Our marine and research vessels are back in the news this week. The Algoa, staffed by Smit personnel, sailed from Simon’s Town to East London last week in order to undergo some maintenance before heading out on a research cruise.
The vessel has officially been transferred out of the control of the SA Navy and is now under the control of the Department of Environmental Affairs and, interestingly, not the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). According to Fisheries spokesman, Lionel Adendorf this was simply due to the fact that 80 percent of the work done by the Algoa was for the Department of Environmental Affairs and not DAFF.
Clare Gomes, spokeswoman for Smit said that the Algoa would resume research cruises as of the end of October. Due to a number of reasons, the state-of-the-art vessels have conducted no offshore patrols since the navy took control of them in early April. Let us hope that this situation is finally on the way to being righted.
According to an article published in the Cape Times this week, incidents of piracy seem to be on the decline. Figures show that in 2010 a total of 47 vessels were seized by pirates and this year that number has dropped to just five. Obviously armed guards aboard cargo vessels and a large international naval presence have helped to deter pirate activity and although it is too early to declare any kind of victory, it would seem that there is some hope that the end may be in sight.