The Seli 1 is back in the news this week. After lying just off Blouberg for nearly three years, while authorities try to determine who should foot the bill for its removal, it has now been determined that the wreck is eroding the beach and threatening council infrastructure. The wreck, abandoned by its owners shortly after running aground in September 2009, has already cost the public about R24 million and now the hidden costs are starting to mount.
According to reports, all the authorities involved agree that the wreck must be removed, but no one has been able to come up with the money as yet.
The city council met with the Department of Transport, as well as other government departments, two months ago to decide the fate of the wreck. Councillor JP Smith, mayco member for safety and security, said that the meeting had been a positive one and that an application would be made to the treasury to supply the funding for its removal. Other bodies, such as Transnet, Environmental Affairs and the Ports Authority, would also be asked to contribute funding.
The city, who has also volunteered to contribute to the cause, is now awaiting feedback from the Department of Transport.
Clearly, this has been, and looks likely to continue to be, and extremely lengthy process.
Another vessel in distress in our waters …. the Cidade de Paraty also hit the headlines this week and has been given permission to be towed into False Bay after developing trouble with its generators about 45 miles offshore last week.
Dave Main of Smit Salvors was quoted in the media saying that it was unclear as to how long the repairs to the generator would take, but it would seem that it is once again SAMSA and Smit to the rescue.
In other news, a R108 million upgrade for 12 of our local harbours is on the cards, but first those responsible for the abandoned sunken vessels can expect legal action from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
The 12 harbours to be upgraded or rehabilitated are: Hout Bay, Kalk Bay, Gordon’s Bay, Gansbaai, Arniston, Stillbaai, Saldanha Bay, St Helena Bay, Laaiplek, Lamberts Bay, Yzerfontein and Hawston. ‘The construction periods for these contracts range from six months to three years,’ said public works spokesman Thami Mchunu to the media.
Other DAFF news making the papers relates to the decision to hire diving companies to recover about 31.5 tons of perlemoen a year in order to conduct a three year research programme. The research is aimed at gathering information on the distribution and size of stocks, as well as the possibility of viable future perlemoen harvests.
They had better act quickly as there will soon be nothing left to research – thanks to our ever busy poachers.