Regional collaboration on world oceans management key to success: UN Cape Town 2017 conference hears

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CAPE TOWN: 29 November 2017

Closer regional collaboration in the management of the world’s oceans is the way to go for sustainable future success, local and international delegates to the 19th Annual Consultative Meeting on Large Marine Ecosystems and Coastal Partners’ currently underway in Cape Town have heard.

The conference at the V&A Waterfront, the venue of  the South Africa leg of the international Volvo Ocean Race (VoR) 2017-18 that set off from Friday, 24 November to 10 December; is a joint initiative among a number of international organizations including the United Nations, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Conservation International, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and others.

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The conference  began on Monday with more than three dozen delegates from several countries in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia; and is scheduled to end on Friday.

Its focus, according to organizers, is on fostering and galvanizing regional cooperation  and support among maritime countries worldwide towards greater and closer collaboration  in the management of the world’s large marine ecosystems, partly in pursuit for fulfillment of the objectives of the UN ‘s Sustainable Development Goal 14

The gathering’s stated goals are about the “sharing of experiences and lessons with respect to ecosystem based governance of the oceans by engaging GEF-funded marine, coastal, biodiversity and coastal climate change adaption project leaders in support of meeting the objectives of the GEF Large Marine Ecosystems (LEARN) project.”

DSC_2665Targeted objectives, say organizers; include “consolidating an implementation of the activities of three working groups of the project on Governance, Ecosystem based management, and data and information management; and provide directions for the future activities.”

The conference also plans to “review progress achieved with regards tool kits for the projects, discuss possible activities that working groups could undertake in the future, explore possibilities to intensify the activities of regional networks as well as carry out short term targeted training on the subjects of interests for project managers.”

Expected outputs include approved tool kits drafts, development of a programme of the working group activities in 2018 and identification of key elements for synergy of regional networks and working groups.

In her welcoming address at the start of the conference of Monday,  South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs deputy director, Ms Judy Beaumont said the country appreciated both the opportunity to host the conference as well as contribute to its discussions as would be beneficial also to the southern African region.

She described South Africa as a keen participant and contributor to the concepts both of the large marine ecosystems management approach being pursued for adoption by countries worldwide, but also the regional collaboration approach, and to which she said, requires full endorsement and support by state governments globally.

For Ms Beamont’s full remarks, click on the video below

Also on hand to welcome and offer support for the UN conference was Sweden’s Ambassador to South Africa, Ms Cecilia Julin and whose country was the host of similar such conference a few months ago.

Ms Julin shared Sweden’s experience to date with the initiative among countries already fully engaged in the regional collaboration approach in Europe, indicating a great deal of progress.

For her full remarks, click on the video below.

On Thursday, the delegates will take a lunchtime break to visit Robben Island before returning to the conference venue at the V&A Waterfront for the further discussions and interactions.

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South Africa’s bid for retention of IMO seat underway in London

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Cape Town: 29 November 2017

South Africa’s bid to retain its seat in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) General Council got underway in earnest in London on Tuesday after the country’s deputy Transport Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga addressed the assembly during its final gathering of 2017 which ends in early December.

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South Africa’s Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga address an International Maritime Organization (IMO) gathering in London on Monday. South Africa is bidding for retention of its seat in the IMO Council.

The IMO Council whose members are drawn from 40 Member States around the world, is the executive organ of the IMO responsible for supervising the work of the international organization. The IMO Council is elected by the IMO Assembly for two-year terms.

The IMO’s General Assembly meets for its last meeting in 2017 on 7 December.

For IMO purposes, the Africa (sub-Saharan) region is composed of 48 countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and of these, 37 are IMO Member States.

According to the IMO, the Africa region has a combined total coastline of 30,725 km with South Africa, – located epicenter across three oceans, the Atlantic to the west, the Southern in the south and the Indian Ocean to the east – accounting for approximately 10% or 3200 km of that coastline.

In her address of the IMO in London on Tuesday, Ms Chikunga noted that South Africa was the only country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region of Africa standing for re-election in the IMO Council and in South Africa’s viewpoint, it was only correct that IMO Member States in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceanic states should support the country’s retention as a member of the IMO Council.

“The re-election of South Africa to the Council will ensure that the developing countries in general and the African continent in particular gets a fair voice in the international maritime affairs,” said Ms Chikunga.

Ms Chikunga further highlighted several other factors in which South Africa remains a central player towards the IMO and the world’s pursuit of particularly sustainable development of oceans economies.

According to Ms Chikunga, shipping  which is responsible for more than 80% of global trade, continues to play a very critical and prominent role in connecting people worldwide which phenomenon she said placed the IMO at the epicentre of ensuring that such global activities were accomplished seamlessly, without unnecessary hindrances.

She said: “International trade is very central and critical to many African countries, whether landlocked or coastal states. In that regard, the Africa Union took a conscious decision to adopt the 2050 African Maritime Integrated Strategy (AIMS) which seeks to provide a broad framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of the African Maritime Domain for wealth creation. South Africa is actively operationalizing the provisions of that Strategy.

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File photo: Port of Ngqurha. South Africa’s only deep water port located in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

For its role in global maritime trade transport, Ms Chikunga  said South Africa has eight (8) commercial ports that handle in excess of 13 100 international ship traffic a year and approximately 300 million tonnes of cargo annually.

Geographically, along with its own infrastructure, the country was strategically located on one of the major vital shipping lanes  known as the ‘Cape Route’ that connects east and west seas thereby placing the country among critical role-players in world maritime affairs.

These factors according to Ms Chikunga were significant given that the IMO plays a crucial role towards the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially on climate change and gender equality,  and South Africa is well placed to continue to support the initiatives  through collaborative efforts with relevant stakeholders.

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Some of the delegates to this week’s UN led conference on regional collaboration on the implementation of the ‘Large Marine Ecosystem Approach’ currently underway in Cape Town from 27 November – 01 December 2017 parallel the South Africa’s leg of the 2017/8 Volvo Ocean Race hosted at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront from 24 November to 10 December 2017

This she reflected on as a United Nations led conference is underway in Cape Town this week, looking at regional collaborations on the implementation of the ‘Large Marine Ecosystem Approach’ as an instrument towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 14. The conference is being held at the V&A Waterfront parallel this year’s South Africa leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18

In London on Tuesday, Ms Chikunga also impressed on the IMO gathering that  alongside development, there also are  issues of safety and security that are  crucial to orderly management of the oceans.

“In support of international efforts to bring security and stability in the broader Indian Ocean under the Djibouti Code of Conduct, South Africa adopted a Strategy intending to curb acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships. In that regard, South Africa deployed her navy vessels along the Mozambique Channel as a deterrent to acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships in the southern Indian Ocean area,” said Ms Chikunga

In addition she said: “As part of our coastal State obligation, we continue to provide reliable Search and Rescue services to international shipping in our region which extends to the Antarctica.

“Furthermore, South Africa, through partnership with the IMO, has converted her highly reliable Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) to the Regional Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre Cape Town to assist ships in distress in the Region,” she said.

The South Africa bid to retain its seat on the IMO Council occurs as the southern African country prepares to host it’s inaugural IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event in 2020.

That event, tentatively scheduled for Durban, is intended to highlight the significant role of global shipping and the role of the IMO.

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Volvo Ocean Race a major contributor to South Africa’s oceans economy: V&A Waterfront

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WINNER: MAPFIRE, the first of seven of the yachts participating in this Volvo Ocean Race to arrive at port of Cape Town on Friday, 24 November 2017

Cape Town: 27 November 2017

The start of the global Volvo Ocean Race (VoR) South Africa leg at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town at the weekend is among highly significant water based international events that are a major contributor to development of the country’s oceans economy, event hosts; the V&A Waterfront has said.

Addressing local and international guests during the official opening of the event a few hours ahead of the arrival of the first of seven yachts participating in this year’s (2107/18) South Africa leg of the VoR across the world, V&A Waterfront CEO Mr David Green said on Friday that the event would contribute no less than R500-million to Cape Town’s economy during the two weeks stopover, from 24 November to 10 December 2017.

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The entry point to Quay Five – the venue of the South Africa leg of the Volvo Ocean Race (VoR) at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town; from 24 November 2017 to 10 December 2017

But crucially, the bi-annual event, he said; was a major contributor to marine tourism not only of the Western Cape but the entire country, generating opportunities for investment and expansion of businesses as well creation of much needed jobs throughout the country’s tourism sector value chain.

Local and international guests at the function included senior government officials as well as United Nations officials attending  the Cape Town Ocean Summit as well as the UN, UNESCO and International Ocean Institute ‘ocean sustainability’ conferences scheduled over five days from Monday to Friday (27 Nov to Dec 01) parallel the VoR.

Mr Green described the city of Cape Town as the ‘Number 1’ city in Africa for business tourism and its events and conferencing subsectors were a vital cog to the city’s economic growth strategy to develop and sustain a reputation as an investment and business destination.

DSC_2623According to Mr Green, the V&A Waterfront along with the city of Cape Town, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and several other notable entities are regular sponsors of the VoR based on an understanding of the catalyst role the biannual event has on current and future business investments in the country.

He said consistent with this understanding the V&A Waterfront had on its part, continued its own business investment along the Cape Town harbor , the latest being a new multi-million rand worth ‘silo district’ that has attracted more than 70 000 visitors since completion recently.

The VoR he said, with a multi-million television audience worldwide, in addition to the more than 1.5-million people that throng the stop-over areas such as the V&A Watefront, provided an opportunity for South Africa to showcase worldwide its expertise and leading role in a whole range of areas inclusive of its depth and breadth of scientific research into ocean trends in the Southern Oceans to Antarctica, its already globally recognized boat manufacturing capabilities as well as a growing corps of well trained seafarers and vessels crew.

“Far from it being a wealthy people’s sport, the Volvo Ocean Race is a catalyst and major contributor to development of our oceans economy,” said Mr Green.

For his full remarks click below

On hand to also welcome local and international guests was Cape Town City Councillor, Mr Eddie Andrews and for whose remarks, please click below:

The pair were led in the welcome speeches by Worldsport managing director, Mr Bruce Parker-Forsyth, a long time partner and host sponsor of the VoR. For his remarks click below.

After arriving a few hours apart from about 4pm on Friday, led by the Mapfire team, the VoR 2017/18 yachts have been undergoing thorough mechanical and cleaning services at the Cape Town harbour.

The MAPFIRE team (below in red) were the winners of the South Africa leg of the VoR.

Also below, is the crew of the Vestas 11th Hour Racing team led by the American duo of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill, and whose yacht came third overall in the Cape Town’s VoR second leg. They were handed their trophy (for 11 points overall) by SAMSA’s Corporate Affairs senior manager, Ms Nthabiseng Tema.

The mechanical and cleaning services are at V&A Waterfront yacht zone.

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The specially set up Volvo Ocean Race yard west of the V&A Waterfront where spare parts and other paraphernalia for the racing yachts are located.

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Skipper’s lack of weather conditions awareness cause of Robben Island vessel incident: SAMSA

Thandi.jpgCape Town: 27 November 2017

An apparent lack of awareness of weather conditions by the skipper of Thandi at Robben Island in September 2017, led to the tourists ferry getting into trouble after taking in water that eventually shut down its engines during a stormy afternoon; an investigation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has concluded.

SAMSA in a statement issued on Monday (see below) said that at the time of the incident on 15 September 2017, the ferry had 65 occupants on board – mostly tourists – and all of whom were safely evacuated after the crew of the vessel issued a distress call.

According to SAMSA chief operations officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, a preliminary report following an investigation into the incident, found that the accident was due to the skipper of the ferry having been unaware of prevailing weather conditions on the day.

“Before the boat departed, neither the appropriate forecasted weather nor the prevailing weather conditions were taken into account,” the SAMSA statement said.

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South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) COO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Mr Tilayi said: “Now that the report has been completed, we will continue with remedial steps to avert a similar crisis. ”

Below is the full SAMSA statement:

SAMSA completes Thandi accident

Cape Town, South Africa: November 27, 2017: The South African Maritime Safety Authority has completed a preliminary enquiry on the passenger vessel Thandi which encountered bad weather on its way to Robben Island two months ago.

On the afternoon of the 15th September 2017, Thandi, an under 25GT small passenger vessel departed Murray Harbour for the Nelson Mandela Gateway in the V & A Waterfront.  The vessel was carrying 65 Passengers and five crew.

Shortly after departure to Robben Island, the vessel started taking on water. The skipper issued a distress call which was received by Port Control. The National Sea Rescue Institute were activated and responded with a number of rescue vessels.

All crew and passengers were disembarked from the Thandi and returned to Nelson Mandela Gateway on the Class VI passenger vessel Madiba 1 or on the NSRI vessel Rescue 3. No one was injured.

SAMSA Chief Operating Officer Sobantu Tilayi confirmed the preliminary report found the accident was due to the skipper being unaware of prevailing weather conditions on the day.  Before the boat departed, neither the appropriate forecasted weather nor the prevailing weather conditions were taken into account. 

The vessel was overcome by the rough sea conditions prevalent on the day of the incident.

“Now that the report has been completed, we will continue with remedial steps to avert a similar crisis,” said Tilayi. He confirmed the owners of the vessel have indicated that the boat would be repaired.

The preliminary investigation has determined that a possible sequence of events may be as follows:

  • Vessel was moving into rough weather when leaving Robben Island – strong wind and high seas/ swell from slightly to port.
  • There was a significant amount of water washing onto the bow of the vessel, likely more on the port side.
  • Water could have leaked into the chain locker space at a faster rate than could drain out.
  • Water washing up against the accommodation specifically on the port side may have leaked into the front below deck compartment.
  • It appears water may have entered the port engine compartment space via the electrical cable ducting running from the port chain locker.
  • Water may have entered the engine compartment through the engine room vent.
  • The port engine compartment bilge alarm was triggered.
  • The skipper stopped the port engine and then could not restart it.
  • As the vessels list increased to port and trimmed further by the head, the front windows, port and starboard were broken by waves coming over the bow.
  • The water washing in through the front windows added to the water on the port side, forward.
  • With the vessel being bow down and a port list the flow of water into the chain locker and the forward port watertight compartment would have increased.

ENDS

SA Agulhas sets sail for Antarctica with new cadets on board: SAMSA

DSC_2243.JPGCape Town: 25 November 2017

For 20 young South African male and female cadets, the journey to becoming qualified and accomplished seafarers in a few more years from now got underway in earnest in Cape Town on Friday when they set sail on board the SA Agulhas for both their first on board practical training as well as for their maiden voyage to the Antarctica region.

The SA Agulhas is returning to the icy region near the South Pole for the second in 2017, carrying on board a group Indian scientists conducting studies on both the Indian and Southern Oceans. The vessel is due to collect the scientists in Mauritius in about three days today.

DSC_2374.JPGOnce on board, they will sail along with the corps of South African deck and engine cadets – mostly maritime studies students organized by the South African International Maritime Institute from two universities; the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

According to SAIMI, the crusade by the group of cadets is a compulsory on-board training before they can qualify as deck and engineering officers. Among the eight women and 12 men are 19 deck cadets and one engine cadet.

Training will be conducted by Captains Merwyn Pieters and Steven Paulse, who were also the training officers on the December 2016 expedition which accommodated 30 cadets.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for these young people. A training trip like this would normally cost over US$50 000, and they are being afforded this opportunity to learn under some of the most trying conditions,” said Capt Pieters.

“It takes guts of steel to be away from your family and loved ones. For this group, this journey is new to them, and it would come with many new experiences, including building team spirit,” he added.

The research and cadet training voyage is scheduled to last three months at sea prior to their return back to Cape Town early in 2018.

The SA Agulhas, formerly a scientific research vessel, is a dedicated cadet training ship currently under the command of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

On hand to bid the cadets farewell as well as share with them a few words of wisdom on work ethic as well as personal mastery were a number of SAMSA officials, among them Mr Ian Calvert, SAMSA executive manager for maritime special projects based in Cape Town and Mr Phumulani Myeni, SAMSA chief financial officer.

In their company were also relative of some of the young maritime studies students.

Prior to the depature, the cadets had an opportunity to interact with the media, during which they were interviewed about their studies and expectations during the journey.

 

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File Photo: Professor Malik Pourzanjani (Right) CEO of SAIMI with SAMSA COO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Professor Malek Pourzanjani, SAIMI chief executive officer said the voyage would be the second training of its kind to the southern Arctic Circle that had been organised under the national cadet training programme managed SAIMI.

During the voyage the cadets would have a combination of on-board lectures and experience working on watches and assisting the crew.

The cadet training would take place alongside a study of the ocean currents and weather patterns to be conducted by the Indian scientists.

According to Prof Pourzanjani, the scientists will come on board with several tons of equipment in Mauritius, before the vessel heads south to the 68th parallel, which marks the start of the permanent ice cap.

img_3091-7272017They are expected to reach Antarctica in around four weeks. In a statement also wishing the crew and cadets well, SAMSA chief operating officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi said “As SAMSA, we are prooud to be part of this endeavor to train young people and expose them to new opportunities. We are confident that the cadets chosen possess the steely determination and focus survive in the Antarctic.

“The knowledge acquired from this cold journey will benefit South Africa’s growing maritime sector and the entire world.

“It is through such initiatives that we aim to fight the plague of unemployment, create awareness about our oceans and helo contribute towards our oceans economy,” said Mr Tilayi.

For full video (11minutes inclusive of cadets chatting with media) Click Here

For a five minute video (without the cadets media chat), Click Below

 

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SA Agulhas heads back to Antarctica with scientists and 20 new cadets on board: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 22 November 2017

The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel will be heading back to the Antarctica region on Friday, on yet another scientific research and cadet training expedition scheduled to last about three months, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) announced on Wednesday

According to SAMSA in a statement in Cape Town, on board the vessel will be a group of Indian scientists to conduct studies of parts of the Indian and Southern Oceans, and in their company, a group of new South African cadets under the Port Elizabeth based South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), drawn from the Cape Peninsula and Durban Universities of Technology (CPUT and DUT) to undergo seafarer training during the expedition.

IMG_4815 (2)The expedition beginning with the SA Agulhas setting sail from Cape Town on Friday, will be the second of its kind in the past 14 months involving the combination of a scientific study and the training of South African cadets.

The last one occurred between December 2016 and March 2017.

According to SAMSA on Wednesday: “The vessel will transverse through the Indian ocean with its first stop in Mauritius, to collect the scientists, and then head south to Antarctica to spend three months on a research mission. For the 20 cadets, recruited for various on board technical functions, this will be their maiden voyage.

“The SA Agulhas is expected to reach Antarctica in four weeks. The cadets, aged between 20-27 years old, fresh from their academic studies from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Durban University of Technology comprise a corps of 19 deck cadets and one engine cadet. Twelve are males and eight are females,” said SAMSA

Management of the training of the cadets has according to SAMSA,  again been entrusted The South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) which will work jointly with two deck training officers, Captain Merwyn Pieters and Steven Paulse, who are both experienced in the operation of the vessel and repeat travelers of scientific expedition route undertaken a year.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayo. COO South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

Remarking about the expedition, SAMSA COO Mr Sobantu Tilayi said: “As SAMSA we are proud to be part of this endeavor to train young people and expose them to new opportunities. We are confident that the cadets chosen possess the steely determination and focus to survive in the Antarctic.

“The knowledge acquired from this cold journey will benefit South Africa’s fast growing maritime sector and the entire world.

“It is through such initiatives that we aim to fight the plague of unemployment, create awareness about our oceans and help contribute towards our oceans economy,” said Mr Tilayi.

Captain Pieters, an experienced seaman with almost 46 years under his belt working on various vessels, said the cadets were enthusiastic and keen.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for these young people – a trip like this would normally cost over $50 000, and they are being afforded this opportunity to learn under some of the most trying conditions. Between the other training officer and I we are honored to pass on our expertise and knowledge.

“It takes guts of steel to be away from your family and loved ones. For this group, this journey is new to them, and it would come with many new experiences, including building team spirit,” said Capt Pieters.

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Four South Africans rescued from sinking yacht off Mozambique Channel: SAMSA