Coast KZN

11 Aug 2020

uMhlanga lighthouse shines with fresh paint

Danica Hansen (Northglen News) Picture: The iconic Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse is shinning after a fresh coat of paint.

THE iconic Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse is shinning after a fresh coat of paint, as part of the routine maintenance which began in February.

The Covid-19 pandemic affected progress when work was halted in line with national lockdown regulations. Despite the set back, the project is expected to be completed by the end of August, depending on weather conditions.

The maintenance work was overseen by Lighthouse and Navigational Systems (LNS), a business unit of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA). LNS Regional Manager East, Siva Moodley said the contractor, Umkhonto Electrical and General Contractors CC, returned to site on 10 June, under lockdown level 3.

“Since recommencing work in June, the contractor has completed work to the exterior of the tower and lantern house. They are currently painting the interior, including the walls, stairway and railings. The weather plays a significant role in this project, and work to the exterior of the tower was stopped for two days in July because of rainy conditions. However, work continued to the interior of the tower,” added Moodley.

LNS is mandated by the National Ports Act to provide, operate and maintain lighthouses and other Marine Aids to Navigation (AtoNs) along South Africa’s coastline, said Moodley.

“This includes all of South Africa’s 45 lighthouses, from Port Nolloth on the West Coast to Jesser Point (Sodwana Bay) on he East Coast as well as the Automatic Identification System (AIS) Network,” he added.

AIS is a coast-wide network of base stations that provides real-time information about vessels calling at the eight commercial ports, as well as vessels travelling along the coastline. Towering at 21 metres high, the red and white colour scheme of the Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse is designed to make it a distinctive daymark. The lighthouse also boasts a distinctive set of light signals, known as its character.

“The character of the light is group flashing three times every 20 seconds at an intensity of 600 000 candelas, the measurement for the light intensity of a lighthouse beam,” said Moodley.