Environmental laws hamper salvage
Published on November 14th, 2017
When Team Vestas Wind ran aground in the Indian Ocean on November 29 during the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, the boat was miraculously recovered off the reef and rebuilt to finish the race. The Clipper Round the World Race is struggling to do the same.
Their fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s took a hit when one of them ran aground just hours after the start on October 31 of the third leg from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. While the crew was promptly rescued, the boat recovery remains a challenge.
While there remains confusion how the crew could have hit one of South Africa’s most infamous ship graveyards, an offshore reef at Olifantsbospunt between Cape Town and Cape Point, the problem now is how the boat has washed up on a protected beach.
Cape Town salvage diver Gary Mills claims officials should have acted sooner to salvage the yacht while it was wedged on a reef, but now with it on the beach, the boat is marooned by bureaucratic wrangling.
Its location in Table Mountain National Park means it is subject to environmental legislation prohibiting potentially damaging activities – such as the use of heavy machinery.
Clipper Race chairman and founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston confirmed the delay.
“Our objective is to remove [the yacht] as soon as possible and minimise any environmental effect,” he said. “The boat had its fuel removed, removing the risk of contamination. Ultimately there will need to be a judgment call by the authorities on the least-invasive recovery method.”
Mills said the need to salvage the yacht should trump environmental legislation – in the interest of the environment. “The kind of co-operation we are getting from the government is absolutely embarrassing from an international perspective.”
The third stage of the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, officially known as Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race, got underway October 31 for the 12 teams from Cape Town for the 4,754 nm Southern Ocean sleigh ride towards Fremantle, Australia. Teams are expected to finish between November 21 and 25.
Background: Held biennially, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race got underway August 20 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The 40,000nm course is divided into 13 individual races with the team having the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew that signs up for one, some, or all the races. The 2017-18 race, expected to take 11 months, has attracted 712 people representing 41 nationalities, making it the largest to date.
Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race