19h00, Knysna, 12 April, 2019 – Knysna’s Paddle Cruiser, the tourist restaurant vessel that was discovered partially capsized at its moorings on the banks of the Knysna Estuary in the early hours of 12 April, has been stabilised in position.
Although the boat is still listing, the port hull has settled on the floor of the Estuary, and the vessel is unlikely to tilt any deeper into the water.
The Featherbed Co., which owns and manages the vessel, has confirmed that expert divers and salvors have arrived from Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and that the process of preparing the boat for re-floating has begun. Work will continue through the night.
The company’s management has requested patience while independent assessors and marine engineers investigate the cause of the accident. At this stage, and since no one was on board to witness the event, no one has enough information to hazard any guesses as to how the accident happened.
Although pollution control barriers were deployed around the vessel as a first response, no diesel has leaked from the hulls, and the hope is that the boat will pose no risk to the natural environment.
The company’s management has thanked the volunteers from the NSRI, as well as members of SANParks, which manages the Estuary, and the Knysna Municipality’s rescue services for their help in stabilising the boat in the first hours after the accident.
Management is also grateful to the owners of the Knysna Waterfront, which made the Waterfront’s jetties available for the temporary operation of the Featherbed Company’s other vessels. This has allowed the Featherbed Co. to continue most of its normal services to its guests (boat and yacht cruises, and eco-tours of Featherbed Nature Reserve) while salvage operations are under way.