26 July 2016
Closer collaboration between the United States of America (USA) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on various aspects affecting and impacting the maritime domain remains vital for achievement of common goals, a meeting between representatives of the two parties in Pretoria concluded.
The meeting on Friday (22 July 2016) at the SAMSA’s Head Office in Pretoria, involving members of senior management of the organization, headed by acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; and a US government delegation led by US Department of State’s Science Envoy of the Ocean, Dr Jane Lubchenco, was the second between the two groups in about 12 months.
Accompanying Dr Lubchenco – also a distinguished professor and advisor in marine studies at the Orange State University in Corvallis (Oregon. USA) – were US South Africa embassy officials; Transportation and Telecommunication Officer, Ms Rebecca R. White; Environment, Science and Technology Specialist, Mr Martin Matlebyane; and Foreign Affairs Officer, Ms Ameliah L. Croft.
Also present were representatives of the Department of Transport.
On the agenda were, among others; the progress being achieved with South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) from a SAMSA perspective, the State organization’s role and standpoint on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s Port State Measures Agreement and to which South Africa gained accession in February 2016.
The Agreement on Port State Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, entered into by a number of countries around the world since about 2009, is described by the FAO (UN) as an instrument designed to mobilize countries towards co-operation in the fight against illegal fishing globally.
FAO (UN) states thus: “Port State Measures (PSM) are requirements established or interventions undertaken by port states which a foreign fishing vessel must comply with or is subjected to as a condition for use of ports within the port state.
“National PSM would typically include requirements related to prior notification of port entry, use of designated ports, restrictions on port entry and landing/transhipment of fish, restrictions on supplies and services, documentation requirements and port inspections, as well as related measures, such as IUU vessel listing, trade-related measures and sanctions. Many of these measures have in recent years seen their inclusion and development in international instruments.”
At the meeting at SAMSA HQ on Friday, the discussions touched on how SAMSA played a role in this regard and about which information was exchanged on the effects of a “Safe Ocean Network” initiative linked to the illegal fishing prevention crusade, that serves as a clearing house for information sharing among partners, whether state or individual and independent companies.
The US delegation also expressed interest in SAMSA’s role in the promotion of public awareness about the maritime sector, with expressed keen interest for collaboration and possible partnerships.
The US would also share more information on the increased utilization of certain technologies such as unmanned aircraft (drones) in the promotion of marine environmental safety, while the parties also agreed to cooperation with South Africa’s quest to enhance cruise shipping subsector of the maritime economy sector.
Previously, SAMSA and the US Department of State’s delegation led by Dr Lubchenco last met in Cape Town in July 2015 and during which parties held discussion on a range of maritime domain related programmes and projects towards which they could work jointly.
These included ocean government and community development, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, general safety and security at sea, skills development and technology transfer, research and development, climate change and renewable energy as well as ocean environmental management with regards especially ocean acidification
Further discussion on these and related matters would continue, the groups indicated.