The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has confirmed launching an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the capsizing of a KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board boat and in which two people reportedly died, while a third was still missing in Richards Bay early on Wednesday.
According to SAMSA, the tragic incident involving a total of five (5) employees of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, reportedly occurred shortly after 06h00 at the port of the Richards Bay.
The skipper of the boat – described as a 6.6-meter shark-meshing type vessel, named “Typus III” – was said to have been one of those who fatally lost their lives. He reportedly had more than 18 years of experience as a skipper.
According to the SAMSA report, the incident occurred while the boat crew were conducting shark net inspections and replacements along the Alkantstrand beach in Richards Ba= when strong waves hit the vessel and it capsized.
SAMSA Principal Officer for the agency’s Richards Bay office, Captain Winston Lobo said: “This morning at about 06h45 the Sharks Board owned boat “Typus III” with five (5) people on board, capsized whilst carrying out shark netting operations.
“NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) was activated and two (2) persons were recovered and are currently in a stable condition in hospital. Tragically, two (2) others are deceased and one (1) is still missing.”
According to Captain Lobo, the rescue operation of the boat crew and sea search for the missing employee – conducted jointly between the SAMSA’s Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) port control in Richards Bay as well as NSRI and SAPS divers – continued for the better part of the day on the Wednesday.
In addition, he said, SAMSA officials along with South African Police Services (SAPS) members had been working closely since early in the day to establish the circumstances of the tragic incident.
Captain Lobo reported that the search for the missing person, which also involved a TNPA helicopter in and around the Alkantstrand beach, had been called off after several hours of searching.
Public and private sector partnerships remain crucial to advancement of redevelopment and transformation of particularly formerly marginalized communities in South Africa inclusive of those directly affected and impacted by the country’s maritime economic sector, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
The view was expressed by SAMSA’s Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi during launch of the State agency’s maritime rural support programme for the Ingquza Municipal Area in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape on Wednesday, 01 August 2018 – an event deliberately tied to also mark the celebration of the Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu Centennial currently underway countrywide.
The Ingquza Municipal Area in Lusikisiki – some 45 kilometres north-east of Port St Johns – comprises two land settlement nodes, Mbotyi and Msikaba – that are part of South Africa’s globally renowned Wild Coast stretching for more than half of the Eastern Cape Province’s 900km coastline on the Indian Ocean.
Owing to both historical and current socio-political dynamics, the rural communities here, although settled in an area that by some accounts is endowed with some of the world’s best natural resources, with massive maritime economic development potential; remain poor, marked by high unemployment rates.
In launching the SAMSA Corporate Social Investment (CSI) driven rural support programme in the area on Wednesday, jointly with the Ingquza Hill Municipality, Mr Tilayi said this was intended to provide certain interventions that would hopefully both assist the local community with maritime sector skills development as well as draw business investment in sustainable entrepreneurial ventures to uplift and improve lives of the people here.
Pivotal to the endeavor would be public and private sector partnerships informed by and involving direct participation of the inhabitants of Ingquza.
To this end, Mr Tilayi said the package of interventions aimed for the area would follow the recommended format, and their primary goal being to facilitate the training of especially local youth with a set of maritime sector related skills that would enable them to either set up their small enterprises or acquire meaningful employment within the country’s broad maritime sector.
According to Mr Tilayi, the intervention at Ngquza Municipal was a countrywide corporate social investment programme by SAMSA that began a few years ago and now with foot-marks in provinces including KwaZulu-Natal.
In the Eastern Cape Province, the Ngquza area initiative follows to a similar intervention conducted at nearby Port St Johns in 2017.
At Ngquza Municipal area, SAMSA working jointly with the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board and the local municipal government, will focus on a skills development programme over a three months period beginning September 2018, involving diving (open water and advanced to master level), life guarding, fishing, coastal and marine tourism, maritime heritage boats repairs and general skills such as youth leadership and entrepreneurship.
Targeted will be youths between the ages of 16-35 years old who, strictly, are resident in the area.
In addition, proposed activity may include the erection of a cold storage facility for local subsistence fishermen that will also incorporate a boat repair centre.
No less than R3.5-million is expected to be expended in the first phase of the skills development initiative alone.
Explaining why the initiative was pegged on the Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu Centennial celebrations, Mr Tilayi said it was befitting that the elderly in South Africa remain fully part of all efforts to develop their communities as, he said, they constitute a bedrock of social cohesion and provide support to most youth, especially the unemployed.
To this end, SAMSA used the event to provide warm winter blankets to some 400 elderly people above the age of 60 years old as well as hosted them to a luncheon.’
SAMSA celebrates Nelson Mandela Day 2018 with the elderly
Port St Johns, a small coastal town along the Indian Ocean in the Eastern Cape, almost midway between the port cities of Durban and East London, is beyond itself with excitement over a series of programmes intended to equip local youth with maritime related skills and possible creation of badly needed jobs.
The multi-stream maritime related skills development programme also involving a degree of corporate social investment, is driven by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) along with partners including the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Harambee, as well as the Eastern Cape provincial and local municipalities.
The basic maritime skills development initiatives relate to coastal marine tourism in two streams; cruise tourism under a Maritime Youth Development Programme, and a Coastal and Marine Tourism and Youth Leadership path involving youth training in sea diving, life guarding, and related skills.
Training under the programmes began in early July involving an initial group of 50 youths in the cruise tourism stream, and about 35 youths in the Coastal and Marine and Youth Leadership stream.
The cruise tourism youth skills development stream, formally launched by SAMSA together with the Eastern Cape Government and Harambee in East London on 14 July, anticipates the placement of the youths on cruise vessels around the world by as early as September 2017, after which a second and third batches of youths will also undergo training.
The other stream involving the 35 youths and involving the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, is also already underway with training, with completion also earmarked for August 2017.
Alongside these youths skills development initiatives in marine and maritime related basic skills, is an assessment process of various tourism facilities in the area, inclusive of accommodation and hiking trails for possible assistance in promotion in tourism markets.
The initiatives come also against the backdrop of Port St Johns, located in an area of some 1,291 km² that falls under the O.R Tambo district municipalities, having been earmarked as the host for this year’s country celebrations of the World Maritime Day in the last week of September.
When once formally confirmed as host, this little town along the Eastern Cape’s 800km coastline – the second longest of the country’s four provinces bordering the oceans – and known more for its picturesque landscape through which the Umzimvubu River meets the sea, as well as pristine beaches and hiking trails that are a constant hit with domestic and foreign tourists alike, it will be the first time that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) driven annual event is held at a coastal town outside of South Africa’s major commercial port cities.
The staging of the World Maritime Day in Port St Johns in September according to the town’s mayor Ms Lindelwa Rolobile, may also just be the catalyst needed to draw more attention to the area’s potential for bigger contribution to the country’s maritime economic development currently pursued under the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative.
The town quietly harbours hope for development of a small fishing industry launchpad. There are claims that it had been promised.
However, Ms Rolobile believes that in addition to tourism – in a coastal area also known worldwide for some spectacular shipwrecks over the years, including the sea cruise vessel; the Oceanos – Port St Johns can also be a hub for small to medium sea craft manufacturing.
An elated Ms Rolobile has described the much needed focus in the area by SAMSA as exciting and a long needed intervention particularly with regards youths skilling and possible creation of much needed jobs in an area of the country where youth unemployment is extremely high.
Speaking during the launch of the MYDP strand of the programme in East London recently, Ms Rolobile praised SAMSA for living up to a ‘promise’ it had made to the town back in 2012.
She also applauded the partnerships the organization has established with various other players in pursuit of realization of the socio-economic enhancement initiatives.
Meanwhile, one of the youths from Port St Johns involved in the marine and maritime basic skills development programme, Mr Siphamandla Masikode, committed to making the best of the opportunities that were emerging for youths in his hometown.
Involved in the cruise tourism skills development stream under the Maritime Youth Development Programme, Mr Masikode said he considered himself lucky to have made it into the first group of 150 youths and hoped he would make it also in the first 50 who started formal training a week ago.
A South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) initiative, supported and driven by the Department of Transport, to alleviate the plight of a northern KwaZulu-Natal community forever swamped in water, has moved yet another significant step forward after eight (8) new boat skipper trainees completed their training in Durban recently.
All eight skipper trainees – four males and four females – are from the community of Enkovukeni, at Umhlab’uyalingana and all successfully went through a rigorous training programme at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence in Durban a week ago.
The training, conducted by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board along with SAMSA, is part of a now much broader community initiative launched about three months ago to initially provide water based transport to the Enkovukeni community, a village situated on a thin 5km waterlogged stretch piece of land forming part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park – South Africa’s first world heritage – in the north of KwaZulu-Natal.
Enkovukeni, at Mhlabauyalingana, is practically an island, stretching from Bhanga Neck to Kosi Bay Mouth with the Indian Ocean on one side and the Kosi Bay lake system on the other. The area is virtually only accessible by foot or make shift canoes which residents currently use.
The initiative is part of the Umhlabuyalingana Outreach Project which was initially proposed as a Nelson Mandela International Day project by SAMSA, the latter which drew a partnership with other stakeholders to accelerate delivery of services and bring immediate and long term relief to the community.
Private sector partners now supporting SAMSA and the Department of Transport include Dormac, Subtech, Smith Amandla Marine, Unicorn, SA Shipyards, MIASA, KZN Sharks board, FBI Communications, Viking Lifesaving and Surfing Equipment.
The newly trained boat skippers, all previously unemployed youths from the community will once formally licensed, be charged with responsibility for manning and managing the boats to be deployed with the community, said SAMSA Curriculum Development Specialist, Mr Mzwamandla Sosibo.
Mr Sosibo and KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Education Project Specialist, Mr Vincent Zulu who oversaw the training, were on hand in Durban last Friday to see the group return home after its training.
Mr Sosibo said SAMSA was pleased that significant progress was being achieved with the initiative, but precisely with regards water based transport for the community as this remained the main challenge to address all other problems. For his full remarks Click Here:
Meanwhile, Mr Zulu said the Enkovukeni initiative constituted an example of the nature of beneficiation communities across the country could elicit from the national Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) initiative launched in 2014.
Of the eight skipper trainees, he said they had an equal obligation to ensure that contribution made to their Enkovukeni community fully benefitted everyone and that projects initiated were jealously guarded and fully supported by the community for long term sustainability. For Mr Zulu’s full remarks, Click Here
Meanwhile, the eight boat skipper trainees said they were “absolutely elated” to have been included in the programme and vowed to give it their all to ensure the programme is sustainable.
For their remarks (averaging one minute each), please Click the pictures below
Initiative to alleviate community plight now a Presidential Project – Deputy Minister of Transport
Pretoria: 11 September 2016
After wading through crocodile, hippopotamus and rhinoceros infested waters for decades – more than five centuries by one account – the community of Enkovukeni, a small village patched on a forested hill surrounded by deep lakes waters on the one side, and the pulsating waves of the Indian Ocean on the other, at Umhlabuyalingana on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, might soon have a bridge at last.
That is if the South African government which has taken focus of the area fully for the first time, can negotiate a few treacherous corners inclusive of international conventions governing the management of the country’s first ever World Heritage Site; the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park in which the village is tightly locked in.
On Friday, Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga accompanied by members of top management of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), a group of private sector representatives and provincial and local government officials in KwaZulu-Natal; met the villagers with their traditional leader, Inkosi Tembe and she gave an undertaking that national government would look into the plight of the community.
They told her in unison, without a second thought; they wanted a bridge, along with a ‘two-lane’ road.
The desperate request is based on the fact that an only entrance by a vehicle into the area – stopping short of a kilometer to the village, on the banks of an oft swollen lake – is a three to five kilometer long single-lane shifting sand pit barely two meters wide, running rugged through a thicket on which only off-road vehicles are able successfully to grind.
Folklore has it that a few locals who’d ever managed to buy a vehicle, any type of vehicle; have never ever been able to take it home. Boating on the heritage site lakes is also apparently highly regulated.
On Friday, Ms Chikunga however described it as a bizarre situation that should not obtain still in the new South Africa, and committed that government would fully investigate the possibility of constructing a bridge across some part of the lake in order to provide more secure and safe mobility for the community.
But that will partly require working past a basket of international conventions along with domestic laws, rules and regulations governing the management of the Isimangaliso World Heritage Site.
Information on the park’s website states that the iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 “in recognition of its superlative natural beauty and unique global values.”
It states: “The 332 000 hectare Park contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25 000 year-old vegetated coastal dunes – among the highest in the world. The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this unique place.”
The deputy Minister’s visit of the area on Friday was the second since August 14, 2016; following to an initiative by the Pretoria headquartered South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) together with private sector partners in the Durban region’s maritime sector to assist the Enkovukeni community with mainly water based transport.
According to SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, the initiative was sparked by a news report earlier this year that depicted the living conditions of the community as dire due to an almost complete lack of not only transport, but anything else to enhance its life to a level others in surrounding areas generally take for granted.
As part of its community outreach programme under the annual Nelson Mandela International Day (2016), the authority mobilized support for help among some private sector companies that could lend a hand, in the form of boats that could be donated,.
To date a handful agreed, among them the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, shipping group Smit-Amandla Marine, Dormac, Subtech, Unicorn, SA Shipyards, MIASA, FBI Communications, Viking Lifesaving and Surfing Equipment FBI Communications and some others.
The event Friday was to both hand over the first of possibly two or three boats the community would be donated with in order just to be safe enough for day to day travel, including school children who have to cross the lake daily to attend school, the sick who need medical help and the elderly who have to collect their social grants.
It was also for government at all three tiers to consult further with the community on how best it could be further assisted.
Ms Chikunga announced that government had taken serious note of the situation such that it was now being undertaken as a Presidential Project under the direct control of President Jacob Zuma.
Mobilization, she said; had begun by the Department of Transport (under her directive) to involve and engage fully no less than seven other national departments – Public Works; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Basic Education, Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Small Business, Trade and Industry, Energy Affairs, and Arts and Culture; but also the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government in efforts to focus their attention to action to alleviate the plight of the Enkovukeni community.
“When I visited the area for the first time on 14 August 2016, and held talks with Inkosi Tembe and some members of the community, I promised I would be back with a progress report. Today, I am back not only with a report back, but also with tools and equipment intended to alleviate the plight of this community. The boats are not a total solution, but are a start.
“As promised, I have since taken your situation to the Office of the President with a proposal that this situation be undertaken as a Presidential Project, and he has agreed. The next step proposed is the establishment of an inter-Ministerial Task team involving deputy Ministers of the respective departments in order that we package a comprehensive programme that will deliver on the issues requiring address.
“The Director General in the Office of the President is currently arranging for the first of such meetings,” she said.
Ms Chikunga said the involvement of as many national government departments as was possible was a necessity to ensure that as many challenges facing the community as possible were noted and where possible addressed holistically as soon as possible.
These included skills development for especially fishermen, small business development in particularly tourism as well as aspects related to arts and culture.
In addition, housing assistance and electrification, school nutrition and related matters, land management and general development needed specific and urgent attention, she said.
Ms Chikunga promised to return to the village within the next few weeks to deliver shoes to school going children (estimated at about 150) as well as certain basic necessities to families.
To listen fully to Ms Chikunga’s address (mainly in isiZulu), as well as the rest of the officials and community members, please click on the audio clips and video links provided below. The clips are in order of the programme as presented on Friday.