On Saturday morning (12 May 2012), the Japanese registered tuna long liner, Eiahtsu Maru, ran aground at Clifton 1st Beach at approximately 05h00.
What became immediately apparent was the lack of proper management of the potential disaster scene from an environmental and fisheries management perspective. For one, because we no longer have operating patrol vessels which have anti-oil and anti-pollution mechanisms, there was absolutely no oil/fuel disaster prevention and mitigation capacity at hand. The magnificent red environmental patrol vessels were instead bobbing about in Simonstown harbour. These vessels ought to have been immediately deployed to disaster scene to assist with the removal of the crew and to ensure that any fuel spill would be contained dissipated.
Secondly, where was the department of fisheries to ensure that the reported tuna on board was legally harvested? Was the fishing vessel authorised to be in SA waters? DAFF officials ought to have removed and documented the fish on board the vessel and removed the vessel's logbooks and fishing permits and licenses.
More than 36 hours after the the vessel ran aground, DAFF has yet to issue a press statement confirming the legal status of the fishing vessel, Eiahtsu Maru.
The pictures below are provided courtesy of Tim Reddell.