5 October 2017

South Africa: Dire Straits - Robben Island Museum Operators Determined to Keep Top Tourist Attraction Afloat


Considering that over eight million people have visited UNESCO World Heritage site the Robben Island Museum in the past 20 years, the near sinking of a chartered passenger vessel, the Thandi, and the emergency evacuation of around 70 passengers on 15 September is an anomaly. But it has highlighted a problem that has plagued the museum since it first opened to the public in 1997 - to get the some 350,000 visitors per annum safely on and off the island. On Wednesday members of the museum executive and the South African Maritime Authority briefed the Western Cape Provincial Parliament's Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities on the incident. By MARIANNE THAMM.

They talk about the weather a lot; the people tasked with running the ferries and vessels that traverse the choppy eight nautical miles between the iconic Robben Island and the Cape Town harbour.

And it's not just to make small talk. The weather, in this instance, means the difference between life, near-death - or death.

Which is why, slap bang in the middle of Heritage Month, on 15 September the chartered vessel, the Thandi, set off for Robben Island around 11:00 with around 70 passengers - local and international visitors...

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