Weekly Press Review – 16 April 2018

Two South African universities have been selected to form part of an international scientific expedition aiming to explore one of the coldest and most remote locations in the Antarctic for two months.

According to the press the team will comprise of glaciologists, marine geologists, marine biologists, marine biogeochemists, oceanographers and marine archaeologists. The team also comprises members of the UK’s Nekton Foundation and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

The team will be using autonomous underwater vehicles to survey the seafloor below 3,000 metres and study cavities on the underside of the ice shelf.

UCT’s Professor Isabelle Ansorge said, “Participating in the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019 will give South African researchers an unprecedented opportunity to investigate and explore one of the most remote and least-studied places on our planet, and to collaborate with international research colleagues across different disciplines.”

Oceana shares fell 0.24 percent on the JSE this week. According to the press this was despite the company reporting that it expected its basic earnings a share for the six months to March to increase by 55 percent and 65 percent.

The company attributed the increase in earnings to the release of $13 million deferred taxation in Daybrook, following the reduction in the federal corporate tax rate in the US from 35 percent to 21 percent.

According to the press, the H5N8 bird flu virus is threatening the lives of protected African penguins at Boulders beach.   State veterinarian Dr Laura Roberts says that 18 penguins have already succumbed to the disease.

“All possible measures are in place to prevent the spreading of the virus through human interaction. These are wild birds so we cannot control the natural spreading of the virus,” said Dr Roberts.

This week the fate of our plastic infested oceans has once again made headlines with more frightening statistics.

Around 12.2 million tons of plastic enters oceans annually. This plastic is ingested by dozens of species of marine mammals and birds and degrades vital habitats. Million of birds, sea mammals and turtles die each year from ingesting this plastic.  Countering this epidemic of ocean pollution will require big, bold international actions by governments and small, personal actions by citizens. And both need to happen now!

The world’s rarest turtle has been discovered in Vietnam.

According to the press the discovery of a single Yangtze giant soft turtle, living in a lake outside Hanoi, has been confirmed, bring the total number of globally known population for this species to just four.

“This finding brings new hope, with the possibility of bringing wild animals together in a controlled environment for captive breeding,” said Timothy McCormack of the Turtle Survival Alliance, Asian Turtle Programme (ATP).

The HMS Bullfrog, which survived attacks by both the Nazis and the Japanese during World War 2, is headed for the scrap yard unless it finds new ownership.

According to the press, the 75-year-old, 2,000 ton-museum ship, now named the Cable Restorer, has been berthed in Simon’s Town for 24 years.

The man at the helm, former Simon’s Town mayor Harry Dilley, has been instructed to dispose of the vessel.

Dilley said that he is running out of options to save the vessel. He has maintained the her for over a quarter of a century. In that time she has served as a restaurant, a wedding venue, a film set and a floating dormitory for maritime college pupils.

Not only is the vessel costly to maintain, but it is also unclear how long the navy will host it inside the military base.

“We do not have a good record with this kind of thing,” said Brian Ingpen, maritime educator and co-founder of the Lawhill Maritime Centre.  “To my thinking it would be wonderful if we could preserve her, but it costs a lot of money.”

Veteran Hout Bay operator Ken Evans believes that the vessel has both commercial and developmental potential.

“It is a difficult one. You actually need a bunch of philanthropists to keep it alive,” he said.

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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.

Weekly Press Review – 28 August 2017

The sale of Maersk oil and gas assets to Total made headlines this week. Total agreed to buy the oil and gas unit AP Moller-Maersk, paying Maersk with $4.95 billion (R65.03 billion) of its own shares and assuming $2.5bn of the company’s debt.

The board at Grindrod is investigating the possibility of a separate offshore listing process.

According to the press, Mike Hankinson, executive chairman of Grindrod said, “The Grindrod board has for many years reiterated the intention to separate the shipping business from the balance of the group, as it does not believe that the value of the shipping business is fairly reflected in the Grindrod share price.”

The company has said that it has appointed South African and foreign advisers to assist and it is expected that the listing process will be concluded within the first half of next year.

Despite Sasol announcing a 15 percent fall in headline earnings, Sasol shares traded in positive territory this week.

According the press, the stock moved 1.58 percent up in early trade with the shares settling 0,57 percent up at R392.80 at the close of the JSE on Friday.

Sea Harvest, the fishing division of Brimstone, is working towards the purchasing of a freezer ship valued at $15.5 million.

According to the press, Felix Ratheb, executive head of Sea Harvest, says the vessel is a necessity to ensure optimal use of the fleet.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) says that it is making progress in the fight against abalone poaching after two separate arrests last week and the confiscation of abalone worth approximately R13 million.

According to the press, the department says, “The protection of Marine Living Resources, including abalone, is one of the priorities of the department.”