A fishing boat that apparently ran aground on the coastline adjacent the port of Port Elizabeth in city of Gqeberha early on Tuesday was successfully refloated during high tide at about noon today, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has reported.
According to SAMSA, the fishing trawler, named FV Taurus ran aground near the port of Elizabeth early on Tuesday but without injuries to crew or any oil spillage noted. Reasons for the incident had not yet been established, and under investigation; said SAMSA.
“The vessel reportedly ran aground at Kings Beach in Humewood at 06h05 this morning and about hour later, the owners attempted to pull it back to sea without success. SAMSA contacted the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) for assistance with a tugboat to pull the vessel back at sea using the high tide window in the area, at about 12 noon. At 11h50, the vessel was successfully towed back into the sea.
“There are no reported injuries to the crew, and we are monitoring the situation to ensure that there is no oil spillage,” said SAMSA.
A salvage operation at sea south of Cape Town has begun on Friday to recover a stricken fishing vessel that caught on fire, leading to its crew of 26 fishermen abandoning it in the early hours of the day, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported.
SAMSA said the 26 crewmen were safely brought onto dryland early on Friday following a frantic effort involving no less than three ships which had responded to a mayday call by the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre based in Cape Town.
According to the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch & Response based MRCC; “MRCC Cape Town was informed by Telkom Maritime Radio at 01:00 of the FV requiring immediate assistance due to fire in the engine room. The 26 crew then abandoned ship to life raft sighting the whole fishing vessel to be ablaze,” said the MRCC.
It added that: “A MAYDAY Relay was issued through Telkom Maritime Radio wherein vessels were requested to render immediate assistance. NSRI Stations Hout Bay and Simon’s Town were activated. The MV AQUA EXPLORE, a Bulk Carrier, and FV UMFONDINI diverted to assist. The AQUA EXPLORE, not being able to recover the survivors from the life raft, remained on-scene until the UMFONDINI arrived.
“All crew were safety transferred to the UMFONDINI with the prevailing winds reported to be South-westerly at 15 knots and a water swell of up to 2.6 metres. The AQUA EXPLORE proceeded with normal voyage.
“FV UMFONDINI was intercepted by NSRI Stations Hout Bay and Simon’s Town after which the OLIVIA MARIE crew were transferred to the NSRI Simon’s Town craft. The survivors were safely delivered to Simon’s Town and transported back to their home base at Hout Bay.
“Efforts from MV AQUA EXPLORE, FV UMFONDINI, NSRI, and Telkom Maritime Radio supported MRCC Cape Town in the successful outcome of this maritime SAR incident.
“A Navigation Warning was issued, requesting vessels to report sightings of the OLIVIA MARIE and the life raft, this being in an effort not only to warn of the possible navigation hazards, but also to assist in the recovery of these craft,” said the MRCC.
Late on Friday, SAMSA said the vessel had since been sighted by another ship, the F/V Langenberg at a point where it was some 3.5 nautical miles from the abandoned fishing vessel, in an approximate position 34 11.8 S018 19.8 E from the Coast South of Scarborough.
“The F/V Langenberg is about 3.5 nautical miles from the abandoned vessel and spotted some debris but not a lot, no smoke on the vessel. Visibility is clear. SW wind force 5 of the current Is pushing Olivia Marie to the shallow waters.”
Efforts will continue to recover the abandoned vessel.
South Africa’s Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) is among recipients of this year’s Seamanship award by London based Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), in recognition of their role in the rescue of a Finnish solo sailor after he abandoned his sailing boat that sank about 500 miles south of the South African coast four months ago.
According to the OCC in an announcement, the Cape Town based MRCC, managed under the Centre for Sea Watch & Response of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), will receive the award jointly with Capt. Naveen Kumar Mehrotra and the crew of the DARYA GAYATRI, and Kirsten Neuschäfer who at the time was a competitor in the 2022 Golden Globe Race.
The OCC said the recipients for this year’s Seamanship Award were nominated for “the exemplary coordination of the rescue in the Southern Ocean some 500 miles off the coast of South Africa.
The entire saga ensued on 18 November 2022 after, according to the OCC, Mr Lehtinen reported that his Gaia 36 ASTERIA flooded rapidly from the stern with water up to deck level and then sank.
“Tapio Lehtinen’s boat took on water at the stern and sank within five (5) minutes. Tapio set off his EPIRB, donned his survival suit, grabbed his ditch bag, and deployed his liferaft just before his Gaia 36 ASTERIA sank.
“He was rescued from the liferaft by Kirsten Neuschäfer (who was about 100 miles away at the time of the sinking) and was transferred to a bulk carrier in 3m seas and 25kn winds,” said OCC Commodore, Simon Currin
At the time, the OCC noted that MRCC Cape Town confirmed communication with Captain Naveen Kumar Mehrotra onboard the bulk carrier M.V. Darya Gayatri, approximately 50 nm NW of Tapio’s position, diverting course at 12,5 knots and rendering assistance with an ETA (estimated time of arrival) between 0830 and 1000 UTC on November 19.
“Kirsten called the race coordinators and confirmed she picked up Tapio from the lifer aft and proceeded to transfer him to the bulk carrier. Tapio was in good health and on board the carrier M/V Darya Gayatri en route to China. Kristen resumed racing. It was a textbook rescue that resulted in swift resolution in the Southern Ocean,” said Commodore Currin
According to the OCC, the awards recipients will be presented with the honours at this year’s OCC annual dinner scheduled for Poole in the United Kingdom on 15 April 2023. For the MRCC however, the award will be presented to the team at an occasion in Cape Town later in the year.
Reacting to news of the award, SAMSA’s Centre for Sea Watch & Responde head, Capt. Pretty Molefe described the announcement of the conferment as both an honour and importantly; a crucial fitting indicator of the critical role that the sea watch and response centre and the MRCC independently play in the field of ensuring the safety of life and property at sea – effectively SAMSA’s legislated mandate.
She said: “South Africa, being signatory to the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue adopted by the International Maritime Organization, has an obligation to respond to distress calls within its designated Search and Rescue Region (SRR). This piece of legislation is domesticated by the SASAR Act 44 of 2002, within which falls the South African Search and Rescue Organization.
“MRCC Cape Town forms a crucial part of the South African Search and Rescue (SASAR) Organization, in that, it is tasked with coordinating all maritime SAR operations within our SAR region. A sizeable +/-27.7 million square km’s of it! At the centre for Sea Watch and Response, maintaining maritime domain awareness is of extreme importance for purposes of ensuring a timely response to incidents developing at sea, including Search and Rescue.
“Joining hands so others may live…” The successful execution of this rescue perfectly epitomizes this SASAR motto. Considering the very treacherous nature of the maritime environment, one would appreciate the fact that it takes teamwork and cooperation to execute and conclude a successful rescue operation, especially upon high seas. Not forgetting seamanship, as demonstrated by skilful sailors such as Ms Kristen Neuschäfer and the crew of the DARYA.
“The MRCC is manned by a team of men and women who are not only qualified but are equally as dedicated and attentive to each call that is received, whilst maintaining the highest level of professionalism, often under stressful conditions. I commend the MRCC team for their meticulous coordination of this rescue, in cooperation with the Master of the M.V. DARYA and Ms Neuschafer, which resulted in saving a life.
“We are extremely honoured to receive this recognition and such an important award, Seamanship Award 2022, issued by the Ocean Cruising Club. This industry is not one that is short of challenges but each one strengthens us and makes us better. Ensuring safety of life and property at sea remains imperative for us at the South African Maritime Safety Authority.
The view was also shared by MRCC chief, Mr Jared Blows; whose unit operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, constantly keeping a watchful eye and in constant contact, when needed, with the thousands of vessels, big and small; traversing the three oceans region surrounding South Africa.
Mr Blows further expressed his thanks and congratulations to his team at MRCC for yet another successful rescue. He went on to congratulate the other award recipients without whom this would not have been possible.
“The team at MRCC display professionalism and strive to maintain world class standards even under very challenging times.
“Over its almost 20 years being hosted by SAMSA, the MRCC has been involved in numerous incident with some notable being the 2011 rescue of 33 Taiwanese sailors about 2000nm west of Cape Town following their vessel having had an onboard explosion and fire resulting in them needing to abandon the vessel , the Cape to Rio (2014) yacht race rescue incident hours after the race started in very treacherous conditions and more recently the rescue of 62 sailors after their vessel, GEOSEARCHER (2020), sank off Gough Island,” remarked Mr Blows.
South Africa’s inaugural maritime sector Gender-Based Violence (GBV) dedicated seminar in Cape Town a month ago broke new ground in the sector for successfully turning the spotlight fully-on, on effects and impacts of the scurge now viewed as a pandemic in the country.
The seminar, featuring both domestic and international maritime sector officials inclusive of seafarers, business leaders and academic personalities, drew wide attention both in the sector and generally as illustrated by the national media coverage it recieved, particularly on radio and television. Organised by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), it was also streamed live online on the day in order to ensure maximum exposure to all that could not be fitted into the venue, or were simply unable to attend.
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.
It’s specific purpose, according to SAMSA was 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.
For record purposes, below this blog provides possibly a most comprehensive coverage of the event, inclusive of a ‘male seafarers’ perspective’ that on the day, received far less exposure than was planned.
The videos below, clustered according to themes; provide full remarks of the keynote speakers, the group of female seafarers’ who shared their personal experiences, the employers’ perspectives as well as male seafarers’ views on GBV. We also provide very brief coverage of SAMSA’s seafarers’ educational pamphlets distribution to seafarers at the port of Cape Town on Friday, 25 November.
Female Seafarers’ Perspective on GBV in the maritime sector:
Male Seafarers’ Perspective on GBV in the maritime sector
Maritime Industry Employers’ Perspective on GBV:
GBV Educational Pamphlets Distribution: Port of Cape Town. Friday, 25 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The Merchant Shipping (Safety of Navigation) Amendment Regulations, 1968;
The Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods) Amendment Regulations, 1997;
The Draft MS (Crew Accommodation) Regulations, 2023 which seeks to repeal the 1961 Regulations;
The Draft Merchant Shipping (Construction and Equipment of Fishing Vessels of 24 Metres in Length and Over) Regulations, 2022; and
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.
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
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.
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.
Seafarers’ working conditions and welfare, advancement of technologies to combat shipping transport carbon emissions, sustained closer collaboration among maritime countries, clear strategies and standards on management and combating of the spread of communicable diseases; were among topics featuring prominently during the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) World Maritime Day Parallel Event held in Durban, South Africa over four days a week ago.
The event, involving delegates of the IMO’s 175 Member States globally – albeit, held all of two years past its initial due date due to postponement attributed to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in late 2019 – flagged its significance for South Africa in not only being the first “in-person” IMO standing global event of its kind.
But it glittered also on the fact that it was also the first time it was hosted in an African country, thereby creating a historical milestone for both the country and the continent.
With the event’s theme for 2022 being: “New Technologies for Greener Shipping”, the obvious focus was on a global maritime sector strategies to contribute to the reduction and eventual elimination of gaseous carbon emissions by shipping transport and related in the world’s maritime space.
Officially attended to and led by IMO Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim, several IMO senior officials, as well as South African government officials and attaching institutions led by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and his deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, over four days, delegates dug deep into the subject, and to which attached the formal launch of the Norway and IMO sponsored Green Voyage 2050 Project for South Africa.
The Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) whose chairmanship hitherto was held by Nigeria and secretariat by South Africa, also aligned the holding of its delayed 5th Elective Conference with the event – thereby taking advantage of the global maritime representatives’ all at once huge turnout and sojourn onto African soil for the first time.
Several Memoranda of Understanding ( MoUs)were also signed between organisations and, in some cases governments, including two between the South African Maritime Safety Authority and its counter-part institutions in Ghana and Panama, as well as between AAMA and fraternal institutions in Africa.
Below is a select group of presentations and official speeches captured by this SAMSA blog during the week. They include in a descending order:
DAY ONE:IMO Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim and South Africa deputy Transport Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s speeches on the first evening cocktail event to welcome delegates to South Africa, hosted jointly by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Moses Kotane Institute
DAY TWO: South Africa Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula’s opening address of the WMD Parallel Event to officially welcome international delegates.
DAY THREE: Some visuals of a “Kasi Style” evening entertainment and exhibitors’ awards held at the MSC Cruise Vessels Passenger Terminal at the Durban port.
DAY FOUR:IMO Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim’s closing address and handover of the IMO WMDPE event flag to the Islamic Republic of Iran officials on account of that country being the next in line to host the IMO event in 2023; Dr Majid Ali Nazi, Iran’s Maritime Affairs, Ports and Maritime Transport agency representative’s acceptance speech of the flag had over, and South Africa deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s event closing speech.
We also present coverage of AAMA’s 5th elective conference on Monday, 10 October 2022 as well as highlights of the launch of the Norway-IMO Green Voyage 2050 Project for South Africa, inclusive of an extensive interview with officials of the Department of Transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority directly involved in the project from inception, Mr Metse Ralepenya and Mr Tebogo Mojafi.
Kenya takes over AAMA leadership at 5th elective conference in Durban.
The optimal functionality of the African Association of Maritime Administrations (AAMA) remains pivotal as a vital cog in the global wheel driving ongoing development of the maritime economic sector both in Africa and globally, according to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
That is why the African body’s one-day 5th elective conference in Durban last week, held on the sidelines of the four-days World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE) – attended by hundreds of delegates of the international maritime body’s 175 Member States – received more than mere lip-service support from the IMO.
Mr William Azuh, the IMO’s Head of Africa section technical cooperation division, revealed that the London based IMO actually funded the costs of attendance of at least one official of the AAMA member countries that attended, this to ensure that the body continued to pursue for fulfilment of its mandate.
By the end of the day conference last Monday (10 October 2022), a new leadership comprising the chairmanship and secretariat had been mutually agreed upon, with Kenya succeeding Nigeria in being entrusted with the stewardship of AAMA over the next year, while the secretarial service remains with South Africa – as has been the case for the last few years since founding of the body.
With an attendance of just over 30 delegates from AAMA member countries predominantly from sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Azuh (whose brief interview with this blog is provided herein below) was full of praise not only of the turnout but also for the quality of content.
The high turnout was befitting the IMO’s staging of the WMDPE in South Africa, the first time such the event was hosted by an African country since its launch in early 2000.
Both South Africa and Nigeria received commendations for their steadfastness in ensuring continuity of functionality of the body, while pledges of ongoing IMO support went to Kenya as it embarks on leadership of AAMA over the next year.
For Mr Azuh’s remarks on AAMA, click on the video below.
South Africa, as represented by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and outgoing Nigerian chairmanship, also had views to share on the necessity of continued efforts by AAMA to shore up support not just for Africa but the entire global maritime economic domain.
For both SAMSA’s perspective given during opening of the AAMA elective conference and Nigeria’s view as provided by Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative at the IMO, Mr Abdul Dirisu, click on the videos below.
NORWAY-IMO GREEN VOYAGE PROJECT 2050: South Africa goes all green for shipping transport
South Africa’s voluntary engagement in the Norwegian sponsored Green Voyage 2050 Project in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), this in support of the latter’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) shipping transport emissions elimination strategy, is indicative of the African country commitment and sheer determination to even punch above its weight in support of maritime sector development goals.
That is at least the view of government officials running with the initiative and through whose involvement with the project, saw South Africa becoming one of 10 countries globally in 2021 that volunteered to pilot the Green Voyage 2050 Project.
The Department of Transport working jointly with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), are behind the country’s involvement in the project whose formal launch in the country took place during the IMO’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event at the Durban International Convention Centre last week.
The launch on Tuesday, 11 October 2022 – also attended physically and online by Norwegian and IMO officials – took the form of a round table discussion involving a contingent of delegates from both South Africa’s private maritime economic sector as well as public representatives from various government departments and societal groups with justifiable interest.
Mr Mthunzi Madiya, the national Department of Transport’s deputy Director-General for the maritime directorate, spelt out and contextualised South Africa’s keen participation in the project, even as the country’s contribution to global GHG, he said; amounted to no more than one percent of maritime transport emissions.
“The international shipping industry is a fundamental aspect of our global trade and without it, the possibilities to conduct intra-continental trade – which entails the transportation of bulk raw material, as well as import and export of affordable goods and manufactured goods – would be minimal, if not impossible.
“South Africa is at a critical juncture in its history in which it has to find ways to deliver on its developmental objectives within a world that is trending towards low carbon emissions,” said Mr Madiya.
Summarily, he said, the uptake of new technologies to advance the reduction and eventually elimination of carbon emissions was essential for the country.
To this end, Mr Madiya further confirmed that enabling legislation and regulations to facilitate further implementation of the Marpol Convention (Annexure 6) were before lawmakers in South Africa’s parliament for consideration and possible ratification. This he said, could be expected to occur before year end.
Meanwhile, during the event, South Africa was the recipient of heaps of praise for its pioneering spirit in the regard from the IMO’s head of partnerships and projects, Dr Jose Matheickal.
For their full respective views during delivery of opening remarks of the round table on the Green Voyage 2050 Project launch last Tuesday, click on the videos below.
To round off the coverage of the launch event, this blog further spoke to two officials closely involved with both the conception of and South Africa’s early involvement in the project, Mr Metse Ralephenya of the Department of Transport (maritime divison) and Mr Tegobo Mojafi, senior manager for maritime research at the South African Maritime Safety Authority. For their views, click on the video below.
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.
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’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.
“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.