Battle against forced labour in fishing entering a sharp-edged phase in South Africa: SAMSA

SAMSA File Photo

Pretoria: 26 September 2022

South Africa’s fight against forced labour in the country’s fishing sector is entering an entirely new sharp-edged phase, featuring a broad front of several government departments, all with the goal of eliminating poor employment practices that denude fishermen of their basic right to dignity of employment.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on review of its performance to date with the implementation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Work-In-Fishing Convention, 2007 (C188) which South Africa ratified in 2013 and put into effect eight years later – in the process becoming the first country globally to implement the convention.

The news comes in the wake of a recent meeting and training session in Cape Town involving SAMSA, the ILO, several South African State departments and other agencies, as well as private sector law practitioners.

The meeting was to both evaluate the country’s progress and discuss challenges associated with the implementation of the C188 convention, as well as extend ILO training to both SAMSA surveyors and other State officials on identification of forced labour practices in the fishing sector.

An onboard fishing vessel C188 convention inspection being conducted by SAMSA surveyors on a foreign vessel in Cape Town. (SAMSA File Photo)

According to SAMSA this past week, now with an army of about a dozen fully trained surveyors on Port State Control and the ILO C188 convention’s Forced Labour Indicators, as well as a set of three new regulations about to be passed, to bring to full effect related domestic legislation, the fight is shaping up neatly for a broad sweep in the country’s commercial fishing sector to spot and eliminate poor labour practicies, but particularly forced labour.

In sharpening the edge of the weaponry in the battle against forced labour, SAMSA is being joined by several other State departments, among them the Department of Employment and Labour, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment, Home Affairs (Immigration), the South African Revenue Services and other agencies.

The battle is focused on not only South African fishing vessels, as international vessels operating on South African waters will also be thoroughly scanned and inspected consistent with the ILO C188 convention and related international and domestic instruments.

For a full outline of the assessment of South Africa’s progress in the implementation of the ILO C188 convention and related matters, inclusive of the country’s pioneering role in assisting other countries in ratifying and implementing the convention, this blog conducted a brief interview (15 minutes max), with one of SAMSA’s lead ship surveyors with vast knowledge and experience on the subject, Mr Selywn Bailey.

To view and listen, click on the video below.

Meanwhile, in a different but related environment, a set of South Africa twin architects, both females; are set to make it to South Africa’s maritime history arsenal next month in Durban, where the General Secretary of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr Kitack Lim is scheduled to unveil a new statue the pair were selected earlier this year to draw and erect.

Twin architects of Sesana Studio (from Left), Ms Letlhogonolo and Tlhologelo Sesana

The statue is part of features to mark South Africa’s inaugural hosting of the IMO’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE) over four (4) days in Durban’s International Convention Centre, attended by hundreds of representatives of its 175 Member States, as well as those of the Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA), the latter which will also hold a one day conference a day ahead of the IMO event.

The two events take place in Durban from 11-14 October 2022.

Twin architects, Ms Letlhogonolo and Tlhologelo Sesana of Sesana Sesana Studio in Pretoria were formally appointed by the Department of Transport (DoT) in June this year to design as well as have erected their design of the statue which they have named ‘Ukuhlangana‘.

Their appointment was formally announced in June 2022 Gazette Notice 1133 of 2022 published on 04 June, and confirmed once more publicly, during the launch of the country’s Maritime Industry Development Task Force Network in Durban in August 2022.

To get a sense of what the twin architect were embarking upon, this blog caught with and chatted briefly with the pair.

Click on the video below to view and listen to them.

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Recovery efforts continue for remains of a sunken yacht sailor off the Cape coast: SAMSA

SAMSA File photo.

Pretoria: 22 August 2022

Efforts to recover the remains of a sailor whose yacht, named the PANACEA; sank at sea off Cape coast south of Mossel Bay a week ago continue, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

In a statement on Monday, SAMSA said the continuing effort occurs against a backdrop where earlier efforts involving the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and others to recover the yacht with the body of the deceased sailor were thwarted by bad weather.

SAMSA said: “On Saturday 20 August, after the body of the solo sailor was located onboard the yacht adrift at sea, arrangements were prepared for the yacht to be towed to Stilbaai where SA Police officials would board the yacht and recover the body of the sailor.

“The yacht was found to have sustained some damage. While NSRI Stilbaai were towing the yacht weather conditions deteriorated and the tow was released. Further arrangements were made for NSRI Mossel Bay to respond on Sunday during the early morning to tow the yacht to Mossel Bay.

“NSRI Mossel Bay took up a tow of the yacht and while towing the yacht towards Mossel Bay the yacht took on water and sunk approximately 12 nautical miles from Mossel Bay. The SA Police Services and the Police Dive Unit are assessing the situation around the possible recovery of the body of the sailor from the sunken yacht.

“The family has been informed of the matter by the authorities and our thoughts remain with them in this difficult time.”

According to SAMSA in an earlier statement on Saturday, the ordeal of the recovery of the vessel and its sailor began after the yacht with the solo sailing skipper was reported missing after it had left Cape Town harbour on Friday, 12 August 2022, headed for Mossel Bay, but had failed to arrive at the scheduled time.

SAMSA related that: “The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town was made aware of a sailor onboard the yacht PANACEA that had departed Cape Town on Friday the 12th  of August and was headed to Mossel Bay.

“After three days of no contact with his family, the sailor’s mother informed MRCC that she was concerned however not overly so,  as her son was reportedly in no immediate rush to reach Mossel Bay. MRCC Cape Town, out of concern requested Telkom Maritime Radio to broadcast marine messages requesting vessel routing along the south coast between Cape Town and Mossel Bay to lookout for and report any sightings of the yacht and report it to the MRCC.

“On Friday 19th August a report from a passing vessel was received. Due to very bad weather the vessel could not remain on scene. However a different vessel managed to locate the yacht as well, and tried to confirm the safety of the lone sailor without success.

“With the concern and need to establish the safety of the sailor, MRCC Cape Town activated and tasked the National Sea Rescue Institutes’ rescue boat from the Hermanus station to proceed to the area, establish safety of the sailor, and render any assistance that may be required. Following an extensive search lasting well into the early hour of Saturday, morning the rescue boat – having operated for over 10 hours under very difficult sea condition and in near zero visibility – was stood down.

“The South African Air Force at 22 Squadron in Cape town was tasked along with the Air Sea Rescue team from the NSRI to prepare to launch at first light to head to the scene and provide assistance. Due to bad weather the flight departed later than planned and arrived on scene during the early afternoon of Saturday.

“Once on scene a rescue swimmer from the NSRI team was deployed from the helicopter to board the vessel. Unfortunately, the lone sailor was found but deceased. Plans are currently underway to recover the sailor and the yacht,” said SAMSA

In the meantime, the entity expressed condolences to the family of the sailor. Further, SAMSA expressed its gratitude to the crews from the NSRI and the South African Air Force “for the excellent efforts under very challenging condition present during this operation.”

End

SA maritime industry network launch just the tool for sector’s much needed rapid development: Govt, business.

Leadership of South Africa’s newly established Maritime Industry Development Task Force Network (MIDTSN) during formal launch of the private sector initiated formation in Durban on Thursday, 11 August 2022. (Photo: SAMSA File)

Pretoria: 20 August 2022

The launch in South Africa of a private-sector driven Maritime Industry Development Task Force Network (MIDTFN) could prove to be just the most appropriate step needed currently to inject much desired positive impetus on the country’s blue economy strategy outlined through the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) government programme launched all of eight years ago.

Precisely, the country’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) implementation by the Department of Transport and through which as much as R177-billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution could be unlocked in the maritime sector alone, and with it, the creation of close on a million jobs in the next decade, will need it.

At least that is the view of the more than three dozen maritime industry practitioners, business leaders and related whose ‘task forces’ representatives graced the launch event at Durban port’s upmarket MSC cruiseliner passenger terminal, along with senior officials of the Department of Transport and others a week ago.

Top leadership the MIDTFN (From Left) Capt. Makhosi Mbokwazi (Second deputy President), Mr Prasheen Maharaj (President) and Mr Lindani Mchunu (First deputy President).

Leading the private sector task forces grouping under the MIDFT Network umbrella body was its first president, Mr Prasheen Maharaj (Sandock Austral), deputies Mr Lindani Mchunu (V&A Waterfront) and Capt. Makhosi Mbokazi (Transnet National Ports Authority), along with Department of Transport (DoT) Chief Director for Maritime Policy and Legislation, Mr Dumisani Ntuli.

Mr Dumisani Ntuli, Chief Director: Maritime Policy & Legislation. Department of Transport

The goal of the formation of the network, according to both the network and the DoT is to provide a platform upon which the country’s maritime economic sector can combine seamlessly to form a social compact in execution of efforts towards rapid development of the country’s maritime industry which, by their own admission; lacks desired progress.

To ensure appropriate, equitable representation of all involved and interested, according to Mr Maharaj, the Network is a collective of work streams or ‘task forces’ representative of several subsectors for each of private sector identified priority investment and development areas in the country’s maritime industry.

During launch of the network in Durban on Thursday, 11 August 2022; six of these task forces – all led by private sector appointed representatives – were already in existence and operational.

Collectively, the network will serve as a conduit for joint effort and collaboration with Government and other maritime economic sector stakeholders in South Africa and abroad to drive investment and business development while contributing to resolution of the country’s triple challenges of inequality, unemployment and poverty.

The six streams so far comprise;

  1. a Maritime Industry Value Chain Task Force championeed by Mr Durand Naidoo, chief executive officer of Lisen Nambi Group of Companies,
  2. a Maritime Industry Space Solutions Task Force championed by Ms Nokwanda Mkhize (researcher at Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone) and Mr Imraan Saloojee (executive director of The Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability [RIIS]),
  3. a Maritime Industry Ship Repair Hub Task Force championed by Mr Karl Wiesner (Managing Director of the Sandock Austral Defense Engineering System [SADES]),
  4. a Maritime Industry Human Resources Task Force championed by Mr Nceba Mfini (Human Resources Executive at AMSOL),
  5. a Maritime Industry Scaling Up through industry-wide collaborations Task Force (MSuC-TF) championed by Dr. Nandipha Siwahla-Madiba (Non Executive Director of Freight Logistics South Africa), and
  6. a Maritime Industry Decarbonisation through Renewable Energy Task Force (MDtRE)-TF championed by Mr Thomas Roos (Senior Research Engineer at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research [CSIR])

In addition, the network works closely with a Maritime Industry Communication Forum.

In order to preserve clarity of messaging, in addition to capturinng the network launch proceedings as best as ambience conditions allowed in the huge cruiseliners’ passenger terminal hall, this blog also conducted interviews with both Mr Ntuli (DoT) as well as Mr Maharaj.

In the seperate interviews, they fully outlined both the purpose of the network and its anticipated impact on the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) programme as well as its underlying policy framework under the DoT’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy.

Curiously, what came out of both was a common message that neither government nor the private sector can do it alone. The country’s ailing maritime economic sector needs both to realise meaningful development through increased investment.

To listen to the interviews click on the videos below.

Mr Dumisani Ntuli. Chief Director: Maritime Policy & Legislation. Department of Transport
Mr Prasheen Maharaj, SA Maritime Industry Development Task Force Network president.

For each of the respective officials (Mr Ntuli and Mr Maharaj’s on stage presentations, click on the videos below.

Mr Dumisani Ntuli’s main address
Mr Prasheed Maharaj’s main address
Network First Deputy President Mr Lindani Mchunu’s address unpacking the composition of the Task Forces

The four Task Forces champions present at the launch event, also shared a few insights. To view and listen, click on the respective videos below.

Mr Thomas Roos
Mr Karl Wiesner
Mr Nceba Mfini
Dr Nandipha Siwahla-Madiba

End

South Africa’s budding maritime business chamber formation a vital intervention; industry sector players

Pretoria: 21 July 2022

Current ongoing efforts towards broadening involvement and engagement of business of all sizes in South Africa’s maritime economic sector through a representative national business chamber have received a nod from a number of keyrole players in the sector, among them diverse national institutions as well as industry sector principals.

This emerged this past week during a three (3) days strategy planning session of the budding Maritime Business Chamber (MBC) previously the Eastern Maritime Business Chamber – held at the St Francis Bay Conference Centre in the Eastern Cape province and attended or actively addressed in person or virtually by representatives of several national institutions and businesses across the private and public sectors, including financial institutions.

From the public sector, these included the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence, and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitican Municipality (NMBM).

Financial institutions included the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Absa Bank while private sector institutions included FishSA as well as individual company representatives, among them CEO of Algoa Bay based bunkering services firm, Heron Marine SA, Ms Kgomotso Selokane; and Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, group executive of Johannesburg based maritime sector consulting firm, Elekhom Global.

The event hosts, the MBC are an upsized version of a small business chamber that started off in Gqeberha (a.k.a Port Elizabeth) in Algoa Bay in 2019 as a small, micro and medium entreprises (SMME) organisation with express interest in involvement and engagement for business and other economic opportunities identification and exploration in the region’s maritime economic sector.

Maritime Business Chamber chairperson, Mr Unathi Sonti

According to MBC chairperson, Mr Unathi Sonti last Tuesday in St Francis Bay, through ongoing intense and expansive interaction with various stakeholders in South Africa’s maritime sector mostly across the four coastal provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape), a “clear gap” was identified for an institution of the nature operating at national level, in order to advance the interests of those people and businesses with direct interest but without any formal representation in the sector.

According to Mr Sonti, such business chamber with precise focus on the maritime sector was also vital in terms of the national interest of the country.

The feedback over the past two years culminated in last week’s three days’ strategy session workshop as a formal step towards formal expansion of the maritime business chamber countrywide, he explained. For his full views on the subject, click on the video below.

Mr Unathi Sonti, chairperson of Maritime Business Chamber chatting about the development of a national business chamber for the maritime sector in South Africa

Meanwhile, all the companies and institutions represented at the event at St Francis Bay on Monday to Wednesday last week, expressed a common agreement in terms of their full support of both the idea of a business maritime chamber, as well as the expanse of its reach, domestically and abroad.

In the next three videos below, this blog chatted to at least two of the representatives of five key public sector maritime focused institutions present; SAMSA’s Head for Corporate Affairs and Acting Chief Operations Officer, Mr Vusi September; and SAIMI’s Mr Malwande Nkalitshana.

Mr Vusi September, SAMSA Head for Corporate Affairs and acting Chief Operations Officer; sharing the agency viewpoint on its support for the formation of a national maritime business chamber.
Mr Malwande Nkalitshana of the South African Internaitonal Maritime Institute (SAIMI) also weighing on why a national maritime business chamber matters.

From a private sector business perspective, Ms Selokane, CEO of Heron Marine SA also shared her views.

Ms Kgomotso Selokane. CEO of bunkering services firm Heron Marine SA and patron of the Maritime Business Chamber also sharing her own perspective of the importance of such a structure within context of South Africa’s broad economy and people’s interests

End

New Safe Manning Document fee held in abeyance due to outbreak of Covid-19, back in force: SAMSA

SAMSA File Photo

Pretoria: 07 June 2022

A new Safe Manning Document fee approved two years ago but withheld from implementation due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 is now back in force effective from August 2022, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has announced.

The announcement in the form a Marine Information Notice (07-22) was made by SAMSA in Pretoria on Thursday.

The Merchant Shipping (Training, Certification and Safe Manning) Regulations 2021 describes a Safe Manning Document as “….. a document that describes the minimum manning considered necessary to ensure that a ship is sufficiently and efficiently manned, and that is issued –
(a) in the case of a South African ship, by the Authority; and
(b) in the case of any other ship, by or under the Authority of that flag State;

The SAMSA announcement on the coming into effect of the new fees states: “Historically, a charge was payable for the issue of a Safe Manning Document. However, there was no charge for the Safe Manning Document if it was issued together with a Local General SafetyCertificate for the same vessel.

“The Determination of Charges which came into effect on 24ᵗʰ August 2020, made provision for fees to be payable for the issue of a Safe Manning Document. Due to the COVID Pandemic at that time; it was decided to waive this charge considering the financial implications.

“On the 23ʳᵈ of June 2022, South Africa ended all COVID-19 restrictions. As a result, SAMSA has decided to implement the charge to issue a Safe Manning Document effective from 1ˢᵗ August 2022, as required under Regulation 8(2) of the Determination of charges. Therefore, a charge of R 1117 will be payable for the issue of a Safe Manning Document; unless a Safe Manning Document is required under Regulation 8(8), which will attract a higher fee.

“If a new Determination of Charges is gazetted in the future, the charge for the issue of the Safe Manning Document will be determined as per that gazette,” says SAMSA.

The notice will be accessible from the SAMSA website from Thursday.

End

Climate change, future of sea transportation come under focus at Southern Africa Transport Conference 2022 in Pretoria next week

Pretoria: 30 June 2022

Southern Africa’s transport sector across all modes – on land, sea and the air – will have its eye turned onto this year’s Southern Africa Transport Conference (SATC) scheduled for the CSIR International Convention Centre (CSIR ICC) in Pretoria over four days, from Monday to Thursday next week.

Arranged as a hybrid event to facilitate greater participation, the SATC’s 40th event for 2022, under the theme ‘addressing the new normal and the future of transport’ is billed as providing an “excellent platform” for the transport industry to exchange ideas and insights, as well as engage in discussions on a wide range of topics that are of immediate and direct interest, or with impact to the transportation sector in general.

South Africa Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula

For the maritime sector, however, focus on sea transportation contemporary trends onshore and offshore is slotted for the third day of the SACT, Wednesday (06 July 2022) wherein the session will provide for a mix of domestic and international presenters, sharing ideas and guidelines on the future of maritime transport.

According to a preliminary programme shared by the organisers, among the contributors during this session will be Mr Moses Ramakulukusha Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) who will be sharing notes on developments in the Marine Spatial Planning for South Africa, which has been developed through the Operations Phakisa ‘Oceans Economy’.

With climate change being a global topical issue, and with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) having adopted the Initial Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Strategy, focus will also be on shipping and ports stakeholders on account of their responsibility to ensure that they contribute to mitigating and decarbonising shipping.

Further insights on the subject of sea transportation will be shared by Ms Katrina Abhold, from the Global Maritime Forum.  Ms Abhold, the lead author of the recently published paper “Shipping’s Energy Transition: Strategic Opportunities in South Africa”, is expected to highlight the opportunities for decarbonising shipping in Southern Africa.

More on the topic is expected also from Ms Lydia Ngugi, the Africa Head of the Region’s Maritime Technology Co-operation Centres headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya; and whose specific focus will be on greenhouse gas emissions and the role played by MTCCs in helping countries transition to a decarbonised future.

On the specific topic of GHG emissions, a case study with focus on Madagascar is expected to feature in a presentation by Miora Rabemiafara of the Agence Portuaire Maritime et Fluviale, who will look at how maritime sectors in least developing island states can be addressed.

It will be within that slot also that Dr Leticia Grimmet of the Moses Kotane Institute will also share her views on whether the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is positioned to transition into smart ports. Specific focus is expected to be on freight forwarders’ role in enabling efficient ports systems, with Ms Sibongile Mokoena and Ms Cashandra Mara  of the University of Johannesburg weighing in onto the subject.

Sea transport security and related contingency measures will also feature, with Captain Ravi Naicker of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Sea Watch and Response billed to share insights on the Incident Management System (IMS) with precise focus on how it prepares countries on how to respond to maritime incidents.

Captain Ravi Naicker. Senior Manager, Navigation, Security and Environment. SAMSA

Capt. Naicker’s insights will also reflect on the country’s recent staging of its IMS training as well as a live mock oil spill incident management exercise held at sea near Cape Town, with participation of Angola and Namibia, which along with South Africa, are member states of the Benguela Current Convention.

Also contributing to the maritime sector transport session on Wednesday will be Mr Omar Eriksson of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) whose presentation will feature insights on future trends or the ‘new normal’ for Coastal States.

Other sessions billed over the 4 days include amongst others, freight logistics, aviation, disruptive women forging a new normal in the transport sector, and public private partnerships.

South Africa’s Department of Transport, led by Minister Fikile Mbalula and deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, is also expected to feature prominently on all sessions of SATC 2022, with the event billed to be formally opened by Mr Mbalula on Monday, 04 July 2022.

End

UPDATE: Capsized fishing vessel salvaged and returning on tow to Cape Town

Photo Supplied

Pretoria: 30 June 2022

The recovery of a fishing vessel whose 12 member crew was rescued on Sunday this past weekend after it capsized while out at sea near Cape Point, continues, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

The rescued crew was safely returned to shore following to which a salvage operation to recover the vessel, named Restless Wave, was launched.

According to SAMSA, during the early hours of the morning on 26 June 2022 the pelagic fishing vessel Restless Wave capsized while located approximately four (4) Nautical Miles off the Cape of Good Hope.

Photo Supplied

There were 12 survivors recovered and they were landed safely in Hout Bay at 08h00 the same day. No injuries or fatalities were reported and the vessel owners working with salvors set out to recover the vessel and fishing gear.

On Thursday morning, SAMSA said the vessel was being towed to Cape Town Harbour and was expected to be in the Table Bay anchorage around noon. “SAMSA continues to monitor the operation,”said the agency in a statement

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A dozen fishermen rescued from vessel off Cape Coast: SAMSA

SAMSA FILE Photo

Pretoria: 27 June 2022

Twelve (12) fishermen were rescued off a damaged fishing vessel off the coast of Cape Town on Sunday, while attempts are underway to salvage the boat, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported.

In a statement in Pretoria on Sunday afternoon SAMSA said: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is investigating the capsizing of a fishing vessel resulting in the rescue of 12 fishermen.

“The 12 fishermen have been safely returned to shore following a rescue operation involving two Oceana vessels with coordination from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC). The fishing vessel, Restless Wave,  is still afloat off Cape Point and a Navigation warning has been issued to vessels around the area. A salvage operation is underway to recover the vessel.

More detail to follow onced obtained.

End

Maritime world’s eyes on seafarers globally this weekend for celebration in recognition of their immense role in oceans transportation!

Pretoria: 24 June 2022

Once more, the world’s maritime sector will have its eyes squarely on seafarers globally this weekend to celebrate them in recognition of their incredible role in sea trade transport and related 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

June 25 is the officially appointed Day of the Seafarer celebrated annually each year since its establishment just over a decade ago by a resolution of a Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, held in Manila, Philippines, in June 2010.

It has since been followed by the establishment of the International Day for Women in Maritime, celebrated on 18 May for the first time this year.

Twelve years on, the Day of the Seafarers however, remains the most important annual calendar event to date for many maritime countries that are Member States of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) which leads it by coordinating and deciding the theme for each of the June 25 annual events.

According to the IMO, “The Day of the Seafarer provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the world’s 1.5 million seafarers (risen to 1,89-million by 2015 in 74 000 merchant vessels) for the unique and all-too-often overlooked contribution to the well-being of the general public, and we would like to do it using as many social media networks as possible.

“The Day of the Seafarer is also an opportunity to educate the public about issues facing the modern-day seafarer – issues such as piracy. But, most importantly, it is the occasion for us, the world, to say ‘Thank you, seafarers.’

This year’s theme picked by the IMO is: “Your voyage – then and now, share your journey” with its choice and significance explained thus: “Every seafarer’s journey is different, but they all face similar challenges.

“For 2022, the campaign of the Day of the Seafarers, with the theme ‘Your voyage – then and now share your journey’, look at seafarer voyages, what it includes and how has it evolved over time and what remains at the heart of seafarers’ reality. This campaign gives seafarers a chance to share what resonates with them currently, whether it’s the crew change crisis being unresolved or the future of technology.”

With June 25 falling on a Saturday this year, South Africa, one 175 Member States of the IMO; will celebrate the day on Monday, 27 June 2022 with the ceremony marked simultaneously at the same time in three coastal cities; Cape Town, Gqeberha (a.k.a Port Elizabeth) and Durban, the latter city being where the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula or his deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga is currently earmarked to deliver the main address.

The live staging of the event next Monday will mark the first time in two years that the Day of Seafarers is celebrated in the traditional ‘town hall’ setting since being disrupted and forced to online platforms by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.

This passing week, the country’s maritime sector joined the pre-event activity attaching to this year’s theme, with several companies and entities calling on South Africa’s seafarers to share their career journey stories, notable among these being SAMSA, the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Amsol and others and using their social media platforms to publicly share the stories.

While no official word had come forth from either the DoT or SAMSA about Monday’s event prior to publication of this article, nevertheless this blog understands that the Durban leg of it will feature a discussion session involving Government, its agencies as well representatives of the maritime sector inclusive of educational institutions as well as seafarers, all focusing precisely on seafarers’ experiences and anticipations.

A preliminary draft list of likely participants in the session includes Dr Langa Dlamini, Executive Manager: Economics and Statistical Services at the Durban based Moses Kotane Institute, Mr Sibusiso Rantsoabe, Manager: OHS & Maritime Welfare at SAMSA; Mr Nkosinathi Manqele, HoD for Maritime Studies Department, Durban University of Technology; Mr Ross Volk, Managing Director of MSC Cruises, South Africa; Mr Durand Naidoo,  Chief Executive Officer: Linsen Nambi; Ms Pinky Zungu, Deputy Harbour Master, Durban (TNPA), Captain Thobela Gqabu, SAMSA Regional Manager: Eastern Region, and a set of yet to be confirmed seafarers’ representative.

Anticipated topics for exploration through discussion include; Government’s role and commitment to South African seafarers, and individual institutional perspectives one the subject from the Maritime Regulator (SAMSA – the Registrar of Seafarers and Custodian of Seafarer Welfare), Maritime Education, Training and Research, Employers of Seafarers and perspectives of Seafarers themselves inclusive of their gender-specific related experiences and future expectations.

Also in the preliminary list of speakers on the day, in addition to the Minister or his Deputy, are KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Ms Peggy Nkonyeni or DoT Chief Director: Maritime Policy and Legislation Mr Dumisani Ntuli, Mr Bheka Zulu who is both a SAMSA and Moses Kotane Institute Board Member, Ms Zamachonco Chonco, SAMSA Acting CEO; Dr Thandeka Ellenson CEO of the Moses Kotane Institute and Mr William Azuh Head: Africa Section, Subdivision for Maritime Development, Technical Cooperation Division, IMO.

As per tradition, a recorded video message about this year’s event theme by IMO Secretary General Mr Kitack Lim will also be shared.

Monday’s event in all three cities is currently scheduled to begin at 9am through to 2pm

As usual, this blog will attempt to capture such visuals of any of the events as shall be possible during the day.

End

South Africa’s stevedores back in business, applauds resumption of supportive SAMSA periodic safety meetings and workshops!

Cape Town: 20 June 2022

Stevedoring business at South Africa’s coastal areas, mainly the country’s commercial ports, has warmly welcomed the resumption of periodic safety meetings and workshops conducted for their businesses by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).  The gatherings bring together the stevedoring companies, Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) and Transnet Port Terminals (TPT).

This emerged strongly at the third and biggest of these meetings conducted so far this year by SAMSA at the TNPA House at the port of Cape Town a week ago – these being the first in quarterly series since being interrupted by the outbreak of the Covid-10 pandemic in South Africa in February 2020.

The meetings are primarily for safety issues. However, the practitioners in the subsector feel comfortable to bring industry development related issues to the forum.

SAMSA manager for Occupational Health, Safety and Maritime Welfare, Mr Sibusiso Rantsoabe leading a stevedore business safety meeting in Cape Town on Wednesday, 16 June 2022

According to SAMSA manager for Occupational Health, Safety and Maritime Welfare, Mr Sibusiso Rantsoabe, the stevedoring business meetings, now in their 12th year; are held among the main stakeholders with a view to periodically share both general information of good business practices in that specific maritime economy subsector, developments relating to applicable legislation governing both the conduct of stevedoring business, as well as matters concerning the maintenance of good health and safety standards.

Stevedoring essentially involves the loading and off-loading of goods from cargo vessels, as break bulk and containers as well as the conduct of business related thereto.

Generally, says Mr Rantsoabe, as many as 30 registered and licensed companies are responsible for stevedoring at the country’s ports: – from Richards Bay and Durban in the east, East London, Ngqurha, Port Elizabeth in the south, and Cape Town and Saldanha Bay in the west coastline.

In terms of applicable legislation, from a SAMSA perspective, the National Merchant Shipping Act, 1951 is primary; providing for codes of practices and regulations that govern matters of occupational health and safety and cargo handling on board vessels.

It is on the basis of this legislation and codes and regulations that SAMSA also conducts regular inspections as well as audits in the subsector at the country’s ports and stevedore premises, this deriving from its legislated mandate for ensuring the safety of life and property at sea.

Representatives of stevedore businesses at the ports of Cape Town and Saldanha gathered in Cape Town for this year’s first SAMSA stevedore safety meeting.

In Cape Town on Wednesday last week, no less than 14 of these companies were represented at the first Stevedoring Safety Meeting since 2020 and the enthusiasm in the meeting room was palpable.

This was particularly apt given what was described by many as a most torrid time the stevedoring business in the country encountered during the major national lockdowns brought about by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research findings shared by SAMSA at the Cape Town meeting indicated that while the majority (about 95%) of the stevedoring businesses were sparred the spate of Covid-10 pandemic deaths among their employees, however; close on half incurred either a ‘bit more’ or a ‘lot more’ business running costs compared with the pre-pandemic outbreak period.

It also emerged that during the periodically disrupted operations, stevedores were not provided with adequate Personal Protective Equipment, in addition to other associated challenges that included a lack of occupational safety inspections before the beginning of shifts, lack of supervision in instances where foremen and supervisors were not found on board vessels, signallers working without signalling equipment or found not in their correct positions during cargo operations.

However, with Covid-19 pandemic restrictions having slowly been lifted nationally over the past year, and goods shipment worldwide beginning to pick again, the stevedoring business is now almost fully back at work.

At the conclusion of the Cape Town Stevedore Business Safety Meeting, this blog spoke to Mr Whaleed Diedericks, a business owner of Pebblehouse Stevedoring at the port of Cape Town, to solicit his views on the significance and importance of these SAMSA conducted stevedore subsector meetings and workshops. To view, click on the 6 minutes video below.

Mr Whaleed Diedericks, a stevedore business owner at the port of Cape Town sharing his perspective of SAMSA Stevedore Safety Meetings now back on track after a two year absence due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020

Meanwhile, Mr Rantsoabe also took time to outline broadly the developments in the stevedore business from a SAMSA perspective, explaining why the meetings and workshops are pivotal to the success, sustainability as well as growth and expansion of this maritime economy business subsector: To view, click on the video below:

A brief interview with Mr Sibusiso Rantsoabe, SAMSA Manager for Occupational Health, Safety and Maritime Welfare, outlining briefly the significance and importance of the country’s stevedore business focused periodic safety meetings and workshops resumed in 2021 after a break of two years due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

End.