Weekly Press Review – 5 March 2018

Transnet has launched a new company, Transnet International Holdings (TIH), in order to facilitate multiple rail, port and pipeline projects in the rest of Africa.

According to the press, TIH, with a capital injection of R100 million, held its inaugural general meeting this week to appoint board members.

Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama said that the new entity would commence on 1 April 2018, adding that TIH would not be a burden on Transnet’s balance sheet.

“The idea is to ring fence TIH to make sure that it does not take risks that are not managed,” said Gama.

After a seven month voyage to navigate the globe the INSV Tarini, along with its all female crew, finally arrived in Cape Town this weekend. The vessel will remain moored at the Royal Cape Yacht club until its departure on 14 March.

A UCT study, completed every ten years, focusing on small plastic fragments on South Africa’s beaches has found that most plastic pollution derives from local sources.

According to the press, the study indicates that the significance of this is that distant nations with far larger plastic industries can no longer be blamed for the poor state of many of our beaches and adjacent coastal waters.

“All available evidence indicates that the amount of litter entering the system continues to grow.  Identifying key source areas is critical in designing and implementing effective mitigation measures to reduce the amounts of plastic entering marine and freshwater systems,” says the study’s lead author Professor Peter Ryan.


Weekly Press Review – 22 January 2016

Making headlines this week was the news that a fishing trawler and a bulk carrier had somehow managed to collide off the coast at Cape Point.

Luckily no lives were lost when the 20m, 154 ton Viking Fishing Company fishing trawler Lezandi and the 200m, 36,333 ton bulk carrier the Sunrise Jade collided in thick fog.  The Sunrise Jade was on its way from St Petersburg to Saldanha Bay.

The collision resulted in the Lezandi taking on water and the 14 man crew were forced to abandon ship. They were rescued from the water by crew members from the FV Freesia and delivered to the shore.  The NSRI also responded to the incident. Only one crew member was injured and taken to Cape Town Mediclinic.  No damage was done to the Sunrise Jade.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) issued a safety warning immediately after the incident as the semi-submerged trawler posed a hazard to sea traffic in the area.

This is the second incident to rock Viking Fishing.  In September last year the MFV Lincoln capsized near Hangklip in bad weather and nine fishermen lost their lives.

Also making headlines this week is the launch of an exciting new plan to clear the large amount of plastic rubbish in our oceans.

An estimated 8 million tons of plastic debris is washed into our oceans each year.  This plastic is broken down into smaller microplastics that are ultimately ingested by many sea creatures and poses an enormous threat to marine ecosystems.

Scientists have been working on solutions to the problem and there is already an ambitious plan in place to use inflatable booms aligned across sea currents to gather waste in a large rubbish patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

New research carried out at the Imperial College London suggests however that this plan will be more effective if carried out nearer densely populated coasts, specifically off China and Indonesia, where large amounts of plastics enter the ocean.  The model suggests that the project would be 14 percent more effective at the new location.

“It makes more sense to remove plastics where they first enter the ocean around coastal economic and population centres,” said Erik van Sebille of Imperial College.

Weekly Press Review – 27 February 2015

Making headlines this week is the confiscation of R2 million worth of crayfish tails by police near Lwandle in Cape Town.  The three individuals involved will appear in court today.  Andre Traut, police spokesman said, “The three suspects are due to appear … on charges of illegal possession and transportation of an excessive amount of crayfish tails.  The legal limit for an individual to possess crayfish is four per permit.”

Plastic pollution is back in the headlines this week with a new study revealing that certain corals actually eat  plastic particles as if they were food.The study, conducted by researchers from James Cook University in Australia, found that corals ate plastic particles at a rate only slightly lower than their normal rate of feeding on marine plankton.  The result of this is that the coral may then not be able to digest their normal food which would obviously impact on the safety of the species in the future.

This points back to the ever growing concern surrounding plastic pollution in our oceans and the impact this ultimately has on fisheries, tourism and the marine environment.

Also making headlines this week is the official opening of the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai. The rehabilitation centre is a project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and consists of eight new buildings and two new swimming pools especially designed for the rehabilitation of the African penguin and other seabirds.

The centre is able to accommodate up to 300 penguins at one time and in a crisis, such as an oil spill, up to 1,000 penguins.