Freak weather wrecks Port Howard's jetty; Fish confiscated; Flights pessimism; New Senior Magistrate; Dog's flying adventure.
Freak weather wrecks Port Howard's jetty.
THE combined strength of gale force winds and a hide tide have obliterated the jetty at Port Howard, West Falkland. Three quarters of the jetty (above) and two of the piles were swept away and water rose into the settlement, as far as the store. Port Howard Farm shareholder, Myles Lee, and Bill Pole-Evans of Many branch Farm checked on the jetty around 11.30pm on Tuesday evening when, Mr Lee said, it was doing a "Mexican wave". He said the water was about three foot higher than a normal moon tide, approximately one metre over the top of the jetty. Assuming the tide had turned, Mr Lee and Mr Pole-Evans hoped it would hold fast. Unfortunately on Wednesday morning they woke to find the section of the jetty nearest the shore had disappeared. Mr Lee says the jetty will definitely need to be replaced: "We produce 700 bales of wool and put other farms' bales on ships from here so ideally we need to replace it for next season." He said the ownership of the jetty, believed to have been built in the 1950s, was signed over to the government approximately two years ago. He has approached the Director of Public Works to request a structural survey of the jetty's remains, "...to see if we've got something to work with." Mr Lee said he hoped rebuilding of the jetty could be a joint effort between Port Howard Farm and the government. He said compensation money paid out to Port Howard Farm, following a collision between the ship St Brandonand the jetty a few years ago, had not been used to repair the structure. "The Farm was making a loss and instead of laying people off, the compensation money was used to help. With hindsight, the compensation (in the region of £120,000) wouldn't have covered the repairs but that was the amount agreed at the time with the ship's owners." The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team visited Port Howard yesterday to carry our checks on minefields located on the settlement's beaches. As the damaged jetty can no longer be used as the departure point for farmers using the ferry run to Stanley for Farmers Week the vessel Tamarwill now collect vehicles from Fox Bay and off load them in Stanley. Captain Ian Wilkinson of Island Shipping said, "Island Shipping will charge the ferry rate, as opposed to the scheduled vehicle rate for the pre-booked vehicles and the Falkland Islands Company has agreed to waive the discharge and reloading costs at East Jetty." Tamar will return the vehicles to Fox Bay at the end of Farmers Week.
Fish confiscated. NINETEEN tonnes of toothfish have been confiscated from Spanish longliner Ibsa Quinto after she was discovered by the Government of South Georgia to have exceeded her licence limit. Licences for catching toothfish in South Georgia now carry the condition that transhipment must take place either in Cumberland Bay, South Georgia, or in Stanley. Commissioner of South Georgia, Mr Howard Pearce said that upon completion of the transhipping of the Ibsa Quinto, "...we found there was in fact a discrepancy between the size of the catch declared by the Ibsa Quintoand the processed catch, which they were carrying on board. "That product was nearly 19 tonnes in excess of what one would have expected from the amount of catch which they were licensed to take. "With the agreement of the operators of the Ibsa Quinto, the excess product was handed over to the South Georgia Government." Mr Pearce said there is the possibility that further action will be taken: "We have not yet taken decisions on that." The Ibsa Quinto is owned by Spanish company Freiremar; Falklands company Quark Fishing is the vessel's agent. Penguin Newsunsuccessfully attempted to contact Director of Quark, Mr Mike Summers, for comment. Last week Penguin Newsreported that fishing company Polar was irritated by the transhipping regulation. Mr Pearce however said it was necessary: "Earlier this year we received Marine Stewardship Council certification for the management of the South Georgia fishery and it's an important part of that process that we should exercise very clear control over catch. "It should be clear that the amount the vessels are licenced to catch is actually the amount that they catch. If we restrict the transhipping process to South Georgia or Stanley, we can be absolutely sure that is the case." Ibsa Quinto is the first vessel to have done a complete transhipment here or in South Georgia. Three vessels have done an intermediate transhipment - "some of them take part of the catch and tranship to a reefer and then go and complete the rest of their fishing" - while one has done a partial transhipment here in the Falklands. Mr Pearce said, "There is an issue with another vessel which has done a partial transhipment at South Georgia but I would not wish to reveal any details of that at this point."
Flights pessimism. IT IS difficult to be optimistic about the reinstatement of charter flights in time for the coming tourist season, the Governor believes. Reporting on his meeting with the British Ambassador to Argentina last week, His Excellency the Governor, Howard Pearce yesterday said, "We have a proposal on the table to which we have not had any formal reply although the noises which we have been getting have been discouraging ones." He said the British government continues to be ready to engage in, "...practical cooperation with Argentina in areas of mutual interest and hopes that the Argentines will respond appropriately." But he added, "...apart from making noises about cooperation, at the moment we haven't really been offered anything of substance." Mr Pearce said it is, "...difficult to be optimistic at the moment about the prospects for reaching any deal before next season."
New Senior Magistrate. IT LOOKS as though a new Senior Magistrate has been appointed. His Excellency the Governor, Mr Howard Pearce, says that although there are still some formalities to be completed before the official appointment is finalised, Clare Foulds of the Isle of Man is likely to take up the post. Mr Pearce says Mrs Foulds will arrive in the Islands in September to take up a two year contract, "...with the option, on her part, to renew for a further year." He says Mrs Foulds has held a wide variety of positions in the Isle of Man, "...in both the private sector and the public sector, including some judicial appointments."
Dog's flying adventure. THE manager of the Government's Air Service (FIGAS) has assured farmers the air line will continue to carry livestock, following an incident in which a dog became free during a flight. Fraser Wallace says it is "not anticipated" current policy or practice will be reviewed because of the incident. On Monday, a FIGAS Islander under the command of Captain Eddie Andersen, departed Stanley for Fox Bay and Bleaker Island. No passengers were on board, only standard mail and freight, including the dog, secured in a cage, to the rear of the aircraft. Continued on page 3.