Methanol poisoning is believed to be the cause of the death of one crew member and hospitalization of five others in Durban, South Africa, from a Netherlands ship that was sailing past the country early this week.
According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) activated a rescue mission at about 7.51am on Tuesday after receiving a call for assistance from the Captain of the BOKA VANGUARD to help evacuate and seek urgent medical attention for five crew Brazilian crew members who had apparently fallen sick on board. An additional crewman had already died before MRCC was notified.
This occurred while the vessel – described as a heavy lift ship – was sailing on the Indian Ocean, approximately 276 kilometres East from the port city of Durban on its way from Qindao in China to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
On receiving the urgent call for assistance, MRCC said medical and evacuation support was activated involving the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Western Cape Metro Emergency Medical Services, the South African Air Force as well as the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Durban.
At the time of rescue and evacuation of the vessel’s sick crew, all five were in a critical condition with the potential risk of death, said the MRCC. It was reported by the Captain that the methanol poisoning happened during the evening but he only got to know about it that morning.
Both the TNPA and SAAF readied aircraft for use in the evacuation. The Air Force’s resources were utilised as it could carry all five casualties at once, while the NSRI also launched a boat from Durban as an additional safety measure. The MRCC described the sea and weather conditions during the operation as calm with the wind at 13 km/h and with a swell at 1.7 metres
At the time of writing, it could not be established what condition the sick crew were in since hospitalization on Tuesday.
MRCC Cape Town expressed its appreciation for the support provided by the SASAR Signatory Agencies and the contribution to the successful medical evacuation.
The fate of six stranded Asian sailors found in a desperate situation in a poorly conditioned vessel off the port of Cape Town recently may remain uncertain still, but their safety and general well-being going forward is ensured for time being, thanks to the timely intervention and assistance efforts of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
According to the agency, part of whose mandate is to ensure the safety of property and life at sea, the epic drama involving the six foreign sailors – two from Taiwan and four others from Mynmar, and some of whom now face possible legal sanction – apparently unfolded after SAMSA officials were alerted by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry (DEFF) about a drifting, fuel-less and permit-less vessel spotted at sea, off the port of Cape Town on 02 December 2019.
Four of the six member crew of the Yong Qing Fa No.666 currently believed to have been abandoned by their employer and who are currently residing on board the crippled vessel at the port of Cape Town after it was detained following its unauthorized entry and anchorage in SA waters, and a subsequent C188 inspection that found it not seaworthy. The six member crew of the vessel consists of four seafarers from Mynmar and two others from Taiwan.
Captain Pierre Schutz, a deputy Principal Officer at SAMSA’s western region Cape Town office, recounted this week about how the agency’s officers scrambled to the rescue of the foreign seafarers to ensure primarily their safety and general welfare while their sea sailing troubles including legal issues were being interrogated for a possible resolution.
The legal woes facing both the owners and crew of the now quarantined fishing vessel known as the Yong Qing Fa No.666 but whose flag state has yet to be determined, it emerged, include the vessel’s unauthorized entry into South African sea waters, the absence on board of necessary documentation including certificates of nationality, tonnage, drawing plans, crew list, Voyage Management System (VMS) transmitting, and an off Automatic Identification System (AIS).
On entering South African waters without permission and dropping anchor near Cape Town harbor without authorization on 30 November 2019 due to apparent desperation for bunkers, the six member crew on board reportedly also initially failed to communicate properly their plight with local authorities due to language difficulties, until the Taiwanese Fisheries agency in South Africa got involved, almost a week later.
In fact, on entering the country’s waters in the Atlantic Ocean and putting anchor near the Cape Town port, according to SAMSA, based on TNPA reports, the vessel’s crew did so without following any protocols and had maintained complete radio silence, something unusual and illegal.
It had since emerged that the six crew members and their poorly maintained vessel had were likely abandoned by the owner, with four of the crew members having not been paid their wages.
According to SAMSA on Wednesday this week, two of the stranded seafarers, from Taiwan, had since been charged with certain law transgressions (unspecified) and were due to reappear in a Cape Town magistrate’s court on 27 January 2020.
Reporting about the drama, Capt. Schutz says SAMSA got drawn initially to the plight of the crew of the vessel – and which had since been established to have been sailing from West Africa to Mauritius – after respective authorities including the TNPA, DEFF and others, all bound by relevant legislation and protocols, were initially reluctant and refused it entry into a South African port without standard procedures having been fully observed.
These included a 21 day offshore containment period to determine the vessel and crew health condition that it did not carry any communicable diseases such as – in this case – Ebola, as the vessel had reportedly sailed from a West African region where the deadly disease is reputably rife.
He says 12 days after the drama ensued, with engagements ongoing among respective authorities, SAMSA appealed to the TNPA, DEFF and others to allow an inspection of the vessel and crew in order to facilitate provision of basic essentials to the crew, such as food and water. Crucially, this was also to ensure the safety of the vessel given its unauthorized anchorage which could prove hazardous to other sailing vessels in the vicinity if left unattended for too long.
By 13 December 2019, according to Capt. Schutz, the vessel was eventually allocated a berth in an isolated area at the port of Cape Town following to which nutrition was brought on board for the vessels’ crew while a variety of inspections were conducted.
He confirmed that a SAMSA inspection in terms of local and international legal instruments including the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) C188 – Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188) found the vessel to be not seaworthy and it was officially detained, while a DEFF inspection led to the arrest of the vessel’s skipper and his subsequent appearances in court.
As of last week, according to Capt. Schutz, the vessel still had no power and it still had no local agent appointed to attend to its needs as required by law. Meanwhile Taiwanese authorities in South Africa were still not taking responsibility for a majority of the crew members on board the vessel while DEFF officials’ efforts to seek assistance from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) had proved fruitless so far.
Capt. Schutz says: “The SAMSA (Cape Town office) is liaising with DEFF in terms of the court appearance of two of the seafarers. It is also liaising with the local Apostleship of the Seas in terms of welfare and food. Currently also, SAMSA is supplying food while awaiting for the court appearance.”
Regarding the detention of the vessel, Capt. Schutz says its release will be conditional to the owners carrying out the repairs it is so advised to do and on completion, inform SAMSA.
“Once so advised, SAMSA would conduct another inspection, and if the vessel is found in good condition, the vessel would be released from detention. There is no time frame attached to this,” he says, save for a range of port charges it will incur, accruing to the TNPA, for its safekeeping at a South African port, and which could escalate depending on how long it takes to repair it.
Capt. Schutz says further that the vessels’ crew will be repatriated once all matters related are finalized to the satisfaction of South African authorities.
“The responsibility however lies with the owners. There has been no final decision in this regard,” he says.
Please note that this story has been updated to provide additional details and correct certain inaccuracies.
Closer collaboration and speedy reaction by parties involved in the oil spillage at sea near the port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth two weekends ago contributed immensely in ensuring that damage to the surrounding ocean environment, including wildlife, was minimised.
That is an assessment flowing from reports by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)’s in its engagement with several organisations and institutions in the public and private sectors in Port Elizabeth during the management of the incident over the last two weeks, since about 200-400 litres of oil accidentally spilled over into the sea while a foreign cargo vessel was being refuelled.
The oil spillage reportedly occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning (06 July 2019) while the Liberia flagged cargo vessel known as the MV CHRYSANTHI S (IMO No. 952 7441) was being refuelled.
Still ongoing investigations into the incident seemed to indicate that the oil spillage occurred on board the vessel after one of the fuel tank valves was not properly closed, leading to vast amounts of fuel accidentally spilling out onto both the vessel as well as at sea. At the time, the vessel had been with about 1300 metric tons of fuel.
According to SAMSA, the vessel’s crew of 20 seafarers – all of whom remained safe – led by its Captain immediately summoned for assistance, which was duly activated, to contain the spread of the oil in the sea. The shore based oil response team was activated to extract the oil from the sea.
SAMSA said as much as 360 litres of the fuel was eventually extracted from the waters. However, the oil had spread significantly on the ocean to impact wildlife, but particularly sea birds and penguins and about which 114 were rescued and cleaned of oil. The wildlife verified as affected as of Tuesday this week (16 July 2019) included African penguins, Cape cormorants, Cape gannets as well as about half a dozen African penguin eggs.
However, periodic assessments of the sea and coastline, involving aerial and boat inspections had indicated that the coastline had not been affected by the oil spill
According to SAMSA, the cargo vessel involved in the oil spill remained in detention for a period while an investigation was being conducted, and bunkering services were initially suspended, and later partially lifted to daytime only by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).
SAMSA said the vessel owners, Golden Flower Navigation Incorporated had through its various agencies, including insurers, since accepted liability for the oil spillage and made the necessary undertakings in compliance with relevant South African laws and regulations as well international conventions related to incidents of the nature, after which the detention of the vessel was lifted and it was allowed to continue with its international journey on Friday (12 July 2019).
SAMSA, South Africa’s agency under the Department of Transport solely mandated with responsibility for prevention of pollution of the seas by ships, said success of the management of the oil spill – a great threat to sea pollution – arose out of close collaboration and teamwork by all the entities involved.
These included the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), TNPA (port managers next to which the oil spill occurred), the bunkering services company involved in the ship refuelling operation, SA Marine Fuels; private sector oil spillage management services company, Extreme Projects; wildlife and environmental groupings, SANPARKS, SANCCOB, and others including the affected vessel’s crew and vessel owners and its agents.
According to SAMSA, a joint operations committee involving various stakeholders greatly assisted in steering management of the oil spill containment and extraction, rescue and clean-up of affected wildlife, regular inspections of the affected oceans environment for traces of oil spread, as well as settlement of costs responsibilities related to damage suffered and operations activated.
A further meeting of the JOC is scheduled for Port Elizabeth later on Wednesday.
Democratization of South Africa’s ports space is among key goals of the establishment of the country’s Ports Consultative Committee (PCC).
The PCC is a statutory structure set up by Government with a view to ensuring that all economic participants at the country’s major ports have equal access and contribution to management of the ports infrastructure and associated resources.
This is according to the PCC Secretariat, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during the holding of the first ever meeting of Gauteng based ports stakeholders in Johannesburg recently. Johannesburg is South Africa’s financial capital with several investors in the country’s ports based on or operating from the inland city.
The PCC was established by the Department of Transport in terms of sections 80(1)(a), (c), (d) and (g) of the National Ports Act, 2005 and has been operational in the country’s nine commercial ports for some time since.
The PCC’s presence and role also fulfills part of the mandate of the Ports Regular of South Africa which requires that the regulator “must conduct a public participation process as part of the economic review in each of the ports, including conduct one or more public hearings in the manner set out in the Directives issued by the Regulator in terms of the Act.”
In this year’s round of ports stakeholder consultations involving roadshows from Richards Bay in the east coast through to Saldanha Bay in the west coast, the PCC for the first time included Gauteng based ports stakeholders, with a meeting held at a venue near O.R Tambo international airport on Wednesday, 29 May 2019.
Ms Selma Schwarz-Clausen, a senior official of SAMSA charged with handling the secretariat responsibility of SAMSA for the PCC, described the first ever staging of the meeting for Gauteng based ports stakeholders a major step forward in ensuring broad and inclusive participation by all key and relevant stakeholders in the development and management of the country’s parts for economic beneficiation of all.
In the following video, Ms Schwarz-Clausen explains the role of the PCC and goals.
Also attending the meeting was Mr Mahesh Fakir, Chief Executive Officer of the Ports Regulator of South Africa. He also explained his role in National Ports Consultative Committee which he described as on the whole, as that of an observer who contributes in discussions if requested to do so, but “is not be permitted to participate in any voting or raise any objections to any action, decision, or advice proposed to be taken or given by the Committee.”
In the three (30 minutes video below, Mr Fakir briefly outlines the role of the Ports Regular in general as well as its interest in the work of the National Ports Consultative Committee.
A major clean-up of the Durban port is now fully underway following to a deluge of tons of debris – mostly plastic – that swamped the port due to heavy rains and flooding that affected the area over the last few days.
This is according to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in a statement issued in Durban on Thursday. The statement reads as follows:
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at the Port of Durban has commenced a major clean-up to remove the large volume of waste and vegetation from the port after the recent heavy rains and flooding in KwaZulu-Natal.
The adverse weather caused the usual deluge of plastic and other debris to flow into the port, leaving behind an unsightly scene just days after World Earth Day was observed globally on 22 April.
Acting Durban Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane, said all Transnet Operating Divisions were carrying out assessments to establish the full extent of damage caused by the storm.
“Our thoughts are with all those affected by the recent heavy rains and flooding. We would also like to appeal to the public to please help curb plastic pollution as this causes huge problems when the debris flows into the harbour,” she said.
She said the port’s pollution control teams were on site tackling the debris within port waters, aided by clean-up teams from SpillTech, Drizit and ZMK Enterprises. Progress is slow due to the sheer volume of material that still continues to wash in.
The debris included large logs that posed a threat to the safe navigation of the harbour craft which are used to guide vessels safely in and around the port. The port has been fully operational however, the ingress of waste impacted on vessel movements and as of midday on Wednesday three vessels were unable to berth or sail in the Maydon Wharf precinct, Nkowane confirmed.
“The combined catchment area of the rivers, canals and storm-water drainage systems that drain into the port is over 200km2 in size. The unfortunate reality is the port waters are on the receiving end of the large volume of litter, effluent and sewage that is discharged into the storm-water reticulation system within the catchment,” said Nkowane.
“We must all take responsibility for the well-being of the ocean and coastal environment, and as TNPA we want to help create awareness and promote sustainable practices for the benefit of present and future generations,” she said.
TNPA has been in regular engagements with the eThekwini Municipality regarding the interventions required to address the ingress of waste and effluent into the port from the municipal stormwater network which drains a significant portion of the Durban metropolitan area.
The port’s pollution control department shared the following tips for the public to help in tackling the massive plastic problem:
Avoid single-use plastic, which is any plastic item used only once, such as plastic straws and plastic packaging. Plastic is a material that lasts for hundreds of years, yet is often used for only a short time before it is discarded.
Get into the habit of recycling and avoid throwing away recyclable items as part of your normal weekly refuse disposal. Items that can and should be recycled include glass, cardboard and paper, tin and aluminium cans (for example from canned food and cool drink), certain plastics such as bottles for drinks and cleaning products. Items should be rinsed before being put into a recycling bin.
Get involved in clean-ups, such as those arranged by #CleanBlueLagoon, KZN Beach Clean Up and Durban Bay Cleanup.
Observe environmental days such as World Earth Day on 22 April (held under the theme ‘End Plastic Pollution’ in 2018), National Marine Week in the second week of October (under the theme ‘Plastic is Drastic’ in 2018) and World Environment Day on 5 June (under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution” in 2018)
Support organisations such as Durban Green Corridors, Durban Partnership against Plastic Pollution (D-PAPP) and Greenpeace Africa which help to fight plastic and other pollution.
South Africa’s maritime transport sector is poised for a significant shake-up and shape-up phase over the next few years including the possible corporatization of the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), establishment of innovation hubs, reconfiguration of maritime education and training as well as a push towards domestication of local shipping trade transport occurring along the country’s and southern region coastal areas.
That is according to South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande in an address to delegates to the country’s inaugural maritime transport sector dialogue held in Durban on Thursday and Friday this week.
The gathering at the Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel on the Durban beachfront and with its focus on the maritime transport sector, was the first in a series planned for the country’s transport industry over the next few months and years.
Guiding focus of the maritime transport sector dialogue was the recently promulgated Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP), a product of the National Transport Masterplan (NATMAP) 2050, aimed at facilitating collective pursuit and achievement of maritime sector economic development targets some set under the country’s Operation Phakisa: Ocean’s Economy programme for the next decade.
Among other things, the CMTP requires the Department of Transport to ‘initiate programmes to holistically and coherently grow and develop the South African maritime transport sector.’
On Thursday in Durban, Dr Nzimande who celebrated his first full year as Minister of Transport in February, said several proposals towards fulfillment of the goal were on the table for consideration. Among these was the setting up soon of a Maritime Transport Sector Development Council (MTSD), a development delegates to the dialogue have since endorsed.
Dr Nzimande said the council may be up and running by June 2019, even if on an interim basis pending finalization of its member composition and related matters.
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) corporatisation
However, also on the cards was a contemplated corporatisation of the country’s ports management entity, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), with a view to unlocking vast economic opportunities identified within the country’s ports area of contribution and influence.
Dr Nzimande said “The present policy and legislation of government requires that we corporatize the Transnet National Ports Authority. I will be tasking the National Ports Consultative Committee to advise me on the steps to be undertaken to implement this crucial piece of legislation.
“I know that there is a debate (about this) because there are some people who are not wild about this idea. But a debate is good.”
He said this would take place against the backdrop of recognition that the country’s ports regulator was already doing a sterling job in creating a conducive and investor friendly environment at the ports, and also helping to reduce costs of doing business in the economic zones.
For Dr Nzimande’s remarks on the topic, Click on the 3 minutes video below
Transport innovation hubs
Dr Nzimande said another crucial intervention would be the establishment of transport innovation hubs to facilitate the harnessing of talent and skills in the development of solutions to the country’s transport sector, inclusive of the maritime sector.
Describing this as something ‘very close to my heart’, Dr Nzimande said: “I am really committed into investing in having transport innovation hubs. We are not going to transform the transport sector generally, or any mode of transport, without investment into science, technology and innovation.”
Illustrating the particular importance of this aspect of development, Dr Nzimande drew an example about the country’s rail transport and said it was inconceivable that in modern times, trains in South Africa were still colliding randomly on railways when transport mobility technology had so advanced such that such collisions should be history.
He said the innovations hubs would facilitate the promotion and harnessing of science, technology and innovation ideas for deployment in areas of transport to help improve both functionality as well as efficient services. He said he would set up a task team to explore and pursue the idea towards implementation.
For Dr Nzimande’s remarks on the topic, Click on the 3 minutes video below
Focused education, training and skills transfer
On education and training, Dr Nzimande said empowerment and transformation in the sector was proving futile in the absence of proper and relevant education, training and skills transfer.
He said black economic empowerment was meaningless if it was limited only to shareholding while those sought to be empowered knew next to nothing about managing and understanding businesses in the maritime economic sector.
Towards addressing the situation, Dr Nzimande said his department would engage with various role-players inclusive of the Department of Higher Education and Training, with a view to establishing a dedicated education, training and skills development focus for the sector.
For his remarks on this aspect, Click on the video below:
Domestication of shipping and localization of content
Dr Nzimande also reflected on a number of issues inclusive of the need for a South Africa owned fleet of shipping vessels, as well as an increase in local content in the boat and ships repair and manufacturing subsectors.
On development of locally owned or registered ships, Dr Nzimande said coastal shipping could be supported in various ways inclusive of local mining output, but also the shifting some of the road transported goods onto ships that would service the southern African region.
With regards utilization of local content in ship repair and manufacturing, he said empowerment through shareholding by South Africans in operations that were importing goods that could be manufactured locally actually amounted to dis-empowerment as such schemes derived no meaningful and sustainable benefits for the local economy.
The weather did not quite play fairly over the two days of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) festival at the port of Port Elizabeth at the weekend, leading to curtailment of some of the activities.
But it was still great turnout by thousands of people that filled the port for fun and games whose theme centred on greater public awareness and education on maritime issues.
The TNPA port of Port Elizabeth’s 2018 port festival was, as usual, the first in a series reportedly planned for some of the country’s major ports over the next few weeks, including Richards Bay, with the aim being to facilitate greater engagement between the ports and the general public for enhanced understanding and knowledge of aspects that make up the country’s maritime economic sector activities.
This year’s festival in Port Elizabth enjoyed support from a range of stakeholders including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which again featured its vessel, the SA Agulhas – a former research vessel that has been retuned for purposes of servicing the country’s national cadet training programme now under the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI).
Another notable supporter at this weekend’s festival was the South African Navy which provided four of its vessels including two frigades, as well as the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries whose fisheries monitoring vessel, the Ruth First, participated – adding to the great fun many festival revelers, many among them young children, enjoyed.
Also present was the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the Nelson Mandela University and several others.
However, strong winds particularly on Saturday, the first of the two days of the event, proved a major challenge as it forced some of the water sports lined up for the weekend to be suspended – well until Sunday, after the strong winds subsided in the early part of the day.
South Africa’s five inland provinces, Free State, Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga have as much opportunity as their four coastal provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape) to make a telling positive impact in extracting both economic and social value in the country’s maritime and marine sectors, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
In fact, according to SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, the state agency is keen on making sure this occurs through its Maritime Rural Support Programme (MRSP) launched three years ago in KwaZulu-Natal and which has already touched rural areas of the Eastern Cape and now being extended to the Mpumalanga Province.
Central to it is the engendering and inculcation of an entrenched culture of education, training and skills development in the maritime sector with lasting positive impacts on entrepreneurship development and ultimately fruitful careers and job creation.
The extension of SAMSA’ MRSP – comprising of elements of corporate social investment and separately funded joint initiatives with various parties in both the private and public sectors – to Mpumalanga Province was revealed by Mr Sobantu during this year’s celebration of the World Maritime Day at Badplaas (eManzana) on Thursday and Friday last week.
Describing the province bordering both Mozambique to the north east and Swaziland to the south east, as among those endowed with vast waterways comprising no less than 20 big dams, Mr Tilayi said it would be remiss that such vast natural marine endowment was not responsibly full exploited for the benefit of the broad community of the area through maritime and marine skills development, entrepreneurship involving primarily tourism, as well as job creation along the value chain.
From a SAMSA perspective – which is charged with responsibility for safety and security involving essentially the licensing of small vessels as well as skippers utilising the country’s waters ways for any reason – the opportunity is vested in ensuring that there are sufficient trained officials to monitor compliance in all areas.
Mr Tilayi said SAMSA’s planned intervention in Mpumalanga would include
focus in this area whereby it would seek to work with both provincial and local government institutions with a view to establishing a program to produce skilled officers to conduct surveys and carry out licensing inspections.
The second anticipated intervention would involve facilitating the establishment of a youth oriented entrepreneurial venture encompassing marine tourism services offering boating excursions across the province’s dams. This would start small with a pair of matric pupils from a school in the Gert Sibande District Municipality who had approached SAMSA for assistance with a skipper’s license.
The pupils from the Zinikeleni Secondary School in Carolina won many hearts with a demonstration of model of a functional ‘cruise’ vessel they designed, constructed and exhibited at the event on Thursday and Friday. For a view of the demonstration click on the video below.
A third SAMSA intervention in the Mpumalanga Province would involve the broadening of the agency’s Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) involving the identification, training and deployment of youths on tourists cruise liners across the world. He said the country currently has an allowance of up to 1200 placement opportunities on cruise liners worldwide per annum, with the Eastern Cape leading in taking advantage of the programme since 2017.
The final intervention may, according to Mr Tilayi, involve the identification of matric pupils in the area for training as naval architects – a skills area he described as experiencing a huge gap in South Africa as a whole.
SAMSA’s approach, said Mr Tilayi would seek direct engagement and close collaboration among all affected and interested parties but particularly the Mpumalanga provincial government, local municipalities, schools and related.
For Mr Sobantu’s full remarks on these initiatives earmarked for Mpumalanga Province in 2018/19, click on the video below.
Meanwhile, Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, in applauding the SAMSA initiatives, emphasized the critical importance of each of the parties playing fully their respective roles in delivering on the goals.
Also adding its weight to the maritime education and skills development programme earmarked for Mpumalanga province, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Chief Executive Officer, Ms Shulami Qalinge announced a R20 000 worth sponsorship to the Amanzi Primary School for swimming lessons conducted national by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).
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.
(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 )
TheSA Agulhasis 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.
“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.
TheSA 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.
Two of the SA Agulhas 20 cadets that returned with the vessel earlier this year, Ayanda Miya and Mluleki Khwela with President Cyril Ramaphosa at the opening of 2018 installment of the sitting of South African Parliament in February
Deputy Transport Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (Left) and (former) Transport Minister Mr Joe Masangwanyi (Right ) with Ayanda Miya and Mluleki Khwela – two of the SA Agulhas cadets that returned with the vessel from a trip to Antarctica over 80 days in November 2017 to January 2018. They were invited for the opening of South Africa’s Parliament in
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.