SA’s fishing safety under the spotlight at national indaba Tuesday: SAMSA

All sessions are over.

Second Session:

Session 1: Ended 10.36am

Pretoria: 16 August 2020

South Africa’s positioning as being among the world’s maritime countries with a relatively high fishing sector safety record on average brings upon the country the added responsibility of not just ensuring the positive trend is maintained, but also that lessons learned towards high safety records are constantly shared with others.

It is against that backdrop and some, – inclusive of a standing commitment to the local fishing industry – that on Tuesday, 18 August 2020, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will again lead a national online dialogue with stakeholders in the country’s fishing sector, focused on safety of fishermen in the country’s ocean waters.

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The virtual event beginning at 9am on Tuesday through to 4pm in the afternoon is part of a fortnight long fishing sector indaba webinar being conducted by maritime sector private publication, Maritime Review, with SAMSA and others as co-sponsors. The fishing safety indaba however, will be SAMSA’s regular event staged periodically since 2002, and in regular frequence over the last five years.

According to SAMSA, the event whose aim is to bring together on the same table stakeholders from across the sector to provide feedback as well as discuss and share information, is part of a broader programme to improve and maintain high safety records in the country’s fishing sector.

It is based on recognition and acknowledgement that with as many 1,014 domestic commercial fishing vessels of various sizes operating in the country’s waters, the industry still has some work to do to eliminate incidents resulting in deaths at sea.

Recent concerns in the country’s fishing sector (2018) included an apparent “unfortunate” increase in the rate of suicides by fishers, indicating an urgent need for some sort of intervention, says SAMSA. The aim was for zero fatalities in the sector.

Through these regular engagements with industry, SAMSA previously noted and highlighted a whole set of issues to pursue for address as follows:

  1. Introduction of legislation making it mandatory for all fishers to attend safety familiarisation courses prior to fishers proceeding to sea.
  2. Maritime Occupational safety audits of fishing companies operating over 25 gross tons vessels which focuses on compliance with respect to issues such as Safety Officers, Safety Committees, safety drills, personal protective clothing, toolbox talks, discipline, social security and risk assessments.
  3. Adhoc safety inspections- outside of the annual survey regime.
  4. Fisheries observers completing safety checklists while at sea.
  5. Marine Notices high lighting the causes of deaths and other pertinent safety communication.
  6. Community safety seminars
  7. Safety indabas with fishing industry stakeholders.
  8. Guidance on relevant legislation stemming from international IMO and ILO instruments in the interest of safe fishing practices.
  9. Investigations into the causes of deaths by trained SAMSA officials and
  10. Casualty Investigation techniques training for industry

Tuesday’s fishing indaba webinar, according to SAMSA, will give feedback as well as provide a platform for discussion on these as well related issues inclusive of:

  • developments relating to the Cape Town Agreement of the Torremolinos Protocol in which South Africa was instrumental,
  • current fishing safety statistics,
  • update on the country’s status in terms of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) STCW-F Convention.
  • update on ongoing projects within SAMSA related to the fishing sector among them, the Safety of Life at Sea and Identifier Project,
  • boating as well as related developments.
Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting CEO. SAMSA

Leading the SAMSA team of senior officials scheduled for the fishing indaba Tuesday will be acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

He’s described the event as highly significant in 2020 particularly against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak since December 2019 and which has had a most negative impact on economic activity.

Mt Tilayi said: “With this event, coming, incidentally, at a time when we also have to deal with the ravages of the currently rampant Covid-19 pandemic both in South Africa and globally, we are hoping that it will go a long way in contributing to the strengthening of unity and common vision in  the industry , while contributing to resolution of challenges towards development of a highly productive and sustainable industry.”


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