Weekly Press Review – 22 January 2016

Making headlines this week was the news that a fishing trawler and a bulk carrier had somehow managed to collide off the coast at Cape Point.

Luckily no lives were lost when the 20m, 154 ton Viking Fishing Company fishing trawler Lezandi and the 200m, 36,333 ton bulk carrier the Sunrise Jade collided in thick fog.  The Sunrise Jade was on its way from St Petersburg to Saldanha Bay.

The collision resulted in the Lezandi taking on water and the 14 man crew were forced to abandon ship. They were rescued from the water by crew members from the FV Freesia and delivered to the shore.  The NSRI also responded to the incident. Only one crew member was injured and taken to Cape Town Mediclinic.  No damage was done to the Sunrise Jade.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) issued a safety warning immediately after the incident as the semi-submerged trawler posed a hazard to sea traffic in the area.

This is the second incident to rock Viking Fishing.  In September last year the MFV Lincoln capsized near Hangklip in bad weather and nine fishermen lost their lives.

Also making headlines this week is the launch of an exciting new plan to clear the large amount of plastic rubbish in our oceans.

An estimated 8 million tons of plastic debris is washed into our oceans each year.  This plastic is broken down into smaller microplastics that are ultimately ingested by many sea creatures and poses an enormous threat to marine ecosystems.

Scientists have been working on solutions to the problem and there is already an ambitious plan in place to use inflatable booms aligned across sea currents to gather waste in a large rubbish patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

New research carried out at the Imperial College London suggests however that this plan will be more effective if carried out nearer densely populated coasts, specifically off China and Indonesia, where large amounts of plastics enter the ocean.  The model suggests that the project would be 14 percent more effective at the new location.

“It makes more sense to remove plastics where they first enter the ocean around coastal economic and population centres,” said Erik van Sebille of Imperial College.

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