Stakeholders in South Africa’s bunkering subsector have been given yet another opportunity to make comments on South Africa’s Codes of Practice for both bunkering and ship-to-ship transfers (cargo transfers), according to a joint statement issued by the State institutions charged with managing the process last week.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Department of Transport (DoT) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) said they jointly issued the public invitation for further comment on South Africa’s set of Codes of Good Practice for Bunkering Services and Ship-To-Ship Transfers (Cargo Transfer) as part of a process towards their finalisation and publication.
The public call is contained in a Marine Information Notice (MIN 10-22) published on the SAMSA website on Thursday, 08 September 2022. The set of Codes of Practice comprise the South African Bunkering Code of Practice, and South African Ship to Ship Code of Practice for Cargo Transfers.
In the Notice, the public entities jointly state that the reason for the further call is to allow stakeholders an opportunity to make further inputs on the amended and consolidated set of draft Codes of Practices for both bunkering and cargo transfers. The sets of Codes have now been expanded to also cover specifically Ship to Ship Cargo Transfers.
In the joint statement on Thursday, the entities state: “A moratorium was put in place on the approval of any new permanent service providers in Algoa Bay and whose lifting would be conditional to the completion of the publication of the Codes of Practice, and the completion of an Environmental Risk Assessment by TNPA for Algoa Bay. The DOT, DFFE, SAMSA and TNPA opted to provide industry a combined code of practice where each entity’s approval requirements are consolidated in one place to allow the industry an easy reference guide for these types of operations.
“The codes also provide references to the various sections of legislation that are applicable for each government department and are aimed to show how the DFFE, TNPA and SAMSA aim to work together to approve these activities to ensure a unified approach. The Codes of Practises are not intended to remove any jurisdiction or duties from either the DFFE, TNPA or SAMSA to regulate the industry,” state the entities in the Notice.
According to the statement by SAMSA, TNPA, DFFE and DoT, stakeholders will have until 22 September 2022 to submit their comments. Stakeholders’ comments can be submitted to email@example.com
The final Codes will be submitted to the Department of Transport once completed, say the entities.
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.
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.
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.
From a private sector business perspective, Ms Selokane, CEO of Heron Marine SA also shared her views.
Two oil tankers involved in an oil spill incident at Algoa Bay on South Africa’s eastern seaboard near Ngqurha have been finally separated, a few days after accidentally spilling oil at sea what conducting a ship-to-ship transfer about midday on Monday this week.
Incident management authorities, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) said in a joint statement on Thursday afternoon that the cause of the oil spill was still under investigation.
Initially, the two vessels were kept side-to-side since the incident, in order to contain the spillage in their location, said the authorities. Now, with much of the oil around them collected from the waters, the authorities released the smaller tanker to sail back to the port of Port Elizabeth while the bigger one remained anchored offshore awaiting a berth at the port.
SAMSA, DFFE and Transnet said on Thursday: ” The investigation into the cause of the oil spill on Monday in Algoa Bay is continuing. The clean-up and recovery of the spilled oil continued this morning (Thursday 26 May), (with) the recovery teams also continu(ing) with the aerial surveillance, using a drone and oil recovery boats.
“The two (2) vessels involved were separated yesterday (25 May 2022) and the smaller vessel MT Lefkas has berthed at the port of Port Elizabeth and all the oiled equipment has been removed from the water thus posing no pollution threat to the port and its operations. The motor tanker Umnenga II is not able to enter port yet due to the unavailability of a suitable berth,” said.
According to the authorities, “None of the oil has reached the beaches. Most of the oil was cleaned and there is no oil sheen visible on the waters.
They further indicated that boat patrols by SANParks “revealed no oil near the Algoa Bay Islands and no oiled birds were spotted.”
That nowithstanding, they urged members of the public to report oiled birds and wildlife to SANPARKS or SANCCOB Gqeberha at Cape Recife Nature Reserve on 063 942 4702, “but not to approach or try to capture the affected wildlife. Rangers will continue to monitor the Islands for oiled birds retuning from their feeding grounds in Algoa Bay.”
Meanwhile, their surveillance of the coastal areas as well as the ocean adjacent the oil spill incident was continuing.
“A fixed wing aircraft with the state-of-the-art oil sensing equipment has been charted from Cape Town to conduct a full search for any oil over the entire Algoa Bay area. The aircraft will use high-definition cameras and oil detection systems to complete a full aerial surveillance of the Algoa Bay area.
“If there is any oil spotted the aircraft will also complete live oil spill modelling to determine the direction of oil, however the authorities are optimistic that most of the oil has been recovered and only the vessel hull cleaning needs to be completed. The Environmental Protection Vessel , the Sarah Baartman is on standby in Algoa Bay to assist with the clean-up operations,” they said.
They further confirmed that bunkering operations remain suspended.
Off shore bunkering services, otherwise known as ship-to-ship oil/fuel transfers remain suspended in Algoa Bay near Ngqurha (a.k.a Port Elizabeth) on South Africa’s eastern seaboard as a national incident management structure strengthens its grip on containment measures of an oil spill at sea that occurred at midday on Monday.
This is according to a joint statement by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) and Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in Pretoria just after lunch hour on Wednesday, this following several measures undertaken to contain the oil spill – including an aerial surveillance of the coastal region to be carried out twice a day until such time that the authorities are satisfied it is no longer necessary.
According to the parties, the oil spill in the ocean occurred while two tanker vessels belonging to the same bunkering services firm, Minerva, were conducting an oil transfer at about midday on Monday. It had not yet been established what led to the incident, they said.
On being alerted, however, according to the authorities; the country’s oil spill incident management structure immediately launched an oil spill containment and extraction process in place, which included a suspension of ship-to-ship transfers in the period until further notice.
In the statement on Wednesday, said SAMSA/DFFE and TNPA: “Five oil recovery boats are being used to collect the oil and by Tuesday afternoon all the visible heavy oil had been collected while large patches of light oil sheen were spotted in Algoa Bay.
“A helicopter was used for aerial surveillance and to assist in directing the boats towards the oil sheen for collection. However due to rough sea conditions, the oil recovery was suspended by 15:35. The removal of the oil (soaked) “oil absorbent material” between the two vessels continued throughout the night.
“Aerial surveillance has been increased to two flights per day from today (Wednesday) with a vessel launched (with a) small drone assisting with the clean-up operations and continuous aerial surveillance in the immediate area around the vessel.
“The DFFE offshore patrol vessel Sarah Baartman will arrive in Algoa Bay tonight and will be available to assist with clean-up operations if need be,” they said.
With regards the expanse of the oil spread on the ocean area affected, the authorities said: “Oil spill modelling provided by the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) indicates that the oil will not impact the Swartkops River nor (Nelson Mandela Bay) Metro beaches, but will drift eastward towards the beaches of Woody Cape. Beach inspections were carried out on Tuesday and will continue today.”
On fears about the oil soaking wild sea birds in the area; the authorities said in the statement that: “No oiled birds or wildlife have been spotted so far. However, members of the public are requested to report such (sightings) to SANPARKS or SANCCOB Gqeberha at Cape Recife Nature Reserve on 063 942 4702, but not to approach or try to capture the affected wildlife.
Concerning the immediate fate of the two tankers involved in the oil spill incident, the authorities said the vessels were still alongside each other on location of the incident while a decision was being made on how best to further handle them.
They said: “Although the two tankers are still alongside each other as a preventative measure, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment are evaluating whether it is safe to bring the bunker tanker, MT Lefkas into port today while the motor tanker Umnenga II remain offshore in the bay until a berth is available in the Port of Ngqura. Both tankers are operated by Minerva Bunkering. The exact quantity of oil spilt is still under investigation.
Occurring just 10 days after the country’s multisectoral Interim Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg) under the Department of Transport (DoT) conducted a five day training and live mock oil spillage management exercise near Robben Island, Western Cape, from May 9-13; SAMSA, DFFE and Transnet said Wednesday the unfortunate incident at Algoa Bay this week could not be more appropriately timed as the country was now properly prepared to handle incidents of the nature.
They said: “It is fortunate that the last full-scale joint industry-government oil spill response deployment exercise was held in Cape Town on 12-13 May where the National Oil Spill Response Plan was tried and tested.
“This exercise helped considerably to ensure that the response for the spill in Algoa Bay was managed in the best possible manner and allowed for the quick deployment of resources to contain the spread of the oil and oil spill modelling. An investigation has commenced to ascertain the cause of the spillage. Bunkering operations remains suspended in Algoa Bay.”
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it will launch an investigation into an oil spillage incident that occurred on Monday in Algoa Bay near the port of Ngqurha on the eastern seaboard of South Africa.
According to SAMSA, the oil spillage incident occurred during a bunkering service or ‘ship-to-ship’ oil transfer, at about midday on Monday.
Initially deployed by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) are two anti-pollution craft vessels to assist with containment of the spill, as well patrol boats by South African National Parks (SANParks) along the coastline.
Meanwhile, all bunkering operations were suspended to ensure proper coordination of the spill’s containment effort’s effectiveness and efficiencies.
In a brief statement in Pretoria on Tuesday, said SAMSA: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has initiated all relevant oil spill response teams as per the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan to assist with the containment and cleanup operation following an oil spill In Algoa Bay yesterday.
“The oil spill occurred on the 23rd (Monday) at around midday during a ship-to-ship transfer of oil. All the relevant pollution response units have been activated, and booms deployed to contain the oil around the vessels.
“The collecting of oil continued throughout the night last night (23 May). The 2 vessels will remain attached to help with the containment of the oil. All relevant authorities including the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) and are supporting the response where possible,” said SAMSA.
Regarding the threat to wild sea birds in the area, SAMSA confirmed that the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) was already on a “high state of readiness to receive oiled birds,” and urged the public to to report any oiled wildlife to SANPARKS.
SAMSA further reported that shortly after the incident was report to authorities; “SAMSA officials boarded the vessels to inspect the extent of the spill.
In addition, SAMSA would further conduct an aerial survey of the coastal area on Tuesday morning and further information would be shared with the public periodically.
A moratorium on the issuing of bunkering licences in the Algoa region of South Africa and due to come to an end on 01 April 2022 has been reimposed, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) announced in Pretoria on Friday.
In a brief media statement on Friday, SAMSA described the u-turn on the earlier lifting of moratorium as based on outcomes of inter-departmental consultations. Consequently, said SAMSA, a Marine Notice on an interim application process and requirements to conduct ship to ship transfers and bunkering operations outside of a port is being retracted.
Said SAMSA: “The moratorium on the issuing of Bunkering licences in Algoa bay will not be lifted on the 1st of April 2022 as previously announced. The lifting of the moratorium was suspended following inter-departmental consultations.
“The moratorium was placed on 22 August 2019 pending the finalisation of the Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) Risk Assessment Study for Algoa Bay.
“Following the suspension of the lifting of the moratorium the Marine Notice (MN 1 of 2022) on the interim application process and requirements to conduct STS or Ship to Ship transfers and Bunkering operations outside of a port will be retracted.
“The application window for Bunkering licences for Algoa Bay will be extended until the finalisation of the Risk assessment Study.
“The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) wishes to apologise for any inconvenience caused by this suspension and will continue to work with stakeholders in the bunkering space to reach a satisfactory conclusion.”
Current and aspirant bunkering services providers keen to obtain an operating licence in Algoa Bay, South Africa may now go ahead and apply, as the moratorium on applications will be lifted effective 01 April 2022, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
The agency in a statement in Pretoria on Monday further said while the lifting of the moratorium on bunkering licences application would be effective only on 01 April 2022, the filing of applications is open from Tuesday this week, 01 February 2022.
The statement said: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is pleased to announce that the moratorium on the awarding of bunkering licences in Algoa Bay will be lifted as of the 1st of April 2022 with applications being accepted from the 1st of February 2022.
“The moratorium was placed on 22 August 2019 pending the finalisation of a Holding Capacity and Risk Assessment Study. The lifting follows the last seating of the Bunkering Stakeholder session held in December 2021 that resolved that the moratorium should be lifted.The lifting means that new potential entrants can now submit their applications with effect from 1 February 2022.
“An application package that clearly outlines the application process and all related requirements will be uploaded on the SAMSA website www.samsa.org.zaby 1st of February 2022.
“Only online applications will be accepted via the firstname.lastname@example.org email address. All stakeholders that sent their applications in the past should reapply via the online system. The online application process is a transitional arrangement pending the finalisation of the Bunker/ Ship to Ship (STS) codes.
“Interested stakeholders are encouraged to read the Marine Notice (MN 1 of 2022) on the interim the application process and requirements to conduct STS or Ship to Ship transfers and Bunkering operations outside of a port in conjunction with the current Bunker Codes as the codes will ultimately takes precedence over any other documentation.
“In addition, a special Bunkering Stakeholders session will be convened on the 7th of February 2022 at 10h00 to address the application package and any clarity seeking questions,” read the statement.
Commenting on this latest development on bunkering services in South Africa, SAMSA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane said the new online application process was an effort to streamline the processes in the bunkering sector and to ensure that the whole process was fair, just and transparent.
Expressing a word of gratitute to all stakeholders for their patience during the moratorium, she said: “We are confident that the reopening of the Bunkering Sector will bring much needed economic spin offs and relief to the region and country as a whole.”
The clean-up of the Algoa Bay ocean and adjacent coastline has been terminated in the absence of evidence of any further spread of the fuel, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) announced at the weekend.
In the statement, SAMSA said: “The clean-up of patches of small tar balls that were washed ashore, following the spill of bunker oil into the water during a vessel bunkering operation on the 17th of November 2021 in Algoa Bay, has come to an end.
“The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), SANPARKS and other stakeholders including the Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) continue to monitor the remaining stretch beach for any additional oil/tar balls that may wash out. No further sightings of tar balls have been reported. The Incident Command team is in the process of demobilising and scaling down the response,” said SAMSA
The termination of the clean-up exercise which according to SAMSA, saw approximately 400 liters of oil recovered from the water, shall exclude the continuous monitoring of Algoa Bay’s islands by SANParks rangers and others involved for signs of oiled wildlife and birds.
“The Islands in Algoa Bay are being monitored for signs of oiled wildlife and birds by rangers from SANPARKS and SANCCOB as part of the routine operation.
“To date four (4) birds (three Cape Garnets and one African Penguin) were found to be contaminated by oil and have been captured. Two (2) of the captured birds have died – one, of malnutrition and the other of a fractured leg. The remaining ttwo (2) are being cared for by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB),” said SAMSA.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says a Croatian flagged vessel detained in South Africa two weeks ago after an oil spill during bunkering in Algoa Bay has been released.
In addition; “The clean up of Tar balls that were washed up ashore following (the) oil spill that occurred during a vessel bunkering operation on the 17th of November 2021 in Algoa Bay is continuing this week,” said SAMSA in the joint statement with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE).
At the time of the incident, SAMSA previously indicated that approximately 80 liters of fuel spilled into the ocean when the environmental pollution incident involving the MV Solin occured at about lunchtime that day, and as a result of which emergency containment and clean-up measures in terms of the National Oil Spill Contingency Measures were activated, involving a number of other organisations and institutions.
Since then, according to SAMSA, about a handful of seabirds were found oiled and had to be cleaned, along with suspected heavy fuel oil residue called ‘tar balls’ reportedly since spotted and picked up from the adjacent coastline north east of the port city of Gqeberha.
In Pretoria on Tuesday, the agency said: “So far four (4) kilometres of the approximately eight (8) kilometres stretch of coastline between Hougham Park and Sundays River has been cleaned. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other stakeholders including the Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment (DEFF) continues (s.i.c) to monitor the remaining stretch beach for any additional oil/tar balls or oiled wildlife.
“The vessel was released from detention and was permitted to sail after an Admission of Contravention and the detention fee was paid by the vessel owner. The owner will remain accountable for all cleanup costs relevant to the oil spill.”
The MS Solin’s registered owner was indicated to be April Marine Inc and the vessels’ route track information by MarineTraffic on Tuesday showed the bulk carrier as having left Algoa Bay, on the indian Ocean, on 24 November 2021 for Saldanha Bay on South Africa’s west coast.
The monitoring of beaches and islands nearby Algoa Bay for ship fuel spread continues, while an investigation is underway into an oil spillage offshore that occured a week ago while a cargo vessel was taking bunkers, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reports.
According to SAMSA in a statement in Pretoria on Tuesday, the investigation into the incident – conducted in terms of Section 264 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1951 (preliminary enquiry into shipping casualties) as well as principles outlined in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Mandatory Casualty Investigation Code’, may take anything up to 30 days to conclude.
However, in the meantime, SAMSA said the registered owner of the Croatia-flagged vessel named MV Solin, April Marine Inc, had already provided a “Letter of Understanding” to cover the costs of the clean-up.
The clean-up, now also involving a handful of wild birds – three Cape Garnets and one African Penguin found so far to have been contaminated – continues, with a service provider appointed to also remove tar balls found in the area and which will be examined to establish their origin and possible association with the oil spillage last week.
At the time of the incident, SAMSA said about about 80 liters of oil made it into sea water while the vessel was being refuelled.
In the statement on Tuesday, said SAMSA: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other stakeholders including the Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment (DEFF) continues to monitor and investigate an oil spill that occurred during a vessel bunkering operation on the 17th of November at 13H15 in Algoa Bay.
“To date, a small amount of emulsified heavy fuel oil, commonly known as Tar Balls has washed ashore along the beach between Hougham Park and Sundays River. A service provider has been appointed to remove the tar balls, samples were collected and submitted to SAMSA to determine if the oil is from this incident.
“To date four (4) birds ( three Cape Garnets and one African Penguin) were found to be contaminated by oil and have been captured and are being cared for by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).
“The beaches and islands are being monitored daily when weather permits for any additional oil/tar balls or oiled wildlife. The vessel Insurer is providing a “Letter of Undertaking” to cover the costs of the clean-up operation and the vessel should be released soon,” said SAMSA.
Meanwhile, in relation to another recent ship incident in St Helena Bay off the west coast, involving the foreign vessel known as NS Qingdao, SAMSA reported that due to bad weather in the area over the last few days, the vessel had to be ordered back offshore as a precautionary measures to prevent possible further exposure of its cargo to dangerous weather elements.
“Due to the wind and recent rains in St Helena, the cargo holds of the NS Qingdao were closed to prevent further incidents and she was instructed to sail 20 nautical miles offshore from St Helena as a precautionary measure.
“The aim is to open and ventilate the cargo hold offshore due to the excess buildup of toxic fumes in the hold. Once the hold is properly ventilated, the vessel will return to St Helena to continue the discharge operation. She is being escorted by the tugs Umkhuseli and SA Amandla.
“NS Qingdao was on safe anchorage in St Helena Bay where she was towed after her chemical cargo become unstable due to contact with rain whilst discharging in the port of Durban,” said SAMSA.