Weekly Press Review – 6 July 2012

Greeted by a flotilla of yachts and showered by sea spray by two tugboats, the Mediterranean Shipping Company’s MSC Sola docked in Durban’s harbour yesterday. She made news headlines as the largest container ship to ever visit a South African port with a gross tonnage of 131 771 tons and carrying capacity of up to 11 660 containers. Prior to Transnet’s 2010 project to widen and deepen the entrance to the Durban harbour, the vessel would have been unable to enter.

The depth of the water at the Durban Container Terminal is still a problem, but Karl Socikwa, Transnet Port Terminals chief executive was reported as saying that the depth issue would be remedied, “We are optimistic that our planned investments into port infrastructure over the next few years will offer mega-ships like these the prospect of making more regular calls to South Africa.”

Of course there’s been much in the media over the last few months about Transnet’s investment strategy and it would seem that Transnet are stepping up and putting their money where their mouth is.

Plettenberg Bay was in the news this week. After awarding a tender for the development of a small boat harbour in the Pisang River and the building of multi-storey buildings on the foreshore of the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay 10 years ago, the first round of environmental impact assessments have begun and residents are up in arms.

Robbie Robinson, a retired SA National Parks CEO and local resident says that he feels that the area will lose it’s aesthetic value if the the development goes ahead.

As the planned development has taken 10 years to get this far, it would seem that local residents have a long wait and plenty of time to argue until anything concrete actually takes place.

Giving the maritime industry some favourable headlines this week, the polar supply and research ship the SA Agulhas has been relaunched as a dedicated training ship by the South African Maritime Safety Authority. SABC’s morning live team got there early and spent the morning interviewing cadets, ministers and SAMSA members before watching the vessel leave the port.

The ceremony to mark it’s departure took place on Thurday morning and coincided with an impressive SAMSA-led conference being held in Cape Town this week.

The ship will sail along the East coast with 33 cadets and three training officers on board and will return to Cape Town on August 6.

The ship is replaced by the SA Agulhas II, but what a fantastic way to create a buzz and enthusiasm around maritime training in both the youth and the industry which these cadets will hopefully one day be part of. Congratulations SAMSA.

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