African Marine Waste Network joins global war against marine plastic pollution

DSC_4231
A typical overflowing street dirt bin full of plastic waste situated along the Swartkops River estuary and river mouth in Port Elizabeth that feeds directly into the Indian Ocean to the east of South Africa.

PORT ELIZABETH: 26 April 2018

The global war against oceans plastic pollution has been given yet another boost with the launch of a new plastic waste academy in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, this week.

The African Marine Waste Network Academy, an initiative of the Sustainable Seas Trust and funded by the Norwegian government, was launched at a day long ceremony held at the Nelson Mandela University on Tuesday, 24 April 2018.

The Nelson Mandela University is settled on the seashore of the Indian Ocean, one of three oceans surrounding the country at the most southern tip of Africa – the Southern Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean to the west – and which together combine to form a 3200 kilometer coastline and attaching to which is a 1.5 million square kilometers (km²) of an exclusive economic zone to which South Africa has control.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has direct statutory responsibility for environmental integrity of this vast ocean space particularly in terms of pollution prevention by sea going vessels, inclusive of plastic waste.

DSC_4128
Participants at the launch of the African Marine Waste Network Academy launch in Port Elizabeth included (top Left), Dr Malik Pourzanjani, CEO of Port Elizabeth-based South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and (top) Mrs Nondumiso Mfenyana of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

In Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, it was announced that the new African Marine Waste Network Academy’s work will involve research, education and capacity building, economic incentives and enterprises development as well as communication and networking.

Guests attending the launch included Norway’s Ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen, British High Commissioner to South Africa, Dr John Wade-Smith, academics from South Africa and Norway among whom were the Nelson Mandela University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Leitch, director of the African Marine Waste Networking group and CEO of Sustainable Seas Trust, Dr Anthony Ribbink and about 70 others, among them government, non-government, business and civil sectors representatives.

In a statement announcing the launch this week, the partners to the initiative described the setting up of the academy for the Africa region as a timely intervention especially in a continent fast assuming the dubious ranking of having the most polluted marine and maritime environment.

Apparently, no less than 700 kilograms of plastic waste was entering and accumulating in the seas on a daily basis, it emerged, with predictions that the mass of plastics in the oceans around the world would exceed that of fish in only 30 years from now.

“Plastic has a detrimental impact on all marine life and our environment and this negatively affects the livelihood of millions of people and society at large. The African Marine Waste Network was established in 2016 to address the issue of marine waste at pan-African level, and aims to facilitate collaboration between people and organizations across borders,’ said the parties in the statement.

DSC_4138 (2).JPG
Among guests attending the launch of the African Marine Waste Network Academy launch in Port Elizabeth were (from Left) Nelson Mandela University Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Leitch, Sustainable Seas Trust CEO and Africa Marine Waste Network director Dr Anthony Ribbink, British High Commissioner to South Africa Dr John Wade-Smith and Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa official Dr Karl Klingsheim.

In 2017, the city of Port Elizabeth hosted the first ever African Marine Plastic Pollution conference to focus the continent on the problem and in finding solutions going forward. Some 42 African countries since became members of the African Marine Waste Network group.

Last month in Pretoria, the Norwegian government announced a R1.3-million sponsorship for the launch and work of the new academy. This followed an announcement by the Norwegian government of a NOK150-million fund to be dedicated to fighting plastic pollution worldwide.  At the time, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Børge Brende said the Africa region would be one of the focus areas of the fund.

In Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, the parties to the African Marine Waste Network Academy initiative explained what the first priorities of the academy would be in the sponsorship period.

Among these will be the launch of a feasibility study in the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) area over a six months period to test ideas and develop proof of concepts.

“The feasibility study will involve cutting edge research to generate much needed data on the amount of waste in catchments, rivers and estuaries in the Nelson Mandela Bay area, deploying drones and other innovative technology to achieve this.

DSC_4140 (2).JPG
Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa (centre with white jacket) Her Excellency, Ms Trine Skymoen and African Marine Waste Network director and Sustainable Seas Trust CEO, Dr Anthony Ribbink (with blue & white tie) together with the SST team assisting with the set-up of the new marine pollution academy for Africa in Port Elizabeth.

DSC_4139 (2)
Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen

Norwegian ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen said lessons learned through the exercise will be shared “with a view to scale up and roll out long-term initiatives from 2019 to stem the flow of marine debris from Africa and its island states into the oceans.

‘Only by sharing the experiences and knowledge will we be able to find sustainable solutions to global challenges. Dr Ribbink and his team are leading the way to saving the oceans. Norway is proud to be a sponsor of SST and a partner to the African Marine Waste Network. We sincerely hope others too will support their activities,” said.

For a six minutes interview with Ms Skymoen, Click on the video below.

Durban port ship collision: SAMSA to investigate.

Durban port
Durban port. For illustration only (SAMSA file photo)

Pretoria: 15 April 2018

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed on Sunday an investigation underway into the collision of a ship and a tug at the port of Durban at the weekend.

According to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the collision occurred on Friday between a car carrier vessel and an inactive tug. No one was injured in the accident, said TNPA spokesperson, Ms Ayanda Somagaca

“On the morning of Friday, 13 April 2018, Transnet National Ports Authority (Port of Durban) was notified that a car carrier vessel, CSCC ASIA, operated by Hoegh Autoliners, had collided with the inactive tug Inyalazi while berthing alongside at the R-Shed in the port’s Point Precinct.

“No injuries were reported as there were no employees on board the tug Inyalazi. Damage occurred to the quayside and the tug sustained a hole on its side which has resulted in an ingress of water into the tug. Tug Umbilo was deployed to the site with a salvage pump to remove the water from Inyalazi.

“Divers and Port of Durban marine crew were on site to closely assess the extent of the damage for the purposes of blocking water from entering the tug. SAMSA arrived at the scene to assess the damage to the Tug and the Commercial Vessel,” said Ms Somagaca

She said operations at the port were running as normal and that the car carrier vessel had been able to continue with its operations while the tug would be moved a dry dock for repairs.

In Durban on Sunday, SAMSA’s Captain Saroor Ali, confirmed that an investigation by the agency was underway to determine the cause of the accident.

“Investigation is in progress and the cause leading to the incident can only be determined on concluding the investigation which involves statements from the ship and tug boat crew and relevant eyewitness personnel.

“SAMSA accident investigations guided by the South African Merchant Shipping Act, are conducted to ascertain the factors contributing to the accident, give recommendations so as to avoid re-occurrence,” said Captain Ali.

End

SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel, in EL dry dock for a sprucing up!

(The following report and headline photo first appeared in Creamer Media’s Engineering News and with exception of all photos except the headline, is reproduced here, as is, with permission from Creamer Media )

SA Agulhas 2018.jpg
The SA Agulhas is back in the now-refurbished Port of East London’s Princess Elizabeth dry dock, with improved facilities, for her lay-up maintenance plan after her previous visit in 2013

Pretoria: 13 April 2018

By SIMONE LIEDTKE

The SA Agulhas is back in the now-refurbished Port of East London’s Princess Elizabeth dry dock, with improved facilities, for her lay-up maintenance plan after her previous visit in 2013.

The contract to undertake maintenance on the 40-year-old vessel was awarded to local ship repair company East London Shipyard, and should take between four to six weeks to be completed during April.

Work includes repairs and maintenance on the bow and stern thrusters, tail shaft, steering gear, compressors, cranes, deck machinery and hull.

“More than 80 direct jobs have been created during the project including employment for marine engineers, electricians, riggers, welders, fitters, painters and supervisory staff,” said Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port of East London ship repair manager Leigh Carls.

Carls added that the dry dock is also undergoing refurbishment and the project is at an advanced stage with R21-million invested to date and 70% of the work completed so far, including new switchgear and crane rails.

IMG_5820.JPG
The river port of East London. (Photo: SAMSA)

“Work began in 2015 with a phased approach being followed to enhance all critical components and allow for the dock to be functional throughout the upgrading process,” he noted.

The dry dock refurbishment, in support of ship repair and marine manufacturing, is part of TNPA’s contribution nationally towards government’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative, which aims to unlock the economic potential of the country’s oceans by, among other things, accelerating investments into ship repair facilities and marine engineering capability.

In the port of East London, Operation Phakisa focuses on the ship repair and boat building industries.

DSC_3622
The SA Agulhas berthing at the port of Port Elizabeth in Janaury 2018 from its 80 days sorjourn into the Indian and Southern Oceans as far as Antarctica with more than 40 Indian scientists and 20 new South African cadets of South African International Maritime Institute.

The SA Agulhas is the fifth commercial vessel to make use of the dry dock over the past six months and was one of the star attractions at last year’s East London Port Festival, as well as the People’s Port Festival in Port Elizabeth earlier in the year.

The vessel, which is the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s dedicated training vessel, returned from a three-month trip to Antarctica at the end of February.

Recently appointed Port of East London manager Sharon Sijako said on Monday that attracting more ship repair business to the port was an essential aspect of the new aggressive strategy to expand the port for the benefit of the region.

End