This week a small slice of maritime history was celebrated as the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) hosted a commemoration entitled: Remembering the Icons of the Sea.
Members of the media were included in the event which took place aboard the SA Agulhas in the Cape Town docks. The commemoration was in honour of the approximately 40 brave men exiled from South Africa who attempted to enter the country aboard the Soviet vessel, The Aventura.
The vessel was bound for KwaZulu-Natal, but Operation Aventura was abandoned just outside Somalia and the men then found their way into South Africa via Swaziland and Botswana.
Former Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) commander Fanele Mbali and fellow comrades Tlom Cholo and Zola Nqose, who were all part of the Luthuli attachment, attended the event.
“We desperately wanted to get back home to fight the boer, and die in that engagement if we had to,” said Mbali.
SAMSA chief executive Tsietsi Mokhele said, “Our stalwarts played a significant role in maritime heritage. What the stalwarts made us realise was that the sea offers more than just fish and a good view. Maritime explorations were critical.”
The Oceana Fishmeal Factory in Hout Bay is back in the headlines this week.
The jobs of 98 of the factory’s employees have been saved thanks to a successful bid by the Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FAWU).
In August Oceana made the announcement that they would not be able to keep the factory working due to continual complaints from some residents in the area about the smell emitted from the factory.
The jobs of the workers have been saved after the signing of an agreement between Fawu and Oceana, extending the operating lease of the factory from one to five years.
Oceana also announced this week that the company would be spending an estimated R11 million to update their chemical scrubbing technology to deal with the odour problem.
Chief executive Francois Kuttel was, however, quick to point out that the this was not going to solve the problem to the satisfaction of all residents of Hout Bay.
“Let me be categorical here, unfortunately, nothing we are going to do will stop the smell. The technology simply does not exist,” he said.
The name Bengis is also back in the headlines this week with the announcement that David Bengis, son of former Cape Town fishing magnate Arnold Bengis, has agreed to pay $1.5 million to the South African government as restitution for the illegal harvesting of rock lobster in South African waters.
This is part of the $22.5 million that a US court ordered Arnold and David Bengis, along worth their partner Jeffrey Noll, to pay the South African government as restitution for the illegal importation of poached lobster to the US.
The lobster were poached in South Africa between 1987 and 2001.