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Ports & Ships Maritime News

15 March 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

 

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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News continues below...

 

FIRST VIEW – ESVAGT CELESTE

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The newbuild Danish-owned and flagged standby safety vessel ESVAGT CELESTE (963-gt, built 2013), which was in Cape Town this past week.

Picture by Aad Noorland

News continues below…

 

 

BRICS SUMMIT HOTTING UP

Preparations for the BRICS summit to be held later this month and involving member states Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are well underway with several prior events having taken place.

BRICS customs heads meet

Pretoria - The heads of the customs services of the BRICS member countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - have met for the first time to discuss common problems and outline ways to extend cooperation.

The representatives from member countries signed a protocol on cooperation on the results of the three-day meeting held just weeks before the leaders’ summit to be held in Durban, from 26-27 March 2013.

“We have similar problems. We’re all in the same boat,” first deputy head of the Russian Federal Customs Service (FTS) Vladimir Malinin said.

These problems include the substitution of invoices, under-declaration of the value of goods, gray schemes and smuggling, including drugs.

“The fight against drug smuggling is the priority,” Malinin said.

For speeding up customs procedures, the BRICS representatives agreed to unify the software, organise preliminary informing and stimulate electronic customs clearance of cargoes.

Malinin stressed that his agency has already established contacts with colleagues from China and India, but with Brazil and South Africa it “practically had no” such contacts before this meeting.

“They are advanced countries” in terms of technological equipment of customs, the FTS first deputy head stated.

“The significance of the BRICS as an international association is growing. We expect the political decisions of the summit to promote their implementation and make life easier for conscientious businesses,” Malinin said.

“With the development of trade, the work of customs authorities acquires particular importance,” he stressed.

BRICS, certainly, cannot claim the status of Russia’s neighbours - Kazakhstan and Belarus - that are members of the Customs Union, because the countries of the group have no common borders and are separated by great distances.

The task of the FTS within BRICS is to coordinate actions in all spheres of the customs administration and provide assistance in settling disputes. Source – SAnews.gov.za/Itar-Tass

 

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All eyes on Durban on setting up of BRICS Bank

Cape Town – As South Africa wraps up preparations towards hosting the fifth Brics summit, the world will be keenly watching to see whether the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa can conclude negotiations on setting up a Brics development bank.

The Brics summit will be held in Durban on the 26 and 27 March.

Emerging markets analysts believe a Brics development bank – which was first mooted at last year’s Brics summit in Delhi, India – can help create jobs in South Africa and promote greater trade on the African continent by funding new infrastructure.

Last week, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told City Press that South Africa was keen to host the development bank, saying that the country had a history of sound financial expertise and that the African continent was home to seven of the 10 fastest growing economies.

The Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said this week that South Africa had a strategic interest in extending Brics cooperation to support Africa’s development agenda. He added that he believed Africa’s relationship with Brics has influenced growth in the continent.

The finance ministries from the five member countries have been working on a business plan for the development bank and last month member state finance ministers met at the sidelines of the G20 summit to explore the bank’s potential structure.

World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu has backed the idea for a Brics development bank, but has warned it would be a “humongous task” to set up.

While Martyn Davies, the chief executive of Frontier Advisory, said in January that there had been discussion of a fund of up to US$240- billion, Standard Bank expects each of the five member states to initially contribute $10 billion in seed capital to the bank, with further funds raised from the markets as necessary.

However, Standard Bank research analysts Jeremy Stevens and Simon Freemantle cautioned that China’s eventual contribution may outpace that of the other Brics members to the joint development bank and that Beijing would, understandably, demand commensurate influence over the fund’s decision-making mechanisms.

In a research note last month, the two pointed out that while for China $10 billion amounts to just 0.12% of gross domestic product (GDP) (as per 2012), the same contribution would constitute a far more hefty 2.5% of South Africa’s total economic output.

Added to this, China dominates Brics trade and is the number one import partner for all four of its Brics partners and its economy at the end of 2012 was almost 25% larger than the other four Brics nations combined.

“Unless pragmatically managed, political strains similar to those faced within the IMF may emerge. An appreciation of this potential challenge should thus frame deliberations in Durban,” said Stevens and Freemantle.

They expect the development bank to focus on infrastructure development and providing auxiliary support for project preparation, such as feasibility studies.

They said they expected a working group to be later tasked with establishing the necessary technical commitments and governance structures.

The two believe that the development bank would not be a counterweight to multilateral development banks - notably the World Bank – but rather act an auxiliary funding institution.

In a parliamentary reply this week in response to a question from an opposition MP on what the impact had been of South Africa’s membership to Brics, the Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel said the country had achieved several benefits.

Patel said South Africa had grown its level of trade with the Brics countries, it has seen significant growth in tourism from other Brics countries, was now a stronger destination for potential investment and able to influence the development of greater Brics partnerships with the rest of the African continent.

On trade, the four Bric countries now account for a larger share of South Africa's imports and exports. Measured in US Dollars, exports from SA to Bric countries rose from $12.1 billion in 2010 to $15 billion in 2012, he said.

“This helped to compensate for reduced demand from traditional markets which are experiencing slower or negative growth,” he added.

Earlier this month, the South African government appointed the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) to serve as an incubator for the South Africa Brics Think Tank ahead for an initial period of one year.

Officials from the five countries met in Durban over a weekend earlier this month for a workshop aimed at mapping a long-term strategy for a mooted consortium of Brics think tanks.

According to the HSRC, the think tank will conduct policy research and analysis to help inform the long-term strategy of the Brics group.

This week the heads of customs administrations of the Brics countries met in Bela Bela to prepare for the summit, with the aim of developing customs capacity in technology and procedures and to agree to exchange information to combat illicit activity.

Festivities will kick off with a beach festival in Durban on Sunday as well as concerts, before the 5th Brics Business Forum runs on Tuesday.

The conference itself will take place on Wednesday. Source – SAnews.gov.za

 

News continues below…

SHIPWATCH: NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SHIPS AND SHIPPING LINES

Maersk Triple-E class set to change the rules

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The first Maersk Triple-E class rolls out earlier this month

When Maersk Line completes the launching of its full fleet of Triple-E class containerships onto the East – West services in mid 2014, the effect they will bring is likely to cause more than just another cascading down of larger ships into other trade routes.

The advent of having 20 of these 18,000-TEU ships bringing vast economies of scale in operating costs, could well result in another set of rate adjustments among Maersk’s competitors.

Maersk expects to be able to launch these mega ships at a rate of one every four to six weeks commencing in June this year, which will provide them with enough ships by mid next year to operate a full service using only Triple-E class ships on the lines’ major trade route.

Although Maersk says the ships will enter into service in a ‘market-sensitive manner’, the result is that they will bring about a sudden increase in capacity on a service that is already experiencing some strain. Last year volumes between the Far East and Europe fell 4% to 13.6 million TEU. Conversely, volumes going the other way, between Europe and the Far East actually increased slightly, from 6.3 million TEU to 6.6 million.

According to Maersk, the new ships will be deployed on the AE-10 service, which currently makes use of mainly E-class ships on a rotation of Gwangyang, Ningbo, Shanghai, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, Suez Canal, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Gdansk, Aarhus and Gothenburg. An E-class ship has a capacity of 15,000 TEU. The service will probably include calls at Nansha and Xiamen at a later date.

A Maersk spokesman said this week that the line would not expect to fill the bigger ships immediately. “We are trying not to inject more capacity into the market,” he said rather ingeniously. How Maersk will prevent that from happening is not clear.

The world’s containerships are getting larger, on a rapidly expanding scale previously thought impossible. Although CMA CGM has come close with one ship of 16,000-TEU capacity, there are no other 18,000-TEU ship currently on order for delivery within the timescale enjoyed by Maersk.

Nevertheless, if the lessons of the last ten or 12 years are anything to go by, other lines will follow with mega container ships, bringing about an unplanned oversupply of tonnage and a massive cascading down as vessels of 10,000 to 14,000-TEU are diverted to less important trade routes. The effects of this are open for speculation, but one can only imagine that it will bring new pressures on ports not fully geared to handle such ships. South African container ports are one such example. The spectre of queues of container ships outside ports waiting for a suitable berth may again appear to haunt port managers and authorities.

 

Evergreen Line Launches ISC - Persian Gulf - East Africa Service

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Evergreen’s EVER GIVEN. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Evergreen Line announced yesterday that it is teaming up with Hanjin and Simatech to launch the new IDEA service linking the Indian sub- continent, Persian Gulf and East Africa from late March 2013.

Four 2,500-2,800 TEU vessels will be deployed on the joint service. The first sailing is planned from Mundra (Northwest India) on the 26th of March 2013.

The port rotation of the weekly service will be Mundra - Karachi - Jebel Ali - Mombasa - Dar es Salaam – Mundra.

Evergreen Line currently operates the Asia - East Africa (AEF) service, with weekly sailings since its inauguration in May 2010. The addition of the IDEA service is aimed at enhancing the line's network reach and market presence in this region.

 

Rickmers-Linie establishes Westbound Round-The-World Service

Rickmers-Linie is launching a Westbound Round-The-World Service, connecting areas of economic growth in Asia and South America and then on to North America. The America-Asia westbound service established in 2006 now forms a part of this new service.

The Hamburg-based specialist in worldwide breakbulk, heavy lifts and project cargoes announced the decision at the start of the Breakbulk China 2013 conference being held in Shanghai.

“Having introduced our Round-The-World Pearl String Service with an eastbound rotation ten years ago, we are convinced that the time to start up a similar concept in the other direction has now come. This move further confirms our commitment to, and trust in, the Asian and South American markets,” said Ulrich Ulrichs, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of Rickmers-Linie.

Two or three chartered multipurpose heavy lift vessels will launch the service. The first vessel, HUANGHAI GLORY, was built in China in 2012 and has a lifting capacity of up to 160 tonnes and a deadweight of 28,300 tonnes. The second vessel is expected to enter service in May 2013, with the arrival of the third vessel to be announced at a later stage. Rickmers-Linie plans to run the service on a monthly schedule in the future.

Ports which will receive calls on this service will include: Yokohama, Masan, Xingang, Shanghai, Singapore, Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Vitoria, Philadelphia, Savannah and Houston.

 

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The Antarctic ice-breaker and supply vessel SA AGULHAS II returned to homebase in Cape Town recently bearing a few scars from her recent journey down south. Picture by The Aerial Perspective aerialphoto.co.za

 

SELI 1 wreck reduction well underway

According to the City of Cape Town, progress has been made on the Turkish vessel SELI I shipwreck reduction efforts.

The City says the immediate focus is on weakening the bow that keeps the wreck intact. “Significant progress has been made to weaken the vessel and the focus of the Operational Diving Team (ODT) will now be on the containment area where the oil tanks are located.”

Part of the plan, says the city, is to mitigate further altering of the coastline by means of erosion and eliminating further oil spills.

“The established Joint Task Team has put in place contingency measures to deal with potential oil spills and contamination of marine life.”

In September 2009, the ship experienced engine problems and sought refuge in Table Bay. Reduced engine power and stormy weather caused the vessel to run aground off Table View beach.

The wreck has since been blown up as part of a plan to get rid of the unsightly debris at a Cape Town beach, with the remaining debris is to be cut into smaller pieces. [The SA Navy has been ‘contracted’ to further reduce the wreck. – P&S]

The general public has been reminded that the entire beach and dune area opposite the wreck is closed to the public and demarcated parking areas are off-limits as well as recreational activities.

The airspace surrounding the wreck is also prohibited and no aircraft is allowed to operate within this space. Source - SAnews.gov.za

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What the fuss is all about, the wreck of the Seli I. Picture by Pat Downing

p> News continues below...

 

ROAD AND RAIL TRANSPORT NEWS

Vale Moçambique keeps coal export target unchanged at 4.9 million tons

Vale Moçambique has kept its projection of exporting 4.9 million tons of coal this year unchanged despite a temporary stoppage of the Sena railroad, which links Moatize to the port of Beira, said the director of the Vale Group for Africa.

“We are confident that we will be able to recover what we have lost (due to the rains),” Ricardo Saad told financial news agency Reuters, noting that the railroad had been at a standstill for two weeks, which meant that the group had to cite reasons of force majeure for not meeting its contractual obligations.

Saad said the project to expand the Moatize mine has been delayed for 12 months, until the second half of 2015.

Saad noted that Vale Moçambique was working with state port and rail company Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) to overcome some logistical difficulties and increase the capacity of the Sena line, which is the only railway that carries coal mined in Tete province to the Indian Ocean coast. Source – macauhub

 

New bridge linking Tete to Benga, due to open in October 2014

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Existing (older) road bridge over Zambezi River at Tete

Work on building a new bridge in Tete, which will link Tete municipality to Benga, in Moatize district, which has been underway since April 2011, is 50% complete, said the representative of the Mozambican government for the project, engineer Mateus Jakisson.

“We are progressing well and everything points to the job being delivered within the stipulated deadline,” Jakisson told daily newspaper Notícias, which reported that by October 2014 the bridge would be opened to road traffic.

Some problems related to access roads have now been resolved and work is now underway on the roads, where in some cases the contractor is building some small bridges and aqueducts ahead of laying asphalt.

The new bridge over the Zambezi River in the city of Tete is located about 5 kilometres downstream of the current bridge and will be 715 metres long and 14.80 metres wide including both the road and pavements on either side.

The consortium building the bridge is made up of Portuguese companies Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção, Soares da Costa Construções and Opway and the bridge is expected to cost 105.26 million euros. Source – macauhub

 

News continues below…

 

PORTWATCH: NEWS FROM THE PORTS OF AFRICA

Transnet to spend R15 billion on a new Richards Bay coal terminal

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Richards Bay general freight area. Picture Transnet TPT

Transnet announced this week it is looking at the feasibility of building a new coal export terminal at the Port of Richards Bay, to cater for emerging miners and increasing volumes.

The new terminal will cost an estimated R15 billion, says Transnet Port Terminals and would be located close to the existing Richards Bay Coal Terminal, which is privately operated.

Construction of the new terminal, if it is to go ahead, will run concurrently with other redevelopment of the port which is scheduled for completion by 2020.

According to Sudesh Maharaj, the man in charge of Transnet’s expansion projects at Richards Bay, the development of a new terminal will be capacity-led rather than demand-led.

“It would be ready for the use of those who are new in the coal market and they are expected to come from all over South Africa,” said Maharaj.

Phase 1 of the new terminal will provide capacity for around 14 million tonnes of export coal each year, which is expected to rise to as much as 32 million tonnes by 2040.

According to Maharaj, there are no plans to develop a container terminal facility at the Zululand port, despite there being a R30-billion Capex plan for Richards Bay. Transnet would instead be spending up to R15-billion on the port’s bulk and breakbulk facilities. The port already has a container handling facility, he said and there was no need for a dedicated container terminal to be built.

By 2020 the port would however be capable of handling up to 100,000 TEU and the general freight expansion programme will bring more than enough capacity for container growth, he said.

 

Floating dock for processing oil and gas inaugurated in Mozambique

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The Port of Pemba, prior to the construction of a floating wharf to handle oil and gas products. Picture by Terry Hutson

A floating dock for handling oil and natural gas which will assist companies that are prospecting for hydrocarbons in the Rovuma basin, was inaugurated in the city of Pemba on Wednesday, the daily newspaper Notícias has reported.

The new dock, alongside a reclaimed area some 100 metres long, consists of a floating mooring platform capable of receiving two ships at the same time. It is owned by state port and rail company Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), and will be managed by Bolloré Africa Logistics.

In a statement CFM said that the new floating dock, which cost around US$12 million to build, was the first of its kind in the country and was designed exclusively to handle oil and gas, meaning that these products will no longer be handled at the port of Pemba’s commercial dock.

Ilídia Rocha, the sales director for Bolloré Africa Logistics, said that the new terminal would provide cheaper and faster ways of handling oil and gas products compared to the traditional port, which would allow for commercial development of the port of Pemba and growth of the local economy.

Construction of the Pemba oil terminal is part of the Master Plan for Natural Gas in Mozambique, approved in 2012 on the basis that, despite Mozambique’s huge potential the country has few facilities and a lack of qualified workforce, which may affect Mozambique’s ambition to become an important player in the world natural gas market. Source – macauhub

 

News continues below…

LARGE-SCALE SEA RESCUE EXERCISE COMPLETED OFF CAPE TOWN

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SAS Spioenkop, the SA Navy frigate which played the role of a cruise ship that caught fire and went aground off Cape Town this week. The rescue exercise was one of the largest ever held along the South African coast. Picture by Kim Germishuis

A large-scale sea rescue exercise, 'Operation Beachy', organised by the City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management, took place on Tuesday this week, 12th March, at Mouille Point, Cape Town.

This was one of the largest sea rescue exercises to ever take place in South African waters, involving 300 personnel, of which 101 were 'casualties'. A total of 23 emergency services agencies participated including: The City of Cape town Disaster Risk Management, the Transnet National Ports Authority, Transnet National Ports Authority tug boats, SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority), Telkom Maritime Radio Services, MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), the SA National Defence Force, the SA Navy, the SA Air Force, NSRI, W Cape Government Health EMS and the EMS rescue squad – rescue technicians and EMS rescue dive unit, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, the SA Police Services, the SA Police Communications, the SA Police Dive Unit, the SA Police Sea Borderline Unit, Sea Point Police Station, Cape Town Traffic Services, the Forensic Pathology Services, Law Enforcement, Metro Police, the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement Equestrian Unit, Skymed (Metro EMS Red Cross Air Mercy Services), W Cape Government Department of Health, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the Department of Environmental Affairs, W Cape Customs Services, Department of Social Services, Netcare 911 ambulance services, ER24 ambulance services, and Foreign Consulates from The United States of America Embassy, the British High Commission, The Consulate of the French Republic, The Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany and the MSC Cruise Line Ship agent, MUSTADAFIN – Disaster Relief NGO, the V&A Waterfront Management and Cape Town Stadium.

For the purpose of the exercise:

At 09h15 the fully laden passenger cruise ship COSTALOT (which was actually the SA Navy frigate SAS SPIOENKOP) reported to Cape Town Port Control the she had run aground off-shore of Mouille Point and were fighting a blaze onboard and listing to one side.

The Transnet National Ports Authority Harbour Master assumed command of what was rapidly escalating into a multi emergency services mass casualty and search and rescue operation and a JOCC (Joint Operations Control Centre) was immediately established at the Port Control Tower in the Port of Table Bay where representatives of the responding emergency services gathered to coordinate the 'rescue operation.'

NSRI Table Bay, NSRI Bakoven, NSRI Melkbosstrand, NSRI Hout Bay, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, W Cape Government Health EMS, SA Police Services were activated to respond to the scene.

Fire Fighters and EMS paramedics and EMS rescue technicians were dispatched to accompany sea rescue boats.

The Skymed rescue helicopter, Law Enforcement Marine Division rescue craft, SAPS Sea Borderline craft, the SAPS Dive Unit craft, an EMS rescue craft and Transnet tug boats were also activated to respond.

Cape Town Radio (Telkom Maritime Radio Services) broadcast an all ships alert and played a pivotal role in efficient communications throughout the exercise.

MRCC, Maritime Radio Services, SAMSA, SA Police Services, Cape Town Disaster Risk Management, Cape Town Traffic, the SA Navy, the SA Air Force, the SA Army, private ambulance services, and all associated emergency services (responsible to respond as per the protocol of a mass casualty incident) were activated.

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An Oryx helicopter from the SAAF’s 22 squadron lift two “casualties” off the ship. Picture NSRI

On arrival on-scene the first sea rescue craft to arrive at the casualty ship assumed the on-scene command and Fire Fighters, EMS paramedics, EMS rescue technicians and NSRI rescue teams were put aboard the casualty vessel to fight the fire, search and free entrapped crew and passengers, medically triage and treat passengers and crew and to rapidly evacuate all crew from a ship that may capsize at any moment.

While this was underway a full scale shore emergency services contingent responded to and amassed at the Mouille Point Lighthouse and roads leading to 'the scene' were closed to the public and the area was cordoned off while Disaster Management and Metro EMS established an on-scene sub JOCC, a landing zone, emergency medical treatment facilities, a media centre, a refreshment centre and the adjacent Cape Town Stadium was taken under command by Disaster Management to act as a secure zone for sorting and treating casualties and adequately brief victims and relatives.

Media were alerted to cover the story and on their arrival they were briefed and ushered to a media station.

An emergency hotline telephone number was established and broadcast by media while media also played a pivotal role in keeping the public abreast of developments and requesting public to stay clear of the 'scene' while the 'emergency operation' was underway.

Security perimeters were established and maintained by Police, Law Enforcement, Cape Town Traffic Services and Metro Police.

Ingress and Egress routes were established for ambulances and hospitals were placed on high alert while additional medical and rescue personnel were activated to take over control of slip ways and boat launching sites in the area ready to receive 'patients' and to launch additional resources as needed.

The first casualty patients and survivors were brought ashore aboard sea rescue craft at 09h50 and a ships Manifest was also brought ashore where Disaster Management administrative staff began to establish the number of passengers and crew onboard (for rescuers to establish the number of still missing casualties) and to determine the casualties’ nationality.

The media and foreign consulates were briefed by the JOCC media representatives on regular intervals.

A search had begun for passengers unaccounted for and possibly floating on the high seas and the SA Air Force 22 Squadron Lynx and Oryx helicopters arrived on-scene and assisted to evacuate critically injured patients off the ship and to search for survivors in the sea. NSRI helicopter rescue crews were deployed from the helicopters to winch hoist casualties into the helicopter to be brought ashore.

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NSRI Hout Bay rescue boat Nadine Gordimer alongside the ‘cruise’ ship COSTALOT. Picture NSRI

The fire onboard the ship had been extinguished by Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services and assisted by the tug boats fire fighting equipment while sea rescue craft continued to ferry survivors off the ship to various landing sites along the coastline.

Treatment of injured passengers and crew took place on the shore at Mouille Point and at the Cape Town Stadium and ambulances transferred the injured to local hospitals.

Customs officials dealt with clearing passengers entering the country, social services assisted with trauma counselling, the Department of Environmental Affairs cleaned up the pollution spill (as per an exercise), the Department of International Relations and Cooperation assisted with the Foreign affairs, Foreign Consulates dealt with their countrymen and the Forensic Pathology Services took over the care of those deceased.

Throughout the exercise the Ports Authority staff maintained normal port operating procedures with regular shipping traffic without interruption while lending excellent support to the exercise.

The Captain and crew of SAS Spioenkop played a remarkable role in the exercise and made a huge effort to keep all of the 'exercise casualties' comfortable while awaiting their 'rescue'.

After all 'casualties' were accounted for and evacuated off the ship (or found floating on the ocean or in life rafts) the rescue exercise was completed and attention shifted to the ongoing treatment and transportation of injured casualties while environmental services mock cleaned up the ocean and SAMSA made the vessel safe for salvage.

Only one real casualty resulted during this exercise which involved one of the young female volunteers who succumbed to some emotional stress after being winch hoisted (airlifted) off the ship by a helicopter. She has received trauma counselling and has recovered well.

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’Passengers’ rescued off the passenger ship on the rescue boat Spirit of Vodacom wait to be taken to shore.

During the exercise those involved experienced the sighting of a strange phenomenon of multiple 'white' illuminating flares, nearly all at the same time, off Kommetjie, Robben Island and two along the False Bay Coast. A search of the Robben Island sighting was launched by NSRI Hout Bay’s sea rescue craft and nothing was found and the search was called off. The other sightings were also investigated but their origin and purpose remains a mystery. At the same time what is believed to have been a meteor shower was sighted from the Goodwood vicinity but the Astronomical Society reported that this was natural for this time of year.

“At one stage during the exercise nature threw the exercise a curve ball and fog rolled in, although only briefly, hampering the exercise but also giving us the opportunity to re-enact as close to reality as possible, which is always a challenge during an exercise, as alternative arrangements had to be made for evacuating passengers while helicopters could not do that leg of the rescue in the fog,” said Brad Geyser, Sea Rescue JOC Commander.

“Craft that did not have navigational equipment onboard had to be guided in the fog – these are real obstacles we often face in real rescues, he said.

Greg Pillay, Manager-Head of CoCT Disaster Risk Management, said that the preparation for the exercise and the exercise itself went very smoothly considering the number of organisations involved. “Considering the size of the rescue operation we were enacting and we are extremely satisfied with the outcome and we are confident with our preparedness for any disaster of this nature.”

Captain Sabelo Mdlalose, Transnet National Ports Authority Harbour Master, said that all in all, “this sea rescue operation showed the efficiency of our emergency response to any disaster of this nature that may occur on our waters around South Africa.”

At the preliminary debriefing, held at Cape Town Stadium post the exercise, Ward Councillor JP Smith congratulated all involved and a special thanks was acknowledged to the volunteers who took part in the exercise.

A formal debriefing is to be held next week and lessons learned and good working practices will be shared with joint emergency services around the country.

 

News continues below…

PICS OF THE DAY – PAPORA WISDOM

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The PAPORA WISDOM seen sailing from Cape Town harbour earlier this week. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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