Weekly Press Review – 20 February 2017

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.

Weekly Press Review – 13 February 2017

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.”

Weekly Press Review – 6 February 2017

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.”

Weekly Press Review – 30 January 2017

According to the press, chemicals and energy group Sasol’s share price fell 3.02 percent to R409.26 on the JSE this week. This after the company announced an expected 44 percent drop in its headline earnings.

The company has attributed the fall to currency losses and a strike at its Secunda mining operations.

The NSRI were in action this weekend. According to the press three crew-members were rescued and treated for shock after their ski-boat, the Mi Lady, capsized off Strand Beach.

The three Strand residents were in the water for more than an hour before they were rescued.

In a separate incident two men, aged 44 and 53, were rescued from a sinking yacht that they were transporting from Durban to Mossel Bay. The NSRI were once again called to action. The rescue involved the use of an NSRI rescue vessel, as well as an NSRI rescue helicopter.

Also making headlines this week was a shooting incident between to suspected perlemoen smuggling gangs, which took place near Gansbaai, resulting in the death of one of the gang members.

It is suspected that the violence between the gangs broke out due to inflated pricing of poached perlemeon by one of the gangs.

Cape Town maritime enthusiasts were treated to a splendid sight this week, as the Queen Mary 2 visited Table Bay Harbour for a brief two-day visit.

According to the press the 14 year-old vessel is the world’s only operational ocean liner (not cruise liner) and was originally built in 2002 to replace the ageing Queen Elizabeth 2.

Weekly Press Review – 23 January 2017

Grindrod Asset Management this week announced plans for a deal that would culminate in Infinitus Holdings gaining a 76 percent stake in Grindrod.

According to the press Infinitus is focused on high-growth businesses in the consumer, industrial and financial services sector.

Through its subsidiary GFS Holdings, Grindrod will exchange its entire Grindrod Asset Management for Infinitus shares.

GFS managing director, David Polkinghorne, said, “Grindrod is changing the way it holds its interest. This is an important step to free up the business to develop its own identity as Bridge Fund Managers pursue sensible growth opportunities while retaining its loyal client base. Grindrod will continue to support the business in every way.”

Also making headlines this week is the news that Transnet has initiated an investigation into complaints regarding the management of the training programme at its Marine School of Excellence.

According to a statement by Transnet executive head, Siyabonga Gama, the complaints are focused mainly on the issues of access to practical training and the duration of the programme.

Transnet has made a R7.7 billion investment in training over the next decade and with hopes to expand the maritime training academy.

Weekly Press Review – 16 January 2017

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi. More than 600 African labourers and 12 officers died in the tragedy. According to the press, the SAS Amatola will leave South african waters, in a relatively rare journey to European waters, on a special mission to commemorate the sinking of the SS Mendi.

The SAS Amatola will take part in naval exercises with the Royal and German navies and a ceremony will be held to commemorate the fallen vessel.   Some relatives of the dead will be flown out to take part in the ceremony.

Also making headlines this week is the news that a R800 million project to build ships with China in an upgraded naval dockyard in Simon’s Town is on the cards, despite the navy requesting that the Chinese be kept out.

The project is being pushed by the council on defence and involves the reserving of a large share of the construction work for state arms manufacturer Denel and its Chinese joint venture partner, with Simon’s Town dockyard as a preferred construction site.

Also making headlines this week are concerns regarding the low numbers of successful prosecutions of perlemoen poachers in the Overstrand area.

According to the press between April and October 2016, 43 suspected poachers were arrested, but only five were successfully prosecuted.

Michael Cardo, DA-LP said that he is extremely concerned about the few successful prosecutions.

“A prosecution rate of 10 percent is too low. We need better law enforcement along with a holistic approach towards community development to ensure that perlemoen poaching is extinguished,” he said.

Also making headlines this week was the sad loss of Captain Rodney Young MBE. Captain Young was the highly respected Master of RMS St Helena. He was holidaying in Seychelles at the time of his death.

Weekly Press Review – 12 December 2016

The big maritime news this week is the announcement that African Marine Solutions Group (AMSOL) has acquired the marine solutions company Smit Amandla Marine.

According to the press the sale of the Smit Amandla Marine to AMSOL, which is owned by a consortium including Smit Amandla Marine management and employees, the Mineworkers Investment Company, Pan-African Capital Holdings and RMB Ventures, is in line with a stated commitment by shareholders to capacitate the company over time and return it to 100 percent South African ownership.

Paul Maclons, AMSOL Managing Director, said, “We are excited to build a great South African company and to remain relevant to our clients in the energy, mining, ports and maritime sectors into the future.”

Mary Bomela, CEO of the Mineworkers Investment Company, believes the acquisition supports the objectives of Operation Phakisa. “In facilitating the transformation of the maritime economy in South Africa, AMSOL is now in a unique position to support the continued growth and transformation of the sector in the region – with the transaction including Smit Amandla Marine’s business in Namibia and Mozambique.”

Also making headlines this week is the announcement that South African company Veecraft, specialists in new vessel construction, will be selling two advanced specification security vessels after clients defaulted on payment.

The sale will take place in Cape Town and the vessels could fetch up to US$6 million each.

Ariella Kuper, managing director of Clear Asset who is assisting Veecraft with the urgent sale of the vessels says, “International companies are showing interest in these vessels.”

Finnish power systems company Wartsila is among several companies eyeing opportunities in South Africa’s mooted gas-to-power independent power producer (IPP) programme.

According to the press the programme is expected to be the catalyst for the development of the gas industry in South Africa.