The Fisheries Department has made the headlines several times this week; finally admitting to Parliament that the navy has been unable to run its research and patrol vessels and that, at present, all eight are docked at the navy yard.
Greta Apelgren-Narkedien, Deputy Director-General said that “the navy does not have the capacity to meet ….. requirements in terms of crew and technical expertise” and that the department was issuing two tenders, one for the management of research vessels and the other one for the management of the fisheries patrol vessels, within about four months.
Better late than never, but clearly swift action is now required to get the patrol and research machine back up and running as soon as possible. We wait to see who is up to the task.
The results of the investigation into the capsizing of the Miroshga in Hout Bay last year have been covered in the press this week. According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), who conducted the investigation, the accident could have been avoided had the owners taken responsibility for righting some of the obvious wrongs on board the vessel and, more importantly, had the crew been properly trained in emergency procedures.
The report of the investigation has been handed to both the police and prosecuting authorities who will decide if any one person will be prosecuted or not.
In other news, the 60 metre R10 million fishing boat, the Marauder, got stuck on sand and then drifted out to sea in strong swells and winds off Struisbaai beach on Saturday. The vessel and her crew had just placed in the top four at this year’s Two Ocean Marlin Competition. Owner, Danie Halgryn, said that they were en route to the harbour when the boat’s anchor chain snapped.
Despite removing most of the expensive fishing equipment and electronics aboard, Halgryn is not sure whether the vessel can be saved as the engine is filled with water.