South Africa called upon to increase support for Indian Ocean rim countries’ port State controls.

DSC_2913Cape Town: 21 August 2019

South Africa has been called upon to step up and increase its regional support of Indian Ocean rim countries in order to improve the general standard and level of control measures in place to maintain safety and security of the regions’ oceans.

The call has been issued by the chairperson of the 20-member States Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU), Ms Beatrice Nyamoita in an interview on the sidelines of the organisation’s Port State Control Committee meeting currently taking place in Cape Town over five days since Monday this week.

DSC_3041IOMOU member States represented include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Eritrea, France (La Reunion), India, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen.

Also present are delegates from other observer States and organisation with similar status as the IOMOU.

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Ms Beatrice Nyamoita, Chairperson of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU)

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.’

There are no less than 12 of such IMO and related institutions’ conventions and protocols that inform the IOMOU’s port State control activities across the region.

In Cape Town on Tuesday, Ms Nyamoita said while the IOMOU block had made several achievements over the past two decades to both enrol as many Indian Ocean countries into the fold of the IOMOU, and to harmonise adoption of instruments for group of countries activities in promoting and maintaining safety and security of the region’s ocean area by preventing entry of substandard vessels into the region’s sea waters, sufficient capacity remained the major challenge.

She said because of the nature of the training programme required for inspection officers in member States, particularly the long duration and costs involved, many of the countries were unable to develop an adequate number of personnel sufficiently skilled to carry out necessary vessel inspections and surveys.

‘We have managed to ensure the development of standard procedures across the region intended to harmonise and establish uniformity of activity aimed at enhancing safety and securing of people and ships in our our respective ocean spaces. However, the greatest challenge currently facing IOMOU member States with regards port State control is capacity,” she said.

“Most of the member States cannot afford to train enough people. The training takes too long and governments budgets do not give priority to training people for port State control.

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She said currently, the IOMOU relied on support from other MOU organisations across the world, but this was just not enough for development of a cadre of skilled officials required by countries in the region in order to meet their obligations.

Ms Nyamoita said South Africa on the other hand, however, had certain advantages that would be beneficial to the organisation, such as vast experience in maritime matters, as well possessing infrastructure in terms of its relatively higher number of ports in which to conduct vessel inspection. The vast ports infrastructure could be beneficial to IOMOU country’s skills development, she said.

“I’d like to encourage the government of South Africa to endeavour to train the port State control officers and to effectively take control of port State control activities in the region.

“We request that South Africa actually support… because we know that the country has more experience in the region…to undertake the training of port State control officers for countries in the region that are unable to do so themselves. In so doing, this will greatly assist in harmonising the training and activities in the region,” she said.

For Ms Nyamoita’s full interview (9.18 minutes) click on the video below:

Meanwhile, IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra presented his organisational report to the meeting on Monday. His presentation (about 20 minutes) is captured in the video below.

The IOMOU five-days meeting’s agenda this week is looking at a whole range of issues among which is an analysis of CIC on MARPOL Annex VI as well as development of guidelines for MARPOL Annex IV and Annex V for inclusion into the region’s port State control manual; port state inspections carried out by the maritime authorities, short term training programmes and a lot more other issues including the organisation’s online information management system.

This blog will carry more news information about some of these issues as and when such information is shared. Also lined up are two interviews with the IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra who is due to retire, as well as Captain Thobile Gqapu of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). 

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Indian Ocean rim countries strengthen ring of security in their seas; IOMOU – Cape Town

DSC_3041.JPGCape Town: 20 August 2019

Indian Ocean rim countries, among them being South Africa, are maintaining their resolve to collaborate even closer in strengthening oceans safety and security in the areas of their jurisdiction, it emerged in Cape Town on Monday.

Just over two dozen delegates from about 20 countries of the Indian Ocean rim region are gathered in the city for the 22nd Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) Port State Control Committee five-day meeting that began on Monday and ends on Friday.

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Some of the more than two dozen delegates representing the 20 countries that are member States to the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding whose Port State Control Committee meeting is currently on in Cape Town from 19-23 August 2019

Represented countries include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Eritrea, France (La Reunion), India, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Susan, Tanzania, Yemen and South Africa.

Also in the delegation are observers the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as well as officials from countries with similar memorandum of understanding on oceans governance and safety and security.

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Led by its chairperson, Ms Beatrice Nyamoita and secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) hosted IOMOU Port State Control Committee gathering in Cape Town is also an occasion to mark its 20th founding anniversary, and whose inauguration meeting was also held in South Africa in 1998.

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LEADING THE IOMOU: (From Left) Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) Secretary, Mr Dilp Mehrotra with IOMOU Chairperson, Ms Beatrice Nyamoita at the start of the organisation’s five day annual Port State Control meeting in Cape Town on Monday

In welcoming the delegates to the country on Monday, SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi said South Africa was highly honoured to have been selected as the host of the IOMOU on its 20th anniversary, describing the gesture as indicative of the trust and greater cooperation that had been the hallmark of the strong relationship that’s developed among countries of the Indian Ocean rim.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. SAMSA Acting CEO.

Mr Tilayi noted that the IOMOU had not only begun with only a handful of members who have now risen to 20, but also that it had shown firm leadership in ensuring the safe and secure utilisation of the Indian Ocean region ocean waters by vessels fit for the purpose, thereby also enhancing the safety of seafarers globally.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (about 10 minutes) click on the video below.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview (7 minutes), Mr Tilayi explained the role of the IOMOU relative to South Africa’s interests and necessary global collaboration for effective ocean’s governance. For his views, click on the video below.

In her opening remarks, IOMOU chairperson, Ms Nyamoita expressed both delight at the progress being achieved by the organisation in terms of its efforts in ensuring safety of the region’s oceans to both ship owners and operators, seafarers, as well as the safeguarding of the ocean’s environmental integrity.

DSC_2902.JPGHowever, according to Ms Nyamoita, a lot more work still needed to be done especially in terms of placement of officers by member States who were fully skilled and trained in the monitoring of the region’s ocean space. She also urged for more countries to cooperate in the implementation of instruments contributing to both collaboration and effective oceans governance in the region.

For her full remarks, Click on video below.

The IOMOU Port State Control Committee meeting this week will also see the delegates visiting places of attraction in the city of Cape Town, including Robben Island.

Ongoing coverage of the proceedings of the meeting will be made on this blog through to Friday.

 

 

 

Angola finally in the fold for Africa agreement on sea search and rescue cooperation: SAMSA

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Angola’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, formally signing a Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement with South Africa in London during a meeting with South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula in July 2019

Pretoria: 03 August 2019

Angola’s formal ratification of a Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement (MSRA) with South Africa recently has finally brought into fruition a 12 years old effort to establish formal cooperation on sea search and rescue operations in Southern Africa among six countries considered vital to the success of the operations in the sub region.

Angola, represented by its ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, formally signed the agreement in London during a meeting with South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula while attending to an International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council gathering on 22 July.

Also attending was the Acting Chief Executive officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

The objectives of the Agreement are to ensure cooperation between signatories (South Africa, Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola) by pulling together resource and infrastructure in improving maritime search and rescue in the region.

South Africa signed the Agreement in 2007 in Cape Town, and Angola was the last outstanding of the five other required signatories since then.

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Angola’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, shaking hands with South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula after Angola’s formal ratification of a Multilateral Search and Rescue cooperation agreement in London recently.

The sub regional agreement arrangement among these countries stemmed from a 2000 IMO Florence Conference on Search and Rescue and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System that sought to establish regional maritime SAR arrangements in Africa and invited all African coastal States to agree to the establishment of sub-regional RCCs.

The Africa region would be arranged into five sub regional areas with Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centres (MRCCs).

At that conference, South Africa was identified as one of the five countries to host a regional Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) and in 2007, the IMO formally assigned that South Africa’s MRCC in Cape Town under the control of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as the sub region’s centre with six sub centres cooperating on the basis of multilateral agreements located in the Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and now Angola. 

The Africa region’s other MRCCs with a total 26 sub centres are located in Mombasa (Kenya: 2006), Lagos (Nigeria: 2008), Monrovia (Liberia: 2009) and Buoznika (Morocco: 2011), covering  all African countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, from Morocco to Somalia, anti-clockwise, as well as the nearby Atlantic and Indian Ocean Island States.

According to the IMO, the centres are intended to work co-operatively to provide search and rescue coverage in what had previously been identified as one of the world’s oceans region suffering most from a lack of adequate SAR and GMDSS infrastructure.

The centres’ sharing of information would also play an important role in the fight against piracy, kidnap and ransom on the high seas – something, which IMO, and the whole maritime community, had pledged to tackle with renewed vigour over the past decade.

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Great teamwork proves key to effective management of oil spill at sea in Port Elizabeth: SAMSA

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File photo: The M.V Chrysanthi SA cargo vessel two weekends ago after an oil spill was registered in its vicinity shortly after a refuelling exercise on anchorage near the port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth.

Pretoria: 17 July 2019

Closer collaboration and speedy reaction by parties involved in the oil spillage at sea near the port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth two weekends ago contributed immensely in ensuring that damage to the surrounding ocean environment, including wildlife, was minimised.

That is an assessment flowing from reports by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)’s in its engagement with several organisations and institutions in the public and private sectors in Port Elizabeth during the management of the incident over the last two weeks, since about 200-400 litres of oil accidentally spilled over into the sea while a foreign cargo vessel was being refuelled.

The oil spillage reportedly occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning (06 July 2019) while the Liberia flagged cargo vessel known as the MV CHRYSANTHI S (IMO No. 952 7441) was being refuelled.

IMG-20190707-WA0009Still ongoing investigations into the incident seemed to indicate that the oil spillage occurred on board the vessel after one of the fuel tank valves was not properly closed, leading to vast amounts of fuel accidentally spilling out onto both the vessel as well as at sea. At the time, the vessel had been with about 1300 metric tons of fuel.

According to SAMSA, the vessel’s crew of 20 seafarers – all of whom remained safe – led by its Captain immediately summoned for assistance, which was duly activated, to contain the spread of the oil in the sea. The shore based oil response team was activated to extract the oil from the sea.

SAMSA said as much as 360 litres of the fuel was eventually extracted from the waters. However, the oil had spread significantly on the ocean to impact wildlife, but particularly sea birds and penguins and about which 114 were rescued and cleaned of oil. The wildlife verified as affected as of Tuesday this week (16 July 2019) included African penguins, Cape cormorants, Cape gannets as well as about half a dozen African penguin eggs.

IMG-20190707-WA0008However, periodic assessments of the sea and coastline, involving aerial and boat inspections had indicated that the coastline had not been affected by the oil spill

According to SAMSA, the cargo vessel involved in the oil spill remained in detention for a period while an investigation was being conducted, and bunkering services were initially suspended, and later partially lifted to daytime only by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

SAMSA said the vessel owners, Golden Flower Navigation Incorporated had through its various agencies, including insurers, since accepted liability for the oil spillage and made the necessary undertakings in compliance with relevant South African laws and regulations as well international conventions related to incidents of the nature, after which the detention of the vessel was lifted and it was allowed to continue with its international journey on Friday (12 July 2019).

cropped-samsa-master-logoSAMSA, South Africa’s agency under the Department of Transport solely mandated with responsibility for prevention of pollution of the seas by ships, said success of the management of the oil spill – a great threat to sea pollution – arose out of close collaboration and teamwork by all the entities involved.

These included the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), TNPA (port managers next to which the oil spill occurred), the bunkering services company involved in the ship refuelling operation, SA Marine Fuels; private sector oil spillage management services company, Extreme Projects; wildlife and environmental groupings, SANPARKS, SANCCOB, and others including the affected vessel’s crew and vessel owners and its agents.

According to SAMSA, a joint operations committee involving various stakeholders greatly assisted in steering management of the oil spill containment and extraction, rescue and clean-up of affected wildlife, regular inspections of the affected oceans environment for traces of oil spread, as well as settlement of costs responsibilities related to damage suffered and operations activated.

A further meeting of the JOC is scheduled for Port Elizabeth later on Wednesday.

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Bunkering services oil spill in Port Elizabeth under investigation: SAMSA

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One of early photos of the oil spillage incident during refuelling of a vessel off the coast of Port Elizabeth in the Indian Ocean on Saturday morning.

Pretoria: 07 July 2019

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says an investigation is underway to establish the cause of the oil spillage incident during a bunkering service off the port of Ngqhura near Port Elizabeth on Saturday morning,

This follows confirmed reports of an oil spillage at sea while a trade vessel was being refuelled. It was reported that as much 200-400 litters of fuel spilt into the ocean. However, the bunkering services company involved, SA Marine Fuels, soon activated an oil spillage control exercise to contain its spread on water.

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Spilled oil is visible immediately behind the Liberia flag carrying trade vessel, the Chrysanthi S off the coast of Port Elizabeth on at the weekend. The incident is now under investigation, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) (Photo: SAMSA)

A Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries’ statement on Saturday said the vessel involved was the Liberia flag carrying trade ship known as the MV Chrysanthi S. The department said it had been “notified of an oil spill that took place in Algoa Bay in the early hours of Saturday. The incident took place at approximately 04h40 (in the) morning during offshore bunkering operations in Anchorage 1 of the Port of Nqura.

“It was reported that approximately 200 to 400 litters of fuel from the receiving vessel MV Chrysanthi S, flag state Liberia, was spilled into the sea as a result of overflow during the fuel transfer.  SA Marine Fuels proceeded to dispatch a commercial oil spill response service provider to mitigate and contain the spread of the spill.

“This incident is currently considered a Tier 1 level incident which does not require intervention from the national authorities as local resources are sufficient. The department will provide assistance if the incident escalates and requires it.”

The department further said weather conditions in the Algoa Bay area on Saturday were hindering operations, which include wildlife assessments.

“However, the situation has been reported to be managed and under control. The oil is not expected to reach the coast and currently moving in an offshore direction. Transnet National Ports Authority, South African National Parks (SANParks), the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and other environmental bodies have been notified and are monitoring the situation along with our department.

” A contingency plan is in place for the Diaz Zone (Algoa Bay) and the Department will activate it should it be determined that oil is likely to wash ashore.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, SAMSA said it had become fully aware of the incident and that an investigation was being rolled out to establish its cause.

The agency in a statement said: “SAMSA with other authorities will conduct a comprehensive investigation of the incident. An inspection will be conducted tomorrow (Monday) to check if the beach and islands are not affected.”

SAMSA noted however at the time of its statement on Sunday, that monitoring of the oil had indicated that there were no oil traces on the water in the areas yet.

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More visuals of the oil accidentally spilled on the ocean during a refuelling of a vessel near Port Elizabeth at the weekend. It was estimated that between 200-400 litters of oil spilled over onto the ocean water.

In its earlier statement, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries said it was  responsible for matters relating to the combating of oil pollution at sea under Section 52(1) of the South African Maritime Safety Authority Act.

The department said: “Specific arrangements and tactics for responding to incidents are contained in a suite of local oil spill contingency plans managed by the department.

The department further added than an Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg), consisting of various stakeholders including the department, had been established through Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy to address South Africa’s oil spill response capability in the marine environment.

“The IMOrg hosted an oil spill exercise in November 2018 testing the response capability in Algoa Bay and is also keeping a close watch of the incident circumstances and status,” said the department.

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When is a sailor on a ‘high’ at sea – SA seafarers’ ask!

DOTS Logo ENG HOR_UN Blue invertedPretoria 01 July 2019

As South Africa joined the rest of the maritime world to mark and celebrate the international Day of the Seafarer as guided by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and organised locally by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) jointly with the Department of Transport (DoT), seafarer’s general welfare was on the menu and there were few surprises about the issues raised or discussed.

Day of the Seafarer 2019_poster_blue landscapeAfter all, the IMO suggested theme for 2019 was #IamOnBoard with Gender Equality.

South Africa’s marking of the annual event this year took the same format as in 2018, with three of the country’s coastal cities, Cape Town (Western Cape), Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape) and Durban (KwaZulu-Natal) hosting simultaneously the event. The idea according to the Department of Transport, is to ensure that as many of South Africa’s seafarers – some based in these cities – participate in the celebrations as well as ensuing discussions.

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The line up of speakers for the marking and celebration of the 2019 Day of the Seafarer in Cape Town on Tuesday, 25 June were (From far left), Ms Faye Kula (indepent professional), Ms Emma Dzinic (naval architect: SAMSA) , Ms Thembela Taboshe (standing: SHEQ Executive Oceana), Ms Leonie Louw (lecturer Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and Ms Yolisa Tshangela (Transnet National Ports Authority). With them (Far right) is Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Deputy Director General for Maritime Transport at the Department of Transport

Indeed, speakers lined up to lead discussions totaled about five people in each of the venues – all selected according to either or both their involvement as well as experience in seafaring or such other field of engagement directly related to or impacts seafaring. Emphasis was placed active seafarers – seagoing or not – employers, as well as education and training providers or professionals.

This blog covered the Cape Town leg of the event and this is where, among a range of issues raised for discussion concerning gender equality and empowerment of particularly women, the question about drug use by seafarers – and precisely the adequacy and appropriateness of rules and regulations governing its management arose.

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Ms Thembela Taboshe

Ms Thembela Taboshe, one of the first three of South Africa’s black African women seafarers to obtain a Master Mariner qualification in the past fives years and now currently serving as a SHEQ Executive for Blue Continental Products at fishing group Oceana, wanted to know what the allowable limit of narcotic drugs could a sailor have on his or her system to be deemed safe or unsafe at work.

She said the question was arising against the backdrop of law reform developments in the country concerning the use of especially dagga or “weed” and which now deemed it no longer illegal for people to use the narcotic drug in the privacy of their own homes.

The law reform was well and good, she said, but it raised a few questions regarding implications of the free, legal use of the narcotic drug.

“This is a matter I’d like to raise and speak with SAMSA and DoT about. We need to actually come up with legislation about how people find out…..what is the allowable limit….what is not. How do we know that a person who is on the 10th day after having taken weed  is actually capable of doing the job?” said Ms Taboshe.

DSC_1179She contextualized the matter as one concerning and with implications for seafarers in general and therefore relevant in terms of gender equality, but also women empowerment.  (Ms Taboshe’s full remarks – average 6 minutes – along with those of the other participants are shared on the Day of the Seafarers page)

The issue climbed quickly into the DoT and SAMSA list of issues requiring address over the next while and  a report back to sailors prior to, or on Wednesday, 25 June 2020 and perhaps soon thereafter.

The DoT’s representative at the Cape Town event, Acting Deputy Director-General, Maritime Transport, Mr Dumisani Ntuli committed the department to do exactly that.

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Mr Dumisani Ntuli

As indicated the drug usage issue by seafarers was among several that led to a robust debate in Cape Town. For a comprehensive multimedia report on these discussions, click here or on this blog’s main menu, click on the Day of the Seafarer‘s page at the top left of the bar.

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Ports Consultative Council a key cog in South Africa’s ports management: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 10 June 2019

Democratization of South Africa’s ports space is among key goals of the establishment of the country’s Ports Consultative Committee (PCC).

The PCC is a statutory structure set up by Government with a view to ensuring that all economic participants at the country’s major ports have equal access and contribution to management of the ports infrastructure and associated resources.

This is according to the PCC Secretariat, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during the holding of the first ever meeting of Gauteng based ports stakeholders in Johannesburg recently. Johannesburg is South Africa’s financial capital with several investors in the country’s ports based on or operating from the inland city.

The PCC was established by the Department of Transport in terms of sections 80(1)(a), (c), (d) and (g) of the National Ports Act, 2005 and has been operational in the country’s nine commercial ports for some time since.

The PCC’s presence and role also fulfills part of the mandate of the Ports Regular of South Africa which requires that the regulator “must conduct a public participation process as part of the economic review in each of the ports, including conduct one or more public hearings in the manner set out in the Directives issued by the Regulator in terms of the Act.”

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Some of Gauteng based SA ports stakeholders attending this year’s first Port Consultative Committee roadshow in Johannesburg on Wednesday 29 May 2019.

In this year’s round of ports stakeholder consultations involving roadshows from Richards Bay in the east coast through to Saldanha Bay in the west coast, the PCC for the first time included Gauteng based ports stakeholders, with a meeting held at a venue near O.R Tambo international airport on Wednesday, 29 May 2019.

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Ms Selma Schwarz-Clausen. SAMSA

Ms Selma Schwarz-Clausen, a senior official of SAMSA charged with handling the secretariat responsibility of SAMSA for the PCC, described the first ever staging of the meeting for Gauteng based ports stakeholders a major step forward in ensuring broad and inclusive participation by all key and relevant stakeholders in the development and management of the country’s parts for economic beneficiation of all.

 

In the following video, Ms Schwarz-Clausen explains the role of the PCC and goals.

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Mr Mahesh Fakir. Chief Executive Officer: Ports Regulator of South Africa

Also attending the meeting was Mr Mahesh Fakir, Chief Executive Officer of the Ports Regulator of South Africa. He also explained his role in National Ports Consultative Committee which he described as on the whole, as that of an observer who contributes in discussions  if requested to do so, but “is not be permitted to participate in any voting or raise any objections to any action, decision, or advice proposed to be taken or given by the Committee.”

In the three (30 minutes video below, Mr Fakir briefly outlines the role of the Ports Regular in general as well as its interest in the work of the National Ports Consultative Committee.

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South Africa to remain on IMO STCW Convention ‘White List’: SAMSA

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(File photo)

Pretoria: 24 May 2019

Widespread fears and concerns over South Africa possibly being delisted from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) STCW Convention’s ‘White List’ this year have been allayed after the IMO agreed to re-approach its listing process, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) announced on Friday.

According to SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, the withdrawal of the threat occurred following to discussions between SAMSA, other Member States of the IMO and the organization during a meeting in London, a week ago.

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SAMSA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Mr Tilayi said: “Discussions on the matter between the parties concerned came to a conclusion that the drawing up of the list of countries for delisting from the STCW Convention ‘White List’ earlier this year did not follow due process.

“The IMO then agreed to withdraw the list of affected countries and to embark on a process that is fair and transparent over the next year or two. Therefore the list that was drawn up will no longer be presented to the IMO Maritime Safety Committee that is scheduled to sit in June.

‘That therefore, basically means that South Africa is no longer facing a threat of being delisted from the IMO STCW Convention White List.

“That notwithstanding, as we indicated earlier, South Africa remains on course to complete its compliance work during the period that we understood to be required. In fact, we will have completed the work by the end of 2019, way ahead of schedule as we have now begun to speed up the process, with assistance we have sought from the IMO,” said Mr Tilayi.

In a recorded message to SAMSA Stakeholders Mr Tilayi further expressed gratitude for the support the organization received as well as input some stakeholders made.

He says: “We also faced harsh criticism which in some cases was truly misplaced as, at no time did we not do what was needed. We had areas of disagreement with the IMO in terms of our submissions and which are still being working on. However, this by no means implied failure on our part to do what was required.

“Many of our stakeholders stood by us and supported us. For this we are grateful and wish to assure them that SAMSA will ensure that South Africa remains on the IMO STCW Convention White List,” said Mr Tilayi.

For a full briefing of SAMSA stakeholders on this and related matters, please click on the video below.

The talks in London a week ago came following to SAMSA publicly expressing deep concern about how the IMO approached the listing of countries, including South Africa, for possibly delisting.

As many as 80 other countries were included in the list drawn up and circulated in February this year.

SAMSA protested about how the issue was being handled.

For Mr Tilayi’s earlier statement on the matter posted on 2 May 2019, and in which he also outlined the process SAMSA would follow in the wake of the IMO STCW Convention White List development, click here:

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Taiwanese crewmen rescued from stricken vessel off South African ocean

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Pretoria: 07 May 2019

Quick action and a well coordinated response by the South African Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) saw about 16 crewmen of a Taiwanese vessel rescued successfully from the stricken vessel off the Indian Ocean on Tuesday morning.

The MRCC also confirmed that the vessel that first experienced difficulties sailing had soon caught fire and was slowly sinking, some 1100 nautical miles south east of Durban.

The dramatic rescue of sailors off the vessel, the Teng Ming Yang#268, according to the MRCC, ensued from about 6.45am (South African Time) after the centre picked up a distress signal from the vessel indicating a need for assistance.

“At 06h45 local time MRCC Cape Town was alerted via the COSPAS SARSAT system (EPIRB detection) of the Taiwanese fishing vessel Teng Ming Yang #268 possibly needing assistance.

“The distress position as per the detection placed the vessel more than 1100 kilometres South East of Durban within the South African Search and Rescue region. MRCC Cape Town Duty Team immediately contacted the Taipei Rescue Coordination Centre to obtain additional details. The satellite AIS system was used to identify any vessels near the casualty position that may be called upon to assist.

“Taipei RCC stated that the vessel had reported a fire onboard and the 16 crew were going to abandon the vessel to life rafts. A MAYDAY relay broadcast was issued by Telkom Maritime Radio for vessels in the area to assist.

“The vessel Mearsk Lanco (approximately 500 kilometres away) immediately responded to the MAYDAY broadcast but was thanked for the response and stood down by the MRCC as a sister vessel to the Teng Ming Yang #268 was already diverting and a second vessel was also on route.

“Constant monitoring of the AIS system indicated that the sister vessel arrived in the area just after 0900 local time. This was confirmed by Taipei RCC minutes later when they reported that Teng Ming Yang #888 reported that it had rescued the 16 crew from the life raft. The vessel was reportedly still burning and sinking slowly. A Navigational warning has been issued.

“SAR systems and RCC cooperation has yet again proven its value,” said the centre in a statement.

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Possible delisting of South Africa from IMO’s STCW ‘Whitelist’ a major concern: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 02 May 2019

The announced possible delisting of South Africa along with 80 or more other countries from the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) ‘Whitelist’ of countries compliant with the 1978 STCW Convention, as amended, is a matter of major concern, says the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

The agency was responding to an IMO Maritime Safety Committee’s circular to Member States stating the committee’s intention to remove all countries from its Whitelist that were not compliant with requirements of the 1978 STCW Convention as amended.

The IMO’s 1978 STCW Convention stipulates standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.

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

SAMSA Master LogoSAMSA is the country’s agency responsible for South Africa’s compliance with this and other conventions and similar instruments.

In February the IMO issued a circular expressing its intention to remove from its register all countries that were non complaint with the convention, along with a list reflecting that as many as 87 countries – including South Africa – would be affected.

The circular simply stated the intention but provided no set date for implementation of the action.

In a statement in Pretoria on Thursday, SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi confirmed that the agency was extremely concerned by the development announced by the IMO in February, as it had major implications for the country’s maritime sector.

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South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

However, he said; “even as we have a serious situation in our hands, and should never have found ourselves in this position, I am confident that we will act with speed and do so correctly to ensure that the intended action by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee is not finalized to South Africa’s disadvantage.”

The planned response action plan involves three broad activities; the securing of IMO assistance with compilation of the report required in terms of the convention, the hastening of a SAMSA process setting in place a relevant quality management system, and constant engagement with stakeholders.

In the video below, Mr Tilayi speaks at length about the entire saga but also about what SAMSA is already doing to prevent South Africa from being formally delisted possibly later in 2019.

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