Professor John Hare, Professor of Shipping Law at the University of Cape Town has been extremely vocal in the press this week. Firstly expressing his displeasure at what he regards as various ministers snubbing the ‘sleeping giant’ that is the South African maritime industry and then publishing an open letter to the Hon Minister of Transport, voicing his concern about the danger that South Africa faces from a financial and environmental perspective should there be an oil spill along our coast line.
Professor Hare is a well respected figure in the maritime industry and let us hope that his opinions are respected and heeded by the powers that be. This industry needs more people who are willing to stick their necks out and say what needs to be said and, even more importantly, do what needs to be done – and perhaps the South African Maritime Industry Conference hosted by SAMSA last week is the catalyst that prompted the good professor to alert the media.
The beautiful SA Agulhas II made the news again as she set sail for the ice sheets of Antarctica and is expected to reach her destination on July 20.
The trip is primarily aimed at testing the new ships capabilities, particularly through the thick pack ice and also to test the new scientific and maritime equipment on board. These tests will be carried out by the team on board representing a number of universities and research institutions.
Ashley Johnson of the Department of Environmental Affairs and chief scientist on the voyage said that the ship had undergone some ice trials in the northern hemisphere, but only through ice that had already thinned. The testing would now be through the thicker Winter ice.
She added, ‘The old vessel was designed more to ferry people to the ice and the islands, but this one has much better laboratory facilities and instruments.’
We wish them a successful voyage and look forward to their safe return.