Marpol Convention Anex VI enabling legislation on course for Jan 2020 in SA: Transport Minister

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Durban: 16 October 2019

Enabling legislation in South Africa for the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Marpol Convention Annexture VI that will enforce even lower sulphur content for ships fuel from 01 January 2020, should be ready by year end, Transport Minister Mr Fikile Mbalula has confirmed.

The assurance from the Ministry is significant in that an enabling legislation was among key issues raised as concerning by both industry and government during a recent two-day consultative workshop held in Cape Town and in which the IMO was represented.

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Precisely, in terms of the IMO, the global implementation of the new 0.50% sulphur limit in ships fuel comes into effect on 01 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.

At a two day conference held in Cape Town in July attended by more than 100 industry representatives from various sectors including cargo owners, ship owners and related, concerns were raised about the prospect of enabling legislation being ready on time for the deadline,

In Durban on Tuesday this week, Mr Mbalula finally allayed the fears, stating categorically that the necessary legislation will be in place by year end 2019. Mr Mbalula made the confirmation during a brief interaction with the media while visiting the Transnet offices at the port of Durban where he was scheduled to go on a port tour but which had to be cancelled after strong winds swelled the waters, putting paid to any such venture on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Mbalula said: “It (the legislation) will be in place. We’ve taken the matter up to Cabinet and from Cabinet it will undergo the processes of public participation and before the end of the year we should be able to make those deadlines.”

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South Africa Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula

Mr Mbalula also remarked about other maritime sector related issues inclusive of current moves to prioritise the setting up of coastal shipping in South Africa as a key development and broader participation tool to bolster sectoral economic growth.

He also touched on the country’s choice of the city of Durban as next year’s host venue for the country’s inaugural staging of the IMO’s annual World Maritime Day Parallel Event – the biggest gathering of its kind for the global maritime sector involving no less than 170 countries.

In an earlier speech delivered at the 8th Annual Ports & Rail Evolution Forum that started on Tuesday and ends on Wednesday at the Durban International Convention Centre, Mr Mbalula had described the IMO event in the country next year as an ideal opportunity that will allow South Africa to showcase its maritime capabilities to both Africa and the rest of the maritime world.

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In that speech which is captured fully here in the next two videos, Mr Mbalula decried Africa’s apparent propensity to take its own time getting to bedding down ideas and setting its economy on track to both attract investment as well as deliver on socio economic benefits for its people.

Mr Mbalula said the adage that “there is no hurry in Africa…” simply had to make way for a hurried pace in not only generating ideas but ensuring that they are followed up and implemented in a sustainable way. The key issue for integrated development and trade in the continent was ports and rail infrastructure which he described as reputably poorly maintained leading to gross inefficiencies.

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For Mr Mbalula’s confirmation of the passage of legislation enabling the implementation of the IMO Marpol Convention Annex VI, click on the video below.

For Mr Mbalula’s full speech at the Ports & Rail Evolution Forum, click on the video below.

Persistent negativity is no cure for SA’s ills: Transnet

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Some of the guest and school children attending the Simon’s Town School – Lawhill Maritime Centre’s 2019 annual awards event on Thursday night, 10 October 2019.

Durban: 14 October 2019

Nurturing and harvesting local talent for South Africa’s development needs inclusive of infrastructure build would remain the wise option if the country is to avoid wholly mortgaging the future of generations of its people to foreigners, a senior Transnet official has said.

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Ms Mpumi Dweba-Kwetan. Port Manager: Port of Cape Town.

Ms Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana, a Transnet port manager for the port of Cape Town was addressing a group of maritime sector key role players and sponsors of the Simon’s Town School – Lawhill Maritime Centre at an annual event in the town last Thursday evening to honour high performing pupils during the 2019 school year.

Lawhill Maritime Centre is the country’s most prominent private institution providing foundation level maritime education to foundation level children from across all walks of life. Several, some of whom are from poor backgrounds, get into the school through sponsorships and bursaries offered by companies and institutions in the sector, such as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Ms Dweba-Kwetana expressed a ‘deep concern’ and issued a stern warning about especially Chinese investment in Africa – which she described as cunning in general if not strictly monitored. She said Chinese investment was characterised by an approach where in Africa, investors made no attempt to empower local people, but secured jobs for their own people, thereby ensuring that host countries become beholden and perpetually depended on foreign skills.

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Citing a book she’d recently read about Chinese investors in Africa she said it seemed that: “Whilst we are still cruising, somebody else is plotting to eat our breakfast. And it worries me because if we sit and fold our arms and say the Chinese must come and take whatever, they must come and build our ports, they must come and build our railways, they must come and take our minerals away from our country, what inheritance are we going to leave for our children>”

“I think it is time for us just stand up and approach Transnet, when we feel that there inefficiencies in the railways and we have the capacity to actually invest, why not approach the chairman of the board and present our proposal, so that the wealth of the country remains with the people that in this room and remains in this country…..

For her full remarks on the topic, click on the three (3 minutes video below).

Ms Dweba-Kwetana also took a swipe at South Africa’s mainstream media for what she described as its propensity driven by an insatiable habit to fan negativity global about South Africa. She said a lot of good work was being carried out in South Africa by a whole range of people but particularly investors in human development and education and training, yet barely if any mention was made of them by the media for their positive contribution.

Instead, every single day, the narrative was biased towards bad news about the country.

For her full remarks, click on the two minutes video below.

On the country’s maritime economic sector in general, Ms Dwe-Kwetana described it as both a major opportunity for skills development and a work career, but also one that demanded focus, dedication and hard work.

For Ms Dweba-Kwetana’s full remarks on the evening, click on the video below:

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SUPPORTING THE YOUNG: Among foundation level school going children sponsors at Simon’s Town School – Lawhill Maritime Centre at this year’s annual awards night last Thursday were senior SAMSA Human Capital officials, Mr John Phiri (Left) Ms Lesego Mashishi (Right) with one of the young people supported by SAMSA at the school.

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South African seafarer reported missing in the Caribbean Sea, search ongoing: SAMSA

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08 October 2019

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has confirmed an incident of the sinking of an offshore Luxembourg registered tug 1200 nautical miles of Martinique Island on which a South African seafarer was reportedly on-board.

In a media statement issued on Tuesday, SAMSA said the sinking of the vessel took place 60 nautical miles South-South East from the eye of a Category 4 hurricane storm named Lorenzo.

“SAMSA has received information that the tug, the Bourbon Rhode, sank on the 26th of September and that 14 crew members were declared missing. It has since been established that three (3) crew members had been rescued, four (4) bodies have been recovered and seven (7) were still missing. A search and rescue effort by the Regional Operational Centre of Surveillance and Rescue (Cross) Antilles-Guyane and other parties for the missing crew was currently underway.

“SAMSA has made contact with the owners of the sunken tug and is on standby to offer any support to the family of the missing seafarer. SAMSA continue to monitor the search and rescue efforts and to release information as and when it becomes available,” the agency said.

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UK Space Agency-SAMSA partnership ups the ante against fishermen deaths in SA.

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Pretoria: 02 October 2019

The reduction and prevention of deaths of fishermen along South Africa’s coastal area is among key priorities of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and efforts towards this goal are beginning to pay off, thanks in part to strategic partnerships forged with like-minded institutions domestically and abroad.

One such partnership is that with the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) which has over the past year seen more than 1 000 small high tech vessel tracking devices acquired and distributed among particularly artisanal or subsistence fishermen across the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape provinces in order to enable them to quickly and seamlessly request for assistance whenever in trouble while out fishing at sea or on inland waterways.

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PLOTTING SUBSISTENCE FISHERMEN SAFETY: United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) officials (seated Centre and Right), Ms Athene Gadsby, and Mr Tim Hayward during their first visit to South Africa in July 2019 to meet with SAMSA’s team of fishermen safety officials based in Cape Town led by Captain Karl Otto (third from Left), as well as officials of the NSIR (last two on the right) for an assessment of Project Oasis, aimed at curbing the deaths of fishermen by enhancing their safety through a satellite based tracking and identifying device now being distributed for free to subsistence fishermen across South Africa’s coastal areas.

The project known as ‘Project Oasis”, the first of its kind aimed subsistence fishermen, is being funded to the tune of R10-million by the UKSA and is operated by SAMSA. The UKSA is also working closely with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in the distribution of the device.

A UKSA team of officials, senior director of UKSA’s Caribou Space programme, Mr Tim Hayward and UKSA’s International Partnership Programme Director, Ms Athene Gadsby, visited South Africa recently to meet in Cape Town with SAMSA and the NSRI as well as a community of fishermen in Lamberts’ Bay on the Atlantic Ocean coastline north west of Cape Town to conduct an assessment of the impact of the project so far.

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It was UKSA’s first visit of the region since launch of the project.

Outlining UKSA’s involvement in the project, according to the officials, the South Africa project is among 33 other worldwide project (37 countries) funded through the agency’s International Partnership Programme’s UK£30-million annual funding for developmental projects.

They said the ‘Project Oasis’ focus was in the distribution of a satellite technology based identifying and tracking devices known as the ‘SAT-AIS em-Trak I100 identifier trackers’ for small boats (less than 10 meters long). The target group for distribution and utilization of the device were artisanal fishermen – most of whom were generally poor.

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CONDUCTING PROJECT OASIS ASSESSMENT: (From Left) Ms Athene Gadsby, UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme Manager and Mr Tim Hayward, UK Space Agency’s Caribou Space senior manager during a meeting with SAMSA in Cape Town.

The aim, they said, was to support SAMSA’s efforts in reducing casualties among the country’s subsistence fishing communities and reduction in exorbitant expenses incurred during rescue efforts.

While statistics of casualties shared with the agency by SAMSA reflected a significant decline in the number of fishermen dying at sea over the past decade, they also showed that the most at risk category of people at sea were subsistence fishermen who generally did not have the safety and communication equipment necessary to summon assistance and be located quickly when needed. They are generally poor and with only small boats that were hard to locate when in difficulties.

Explaining the exact functionality of the fishing boat tracking and identifier units, the UKSA officials said the devices were designed to be tracked in near real time using a set of exactEarth’s constellation of polar and equatorial orbiting AIS satellites, thereby allowing SAMSA to gain an up-to-date location of the small boats with an up-to-date last known position.

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The devices also provide an SOS button that transmits a distress signal when an incident has occurred thereby enabling rescuers access to accurate information about the location and situation of a small fishing vessel.

The device which has since evolved to include a locally manufactured solar powered one, at an estimated cost of about R5 000 per unit, is distributed to small vessel fishermen in South Africa for free.

In a three minutes video interview, Ms Gadsby spoke more on the project. Click below.

Meanwhile according to SAMSA’s head of the Sea and Rescue Centre in Cape Town, Captain Karl Otto who led a SAMSA team of officials in welcoming and meeting with the UKSA officials, revealed that the project had been beneficial not only to South Africa but also five other neighboring countries; Namibia, Mozambique, Kenya, Mauritius and the Comoros.

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Captain Karl Otto. Head: SAMSA Centre for Sea Search and Rescue.

He acknowledged that the project was still at its infancy and was encountering challenges,d among which was resistance by some subsistence fishermen based on apparent suspicion that the tracking device was also being used to police their activity.

“The true and sole objective to is enhance their safety and in the process also reduce the huge costs involved during search and rescue. We’d rather rescue fast than spend more time search, and the devices addresses exactly that need,” said Captain Otto.

In a 22 minutes in-video chat at his office shortly after the meeting with the UKSA officials, Captain Otto explained fully about the project: Click Here;

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