Pretoria: 24 October 2017
South Africa and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will continue engagement with African countries in efforts to have all maritime countries in the region who are member States of the IMO to formally ratify a global agreement established to encourage and enforce the protection of fishermen across the world.
The continued engagement, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), will encompass the provision of particularly technical assistance to those African region countries requiring it – the aim being to secure sufficient IMO member States’ support to enable formalization of the now five year agreement into a convention instrument that will binding on all states.
This was the conclusion of a five day seminar on the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement’ held in Cape Town last week.
African countries represented at the seminar held at the Castle of Good Hope included Mauritius, Seychelles, Uganda, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Somali, Tanzania and South Africa. Among those also invited but did not attend were Angola and Kenya.
The primary focus of the seminar was on establishment of facilitative interventions to enable the implementation and ratification of the Cape Town Agreement 2012 to 1993 Torremolinos Protocol relating to the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels.
At its founding in South Africa five years ago, the ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ involved as many as 58 countries from across the world.
The five day seminar for Anglophone African countries in Cape Town last week dealt with a number of issues concerning the agreement including, the state of marine fisheries globally inclusive of the number of fishing vessels relevant to the agreement (24-meter vessels), the IMO’s work on the safety of fishing, the Cape Town Agreement and challenges in its entry into force, envisaged advantages to the maritime and fisheries sector through the entry into force of the agreement and matters related.
During the ensuing discussions, it emerged that a key constraint for most countries involved in the seminar was lack of administrative capacity, both legal and technical.
The conclusion was that South Africa, a member State of the IMO and an early signatory (one of seven so far) of the agreement, would avail itself to assist those countries requiring it, in direct and close collaboration with the IMO.
According to SAMSA, South Africa is already way ahead in terms of development of draft regulations facilitative of implementation of the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ and will share these with countries in need of such assistance. The technical regulations currently in draft form still, and intended to replace a set of 1968 regulations, are with the Department of Transport (DoT) for consideration and promulgation for public comment.
The South Africa chairman of the IMO seminar in Cape Town, SAMSA deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Nigel Campbell described the event as a success overall, particularly from South Africa’s position as a host country.