Weekly Press Review – 7 September 2012

Despite the bulk of the oil being removed from the Seli 1 soon after it ran aground in September 2009, some oil remains trapped inside the fuel tanks.

This oil leaked into the news this week as oil began to pollute Dolphin Beach. Experts have been quoted in the media saying that this will continue to happen winter after winter until the wreck is removed or an alternate solution is found.

Obviously the major concern is the safety and well-being of the marine life in the area, as well as the many unhappy residents.

Media have been pursuing someone to blame and Dave Colly of the SA Maritime Safety Authority said that it was ultimately the responsibility of the Department of Transport. The city council has stated that the Department of Transport had asked the national Treasury for R40 million to fund the removal of the wreck.

Clean-up operations are underway, but unfortunately for some sealife, the damage is already done.

Once again we wait and see, but surely it is the WAITING that is the problem. Due to the fact that no one acted quickly to solve the problem of the Seli 1, a beautiful part of our coastline is being damaged and our marine life is suffering. How much longer do we have to wait?

Ironically, South Africa’s maritime policy developers also made the news this week as the Integrated Coastal Management Act of 2008 was shortlisted by the World Future Council for an international prize.

The coastal law was selected for addressing ‘the daunting challenge of promoting human well-being while maintaining ecological integrity’ and is, in essence, designed to govern how the coast is managed.

Thirty-one policies were submitted from 22 countries and only six were shortlisted. The results will be announced later this month at the UN headquarters in New York.

In other news – the two South Africans who recently returned to South Africa after being held captive by Somali pirates for 20 months are being evaluated by psychologists to determine whether they are fit to face their captives again.

The men who held the two captive were part of a group of 20 arrested by the Dutch navy in 2010 and Debbie Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari intend to travel to the Netherlands in October to testify in the case – if they are deemed psychologically prepared.

The Fisheries department is back in the news this week as two fisheries research cruises due to take place in August and September have been cancelled as the SA Navy has no staff qualified to take the Africana research vessel to sea.

Lionel Adendorf, spokesman for the fisheries branch of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said that the struggle to find suitably qualified, experienced candidates for senior positions on the Africana had ‘forced the department to readjust our important and tight schedule for different research cruises.’ He went further to say that Fisheries would rather readjust the survey schedule than jeopardise the project completely by appointing the wrong people.

Sources within the fishing industry say that although not ideal, it is not critical to miss these August and September cruises, but it is essential that the Africana goes to sea in October and November for the ‘small pelagic’ survey.

As to the ongoing investigation into corruption within the fisheries department; it is now officially in the hands of the SA police.

We wait with bated breath, but watch with interest the continued finger pointing – our invitation to the Minister for a structured debate remains acknowledged, but conveniently swept under the rug!

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