A young wreck

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COASTAL CASUALTY: The bulk carrier Kiperousa when it ran aground near Hamburg 11 years ago
COASTAL CASUALTY: The bulk carrier Kiperousa when it ran aground near Hamburg 11 years ago

Serendipity with Bev Young

EVEN modern technology is helpless at times when confronted by the terrifying channel that runs up the coastline from Alexandria to the Fish River.

The slightest “blink” in concentration, a lack of equipment, and rough conditions have proved treacherous for captains, with in excess of 82 shipwrecks recorded here.

In 2005, the Kiperousa (Kapodistrias), a bulk carrier was stranded northeast of Port Alfred at the coordinates 33°20′S 27°25′E / 33.333°S 27.417°E / -33.333; 27.417. It was next door to Hamburg.

The story goes that the ship “slipped” into this channel, and was grounded on a gigantic rock, from where it was unable to move in any direction, other than around and around like a spinning top. I was able to visit the site and it was utterly amazing, this helpless carrier looking like a toy.

No lives were lost, however for the community as far as East London, the enormous wooden logs that spilled off the craft were a hazardous enemy. Many of these logs ended up on beaches, although the bulk were gathered and sold off at auction.

One of the logs believed to be from the Kiperousa floated ashore in Port Alfred years later, was salvaged by two local men and can be found next to the children’s play park in Causeway.

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