Change of guard at SAMSA top management

Pretoria: May 2016

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South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi
South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi is confirmed as acting CEO of the organisation in the wake of the resignation, with immediate effect of Commander Tsietsi Mokhele
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Commander Tsietsi Mokhele

Following to the resignation, with immediate effect, of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele a week ago, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, the organization’s Chief Operating Officer will act as CEO, the SAMSA Board of Directors has confirmed.

Mr Mokhele, who had been with SAMSA since 2009 as CEO, announced his resignation last Tuesday.

It is understood that Mr Mokhele will be pursuing personal business interest in the private sector, as well as catch up on academic studies.
To read the SAMSA Board’s confirmation statement of the development, click here

Three more Chinese fishing vessels arrested in South Africa

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East London: 23 May 2016

Three more Chinese fishing vessels have been arrested on South African waters after they were found to have violated laws regulating the country’s territorial waters inclusive of the its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed on Monday.

The three trawlers currently berthed at the port of East London while undergoing further investigation were nabbed at the weekend off the coast of the Eastern Cape in the Indian Ocean during a joint operation with the South African Navy. Their arrest follows that of another Chinese vessel a week ago in Cape Town.

For more on this breaking story, see the DAFF and SAMSA media release earlier today

Three more Chinese fishing vessels arrested in South Africa_ Media Statement.

 

 

Arrested Chinese vessel faces more charges – to remain in custody until fines are paid: SAMSA

Pretoria: 18 May 2016

The Chinese fishing vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186 captured and arrested by South African authorities last weekend after being found to have conducted itself illegally, is to remain in South African custody until all fines imposed on its owners have been settled, alternatively, a court case is instituted, goes on trial and concluded.

An image of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186. Courtesy of Independent Online
An image of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186. Courtesy of Independent Online

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which on Wednesday (18 May 2016) announced to have found that the vessel had contravened environmental laws governing the country’s territorial waters.

In the statement, SAMSA said its investigation had established that documentation of the vessel was  in order. However, it had been found to have violated the country’s environmental laws governing the oceans. SAMSA confirmed that: “the fishing vessel was detained today and two Admission of Contraventions were issued to the master and owner of the vessel.

“The detention and fines were issued because of an unauthorised pump and flexible pipes from the engine room bilges directly over the side and that no Oil Record Book was available on board the vessel.

An image taken by SAMSA investigators aboard the Chinese vessel arrested in Cape Town and which show the condition of some of the water and oil management pipeline on the vessel.
An image taken by SAMSA investigators aboard the Chinese fishing vessel arrested in Cape Town and which show the condition of some of the water and oil management pipeline on the vessel.

“This is a direct violation of our marine pollution legislation. The vessel will only be released once the two non-conformities has been rectified and detention fee paid.

“We still have to wait to see if the master and owner will accept and pay the Admission of Contraventions or prefer to go to court, in which case we will have to lay charges at the police station and allow the law to takes its course,” said SAMSA in a statement.

The organisation further said that the country’s ports authority, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and other relevant authorities had been notified of the detention.

DAFF briefed on findings

Earlier on Wednesday, SAMSA officials also met and briefed the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga of their findings and determination following a visit and on board investigation of the vessel by the organisation’s surveyors on Monday afternoon.

A second image taken by SAMSA investigators aboard the Chinese vessel arrested in Cape Town and which show the condition of some of the water and oil management pipeline on the vessel.
A second image taken by SAMSA investigators aboard the Chinese vessel arrested in Cape Town and which show the condition of some of the water and oil management pipeline on the vessel.

The SAMSA findings and fines will be in addition to a set of others fines imposed on the vessel by other South African authorities including DAFF and SARS.

This followed the capture and arrest of the Chinese fishing vessel with nine crew on board on Friday last week off the coast of the Eastern Cape and berthed at the port of Cape Town.

It and several similar vessels believed to be from the same company, en route to the DR Congo were sought to be rounded up by DAFF officials for inspection following reports of suspicious behaviour, but refused.

According to DAFF, the vessels were initially rounded up and ordered to obey officials, but soon scattered and disappeared, except for the one that was eventually captured and arrested.

A DAFF spokesman, Ms Bomikazi Molapo said: “The crew claimed to have been travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo where they claim they were going to fish and claim to have the necessary permits to do so. We have also established that this fleet of nine vessels is related and belong to the same company.”

Shortly after its berthing at the Cape Town harbour on Saturday, according to DAFF, rummaging was conducted on the captured vessel involving the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African Revenue Services (SARS) as well as the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

Ms Molapo said while the early investigators found no fish on board the vessel, it had however violated the country’s Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) in that the fishing vessel entered the country’s EEZ without the authority of a valid permit.

“The vessel also contravened Section 56 (2) in that (the) Master or crew member of the fishing vessel in question, did not immediately comply with lawful instruction as given by a fishery control officer and also did not facilitate the safe boarding, entry and inspection of the fishing vessel,” she said.

Due to these violations, DAFF issued a seizure notice that will involve the vessel, its gear and equipment, stores as well as cargo.

In terms of this, the vessel will not be allowed to leave the port of Cape Town or relocate to any other berthing space within the port, unless authorized to do so by DAFF.

According to DAFF, SARS had also fined the vessel R8 000 for tobacco and cigarette related charges. SAPS was also following up and investigating a case involving the keeping of dogs in the vessel.

Centre for Sea Watch and Response had kept an eye on the vessels

A screen image of the tracked route of the 10 Chinese fishing vessels that went past the South African coast and one of which was captured following to violation of some of the country's territorial waters' management laws.
A SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response tracking system screen image of the tracked route of the 10 Chinese fishing vessels that went past the South African coast and one of which was captured following to violation of some of the country’s territorial waters’ management laws.

Meanwhile, it has since dawned that the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response (CSWR) had actually tracked a number of the vessels as soon as they were within South Africa’s territorial waters on 07 May 2016 and according to its report, the Chinese fishing vessels had left China at the end of March 2016 destined for the Congo in West Africa.

The Centre said it had tracking AIS data for only six of vessels, indicating that carriage of AIS transponders for fishing vessels was a “flag State” requirement and that not all fishing vessels carried these devices.

A SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Rescue image showing the location of the rest of the Chinese fishing vessels along the Namibian coast earlier this week
A SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response image showing the location of the rest of the Chinese fishing vessels along the Namibian coast earlier this week

This notwithstanding, the Centre said it had noted that the 10 vessels were detected by MRCC Mauritius and their National Coast Guard (NCG) aircraft was launched to interrogate (them). Their identities were established as Lu Huang Yuan Yu 185, 187, 197 and 199 and these were heading towards Congo.

Six others, the Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186, 188,189,195, 198, and Xu Huo 9618 were bound for Port Louis, and arrived on 28 April before departing on 01 May after bunkering at outer anchorage.

The Centre said: “The vessels entered SA waters on 07 May; passing through territorial waters off Richards Bay about 19h00 on 08 May, and Durban on 09 May; then Port Elizabeth on 10 May and rounded Cape Agulhas on 11 May, and off Cape Town about 14h00 on 12 May heading toward Saldanha Bay area. This is a distance of about 880 miles in about 91 hours which equates to an average speed of 9,6 knots.

A SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Rescue tracking system image showing the actual route taken by the Chinese vessels since leaving China about two months ago.
A SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response tracking system image showing the actual route taken by the Chinese vessels since leaving China about two months ago.

According to the Centre, the track data of the six vessels indicate that they entered the SA coast near Richards Bay and stayed within the territorial zone all the way and passed Cape Town in keeping with their response to the Mauritian Authority of heading to the Congo.

The Centre said following the attempted roundup of the fishing vessels for inspection by the DAFF’s coast guard vessel, the FPV Victoria Mxenge, about 25 miles SW of Saldanha, the vessels dispersed and eventually continued heading northward towards Namibian waters.

SAMSA said that Namibian authorities had since been informed about the alleged incidents in South African waters.

The latest tracks show eight of the 10 vessels off Angola, outside of their EEZ.

End.

Maritime foundation education continues to draw industry support

Sub-Saharan region maritime industry services group, Subtech South Africa confirms sponsorship of bursaries for maritime high school pupils

Pretoria: 18 May 2016

LENDING A HAND: Subetch South Africa officials, Mr Rudolph Punt and Ms Mandy McGuire (Subtech) with the pupils Gershwyn Poole, Siyamthanda Vuyelwa and Phaphama Kepu who were recently awarded bursaries at Lawhill High School
LENDING A HAND: Subtech South Africa officials, Mr Rudolph Punt and Ms Mandy McGuire with the pupils Gershwyn Poole, Siyamthanda Vuyelwa and Phaphama Kepu who were recently awarded bursaries at Lawhill High School

South Africa’s maritime sector education, training and skills development continues to draw support from a growing network of contributors as efforts gain traction towards transformation and integration of the sector into the country’s mainstream economy.

This became evident once more recently after Subtech South Africa awarded three Grade 12 Lawhill Maritime Centre pupils at Simonstown full bursaries for the 2016 education year.

The three youths are Siyamtanda Vuyelwa and Phaphama Kepu – both from the Eastern Cape, and Gershwyn Poole from the Western Cape.

Just above the Simonstown harbour stands the Lawhill Maritime Centre, originally a foundational level education centre specializing in maritime economy sector subjects, and now poised to also possibly offer specialized in-service training also to teachers.
Just above the Simonstown harbour stands the Lawhill Maritime Centre, originally a foundational level education centre specializing in maritime economy sector subjects, and now poised to also possibly offer specialized in-service training also to teachers.

Subtech SA, a sub-Saharan region marine industry services group based in Durban, said it readily offered to support the youths after establishing their high level of interest in maritime studies.

“What binds these three kids and Subtech is a passion for all things maritime! We look forward to monitoring their progress over 2016 and wish them well for their Matric Year,’ said the company in a statement. It said the bursaries would cover both school and hostel fees, allowing the enthusiastic group of youths to continue with their maritime studies.

Subtech SA described Lawhill’s maritime studies programme – featuring maritime economics and nautical sciences – as being “one of only a very few examples of a specific industry playing a role, at secondary school level, in providing industry-focused education which improves the school leaver’s chances of finding employment.”

“The programme,” said Subtech SA: “is aimed at stimulating maritime awareness among young people, attracting them to the shipping industry and providing the industry with high quality, skilled and knowledgeable employees.

“Because the Lawhill Maritime Centre receives no state funding, its students – the majority of whom come from financially-stressed homes – are reliant on bursaries provided by the maritime and related industries to fund their education from Grade 10 to 12.”

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is among business and related institutions that also sponsor children at Lawhill Maritime Centre.

EDUCATING SAILORS: SAMSA Centre for Maritime Excellence executive manager Ms. Sindiswa Nhlumayo (third from Right), and (From Left) SAMSA skills development manager John Phiri; Centre for Maritime Excellence executive PA, Charity Bodiba and SAMSA human resources executive manager Ms. Lesego Mashishi with Lawhill Maritime Centre students sponsored by SAMSA during a visit in August 2015. SAMSA is to increase the number of youths at high school for the 2016 school year.
EDUCATING SAILORS: SAMSA officials, former Centre of Maritime Excellence, the late Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo (3rd from Right) and (From Left); Skills Development Manager John Phiri; Centre for Maritime Excellence executive PA, Charity Bodiba and SAMSA human resources executive manager Ms. Lesego Mashishi with Lawhill Maritime Centre students sponsored by SAMSA during a visit in August 2015.

SAMSA, encouraging and collaborating closely with a range of stakeholders across public and private sectors in promoting maritime sector education, training and skills development as a core competence to the sector’s growth and transformation, has since 2013 supported as many as 65 foundational level pupils from across the country keen on pursuing maritime studies at the Simons Town education institution, inclusive of a total 16 pupils currently, involving an investment for the period of just over half-a-million rand.

Similar support is extended to tertiary level students predominantly at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Durban University of Technology, both of which offer tailored studies and skills development courses on maritime economy.

*Meanwhile, scores of pupils at the Eastern Cape’s first and newest maritime high schools in East London continue to get support and exposure from the country’s maritime sector with a view to enhancing their interest and knowledge of the sector.

20160514_134228This past weekend, the pupils from George Randall and Ngwenyathi High Schools, were bused to Port Elizabeth for a day and taken onboard the country’s research vessel, the SA Agulhas II shortly after its return from a research expedition in the Antarctica region.

The two Eastern Cape high schools began formally this year to offer dedicated classes for maritime studies, featuring maritime economics and nautical sciences.

A month ago, pupils from the schools were among guests of President Jacob Zuma during his delivery of his annual report on Operation Phakisa, also in Port Elizabeth.

Fate of arrested Chinese vessel in Cape Town to be determined soon

Pretoria: 16 May 2016

An image of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186. Courtesy of Independent Online
An image of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186 arrested by South African authorities off the Eastern Cape coast at the weekend now berthed at the Cape Town harbour. (Image courtesy of Independent Online

The fate of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186, currently docked in Cape Town after being successfully chased and captured by South African authorities off the Eastern Cape coast at the weekend will soon be fully determined by the extent to which it violated both the country’s laws and international conventions.

The vessel is one of several – about nine – possibly from the same company believed to have entered and operated in South African waters illegally about a week ago.

On Monday (May 16) the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed that it had begun investigations of the vessel relating to its conduct in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Captains Karl Otto and Gustav Louw confirmed that SAMSA surveyors boarded the vessel on Monday afternoon and their findings would be shared as soon as they were available.

According to SAMSA, the investigation is looking precisely into the vessel’s seaworthiness inclusive of its condition, its operation certificates as well as those of the crew, the vessel’s manning conditions, as well as its general conduct in South African waters involving its radio availability and responsiveness to South African authorities.

A SAMSA team set out early Monday to investigate the vessel and to make a determination of its overall condition and conduct.

The SAMSA ship surveyors team’s findings will add to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) investigations and findings at the weekend shortly after the cornering and arrest of the vessel in Cape Town.

Shortly after its berthing at the Cape Town harbour on Saturday, according to DAFF, rummaging was conducted on the captured vessel involving the South African Police Services (SAPS), the South African Revenue Services (SARS) as well as the Department of Home Affairs.

“There was a total of nine crew members on board,” said DAFF’s spokesperson, Bomikazi Molapo, also confirming that no fish was found onboard the vessel.

She said: “The crew claimed to have been travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo where they claim they were going to fish and claim to have the necessary permits to do so. We have also established that this fleet of nine vessels is related and belong to the same company.”

Ms Molapo said while the early investigators found no fish on board the vessel, it had however violated the country’s Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) in that the fishing vessel entered the country’s EEZ without the authority of a valid permit.

“The vessel also contravened Section 56 (2) in that (the) Master or crew member of the fishing vessel in question, did not immediately comply with lawful instruction as given by a fishery control officer and also did not facilitate the safe boarding, entry and inspection of the fishing vessel,” she said.

Due to these violations, DAFF issued a seizure notice that will involve the vessel, its gear and equipment, stores as well as cargo.

In terms of this, the vessel will not be allowed to leave the port of Cape Town or relocate to any other berthing space within the port, unless authorized to do so by DAFF.

According to DAFF, SARS had also fined the vessel R8 000 for tobacco and cigarette related charges. SAPS was also following up and investigating a case involving the keeping of dogs in the vessel.

Meanwhile, Ms Molapo confirmed that an alert had been issued to neighboring countries, Namibia and Mozambique to be on the look for the rest of the vessels that have since disappeared. “DAFF has notified and registered an intention to get all the nine vessels red flagged with regional fisheries management organizations,” she said.
End

South Africa’s first black female Ship Captains set to conquer the oceans globally

Three young black South African women blaze the trail in the country’s maritime transport subsector after qualifying as Marine Masters

Pretoria: 06 May 2016

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South Africa’s purposeful drive to transform positively the country’s maritime sector primarily through development widely yet rapidly of a formidable base of human resource skills is yielding significant results.

Latest evidence of this trend is to be found in the successful qualification recently of the country’s first three black women as commercial cargo vessel Master Mariners or Ship Captains.

TRAILBLAZER: South Africa maritime transport subsector pioneer, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi, the first of three black women in the country to qualify as a ship captain, or Master Marine in 2016
TRAILBLAZER: South Africa maritime transport subsector pioneer, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi, the first of three black women in the country to qualify as a ship captain, or Master Marine in 2016

The uniquely historical event occurred after Tshepo Motloutsi, Thembela Taboshe and Pretty Molefe received their colours as Master Mariners in March and April 2016 respectively following to their passing their exams.

The three newest Captains will go into the history books as the first black female Master Mariners in South Africa.

A Master Mariner or Ship Captain is the professional qualification required for someone to serve as the person in charge or person in command of a vessel of more than 3000 gross tons.

Two of the new female Captains Motloutsi and Taboshe are currently employed by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as ship surveyors in Durban, while the third; Captain Molefe is with the National Ports Authority.

According to SAMSA – hitherto the country’s leading agent for human resources skills development in the sector since some 16 years ago – the youthful females’ achievement is significant not only for its historical perspective, but crucially because its advancement to the highest level of their career paths responds positively to a critical shortage of female master mariners or ship captains not only in South Africa, but also worldwide.

In a statement congratulating the three, SAMSA said it was extremely proud of Captain Motloutsi, Taboshe and Molefe’s formidable achievement as, it said: “The journey to qualifying as a Captain is a challenging one more so for female candidates since this is a qualification that is traditionally held by males. The candidates have to endure over 36 months of sea time training before they sit down for the grueling oral examination.”

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi
South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

SAMSA Chief Operations Officer Mr Sobantu Tilayi said the ladies’ progress boded well for SAMSA’s efforts to completely transform the South African maritime sector for the benefit of all.

“We are excited about these two qualifications as they are not only historical but are also in line with the country’s push towards a fully beneficial and representative South African maritime sector. Not only will these two new Captains put South Africa on the map but they will go into the history books as the ladies who defied all odds in a male dominated space”, said Tilayi.

Meanwhile, the increase in qualified cargo vessels master mariners in South Africa comes at a time when the country is also seeing an increase in the number of commercial cargo vessels being registered under the country’s flag, a registration process driven under mandate by SAMSA.

The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.
The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.

Already three vessels carry the country’s flag since August 2015 while an additional 12 is currently having their applications under consideration.

The increase in South Africa registered commercial cargo vessels is a strategic move to expand both training opportunities for the country cadets as well as business trade opportunities.

According to SAMSA, Captains Taboshe, and Motloutsi will remain in SAMSA’s employment while their future in the maritime sector is receiving further consideration.

For a full feature on Captain Tshepo Motloutsi’s and Captain Thembela Taboshe’s journey into South Africa’s maritime transport sector history, after qualifying as the country’s first batch of Black female Master Mariners, please click here.