A number of media have been reporting that the Minister of Fisheries has confirmed that she is currently engaging with the Minister of Defence to conclude an agreement whereby the South African Navy will step into the shoes of Smit Amandla and take over the management and maintenance of our fisheries patrol and research vessel fleet by 31 March 2012.
Feike had suggested this as the preferred option (the other was to extend the Smit Amandla contract beyond 31 March 2012) in a BLOG article back in February (see http://feikemanagement.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-now-that-sekunjalo-tender-bonanza.html)
On Sunday, the fisheries patrol vessel, Ruth First, coincidentally took part in the annual Naval Festival in Simonstown.
The benefits of using our Navy to operate our fisheries patrol and research vessels are numerous, particularly if our naval officers are also appointed as fishery control officers with the powers to board, inspect and arrest, regardless of whether they are on board a research or patrol vessel.
A flexible and expansive working arrangement with the Navy could allow South Africa to seriously increase its capacity to monitor and patrol its vast EEZ.