Great teamwork proves key to effective management of oil spill at sea in Port Elizabeth: SAMSA

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File photo: The M.V Chrysanthi SA cargo vessel two weekends ago after an oil spill was registered in its vicinity shortly after a refuelling exercise on anchorage near the port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth.

Pretoria: 17 July 2019

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.

IMG-20190707-WA0009Still 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.

IMG-20190707-WA0008However, 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).

cropped-samsa-master-logoSAMSA, 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.

End.

Ports Consultative Council a key cog in South Africa’s ports management: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 10 June 2019

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.”

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Some of Gauteng based SA ports stakeholders attending this year’s first Port Consultative Committee roadshow in Johannesburg on Wednesday 29 May 2019.

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.

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Ms Selma Schwarz-Clausen. SAMSA

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.

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Mr Mahesh Fakir. Chief Executive Officer: Ports Regulator of South Africa

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.

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Durban port clean-up underway after massive floods debris – TNPA

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A photo showing the debris that swamped the Durban port after major rains caused flooding in the area over the last few days. Clean-up is now currently underway according to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA). (Photos supplied by TNPA)

Pretoria: 25 April 2019

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:

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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.

dbn port clean up.jpgThe 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.

dbn port clean up 2“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.

Ends

Maritime transport sector in for a shake-up and shape-up phase: Transport Ministry

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Durban: 02 March 2019

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.

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Minister of Transport; Dr Blade Nzimande

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

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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

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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.

For his full remarks on this topic, Click Here:

For Dr Nzimande’s full unedited full speech, click here

End

Fun, games and maritime awareness and education at Transnet’s port festival

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FUN PE PORT FESTIVAL: The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) owned dedicated national cadet training programme vessel, the SA Agulhas (in the background) alongside the fisheries monitoring vessel, the Ruth First during the Transnet National Ports Auhority (TNPA) port festival in Port Elizabeth at the weekend. The vessels formed part of a fleet of six for the festival, four others coming from the South African Navy.

Port Elizabeth: 03 December 2018

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.

DSC_8780.JPGThis 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.

 

 

End

SAMSA widens Maritime Rural Support Programme to more inland provinces.

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Miss Nompumelelo Khumalo (16) of Zinikeleni Secondary School in Carolina near Badplaas, Mpumalanga making a presentation to senior government officials including Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga during the World Maritime Day 2018 celebrations in the province a week ago.

02 October 2018

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.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. COO SAMSA

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.
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In green uniform is SAMSA’s provincial Boat Safety Officer Ms Refilwe Legodi sharing with high school pupils of Mpumalanga some of the issues involved in boat surveying for safety and security operations.
  • 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.
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A working model of a “cruise liner” designed and constructed by a group of Zinikeleni Secondary School pupils in Caroline, Mpumalanga Province and demonstrated during the World Maritime Day 2918 celebrations held at Badplaas in the province last week

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.
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The Eastern Cape’s most recent group of youths trained and deployed on MSC Cruise Liners around the world.
  • 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.

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Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga

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).

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SAMSA launches investigation into KZN Sharks Board tragic boat incident in Richards Bay

tPretoria: 08 August 2018

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.

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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 )

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Durban beaches ready for festive season after nurdles spillage clean-up: SAMSA

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Clean up of Durban beaches to rid it of millions of tiny pellets known as nurdles is progressing well, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). According to SAMSA, the beaches should be ready for the 2017 Festive Season.

CAPE TOWN: 08 December 2017

 

Durban beaches will be ready for thousands of revelers this festive season after a successful clean-up of millions of tiny little plastic pellets known as nurdles that polutted almost the entire eastern coast of South Africa after the break up of containers containing the pellets during a freak weather storm that battered Durban recently.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on Friday in a statement spelling out progress achieved to date with the clean-up.

DSC_1983The SAMSA statement reads:

December 08, 2017: As the festive season approaches, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) along with Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TPNA), and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) are optimistic that KwaZulu-Natal beaches are ready for bathers and holidaymakers.

Authorities have been working tirelessly around the clock to retrieve a total of 2000 bags that were carrying plastic polyethylene nurdles lost from containers following the storm on October 10, 2017 in KwaZulu-Natal.

The storm wreaked havoc causing several deaths in and around the province, as well as extensive damage. It further caused destruction at the Durban harbour when several ships lost their moorings, and four shipping containers fell off vessels.

A Joint Operations Committee, attended by SAMSA, DEA and TNPA has met regularly reporting on the progress of the clean-up. While the Durban Harbour has been declared safe and clean, the authorities are still monitoring the area. So far at least 3,5 tons of nurdles have been recovered.

The clean-up teams have worked around the clock to ensure that the Durban beaches were ready for the festive season.

The JOC confirmed this week clean- up operations will now be concentrated on the north coast as heavy deposits of nurdles were spotted on the Northern lagoon banks.

The MSC has appointed local firm Drizit Environmental who have been storing the nurdles at their depot in Jacobs, Durban, and were using several clean-up teams round the clock.

The clean-up has moved from the Durban beaches, towards the North Coast beaches, namely Clarke Bay, Granny’s Pool (second clean-up), Shaka’s Rock, Thomsons Beach, Mvoti beach, Villa Royale beach, and Ballito main beach.

Areas which have also been prioritized are the Tugela Mouth Lagoon and the Hatchery Lagoon.

SAMSA’s principal officer based in Durban Captain Hopewell Mkhize confirmed that the clean up process was progressing well.

“Drizit has assured us that they will continue in their efforts to ensure that the critical beaches are treated as priority, and that their they are declared safe for use before December 10, 2017.”

Mkhize said the clean-up process will be ongoing. Some areas have been recharged with nurdles and having to be cleaned again. “The situation will be monitored for now before the decision to stop is made.”

Additional resources and personnel provided by DEA have been brought to sites, and are assisting to speed up the clean-up operations. During the clean- up operations different types of plastics, not emanating from the containers, were also spotted.

Mkhize said an ROV Survey was completed to scan the bottom of harbour area to ensure that none of the nurdles bags were trapped underneath. The investigation found nothing.

A model study was further undertaken looking at the currents, the tides, and the wind to confirm the possible places where the bags could have gone. The clean-up teams were busy with the targeted areas and also focusing on the projections of the model results.  

SAMSA was overall pleased with the clean-up process and welcomed the efforts by the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working for the Coast program to clean up the shorelines.

The support from volunteer groups who have assisted with the clean-up efforts, and the public at large has been greatly appreciated. There have been reports received of nurdles washing up on beaches in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape. These reports are of great concern and are being addressed, the DEA said.

ENDS

 

Plastic pellets clean up along Durban coastline now fully underway: SAMSA

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Durban: 30 October 2017

A massive, painstaking and possibly long term clean up of the coastline for miles north and south of Durban to rid it of very tiny pellets that have polluted the area since the blistering rainstorm of 10 October 2017 and which left the port city with a repair bill worth an estimated R600-million, is now fully underway.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) a State agency charged with among other things, the environmental sound integrity of the country’s oceans.

DSC_1983.JPGAs of Monday 30 October 2017, teams of workers have been hard at work since about a week ago retrieving the tiny pellets from the coastline sand in Durban with hope to reduce as much as is possible the float of the nurdles.

This followed a SAMSA directive to shipping group, the Mediterranean Shipping Company – operators of a shipping vessel from which the damaged containers carrying the cargo were lost and apparently deposited at sea – to conduct an assessment of the scale of pollution caused following the loss of cargo into the water in Durban harbour during the torrential natural disaster rainstorm that took place in earlier October .

On October 10, the day of the rainstorm, SAMSA and the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) had to prioritize the refloating and remooring of five drifting vessels and three of which had grounded in the port due to the extraordinary weather conditions characterized by very strong winds and rain.IMG_8083.JPGFrom the day onward, SAMSA supported by TNPA had been actively involved in containing and minimizing the impact of the damage caused in the Durban harbour.

On the day, two damaged shipping containers that had fallen into the harbour waters were secured and retrieved as soon as available resources had been successfully deployed on the five storm affected vessels.

Containment measures were implemented as soon as it was discovered that at least one of the fallen containers had held bags of plastic pellets. A while later, several bags were retrieved within the port waters and a clean-up operation was implemented by the Port Pollution Control department.

Later, sounding surveys were conducted by TNPA’s Dredging Services division supported by divers and drones, and which found no further obstructions or obstacles on the seabed within the port limits  The port was declared safe for navigation on 13 October.

The port authority’s ongoing clean-up operations within port limits had also been targeting a significant inflow of waste that had discharged into the port from Umbilo, Amanzimnyama and Umhlatuzana Rivers, as well as the municipal stormwater system.

DSC_2004.JPGHowever, in the next few days a mixture of high and low density plastic cargo has been found in some parts of the ocean.

SAMSA Chief Operating Officer Sobantu Tilayi said MSC cooperated with the authorities for the clean-up operation which started a week ago, conducted surveillance and assessment of the extent of pollution in Durban harbour and the affected coastal areas.

Later SAMSA also met with the Durban Harbour Master and Pollution Control department, the Department of Environmental Affairs, and KZN Provincial Government, and KZN Wildlife.

From these meetings, Mr Tilayi indicated that SAMSA would undertake the monitoring and oversight role of the process while MSC would consult with the cargo owners for the technical details of the pollutant plastics.

He said area surveys of beaches up to Umhlanga on North Coast and Umkomas on the South Coast beaches was conducted by a service provider accompanied by SAMSA.

Mr Tilayi said: “A team to assess the extent of damage has traveled northwards and south wards. Local municipalities will be kept informed to enable surveillance team to access beaches.”

In the meantime on the direction of SAMSA, Drizit Environmental, was appointed and is leading the clean-up operation. On the weekend of 28 October 2017 strong winds interrupted the operation. However, favorable  weather conditions prevailed on the Monday, 30 October 2017, and teams were back at work, cleaning the Durban beaches.

On Monday, Captain Hopewell Mkhize, a Principal Officer in the Durban SAMSA office said the clean up might take a while yet, hopefully with no severe interruptions by windy conditions. According to Capt Mkhize, windy conditions, such as was experienced on Sunday, 29 October 2017 were not useful as the tiny pellets simply blew away along with the sand.

For more comment from Capt Mkhize, click on the video.

Meanwhile, the SAMSA appointed  environmental cleanup company, Drizit, has established a central collection point for the nurdles at Durban Ski Boat Club (79 Browns Rd, Point, Durban) where the pellets may be dropped off.

Drizit can be contacted on their 24- hour toll free line 0800 202 202.

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