South Africa readies for IMO Marpol new ship fuel requirements effective January 2020

SAMSA to meet maritime transport stakeholders in an indaba in July 2019

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Pretoria: 30 May 2019

South Africa will be ready to implement new global regulations governing the prevention of air pollution by ships at sea, in terms of the International Maritime organization (IMO) MARPOL Convention (Annexture VI), so says the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

In a statement on Thursday addressed to maritime sector and related stakeholders (Click on video) SAMSA; a State agency under the Department of Transport, responsible for among other things; the safety of life and property at sea, as well as prevention of pollution at sea by ships, said it was confident that South Africa would both be able to offer sailing ships the required new low sulphur fuel in terms of the Marpol Convention (Annex 6), as well as render such other services as necessary under the new regulations.

Revised regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships under the MARPOL (Annexture 6) were adopted in October 2008 and ratified by more than 65 countries including South Africa.

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

According to SAMSA, ships must operate using compliant fuels of 0.50% sulphur or less from 1 January 2020 unless they are provided with an approved ‘equivalent’ means of compliance.

As part of its preparation for the coming into effect of the regulations next January, SAMSA has issued at least two Marine Notices ( Marine Notice No. 8 of 2019 and Marine Notice No. 9 of 2019 ) to industry, and is due to issue another in the next month or so.

SAMSA’s statement on Thursday followed the organization’s most recent meeting with the IMO Maritime Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) in London two weeks ago.

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

SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tilayi said introduction of the MARPOL Convention regulation on low sulphur ships fuel scheduled for implementation from 01 January 2020 would go ahead as planned.

“It’s all systems go as far as that is concerned and it’s a big piece of legislation with far reaching consequences. What we now need to do as a country is to put in place the regulations necessary to effect the process from January 2020.”

As part of the preparation, Mr Tilayi said SAMSA would arrange a maritime transport sector meeting of directly affected stakeholders as well as government departments or agencies responsible for environmental and energy matters.

“The reason is that we still have a number of issues that remain a major challenge and which we collectively need to look into and come up with solutions for. Therefore we, as SAMSA, are proposing a gathering of all stakeholders in the second week of July 2019 or thereabouts, in which we will sit around the table and thrash these issues out,” he said.

Among the issues for sector discussion and resolution were matters relating to the proper handling of ships coming into South African ports without the compliant fuel, the availability of facilities to test fuels in use by ships, the handling of vessels using non compliant fuel but fitted with sulphur reducing equipment etcetera.

The proposed maritime transport sector indaba for July 2019, he said, would allow all interested and affected parties an opportunity to come up with solutions that would assist in the finalization of local regulations for the implementation of the IMO Marpol Convention on use of low sulphur fuels.

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

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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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Durban port clean-up underway after massive floods debris – TNPA

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A photo showing the debris that swamped the Durban port after major rains caused flooding in the area over the last few days. Clean-up is now currently underway according to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA). (Photos supplied by TNPA)

Pretoria: 25 April 2019

A major clean-up of the Durban port is now fully underway following to a  deluge of tons of debris – mostly plastic – that swamped the port due to heavy rains and flooding that affected the area over the last few days.

This is according to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in a statement issued in Durban on Thursday. The statement reads as follows:

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Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at the Port of Durban has commenced a major clean-up to remove the large volume of waste and vegetation from the port after the recent heavy rains and flooding in KwaZulu-Natal.

The adverse weather caused the usual deluge of plastic and other debris to flow into the port, leaving behind an unsightly scene just days after World Earth Day was observed globally on 22 April.

Acting Durban Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane, said all Transnet Operating Divisions were carrying out assessments to establish the full extent of damage caused by the storm.

“Our thoughts are with all those affected by the recent heavy rains and flooding. We would also like to appeal to the public to please help curb plastic pollution as this causes huge problems when the debris flows into the harbour,” she said.

She said the port’s pollution control teams were on site tackling the debris within port waters, aided by clean-up teams from SpillTech, Drizit and ZMK Enterprises. Progress is slow due to the sheer volume of material that still continues to wash in.

dbn port clean up.jpgThe debris included large logs that posed a threat to the safe navigation of the harbour craft which are used to guide vessels safely in and around the port. The port has been fully operational however, the ingress of waste impacted on vessel movements and as of midday on Wednesday three vessels were unable to berth or sail in the Maydon Wharf precinct, Nkowane confirmed.

“The combined catchment area of the rivers, canals and storm-water drainage systems that drain into the port is over 200km2 in size. The unfortunate reality is the port waters are on the receiving end of the large volume of litter, effluent and sewage that is discharged into the storm-water reticulation system within the catchment,” said Nkowane.

dbn port clean up 2“We must all take responsibility for the well-being of the ocean and coastal environment, and as TNPA we want to help create awareness and promote sustainable practices for the benefit of present and future generations,” she said.

TNPA has been in regular engagements with the eThekwini Municipality regarding the interventions required to address the ingress of waste and effluent into the port from the municipal stormwater network which drains a significant portion of the Durban metropolitan area.

The port’s pollution control department shared the following tips for the public to help in tackling the massive plastic problem:

  • Avoid single-use plastic, which is any plastic item used only once, such as plastic straws and plastic packaging. Plastic is a material that lasts for hundreds of years, yet is often used for only a short time before it is discarded.
  • Get into the habit of recycling and avoid throwing away recyclable items as part of your normal weekly refuse disposal. Items that can and should be recycled include glass, cardboard and paper, tin and aluminium cans (for example from canned food and cool drink), certain plastics such as bottles for drinks and cleaning products. Items should be rinsed before being put into a recycling bin.
  • Get involved in clean-ups, such as those arranged by #CleanBlueLagoon, KZN Beach Clean Up and Durban Bay Cleanup.
  • Observe environmental days such as World Earth Day on 22 April (held under the theme ‘End Plastic Pollution’ in 2018), National Marine Week in the second week of October (under the theme ‘Plastic is Drastic’ in 2018) and World Environment Day on 5 June (under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution” in 2018)
  • Support organisations such as Durban Green Corridors, Durban Partnership against Plastic Pollution (D-PAPP) and Greenpeace Africa which help to fight plastic and other pollution.

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Interim Maritime Transport Sector Development and BBBEE Councils set up now underway: Department of Transport

PUBLIC INVITATION ISSUED TO NOMINATE MEMBERS TO SERVE IN THE INTERIM MARITIME TRANSPORT SECTOR DEVELOPMENT AND MARITIME BROAD BASED BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT COUNCILS

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The Department of Transport (DoT) is moving fast to live up to its recent commitment to facilitate with speed the setting up of the country’s first maritime focused councils – a transport sector development council and a maritime  sector BBBEE council – as promised stakeholders during a consultative sector conference held in Durban two months ago.

In Pretoria on Thursday, the DoT issued two public notices inviting various interested and involved stakeholders across the economy to participate in the nomination of people to serve as members of the interim Maritime Transport Sector Development Council (MTSDC) and a  Maritime Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Charter Council  (MBBBEECC) to be established in June 2019.

The invitees to the envisaged MTSPC interim body set up include Government departments, state owned enterprises, maritime and related industry sectors, academic and research institutions, labour bargaining councils, organized business bodies, chambers of business and industry, industry in general and others.

The second invitation for the formation of the maritime BBBEE Charter Council is extended to all South Africans in general.

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Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande

According to the DoT on Thursday, the establishment of the interim MTSDC in June is in terms of both the requirements of the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy  (CMTP) adopted in 2016, as well as the declaration taken during February’s maritime transport sector dialogue held in Durban.

The interim maritime transport council set up public invitation reads:

“The establishment of the interim MTSDC was adopted as part of the Declaration of the Inaugural Maritime Transport Sector Dialogue convened by the Minister on 28 February to 1 March 2019.

The 2019 DECLARATION – MARITIME TRANSPORT INDUSTRY DIALOGUE stated: “Putting in place institutional mechanisms including the Maritime Transport Development Council (MTSDC) we commit to drive transformation, starting with the establishment of the interim MTSDC by end of June 2019, which will lay the basis for the establishment of a permanent structure”.

According to the DoT, the function of the planned MTSDC operating under the direction of the DoT in a promotion and advisory role, will be to –

  • Ensure the provision of highest levels of maritime infrastructure and services by developing and ensuring the approval of the Maritime Transport Sector Development Plan.
  • Promote the South African Maritime industry brand under the banner of Maritime South Africa (MariSA).
  • Support the implementation of the Maritime Transport Strategy by establishing organs to facilitate the implementation of approved plans.
  • Coordinate the implementation of the deliverables of all pillars of the Maritime Transport Strategy.
  • Ensure the monitoring, evaluation and reporting of the implementation of the approved plans.
  • Ensure better regulation, governance and sustainable use of the oceans environment by promoting responsible exploration and exploitation of marine resources.
  • Set targets to increase the direct contribution of the maritime transport sector to the economy by adopting and implementing measures to achieve the set targets.
  • Ensure the promotion of maritime transport policy and strategy management by supporting collaboration in maritime related data collection and benchmarking from national and international bodies.
  • Ensure viable, effective, efficient and sustainable maritime public entities.
  • Ensure innovation and research by supporting cross-sectoral collaboration in maritime research and development.
  • Ensure the establishment of the Maritime Fund for the development of the maritime sector by promoting the adoption of innovative funding mechanisms.
  • Ensure the development and implementation of maritime skills development programme by raising maritime awareness and fostering collaboration between local and international institutions.
  • Ensure the development and promotion of a maritime youth development programme by fostering collaboration between public and private entities.
  • Ensure the revitalisation of the South African shipping industry by promoting the development of indigenous coastal and regional shipping services and promoting the establishment of the national shipping carrier(s).
  • Ensure the transformation of the maritime industry by introducing and implementing measures to promote broad based benefits for historically disadvantaged segments of the South African society.
  • Ensure the organisation and functioning of Chambers to support the implementation of the maritime strategy under the themes
    • Merchant shipping revitalisation;
    • Industry support programmes;
    • Broad based benefits;
    • Environmental safeguards; and
    • Enabling funding mechanisms.
  • Appoint members of the Executive Committee of the MTSDC
  • Appoint the president and vice president of the plenary of the MTSDC

The DoT said on receipt of the nominations, Transport Minister shall appoint members to constitute the MTSDC including the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Executive Committee of the MTSDC.

With regards the maritime sector BBBEE Charter Council  due for establishment in May, the notice reads that South Africans acting in terms of policy statement (3) (n) of the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) are invited to nominate suitable persons to be appointed as members of the council.

The new council’s role will be to “consider and adopt Maritime Sector Codes of Good Practice on Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment in terms of Section 9(1) of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act 53 of 2003 as amended by Act 46 of 2013.

“Members of the Maritime BBBEE Charter Council must demonstrate years of active involvement in industry and people development and experience in running successful maritime businesses in such positions as entrepreneurs; professional services and labour in the areas of infrastructure and or in maritime operations and broader maritime value chain. A clear understanding of BBBEE policy and legislation and a working knowledge of the CMTP will be strong recommendations.”

The closing date for the nominations for both councils is 10 May 2019.

For enquiries, interested parties should contact Mr Dumisani Theophelus Ntuli, Acting DDG: Maritime Transport, Department of Transport on ntulid@dot.gov.za OR Ms Tsepiso Mashiloane or on mashilot@dot.gov.za

This is article has been updated the highlight the planned month (May 2019)  for the establishment of the Maritime Sector Broad Based Black Economic Charter Council.

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South Africa all out to draw global cruise liners to its port cities: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 10 April 2019

South Africa moved to take its rightful place in the global cruise tourism industry and increase its share of the cruise market by beefing up its presence at the Seatrade Cruise Global conference currently underway in Miami, Florida, USA this week.

The conference held at Miami Beach Convention Center over three days, and viewed as the world’s foremost cruise industry event, began on Monday and ends on Wednesday this week.

SeatradeCruiseGlobalSignificantly for South Africa,  the South African Safety Maritime Authority (SAMSA) is leading a delegation of 10 organisations exhibiting at the conference,  in a bid to attract more cruise ships and liners to South Africa.

The South Africa delegation is accommodated in a 140m2 ‘South African Pavilion’ at Seatrade, where it showcases the offerings of the KZN Cruise Terminal, the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Cruise Terminal and Durban Tourism. The Eastern Cape Provincial Government and the Department of Trade and Industry are also participating.

According to SAMSA, Seatrade is the largest global gathering of the cruise industry and and the agency believes that an improved showing at the event – South Africa has one of the biggest stands – will lead to more cruise tourism.

According to SAMSA, South Africa’s share of the global cruise market is estimated at less than 1 per cent. Notably, South Africa has exhibited at the global gathering before, but not as aggressively and not as a combined package.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. SAMSA Acting CEO.

SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi says this year’s increased investment in Seatrade is intended to showcase the full range of South Africa’s offering as a cruise destination.

“The cruise tourism industry is the only growth area in the broader maritime shipping sector. It is envisaged to double in size over the next eight to 10 years with all the order books of the shipping yards full until 2027. But while the global cruise industry is growing exponentially, South Africa is not reaping its full share of the benefits.

“Our share of the market is miniscule and this is mainly due to lack of infrastructure and lack of action. South Africa has rectified the infrastructure issue through the development of two world class terminals in Cape Town and Durban. Now SAMSA is tackling the issue  by proactively marketing South Africa as a cruise destination.”

According to Mr Tilayi, SAMSA had opted to take the lead and manage South Africa’s presence at Seatrade because it was determined to fulfill its mandate to promote South Africa’s maritime interests.

In addition to lending a hand in attracting more global cruise liners onto South African shores, SAMSA since 2016 launched a jobs focused initiative called the Maritime Youth Development Programme and through which South African youth is recruited and placed on cruise vessels across the world.

Working in partnerships with interested parties as the Gauteng and Eastern Cape Premiers’ Offices, Harambee and others, SAMSA is continuing with the programme which is hoped will create no less than 1000 job opportunities on global cruise liners annually.

Mr Tilayi says: “There is a lot of opportunity to create jobs and to grow the maritime economy. Unfortunately, South Africa has not fully exploited these opportunities. SAMSA is determined to accelerate the process by, among other things, ensuring South Africa is prominent at all the necessary global gatherings, such as Seatrade, and by building on our Ships Register, which we have also been actively doing,” he says.

He describes SAMSA as confident that SA’s presence at Seatrade will entrench the message that South Africa is open for business as a cruising destination.

“South Africa has a world-class cruise offering, but we have not communicated that effectively in the past. We are rectifying that oversight with our presence at Seatrade. We are saying to the world, Come to South Africa; it really is a world in one country. And it is your loss if you never visit.” he says.

Below are two video interviews of South African youth, one with Miss Asisipho Nombityana who is now on her second year working, and another with Miss Aviwe Makhaba who was due to start work earlier in 2019.

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Durban port adverse weather conditions alert!

Pretoria: 04 April 2019

The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in Durban has issued an extra-ordinary adverse weather alert as follows:

“Dear Customer

Please be advised that the Port Of Durban is expected to experience severe adverse weather, with winds gusting up to 50 knots South  Westerly and swells over 4 meters. Please advise all vessels in Port and at Durban anchorage to put out extra oorings , have engines on short notice and standby on Channel 9 and 16. Periodic updates will follow on the night shift.”

According to SAMSA, the notice was issued by Jessie Govender, Berth Planning Manager, TNPA on Thursday afternoon.

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Maritime industry keen for speedy action to resolution of maritime risk challenges.

Agrees to support the intention to introduce new levies to boost the Maritime Fund.

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Pretoria: 04 April 2019

Positioning two emergency towing vessels (ETVs) – one more than at present – at strategic locations along South Africa’s coastline, and centralizing technologies for monitoring of South Africa’s oceans at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), are among consensus views shared at the SA Maritime Risk Workshop held in Durban last week.

However crucial also was a unanimous decision by industry for new levies to boost and consolidate the country’s maritime fund administered by SAMSA as the main financial resource for addressing and improving maritime risk related issues.

These were among about a dozen issues enumerated for discussion and decision during a SAMSA organized two-day South Africa Maritime Risk Workshop held in Durban on Wednesday and Thursday last week, involving about 70 delegates from the public and private sector with direct interest in the country’s maritime sector.

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The purpose of the workshop, according to SAMSA, was to provide opportunity for the country’s maritime sector to focus on the state of the country’s maritime risks and come up with workable solutions to ensure safety and security in the sector.

Issues for discussion ranged from an overview of the country’s maritime risk profile involving case studies, the country’s legislative framework and institutional responsibilities, third parties dependencies, to maritime domain awareness, pollution monitoring and combating, the country’s response capability as well as funding.

Several presenters, all experts in their respective fields both in the private and public sectors of the maritime sector, led the discussions. The outcomes would be compiled into a consensus view report for submission to the SAMSA Board of Directors for further action.

In the final analysis, about a half dozen or so issues were enumerated for consensus decisions to enable the fast-tracking of implementation. The list included:

  • South Africa’s tooling capacity to vessels emergency response,
  • Aerial capability for oceans monitoring,
  • Advanced technologies for day to day monitoring and management of vessel traffic and related matters such as oceans pollution, as well as their central location,
  • Oil combating capability as regards its institutional location,
  • A precise definition of the country’s state of readiness spelling out exactly what oceans emergency situations the country should be ready for, and indicators thereof
  • Institutional arrangements: relating to enhancement of cooperation and collaboration among various key role-players in the sector,
  • Legislation: but particularly with regards to ensuring that all relevant legislation to management of the country’s maritime sector is up to date along with related regulations.
  • Funding, with regards to precisely the positioning of the Maritime Fund as envisaged in the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP)
  • Maritime security imperatives as falling within the Maritime Security Advisory Committee.

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On Thursday, the second and final day of the workshop, delegates expressed agreement with a suggestion that two Emergency Towing Vessels would be sufficient for the country’s oceans area – this based on a feasibility study conducted on behalf of the Department of Transport and presented by Mr Brian Blackbeard of the Atlantis Consulting group.

According to Mr Blackbeard, operational requirements of an ETV primarily involve preventing marine pollution at sea and secondary to which are; protecting life and property at sea, detecting, reporting, investigating and combating marine pollution at sea, as well as salvaging wrecked, stranded or abandoned ships at sea.

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The area of operation of the ETV is described as including all of South Africa’s maritime zones as made up of both the territorial waters and contiguous zone, the country’s exclusive economic zone incorporating both the Prince Edward and Marion Islands, the continental shelf, the Antarctic claim as well as the SAMSA Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre’s area of responsibility.

According to Mr Blackbeard, the area of operation is vast, hostile with dense marine traffic inclusive of large vessels as well as an increase in leisure cruise vessels.

With regards to South Africa’s aerial capabilities, the workshop noted that South Africa possessed pockets of expertise and resources notable working in isolation and that it was necessary for the maritime sector to determine the correct necessary mix of aerial surveillance tools including the alternative technologies such as drones and synthetic aperture radar (SAR)

On the location of dedicated technologies to maritime risk, the consensus view was that SAMSA, as the country’s dedicated maritime safety authority already in charge of Sea Watch and Rescue (SWR) should be the custodian of both existing and future technologies – including that currently under development by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

DSC_9789.jpgWith regards oil combating capability, the view was that ongoing engagement on modalities of the function should continue between DEA, the Department of Transport (DoT) and SAMSA. Otherwise the issue was considered settled with no need for further broad stakeholders engagement.

In terms of institutional arrangements involving cross institutional functions and responsibilities, the Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg) would be a peace time forum ensuring preparedness for offshore oil and gas spills . In case of emergency response, plans are underway to introduce the Incident Management System(IMS) as a preferred incident response model.

The IMOrg was established in October 2017 under Operation Phakisa and is chaired by the Department of Transport, charged with managing oil and gas spillages at sea.

The Maritime rescue coordination centre (MRCC)will continue  undertaking sea rescue missions for distraught vessels and seafarers within the 2 798 kilometre South African coastline.

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It is constituted by SAMSA, the National Disaster Management Centre, the Petroleum Agency of South Africa, DEA and the Department of Mineral & Resources to name but a few.

The Durban workshop was assured that the channel was taking shape, but with still a lot of work to be done including clearly defining and finalizing responsibilities for each of its constituent entities.

The Maritime Security Advisory Committee was deemed the ideal forum to handle matters relating to piracy and armed robbery against ships,as well as, port facilities securityOn legislation, the Durban maritime risk workshop delegates accepted that SAMSA along with the DoT would be left to handle management of the revision of the country’s maritime sector laws.

This being the case, the DoT indicated that three base legislations, the Merchant Shipping Act, Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation Bill and the Maritime Sector Development Bill were awaiting Cabinet approval which would occur only after the constitution of the country’s 6th Government administration following the 08 May 2019 general elections.

The ratification of the three pieces of principal legislation would, according to DoT Acting Deputy Director General for the Maritime Transport, Mr Dumisani Ntuli, provide the basis for the updating and development of new regulations.

To hear his full remarks on specifically this matter, click on the video below.

A final and perhaps highly significant consensus agreement reached by the delegates was that relating to funding, with those present nodding support for the intention of imposition of special levies to boost the Maritime Fund as a primary resource for maritime risk related matters.

For the brief moment during which this viewpoint was agreed on, click on the video below.

For closing remarks of the two day workshop by Mr Ntuli, click on the video below.

Meanwhile, the DoT further expressed its pleasure with the holding as well as outcomes of the SA Maritime Risk workshop by SAMSA, expressing belief that it is among important steps due for undertaking to ensure ongoing development of the country’s maritime sector but particularly in terms aims envisaged through the CMPT. For more on this click on the video below. Mr Terrence Mabuela talk to the blog for a few minutes. Click on he video below.

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Maritime emergencies a real threat for South Africa: SAMSA

DSC_9692.JPGDurban: 27 March 2019

South Africa’s state of readiness for maritime emergencies along its expanse of oceans at the southern tip of Africa remains porous at the very least, and finding viable solutions to the massive challenge lies with consultation and ongoing collaboration among stakeholders, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has said.

Addressing about 80 delegates from the private and public sectors to a two-days maritime risks workshop in Durban that began on Wednesday, SAMSA board member and chairperson of the agency’s Maritime Industry Committee, Ms Sekabiso Molemane described the country’s maritime risks as high and the state of readiness for emergencies  as low.

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Ms Sekabiso Molemane. SAMSA Board Member

She attributed the situation to both increasing global utilization of the oceans and waterways in and around the country, and the collapse of structures previously in place to safeguard the maritime and marine environments.

The risks involved ranged from pollution and environmental degradation, vessel traffic accidents involving both property and people’s lives, to improper use of the country’s waters by rogue elements in world trade. Alongside these, was the country’s poor state of readiness to respond properly and on time, with the requisite personnel, tools and equipment.

She said South Africa’s marine emergency response rested previously on a foundation of cooperative institutional infrastructure built on the mandates and respective capabilities of mainly government entities.

“Over time,” she said: “the mandate or main focus of most of the entities that formed the core of South Africa Maritime Emergency Cooperative Response got reviewed and in most cases, the review led to the erosion of the respective maritime elements.

“The cumulative result of these reviews is a substantially eroded marine emergency response capability.”

Examples of the situation included the diminished role of the South African Air Force in carrying out aerial functions as well as the reduction of Telkom Maritime Communications to Telkom Radio which has lead, she said, to inadequate and obsolete communications infrastructure. In addition, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Pollution Combating Function had inadequate and outdated pollution equipment.

“Thus with the passage of time, the capability that the Department of Transport requires in order to respond to maritime emergencies has been largely diminished, in most cases both in terms of skills capacity, the equipment as well as institutional memory. This demise is largely driven by budgetary constraints within  those institutions,” said Ms Molemane.

The purposes of the SAMSA organized workshop, she said,  was for maritime risk stakeholders to take stock of what remains of the architecture for marine emergency response, reassess what the requirements are to resuscitate and sustain a world standard state of readiness, taking into account the funding and capacity that would be required to achieve the goal.

For Ms Molemane’s full remarks, click on the video

Meanwhile, speaking at the end of the first day of the workshop on Wednesday, SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi expressed satisfaction with progress achieved during the day, and wherein a number of crucial issues were identified for correction, inclusive of legislation that was suffering neglect due to lack of adequate attention.

Crucially, Mr Tilayi said, the important point of the exercise was to ensure that South Africans were aware of the situation and secondly, that necessary steps were being taken to address it.

“It helps little to hide challenges of this nature and which are in the public’s interest when what would be useful is to share the knowledge and with that, trust stakeholders to partner with you in finding solutions. That is what this two day gathering is about,” he said.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks at end of day one of the workshop, Click on the video below.

The workshop continues on Thursday.