(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.
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.
The 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.
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.
As 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.From 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.
However, 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.
The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, yet again became one of the star attractions at this year’s East London port festival, this barely three months after it had become a major drawcard in another of Transnet’s 2017 Eastern Cape ports festivals held in Port Elizabeth.
In Port Elizabeth at the end of March, the vessel had just returned from a three months research and training expedition with a group of Indian scientists who’d taken it, along with about 30 South African cadets, to Antarctica.
So it had been in international news headlines leading up to the first of the two port festivals, with thousands of local people in the Port Elizabeth region keen to get on board and view it.
In East London this past weekend, as it turned out, the public curiosity seemed to not have waned at all as thousands of revelers – estimated at about 23 000 – thronged the vessel during the three day event.
The SA Agulhas, owned by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and now utilised by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, is the country’s only dedicated vessel for the development of seafarers since about six years ago.
It was brought into the service to address in part, the shortage of berths highly necessary for students at universities keen on completing their seafarer training through practical work on vessels at sea.
Since coming into service for the purpose, the vessel has since seen hundreds of young people, male and female, from South Africa and other African countries being taken through the processes that has seen many acquire the practical and work experience necessary to enhance their skills as seafarers.
For East London last weekend, the port festival was returning to the Eastern Cape’s second biggest port city for the first time in five years and according to organizers, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and partners, the intention was to give public exposure and enhance greater interaction between the public and the country’s ports infrastructure and facilities.
Phyllis Difeto, TNPA Chief Operating Officer, said the festival had an underlying strategic focus involving maritime sector related programmes such as the national Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) initiative that seeks to drive economic development, job creation and skills development
“We want to promote awareness of the ports, recreational opportunities, and career and business opportunities offered by the maritime industry. We want our communities to experience the unique operations in the port, and its exciting people-centred vision,” she said.
Other attractions of the port festival over two days included an SA Navy frigate – the SAS Spioenkop, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) rnvironmental offshore patrol vessel, the Victoria Mxege, an arts & crafts market and a wide variety of food stalls, a maritime exhibition including career opportunities, tug rides and family ferry rides, extreme bungee (50m freefall) thrills, helicopter flips and beer garden with live bands.
For more on the TNPA’s port of East London festival, Click Here
South Africa’s dedicated seafarer training vessel, the SA Agulhas, fresh from a three months long research and training expedition to the Antarctic region, proved the star of the show at the 2017 Nelson Mandela Bay port festival at the weekend after attracting a crowd estimated at no less than 6 000 people by midday Sunday.
“Clearly, this ship is becoming popular among the people. We’ve seen quite a number since yesterday (Saturday) morning at 10 when we opened the doors, and today will be not different by the look of things,” remarked a ranking official who preferred not to be named on board the SA Agulhas.
At the time, throngs of festival goers of all ages were already lined up along the vessel at more than twice its length.
The SA Agulhas was part of a “People’s Port Festival” a two-day annual event sponsored and hosted by South Africa’s ports authority, Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA) that kicked off on Saturday morning with various activities ranging from sports (water and land based), ship tours, cruises to food, music and edutainment and comedy shows.
The port festival is held annually in rotation at all the country’s nine commercial ports to give local communities an opportunity of interacting with some of its activities.
The SA Agulhas, still warming down from its three month’s research and training expedition off Cape Town to Madagascar and the Antarctic region with a group of Indian scientists and about 30 South African cadets onboard in December to March, joined in the festival after docking at the port of Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay) a fortnight ago.
At the start of the show on Saturday morning, the entire expedition crew including the cadets, minus the Indian scientists; were on hand to show off the vessel to thousands of festival goers who queued up on the quay alongside the vessel for almost an hour before the vessel opened its doors for a six hour show on each of the two days.
The tour on board included a brief presentation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) about the current utilization of the vessel as a dedicated seafarer training ship since its acquisition by the maritime authority from the Department of Environmental Affairs some six year ago.
From here festival goers were taken up through the vessel for a tour lasting about 15 minutes at a time. Despite the steep staircases, festival goers, several with children – some as small as months old – seemed unable to miss out on the opportunity!
On Saturday, an estimated 4500 people had gone through the vessel while more were queued up quite early on Sunday morning, not for a glimpse, but a full ride on the vessel.
For a typical tour experienced by an estimated six thousands people these past two days, Click Here.
A Antiqua Barbuda registered vessel that suffered engine trouble and risked running aground off the eastern coast of South Africa near Mbhashe on Wednesday evening has been successfully rescued and docked at the port of East London early on Friday, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has confirmed.
Captain Daron Burgess, technical manager for SAMSA’s southern region in Port Elizabeth said a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) tug, SHASA; hooked up with the vessel shortly after 20h00 lon Thursday night off Mbashe Point and towed it to the port of East London. “They arrived at East London port at 05h30 this morning,” he said.
Another location point illustration from the SAMSA MRCC
The estimated position of the BBC Shanghai as of late Wednesday night. (Illustration adopted from marinetraffic.com)
The successful rescue followed a dramatic and tense 56 hours after the vessel – a 4 900 tonne general cargo ship named BBC Shanghai, registered in Antiqua Barbuda – reported being in trouble with its engines while sailing off the Indian Ocean about a few hundred nautical miles south of Port St Johns towards East London in the Eastern Cape.
At the time, the vessel’s position was at 21h48LT , 22.8NM east of Mbashe Point, south of Port St Johns. The BBC Shangai was believed to be travelling from Durban to Lagos in Nigeria. It had left the port of Durban on Monday and was scheduled for Lagos on or about 28 March.
After receiving a distress call, the Cape Town based SAMSA Maritime Rescue Coordinating Center (MRCC) immediately mobilized support and rescue for the stricken vessels, while efforts were also made to ensure safety of its crew and cargo – the latter, to guard against possible spillages that would lead to ocean environmental degradation.
The situation remained under firm control on Friday while the vessel on tow of the TNPA tug, berthed at the port of East London.
South Africa is well positioned to play a pioneering role in the African continent’s drive for expansive growth of its ocean’s economy sector, but especially if stakeholders and key role players both in the public and private sector continue to strengthen co-operation and collaboration towards the goal.
That is according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting chief executive officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi in the wake of yet another highly successful collaborative effort that saw a group of Indian scientists along with 30 South African cadets complete on schedule a three-months long research and training expedition both along the Indian Ocean and the Antarctic region.
Crucially, according to Mr Sobantu, the expedition was successfully undertaken aboard the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas, this past week.
After dropping off the Indian scientists in Mauritius a few days earlier, the vessel – under the command of SAMSA – docked in Port Elizabeth on Friday, to a warm welcome by senior officials of several institutions in both the public and private sector. These included SAMSA, the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the Transnet National Ports Authority(TNPA), the National Skills Fund under the Department of Higher Education and Training, recently established bunker services group, Aegean; the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA, the Maritime Crew Services (MSC) and a few others.
The SA Agulhas was acquired by SAMSA in 2011 for training in support of the National Cadet Programme, which is being managed by the Port Elizabeth-based SAIMI.
The training is being funded by the National Skills Fund.
The vessel sailed on 14 December 2016 from Cape Town with 30 cadets under the guide of SAMTRA and MCS.
The group of seven (7) engineering and 23 deck cadets along with two training officers joined the South African crew on a research voyage chartered by India’s National Centre for Antarctic Research.
Her first port of call was Port Louis in Mauritius on Christmas Eve where she took on board the team of Indian scientists and five container loads of equipment. The ship sailed south from Mauritius before heading West of Kerguelen Island and on to Antarctica and back to Mauritius carrying out operations at various scientific stations along the way.
On completion of the expedition Friday, Mr Sobantu said the event was just one to possibly vindicate the brave stance taken by the maritime safety authority a few years ago to acquire the vessel with the sole intention of providing a viable yet necessary intervention in the development of a local cadre of seafarers.
More than 350 cadets have been trained aboard the SA Agulhas since 2012 after SAMSA acquired the vessel from the Department of Environmental Affairs and re-purposed the former Antarctic research and supply vessel as a training vessel to support the National Cadet Programme.
The cadet programme enables aspiring sea-farers to obtain the practical sea-time experience required to attain a Certificate of Competency (COC) as either a Deck Officer or Marine Engineering Officer. The COC is an internationally recognised qualification, issued by SAMSA in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Convention on the Standards, Training and Certification of Watch-keepers (STCW), and opens up a global sea-faring career for these young South Africans.
The programme is a skills development initiative linked to Operation Phakisa which aims to grow South Africa’s participation in the maritime economy. The initiative is managed by SAIMI and financed by the National Skills Fund.
On Friday Mr Tilayi noted that: “The three-month cruise took the vessel and the cadets all the way down to 68 degrees south where they encountered severe weather. Both the vessel and the cadets passed with flying colours.”
Key to the success, he said, was ongoing cooperation and collaboration among a group of stakeholders, interested parties and the investment community. For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (video), Click Here
Meanwhile, SAIMI chief executive officer, Dr Malek Pourzanjani was also full of praise of the success of the SA Agulhas’ latest venture into a research and training expedition.
“The fact that the Indian government was willing to entrust leading scientists and important multi-disciplinary scientific research to a South African training vessel crewed by South Africans is a tribute to the quality of our mariners and the training offered in South Africa,” Dr Pourzanjani. For his full remarks,Click Here
Ms Phyllis Difeto, chief operations officer of TNPA was in agreement with her counterparts at SAMSA and SAIMI: “South Africa needs more world class maritime expertise at all levels,” she said, also stressing the need for
ongoing collaboration between TNPA, SAMSA, SAIMI and the private sector to ensure that South African mariners received world class training that would position them well for seafarer work around the globe.
Meanwhile, the cadets on the expedition were full excitement, sharing their experiences as well as hopes for the future as seafarers. Two of the cadets, Afrika Masuku and Sandisiwe Ngcobo spoke briefly before their welcoming audience on Friday, thanking both their trainers and training sponsors for the opportunity. In separate interviews, five other cadets opened up about their experiences as did one of their trainers. For these interviews Click Here.
With 30 cadets on board who scored no less than three months of continuous sailing both across the Indian Ocean and to the southern seas, the SA Agulhas, the country’s only research and seafarers’ dedicated training vessel dropped anchor on home sail again in Port Elizabeth on Thursday where it is scheduled to be welcomed with much fanfare.
The stopover at the port of Elizabeth this week to be marked by a formal “welcome back” event early on Friday morning scheduled to be beamed live on national television, will mark the end of a three month research and training expedition involving a group of Indian scientists and about 30 South African cadets that began shortly before Christmas in 2016 and took the group as far as the Antarctica.
The expedition involved the SA Agulhas departing from Cape Town headed for Port Louis in Mauritius where she took on board the group of Indian scientists prior to setting sail on the Indian Oceans towards the Antarctica.
It was the research and dedicated training vessel’s first long journey on otherwise familiar territory around the Antarctica in more than two years – an intervening period she’d been devoted strictly to cadet training and skills development by SAMSA while occasionally anchoring at Quay 500 at the port of Cape Town.
The cadet programme she is still engaged in is now managed by newly established South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, situated in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, and funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training through the National Skills Fund.
Early Friday morning, the crew of the vessel and their seafarer trainees (23 deck and 7 engine cadets) who were part of the expedition are scheduled to be met and greeted by a number of senior officials of the respective institutions conjoined in the cadet training programme inclusive of SAMSA, SAIMI, the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) and Marine Crew Services (MSC) as well as Transnet and other government officials.
The “welcome back” event is scheduled to start at about 6am and last until about 10am at the port of Port Elizabeth
Port authorities at the port of Cape Town, working closely with the city’s firefighting services team, have managed to keep under control a raging fire that broke out on board a Korea fishing vessel, the No.101 Geumjeong on Saturday morning, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported Sunday.
“The fire is under control, but has spread to the back (aft) of the vessel. The City of Cape Town Fire Services are rendering boundary cooling from the quay side and a TNPA tug from the waterside. The vessel is still listing to port and is trimmed by the stern, limiting firefighting capabilities on board,” said SAMSA acting Principal Officer for Cape Town, Captain Antoinette Keller.
According to Capt. Keller, the incident also has had no impact on shipping and posed no pollution risk currently even as pollution equipment was kept on standby should deployment become necessary.
Capt. Keller said local authorities were alerted to the fire on board the No.101 Geumjeong at about 1.20am Saturday, prompting the City of Cape Town Fire Department to race to the scene – a repair quay at the port of Cape Town – where they were joined by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) crews.
“There is no reported loss of life and all individuals are accounted for. Currently there is no personnel on board and the fire is being addressed via boundary cooling for safety reasons, both from shore side and sea side. The vessels in the immediate vicinity have been safely moved to alternate berths,” she said.
According to Capt. Keller, an investigation will be conducted by SAMSA into the cause of the fire as soon as it has been put out.
Meanwhile in Port Elizabeth, where a cargo vessel had to make an emergency docking earlier in the week after it also caught on fire while sailing towards the Cape Peninsula, mopping up operations continued following to successful evacuation and dousing out of the fire.
“Mop-up operations and discharge of damaged containers are in progress, and causalty/incident investigation is in progress,” confirmed Captain Daron Burgess.
A fire that consumed a Russia registered fishing trawler, the MFV Verano at the port of Cape Town for seven straight days has finally been put out, a joint operations team tasked with battling the blaze has confirmed.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) also confirmed that another flareup on the bridge of a vessel, the Da Yuan Yu, also docked at the port was also dealt with quickly and successfully on Wednesday afternoon. The cause of the fire on the second vessel had also not yet been established.
Meanwhile, a joint task team tasked with fire onboard the Verano which began last week Wednesday, reported that it had finally subdued the flames at about 6pm on Tuesday.
“All boundary cooling activities are discontinued, though fire services have been placed on standby for any emergencies.The vessel is still listing to starboard but remains stable. The appointed Salvors have fully mobilized on site. Daily operational meetings with Salvors continue. The cause of the incident remains undetermined at this stage. The port continues to operate as per normal, with the incident having no further impact on operations,” the statement said.
SAMSA had earlier said an investigation into the cause of the fire on the MFV Verano would get underway as soon as conditions allow.