Weekly Press Review – 19 October 2012

It took another tragedy at sea to catapult the maritime industry back into the headlines. All eyes are on the investigation into the catamaran, Miroshga, which capsized near Duiker Island last Saturday resulting in the deaths of two people.

SAMSA officials are conducting an investigation into the cause of the accident and have indicated in the press that they have, in fact, identified the cause and will be releasing their findings soon.

In the mean time, praise is being heaped on all those who came to the rescue of the stricken vessel. They managed to rescue 37 of the 39 passengers and crew on board. There is a long list of all those involved; from rescue personnel to nearby vessels who assisted in the rescue operation.

The Japanese trawler, the Eihatsu Maru, which ran aground at Clifton in May this year is back in the news this week. The investigation undertaken by SAMSA into the incident has revealed that the captain of the vessel was asleep and had to be woken by crew members who realised that the vessel was in danger of running aground. By the time the captain had reacted, it was too late. In general it was found that the vessel had not been properly manned. This simple fact lead to it running aground and the eventual cost of R7 million for the salvage operation, of which, only R4 million could be recovered due to insurance issues.

Case closed and hopefully lessons (more) learned.

The big issue of the week in the maritime industry, however, is the marine tender report. The report was given to the National Assembly agriculture, forestry and fisheries portfolio committee by DA MP Pieter van Dalen, who apparently found it ‘in his post box.’ It is not clear why the report has not been officially released, but van Dalen promised to supply copies to his fellow MPs. This took place on Tuesday.

Reacting to the leak, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has suspended the investigation into the tender claiming that they had lost faith in Ernst & Young. The Department is also claiming that there are now two different copies of the report: one given to them by Ernst & Young, apparently not naming any implicated officials and a second one, leaked to the DA, naming officials.

With a copy of the report now in open circulation, it will be interesting to watch who makes the next move.

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