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44-year-old shipwreck washes up and shows power of the ocean

The Antipolis has washed ashore at the 12 Apostles in Cape Town. CITY OF CAPE TOWN

The Antipolis has washed ashore at the 12 Apostles in Cape Town. CITY OF CAPE TOWN

Published Jan 22, 2022


Cape Town - History has been made along Cape Town’s coastline after a 44-year-old shipwreck named the Antipolis washed up onto rocks at Oudekraal following this week’s huge and unusual wave swells.

The Antipolis, a 25 000-ton Greek oil tanker, ran aground off Oudekraal in July 1977.

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The ship, together with another named the Romelia, was wrecked near Sandy Bay.

The wreck became a popular diving site and was populated by crayfish.

Coastal Management for City of Cape Town Gregg Oelofse said they are unable to remove the wreck and are warning the public not to attempt to climb it or remove debris from it as it is unstable and has sharp edges.

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The Antipolis has washed ashore at the 12 Apostles in Cape Town. CITY OF CAPE TOWN

Due to the erratic wave pattern and behaviour on Wednesday, coastline officials were on high alert.

“We did a survey after the big waves on Wednesday and checked along the coastline and we were informed by the NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute). For me, it shows how powerful the ocean is,” he said.

He said that on Wednesday there were unusual waves and swells for this time of the year and it was clear that it was strong to have picked up the wreck.

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“The remains of the Antipolis wreck was washed out due to the big swell on Wednesday onto the rocky shoreline, north of Oudekraal, just before the 12 Apostles Hotel. Due to it having washed up on a rocky shoreline, it remains unstable in the high tide.

“As it is old and rocking around, we ask that the public please stay away as it poses a risk to safety. We have no issue of people wanting to take a look at it, but not to climb on it and not try and remove anything from it.

“It is something that is going to stay there for some time, and we are not able to remove it.”

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Lesley Rochat, founder and CEO of AfriOceans and an environmentalist and conservationist, said climate change had contributed to rising sea levels.

“Our coast is historically notorious for big storms, but there is no doubt that climate change impacts on our 3 000km coastline is resulting in an increase in frequency and intensity of storms and many related and extreme changes; for example, we know that the cool west coast is getting cooler and the warm east coast is getting warmer due to climate change.

“In addition, rising sea levels have been recorded all along South Africa’s coastline. As a free-diver who trained on the Antipolis, I will certainly miss seeing her resting under water, but now she has a new home in sight of many more, testament to the Cape of Storms and the power of our oceans.”

Deputy mayor and mayoral committee member for Spatial Planning and Environment Eddie Andrews said the Antipolis’s top section had been removed when it ran aground for safety reasons and would not be moved now.

“The wreck will be left to settle in its new location and form part of the many shipwrecks along our coastline. The Antipolis ran aground in 1977 after the tow rope that was towing it broke. At the time, it was decided to remove the top structure and leave the wreck in the water. It then became a popular diving site. The last shipwreck along this coastline occurred in 2012 at Clifton, which was known as the Eihatsu Maru.”

Weekend Argus

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