The Sweet Service Award goes to the NSRI, as well as other supporters who assisted in the rescue of 37 of the passengers on the Miroshga, which capsized off Hout Bay. Western Cape Tourism Minister Alan Winde acknowledged the contribution of the NSRI, the Western Cape Emergency Medical Services which brought 24 passengers to hospitals in Cape Town, Navy sea divers, EMS divers, and the Western Cape and City Disaster Management Units, in the rescue operation.  Poachers who were fishing in the area were the first to arrive on the scene, and assisted in pulling passengers out of the water.

The Sour Service Award goes to Southern Ambition Marine Safaris, owners of the Miroshga whale, dolphin and seal watching boat that capsized in Hout Bay two weeks ago, for having a skipper of the boat that was not certified to carry passengers, resulting in the death of tourist Peter Hyett and crew member John Roberts, the initial inquiry into the accident by the SA Maritime Safety Authority has found, reported the Cape Times yesterday. Other issues were problematic too. The boat used to have inboard motors, but replaced these with outboard engines, the vents of the inboard motors not having been closed, resulting in the boat taking on water.  The bilge pump used to pump out the water at sea did not work ‘because it had been incorrectly wired’.  The compartments below deck were not watertight, which meant that the seawater coming in through the vents spread faster than the bilge pump could pump out the water.  The alarm system, to alert the skipper of flooding at a certain level, had been disconnected!  The battery compartment was flooded, which cut out the port engine, followed by the starboard engine too, leading to the boat drifting into the breakers and capsizing. The life raft was cut loose by the passengers, but floated away without being used. In summary, the report said that the boat disaster was the result of a ‘succession of small bad decisions and incidents’!  The owners paid for Roberts’ funeral, and the company has not operated since the accident.  The skipper and his company could face criminal charges.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the website.