Prevention of accidents on board vessels, and timely reports thereon remains vital for a successful maritime sector: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 13 September 2017

The prevention of accidents and accurate, timely reporting thereon when incidents occur to and on board vessels in South African waters involving people’s lives, remains a key contributor to success of the development of the country’s maritime sector, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Mosh 1The statement, contained in the latest issue of the SAMSA industry periodic report on incidents at sea ; the SAMSA Maritime Occupational Health & Safety Newsletter 2016 (15th Edition) comes in the wake of what the State agency responsible for safety of people and property at sea, describes as a noticeable significant poor reporting of incidents to and on board vessels.

This, SAMSA says; is characterized either by a failure to report, or very late reporting and none of which assists the organization in ensuring timely investigation and accurate recording of such incidents.

“SAMSA is still concerned at the non-reporting and/or late notification of incidents. During audits, these incidents are picked up and it is problematic to investigate an incident that happened months prior as SAMSA (is) unable to attend the scene, equipment involved has been moved and or repaired and witnesses cannot be located or their recollection of events has faded,” the agency says in the report.

According to SAMSA, in terms of the Merchant Shipping Act 1951, a series of serious injuries and accidents occurring on board vessels, whether the vessel is afloat or not, are required to be reported to it. But so should incidents involving mechanical and equipment failure that leads to an accident.

In the Maritime Occupational  Health & Safety Newsletter 2016 released this week, SAMSA gives an overview of operations in general in which incidents occurred on board vessels but also with specific focus on the stevedoring and ship repair subsectors.

Mosh 2In these subsectors, the report’s editor Kirsty Goodwin notes that in general in 2016 “for the sixth consecutive year, no stevedore fatalities occurred on board ships in South African ports.

“There has also been a steady decrease in the number of serious injuries, with eight injuries  reported in 2015 and five in 2016. This is a welcome improvement, which I hope is sustainable during busy periods when there is a necessity to use workers from labour brokers.”

But she also laments the fact “in the ship repair industry, it is with dismay that SAMSA reports a shore contractor was fatally injured on board a vessel in Saldanha…and that there was a slight decrease in the number of serious injuries that occurred on board vessels.”

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To read or download the full report in .pdf,  Click Here

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