The deadline for the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) amendments to the Safety of Lives at Sea Agreement (SOLAS) is today. According to the press there is some concern as to whether several countries. including South Africa, are ready.
The amendments are to address the issue of container weight mis-declaration. The amendment requires that the verification of container weights be determined by the shipper and communicated to the master and port terminal before export containers are loaded on board a vessel, effectively making container weight verification a condition for vessel loading.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has been designated as the body to enforce the SOLAS amendments in South Africa and problems are foreseen with regard to the ability of regulators in the container logistics chain to implement, monitor and enforce these amendments timeously.
The three Chinese vessels suspected of operating illegally in South African waters have once again made headlines this week with the announcement that they have been cleared of all poaching charges and released, but will have to pay fines of over R2 million for other offences.
The Dutch East India (DEIC) company vessel the Nieuwe Harlem which ran aground near Table bay on 25 March 1647 is back in the news this week.
This, however, is not just the story of a Dutch vessel running aground on the Cape coast. It is believed by many to have had a major impact on relationships between communities in southern Africa for the next 300 years.
After running aground 58 of the crew were rescued by other ships in the Nieuwe Harlem fleet, while 62 remained under the command of a junior merchant, Leendert Janszen. They were instructed to salvage as much from the vessel as possible and otherwise to live off the land until rescue.
On his return to Holland, approximately a year later, Janszen was required to write a report for the DEIC on the feasibility of setting up a halfway house in the Cape. It was ultimately this report which led to the decision by the Dutch to set up a refreshment station at the tip of Africa.
The ship that started it all, however, the Nieuwe Harlem, simply disappeared. It has now been announced that the African Institute for Marine and Underwater Research, Exploration and Education (AIMURE) is set to tackle the task of locating the missing vessel.
The Logos Hope, the vessel hosting the largest floating book shop in the world, also made headlines this week as she docked in Cape Town harbour for a 10 day visit.
Ivy Chiu, spokesperson for the Logos Hope, said that more than 8,000 people have already visited the vessel. Visitors will have the chance to purchase books, as well as experience a tour of the vessel. Books are priced from R30 to R300 with a choice of over 5,000 titles to choose from.