This week the RMS St Helena left Cape Town harbour for its final round trip journey of three weeks to St Helena Bay and Ascension Island – a unique service that linked Cape Town with the mid-Atlantic islands for nearly 40 years.
According to the press, as of 24 January another ship will transport cargo about once a month to St Helena Bay. The only means of regular passenger travel will now be by air, thanks to a South African airline that started a weekly commercial flight in October after the delayed opening of an airport.
“Those who travelled in the old ship, however, will miss her special atmosphere, excellent service, delicious cuisine and wonderful people aboard,” said Brian Ingpen, regular contributor to the Cape Times.
2018 has been a busy year for police thus far with regard to perlemoen poaching. According to the press, millions of rands worth of illegally poached perlemoen has already been confiscated since the start of the year; with several arrests being made in the process.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi. More than 600 African labourers and 12 officers died in the tragedy. According to the press, the SAS Amatola will leave South african waters, in a relatively rare journey to European waters, on a special mission to commemorate the sinking of the SS Mendi.
The SAS Amatola will take part in naval exercises with the Royal and German navies and a ceremony will be held to commemorate the fallen vessel. Some relatives of the dead will be flown out to take part in the ceremony.
Also making headlines this week is the news that a R800 million project to build ships with China in an upgraded naval dockyard in Simon’s Town is on the cards, despite the navy requesting that the Chinese be kept out.
The project is being pushed by the council on defence and involves the reserving of a large share of the construction work for state arms manufacturer Denel and its Chinese joint venture partner, with Simon’s Town dockyard as a preferred construction site.
Also making headlines this week are concerns regarding the low numbers of successful prosecutions of perlemoen poachers in the Overstrand area.
According to the press between April and October 2016, 43 suspected poachers were arrested, but only five were successfully prosecuted.
Michael Cardo, DA-LP said that he is extremely concerned about the few successful prosecutions.
“A prosecution rate of 10 percent is too low. We need better law enforcement along with a holistic approach towards community development to ensure that perlemoen poaching is extinguished,” he said.
Also making headlines this week was the sad loss of Captain Rodney Young MBE. Captain Young was the highly respected Master of RMS St Helena. He was holidaying in Seychelles at the time of his death.