Legislation the final cog needed to ready South Africa for new low sulphur ship fuel requirements

DSC_2166.JPGPretoria: 28 July 2019

South Africa will be ready to implement new global ships fuel regulations aimed at prevention of air pollution by ships at sea, but may have to pick up pace putting in place prerequisite legislation to legalise the process.

This was the general consensus view of more than 100 industry and government delegates to a purpose fit two day national consultative workshop in Cape Town this past week.

DSC_2100.JPGAmong those attending were representatives of various sub-sectors of the maritime transport industry, fuel producers and distributors, bunkering services providers, ship owners and shipping agents, cargo owners, academics, various government departments representatives including the Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fishing ministry, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transport, as well as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

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Dr John Calleya. Technical Officer: IMO Sub-division for Protection Measures Marine Environment Division.

Also attending was an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) senior official to provide guidance and insight into the global implementation of the new 0.50% sulphur limit in ships fuel come 1 January 2020.

The new regulations are in terms of the IMO’s MARPOL Convention (Annexture VI) whose goal, according to the IMO is to further reduce air pollution by ships through emission.

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

In terms of this, all 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.

In part preparation for the implementation of the new regulations, next January, SAMSA had issued two Marine Notices ( Marine Notice No. 8 of 2019 and Marine Notice No. 9 of 2019 ) to industry, and may yet issue another soon.

At the two day workshop in Cape Town on Wednesday and Thursday this past week, among  issues discussed by the delegates were matters concerning; the availability of fuel that meets the new requirements, 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. 

Delegates also explored the subject of the coming implementation of the new ship fuel requirements both in its environmental and economics perspectives. All agreed that from an environmental context, these were necessary measures, but with possible economic implications that were not all too rosy, at least in the short term.

Crucially, by the time they dispersed on Thursday afternoon the attendees were generally confident that all key role-players were well positioned and prepared to contribute to the success of the implementation of the regulations from the set launch date of 1 January 2019.

However, a key instrument to knead it all together would be a yet non existent but crucially important piece of legislation to legalise the implementation of the new regulations – a task that is the responsibility of the Department of Transport along with SAMSA.

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Mr Sipho Mbata. South Africa’s Alternate Permanent Representative to the IMO. London.

This, all delegates were agreed, it needed to be expedited without further delay and South Africa’s Alternate Permanent Representative to the IMO, Mr Sipho Mbata said he believed crafting the legislation would be achievable as it only required the Minister of Transport to facilitate the enactment process.

According to Mr Mbata (who also chatted quite extensively with this blog about the entire Marpol Convention and particularly the relevant annexture to the Cape Town workshop), the most viable approach to passage of the necessary legislation would be in the form of an annexture to already existing law, rather the a bill process that would take anything up to two years prior to enactment.

He expressed confidence that this would not present a problem as facilitation for passage of the necessary legislation only required the Minister of Transport.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting Chief Executive Officer: South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

Meanwhile, SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, described the gathering and consensus seeking two day workshop for the maritime transport sector in Cape Town as a crucial step towards an ensuring that all role-players were singing from the same hymn book.

For his full remarks, Click on video below.

IMO representatives, Dr John Calleya, a technical officer in IMO’s Protection Measures for Maritime Environment division described the workshop and level of discussions as highly positive towards ensuring that South Africa would be prepared by the implementation date.

He also expressed appreciation for the industry representation during the workshop. For his full remarks (1minute 45 seconds), Click on the video below:

Meanwhile, in the video below, Mr Mbata gives a full perspective of the endeavors behind the IMO Marpol Convention on the combating of pollution by ships and South Africa’s important role in ensuring its success. Click on the video below.

This news information may be updated with edited video clips of the workshop proceedings including contributions by the various role players, as well floor discussions. These will be uploaded as soon as available.

South Africa’s elderly remain key players in socio-economic development: SAMSA

DSC_1811Pretoria 23 July 2019

South Africa’s elderly population is not without longer a purpose nor a significant continued contribution to the country’s socio-political and economic contribution, and it is only correct that it remains accommodated in programmes to develop the country.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which, in partnership with the King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, hosted some 250 elderly people during a function to mark the international Mandela Day at the Mthatha dam on Thursday.

The choice of the massive dam (or lake, by some accounts) for the function was consistent with SAMSA’s expanded mandate to promote the environmental and economic potential value of the country’s inland waterways within context of the development of the country’s maritime and marine economic sector as espoused through the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) programme.

The partnership for the event with the KSD Municipality, and to an extent, the KSD Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was part of a larger SAMSA Corporate Social Investment (CSI) campaign in the part of the Eastern Cape that is part the agency’s rural development programme in coastal areas of the country involving mainly youth skills development and job creation.

As it were, Thursday’s Mandela Day celebration with the area’s elderly, had been preceded by a day long SAMSA initiated and driven youth awareness programme involving more than 2000 high school children who were introduced formally for the first time to maritime sector careers.

In marking Nelson Mandela Day annually, SAMSA has over the last few years not only encouraged its own employees to donate 67 minutes of their own time to worthy causes, but also consistently focused on and donated material goods, mainly warm winter blankets to the elderly countrywide.

The activity also consistently involved the staging of a main function to entertain and dine the elderly our the country’s population.

In Mthatha on Thursday, SAMSA Head of CSI, Ms Mapitso Dlepu said the focus on the elderly was both in appreciation of their massive contribution to growth and development of families and communities, as well continued involved in support of those communities.

Many grandparents particularly in the previously marginalised and poor communities, still continued to play an active role in the rearing of children and in support of their own grown children many of whom face unemployment. Government grants are shared with whole families just to ensure that life remained bearable for many.

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Ms Mapitso Dlepu. Head: Corporate Social Investment. SAMSA

However in addition, according to Ms Dlepu, it remained sensible that the elderly were not only recognised and acknowledged for their significant continued contribution, but were also kept informed of developments around them.

She said SAMSA’s statutory mandate to promote South Africa’s maritime interest both domestically and abroad essentially involved continuous engagement with communities through information sharing for greater public awareness of maritime sector issues.

Currently in the Eastern Cape, SAMSA is engaged jointly with the provincial government through the Office of the Eastern Cape Premier in an ongoing Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) the both provides basic maritime skills as well secure them jobs on cruise vessels worldwide. Since launch in 2017, no less than 1000 youths from the province have since been assisted this way.

She said it made sense that parents including the elderly were also occasionally appraised of these developments in order to broaden their awareness and solicit support.

For Ms Dlepu’s remarks click on the video below. 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, KSD Municipality Executive Mayor, Mr D.N Nelani told the audience that plans for the transformation and development of the Mthatha Dam into a marine tourism attraction were underway. He said the plans have long been established but little had been achieved to date. This he said, would need to change soon as job creation was among key objectives of both the local and provincial governments.

He said the introduction of cruise vessel services at the massive dam would be instrumental in achieving the goal. For Mr Nelani’s full remarks, click on the video below

Spoken to as they dispersed in late afternoon on Thursday, many of the elderly had high praise for the effort and expressed appreciation that Government and its agencies was consistent in acknowledging their continued existence and contribution.

This blog spoke to a few of them in the following video:

For more pictures and videos of the Mandela Day 2019 function for the elderly in Mthatha, see  below

 

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Great teamwork proves key to effective management of oil spill at sea in Port Elizabeth: SAMSA

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File photo: The M.V Chrysanthi SA cargo vessel two weekends ago after an oil spill was registered in its vicinity shortly after a refuelling exercise on anchorage near the port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth.

Pretoria: 17 July 2019

Closer collaboration and speedy reaction by parties involved in the oil spillage at sea near the port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth two weekends ago contributed immensely in ensuring that damage to the surrounding ocean environment, including wildlife, was minimised.

That is an assessment flowing from reports by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)’s in its engagement with several organisations and institutions in the public and private sectors in Port Elizabeth during the management of the incident over the last two weeks, since about 200-400 litres of oil accidentally spilled over into the sea while a foreign cargo vessel was being refuelled.

The oil spillage reportedly occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning (06 July 2019) while the Liberia flagged cargo vessel known as the MV CHRYSANTHI S (IMO No. 952 7441) was being refuelled.

IMG-20190707-WA0009Still ongoing investigations into the incident seemed to indicate that the oil spillage occurred on board the vessel after one of the fuel tank valves was not properly closed, leading to vast amounts of fuel accidentally spilling out onto both the vessel as well as at sea. At the time, the vessel had been with about 1300 metric tons of fuel.

According to SAMSA, the vessel’s crew of 20 seafarers – all of whom remained safe – led by its Captain immediately summoned for assistance, which was duly activated, to contain the spread of the oil in the sea. The shore based oil response team was activated to extract the oil from the sea.

SAMSA said as much as 360 litres of the fuel was eventually extracted from the waters. However, the oil had spread significantly on the ocean to impact wildlife, but particularly sea birds and penguins and about which 114 were rescued and cleaned of oil. The wildlife verified as affected as of Tuesday this week (16 July 2019) included African penguins, Cape cormorants, Cape gannets as well as about half a dozen African penguin eggs.

IMG-20190707-WA0008However, periodic assessments of the sea and coastline, involving aerial and boat inspections had indicated that the coastline had not been affected by the oil spill

According to SAMSA, the cargo vessel involved in the oil spill remained in detention for a period while an investigation was being conducted, and bunkering services were initially suspended, and later partially lifted to daytime only by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

SAMSA said the vessel owners, Golden Flower Navigation Incorporated had through its various agencies, including insurers, since accepted liability for the oil spillage and made the necessary undertakings in compliance with relevant South African laws and regulations as well international conventions related to incidents of the nature, after which the detention of the vessel was lifted and it was allowed to continue with its international journey on Friday (12 July 2019).

cropped-samsa-master-logoSAMSA, South Africa’s agency under the Department of Transport solely mandated with responsibility for prevention of pollution of the seas by ships, said success of the management of the oil spill – a great threat to sea pollution – arose out of close collaboration and teamwork by all the entities involved.

These included the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), TNPA (port managers next to which the oil spill occurred), the bunkering services company involved in the ship refuelling operation, SA Marine Fuels; private sector oil spillage management services company, Extreme Projects; wildlife and environmental groupings, SANPARKS, SANCCOB, and others including the affected vessel’s crew and vessel owners and its agents.

According to SAMSA, a joint operations committee involving various stakeholders greatly assisted in steering management of the oil spill containment and extraction, rescue and clean-up of affected wildlife, regular inspections of the affected oceans environment for traces of oil spread, as well as settlement of costs responsibilities related to damage suffered and operations activated.

A further meeting of the JOC is scheduled for Port Elizabeth later on Wednesday.

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South Africa endorses IMO compensation treaty on ship transportation of hazardous and noxious substances.

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Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula (Right) with IMO Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London on Sunday

Pretoria: 17 July 2019

South Africa on Sunday joined about half a dozen countries in the world to formally ratify and become part of a key International Maritime Organisation compensation treaty covering the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by ship.

The country’s accession to the treaty was delivered by newly appointed Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula to the IMO during a meeting between him and his delegation with IMO Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London.

The South African delegation led by Mr Mbalula is attending the 122nd session of Council for the IMO that started on Sunday and continues until Friday this week.

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South Africa’s delegation to the IMO, London on 15-19 July 2019: (From Left) Mr Rufus Lekala -(TNPA) and Themba Nkontwane (DoT) Sipho Mbatha (SAMSA) Minister of Transport Mr Fikile Mbalula, Spokesperson for the Minister of Transport Ayanda Paine, SAMSA acting CEO Sobantu Tilayi and SAMSA Company Secretary Moyahabo Raphadu

Included in Mr Mbalula’s delegation is Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – an agency of government under the Department of Transport responsible for application and enforcement of maritime sector related conventions, treaties and related international oceans’ administration and governance instruments.

South Africa is a Member State to the United Nations’ specialised agency, the IMO as well as a member of the IMO Council. The objectives of the IMO, among other things, are to adopt international standards for maritime security and safety, ensuring the protection of pollution from ships, and to facilitate seaborne trade.

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South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula (centre) at his first attendance as Transport Minister ,an IMO Council meeting in London this week.

According to the IMO on Sunday, the 2010 Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (2010 HNS Convention) is a treaty which, when in force, “will provide a regime of liability and compensation for damage caused by HNS cargoes transported by sea, including oil and chemicals, and covers not only pollution damage, but also the risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life or personal injury as well as loss of or damage to property.

“An HNS Fund will be established, to pay compensation once shipowner’s liability is exhausted. This Fund will be financed through contributions paid post incident by receivers of HNS cargoes,” said the IMO.

In embracing the treaty, South Africa become the fifth country in the world – or IMO Member State) to join, after Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey

Said the IMO: “As required by the treaty, South Africa provided data on the total quantities of liable contributing cargo. Entry into force of the treaty requires accession by at least 12 States, meeting certain criteria in relation to tonnage and reporting annually the quantity of HNS cargo received in a State.

“The treaty requires a total quantity of at least 40 million tonnes of cargo contributing to the general account to have been received in the preceding calendar year. The total quantity of contributing cargo has reached 9.8 million tonnes.

For Mr Mbalula’s remarks during the deposit of the SA’s accession to the IMO treaty, please Click below.

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Bunkering services oil spill in Port Elizabeth under investigation: SAMSA

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One of early photos of the oil spillage incident during refuelling of a vessel off the coast of Port Elizabeth in the Indian Ocean on Saturday morning.

Pretoria: 07 July 2019

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says an investigation is underway to establish the cause of the oil spillage incident during a bunkering service off the port of Ngqhura near Port Elizabeth on Saturday morning,

This follows confirmed reports of an oil spillage at sea while a trade vessel was being refuelled. It was reported that as much 200-400 litters of fuel spilt into the ocean. However, the bunkering services company involved, SA Marine Fuels, soon activated an oil spillage control exercise to contain its spread on water.

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Spilled oil is visible immediately behind the Liberia flag carrying trade vessel, the Chrysanthi S off the coast of Port Elizabeth on at the weekend. The incident is now under investigation, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) (Photo: SAMSA)

A Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries’ statement on Saturday said the vessel involved was the Liberia flag carrying trade ship known as the MV Chrysanthi S. The department said it had been “notified of an oil spill that took place in Algoa Bay in the early hours of Saturday. The incident took place at approximately 04h40 (in the) morning during offshore bunkering operations in Anchorage 1 of the Port of Nqura.

“It was reported that approximately 200 to 400 litters of fuel from the receiving vessel MV Chrysanthi S, flag state Liberia, was spilled into the sea as a result of overflow during the fuel transfer.  SA Marine Fuels proceeded to dispatch a commercial oil spill response service provider to mitigate and contain the spread of the spill.

“This incident is currently considered a Tier 1 level incident which does not require intervention from the national authorities as local resources are sufficient. The department will provide assistance if the incident escalates and requires it.”

The department further said weather conditions in the Algoa Bay area on Saturday were hindering operations, which include wildlife assessments.

“However, the situation has been reported to be managed and under control. The oil is not expected to reach the coast and currently moving in an offshore direction. Transnet National Ports Authority, South African National Parks (SANParks), the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and other environmental bodies have been notified and are monitoring the situation along with our department.

” A contingency plan is in place for the Diaz Zone (Algoa Bay) and the Department will activate it should it be determined that oil is likely to wash ashore.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, SAMSA said it had become fully aware of the incident and that an investigation was being rolled out to establish its cause.

The agency in a statement said: “SAMSA with other authorities will conduct a comprehensive investigation of the incident. An inspection will be conducted tomorrow (Monday) to check if the beach and islands are not affected.”

SAMSA noted however at the time of its statement on Sunday, that monitoring of the oil had indicated that there were no oil traces on the water in the areas yet.

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More visuals of the oil accidentally spilled on the ocean during a refuelling of a vessel near Port Elizabeth at the weekend. It was estimated that between 200-400 litters of oil spilled over onto the ocean water.

In its earlier statement, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries said it was  responsible for matters relating to the combating of oil pollution at sea under Section 52(1) of the South African Maritime Safety Authority Act.

The department said: “Specific arrangements and tactics for responding to incidents are contained in a suite of local oil spill contingency plans managed by the department.

The department further added than an Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg), consisting of various stakeholders including the department, had been established through Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy to address South Africa’s oil spill response capability in the marine environment.

“The IMOrg hosted an oil spill exercise in November 2018 testing the response capability in Algoa Bay and is also keeping a close watch of the incident circumstances and status,” said the department.

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When is a sailor on a ‘high’ at sea – SA seafarers’ ask!

DOTS Logo ENG HOR_UN Blue invertedPretoria 01 July 2019

As South Africa joined the rest of the maritime world to mark and celebrate the international Day of the Seafarer as guided by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and organised locally by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) jointly with the Department of Transport (DoT), seafarer’s general welfare was on the menu and there were few surprises about the issues raised or discussed.

Day of the Seafarer 2019_poster_blue landscapeAfter all, the IMO suggested theme for 2019 was #IamOnBoard with Gender Equality.

South Africa’s marking of the annual event this year took the same format as in 2018, with three of the country’s coastal cities, Cape Town (Western Cape), Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape) and Durban (KwaZulu-Natal) hosting simultaneously the event. The idea according to the Department of Transport, is to ensure that as many of South Africa’s seafarers – some based in these cities – participate in the celebrations as well as ensuing discussions.

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The line up of speakers for the marking and celebration of the 2019 Day of the Seafarer in Cape Town on Tuesday, 25 June were (From far left), Ms Faye Kula (indepent professional), Ms Emma Dzinic (naval architect: SAMSA) , Ms Thembela Taboshe (standing: SHEQ Executive Oceana), Ms Leonie Louw (lecturer Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and Ms Yolisa Tshangela (Transnet National Ports Authority). With them (Far right) is Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Deputy Director General for Maritime Transport at the Department of Transport

Indeed, speakers lined up to lead discussions totaled about five people in each of the venues – all selected according to either or both their involvement as well as experience in seafaring or such other field of engagement directly related to or impacts seafaring. Emphasis was placed active seafarers – seagoing or not – employers, as well as education and training providers or professionals.

This blog covered the Cape Town leg of the event and this is where, among a range of issues raised for discussion concerning gender equality and empowerment of particularly women, the question about drug use by seafarers – and precisely the adequacy and appropriateness of rules and regulations governing its management arose.

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Ms Thembela Taboshe

Ms Thembela Taboshe, one of the first three of South Africa’s black African women seafarers to obtain a Master Mariner qualification in the past fives years and now currently serving as a SHEQ Executive for Blue Continental Products at fishing group Oceana, wanted to know what the allowable limit of narcotic drugs could a sailor have on his or her system to be deemed safe or unsafe at work.

She said the question was arising against the backdrop of law reform developments in the country concerning the use of especially dagga or “weed” and which now deemed it no longer illegal for people to use the narcotic drug in the privacy of their own homes.

The law reform was well and good, she said, but it raised a few questions regarding implications of the free, legal use of the narcotic drug.

“This is a matter I’d like to raise and speak with SAMSA and DoT about. We need to actually come up with legislation about how people find out…..what is the allowable limit….what is not. How do we know that a person who is on the 10th day after having taken weed  is actually capable of doing the job?” said Ms Taboshe.

DSC_1179She contextualized the matter as one concerning and with implications for seafarers in general and therefore relevant in terms of gender equality, but also women empowerment.  (Ms Taboshe’s full remarks – average 6 minutes – along with those of the other participants are shared on the Day of the Seafarers page)

The issue climbed quickly into the DoT and SAMSA list of issues requiring address over the next while and  a report back to sailors prior to, or on Wednesday, 25 June 2020 and perhaps soon thereafter.

The DoT’s representative at the Cape Town event, Acting Deputy Director-General, Maritime Transport, Mr Dumisani Ntuli committed the department to do exactly that.

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Mr Dumisani Ntuli

As indicated the drug usage issue by seafarers was among several that led to a robust debate in Cape Town. For a comprehensive multimedia report on these discussions, click here or on this blog’s main menu, click on the Day of the Seafarer‘s page at the top left of the bar.

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