Plastic pellets clean up along Durban coastline now fully underway: SAMSA

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Durban: 30 October 2017

A massive, painstaking and possibly long term clean up of the coastline for miles north and south of Durban to rid it of very tiny pellets that have polluted the area since the blistering rainstorm of 10 October 2017 and which left the port city with a repair bill worth an estimated R600-million, is now fully underway.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) a State agency charged with among other things, the environmental sound integrity of the country’s oceans.

DSC_1983.JPGAs of Monday 30 October 2017, teams of workers have been hard at work since about a week ago retrieving the tiny pellets from the coastline sand in Durban with hope to reduce as much as is possible the float of the nurdles.

This followed a SAMSA directive to shipping group, the Mediterranean Shipping Company – operators of a shipping vessel from which the damaged containers carrying the cargo were lost and apparently deposited at sea – to conduct an assessment of the scale of pollution caused following the loss of cargo into the water in Durban harbour during the torrential natural disaster rainstorm that took place in earlier October .

On October 10, the day of the rainstorm, SAMSA and the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) had to prioritize the refloating and remooring of five drifting vessels and three of which had grounded in the port due to the extraordinary weather conditions characterized by very strong winds and rain.IMG_8083.JPGFrom the day onward, SAMSA supported by TNPA had been actively involved in containing and minimizing the impact of the damage caused in the Durban harbour.

On the day, two damaged shipping containers that had fallen into the harbour waters were secured and retrieved as soon as available resources had been successfully deployed on the five storm affected vessels.

Containment measures were implemented as soon as it was discovered that at least one of the fallen containers had held bags of plastic pellets. A while later, several bags were retrieved within the port waters and a clean-up operation was implemented by the Port Pollution Control department.

Later, sounding surveys were conducted by TNPA’s Dredging Services division supported by divers and drones, and which found no further obstructions or obstacles on the seabed within the port limits  The port was declared safe for navigation on 13 October.

The port authority’s ongoing clean-up operations within port limits had also been targeting a significant inflow of waste that had discharged into the port from Umbilo, Amanzimnyama and Umhlatuzana Rivers, as well as the municipal stormwater system.

DSC_2004.JPGHowever, in the next few days a mixture of high and low density plastic cargo has been found in some parts of the ocean.

SAMSA Chief Operating Officer Sobantu Tilayi said MSC cooperated with the authorities for the clean-up operation which started a week ago, conducted surveillance and assessment of the extent of pollution in Durban harbour and the affected coastal areas.

Later SAMSA also met with the Durban Harbour Master and Pollution Control department, the Department of Environmental Affairs, and KZN Provincial Government, and KZN Wildlife.

From these meetings, Mr Tilayi indicated that SAMSA would undertake the monitoring and oversight role of the process while MSC would consult with the cargo owners for the technical details of the pollutant plastics.

He said area surveys of beaches up to Umhlanga on North Coast and Umkomas on the South Coast beaches was conducted by a service provider accompanied by SAMSA.

Mr Tilayi said: “A team to assess the extent of damage has traveled northwards and south wards. Local municipalities will be kept informed to enable surveillance team to access beaches.”

In the meantime on the direction of SAMSA, Drizit Environmental, was appointed and is leading the clean-up operation. On the weekend of 28 October 2017 strong winds interrupted the operation. However, favorable  weather conditions prevailed on the Monday, 30 October 2017, and teams were back at work, cleaning the Durban beaches.

On Monday, Captain Hopewell Mkhize, a Principal Officer in the Durban SAMSA office said the clean up might take a while yet, hopefully with no severe interruptions by windy conditions. According to Capt Mkhize, windy conditions, such as was experienced on Sunday, 29 October 2017 were not useful as the tiny pellets simply blew away along with the sand.

For more comment from Capt Mkhize, click on the video.

Meanwhile, the SAMSA appointed  environmental cleanup company, Drizit, has established a central collection point for the nurdles at Durban Ski Boat Club (79 Browns Rd, Point, Durban) where the pellets may be dropped off.

Drizit can be contacted on their 24- hour toll free line 0800 202 202.

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Fishing vessels due for display of flag State on international waters: IMO

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Pretoria: 27 October 2017

Fishing vessels on international waters may soon be expected to display their identities prominently, in the form of flags of States in which they registered, should the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly pass a resolution proposing this at its scheduled meeting in November 2017.

This is according to the IMO in an article published on Thursday reflecting on progress achieved during a five day seminar for Anglophone African countries held in Cape Town a week ago focused on an agreement on global fishing vessels safety being canvassed for ratification and implementation.

The seminar at the Castle of Good Hope from Monday to Friday (16-20 October) was the second for African countries and seventh in the series since the founding of the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement by 58 countries in the same city five years ago.

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Ms Sandra Allnut. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) head of Maritime Technology Safety Division.

Ms Sandra Rita Allnut, the head of Maritime Technology in IMO’s Maritime Safety Division led the IMO team for the Cape Town seminar attended by 10  Africa Anglophone region countries last week, and in her view, the gathering achieved its main objectives.

Earlier seminars organized jointly by the IMO  and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) were held in the Cook Islands (28 August – 1 September 2017), also involving 10 countries in the Pacific region; in Côte d’Ivoire (December 2016), for 12 countries from the Africa Francophone region; in Indonesia (April 2015), for 11 countries from the East Asia region; in Belize (October 2014), for 13 countries in the Caribbean; and in Peru (June 2014), for 12 countries in Latin America.

The aim of these seminars according to Ms Allnut was to promote ratification of The Cape Town Agreement 2012 as a means to bringing into effect the provisions of the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, which was later modified by the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol.

In ratifying the 2012 Agreement, she said, IMO member States would be giving consent to amendments to the provisions of the 1993 Protocol, thereby facilitating their coming  into force as soon as possible thereafter.

In terms of the arrangement this would require at least 22 IMO member States to give effect to the treaty coming into force in no less than 12 months after endorsement.

DSC_1750However, additional conditions include that the agreement ratifying member States operating on the high seas would need to have an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over, collectively.

So far, only seven countries have ratified the Cape Town Agreement: Congo, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway and South Africa and together, they have an  aggregate stock of 884 fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over, operating on the high seas.

DSC_1771 (3)At conclusion of last week’s seminar at Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, an undertaking was given that South Africa, actively and closely working with the IMO, would assist African countries with legal and technical expertise where needed.

South Africa would also share such other expertise as may be necessary including a draft of regulations aimed at giving effect to ratification and implementation of the IMO Cape Town Agreement.

Meanwhile, in an article by the IMO on Thursday, reflecting on the South Africa hosted seminar last week, the organization said moves to promote global safety of both fishing vessels as well as fishing workers were gaining ground in a number of key areas.

DSC_1728According to the IMO, these included the entry into force of treaties under the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the FAO – among these, the ILO’s Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (Convention No. 188) effective 16 November 2017.

The treaty sets minimum requirements for work on board fishing vessels, including hours of rest, food, minimum age and repatriation.

In addition, a number of proposals to address illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, focusing on key areas of vessel identification; flag and port state performance; training and implementation of relevant instruments; and environmental issues were recently agreed by the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III).

In further progress, in late November 2017, the IMO Assembly is expected to adopt a resolution to extend the IMO ship identification number scheme, on a voluntary basis, to all fishing vessels that are more than 12 metres in length and authorized to operate outside waters under national jurisdiction of the flag State.

According to the IMO, the move is anticipated to contribute to the maintenance of a global record on registered fishing vessels.

To read the full IMO report published on Thursday, Click Here

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Fast action out at sea saves the life of a SA Agulhas crew member: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 25 October 2017

High alertness and fast action have been attributed as key to the reaction of the crew of the SA Agulhas that saved the life of a crew member on Tuesday night after the sailor had taken seriously ill while the vessel was out at sea on its way from the Eastern Cape to Cape Town harbour.

According to an incident report filed by the vessel’s crew on Wednesday, the young sailor had taken ill while the SA Agulhas, the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel was sailing south west on the Indian Ocean, at position 34-24S 022-06E, about 13 nautical miles off the coast of Cape St Blaize south of Mossel Bay.

The report said the ill-disposed crew member was believed to have suffered a severe diabetic attack that led to vomiting, weak respiration and a low consciousness responsiveness.

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A graphic map indicating the geographic point at sea where the SA Agulhas had to turn back and head for Mossel Bay on Tuesday night after one of its crew, a 21 year old sailor fell sick while the vessel was on its way from the East London in the Eastern Cape to Cape Town harbour.

Sea sailing conditions at the time were characterized broadly by relatively calm ocean waters featuring an easterly breeze blowing at about three knots per hour and waves of about two meters in height in a south westerly direction.

According to the report, the SA Agulhas team on spotting the sick sailor, immediately alerted the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) operated Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town for assistance.

The MRCC responded by ordering the vessel to turn around and head towards Mossel Bay, while onshore medical assistance was being activated through the Mossel Bay Port Control as well as the National Sea Rescue Institute. Medical advice was provided by the METRO EMS duty doctor.

The SA Agulhas eventually rendezvoused with a NSRI rescue craft in the bay just after midnight on Tuesday night. A medic was onboard the rescue boat to take care of the sick crew member who was successfully transferred ashore to a waiting ambulance.

The 21 year old patient from Cape Town was taken to a hospital in the coastal town. He’d  joined the SA Agulhas crew earlier this year.

Early on Wednesday, the SA Agulhas reported being back on course on its way to Cape Town.

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IMO Africa week-long seminar on member States agreement for the promotion of fishermen safety ends on high note in Cape Town.

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Pretoria: 24 October 2017

South Africa and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will continue engagement with African countries in efforts to have all maritime countries in the region who are member States of the IMO to formally ratify a global agreement established to encourage and enforce the protection of fishermen across the world.

The continued engagement, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), will encompass the provision of particularly technical assistance to those African region countries requiring it – the aim being to secure sufficient IMO member States’ support to enable formalization of the now five year agreement into a convention instrument that will binding on all states.

This was the conclusion of a five day seminar on the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement’ held in Cape Town last week.

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Sharing notes: (From Left: International Maritime Organization (IMO) representative, Ms Sandra Rita Allnut with South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) deputy COO, Captain Nigel Campbell during last week’s Africa seminar on the IMO  ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’.

African countries represented at the seminar held at the Castle of Good Hope included Mauritius, Seychelles, Uganda, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Somali, Tanzania and South Africa. Among those also invited but did not attend were Angola and Kenya.

The primary focus of the seminar was on establishment of facilitative interventions to enable the implementation and ratification of the Cape Town Agreement 2012 to 1993 Torremolinos Protocol relating to the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels.

At its founding in South Africa five years ago, the ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ involved as many as 58 countries from across the world.

The five day seminar for Anglophone African countries in Cape Town last week dealt with a number of issues concerning the agreement including, the state of marine fisheries globally inclusive of the number of fishing vessels relevant to the agreement (24-meter vessels), the IMO’s work on the safety of fishing, the Cape Town Agreement and challenges in its entry into force, envisaged advantages to the maritime and fisheries sector through the entry into force of the agreement and matters related.

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Part of the Castle Good Hope, a venue for the IMO’s Africa seminar on the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ held last week.

During the ensuing discussions, it emerged that a key constraint for most countries involved in the seminar was lack of administrative capacity, both legal and technical.

The conclusion was that South Africa, a member State of the IMO and an early signatory (one of seven so far) of the agreement, would avail itself to assist those countries requiring it, in direct and close collaboration with the IMO.

According to SAMSA, South Africa is already way ahead in terms of development of draft regulations facilitative of implementation of the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ and will share these with countries in need of such assistance.  The technical regulations currently in draft form still, and intended to replace a set of 1968 regulations, are with the Department of Transport (DoT) for consideration and promulgation for public comment.

The South Africa chairman of the IMO seminar in Cape Town, SAMSA deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Nigel Campbell described the event as a success overall, particularly from South Africa’s position as a host country.

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Norway sets up new fund to combat marine litter : Asia and Africa among likely early beneficiaries

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File photo: A figurine made of plastic waste collected in South Africa’s marine environment on display at this year’s Africa Marine Waste conference held at the Feathermarket Centre in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape province in July.

Pretoria: 23 October 2017

The battle against global marine pollution has been given a massive boost following an announcement by the Norwegian government of the setup of a fund totaling NOK150-million (or R258-million) for use in efforts to combat marine waste.

In a statement, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Børge Brende said marine litter globally had become a huge environmental hazard, with some areas of the world far worse than others. The fund budgeted for 2018 would initially target these areas, he said.

‘Norway intends to take the lead in ocean affairs internationally. Marine litter, including plastics, has become one of the most serious environmental problems of our time. That is why the Government is launching a concerted effort to combat marine litter and microplastics and is establishing a development programme in this field,’ said Mr Brende.

He added that: “The new development programme will use effective and environmentally sound approaches to combating marine litter. To start with, the programme will focus on Southeast Asia, which is the region where the problem is most acute. We will also look at ways of using the programme to support other countries and regions where marine litter is a growing problem, for example in Africa.”

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File photo: Delegates to this year’s Africa Marine Waste conference in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape in July

For Africa, this is expected to come as a boost particularly given that this comes only three months after the region held a five day conference in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to focus specifically on the progressively impending marine waste pollution disaster along the continent’s coastlines.

At that conference in July, it was revealed that with more than 150 million tons of plastic material floating across the world’s oceans – and likely to rise to 950mt in 30 years – and with very little being done about it, the world was facing an imminent ecological disaster.

However, it was also confirmed that the problem was especially acute in Africa.

Among more than a dozen scientists attending and sharing views on the problem, Dr Linda Godfrey, a manager of the Waste RDI Roadmap Implementation Unit at the Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSRI) in South Africa, painted a disturbing picture of particularly the African continent with regards both its current status on waste management as well as imminent future challenges that could make the task of eliminating plastic waste more difficult if not arrested effectively, soon.

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File photo: More plastic waste ends up in the world’s waters inland and oceans than is collected and properly disposed of.

She said the continent was largely characterized by poor landfill practices, general poor waste management, uncontrolled dumping compounded by a rapidly growing population of middle income people who were increasingly migrating to predominantly coastal cities.

“Africa is at a watershed, in that if we do not stop and take action now, we are going to be faced with a massive marine waste problem locally, regionally and the potential impact globally. And there are essentially seven reasons that I see for why we should take action now,” she said.

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File photo: Delegates to a one day conference held in Cape Town in July 2017 also discussing the growing threat of marine waste globally.

Days later at  a mini conference hosted jointly by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the United States Consulate, the International Ocean Institute and the V&A Waterfront held at the Two Oceans Acquarium at Cape Town’s Waterfront, it emerged that South Africa was among top contributors to marine waste generation.

It was revealed that the country at the southern tip of the African continent, at the point at which three oceans meet, ranks No.11 in the world for waste management production and that the country alone is responsible for 12% of global plastic waste and about 2% of total mismanaged plastic waste, leading to between 0.9-0.25 megatons of it ending as marine plastic waste annually.

A week ago in Oslo, the Norwegian government said Africa would be an area of focus for the new fund beginning 2018, adding that the contribution was part of Norway’s overall effort supportive of campaigns undertaken by such as the UN Environment, the World Bank and INTERPOL to combat marine litter.

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File photo: Ship accidents at sea also contribute to waste pollution if not dealt with fast and effectively.

“Norway’s new development programme will include efforts to reduce waste and improve waste management in the areas that are most seriously affected by marine litter. Supporting efforts to clean up shorelines and coastal areas can also have a major impact,” said Mr Brende.

Meanwhile, Mr Brende said his government also intended intensifying its engagement with other countries in the identification and responsible exploitation of more economic opportunities presented by the world’s oceans economy,

“The Government is calling for sustainable use of the oceans to be given greater priority at the international level.

“Prime Minister Erna Solberg hosted a high-level event at the UN General Assembly on 20 September on the wealth of opportunities offered by the oceans. The event was attended by heads of state and government and ministers from a number of countries.

‘Norway has also supported the initiative to appoint a UN special envoy for the oceans. Former President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson of Fiji was appointed to this important post in September, and Norway will support him in his work,’ Mr Brende said.

He further confirmed that the Norwegian Stortinget (or Parliament) had also approved in June this year, a white paper on the place of the oceans in Norwegian foreign and development policy.

“The white paper sets out three priority areas: sustainable use and blue growth, clean and healthy oceans, and the role of the blue economy in development policy. In the time ahead, the Government will conduct dialogues on ocean affairs with other countries with a view to strengthening cooperation in these three areas,” he said.

End.

 

Seventh IMO seminar in SA on fishermen safety globally, hopeful of Africa support.

DSC_1747 (2)Cape Town: 17 October 2017

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the host of this week’s seminar on the ‘Cape Town Agreement’ for the safety and security of fishermen across the globe is confident it will have secured enough support from more African countries by weekend for implementation of the now five year agreement.

Also counting on a more favorable support from fellow African countries is South Africa, the first among seven countries worldwide to formally ratify the ‘Cape Town Agreement’ – named as such as it was founded in the Western Cape city of South Africa by as many as 58 countries in 2012.

DSC_1750.JPGThis week’s seminar that began on Monday and lasting five days until Friday (20 October) at the historic Castle of Good Hope, a stone’s throw from Cape Town’s central business district, is the seventh in a series being held by the IMO worldwide since founding of the ‘Cape Town Agreement’ five years ago.

DSC_1771.JPGIt is the third in Africa – the first having been for French-speaking or Francophone countries, followed by one held for Asian countries.

This week’s gathering, involving about 50 delegates from several African countries in central and southern Africa as well as Europe, is intended for English-speaking or Anglophone countries, said seminar leader, IMO’s head of Marine Technology and GBS Maritime Safety Division, Ms Sandra Rita Allnut in a brief interview on Monday.

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Captain Nigel Campbell

South Africa, the first of the few countries to formally ratify the ‘Cape Town Agreement’ that essentially seeks to enforce measures in IMO member States that will ensure the safety and security of fishermen, inclusive of the vessels they use for trade, has welcomed the IMO’s choice of the country as the venue for the Anglophone countries’ week-long seminar, expressing hope it will provide the platform for greater member awareness and support for the agreement.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Nigel Campbell said the IMO member States’ greater awareness campaign was crucial to African countries ratifying the agreement for implementation soon.

Captain Campell said he believed this week’s session with potential supporters from African countries, would bring closer to an end the strife for greater security of African and global fishing operations personnel safety.

For Captain Campbell’s full remarks, click on the video  below.

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Mr Elcidio Agostinho

Meanwhile, among maritime countries in southern Africa seemingly likely to ratify the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement’ is neighboring Mozambique.

Representative, Mr Elcidio Agostunho, an international relations technician for Mozambique’s National Maritime Authority under the Department of Transport and Communications, said the IMO’s ‘Cape Town Agreement’ was a well-intended instrument likely useful for fishermen everywhere.

He described it as unfortunate that many IMO member States had not ratified it yet in order to ensure implementation, but was hopeful that Mozambique would follow the example of South Africa in giving the agreement the support it deserves.

For his full remarks, click on the video below.

For more videos on the seminar, go to the Audio and Video page.

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International maritime agreement seminar on safety of fishermen and vessels globally underway in Cape Town

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Cape Town: 16 October 2017

Delegates from several African and European countries have gathered in Cape Town on Monday for a five day seminar to examine and discuss progress towards implementation of an international agreement on safety of fishermen in Africa and other parts of the world.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) hosted seminar underway at the Castle of Good Hope, is being held in the city of the birth of the agreement five years ago, and by which it is named: The IMO Cape Town Agreement of 2012 on the Implementation of the Provisions of the 1993 Protocol relating to the Torremolinos International Convetion for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977.

As many as 58 States attended the founding of the agreement in Cape Town in 2012.

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Ms Sandra Rita Allnut. IMO Head of Marine Technology and GBS Maritime Safety Division

This week, leading the IMO delegation to chair the seminar is London based head of marine technology and GBS in the IMO Marine Safety Division, Ms Sandra Rita Allnut.

According to Ms Allnut in a brief interview before start of the seminar, the agreement is a crucial instrument that will, once fully ratified, be binding on all countries in the interest of ensuring the safety and welfare of fishermen globally.

However, although it breathed life for the first time back in 2012 in Cape Town, it was still in its early stages of development.

For the agreement to come into force, she said; it requires 22 IMO member States to sign it, as well as the registration of 3 600 fishing vessels in the fleet of the contracting states.

So far, she said, only seven countries had ratified the Cape Town Agreement, with only 884 vessels registered. South Africa is among the countries that have already signed.

Once the required numbers were in place, it would take approximately 12 months for the agreement to come to force. After more than 40 years of the IMO trying to have in place a binding agreement with members States for the sake of safety of fishermen worldwide, this was now overdue, she said.

Ms Allnut, explains this week’s week-long seminar in detail in the video below (approximately 5 minutes duration).

Meanwhile, in its welcome of both the IMO and the participating member States in the Cape Town seminar, the South African government said it particularly appreciated the IMO’s return to the country and city for further engagements over the global fishermen safety agreement.

In remarks welcoming the more than 50 delegates early on Monday, Mr Tlou Matlala, Department of Transport (DoT) assistant director; Maritime Policy, Development and Legislation said the gesture reflected on the good relationship the country enjoyed with IMO member states.

For his remarks lasting just over a minute, Click Here

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Cape maritime high school pupils drive Professor Jansen to ‘tears’!

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Glowing in Glory: South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Right) and Chief Human Capital Officer, Ms Lesego Mashishi and two other officials posing for a pic with 14 Lawhill Maritime High School pupils supported by the organisation during Wednesday night’s 2017 annual awards ceremony in Simonstown.

Cape Town: 13 October 2017

The eloquence and apparent sheer constant focus of a group of maritime high school children at an awards ceremony held at the quaint Western Cape town of Simonstown last night drove renowned South African academic and author, Professor Jonathan Jansen into tears, literally.

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Professor Jonathan Jansen presenting an award to one of Lawhill High School achievers at an annual awards presentation ceremony at the high school in Simonstown on Thursday evening

And by his own admission, Prof Jansen, a former Vice-Rector of the University of the Free State, committed to sharing publicly the moving experience of his encounter with the group of children on Thursday evening. He’d tell it all in his regular national newspaper column due next Thursday, he said.

Prof Jansen, generally known for his outspokenness on especially educational matters in South Africa, was the guest speaker at a Lawhill Maritime High School annual awards presentation ceremony – an event during which the school’s top performing pupils are rewarded with a range of scholarship awards, some for continuance at the high school, others for near future advanced education at tertiary level, while the rest are for pure personal recognition.

The annual event at the hill side school overlooking the South African Navy naval base at the Simonstown harbour below, also presents the pupils an opportunity to reflect on their school related experiences during a given school year period.

Among these are their oft sojourns out of the classroom into the world of maritime sector transport in South Africa and abroad, courtesy of a range of sponsors and other supporters of the school in its ongoing maritime education endeavors.

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Paying attention: Former Lawhill Maritime High School head, Mr Brian Ingpen (Second Right) flanked by the school’s Principal, Mrs Jean Human (Right) and past student and now a Third Engineer with the Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ms Blondie Jobela (Left).

At Thursday night’s event, true to form, Prof Jansen – clearly highly impressed by the evident sharpness of the group of pupils that made presentations during the function, as well as their high level of achievements in various aspects of their school life as reflected by their range of awards – was both highly grateful for their performance but also scathing towards the country’s general education authorities for what he described as the ‘dumbing down’ of children’s intelligence and consequently, their potential.

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Driving a Professor to Tears: Professor Jonathan Jansen (Front Left), almost in tears while seated with some of the school’s pupils, listening attentively to one of them giving testimony about their enjoyment of their maritime studies and about the appreciated support they get from the school.

Prof Jansen said the country’s education authorities’ attitude was that the country’s school going children were not really expected to achieve much academically hence the lowered levels of pass marks, to as low as 20%, in crucial subjects such as mathematics.

“The biggest problem we have as South Africans is that they mess with your head! They told you can pass with 30%. You know what they did last year, your Government? They said they would condone the entire Grade 8 class last year with a pass mark of 20%”

“Thank goodness that black people can’t blush! I blushed. I was embarrassed. They were not talking about the children at Saxon and Bishopscourt. They were talking about you and me. The expectation of you is so low! You only just have to get up, dress nicely, write your name on a matric certificate and you pass, because the expectation of what you can achieve is so low” said Prof Jansen.

Sadly, he added that the low expectation was also prevalent among tutors at the country’s universities where the dominant approach was an emphasis on what students could not achieve rather than a positive focus on their potential and what was possible for them.

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Part of the crowd of people, among them sponsors or representatives thereof, attending Thursday evening’s Lawhill Maritime School annual awards.

Partly as a result of this condescending and demeaning attitude, some of the country’s best achievers globally, such as Elon Musk, a former Pretoria Boys High pupil and later the founder of American automaker Tesla and aerospace firm, SpaceX; have had to leave South Africa for places in the world where they were better recognized for their potential to achieve.

Prof Jansen said while overseas, he’d had an opportunity to meet a group South Africans who’d gone to make sterling achievements elsewhere, and asked them why they’d left the country.

“They said ‘Professor, here, people expect us to do well. They look at you and they see greatness.

“Young people of maritime I am emotional, because I am so proud of what I saw here tonight.

A highly animated and sometimes tearful Prof Jansen heaped praises upon the Lawhill Maritime High School pupils for their ‘go getting’ attitude, urging them to not only be constantly vigilant in the look out for emerging opportunities but to also grab them with both hands at the first instance.

On national unity and race relations, Prof Jansen also said  ‘old white people’ supporting the awards as well as other financial support to the school and similar institutions, should be welcomed as a benevolent, albeit, necessary gesture that is a crucial contribution by the previously advantaged to nation building, and an investment in the country’s youths.

To listen to Prof Jansen full remarks, Click on the video below.

 

More pictures from the ceremony:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inclement Durban weather keeps SAMSA on its toes

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Image: The Mirror. UK

Pretoria: 11 October 2017

The horrible wet and stormy weather that hit the port city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday resulting in a massive flooding in parts of the city and causing chaos with shipping at the port, will continue to be monitored for its effects on sea traffic, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has said.

In a media statement shared on social media early on Wednesday, SAMSA said after the breakout of the heavy downpour of rain and massive storm that led rapidly to some vessels at the port of Durban breaking loose and drifting dangerously, the organisation – jointly worked closely with the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA)  round the clock to manage the chaotic situation.

The SAMSA statement released early today reads as follows:

October 10, 2017: Durban, South Africa:

The South African Maritime Safety Authority, working with the Transnet National Ports Authority in the emergency response operations within the Port of Durban today (Tuesday), will continue to monitor Durban’s and the coastal weather and sea conditions.

Chief Operating Officer for SAMSA, Sobantu Tilayi confirmed together with TNPA, SAMSA provided technical support during the multi vessel emergency operation. This was as a result of the major storm that hit Durban at about 09h30 this morning.

Tilayi said: “Our principal officer from SAMSA Durban office, Captain Hopewell Mkhize together with the Port of Durban Harbour Master, Captain Alex Miya convened a Joint Operations Committee which managed the emergency response operations. Five container ships in total were affected. We will continue monitoring weather conditions along the coast and monitor the situation in Durban for the next 48 hours.”

He said the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, has been kept abreast of the emergency response and salvage operations.

An emergency meeting was convened at approximately 11h30 today with Mkhize and Miya to form a joint command and engage on the re-floating for the vessels MSC Innes, SM York, Bow Triumph and SA Shipyard floating dock with the new harbour tug. The meeting also dealt with vessels MSC Susanna and Maritime Newanda that broke moorings and had to be held by harbour tugs to prevent them also running aground.

The vessel, MSC Innes took priority as it blocked the port entrance. It took 5 tugs to re-float the 330-metre long container vessel and once re-floated, she was allocated a berth in the port for damage inspection.

The vessel, Bow Triumph, a 183-metre long product tanker, which was berthed in Island View broke its moorings and ran aground on the sand bank near the Island View Terminal. The vessel was re-floated at 16h30 and it took further effort to clear the anchors which were still stuck. All re-floating operations were completed at 17h30 and the vessel was allocated a berth overnight for damage inspection.

The vessel, MS New York, a 330-metre long container vessel, which ran aground near Maydon Wharf was also re-floated successfully and was allocated a berth for damage inspection. By 7pm tonight the vessel, MSC Susana, which had earlier broke from its mooring ropes, was secured.  The Maritime Newanda vessel which broke loose was held by tugs and is currently berthed at Maydon Wharf.

The SA Shipyards’ floating dock and new tug remain grounded on bank. It will be attended to in daylight hours.

TNPA reported that there was a straddle carrier which was blown into the water and remains unsecured. There are also reports that some cranes were derailed by strong winds. Of concern, according to Tilayi, are reports that there were about three containers believed to have been lost into the water with the exact position unknown. These pose a danger to navigation within the vicinity. TNPA confirmed that a search will be conducted in daylight hours.

There were no injuries no pollution reported on all the above incidents. Durban Port was closed due to debris in the water and unknown position of some containers which pose danger to navigation and damages to vessels.

“We are pleased with the overall cooperation from all stakeholders and the swift action to ensure the safety of people and equipment. More importantly is the demonstration of emergency preparedness that was displayed during this major incident. It is the first time that we have had to attend to this number of casualties simultaneously.

“We are pleased by the reaction of TNPA and their handling of the incident. We are increasingly getting confronted with deteriorating weather patterns and can expect similar incidents in the future given the effects of climate change. It was a saving grace that all this took place within the harbour where all resources are concentrated, it could have been worse if it was over a large open sea area. A full SAMSA report will be done once all salvage operations are completed,” Tilayi said.

Ends

 

South Africa’s oceans economy on the move: President Jacob Zuma

Pretoria: 10 October 2017

On Friday, 06 October 2017, South Africa’s government leader, President Jacob Zuma gave a report back on the progress being achieved with the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative that was launched three years ago.

The report back event was held in Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal. Below is his speech (also available here: (http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/speeches/address-president-jacob-zuma-update-stakeholders-implementation-operation-phakisa%3A-oceans)

 

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Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: President Jacob Zuma delivering his report television live from Port Elizabeth on Friday, 08 April 2016

The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Executive Mayor of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality,
Captains of Industry,
Representatives of civil society, labour and academia,
Fellow South Africans,
We greet you all.

In July 2014, we gathered here at eThekwini, to explore the potential of the vast ocean space under South Africa’s jurisdiction and launched Operation Phakisa: Unlocking the Economic Potential of South Africa’s Oceans.

I made an undertaking then, that I would periodically report back on progress being made as we seek to derive greater economic benefits from our oceans.

Operation Phakisa is an adaptation of the Big Fast Results methodology that was first applied by the Malaysian Government very successfully in the delivery of its Economic Transformation Programme and the Government Transformation Programme.

We renamed the programme Operation Phakisa, to highlight the urgency with which we want to deliver on some of the priorities encompassed in the National Development Plan 2030.

It is an innovative, pioneering and inspiring approach that is designed to enable us to implement our policies and programmes better, faster and more effectively.

Operation Phakisa is being implemented in the ocean economy, in the improvement of clinics, in rolling out information and communication technologies in education as well as in the agriculture, mining and tourism sectors.

The first implementation, which is the focus of attention today, is Unlocking the Economic Potential of South Africa’s Oceans.

We brought together in the Oceans economy project, representatives from government, industry, labour, civil society and academia to collaborate in unlocking the economic potential of our oceans.

A lot of progress has been made and I am happy to report back today.

Unlocked investment worth R24.6-billion

I am delighted to announce that thus far we have unlocked investments totalling twenty four point six billion rand (R24.6-billion), with a Government contribution of fifteen billion rand (R15-billion). Over six thousand five hundred (6500) jobs have been created through this Oceans Economy segment of Operation Phakisa.

This would not have been possible without the concerted effort and support of all our partners, especially the private sector.

It demonstrates again that if we work together, as a collective, we can achieve much more.

IMG_5382The largest contribution to the total investment in the oceans economy was from infrastructure development, mainly in our ports, manufacturing, mainly in boat building, aquaculture and scientific surveys in the oil and gas sector, having been facilitated through Government incentives.

From our own analysis, the total ocean sectors contribute approximately four point four percent to South Africa’s GDP, with the largest contribution coming from the value chains.

When I visited the Port of Durban this morning, I was impressed that we are building specialised super tugboats at Southern African Shipyards.

This is a one point four billion rand (!.4-billion) project. This is a demonstration of South Africa’s capacity and capability to build specialized vessels locally.

Seven of the nine tugboats have already been built as part of this project and around five hundred jobs had been created.

The South African Navy seeks to build their complex and specialized hydrographic survey vessel to map the sea floor, an investment of approximately one point eight billion rand.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I would also like to announce today, that we intend to establish the KwaZulu-Natal Boatbuilding Park as part of this maritime vessel industrial complex at Bayhead in the Port of Durban.

IMG_5424The boat-building sector has long been recognized in our strategic plans as a major opportunity to stimulate new investment, exports and job creation.

The park is planned to be a world-class space for the production and repair of leisure and commercial boats. It will be the single largest boat building facility in Southern Africa.

It will also accommodate emerging and Black-owned boatbuilding companies and key suppliers.

The project represents an investment of more than two hundred and fifty million rand and will have the capacity to produce up to one hundred and fifty boats annually, mainly for the export market.

The Park will have Marine Skills Development Centre to provide on the job and practical training for the unemployed and youth.

The Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy programme has yielded further significant results in its various focus areas and I wish to highlight and elaborate further on some of these.

In the Marine Transport and Manufacturing Focus Area, the Port of Durban has seen the completion of the Outer Dry Dock Caisson to improve safety. The upgraded Durban Dry Dock will be key to attracting ship repair business to Durban.

It features the latest state-of –the –art technologies and has provided job opportunities, learnerships and artisanal training at this facility.

IMG_5844Earlier this year I reported on the major developments in the Port of Port Elizabeth with the refurbishment of the slipway, the reconstruction of the lead-in jetties and the acquisition of the boat hoist which made a significant impact in the fishing industry.

At the Port of Cape Town, the Burgan Fuel Storage Facility, a substantial private sector investment of over six hundred and sixty million rand (R660-million), has recently commenced operations, to augment the fuel supply and energy demand in the Western Cape.

20170419_101108.jpgA Cruise Terminal concession to fund, design, build and operate has been awarded to the V&A Waterfront Company in the Port of Cape Town, which will see an increase in cruise-liners docking in this port and bolster the tourism market.

In the Port of Saldanha Bay, the new Sunrise Energy Liquid Petroleum Gas Facility, through a concession issued by the Transnet National Ports Authority, has also commenced operation.

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An artist’s impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

The construction of the Offshore Supply Base berth at the Port of Saldanha has been completed as part of the establishment of Saldanha Bay as an offshore oil and gas support hub.

In the Offshore Oil and Gas Focus Area, fourteen exploration rights, six production rights and two technical cooperation permits have been issued.

The establishment of an Incident Management Organisation for joint Government and industry response drills, in cases of oils spillage or accidents, is far advanced.

We can say with confidence that for the first time, a research cooperation agreement between Government and industry will facilitate joint research and surveys.

In order to further enhance the maritime sector, the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy has recently been finalised.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Our fish resources are becoming more limited and are also being exploited to the maximum. In this regard, promoting the Aquaculture Focus Area has become extremely crucial.

DSC_0597The initial target of twenty four (24) catalyst projects has been exceeded and we now have thirty six aquaculture projects.

These projects are not only from the marine species but are also from inland freshwater fish.

Over fifteen (15) Small Medium and Micro Enterprises had been empowered. The Strategic Environmental Assessment for the aquaculture sector has commenced to facilitate aquaculture development.

In order to streamline authorisations and approvals, the Interdepartmental Authorisations Committee consisting of all the relevant departments, reviewed business processes to reduce timeframes for approvals, including decisions on leases.

The timeframes have already been reduced from eight hundred and ninety days to two hundred and forty days.

In terms of the Marine Protection Services and Ocean Governance, the Draft Marine Spatial Planning Bill and associated Marine Spatial Planning Framework, which will serve as areas for nurseries, have been completed.

Consultations have been concluded on eighteen (18) of the envisaged twenty two (22) Offshore Marine Protected Areas. These will cover approximately four point four percent (4.4%) of our Exclusive Economic Zone.

IMG_2179With regards to policing and protecting our Exclusive Economic Zone, Joint Operations continue to be conducted in all four coastal provinces as part of the coordinated enforcement programme with numerous arrests and confiscations that happened.

The National Ocean and Coastal Information System is being piloted as a decision support tool in respect of vessel tracking.

We are now in a better position to locate vessels, especially the ones entering our waters illegally and those engaging in illegal activities.

Furthermore, we can now signal an early warning for the occurrence of harmful algal blooms or red tides.

This detection and early-warning has a major positive impact on the West Coast Rock Lobster industry.

In addition, the National Marine Pollution Laboratory has been established at Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape and will be responsible for the water quality analysis programme, along the South African coast.

Dear colleagues and stakeholders,
The development of Small Harbours has the potential to unlock economic opportunities along the coast and stimulate local economies.

IMG_6157To exploit this potential, we have commenced with preparations for the planned National Small Harbours Development Laboratory.

Investor conferences are being held in the coastal provinces as a build-up to the National Lab engagement.

Already, critical capital and maintenance projects of approximately four hundred million rand has been identified, to modernise and develop the twelve proclaimed fishing harbours.

We are also happy to report that the outcome of the Coastal and Marine Tourism Lab has been approved by Cabinet, thus taking Operation Phakisa in the tourism sector forward. Our aspiration is to grow a world class and sustainable coastal and marine tourism destinations.

These will enhance South Africa’s competitive advantages in nature, culture, and heritage, with the potential to contribute twenty one billion rand to the South African Gross Domestic Product and more jobs for our people.

Six (6) tourism development nodes have already been identified, where our integrated approach will be implemented.

These include, firstly, two nodes in KwaZulu-Natal which cover Durban and surroundings and Umkhanyakude District. The second is two nodes in the Eastern Cape, from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay and East London, Port Elizabeth and surroundings.

The third node is in Cape Town and surroundings, in the Western Cape. Lastly, there is one node in the Northern Cape, covering Port Nolloth, the West Coast and surroundings.

Through the Blue Flag Beaches Programme two hundred youth blue flag site ambassadors have been identified. One hundred and twenty two women and seventy eight men will be trained in safety, environmental management, infrastructure maintenance checks and environmental education.

Compatriots and friends,
We will not be able to grow the Oceans Economy without skills development, research and technology and innovation.

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SHARING CAREER INFO: Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga interacting with learners at the 2016 Transport Week Career Expo held at the Sci-Bono Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg.

The newly-launched South African International Maritime Institute at Nelson Mandela University coordinates the skills development programme.

SAIMI letterheadOur training programmes include cadet and seafarer training, marine engineering, various apprenticeships as well as specialised training.

The Marine Youth Development Programme of the South African Maritime Safety Authority has also facilitated the training of one hundred and twenty five young people from Orange Farm, Port St Johns and Buffalo City Municipality in hospitality and seamanship. This will help them gain jobs on international cruise liners.

We are pleased as well that many high schools now offer maritime subjects.

Eighteen schools in this province, KZN offer maritime subjects. The Department of Basic Education is working with the South African International Maritime Institute to designate dedicated maritime schools.

Compatriots,
We have gone quite a distance indeed in unlocking our oceans to find economic value and jobs for our people.

We truly appreciate the contribution of all sectors – business, labour, academia and government, to make Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy successful thus far.

This month we recognise and celebrate the life of our national liberation hero, Oliver Reginald Tambo, who sacrificed life’s comforts so that South Africa could be free.

In his memory, let us work together in a true Phakisa spirit and as partners, and build a truly prosperous South Africa, without poverty, inequality and unemployment.”

End