Eight men were plucked from the frigid water by other vessels that had rushed to their aid.
NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said the volunteer rescue service was alerted to the vessel in distress by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).
“The 42-metre Cape Town fishing trawler [reported] to be taking on water in heavy sea swells 20 nautical miles south of Hangklip with their 21 crew on board abandoning ship.”
Lambinon said that all vessels were alerted to the incident and asked to help, with the NSRI launching rescue craft from their bases in Hermanus and Simonstown.
A cargo vessel and three fishing boats were first to arrive at the floundering trawler’s location.
“On arrival on the scene it was confirmed that all 21 crew of the casualty fishing trawler had abandoned their vessel.
“Nine survivors were rescued and nine bodies were recovered from the water. It was later confirmed that one of the survivors who had been rescued had succumbed to injuries and died. Rescues were made by all of the vessels in the search area,” he said.
“Sea conditions were six-metre swells with gusting to 45 knot south easterly winds but sea conditions improved during the search and rescue operation.
“Despite an extensive air and sea search no sign of the three missing crew have been found and a search is continuing. Radio communications are being assisted by Telkom Maritime Radio Services,” Lambinon said.