18 May 2005

Third patrol vessel introduced to protect South Africa's marine resources

The South African Government is tightening security around its marine resources, with the introduction of the third environmental protection vessel in Cape Town today.

The state-of-the-art patrol vessel, Ruth First, will be introduced to the country's waters as part of the Environmental Affairs and Tourism Department's marine protection strategy to fight illegal fishing and poaching.

She is the third of the four Fishery and Environmental Protection Vessels purchased by government to protect the country's marine resources.

The vessels are named after women who through their courage, dedication and commitment had an immense contribution to the country's liberation.

The Ruth First has been named after freedom fighter and journalist who was married to late African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party leader Joe Slovo.

She was killed in Maputo, Mozambique by the apartheid government in the early 1980s.

Other vessels already patrolling the country's waters are Lilian Ngoyi, named after the struggle heroine; Sarah Bartman, named after a South African Khoi woman who was conscripted to Europe where she was exhibited as a "Hottentot Venus".

Bartman died in France and her remains were only returned to South Africa about three years ago.

The fourth vessel also to be introduced to the sea later will be named after the late lawyer and activist Victoria Mxenge.

Ms Mxenge and her husband Griffith Mxenge, both lawyers aligned to the ruling ANC were killed in Umlazi Township in KwaZulu-Natal also by the apartheid government in the 80s.

According to Environmental Affairs and Tourism Department, since the launch of the first two vessels, there had been a dramatic decrease in illegal fishing and poaching.

Environmental Affairs and Tourism Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi will receive the vessel at V&A Waterfront.

Source: www.allafrica.com


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