New ferry should bolster visitor numbers to Robben Island

The new ferry is called Krotoa, after the first female political prisoner on the island. 
Image: Supplied

Robben Island is set to increase its passenger-carrying capacity by 270 people with the introduction of a new catamaran ferry in Cape Town.

The ferry, which arrived on Friday, has been named Krotoa, after the first female political prisoner on the island.

“We are very excited about Krotoa’s arrival, as this will enhance our carrying capacity as a key component to ensuring high visitor numbers and a seamless visitor experience,” said Ellerick Olckers, visitor operations specialist at Robben Island Museum.

Olckers was appointed a year ago to improve on Robben Island’s operations.

Krotoa has a passenger capacity of 285, a gross tonnage of 319 and a speed of 28.5 knots when fully loaded.

She is expected to take her maiden journey after being given the all-clear by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa).

“It is of critical importance that we prepare for peak periods months in advance.  This enables the organisation to be ready in terms of resource acquisition, training of staff, increasing ferry capacity, and retail requirement planning.  We would like to proactively prepare to avoid situations where we are caught on the back foot, that may detract from visitors’ experience of the island,” Olcker said on Monday.

Robben Island Museum said previously that numerous tours had to be cancelled in 2018 due to a lack of ferries able to operate in rough seas. As a result, visitor numbers declined.

The ferry Thandi sank with 70 people on board in 2017.



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