A global war on plastic waste may see an end, with South Africa playing a lead role in it: African Marine Waste Conference

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Port Elizabeth: 11 July 2017

An ongoing global strife against marine waste, but particularly plastic waste gradually rendering the world’s oceans a cesspit of debris threatening all life on earth, might soon score some victories and South Africa might have a pioneering role in this regard.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the country will be introducing a technologically advanced plastic material designed to rapidly dissolve in water once sufficiently exposed.

This emerged at the African Marine Waste Conference currently underway in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, involving more than 200 delegates, among them dozens of leading scientists from several African and other countries.

IMG_6403In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Dr Sudhakar Muniyasamy, a senior researcher on polymers and composites at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) revealed that the new plastic material for use in plastic carrier bags used mostly by retail stores would begin distribution in the coming year.

He said two of the country’s major clothes and foods retailers, Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths would be the first participants in the use of the new plastic material.

‘Plastic waste is a global issue and in seeking solutions to this problem, my research team focused on developing a plastic material that when it reaches landfill sites or the marine environment, it is completely biodegradable.

“The research and development phase is completed and we are now embarking on pilot scale production. The technology has drawn the interest of Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay and we are expecting them, maybe next year, to be on the license stage,” announced Dr Muniyasamy.

IMG_6436According to the scientist, once sufficiently distributed for single use plastic carrier bags from next year onwards, the new material should go a long way towards reducing plastic waste both at dumpsites as well as in the marine environment.

He also confirmed that along with the new technologically advanced plastic material, a campaign would be rolled to ensure that manufacturers of all plastic material currently in use meet a set of new stringent standards.

Dr Muniyasamy said South Africa was embarking on the efforts in collaboration with other African countries, among them being Egypt.

For the full five (5) minutes interview, Click Here

Booms, Bins and Bags – a B3 solution to the BIGA problem.

That is a solution driven by Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, a senior marine biology lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal primarily to rid rivers in that province of South Africa of plastic waste often left to float freely by both established waste removal entities of local municipalities, but also by the population generally.

The project according to Dr Robertson-Andersson came to life after she’d transferred from Cape Town to Durban and on approaching the beaches in the city, found them littered with all sorts of plastic waste but especially small items such as bottle tops, straws, earbuds and other smaller broken plastic materials.

In collaboration with others, including independent NGOs, the project involving volunteers collects as much as between 300 and 1300 bags of small plastic waste along rivers such as the Umhlangane and Umgeni per time period.

In a three (3 minutes) video, Dr Robertson-Andersson chats briefly about the project.

 

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Crew of stricken Taiwanese trawler rescued off the Indian Ocean. Warning issued about floating unmanned vessel

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One of two liferafts filled with crew members of a Taiwanese fishing trawler, the Hsiang Fuh No.6 who were rescued at sea in the Indian Ocean after abandoning their vessel  reportedly following a fire breakout on board on Sunday.The 30 crew members are currently on their way to Durban, South Africa

Pretoria: 11 July 2017

Ocean traffic to the east of South Africa on the Indian Ocean north east of Durban has been warned to be on watch for a stranded fishing trawler floating aimlessly, unmanned, after its crew abandoned it following to a fire breakout on board on Sunday.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on Tuesday confirmed that it had coordinated a rescue effort for the 30 crew members of the Taiwanese fishing trawler named as the Hsiang Fuh No. 6, after it had abandoned the vessel reportedly due to fire on board.

According to the website, marinetraffic.com, the Hsiang Fuh No. 6 is a 21 year old fishing trawler, measuring 45.65 meters in length and 8.3m in breadth, with a deadweight of some 489 tons.

In a statement on Tuesday, SAMSA reported that the fishing trawler’s crew, some with slight burns, had been successfully rescued and would be arriving in Durban some time on Tuesday (11 July, 2017).

According to SAMSA, the organization’s Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre (MRCC) based in Cape Town was notified that a container ship, the Ever Diadem, had spotted the Hsiang Fuh No. 6, on fire, and its crew were abandoning ship on two life rafts; about 736 kilometers East-North-East from Durban and some 496 kilometers from the closest shore.

1The rescue coordinating centre requested the Ever Diadem to recover the survivors, with an additional urgent request (MAYDAY) message relayed also to other vessels in the vicinity to assist in the rescue.

Bulk carriers, the Hampton Bay and SBI Antares, responded and the SBI Antares eventually assisted with the rescue.

“All the survivors were picked up – 16 crew by the Ever Diadem and 14 by the SBI Antares. Both vessels are proceeding to Durban to disembark the survivors.

“The survivors, mostly Philippine, Indonesian, Taiwanese and Vietnam nationals are fine with some reported to have suffered burn injuries. The necessary arrangements for the safe delivery and repatriation of the sailors were made and they will be met by representatives of their countries on arrival in Durban.

“MRCC is currently engaged in efforts to evacuate one of the crew that suffered burns from the Ever Diadem, 60 km off Durban. The air medical evacuation shall be done with the assistance of a South African Air Force and NetCare Paramedics,” said SAMSA in a statement.

SAMSA said its surveyors and investigators would meet the survivors on their arrival

The organization further commended  efforts of the Masters and crew of the Ever Diadem and SBI Antares for the valiant effort in saving the lives of the crew of the fishing vessel.

Meanwhile, SAMSA issued a warning to all seagoing traffic in that part of the Indian Ocean to be on the lookout for the stranded fishing trawler.

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Real opportunities in South Africa’s maritime sector will draw people’s attention: SAMSA

Durban: 02 April 2017

SHARING INSIGHTS: Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of South African Maritime Safety Authority addressing a gathering of about 30 people, a majority of them journalists in Durban at lunchtime on Sunday

Identification and creation of economic opportunities in South Africa’s maritime sector is among key strategies that will attract and enhance the country population’s interest and engagement with the ocean’s economy, according to Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in Durban on Sunday.

Mr Tilayi said this while addressing a group of journalists and some maritime sector specialists at a lunch event held at the Durban beachfront ahead of the Ethekwini Maritime Summit beginning in the city on Monday at the old Durban airport.

The annual summit in Durban is one of two major national maritime sector gatherings in the country in the coming week, the other being the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC 2017) over three days in Port Elizabeth. Eastern Cape; beginning on Wednesday.

Mr Tilayi (Right) having a one-on-one meeting with some journalists at a gathering at the Durban beachfront on Sunday

SAMIC 2017 scheduled for the Boardwalk Conference Centre in Nelson Mandela Bay and hosted by the recently established South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), will be the second such conference of its kind since the inaugural one held in Cape Town some five years ago.

In Durban on Sunday, the SAMSA lunchtime event, was intended partly to provide an update on some developments concerning the maritime sector as well as share information on a whole range of developmental issues that the maritime authority is engaged with or contributes to, inclusive of the country’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) project launched in 2014.

Mr Tilayi, noting that South Africa is a maritime country endowed with just of over 3200km of a coastline on which sits eight commercial ports, and some 1.6-million square kilometers of an Exclusive Economic Zone spread over three oceans from the Atlantic in the west, the Southern Ocean in the south and the Indian Ocean to the east, yet the average South African still knew little to nothing about the sector; said part of the awareness campaign should involve identification and creation of meaningful economic opportunities in the sector.

This he said, would not only attract the public’s attention but would also ensure meaningful, profitable engagement.

Mr Tilayi’s address covered progress as well as challenges faced on a whole range of issues inclusive of ship registry, seafarer training, maritime sector education and training initiatives, maritime sector related legislation development and related matters.

In addition to his expected contribution at the Ethekwini Maritime Summit beginning on Monday, Mr Sobantu’s next important address will be in Port Elizabeth on Thursday where he is scheduled to deliver a report-back on maritime sector developments related to issues raised by industry since the last industry conference five years ago.

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