Search for men missing at sea

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The search for four men missing aboard a utility vessel off the KwaZulu-Natal south coast continued in earnest yesterday.

The men on board the vessel, used to transport personnel to and from off-shore ships, went missing on Friday.

Yesterday the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) continued the search from Port St Johns, near Umtata, to Port Elizabeth.

The NSRI was helped by the maritime rescue coordination centre of the South African navy and air force.

By late afternoon there was no sign of the missing crew.

Craig Lambinan, spokesman for the NSRI, said the vessel was bound for Cape Town. He said an around-the-clock search was launched when the vessel did not arrive as expected in East London on Friday.

"The crew missed three spots where they were supposed to stop.

"All boats, ships and pilots have been alerted to be on the look-out. We still have hope that that they will be found alive," Lambinan said.

Godfrey Neebham, of off-shore maritime services, and the owner of the missing vessel yesterday said that he has been visiting the families of the men.

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news. The news came as a shock to the families I have visited so far. I have not slept in days, praying that my men are still alive," said Neebham.

The names of the missing crew have not yet been released.