The Fisheries Department is back in the hot seat this week (again) with officials again being criticised for still not getting the country’s research and patrol vessels back in the water.
Acting Fisheries Department deputy director-general, Desmond Stevens had the rather unenviable task of updating parliament on the status of the vessels and assured those present that both the Ruth First and Victoria Mxenge were ready for action and merely waiting seaworthy certificates from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and that the Lilian Ngoyi would be ready to sail by the end of September. Various MPs stated that they would be waiting on the dock at Simon’s Town to board the vessel on the promised date.
Let us hope that the Fisheries Department can deliver this time. It would seem that the pressure is finally on.
The stranded Kiani Satu has remained in the press all week as all attempts to refloat the vessel, still stranded off the coast of Buffels Bay, have thus far failed. According to Captain Nigel Campbell, responsible for overseeing the salvage operation for SAMSA, it is the strong swell due to harsh weather conditions that is hampering the refloating process.
Obviously the oil that is still leaking from the damaged vessel remains a cause for concern and Parliament’s portfolio committee has called for harsher penalties to be imposed on those responsible for the pollution of local waters in an attempt to protect fish and marine life resources.
This is something that could really go a long way towards protecting our coastline. Let us hope that the powers that be are able to come up with a plan that can be implemented fairly and quickly.
There was also some maritime drama off the coast of Robben Island this week, as the crew of the fishing trawler Claremont, had to be rescued after the vessel crashed into the rocks along the island’s coastline.
The rescue operation was carried out over four hours by the NSRI and all 12 crew members were safely brought back to shore. Another successful NSRI operation.
It seems that the salvage season has started in Cape Town.