The ill-fated SS Mendi has made headlines again this week with a centenary ceremony taking place at the University of Cape Town’s Lower Campus over the weekend.
The ceremony was hosted by the Gunners Association Western Province and was attended by dignitaries from the South African National Defence Force, military veterans and family members of some of those who lost their lives on February 21, 1917.
Victor Nyovane, grandson of Ebenezer Nyovane, who lost his life aboard the SS Mendi said, “Our family has never known the full story of how our grandfather died. As we laid our rocks on the memorial we finally felt at peace.”
A warrant of arrest has been issued for one of four men accused of racketeering, money laundering, fraud and contraventions of the Marine Living Resources Act in relation to illegal abalone activities.
According to the press, the court was ready to start with sentencing procedures and waited for over an hour for accused, Sean Kruger, who failed to appear at the Khayelitsha Regional Court.
Kruger and his co-accused, all on bail, were all convicted of all 23 counts.
It has been requested that Kruger now be kept in custody pending the finalisation of the matter.
Also making headlines this week was the sighting of the vessel, the Seven Arctic, in Cape Town harbour.
Owned by Subsea 7, the Seven Arctic is designed for subsea construction in ultra-deep water and hostile environments and was built in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries.
A fire, which broke out aboard a fishing vessel in Cape Town harbour, has been brought under control.
According to the press, the South Korean vessel, the Geumjeong, caught fire over the weekend. The tilting of the vessel during the fire made it difficult for fire crews to board the vessel, but according to Transnet spokesperson, Coen Birkenstock, the fire is now under control and no other vessels were damaged during the blaze.
Another ten arrests in connection with abalone poaching have made headlines this week. Members of the Hawks arrested 10 individuals, between the ages of 25 ad 56, in raids conducted in Durbanville, Plattekloof, West Beach, Tableview and Parklands.
According to Hawks spokesperson, Captain Lloyd Ramovha, the properties of those accused had been closely monitored over several weeks under of suspicion of illegal activity.
The ten will appear in the magistrate’s court in Bellville on Monday morning.
The SS Mendi is still in the news this week with last week marking the centenary of the tragic sinking of the vessel on February 21, 1917.
The sinking of the SS Mendi seemed to have been forgotten for a while, but the centenary has once again reminded people of the terrible loss of life – which saw the deaths of 646 souls – and the bravery of those aboard the stricken vessel.
The fishing rights allocation process has once again made an appearance in the press this week with the news that proceedings in the Western Cape Court, focusing on a review into the allocation of rights to the inshore trawl fishery for hake and sole, have been postponed.
The postponement is due to Viking Inshore Fishing challenging DAFF Minister Senzeni Zokwana’s new criteria that reduced Viking’s fishing rights by 70 percent.
Another company facing challenges due to the fishing rights allocation process is BMC Fishing who claims it is being held to ransom by Minister Senzeni Zokwana over matters of fishing transformation that are at present before the court.
According to BMC director Lionel Brown, “The minister is the only person who can give the existing rights holders an exemption to catch fish. We are at the mercy of the minister who needs to make a decision.”
Zokwana’s spokeswoman, Bomikazi Molapo responded to this by saying that the minister was unable to issue fishing exemptions because the matter was still before the courts.
The immediate result of this is that the once bustling harbour of Mossel Bay is at a stand still and it would seem that the small quota rights holders are the ones paying the price.
This week it was announced that seafood giant Sea Harvest plans to list on the JSE by March this year. According to the press the company says that it will raise R1.5 billion in capital through private placement with the proposed listing. This money will then be used to repay all debt and support the company’s organic growth and any future acquisitions.
Also make headlines this week is the announcement that the Two Ocean’s Aquarium in Cape Town has developed a marine sciences matric curriculum. The move is designed to attract young people to careers in the marine sciences field and also to protect invaluable ocean resources and coastline.
It is hoped that the new school subject would be piloted at Lawhill Maritime Centre in Simon’s Town next year.
Curriculum developer and Two Ocean senior teacher, Xavier Zylstra, said, “The ocean is an unexplored realm. If we get researchers in there, they will help to ensure the sustainability of its resources.”
The dangers of working in the maritime sector, seems to be the theme of this week’s press review. According to the press there were two separate incidents over the weekend where fishermen lives were endangered and rescue efforts were required.
A fishing boat capsized off Macassar on Sunday. The captain braved shark-infested waters to swim ashore and raise the alarm. The Skymed rescue helicopter located the upturned boat with four men clinging to the side. The NSRI performed the rescue and all crewmembers were later declared fit. They had been in the water for almost four hours.
In a separate incident, one man died after a service boat capsized over the weekend. The fishing vessel, the Jin Syi Shiang, was first on the scene and its crew managed to rescue two of the men from the over-turned vessel. The captain of the stricken vessel, however, remained missing. His body was later discovered aboard the sunken vessel.
The cause of the deaths of two PetroSA workers at the Mossel Bay Gas Liquids Refinery has still not been confirmed. According to the press the two workers received medical attention at the scene, but could not be resuscitated. The families have been notified and an investigation into the incident is taking place.
Also making headlines this week is the announcement that soon-to-be listed Premier Fishing South Africa has installed the first solar energy initiative in the abalone aquaculture space in the country and looks to expand its plant in the Western Cape.
The company stated that it completed the solar energy investment on its Atlantic Abalone farm in Gansbaai with the aim of doubling abalone imports to overseas markets and creating more job opportunities.
Premier Fishing chief executive, Samir Saban, said, “The abalone operation currently employs more than 100 people and with the further expansion of our existing operation we expect to employ more than 300 people once the expansion is completed.”