Weekly Press Review – 3 May 2013

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has made the headlines again this week regarding the country’s patrol and research vessels. Cape Town based company Nautic South Africa has won a six month contract with DAFF to run the fleet – a service that has seen its fair share of controversy over the last 18 months.

The announcement was made by Nautic and not the department.

James Fisher, chief executive of Nautic, said that the company was aware that they would be holding a bit of a ‘hot potato’ given the controversy around the vessels, but believed that what was needed was “a practical and pragmatic approach to get the vessels working and out to sea. Our approach is to solve the problems as soon as possible.”

Let us hope that these words can be put into action.

On the subject of DAFF, Greta Apelgren-Narkadien is no longer with the fisheries branch. After just five months in the position, Apelgren-Narkadien has left the post to take up the position of head of human settlements in Kwazulu-Natal.

The vessel the E Whale also made the headlines this week. More than a year after being arrested, due to financial issues surrounding her sister ship, A Whale, the vessel sits about 3km from shore with crew members trapped aboard for up to four months at a time.

Needless to say there are wage disputes and the only way for funds to be recouped would be to sell the vessel, which is in itself not a quick process. Until that happens, the crew have no choice but to remain aboard.

What a terrible situation for the crew who obviously have nothing to do with the financial woes of the owners, Today Makes Tomorrow International, and want nothing more than to be paid for a job that they have already done and get home to their families. Let’s hope that this situation can be solved as quickly as possible.

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