Journalists were alerted that there is a port in Cape Town last weekend when a South Korean long-liner, the Hwa-Tsan, blazed for over four hours in the Cape Town harbour. Sadly a loss of life was reported. One crew member died and another 25 had to be rescued from the burning vessel. The vessel was berthed at the Landing Wharf off Duncan Road.
Reports indicate that an investigation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), and in terms of international maritime conventions, is underway and a case of arson has been opened by the police.
Wilfred Solomons-Johannes of the Disaster Risk Management Centre was quoted saying that emergency personnel had managed to avert any significant pollution.
An article published in the Cape Times this week presented the results of both an alarming and an interesting new study. The study, conducted by Laurence Smith, a professor of geography at the University of California, suggested that the melting ice of the Arctic, due to a continually warming climate, could result in new sea routes, through what is now solid ice, straight across the Arctic.
Although winter ice would not make this an all-year round proposition, the study indicates that by the year 2050 this could actually be a viable option.
There was some good news for residents of Blouberg. Some action is finally being taken to remove the remaining wreck of the Seli 1. The Department of Transport (DoT) and the SA Navy are working together to cut up the already weakened wreck and then hope to leave the winter storms to do the rest.
Debbie James of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said that the project would be used as a training exercise, saying: ‘They are going to cut it down as far as they can and let the winter storms break it up. They’re going to get it to a minimum of three metres below sea level so that it is not a hazard.”
We’ll wait on the maritime industry’s opinion about that however; and certainly hope that the DoT’s contract with the navy will run more smoothly than the one that the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries embarked on.