With the amount of maritime-related stories making the news this past week, it may well be that mass media has finally noticed that we are a maritime nation. Sad, however, is that fact that most of the headlines relate to negative associations.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson has once again rocked the fishing boat. Information was leaked from a closed meeting between the minister and fisheries division staff where she allegedly said that she would take away the fishing rights of SA’s ‘Big Five’ fishing firms when they come up for review next year. She allegedly stated that ‘white’ fishing companies needed to cede these rights to community fishermen.
These statements did nothing to please Chief executive of Feike, Shaheen Moolla, who points out that the the big fishing companies are all black empowered, with at least 30 percent black ownership.
The interesting part of this story, however, is that the minister apparently asked people in the meeting not to take notes or record her remarks. Now why would she do that?
The navy also grabbed some column space this week as they hosted the Indian Oceans Naval Symposium. And the long finger of the media was not shy to point out some of their shortcomings.
At an operational cost of about R30 million per year, the submarine SAS Manthatisi has spent 18 months in service and an impressive 41 months out of service. After questioning by IFP MP Albert Mncwango, Defense Minister Lindiwe Sisulu revealed that the vessel would be remaining on dry land for several more months as it is awaiting a new battery to be delivered ‘later this year.’
The sub is apparently being used as a training and planning vessel in the mean time. This seems like an extremely expensive training exercise.
Tomorrow (14 April 2012) marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and her fateful final voyage has been on the minds of many maritime buffs this month. It would seem that everyone has a theory as to what caused the terrible accident so many years ago, but is it not time to let her rest in peace. Even as the movie Titanic is being released in 3-D it seems that this poor ship will continue to generate interest well beyond this 100-year milestone.