Weekly Press Review – 1 April 2016

An amendment to the Marine Living Resources Act now allows small-scale fishers to form co-operatives.  According to the press a group of approximately 100 fishers gathered in Langa this week to register a co-operative.

The hope is that this system will allow fishing communities to benefit with the formation of co-operatives.

However, the general feeling amongst local fishers is that there is little hope of this new system actually working. “You cannot grant a permit to someone who lives in Johannesburg because he is a commercial fisher instead of a traditional fisher like me.  You are inviting poaching.

“How do I live without fishing as it is the only trade I have known my whole life.  I will go to the sea at night and steal,” said 67-year old traditional fisher Bhekumzi Mhlongo.

According to Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) small-scale fisheries management director, Craig Smith, Langa was the first of 280 communities in the country to register for co-operatives.

After registration it will be determined how many of these fishers meet the selection criteria.  They will then be assisted by DAFF to apply for small-scale fishing rights in November.

“We want one small-scale fishing co-operative per community,” said Smith adding that DAFF hoped to create a fundamental shift in its approach to the small-scale fishing sector.

The Two Oceans Aquarium has asked people to be on the look out for baby loggerhead turtles washing up on local beaches.  According to the press between April and June each year juvenile loggerhead turtles wash up along the Western Cape coast, particularly at Struisbaai and Yzerfontein.

Last year the aquarium rescued and rehabilitated a record 200 turtles and they are hoping to achieve the same success rate this year.  They have asked beachgoers to please not return the young turtles to the water, but rather to pick them up and deliver them to the Two Ocean Aquarium or any other local animal rehabilitation centre.

They do not need to be kept wet as they are often suffering from hypothermia.  Aquarium spokesperson, Renee Leeuwner, asks that people keep the young turtles warm and dry and deliver them in a container with ample air holes.  It is also important to note where exactly the turtle was found.

These young turtles can take over a year to rehabilitate

 

 

 

Weekly Press Review – 18 March 2016

Indonesian authorities have made headlines this week with the bombing of a Nigerian-flagged vessel wanted internationally after years of illegal toothfish poaching.

According to the press the vessel was seized by the Indonesian Navy in late February. Yesterday the vessel was bombed in an attempt to send a strong message to would-be poachers entering Indonesian waters.

The Viking was one of six vessels, named the Bandit 6, known to be illegally catching toothfish in the Southern Ocean. The vessel, along with five others, was closely followed by NGO the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who alerted authorities when the Viking entered Indonesian waters.

Fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti said, “This is to serve as a deterrent to others. You may go freely in the rest of the world, but once entering Indonesian waters this is the consequence.”

The Two Oceans Aquarium and the seals of Cape Town have a new hero. According to the press, Two Oceans Aquarium specialist technician, Vince Calder, takes to the waters of the Cape Town harbour at 7am each morning to check on the safety of seals in the harbour area. His check includes making sure that none of the seals have been caught in fishing lines or plastic bags.

Over a two-year period, Calder has come to the aid of over 20 seals. “Each day that I don’t discover a seal in distress due to fishing line or plastic is a good day,” says Calvin.

Calvin says that we can all make a difference by starting with one small act in our homes. Before you throw away any plastic bags, simply cut the handles of the plastic bag to make sure that it does not get caught around the head of an unsuspecting seal. “Cut a loop, save a life” is the aquariums motto and one we can all easily adopt as our own.

Weekly Press Review – 11 March 2016

According to the press, ship repair facilities have been earmarked as important areas for growth within the Operation Phakisa framework.

According to Sipho Nzuza, TNPA harbour manager Cape Town, Cape Town harbour is regarded as an important area for the application of Operation Phakisa initiatives. This includes ship repair work, shipbuilding and oil and gas services. Areas receiving immediate focus are the Syncrolift at the V&A Waterfront and both the Sturrock and Robinson Drydocks.

At the recently held African Ports Evolution conference in Durban, TNPA announced that R2 billion would be allocated towards improvements in ship repair facilities over the next five year period and an estimated R13 -15 billion towards new repair facilities at harbours across the country.

Weekly Press Review – 4 March 2016

The big maritime news this week is the announcement of plans to create a new 70,000km2 network of marine protected areas.

According to the press the plans include:

  • expansion of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park’s sea boundaries in Kwazulu-Natal,
  • a new protected area off the Thukela River,
  • a new shark and fish sanctuary off the Protea Banks on the south coast and
  • expansion of the Aliwal Shoal protected area.

Details of the new marine protected areas (MPAs) have been published in a 336-page notice in the government gazette by Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

Although the declaration of these new expanded MPAs should be celebrated, it is important to note that they are in response to the present situation of collapsed sea fish stocks and increasing exploitation of oceans worldwide.

Conservation group WWF’s response to the announcement has been positive, but they have cautioned that it is essential to ensure that there is adequate budget, staff and enforcement capacity to ensure the proper running of these protected areas.

Zolile Nqayi, Environment Affairs spokesman, said that the new proposed MPAs had been identified through the presidential project Operation Phakisa.

Conference Call

The fact that “some 90 per cent of trade is carried by sea” is the most over-used statistic at maritime conferences. If you are that way inclined, you may be tempted to create a drinking game out of how many times this is presented during any given conference programme. Maritime professionals just love this fact – we highlight it every chance we get. Enough already!

Use this pearl of wisdom in non-maritime related forums or at dinner parties with your accountant friends where such information is still likely to astound your audience, but for heaven’s sake – those of us working in the industry know this already  – and would counter this as an exact statistic anyway.

Unfortunately this highlights another issue relating to conferences, workshops, exhibitions, summits and expos. There are just so many of them and a great deal of them are pulling the same speakers and addressing the same topics. The question has to be: how do members of the industry choose which event to support and attend without resorting to FOMO* as a decision making tool?

With all due respect to industry-related magazines – we offer little assistance to industry in this regard. Most conferences approach us to be “event partners” to gain some free advertising and promotion before and after the event. In exchange we are offered the opportunity to dish out our magazines; a delegate pass and our logo on their promotional material as a media partner.

Conferences are seldom selective in choosing their media partners and publications usually accept every partnership they are offered – oftentimes with no intention of attending, but with every intention of getting rid of back issues that we are too emotionally attached to to send for recycling.

Make no mistake – there are still some very good conferences on the calendar and not everyone attends these events to absorb presentation after presentation. Often the real value lies in the networking opportunities and the card exchanges. It’s in the opportunity to sit next to someone you have never met before and develop a new connection.

It is, of course, an added bonus if the material presented blows you away. Sadly not much is done by conference organisers to really mould and shape their programmes. I realise it’s probably difficult when they only receive the content of Power Point Presentations at the last minute (and sometimes even as the speaker walks into the conference venue).

But I do feel that the organiser has the responsibility to their delegates (who are often paying a good few thousand to attend) to play a stronger role in content delivery. Not everyone has the ability to develop and present a paper – and the vetting process should go beyond a person’s job title at a specific company or entity.

By way of comparison – it would be like an editor of a magazine accepting article contributions without reading them and simply sending the magazine off to the printer without verifying that content is not repeated; is relevant and of a decent quality.

So my goal for the year is to engage with event organisers and delve a little deeper into what the calendar holds in the hope of providing some definitive feedback to the industry at the end of the year.

*FOMO: Fear OF Missing Out – accepted abbreviation amongst social media platform users. 

 

Weekly Press Review – 26 February 2016

This week marked the 99th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi. According to the press over 200 people attended a service at the SA Mendi Memorial in Atteridgeville earlier this week to commemorate the event.

On 21 February 1917 the SS Mendi collided with another vessel, the SS Daro, and sank with 646 South African Labour Corps on board. Most of the victims were black South African troops. It was a major loss of life for the South African military, as well as one of the worst maritime disasters of the 20th century.

Also in the news this week is the announcement that Grindrod has pulled out of the planned multi-billion rand Saldanha crude oil terminal.

Grindrod chief executive Alan Olivier said, “ Clearly the market conditions, with the fall in commodity prices and curtailment of capital projects in the mining sector, has certainly put pressure on a lot of the projects we were looking at.

“But we always said we would not proceed with capital projects unless we had the underlying volume support to be able to justify these projects.”

The arrival of the French frigate Le Nivose has made headlines this week. The vessel will be at the V&A Waterfront until mid-March and is open to the public.

Le Nivose has been patrolling the French southern and Antarctic territories, combating piracy, illegal fishing and trafficking, with the aim of increasing maritime security in the area.

Weekly Press Review – 19 February 2016

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has made headlines this week with the announcement of the introduction of a R800 million state-of-the-art system aimed at boosting security at South African ports.

“The National Ports Act 12 of 2005, and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code of 2004 dictate that we, as a port authority, implement measures to assist in detecting security threats and take preventative measures against security incidents that may affect ships or port facilities used in international trade,” said Richard Vallihu, chief executive at TNPA.

The new control room, based at the port of Durban, was activated last week. The CCTV system gives a bird’s-eye view of the port security system and is integrated between all port sites.

“CCTV is but one aspect of our broader integrated technological security system, which encompasses technology, skills and systems,” said Vallihu.

TNPA said that the hi-tech security system would add to the position of South African ports becoming “smart people ports”.

The story of a rescued blind penguin has also made headlines this week. A four-month old penguin was discovered on a beach in Glentana and taken to a local vet, Dr Frans de Graaf, in Hartenbos, where it was discovered that he had been born without eyes.

The frightened bird was taken to the Penguin Rehabilitation Centre (SAPREC) in Mossel Bay where he was closely monitored by Dr de Graaf. He is slowly responding to his new environment and already recognises voices and joins in the swimming time in the pool.

According to Carol Walton, founder of SAPREC, it would appear that the penguin’s parents cared for him for a period of about three months, but after that he was left to his own devices. How he managed to stay alive is a mystery.

The little blind penguin will remain a permanent resident at SAPREC. He will not be able to return to the wild. He has been christened Stevie Wonder.