Jozini, KZN luxury boat fire still under investigation: SAMSA

A photo of the luxury houseboat, Shayamanzi, that burnt out at Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, leaving two people dead, one other injured and another missing. (Photo Supplied)

Pretoria: 11 October 2021

The cause of a raging fire on a luxury boat in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal which claimed the lives of at least two people, and left one injured and another missing, is still under intense investigation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA, says the agency in a statement.

According to SAMSA, the fire onboard the luxury houseboat, Shayamanzi on Lake Jozini in the Northern KwaZulu-Natal broke out on Sunday (10 October 2021) while the vessel was on a two night cruise with four (4) crew and five (5) passengers believed to be of German nationality.

“The fire claimed the lives of two (2) people (one crew member and one passenger) and one (1) crew member is still missing. The search and rescue operation for the missing crew member is still underway, ” said SAMSA in a statement on Monday afternoon.

The agency added that it was “….believed that the vessel caught fire as it was passing Crocodile Bay when one of the deck hands noticed smoke coming out of the engine compartment, upon investigation it was discovered that one of the engines was on fire.

“There were also very strong winds blowing at the time creating a choppy sea.  The crew and one of the passengers tried to fight the fire but all attempts failed and the fire spread rapidly within the compartment and to the upper deck, forcing the crew and passengers to abandon ship. The investigation is ongoing.”

SAMSA said the agency had conveyed condolences to the families of the deceased and would “endeavour to complete the investigations as soon as possible.”

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House-boat fire, with fatalities in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal under investigation: SAMSA

SAMSA File Photo

Pretoria: 10 October 2021

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it has launched an investigation into a fire that reportedly broke out of a luxuary house boat in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal and in which at least two people have lost their lives.

According to SAMSA in a statement shortly before lunch time on Sunday, the boat was still on fire and that emergency personnel were currently on the scene.

SAMSA said in the statement: ” SAMSA can confirm that two (2) people (one crew member and one passenger) had died and one (1) crew member is still missing. The luxury houseboat known as Shayamanzi was reportedly on a two night cruise on the Jozini Dam with four (4) crew and five (5) passengers.

“SAMSA with other stakeholders including emergency services will continue to monitor the situation and update the public as and when new information becomes available.

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Seafarers’ well-being has South Africa’s unwavering support: Transport Minister on World Maritime Day 2021

Pretoria: 04 October 2021

South Africa may currently be accounting for no more than 0,65% (or 10 671) of registered world’s seafarers (approximately 1,7-million), but its commitment to contributing to their improved work and general social welfare conditions remains unwavering, according to the South African government.

To this end, confirmed South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula; the country has paved the way for all seafarers – domestic or international – to receive Covid-19 vaccination in the country subject to conditions periodically relevant in terms of domestic national lockdown regulations.

South Africa Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula

Mr Mbalula’s confirmation came in remarks he made in an opening address during the marking of the global celebration of World Maritime Day 2021 on Thursday last week. The Transport Department organised event held online and streamed live on social media occurred in the same week that the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) officially confirmed through a Marine Notice the extension of Covid-19 pandemic vaccinations to all seafarers on South Africa’s waters.

In terms of that Marine Notice (MN 19-21 [C+F+S+P]) dated 23 September 2021, all foreign seafarers in South Africa’s ports are eligible for vaccination, and to which a process guidline is provided. The South African government directive through SAMSA was given in support of efforts by various institutions locally and globally, including the International Maritime Organisation(IMO), the World Health Organisation and related, for seafarers to be prioritised for vaccination against the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his World Maritime Day 221 celebration address to an online audience of about 124 guests, Mr Mbalula said this latest initiative served as an ample demonstration of the country’s full commitment to contributing positively and sustainably to the improvement of the working conditions as well as general welfare of seafarers across the world.

He described as it as befitting therefore that the 43rd ocassion of the world’s celebration of World Maritime Day 2021 as guided by the IMO, to which South Africa is a Member State, was given a theme focusing attention on seafarers: “Seafarers: At the core of shipping’s future“.

Mr Mbalula said South Africa’s geo-location at the most southern tip of the African continent, surrounded by three oceans; the Atlantic to the west, the southern ocean and the Indian Ocean to the east, with a coastline of some 3800km, and an oceans based 1.5-million square kilometers of an Exclusive Economic Zone, made it an undoubted maritime country. For the reason, almost the entire country’s foreign trade depended centrally on shipping, and by extension, on the singular critical importance of seafarers manning those vessels.

“Seafarers play a strategic role in shipping and yet also bare the brunt of challenges facing the sector but especially now during the outbreak and spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. South Africa is among IMO Member States that were first to declare seafarers as essential workers.”

For his full remarks (+-8 minutes), click on the video link below.

Transport Minister Mr Fikile Mbalula’s opening remarks during South Africa’s celebration of World Maritime Day 2021 on 30 September.

Humanitarian crisis

For its part, the IMO that was represented by Senior Legal Officer, Mr Jan de Boer, acknowledged with appreciation South Africa’s continued strong support of the United Nations body, even as 250 000 seafarers across many parts of the world are still facing an uphill battle during especially the period of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Mr de Boer, difficulty with crews changes, inability to work and in some instances, cases of abandonment of seafarers were still a massive challenge, as was the need to prioritise seafarers for vaccinations. This occured against the backdrop of a situation where only about 57 of the IMO’s 167 Member States had so far designated seafarers as essential or key workers.

Describing the situation of seafarers worldwide as a “humanitarian crisis”, he said movement restrictions were also still a major challenge this despite the existence of a framework of protocols established as well as resolutions by the IMO and associated organisations in order to help assist efforts towards addressing problems faced by seafarers.

For its part, said Mr de Boer, the IMO has in place a Seafarer Crisis Action Team that seafarers and related may direct inquiries for assistance.

For Mr de Boer’s full remarks (about 5 minutes), click on the video link below.

Mr Jan de Boer, ILO Senior Legal Officer’s remarks during South Africa’s celebration of World Maritime Day 2021 on 30 September.

In SA, seafarers are essential workers

Meanwhile, according to SAMSA; continued engagement with seafarers is vital to ensuring an orderly, inclusive approach to both confronting the challenges facing seafarers as well as working out appropriate measures aimed at improving their working conditions and securing a sound social welfare future.

Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane. SAMSA Acting CEO

SAMSA acting CEO, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane recounted various steps the country has undertaken to address especially the pressing problems brought about by the outbreak of Covid-19 in China in 2019.

Over the past year since about May 2020, in addition to an early designation of seafarers as essential workers, the country sought to ensure limited restrictions of both vessels and their seafarers on South Africa sea waters while also making provision for both the extension of their certificates of competency and related, as well as facilitating for the renewal of passports.

Undertaken jointly with various government and private sector institutions in the maritime sector, similar measures relevant to seaferers in the fishing and related sectors such as leisure were also made thereby ensuring that no seafarers were left stranded while in or nearby the country’s borders.

She said: “… It is befitting that the IMO has made a clarion call to all of us to make 2021 a year of action for seafarers, who daily face unprecedented adversity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite their vital role as essential workers supporting global supply chains,

“As of this month, with the South African government having secured enough volumes of Covid-19 pandemic vaccinations for both South Africans and non-residents, SAMSA has facilitated for the vaccination of all Seafarers on our shores.

“We acknowledge that there is still more work to be done especially in ensuring that seafarers are fully recognised as “Essential Workers” in the country. Engagements with our partners are ongoing.”

Further, according to Ms Taoana-Mashiloane, similar to the IMO’s STAC, SAMSA as the country’s registrar of seafarers, also has a dedicated office to seafarers welfare that they can refer issues of interest or concern to, by email: welfare@samsa.org.za

For her full remarks, click on the video link below.

SAMSA Acting CEO, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane’s address during South Africa’s celebration of World Maritime Day 2021 on 30 September

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SAMSA marks Nelson Mandela Day 2021 helping a water deprived community in Northern Cape province with drawing tools

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On Tuesday this week, SAMSA jointly with the SA Logocal Government Association (SALGA) held an hour long virtual online symbolic presentation of some 200 Hippo Water Rollers to a group of disadvantaged residents of two informal settlements in the Siyancuma Local Municipality in the Northern Cape province, aimed at alleviating their current water scarcity challenge. Targeted recipients included the aged, child-headed households and the disabled.

Pretoria: 22 Juy 2021

The marking of the United Nations endorsed international Nelson Mandela Day often involves the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), through its Corporate Social Investment and Sustainability (CSI&S) fund, identifying causes and communities in the country towards which to lend a helping hand and this year’s event was no different.

Working jointly with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), recipients of SAMSA’s poverty alleviation intervention in 2021 comprised a group of disadvantaged residents of two informal settlements in the Northern Cape’s Siyancuma Local Municipality – Campbell and Grikwastad – who, despite being nestled within a stone’s throw of the confluence point of the Vaal River and the Orange River, yet battle daily with access to adequate water.

This year, the Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July, fell on a Sunday. SAMSA and SALGA thus chose Tuesday morning, 20 July 2021 for the online symbolic handover event. During the event participating officials described the targeted communities as mostly poor and lacking in basic social services infrastructure.

On the one hand, Campbell – originally known as Knovel Valley and then Groote Fontein, and later named after the Reverend John Campbell – was described as a small town situated on the edge of the Ghaap Plateau, some 48 km east of Griquatown. It’s twin sister, situated some 168 kilometres west of Kimberley was in no different position.

The target group in the two settlements comprised the aged, child-headed homes as well as the physical challenged. SAMSA and SALGA working jointly with the Siyancuma Local Municipality, said they were providing them with 200 specialised water drawing vessels known as Hippo Rollers and the bulk of which are scheduled to be delivered in person during the month of September 2021 – Covid-19 pandemic conditions allowing.

For a glimpse of the informal settlement areas in two towns, click on the video below.

A glimpse of the improverished communities residing in informal settlements in the Northern Cape towns of Campbell and Griekwastad under the Siyancuma Local Municipality. (Visuals: SAMSA)
Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane. Acting CEO: SAMSA

Addressing invited guests to the online event on Tuesday morning, SAMSA Acting CEO, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane described the agency’s concerns as well as sustained passion to assist disadvantaged communities across South Africa’s nine provinces as consistent with and in keeping with former statesman and South Africa’s first president of the democratic era, the late Nelson Mandela’s generous spirit and advocacy for ubuntu (humaneness).

Quoting Nelson Mandela, she said: ““We can build a society grounded on friendship and our common humanity – a society founded on tolerance. That is the only road open to us.”

She added: “The plight of rural people in South Africa has been highlighted by many policy studies, and significant public awareness has been created via the media. Broadly, while about 50 percent of the South African population is rural, rural areas contain approximately 72 percent of those members of the total population who are classified as poor.

She described the identified communities of Campbell and Griekwastad as falling within this category. “The area has a population of about 37 000 people encased in approximately 10 000 households, with 37 percent of these households headed by females. The main economic activity in the area is agriculture and mining. Only about 42 percent of the households have piped water inside their dwellings, while about 90 percent have electricity for lighting.

“Given this context, the SAMSA intervention delivered through our CSI and Sustainability programme, is designed and intended to contribute to the Siyancuma Local Municipality’s efforts of bringing basic services to the community in the area,” said Ms Taoana-Mashiloane.

On the partnership with SALGA for the second successive year, she said: “We pride ourselves with forging effective partnerships that will have a positive and sustainable impact on identified communities.” For her full remarks, click on the video below.

SAMSA Acting CEO, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane’s remarks during a virtual symbolic handover of water drawing tools to impoverished communities of two informal settlements in the small towns of Campbell and Griekwastad in the Northern Cape on Tuesday, 20 July 2021.

Representing SALGA were the body’s senior advisor in the Northern Cape province, Mr Johann Ruiters and SALGA provincial operations manager, Ms Madeleine Brandt; and representing the Siyancuma Local Municipality was Mayor, Councillor Patrick McKlein and Councillor Johannes Musike.

All were appreciative of the SAMSA corporate social responsibility intervention for both its immediate direct positive impact to people in the targeted areas of the municipality but also for its example to other State and private sector institutions.

For Mr McKlein and Ruiters remarks, respectively; click on the videos below.

Siyancuma Local Municiapality Mayor, Mr Johannes McKlein’s remarks
SALGA senior advisor (Northern Cape) Mr Johann Ruiters
SALGA provincial operations director (Northern Cape) Ms Madeleine Brandt

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Collaboration is key to success of global maritime sector development: SATC Conference & Exhibition

Pretoria: 06 July 2021

Development of southern Africa’s maritime economic sector has no room for selfish, self-centred independent actors, and instead demands of all involved a sustained close collaboration in order to ensure not only the success of collective effort but also equity in shared benefits

This was the dominant theme of speakers in the maritime transport section of this year’s Southern Africa Transport Conference (SATC) inaugural virtual conference and exhibition that began on Monday (05 July) and ends at about lunchtime on Wednesday (07 July).

With South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula having officially marked the start of the conference with an address, among keynote speakers on the maritime transport theme during Monday’s session were South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane, Mr Kholisile Mlambo of Mzansi Scuba Diving Academy, Mr Andrew Pike of Bownmans, Ms S Smith-Godfrey of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Michael Ekow Manuel of the World Maritime University and Mr C Mlambo.

With a presentation titled: Partners in building a maritime nation Ms Taoana-Mashiloane outlined SAMSA’s critical role as the country’s State agency mandated with among other things, advancing South Africa’s maritime interests and the centrality of meaningful partnerships between the agency and other role players in the public and private sectors but also crucially, establishing and sustaininng links with others in the sub-region, continent as well as international institutions.

Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane. Acting CEO: SAMSA

In a prerecorded presentation lasting about 17 minutes, Ms Taoana-Mashiloane said while the world might currently be faced with socio-economic woes largely brought about by the outbreak of the Covid-19 against which many countries continue to battle, current global economic studies also continue to project the African region positively as among those with prospects of high economic performance, and central to which is oceans transport, and by extension the maritime ecoomic sector.

Poised to play a critical role, she said; was the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (ACFTA) which commits countries in the region to remove tariffs on 90 per cent of goods and to progressively liberalise trade in services as well as address a host of other non-tariff barriers.

‘UNCTAD expects the Global maritime trade growth to return to positive trajectory in 2021 by expanding by 4.8%. Sustainable shipping, decarbonisation and ship pollution control remain priorities in 2021 (and) it is forecasted that the Sub-Saharan Africa area intra trade will double by 2030 and this will elevate the huge significance of a maritime transport system

“Britain, China, United States, France and the European Union have all launched initiatives to strengthen bilateral trade and investment relationships with Africa,” she indicated. However, for any of these developments to yield meaningful outcomes, maritime sector stakeholders and roleplayers needed to forge close relations and sustainable partnerships., she said.

Pointing to SAMSA’s own initiatives in this regard among which is its representative role for the country at International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as well as involvement and collaboration with similar institutions both on the Atlantic and Indian seaboards, the African Union and related institutions, she said: “The ability to leverage partner resources, subject matter expertise and innovation is a competitive advantage of a great partnership. Otherwise, trying to go it alone and strive to outshine others and to get all credit is not anyone’s interest.

“The 2050 African Maritime Integrated Strategy (AIMS) seeks to provide a broad framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of the African maritime domain for wealth creation. Alongside, the African Maritime Charter (AMC) declares, articulates and advocates the implementation of harmonised maritime transport policies capable of promoting sustained growth and development of African Merchant Fleets as well as promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation among the maritime administrations of States Parties and their respective operational organizations in the field of maritime and inland waterways transport and port activities.

“In addition it seeks to also promote the funding, undertaking of research studies by national institutions that encourage the promotion and development of cooperation in maritime and inland waterways transport and port operations among States Parties and regions.

Domestically, according to Ms Toana-Mashiloane, South Africa’s positive response had included the launch of the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) followed by the promulgation of the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy both to widen the scope for partnerships across sectors of the economy inclusive of identification of business investment opportunities, she added.

“As part of development efforts, we continue to engage and explore strategic partnership with the different industry players including local municipalities with the purpose of creating economic opportunities for local communities,”she said.

For her full presentation at the SATC Conference and Exhibition 2021, click on the video below.

Ubuntu – we are human only through the humanity of others

Dr Michael Ekow Manuel. Professor: World Maritime University

The theme was taken further by Sweden based World Maritime University representative, Dr Michael Ekow Manuel who described the subject of necessary partnership and collaborations in the sector as among the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Talking to a presentation themed: Fostering a partnership mindset; Governance and education; Dr Manuel said among targets of the UNSDGs was the enhancement of Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, “complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries, in particular developing countries.
Further, the target encompassed efforts to “encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnership.

From a governance perspective, optimising key factors, he said; included “ethical behaviour, a problem-centric approach, stakeholder equity and voice, leadership with partnership skills, evaluation criteria, learning procress and ageements.” With regards education, Dr Manuel said it had to play a transformative role “in which people are engaged in a new way of seeing, thinking, learning and working….a new set of skils such as envisioning, critical thinking and reflection, dialogue and negotiation, collaboration and building partnerships.”

Quoting former South African President, the late Mr Nelson Mandela; Dr Manuel reflected that: “In Africa there is a concept known as ubuntu – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others, that if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others.”

South Africa no longer the only sheriff in town

Mr Andrew Pike. Heard of ports, Transport and Logistics: Bowmans

That notwithstanding, according to Bowmans’ head of ports, transport and logistics Mr Andrew Pike, it helped little in fostering strong partnerships and collaborations if some of the players in the southern African region failed to pull their weight, indicating further that South Africa, despite its numerous maritime related advantages, was nevertherless on the verge of fairing poorly compared with its oceans bordered peers and flanking countries both to the east, namely Mozambique, as well as to the west, notably Namibia.

South Africa’s competitiveness with its ports infrastructure and performance was noticeably waning, he said, citing a World Bank’s recent report that ranked the country lowest at 347 out of 351 countries world wide – and in fact, the lowest ranking of all African countries.

Closest home, Mr Pike said even with the outbreak of Covid-19 which hugely affected sea transport negatively right across the board, statistics indicated that Mozambique outperformed South Africa in terms of trade ships port calls, even increasing its tally from 1 927 in 2018 and 2 145 in 2019 to 2 019 in 2020. This was in contrast to South Africa suffering a drop in trade ships port calls from 8 510 in 2018 and 8 856 in 2019 to 7 836 in 2020.

A similar picture was gradually emerging on the Atlantic seaboard where Namibia was making strides both in terms of infrastruture investment as well as competitive performance to the benefit of the southern African region previously almost entirely dependent on South African ports.

According to Mr Pike, partnerships and collaboration were all good but all involved had to pull their weight. He intimated that South Africa would do herself a lot of good, and humble herself by realising that the country was “not the only sheriff in town.”

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Day of the Seafarer 2021: Setting a ‘fair future’ for seafarers: DoT-SAMSA

Pretoria: 24 June 2021

For no less than three hours early on Friday, June 25, South Africa’s role and contribution in the shaping of a fair future for seafarers locally and globally will come under the microscope as some of the country’s stakeholders and interested parties in the general wellbeing of these highly skilled yet generally overlooked oceans-based workers gather to mark the International Day of the Seafarer 2021, under the guidance and leadership of the Department of Transport.

The marking of Day of the Seafarer 2021 takes the shape of an online event – for the second year running, owing to the ongoing rampant spread of the Covid-19 pandemic – hosted by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) from its Pretoria-based Head Ofice on Friday morning.

Starting from 9am and scheduled to last until 12 noon, high profile participants on the programme, according to SAMSA, include Transport Minister Mr Fikile Mbalula and his deputy, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi, the department’s Acting Director for Maritime Branch Mr Mthunzi Madiya, Ms Soraya Artman of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Mr Musa Mbakaza of AMSOL, Ms Silindokuhle Nyoka of Transnet, and Captain Mike Kelly representing The Mission of Seafarers Association, as well as SAMSA acting CEO Ms Tsepiso Taoana Mashiloane and Mr Sibusiso Rantsoabe

Also participating and sharing an international perspective will be Mr Cheah Aun Aun from the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore.

The theme of the 2021 instalment of the Day of the Seafarer as decided by the International Maritime Organisation is a “Fair Future for Seafarers” – the idea behind it being a continued effort to rally individual maritime country as well as international support for measures to improve and enhance the working conditions as well as the general welfare of seafarers globally.

In invitations circulated to maritime sector stakeholders earlier this month, SAMSA said: “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, seafarers found themselves both on the front line of the global response and subject to difficult working conditions. Last year the Day of the Seafarer campaign focused its message around urging Governments to recognize seafarers as key workers and ease travel restrictions for them to facilitate crew changes.

“The 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign will continue to encourage Governments to support seafarers amid the pandemic but will expand its message, calling for a fair future for seafarers. You are therefore urged to join the virtual event where various speakers and seafarers will highlight the plight of our seafarers and the plans that the Government and its partners have to ensure that seafarers are treated fairly,”

At Friday’s event, with just 100 confirmed attendees, expected to dominate the marking of the Day of the Seafarer 2021 are activities and related measures being undertaken by particularly the Department of Transport, its agency SAMSA, as well as industry to advance this cause, this especially against unique challenges by seafarers due to the onset and continued international havoc wreaked by the Covid-19 pandemic since its outbreak in China in late 2019

According to SAMSA, the online event will again be livestreamed on the SAMSA Facebook in order to allow the public access. To connect, please click on the link following link: https://fb.me/e/1UMv7h5fr

This blog will also follow proceedings of the event.

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A ‘fair future for seafarers’ is the campaign theme of international Day of the Seafarer 2021: SAMSA/Department of Transport.

Pretoria: 10 June 2021

A ‘fair future’ for seafarers globally should be a shared responsibility between seafarers and the rest of other relevant stakeholders – and that is the view of seafarers themselves according to a current poll being conducted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

This global seafarers’ view is emerging solidly a few weeks ahead of this year’s international marking of the Day of the Seafarer on June 25 (a Friday) as driven and directed by the IMO along with its Member States, including South Africa.

In the poll currently being conducted by the IMO on its social media pages, among seafarers who responded to a question: “Who should be responsible for a fair future for seafarers”; an overwhelming majority (54%) call it a “shared responsibility”.

Against the backdrop, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) working jointly with the Department of Transport has confirmed that its marking of the Day of the Seafarer this year would be closely aligned to the issue, consistent with the IMO’s theme for the celebrations on June 25.

In invitations circulated to maritime sector stakeholders this week, SAMSA states that: “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, seafarers found themselves both on the front line of the global response and subject to difficult working conditions. Last year the Day of the Seafarer campaign focused its message around urging Governments to recognize seafarers as key workers and ease travel restrictions for them to facilitate crew changes.

“The 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign will continue to encourage Governments to support seafarers amid the pandemic but will expand its message, calling for a fair future for seafarers. You are therefore urged to join the virtual event where various speakers and seafarers will highlight the plight of our seafarers and the plans that the Government and its partners have to ensure that seafarers are treated fairly,” says SAMSA.

Among issues likely to feature prominently at the event on June 25 may be the outcomes and insights of a recent South African seafarers survey conducted by University of KwaZulu-Natal academic and author, Dr Shaun Ruggunan focused on their personal experiences of the impacts of Covid-19 over the last year.

Dr Ruggunan’s survey supported by SAMSA was conducted from March to end of May this year and its results are currently being collated and studied.

From a Government perspective, notably the UKZN survey took place shortly after South Africa in February 2021 joined other IMO Member States in declaring seafarers as ‘essential workers’ – a recurrent theme in the industry globally in 2020 since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in China in 2019, and which campaign gained huge support from many organisations worldwide, among them the United Nations.

However, the declaration of seafarers as essential workers earlier this year, even as singularly highly significant, was but one aspect of a basket of sought industry reforms with regards seafarers’ general welfare and work conditions, and some of which continue to be highlighted in a series of regional webinars driven by IMO, its Members States and affiliated organisations.

The first of the IMO regional webinars focused specifically on the question of “Challenges faced by seafarers and identification of best practices during Covid-19 pandemic” was held virtually online for the Eastern and Southern Africa on 21 October 2020, with the lineup of speakers including IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and representatives of UN-OSAA, Stella Maris, ICS as well as Member States: Kenya, South Africa and the Seychelles.

The webinars have since covered Eastern and West Africa, East Asia, Western Asia and Eastern Europe as well as the Arab States and Mediterranean regions and Latin America

Now, in the lead up to this year’s Day of the Seafarer, the IMO also embarked on the social media poll, where it is asking seafarers across the world to respond and share their views on a number of issues affecting their work and general welfare.

On Covid-19 impacts and about which an IMO asks in one of the question: ‘what is most important for you for your future as a seafarer’, most seafarer respondents (41%) believe it be to be “quarantined access to repatriation and crew change”, followed by “priority vaccinations” (24%), “safe working conditions” (19%) and “enforcement” (16%).

On another question about whether seafarers believe that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the future of seafaring and in what direction, the majority seafarers’ view (73%) is that the pandemic has, and for the “worse” while only 15% believe it has done their trade a world of good, and 13% saying it has made no difference.

On the question of the IMO’s campaign in 2021 for a “fair future for seafarers”; 54% of participants feel it has to be a “shared responsibility” with only three (03) percent saying seafarers should be directly and solely in charge, while the rest are split unevenly between a view that it should be “IMO/ILO/Governments” (31%) and that it should be “shipping companies” (12%).

Among the seven questions posed to seafarers by the IMO so far is also one about “what area most needs improvement to ensure a fair future for seafarers” and to which the majority view (46%) suggests it to be “the workplace”, followed by “salaries” (30%), “training” (13%0 and “safety on board” (12%).

On the gradual encroachment of autonomous ships, according to their responses, most seafarers are either “excited” (25%), “unconcerned” (22%) or “accepting” (14%), with only 36% expressing the view that they are “worried”.

On climate change; most (59%) say they are onboard with mitigation efforts while seven (7%) and five (5) say they either could not be bothered (“not my personal responsibility”) or regard it as “unimportant”.

In explaining the seafarers view poll on its social media platforms, the IMO says: “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, seafarers found themselves both on the front line of the global response and subject to difficult working conditions surrounding uncertainties and difficulties around port access, re-supply, crew changeovers, repatriation, etc.

“In light of this, the 2020 Day of the Seafarer campaign focused its message around urging governments to recognize seafarers as key workers and ease travel restrictions for them to facilitate crew changes. The 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign will continue to encourage governments to support seafarers amid the pandemic but will expand its message, calling for a fair future for seafarers. The campaign will discuss issues that will still be relevant to seafarers after the pandemic, such as fair treatment of seafarers, fair working conditions (in line with ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention), fair training, fair safety, etc.”

For more on this, please on click on the IMO General Secretary, Mr. Kitack Lim ‘s official message for Day of the Seafarer 2021 below.

Meanwhile in Pretoria, according to SAMSA, South Africa’s marking of the Day of the Seafarer 2021 on Friday, June 25; will be conducted in similar fashion as last year, virtually online, from 9am and ending at 12 noon.

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Computer virus infection leads to disruption and delay in issuance of seafarers’ certificates: SAMSA

Pretoria: 18 May 2021

A computer virus found to have infected computer systems at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will lead to delays of up to six weeks in the issuance of seafarers’ certificates, the country’s maritime agency under the Department of Transport announced in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The announcement in the form of a Marine Notice (MIN 05-21), published in SAMSA’s website on Tuesday morning revealed that: “SAMSA was exposed to a computer virus in April 2021, necessitating SAMSA to implement precautionary measures by disconnecting its network servers to prevent the virus from infecting all systems. SAMSA’s ICT department is conducting a full health assessment on all servers, operating software and hardware.

“At this point, no personal data was compromised, and SAMSA is continuing to investigate the incident in collaboration with law enforcement agencies.

According to SAMSA in the statement, while some services rendered by the agency to the country’s maritime economic sector were not affected bythe computer virus infection incident, such as vessels surveys; the agency’s Seafarer Certification Software System (SIOMS 2.) “was affected by the database restore(ation) which caused some unexpected technical difficulties. SAMSA is working towards resolving this technical failure as soon as possible.”

Due to the challenge related to systems restoration, SAMSA said: “Seafarers should expect delays in the issuing of any seafarer verifications, documentation and certificates of competence while the system is being repaired. Once the system is fully operational, seafarers (will) continue to experience delays with all certification related services for approximately 4-6 weeks while SAMSA implements extra-ordinary measures to clear the backlog and implement measures to improve services.

This notwithstanding, SAMSA urged seafarers and or affected people to continue engaging with it through its offices along the South African coastline in order to ensure that services and assistance needed are provided where possible.

“Seafarers intending to revalidate their certificates may continue to apply to do so at their local SAMSA office. Seafarers may continue to apply for Level 3 assessments (orals) leading to a higher qualification. Any interim certificatesfor Small Vessel Skippers Certificates of Competence that have expired in the last 3 months or any Small Vessel Certificate of Competence expiring within the next 4 weeks, may be extended up and until 31 August 2021 while SAMSA’s certification unit clears the backlog.

“In the event of certification related issues, seafarers currently serving on foreign going vessels should provide full details of the assistance needed and should submit a request to seafarers@samsa.org.za and in the event of any seafarer welfare challenges resulting from this delay, seafarers can contact: welfare@samsa.org.za

SAMSA extended an apology for the disruption to services: “SAMSA apologizes for this temporary inconvenience and assures all stakeholders that the technical issues are being addressed with utmost urgency.”

End

More regulations contemplated for small water-craft in SA waters to enhance safety: SAMSA

(SAMSA File Photo)

Pretoria: 07 May 2021

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has given notice that it will revise regulations relating to the utilisation of small vessels such as ski-boats to facilitate implementation of more safety measures to secure the lives of users and the general environment.

The notice published as Marine Alert MA 01-21, according to SAMSA, comes in the wake of an incident in East London earlier this year during which two young people lost control of a ski-boat and one of the youths was injured after being struck by the out of control vessel, resulting in him suffering lacerations to the face and other injuries.

(SAMSA File Photo)

The incident, according to SAMSA, occurred at about 11am on 13 January 2021 on the Nahoon River near East London. An investigation established that; “Two teenagers were operating a small (regulation 37) ski-boat on the Nahoon river when they both fell overboard into the river whilst making a sharp turn. The boat then did circles on the river and witnesses called the NSRI to assist. Whilst in the water, the boat hit one of the two teenagers who sustained lacerations to the face and injuries to the body,” reads the notice.

It further states that: “The vessel was found to have had a kill-switch which had not been in operation. There had been no SVCC (small vessel certificate of competency) aboard. The operation of a kill-switch had not occurred as intended by the manufacturer, because operation of a kill-switch on Regulation 37 vessels is not mandatory, and thus perceived as not required. There had been no adult supervision or competent skipper to oversee the vessel operation.”

According to SAMSA; “The incident had a potential loss of one fatality/permanent injury, along with damage to local jetties and other small craft that were operating in the area, and minor pollution in Marine reserve.”

SAMSA says the incident reflected on a few issues of concern including that:

  • Certain Regulation 37 vessels (≤15HP) are powerful enough to tow a skier at speed and should thus be used with caution, especially if used by underaged/unqualified persons; and then only under supervision of a qualified skipper or an adult.
  • When a vessel is fitted with a kill-switch, the owner/operator should operate the vessel as intended.
  • Any safety device/equipment that is onboard a vessel when in operation, should be used appropriately, even if that vessel is not required by regulation to have it onboard.
(SAMSA File Photo)

In efforts to prevent potentially deadly incidents of the nature in the future, the agency states that:

“SAMSA strongly recommends that the owner/operator of any Regulation 37 vessel fitted with an operational kill-switch, should operate the kill-switch as intended. SAMSA will also revise regulations and consider the inclusion of appropriate Regulation 37 vessels in the requirements for kill-switches.”

Meanwhile, in a related Marine Alert (MA 02 21) also published this week, SAMSA reported on findings of shipping related accidents that occurred at both the port of Durban between 28 April 2020 and 26 October 2020, as well as the anchorage in Algoa Bay, and during which ropes and ladders were a common cause of slippages, resulting in injuries.

“In all four cases,” notes SAMSA; “….a fall from a height occurred. Two (2) of the four (4) incidents resulted in people being hospitalised.”

The agency restated the critical regulations governing the use of ropes and ladders on vessels at sea.

SAMSA said: “IMO Res A1045 (27) paragraph 2 lists the following requirements for ropes used in the construction of pilot ladders. Paragraph 5 lists the following requirements for hand rails at the pilot boarding area:

  1. The side ropes of the pilot ladder should consist of two uncovered ropes not less than18 mm in diameter on each side and should be continuous, with no joints, and have a breaking strain of at least 24 Kilo Newtons per side rope.
  2. Side ropes should be made of Manila or other material of equivalent strength, durability, elongation characteristics and grip which has been protected against actinic degradation and is to the satisfaction of the Administration.
  3. Adequate handholds should be provided at the point of embarking or disembarking from the ship via pilot ladder. These hand holds should not be spaced less than 700mm and not more than 800mm apart.”

For further detailed reading, the Marine Alert Notices are published on the SAMSA website. Further inquiries may be directed to SAMSA via this email address: Email: marinenotices@samsa.org.za

End.