photo: NSRI/News24

At every shop and social encounter during the day, everyone is talking about what is happening at Shark Point. Rumours, lies, myths and more, as the story slowly unravels.

Agter Elke M

The biggest question is always, how does a trawler park itself on the rocks during a minimal swell night, with negligible winds and no untoward weather activity?

The stories always tend towards some or other story about the anchor system malfunctioning. Still, the truth will come out eventually, as it always does.


and it is a big but, what is the story behind the mysterious Elke M? No one seems to know, but here’s an interesting backstory from 30 March 2022 starring Elke M. It is an old story but provides an interesting perspective on the vessel.

Fisheries department in BBEEE fronting scandal

After battling for a month to get answers out of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment about the mysterious South African-registered trawler, Elke M, the department capitulated and provided concerning information about the vessel. 

More here and here.

In the meantime, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) issued the following press release on Saturday:

Press Release

Saturday, 13 January 2024

Following the grounding of the fishing vessel ‘Elke M’ at St Francis Bay on Saturday, 7 January, the protection of the environment and removal of onboard fuel and pollutants remains the priority of the salvage operation, and progress continues to be made.

To date approximately 13(thirteen) cubic meters of fuel has been removed from onboard tanks. A helicopter continues to assist in the transfer of equipment to the vessel and in the removal of bulk IBC containers containing fuel.

Flotsam Being collected

Floating debris (flotsam) washed off the vessel by high swells since the grounding is being collected by a boat dispatched yesterday. This includes fishing nets, buoys, and other smaller items that can also be expected to wash ashore in the days ahead and will be collected.

An appeal has been made to recreational cyclists and hikers in the nature reserve to refrain from entering the demarcated landing site at the Shark Point parking lot at the end of St Francis Drive. This is for their own safety as well as the safety of all operational personnel and to ensure that fuel removal operations can continue uninterrupted. Traffic and Law Enforcement officials are on-site to assist. Thanks are extended to the residents of St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis for their continued support during the operation.

 SAMSA will continue monitoring the operation, working in collaboration with the Incident Management Structure (IMS). This includes Owners, the insurers (P&I Club), municipality officials, the NSRI, salvors AMSOL, environmental management organisations, and other relevant parties.

 The vessel had 24 crew on board when she ran aground 1 mile from Port St Francis at 22h30 on Saturday night. All were brought to safety after they abandoned ship.


Readers, feel free to comment.


see also: Notes From The Editor – Banger Of A Season