The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has confirmed its launch of an investigation into the tragic boat incident at the Vaal River which claimed at least four (4) lives, including that of a toddler.
In a statement in Pretoria on Monday, SAMSA reported that according to a police report, the boating incident occurred at about 16h00 on Saturday when two small vessels, a boat with 10 people on board, and a barge; sailed past each other, and with one, due to its size, reportedly creating a large wake and the resulting waves leading to the other capsizing, and the people on board landing in the water.
“The vessel had reportedly launched at the SAM GROSS municipal site on the Vaal River with 10 persons onboard including the skipper. The vessel was reportedly cruising in the direction towards Vereeniging area when it came across a moving barge in the opposite direction.
“However, according to the report, it was assumed that the barge, due to its size, created a large wake and the resulting waves flooded the speed boat, leading to the speed boat being submerged and eventually capsizing.
“Regrettably, a woman/mother and her three (3) year toddler were trapped under neath the speed boat in the capsized position and drowned. Both were reportedly wearing personal flotation devices.
“The report further indicates that two (2) adults, also fitted with personal floatation devices drowned further away from the capsized speed boat. However, the skipper and other five persons survived the incident.
“According to the report, the SAPS Water wing arrived on scene at about 17:30 and assisted in retrieving all the deceased from the river, as well as all the survivors, within twenty minutes of the incident occurring. Paramedics were reportedly also on the scene and attended to the survivors. An investigation into this incident is ongoingm; “said SAMSA
Meanwhile, SAMSA conveyed its condolences to the family of the deceased.
After a long delay occasioned by the devastating outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic in December 2019 that led to intermittent national shutdowns for over two years, the rollout of a public awareness campaign about South Africa’s national oil spill contingency plan (NOSCP) is finally underway, with the two Indian Ocean commercial ports of Gqeberha, Eastern Cape province being the first to host the rollout.
Conducted by the South Africa Interim Incident Management Organisation (IMorg) the NOSCP roadshow kicked off at the port of Gqurha, in Algoa Bay near Gqeberha (a.k.a Port Elizabeth) on Tuesday and continued on Wednesday.
Attended by more than 80 people on Tuesday, including representatives of key role players such as the Department of Transport (DoT), South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), environmental organisations and related, according to IMorg, the purpose of the roadshows is to inform and enhance public awareness about the revised NOSCP for the 2019-2024 period, and attendant response strategies to oil spills and related incidents at South Africa’s oceans.
The IMOrg, a virtual organisation chaired by the DoT and SAMSA as the co-chair and secretariat, is South Africa’s preparedness forum for joint Government and ndustry response to oil spills within South Africa’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of approximately 1.5-million km² across the Atlantic, Southern and Indian Oceans.
Launched in 2017, as a deliverable of the Operation Phakisa Oil and Gas laboratory B1 initiative, for joint Government – industry emergency drills, IMOrg’s membership is drawn broadly from across various sectors of society inclusive of State departments, private sector industries as well as non-governmental institutions.
According to Capt. Ravi Naicker of the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response, and the entity’s main representative in IMorg, the DoT has a legal responsibility of providing and fulfilling South Africa’s statutory obligations towards marine pollution prevention response along the country’s coastline of more than 3 000 kilometres. This in terms of powers provided in the Marine Pollution (Control and Civil Liability) Act 6 of 1981, Marine Pollution (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 2 of 1986 and in the Marine Pollution (Intervention) Act 64 of 1987.
“These Acts impose obligations on ships and installations and further give power in respect of pollution casualties in so far as pollution occurs, or threatens to occur within waters under South African jurisdiction, being waters comprising the internal and territorial waters, the exclusive economic zone, etc.
“The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
“Domestically, the Constitution (Act No. 108 of 1996: Section 24 of the Bill of Rights): provides that everyone has a right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being and to have the environment protected for the benefit of the present and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures.
“The latter section illustrates clearly that the government has a legal obligation to protect the environment through the development and the implementation of the Plan to fulfil this obligation amongst other statutory legislative measures put in place.
“These rights and obligations are embedded in the supreme law in South Africa, which is the Constitution and affords every citizen access to petition a competent court of law to hear the matter and enforce their rights or perceived violations.
“Furthermore, the 2017 version of the South African Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy makes provision for the DoT, in co-operation with other Departments and agencies, to maintain a comprehensive Contingency Plan to ensure compliance with the provisions of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990 (OPRC),” he says.
On what the revised NOSCP now entails and why it is important to enhance public awareness about its provisions, Capt. Naicker says the implementation framework is critical for broad public knowledge and understanding.
The framework, he says, outlines a range of issues including the role and responsibilities of the persons and parties involved in a national response to a marine oil spill in South Africa, relevant information and recommended procedures on appropriate action in the event of an oil spill, arrangements allowing for a rapid and co-operative response to marine oil spills within defined areas, and processes related to the provision of national and international support.
“The NOSCP recognizes that no two incidents are ever the same and therefore the level and intensity of a response varies from incident to incident. The plan is complemented by Government and Industry contingency plans prepared at regional, port and facility levels. Matters of detail are contained in local, site specific, contingency plans,” he says.
A most critical aspect of the NOSCP, according to Capt. Naicker, is the adoption, introduction, and application in South Africa of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) endorsed Incident Management System (IMS) and about which, he says; offers “..a well-structured and inclusively accepted offshore oil spill response management system.’
The IMS scope covers incidents management aspects including the setting up of command structures, planning, operations, logistics and finance arrangement. Broken down into two categories, the IMS consists of three modules – IMS 100, 200 and 300 – involving desktop training of participants, and practical on-the-field real time incident management training in simulated oil spill exercises at sea.
To date, more than 50 people have undertaken the training, conducted variously by international experts including the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern African (GI-WACAF) Project, International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA).
On why the IMorg’s NOSCP roadshow started in the Algoa Bay ports of Ngqurha and Port Elizabeth, Capt. Naicker says this was based on IMOrg’s recommendations that environmentally highly sensitive ports be prioritised, a stance fully supported by especially environmental groups such as the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).
The Algoa Bay’s high risk profile for oil spill contingency plans is based both on the existence and operations of two major commercial ports and a ship-to-ship bunkering operation in the area and alongside which are a diverse wildlife including bird colonies.
For this blog’s brief chat with Capt. Naicker, click on the video below.
For a brief chat with SANCCOB’s representative at the Ngqurha port leg of the roadshow, Ms Monica Stassen click below.
For a brief chat with DFFE & IMOrg official, Ms Feroza Albertus.
All 16 crew of a Taiwanese fishing vessel that sank in the Indian Ocean on Tuesday were successfully rescued overnight (South African time), with none reported to have suffered an injury, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported on Wednesday.
According to the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response based Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town, the successful rescue of the crew occured at approximately 02h30 on Wednesday, with assistance of several vessels that responded to distress and assistance request calls broadcast on Tuesday.
The rescue mission got underway on Tuesday after the Taiwanese fishing vessel DER HAE NO 66 crew sent out a MAYDAY call reporting that the vessel was taking in water to a point that it had to abandon it, in an area at sea some 598 kilometers off the coast of Durban in the Indian Ocean.
According to the MRCC, several ships in the vicinity were immediately called upon to render assistance, and they did so successfully.
The Centre for Sea Watch & Response reported on Wednesday morning: “MRCC Cape Town is glad to report that all of the 16 crew from the fishing vessel (FV) DER HAE NO 66 were rescued.
“The bulk carrier GOLDEN EARL arrived at the scene where the DER HAE NO 66 sank after being abandoned by the Taiwanese and Filipino crew. Unfortunately, the GOLDEN EARL could not recover the survivors from the life raft due to the prevailing swell of 4.0 meters.
“MRCC Cape Town then requested the GOLDEN EARL to remain on-scene, and with the drifting life raft until the fishing vessels JAIN LIH NO 212 and DER HAE NO 6 arrives.
“MRCC released the other vessels, liquid natural gass carrier LOBITA and crude oil tanker RED NOVA EARL to continue with normal voyage.
“The on-scene coordinator, GOLEN EARL reported by 2am on 13 September 2023 that the two Taiwanese fishing vessels had arrived by, and the JAIN LIH NO 212 recovered the 16 crew. No injuries were reported to MRCC Cape Town. The GOLDEN EARL was also released to continue with normal voyage. The on-scene coordinator reported that both fishing vessels shall continue with fishing operations.
“MRCC Cape Town appreciates the efforts of all vessels involved, and the assistance provided by RCC Taipei and Telkom Maritime Radio.”
A rescue operation for fishermen onboard a Taiwanese vessel reportedly sinking is currently underway some 598 kilometers off the coast of Durban in the Indian Ocean, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reports.
The number of fishermen involved is not yet known, save for a MayDay call recorded from the sinking vessel at about 03.18pm (South African time), said the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch & Response based Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town. A number of vessels in proximity of the reportedly sinking fishing vessel had since been mobilised to offer assistance, said the MRCC.
According to the MRCC: “MRCC Cape Town was notified at 15:18 today (12 September 2023) by RCC Taipei that the Taiwanese fishing vessel (FV) DER HAE NO 66 was sinking due to flooding in a position approximately 323NM (598km) East-south-east from Durban, and that the Taiwanese fishing vessels DER HAE NO 6 and ZAN LI NO 212 were diverting to assist.
“The weather forecast for the incident position is winds South-east up to 25 knots (approximately 48km/h) and the Sea State being swell of up to 4m mainly south westerly, as per South African Weather Services (SAWS).
“A MAYDAY relay was issued by Telkom Maritime Radio at the request of MRCC Cape Town and the Liqued Natural Gass Carrier, LOBITA was requested to divert and assist after responding.
“The LOBITA was approximately 155NM (287km) west from the incident position. The vessels bulk carrier, GOLDEN EARL, at approximately 35NM (65km) and the crude oil tanker, RED NOVA EARL, at approximately 60NM (111km), were identified on AIS and requested to divert to the incident position for assistance to be rendered.
“This is a developing and dynamic incident with the SAR response being conducted as aligned with the SASAR Act and Policy.”
This blog will update the story as and when new information is shared.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has issued an appeal to the public to be cautious around the South African coastline during the full moon Spring tide that has already begun and peaks during the full moon period over the 30th and 31st of August, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
SAMSA says according to the NSRI: “This Blue Moon (a blue moon is a rare second full moon during the same month) will be a supermoon, meaning the moon is closer to earth than is normal. And it is the third of four supermoons in a row and this one will be the biggest (closest) full supermoon of 2023.
“This coincides with planet Saturn, that can seen in the sky near to the moon, also in her planetary position closest to the earth for 2023. As is normal this full moon brings the Spring tide – where high tide is higher than normal and low tide is lower than normal.
“With spring tides occurring at full moon and at new moon every month, these occurrences can have an increased affect on the strength of rip currents and caution is advised. NSRI are appealing to bathers, coastal hikers, shoreline anglers, boaters, sailors, paddlers and the maritime community to be cautious around our coastline during this full blue supermoon’s Spring tide.
“Already you will have noticed the growing Spring tide’s high tide higher than normal and the growing Spring tide’s low tide lower than normal – building gradually over the past few days.
“The full affect of this Super Moon Blue Moon Spring Tide peaks during the full moon period over the 30th and 31st of August / and then gradually begins to decline over the next few days into the new week.
“Together with winter rough sea conditions that are prevailing around our coastline with cold fronts that have past in recent days and weeks and with storms prevailing deep sea off the South African coastline – NSRI are appealing to the public around our coastline to be cautious during this Spring tide,” said the NSRI.
The salvage operation, led by diverse teams including disaster management experts from the Garden Route region, commenced shortly after successfully locating a crew member who had gone missing during the vessel’s mishap.
The vessel named DIJAANDA, had struck rocks and capsized while engaged in a fishing expedition at sea along the Cape coastline to the south of Mossel Bay on a Wednesday morning. Out of the seven crew members, five (5) tragically lost their lives, and two (2) managed to survive the ordeal, according to a SAMSA’s statement.
SAMSA also reported that prior to commencing the recovery efforts on the distressed fishing boat over the weekend, a thorough examination of the sea area was conducted to identify any potential oil contamination. Fortunately, no signs of an oil spill were detected during this inspection.
Despite the vessel being grounded with a noticeable large hole on one side, it appeared to have contained minimal oil onboard. However, authorities will maintain ongoing vigilance to ensure that any contamination risks are minimized or proactively controlled.
In light of the unfortunate loss of crew members’ lives, SAMSA conveyed its heartfelt condolences to the families affected and expressed its hopes for a swift recovery for the surviving crew members following the traumatic and unfortunate incident.
Furthermore, SAMSA affirmed its commitment to continue investigating the root and underlying causes of this incident.
An urgent search and rescue operation commenced in the southern seas of South Africa early Tuesday morning for a fisher who went missing from a fishing trawler.
This was prompted by a distress signal received from the vessel, which was later discovered to have run aground near Mossel Bay in the Gouritzmond area, according to a report by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
The incident began when a distress call was transmitted by the fishing vessel DIJAANDA, pinpointed to the Gouritzmond region. Responding swiftly, the fishing vessel Vuna Elisa headed toward the potential emergency location, while the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Mossel Bay initiated a search along the coastal shore.
Ultimately, the NSRI managed to locate the vessel stranded on the rocks and successfully rescued the crew members on board. Sadly, out of the seven (7) crew members, four (4) were discovered to have perished, one (1) was injured, and another remained missing.
“The NSRI teams stationed in Mossel Bay and Stilbaai have launched a search and rescue operation for the missing crew member since approximately 7:30 am today,” SAMSA informed.
Further updates are anticipated throughout the day.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) kickstarts its annual Corporate Social Investment & Sustainability (CSI) programme on Nelson Mandela month with an initiative aimed at contributing to drownings prevention in Gauteng.
The SAMSA CSI initiative, involving mostly young people at school level, is being undertaken in partnership with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), a national organisation already engaged with the crisis since 2006.
“The target population will be school children in Gauteng where we plan to contribute to
their basic water handling skills, involving approximately 10 000 pupils from several schools located in communities across the social spectrum,” said SAMSA and the NSRI in a joint statement.
According to SAMSA, the decision by the entity to join the NSRI initiative this year is driven by its commitment to contributing annually to addressing identified socio-economic development needs of particularly the poor, deprived and marginalised. Drowning prevention was identified for this current year as but one such critical water-based crisis in South Africa requiring urgent attention.
According to SAMSA, a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2021 indicates that on average, 236 000 people deaths occur every year due to drowning.
Closer home, according to the National Library of Medicine (National Centre for Biotechnology Information), said SAMSA; South Africa is globally listed in the top 45 countries with a drowning rate of 4.06 per 100,000 population, or an average 1477 drownings per year, of which fatal drownings accounted for a rate of 2.54 per 100,000 population from 2016 to 2021
The National Library of Medicine states that: “…drowning is a serious public health concern with low-and-middle-income countries [being] the most affected by drowning, as they carry 90% of the global drowning burden.”
Furthermore, drowning is reported to be one of the leading causes of death among mostly people aged 1–24 years, thus denoting the population group that seems more vulnerable. Dr Jill Fortuin, Executive Director of Drowning Prevention Services at the NSRI states that since the inception of the NGO’s water safety programme in 2006 the organization has reached four (4) million children through the project.
“We are delighted as the NSRI that organizations such as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) are collaborating with us to reach more people, specifically under 14’s through this programme,” she states.
In response, said SAMSA; “From a SAMSA perspective, it is a laudable achievement, but one that requires more support, hence our involvement this year directly with the NSRI.”
According to SAMSA, its CSI focus is shaped by the organisation’s period five-year trategic Plans (2020-25) and attendant Annual Performance Plans developed to advance and maintain consistent attainment of the entity’s mandate which encompasses ensuring safety of people and property at sea, prevention and combating of pollution of the sea by ships, promotion of South Africa’s maritime interest, as well as promotion of safe boating in the country’s inland waters.
“The consistent theme in the mandate is the promotion of safety of people and the environment, be it in our three oceans, the Atlantic, Southern and Indian Oceans; or in our vast inland waterways punctuated by hundreds of small and big dams as well water-based leisure facilities along dozens of rivers
“We are trying to reduce the drowning statistics in our country, and we are delighted in such partnerships as we would like to also change lives for the better and create futures, one child at a time,” said SAMSA.
The organisation also explained what it targeted Gauteng for the drownings prevention campaign support. “According to latest available data on drownings in South Africa, Gauteng is the province with the third highest drowning incidence in South Africa after KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, even as landlocked and being the smallest of the country’s nine provinces, and with the least number of rivers and dams compared to other provinces.
“As it were, according to the NSRI, inland locations in South Africa significantly contribute to the country’s drownings statistics. Meanwhile, it is highly significant that Gauteng just so happens to be home to the country’s highest provincial population (15.8-million 2021 estimates) inclusive of the most poor, deprived, and marginalised. It also holds the record for the highest incidence of drownings across all nine provinces in the 5-19 years age category.
“We have joined forces with the NSRI expertise in this area and we specifically chose to run the campaign in July because this year is the 10th anniversary of Madiba’s passing, thereby making it fit with the theme of The Legacy Lives on Through You”, said SAMSA Acting Head of the Centre for Corporate Affairs, Government and International Relations, and head of SAMSA CSI.
Ms Dlepu said key outputs planned would include 10 000 persons receiving Water Safety Education Lessons, deployment of 46 Pink Rescue Buoys, provision of 460 Survival Swimming Lessons and orientation of 46 Drowning Prevention Champions
“To kick start this project we have selected Glen Austin Primary School as the first beneficiary and this school has 200 children who range from Grade 1 to Grade 7. This is the critical age in which they need to be water safe as they are the most vulnerable,” Dr Jill added.
In addition to this, in the summer season, survival swimming lessons would be taught to persons who are residing in the area in which the NSRI teaches survival swimming lessons in the Gauteng province.
The relaunch of South Africa’s maritime sector education and training syllabus committtee in Durban a week ago, after a haitus of just over a year, has been warmly welcomed by the sector, and key to its significance, among other issues, described as being its enhanced inclusiveness.
Stewarded by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), no less than 30 members of the committee, representing virtually all subsectors of the country’s maritime industry across public and private institutions, gathered in Durban over three days from Tuesday to Thursday last week (27-29 June 2023) for the formal relaunch of the national syllabus committee.
According to industry, the 37 member strong commitee’s notable enhanced inclusiveness, now also strongly entrenched through adoption of a new Constitution, and a Code of Conduct, denotes a welcome reapproach to needed broad sector stakeholders’ consultation and collaboration.
Ms Yvonne Wright, founder of Saldahna Bay based Project Maritime Training, Ms Alicia Moreland, Training Coordinator for Viking Fishing, a division of Sea Harvest, and Ms Theresa Williams, a Transnet executive for training, were among those that applauded the latest development.
According to SAMSA, the legally mandated custodian and enforcer of the Merchant Shipping (Training, Certification and Safe Manning) Regulations 2021, the relaunch of the maritime sector education and training national syllabus committee last week followed its desolution in June 2022 due to gaps and weaknesses that were identified as hindering its intended objectives.
Among these, was the absence of guiding documentation regarding the committee’s composition and operations, which led to unseemly complications that hampered its effectiveness.
Following the dissolution, said SAMSA Chief Examiner, Mr Azwimmbavhi Nelwamondo last week, industry-wide consultation ensued over a number of months, eventually leading to both the development of a new Constitution and a Code of Conduct, as well as reappointment of sector representatives as members of the committee who were inducted during the relaunch meeting in Durban last week.
Mr Nelwamondo said the Syllabus Committee’s chief role is to serve as a sector advisory body on national maritime sector education and training for certification of seafarers across the board, in terms of the Regulations and, where applicable, strictly consistent with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping (STCW, 1978 for seafarers) and (STCW-F 1995 for fishers ).
As now fully outlined in the newly adopted Constitution, Mr Nelwamondo said the work of the Syllabus Committee is limited in focus to three aspects; the development, review and maintenance of the training and assessment standards for seafarers, through the Training Standards Code, development and submission of proposals for consideration amendment of Regulations, and identification and channelling to the authority of any other matters relating to the training, assessment and certification of seafarers, raised by members of the public.
Crucially, he added that with membership of the committee in three broad categories comprising ordinary, associate and invited person’s for purposes of formality (‘good order retention and continuity’); “The Syllabus Committee is a public engagement forum, therefore its meetings are open to all members of the public who have interest in the training and development of seafarers.
Below, is a 15 minutes interview with Mr Amwimmbavhi Nelwamondo, in which he fully explains the latest development.
Meanwhile, Ms Zamachonco Chonco, acting CEO of SAMSA described the relaunch of reconstituted Syllabus Committee, almost a year to the day since dissolution, as highly significant with regards to ensuring South Africa’s maintainance of high standards of seafarer education and training on an ongoing basis.
Global celebrations of the Day of the Seafarer on 25 June 2023 – falling on Sunday this year – shifts its focus somewhat from welfare-centric matters towards one key environmental issue of general concern in the maritime sector: sea oil pollution and current as well as future mitigating measures against it.
According to the Department of Transport (DoT), lead organisers of South Africa’s marking of the annual International Maritime Organisation (IMO) event, to be hosted in coastal cities; Durban Gqeberha and Cape Town on Tuesday, 27 June 2027; the theme for this year’s celebrations, as endorsed by IMO is: Marpol at 50 – Our Commitment goes on.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which jointly with the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) will co-host the event in Durban and Gqeberha, respectively, says the theme spotlights the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which covers prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
“It also reflects the IMO’s long history of protecting the environment from the impact of shipping via a robust regulatory framework, whilst emphasizing its ongoing commitment to this important work.
“The theme is also linked to pursuing the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include affordable and clean energy (SDG 7); industry, innovation, and infrastructure (SDG 9); climate action and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources (SDGs 13 and 14); and the importance of partnerships and implementation to achieve these goals (SDG 17),” says SAMSA.
Hosted simultaneously at the coastal cities, with SAMSA in Durban, SAIMI in Gqeberha, and the DoT in Cape Town on Tuesday, the day’s proceedings will, in addition to a key address by the Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga; involve panel presentations and engagements focussing on what the public and private sectors, education institutions and related in South Africa, are doing jointly or individuals as groups, to contribute to the realisation of goals of the IMO Marpol Convention, as consistent also with the UN’s sustainable development goals.
The event, to which seafarers will fully participate and contribute, is scheduled to start at 08h30 and end at 15h00 in all three cities.