Steps underway to reorganise SA’s maritime education and training: SAIMI

Pretoria: 20 October 2019

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Some of the delegates to a South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) two day conference held at the Durban International Convention Centre on Monday and Tuesday, 14-15 October 2019

There is no gainsaying that South Africa geographically is, for all intents and purposes, a maritime country. But are South Africans a nation all at sea, without a single drop of water in sight?

This was one of the questions to arise at this past week’s two day conference organised by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) at the Durban International Convention Centre, and to which question a clear answer seemed elusive.

One strong view to emerge though, and stated without equivocation by one delegate from the academic sector, Ms Theresa Williams, was that: “South Africa may be a maritime country, but South Africans are not a maritime nation!” And this, according to her, has serious  long term implications for a whole range of issues, but particularly maritime education and training.

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Some of the presenters on the first day of the two day SAIMI conference in Durban

Conference attendees, among them top academics, researchers, teachers, seafarers, heads of public and private sector companies and institutions, government representatives and associated came from across South Africa to Durban at the invitation of the Port Elizabeth based SAIMI.

For one and half days they’d discuss how best the country could effectively organise and manage its education and training of a future workforce that’s suitably prepared to develop and advance the country’s maritime economic sector in the 21st century and beyond.

South Africa’s maritime features include a country of 59-million inhabitants on a land area at the most southern tip of the African continent surrounded by a 3 200 kilometres long coastline spanning three oceans, the Indian to the east, the Southern to the south and the Atlantic to the west, with as much as a 1.5-million square kilometres of an exclusive economic zone, and possibly soon to be extended.

Through that corridor thousands of world trade vessels pass, while some dock at the country’s major ports. The seascape is also full of flora, fauna and other natural resources and whose responsible exploitation could contribute to expanded economic activity and wealth creation leading to jobs creation.

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Delegates exchanging pleasantries just before the start of the SAIMI conference in Durban

The indaba, in Durban on Monday on Tuesday, according to SAIMI, was staged against the backdrop of a tanking realisation backed by a recent assessment study that while the oceans economy in South Africa and the rest of the African continent was being probed anew as the future frontier of economic development, with a potential to generate domestically more than a million jobs and contribute as much as R177-billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next decade, South Africa simply does not have the manpower with requisite skills to match present and anticipated future demand in the sector.

SAIMI acting chief executive, Mr Odwa Mtati said: “In order to activate the potential, we need the skills to match the demand….Notwithstanding inroads that have been made at post-school education and training institutions in recent years, SAIMI’s 2018 Oceans Economy Skills Development Assessment (report) for South Africa highlighted a potential mismatch between current skills being produced and the actual industry needs.

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EXCHAGING NOTES: (From Left: Ms Sobantu Tilayi (SAMSA), Ms Theresa Williams (MAISA), Mr Pieter Coetzer (SAMTRA), Ms Lyn Bruce (Klaveness) and Mr Victor Momberg (TETA) listening attentively to presentations during the Seafarer Development session of the SAIMI conference in Durban

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Mr Odwa Mtati. Projects Manager: SAIMI

“The study suggests that while the supply of skills is adequate in numbers, there is a disconnect between the type of skills being produced and those required by the industry hence the need for greater industry participation in shaping outcomes of the skills production system.”

Mr Mtati said the two day conference in Durban on Monday and Tuesday, under the moniker: “Forward Thinking for Maritime Education and Training Excellence” would hopefully produce ‘actionable outcomes to strengthen maritime education and training.’

“This conference offers a collaborative platform for stakeholders in industry, academia and government to review current maritime skills supply capacity against future demand, and to consider collaborative and collective ways to address deficits in the current system and close gaps,” said Mr Mtati.

This was repeated by Dr Sibongile Muthwa, the chairperson of SAIMI’s advisory committee and Vice-Chancellor of the Nelson Mandela University that’s home to SAIMI, in her opening remarks of the conference, all contained in the video above.

Meanwhile, as the conference wrapped up on the second last day, Mr Mtati was upbeat and confident that the gathering had achieved some of its objectives.

In a brief interview as delegates dispersed, Mr Mtati said: “Our sense is that out of the many stakeholders that participated, there is an acceptance of the need for engagement in meaningful discussions. Going forward, one of the outcomes that we will pursue is the development of a collaborative model to ensure that all the voices are accommodated.”

Further, he said, there was a strong commitment made by some of the stakeholders to get directly involved in the establishment and implementation of solutions to some of the challenges identified. Click on the video below for his full brief assessment,

Parallel Session: Seafarers Development

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TAKING NOTES: (From Left: Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO; SAMSA, Mr Andrew Millard. CE; Vuka Marine and Ms Theresa Williams of the Maritime Academic Institutions of South Africa

The conference had been packaged in sessions, first a full plenary soon followed by two parallel sessions – one focused on seafarers development and another directed towards skills needs assessment for the off shore oil and gas sub-sector.

This blog, tagged along with delegates that engaged in the seafarers development session and below, it features all the contributions of the seven main presenters during the discussion.

The insights into seafarer development in South Africa were breathtaking in some instances as they were astonishing in another. Poor coordination in training and education, lack of funding and requisite infrastructure such as a ships for berths, a poor orientation of youths keen on seafaring and a general poor public awareness of the country’s maritime status, were among issues identified.

At the same time, major opportunities lay still for exploration and exploitation, and therefore much work lay ahead for those willing to put in the hours.

The videos of the main presenters are loaded below for a full perspective of the nature of the discussion. A video of floor contributors will follow soon.

 

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) headed the session giving an overview of the country’s seafarer education and training landscape, along with a brief history of the challenges facing the sector.

Mr Andrew Millard, CEO of Vuka Marine gave a shipowners view of the seafarer landscape in South Africa with focus much on employer expectations.

Ms Theresa Williams of the Maritime Academic Institutions of South Africa focused on challenges and opportunities facing academic institutions currently offering maritime education and training, as well as dwelt at length on the nature of the youth in South Africa currently keen on maritime education. Pulling no punches, she says it is truly an uphill battle. Do note that Ms Williams’ contribution is in two parts, in two videos.

Mr Pieter Coetzer, Commercial Manager: South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) shares an independent cadets trainer’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing the sub sector.

Ms Lyn Bruce, Project Coordinator at Klaveness Shipping also shared an employer’s viewpoint of the South African seafarer with specific focus on her company’s activity in contributing towards development of the country’s seafarers,

Mr Victor Momberg, Executive Officer of the Maritime Chamber of the Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) spoke on the role of the authority and the need for Technical, Vocational and Education and Training (TVET) institutions to be enrolled into the maritime sector education and training network.

Captain Ian Hlongwane, Manager, National Cadet Programme at SAIMI shares SAIMI perspective on the conference.

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Marpol Convention Anex VI enabling legislation on course for Jan 2020 in SA: Transport Minister

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Durban: 16 October 2019

Enabling legislation in South Africa for the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Marpol Convention Annexture VI that will enforce even lower sulphur content for ships fuel from 01 January 2020, should be ready by year end, Transport Minister Mr Fikile Mbalula has confirmed.

The assurance from the Ministry is significant in that an enabling legislation was among key issues raised as concerning by both industry and government during a recent two-day consultative workshop held in Cape Town and in which the IMO was represented.

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Precisely, in terms of the IMO, the global implementation of the new 0.50% sulphur limit in ships fuel comes into effect on 01 January 2020.

The new regulations are in terms of the IMO’s MARPOL Convention (Annexture VI) whose goal, according to the IMO is to further reduce air pollution by ships through emission. The revised regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships under the MARPOL (Annex VI) were adopted in October 2008 and ratified by more than 65 countries including South Africa.

In terms of this, all sizes of ships sailing on the world’s oceans will need to use fuel oil that meets the 0.50% limit from 1 January 2020. The 0.50% sulphur limit extends to carriage of bunker fuel with sulphur content of more than 0.50% for vessels not fitted with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGSC). The carriage ban will come into effect on 1 March 2020.

At a two day conference held in Cape Town in July attended by more than 100 industry representatives from various sectors including cargo owners, ship owners and related, concerns were raised about the prospect of enabling legislation being ready on time for the deadline,

In Durban on Tuesday this week, Mr Mbalula finally allayed the fears, stating categorically that the necessary legislation will be in place by year end 2019. Mr Mbalula made the confirmation during a brief interaction with the media while visiting the Transnet offices at the port of Durban where he was scheduled to go on a port tour but which had to be cancelled after strong winds swelled the waters, putting paid to any such venture on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Mbalula said: “It (the legislation) will be in place. We’ve taken the matter up to Cabinet and from Cabinet it will undergo the processes of public participation and before the end of the year we should be able to make those deadlines.”

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South Africa Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula

Mr Mbalula also remarked about other maritime sector related issues inclusive of current moves to prioritise the setting up of coastal shipping in South Africa as a key development and broader participation tool to bolster sectoral economic growth.

He also touched on the country’s choice of the city of Durban as next year’s host venue for the country’s inaugural staging of the IMO’s annual World Maritime Day Parallel Event – the biggest gathering of its kind for the global maritime sector involving no less than 170 countries.

In an earlier speech delivered at the 8th Annual Ports & Rail Evolution Forum that started on Tuesday and ends on Wednesday at the Durban International Convention Centre, Mr Mbalula had described the IMO event in the country next year as an ideal opportunity that will allow South Africa to showcase its maritime capabilities to both Africa and the rest of the maritime world.

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In that speech which is captured fully here in the next two videos, Mr Mbalula decried Africa’s apparent propensity to take its own time getting to bedding down ideas and setting its economy on track to both attract investment as well as deliver on socio economic benefits for its people.

Mr Mbalula said the adage that “there is no hurry in Africa…” simply had to make way for a hurried pace in not only generating ideas but ensuring that they are followed up and implemented in a sustainable way. The key issue for integrated development and trade in the continent was ports and rail infrastructure which he described as reputably poorly maintained leading to gross inefficiencies.

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For Mr Mbalula’s confirmation of the passage of legislation enabling the implementation of the IMO Marpol Convention Annex VI, click on the video below.

For Mr Mbalula’s full speech at the Ports & Rail Evolution Forum, click on the video below.

UK Space Agency-SAMSA partnership ups the ante against fishermen deaths in SA.

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Pretoria: 02 October 2019

The reduction and prevention of deaths of fishermen along South Africa’s coastal area is among key priorities of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and efforts towards this goal are beginning to pay off, thanks in part to strategic partnerships forged with like-minded institutions domestically and abroad.

One such partnership is that with the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) which has over the past year seen more than 1 000 small high tech vessel tracking devices acquired and distributed among particularly artisanal or subsistence fishermen across the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape provinces in order to enable them to quickly and seamlessly request for assistance whenever in trouble while out fishing at sea or on inland waterways.

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PLOTTING SUBSISTENCE FISHERMEN SAFETY: United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) officials (seated Centre and Right), Ms Athene Gadsby, and Mr Tim Hayward during their first visit to South Africa in July 2019 to meet with SAMSA’s team of fishermen safety officials based in Cape Town led by Captain Karl Otto (third from Left), as well as officials of the NSIR (last two on the right) for an assessment of Project Oasis, aimed at curbing the deaths of fishermen by enhancing their safety through a satellite based tracking and identifying device now being distributed for free to subsistence fishermen across South Africa’s coastal areas.

The project known as ‘Project Oasis”, the first of its kind aimed subsistence fishermen, is being funded to the tune of R10-million by the UKSA and is operated by SAMSA. The UKSA is also working closely with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in the distribution of the device.

A UKSA team of officials, senior director of UKSA’s Caribou Space programme, Mr Tim Hayward and UKSA’s International Partnership Programme Director, Ms Athene Gadsby, visited South Africa recently to meet in Cape Town with SAMSA and the NSRI as well as a community of fishermen in Lamberts’ Bay on the Atlantic Ocean coastline north west of Cape Town to conduct an assessment of the impact of the project so far.

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It was UKSA’s first visit of the region since launch of the project.

Outlining UKSA’s involvement in the project, according to the officials, the South Africa project is among 33 other worldwide project (37 countries) funded through the agency’s International Partnership Programme’s UK£30-million annual funding for developmental projects.

They said the ‘Project Oasis’ focus was in the distribution of a satellite technology based identifying and tracking devices known as the ‘SAT-AIS em-Trak I100 identifier trackers’ for small boats (less than 10 meters long). The target group for distribution and utilization of the device were artisanal fishermen – most of whom were generally poor.

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CONDUCTING PROJECT OASIS ASSESSMENT: (From Left) Ms Athene Gadsby, UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme Manager and Mr Tim Hayward, UK Space Agency’s Caribou Space senior manager during a meeting with SAMSA in Cape Town.

The aim, they said, was to support SAMSA’s efforts in reducing casualties among the country’s subsistence fishing communities and reduction in exorbitant expenses incurred during rescue efforts.

While statistics of casualties shared with the agency by SAMSA reflected a significant decline in the number of fishermen dying at sea over the past decade, they also showed that the most at risk category of people at sea were subsistence fishermen who generally did not have the safety and communication equipment necessary to summon assistance and be located quickly when needed. They are generally poor and with only small boats that were hard to locate when in difficulties.

Explaining the exact functionality of the fishing boat tracking and identifier units, the UKSA officials said the devices were designed to be tracked in near real time using a set of exactEarth’s constellation of polar and equatorial orbiting AIS satellites, thereby allowing SAMSA to gain an up-to-date location of the small boats with an up-to-date last known position.

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The devices also provide an SOS button that transmits a distress signal when an incident has occurred thereby enabling rescuers access to accurate information about the location and situation of a small fishing vessel.

The device which has since evolved to include a locally manufactured solar powered one, at an estimated cost of about R5 000 per unit, is distributed to small vessel fishermen in South Africa for free.

In a three minutes video interview, Ms Gadsby spoke more on the project. Click below.

Meanwhile according to SAMSA’s head of the Sea and Rescue Centre in Cape Town, Captain Karl Otto who led a SAMSA team of officials in welcoming and meeting with the UKSA officials, revealed that the project had been beneficial not only to South Africa but also five other neighboring countries; Namibia, Mozambique, Kenya, Mauritius and the Comoros.

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Captain Karl Otto. Head: SAMSA Centre for Sea Search and Rescue.

He acknowledged that the project was still at its infancy and was encountering challenges,d among which was resistance by some subsistence fishermen based on apparent suspicion that the tracking device was also being used to police their activity.

“The true and sole objective to is enhance their safety and in the process also reduce the huge costs involved during search and rescue. We’d rather rescue fast than spend more time search, and the devices addresses exactly that need,” said Captain Otto.

In a 22 minutes in-video chat at his office shortly after the meeting with the UKSA officials, Captain Otto explained fully about the project: Click Here;

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SAMSA, SA Govt take advantage of IMO annual General Council event to cement ties with Colombia.

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BUILDING BRIDGES: South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula (second from Left) on stage with several official representatives from about 127 Member States that gathered in the of Catargena de Indias in Colombo from the weekend through to Tuesday this week for the 2019 International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Parallel Event.

Pretoria: 18 September 2019

Discussions between South Africa and Colombia to strengthen relationships between the southern hemisphere countries but especially to strengthen co-operation and collaboration on safety and security of their seafarers will continue from this week to next week, the two governments announced in Colombia on Tuesday evening (South African time).

Confirmation of the engagement between the countries on the sidelines of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) annual General Council Parallel Event held in Cartagena de Indias since Sunday, involving more than 120 IMO member States, came in the form of a joint communique crafted by the two countries’s ministers of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula for South Africa, and Ms Ángela María Orozco for Colombia.

In the statement, the two ministers indicated that central to their continued discussions this week, through to next week in Montreal, Canada, was the formalization through formal ratification of two cooperation instruments; a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and an Agreement for Mutual Recognition of Seafarers Certificates between South Africa and Colombia.

18_12_11_IMO_WMD_WomenMaritime_Logo_Languages-English 2019Montreal, Canada is the host of this year’s 40th Triennial Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization from 24 September to the 4th October 2019.

In the joint communique’, Mr Mbalula and Ms Orozco confirmed that:

“The Ministers of Transport of Colombia and South Africa, met on September 17, 2019 on the sidelines of the Parallel Event to World Maritime Day, under the theme “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

“As part of the United Nations family, the Ministers welcomed all efforts made by the International Maritime Organization to strengthen coordination, build consensus, enhance cooperation and promote world peace, stability and development.

“The Ministers underlined the need to further strengthen South-South cooperation and advance our partnership to ensure the synergies to preserve the safety of life at sea and the marine environment protection through international mechanisms and instruments.

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MAKING FRIENDS:  Members of a South African delegation to the IMO’s General Assembly Parallel Event in Colombia included South Africa’s Port Regular Mr Mahesk Fakir (Left) and Ms Selma Clausen-Schwartz of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Third from Right).

“The Ministers reiterated their commitment to work together to further the bilateral relation and cooperation on important issues discussed at the Parallel Event to a new level. To this end, the Ministers agreed to stand ready to expand mutual consultations for the conclusion of the current negotiations of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA). The Ministers also agreed that a BASA will enhance trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

“The Ministers also welcomed the interest expressed by both countries to negotiate an “Agreement for Mutual Recognition of Seafarers Certificates for Negotiation between South Africa and Colombia”.

“The Ministers agreed to continue these consultations at the upcoming 40th Triennial Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization that will take place in Montreal, Canada from the 24th September to the 4th October 2019.

“The Minister of Transport of the Republic of South Africa thanked the Republic of Colombia for hosting and making excellent arrangements for the meeting.

“The Minister of Transport of the Republic of Colombia wished all the best to the Republic of South Africa for being the next host country of the World Maritime Day Parallel Event in 2020.” Durban, on the eastern seaboard of South Africa side of the Indian Ocean, has been confirmed as the venue for the IMO inaugural event in South Africa in a year’s time.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting CEO: SAMSA

Meanwhile, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) whose officials attended the IMO Parallel Event, also confirmed entering into an agreement with its Colombian counterpart, the Directorate of the Maritime (DIMAR),  over a declaration of intent “to establish a framework for institutional cooperation on matters of mutual interest between the two Maritime Authorities.”

According to SAMSA, representing Colombia’s DIMAR at the talks were Mr Juan Manuel Soltau Ospina and for SAMSA, the agency’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

The draft of the declaration of intent between SAMSA and DIMAR indicates that the two organisations “within the scope of competence of the respective Parties, and in recognition of international instruments in which South Africa and Colombia are parties to and the international organizations of which they are members, the main areas and forms of cooperation that the framework would include are the following:

  • Safety of life and property at sea
  • Safety of Navigation
  • Capacity building
  • Maritime transport
  • Environmental Protection and Prevention
  • Technical cooperation
  • Compliance and implementation of international instruments

 

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With only months to go, South Africa steps up its prep for its host debut of the IMO’s General Council conference 2020.

DSC_3914.jpg12 September 2019

Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula is among a host of senior government, parastatals and maritime sector officials due to descend in Colombia this weekend for this year’s International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) General Council parallel event – the biggest gathering of the United Nations’ agency’s Member States on an annual basis.

The World Maritime Day Parallel Event 2019 will be held in Cartagena, Colombia, from Sunday to Wednesday (15-17 September 2019).

18_12_11_imo_wmd_womenmaritime_logo_languages-english-2019.jpgAccording to the IMO, the World Maritime Day Parallel Event is hosted in a different country each year, providing “a platform that brings together important actors and stakeholders in the maritime community to discuss matters of mutual concern.”

The IMO says the event’s theme for this year is “Empowering Women” with focus on issues affecting maritime women that are relevant to the wider maritime community.

In South Africa, part of the reason for the country’s delegation’s attendance of the IMO event is because next year, South Africa will for the first time be the host of the conference – a development this blog wrote extensively about when the IMO made the decision fours year ago. Click on the link below for that story

https://blog.samsa.org.za/2015/12/08/south-africa-to-host-imo-assembly-in-2020/

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DONE DEAL!: South Africa’s Minister of Transport (Left) shaking hands with Angolan Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, during Angola’s signing of a Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement with South Africa in London recently

Meanwhile, according to Mr Mbalula’s office on Wednesday, the Minister met with Colombia’s Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Carlos Andres Barahona Nino on Tuesday as part preparation of his visit to the south American country in a few day’s time.

According to a statement, during the meeting with Mr Nino, Mr Mbalula “highlighted the endless possibilities for job creation in the country’s maritime sector.”

The statement quoted him as saying: “As a country we can not ignore the plethora of prospects in maritime. We must strive to transform this industry and unlock the economic opportunities which lie dormant in the sector. Working with the over 170 IMO Member States, our goals will be attained.

The statement also noted that recently Mr Mbalula led a delegation to the IMO where South Africa deposited an instrument of accession to the Hazardous and Noxious Substances Protocol of 2010, and during which visit the Minister also facilitated the signing of the Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement by Angola.

SAMSA Master LogoAmong officials accompanying Mr Mbalula will be senior officials of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) who, the agency confirmed on Thursday, will use the opportunity to discuss and on agreement, sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Mutual Recognition of Seafarers with their Columbian counterparts.

Where possible, this blog will strive to carry and share whatever news information flows from the event.

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SA set to maintain its IMO STCW Convention ‘Whitelist’ status: SAMSA

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The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has once again given an assurance that South Africa will retain its status in the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) STCW Convention ‘Whitelist’.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting CEO. SAMSA

The assurance was given by SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi while addressing a gathering of members of the South African Institute of Marine Engineers and Naval Architects (SAIMENA) in Cape Town on Friday afternoon.

He’d been invited to specifically come and address the organisation’s members on the status of the country regarding the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW Convention) since the near fall-out earlier this year after close on two thirds of IMO Member States on the list reportedly faced removal.

The incident in April 2019 sparked fears and concerns among seafarers, shipping sector and related marine and maritime professionals across many countries, including South Africa as it reportedly risked among other things, a massive loss of jobs and likely manning challenges in the shipping transport sector.

This was averted after the IMO soon corrected the situation following to a meeting with members States. South Africa, one of 129 countries listed, had been on the IMO STCW Convention ‘Whitelist’ since 2001.

DSC_5252On Friday, for about half an hour during lunchtime, Mr Tilayi outlined the genesis of the challenge with regards South Africa and outlined steps that were being taken currently to ensure that the country meets its periodic review obligations to the IMO’s STCW Convention on time for the next submission due in 2020.

Throughout the process, Mr Tilayi said the maritime sector would be constantly updated and occasional involved directly for its contribution to matters such as reviews of legislation and related.

DSC_5253While about it, Mr Tilayi also touched on various other topics related, inclusive of the current repositioning of SAMSA as a central professional maritime administrator instrumental to the development of South Africa as maritime centre of excellence by 2030 in line with the country’s National Development Plan.

He also touched briefly on the country’s need for higher preparedness to exploit new investment opportunities being identified, similar to the burgeoning shipping bunkering services in Port Elizabeth (a.k.a Nelson Mandela Bay) on the southern east coast of South Africa.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (27 minutes), click on the video below.

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South Africa’s leadership in fishers’ safety and security lauded: South East Asian countries

DSC_4428.JPGCape Town: 04 September 2019

Over five days, from 26-30 August 2019, about three dozen delegates from three South East Asian countries – Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand – rubbed shoulders and closely interacted with their South African counterparts in the Western Cape, exchanging notes on the implementation of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 188.

On their departure from South Africa at the weekend, the delegates – among them senior government officials at ministerial and director level, as well as ILO officials, were more than impressed.

In their own words, captured in the following video interviews, not only did they learn much of what they hoped for about the implementation of the ILO’s C188, but they also felt that South Africa’s leadership in the regard, and partnership going forward, were crucial in the success of their own endeavours to ensure the implementation of the instrument in their own countries to ensure the safety and security of their fishing sectors’ labour.

DSC_4448.JPGILO officials, who accompanied the delegates both during a two day workshop in Cape Town on Monday and Tuesday, as well as during actual fishing vessels inspections in Cape Town, Saldanha Bay and St Helena Bay on the west coast of South Africa, led by South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) officials headed by Mr Selywn Bailey, were no less impressed.

DSC_4557.JPGSpoken to by this blog in the video interviews featured below,  (in no particular order) were

  1. Mr Basilio Araujo, Assistant Deputy Minister, Indonesia’s Office of the Deputy Coordinating Minister for Maritime Sovereignty and Resilience, Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs;
  2. Mr Indra Setiawan, Head of Facilities and Infrastructure Section at Indonesia’s  Directorate of Manpower Law Compliance, Directorate General of Inspection, Ministry of Manpower;
  3. Ms Mi Zhou, Project Manager of the ILO’s Indonesia Sea Fisheries Project;
  4. Ms Ma.Teresita S. Cucueco,  the Phillipines director of Bureau of Working Conditions in the Department of Labour and Employment.
  5. Mr Somboon Trisilanunt, deputy Director-General in Thailand’s Department of Labour Protection and Welfare (DLPW), Ministry of Labour and
  6. Rear-Admiral Apichai Sompolgrunk, Director -General at Thailand’s Office of Maritime Security Affairs, Naval Operations Dept., Royal Thai Navy/ Command Centre to Combat Illegal Fishing (CCCIF).

Take a listen:

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Sound international relations with other maritime countries a key building block for SA maritime sector development: SAMSA

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SHARING KNOWLEDGE: Some of the international delegates from three South East Asian countries currently visiting South Africa for workshop of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Work in Fishing Convention 188 conducted by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) at the request of the ILO in Cape Town this week.  The photo was taken during their visit of fishing group I&J at the port of Cape Town on Tuesday.

Cape Town: 28 August 2019

South Africa’s quest and determination to be a global maritime centre of excellence in a few years’ time can only occur if the country also maintains sound relations with its counterparts elsewhere in the world through sharing of knowledge and experiences of its own maritime sector development.

This is according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting Chief Executive Officer. Mr Sobantu Tilayi who this week welcomed more than two dozen delegates from three South East Asian countries, who are in the country to learn about South Africa’s pioneering approach to safety and security work conditions for the country’s fishing sub-sector labour force.

It was the second such international maritime countries meeting in South Africa in two successive weeks, this following to the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) Port State Control Committee 22nd annual meeting also held in Cape Town the previous week.

This week’s five day workshop for Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines and conducted at the behest of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), is also focused on the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No 188) that came into effect recently.

The C188 objectives, according to the ILO, are “to ensure that fishers have decent conditions of work on board fishing vessels with regard to minimum requirements for work on board; conditions of service; accommodation and food; occupational safety and health protection; medical care and social security.”

The ILO says that, except where exemptions are granted, the convention applies to all fishers and all fishing vessels engaged in commercial fishing operations worldwide.

South Africa, which had already made notable advances in the development and improvement of working conditions for fishers, was the first country in the world to implement the convention in 2017. 

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting Chief Executive Officer: SAMSA

In a brief interview outside the workshop in Cape Town this week, Mr Tilayi said it was significant for the country that other countries of the world we noticing the role South Africa had played and continues to with regards to fishers’s improved working conditions.

This, he said, had major positive implications for South Africa’s quest and plan to become an international maritime centre of excellence by 2030.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on the subject, Click on the video  below:

The SAMSA led week-long workshop that began on Monday in Cape Town has on its agenda, discussions on:

  • South Africa’s implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No.188) since its ratification in 2013.
  • South Africa’s Maritime Legislative framework and the institutional arrangements in the implementation of the ratified Work in Fishing Convention.
  • The amendments to the South Africa Merchant Shipping Act to cater for the Work in Fishing Convention.
  • The practical implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention with visits to different types of vessels.
  • Showcasing the implementation of the safety construction of fishing vessels (new builds).

It will wrap up on Friday with visits by the delegates to fishing companies in Cape Town, Saldanha Bay as well as St Helena Bay.

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South Africa shares experiences with Asian countries about fishing safety: SAMSA

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South Africa and three South East Asian countries’ delegates to this week’s workshop on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) C188 workshop in Cape Town.

Cape Town: 27 August 2019

South Africa’s leading role globally on development of safety and security measures for fishermen – inclusive of its pioneering role in the implementation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 188 two years ago – is proving a draw card for most other countries also keen on improving labour conditions for their workers in the fishing sector.

In Cape Town this week, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is hosting delegates from South East Asia countries to share knowledge and experiences accumulated in the development of safety and security for fishermen on board fishing vessels.

img_8392.jpgAlso attending the South Africa (ILO) C188 Workshop for the South East Asian countries are local labour and bargaining council organisations in the fishing sector, as well as some of the major employers in the sector.

From South East Asia are officials from Thailand’s Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, the Thai Office of Maritime Security Affairs, Indonesia’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Ministry of Manpower as well as those from the Philippines’ Bureau of Working Conditions.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting Chief Executive Officer: SAMSA

Addressing the approximately thirty three delegates during the start of the workshop on Monday, SAMSA acting CEO Sobantu Tilayi said the gathering was being held in response to a request from the ILO for South Africa to assist with hosting inspectors from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines who are interested in seeing a port-state fishing/labour inspection regime in action.

The ILO had identified South Africa as a role model for the work it is doing to ensure that fishermen have decent conditions of work on board fishing vessels in compliance with the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No.188).

In fact, South Africa was the first country in the world to formally implement the C.188 two years ago, involving inspection of two fishing vessels – one domestic and the other, a Japanese flagged trawler.

South Africa had since detained one other vessel for violations of the C188.

“It is a great honour to be recognised for the work South Africa and SAMSA are doing to promote the working conditions of fishermen on fishing vessels,” said Mr Tilayi.

DSC_3200.JPGHe said: “The South African Constitution holds that everyone has the right to fair labour practices and SAMSA, as the custodian of South Africa’s maritime interests, is committed to improving the working conditions of fishermen in South African territory.”

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks during the opening , Click on the videos below.

Responding to Mr Tilayi’s welcome note, International Labour Organisation (ILO) representative from Thailand, Ms Anymanee Tabitimsri said the South East Asian countries represented were grateful for the opportunity South Africa offered to share knowledge and experiences with implementation of the C188 as all three sought to strengthen the safety and security of the fishing sector labour in their respective countries.

She said Thailand was a pioneer in its own right in Asia in terms of its early endorsement of the ILO’s C188 and was keen to also share insights and experiences.

For her full remarks (4 minutes) Click on the video  below:

The SAMSA led week-long workshop which will include visits to the ports of Cape Town, Saldanha and St Helena, has on the agenda:

  • South Africa’s implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No.188) since its ratification in 2013.
  • South Africa’s Maritime Legislative framework and the institutional arrangements in the implementation of the ratified Work in Fishing Convention.
  • The amendments to the South Africa Merchant Shipping Act to cater for the Work in Fishing Convention.
  • The practical implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention with visits to different types of vessels.
  • Showcasing the implementation of the safety construction of fishing vessels (new builds).

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Indian Ocean rim countries wrap up conference in South Africa on a high note: IOMOU

DSC_304126 August 2019

Delegates to a five day conference of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) Port State Control Committee in Cape Town wrapped up their deliberations on Friday with renewed firm commitments to strengthening co-operation among them in the implementation and maintenance of measures to tighten safety and security of the ocean they share in the region.

The IOMOU which began with only six member States back in 1998 and now boasts no less than 20 members of the countries in the Indian Ocean rim, with more – the latest being Qatar- due to join in, has become a force to be reckoned with in maritime safety and security, according to chairperson, Ms Beatrice Nyamoita.

Countries now already in the fold of the IOMOU include the host of this year’s 22nd meeting of PSC, South Africa,  Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Eritrea, France (La Reunion), India, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen.

The IOMOU on Port State Control has its main function the establishment and maintenance of a harmonised system of port State Controls as envisaged in various instruments under the directive of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and similar such institutions.

The port State control system, according to the IOMOU ‘aims to verify whether foreign flagged vessels calling at a port of a State comply with applicable international maritime conventions.’

DSC_2913Key issues discussed at this year’s annual meeting in Cape Town included the organisation’s new inspection and detention regime, this against the backdrop of challenges particularly with regards human and financial resources.

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Mr Dilip Mehrotra, outgoing Secretary of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) in Cape Town, South Africa between 19-23 August 2019

This blog charted to outgoing IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mohretra, both about his pending retirement after 20 years of service to the maritime sector and eight years as secretary to the organisation, as well as the successes and challenges facing the India Ocean rim countries.

He expressed appreciation for the trust vested in him and confidence in the resolve of the IOMOU to pursue with vigour its programmes to promote and ensure safety of shipping and ocean’s environmental integrity in its region. There were challenges still to be confronted but particularly in terms of increasing the number of skilled port State control officers across the region, as had been tremendous success particularly with ensuring more countries commit to work together.

Although due to retire officially as secretary of the IOMOU, he felt, he said, energetic enough still to transfer back all the skills he’d acquired and continue to share his knowledge and experience.

For the 20 minutes chat, please click on the video below.

In closing remarks on Friday, South Africa’s Department of Transport expressed appreciation for the IOMOU’s choice of South Africa for the week long meeting as well as a venue for its celebration of its 20th anniversary.

‘In South Africa’s pursuit of a safer and cleaner shipping, the Acting Deputy Director General of the Maritime branch of the Department of Transport wishes to thank all attending committee members for their patronage and successful deliberations during the 22nd IOMOU meeting held from 19-23 Auogust 2019 in Cape Town South Africa

“Members can be assured of South Africa and its Department of Transport’s continued support and commitment in compliance to international commitments in ensuring our collective efforts in the jurisdiction of our ocean’s governance, port State control and safety and security,’ said the department in a statement.

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Captain Thobela Gqabu, a South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA Principal Officer for the Southern Region (East London) and South Africa’s representative to the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU”) Port State Control Committee

It further reiterated the country’s support of Captain Thobela Gqabu (a South African Maritime Safety Authority [SAMSA] principal officer for the Southern Region based in East London), on his role as IOMOU vice chairman.

“May we also convey our best wishes to the outgoing secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra and welcome the incoming secretary,’ said DoT.

Meanwhile, this blog also took time out to chat with Captain Gqabu to gain insight into how South Africa’s involvement with both the IOMOU its Atlantic Ocean counterpart in the west, the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding, contribute to South Africa’s maritime interests.

He expressed the view that South Africa’s involvement and contribution is both in its own interest as well as the global community. For the 11 minutes chat, please click on the video below:

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