Western Cape government officials are concerned about the lack of legislative regulation addressing the allowed number of standing and seated passengers on vessels.
This emerged after the SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) and Robben Island management briefed the Western Cape provincial parliament's Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities on its implementation of recommendations made in a report on a Robben Island ferry incident on September 15, 2017.
"Samsa currently recommends that these vessels should be restricted in passenger numbers, however, this enabling legislation is lacking as it is merely a recommendation," DA Western Cape spokesperson on Economic Opportunities Beverley Schäfer said.
The chartered Robben Island ferry, Thandi, partially sank in choppy seas and high winds in September 2017, while carrying more than 60 passengers.
Schäfer welcomed Robben Island's response to the recommendations made in the report.
"I am pleased to see that the island's management has taken the matter so seriously," she said.
Schäfer added that Western Cape premier candidate Alan Winde was also pleased to see that Robben Island had implemented all the recommendations made in the report.
One of the recommendations made in the report was that Robben Island passenger vessels must, from now on, communicate with the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) on current weather and swell data.
Schäfer said the report also mentioned that passenger lists be available on every vessel leaving Nelson Mandela Gateway and the island; and that two harbour masters had been appointed to monitor weather and carry out audits.