13 July 2005

Sarah Baartman to keep watch over Africa's eastern coastline

A R160 million offshore vessel called Sarah Baartman is expected to dramatically improve marine patrols along the coasts of South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Sarah Baartman to keep watch over Africa's eastern coastlineCarrying inspectors from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the 83-metre-long state-of-the-art vessel has already done a 9000 km journey from Cape Town to the Tanzanian coast.

She returns to Cape Town later this week.

National environmental affairs and tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said it was the first time that SADC countries had co-operated over fisheries' surveillance.

"Fish don't respect man-made fishing boundaries. Poachers don't either. For too long this placed our enforcement officers at a major disadvantage. Now they have been given tremendous muscle," he said.

The SADC inspectors checked 50 fishing boats, boarding 47 and issuing three fines for illegal fishing off the east African coast in the past month. One boat was ordered to return to port as its license had expired.

KwaZulu-Natal conservation authorities expect the Sarah Baartman crew to tackle poaching of the annual tuna and swordfish runs.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Shore and Commercial conservation manager Rob Broker said he had been in the business 22 years and that the vessel was a "godsend" to coastal resource management.

"In the past we battled to board ships, especially in rough waters. So this alleviates that problem. To board nearly 50 ships in one month is unheard of," he explained.

The vessel is equipped to stay at sea for 45 days and carries satellite tracking and monitoring equipment, allowing authorities to track all vessels entering the coastal exclusion zones where fishing may not take place.

With a top speed of 24 knots, the vessel will run down anyone who tries to escape. In South Africa, the ship will work in conjunction with three 47-metre, in-shore vessels, called the Lilian Ngoyi, Ruth First and the Victoria Mxenge, as well as with aerial support.

Source: www.allafrica.com


At 4:26 PM, Anonymous sheddon Filday said...

Operating dive charters in Northern Mozambique area over the last 3 years, Matemo Island,Ibo and Pemba, Moz.
We see many trawlers in operation on St Lazerous banks etc...

How can we help?


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