Poland’s Dar Mlodziezy crew pay tribute to Nelson Mandela in Cape Town

DSC_6767.JPGCape Town: 17 August 2018

The young crew of the Poland’s centennial independence celebration vessel, Dar Mlodziezy, making a three-day stop-over in South Africa this week, payed a moving tribute to former South African president and international statesman, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela at a brief ceremony held at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on Thursday.

The site of the tribute was the small memory garden at the V&A Waterfront housing the statues of four of the country’s Nobel Peace laureates; Nelson R. Mandela, former Anglican Church Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu, former South African president Frederick W. de Klerk and the late ANC president, Chief Albert Luthuli.

DSC_6771It was a fitting tribute coinciding and consistent with Poland’s own 100th anniversary of the regaining of its own independence in 1918, and which is being marked spectacularly by the round-the-world trip the Dar Mlodziezy’s crew is currently on and which will involve touch-down in some 22 countries in four continents.

The crew of Dar Mlodziezy‘s of more than 100 is made up of a majority of maritime students from the as well as cadets.

DSC_6778.JPGThey arrived in South Africa’s port of Cape Town on Wednesday morning and depart for their sailing trip on Friday afternoon, the next stop being Mauritius in about four days.

In the next video, the commander of Dar Mlodziezy, Captain Ireneusz Lewandowski explains the nature and context of the Polish’s oceans celebratory journey across the world.

After paying tribute to Mr Mandela, also whose centennial – along with former ANC struggle stalwart, Mam’ Albertina Sisulu – is also being celebrated in South Africa; the crew of the vessel hosted a cocktail function on board the Dar Mlodziezy at the V&A Waterfront on Thursday night, ahead of a trip to Robben Island early on Friday and from which they’d sail out of South African oceans waters.

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Poland and South Africa express a collaboration intent on maritime economy development.

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Welcoming Dar Mlodziezy: On board the Polish centennial independence celebration vessel Dar Mlodziezy, are South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (Right) with Poland’s Ambassador to South Africa Mr Andrzej Kanthak (Centre) and Poland’s Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Mr Marek Gróbarczyk (Left) being welcomed by the vessel’s commander, Captain Ireneusz  Lewandowski

Cape Town: 16 August 2018

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between South Africa and Poland in Cape Town on Wednesday marked a turning point in the development and enhancement of relations between the two countries and which will benefit both in the long term particularly with regards maritime sector issues.

This is according to South Africa’s Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and Poland’s Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Mr Marek Gróbarczyk during the ceremony of the welcoming to South Africa of Poland’s centennial independence celebration’s vessel, Dar Młodzieży at the port of Cape Town.

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Polland’s centennial independence celebration vessel, Dar Mlodziezy arriving in Cape Town harbour on Wednesday. where it will remain until Friday.

The vessel with a crew of some 250 members on aboard including about 60 cadets, is on a round-the-world trip that began recently in Poland and shall continue until the end of March 2019, with stop-overs in as many as 22 ports around the world.

South Africa was the second stop over on Wednesday, where the vessel will remain at the port of Cape Town in a jetty adjacent the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront at the foot of Table Mountain until Friday.

On arrival in Cape Town late morning on Wednesday to sounds of the South African Navy’s brass band at Cape Town harbour’s cruise terminal, crew and passengers of Dar Młodzieży were formally welcomed on South African soil by Ms Chikunga on behalf of the South African government, along with Mr Gróbarczyk, Poland’s Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Andrzej Kanthak and other senior government officials including South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

Thereafter, the Polish maritime students and cadets who were joined by their South African counterparts from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for a combined group of about 200, were later treated to a braai on board South Africa’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas.

In-between the events, Ms Chikunga and Mr Gróbarczyk signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the basis of which, they said, the two countries would endeavor to enhance co-operation and joint pursuit of socio economic development initiatives but especially in relation to the maritime economic sector.

Areas of likely immediate focus would include ship repairs and maritime education and training, said Ms Chikunga, while Mr Gróbarczyk felt it also an opportune time for the two countries to enhance relations ahead of South Africa’s hosting of an International Maritime Organization (IMO) conference in the country in 2020.

In the video clips below, Ms Chikunga (clip 1 lasting 3 minutes) and Mr Gróbarczyk each explains the genesis of the development and the respective country’s hopes to strengthen relations.

Meanwhile, also in remarks welcoming the group of Polish and South African maritime students and cadets on board the SA Agulhas late Wednesday afternoon, Mr Tilayi described it as important the establishment of sound relations with countries such as Poland which would benefit South Africa’s emergent pursuit of redevelopment of its own maritime economic sector.

For his full remarks, click on the video below.

On Friday, the group will be taken on a tour of Robben Island before the centennial independence celebration vessel set sail yet again, this time for Madagascar.

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South Africa joins Poland in celebrating it’s 100th year of independence

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Cape Town: 15 August 2018

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront will be the host venue on Wednesday for Poland’s celebration of its 100th year of independence, an event marked by the docking of one of its most celebrated old sailing vessels, Dar Młodzieży which docks at the port of Cape Town at about noon, with a crew of more than 100, comprising mostly cadets and maritime students.

The vessel’s stop-over in Cape Town is part of a 10-months round-the-world trip dubbed Independence Sail and during which it will visit as many as 22 ports. Cape Town is its second stop from Europe and one of two involving the African continent.

Other ports in the list include Tallinn, Copenhagen, Stavanger, Bremenhaven, Bordeaux, Tenerife, Dakar, Mauritius, Jakarta, Singapore, Shanghai, Osaka, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Acapulco, Panama, Miami, Ponta Delgada and London.

It is expected to finish the round-the-world trip sometime in March 2019.

According to organizers of the event in Cape Town over the next three days beginning Wednesday morning, senior representatives of both the Polish and South Africans, during the three day stop-over in South Africa, a number of events focusing on Polish history and culture will be held.

Central to the activity, according to organizers, will be the promotional events to establish and enhance both socio-economic and cultural cooperation between Poland and South Africa.

On arrival in Cape Town today, the vessel is scheduled to be welcomed jointly by the Deputy Minister of Transport Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, along with Polish government counter-parts that include the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Mr Marek Grobarczyk, the Ambassador of Poland to South Africa, Dr Andrzej Kanthak.

According to the programme of Wednesday’s welcoming event, two ‘Letters of Intent’ are scheduled to be signed between the Ministry of Transport (South Africa) and the Ministry of Economic and Inland Navigation (Poland) as well as between Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Port of Gdynia.

Later in the day, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will host the Polish maritime students and cadets to a braai on board its cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas. The festive event will also involve maritime students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

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Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 digs deep into world’s oceans plastic pollution

This is a complete wrap up of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 3rd leg in Cape Town, South Africa two weeks ago. The glamorous global yacht race -a.ka. the F1 Race of the Seas – is currently leaving Melbourne for Hong Kong (Tuesday morning, 02 December 2018) and carries aloft its masts, a crucial message about the increasing swelling of the world’s oceans with micro-plastics.

The theme of the race is Turn The Tide Against Plastics

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Cape Town: 03 January 2018

The world’s maritime sector is stepping up its fight against pollution of the seas, with particular focus currently being on plastics pollution of the oceans, and in the mix of tools being deployed in the war is water sports.

At the pinnacle of the world’s water racing sports codes now fully engaged against oceans plastic pollution is the Sweden driven global yacht race, the Volvo Ocean Race; a multi-billion rand oceans yacht race equated to the Formula One (F1) annual car racing event, and run every two years across the world’s oceans over a period of just over 260 days at a time.

The 2017/8 Volvo Ocean Race is currently underway, having kicked off with seven yachts in Portugal in November, with a stopover in Cape Town 20 days ago, and now presently departing Melbourne in Australia  for the 6000 nautical miles 4th leg towards Hong Kong, which the yachts should reach in about 20 days (20/1 January 2018).

DSC_2429On arrival in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront for the South Africa leg on November 24, topping celebratory activities to mark the two weeks’ stopover lasting until 10 December, were two, two-day United Nations-driven conferences focused on collaborative efforts for sustainable oceans management

Following to these in the second week, was also a two-day Volvo Ocean Race sponsors’ Oceans Summit on proposed global cooperative actions for the combating of the growing menace of plastics pollution of the world’s oceans that’s said to be increasing at an alarming rate.

Put differently, seven (7) full working days out of 14 of the Volvo Ocean Race stop-over in South Africa from 24 November 2017 to 10 December 2017 were devoted entirely to discussions and information sharing on sustainable oceans management as well as current and proposed actions to combat plastics pollution of the world’s oceans.

Crucially, organizers of the separately staged yet thematic-linked discussion forums were emphatic on the importance of the use of the Volvo Ocean Race as a creative tool to draw the general public’s attention to the oceans management issues, but also as an ideal platform for information sharing particularly about the problems of plastics pollution of the world’s seas.

DSC_2265The Volvo Ocean Race now in its 13th edition since launch 42 years ago is a major drawcard to a global mixed audience of millions of people in 113 countries, and shored up by more than 8000 hours of global television coverage with an average media value of 47.5 euros (2015 values). Corporate sponsors also number in the thousands.

In Cape Town alone, an estimated two-million people take time out to watch the race or visit the yachts’ yard during the two weeks stop over at the iconic V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, located at no more than a kilometre off the foot of Table Mountain, at Victoria Bay.

According to organizers, the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 edition is the first of its kind to focus attention on plastics pollution of the oceans, and its involvement goes beyond providing a platform for publicity and discussion, but also involves direct participation by the racing yachts in collecting scientific data on the extent of the spread of plastics at sea as well as their impact.

A number of scientific consortium are involved in the problem solving endeavor, among them the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), JCOMMPS, UNESCO-IOC, GEOMAR and SubTech.

 

In partnership, the agencies use the Volvo Ocean Race to collect both meteorological and oceanographic data for a better understanding of oceans weather patterns, but also for the first time, use of instrumentation for the measurement of CO2 as well as collection of samples of microplastics increasingly swelling the seas waters.

In the following three videos recorded in Cape Town two weeks ago, Ms Celine Greuzard, Communications director of the Volvo Group, Ms Anne-Cecile Turner, the Sustainability Programme Leader of the Volvo Ocean Race and Mr Richard Brisius, President of the Volvo Ocean Race explain the rationale of the involvement of the global yacht race in the maritime world’s fight against oceans plastics pollution.

 

In the following four videos, Mr David Green, chief executive officer of the V&A Waterfront shares his organization’s perspective of and role in the Volvo Ocean Race to South Africa, while Mr Bruce Parker-Forsyth, MD of Worldsport shares the South Africa perspective of the race to local socio-economic development, and Captain Ravi Naicker of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) explains the role played by the State agency in monitoring and combating oceans pollution by ships, in terms of both local legislation as well as conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to which South Africa is a member.

In the next two videos, Dr Ivone Mirpuri of the Portugal based Mirpuri Foundation – and contributor during the Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town Oceans Summit – and Mr Ulrich van Bloemenstein of the Department of Environmental Affairs share their views of the event.

Meanwhile, South Africa which in 2017 became the venue of several continental and global meetings on plastics pollution of the seas, these including an Africa Oceans Plastic Pollution Seminar over five days, should see more increased action in the coming year, according to Ms Silindile Mncube.

She is the South Africa leader of the ‘Let’s Do It’ international NGO involved in plastics pollution combating initiatives.

During the Volvo Ocean Race Oceans Summit in Cape Town, she shared the NGO’s plans to actively getting involved in South Africa and the rest of the continent, with the launch of a dedicated “plastics cleanup day” during 2018.

And finally, in the last three videos below; is an overview of the UN Sustainable Oceans Management two-day conference that also involved a visit to Robben Island….

followed by Mr Adnan Award, South Africa director of the International Oceans Institute (IOI) who gives an overview of the entire oceans management and pollution combating gatherings held during the Volvo Ocean Race’s South Africa leg….

and Mr Rafe Axelson gives local boat building industry’s view of the importance of the race to the sector locally.

For videos of the UN Sustainable Management Conference, Click Here, and for more general videos and photos of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 South Africa leg, Click Here.

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Toasting home grown talent: Volvo Ocean Race Team electrical engineer, Ashton Sampson

DSC_2538CAPE TOWN: 06 December 2017

The Volvo Ocean Race is generally regarded worldwide as the most supreme water sailing sport in the world, and with good reason. Oceans sailing skill and talent combined with the most modern technology in yacht racing over a period of over 260 days at sea at a time, simply positions the sport at the top of rankings of its kind.

For South Africa, the Volvo Ocean Race would mean pretty much very little without its direct participation and contribution, both as a touching point during the race’s course around the world, and for the opportunities it offers for business investment especially in the boat manufacturing and repair sector, as well as the marine tourism and hospitality sectors.

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Crew members of the Vestas team who took third place on the South Africa leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18

Strategically positioned as the gateway to the southern ocean, South Africa but specifically Cape Town in the Western Cape has, according to organizers and local hosts of the event, always been a welcome sight for sailors and boat crews, not only because of its world renowned beauty and hospitality, but also due to the boat building maintenance and repair expertise in the city.

During a two week stop-over in the Mother City, this time around occurring in the window period of 24 November 2017 to 10 December 2017, the race pumps into the local economy more than R500-million and in the process, creating new and expanded business and job opportunities for locals.

Such job opportunities are what have led to one young South African, a young electrical engineer from Grassy Park in the Cape Flats, Ashton Sampson, aspiring to and eventually joining the VoR Team a few years ago, and never having to look back again.

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South African born Volvo Ocean Race Team electrical engineer, Mr Ashton Sampson in Cape Town this week

Sampson dropped in back home this past week with the arrival of the VoR for the South Africa leg (second leg of the race overall) to do what he does best – making sure that the seven yachts are in tip top condition once again, when they sat sail for the third leg of the race on Sunday, 10 December 2017.

The yachts having started arriving on the afternoon of Friday, 24 November 2017, have  since been spending time in the dedicated VoR Boat Yard on the south western end of the Table Bay harbor where Sampson and teammates have been working long hours to ensure that the ‘Volvo 65’s’ will be in their best sailing condition to take on the 6 500 nautical mile journey to Melbourne, Australia.

This blog learned that 38 year-old Sampson developed a love for the ocean from a very young age and through hard work and determination, was able to become part of the Volvo Ocean Race team, known as the ‘best of the best’.

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Some boating business and Volvo Ocean Race enthusiasts visiting the VoR Boat Yard at the Cape Town habour near the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Educationally, he is the product of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), one of the top institutions in the country which working closely with other partners including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), produces top notch sailors and other maritime sector related graduates.

Sampson’s is a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering, which eventually led to his being hired and employed by London’s Diverse Yachts in 2009, which he then left in 2015 only to rejoin again in 2017.

DSC_2805.JPG“I’ve been passionate about sailing and electronics for as long as I can remember and always wanted to combine the two. I was given the opportunity to join the South African America’s Cup in 2004, which set a path in motion that I don’t regret at all.

“I work very hard and I think I have a good work ethic. I believe this always shows in the quality of my work and people notice this, said Sampson in an interview.

About his direct involvement with the VoR Team, speaking in a remarkably flawless English accent, he said: “We’ve been contracted to the Boatyard, a sub organisation of the Volvo Ocean Race, which has been setup to maintain all systems relating to the fleet.

“For the first edition of the one design fleet of Volvo 65’s in the 2014/15 race, I eventually ended up managing the installation phase of all the electronic systems across the fleet.

‘We were then appointed to maintain the fleet’s electronics as they raced around the world and worked closely with various suppliers.  This time round it’s a very similar setup, but we’ve refined the processes.”

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The ‘Gateway’ to the Volvo Ocean Race precinct at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town

In between the times he has left and rejoined his current employer, Diverse Yachts, Sampson worked for the British America’s Cup team, Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing as a systems technician. His rejoining the former employee a few months ago was for serving specifically in the current VoR, he says.

This 2017/18 VoR South Africa leg stop over is not the first for him. He’d been here before, he told a group of local boat manufacturing and maintenance that visited the VoR boat yard a few days after the racing yachts docked.

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Crew members of the Mapfre, the first Volvo Ocean Race yacht to reach Cape Town on 24 November 2017

Describing his love for the F1 of yacht racing, Sampson said: “It takes a lot of professionalism and teamwork to make this race a success, both on and off the water. All the people across the fleet have very high standards and I thrive in this kind of environment. The hardest part is to always plan and anticipate events that the race will throw at you and being fully prepared for it.”

When on dry land, Sampson lives in a small town, Fareham, in the south of England near the coast with his fiancé. 

DSC_2517He admits to missing Cape Town and South Africa. “I mostly miss family and friends, but also the many attractions around Cape Town relating to nature; the local fauna and flora, animals, mountain ranges, oceans, inland lakes and friendly people. Cape Town is truly unique in this regard as it has so much to offer and explore.”

To stay close to the sight and smell of the ocean, and which his Fareham abode offers in abundance, Sampson said:  “I always live near the coast – I love being around water. My parents and most of my family are based in Cape Town and I generally visit at least once a year. Of course it helps that the race is in my home town. Cape Town is most certainly the best stopover in the world!”

Sampson’s fellow South Africans on the team include Mike Coburn, who is involved in sail making through North Sails, and Simon Botes, who is involved in the hardware (deck gear, winches and more), dealing with Harken.

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Volvo Ocean Race 2017 in SA a platform for global dialogue on oceans economy: V&A Waterfront

DSC_2660CAPE TOWN: 01 December 2017

The two-weeks stopover of the almost year-long Volvo Ocean Race (VoR) at the Table Bay in Cape Town is more than just a prestigious international water sports event, but an opportunity for global engagement among stakeholders and interested parties on how best to develop and grow maritime economies on a sustainable basis.

DSC_2555.JPGAt least that is the view of the V&A Waterfront – one of the host venue sponsors of the VoR 2017/18 South African leg currently underway since about a week ago. Since the seven yachts dropped sails and switched off engines after touching ground at the V&A Waterfront, no less than four significant gatherings inclusive of two interrelated international conferences on oceans governance and sustainability have been held at the venue, with a few more lined up for the second and last week of the VoR 2017/18 leg.

And that is the whole point, says V&A Waterfront managing director, Mr David Green who on Thursday afternoon told this blog that the global event presented South Africa not only a top class water sport event with millions of followers globally, but also a golden opportunity to engage with maritime sector stakeholders and interested parties worldwide on a whole range of oceans related issues, inclusive of environmental management best practices as well as investment opportunities.

DSC_2265.JPGFrom an economic development perspective, apart from the tourism and hospitality subsector that stands to gain a substantial portion of the estimated R500-million the VoR pumps into the Cape Town economy, South Africa’s marine manufacturing industry, but particularly the boat building subsector stands to benefit from association with the event, he says.

For the full three (3) minutes interview click below.

More updates to follow

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Volvo Ocean Race a major contributor to South Africa’s oceans economy: V&A Waterfront

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WINNER: MAPFIRE, the first of seven of the yachts participating in this Volvo Ocean Race to arrive at port of Cape Town on Friday, 24 November 2017

Cape Town: 27 November 2017

The start of the global Volvo Ocean Race (VoR) South Africa leg at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town at the weekend is among highly significant water based international events that are a major contributor to development of the country’s oceans economy, event hosts; the V&A Waterfront has said.

Addressing local and international guests during the official opening of the event a few hours ahead of the arrival of the first of seven yachts participating in this year’s (2107/18) South Africa leg of the VoR across the world, V&A Waterfront CEO Mr David Green said on Friday that the event would contribute no less than R500-million to Cape Town’s economy during the two weeks stopover, from 24 November to 10 December 2017.

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The entry point to Quay Five – the venue of the South Africa leg of the Volvo Ocean Race (VoR) at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town; from 24 November 2017 to 10 December 2017

But crucially, the bi-annual event, he said; was a major contributor to marine tourism not only of the Western Cape but the entire country, generating opportunities for investment and expansion of businesses as well creation of much needed jobs throughout the country’s tourism sector value chain.

Local and international guests at the function included senior government officials as well as United Nations officials attending  the Cape Town Ocean Summit as well as the UN, UNESCO and International Ocean Institute ‘ocean sustainability’ conferences scheduled over five days from Monday to Friday (27 Nov to Dec 01) parallel the VoR.

Mr Green described the city of Cape Town as the ‘Number 1’ city in Africa for business tourism and its events and conferencing subsectors were a vital cog to the city’s economic growth strategy to develop and sustain a reputation as an investment and business destination.

DSC_2623According to Mr Green, the V&A Waterfront along with the city of Cape Town, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and several other notable entities are regular sponsors of the VoR based on an understanding of the catalyst role the biannual event has on current and future business investments in the country.

He said consistent with this understanding the V&A Waterfront had on its part, continued its own business investment along the Cape Town harbor , the latest being a new multi-million rand worth ‘silo district’ that has attracted more than 70 000 visitors since completion recently.

The VoR he said, with a multi-million television audience worldwide, in addition to the more than 1.5-million people that throng the stop-over areas such as the V&A Watefront, provided an opportunity for South Africa to showcase worldwide its expertise and leading role in a whole range of areas inclusive of its depth and breadth of scientific research into ocean trends in the Southern Oceans to Antarctica, its already globally recognized boat manufacturing capabilities as well as a growing corps of well trained seafarers and vessels crew.

“Far from it being a wealthy people’s sport, the Volvo Ocean Race is a catalyst and major contributor to development of our oceans economy,” said Mr Green.

For his full remarks click below

On hand to also welcome local and international guests was Cape Town City Councillor, Mr Eddie Andrews and for whose remarks, please click below:

The pair were led in the welcome speeches by Worldsport managing director, Mr Bruce Parker-Forsyth, a long time partner and host sponsor of the VoR. For his remarks click below.

After arriving a few hours apart from about 4pm on Friday, led by the Mapfire team, the VoR 2017/18 yachts have been undergoing thorough mechanical and cleaning services at the Cape Town harbour.

The MAPFIRE team (below in red) were the winners of the South Africa leg of the VoR.

Also below, is the crew of the Vestas 11th Hour Racing team led by the American duo of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill, and whose yacht came third overall in the Cape Town’s VoR second leg. They were handed their trophy (for 11 points overall) by SAMSA’s Corporate Affairs senior manager, Ms Nthabiseng Tema.

The mechanical and cleaning services are at V&A Waterfront yacht zone.

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The specially set up Volvo Ocean Race yard west of the V&A Waterfront where spare parts and other paraphernalia for the racing yachts are located.

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Norway sets up new fund to combat marine litter : Asia and Africa among likely early beneficiaries

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File photo: A figurine made of plastic waste collected in South Africa’s marine environment on display at this year’s Africa Marine Waste conference held at the Feathermarket Centre in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape province in July.

Pretoria: 23 October 2017

The battle against global marine pollution has been given a massive boost following an announcement by the Norwegian government of the setup of a fund totaling NOK150-million (or R258-million) for use in efforts to combat marine waste.

In a statement, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Børge Brende said marine litter globally had become a huge environmental hazard, with some areas of the world far worse than others. The fund budgeted for 2018 would initially target these areas, he said.

‘Norway intends to take the lead in ocean affairs internationally. Marine litter, including plastics, has become one of the most serious environmental problems of our time. That is why the Government is launching a concerted effort to combat marine litter and microplastics and is establishing a development programme in this field,’ said Mr Brende.

He added that: “The new development programme will use effective and environmentally sound approaches to combating marine litter. To start with, the programme will focus on Southeast Asia, which is the region where the problem is most acute. We will also look at ways of using the programme to support other countries and regions where marine litter is a growing problem, for example in Africa.”

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File photo: Delegates to this year’s Africa Marine Waste conference in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape in July

For Africa, this is expected to come as a boost particularly given that this comes only three months after the region held a five day conference in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to focus specifically on the progressively impending marine waste pollution disaster along the continent’s coastlines.

At that conference in July, it was revealed that with more than 150 million tons of plastic material floating across the world’s oceans – and likely to rise to 950mt in 30 years – and with very little being done about it, the world was facing an imminent ecological disaster.

However, it was also confirmed that the problem was especially acute in Africa.

Among more than a dozen scientists attending and sharing views on the problem, Dr Linda Godfrey, a manager of the Waste RDI Roadmap Implementation Unit at the Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSRI) in South Africa, painted a disturbing picture of particularly the African continent with regards both its current status on waste management as well as imminent future challenges that could make the task of eliminating plastic waste more difficult if not arrested effectively, soon.

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File photo: More plastic waste ends up in the world’s waters inland and oceans than is collected and properly disposed of.

She said the continent was largely characterized by poor landfill practices, general poor waste management, uncontrolled dumping compounded by a rapidly growing population of middle income people who were increasingly migrating to predominantly coastal cities.

“Africa is at a watershed, in that if we do not stop and take action now, we are going to be faced with a massive marine waste problem locally, regionally and the potential impact globally. And there are essentially seven reasons that I see for why we should take action now,” she said.

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File photo: Delegates to a one day conference held in Cape Town in July 2017 also discussing the growing threat of marine waste globally.

Days later at  a mini conference hosted jointly by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the United States Consulate, the International Ocean Institute and the V&A Waterfront held at the Two Oceans Acquarium at Cape Town’s Waterfront, it emerged that South Africa was among top contributors to marine waste generation.

It was revealed that the country at the southern tip of the African continent, at the point at which three oceans meet, ranks No.11 in the world for waste management production and that the country alone is responsible for 12% of global plastic waste and about 2% of total mismanaged plastic waste, leading to between 0.9-0.25 megatons of it ending as marine plastic waste annually.

A week ago in Oslo, the Norwegian government said Africa would be an area of focus for the new fund beginning 2018, adding that the contribution was part of Norway’s overall effort supportive of campaigns undertaken by such as the UN Environment, the World Bank and INTERPOL to combat marine litter.

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File photo: Ship accidents at sea also contribute to waste pollution if not dealt with fast and effectively.

“Norway’s new development programme will include efforts to reduce waste and improve waste management in the areas that are most seriously affected by marine litter. Supporting efforts to clean up shorelines and coastal areas can also have a major impact,” said Mr Brende.

Meanwhile, Mr Brende said his government also intended intensifying its engagement with other countries in the identification and responsible exploitation of more economic opportunities presented by the world’s oceans economy,

“The Government is calling for sustainable use of the oceans to be given greater priority at the international level.

“Prime Minister Erna Solberg hosted a high-level event at the UN General Assembly on 20 September on the wealth of opportunities offered by the oceans. The event was attended by heads of state and government and ministers from a number of countries.

‘Norway has also supported the initiative to appoint a UN special envoy for the oceans. Former President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson of Fiji was appointed to this important post in September, and Norway will support him in his work,’ Mr Brende said.

He further confirmed that the Norwegian Stortinget (or Parliament) had also approved in June this year, a white paper on the place of the oceans in Norwegian foreign and development policy.

“The white paper sets out three priority areas: sustainable use and blue growth, clean and healthy oceans, and the role of the blue economy in development policy. In the time ahead, the Government will conduct dialogues on ocean affairs with other countries with a view to strengthening cooperation in these three areas,” he said.

End.

 

Use it or lose it: ANC’s MK veterans urge South Africans to closely guard their maritime heritage!

Pretoria: 09 November 2015

AVENTURA VETERANS: (From Left) ANC MK veterans taking part in the first of a possible series of discussions on South Africa's Maritime Heritage are , Fanele Mbali, 78; Rankabele Tloo Cholo, 89; and Zolile Nqose 9.
AVENTURA VETERANS: (From Left) ANC MK veterans taking part in the first of a possible series of discussions on South Africa’s Maritime Heritage are , Fanele Mbali, 78; Rankabele Tloo Cholo, 89; and Zolile Nqose 9.

South Africans could sooner than later readily wake up and smell the oceans around them, or while forever focused solely on the inland, rise up one day with no longer any effective control over  their 3000km ocean line, never mind a heritage they could boast about.

This was the stark warning issued by participants in a Maritime Heritage Round Table discussion held in Cape Town recently.

Involved in the discussions held alongside the inaugural SA Ocean Festival, on board the SA Agulhas at Table Bay harbour, were three former ANC Umkhonto WeSizwe cadres with some unique maritime warfare experience, Fanele Mbali, 78; Rankabele Tloo Cholo, 89; and Zolile Nqose 91.

The three are part of group of only five still alive in the country today who were part of a select unit of MK soldiers involved in attempts to infiltrate South Africa for military purposes in the early 70’s, using ocean bound vessels including a United Soviet Socialist Republics’ (USSR) owned ship known as the Aventura.

Their key input at the Maritime Heritage Round Table discussion focused on the need for South Africa to expand and increase its education effort for the nation about the importance of the maritime sector, from both an economic and social perspective.

To read the full article click here, or to view the edited video click here

Johannesburg is a freak city in a country largely maritime!

Pretoria: 07 November 2015

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A week ago, South Africa saw the launch of the country’s Marine Tourism & Leisure strategy aimed at providing for the first time a coherent road map forward for the sub-sector of South Africa’s maritime economic sector and the latter whose focused development, transformation and integration into the main economy is deemed highly important, as clearly articulated in the current Operation Phakisa: (Ocean Economy) national campaign.

IMG_0709Launch of the strategy by its developer, the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) together with partners Worldsport and the V&A Waterfront, supported by financial sponsors, Calulo Group and several others; occurred during an inaugural national Ocean Festival held at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

The country’s media covered the event and picked up on key salient points.

There were salient points all right! For one thing, an interesting fact to surface was that Johannesburg is effectively a freak city, given that all around the world, cities its size are all maritime based as developed on the basis of sea trade.

For this and various other interesting illuminations, it is worth revisiting the historical event last weekend to listen carefully to the officials that presided over it and whose speeches told more than traditional media could master in its highly limited space and time.

IMG_0725As it transpired, on the evening of Friday, October 30, 2015; close on 100 guests gathered in a splendidly decorated marquee featuring a nautical theme, to be treated to fine sea food, a bit of friendly banter, but importantly, to share in the enthusiasm of the officials behind the event as they explained the genesis of the Marine Tourism & Leisure Strategy, its positioning within the development framework of the country’s maritime economic sector, as well its objectives for the marine sub-sector.

Focus on maritime economic sector the way to go for SA

David Green, CEO V&A Waterfront
David Green, CEO V&A Waterfront

The list of speakers on the evening, (and who incidentally were all given no more than five minutes each!) included (in order of appearance) V&A Waterfront CEO David Green.

Summarily, according to Mr Green; it was high time South Africans took to the oceans, and made use of the resource for wealth generation and sharing…….

(Please do note that audio is bad at first but improves dramatically thereafter with all the clips. Also, a video version of the speeches will be loaded soon on the “Reflections” page.)

South Africa is a maritime country. Johannesburg is a freak city!

Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

Meanwhile, according to SAMSA CEO, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, the launch of the Marine Tourism & Leisure Strategy marked what he described as; “the beginning of a change that one day, when our time shall have passed, from another media somewhere, we will look back and say, we thought it was a party for one day, but it happened to be a day marking the beginning of the change we have all wanted for our country…..

“The biggest frustration for all of us in the maritime sector,“ he said: “has been a failure to move the consciousness of our nation to the fact that we are a maritime country, a maritime people, who live off a maritime economy.” Importantly, he properly contextualized the entire weekend activity in terms of South Africa’s grand plan for the maritime economic sector.

Take a listen……

The private sector wants in…

Mkhuseli Faku, chairman Calulo Group
Mkhuseli Faku, chairman Calulo Group

Up next was Calulo Group Chairman, Mkhuseli Faku whose group of companies largely operational in maritime sector he said was excited about the openness the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reflected in its keen invitation to private sector companies to get involved and work closely with State entities. Because of it, he pledged future support of initiatives of the nature.

The Ocean Festival will be all over South Africa come 2016…

Bruce Parker-Forsyth, CEO Worldsport
Bruce Parker-Forsyth, CEO Worldsport

The final word on the evening fell on SAMSA partner in the Ocean Festival initiative, Worldsport, whose leader, Bruce Parker-Forsyth unpacked the Ocean Festival initiative going forward….

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A fine evening of seafood, lighted boat parade, ocean sports and illuminating speeches for some 100 or so guests during the launch of the Ocean Festival and the country’s first coherent and comprehensive Marine Tourism and Leisure Strategy at the V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town