New IMO Africa region Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in Kenya a boon for continent’s ocean economy development

Pretoria: Wednesday:  02 March 2017

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The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) together with the South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and Department of Transport are poised to play a significant role in the Africa region IMO/European Commission’s new R139-million worth Maritime Technology Cooperative Centre to Kenya.

The choice of Kenya as the host country of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) new regional Maritime Technology Cooperative Centre (MTCC) for the African region is a welcome development certain to further strengthen and enhance ongoing collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation in the continent’s maritime sector development and growth.

This was the view of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) following to confirmation that the IMO awarded the hosting rights of the MTCC to the East African country last month. The Africa host of the new MTCC was announced as the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) together with the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA).

According to the IMO, the new Africa region MTCC will be one of five to be set up from this year in other countries as a part of a European Commission/IMO joint initiative to build capacity for climate mitigation in the world’s maritime shipping industry. They will be developed and funded by the European Commission to the tune of €10 000 000 (R139.42-million) over fours years,

The first two were announced in December 2016 as the Shanghai Maritime University in China (MTCC-Asia) and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (MTCC-Caribbean.)

IMG_2344The European Commission describes the project thus: “This four-year project will enable developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, in five target regions – Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific, to effectively implement energy-efficiency and emissions reduction measures through technical assistance and capacity building. These regions have been chosen as they have significant number of LDCs and SIDSs.”

Following to the issuance of an invitation for expressions of interests by the IMO to member countries last June, 43 countries across the world, including nine in Africa responded. The African countries included South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana, Tanzania, Madagascar and Nigeria.

South Africa’s bid was made jointly by the Department of Transport, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI).

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(Photo, courtesy of IMO)

In a statement last month the IMO announced that: “Under the Global MTTC Network (GMN) project, JKUAT will host MTCC-Africa in collaboration with Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Maritime Authority. The selection of JKUAT followed a competitive international tendering process.

“In the coming months two further MTCCs will be established in other target regions – Latin America and the Pacific – to form a global network of such centres.

“The five regional MTCCs will deliver the agreed project milestones over a three-year period, making a significant contribution to IMO’s continuing, widespread efforts to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of the global energy-efficiency regulations for international shipping.”

South Africa a focal point of the Africa MTCC

With the announcement SAMSA applauded Kenya and immediately committed to “South Africa’s concurrence to act as a focal point for the implementation of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in Kenya.”

South Africa’s inclusion as a ‘focal point’ of the Africa region MTCC to be based in Nairobi was part of a broader arrangement on how the new centre will operate based on IMO requirements.

In correspondence with the Kenyan State Department of Shipping and Maritime Affairs and the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, SAMSA said: “We confirm that we shall undertake the roles listed and required of the Focal Point by the IMO and to do all that will be necessary to ensure the success of the MTCC,” SAMSA said. It added: “Your (Kenyan) nomination of South Africa as a country focal point of the MTCC Africa for the Southern Africa region is testimony that proves a shared desire preoccupation which will serve to strengthen collaboration between our two countries.”

A race against gas emissions in oceans

img_6416The background and rationale to the global MTCC initiative according to the IMO, is that greenhouse gas emissions from shipping are expected to increase, yet developing countries who are increasingly playing a meaningful role in global shipping trade, lack in varying degrees the wherewithal to enhance energy efficiency in their shipping sectors.

“This project, formally entitled ‘Capacity Building for Climate Change Mitigation in the Maritime Shipping Industry’ will enable developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, in the target regions to effectively implement energy-efficiency measures through technical assistance, capacity building and promoting technical cooperation,” said the IMO

New MTCC’s focus areas

Precisely, the network of MTCCs globally, once operational, will focus on:

  • improving capability in the region – by working with maritime administrations, port authorities, other relevant government departments and related shipping stakeholders to facilitate compliance with international regulations on energy efficiency for ships
  • promoting the uptake of low-carbon technologies and operations in the maritime sector through pilot projects
    raising awareness about policies, strategies and measures for the reduction of GHG and other emissions from the maritime transport sector
  • demonstrating a pilot-scale system for collecting data and reporting on ships’ fuel consumption to improve shipowners’ and maritime administrations’ understanding in this regard, and
  • developing and implementing strategies to sustain the impact of MTCC results and activities beyond the project time-line.

The IMO described the JKUAT as “a multi-disciplinary university of global excellence in training, research and innovation that aims to produce leaders in the fields of agriculture, engineering and technology. The university provides degree courses related to maritime shipping and has a track record of engagement in regional maritime capacity building activities.

In addition, according to the IMO; “JKUAT has hosted  numerous conferences, seminars and workshops, and has a long history of collaboration with different organizations focused upon suitable energy solutions and maritime issues. MTCC-Africa will be strategically located at two offices in the Kenyan Coastal region, at JKUAT Mombasa Campus and at the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RMRCC), situated within the Mombasa port facility.”

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