Weekly Press Review – 13 March 2017

Sea Harvest is set to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this month, making it the second fishing company to list this year after Premier Food and Fishing (PFF).

According to the press Sea Harvest is a subsidiary of Brimstone Investment and is expected to retain its controlling stake in Sea Harvest after the listing, with an interest of more than 50 percent.

A bidding war is on for the ferry trade from mainland Cape Town to Robben Island.

According to the press, two new ferry tenders are embroiled in a battle over potential financial spoils. The vessel at the centre of the controversy is the Madiba 1, a R60 million, 200-seater ferry.

Butana Komphela, who has shares in the Madiba 1, also chairs a consortium bidding for a back-up ferry contract, currently shared by several companies based at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

A rival bidder claims the MEC’s political connections could help the consortium secure the deal.

A second tender for a new-build ferry is also causing controversy after it was reported in the Sunday Times that the tender had been awarded to Damen Shipyards, even with a bid R20 million higher than rival bids from Veecraft and Nautic Africa.

Damen has not commented.

According to an article in the Cape Times this week ghost ships may be the way forward for the shipping industry. With self-driving motor vehicles set to be a real prospect by 2020, the shipping industry will soon find it necessary to follow the same path.

One of the key manufacturers in the unmanned vessel space, Rolls Royce, expects remote controlled vessels to be in use within the next 10 to 15 years.

Internationally the elimination of human input is regarded as one of the key benefits of automation, but with the scarcity of jobs in the South African market one would have to look closely at the viability of such an option in developing countries.

Weekly Press Review – 3 May 2013

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has made the headlines again this week regarding the country’s patrol and research vessels. Cape Town based company Nautic South Africa has won a six month contract with DAFF to run the fleet – a service that has seen its fair share of controversy over the last 18 months.

The announcement was made by Nautic and not the department.

James Fisher, chief executive of Nautic, said that the company was aware that they would be holding a bit of a ‘hot potato’ given the controversy around the vessels, but believed that what was needed was “a practical and pragmatic approach to get the vessels working and out to sea. Our approach is to solve the problems as soon as possible.”

Let us hope that these words can be put into action.

On the subject of DAFF, Greta Apelgren-Narkadien is no longer with the fisheries branch. After just five months in the position, Apelgren-Narkadien has left the post to take up the position of head of human settlements in Kwazulu-Natal.

The vessel the E Whale also made the headlines this week. More than a year after being arrested, due to financial issues surrounding her sister ship, A Whale, the vessel sits about 3km from shore with crew members trapped aboard for up to four months at a time.

Needless to say there are wage disputes and the only way for funds to be recouped would be to sell the vessel, which is in itself not a quick process. Until that happens, the crew have no choice but to remain aboard.

What a terrible situation for the crew who obviously have nothing to do with the financial woes of the owners, Today Makes Tomorrow International, and want nothing more than to be paid for a job that they have already done and get home to their families. Let’s hope that this situation can be solved as quickly as possible.