Worries about Future as Navy Takes over Research Ships
THE SA Navy has taken over the government's fleet of patrol and research vessels amid concerns about the future of the fisheries vessels and young mariners.
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, announced this weekend that the navy would perform the shipping management functions of the fleet with effect from yesterday, after Smit Amandla's contract ended.
This came after weeks of speculation as to who would manage the eight vessels, worth about R1 billion, after alleged irregularities emerged concerning the tender allocated to Sekunjalo - the company that was to have taken over the contract from Smit.
The fleet of vessels was handed over to the navy at Simon's Town Naval Base on Saturday, said a media statement.
The shipping management functions to be performed by the Navy included:
l The crewing of the vessels.
l The technical management of the vessels (maintenance, repair and life cycle management).
l The provisioning of the vessels.
l The bunkering of the vessels.
l The operation of the vessels.
l The accounting of all aspects relating to these functions.
l Safety and seaworthiness.
The navy will perform these functions for the next year.
The fleet now falls under the control of the Department of Defence, according to a memorandum of understanding signed last week by Joemat-Pettersson and Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
The next fisheries research trip was expected to start early this month and it is not clear if it will still take place. …