Weekly Press Review – 21 May 2018

Transnet has appointed a new CFO after a scandal involving the Gupta family. According to the press, Transnet has appointed Mohammed Mahomedy as the interim chief financial officer to take over from Garry Pita who resigned last month amid the financial scandal.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has also appointed a new Transnet interim board and removed the utility’s three remaining board members: Seth Radebe, Potso Mathekga and Zainul Nagdee.

“Transnet is facing serious allegations of maladministration and corruption. The previous board had not demonstrated appreciation of the seriousness of issues at hand or the ability to deal with these decisively in order to protect the entity in the interest of South Africa,” said Gordhan.

The share price of JSE-listed Premier Fishing & Brands rose 5.13 percent after the company delivered solid returns despite tough economic and environmental conditions.

According to the press, Samier Saban, chief executive of Premier said, “I am pleased with our interim results and the progress Premier has made against our strategy to date.”

Yoshi, the loggerhead turtle has made her way to the shallower waters off the Angolan coast. According to the press, the Two Oceans Aquarium team has reported that Yoshi appears to be enjoying her time along the Angolan coast.

“It is much shallower where she currently finds herself, so she is probably having a bit if a feeding frenzy,” said an aquarium spokesperson.

Yoshi was released from the Two Oceans Aquarium in December about 27 nautical miles off Hout Bay. She was fitted with a satellite tag allowing researchers to track her journey for the next three years.

In a follow-up to last week’s story regarding the Shark Spotters crowd-funding project to raise funds for new binoculars, we are happy to report that after a donation of R20,000 from the Chinese community’s Southern African North-east Chamber of Commerce, Shark Spotters reached their R60,000 goal for the new binoculars.

According to the press, Shark Spotters chief executive Sarah Weis said, “This will enable spotters to have the best tools to keep people safe. They will be able to see things further; and to identify threats and species of shark.”

The People’s Republic of China deputy consul general in Cape Town, Cao Li said, ”It feels good to be able to help, to increase the value of wildlife protection. This organisation protects our lives and the sharks’ lives.”

Weekly Press Review – 7 May 2018

Almost a year after the finalising of a forensic report alleging fraud by several high ranking fisheries officials, these same officials are still in their posts within the department.

According to the press, the report was conducted by forensic specialists The iFirm after a botched state abalone deal in 2016. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana said at the time that legal action was being considered.  The minister himself, however, now faces a report into his own conduct compiled by the National Health Education and Allied Workers Union, alleging nepotism, mismanagement and sexual favours, and calling for his immediate removal; and the officials still remain at the department.

In response Minister Zokwana’s office has said that a team had been set up to address these concerns.

In more positive news a four-year-old environmentalist has made headlines this week after she managed to collect more than 14 cubic metres of recycled plastic over the last month.

Jenny Kenyon from Cape Town is on a campaign to shine a light on the dangers faced by penguins and turtles, as well as the environment, as a result of plastic bags.

Jenny’s crusade began after a visit to the Two Ocean Aquarium where she learnt that a turtle had eaten plastic from the ocean.

“She started out by telling her friends why straws and balloons were harming marine life,” says Jenny’s mother, Kath Kenyon.

Jenny started collecting plastic in March. “ I like collecting plastic so the penguins don’t get sick,” said Jenny.

Surely we can all learn a lesson from a four-year old who is not only capable of understanding the dangers of plastic pollution to our oceans, but is also willing and able to start to do something about it.

Weekly Press Review – 19 February 2018

The Two Ocean Aquarium is back in the news this week with its turtle rehabilitation and release programme.

The programme cares for a number of injured turtles with the hope of restoring their health and releasing them back into the ocean as soon as possible.

At present the aquarium is caring for a young hatchling (Hatchling No 31), a loggerhead turtle who is not quite ready for release, but is receiving massage and exercise in order to strengthen his front flippers.

Newcomer Koda is also doing well after being rescued at Eskom Koeberg Nature Reserve and brought to the aquarium covered in barnacles.

Other turtles under the care of the aquarium include Moya, recovering from a large wound to his flipper and Bob and Sandy recovering from a propeller wound and loss of eyesight due to eating plastic respectively.

We thank the staff at the Two Ocean’s Aquarium for all their efforts, but the reality is that all these incidents could have been prevented.  Surely it is time for those using our oceans to become more aware of who they are sharing the marine environment with.  Our marine animals are suffering due to our disregard for, not only their natural environment, but for the very environment that we depend for our survival.

 

Weekly Press Review – 5 February 2018

Minister Senzeni Zokwana is exploring alternate remedies to resolve the appeals filed by applicants for Hake Inshore Trawl fishing rights – without litigation.

According to the press, a statement will be issued within the next 15 days to update members of the public and the fishing industry on progress made in resolving the review applications.

The release of an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) by the Two Oceans Aquarium also made headlines this week.

The sunfish, named Holy Moly, was rescued by aquarium staff in December 2017 after it became trapped in the V&A Waterfront harbour. The fish has been cared for at the aquarium since, but after careful observation of its behaviour lately, it was felt that the fish was ready for release.

The ocean sunfish is listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation and in South Africa alone over 340,000 are killed as by-catch annually.

Weekly Press Review – 22 January 2018

A group of top US maritime business students are visiting South Africa’s major shipping centres this month. According to the press, the aim of the visit is to learn from the local industry and explore the cultural complexity of the global maritime industry.

The event is hosted by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and the visiting students, from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, are accompanied by their South African lecturer, Dr Portia Ndlovu.

“The global maritime family is expanding all the time and it is vitally important to understand the different cultures that may be encountered,” said Dr Ndlovu.

SAIMI spokesperson, Samantha Venter said, “Being able to support professional development and share our advances with international visitors is a big part of putting the African maritime sector on the global map.”

Also making headlines this week is the news that the proposed international listing of South African private freight and logistics group, Grindrod, has been delayed due to differences in legislation in the countries where it plans to list.

In a statement Grindrod said that work is continuing and based on current timing estimates the Grindrod board aims to make its final determination on the proposed international listing in the early part of 2018.

The annual 2018 South African Navy Festival has been cancelled due to insufficient funds.

According to the press, SA Navy spokesperson, Sam Khasuli said, “The organisation is beset with the dwindling of yearly budget allocations.”

The decision to cancel the festival allows the SA Navy to commit its depleted budget to the core business of defending and protecting the South African maritime zone.

Police officials arrested five suspects in possession of abalone with an estimated value of R3.6 million this week.

According to the press, the five suspects, aged between 22 and 26, have already made a court appearance to face a charge of illegal possession of abalone.

Also making headlines this week is the Two Oceans Aquarium battle against deadly single-use plastic straws, which find their way into our oceans.

Aquarium spokesperson, Renee Leeuwner said, “Hundreds of billions of plastic straws are used globally, damaging ecosystems, killing wildlife and contributing to the pollution of our atmosphere.

“Straws are not recyclable. Animals can mistake straws for food, which can lead to their deaths.”

The aquarium is addressing the issue through its “Straws Suck” campaign, saying that giving up straws is an ideal start and listing alternatives to the plastic straw as bamboo, glass, stainless steal and paper straws.

Weekly Press Review – 16 October 2017

This week Armscor confirmed plans to buy a new torpedo system for its Heroine-class submarines to replace the existing ageing stockpile.

According to the press, it is unclear how many new-generation torpedoes will be purchased (at an estimated cost of R60 million each), but news of the acquisition coincides with a military budget crisis, with the navy unable to afford vital offshore patrol vessels. The government has also delayed a massive shipbuilding programme, Projects Hotel and Biro, which would create thousands of jobs.

“The value to the country of a torpedo weapons system is minuscule compared with building a ship,” said one arms industry insider.

Earlier this year naval chiefs confirmed severe operational challenges stemming from a R5 billion cut in military spending across the army, air force and navy.

Despite the fact that two major perlemoen poaching syndicates have recently appeared in local magistrate courts, the business of perlemoen poaching remains rife in the Western Cape.

According to the press the police arrested three individuals in possession with approximately R30,000 of perlemoen this week.  The men will appear in court shortly.

South Africa and Mozambique are developing more gas pipelines in order to meet the increasing demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in both countries.

According to the press, Mozambique’s Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Augusto de Sousa Fernando told delegates at the International Gas Co-operation Summit in Durban that demand had increased over the last 13 years. He added that South Africa had an opportunity to benefit from the development of LNG in the future by joining other countries in the region.

As part of National Marine Week WWF-Sassi has reiterated its message that whether we will be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of a meal of fish and chips in the future depends largely on the choices that we, as consumers, make today.

Sassi has compiled a list of the status of various fish. Each year this list is reviewed and species are added, removed or have their status changed, according to various species assessments.

Two Ocean Aquarium communications and sustainability manager, Helen Lockhart said, “Teaming up with SASSI this Marine Month provides a great opportunity to take the sustainable seafood message beyond the Aquarium and to focus on informing and empowering consumers during this month.”

Weekly Press Review – 18 September 2017

The partial sinking of the chartered Robben Island ferry, Thandi, on Friday afternoon has made headlines this week.  According to the press, the vessel began taking on water while returning from the island and the 68 passengers and crew on board had to be rescued.

Senior manager of ferry operations at the Robben Island Museum (RIM), Sandresan Thandroyan, said, “Robben Island Museum is conducting its own internal investigation. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will also be conducting an investigation. RIM will support them throughout the process.”

The vessel has since been towed to Murrays Bay Harbour and stabilised.

Disgruntled fishers stormed the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) offices on the foreshore this week demanding the immediate suspension of the West Coast Rock Lobster fishing rights allocation process.

According to the press, local fishers want the West Coast Rock Lobster offshore allocations shifted from big companies to near shore and small-scale fishers.

The group, representing 10 fishing organisations, including the Hout Bay Fishers Community Trust, Kleinmond Integrated Fishing Forum and Mitchells Plain Fishing Forum, also demanded an immediate meeting with Minister Senzeni Zokwana and other senior officials to address the challenges faced by fishing communities in the area.

Premier Food and Fishing has changed its name to Premier Fishing and Brands Limited.

Chief executive Samir Saban said, “The name change ushers in a new and exciting era for the company following its successful listing earlier this year.”

As part of the International Coastal Clean-up Day started in 1986, the Two Oceans Aquarium invited Capetonians to be part of the 12 million volunteers worldwide and spend two hours picking up litter on Milnerton beach this Saturday.

According to the press, the event included a puppet show for children after the clean-up and volunteers were asked to download the Clean Swell app allowing them to become citizen scientists by tracking their clean-up achievements and at the same time provide valuable data to the Ocean Conservancy’s research data.

Weekly Press Review – 4 September 2017

With the Western Cape facing an ongoing water crisis, two major companies are looking at desalination options for the V&A Waterfront.

According to the press, Growthpoint Properties and PIC (the Public Investment Corporation), equal joint owners of the V&A Waterfront, are investigating the feasibility of establishing a desalination plant to mitigate the risk to their investment caused by Cape Town’s water shortage crisis.

“The city would probably be keen for us to do something like that. We haven’t quite worked out all the risks, all the pros and cons and have to go through the process.

“But certainly in terms of supplying our own needs, we are looking at it pretty seriously at the moment,” says Norbert Sasse, chief executive of Growthpoint.

Also making headlines this week is the announcement that South Africa will host the 10th summit of the Brics bloc in 2018, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Addressing the Brics Business Forum, President Jacob Zuma said that South Africa welcomed attendees of the forum to visit South Africa, saying that South Africa is a new frontline of growth and prosperity and that the country expected to realise inclusive economic development and further increase its trade with other Brics countries.

The Two Oceans Aquarium was involved in an unusual rescue operation this week. According to the press, aquarium staff rescued an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) from the Robertson Dry Dock next to the aquarium and released it back into the harbour at the V&A Waterfront.

The rescue operation involved several staff members from the Two Oceans Aquarium, and thanks to the help of Summit Crane Hire and H&I Construction, the team was able to airlift the sunfish out of the dry dock and back into the harbour.

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 – 3 July 2017

The big news for maritime historians this week is the discovery of the ship’s bell belonging to the ill-fated SS Mendi, which sank 100 years ago resulting in the deaths of more than 600 sailors.

According to the press, the ship’s bell was left to Steve Humphey, a well-known local television personality with a special interest in the SS Mendi, in the English coastal town of Swanage.

An anonymous tip led Humphrey and a television crew to the Swanage Pier in the early hours of June,15. According to Humphrey, the bell was wrapped in plastic inside a tarpaulin sack and was tied with string and duct tape. There was an envelope attached to the bell with the journalist’s name of it.

The note read: “Knew of the Mendi’s historical importance to South African heritage, but was concerned that it might not go to the right place. This needs to be sorted out before I pass away as it could get lost.”

The bell has since been transported to a museum in the area where it will be authenticated.

This week marks the graduation of more than 100 SA Navy members after six months of military training at the SAS Saldanha.

According to the press, the navy believes that the aim of the training was not only to provide the youth military skills, but also to teach them the basic life skills required in the work environment, the military environment as well as a  good work ethic.

Skills provided included: seamanship, environmental awareness, musketry, computer skills, basic financial management and discipline.

The SAS Saldanha has recently undergone an extensive upgrade, receiving modern accommodation, mess and classroom facilities.

The impact of the recent international cyber attack has been felt on South African shores. According to the press, the offices of Maersk Line in South Africa were affected by the cyber attack and all computers and landlines were offline.

Matthew Conroy, commercial manager for Maersk Line Southern Africa, said that he did not know when things would return to normal and that the cyber attack was still being investigated.

The Two Oceans Aquarium has declared this month Plastic Free July. According to the press the aquarium has thrown its weight behind the ban on single-use plastic shopping bags through its campaign Rethink the Bag.

The campaign was launched by Hayley McLellan, the aquarium’s environmental campaigner, who has worked since 2010 to promote the campaign, by educating the public and retailers and establishing partnerships.

“All role-players, especially consumers, remain responsible for the approximately 8 billion plastic shopping bags we use every year in South Africa. Remember that demand drives supply, so let’s simply stop demanding and using them,” says McLellan.

Plastic Free July is a worldwide campaign.