Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by micmaq » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:38 pm

Marine protection can be done very simply (and at a relativly low cost) - KISS (keep it simple stupid)

What you need are 7 aircraft like the up-and-coming Canadian COIN Raven, spread out along our coastline operating from either existing GA airfields or improvised airstrips - These aircraft can be manned or operated as drones ; the same aircraft can be piloted if a decision has to be made by a person on the spot or remotely controlled for routine patrol far out to sea

Interdiction would be the role of the navy except if the aircraft was fired upon and then it can carry missiles that can blow the poacher/pirate ship out of the water

The irony is the technology (with the exception of the aircraft) has been developed in South Africa - One SA company has partnered with a EU aerospace company to develope manned/un-manned drones ; another has developed the telemetry to report back to base and that equipment is manufactured here and exported ; another builds EFISs and autopilots + radios that are exported worldwide and yet another has developed infrared airborne surveylance systems based on eye recognition technology

A suitably equipped aircraft like the Raven with 24 hour endurance, powered by a P&W PT 6-A would cost say R 40 million x 7 = R 280 million + base stations say another R 200 million ; so for a capital cost R 500 million you would have a functioning surveillance system if given over to private enterprise to operate - If the SA military got involved you could multiply that by 10
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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by Darren » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:43 pm

ACE MAN wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:17 pm
The Aussies I believe guard their coast with the surveillance of the P3 Orions AFAIK , effectively.
P-3 Orions plus civilian contracts. It is indeed effective, but what do you think it costs them?

The Australian Border Force alone has a budget of more than R16 billion, while the contract for additional privately-owned aircraft to patrol under the Surveillance Australia contract is another R10 billion or so. The AFMA, which is only concerned with monitoring and regulation (and has no air or sea assets) has a budget of over R500 million.

In comparison the entire South African Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, which is mostly focused on keeping agriculture going, gets just R7 billion a year, with under R500 million going to all of fisheries including monitoring, regulation, and enforcement.
When talk of us sending subs this video comes to mind
That was a video selectively edited to make the guy's comments seem worse than they really were. South Africa's submariners are an enormously professional and capable group of people, which has been proven a number of times in exercises with international navies.
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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by SlowApproach » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:14 pm

If one had to look at smaller, less costly (both in terms of capital outlay and running costs) but still extremely capable manned aircraft for these kinds of missions, my personal favourite would be the Diamond DA62 MPP:

da62mpp-img1.jpg
da62mpp-img2 .jpg
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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by Darren » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:03 am

While smaller maritime surveillance aircraft like the DA62 might be part of the solution, they're not able to solve the other problems I highlighted above. They can't perform interdicts, they don't have the range for Marion & Prince Edward Island, and they don't have lots of loiter time out at the edge of the EEZ.

Another factor is that the SAAF and SAN are bound by treaty to also be able to respond within an absolutely massive maritime search and rescue area, which is somewhere around 30 million square kilometres and stretches half way to Brazil on the one side, half way to Australia on the other, and down to the South Pole.

This is why the SAAF's proposal for its maritime patrol requirement was always to have a few long-range maritime patrol aircraft that had the range to reach of the SAR area and patrol Prince Edward & Marion Islands, while also being able to actually perform SAR assists via deployable lifeboats, dropped markers, and similar. Those would be augmented by a larger number of smaller maritime surveillance aircraft, around King Air size, that only carry sensors and cameras and could be based more cheaply around the country. At one point UAVs were even considered, but it was found that their costs ended up being a lot higher than expected and that unless you went for very high-end platforms they're quite poor at handling bad weather.

This SAAF project has been on the SCAMP acquisition list for years, but has never gone beyond initial funding because there just isn't enough acquisition money within the SANDF, nor spare operational funding, to allow for it when there are so many other standing priorities.

One of the reasons the SAAF rejected the Atlantis deal that Dean mentioned earlier was that it would've cost twice what it's currently costing them to run 35 Squadron, which is somehow being held together on something like R10 million a year.

The ideal scenario would be to have some sort of mechanism whereby other government departments could pool resources to either fund this capacity within the SAAF or establish an independent border guard, but that comes with its own set of issues not least the lack of adequate regulations and provisions for those sort of complex multi-department projects within the Public Finance Management Act.

Believe me, there are some very smart and dedicated people out there trying every approach they can think of to solve the problem of illegal fishing. While it's useful to propose interesting new solutions, it's not fair to imply that those inside DAFF or the DoD don't have any desire to solve this problem
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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by ACE MAN » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:21 am

Using a single engine Air Tractor for offshore operations is not an option. I was under the impression that SA was looking at the Airbus Casa295 , or was that for demonstration only?
Last edited by ACE MAN on Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by Darren » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:23 am

ACE MAN wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:21 am
Using an single engine Air Tractor for offshore operations is not an option. I was under the inpreythat SA was looking at the Airbus Casa295 , it was that demonstration only?
The 295 was an option for the SAAF's Metsi project, but it hasn't gone any further.
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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by micmaq » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:47 am

Agree that a single engin Air Tractor is not a option

The situation changes if you use a single engin Ravin (like the Air Tractor based on a agricultural platform and powered by a P&W turboprop) that can convert from manned to unmanned with a endurance of 24 hours or more unmanned - This technology is under development right here in South Africa soon ready for prime time
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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by SlowApproach » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:58 am

For those who want to know what happens (or should happen) if baddies are caught in our waters but then make a run for the high seas (i.e. the open ocean that is not within any country's jurisdiction) in an attempt to avoid the consequences, the simple answer is that they can STILL be zapped. The various maritime laws are pretty clear on this. To wit:
Powers of fishery control officers beyond South African waters
52. A fishery control officer may without a warrant following hot pursuit in accordance with international law as reflected in article 111 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea—
(a) stop, board and search outside South African waters, any foreign fishing vessel which he or she has reasonable grounds to believe has been used in the commission of an offence in terms of this Act in South African waters and bring such vessel and all persons and things on board to any place, port or harbour in the territory of the Republic; and
(b) exercise beyond South African waters all the powers conferred on a fishery control officer in terms of this Act.

Note that the means for hot pursuits includes aircraft (duly authorised of course).

Some other interesting points:
Immobilisation of vessels, vehicles or aircraft
55. (1) Having regard to the safety of a vessel, vehicle or aircraft seized, taken or detained, which is in the custody of the State in terms of this Act, a fishery control officer may take steps to immobilise it and may remove any part thereof.

Certificate as to location of vessel
73. (1) A certificate given by a fishery control officer or observer shall be prima facie evidence in any proceedings in terms of this Act, of the place or area in which a vessel has been at a particular date and time or during a particular period of time.

Photographic evidence
75. (1) If a photograph is taken of any fishing or related activity and the date and time on and position from which the photograph is taken are simultaneously superimposed upon the photograph, it shall be prima facie evidence that the photograph was taken on the date, at the time and in the position so appearing.

A bit more reading if you are so inclined:

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea:
http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_ ... clos_e.pdf
Marine Living Resources Bill:
https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/de ... e94b_0.pdf
Marine Living Resources Act (No. 18 of 1998):
https://cer.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2 ... o-date.pdf
Maritime Zones Act (No. 15 of 1994):
http://us-cdn.creamermedia.co.za/assets ... sact15.pdf
Last edited by SlowApproach on Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by Darren » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:36 am

Thanks for that SlowApproach, those are useful links. And yes, hot pursuit in international waters is allowed and has been done by SA before. The SAN also assisted the RAN in apprehending a fishing ship they had pursued all the way from Australia about a decade ago.

With regard to photographic evidence, while superimposed timestamps and co-ordinates are prima facie evidence that a photo was taken at a place at a certain date and time, any defence lawyer worth their salt is going to challenge the accuracy of those measurements and demand evidence of the camera's calibration. That's getting easier with newer cameras with built-in GPS receivers that update their own internal clocks though.

The key part is that you have to actually catch the ship and bring it back to one of your home ports to make charges stick.
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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by SlowApproach » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:54 pm

For those interested, here's a publicly-accessible map from Global Fishing Watch showing fishing vessels and their behaviours all over the world.

I've set it to open to a part of Africa for your convenience. (takes a bit of practice to use the map and its features to its fullest though. It might be slow to respond too but hey, it's not the one I done :lol:). If you zoom in to the "cloudy" parts (show of activities derived from AIS data and some AI-based processing) you'll be able to select specific vessels as well as show their track over time. The red-ringed points show vessel encounters and thus likely vessel rendezvous for transhipments-at-sea. Yellow points indicate vessels that used bright lights at night for fishing.

https://globalfishingwatch.org/map/work ... 61b9e91390
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Re: Photographing “dark ships” and other baddies operating in and around SA’s waters

Unread post by ACE MAN » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:16 pm

SlowApproach wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:54 pm
For those interested, here's a publicly-accessible map from Global Fishing Watch showing fishing vessels and their behaviours all over the world.

I've set it to open to a part of Africa for your convenience. (takes a bit of practice to use the map and its features to its fullest though. It might be slow to respond too but hey, it's not the one I done :lol:). If you zoom in to the "cloudy" parts (show of activities derived from AIS data and some AI-based processing) you'll be able to select specific vessels as well as show their track over time. The red-ringed points show vessel encounters and thus likely vessel rendezvous for transhipments-at-sea. Yellow points indicate vessels that used bright lights at night for fishing.

https://globalfishingwatch.org/map/work ... 61b9e91390
Yep - that is scary stuff
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