Boating News


Concentrated inspection Campaigns: Fifth session on passenger vessel feedback in the Western Cape

15 August 2023

Feedback sessions, now currently underway across the Western Cape region, are a critical important aspect of engagement with the country’s boating community across subsectors, all in the interests of promoting safe and law complaint boating by all participants, says the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Boating Centre

The remarks came following yet another successful 5th session of these feeback inducing engagements by the unit with the boating community in several coastal areas of the SAMSA western region headquartered in Cape Town, reports SAMSA Western Region Boating Officer, Mr Tendani Rodney Mukhithi.

“We are pleased to announce that the Waterfront, Hout Bay, Hermanus and Gansbaai Harbours participated in the concentrated inspection campaign of passenger vessel feedback sessions. The area is under the control and management of Principal Officer Captain Antoinette Keller.

“It’s imperative to provide the owners with these feedback sessions. Remember, the goal of CIC feedback is to ensure safer, more secure, and environmentally friendly maritime practices. By taking the insights gained from these campaigns to heart and implementing the necessary changes, vessel owners and skippers can play an active role in shaping a safer future for the industry’’.

According to Mr Mukhithi, CIC feedback should not be viewed solely as a one-way communication process.

“Vessel owners and skippers can benefit from actively engaging with SAMSA through seeking clarification on any feedback points, and requesting additional guidance when needed. This communication fosters a constructive relationship between operators and regulatory bodies, leading to a better understanding of compliance’’.

However, in the view of the SAMSA Boating Centre, according to SAMSA surveyor, Mr Taro Lombard, it is one thing for the team engaging the boating community for feedback, it is another to ensure that the time is not wasted merely on chit-chat!

“Addressing the immediate concerns highlighted in the CIC feedback, (and) conducting regular self-assessment is essential. By adopting a proactive approach to compliance, vessel operators can detect potential issues early and take corrective action before they escalate into more significant problems.

‘’Carefully examine the feedback reports provided after CIC inspections. Understand the identified deficiencies, non-compliance issues, and recommendations for improvement. Prioritize addressing the most critical areas to achieve tangible results’’,

Ms Esethu Hlokoza, another SAMSA surveyor involved in the feedback sessions, says that the maritime industry is constantly evolving, with new challenges and opportunities arising every day.

“By harnessing the insights provided by CIC feedbacks, we can collectively shape a safer, more sustainable, and efficient maritime landscape for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.

Meanwhile, Mr Mukhithi extended a word of appreciation to all members of the boating community in the area for their positive interest and active participation in the session, adding that the SAMSA boating unit remains resolute in its quest and effort towards a safer and more compliant maritime industry.

“Together, we can navigate safe seas,” he says.


Passenger Vessel Concentrated inspection Campaign feedback sessions continue in Knysna

19 July 2023

By Tendani Rodney Mukhithi: Boating Officer. (SAMSA Western Region)

During 2022, a team from SAMSA travelled to various regions throughout the country to inspect passenger vessels as part of a large Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC). The aim of the campaign was to establish deficiency trends onboard passenger vessels as well as to identify short falls in Small Vessel regulations and policies.

SAMSA Mossel Bay Principal Officer Simon Aggett, stated that ‘’the feedback from Concentrated Inspection Campaigns (CICs) provided to vessel owners and small vessel industry play a pivotal role in upholding safety, security, and environmental standards within the maritime industry at large, and understanding the impact of the feedback generated through these campaigns was crucial for all stakeholders involved.’’

In this discussion, we explore the significance of CIC feedback and its implications for vessel owners and skippers. We examine how this feedback acts as a driving force for continuous improvement, strengthens industry reputation, and fosters a culture of compliance and excellence. By analysing the feedback process, we aim to shed light on the practical steps that vessel operators can take to utilize this valuable information effectively.

The maritime industry is no stranger to the importance of rigorous inspections and adherence to Local and International regulations. With the ever-growing focus on safety, environmental sustainability, and operational efficiency, CICs have become an integral part of ensuring that vessels meet the highest standards of compliance.

The feedback received from these inspections serves as a roadmap for SAMSA and the vessel owners and skippers to navigate their path toward enhanced safety, regulatory compliance, and improved performance, Taro Lombard said

During our discussion, we delved into the ways in which vessel owners and skippers can make the most out of the feedback they receive. We emphasize the need to view the feedback as an opportunity for growth rather than a mere evaluation.

By actively engaging with the recommendations and implementing necessary corrective measures, vessel operators can not only mitigate risks but also reinforce their reputation as responsible and reliable participants in the maritime industry.  

In closing, the National Boating Manager Ms Debbie James urged that we should encourage an open and insightful dialogue throughout these sessions. Questions were raised, experiences shared, and a discussion ensued about the challenges and successes owners have encountered when dealing with CIC feedback.

“Together, let us explore the path to continuous improvement and strive for a safer, more sustainable maritime industry.   Once again, we extend our gratitude for the presence of stakeholders in today’s feedback session,” she said.


SAMSA Marine Officer trainees add incident management in the build-up of their skills arsenal, with extensive exposure to the Southern African region’s Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre based in Cape Town.

22 June 2022

The organisation of an ‘in class’ desk-top training on the international Incident Management System (IMS modules 100-300) over three days, as well as the staging of a two day live mock oil spill incident management exercise at sea off the coast of Cape Town in the Atlantic Ocean by the country’s Interim Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg) in Cape Town in May 2022, provided SAMSA’s three trainee Marine Officers the perfect opportunity to strengthen their arsenal of skills in vessels safety management, both at sea and in inland waters.

This achiervement, along with additional extensive exposure – as part of their ongoing two year training – to the southern African region’s Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) lacoted near Cape Town are just some of the highlights contained in their latest report for this blog page, for the month of May 2022.

Mr Esethu Hlokoza and Ms Khanyisile Mthethwa report:

Mr Jared Blows. Chief: MRCC.

From 9th till the 13th May 2022 we were involved with Incident Management Systems (IMS) training which entails managing disastrous situations. The content of the training was conducted from the 9th till the 11th and the 12th -13th was dedicated for a simulated exercise of an oil spill in Table Bay.

Fishing Training with Selwyn Bailey (16th -18th May 2022)

Mr Selwyn Bailey introduced us to a fishing side of things where various topics were covered including fishing unit, C188 Inspections, Fisherman Crew contracts and ILO publication.

Fishing Unit: This was formed due to fatalities that the fishing industry was facing with the aim to reduce those fatalities and one of their core objectives is to ensure overall safety and development within the fishing community. To reduce the fatalities the fishing forum introduced the pre-sea courses for fisherman before joining onboard which was the practice that was not a requirement before in the fishing industry.

National Fishing Forum: The mission of this forum to grow, develop and ensure competitiveness of the South African fishing industry. In doing so they have various clusters which identify challenges and opportunities within the industry which varies from skills, training, industry development, small scale fishers’ community pilot projects and much more.

Crew Contracts: We discussed how the current crew contracts of fishermen should entail, in accordance with Marine Notice 10 of 2017 which can be found at SAMSA website. We then compared the old crew agreement sample with the requirements from the MN 10 of 2017 where a few discrepancies were identified.

ILO Working in Fishing Convention 188, of 2007 (C188) Inspection:

The International Labour Organization is a specialist agency of the United Nations. The ILO Work in convention 188 (2007), was taken on in 2007 to go into force on 16 November 2017.

The goal of the convention is to guarantee that fishers have suitable working conditions on board fishing vessels, states of administration, convenience and food, work related wellbeing and insurance, clinical consideration and retirement.

It applies to all fishers and fishing vessels engaged in commercial fishing operations. The aim is to assist with ensuring and maintaining good working conditions on board fishing vessels and considers least prerequisites to be authorized through flag and port state inspections.

The Convention sets in place a mechanism to ensure compliance with and enforcement of its provisions for member states who have ratified, providing for large fishing vessels and fishing vessels on extended international voyages to be subjected to labour inspections in foreign ports.

ILO also produced a handbook for improving living and working conditions on board fishing vessels where South Africa assisted in compiling this handbook. This was created to help capable specialists, delegate associations of bosses and laborer’s as well as others with an interest in the area to acquire a superior comprehension of the arrangements of the convention No. 188 and recommendation No. 199.

Most importantly, whether a State decides to ratify the Convention immediately or otherwise the handbook will be a useful tool for looking at the current legal protection of fishers, for analyzing the situation and for making improvements.

South Africa is one of the countries in the world that has ratified to the convention, which gives the country the authority to conduct port state inspections for vessels that have called onto any of its ports.

Condition of Assignment Training

On the 19th of May 2022 we conducted training on the condition of assignment. These are the conditions which the vessel must meet before freeboard is assigned and load line certificate is issued after conducting a load line survey.

The freeboards are computed assuming that the ship is completely enclosed and watertight / weathertight. The convention further goes onto recognize the practical need for openings in the ship and prescribes means of protection and closure of such openings.

These are called condition of assignment since the assignment of computed free board is conditional upon the prescribed means of protection and closure of openings such as hatchways, doorways, ventilation, air pipes, scuppers, etc. Following are the conditions which must be met before assigning the load line.

  • Enough structural strength should be possessed.
  • Enough reserve buoyancy should be possessed.
  • Safety and protection of crew.
  • Prevent entry of water through hull.


On the 23rd of May till the 3rd June 2022 we spent time at the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) situated in Plattekloof, east of the city of Cape Town. Located under SAMSA, the MRCC has a mandate from the Department of Transport (DOT) to carry out certain duties on its behalf, primarily Search and Rescue in compliance with the Search and Rescue Act.

These duties include but are not limited to search and rescue, implementing the requirements of bilateral SAR agreements with other countries, execute a Maritime Assistance Service (MAS), act as the custodian for SA Navigational Communications Search and Rescue (NCSR) beacon registration database, International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code for vessels entering South African ports.

We spent time with Duty Controllers and Assistant Duty Controllers roping us in on what they do of each of the mentioned duties stated above.  We have identified the gap between MRCC and other maritime industry players where we feel training / education needs to be implemented so that lines of communications are clear as to who to contact especially when it comes to dealing with emergencies.


The promotion and constant monitoring of safety in boating in South Africa remains one of the critical developmental aspects of the country’s marine and maritime environments, with the launch late in 2020 of the Merchant Shipping (National Small Vessels Safety) Regulations 2007, underscoring the effort. The South African Maritime Safety Authorities (SAMSA) is charged with ensuring the effective implementation of the regulations countrywide (for more on this scroll below).

Since the latter part of 2021, SAMSA with its new cadre of Marine Officer trainees and a crew of small vessels surveyors has been traversing the country with its boating safety campaign coupled with training workshops for safety officers that is now gathering speed.

One of the key attributes of the effort has been the conducting of ad-hoc inspections on boating communities both in areas of inland waters, such as the North West and Gauteng as well as along the country’s four coastal provinces; from the Northern Cape on the Atlantic Ocean shoreline to the west, through to KwaZulu-Natal alongside the Indian Ocean to the east.

These ‘blitz’ inspections (occurring in increasing frequency unannounced) are, according to SAMSA’s Center for Boating, generally welcomed by most boat owners, be they commercial or subsistence fisherpeople or sports, leisure and entertainment vessels owners or users.

This past month, one of SAMSA’s Marine Officer trainees based at SAMSA Western Region, Mr Taro Lombard, captured some visuals and reported on one such adhoc inspection conducted at the popular crayfish landing spot at the mouth of the Kleinmond river, in the southern Cape. Below is his report.

Kleinmond Concentrated Inspection Campaign

07 June 2022

A seven (7) minute video clip sharing visuals of some of the interactions between SAMSA surveyors and boating communities during a recent ad-hoc inspection conducted by SAMSA Boating Centre at the small coastal town of Kleinmond in the Western Cape.

by Taro Lombard.

The Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment (DFFE) limits non-commercial crayfishing to 12 days over a 5-month period, of which the 15th to the 17th included 3 days.

With these dates falling over the Easter weekend in 2022, it was expected that holiday destinations such as Kleinmond and the surrounding areas would have a high traffic flow of fishers, all wanting to go out on the water to catch some crayfish. 

At least the SAMSA Boating Centre personnel thought as much a decision was made to actually visit the small coastal town in the Overberg region of the Western Cape, unannouced.

The goal was to perform ad-hoc inspections on vessels, not only to ensure the compliance of vessels and their owners with applicable safe boating regulations, but also to show face and engage with the community.

The team started early morning and met up at the Kleinmond Slipway where they set up a SAMSA station with flyers, ready to promote SAMSA and engage with the community.

It was a quiet morning with a few local fishermen coming by to observe the weather. The windy conditions caused a rough wind swell and very difficult launching conditions in this slipway that put off even the most experienced locals. From this, we decided to send another team to investigate the traffic at the Hangklip Slipway.

The Hangklip Slipway was packed with various fishers, from divers to surf casters, but most importantly for us, skippers with vessels. Neo Tseladimitloa and I performed various ad-hoc inspections, totalling 18.

This is where we see if vessels and their owners are compliant with the necessary paperwork and that they have the needed safety appliances on board before heading to sea. While performing these ad-hoc inspections, I try to have a conversation with the skippers and crew to learn more about the clients and the area. I ask them what incidents they have experienced and how they handled them, and what they can do differently next time.

Most skippers were compliant and even happy to have SAMSA present at the slip, as they have never seen this happen before. It was good to hear that they would like to see more CIC’s in order to catch the non-compliant vessels and irresponsible skippers that compromise people’s lives out at sea.

Most vessels and skipper tickets were compliant. The most frequent problems I encountered were:

  1. Buoyancy Certificates in the incorrect format. This is already a topic that is discussed in every small vessel and buoyancy course that we have presented.
  2. “Kill Switches”, not in a “ready to use” state prior to launching, also covered in the Small Vessel Course, and always mentioned during small vessel surveys.

There are great benefits in CIC’s with promoting Safety at Sea by ensuring compliancy of vessels and their owners. It is always good to see the community act positively towards SAMSA’s presence. The SAMSA Boating Centre’s plan for the near future is for more CIC’s in all relevant areas.


21 April 2022

Kei River Mouth
West Coast Boat Safety Workshop
A vessel at the port of Durban

Safe crossing the river Kei and a brief look at NSRI East London

By Esethu Hlokoza

Short video clip on SAMSA MO Trainee’s visit to East London’s NSRI as well as the Kei River Mouth crossing

In the month of March 2022 I have been involved in a few safety surveys in and around East London within the area of our jurisdiction. This ensures operational readiness of the boats and ensure that the boats are kept in a pristine condition to remain seaworthy under normal operations and perils of the sea.

When we attended to one of the surveys in Kei mouth, we also made a visit to the Kei Mouth river crossing and witnessed the operations of river ferries transporting personnel and cars to and fro. This is one of the most critical crossings in the area as it is the most conducive and affordable method for the people of the region.

I also had a visit to the East London NSRI Station and at which they shared some information with us with regards to the Water Safety Education that they are involved in.

The NSRI’s Water Safety Education program began in 2006. The intention is to help individuals all through South Africa to be protected in and around water, particularly the people who are generally vulnerable and those that cannot swim, especially kids under the age of 14 years.

The need for Water Safety Education is obvious if we consider the drowning statistics in our country. Underserved rural communities in particular are most vulnerable to drownings in farm dams, rivers and streams. Without formal swimming skills people too often find themselves in trouble and they usually aren’t successful in getting out of those situations alive.

The NSRI’s program presents a compelling Water Safety educational plan to make mindfulness about the risks of water, what to do in case of witnessing someone drowning and who to call for help. It is worth noting that NSRI also developed a pink buoy initiative.

These pink buoys are placed strategically at selected inland rivers, dams and at beaches. These bright pink buoys act as a reminder beachgoers to take care when there are no lifeguards on duty, and that in the event of someone getting into difficulty in the water, they can be used as emergency flotation until help arrives. Their bright pink colour allows them to be easily seen.

Each Pink Rescue Buoy is housed on a sturdy pole with signage showing how they should be used, as well as the NSRI’s emergency number and the buoy’s unique identification number, which helps rescue services to identify the location of the emergency.

ID numbers and NSRI’s contact telephone numbers are also embossed on the buoys themselves so they can easily be returned to their posts after usage, or if they are lost or stolen. We also went on a tour of the East London base itself and the resources available at their disposal in order to safely and efficiently carry out their duties.


West Coast SAMSA surveyors’ week-long boat safety promotion workshops, Saldanha Bay

By Taro Lombard

As I am writing this, I find myself reiterating how SAMSA is always looking at improving safety at sea. It’s difficult to write a new blog entry without getting too fixated on this topic. All the work that we undertake at SAMSA enables us to strive toward a common goal and to honour a pledge that we make towards South Africa’s maritime industry for improving safety at sea.

From left to right, Heinrich Esterhuizen (Saldanha Bay Surveyor), Leighton Constant (Saldanha Bay Admin Clerk), Selwyn Bailey (Fishing Safety Specialist), Lauren Louw (Saldanha Bay Admin Clerk), Tendani Mukhithi (Boating Officer Western Region), Debbie James (SAMSA Boating Manager), Jonathan Hartzenberg (Cape Town Surveyor), Taro Lombard (Marine Officer Cape Town). Not in the photo, Abraham Van Der Horst (Saldanha Bay Fishing Surveyor).

The West Coast is home to many fishing activities, both large and small. In the reporting period, SAMSA’s Saldanha Bay Office organized a week-long Safety Awareness Workshop in various locations along the coast. The goal was to engage with the community on topics of safety awareness and to listen to and get a better understanding of their concerns around safety.

It was good to have some positive feedback from the fisherman and their community leaders. They were very grateful for the input SAMSA has made and the engagement that they have received. These are poor communities that really need to be guided and assisted by their community leaders, municipalities and their Maritime Safety Authority, to ensure a safe working regime can be achieved.

SAMSA has nine (9) offices spread across four (4) regions, with the 10th office being the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC). Each office with its relative ports has a certain uniqueness with the different types of work and shipping activities they offer.

Being exposed to these different working environments and positions can be very beneficial, as it allows for a much greater scope of the working structure and operations within SAMSA while also improving one’s surveying capabilities.

I had the privilege to undergo my first rotation at the Saldanha Bay office where I could work alongside various surveyors. Each surveyor has a speciality in which they excel in the field, and it was a great learning experience.

The West Coast is also home to well-renowned shipbuilders which I was fortunate enough to not only visit but to partake in surveys that are part of the new build construction process of a vessel.


Vessels and International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) handling in Durban

By Khanyisile Mthethwa

During the month of March I have been involved with a few safety surveys inspections as well as hull surveys. These ensure that the vessel and its equipment is being maintained in a good state, with the latter ensureing watertightness integrity of the vessel. The purpose of the surveys is to ensure that the vessel remains seaworthy to face any perils out at sea.

Vessels carry various cargoes and one of the cargoes that gets loaded onto vessels in the port of Durban is International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes( IMSBC). In order for vessels to load these type of cargoes proper documentation including a Certificate of fitness which specify the categories of the IMSBC that the vessel is fit to carry, stowage plan where these will be stowed, ships certificates, etc; need to be sent to SAMSA as well  details of  the cargo properties in terms of moisture content and transportable moisture limit ( TML).

The cargo may appear to be in a dry state when being loaded and yet contain moisture which when in a vessel, is subject to vibration and compaction along the seaway may, thereby causing liquification to cargo that results in stability problems and may even result in the capsizing of the vessel.

Therefore, these types of cargoes should only be loaded when the moisture content of the cargo is lower than (TML). The interval between testing and loading of IMSBC shall never be more than seven (7) days. Otherwise another sample must be taken.



11 March 2022

SAMSA Marine Officer Trainees spread their gaze across country!

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) three Marine Officer trainees continued with their intense and expansive training schedule during February, which was marked by their first split since joining the agency, to work at different regions, covering a variety of training modules designed to fine-tune them into excellent, well trained Marine Officers in a year or so ahead.

Ms Khanyisile Mthethwa, for example, jetted off from Cape Town to Durban to formally join for further training including job shadowing some of SAMSA Eastern Region team members, with Mr Esethu Hlokoza joining the SAMSA Southern Region team in East London, while Mr Taro Lombard continued with his training schedule with SAMSA’s Western Region teams in Cape Town.

Below are their individual reports of this new phase of their training schedules, working separately in different regions for the first time.

by Khanyisile Mthethwa

Durban -SAMSA Eastern Region

One of SAMSA’s responsibilities is to accredit training institutions to ensure that Standard of Training, Watchkeeping and Certification (STCW) are met across the country. The aim is to maintain South Africa on the whitelist under the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Training institutes that provide services like servicing of fire equipment used both on board vessels and ashore, as well as servicing of fife saving equipment are required to be audited by SAMSA in order for the services providers to obtain approval for the services they provide and deliver.

The audits are conducted to confirm that only the properly qualified and suitable companies are accredited by SAMSA to maintain the standards across the country. Furthermore, I also observed an annual accreditation exercise for one of the Fire Equipment Servicing Companies guided by South African Maritime Code of Practice for Marine Fire Service Stations (SAMFAS).

This procedure included confirming that the fire servicing station is approved and operating as per South African National Standards (SANS). In addition to this, the servicing company is also accredited by South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) to ensure conformity for the services they provide.

I had the privilege of joining my colleagues tasked with accrediting a new training institution in Durban that offers short courses for seafarers. During this exerciseI got an exposure to all the necessary standards that the applicant institution must meet as per SAMSA standards, to get accreditation.

The audit included checking areas such as the suitability of the premises, ablutions, sitting areas for lunch as well as documents within the library – to name a few – that must accordin wih legislations and regulation incuding the Merchant Shipping Act, Maritime Occupational Safety Regulations and the Maritime Labour Convention etc.

The visit included interviewing the facilitators but more importantly to confirm that the syllabus is in line with SAMSA code which entails what must be covered within the content of the STCW code. All the documentation submitted is checked against SAMSA’s Checklist, verified by the Principal Officer in Durban and thereafter a report compiled for approval by a Senior Examiner in Cape Town. End

East London – SAMSA Southern Region

On 31 January 2022, I had an opportunity to board a vehicle carrier, the CARMEN for a Port State Control Inspection with Captain Emile Van Der Merwe. CARMEN (IMO: 9505027) is a Sweden flagged vehicle carrier built some 11 years ago (2011). Her length overall (LOA) is 231.6 meters, and her width is 32.25 meters, with a carrying capacity of 31143 t DWT.

I got to understand the professional conduct, approach and the best way to conduct a Port State as well as the engagement with the Captain and the chief engineer aboard the vessel. The chief engineer was also generous enough to take us on a tour for their Scrubber system that they had on board, although we were on time constraints.

We also conducted a stevedore safety inspection on board the vessel following the prescribed format to ensure the safety of the stevedores aboard the vessel as well as that operations are conducted safely without any damage to the ship or injury to the stevedore personnel.

The main focal points were the access to the vessel, proper planning for the task at hand, supervision of the stevedores, protective clothing for the stevedores, access to working areas, housekeeping, the cargo working area, working at heights, firefighting, and emergencies, including some general stuff related to the stevedoring operation itself.

At some point, I also got involved with the team after the SAMSA Office was informed about a vessel operating in the Nahoon river in East London and which, upon investigation, it came to light that the vessel had questionable registration. It had an SR number, yet it was advertised to carry passengers for day and night trips. After some deliberation with the owner, a prohibition notice was issued as well as an AOC (Admission of Contravention to the owner), subject to certain conditions of agreement when the owner was summoned to our office.

The owner opted to pay a fine and have his boat licensed accordingly, to be issued with a DTE number and surveyed by us to make sure he is operating safely without any hustles.

On 28 February I had an opportunity to join the OHS & Welfare team for stakeholder consultation on safety issues between SAMSA/Transnet Port Terminals/Stevedores at the port of East London. The main guidelines were outlining any safety related issues in the Port of East London.

It proved to be a very fruitful engagement with all the entities detailing and advising on the way forward in terms of the industry development and adoption of a safety culture for stevedores working in the ports. MOSR was also presented briefly and incorporated onto the discussions with new developments.

There was a briefing about the VGM (Verified Gross Mass) with the port terminal, in order to guarantee the safety of the vessel, the workers on board and on land, the cargo and the general safety at sea. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention), amended, establishes in Chapter VI, Part A, Regulation 2, the mandatory gross mass verification of packed containers before the container is loaded aboard a vessel.

VERIFIED GROSS MASS (VGM) is the sum of the tare mass of the container and the masses of all the bundles and cargo items, including the pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing materials to be packed in the container.

It was discussed that any discrepancies between the weight declared by the shippers and the actual gross mass of a packed container may lead to incorrect vessel stowage decisions, thus resulting in serious incidents both at sea and at the port, TPT advised on their processes that they follow including safety precautions they take within the port in ensuring compliance.

TPT representatives requested a great collaboration and cooperation between SAMSA and other stakeholders as when there are incidents or accidents within the port they do not know what route or channel to follow promptly so as to have the matter resolved amicably and to the benefit of all.

In conclusion, (an observation is that) the OHS and Welfare division is under manned for the enormous tasks that they have and hence a great deal of development within the SAMSA pool would be of great benefit so as to ensure the progression, sharing, transfer of skills and knowledge for the greater benefit and prosperity of the organization, thus ensuring continuous development within the organization. End

By Esethu Hlokoza

By Taro Lombard

Cape Town – SAMSA Western Region

Part of SAMSA’s objective is to forever improve safety at sea. This can be ensured in many ways, with the most effective methods being to perform safety surveys and ad-hoc inspections. SAMSA must apply both these methods to ensure vessels comply with the safety standards set out for them.

Small vessels dominate South Africa’s maritime industry in terms of numbers, being just shy of 30 000 in number. Unfortunately, SAMSA does not have the manpower to survey or ad-hoc all these vessels. To ensure that we as the authority cover safety surveys, external surveyors are appointed to assist with these surveys.

However, when it comes to performing ad-hoc inspections, SAMSA does not have any appointed external parties that are authorised to assist with and perform ad-hoc inspections. For the past two (2) years, SAMSA’s Boating Manager, Ms Debbie James has worked with various parties to solve this problem.

On the 09 February 2022, the first batch of Enforcement Officers were trained in Cape Town. The course was presented by Ms Debbie James and Marine Surveyor, Mr Jonathan Hartzenberg. It was attended by multiple officers from Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment (DFFE) and South African Police Services (SAPS) to enable them to perform ad-hoc inspections while out in the field. It consisted of a theoretical and a practical day, making it a two (2) day course.

It was very beneficial to have a practical day included in the training. All attendees met up at the Oceana Power Boat Club. Here we arranged to do a walk-around of a trailer borne commercial small vessel, where Jonathan walked the attendees through the ad-hoc process from start to finish.

Hereafter we went to the V&A Waterfront. Both Jonathan and I performed ad-hoc inspections on two passenger vessels where we involved the attendees in the process.

Thereafter we performed ad-hoc inspections on multiple commercial and passenger vessels, allowing the attendees to partake under guidance from both Jonathan and myself.

The attendees performed well and understood what is to be checked and how to apply oneself to an ad-hoc inspection.

The training course was successful, and the various attendees were quick to adapt and apply themselves to an ad-hoc inspection regime, working together with SAMSA’s stakeholders to ensure a good safety culture.

With more enforcement officers authorised to perform ad-hoc inspections out in the field, South Africa can achieve an even saver maritime culture. End

Monday: 07 February 2022

The month of December 2021 continued to be as busy as any for SAMSA’s cadre of three Marine Officer trainees, involving an almost around the country travel that took them all the way to Pretoria (SAMSA’s Head Office – and regional office to the Northern Region) only to double-back to the coastal areas from Kenton-on-Sea, Port Alfred through to Knysna, Mossel Bay and back to Cape Town again before taking a breather momentarily for Christmas and New Year holidays.

As outlined below by SAMSA’s Centre for Boating Manager, Ms Debbie James, the Pretoria trip by the Marine Officer trainees was pretty hectic as it involved a broad array of subjects involving both administrative work exposure relating to such aspects as certification management, but also boat inspections training, all over a period of a week.

The trip also provided the trainees their first opportunity, proper, to meet and greet some of SAMSA’s executive managers inclusive of the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane who took time out to welcome them on board the organisation.

In the video below, chief engineer Jonathan Hartzenberg who accompanied the trio on its first inland trip to Pretoria briefly explains what the venture entailed as well as the planning for the rest of the month towards year-end.

For the rest of the month of December 2021, the trainee officers, Mr Taro Lombard, Ms Khanyisile Mthethwa and Mr Esethu Hlokoza tell the story in their own words below:

Ad-hoc inspections – Port Alfred and Knysna

by Ms Khanyisile Mthethwa

Saturday, 11 December 2021: We travelled to Port Alfred to do ad-hoc inspections on the Kariega River to verify whether vessels are maintained safely. We came across owners that were happy to see us, and others that were not so welcoming. However, the objective was to teach more than to detain, as in most cases skippers were not aware that they needed to have certification onboard their boats and not left at home. Being there as an authority helped with the sharing of some information with the owners/skippers. We inspected various vessels from private to commercial boats. With emphasis on an aim to teach, we also set up an information kiosk in the form of a tent so that people could come and ask questions. Initially people were reluctact, but eventually had some gathered courage to approach and ask questions. Pamphlets were also given to the boat owners/skippers as well as those that needed information.

Sunday – 12 December 2021:  We then proceeded to Kent-on-Sea, to do more ad-hocs  and here we had  one major  non compliance, and we got to witness and learn how to deal with situations of that nature while observing Capt Van Der Merwe handling it.

Keurbooms River

by Mr Taro Lombard

Tuesday, 14th December: We met up at Keurbooms River Ferries with the Principal Officer, Simon Aggett and surveyor, Paul Vieira from the Mossel Bay office. Here we carried out a heeling test on a passenger river ferry. We got to apply the theory from the Built-in Buoyancy course regarding stability, as we followed Cape Town Surveyor, Jonathan Hartzenberg through the Heeling Stability Test process. It feels good to have all the buoyancy theory tie in together with a practical demonstration of how it is all applied.
We then proceeded with our CIC at Forever Resort, Plettenberg Bay Angling Club and Keurbooms Lagoon Caravan Park towards the mouth of Plettenberg Bay, where we performed multiple ad-hoc inspections.
inspections on various recreational fishing and skiing boats. It was a good experience to tie all that we have learned from small vessels over the past few months together. We had positive engagements with the community and promoted safety while doing so.

Concentrated inspection campaign in Knysna

by Mr Esethu Hlokoza

Tuesday-Thursday, 14-16 December: During this period we were in Knysna for a concentrated inspection campaign relating to the safety of the vessels operated in and around the area, in the respective waterways found within the region. Throughout the campaign in Knysna we managed to inspect about 34 vessels and, among defects and deficiencies found were vessels that were operated with expired Local General Safety Certificate, Certificate of Fitness, and some without safety equipment or in some cases, equipment that had expired. In deserving cases, an Admission of Contravention would then be issued for the determined breach of the National Small Vessel’s regulations (2007), and fines issued as per the offence determined under the Government regulations for small vessels. As observed during engagements with the owners, skippers boat operators and local law enforcements, it emerged that SAMSA was not visible enough through these engagements. One gentleman even commented that: “I haven’t seen SAMSA in 10 years!” Nevertheless, although there were boats that were non-compliant to a certain degree, other boats had all their paper work and their operators licenced accordingly. There was also a great interaction between SAMSA and the local law enforcement officers from SANPARKS monitoring the waterways. The campaign was more of an engagement with the stakeholders and to educate the public by primarily creating boat safety awareness and thereby ensure that safety of life and the environment is all preserved. One typical example was of a skipper that had (five) 5 people on board and upon checking the safety equipment, I kindly asked him to demonstrate to me how to put on the lifejacket that they had on board. He was unable to do so, which in turn suggested possible lack of training and awareness. To compound issues, we found also that the lifejacket sizes used were all medium sizes, and therefore could not fit everyone of the crew onboard. It is also worth noting that SAMSA Mossel bay was planning a meeting with SANPARKS to consider a way forward in ensuring that all the vessels in the waterways follow the National Small Vessel Regulations (2007) and any related regulations thereto which includes permits to operating in the waterway and ensuring compliance with the municipal bylaws.


01 December 2021

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) commitment to gradually spread exponentially the conducting of training workshops on small vessels’ safety awareness and surveys training to all parts of the country is gathering momentum, according to the agency’s Center for Boating Manager, Ms Debbie James.

She was speaking earlier on Tuesday (30 November) during the start of another small vessels training workshop, this time in Pretoria, involving local surveyors, members of the South African Police Services (SAPS), the East Rand Boat Club and others, in terms of the Merchant Shipping (National Small Vessels Safety) Regulations 2007, that constitutes a critical aspect of the National Inland Waters Strategy launched by the Department of Transport in October.

The workshops started with the members of the SAPS’s water wing and border control units, with focus on enforcement of the national regulations. During the next three days the workshops focus would be with SAMSA internal surveyors and the South African Deep Sea Angling Association (SADSAA) regarding built-in buoyancy and Pontoon vessel training.

In the video below (1m50s), she expands:

Meanwhile, this past month SAMSA trainee Marine Officers, Esethu  Hlokoza, Khanyisile Mthethwa and Taro Lombard continued with getting to grips with their boat surveys training – along with a happy collection of certificates in respective categories of their extensive two-year training programme for which they write exams periodically.

Editorial Comment: After spending time at SAMSA’s Western Region on the Atlantic Ocean coastline since the start of the training, SAMSA’s three Marine Officer trainees moved on, spreading their wings to SAMSA Eastern Region (Durban and surroundings) at the beginning of November, meeting other SAMSA Operations officials as well as stakeholders and, in the process; taking in as much info as they could be exposed to. In their monthly report below, they reflect on these training travels inclusive of a five (5) day stopover at the Breede River on 22-26 November for Practical Training & Concentrated Inspection on Pontoon Vessels, prior to proceeding to Pretoria (SAMSA’s Northern Region) late in the month. In their own words, this is their report (Durban and Breede River)!


Visit to South African Sailing

Surveying commercial and pleasure vessels contributes towards SAMSA’s mission to forever improve safety within the maritime industry.

To cope with the vast amount of pleasure vessel surveys, SAMSA delegates authority to external surveyors under authorised agencies. South African Sailing (SA Sailing) is an authorised agency that has the authority to inspect and certify pleasure vessels under 100 gross tons from various affiliated clubs.

We visited Durban Marina where Mr Gavin van der Meulen, chairperson of the Inland and Offshore Committee of SA Sailing introduced us to the surveying procedure for rigging on a Sailing Boat. It was a great opportunity for us to be exposed to this type of survey, as it is mostly done by the authorised agencies.

We covered the different types of rigging setups, materials of which the deck fittings and stays (wires used to secure the mast to the deck) are made of and their means of failure.

With Gavin’s knowledge and the practical exposure to sailing vessels, their rigging setup and operation, it’s going to be much easier to identify faults and know what to look out for when conducting such a survey.

SAMSA Occupational Health and Safety

2nd of November: We attended a course in Durban headed by Sbusiso Rantsoabe from the SAMSA Durban Office who is an Occupational Health and safety representative. We got to understand what they deal with which includes but not limited to safety related issues, working with seafarers mission to ensure the welfare of seafarers and auditing of stevedoring, packing companies as well. We then visited different organizations they work with to see what they do and that included SACD which deals with packing and securing of cargo within containers.

We also visited DORMAC where we were given a safety briefing by the chief safety officer. Here we then visited the dry-dock to see how safety officers ensure the work is carried out safely during repairs.

3rd of November: We visited BPO (Bidfreight Port Operations) – one of the largest providers of in-port logistics in South Africa with operations in every commercial cargo port. Their areas of expertise include warehousing, stevedoring, transportation and terminal operating services and, they also deal with importing and exporting of any commodity or products in South Africa.

A visit to the Mission to Seafarers

The Durban mission to seafarers assists with all local matters pertaining to seafarers’ welfare. Besides visiting ships, the mission is affiliated with other international organizations that all work together to ensure that the wellbeing of South African and international seafarers that come into our waters are looked after. The mission also offers an opportunity to communicate with loved ones as well as rest and relaxation whilst in port. The Mission to Seafarers ensures the spiritual and physical wellbeing of seafarers is taken care of.



Worcester Boat Shop

MONDAY – 22 November 2021
We started off by visiting the Worcester boat shop where the owner took us through all the boats that he was working on. It was very insightful as there were various boat types ranging from speed boats to reinforced ribs and various sports and recreational vessels.
The owner showed us various flotation problems that vessels experience and how they are repaired, as well as various engine failures and defects, and how to spot early tell-tale signs of such failures.
Also, the various safety aspects surrounding water sport, i.e. tubing, skiing and wakeboarding, were explained and how each operation is carried out on inland waterways.
Similarly, the importance of a vessel moving on and off a trailer was also explained as a large majority of boats get
damaged due to trailers not being of suitable size and design which results in inadequate support. Various safety pamphlets was given to the boat shop which he in turn will distribute to vessel owners to spread safety awareness

Worcester – De Breede Otter

The team then proceeded to the De Breede River Otter, a passenger pontoon vessel situated at the Breede river headwaters. As indicated by the pictures (Right), this vessel is constructed from various 500-litre Jo-Jo water tanks, filled with expanded foam. The team proceeded to inspect the vessel and noted all the defects and exemptions that the vessel had. Having completed the pontoon boat course, the benefits were quite evident without them being aware of the vessel history. They were also part of a practical heeling demonstration that would be carried out on such a vessel to achieve the required stability information, which was quite beneficial.

Ad hoc – Arc Commercial operation (DTPN 0-56)

While we were busy surveying the De Breede Otter, we came across a commercial river rafting operation, which landed ashore nearby. The team then performed an ad hoc inspection on Gravity Adventures which revealed compliance with the National Small Vessels Safety Regulations.

Robertson – Nerina Guest Farm

TUESDAY – 23 November 2021
The team started the day at Nerina Guest Farm. We started with Carina se Kolganskuiken, (DTC8338R), which is going to be taken out of service. The team then proceeded with Ben se Kolganskuiken, (DTC8337R), located in the river.
Her pontoon consists of various blue plastic oil drums filled with expanded foam. The team found the vessel to be in a satisfactory condition, with minor defects. The last vessel to be inspected was Kolgans, a large wrapped fiberglass pontoon passenger vessel, upon which minor defects were found.

During our visit at Nerina Guest Farm, we were informed of a possible illegal commercial vessel. This was later inspected, and the team found the vessel to be non-compliant with the NSVS regulations. The local SAMSA office commited to further engagement with the owner to ensure compliance.

Bonnievale – Breede River Goose

After finishing up in Robertson, the team surveyed Breede River Goose, (DTC8335R), located in Bonnievale.

Her pontoon was made out of fibreglass filled with expansion foam, in a very good condition. She is predominantly made out of wood and is quite well maintained with 20 years of operation.

We then decided to do an Ad hoc inspection on another vessel, Uncle Ben II, prior to the planned inspection the following day. The aim was to see her in operation as compared to owners preparing the vessel on the day of the survey.

Swellendam Boat Shop

In Swellendam the team visited the Swellendam Boat Shop, where various safety pamphlets was given to the boat shop which in turn willdistribute to vessel owners and spreading safety awareness.

The owner then took us through to the workshop and showed us the various vessels they were working on as well as a new Yamaha engine that they were fitting with a self-docking system – a first of its kind in the country.

From here, the owner then took the team to the Falcon Inflatable factory, based in Swellendam. The team was exposed to the construction and manufacturing process of these vessels, which was very informative to us all, as the whole process was laid out from start to finish with examples of moulds, materials and construction methods.

Swellendam – Stonehill River Lodge

We then proceeded to Stonehill River Lodge where Arc Inflatable rafts were inspected. There were 10 rafts in total with minor defects that were identified and rectified on the day of inspection. The tour guide then proceeded to explain the total operation and all safety measures that would be taken during a routine tour.

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

We then proceeded to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, where the team surveyed the Peregrine (DTP2034R) an aluminium hull passenger vessel. The vessel had a leaking fuel line, which required immediate attention. However, all other safety aspects were found to be satisfactory.

THURSDAY – 25 November 2021

The team returned to Uncle Ben II, for the planned survey. On the occasion, weld cracks were found all along the safety railing and steps leading up to the upper platform. Although the bilge pump was operational, the hose was found to be loosely connected, which would have resulted in the bilge pump being ineffective.

Friday – 26 November 2021

The team then followed up on a complaint that was made by Silver strand Caravan Park about alleged illegal operations and violations being committed by boat operators from the adjoining golf club and estate. The use of large master craft vessels was also reported to e causing serious damage to the riverbank and slipway. The boating manager will provide support with the proper channels to follow with local municipalities and authorities to work towards a solution for all parties, as well as taking safety and environmental requirements into account.



Pretoria: 05 November 2021

SAMSA trainee Marine Officers getting their grips on boat surveys. A report from the ground, by Esethu  Hlokoza, Khanyisile Mthethwa and Taro Lombard

(Two weeks ago, this blog introduced to its readers a group of three young seafarers at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) currently undergoing training as Marine Officers over a two year period. The programme launched by SAMSA this year identifies and seeks to groom young talented South Africa seafarers below CoC Unlimited (Master Mariner) level through broad exposure in its onshore activities related to particularl small vessels safety in order to broaden their understanding as well as maritime technical skills. In a brief online video chat, the three trainee Marine Officers – Mr Tora Lombard of Cape Town (Western Cape), Mr Esethu Hlokoza of Libode (Eastern Cape) and Ms Khanyisiwe Mthethwa of Durban (KwaZulu-Natal) outlined both their seafaring experience to date, their interest and expectations of the Marine Officer Development Programme as well as their oulook on maritime technical skills broadly.

To listen to that brief video chat, click on the video.

However notably, during that brief chat the trainee MOs also undertook to share regularly with this blog their experiences of their training along with insights gained. Below, is their second report.

October has been another good month with exposure to various aspects of working for the South African Maritime Safety Authority, from new builds to maritime search and rescue.

SAMSA Trainee Marine Officers. October 2021

New Build of a Passenger Catamaran

A new build process of a vessel can be a very long and tedious one. However it has a lot to offer in terms of knowledge on the design and building process of a new vessel and how it ties in with SAMSA.

The month of October gave us this opportunity on a passenger catamaran. We were given a good oversight on these processes and how the design is to tie in with the regulations set out. Passenger vessels have very strict building requirements that must be adhered to, to ensure the safety of life at sea.

Communication between the stakeholders involved in the new build process and SAMSA plays quite a big role in its success, with as little delays a possible

Material Design

When surveying a vessel, it is beneficial to be aware of the design characteristics of certain materials. We have visited various engineering workshops involved with the service and repair of marine propellers, shafts and rudders.

These workshops have a lot of years of experience and knowledge to share with us. Here we have been exposed to the various material types, how to identify them and how the characteristics of these materials tie in with their use on a ship.

As a surveyor, it would be good to share our exposure and what we have learned with the various stakeholders while out on survey, to give them an understanding as to why it is important to have regular inspections carried out and why having the correct materials in place is so beneficial.

Auditing of External Surveyors

SAMSA has external surveyors that directly report to them. They help SAMSA in its mandate of ensuring safety of life at sea, the environment whilst ensuring that the boats comply with local general safety regulations for safe operations.

These external surveyors cover all waterways that SAMSA otherwise cannot get easy access to and they are appointed by the Principal officer of that region and report directly to him/ her.

These external surveyors must be audited by the principal officer (PO) for that region of operation. We have had an opportunity to experience this process with PO Antoinette Keller during an audit carried out in Strand at one of our external surveys.

The process went seamlessly as there was a positive interaction between the external surveyor and the auditor.

Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC)

SAMSA’s three Marine Officer trainees; (Front, from Left Mr Esethu Hlokoza, Mr Taro Lombard and Ms Khanyisiwe Mthethwa with MRCC officials

During the 2nd week of October, we attended an introductory course on Search & Rescue at SAMSA’s Sea Watch & Rescue Centre incorporating the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) located in Cape Town. The MRCC is fully functional and operates 24/7 with the focus primarily on the safety of life and property at sea and which essentially involves the monitoring and constant evaluation of maritime safety information.

We got to learn what processes are followed once there is an incident at sea ranging from emergency evacuation to distress at sea, and how vessels are utilized to assist in emergencies especially pertaining to life safety. We got to also understand the relationship between Cape Town Radio and MRCC in terms of sharing information to facilitate assistance to vessels at sea

Marine Officers’ Training In Perspective

The SAMSA Marine Officer trainees are undergoing a maritime technical skills development schedule encompassing among others; theoretical and practical training in a wide range of areas inclusive of small vessel safety and surveying. For a broader and richer experience, led by senior and experienced SAMSA officers, among them lead trainer, Captain Jonathan Hartzenberg, this will entail their rotational periodic travel across the country to experience work with different sized and varied use vessels at all the country’s major ports and in some cases, small harbours as well as inland water spaces where boating activity takes place.

In the video below Capt. Hartzenberg and SAMSA Centre for Boating Manager, Ms Debbie James explain both the nature of the development programme as will its goals and objectives:


South Africa’s launch of its Internal Waters Strategy in October 22, a watershed moment towards effective and efficient management of the country’s inland waters, inclusive of dams as well as rivers.

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

The launch of South Africa’s Internal Water Strategy by the Department of Transport (DoT) along with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on Friday, 22 October 2021 at the Lake Deneys Yacht Club marked a critical turning point in terms of efforts to manage effectively and efficiently the use of the country’s internal water spaces, comprising mainly rivers and dams for boating related activities.

That is according to SAMSA’s Centre for Boating Manager, Ms Debbie James, who along with senior officials of the agency inclusive of the Acting CEO, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane and Deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Vernon Keller; attended the event on the banks of the Vaal Dam.

Of particular interest and significance to SAMSA about the IWS is the formalisation of a legal framework for cooperative governance with various other authoritative structures in both government, the private sector and civil society in terms of collective action in efforts to improve conditions of inland water spaces use by the public.

For SAMSA, according to Ms James, is the need for expansive implementation of the boating regulations provided for in the IWS- linked Merchant Shipping (National Small Vessel Safety) Regulations 2007. In the video below, she outlines SAMSA’s perspective on the matter:

In the video below, Capt. Vernon Keller also weighed in briefly about the signiticance of the event in terms of boating and people ‘s safety on South Africa’s inland waters.