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Sat Jul 04 05:21:04 SAST 2015

Top SA vessel overrun by mice, roaches

PHILANI NOMBEMBE | 19 November, 2012 00:04
SAS Africana. File photo

Conditions on SAS Africana, one of South Africa's top research vessels, have been described as appalling, with mice and cockroaches overrunning it.

The ship was on a crucial two-week biomass survey cruise to determine levels of fish stock when it developed engine failure off False Bay last Sunday.

DA MP Peter van Dalen said he had been told of the vessel's poor state.

"Conditions on the ship are unacceptable. Water restrictions mean that only scientific personnel are allowed to shower. The toilets are not functioning on the upper deck, and the ship is infested with mice and cockroaches," he said.

The SA Navy took over the management of the Fisheries Department fleet earlier this year following an agreement between the ministers of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Defence.

Van Dalen said the delay in fixing the vessel threatened more than 2000 jobs.

He said he would write to Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson for an urgent intervention, because the Navy's process of buying spare parts was cumbersome.

But defence spokesman Sphiwe Dlamini hit back, saying spares for the 30-year-old vessel were not readily available.

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