The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed on Sunday an investigation underway into the collision of a ship and a tug at the port of Durban at the weekend.
According to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the collision occurred on Friday between a car carrier vessel and an inactive tug. No one was injured in the accident, said TNPA spokesperson, Ms Ayanda Somagaca
“On the morning of Friday, 13 April 2018, Transnet National Ports Authority (Port of Durban) was notified that a car carrier vessel, CSCC ASIA, operated by Hoegh Autoliners, had collided with the inactive tug Inyalazi while berthing alongside at the R-Shed in the port’s Point Precinct.
“No injuries were reported as there were no employees on board the tug Inyalazi. Damage occurred to the quayside and the tug sustained a hole on its side which has resulted in an ingress of water into the tug. Tug Umbilo was deployed to the site with a salvage pump to remove the water from Inyalazi.
“Divers and Port of Durban marine crew were on site to closely assess the extent of the damage for the purposes of blocking water from entering the tug. SAMSA arrived at the scene to assess the damage to the Tug and the Commercial Vessel,” said Ms Somagaca
She said operations at the port were running as normal and that the car carrier vessel had been able to continue with its operations while the tug would be moved a dry dock for repairs.
In Durban on Sunday, SAMSA’s Captain Saroor Ali, confirmed that an investigation by the agency was underway to determine the cause of the accident.
“Investigation is in progress and the cause leading to the incident can only be determined on concluding the investigation which involves statements from the ship and tug boat crew and relevant eyewitness personnel.
“SAMSA accident investigations guided by the South African Merchant Shipping Act, are conducted to ascertain the factors contributing to the accident, give recommendations so as to avoid re-occurrence,” said Captain Ali.
(The following report and headline photo first appeared in Creamer Media’s Engineering News and with exception of all photos except the headline, is reproduced here, as is, with permission from Creamer Media )
TheSA Agulhasis back in the now-refurbished Port of East London’s Princess Elizabeth dry dock, with improved facilities, for her lay-up maintenance plan after her previous visit in 2013.
The contract to undertake maintenance on the 40-year-old vessel was awarded to local ship repair company East London Shipyard, and should take between four to six weeks to be completed during April.
Work includes repairs and maintenance on the bow and stern thrusters, tail shaft, steering gear, compressors, cranes, deck machinery and hull.
“More than 80 direct jobs have been created during the project including employment for marine engineers, electricians, riggers, welders, fitters, painters and supervisory staff,” said Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port of East London ship repair manager Leigh Carls.
Carls added that the dry dock is also undergoing refurbishment and the project is at an advanced stage with R21-million invested to date and 70% of the work completed so far, including new switchgear and crane rails.
“Work began in 2015 with a phased approach being followed to enhance all critical components and allow for the dock to be functional throughout the upgrading process,” he noted.
The dry dock refurbishment, in support of ship repair and marine manufacturing, is part of TNPA’s contribution nationally towards government’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative, which aims to unlock the economic potential of the country’s oceans by, among other things, accelerating investments into ship repair facilities and marine engineering capability.
In the port of East London, Operation Phakisa focuses on the ship repair and boat building industries.
TheSA Agulhas is the fifth commercial vessel to make use of the dry dock over the past six months and was one of the star attractions at last year’s East London Port Festival, as well as the People’s Port Festival in Port Elizabeth earlier in the year.
Two of the SA Agulhas 20 cadets that returned with the vessel earlier this year, Ayanda Miya and Mluleki Khwela with President Cyril Ramaphosa at the opening of 2018 installment of the sitting of South African Parliament in February
Deputy Transport Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (Left) and (former) Transport Minister Mr Joe Masangwanyi (Right ) with Ayanda Miya and Mluleki Khwela – two of the SA Agulhas cadets that returned with the vessel from a trip to Antarctica over 80 days in November 2017 to January 2018. They were invited for the opening of South Africa’s Parliament in
The vessel, which is the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s dedicated training vessel, returned from a three-month trip to Antarctica at the end of February.
Recently appointed Port of East London manager Sharon Sijako said on Monday that attracting more ship repair business to the port was an essential aspect of the new aggressive strategy to expand the port for the benefit of the region.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has expressed sadness at the confirmed death of a South African seafarer, Mr Stephen John Bouch of Johannesburg on board a Maersk Line cargo vessel that caught ablaze in the Arabian Sea near Oman a week ago.
Mr Bouch, 53, a veteran seafarer was believed to be among four missing crew members of the Maersk Honam cargo vessel that caught alight on Tuesday last week while en route from Singapore to the Suez in Egypt.
At the time of the incident, the vessel had 27 crew on board of which 23 were evacuated. One crew member, a Thai national, had passed away due to injuries sustained while four others remained missing until on Monday after three of the bodies were found, Maersk Line reported.
According to the shipping company’s statement, the three bodies found had not yet been identified and the search for the fourth person, now presumed dead, was continuing.
It was not clear on Tuesday whether the South African seafarer, Mr Bouch was among those whose bodies had been found, since no identity had been established of any of the bodies.
In Pretoria on Tuesday, SAMSA which had been in touch with all relevant authorities as well as the affected family since reports of the incident last week, expressed sadness at the turn of events involving the death of Mr Bouch and the other sailors.
In a statement SAMSA said: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority joins the South African maritime fraternity in mourning the loss of seafarers on board the Maersk Honam.
“South Africa has lost Mr Stephen John Bouch, of Johannesburg. Our condolences goes to his family, colleagues and fellow seafarers.”
According to SAMSA, Mr Bouch was a qualified and experienced Marine Engineer with seafarer certificates inclusive of a Certificate of Competency as an Officer in Charge of Engineering Watch or Designated Duty Engineer for which he Qualified 24 June 1991.
He had been an employee of Safmarine, later becoming part of Maersk, for the most part of his life.
SAMSA said during his time with Safmarine (Maersk), he worked and mentored many other young South African officers.
A South African seafarer has been confirmed dead along with three other crew members of a Maersk Line ship container that caught on fire in the Arabian Sea a week ago.
According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the name of the South African seafarer is Mr Stephen Bouch, a marine engineer from Johannesburg.
On Monday, Maersk Line, owners and operators of the container ship named Maersk Honam that caught on fire at sea some 900 km south of Oman while sailing from Singapore to the Suez last Tuesday, confirmed that three bodies of the four crew members who had been lost inside the vessel during an evacuation, were found in the vessel.
A fourth crew member of the container ship had not yet been found, but was also presumed dead, said Maersk Line Chief Operating Officer, Søren Toft.
It was not clear if Mr Bouch was among the three bodies found or might be the one whose body is still missing.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce that the human remains of three of the four missing crew members after the fire aboard Maersk Honam have been found on board the vessel. At this point in time our three colleagues are unidentified,” said Mr Toft
He said: “Given the time passed and the severe fire damages of the vessel we must conclude by now that we have lost all four colleagues who have been missing since the fire onboard Maersk Honam which began on 6 March. All four families of our deceased colleagues have been informed.
“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to families of our deceased colleagues. We share their sorrow and do our outmost to support them in this devastating time,” said Mr Toft in the statement.
A thorough search on board the Maersk Honam would continue, said Mr Toft adding that active search and rescue mission at sea would however be terminated.
A week ago, the company had confirmed that among the four crew members missing was a South African seafarer. The four were among a crew of 27 manning the vessel during its voyage when the massive blaze broke out of a cargo hold.
The 27 crew members were mostly from India (13), the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).
Twenty three of the seafarers were successfully evacuated a while after the ship caught fire after it had become clear they could not contain the blaze themselves and called for assistance.
One of the 23 evacuated sailors, a Thai national, was reported eventually to have succumbed to his injuries last week while the rest of the crew was transferred to hospitals in India for treatment.
SAMSA which on behalf of South Africa, has declared itself a “substantially interested party” in the matter, said it would maintain contact with all relevant authorities while investigation of the incident continue.
These include the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB) of the Singapore Transport Ministry which confirmed the launch of an investigation a week ago. The Maersk Line vessel built a year ago with a nominal capacity of 15 262 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), is registered in Singapore.
Now also confirmed to be involved in the investigation is the India Marine Police, said Maersk Line on Monday.
The shipping company said in terms of the rest of the surviving crew of the Maersk Honam , all were recovering well and some had already been released from hospital.
“On land, the medical conditions of the evacuated crew members are progressing positively. All 22 have received medical treatment and the majority have been released from hospitals. Colleagues who initially received intensive care have been moved to a general ward and are recovering well. A crisis psychologist has been made available to all crew.
“Our colleagues that were evacuated to local hospitals in varying conditions of health are improving and we are now preparing to bring them back to their families as their condition allows,” said Mr Palle Laursen, Chief Technical Officer for Maersk Line.
While efforts continue to find four missing crew members – one a South African – on board a Maersk Line container ship currently on fire since Tuesday off the Arabian Sea near Oman, Singapore transport ministry officials have begun a probe in the incident that’s already claimed one seafarer’s life.
The dead seafarer was confirmed by Maersk Line on Thursday as a Thai national and one of 23 seafarers that were successfully evacuated from the ship, the VM Maersk Honam, after a massive fire had broken out on board a cargo hold and went completely out of control on Tuesday this week.
The 27 seafarers on board the ship at the time of the incident included 13 from India, the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).
According to Maersk Line in a statement on Thursday, rescuers were still busy trying to locate and retrieve the four missing crew members even as hope was increasingly fading that they would find them, and if so, still alive.
One of the missing seafarers is a South African from Johannesburg, and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said early on Thursday that it was closely monitoring the situation and was in touch with relevant authorities.
Among such parties to the incident is the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB) operating under the Singapore Transport Ministry and under whose flag the Maersk Line container ship is registered since it was built in 2017.
In terms of the TSIB investigation of the incident now already underway, SAMSA is officially acknowledged as a ‘substantially interested party’ in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident (Casualty Investigation Code)
The code, adopted by IMO Member States in May 2008 as an improvement to a previous code in place since 1997, facilitates for, among other things; ‘co-operation and a common approach to marine casualty and marine incident investigations between States.’
In Singapore early on Friday, the TSIB in communication with senior SAMSA officials, said it had begun investigation into the Maerk Line container ship incident involving a South African seafarer off the coast of Oman this week, and would keep relevant authorities abreast of developments.
Hopes of finding four crew members of a Maersk Line cargo vessel that caught on fire in Arabian Sea early this week are fading, the shipping company has said in a statement published on its website.
The missing crew members, one a South African, were among 27 others sailing with the cargo vessel from Singapore towards the Suez on Tuesday, when a cargo handling bay caught on fire with the vessel located approximately 900 nautical miles southeast of Salalah in Oman.
According to Maersk in statements this week, 23 of the crew members were soon evacuated after the fire went out of control, but that sadly, one of these sailors – since confirmed as a Thai national – succumbed to his injuries and died while two others who received serious injuries were receiving medical care.
The rest of the crew, 19 in total were being transported to India for further medical attention.
Meanwhile, the four other crew members now confirmed as one South African, one Indian and (2) Phillipino were still missing and that hopes of finding them were dim.
The Maersk Line statement reads:
Four crew members remain missing despite comprehensive search efforts as a response to the fire that broke out aboard Maersk Honam on Tuesday, 6 March.
“While search operation continues the hope of finding our missing colleagues is fading. We are in contact with their families and they know that tragically, the time passed decreases the likelihood of finding their loved ones alive. Our thoughts and prayers go to them,” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer of A.P. Moller – Maersk.
The nationalities of the four missing crew members are: two Filipinos, One South African and one Indian. All male.
23 crew members were evacuated by the vessel ALS Ceres after the fire broke out. One is reported dead due to injuries sustained in connection with the fire. Furthermore, two crew members, one Thai and one Filipino, were in urgent need of medical care as their conditions worsened. They have been evacuated by an Indian navy vessel and handed over to the Indian coast guard of Trivandrum and are now receiving medical treatment. They are accompanied by one of the evacuated Indian colleagues with local language skills.
The remaining 19 crew members onboard ALS Ceres are en route to Cochin, South West India, where medical professionals and crisis psychologists have been arranged for.
“We are doing our outmost to care for and closely follow the conditions of all evacuated colleagues. Also, we have an ongoing contact with their closest relatives”, Søren Toft says.
Maersk Line will continue to provide updates on the situation.
On Thursday, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed that it was aware of and monitoring the situation closely, and that it was in constant contact with Maersk Line officials.
The Africa maritime region’s contribution to improvement of trade ships’ compliance with international regulations on energy efficiency and particularly the uptake of low-carbon technologies is well underway following to the formal convening for the first time, of members of the Africa region’s Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC-Africa) in Mombasa, Kenya recently.
The MTCC-Africa is a newly launched International Maritime Organization (IMO) and European Commission funded initiative known as the Global MTCCs Network (GMN), with centres also in Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and Pacific regions.
According to the IMO, the initiative funded to the tune of €10 000 000 over four years in 2017 is geared towards building capacity in the targeted regions for climate mitigation in the world’s maritime shipping industry.
In fact, that is its theme: ‘Capacity Building for Climate Change Mitigation in the Maritime Shipping Industry’
This, according to the IMO, comes against the backdrop of scientifically verified mounting concerns that Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from maritime shipping industry will continue to increase globally.
Compounding the problem is that developing countries which continue to play a significant role in international shipping, lack the means to improve energy efficiency in their shipping sectors.
The IMO initiative’s funder, the European Commission states that: “This four-year project will enable developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, in five target regions – Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific, to effectively implement energy-efficiency and emissions reduction measures through technical assistance and capacity building.
“These regions have been chosen as they have significant number of LDCs and SIDSs.”
The Africa region centre, approved a year ago this month, is being hosted jointly by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and the Kenya Ports Authority.
Member countries to the MTCC-Africa centre, among them ‘focus point’ countries including South Africa, gathered in Mombasa for their inaugural meeting in December 2017.
South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) officials that attended the event along with representatives of 12 other African countries, report that the launch ceremony of the MTCC-Africa was led by Ms Nancy Karigithu, Principal Secretary of Kenya Maritime and Shipping Affairs.
The line-up of speakers included Mr Stefan Micallef, Assistant Secretary General and IMO Director of the Marine Environment Division and Mr Bruno Pozzi, the Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Kenya.
Mr Elijah Ramulifho, Senior Manager: Maritime Policy at SAMSA who was one of two officials to represent the agency at the meeting says key issues discussed included; climate change mitigation requirements for shipping lines; laws against marine pollution (MARPOL Annex VI); the greening of maritime shipping through energy efficiency, low carbon technologies and data collection.
“A significant amount of time was spent on break-away sessions where case studies and scenarios were discussed for different African regions. Countries represented included South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Madagascar and Mauritius.
“Country Focal Points (that include South Africa) were requested to make presentations on the respective country’s state of affairs on issues related to MARPOL Annex VI and its implementation, expectations on what sort of assistance can MTCC-Africa bring to facilitate effective and efficient implementation, and any lessons learned during the workshop and/or any experience to share with delegates from other countries and the African region at large,” he says.
The MTCC-Africa ‘focal points’ cover the entire continent from the North (Suez / Mediterranean), the West (Atlantic), Central (Landlocked Countries), South African, East (Indian Ocean) and Small Islands States.
The Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Kenya, Mr. Bruno Pozzi told the gathered African country delegates that the region’s participation in the global effort was timely in terms of the established need for collaborative global action against climate change.
“Tragic events induced by climate change are witnessed globally. The European Union knows well that climate change can bring about an unprecedented reversal in the progress towards poverty eradication and can undermine efforts towards sustainable and inclusive development.
“Africa is particularly vulnerable – droughts and flooding equally testify to this,” said Mr Pozzi further urging that all countries and regions, together with all economic sectors, had a responsibility and were expected to make their fair contribution towards attainment of the climate goals agreed in Paris in 2015.
“The shipping industry is no exception to this. That’s why the European Union supports this centre we are opening today. Mombasa as one of the major ports in Africa is a fitting host city for Africa’s Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre. This opportunity should be seized to the maximum. I invite all African states with maritime shipping activities to collaborate with the MTCC-Africa”.
Going forward over the next three years, Mr Ramulifho says MTCC-Africa will be the focal point for pilot projects slated to promote uptake of energy efficient and low carbon technologies, data collection, analysis and reporting on fuel consumption; and baseline surveys of air quality within African ports.
“Some of the important resolutions included the need to constitute the Regional (African) Steering Committee for the development of Terms of Reference for engagement and future MTCC-Africa activities; need to develop MOUs between all the Focal Point Countries and MTCC-Africa” says Mr Ramulifho.
The next gathering of the MTCC-Africa is scheduled for Toamasina in Madagascar on 16 – 17 May 2018.
Contact details of the MTCC-Africa:
Physical Address: Jomo University of Agriculture and Technology, Mombasa Campus, JKUAT Main Campus, Office of the Vice Chancellor, P. O. Box 62000 – 00200 Nairobi, Juja, off Thika Superhighway, Kenya
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it has noted reports concerning an outbreak of a fire on board a Maersk owned cargo vessel, the Maersk Honam, off the Arabian Sea in the Middle East and in which incident a South African seafarer is confirmed to be involved.
In a brief statement on Thursday, SAMSA said reports of the incident indicated that a South African seafarer who was part of the vessel’s crew was among those reported to have gone missing during an evacuation. At least one of the missing was reported dead.
“SAMSA is aware of the situation and is in contact with the company (Maersk) regarding the incident,” the agency said.
According to the shipping company in a media statement released on Thursday , one of its vessels, the Maersk Honam with 27 crew members on board, reported a serious fire in one of its cargo holds.
The fire reportedly broke out on the vessel on Tuesday while it was sailing from Singapore towards the Suez, in an ocean area approximately 900 nautical miles southeast of Salalah in Oman.
The 27 crew on board consisted of 13 seafarers from India, the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).
At the time of the incident the Singapore registered vessel built only last year (2017) with a nominal capacity of 15 262 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), was carrying 7 860 containers.
According to Maersk after initial efforts by the crew to put out the fire and failed, the crew called for assistance and were soon evacuated with the assistance of another vessel nearby, the ALS Ceres. However, four of the 23 crew members were reportedly missing and efforts were continuing to try and find them from the burning vessel.
A.P Moller-Maersk Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Executive Board, Mr Søren Toft said: “After being unsuccessful in their firefighting efforts, the crew sent out a distress signal and a total of 23 crew members were safely evacuated to the nearby vessel ALS Ceres, which arrived at the scene around 18:30 GMT (on Tuesday).
As of Thursday, Mr Toft said the 22 crew members rescued were on their way to Sri Lanka on board the vessel ALS Ceres. According to Mr Toft, the cause of the fire was currently unknown.
“Regrettably,” he said: “four crew members remain missing and one was reported dead.
“We’ve received the news of Maersk Honam and the four missing crew members with the deepest regret and are now doing our outmost to continue the ongoing search and rescue operations. This by rerouting our own vessels, with assistance of vessels in the area – most notably ALS Ceres that thankfully acted promptly upon our distress call – and the local authorities.”
Mr Toren added that a search and rescue mission was ongoing and that the container vessels MSC Lauren, Edith Mærsk and Gerd Mærsk – all in vicinity – had diverted their routes and were approaching the area with expected arrivals in the early morning on Wednesday.
He reported weather conditions in the area as having been currently fair.
“Maersk Line is in the process of informing the relatives of all crew members and acknowledge this is a very difficult time for them. The evacuated crew is obviously distressed, with two crew members currently receiving medical first aid onboard the ALS Ceres. We will offer crisis counselling for the seafarers signing-off and returning to their families and our thoughts and deepest empathy go out to the families of the crew members that are still unaccounted for. We will offer them all the support we can in this very difficult situation,” said MrToft.
According to Mr Toft, Maersk Line will investigate the matter thoroughly in cooperation with all relevant authorities.
Administrative efficiencies at South Africa’s eight commercial ports from Saldanha Bay on the west coast through to Richards Bay on the border of Mozambique will have to stack up significantly and stay stacked up if expected greater productivity by the shipping sector in the country is to be achieved, the South African Ship Operators & Agents Association (SASOAA) has urged.
The message to the country’s maritime sector authorities, among them the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), was shared with maritime sector representatives at this year’s South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) ‘Stakeholders’ Dinner’ held in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.
The SAMSA event held annually at the foot of the Table Mountain in Cape Town to coincide with the congregation of among others, the country’s maritime sector stakeholders in the city for the country’s Parliament’s official reopening in early February every year, is an informal gathering designed to allow for sharing of views on current trends in the sector.
This year’s venue for the SAMSA event was the Mount Nelson Hotel, a stone’s throw from the South African Parliament.
However, the country’s State of the Nation address in Parliament scheduled for Thursday, 08 February 2018, was postponed. The SAMSA event went ahead anyhow.
Addressing more than 50 industry representatives as well as Government officials, Chief Executive Officer of SASOAA, Mr Peter Besnard said it was all very well that the shipping subsector in the country was correctly expected to show more productivity, but that there were creeping constraints, top of which were declining administrative and related efficiencies at the country’s ports.
South African ports are said to have a terminal capacity to handle container traffic totalling 8 013 000 TEUs per annum and just over half of which is available as
Mr Besnard singled out the port of Durban and to a degree, that of Richards Bay; as among ports in the country that were increasingly showing declining efficiencies in ship cargo handling.
According to Mr Besnard, requisite tooling, equipment and manning were increasingly becoming a problem that was contributing to the stifling of the shipping subsector’s greater productivity.
He said as things stood, anything between 14 to 17 days were being lost by the shipping subsector, at great cost, due to creeping inefficiencies where more than 5 000 containers would stand idle and not being attended to as they should be.
“I get reports every morning that between 4500 to 5000 containers stacked underground are ready for collection and they are not moving… those containers are in a congested state, and in next line is that two and half thousand of those containers are unassigned..which means that no truckers are assigned to move them.”
To listen to his full address, Click on the video below.
South Africa’s bid to retain its seat in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) General Council got underway in earnest in London on Tuesday after the country’s deputy Transport Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga addressed the assembly during its final gathering of 2017 which ends in early December.
The IMO Council whose members are drawn from 40 Member States around the world, is the executive organ of the IMO responsible for supervising the work of the international organization. The IMO Council is elected by the IMO Assembly for two-year terms.
The IMO’s General Assembly meets for its last meeting in 2017 on 7 December.
For IMO purposes, the Africa (sub-Saharan) region is composed of 48 countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and of these, 37 are IMO Member States.
According to the IMO, the Africa region has a combined total coastline of 30,725 km with South Africa, – located epicenter across three oceans, the Atlantic to the west, the Southern in the south and the Indian Ocean to the east – accounting for approximately 10% or 3200 km of that coastline.
In her address of the IMO in London on Tuesday, Ms Chikunga noted that South Africa was the only country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region of Africa standing for re-election in the IMO Council and in South Africa’s viewpoint, it was only correct that IMO Member States in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceanic states should support the country’s retention as a member of the IMO Council.
“The re-election of South Africa to the Council will ensure that the developing countries in general and the African continent in particular gets a fair voice in the international maritime affairs,” said Ms Chikunga.
Ms Chikunga further highlighted several other factors in which South Africa remains a central player towards the IMO and the world’s pursuit of particularly sustainable development of oceans economies.
According to Ms Chikunga, shipping which is responsible for more than 80% of global trade, continues to play a very critical and prominent role in connecting people worldwide which phenomenon she said placed the IMO at the epicentre of ensuring that such global activities were accomplished seamlessly, without unnecessary hindrances.
She said: “International trade is very central and critical to many African countries, whether landlocked or coastal states. In that regard, the Africa Union took a conscious decision to adopt the 2050 African Maritime Integrated Strategy (AIMS) which seeks to provide a broad framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of the African Maritime Domain for wealth creation. South Africa is actively operationalizing the provisions of that Strategy.
For its role in global maritime trade transport, Ms Chikunga said South Africa has eight (8) commercial ports that handle in excess of 13 100 international ship traffic a year and approximately 300 million tonnes of cargo annually.
Geographically, along with its own infrastructure, the country was strategically located on one of the major vital shipping lanes known as the ‘Cape Route’ that connects east and west seas thereby placing the country among critical role-players in world maritime affairs.
These factors according to Ms Chikunga were significant given that the IMO plays a crucial role towards the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially on climate change and gender equality, and South Africa is well placed to continue to support the initiatives through collaborative efforts with relevant stakeholders.
This she reflected on as a United Nations led conference is underway in Cape Town this week, looking at regional collaborations on the implementation of the ‘Large Marine Ecosystem Approach’ as an instrument towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 14. The conference is being held at the V&A Waterfront parallel this year’s South Africa leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18
In London on Tuesday, Ms Chikunga also impressed on the IMO gathering that alongside development, there also are issues of safety and security that are crucial to orderly management of the oceans.
“In support of international efforts to bring security and stability in the broader Indian Ocean under the Djibouti Code of Conduct, South Africa adopted a Strategy intending to curb acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships. In that regard, South Africa deployed her navy vessels along the Mozambique Channel as a deterrent to acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships in the southern Indian Ocean area,” said Ms Chikunga
In addition she said: “As part of our coastal State obligation, we continue to provide reliable Search and Rescue services to international shipping in our region which extends to the Antarctica.
“Furthermore, South Africa, through partnership with the IMO, has converted her highly reliable Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) to the Regional Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre Cape Town to assist ships in distress in the Region,” she said.
The South Africa bid to retain its seat on the IMO Council occurs as the southern African country prepares to host it’s inaugural IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event in 2020.
That event, tentatively scheduled for Durban, is intended to highlight the significant role of global shipping and the role of the IMO.