Weekly Press Review – 11 September 2017

The big news this week is the agreement signed between PetroSA and Russian company, Rosgeo, to develop oil and gas blocks in South Africa.

According to the press, the deal, worth $400 million (R5.17 billion), was signed on the sidelines of the ninth Annual Brics Summit in China and offers the embattled national oil company the opportunity to position itself towards future growth.

European media reports indicate that the deal is lopsided to the benefit of Rosgeo. According to Rosgeo ‘s chief executive, Roman Panov, the firm would own 70 percent of the project with PetroSA taking up the remaining 30 percent.

PetroSA would not confirm or deny this.

An internationally operated abalone syndicate, known as “The Enterprise” faced the music in the Western Cape High Court this week on 116 charges collectively.

According to the press, the state presented papers saying The Enterprise employed people to collect, clean, dry, freeze and store abalone, which was then packaged for export to Hong Kong using two front companies and using fraudulent documentation stating that containers were carrying pilchards.

They had been in operation for two years.

Members of the The Enterprise were found guilty of various charges, including contravening the Marine Living Resources Act.

The men are currently out on bail and will remain so until sentencing.








Weekly Press Review – 4 September 2017

With the Western Cape facing an ongoing water crisis, two major companies are looking at desalination options for the V&A Waterfront.

According to the press, Growthpoint Properties and PIC (the Public Investment Corporation), equal joint owners of the V&A Waterfront, are investigating the feasibility of establishing a desalination plant to mitigate the risk to their investment caused by Cape Town’s water shortage crisis.

“The city would probably be keen for us to do something like that. We haven’t quite worked out all the risks, all the pros and cons and have to go through the process.

“But certainly in terms of supplying our own needs, we are looking at it pretty seriously at the moment,” says Norbert Sasse, chief executive of Growthpoint.

Also making headlines this week is the announcement that South Africa will host the 10th summit of the Brics bloc in 2018, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Addressing the Brics Business Forum, President Jacob Zuma said that South Africa welcomed attendees of the forum to visit South Africa, saying that South Africa is a new frontline of growth and prosperity and that the country expected to realise inclusive economic development and further increase its trade with other Brics countries.

The Two Oceans Aquarium was involved in an unusual rescue operation this week. According to the press, aquarium staff rescued an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) from the Robertson Dry Dock next to the aquarium and released it back into the harbour at the V&A Waterfront.

The rescue operation involved several staff members from the Two Oceans Aquarium, and thanks to the help of Summit Crane Hire and H&I Construction, the team was able to airlift the sunfish out of the dry dock and back into the harbour.

2013 is Maritime Year: but shhh, its a secret!

Last week at the Maritime Trade Forum ahead of the BRICS Summit in Durban, I learned that the Minister of Transport had declared 2013, Maritime Year in South Africa. Riad Khan of the Port Regulator stated this quite clearly while welcoming delegates to these maritime discussions and I silently chastised myself for not knowing such an important development in the industry.

Wow – that’s a real milestone for the relationship between the maritime industry and the Department of Transport, which is more vocal in its directives aimed at land-based transport modes. I was buoyed by the announcement and felt sure that I would be able to find out what the Department was doing to promote this sector within the country and amongst our citizens.

Since learning this news last week I have asked a number of other members of the industry what they know about this development only to find that I was not the only one in the dark.

So I visited the Department’s website feeling sure I would see some sort of 2013 Maritime Year banner emblazoned across the screen. No. No banner.

So I looked under the press announcements, press releases and speeches. No. No such message there either.

So I took the link to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Department’s official maritime agency, to see if I could find more information there. No. No information there. And the same dismal non-message on the website belonging to the Port Regulator.

So I went back to the Department of Transport’s website to take a closer look at their maritime intentions because Minister Dikobe Ben Martins did make it clear in his speech at the Maritime Trade Forum that he was expecting high level engagement with the industry and that a coherent maritime strategy needed to be presented to him by July.

Surely such pronouncements would be borne out on their site? No. None of the speeches listed on the site relate to his public appearances in the maritime domain. It is as if he is embarrassed to admit engaging with us on some level; as if by admitting his engagement with the maritime industry, he is somehow ignoring the carnage on our road during peak holidays.

In fact if you click on MARITIME in the website menu bar – the persistent banner advert promoting road safety follows you there too.

In a last ditch effort to uncover their maritime mantra for 2013, I clicked on the link to their Facebook page. That provided no further assistance – especially as the last post on their page is dated June 2012. And most of the posts on the page relate to (yes you guessed it) road traffic.

So ladies and gentlemen of the maritime industry 2013 is Maritime Year, but please don’t tell anyone – it’s a secret.

Full diary: warning – event ahead!

The maritime industry seems to have suddenly woken up and started some vigourous planning for the next couple of weeks. While some events have been a long time in the offing – others seem to have simply sprung up on the calendar.


Last week the National Department of Transport (NDoT) surprised maritime stakeholders with an invitation to a Maritime Bosberaad in Pretoria. Hosted jointly by the NDoT, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Ports Regulator – it seems that the last minute invitation may have influenced the actual attendance register on the day.

It’s a pity really since the Minister of Transport was due to provide the keynote address. Sadly, with only a day’s notice, I did not make it up to Pretoria and will have to rely on the industry for some feedback. I would be especially interested to know what the ANC Youth League’s contribution amounted to.


Then the rather active and community-spirited maritime sectors in Durban took the initiative to host a Maritime Conference on the MSC Sinfonia. Featuring a rather modest price-tag of only R5000 (all inclusive), this certainly sounds as if a real effort was made to make it as inclusive as possible.


We’ve been watching the establishment of the Global Ocean Commission since its launch last month and were particularly interested to learn that, not only is Trevor Manuel a Co-chair of the Commission, but South Africa (Cape Town) is hosting their inaugural meeting.

Some follow-up revealed that they would be in Cape Town this week, but that media would not be accommodated at any sessions and nothing had been planned to include us. So – once again it was with surprise that an invitation to a press briefing landed in our inbox late yesterday requesting our presence at a briefing this morning.

The lack of availability of the local press eventually saw this moved to a later date – and one that will take into account the work undertaken during this week by the international heads scheduled to participate.

(Follow our tweets on this topic on @GreenMarineSA – we will use the #GlobalOcean)


Heavily criticised for not engaging enough with the top levels of the fishing industry, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, is scheduled to share breakfast with CEO’s from this sector tomorrow morning.

I will attend the press briefing DAFF has scheduled following this gathering to hear first hand how the relationship has been strengthened.

(Follow our tweets on this topic on @MaritimeSA – we will use the #DAFFFast)


I must admit I have been waiting for a long time for the local South African maritime industry to start talking meaningfully around this topic and am pleased that the initiative has been taken to break-away from next week’s BRICS sessions in this regard.

With a full calendar and a host of public holidays to contend with, organisers elected to host this on a Sunday and I hope that the date does not deter too many stakeholders.

Once again the Minister of Transport, Ben Dikobe Martins, is on the schedule and panel discussions should provide for a lively platform if they are accurately populated.

(Follow our tweets on this topic on @MaritimeSA – we will use the #maritimeBRICS)


The African maritime agenda is key to most conferences and events this year and the Nautical Institute (Southern African Branch) is meeting in association with a number of other key local professional associations to discuss this.

So with an Easter breather between this event and the BRICS sessions; the maritime industry will reassemble in Cape Town to debate the challenges facing the African Maritime economy.

(Follow our tweets on this topic on @MaritimeSA – we will use the #NauticalInstituteSA)


After all these cerebral outings, however, some sectors of the maritime industry are blocking out a Friday to chase a little white ball around in Stellenbosch. We’ll be there to sponsor one of the holes, take a few photos and relax with you after a hectic couple of weeks.

(Follow our tweets on this topic on @MaritimeSA – we will use the #MaritimeGolfDay)


So if you are planning anything else in the maritime industry – put it on our radar and we’ll make sure that it becomes more than just a blip