Ryazanovka looks set to depart

Questions asked about her destination

09 December 2016 | Local News

The wall of silence over the Ryazanovka trawler remains as she is refuelling with massive quantities at the moment, destination unknown.

The controversial Chinese trawler Ryazanovka that has been earmarked as the vessel that will be used to capture and transport live and endangered Namibian marine mammals to Chinese aquariums, if the application is approved, is currently refuelling and storing fuel supplies at Walvis Bay’s main port.

A NamPort port plan shows the vessel has been at Berth 8 since Thursday and is scheduled to remain alongside until Sunday. According to the public port plan, the vessel is taking bunkers, stores and water. The volumes are enormous.

The fisheries ministry remains mum on whether a permit has been granted or denied to the Chinese company Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research.

The company put in a request several months ago to export a number of internationally listed vulnerable wild dolphins, whales and African penguins, among other species, to Chinese aquariums via the Ryazanovka trawler.

A concerned Namibian yesterday said that it is clear the vessel is taking up “huge quantities of fuel” until Sunday, and the urgent question now is what the destination and plans of the vessel crew are once it departs the port.

Moreover, while internationally it is common practice for vessels to be equipped with AIS antennae for tracking purposes, especially in ports, the Ryazanovka has been offline for months.

This, according to reliable sources, could be due to the fact that there are numerous allegations that the vessel is undergoing a change of ownership, and that the new owners are trying to register the vessel in Namibia. Nevertheless, the vessel’s invisibility is a concern to many.

NamPort as well as the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources were not able to confirm the reasons for the Ryazanovka’s refuelling nor its destination after Sunday and whether a permit for capture and export has been granted or denied.

NamPort advised Namibian Sun to contact Trade Ocean, the maritime agents attending to the vessel. However, Trade Ocean agents last week told Namibian Sun they would not comment on any matter relating to the vessel.

The vessel has been in Namibian waters since May and was reportedly customised to enable it to capture and transport large marine wildlife.

The application by Welwitschia Aquatic has unleashed widespread condemnation, both locally and internationally, with the formal request slammed for posing a risk to the local tourism industry and Namibia’s reputation as a leader in environmental conservation, among numerous other issues.

Moreover, scientists have pointed out that the application is riddled with false and inaccurate scientific information, questioning the expertise and intentions of the applicants and their partners.

The Chinese have offered to pay N$30 million, labelling it as money that will be invested through funding of the project into the country.

Internationally, many have argued that the decision is not Namibia’s to make, as the marine wildlife are cross-border animals and do not belong to a single country.

Moreover, a growing number of environmental and scientific organisations question conditions at Chinese zoos and aquariums as well as the ethics behind capturing wild animals and forcing them into a zoo existence.

The questionable application sent to the ministry earlier this year noted that Welwitschia Aquatic is working in collaboration with Beijing Ruier Animal Breeding and Promoting Company.

Although no further information could be gained on the legitimacy and ethics of the company, Dave Morgan from Wild Welfare, an organization with a mission to improve the welfare of captive wild animals, said that based on his experience of conditions at Chinese zoos and aquariums, “they are not places that I could contemplate sending animals to.”

Along with a majority of wildlife scientists, Morgan added that Wild Welfare objects in principle to the capturing and transporting of animals from the wild into captivity.

“These days, modern aquariums and members of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, endeavour to source their cetaceans from captive-bred stock from other aquariums rather than support wild capture operations.”

Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research is allegedly managed by Jeff Huang, a close relative of millionaire Chinese businessman Jack Huang, owner of Sun Investment Group in Namibia. Welwitschia Aquatic shares the same address and contact details as that of Sun Investment Group, and employee there confirmed to Namibian Sun last week that both operated from the same premises.

JANA-MARI SMITH

Similar News

 

Community health workers squat for jobs

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Local News

A small group of trained community health extension workers are squatting indefinitely at the entrance of the health ministry's head office in Windhoek in a...

Plotting against landlessness

2 days ago - 14 February 2019 | Local News

Namibia finds itself at a very important juncture. Following the land conference held towards the end of last year, interpreting and implementing its resolutions optimally...

Huang ta futitha ookahewa ke mongeshefa

2 days ago - 14 February 2019 | Local News

Sha landula oshipotha shefutitho lyoomiliyona 3.7 shoka sha tulilwa mo omukomeh gwahengano lyaaniilonga, Petrus Nevonga, kansela nale gwoSwapo, Christian Iitope ehangano lyoJinhao Investment CC, monena...

Disabled to get much-needed boost

3 days ago - 13 February 2019 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES A new disability project, ‘Strengthening integrated systems to promote access to services for persons with disabilities in Namibia’ was launched in Windhoek yesterday....

Aandonga mourn Kauluma

4 days ago - 12 February 2019 | Local News

Former Ondonga Traditional Authority chairperson and senior Ongula yaNetanga headman, Peter Shimweefeleni Kauluma, died yesterday at the age of 82.Kauluma was described as the mastermind...

We don't have ODC's assets - Kwala

5 days ago - 11 February 2019 | Local News

The board chairperson of the recently established Namibia Industrialisation Development Agency (NIDA), Frans Kwala, has rubbished claims that the agency has taken control of the...

Tributes pour in for Rumpf

5 days ago - 11 February 2019 | Local News

Tributes continue to pour in for 60-year-old Swapo activist and well-known diplomat Hanno Rumpf, who died on Friday after an illness. President Hage Geingob said...

Namibian freedom still intact

5 days ago - 11 February 2019 | Local News

Namibia was ranked 81st among 195 countries or territories for freedom in 2018 and was deemed “free” according to a report issued recently by Freedom...

Ya thika pe 100 taya ka tulululwa mOndangwa

5 days ago - 11 February 2019 | Local News

Elelo lyondoolopa yaNdangwa otali pangele okutululula aakwashigwana ye li 100 okuza molukanda Uutala nokuya pa ooplota mOnatsi .Omunambelewa Omukuluntu gwelelo lyondoolopa ndjoka, Ismael Namgongo...

Iilonga yelila lyeshina ya kalekwa manga monooli

5 days ago - 11 February 2019 | Local News

Olutu lwo CPB okwa tegelelwa lu gandje ezimino omanga inaku ningwa omatseyitho gaamboka taya ka sindanapo otendela yiilonga mbyoka.Ontopa yelila ndyoka mOkapya oya pwa nale...

Latest News

Foreign graduates protest 'unfair' tests

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Health

Dozens of foreign-trained medical and dentistry graduates took to the streets yesterday to protest against a pre-internship exam which they claim is unfair and discriminatory.One...

FirstRand Namibia fights back

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – FirstRand Namibia bounced back to positive profit growth in the six months ended 31 December 2018 after taking a knock in the...

Our people sustain our group

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Columns

Engaged employees help establish better relationships with customers, since staff are the ones who are actually in contact with customers. This is why FirstRand Namibia...

NaCC scrutinises fuel imports

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Business

The Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) is requesting input from interested and affected parties on the reinstatement of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia's (Namcor) intent...

Our Achilles heel of accountability

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Columns

Enforcing greater accountability has always been an Achilles heel for the Namibian government over the years. Questions have been raised over whether there is indeed...

RA, Unam sign MoU

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Business

Justicia Shipena On 12 February, the Roads Authority (RA) and the University of Namibia (Unam) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the RA’s...

Mutorwa’s journey with science

1 day - 15 February 2019 | People

Justicia Shipena Marius Mutorwa is a lecturer at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) in the department of health...

Witbooi artefacts coming

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Cultural

The arts and culture ministry has dismissed claims by the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) that repatriating the bible and whip of the late Nama...

Desperate farmers receive fodder

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Disasters

Several Good Samaritans have come on board to show Namibia's spirit of helping those in a time of need. A total of 11...

Load More