Weekly Press Review – 2 October 2015

The tragedy aboard the MFV Lincoln which ran into trouble near False Bay resulting in the deaths of 11 fishermen received a lot of coverage in the press this week.  The search for the remaining missing crew member continues.

According to survivor Peter Julies, the weather was extremely turbulent and the boat started taking water on the port side.  Soon the boat was leaning completely to the one side.

“I jumped from the starboard side into the freezing water.  Soon I could not feel my legs.  The rain was pelting and the gale-force wind had no mercy.  Fortunately help did not take too long.  But it was too late for some of my friends.”

The Financial Director of Viking Fishing, who own the vessel, said that their first priority was to support the families of those who lost loved ones.

The vessel has been towed to Cape Town harbour and SAMSA is investigating the incident.

History was made this week with the vessel, the Cape Orchid, being the first merchant vessel to register in South Africa since 1985.

Tsietsi Mokhele, SAMSA chief executive said, “About 98 percent of the country’s internationally bound trade is carried by ships and at least R160bn a year is paid for shipping services to foreign owners and operators.”

The Department of Transport said that the Cape Orchid “would be a boost to our maritime economy.”

According to the press many residents from Walker Bay are expressing their concern about mother and baby whales being harassed by over eager onlookers entering the bay during the whale breeding season and disturbing the mammals.

The question has been raised as to why the Department of Environmental Affairs is not monitoring whale-watching tourism boats and other vessels in the bay.  Residents are saying that complaints to government, the local authority and the tourism body are simply receiving no response.

Environmental Affairs Oceans and Coasts spokesperson Zolile Nqayi confirmed that Walker Bay was in fact a sanctuary and that no unauthorised boats were allowed in the bay during whale season.

He appealed to the public to report any incidents of boats getting to close to the whales to the department.

Weekly Press Review – 7 February 2014

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the SA Revenue Service (SARS) and the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) are reported to be working together to finalise “benefits that would be flourished to vessels bearing a South African flag.” (sic)  The purpose of the exercise, obviously, to attract companies to the South African ships register.

The authorities are looking for a collection of benefits from various sources, not only port-related benefits.  Tau Morwe, TNPA chief executive, said:  “We could look at benefits such as berthing priority.  We could look at benefits in terms of port costs and benefits of what actually happens in ports.”

It would seem that things are moving in a positive direction with regard to securing vessels for the South African ships’ registrar.  The major players are  working together to come up with a plan that will really excite, inspire and motivate ship owners to look at the South African ships registry as a realistic and preferred option.

This week, the Italian flagship aircraft carrier, Cavour, docked in Cape Town on a truly humanitarian mission.  The vessel is functioning as a mobile hospital.  In conjunction with the Red Cross and the Operation Smile, the staff of 40 volunteer medical professionals on board are here to perform free facial surgeries on children born with cleft lips and palates.

Italy’s ambassador to South Africa, Vincenzo Schioppa, said, “This is not a ship for war.  This is a ship for peace, a ship for friendship and for collaboration.”

Australia’s shark culling programme made headlines again this week as a group of South African protesters gathered outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre to protest the culling.  It is good to see South Africans supporting wildlife concerns in other countries, although I suspect the demonstration would have made little impact on Australian shores.  Interesting that we do not see much protesting to protect our own endangered wildlife being “culled “on an almost daily basis.

Finally, the South Africa Ship Society hosted a viewing of the documentary “Nazi Titanic” earlier this week.  We invite those present to please offer some feedback.