Weekly Press Review – 21 August 2017

South Africa’s weak economy is impacting those renting Transnet sites in the country’s eight commercial harbours.

According to the press tenants of Transnet sites have stated that if the economy continues on its current path they will have no choice but to renegotiate their contracts or simply return their sites to Transnet.

At present TNPA have 750 tenants and 90 cargo operators renting within the major harbours.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has sent out a plea to ask concerns citizens who cut floating buoys from fishing gear, with the intention of removing the gear in which whales and other marine mammals may become entangled, to please be aware that they may be doing more harm than good.

The department explains, “The buoys are markers which mark the ends of lines of fishing gear lying along the sea floor. Removing the floating buoys may result in slower times to find and retrieve the fishing gear by fishers, thus increasing the opportunity for entanglement of whales and other marine mammals.”

Even more dangerous is that once the buoys are removed, fishers are no longer able to find and retrieve the lines of fishing gear. These lines then continue to engage in “ghost fishing” – meaning that they continue to entrap marine creatures over time.

The NSRI was called into action this weekend as it rescued a whale entangled off the coast of Kleinmond.

According to the press, Dawie Malan and his wife reported the incident and the 12m whale was discover approximately 50m offshore entangled in rope and with a buoy attached to its tail. The whale was freed and swam away unharmed.

Weekly Press Review – 7 August 2017

The Portfolio Committee on Public Works has once again expressed concern about the state of small harbours in the Western Cape.

Following recent site visits to seven local harbours, committee acting chairperson, Freddie Adams, identified the lack of security, insufficient office space and inadequate workforces as areas of concern.

“We have discovered that the harbours we visited (Stillbaai, Arniston, Struisbaai, Gansbaai, Hermanus, Gordon’s Bay and Kalk Bay) have common challenges of decaying infrastructure, lease disparities, low job creation and inability to develop the economy of local communities,” said Adams.

The committee has stated that it believes the reason behind these challenges is the lack of communication between the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the Department of Public Works and local communities.

A hurt Filipino sailor has been rescued off Richard’s Bay. According to the press the seaman was evacuated from a ship off-shore of Richard’s Bay on Sunday by the NSRI and admitted to hospital.

The Namibian government has made a decision to increase the price of sport and recreational permits.

According to the press, the permit price has been increased to R50 per day with a limit of 10 fish per permit.

The money will be allocated towards sustaining the country’s marine resources.

Weekly Press Review – 17 July 2017

Progress has been made in the fight against abalone poaching with the police confiscating illegally poached abalone in two different Western Cape locations this week.

According to the press, police arrested two suspects in connection with the operating of an illegal abalone processing facility on a farm in Brackenfell.  In a separate incident, 213 bags of frozen abalone, weighing approximately five tons, were found in a cold storage truck in Montegu Gardens on the same day.

Police spokesperson, Andre Traut, said, “The exact value of the abalone confiscated during the two operations is yet to be determined. However, it is estimated to be several million rand.”

The Two Ocean Aquarium in Cape Town is once again putting its weight behind the banning of the single-use plastic bag. According to the press, the Aquarium is supporting the EcoBricks awareness campaign, created in an attempt to offer an alternate solution to the use of plastic bags, which so often contribute to the multitude of plastic polluting our oceans.

The EcoBrick is a “brick” made from plastic two litre bottles. The idea is to encourage the public to form the habit of stuffing paper and plastic (particularly single-use plastic bags) into the bottles. When the bottle is full it can be dropped off at various pick up points around the city.  The bottles are then used as building materials to create sustainable homes, schools and furniture.

July has been proclaimed Plastic Free July and the Aquarium has called for a complete ban on single-use plastic shopping bags in South Africa through its Rethink the Bag campaign.

Eight fishermen remain missing after their vessel capsized at Cape St Francis over the weekend.

According to the press one fisherman died in the accident, five wee rescued and eight remain missing after an extensive air, sea and shoreline search by the NSRI.

Weekly Press Review – 24 April 2017

Two men were arrested in Gordon’s Bay this week in possession of 3,015 crayfish tails. According to the press, Captain van Wyk, provincial police spokesperson, said that the goal of responsible policing in the area had been achieved after information provided by members of the local community lead to the arrests.

The K9 dog unit was responsible for tracking down the vehicle in question. “In the vehicle they found plastic bags containing 3,015 crayfish tails and 60 whole crayfish,” said van Wyk.

The two suspects, aged 23 and 34, were arrested and will appear in the Strand Magistrates court on charges of the illegal transport of crayfish and other charges involving the Marine Living Resources Act.

In an unusual headline this week two members of the NSRI required rescuing after their boat overturned near Jacobsbaai during a scuba diving session.

According to Craig Lambinon, NSRI spokesman, the NSRI was called to the rescue of two of its staff members, Megan and Matthew Melidonis, who got into trouble when their rubber boat overturned.

No one was injured in the incident.

Weekly Press Review – 6 February 2017

The dangers of working in the maritime sector, seems to be the theme of this week’s press review. According to the press there were two separate incidents over the weekend where fishermen lives were endangered and rescue efforts were required.

A fishing boat capsized off Macassar on Sunday. The captain braved shark-infested waters to swim ashore and raise the alarm. The Skymed rescue helicopter located the upturned boat with four men clinging to the side. The NSRI performed the rescue and all crewmembers were later declared fit. They had been in the water for almost four hours.

In a separate incident, one man died after a service boat capsized over the weekend. The fishing vessel, the Jin Syi Shiang, was first on the scene and its crew managed to rescue two of the men from the over-turned vessel. The captain of the stricken vessel, however, remained missing. His body was later discovered aboard the sunken vessel.

The cause of the deaths of two PetroSA workers at the Mossel Bay Gas Liquids Refinery has still not been confirmed. According to the press the two workers received medical attention at the scene, but could not be resuscitated. The families have been notified and an investigation into the incident is taking place.

Also making headlines this week is the announcement that soon-to-be listed Premier Fishing South Africa has installed the first solar energy initiative in the abalone aquaculture space in the country and looks to expand its plant in the Western Cape.

The company stated that it completed the solar energy investment on its Atlantic Abalone farm in Gansbaai with the aim of doubling abalone imports to overseas markets and creating more job opportunities.

Premier Fishing chief executive, Samir Saban, said, “The abalone operation currently employs more than 100 people and with the further expansion of our existing operation we expect to employ more than 300 people once the expansion is completed.”

Weekly Press Review – 30 January 2017

According to the press, chemicals and energy group Sasol’s share price fell 3.02 percent to R409.26 on the JSE this week. This after the company announced an expected 44 percent drop in its headline earnings.

The company has attributed the fall to currency losses and a strike at its Secunda mining operations.

The NSRI were in action this weekend. According to the press three crew-members were rescued and treated for shock after their ski-boat, the Mi Lady, capsized off Strand Beach.

The three Strand residents were in the water for more than an hour before they were rescued.

In a separate incident two men, aged 44 and 53, were rescued from a sinking yacht that they were transporting from Durban to Mossel Bay. The NSRI were once again called to action. The rescue involved the use of an NSRI rescue vessel, as well as an NSRI rescue helicopter.

Also making headlines this week was a shooting incident between to suspected perlemoen smuggling gangs, which took place near Gansbaai, resulting in the death of one of the gang members.

It is suspected that the violence between the gangs broke out due to inflated pricing of poached perlemeon by one of the gangs.

Cape Town maritime enthusiasts were treated to a splendid sight this week, as the Queen Mary 2 visited Table Bay Harbour for a brief two-day visit.

According to the press the 14 year-old vessel is the world’s only operational ocean liner (not cruise liner) and was originally built in 2002 to replace the ageing Queen Elizabeth 2.

Weekly Press Review – 16 September 2016

 Residents of the Overberg region are rejoicing this week as the Western Cape parliament is to finally address the issue of perlemoen poaching in the area.

According to the press, Debbie Schaffer, chairman of the committee for economic opportunity, tourism and agriculture in the provincial parliament said that she has invited representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), security institutions and experts from the perlemoen industry to address the committee with regard to the problem of perlemoen poaching as early as next week.

 Twelve fishers were forced to abandon ship when their vessel ran aground in Port St Francis this week.

According to the press the 48-foot Barcelona ran aground after facing strong winds and waves up to four metres. The crew sent out a mayday at approximately 3.44am. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) responded to the incident, along with various vessels in the area. By the time help arrived, the crew had managed to get ashore.

The captain of the Barcelona was treated for shock and hypothermia, but all other crew members were in good health, except for minor cuts and bruises.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is investigating the incident.

According to the press Sasol’s operations remain under pressure this week due to low global oil and commodity prices. The listed energy and chemicals group’s earnings have decreased by 55 percent for the year to 30 June.

In response Sasol has implemented a business performance enhancement programme and oil price response plan. The aim is to achieve costs and achieve cash savings.

Sasol joint chief executive, Bongani Nqwababa said that the company’s cost reduction and cash savings initiatives were exceeding targets, placing the group on a sound footing as it geared up its balance sheet.