Pretoria: 21 October 2022
Seafarers’ working conditions and welfare, advancement of technologies to combat shipping transport carbon emissions, sustained closer collaboration among maritime countries, clear strategies and standards on management and combating of the spread of communicable diseases; were among topics featuring prominently during the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) World Maritime Day Parallel Event held in Durban, South Africa over four days a week ago.
The event, involving delegates of the IMO’s 175 Member States globally – albeit, held all of two years past its initial due date due to postponement attributed to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in late 2019 – flagged its significance for South Africa in not only being the first “in-person” IMO standing global event of its kind.
But it glittered also on the fact that it was also the first time it was hosted in an African country, thereby creating a historical milestone for both the country and the continent.
With the event’s theme for 2022 being: “New Technologies for Greener Shipping”, the obvious focus was on a global maritime sector strategies to contribute to the reduction and eventual elimination of gaseous carbon emissions by shipping transport and related in the world’s maritime space.
Officially attended to and led by IMO Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim, several IMO senior officials, as well as South African government officials and attaching institutions led by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and his deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, over four days, delegates dug deep into the subject, and to which attached the formal launch of the Norway and IMO sponsored Green Voyage 2050 Project for South Africa.
The Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) whose chairmanship hitherto was held by Nigeria and secretariat by South Africa, also aligned the holding of its delayed 5th Elective Conference with the event – thereby taking advantage of the global maritime representatives’ all at once huge turnout and sojourn onto African soil for the first time.
Several Memoranda of Understanding ( MoUs)were also signed between organisations and, in some cases governments, including two between the South African Maritime Safety Authority and its counter-part institutions in Ghana and Panama, as well as between AAMA and fraternal institutions in Africa.
Below is a select group of presentations and official speeches captured by this SAMSA blog during the week. They include in a descending order:
DAY ONE: IMO Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim and South Africa deputy Transport Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s speeches on the first evening cocktail event to welcome delegates to South Africa, hosted jointly by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Moses Kotane Institute
DAY TWO: South Africa Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula’s opening address of the WMD Parallel Event to officially welcome international delegates.
DAY THREE: Some visuals of a “Kasi Style” evening entertainment and exhibitors’ awards held at the MSC Cruise Vessels Passenger Terminal at the Durban port.
DAY FOUR: IMO Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim’s closing address and handover of the IMO WMDPE event flag to the Islamic Republic of Iran officials on account of that country being the next in line to host the IMO event in 2023; Dr Majid Ali Nazi, Iran’s Maritime Affairs, Ports and Maritime Transport agency representative’s acceptance speech of the flag had over, and South Africa deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s event closing speech.
We also present coverage of AAMA’s 5th elective conference on Monday, 10 October 2022 as well as highlights of the launch of the Norway-IMO Green Voyage 2050 Project for South Africa, inclusive of an extensive interview with officials of the Department of Transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority directly involved in the project from inception, Mr Metse Ralepenya and Mr Tebogo Mojafi.
Kenya takes over AAMA leadership at 5th elective conference in Durban.
The optimal functionality of the African Association of Maritime Administrations (AAMA) remains pivotal as a vital cog in the global wheel driving ongoing development of the maritime economic sector both in Africa and globally, according to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
That is why the African body’s one-day 5th elective conference in Durban last week, held on the sidelines of the four-days World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE) – attended by hundreds of delegates of the international maritime body’s 175 Member States – received more than mere lip-service support from the IMO.
Mr William Azuh, the IMO’s Head of Africa section technical cooperation division, revealed that the London based IMO actually funded the costs of attendance of at least one official of the AAMA member countries that attended, this to ensure that the body continued to pursue for fulfilment of its mandate.
By the end of the day conference last Monday (10 October 2022), a new leadership comprising the chairmanship and secretariat had been mutually agreed upon, with Kenya succeeding Nigeria in being entrusted with the stewardship of AAMA over the next year, while the secretarial service remains with South Africa – as has been the case for the last few years since founding of the body.
With an attendance of just over 30 delegates from AAMA member countries predominantly from sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Azuh (whose brief interview with this blog is provided herein below) was full of praise not only of the turnout but also for the quality of content.
The high turnout was befitting the IMO’s staging of the WMDPE in South Africa, the first time such the event was hosted by an African country since its launch in early 2000.
Both South Africa and Nigeria received commendations for their steadfastness in ensuring continuity of functionality of the body, while pledges of ongoing IMO support went to Kenya as it embarks on leadership of AAMA over the next year.
For Mr Azuh’s remarks on AAMA, click on the video below.
South Africa, as represented by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and outgoing Nigerian chairmanship, also had views to share on the necessity of continued efforts by AAMA to shore up support not just for Africa but the entire global maritime economic domain.
For both SAMSA’s perspective given during opening of the AAMA elective conference and Nigeria’s view as provided by Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative at the IMO, Mr Abdul Dirisu, click on the videos below.
NORWAY-IMO GREEN VOYAGE PROJECT 2050: South Africa goes all green for shipping transport
South Africa’s voluntary engagement in the Norwegian sponsored Green Voyage 2050 Project in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), this in support of the latter’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) shipping transport emissions elimination strategy, is indicative of the African country commitment and sheer determination to even punch above its weight in support of maritime sector development goals.
That is at least the view of government officials running with the initiative and through whose involvement with the project, saw South Africa becoming one of 10 countries globally in 2021 that volunteered to pilot the Green Voyage 2050 Project.
The Department of Transport working jointly with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), are behind the country’s involvement in the project whose formal launch in the country took place during the IMO’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event at the Durban International Convention Centre last week.
The launch on Tuesday, 11 October 2022 – also attended physically and online by Norwegian and IMO officials – took the form of a round table discussion involving a contingent of delegates from both South Africa’s private maritime economic sector as well as public representatives from various government departments and societal groups with justifiable interest.
Mr Mthunzi Madiya, the national Department of Transport’s deputy Director-General for the maritime directorate, spelt out and contextualised South Africa’s keen participation in the project, even as the country’s contribution to global GHG, he said; amounted to no more than one percent of maritime transport emissions.
“The international shipping industry is a fundamental aspect of our global trade and without it, the possibilities to conduct intra-continental trade – which entails the transportation of bulk raw material, as well as import and export of affordable goods and manufactured goods – would be minimal, if not impossible.
“South Africa is at a critical juncture in its history in which it has to find ways to deliver on its developmental objectives within a world that is trending towards low carbon emissions,” said Mr Madiya.
Summarily, he said, the uptake of new technologies to advance the reduction and eventually elimination of carbon emissions was essential for the country.
To this end, Mr Madiya further confirmed that enabling legislation and regulations to facilitate further implementation of the Marpol Convention (Annexure 6) were before lawmakers in South Africa’s parliament for consideration and possible ratification. This he said, could be expected to occur before year end.
Meanwhile, during the event, South Africa was the recipient of heaps of praise for its pioneering spirit in the regard from the IMO’s head of partnerships and projects, Dr Jose Matheickal.
For their full respective views during delivery of opening remarks of the round table on the Green Voyage 2050 Project launch last Tuesday, click on the videos below.
To round off the coverage of the launch event, this blog further spoke to two officials closely involved with both the conception of and South Africa’s early involvement in the project, Mr Metse Ralephenya of the Department of Transport (maritime divison) and Mr Tegobo Mojafi, senior manager for maritime research at the South African Maritime Safety Authority. For their views, click on the video below.