The MV Seli 1 settled in its current resting place off Bloubergstrand during a stormy night on 8 September 2009. Engine failure and a snapped anchor chain were blamed as she became grounded with over 660 tons of oil and 30,000 tons of coal on board.
The wreck was expected to be re-floated and removed shortly after the grounding, but complications and uncompromising owners ensured that she was there to stay.
In June 2010, as salvage operations were underway, a fire broke out and ravaged much of the wreck (which was still in one piece). The fire was ignited accidentally by the oxy-acetylene cutting torches used by the salvage team.
Following on from the fire, a big storm in September 2011 whipped up a strong 6 meter swell, and the force of the waves split the wreckage into three parts.
Fire and stormy seas were not enough to see the Seli 1 slip below the waves, and explosives were used earlier this year in order to break her up into ever smaller sections, and in the hope that the sea shall do the rest.
Gregory Player from Blouberg Beach Cleanup took a paddle out to the Seli 1 earlier this week and snapped these images of what remains.
“The back will still be around for a while…” said Greg of the wreckage, “but the front part will be broken up this winter!”
Clearly the Seli 1 has seen better days, but she’s still here, for now. If only they could bring back the banks that used to form alongside its rusting hulk of a hull…