Swakopmund — A wide-ranging probe will be launched to ascertain what caused the "Dan José" - a leisure boat, which was used for fishing and which capsised last Thursday killing six people. There were seven persons on board, but only one person, David Alweendo, survived the tragedy.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernard Esau, yesterday said that an investigation would also be conducted into fishing activities, as well as the criteria and the licences issued for recreational boats. Esau also expressed concern about the limited number of life jackets that were on the boat, which should be a basic requirement for any vessel.
"This is of great concern for the fisheries ministry as we are unaware of how many boats operate in this manner," said Esau. The minister is expected to visit the bereaved families later during this week.
So far three bodies have washed ashore and were identified as the bodies of Thomas Haikongo (33), the skipper Danie Douw Kloppers (47) and a certain Evalistus (25), also from Swakopmund.
The fishing vessel with its seven crew members capsised at around 16h50 about one kilometer offshore at Mile 7 en-route to Henties Bay late Thursday afternoon. The tragic boating accident occurred after the "Dan José" initially encountered technical problems, resulting in the boat taking in water before it capsised. Although no official search operation has been launched, patrols along the beach by members of the Namibian Police in collaboration with other rescue organizations continue. David Alweendo, the sole survivor of the ocean disaster, is receiving treatment in the Swakopmund State hospital. His condition is being monitored carefully for any cardiovascular conditions. It is believed he was in the sea for at least 90 minutes.
Nampol yesterday confirmed that some of the deceased are residents of the DRC settlement in Swakopmund known as the home of the unprivileged and the poorest of the poor at the coastal town. Residents always avail themselves to do odd jobs even if it means fishing, while they lack experience and know the dangers associated with the activity.
At least 200 coastal residents have already shown interest in assisting the families of the deceased, by donating food and other items. An unofficial organisation has been established at a Swakopmund-based business undertaking for the collection and distribution of the items. Anyone wishing to offer assistance can contact Mr. Gramovski at 081 284 4099.