Posted by: Natalie Janse | April 24, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 24 April 2015

The press covered a story this week involving the rescue of an entangled whale near Oyster Bay in the Eastern Cape.  The NSRI at St Francis Bay, along with trained volunteers from the South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN), responded to a distress call and discovered two humpback whales, possibly mother and child, swimming together.  The smaller of the two had become tangled in a rope and three flotation bouys.

Craig Lambinon, spokesman for SAWDN said, “In an operation lasting just under 30 minutes all rope and flotation bouys were successfully removed from the whale and recovered.

“The whale appeared not to be injured from the ordeal and appeared to be swimming confidently following the disentanglement, and SAWDN is confident that the operation has been successful.”

The penguins at Boulders beach have also made headlines this week.  The area is obviously a major tourist attraction, but due to the ignorance of many visitors, the penguins are not 100 percent safe even in this protected area.

It has been reported that many over enthusiastic tourists get too close to the penguins and even pick them up.  This is obviously not ideal as the penguins are frightened and often bite resulting in them being thrown to the ground and hurt.

Tourists are also oblivious to their surroundings, and whilst trying to snap the perfect selfie, walk all over the penguin nests in the area.  These birds are on the endangered list and it is a privilege to be able to view them in their natural habitat, but a privilege that one should be mindful of and not abuse.

Francois Louw of SANCCOB says that more signage has been put up to request that the birds are viewed from a safe distance and to be aware of nesting areas on the ground.  Four penguin monitors have also been employed to keep an eye on the area and to step in in cases where the birds are in danger.

Posted by: Natalie Janse | April 17, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 17 April 2015

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has made headlines this week with the announcement that they will be embarking on a nationwide project to start a drowning register.  Although this may sound like a rather grim undertaking, over 2,000 people drown in South Africa each year and it is believed that this project will provide an up-to-date and real reflection of the problem.

NSRI Chief Executive Cleeve Robertson said, “We don’t have accurate current data, but we estimate that more than 2,000 adults and children die in water every year in South Africa.”

Meriel Bartlett, an NSRI executive director added, “If we can understand the worst areas for drownings, we can better understand how to address the problem.”

A high number of drownings occur in the 9 – 14 year age group and the NSRI currently runs a training programme, the Water-Wise Academy, targeting water safety issues in classrooms across the country.  The programme was started in 2006 and has reached over 700,000 children thus far, primarily in under privileged areas.

Bartlett believes that the programme should be a permanent part of the school curriculum.

The beloved navy dog Just Nuisance is soon to be honoured in both a new book and a full length feature film.  According to the press, a film about the legendary British Royal Navy dog will soon begin shooting in South Africa. All proceeds from the film will go to local charities and youth groups.

The launch of the book, Able Seaman Just Nuisance, will take place at the Simon’s Town Museum this weekend. According to Sherri Rowe of Dumb Dog Productions, “Our relationship with the Simon’s Town Museum and their staff adds an authentic dimension to the film.  The museum has on exhibit his original collar, enlistment papers and much more.  We are tremendously excited to bring this project to fruition.”

Posted by: Natalie Janse | April 10, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 10 April 2015

The big headline this week was the news that Kumi Naidoo will be returning to South Africa.  The South African born environmentalist has stepped down as Executive Director for Greenpeace, a position he held for over five years and now wishes to turn his attention to environmental issues here in South Africa.  Naidoo stated that after living abroad for more that 17 years, he now feels that his homeland needs him.

What a coup for South Africa and the South African environment!

It appears that Robben Island may finally be getting a new ferry service up and running. According to the local press, a new ferry is set to be delivered by the end of the year and its use will be primarily to transport tourists to and from Robben Island. The announcement was made by Sibongiseni Mkhize, executive at the Robben Island museum.

Although the previous ferry, the Sikhululekile was to be sold, plans are now in place to once again repair the vessel and have her ready as back up for the new ferry.

To celebrate its  200th birthday the island of Tristan da Cunha has decided to open up a worldwide competition searching for ideas to assist with development of infrastructure on the island, as well as moving it into the future with a general make over and plans for self sufficiency.

According to the press the competition is open to any design team from around the world as long as they are lead by a registered and practising architect.  Entries for phase one must be in by 2 June 2015 and the judges will choose five entries from these to move on to phase two of the development.

Talk about thinking outside the box.  Hats off to Tristan da Cunha, let’s hope that the gamble pays off.

 

Posted by: Natalie Janse | April 2, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 2 April 2015

This week the press is covering the investigation by the SA Navy into why a warship fired a heavy-calibre weapon at a fishing vessel during a naval exercise.

The exercise took place offshore Agulhas in the early hours of Wednesday morning last week during a joint naval exercise between the South African and German navies.

Anthony Day and nine other fishermen were involved in the incident and are so badly shaken that they have spoken to a trauma counsellor.

SA spokesman for the SA Navy has confirmed that the incident did in fact take place, but that navigation warnings about naval exercises are sent out via radio to all fishing clubs and harbours before these types of exercises take place.  Day says that he received no such warning.

“My radio was on from 2am and there was no warning,” said Day.

The German Navy has not responded to the incident, other than to say that they will be making a joint statement with the SA Navy.  At this point no such statement has been released.

Also mentioned in the press this week is the art exhibition entitled:  Gateway to Antarctic, currently taking place at the Iziko Maritime Centre at the Union Castle building in the V&A Waterfront.  Art works of Antarctic vessels by Elf van Bilas are being displayed by the South African Shipping Society in collaboration with the University of Stellenbosch’s Antarctic Heritage Project and the Iziko museum. The idea behind the exhibition is to generate awareness around South Africa’s involvement with Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Posted by: Natalie Janse | March 27, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 27 March 2015

A group of local fishermen were lucky to escape with their lives this week after being accidentally fired upon by a warship involved in military exercises offshore of Cape Agulhas.  According to the press, the incident took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning during a joint naval exercise between the SA Navy and the German Navy.  It is believed that the fishing vessel was mistaken for one of the small radio-controlled vessels being used as a targets during the exercise.

Luckily no one was injured and both the SA and the German Navy have stated that they are aware of the incident and will be releasing a joint statement once the incident had been thoroughly investigated.

Also covered in the press this week was the visit by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to to the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone.  The minister was informed that workers would require a dramatic skills upgrade if they hoped to benefit from employment opportunities on the oil rigs at Saldanha Bay.

Peter Jordaan, Saldanha Bay councillor said, “There is a misalignment of the skills required and supply of skills.  Besides the normal qualification for welding, people working on oil rigs also need the American Bureau of Standards qualification and, because of this, many local guys would not qualify to work on an oil rig.”

The department is in the process of establishing a plan to assist with the required skills training.

 

Posted by: Natalie Janse | March 20, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 20 March 2015

Forensic report findings reported in the press this week have described the policy regarding small scale fisheries as ambiguous and contradicting the National Development Plan.

These findings were revealed by a forensic report carried out by Emang Basadi Legal and Forensic Services and commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to review the work of the fisheries branch.

The report stated:  “Allegations of departmental interference are common and in some cases likely to be true.  Currently it is perceived that only some individuals are benefitting.”

More damning evidence against a process that has been fraught with problems from day one.

Meanwhile, also featured in the press this week are the discussions taking place between the ministers of fisheries, environment and transport to establish a single and co-ordinated structure to manage the fisheries research and patrol vessels.

DAFF minister, Senzeni Zokwana said, “In some instances we have been found wanting in the processes.  We will look at a possible well co-ordinated process by which all three departments can have one structure that manages them.”

The press has also assisted in promoting the South African Navy Festival taking place in Simon’s Town this weekend.  With 12 national and international navy vessels to be seen, as well as dog shows and live music, there is guarantee to be something for everyone.

“The reason we hold this festival is to present our work and ships to the public,” said Lieutenant Leverne Benjamin.

Posted by: Natalie Janse | March 13, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 13 March 2015

Covered in the press this week was the official opening of the Transformation Display at the SA Naval Museum in Simon’s Town.  The display is designed to showcase the previously unrecognised contributions made by soldiers of colour through history.

Vice-Admiral Johannes Mudimu set the wheels of change in motion in 2005 when he became Chief of the Navy. Mudimu was the first black chief appointed and, at the time of his appointment, felt that the museum was not offering a balanced perspective of race and gender within the navy.

Lieutenant-Commander Leon Steyn, museum curator said, “The museum had a mainly white-dominated historic display, and although this represented a good history, it did not represent all the races who were part of the navy’s history.

“Back then, whites and coloureds were integrated when they were at sea, sharing each other’s bunks.  It was sad because once they reached shore, they would have to go back to living apart because of apartheid’s rules and regulations.”

With the opening of this display the role of many people and events who contributed to the transformation of the SA Navy will receive the recognition that they deserve.

Steyn hopes that the new display will also open healthy discussions and debate regarding South Africa’s rich and varied naval history.

Posted by: Natalie Janse | March 6, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 6 March 2015

Perlemoen arrests have made headlines again this week with another five people being arrested after a raid on a house in Kuilsriver.  Three Chinese nationals and two Zimbabweans were arrested at the scene where wet and dry perlemoen to the value of R3.2 million was discovered.  The five appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Managing director of Maersk Line South Africa, Jonathan Horn’s comments with regard to South Africa no longer being the only gateway into Africa have also made headlines this week.

At the group’s global results report in Durban, Horn pointed out that ports in both east and west Africa were catching up with South African ports.

“If you look at the emerging markets of West and East Africa, they are slightly smaller, but their growth rates there are increasing significantly and on a much higher level.  South Africa is certainly not the only gateway to Africa anymore,” said Horn.

Also making the news is the strike by Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) members at two crayfish packaging companies in Hout Bay and Saldanha.  The strike is due to a dispute over the manner in which worker-related negotiations should be conducted.

The factories are Inkosi Keta Marine in Hout Bay and the Live Fish Tanks on the West Coast. Fawu national fishing sector organiser, Zolani Mbanjwa said, “We, as Fawu, are pushing for collective negotiations with the two companies.  The dispute started when we tried to consolidate the recognition agreement for both companies under one agreement.  But the companies refused to enter into the agreement.”

Keta marine’s labourer relations manager, Frederi Steyn-Visser said the issue had been referred to the CCMA for a resolution.

Posted by: Natalie Janse | February 27, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 27 February 2015

Making headlines this week is the confiscation of R2 million worth of crayfish tails by police near Lwandle in Cape Town.  The three individuals involved will appear in court today.  Andre Traut, police spokesman said, “The three suspects are due to appear … on charges of illegal possession and transportation of an excessive amount of crayfish tails.  The legal limit for an individual to possess crayfish is four per permit.”

Plastic pollution is back in the headlines this week with a new study revealing that certain corals actually eat  plastic particles as if they were food.The study, conducted by researchers from James Cook University in Australia, found that corals ate plastic particles at a rate only slightly lower than their normal rate of feeding on marine plankton.  The result of this is that the coral may then not be able to digest their normal food which would obviously impact on the safety of the species in the future.

This points back to the ever growing concern surrounding plastic pollution in our oceans and the impact this ultimately has on fisheries, tourism and the marine environment.

Also making headlines this week is the official opening of the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai. The rehabilitation centre is a project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and consists of eight new buildings and two new swimming pools especially designed for the rehabilitation of the African penguin and other seabirds.

The centre is able to accommodate up to 300 penguins at one time and in a crisis, such as an oil spill, up to 1,000 penguins.

Posted by: Natalie Janse | February 20, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 20 February 2015

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the decision to once again extend all long-term commercial fishing rights has made headlines this week.  DAFF is apparently in need of more time to sort out the fishing rights allocation process in general and, therefore, existing fishing rights due to expire this year have been extended, in some sectors for up to one year.

The department said that the extensions would allow  for a “well managed and transparent” allocation process.  This news follows in the wake of the disastrous fishing rights allocation process (FRAP) of 2013 over which there was such an outcry that the then Minister of Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, called for a forensic audit.  The ultimate findings of the audit were that the FRAP of 2013 had been legally faulty and that it was simply not possible to correct these faults. You can read more about the extensions and implications in the forthcoming issue of Maritime Review Africa.

The war against perlemoen poaching continues and it was reported in the press this week that another R1 million worth of illegally fished perlemoen was confiscated by police in Somerset West.  A 26 year old man was arrested and taken in for questioning after 1958 perlemoen were found in his possession.  His initial court appearance was set for this week.

The SA Agulhas II has returned from her 14 month mission to Antarctica.  The vessel was photographed by various press agencies as she docked at the V&A Waterfront after fourteen months in Antarctica.  On board was Christiaan Crous, member of the scientific research group Sanae 14 who was quoted as saying that the trip was unbelievable, but just too short.

 

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