The SA Agulhas II arrived back at Cape Town with the castaway crew of the MFV Geo Searcher on 26th October 2020

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The Sunken Geo Searcher's Crew Returns to Cape Town

It has been reported on Twitter by the Antarctic Legacy Project, Stellenbosch University, that the SA Agulhas II arrived in Cape Town during the evening of Monday 26th October 2020 with the crew of the sunken MFV Geo Searcher.

No further details have yet been forthcoming from official sources, but a post in the Tristan da Cunha Facebook Group showed Portuguese members of the crew being met by the Portuguese Consul with emergency passports, all documents having gone down with the ship. Lost documents may also have caused difficulties for the rest of the crew as they passed through Immigration. They were also required to test negative for COVID-19 before proceeding home. We will provide more information as it emerges.

Sunset for the MFV Geo Searcher, pictured off the Settlement at Tristan da Cunha.

Sunset for the Geo Searcher, pictured off the Settlement at Tristan da Cunha in happier times. Photo: © Robin Repetto

What Next?

The return of the crew to Cape Town marks the end of an episode in the story of the wreck of the ill-fated Geo Searcher, but it is not the end of the tale. Evidence is already being gathered into the cause and consequences of the wreck, but it will be some time before the outcome or even initial conclusions can be made public.

The Agulhas II photographed and videoed the wreck site on its way from Gough Island to Tristan, and reported no pollution. This indicates that the fuel tanks have not been breached, but this is something that will have to be monitored.

It is too early to say how the wreck will impact Tristan's fishing industry and the regular shipping schedule. The fishery operated from Calshot Harbour and the factory is unaffected, and it has reported good catches in the past week. It is some compensation that most of the Geo Searcher's catch had been transshipped to the Edinburgh before the incident, for transport to Cape Town.