Pretoria: 18 September 2019
Discussions between South Africa and Colombia to strengthen relationships between the southern hemisphere countries but especially to strengthen co-operation and collaboration on safety and security of their seafarers will continue from this week to next week, the two governments announced in Colombia on Tuesday evening (South African time).
Confirmation of the engagement between the countries on the sidelines of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) annual General Council Parallel Event held in Cartagena de Indias since Sunday, involving more than 120 IMO member States, came in the form of a joint communique crafted by the two countries’s ministers of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula for South Africa, and Ms Ángela María Orozco for Colombia.
In the statement, the two ministers indicated that central to their continued discussions this week, through to next week in Montreal, Canada, was the formalization through formal ratification of two cooperation instruments; a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and an Agreement for Mutual Recognition of Seafarers Certificates between South Africa and Colombia.
Montreal, Canada is the host of this year’s 40th Triennial Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization from 24 September to the 4th October 2019.
In the joint communique’, Mr Mbalula and Ms Orozco confirmed that:
“The Ministers of Transport of Colombia and South Africa, met on September 17, 2019 on the sidelines of the Parallel Event to World Maritime Day, under the theme “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
“As part of the United Nations family, the Ministers welcomed all efforts made by the International Maritime Organization to strengthen coordination, build consensus, enhance cooperation and promote world peace, stability and development.
“The Ministers underlined the need to further strengthen South-South cooperation and advance our partnership to ensure the synergies to preserve the safety of life at sea and the marine environment protection through international mechanisms and instruments.
“The Ministers reiterated their commitment to work together to further the bilateral relation and cooperation on important issues discussed at the Parallel Event to a new level. To this end, the Ministers agreed to stand ready to expand mutual consultations for the conclusion of the current negotiations of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA). The Ministers also agreed that a BASA will enhance trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
“The Ministers also welcomed the interest expressed by both countries to negotiate an “Agreement for Mutual Recognition of Seafarers Certificates for Negotiation between South Africa and Colombia”.
“The Ministers agreed to continue these consultations at the upcoming 40th Triennial Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization that will take place in Montreal, Canada from the 24th September to the 4th October 2019.
“The Minister of Transport of the Republic of South Africa thanked the Republic of Colombia for hosting and making excellent arrangements for the meeting.
“The Minister of Transport of the Republic of Colombia wished all the best to the Republic of South Africa for being the next host country of the World Maritime Day Parallel Event in 2020.” Durban, on the eastern seaboard of South Africa side of the Indian Ocean, has been confirmed as the venue for the IMO inaugural event in South Africa in a year’s time.
Meanwhile, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) whose officials attended the IMO Parallel Event, also confirmed entering into an agreement with its Colombian counterpart, the Directorate of the Maritime (DIMAR), over a declaration of intent “to establish a framework for institutional cooperation on matters of mutual interest between the two Maritime Authorities.”
According to SAMSA, representing Colombia’s DIMAR at the talks were Mr Juan Manuel Soltau Ospina and for SAMSA, the agency’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.
The draft of the declaration of intent between SAMSA and DIMAR indicates that the two organisations “within the scope of competence of the respective Parties, and in recognition of international instruments in which South Africa and Colombia are parties to and the international organizations of which they are members, the main areas and forms of cooperation that the framework would include are the following:
- Safety of life and property at sea
- Safety of Navigation
- Capacity building
- Maritime transport
- Environmental Protection and Prevention
- Technical cooperation
- Compliance and implementation of international instruments