Rescuers have successfully freed a Southern Right Whale who found itself ensnared off the Cape coast.
The whale was spotted by onlookers in Clovelly‚ between Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay‚ slapping its tail in an attempt to free itself of a rope on Tuesday afternoon.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following reports from concerned onlookers.
“The NSRI Simonstown sea rescue craft Spirit of Surfski II launched immediately‚ carrying South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) cutting equipment‚ with the intention to respond to the scene to recce the situation‚” said NSRI Simonstown station commander Darren Zimmerman.
Another two NSRI sea rescue craft‚ the Spirit of Safmarine III and the IL Battello‚ were then launched with additional crew‚ including members of the SAWDN.
Traffic police and NSRI were also dispatched to the parking area of the beach to manage traffic and crowds of people who had gathered to see the spectacle.
“Local radio stations assisted in advising motorists to be cautious on Main Road‚ Clovelly‚ and to seek an alternative route during the afternoon peak traffic‚” said Zimmerman.
When Zimmerman and his team arrived at the scene‚ at about 5 pm‚ they found a “healthy and very active” 12 meter long Southern Right Whale with eight wraps of rope around its tail.
“Using the SAWDN cutting gear we immediately began cutting away at the rope and we were able to cut free all of the wraps of rope which were recovered and the whale swam away appearing to be healthy and the disentanglement operation has been successful‚” he said.
The three boats then went on to investigate other Southern Right whales swimming in the area but they found all of them to be healthy and swimming freely.
by Aron Hyman -TimesLIVE