News24

SA unable to act against oil-slick ship

2012-06-08 20:10

Cape Town - A South African coastguard aircraft has spotted and photographed a foreign container ship trailing a long oil slick off the Eastern Cape coast.

But local maritime authorities - who have identified the vessel as the Conti Hong Kong - are "powerless" to act, according to a reliable source in the maritime sector.

The source said the container ship was spotted by a Kuswag plane on Thursday, "discharging oil from its bilges" at a position 14 nautical miles off Hamburg, south of East London.

"The slick was 4 nautical miles long and 50-metres wide at the time it was spotted," the source told Sapa.

South African maritime authorities were powerless to act against the vessel because there was "zero response capability", the source said.

It is understood the Conti Hong Kong is westbound for Lagos in Nigeria, having sailed from Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Illegal

Contacted for comment, a SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) official - who declined to be named - confirmed the vessel had been spotted by a Kuswag plane within South African waters.

The official said Samsa could not say whether the ship was leaking oil or discharging it from its bilges.

"But it's definitely illegal."

The official said however there was "no capability to go out there to stop the vessel and what's happening".

If the Conti Hong Kong did not put into an SA port, there was nothing the local authorities could do.

Two months ago, all South Africa's maritime patrol vessels were handed over, by the department of fisheries, to the SA Navy. The vessels are still being commissioned and, according to a navy official on Friday, will be ready for sea operations "in the next two weeks or so".

According to the website www.marinetraffic.com, the Conti Hong Kong is a 26 000-ton container vessel, built in 1989. She is registered in the Marshall Islands.

Comments
  • TSOTSI Smilification - 2012-06-08 20:20

    Well done ANC, because of your actions, nobody has respect for South Africa anymore. They are "sh&%ting" on our doorstep becuase of your foolish policies. ANC ARE MAKING FOOLS OF US!

      bernpm - 2012-06-08 20:40

      this is not stupid policies, but logistics stupidity. The Navy should be controlling our sea border line, not the dept of fisheries. Send out one of these expensive submarines, arrest the crew and sink the ship (ongelukkie).

      Mapula Ramoroka - 2012-06-08 20:49

      @bernpm u dont really knw wat u talking about bro

      zak.cebi - 2012-06-08 21:02

      Barack obama cannot tolerate this, ANC is fooling all south africans. Next time zimbambwe will dump its waste in SA

      Bob - 2012-06-08 21:25

      What happened to the FLEET of Kuswag vessels we had that could take care of oil slicks???????

      Glyn - 2012-06-09 17:54

      The cause is the tsotsi-fication of the South African Defense Force. It is not that Black sailors cannot do the job (the world's merchant ships are full of good Black sailors, I know this as I have sailed with them) but it is BEE, AA and all the rest of the anc's misguided racist policies that are sinking this once great country's navy. Vote DA for the Navy! Vote DA for the Army! Vote DA for the Air Force! Vote DA for a return of national pride!

      Glyn - 2012-06-09 17:55

      The cause is the tsotsi-fication of the South African Defense Force. It is not that Black sailors cannot do the job (the world's merchant ships are full of good Black sailors, I know this as I have sailed with them) but it is BEE, AA and all the rest of the anc's misguided racist policies that are sinking this once great country's navy. Vote DA for the Navy! Vote DA for the Army! Vote DA for the Air Force! Vote DA for a return of national pride!

  • PETESKEAT - 2012-06-08 20:39

    Would the Hon.Minister of Defence and Veterans care to comment? Don't hold your breath.

  • kelvin.strachan - 2012-06-08 20:39

    Scramble a couple of Cheetahs with napalm missiles and sink the bloody thing. 2 birds 1 stone. Oil will burn away and the ship will make a nice reef.

      Ian - 2012-06-08 20:47

      100%, if this was US waters this would have been over long ago

      simphiwe.tladi - 2012-06-08 23:11

      i agree with both of you,the world needs to look at this country and know that it is not a waste field nor a play ground.The SAN should attack that thing!

      Craig - 2012-06-09 08:07

      Good idea but these guys can't even scramble eggs

      Hugo - 2012-06-09 11:09

      cheetahs were retired in 2008

  • michael.a.devilliers - 2012-06-08 20:42

    I thought we spent trillions on submarines and warships? Why are they not intercepting this ship?

      boltonbarry - 2012-06-08 23:19

      Because they forgot to buy batteries for the submarines and dont think they know how to 'drive' the big boat

      Tony - 2012-06-09 10:25

      Apparently, none of the submarines are serviceable, due to lack of operational and maintenance personnel. I think the same applies to the new surface craft. Can anybody comment on this?

  • Michele - 2012-06-08 20:43

    What about everything we paid for in the arms deal? Are they all already broken? or are they stolen? Were they ever even delivered? -

      Keith - 2012-06-08 20:52

      the money transfer were diverted into their offshore accounts .smart ANC government

      Henk - 2012-06-08 20:53

      The ships are in dock. No skills to operate the kit.

  • Jean - 2012-06-08 20:44

    Absolutely disgusted... so they can pollute our waters and we can't do a thing... But doubt the anc would have done anything if they could have... China buddies, right!!

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-06-08 21:09

    "The official said however there was "no capability to go out there to stop the vessel and what's happening"." Wait, WHAT! We left you a perfectly good navy when we walked out the door. What did you do with it?

      michael.i.wright - 2012-06-09 00:03

      @Blinding, unless the law has changed in recent years, that is not correct. Should the vessel be in SA waters (as the article stated), the navy may interdict it and will do so under the authority of the relevant department. The vessel carrying out the action will most likely have department officials on board who will preside over the action. As to your snide remark, we did leave you a functional navy that was able to deal with our maritime needs. I know by virtue of having served her fleet for a couple of years.

      Glyn - 2012-06-09 18:04

      @michael and @Blinding .. I 1995 there was an operational navy that could have done the job. Remember that Taiwanese trawler that was chased all the way from Australia and was then arrested off the South African coast by the South African navy? But that was then and times change.... What about our illustrious fleet now? 1/ State of the art frigates that can blow anything out of the water? 2/ State of the art submarines that can blow anything out of the water? 3/ A rubber duck that was confiscated from perlamon poachers? And due to a lack of leadership cannot so boo to a goose!! Time to vote DA.

      Glyn - 2012-06-09 18:08

      Typo! @michael and @Blinding .. In 1995 there was an operational navy that could have done the job. Remember that Taiwanese trawler that was chased all the way from Australia and was then arrested off the South African coast by the South African navy? But that was then and times change.... What about our illustrious fleet now? 1/ State of the art frigates that can blow anything out of the water? 2/ State of the art submarines that can blow anything out of the water? 3/ A rubber duck that was confiscated from perlamon poachers that could get blown up by anybody with a bicycle pump? And due to a lack of leadership cannot say boo to a goose!! Time to vote DA.

      michael.i.wright - 2012-06-10 19:31

      @Blinding, no worries, we all get a bit sharp in these chats occasionally. Suffice it to say, we did leave an effective fleet. Our vessels, while aging (=-20 years) were continually being upgraded as best possible and were well cared for by men of value. We actually made an effort. @Glyn, it's not enough to have fancy ships, you need to have men who can operate them.

  • Don - 2012-06-08 21:18

    Africa! FFS!

  • Bob - 2012-06-08 21:22

    They just can't help themselves in anyway! Pathetic lot really!

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-06-08 21:34

    Probably nothing left to steal on that ship.

  • Francois R Nel - 2012-06-08 21:41

    No capability means all the money supposed to go to them are in the pocket of the many

  • simphiwe.tladi - 2012-06-08 21:46

    we need to be strict on our waters,therefore I suggest that the SAS Drakesberg should be sent and attack this vessel,70 percent of my thoughts tell me that this is a deliberate act.

      simphiwe.tladi - 2012-06-08 22:55

      @michael,my apologies for that,I did not know that.what I meant was SA should send any militarily equipped warship to attack that vessel since it undermines the South African waters.

      michael.i.wright - 2012-06-08 23:52

      I guess I was a bit waspish on that one.

  • stuart.rawlins - 2012-06-08 21:56

    Thats a load of bollocks. If the ship did indeed enter South African waters, as the article says, then we as the Port State Control have every right to board the vessel, investigate the cause and even detain the vessel if the discharge continues (All under the IMO convention). Furthermore, if we did not want to rock the boat, we could inform Flag State(in this case Marshall Islands) who could help inform/detain the vessel at its next port of call and prosecute the Master and Chief Engineer and or impose a fine. Also, southern Africa is deemed a Special Area under Marpol annex 1(prevention of oil pollution) which imposes even stricter bans on the discharge of oil/oil residues. Eish, my 0.02 cents.

      Hugo - 2012-06-09 11:11

      sensible comment,rare on N24,give your self some boerewors

  • gideon.rossouw - 2012-06-08 21:59

    And what was the point then of the BILLIONS spent on the arms deal??

      Irene - 2012-06-08 23:26

      The point was so the cANCer cadre's could put a couple of billion in their own pockets.

  • Ken - 2012-06-08 22:24

    Sink the Conti!

  • carlo.vos.7 - 2012-06-08 22:38

    Once again I am not surprised that the local authorities can't do anything. It is however incredible that no one has tried picking up a phone and contacting the vessels Flag State Authority and reporting this to the IMO for the breaking of international MARPOL Convention 73/78. I suppose they government hasn't got phones to make calls cause there are no more telephone wires to connect or some other stupid excuse!!!

      PumaFred - 2012-06-09 07:13

      I am sure all those thing have been done. AS a regular news 24 reader I have found the article often don't tell the full story and always look to sensationalise the story and run SA down. Oh yes they have cellphones now....

      PumaFred - 2012-06-09 07:15

      The Flag State is only interested in the revenue of registration.

      PumaFred - 2012-06-09 19:02

      I am sure all those thing have been done. AS a regular news 24 reader I have found the article often don't tell the full story and always look to sensationalise the story and run SA down. Oh yes they have cellphones now....

  • Craig - 2012-06-09 08:06

    What about all the other vessels they aquired through the arms deal ?

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-06-09 08:13

    If there was "no capability to go to the offending vessel" one must question our defence capability as it is now their responsibility to take care of these offences. The Ministry of Fisheries etc handed over the task to the Navy without ensuring they were ready to handle the situation. What a joke and the maritime world is the only one laughing at us.

  • Graham - 2012-06-09 08:28

    After 2 months our coast remains unprotected. Anyone can do what they want in our waters as long as they dont make a port call.

  • grantdutoit - 2012-06-09 10:48

    Good luck SA if we are to be attacked you can safely rely on the fact that it will take our useless navy about two weeks or so to try and defend us by which time we will all be facts in history.

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