FEARS that fishing trawlers from Angola, known to be poaching fish in Namibian waters in the area of the Kunene River mouth, might have collided and that the collision caused a huge oil spill was quickly belayed by Namibian maritime and law enforcement officials.
Enquiries about the collision from the Directorate of Maritime Affairs in Walvis Bay quickly painted another picture entirely.
The Deputy Director of the Directorate of Maritime Affairs in Walvis Bay, Pinehas Auene, upon enquiry said that Namibian and Angolan maritime affairs officials along with law enforcement and other stake holders was busy with a training exercise.
“The officials were on a course receiving response training in trans-boundary oil spills,” he said.
According to Auene part of the training called for a simulation of real world situation and for the purpose of the exercise an oil tanker sailing south from the oil fields in Angola collided with a ccargo vessel from Walvis Bay sailing north.
“For the purposes of the exercise the collision took place about 70 nautical miles off the coast of north western Namibia in the area of the Kunene River Mouth. Some of the officials practiced to make calls to their counterparts via Scype and satellite phone.”
Part of the training also involved the establishment of logistical routes and accommodation for officials to be able to mitigate the oil spill from both the Namibian and Angolan sides of the border.
“It was during ones such a call that the receiver of the request for logistical support must have mistaken the message to be real.”
Auene said it could have caused some distress when the message got out to the general public, but gave the assurance that the content stated clearly that it was for the purpose of an exercise.
“No collision between any vessels occurred in the area of the Kunene River mouth.”