South Africa readies for IMO Marpol new ship fuel requirements effective January 2020

SAMSA to meet maritime transport stakeholders in an indaba in July 2019

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Pretoria: 30 May 2019

South Africa will be ready to implement new global regulations governing the prevention of air pollution by ships at sea, in terms of the International Maritime organization (IMO) MARPOL Convention (Annexture VI), so says the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

In a statement on Thursday addressed to maritime sector and related stakeholders (Click on video) SAMSA; a State agency under the Department of Transport, responsible for among other things; the safety of life and property at sea, as well as prevention of pollution at sea by ships, said it was confident that South Africa would both be able to offer sailing ships the required new low sulphur fuel in terms of the Marpol Convention (Annex 6), as well as render such other services as necessary under the new regulations.

Revised regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships under the MARPOL (Annexture 6) were adopted in October 2008 and ratified by more than 65 countries including South Africa.

In terms of this, a ll sizes of ships sailing on the world’s oceans will need to use fuel oil that meets the 0.50% limit from 1 January 2020. The 0.50% sulphur limit extends to carriage of bunker fuel with sulphur content of more than 0.50% for vessels not fitted with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGSC). The carriage ban will come into effect on 1 March 2020..

According to SAMSA, ships must operate using compliant fuels of 0.50% sulphur or less from 1 January 2020 unless they are provided with an approved ‘equivalent’ means of compliance.

As part of its preparation for the coming into effect of the regulations next January, SAMSA has issued at least two Marine Notices ( Marine Notice No. 8 of 2019 and Marine Notice No. 9 of 2019 ) to industry, and is due to issue another in the next month or so.

SAMSA’s statement on Thursday followed the organization’s most recent meeting with the IMO Maritime Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) in London two weeks ago.

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

SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tilayi said introduction of the MARPOL Convention regulation on low sulphur ships fuel scheduled for implementation from 01 January 2020 would go ahead as planned.

“It’s all systems go as far as that is concerned and it’s a big piece of legislation with far reaching consequences. What we now need to do as a country is to put in place the regulations necessary to effect the process from January 2020.”

As part of the preparation, Mr Tilayi said SAMSA would arrange a maritime transport sector meeting of directly affected stakeholders as well as government departments or agencies responsible for environmental and energy matters.

“The reason is that we still have a number of issues that remain a major challenge and which we collectively need to look into and come up with solutions for. Therefore we, as SAMSA, are proposing a gathering of all stakeholders in the second week of July 2019 or thereabouts, in which we will sit around the table and thrash these issues out,” he said.

Among the issues for sector discussion and resolution were matters relating to the proper handling of ships coming into South African ports without the compliant fuel, the availability of facilities to test fuels in use by ships, the handling of vessels using non compliant fuel but fitted with sulphur reducing equipment etcetera.

The proposed maritime transport sector indaba for July 2019, he said, would allow all interested and affected parties an opportunity to come up with solutions that would assist in the finalization of local regulations for the implementation of the IMO Marpol Convention on use of low sulphur fuels.

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South Africa to remain on IMO STCW Convention ‘White List’: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 24 May 2019

Widespread fears and concerns over South Africa possibly being delisted from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) STCW Convention’s ‘White List’ this year have been allayed after the IMO agreed to re-approach its listing process, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) announced on Friday.

According to SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, the withdrawal of the threat occurred following to discussions between SAMSA, other Member States of the IMO and the organization during a meeting in London, a week ago.

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SAMSA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Mr Tilayi said: “Discussions on the matter between the parties concerned came to a conclusion that the drawing up of the list of countries for delisting from the STCW Convention ‘White List’ earlier this year did not follow due process.

“The IMO then agreed to withdraw the list of affected countries and to embark on a process that is fair and transparent over the next year or two. Therefore the list that was drawn up will no longer be presented to the IMO Maritime Safety Committee that is scheduled to sit in June.

‘That therefore, basically means that South Africa is no longer facing a threat of being delisted from the IMO STCW Convention White List.

“That notwithstanding, as we indicated earlier, South Africa remains on course to complete its compliance work during the period that we understood to be required. In fact, we will have completed the work by the end of 2019, way ahead of schedule as we have now begun to speed up the process, with assistance we have sought from the IMO,” said Mr Tilayi.

In a recorded message to SAMSA Stakeholders Mr Tilayi further expressed gratitude for the support the organization received as well as input some stakeholders made.

He says: “We also faced harsh criticism which in some cases was truly misplaced as, at no time did we not do what was needed. We had areas of disagreement with the IMO in terms of our submissions and which are still being working on. However, this by no means implied failure on our part to do what was required.

“Many of our stakeholders stood by us and supported us. For this we are grateful and wish to assure them that SAMSA will ensure that South Africa remains on the IMO STCW Convention White List,” said Mr Tilayi.

For a full briefing of SAMSA stakeholders on this and related matters, please click on the video below.

The talks in London a week ago came following to SAMSA publicly expressing deep concern about how the IMO approached the listing of countries, including South Africa, for possibly delisting.

As many as 80 other countries were included in the list drawn up and circulated in February this year.

SAMSA protested about how the issue was being handled.

For Mr Tilayi’s earlier statement on the matter posted on 2 May 2019, and in which he also outlined the process SAMSA would follow in the wake of the IMO STCW Convention White List development, click here:

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Taiwanese crewmen rescued from stricken vessel off South African ocean

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Pretoria: 07 May 2019

Quick action and a well coordinated response by the South African Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) saw about 16 crewmen of a Taiwanese vessel rescued successfully from the stricken vessel off the Indian Ocean on Tuesday morning.

The MRCC also confirmed that the vessel that first experienced difficulties sailing had soon caught fire and was slowly sinking, some 1100 nautical miles south east of Durban.

The dramatic rescue of sailors off the vessel, the Teng Ming Yang#268, according to the MRCC, ensued from about 6.45am (South African Time) after the centre picked up a distress signal from the vessel indicating a need for assistance.

“At 06h45 local time MRCC Cape Town was alerted via the COSPAS SARSAT system (EPIRB detection) of the Taiwanese fishing vessel Teng Ming Yang #268 possibly needing assistance.

“The distress position as per the detection placed the vessel more than 1100 kilometres South East of Durban within the South African Search and Rescue region. MRCC Cape Town Duty Team immediately contacted the Taipei Rescue Coordination Centre to obtain additional details. The satellite AIS system was used to identify any vessels near the casualty position that may be called upon to assist.

“Taipei RCC stated that the vessel had reported a fire onboard and the 16 crew were going to abandon the vessel to life rafts. A MAYDAY relay broadcast was issued by Telkom Maritime Radio for vessels in the area to assist.

“The vessel Mearsk Lanco (approximately 500 kilometres away) immediately responded to the MAYDAY broadcast but was thanked for the response and stood down by the MRCC as a sister vessel to the Teng Ming Yang #268 was already diverting and a second vessel was also on route.

“Constant monitoring of the AIS system indicated that the sister vessel arrived in the area just after 0900 local time. This was confirmed by Taipei RCC minutes later when they reported that Teng Ming Yang #888 reported that it had rescued the 16 crew from the life raft. The vessel was reportedly still burning and sinking slowly. A Navigational warning has been issued.

“SAR systems and RCC cooperation has yet again proven its value,” said the centre in a statement.

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Possible delisting of South Africa from IMO’s STCW ‘Whitelist’ a major concern: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 02 May 2019

The announced possible delisting of South Africa along with 80 or more other countries from the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) ‘Whitelist’ of countries compliant with the 1978 STCW Convention, as amended, is a matter of major concern, says the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

The agency was responding to an IMO Maritime Safety Committee’s circular to Member States stating the committee’s intention to remove all countries from its Whitelist that were not compliant with requirements of the 1978 STCW Convention as amended.

The IMO’s 1978 STCW Convention stipulates standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.

According to the IMO:  “The main purpose of the Convention is to promote safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the marine environment by establishing in common agreement international standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers.”

SAMSA Master LogoSAMSA is the country’s agency responsible for South Africa’s compliance with this and other conventions and similar instruments.

In February the IMO issued a circular expressing its intention to remove from its register all countries that were non complaint with the convention, along with a list reflecting that as many as 87 countries – including South Africa – would be affected.

The circular simply stated the intention but provided no set date for implementation of the action.

In a statement in Pretoria on Thursday, SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi confirmed that the agency was extremely concerned by the development announced by the IMO in February, as it had major implications for the country’s maritime sector.

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

However, he said; “even as we have a serious situation in our hands, and should never have found ourselves in this position, I am confident that we will act with speed and do so correctly to ensure that the intended action by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee is not finalized to South Africa’s disadvantage.”

The planned response action plan involves three broad activities; the securing of IMO assistance with compilation of the report required in terms of the convention, the hastening of a SAMSA process setting in place a relevant quality management system, and constant engagement with stakeholders.

In the video below, Mr Tilayi speaks at length about the entire saga but also about what SAMSA is already doing to prevent South Africa from being formally delisted possibly later in 2019.

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