The clean up of an oil spill recently in Algoa Bay on South Africa’s eastern (Indian Ocean) seaboard has formally been concluded, with bunkering services (ship-to-ship fuel transfers) back in business, authorities responsible for the incident management – among them being the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – announced in Pretoria on Monday.
“The oil spill clean-up in Algoa Bay has concluded and the incident has been closed and response and monitoring will return to normal status,” read a statement issued jointly by SAMSA, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment (DFFE) and Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).
This came almost a week after the lifting of a suspension imposed on bunkering services in the ocean space area following to an incident of an oil spill between two vessels belonging to the same bunkering services company while transferring oil between them on Monday, 23 May 2022.
According to the oil spill incident management authorities, the cause of the oil spill is still being investigated.
Meanwhile, they said: “The conclusion (of the clean-up) follows days of monitoring of the St Croix Island group by the SANPARKS rangers following an oil spill on Monday, 23 May 2022. The last monitoring exercise was done on Thursday, 09 June 2022 and there were no oiled birds reported. The beaches that form part of the Addo Marine Reserve have also been inspected with no reports of oil or oiled wildlife.
“Both vessels have been cleaned and returned to service. A debrief has been concluded with the responders to assess how the response can be improved in the future. An investigation into the course of the spillage is ongoing by the Authorities.”
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 email@example.com 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 Covid-19 pandemic that’s engulfed the world since about the end of 2019, killing as many as nine hundred thousand people so far and forcing periodic national lockdowns, may have had a truly devastating impact on the world’s economy – the world’s maritime economic sector that’s an essential lifeblood to world trade included – but it has also presented opportunities to refocus priority areas for economic development.
At least that was the dominant view of contributors and participants in a webinar organised by the Eastern Cape provincial government last Thursday. For South Africa’s maritime economic sector, and precisely that of the Eastern Cape – one of the country’s four coastal provinces with the second biggest claim to a coastline along the Indian Ocean – five specific areas of business investment opportunity are beckoning.
These include the fledgling ships bunkering services at Algoa Bay near Port Elizabeth established only four years ago, coastal and marine tourism along the province’s largely pristine and underdeveloped Wild Coast coastal corridor, fishing and aquaculture, skills development and environmental protection.
Participants in the webinar, among them the acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Mr Sobantu Tilayi, and representatives of the Eastern Cape provincial government and associated entities including the Eastern Cape Socio Economic Consultative Council (ECSECC) and Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ERCDA), the Nelson Mandela University (NMU), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) etc, were agreed that these identified areas of maritime sector investment opportunity were also interlinked and therefore highly acquiescent to close alignment.
The webinar on Thursday, attended by about 50 people, was according to the provincial government, intended to probe its Covid-19 scuppered Oceans Economy Masterplan launched with much fanfare in March this year, for low hanging viable investment opportunities for pursuit almost immediately in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was because, the provincial government said: “COVID-19 has upended major sectors of the economy. The lockdown measures imposed on companies to enforce social distancing resulted in supply-side shocks for the economy. The closure of international borders disrupted the global value chains for critical industries such as maritime industry.
“These supply-side shocks induced the demand-side shocks, with most workers losing jobs and incomes. Unemployment across industries skyrocketed, resulting in a deep slump in the economy. Key sectors of the Oceans Economy were not left unscathed by the COVID-19 lockdown measures. With the evidence that the coronavirus is receding, and the country moving to Level 2 of the Risk-adjusted Strategy for Economic Activity, there’s an urgent need to jumpstart economic recovery of the critical sectors of the Oceans Economy in the Eastern Cape.
“The province has a compelling value proposition for investors in the Oceans Economy, and it is the opportune moment to act to leverage on this proposition. Towards this end, the Eastern Cape Operations Phakisa: Oceans Economy Secretariat is convening a one-day session to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the Oceans Economy, and to map a path towards Oceans Economy recovery. Key stakeholders are convening for a conversation to map a way forward for the Eastern Cape Oceans Economy Agenda during a period characterised as the “New Normal”.”
Areas of primary interest and focus for the Eastern Cape’s allotment of some 800km of a coastline in an ocean space incorporating a 1,5-million km2 of South Africa’s exclusive economic development zone, included marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas, aquaculture, marine tourism, small harbours and coastline development, research, technology, innovation; skills development and ocean governance.
In his contribution, Mr Tilayi (SAMSA) described the ship bunkering services development in Algoa Bay as one ideal opportunity for business investment, skills development and other socio-economic value exploitation.
Launched in 2016 as a ship refuelling station taking advantage of both the suitability of the Algoa Bay region, and the steadily increasing volumes of especially trade vessels traversing the country’s oceans waters, from Western Europe, the Americas through to Asia, according to Mr Tilayi, the service was already proving to be a potential key contributor to the country’s economy, even if still at a low base.
A critical economic aspect to its potential success were global geo political and economic driven issues affecting the East and Western countries whereby, from a trade costs management point of view, the southern African seas corridor was gaining preference from shipping companies ahead of the oft congested Suez Canal.
Currently operated by three (3) bunkering service providers, he said; “the subsector had already created as many as 260 jobs – more than double the number recorded at launch (117) in 2016, with various business opportunities developing subsidiary to the core services”.
In addition to oil-based fuels, with ship technology advancements gaining pace alongside alternative fuels development, the international vessels refuelling location in Algoa Bay could further expand its services to liquified natural gases thereby expanding diversity of services.
In addition, consistent with the country’s economic development imperatives, alongside jobs creation in general, it provided a critical platform to advance transformation of the country’s maritime economy through skilling of previously disadvantaged communities as well as development of small black businesses.
Linked to this would be development of a range of maritime skills, particularly those relevant to marine and maritime tourism, environmental protection and oceans governance.
To aid this process, Mr Tilayi said SAMSA had among steps taken so far, facilitated the establishment of a Maritime Industry LED Fund whose objectives include the strengthening of sea space environment protection through development of enhanced capacity to manage pollution incidents, support research and related matters, as well as funding maritime industry development, but particularly the entry and development of small black business as well as rural economy development.
This was taking place alongside initiatives to assist the development of rural coastal areas wherein four projects had been launched, involving a maritime youth development programme undertaken jointly with the Eastern Cape government, to equip rural youths with basic maritime skills as well as find them jobs. Mr Tilayi said the MYDP had to date placed in excess of 600 of these youth on international cruise ships around the world.
The other projects involved a coastal and marine tourism initiative undertaken jointly with the Eastern Cape Tourism Board and identified local authorities; a youth skills development initiative focus on boat building and refurbishing undertaken jointly with the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (now with the Moses Kotane Institute) and various others, as a well as a maritime heritage initiative undertaken jointly with the South African National Heritage Council and others.
According to Mr Tilayi, shipping companies in South Africa, among them Vuka Marine, were in the process of contributing to the initiatives with a training and crewing venture focussing on ratings and hospitality.
Meanwhile, according to the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA), one other major opportunity for immediate pursuit by the province was the development of its fishing and aquaculture industry.
The aim, according to ECRDA Chief Executive, Mr Ntlanganiso Dladla, was to take advantage of the increasing gap in global seafood demand and supply, wherein current projections indicated a supply-demand gap of between 29-40 tonnes per annum in South Africa and as much as 249-322 tonnes per annum in southern Africa which in global terms, he said, represents 2.53 metric tons or nine (9) percent of global demand stripping supply.
He outlined progress with development of a marine tilapia five phases project over 12 years in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal aimed at producing as much as 100 000 tonnes of fish species per annum by 2032.
According to Mr Dladla, the five phases development is projected to yield about 4736 direct jobs at fish farm and processing clusters – a thousand of these in its planned launch area of Mbhashe along the Eastern Cape ‘Wild Coast’ – and as many as 150 000 jobs for small scale farmers in the value chain across the region, with gross annual income of R3,4-billion against operations expenditure estimated at R1,24-billion.
Associated would be development of small-scale crop farmers producing soya, sunflower and maize, operating on half-hector plots totalling about 172000 with a potential crop value of between R134,7-million and R193,4-million per crop type by phase five of the project development.
Significantly, ownership of tilapia fish farms in the projects was being designed to assign up to 70% of ownership to workers, 30% of ownership in hatcheries and feed plants, and 38% share in fishing processing plants, thereby ensuring effective economic empowerment of affected rural coastal communities in both the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and possibly Mozambique.
Vital allies who voiced commitment in terms of various skills development for these and related projects, were the the Port Elizabeth based Nelson Mandela University and SAIMI along with other identified tertiary institutions in the region, the webinar was told.
The fledgling offshore ships bunkering services established four years ago in Algoa Bay may be beginning to live up to its economic promise, as business opportunities expand to new business entrants, some hitherto with little if any experience in shipping or any related maritime business sector services.
Lacking most in such area of business operations are largely black South Africans whose exposure to, and participation in maritime sector businesses is decidedly limited.
This is so even as South Africa is essentially a maritime country with direct access to three oceans stretching over a 3,200 kilometres coastline bordering a 1.5-million km2 of an ocean water space designated as its Exclusive Economic Zone: – from the Atlantic Ocean in the west, through the Southern Ocean, and to the Indian Ocean in the east.
As such, when black folk make a decisive break into the sector, as has recently a young black budding business entrepreneur from Port Elizabeth, the promise of the country’s maritime economic sector redevelopment and expansion positively contributing to South Africa’s broad economic development through inclusion and wealth redistribution to all, finds realisation.
South Africa’s offshore bunkering services on the Indian Ocean near the city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province was officially sanctioned and set up in 2016, launched successively with two highly experienced major oil ship transfer services suppliers; first the Greece based operator, Minerva Bunkering (formerly Aegean Marine Petroleum, and thereafter, SA Marine Fuels – the latter an all local black women founded company, now part owned by Hong Kong based global oil products group, Orxy Energies.
By end 2019, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), no less than 100 ships on average per month annually had docked near the ocean city since, for bunkering and related services and in the process, fuelling the injection of hundreds of millions of rands into the local economy.
For a while however, associated shipping business services in the new offshore bunkering services subsector remained confined to a few chandlers’ hands – two, according to SAMSA – all of which were long serving and highly experienced maritime sector white owned and managed businesses.
Five years on in early 2020, a local young black man from a Port Elizabeth township, New Brighton, Mr Hintsa, Carlos Mpe broke ground by becoming the first black Small, Micro and Medium Enterprise (SMME) category business owner to gain entry in the provision of maritime sector business services to visiting ships in Algoa Bay.
Mr Mpe who, by his own admission, until very recently, had never before been on a boat at sea in his young life this despite having been born and grew up in a Port Elizabeth township only less than three kilometers from the Indian Ocean, made the breakthough by establishing a small services firm, called Mthi Wembotyi Projects in 2017, and acquiring a year later, a 16-meters long steel boat to render off-port-limits (OPL) ship services to vessels visiting the area.
According to Mr Mpe during an interview, his interest in the maritime sector business services was sparked by the gradual sprawl of big ships of all shapes now regularly putting anchor in the ocean off the coast of Port Elizabeth, mostly for crew changes and bunkering services.
” I was actually jogging down the Brighton Beach one day and saw all these ships that were floating lazily on the ocean and began to wonder what it was they doing there.
“From then on I began researching and soon found out that they are here for bunkering and related services, and I became interested in getting involved,” said Mr Mpe during an interview in Port Elizabeth.
Having put his few ducks in a row, including acquiring the OPL boat from a local boat builder, his first real break into actually delivering services came early in 2020 after a local chandler, Vrontado Marine Services, headed by operations manager, James Bilsbury acquired his services.
Mr Mpe had come knocking at his services company’s front door, brokering business and according to Mr Bilsbury, on assessment during a meeting, they were satisfied with his offering.
“We are a ship chandling company which means we supply foreign vessels with provisions, technical, and other stores they might require. These stores sometimes need to be delivered to vessels at anchorage in our bay.
“Carlos called us one day and made an appointment to come and see us about doing some launches together (to deliver our stores at anchorage). He came to the meeting and introduced himself and his company to us.
“We explained in the meeting what we required of him before we can do business together. He met our demands and we have since done two deliveries to vessels at anchorage area using the launch boat called Crest.
“We have done the vessel MAASGRACHT on 28 May, carrying 2.6 tons in seven (7) bulk bags. Then we have done the MANDARIN vessel on the 31 May carrying four (4) tons in 10 bulk bags,” confirmed Mr Bilsbury.
Next for Mr Mpe was a deal with Heron Marine, a bunkering services company contracted to fuel four huge cruise vessels owned by Carnival which were passing the city on their way around the world to disembark thousands of seafarers caught up in the impacts of the current Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the four Carnival cruise ships, the Carnival Dream, required to take bunkers offshore while seat anchorage and this required more services than would ordinarily be the case with onshore refuelling at a port.
Mr Mpe’s role was to help shift to place, in between the cruise ship and the refuelling tanker, a massive barge with fenders, as well as lineup other protection equipment necessary for a safe transfer of oil from one vessel to the other.
“It was quite an exciting thing to do, getting that barge and all other equipment in place for the bunkering service, ” said Mr Mpe.
His engagement by Heron Marine however, was in keeping with the company’s commitment to create and provide business opportunities to emerging small businesses, but especially those from the black SMME sector, according to Heron Marine CEO, Ms Kgomotso Selokane.
“In our commitment to our license requirements, we use local suppliers as much as possible. In this operation specifically we procured the services of a drone operator to take footage of the entire operation.
“However, the pinnacle of our excitement was how we committed ourselves, as an entity, to SAMSA’s SMME Development requirement, as our mooring boat was provided by a local 100% Black Owned SMME,” she said in reference to Mr Mpe’s small firm’s engagement in the special operation.
Mr Mpe says the going has been tough but also rewarding so far, and he looks forward to making more inroads into the sector. However, this be hastened by direct investment into growing the business – something he hopes the business investment sector will be kind to.
“I want to grow this business and become a big business operator,” he said.
Meanwhile, SAMSA has applauded the development of the creation of opportunities for the entrance also of small black business operators in the country’s sole offshore bunkering services sector in the Eastern Cape.
According to SAMSA, a roleplayer and contributor to the implementation of the country’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative lauched in 2014, bunkering in Algoa Bay plays a crucial role for the effective economic benefit of the local economy in Port Elizabeth (PE), Eastern Cape. It has become an imperative for the local economy and the expansion of maritime sectors in PE.
SAMSA senior manager for the agency’s Southern Region (Mossel Bay to Port St Johns), Ms Bongiwe Stofile described it as an exciting development.
“This is a great achievement for us and the industry , as such we would like to celebrate it. It hasn’t been an easy process to instil a transformative mind-set in the industry and hence the recognition of first movers.” she said.
It is a view Ms Stofile also shared directly with the two companies that have so far contracted Mr Mpe’s small firm, Mthi Wembotyi Projects.
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in China some six months ago has without doubt brought about the greatest health risk globally and, in its wake, by some accounts, the biggest economic threat and devastation in more than 100 years.
Yet as the old adage has it: ‘every dark cloud has a silver lining,’ so it turns out that the outbreak of the pandemic that’s forced many countries to close their borders, would also lead to new business opportunities for others that were not readily available before, and in the process, giving rise to creative thinking and innovation.
Heron Marine, a black woman owned bunkering services company based in Port Elizabeth is one such business operator to be presented with an opportunity that would call for its creativeness in delivering services to four huge international cruise vessels it has never serviced before.
According to Kgomotso Selokane, Chief Executive Officer of Heron Marine, four international cruise liners from Carnival, namely, the Carnival Dream, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Ecstasy, came calling into the port of Ngqura in May.
The call into South African ports by these four cruise liners – among several similar – was to disembark the country’s seafarers who – along with the entire cruise line industry– have become economic victims of the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.
Enroute to disembarking crew at Durban and other ports outside of South Africa the Carnival cruise ships required replenishments, among which was fuel for the journey to return home their thousands of seafarers rendered stranded due to closure of the industry worldwide.
Unlike its three sisters, the Carnival Dream – at 130,000gt and 305.47 meters long, with a guest capacity of some 3646 people as well as 1367 crew members – was to be refuelled seat anchorage. That presented some interesting challenges.
According to Ms Selokane, due to the configuration of the vessel and barge, the actual refuelling operation at anchorage required for the first time, the utilisation of a spacer barge with two Yokahama fenders on either side to serve as a bulwark between the company’s bunker barge and the cruise ship. In turn, this required not only tugs to shove and hold vessels in place, but also the utilisation of a mooring boat to layout oil booms to cover stern of the vessel.
Once arrangements had been finalised, and with a keen eye constantly on the weather conditions as the refuelling had to be conducted in open anchorage , Heron Marine called on, among others, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) for assistance with tugs and consulted with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to ensure compliance with the strictest safety standards during the bunkering operation.
The final alignment of all parties and equipment and calm weather conditions allowed for a successful refuelling of the Carnival Dream by one of Heron Marine’s bunkering barges, the Bonaire Trader.
She added: “SAMSA and TNPA’s approvals… demonstrated South Africa’s commitment to implementing the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy’s (CMTP) in making the country an international maritime centre, but more so our contribution to the global maritime economy during these trying times.”
Part of the economic contribution involved the deliberate utilisation of all local based services suppliers for support infrastructure, she said
“In our commitment to our license requirements, we use local suppliers as much as possible. In this operation specifically we procured the services of a drone operator to take footage of the entire operation.
“However, the pinnacle of our excitement was how we committed ourselves, as an entity, to SAMSA’s SMME Development requirement, as our mooring boat was provided by a local 100% Black Owned SMME.
“We would really like to thank SAMSA and the TNPA team for allowing this operation to take place and supporting its precedence as a first of its kind offshore ALGOA BAY or maybe even South Africa. “Working together like this is a true indication of our South African Spirit – not matter what we endeavour,” said Ms Selokane.
Tracking down a set of stimulus packages earlier announced by government, and the revival of an inter-ministerial committee focused on South Africa’s maritime economic sector are among key issues to be pursued in the short term, according to Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Ms Thembi Siweya.
This, she pronounced on at the end of a whistle-stop visit to the Eastern Cape this past week along with Public Enterprises Deputy Minister, Mr Phumulo Masualle, to make an assessment of impacts as well as identify gaps in economic and investment programmes under the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative launched in the area.
In their company were senior officials of the Eastern Cape government, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) the Coega Development Corporation (CDC), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Nelson Mandela Bay local government officials, leaders of business, and others.
The projects visited included the fledgling bunkering services recently established off-shore in the precinct of the port of Port Elizabeth, the planned relocation of a fuel tank farm and a manganese ore dump currently settled at the port of Port Elizabeth, as well as energy generation investment projects currently underway at the Coega Industrial Development adjacent the Ngqurha deep water, also near Port Elizabeth,
The Deputy Ministers also utilised the opportunity of their visit to meet leaders of business in the maritime economic sector with direct and indirect interest in the operations, as well as aspiring and established small businessmen.
The visit took place amid varied concerns involving, on the one hand, groups of environmentalists in the area worried about the possible highly negative impacts of the new bunkering services to the environment, while on the other hand, small business fears of being overlooked for business opportunities now arising from the bunkering services.
Reporting on their observations after visiting the projects on Wednesday morning, Ms Siweya described the developments as showing good progress while acknowledging the challenges faced by some both in terms of concerns of possible environmental threats as well as difficulties faced by investors and business in general in the sector.
Matters of express concern raised, she said, revolved around poverty of legislation governing the new bunkering services, but also shipping especially terms of tax legislation, and the apparent absence of financial support and incentives to encourage investment in the sector. In addition, constant interaction between government, business and civil society to ensure proper alignment was crucial to success, she said.
Ms Siweya said the country’s maritime economic was among sectors identified under the National Development Plan (2030) as key to economic development and expansion and deliberate focus on it was necessary.
To this end, an inter-ministerial committee established in 2015 and which had since become dysfunctional would be revived, In addition, she said, it had become clear that there was a need for financial support of businesses in the sector in the form of a maritime fund.
In this regard, she said: “In 2018, the President spoke about a stimulus package, and there were departments that received stimulus packages. We are going to follow up on that to establish how far they are… what has been done with the funding.”
For Ms Siweya’s full remarks on this and various other matters, click on the video below.
Meanwhile, at the imbizo attended by no less 150 people at a venue located adjacent the Coega Development Zone, leaders of business in the maritime sector as well as aspirant business people wasted little time expressing their displeasure on numerous challenges which they face and towards which they felt government was failing them.
For a full perspective on the proceedings, invest time on the following video. It is about an hour long but goes a long way in depicting the exchanges as they happened.
Key highlights include the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (video: 55th minute) revealing for the first time in public, the enmvisaged establishment of a dedicated fund in the Nelson Mandela Bay to both fund expenses towards environmental preservation (in the case of an oil spill from bunkering services) as well as support small and medium businesses operating in the sector.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says an investigation is underway to establish the cause of the oil spillage incident during a bunkering service off the port of Ngqhura near Port Elizabeth on Saturday morning,
This follows confirmed reports of an oil spillage at sea while a trade vessel was being refuelled. It was reported that as much 200-400 litters of fuel spilt into the ocean. However, the bunkering services company involved, SA Marine Fuels, soon activated an oil spillage control exercise to contain its spread on water.
A Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries’ statement on Saturday said the vessel involved was the Liberia flag carrying trade ship known as the MV Chrysanthi S. The department said it had been “notified of an oil spill that took place in Algoa Bay in the early hours of Saturday. The incident took place at approximately 04h40 (in the) morning during offshore bunkering operations in Anchorage 1 of the Port of Nqura.
“It was reported that approximately 200 to 400 litters of fuel from the receiving vessel MV Chrysanthi S, flag state Liberia, was spilled into the sea as a result of overflow during the fuel transfer. SA Marine Fuels proceeded to dispatch a commercial oil spill response service provider to mitigate and contain the spread of the spill.
“This incident is currently considered a Tier 1 level incident which does not require intervention from the national authorities as local resources are sufficient. The department will provide assistance if the incident escalates and requires it.”
The department further said weather conditions in the Algoa Bay area on Saturday were hindering operations, which include wildlife assessments.
“However, the situation has been reported to be managed and under control. The oil is not expected to reach the coast and currently moving in an offshore direction. Transnet National Ports Authority, South African National Parks (SANParks), the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and other environmental bodies have been notified and are monitoring the situation along with our department.
” A contingency plan is in place for the Diaz Zone (Algoa Bay) and the Department will activate it should it be determined that oil is likely to wash ashore.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, SAMSA said it had become fully aware of the incident and that an investigation was being rolled out to establish its cause.
The agency in a statement said: “SAMSA with other authorities will conduct a comprehensive investigation of the incident. An inspection will be conducted tomorrow (Monday) to check if the beach and islands are not affected.”
SAMSA noted however at the time of its statement on Sunday, that monitoring of the oil had indicated that there were no oil traces on the water in the areas yet.
In its earlier statement, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries said it was responsible for matters relating to the combating of oil pollution at sea under Section 52(1) of the South African Maritime Safety Authority Act.
The department said: “Specific arrangements and tactics for responding to incidents are contained in a suite of local oil spill contingency plans managed by the department.
The department further added than an Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg), consisting of various stakeholders including the department, had been established through Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy to address South Africa’s oil spill response capability in the marine environment.
“The IMOrg hosted an oil spill exercise in November 2018 testing the response capability in Algoa Bay and is also keeping a close watch of the incident circumstances and status,” said the department.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is not apologetic about the approach of its contribution to economic development in the Eastern Cape insofar as it is consistent with its legislated mandate to, among other things; promote South Africa’s maritime economic interests.
This is according to the agency’s acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi in response to mounting criticism levelled against the agency with regards to its role in the attraction of investment into bunkering services now operational in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, as well as its rural maritime economic development projects involving the basic skilling and recruitment of rural coastal youths into cruise tourism globally.
The latter initiative which has seen more than 300 youths trained and found employment in MSC cruise vessels across the world was launched in the province in 2017 with the financial backing of the Office of the Premier, Eastern Cape, and technical and administrative support by Harambe.
It was initiated in Gauteng in 2016 with the support of Gauteng provincial government and is open to all provinces keen on it.
The bunkering services – essentially an international fuel services station established in the port of Port Elizabeth ocean precinct at the initiation of SAMSA – also began operations in 2016.
Recently, certain groupings, involving mainly environmentalists, have mounted opposition to the venture – now involving three services providers inclusive of a black owned all women company – on fears of possible environmental degradation due to possible oil spillages.
In response during a formal function to mark the registration of a fifth vessel under the South African flag in the port of Port Elizabeth a week ago, Mr Tilayi said the introduction of the bunkering services in the city had been undertaken following careful assessment of its suitability for the international service to trade cargo vessels passing along the southern oceans of Africa.
In addition, he said SAMSA was the country’s agency tasked with prevention of pollution by ships along the country’s three oceans, and also responsible for ensuring the safety of people and property at sea. Therefore, it was incumbent upon SAMSA to make sure there was no environmental threat of the seas by the bunkering services.
Working jointly and closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs, SAMSA had ensured that no danger would be posed by the bunkering services in the Port Elizabeth coastal region beyond pure accidents and which, if experienced, would be managed according to approved safeguard processes already in place.
However, consistent with both SAMSA’s mandate as well as objectives of the Operations Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative launched in 2014, crucially, a major consideration was that the investment into the bunkering services was a necessary economic intervention for especially the region of the Eastern Cape province that had historically been ignored by previous government policies and initiatives.
He said contrary to claims by critics, the bunkering services had yielded positive results as it had to date generated sizeable financial income for the Nelson Mandela Bay region running into millions of rand and created employment for about 300-500 people directly and in downstream businesses.
But in addition, broadly, SAMSA had directed its efforts towards rural coastal areas in the Eastern Cape province to contribute to both skills development as well as jobs creation for youth. This was undertaken through two projects, the SAMSA Rural Maritime Development Programme as well as the Maritime Youth Development Programme.
The RMDP involves three broad areas, basic maritime skills development, fishing and marine tourism. The MYDP is focused on basic skills development and placement of youths on cruise vessels.
According to Mr Tilayi, the targeting of rural coastal areas of the Eastern Cape for these services as opposite to hinterland areas, was deliberate and informed by a defined need to ensure direct participation and beneficiation of the communities closest to the oceans on oceans economy development that was right at their own doorstep.
“It is a great pity, and regrettable that some in the Eastern Cape are finding reasons to look down on and denounce our efforts. But we are not apologetic about our approach to contribution to development of the region and frankly, we would prefer partnerships and collaboration to ensure that people of this region participate and benefit.
“But we are grateful and encouraged that many others in this region, including especially the Eastern Cape provincial government, are giving full support to our endeavours”
For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on the issues, click on the video below.
South Africa’s first three black female Master Mariners (a.k.a ship Captains) received a warm welcome and applause at the country’s Parliament on Tuesday when they were introduced to lawmakers for the first time by the Minister of Transport, Joe Masangwanyi.
Mr Masangwanyi introduced the trio to Parliament during his maiden speech as Transport Minister in which delivered the ministry’s budget for the 2017/2018 financial year.
In his speech during which he also announced an allocation of about R119-million for maritime, Mr Masangwanyi described the Master Mariner qualification obtained by Captains Thembela Taboshe, Captain Tsepo Motloutsi and Captain Pretty Molefe in 2016 as the highest qualification for seafarers, and which enables them to command vessels of up to 3000 tons worldwide.
The three ship captains who made history by being the first black African females to do so, are currently working as ship surveyors for the South African Maritime Safety (SAMSA) at the port of Durban while furthering their academic studies in maritime law.
In the video below, Mr Maswangwayi makes his remarks about the three pioneers from 19:38 minutes to 20:30 minutes.
Meanwhile, a number of SAMSA projects came under the spotlight during the debate including the establishment a year ago of ships bunkering services at the port of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, some aspects of its involvement in cadet training as well as its social responsibility contributions to communities impacted by maritime activities, among them the community of Enkovekuni at uMhlabauyalingana in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as projects earmarked for the Port St Johns community in the current year.
South Africa also boasts cheapest tariffs for merchant shipping sector than any other ports in the world: National Ports Regulator
Xhariep Dam (Free State): 30 September 2016
The beefing up of ocean environmental protection, particularly pollution prevention as well improvement of labour conditions for seafarers are among a series of initiatives currently being pursued in broad efforts to enhance rejuvenation and development of the maritime esector, the Transport Department confirmed this past week during the global observation of the World Maritime Day 2016.
Speaking at South Africa’s own version of the event held at Xhariep Dam in the Free State on Thursday, and whose international theme for 2016 was: Shipping is indispensable to the World; Transport Department maritime transport branch acting deputy Director General, Mr Clement Manyungwana highlighted a series of activities the department was engaged in currently with several stakeholders – among them other Government departments, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – to strengthen the country’s hold and management of its maritime sector development drive.
According to Mr Manyungwana, among the initiatives he said were closely aligned to the country’s National Development Plan (NDP) were;
development of an integrated transport strategy,
enhancement of ocean security through acquisition of additional vessels,
promulgation of legislation to advance the protection of seafarers onboard vessels, as well as
development of further maritime policy and legislation
The improvement and enhancement of ocean environmental protection regarding particularly oil pollution was in part, in recognition and appreciation of the growth in shipping traffic drawn to newly established bunkering services at the country’s newest deep water port, the port of Ngqurha near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province.
Meanwhile, National Ports Regulator CE, Mr Manesh Fakir said in efforts dedicated to attracting more global business trade vessels onto the countries’ port and to enhance local exports competitiveness, several studies had been conducted over the last year and which have led to identification of various efficiencies as well as establishment of a basket of incentives in the form of tariff reductions.
Mr Fakir said as a result, shipping liners reporting on South Africa’s ports now enjoyed lower prices of up to 50% less in comparison with comparable ports elsewhere in the world, with iron ore shipments specifically now paying less by up to 70-80% – largely due to the Rand/Dollar exchange effect.
On efforts to bolster South Africa’s export trade, he said that locally manufactured goods for export through containers also enjoyed as much as 70% lower tariffs compared containerized imports.
However, Mr Fakir warned that with global fleets increasing vessel carrying capacities leading to reduction in actual fleets, tariffs would not hold down for too long and might indeed increase over the next 10 years largely due to infrastructure maintenance and upgrading costs.
For Mr Fakir’s full remarks (Audio only), Click Here