Weekly Press Review – 26 March 2018

Integrated logistics service supplier, Grindrod, has decided to sell and separately list its loss-making shipping business on the US Nasdaq Stock Exchange, with a secondary inward listing on the JSE.

According to the press, as part of Grindrod’s restructuring, the company has also decided to close its rail assembly business. It is proposed that the shipping business would be sold to Grindrod Shipping Holdings, an independent and newly incorporated Singapore registered company for R3.75 billion.

Five people involved in a multimillion-rand abalone poaching syndicate were sentenced in the Western Cape High Court this week after being found guilty of charges including contravening the Marine Living Resources Act, as well as the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

According to the press the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (DAFF) have all praised the sentencing. A DAFF spokesman said,” The department understands the enormous complexity of abalone poaching and smuggling. Therefore, heavy jail sentences against smugglers of abalone are needed.”

A meeting to discuss the odour from a fishmeal factory in Hout Bay was cancelled at the 11th hour when city officials did not arrive.

According to the press, Fresh Air for Hout Bay (FAHB) has complained that the emissions from the Lucky Star factory are a health hazard, despite the renewal of the Atmospheric Emission Licence by the city last year.

“We understand the factory cannot shutdown overnight due to the significant and real impact it would have on the broader community. FAHB has never advocated for the closure, but has instead advocated that the government needs to demonstrate it has a plan to resolve this situation: a harbour development plan that meets the socio-economic needs of local groups while addressing the concerns of residents regarding the air emissions,” said Kiara Worth, FAHB representative.

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Weekly Press Review – 27 February 2017

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.

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 – 26 August 2016

The battle against the poaching of South Africa’s perlemoen has been emphasised in the press again this week with the police making two more arrests and confiscating perlemoen with an estimated value of R3.5 million.

According to Pieter van Dalen DA-LP, poachers seem to be using our ocean as their own personal ATM machine. If they are in need of money, they simply make a perlemoen withdrawal.

“Perlemoen poaching is supposed to be a category-A offence all along the coast, but there is no political will to implement this. It is now being done so openly that poachers seem to regard it as their right,” says van Dalen.

Development plans for Saldanha Bay are back in the headlines this week. Transnet and the provincial government say expansion plans for Saldanha Bay’s harbour are going ahead despite the diminished demand for iron and depressed oil prices.

According to Alan Winde, Economic Opportunities MEC, the iron ore prices will have minimal impact for Saldaha Bay. “If demand drops it will affect jobs. But the IDZ is focused around servicing the oil and gas industry. We’ve already had 31 companies sign memorandums of understanding with the IDZ. Not one of them has pulled back,” says Winde.

Also making headlines this week is a statement by world-renowned fisheries expert, Ray Hilborn, challenging South Africa’s marine protected area (MPA) strategy, saying that closing off areas of the ocean is not the solution to overfishing.

Hilborn, professor of aquatic and fishery science at the University of Washington, is due to present a seminar at UCT this week entitled “Fisheries Myths”.  According to Hilborn myths have generated a belief that fisheries management needs to be more conservative and more of the ocean needs to be closed to fishing.

“In the desire to create an oceanic paradise, advocates of MPAs must consider that it is the world’s poorest people who rely on marine fisheries for nutrition and income,” says Hilborn.

Deputy director-general of Environmental Affairs, Monde Mayekiso, said that the department would engage with Hilborn at the debate.

“We have used MPAs in South Africa for a long time and we are aware that MPAs are not the end-all solution. It is just one tool in the management of our resources,” said Mayekiso.

An appeal by Sanccob for donations to help in the rehabilitation of 50 badly oiled penguins has also made headlines this week.

The birds were rescued at the St Croix Island group off Algoa Bay in a joint initiative involving the NSRI, SANParks and Sanccob. It is believed that the birds were oiled due to oil spilled during a ship-to-ship oil transfer. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is investigating.

In the meantime Sanccob has appealed to members of the public to please donate towels and newspapers to aid in the cleaning of the oiled birds. All donations are to be delivered to the Sanccob offices in Jeffeys Bay.

Weekly Press Review – 12 August 2016

The three suspects arrested in connection with the break in and theft of various weapons and hand grenades from the Simon’s Town naval base on 23 June appeared in court this week.

According to the press, although the State has a strong case against the three, the concern remains as to why the weapons were stolen, particularly around election time.

A possibility is that the suspects were intending to sell the weapons.  It is now imperative that it is established to whom and for what purpose they intended to sell the weapons.

Also making headlines this week was the arrest of two men at the Peka Bridge border with Lesotho in possession of abalone and stolen wine.

The arrest was made after officers inspected the suspects car.  “The members found two sealed plastic bags containing dry abalone weighing 1,75kg with a street value of approximately R8650.”

The suspects will appear before the Ficksburg Magistrate’s Court.

Another trapped whale has been freed after becoming entangled in fishing rope and floatation buoys approximately 500  metres off-shore Cape Point.

According to the press, the South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) described  the marathon 2-day rescue operation as the most difficult disentanglement operation to date.

“The whale had at least five ropes entangled around the flukes and tail and the rope was twisted and entangled into a bird’s nest,” said Mike Meyer, SAWDN and environmental affairs oceans and coast head.

Eventually the whale was cut free and appeared strong and healthy as it swam off.

 

Weekly Press Review – 5 February 2016

Two separate yachting tragedies have seen the safety of working sailors and tourists alike being called into question this week.  The disappearance of three sailors who went missing during a routine delivery of a luxury yacht (a year ago), as well as the death of two Irish tourists whose yacht ran aground near Melkbos have both made headlines this week.

Families of the missing sailors have called for an inquest after an upturned catamaran was sighted, but attempts to tow it into harbour failed and the hull was eventually lost at sea near Port Elizabeth.  The families want to establish fairer practices and enforced compliance with the legislation with the aim of ensuring increased safety for sailors.

In the grounding incident the death of two Irish tourists has led to an investigation into how this yacht ran aground and whether it had already capsized by the time it ran aground.

SAMSA has had surveyors on the scene and the cause of the accident is under investigation.

The continued decimation of South Africa’s abalone has also made headlines this week.  According to the press we are losing the war on abalone poaching.  It is estimated that in 2014 a massive 7 million were poached at a cost of R1 billion.

These figures were presented at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) Abalone Indaba held in Cape Town this week.

DAFF chief director Ceba Mtoba said, “It is time to shift gears.  Poaching has become the norm.”

Fisheries Management deputy director-general Siphokazi Ndudane said that the Marine Living Resources Act would be reviewed.

“The act is old.  It has no mention of poaching. Poaching has been overlapping under our watch over the years because of its ineffectiveness.  The act is no longer applicable.

“This indaba will form part of our paperwork to be presented to the president when amending the act,” said Ndudane.

Weekly Press Review – 4 December 2015

Yet another arrest has been made in connection with abalone poaching.  According to the press a 27-year-old man was found in possession of approximately R2 million worth of abalone after he was pulled over by the K9 Unit who were conducting patrols in the Gordon’s Bay area.

Officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) were on the scene and counted 11,857 units of shucked abalone.

Amid much outcry Japan has resumed its research whaling season.  According to the press Japan aims to catch more than 300 whales as part of a scientific research programme before the end of the hunt next year.

Japan seems to have found a loophole in the whaling moratorium which prohibits the hunting of whales, by labelling the hunts as scientific.  The move has been condemned by both the USA and Australia, as well as various environmental groups worldwide.

According to the press the government has announced that they will allow fishing in parts of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area.  The aim behind the programme is to help rejuvenate heavily exploited fish stocks along the South African coast.

The response to the news has been dramatically polarised.  Local fishermen are delighted.  They claim that they were never consulted when the area was proclaimed a marine protected area and have a historical right to fish there.

Henrico Bruiners, chairman of the Tsitsikamma Angling Forum welcomed the decision saying that it is done from a humanitarian point of view, otherwise people have to travel up to 60km in order to fish.

Marine scientists, however, feel that the decision by the Department of Environmental Affairs is a recipe for disaster and will “open up the heart of a protected area to exploitation.”

UCT marine scientist Colin Attwood said that this kind of proposal completely negated the point of having a marine protected area.

SANParks spokesperson, Nandi Mgwadlamba has invited public comment, but in the meantime fishing will commence in the area on December, 15 as a pilot project.