South Africa: Power Crisis Causing Serious Concerns for Sailing Community
South Africa’s current power supply crisis, which involves daily electricity load shedding, is affecting lighthouses, boatyards and marinas, causing serious concern to the country’s recreational sailing community.
Published 2 months ago
Source: IBI – International Boat Industry
by Bobby Jordan
Transnet National Ports Authority has confirmed lighthouse outages as a result of back-up power supply challenges caused by prolonged and repeated load shedding.
The situation prompted comment from Peter Sherlock, SA Sailing Councillor representing the cruising community who said there is a concern (about load shedding impacts) among cruisers.
“Lighthouses are a basic form of sea safety and one critical for both shipping and recreational sailors,” said Sherlock, a former chief executive officer of the Ocean Sailing Association of Southern Africa (OSSA).
The South African Maritime Safety Authority also confirmed the challenge caused by load shedding.
“Load shedding has been a contributing factor to a number of outages,” SAMSA head of Aids to Navigation: Sea Watch and Response Pieter-Chris Blom told the Sunday Times earlier this month. He said Aids to Navigation outages were closely monitored and noted in SAMSA’s monthly report.
Alex Miya, Acting Executive Manager of TNPA Lighthouse and Navigational Systems, said lighthouse back-up systems are wilting under the barrage of power outages: “Whilst all lighthouses are equipped with standby diesel generators, these back-up systems are not designed to run continuously or for extended periods of time and therefore are being impacted by the high number of outages,” Miya told the Sunday Times.
Load shedding is also impacting marine manufacturing where some production processes are hampered by extended outages, with back-up supply unable to plug all the supply gaps. The City of Cape Town, home to most of the country’s biggest yacht manufacturers, this week announced they had National Treasury approval to buy power from businesses and private residents. The ‘cash-for-power’ scheme is seen as a forerunner of countrywide initiatives to spur energy innovation and ease pressure on state-owned power infrastructure.
OSSA Confirms major problems
Jenny Crickmore-Thompson from OSSA confirmed that load shedding was creating major problems for cruising sailors, not least in water supplies.
“Reservoirs are battling to fill because there is not enough time to pump water up into the tanks. This means harbours like Port Elizabeth are limiting water available for yachts coming through, as the Nelson Mandela Bay Area is in the midst of both severe drought and reservoir limitations,” she said.
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