Weekly Press Review

There has not been much positive news to focus on this week and unfortunately the maritime industry has not been spared. Along with the two students from North West high school who are still missing, presumed drowned, off Camps Bay Beach; two fishermen also lost their lives this week after their boat capsized near Kleinmond on Monday morning.

Skipper, Philip Schoeman told of his horrific nine hour ordeal clinging to his capsized vessel. “Conditions were very extreme. The water was about 12 and a half degrees. The wind picked up. Water came over our faces all the time.” The group was rescued by the NSRI. Two crewmen, as well as Schoeman’s son survived.

This week once again shows what a cruel place the ocean can be. With World Maritime Day falling in this week, perhaps this is good time to reflect on those individuals who place their lives in danger on a daily basis in pursuit of careers at sea and how we benefit from their actions.


World Maritime Day

Today is World Maritime Day today. This day, set aside for the last week of September each year, offers a day to reflect on how the maritime industry has influenced our lives over the past year and also offers an opportunity for organisations, companies and individuals to actively do something to acknowledge the people involved in an industry that so many take for granted.

This year South Africa is recognising the day with various events around the country. Transport Deputy Minister, Honourable Sindisiwe Chikunga will host the World Maritime Day Career Expo and Exhibition in Kimberley in the Northern Cape. The celebrations are being held under the theme: “Sustainable Development: International Maritime Organisation’s contribution beyond Rio+20.”
The event is being attended by school children from previously disadvantaged communities who will be given the chance to display their knowledge of the maritime sector through educational displays and exhibitions.

Schools around the Northern Cape will participate in a competition involving: ship designing, essay writing, drama and art competition.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Department of Environmental Affairs, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), Grindrod Shipping Company, Smit Amandla Marine and various other key maritime stakeholders will engage with the learners, providing information surrounding various activities within the maritime industry.

The day will be closed with a gala dinner.

The South Africa Navy is also acknowledging the day and participating in the celebrations.

World Maritime Day in South Africa also serves as a platform to create awareness around the career opportunities available within the maritime industry. It’s just a bit of a pity that the industry seems to rely on the usual suspects (see the list above) to promote their sector. Where is everyone else? We should all be involved in these initiatives.

Make a note in your diaries because in September 2014 Maritime Review will challenge the entire industry to come to the party!

Weekly Press Review – 20 September 2013

South African maritime salvors have made the headlines this week with the righting of the Costa Concordia cruise ship from the Italian reef where it has been stuck for well over a year. It’s a pleasure to see the local as well as international media focus this operation has generated.

Never before has such a large vessel been righted. The salvage team was headed by Capetonian, Nick Sloane. Sloane previously worked for Smit Amandla Marine and was salvage master on many wrecks along our shores, but the Costa Concordia represents his first battle against a passenger ship, and particularly one of this size. Those in the know credit him as being the man to get the job done. Dave Murray of Smit Amandla Marine was quoted saying, “A job like this, most people would run a mile, but for Nick it’s a challenge, and he thrives on challenge.”

After a 19-hour operation, and many months of preparation, the vessel was righted. “I am relieved. It was a bit of a roller-coaster. The scale of it is something we’ve never seen before,” said Sloane.

This serves as another example of individuals from South Africa’s maritime industry making waves in other countries and leading the way forward. And the full operation included the input from many more South African individuals as well as companies.

Another Capetonian in the news this week is innovator Alan Fleming, who has created a fish farm in a shipping container. We have seen these large containers being recycled for many interesting purposes before, but never as a fish farm and this innovation has made it to the final round of a global competition.

The farm produces four tons of fish per year and has been selected as a finalist in the Siemens Stiftung’s Empowering People Award. The winner is to be announced next month.

Fleming said that he is overjoyed. “It is a prestigious award recognised globally.”

Weekly Press Review – 13 September 2013

Making headlines this week is the news that Mozambique has signed a R2.7 million deal with a French shipyard for six patrol and interceptor ships for its navy, as well as a fleet of fishing boats.

Defense analyst, Helmoed Romer Heitman says this is good news for South Africa as “the more they’ve got the better, the less we have to do.” He added that South Africa and Mozambique run joint operations with each other and SADC partners and described the navy boats to be added to the Mozambique fleet as a good complement for South Africa’s vessels.

In other news,the NSRI was called to assist a fisherman who was pulled overboard after getting his foot tangled in the rope while fishing off St Helena Bay. Dominic Brink was trapped underwater until his colleagues managed to cut the rope and free him. He was treated by NSRI volunteers for a fracture to his femur and symptoms of near drowning. He is presently recovering in hospital.

The end of this story could very easily not have been a happy one, but for Brink’s quick thinking (and acting) colleagues and the quick response of the local NSRI team in the area.

Weekly Press Review – 6 September 2013

The inquiry into the sinking of the Kiani Satu is now fully underway. According to press reports, the inquiry will focus on the circumstances surrounding the grounding of the cargo vessel off Buffels Bay near Knysna. The vessel, carrying 330 tons of fuel oil and 15,000 tons of rice, apparently suffered engine failure. All cargo was lost during the sinking.

Both the owners and insurers of the vessel have approached the Western Cape High Court to make the crew, as well as all relevant documents available for evidence purposes.

In other news “shark season” is about to start along our coastline and the city council is already starting to warn the public to be aware of the increased shark activity when visiting the ocean.

Gregg Oelofse, head of environmental policy and strategy in the council was quoted saying: “The sharks leave Seal Island and move close inshore. This pattern happens every year at the end of August and beginning of September. We’re not trying to scare people, just to remind them of the seasonal patterns …. in shark behaviour.”

So, beach lovers, have fun, but be sensible and responsible. Remember, you are the visitors to the shark domain, not the other way around.