National spotlight turns on Gender-Based Violence at SA’s inaugural maritime sector seminar in Cape Town, Thursday

SAMSA File Photo

Pretoria: 23 November 2022

Gender Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa and globally – now declared a ‘second pandemic’ – continues to draw special focus in the coming week, with Friday, 25 November 2022 marking the start of the United Nations (UN) sponsored “16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children” worldwide.

In South Africa, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) the country’s maritime sector that is a backbone for international trade through shipping transport and related, is a critical economic sector in which thousands of people of all genders work. Yet, even as also known and acknowledged as affected by GBV, it has remained generally quiet about it.

In a statement on Tuesday in Pretoria, SAMSA said that eerie and unjustifiable silence finally gets to an end this year, come Thursday, 24 November 2022 in Cape Town, where the sector will have its inaugural GBV seminar focused specifically on GBV and related relevant sector specific efforts to fight and end it.

SAMSA, a State agency under the Department of Transport is the organiser of the event.

Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga. Deputy Minister of Transport

Leading keynote speakers lined up for the industrial sector pioneering event include Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, World Maritime University President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Ms Lena Dyring of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) as well as maritime academic and veteran female seafarer, Dr Momoko Kitada of the World Maritime University.

According to SAMSA, the purpose of the first-of-its-kind sector-wide seminar is to provide opportunity to the country’s maritime to lay bare publicly the challenges of GBV it is confronted with, and to also outline measures current, or planned towards its stemming and eventually eradication.

“Statistics from various studies conducted so far locally and globally paint a horrific picture of a maritime industry in South Africa and elsewhere, that is rife with deep-seated and widespread GBV and which unsurprisingly, impact negatively particularly women.

“A 2014 survey led by International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and its partners revealed that 17% of women seafarers reported sexual harassment as an issue. The survey report further indicated that women with less power (lower rank) in the workplace were more vulnerable to sexual harassment. This was in line with previous studies done on the subject. Cases of sexual harassment continue to grow worldwide, and South Africa is no exception.

“In yet another most recent study on GBV in the maritime sector whose outcome was shared publicly at end October 2022 in Geneva, from a group of 1128 women interviewed WISTA in 78 countries including 51 in South Africa, as many 60% of the women had encountered gender-based discrimination at work, while 66% of these concurred that their male counterparts resorted to harassing and intimidating female co-workers,” says SAMSA.

The agency further says, with South Africa being a Member State of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the country is among eight (8) Member States tasked by a joint working group involving the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and IMO to not only identify solutions to address seafarers’ issues and the human element, but also to focus specifically on strategies and tactics aimed at addressing sexual assault and harassment in the maritime sector.

The approach is by no means divorced from this year’s national Government’s theme for the 16 Days campaign. The theme for the 16 Days of Activism Campaign for 2022 is: “Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment to build Women’s Resilience against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide: Connect, Collaborate, Contract!”

SAMSA File Photo

SAMSA says: “Thursday’s seminar in Cape Town, therefore, will serve as a launchpad for the SAMSA Maritime GBV Programme now embedded in its five (5) year Strategic and Annual Performance Plan for 2022-25, to effectively raise awareness and promote the mainstreaming of GBV issues within the maritime industry. Stakeholders engaged and involved in the seminar include, maritime welfare community, manning organisations, ship owners and seafarers,” says SAMSA

The seminar will have two parts: the main event taking place on 24 November 2022, with a participation of approximately 100 people in the room and a possibly wider audience both in South Africa and globally to be engaged through livestreaming of the event on several online social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube.

On the following day, Friday 25 November 2022, SAMSA will conduct a GBV educational material distribution to seafarers within the port of Cape Town. The walk-about and engagement with seafarers at the port will involve some of SAMSA’s Executive Management members and selected guests.

End

South Africa proudly retains its IMO ‘Whitelist’ status for continued international validity of seafarers’ certificates.

Pretoria: 17 November 2022

South Africa’s stature as a global authority in maritime sector education in terms of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW Convention) remains intact as once more confirmed by the international body in London recently.

The IMO’s 1978 STCW Convention stipulates standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers. According to the IMO: “The main purpose of the Convention is to promote safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the marine environment by establishing in common agreement international standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers.”

This latest positive outcome of the IMO sponsored independent audit of South Africa over two years effectively means that the country now proudly retains its IMO “Whitelist” status along with several other IMO Member States in the category and which in turn, literally means that Certificates of Competence (CoC’s) issued by South Africa to the country’s seafarers spread across the world retain their validity status.

Mr Kitack Lim. IMO Secretary General.

The report of the audit outcome on South Africa was delivered by the IMO’s Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim to the United Nation’s maritime sector body’s Maritime Safety Committee in its 106th session held in London on 31 October 2022.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), a State agency under the Department of Transport, is responsible for management and administration of seafarer education and training in terms of the STCW Convention as it is also for keeping a register of seafarers.

For just over two years since the IMO in February 2019 announced a possible removal of the country’s Whitelist status, along with 89 other countries, SAMSA has been hard at work to ensure this did not occur and, according to SAMSA’s Deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Vernon Keller, the agency was now elated that it had succeeded in the endeavour.

Capt. Keller was on hand in London to receive and welcome the IMO Panel’s evaluation outcome and later expressed delight for the verdict, describing it as the “best news for South Africa, SAMSA, the seafarer and general maritime sector community in a while.”

The IMO verdict delivered in London simply read that: “The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, having solicited and taken into account the views expressed by competent persons, selected from the list established pursuant to section A-I/7, paragraph 7 of the Seafarers’ Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Code, reports that the Government of South Africa, Party to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, has communicated information as required by regulation I/8, paragraph 3 of the Convention (2nd cycle report) and section A-I/7, paragraphs 4 to 6 of the Code, and that the information considered by the competent persons referred to in section A-I/7, paragraph 7 of the Code has demonstrated that full and complete effect is given by South Africa to the provisions of the 1978 STCW Convention.”

This was in reference to the audit’s findings on aspects of the STCW Convention relating to among others, convention regulations to be met inclusive of the STCW Code, and evaluation involving implementation measures and monitoring and compliance measures.

Capt. Vernon Keller, Deputy Chief Operations Officer: SAMSA

On landing back in South Africa a few days ago Capt. Keller said: “It is with great privilege to announce today that South Africa officially passed our IMO STCW Audit as assessed by a panel of experts.

“Our having successfully met and satisfied the IMO STCW Convention evaluation requirements means that we, as South Africa, give full and complete effect to the STCW convention. This also means that the South African STCW Certificate of Competence remains recognised internationally, and is in good standing, and therefore South African seafarers and companies do not have to worry about losing their jobs because their CoC’s fall off the whitelist,’ said Capt. Keller.

Extending a word of gratitude to all those that contributed to the achievement both at SAMSA and elsewhere, Capt. Keller said: “As a team, we have all worked hard towards this moment. Despite the many challenges that we faced as an organisation over the last few years, we again proved that through great adversity, only by working together can we achieve great things.”

“As South Africa, we can now actively pursue more STCW Regulation 1/10 agreements with other flag states to help create more job opportunities for South African seafarers,” he said.

Meanwhile, the IMO audit outcomes of South Africa’s STCW Convention continued positive compliance status comes as the country had recently signed a series of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU’s) with a few countries relating to the mutual recognition of seafarer’s certificates.

Among these were Ghana and Panama. These two countries (represented by their administrations) concluded COC recognition MOUs with SAMSA during the staging of the IMO’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE) in Durban last month – an historical event itself for South Africa insofar as it marked the first time the IMO has held the annual global event involving some 175 of its Member States on African soil.

SAMSA Chief Examiner, Capt. Azwimmbavhi Nelwamondo

Meanwhile, also remarking on the latest IMO/South Africa STCW Convention development, SAMSA Chief Examiner, Azwimmbavhi Nelwamondo said: “I don’t know what to say – I thought I’d have a speech, but I am speechless. I’m having to think hard about this. As a great man once said, ‘it seems impossible until it is done’.

“I didn’t think doing one’s job could bring so much joy. I am entirely grateful to the team that worked alongside me this whole time. The focus and ability they demonstrated has been amazing. The quality of the work they did was amazing. It is testament to their efforts that the Independent Evaluators made no non-conformities against the Quality Standards System we have built.”

End.

DoT/SAMSA embark on national stakeholder consultations over raft of new gazetted amendments to Merchant Shipping Act.

(SAMSA File Photo)

Pretoria: 27 October 2022

With proposed changes as well introduction of new regulations numbering no less than five (5) all relating to the administration of certain key aspects of the country’s maritime economic space, most under Merchant Shipping Act, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is to embark on an extensive national consultation with relevant stakeholders.

The idea is to ensure broader and closer interactive reach to stakeholders for their views and inputs during November 2022, the Department of Transport (DoT) agency announced in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The announcement in a Maritime Information Notice (MIN14-22) published on its website just before lunch on Tuesday, states that: “The Minister of Transport intends, in terms of section 356(2)(a) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1951 (Act No. 57 of 1951) and on the recommendation of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to amend (certain) Regulations.

“SAMSA has, in the process, issued a Notice in Government Gazette Number 47300 issued on 14 October 2022, calling for public comments on the draft Regulations.

“These include:

  1. The Merchant Shipping (Safety of Navigation) Amendment Regulations, 1968;
  2. The Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods) Amendment Regulations, 1997;
  3. The Draft MS (Crew Accommodation) Regulations, 2023 which seeks to repeal the 1961 Regulations;
  4. The Draft Merchant Shipping (Construction and Equipment of Fishing Vessels of 24 Metres in Length and Over) Regulations, 2022; and
  5. The Draft Merchant Shipping (Construction and Equipment of Fishing Vessels of Less Than 24 Metres in Length and Equal to or More Than 25 Gt.) Regulations, 2022.

According to SAMSA, electronic copies of the Draft Regulations are available on its website at https://www.samsa.org.za/Pages/SAMSADraftRegulation.aspx and may also be requested from two SAMSA officials, Messrs Bulelani Ncanywa at bncanywa@samsa.org.za or Crispen Camp at ccamp@samsa.org.za

SAMSA says: “ Interested persons are hereby invited to submit written comments on these Draft Amendment Regulations on or before the 15 November 2022 to the Chief Executive Officer.” Specific address details for the submissions are given on the MIN which may also be obtained through the following link on the SAMSA website

Meanwhile however, in order to facilitate personal stakeholder engagement on the Draft Amendment Regulations, the agency says it will conduct various workshops around the country, beginning with Cape Town on 09 November, followed by Gqeberha (previously Port Elizabeth) on 16 November and Durban on 23 November 2022.

In Cape Town, SAMSA will utilise its Cape Town office training centre as a venue for the stakeholder consultation in its Western Region, while venues for the rest of the consultative meetings for the Southern Region (Mossel Bay/Gqeberha/East London) and Eastern Region (Durban/Richards Bay) will be confirmed and announced in due course.

Once the consultation have been completed, a report will be filed with the DoT, says SAMSA

End

South Africa, Ghana and Panama find mutual agreement on seafarers certification.

Pretoria: 26 October 2022

Panama and Ghana have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Africa that will for the first time, allow the countries to formerly recognise each other’s seafarers’ certificates under the same condition within which the countries accept all other foreign certificates.

The arrangement signed into operation by South Africa with each of the two countries separately on the sidelines of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE) in Durban recently, is in terms of provisions of Regulation I/10 of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW Convention).

From Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the agency’s Director-General, Mr Thomas Alonsi, led the delegation that included Mr Nana Bokkye-Boampong, acting director of marines services; Dr Richard Lartey, deputy director, planning, monitoring and evaluation; Capt. Clifford Kodjo Adjarko Osei, deputy director of technical services as well as Ms Barbara Oforiwaa Darko, the deputy director of maritime services.

On the Panama bilateral agreement, representing the Panama Maritime Authority were the Director of the General Directorate of Seafarers, Captain Juan Maltez and Panama’s Ambassador and Consul to South Africa, Mr Jorge Ricardo Silen. For South Africa was acting Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA, Ms Zamachonco Chonco.

The signing of the bilateral agreement between the PMA and SAMSA – the South African authority for seafarers’ certification – occurred following representations by the Panama maritime authorities earlier this year calling on South Africa to recognise seafarers’ certificates issued by both countries. Both are members of the IMO as is Ghana.

The basis of the request, according to SAMSA; was that there are over 3000 South African seafarers (certificate and uncertificated) serving on Panamanian ships in various roles.

“Panama Maritime Authority thus requested that there be formal recognition of certificates as required by the STCW Convention, such that those performing functions requiring Certificates of Competencies may be formally accepted on ships flying the flag of both parties.

This led to an interim arrangement being agreed to earlier in the year that allowed seafarers holding certificates issued by Panama Maritime Authority to serve on the South African ships.

From Left: Capt. Juan Maltex, Panama Maritime Authority’s director of the General Directorate of Seafarers and Ms Zamachonco Chonco during the signing of an MoU on seafarers certification in Durban recently. Looking on (standing) is Mr Vusi September, Head of SAMSA’s Centre for Corporate Affairs.

At the Durban International Convention Centre during the signing of the agreement , Captain Maltez described it as “… a clear and concrete manifestation of the commitment of each of the Administrations, to continue strengthening ties, promoting collaboration and guiding future efforts, to work on improving the training of the levels of competence and the certification processes of seafarers, seeking to guarantee the safety of human life and property at sea, maritime protection and the protection of the marine environment.

“On the other hand, the Agreement will facilitate the embarking or contracting of Panamanian seafarers, promoting national labor, so that they can work on board the vessels of the South African Registry,” he said.

In terms of the agreements with both Panama and Ghana, according to SAMSA; the new arrangement is that a holder of a South African Certificates of Competency

  • May now have their certificates recognised and able to find employment on ships from those flags (and vice versa)
  • May now work on ships flying the Ghanaian flag,
  • Seafarers trained at Regional Maritime University (RMU) – one of Africa’s largest maritime universities will have access to employment in Africa’s most technologically advanced economy
  • Have access to employment on one of the biggest Merchant Fleet in the world (Panama)

The MoUs between South Africa, Ghana and Panama are the latest addition in a list of similar agreements now topping just over 30 countries. The list includes Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Hong Kong, Iran, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jordan, Kuwait, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tanzania, United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

End

IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event: South Africa brings the shine

Pretoria: 21 October 2022

Seafarers’ working conditions and welfare, advancement of technologies to combat shipping transport carbon emissions, sustained closer collaboration among maritime countries, clear strategies and standards on management and combating of the spread of communicable diseases; were among topics featuring prominently during the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) World Maritime Day Parallel Event held in Durban, South Africa over four days a week ago.

The event, involving delegates of the IMO’s 175 Member States globally – albeit, held all of two years past its initial due date due to postponement attributed to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in late 2019 – flagged its significance for South Africa in not only being the first “in-person” IMO standing global event of its kind.

But it glittered also on the fact that it was also the first time it was hosted in an African country, thereby creating a historical milestone for both the country and the continent.

With the event’s theme for 2022 being: “New Technologies for Greener Shipping”, the obvious focus was on a global maritime sector strategies to contribute to the reduction and eventual elimination of gaseous carbon emissions by shipping transport and related in the world’s maritime space.

Officially attended to and led by IMO Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim, several IMO senior officials, as well as South African government officials and attaching institutions led by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and his deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, over four days, delegates dug deep into the subject, and to which attached the formal launch of the Norway and IMO sponsored Green Voyage 2050 Project for South Africa.

The Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) whose chairmanship hitherto was held by Nigeria and secretariat by South Africa, also aligned the holding of its delayed 5th Elective Conference with the event – thereby taking advantage of the global maritime representatives’ all at once huge turnout and sojourn onto African soil for the first time.

Several Memoranda of Understanding ( MoUs)were also signed between organisations and, in some cases governments, including two between the South African Maritime Safety Authority and its counter-part institutions in Ghana and Panama, as well as between AAMA and fraternal institutions in Africa.

Below is a select group of presentations and official speeches captured by this SAMSA blog during the week. They include in a descending order:

DAY ONE: IMO Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim and South Africa deputy Transport Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s speeches on the first evening cocktail event to welcome delegates to South Africa, hosted jointly by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Moses Kotane Institute

DAY TWO: South Africa Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula’s opening address of the WMD Parallel Event to officially welcome international delegates.

DAY THREE: Some visuals of a “Kasi Style” evening entertainment and exhibitors’ awards held at the MSC Cruise Vessels Passenger Terminal at the Durban port.

DAY FOUR: IMO Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim’s closing address and handover of the IMO WMDPE event flag to the Islamic Republic of Iran officials on account of that country being the next in line to host the IMO event in 2023; Dr Majid Ali Nazi, Iran’s Maritime Affairs, Ports and Maritime Transport agency representative’s acceptance speech of the flag had over, and South Africa deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s event closing speech.

We also present coverage of AAMA’s 5th elective conference on Monday, 10 October 2022 as well as highlights of the launch of the Norway-IMO Green Voyage 2050 Project for South Africa, inclusive of an extensive interview with officials of the Department of Transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority directly involved in the project from inception, Mr Metse Ralepenya and Mr Tebogo Mojafi.

Kenya takes over AAMA leadership at 5th elective conference in Durban.

Some of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) delegates with Department of Transport officials during the body’s 5th elective conference in Durban on 10 October 2022

The optimal functionality of the African Association of Maritime Administrations (AAMA) remains pivotal as a vital cog in the global wheel driving ongoing development of the maritime economic sector both in Africa and globally, according to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

That is why the African body’s one-day 5th elective conference in Durban last week, held on the sidelines of the four-days World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE) – attended by hundreds of delegates of the international maritime body’s 175 Member States – received more than mere lip-service support from the IMO.

Mr William Azuh, the IMO’s Head of Africa section technical cooperation division, revealed that the London based IMO actually funded the costs of attendance of at least one official of the AAMA member countries that attended, this to ensure that the body continued to pursue for fulfilment of its mandate.

By the end of the day conference last Monday (10 October 2022), a new leadership comprising the chairmanship and secretariat had been mutually agreed upon, with Kenya succeeding Nigeria in being entrusted with the stewardship of AAMA over the next year, while the secretarial service remains with South Africa – as has been the case for the last few years since founding of the body.

With an attendance of just over 30 delegates from AAMA member countries predominantly from sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Azuh (whose brief interview with this blog is provided herein below) was full of praise not only of the turnout but also for the quality of content.

The high turnout was befitting the IMO’s staging of the WMDPE in South Africa, the first time such the event was hosted by an African country since its launch in early 2000.

Both South Africa and Nigeria received commendations for their steadfastness in ensuring continuity of functionality of the body, while pledges of ongoing IMO support went to Kenya as it embarks on leadership of AAMA over the next year.

For Mr Azuh’s remarks on AAMA, click on the video below.

South Africa, as represented by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and outgoing Nigerian chairmanship, also had views to share on the necessity of continued efforts by AAMA to shore up support not just for Africa but the entire global maritime economic domain.

For both SAMSA’s perspective given during opening of the AAMA elective conference and Nigeria’s view as provided by Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative at the IMO, Mr Abdul Dirisu, click on the videos below.

NORWAY-IMO GREEN VOYAGE PROJECT 2050: South Africa goes all green for shipping transport

South Africa’s voluntary engagement in the Norwegian sponsored Green Voyage 2050 Project in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), this in support of the latter’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) shipping transport emissions elimination strategy, is indicative of the African country commitment and sheer determination to even punch above its weight in support of maritime sector development goals.

That is at least the view of government officials running with the initiative and through whose involvement with the project, saw South Africa becoming one of 10 countries globally in 2021 that volunteered to pilot the Green Voyage 2050 Project.

Mr Mthunzi Madiya. Department of Transport deputy Director-General: Maritime Directorate

The Department of Transport working jointly with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), are behind the country’s involvement in the project whose formal launch in the country took place during the IMO’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event at the Durban International Convention Centre last week.

The launch on Tuesday, 11 October 2022 – also attended physically and online by Norwegian and IMO officials – took the form of a round table discussion involving a contingent of delegates from both South Africa’s private maritime economic sector as well as public representatives from various government departments and societal groups with justifiable interest.

Mr Mthunzi Madiya, the national Department of Transport’s deputy Director-General for the maritime directorate, spelt out and contextualised South Africa’s keen participation in the project, even as the country’s contribution to global GHG, he said; amounted to no more than one percent of maritime transport emissions.

“The international shipping industry is a fundamental aspect of our global trade and without it, the possibilities to conduct intra-continental trade – which entails the transportation of bulk raw material, as well as import and export of affordable goods and manufactured goods – would be minimal, if not impossible.

“South Africa is at a critical juncture in its history in which it has to find ways to deliver on its developmental objectives within a world that is trending towards low carbon emissions,” said Mr Madiya.

Summarily, he said, the uptake of new technologies to advance the reduction and eventually elimination of carbon emissions was essential for the country.

To this end, Mr Madiya further confirmed that enabling legislation and regulations to facilitate further implementation of the Marpol Convention (Annexure 6) were before lawmakers in South Africa’s parliament for consideration and possible ratification. This he said, could be expected to occur before year end.

Meanwhile, during the event, South Africa was the recipient of heaps of praise for its pioneering spirit in the regard from the IMO’s head of partnerships and projects, Dr Jose Matheickal.

For their full respective views during delivery of opening remarks of the round table on the Green Voyage 2050 Project launch last Tuesday, click on the videos below.

To round off the coverage of the launch event, this blog further spoke to two officials closely involved with both the conception of and South Africa’s early involvement in the project, Mr Metse Ralephenya of the Department of Transport (maritime divison) and Mr Tegobo Mojafi, senior manager for maritime research at the South African Maritime Safety Authority. For their views, click on the video below.

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Boating safety campaign underway nationally on Transport Month: SAMSA

Two of several passenger water vessels inspected by SAMSA surveyors during launch of the Gauteng leg of the National Small Vessels Concentrated Inspection Campaign by SAMSA at the Vaal River on Saturday 01 October 2022

Pretoria: 06 October 2022

Efforts by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and partners to spread countrywide the promotion of small vessels safety on all South Africa’s water spaces, at sea and inland, continues at pace this month, with focus on Gauteng’s major dams, including the Vaal and Haartebeespoort.

According to SAMSA, the Concentrated Inspections Campaign for small vessels safety promotion in the region, scheduled to coincide with the country’s Transport Month – an initiative of the Department of Transport (Dot) – kicked off this past weeked, beginning at the Vaal Dam area adjacent Vanderbylpark in Gauteng.

SAMSA Acting CEO, Ms Zamachonco Chonc (front, second from Right) with SAMSA contingent of ship and small vessels surveyors, headed by deputy Chief Operations Officer, Capt. Vernon Keller (backrow, Right) SAMSA regional manager Capt. Thobela Gqabu (backrow, second from Right) and SAMSA Boating Centre manager, Ms Debbie James (backrow, third from Left).

As an indication of the importance and seriousness of the campaign, at the Stonehaven-On-Vaal in Vereeniging where the campaign kicked off for Gauteng on Saturday, accompaning the contigent of SAMSA’s ship and small vessels surveyors from across the country were the top brass of the entity.

It included the Acting CEO, Ms Zamachonco Chonco; Acting Chief Operations Officer, Mr Vusi September; deputy Chief Operations Officer, Capt. Vernon Keller; SAMSA Boating Centre manager, Ms Debbie James; Regional Manager (Eastern Region), Capt. Thobela Gqabu and Principal Officer for Inland (northern) Region, Mr Imraan Davis.

The Stonehaven-on-Vaal, owned by Ms Rosemary Anderson, is one of major tourism attraction facilities in the area, with several small to medium size passenger water vessels offering cruises on the Vaal River. Incidentally, the chosen venue for the launch of the Gauteng leg of the Concentrated Inspection Campaign is only a stone’s throw way from Lake Deneys Yacht Club – the venue of the launch of the country’s Inland Water Strategy by SAMSA and the Department of Transport this time a year ago.

In a statement on Saturday, SAMSA explained: “In this specific campaign, SAMSA’s focus is to promote maritime safety and maritime interest through engagement with the public, particularly maritime community members such as vessel skippers and owners operating passenger vessels.

SAMSA Acting CEO, Ms Zamacchonco Chonco explaining the rationale for the nationwide small vessels concentrated inspection campaign at the Vaa;l River of Saturday, 01 October 2022
A brief outline by SAMSA deputy Chief Operations Officer: Capt. Vernon Keller
An overview by SAMSA’s Regional Manager (Eastern and Inland Region) Capt. Thobela Gqabu
A perspective on SAMSA boating seafety camapign by small vessels owner and operator, Ms Rosemary Anderson of Stonehaven-On-Vaal

“SAMSA’s mandate has been extended to cover inland waters, which are composed of freshwater. Therefore, SAMSA has an enormous task to ensure that small boats operating in inland waters are safe and operate efficiently as a large percentage of SAMSA’s clientele are small boats. 

“Some of the inland passenger vessels can carry as much as 200 Passengers, therefore it is absolutely essential that SAMSA maintains a watchful eye on these vessels to ensure that they are operated to the highest standards.”

On the significance of the SAMSA small vessels safety promotion campaign relative to the Inland Water Strategy, and the critical need for greater cooperation and collaboration with other State as well as private sectors entities in the sector; SAMSA said: “Our organisation s delighted that the strategy was approved, implemented, and launched last year.

External collaboration

“To date, SAMSA has appointed at least 45 enforcement officers nationally in cooperation with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), municipal officials, and law enforcement agencies. SAMSA appoints these appointees to monitor and enforce compliance on waterways or slips throughout the country. 

“SAMSA is also glad to report that we are continually training external safety officers and external SAMSA small vessel surveyors to ensure compliance of the SAMSA Regulations. SAMSA has recently initiated a compulsory refresher built in buoyancy, passenger boat, pontoon boat and small vessel surveying training course for all surveyors and safety officers to attend.

“With less than 40 SAMSA full time SAMSA surveyors employed, and inland waters being one of the largest areas to cover with the limited resources and capacity, it is essential that the entity ropes in private organisations and other government entities to assist SAMSA to give full and complete effect to the regulations to ensure the safety of people and boats on our inland and coastal waters.

“It was also for that reason the Department of Transport also stated that the only practical way to control boating would be to share responsibility with local authorities and authorized agencies since they are given jurisdiction over specific demarcated section of inland waters

Next up; Free State, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo

“It is a continuous process to train and appoint enforcement officers. As there are quite a lot of small boat activities taking place in the inland region, SAMSA will soon roll out training and appointment for enforcement officers in Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo,” said SAMSA.

This blog also caught up briefly with two of the small vessels surveyors, Mr Vusimuzi Dube and Mr Neerish Sinath; for their views on the campaign in the two videos below.

SAMSA Inland Region small vessels surveyor, Mr Vusimuzi Dube
SAMSA Inland Region small vessels Surveyor, Mr Neeresh Sinath

Battle against forced labour in fishing entering a sharp-edged phase in South Africa: SAMSA

SAMSA File Photo

Pretoria: 26 September 2022

South Africa’s fight against forced labour in the country’s fishing sector is entering an entirely new sharp-edged phase, featuring a broad front of several government departments, all with the goal of eliminating poor employment practices that denude fishermen of their basic right to dignity of employment.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on review of its performance to date with the implementation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Work-In-Fishing Convention, 2007 (C188) which South Africa ratified in 2013 and put into effect eight years later – in the process becoming the first country globally to implement the convention.

The news comes in the wake of a recent meeting and training session in Cape Town involving SAMSA, the ILO, several South African State departments and other agencies, as well as private sector law practitioners.

The meeting was to both evaluate the country’s progress and discuss challenges associated with the implementation of the C188 convention, as well as extend ILO training to both SAMSA surveyors and other State officials on identification of forced labour practices in the fishing sector.

An onboard fishing vessel C188 convention inspection being conducted by SAMSA surveyors on a foreign vessel in Cape Town. (SAMSA File Photo)

According to SAMSA this past week, now with an army of about a dozen fully trained surveyors on Port State Control and the ILO C188 convention’s Forced Labour Indicators, as well as a set of three new regulations about to be passed, to bring to full effect related domestic legislation, the fight is shaping up neatly for a broad sweep in the country’s commercial fishing sector to spot and eliminate poor labour practicies, but particularly forced labour.

In sharpening the edge of the weaponry in the battle against forced labour, SAMSA is being joined by several other State departments, among them the Department of Employment and Labour, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment, Home Affairs (Immigration), the South African Revenue Services and other agencies.

The battle is focused on not only South African fishing vessels, as international vessels operating on South African waters will also be thoroughly scanned and inspected consistent with the ILO C188 convention and related international and domestic instruments.

For a full outline of the assessment of South Africa’s progress in the implementation of the ILO C188 convention and related matters, inclusive of the country’s pioneering role in assisting other countries in ratifying and implementing the convention, this blog conducted a brief interview (15 minutes max), with one of SAMSA’s lead ship surveyors with vast knowledge and experience on the subject, Mr Selywn Bailey.

To view and listen, click on the video below.

Meanwhile, in a different but related environment, a set of South Africa twin architects, both females; are set to make it to South Africa’s maritime history arsenal next month in Durban, where the General Secretary of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr Kitack Lim is scheduled to unveil a new statue the pair were selected earlier this year to draw and erect.

Twin architects of Sesana Studio (from Left), Ms Letlhogonolo and Tlhologelo Sesana

The statue is part of features to mark South Africa’s inaugural hosting of the IMO’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE) over four (4) days in Durban’s International Convention Centre, attended by hundreds of representatives of its 175 Member States, as well as those of the Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA), the latter which will also hold a one day conference a day ahead of the IMO event.

The two events take place in Durban from 11-14 October 2022.

Twin architects, Ms Letlhogonolo and Tlhologelo Sesana of Sesana Sesana Studio in Pretoria were formally appointed by the Department of Transport (DoT) in June this year to design as well as have erected their design of the statue which they have named ‘Ukuhlangana‘.

Their appointment was formally announced in June 2022 Gazette Notice 1133 of 2022 published on 04 June, and confirmed once more publicly, during the launch of the country’s Maritime Industry Development Task Force Network in Durban in August 2022.

To get a sense of what the twin architect were embarking upon, this blog caught with and chatted briefly with the pair.

Click on the video below to view and listen to them.

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Seafarers’ health onboard vessels under the spotlight at Africa sailors’ online conference this week

Pretoria: 20 September 2022

A global focus on seafarers’ health and welfare by the Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme turns its focus on Africa’s young and aspirant sailors during an online conference scheduled Wednesday, to be addressed by among others; Ms Zamachonco Chonco, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Ms Zamzachonco Chonco. SAMSA Acting CEO

During the day long conference, Ms Chonco will join the Sailors’ Society head of wellness, Johan Smith; the society’s CEO, Ms Sara Baade; maritime studies academic and former Head of Maritime Studies at the Cape Pensinsula University of Technology (CPUT), Capt. (Dr) Ed Snyders; Thomas Miller regional Loss Prevention Director, Mr Anuj Velankar; Wellness at Sea regional coordinator, Dr. Deepti Mankad; Spiritention safety and security Consultant, Mr Toon van der Sande; fishing group Oceana’s second Navigation Officer, Ms Sandisiwe Silindokuhle Binda and others.

Ms Sara Baade, CEO: Sailors’ Society

Held online, beginning at 08.30am through to 5pm; and with the theme: “Positive wellbeing for a rewarding seafaring career,” the Africa youth health-focused seaferarers’ conference – the second of its kind globally this year – is according to the Sailors’ Society, aimed at “key issues facing today’s seafarers and will help to prepare (them) for a long and fulfilling life at sea,” says Ms Baade in a statement.

“For more than 200 years, Sailors’ Society has been transforming the lives of seafarers and their families at home, in port and at sea through resources like the peer-to-peer groups, our port chaplaincy, crisis response network and work in seafaring communities,” she says.

Wednesday conference’s precise target are aspirant seafarers currently at maritime colleges, with subject emphasis on exploration of the “all important subject of wellbeing and mental health, helping prepare cadets for a long and fulfilling career at sea.”

Topics to be covered by the speakers through both speaking notes as well as interactive audience engagement include;

  • The importance of wellbeing and welfare to ensure a bright future in the maritime industry;
  • How the maritime landscape is changing: the role of technology in wellbeing and welfare;
  • Coping with the realities of life at sea; The psychology of conflict – being a seafarer in a time of war;
  • On board coping skills;
  • Bridging the gender gap and, advice on
  • How to get a job in a tough industry: tips from a manning agent

Organisers, the Sailors’ Society, founded in 1818 in England; describe the event as part of its global Wellness at Sea programme that forms part of its chaplaincy projects with representations in several countries, particularly port cities, in all continents.

In terms of the event’s arrnagement, students at participating African maritime colleges will participate for free.

To register, intending participants can log their interest at the following link address: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8839120635390159376

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Public given second opportunity for comment on revised bunkering Codes: SAMSA

SAMSA File Photo

Pretoria: 12 September 2022

Stakeholders in South Africa’s bunkering subsector have been given yet another opportunity to make comments on South Africa’s Codes of Practice for both bunkering and ship-to-ship transfers (cargo transfers), according to a joint statement issued by the State institutions charged with managing the process last week.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Department of Transport (DoT) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) said they jointly issued the public invitation for further comment on South Africa’s set of Codes of Good Practice for Bunkering Services and Ship-To-Ship Transfers (Cargo Transfer) as part of a process towards their finalisation and publication.

The public call is contained in a Marine Information Notice (MIN 10-22) published on the SAMSA website on Thursday, 08 September 2022. The set of Codes of Practice comprise the South African Bunkering Code of Practice, and South African Ship to Ship Code of Practice for Cargo Transfers.

In the Notice, the public entities jointly state that the reason for the further call is to allow stakeholders an opportunity to make further inputs on the amended and consolidated set of draft Codes of Practices for both bunkering and cargo transfers. The sets of Codes have now been expanded to also cover specifically Ship to Ship Cargo Transfers.

SAMSA File Photo

In the joint statement on Thursday, the entities state: “A moratorium was put in place on the approval of any new permanent service providers in Algoa Bay and whose lifting would be conditional to the completion of the publication of the Codes of Practice, and the completion of an Environmental Risk Assessment by TNPA for Algoa Bay. The DOT, DFFE, SAMSA and TNPA opted to provide industry a combined code of practice where each entity’s approval requirements are consolidated in one place to allow the industry an easy reference guide for these types of operations.

“The codes also provide references to the various sections of legislation that are applicable for each government department and are aimed to show how the DFFE, TNPA and SAMSA aim to work together to approve these activities to ensure a unified approach. The Codes of Practises are not intended to remove any jurisdiction or duties from either the DFFE, TNPA or SAMSA to regulate the industry,” state the entities in the Notice.

According to the statement by SAMSA, TNPA, DFFE and DoT, stakeholders will have until 22 September 2022 to submit their comments. Stakeholders’ comments can be submitted to tsu@samsa.org.za

The final Codes will be submitted to the Department of Transport once completed, say the entities.

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Recovery efforts continue for remains of a sunken yacht sailor off the Cape coast: SAMSA

SAMSA File photo.

Pretoria: 22 August 2022

Efforts to recover the remains of a sailor whose yacht, named the PANACEA; sank at sea off Cape coast south of Mossel Bay a week ago continue, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

In a statement on Monday, SAMSA said the continuing effort occurs against a backdrop where earlier efforts involving the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and others to recover the yacht with the body of the deceased sailor were thwarted by bad weather.

SAMSA said: “On Saturday 20 August, after the body of the solo sailor was located onboard the yacht adrift at sea, arrangements were prepared for the yacht to be towed to Stilbaai where SA Police officials would board the yacht and recover the body of the sailor.

“The yacht was found to have sustained some damage. While NSRI Stilbaai were towing the yacht weather conditions deteriorated and the tow was released. Further arrangements were made for NSRI Mossel Bay to respond on Sunday during the early morning to tow the yacht to Mossel Bay.

“NSRI Mossel Bay took up a tow of the yacht and while towing the yacht towards Mossel Bay the yacht took on water and sunk approximately 12 nautical miles from Mossel Bay. The SA Police Services and the Police Dive Unit are assessing the situation around the possible recovery of the body of the sailor from the sunken yacht.

“The family has been informed of the matter by the authorities and our thoughts remain with them in this difficult time.”

According to SAMSA in an earlier statement on Saturday, the ordeal of the recovery of the vessel and its sailor began after the yacht with the solo sailing skipper was reported missing after it had left Cape Town harbour on Friday, 12 August 2022, headed for Mossel Bay, but had failed to arrive at the scheduled time.

SAMSA related that: “The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town was made aware of a sailor onboard the yacht PANACEA that had departed Cape Town on Friday the 12th  of August and was headed to Mossel Bay.

“After three days of no contact with his family, the sailor’s mother informed MRCC that she was concerned however not overly so,  as her son was reportedly in no immediate rush to reach Mossel Bay. MRCC Cape Town, out of concern requested Telkom Maritime Radio to broadcast marine messages requesting vessel routing along the south coast between Cape Town and Mossel Bay to lookout for and report any sightings of the yacht and report it to the MRCC.

“On Friday 19th August a report from a passing vessel was received. Due to very bad weather the vessel could not remain on scene. However a different vessel managed to locate the yacht as well, and tried to confirm the safety of the lone sailor without success.

“With the concern and need to establish the safety of the sailor, MRCC Cape Town activated and tasked the National Sea Rescue Institutes’ rescue boat from the Hermanus station to proceed to the area, establish safety of the sailor, and render any assistance that may be required. Following an extensive search lasting well into the early hour of Saturday, morning the rescue boat – having operated for over 10 hours under very difficult sea condition and in near zero visibility – was stood down.

“The South African Air Force at 22 Squadron in Cape town was tasked along with the Air Sea Rescue team from the NSRI to prepare to launch at first light to head to the scene and provide assistance. Due to bad weather the flight departed later than planned and arrived on scene during the early afternoon of Saturday.

“Once on scene a rescue swimmer from the NSRI team was deployed from the helicopter to board the vessel. Unfortunately, the lone sailor was found but deceased. Plans are currently underway to recover the sailor and the yacht,” said SAMSA

In the meantime, the entity expressed condolences to the family of the sailor. Further, SAMSA expressed its gratitude to the crews from the NSRI and the South African Air Force “for the excellent efforts under very challenging condition present during this operation.”

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