Weekly Press Review – 26 September 2014

Hout Bay beach has made headlines this week.  The beach has been closed since late last week after standard water tests revealed high levels of E.coli.

According to Benedicta van Minnen of the mayor’s office, the cause of the high E.coli levels may not necessarily be only due to human waste in the Disa River which flows through Hout Bay.  She stated that, after the heavy rains at the end of the rainy season, the storm water flowing into the sea can also raise the E.coli levels.

The NSRI was in the news again this week after rescuing a sailor who fractured his hand and arm whilst on board his vessel.

The Anna M was sailing from Cameroon to Singapore when a 41-year old Turkish sailor fell 5 metres on board his vessel and required medical assistance.  The vessel headed for Cape Town to arrange for the evacuation of the sailor.

Pat van Eyssen NSROI Table Bay station commander said, “Our NSRI Table Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched our sea rescue craft accompanied by two Western Cape Government Health EMS rescue paramedics and responded.”

The sailor is being treated at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital.

Results of studies done by Nasa regarding the thinning of the ice in the Arctic sea grabbed also attracted some media attention.  Ice readings are at their sixth lowest since recording began in 1978.

Nasa tracks sea ice from space, as well as performing airborne field research.  Operation IceBridge operates flights over the Arctic and has been measuring sea ice and ice sheets for several years.

According to Walter Meier, researcher at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, “It is so much thinner than it used to be, it is more susceptible to melting.”

Weekly Press Review – 8 March 2013

Journalists were alerted that there is a port in Cape Town last weekend when a South Korean long-liner, the Hwa-Tsan, blazed for over four hours in the Cape Town harbour. Sadly a loss of life was reported. One crew member died and another 25 had to be rescued from the burning vessel. The vessel was berthed at the Landing Wharf off Duncan Road.

Reports indicate that an investigation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), and in terms of international maritime conventions, is underway and a case of arson has been opened by the police.

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes of the Disaster Risk Management Centre was quoted saying that emergency personnel had managed to avert any significant pollution.

An article published in the Cape Times this week presented the results of both an alarming and an interesting new study. The study, conducted by Laurence Smith, a professor of geography at the University of California, suggested that the melting ice of the Arctic, due to a continually warming climate, could result in new sea routes, through what is now solid ice, straight across the Arctic.

Although winter ice would not make this an all-year round proposition, the study indicates that by the year 2050 this could actually be a viable option.

There was some good news for residents of Blouberg. Some action is finally being taken to remove the remaining wreck of the Seli 1. The Department of Transport (DoT) and the SA Navy are working together to cut up the already weakened wreck and then hope to leave the winter storms to do the rest.

Debbie James of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said that the project would be used as a training exercise, saying: ‘They are going to cut it down as far as they can and let the winter storms break it up. They’re going to get it to a minimum of three metres below sea level so that it is not a hazard.”

We’ll wait on the maritime industry’s opinion about that however; and certainly hope that the DoT’s contract with the navy will run more smoothly than the one that the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries embarked on.