The South African government's Fisheries Department appears to be actively aiding and abetting an Icelandic vessel carrying 2000 tons of whale meat that is currently seeking entry to either the Ports of East London, Durban or Richards Bay. The initial information provided to Feike on 12 April was that the vessel was seeking entry to PE harbour.
When Feike began seeking the intervention of DAFF during the course of 12 April 2014, DAFF's bewildering response was that it would do nothing because the vessel - The Alma - IS NOT A FISHING VESSEL!
See DAFF's two most recent tweets on the subject below:
See the entire conversation with DAFF regarding the ALMA here.
DAFF's last tweet is of course the typical admission of failure and an inability to debate the matter - ie. that it will no longer entertain any further discussion on the Alma! The Marine Living Resources Act is clear. Any foreign-flagged vessel carrying fish or fish products, whether this fish is caught on the High Seas or in the waters of another coastal state, must be authorised by DAFF to enter South African territorial waters, including any harbour. This obligation arises from the Port State Measures Agreement as well. South Africa is a signatory to this agreement and has clearly failed to implement it and adhere to its international obligations under the FAO Code for Responsible Fisheries.
DAFF's statement that it cannot act against the ALMA because it is a "cargo ship" is simply hogwash. Either DAFF's officials are again confirming their basic ignorance of South African and international fisheries laws or they are actively abetting this vessel.
South Africa of course has never before hesitated to inspect and require any vessel carrying fish products to comply with the provisions of the MLRA. So we must ask why has DAFF placed its head so deeply in the sand with respect to the ALMA?
DAFF's twitter statement of course will have the unintended consequence of allowing any vessel - provided that it does not refer to itself as a "fishing vessel" but calls itself a "cargo vessel" or anything else - unregulated entry to an SA port! On DAFF's unlawful understanding of its own obligations as a regulator, a reefer vessel with 2000 tons of shark fins or Patagonian tooth fish caught in another state's waters will be allowed unhindered access to our waters and ports!
This of course will make an absolute mockery of our international obligations under, inter alia, the PSM Agreement.