so that the SAWDN crew could make the cuts) instead being forced to operate in front of the whale and next to the whales mouth with the sea rescue craft right up against the whale and understandably the whale dived to avoid the confrontation and surprisingly on the 5th approach it was found that the rope around the mouth had fallen free and the whale was freed.All rope and the floatation buoys were recovered and the whale has strong movement in the water and SAWDN are satisfied that this operation has been been successful.The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) was established in 2006 in order to manage entangled whales using specialized equipment and is comprised of trained volunteers from the - National Sea Rescue Institute, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Centre for Sustainable Oceans at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Nature, Mammal Research Institute, South African National Parks, South African Police Service, Cape Nature, Bayworld, various Boat Based Whale Watching and Shark Cage Diving Operators, the Rock Lobster Industry and the Octopus Industry and fully supported by the Dolphin Action and Protection Group.SAWDN COVERS THE ENTIRE SA COASTLINEWhales assisted to date: 199
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