National spotlight turns on Gender-Based Violence at SA’s inaugural maritime sector seminar in Cape Town, Thursday

SAMSA File Photo

Pretoria: 23 November 2022

Gender Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa and globally – now declared a ‘second pandemic’ – continues to draw special focus in the coming week, with Friday, 25 November 2022 marking the start of the United Nations (UN) sponsored “16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children” worldwide.

In South Africa, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) the country’s maritime sector that is a backbone for international trade through shipping transport and related, is a critical economic sector in which thousands of people of all genders work. Yet, even as also known and acknowledged as affected by GBV, it has remained generally quiet about it.

In a statement on Tuesday in Pretoria, SAMSA said that eerie and unjustifiable silence finally gets to an end this year, come Thursday, 24 November 2022 in Cape Town, where the sector will have its inaugural GBV seminar focused specifically on GBV and related relevant sector specific efforts to fight and end it.

SAMSA, a State agency under the Department of Transport is the organiser of the event.

Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga. Deputy Minister of Transport

Leading keynote speakers lined up for the industrial sector pioneering event include Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, World Maritime University President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Ms Lena Dyring of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) as well as maritime academic and veteran female seafarer, Dr Momoko Kitada of the World Maritime University.

According to SAMSA, the purpose of the first-of-its-kind sector-wide seminar is to provide opportunity to the country’s maritime to lay bare publicly the challenges of GBV it is confronted with, and to also outline measures current, or planned towards its stemming and eventually eradication.

“Statistics from various studies conducted so far locally and globally paint a horrific picture of a maritime industry in South Africa and elsewhere, that is rife with deep-seated and widespread GBV and which unsurprisingly, impact negatively particularly women.

“A 2014 survey led by International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and its partners revealed that 17% of women seafarers reported sexual harassment as an issue. The survey report further indicated that women with less power (lower rank) in the workplace were more vulnerable to sexual harassment. This was in line with previous studies done on the subject. Cases of sexual harassment continue to grow worldwide, and South Africa is no exception.

“In yet another most recent study on GBV in the maritime sector whose outcome was shared publicly at end October 2022 in Geneva, from a group of 1128 women interviewed WISTA in 78 countries including 51 in South Africa, as many 60% of the women had encountered gender-based discrimination at work, while 66% of these concurred that their male counterparts resorted to harassing and intimidating female co-workers,” says SAMSA.

The agency further says, with South Africa being a Member State of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the country is among eight (8) Member States tasked by a joint working group involving the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and IMO to not only identify solutions to address seafarers’ issues and the human element, but also to focus specifically on strategies and tactics aimed at addressing sexual assault and harassment in the maritime sector.

The approach is by no means divorced from this year’s national Government’s theme for the 16 Days campaign. The theme for the 16 Days of Activism Campaign for 2022 is: “Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment to build Women’s Resilience against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide: Connect, Collaborate, Contract!”

SAMSA File Photo

SAMSA says: “Thursday’s seminar in Cape Town, therefore, will serve as a launchpad for the SAMSA Maritime GBV Programme now embedded in its five (5) year Strategic and Annual Performance Plan for 2022-25, to effectively raise awareness and promote the mainstreaming of GBV issues within the maritime industry. Stakeholders engaged and involved in the seminar include, maritime welfare community, manning organisations, ship owners and seafarers,” says SAMSA

The seminar will have two parts: the main event taking place on 24 November 2022, with a participation of approximately 100 people in the room and a possibly wider audience both in South Africa and globally to be engaged through livestreaming of the event on several online social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube.

On the following day, Friday 25 November 2022, SAMSA will conduct a GBV educational material distribution to seafarers within the port of Cape Town. The walk-about and engagement with seafarers at the port will involve some of SAMSA’s Executive Management members and selected guests.

End

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

SAMSA File photo.

Pretoria: 22 August 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End

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

Photo Supplied

Pretoria: 30 June 2022

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

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

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

Photo Supplied

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

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

End

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

Cape Town: 20 June 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End.

South Africa’s Interim IMOrg on a week-long multi-national incident management training exercise in Cape Town

Cape Town: 09 May 2022

South Africa’s active state of readiness for incidents management on especially its maritime environment remains critical to its ability to react positively, effectively and efficiently to both natural and man-made disasters, inclusive of oil spillages at sea according Captain Vernon Keller, deputy Chief Operations Officer at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Capt. Keller shared the view while addressing just over 50 delegates and officials at the start of a five days, in-person Incident Management System (IMS) training in Durbanville near Cape Town on Monday morning.

Captain Vernon Keller. Deputy Chief Operations Officer: SAMSA

The Interim IMOrg is a joint industry-government and nongovenrmental institutions’ emergency response national structure established to contribute towards preparedness of the country with effective and efficience management of maritime incidents such as oil spills offshore.

Its specific objective involves the staging of joint emergency response drills to prepare the country for a variety of incidents and uses the Incident Management System (IMS) as its preferred response model “for effective and efficient use and deployment of the available resources, both human and equipment, for all types of incidents including marine pollution.”

Code-named: Operation Bank Cormorant, – after a now rare, endangered species of a bird endemic in Namibia and the western coast of South Africa – the training underway in Cape Town this week, sponsored by the Benguela Current Convention (BCC) and conducted by Vulcin Training with support from various specialist companies in incident management, began on Monday and will run until Friday (13 May 2022).

The first three days comprises a desktop training of delegates covering the IMS 100, 200 and 300 modules, to be followed over two days (Thursday and Friday) by a live full scale oil response deployment exercise scheduled to take place a few kilometers offshore, off the port of Cape Town.

The training and full scale real time exercise will be the first of its kind since before the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019.

In his remarks marking the official start of the five days training, Capt. Keller thanked delegates on behalf of the Interim IMOrg, for “taking interest and participating in the training and deployment exercise, as it provides an opportunity for South Africa to build capacity necessary to effectively respond in cases of incidents and disasters and the IMOrg’s efforts to institutionalise the IMS response model.

He said: “To have an effective response, it is critical that the responders are fully trained and certified competent on the Incident Management System. Additionally, it becomes important that the country mobilise resources and conduct exercises to assess its response in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.”

For his full remarks, Click on the video below (duration: +-5mnts)

Described as equally significant about this year’s Interim IMOrg IMS training and exercise is the involvement of the Benguela Current Convention (BCC) – a multi-national and multi-sectoral organisation established by South Africa, Angola, and Namibia for the promotion of a coordinated approach to long-term conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement, as well as sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem.

Ms Tembisa Sineke. Benguela Current Convention (BCC) South Africa National Projects Officer

BCC’s South Africa National Project Officer, Ms Tembisa Sineke described the multi-national structure’s direct involvement in the IMS training and exercise in Cape Town this week as highly significant to the extent it provided opportunity also for direct involvement and participation of incident management officials also from Namibia and Angola.

According to Ms Sineke, in her address of the delegates, it was necessary and appropriate that the three countries who are partners in the BCC should expand their areas of cooperation and collaboration to include especially training on incidents management, as such incidents on occurrence, generally impact all of them in varying degrees.

For her full remarks, click on the video below.

End

Relief at last as a 62 sailors’ rescue mission deep in the Atlantic Ocean succeeds: SAMSA

The SA Agulhas II berthing at the port of Cape Town during its arrival from a rescue mission in Gough Island on Monday afternoon. (Photo: SAMSA)

Cape Town: 28 October 2020

There were sighs and clear signs of relief on the faces of both a group of seafarers as well as the handful of family members as the SA Agulhas II – the country’s most advanced polar research vessel – berthed at Eastern Mole 1 at the port of Cape Town on Monday evening with the seafarers safely onboard.

It was the end of a +5 000 kilometer journey for the 60 seafarers on board – 47 of them South African – who narrowly escape injury two weeks ago some 2600 kilometers deep in the Atlantic Ocean, after their Balize-flagged fishing research vessel, the Geo Searcher, sank within a mile off the Gough Island after it reportedly struck underwater rocks, quickly took water and sank.

The hair raising incident, and during which two of the 62 sailors suffered minor injuries had, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), occured in the late afternoon of Thursday, 15 October 2020, while the group of seafarers was sailing in the vicinity of Gough Island.

When the vessel reportedly struck the underwater rocks and rapidly took water, the seafarers scrambled onto safety boats that helped them reach dry land.

The Balize flagged fishing vessel named the Geo Searcher photographed while sinking off the coast of the Gough Island, some 2600km west of Cape Town and whose 62 people crew bailed out with boats and sought temporary refuge at Gough Island on Thursday, 15 October 2020

SAMSA through its Sea Watch and Rescue linked Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) based in Cape Town not only first picked up the frantic calls for help from the vessel’s crew after it got into difficulty that Thursday afternoon, but also co-ordinated the entire rescue mission – working hand in glove with various institutions and State departments including the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), owners of the SA Agulhas II.

SA Agulhas II Master, Captain Knowledge Bengu shortly after berthing his vessel in Cape Town on Tuesday night (Photo: SAMSA)

With Captain Knowledge Mdlase as Master of the SA Agulhas II, a week ago the vessel was dispatched to the Gough Island to fetch the stranded seamen and after initially battling with choppy ocean winds, it succefully reached and fetched all the seafarers for on boarding onto the SA Agulhas II for the 2500 kilometer trip to Cape Town, which ended on Monday evening.

From a SAMSA perspective, the safe rescue and return of the 60 seafarers (two more others were dropped of at Tristan da Cuhna) marked the successful completion of South Africa’s most biggest sea rescue mission in over a decade.

This is according to the head of SAMSA’s MRCC in Cape Town, Mr Jared Blows. In a brief chat on Tuesday, the morning after the return of the SA Agulhas II from Gough Island, Mr Blows said constant alertness and closer cooperation with various others institutions was key to the success of the mission.

For his views (+3 minutes) click on the video below.

MRCC Chief, Mr Jared Blows in a brief chat about the successful rescue mission in Gough Island this past week.

Meanwhile, Captain Bengu described the rescue mission as having been relatively smooth, this despite challenging weather conditions initially on their arrival near the Gough Island last week. It took the vessel the entire four days to get there.

According to Captain Bengu, the rescue mission started hurriedly during the evening of Thursday, 15 October when he and his SA Agulhas II crew had to drop off in Cape Town a group of passengers that were onboard returning from a research mission, and had to rush back towards Gough Island.

“The vessel departed at about 11pm on Thursday and sailed full speed – at about 16 knots per hour – towards Gough Island, which took us about four days.

“Unfortunately when we got to the island on 20 October, the weather was unfavourable to conduct any flight operations especially with regards flying seafarers onboard. We had to wait it throughout the evening until we decided to call off the operation for the day. The following day, as soon as there was a weather opening – a two hour gap in the weather – a very brave helicopter crew took a decision to fly even as the conditions were not so good. They managed to bring on board all 62 seafarers safely and unharmed,” said Captain Bengu.

He said in addition to rescuing the stranded seafarers, the SA Agulhas II crew also conducted an environmental inspection for oil spillage around the wreck of the sunken vessel, the Geo Searcher.

Later upon departure from the island, the SA Agulhas first headed for Tristan da Cunha where it dropped two of the 62 seafarers after which it headed for South Africa.

“On our arrival at Tristan da Cunha, the Tristanians were very generous and donated clothing and food for the rest of the survivors,’ he said.

For Captain Bengu’s full remarks, click on the video below (+-4minutes)

SA Agulhas II Master, Capt. Knowledge Bengu reflecting on the successful rescue mission of 62 seafarers of the sunken Geo Searcher off the Atlantic Ocean island known as Gough Island this past week.

He also described the 62 rescued seafarers as “most grateful and with full appreciation of the hospitality they received.”

Regrettably, this blog could not convince any of the rescued seafarers on Monday evening to speak on record about their ordeal this past week. This notwithstanding, several seemed happy to have made it back home in good health and were full of praise for the SA Agulhas II crew.

End.

SAMSA on close watch as trade vessels battle fierce Cape storm

The reported position of the MV JPO Libra on Monday afternoon (Source: MarineTraffic.com)

Pretoria: 13 July 2020

A cargo vessel whose anchor ‘fouled’ while at anchorage off the port of Cape Town will remain under close watch for any potential difficulties it may encounter as strong winds accompanying yet another blistering south Atlantic Ocean deriving cold front continue to batter the area.

In a statement in Pretoria on Monday, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed that it was currently monitoring the container ship, MV JPO Libra, in Table Bay, Cape Town.

An image of the MV JPO Libra (Source: MarineTraffic.com)

According to SAMSA, the 41,000-ton Liberia registered carrier arrived in Cape Town from West Africa late June 2020.

“The JPO Libra is a container ship built in 2005 (15 years old) and currently sailing under the flag of Liberia.  The vessel‘s anchor fouled and cannot be safely unfouled until the weather subsides. The Cape is currently being battered by a severe storm.

“The vessel is not in any danger and is not dragging anchor and its engines are on immediate standby, ready for use. SAMSA will continue to monitor the situation and will dispatch the SA Amandla tug should the need arise,” said SAMSA.

End

  

Shipping incidents on South Africa’s oceans keep SAMSA on its toes.

Pretoria: 02 June 2020

UPDATE TWO: FINAL

The stricken crude oil tanker, Yua Hua Hu, is expected to finally reach the port of Durban sometime on Tuesday, in the tow of a tug, after more than seven days of reporting problems while sailing through South Africa’s Wild Coast on the Indian Ocean, reportedly on its way from Singapore to Libya on the west coast of Africa.

According to SAMSA in an update report, the vessel left Port St Johns coastline at about lunchtime on Saturday, under tow by the tug Pacific Dolphin, to the port of Durban and was expected to arrive at the port sometime on Tuesday.       

The China flagged tanker was not carrying any cargo when it began experiencing problems a week ago in the vicinity of a South African part of the Indian Ocean that is historically known for its Wild Coast which over years have claimed many a vessel.

The tankers crew was reported to be safe.

End

Pretoria: 28 May 2020

UPDATE:

Pretoria: Thursday 04.30pm (GMT)

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) continues to monitor the stricken crude tanker off port St Johns.

The tanker, the VLCC Yua Hua Hu remains safely anchored in 35 metres of water just off Port St. John’s. The vessel was monitored throughout the night and SAMSA can confirm that the vessel anchor is holding.

The tug “Siyanda” secured a tow to the stern of the tanker last night and is currently static towing the tanker while she is at anchor, awaiting the larger tug “Pacific Dolphin” to arrive on Saturday. The Pacific Dolphin has a bollard pull of 220 tonnes and will be used to tow the tanker to the port of Durban for repairs to her Main Engine and Stern Tube. The weather conditions do not present a threat to the vessel at this time.

______________________________________________________________________________

Efforts continue in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of South Africa to save a stricken large oil tanker that reportedly ran aground on Tuesday, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

The incident, one of three reported during the week involving commercial vessels in distress along South Africa’s oceans, involves a Chinese flagged super oil-tanker, YUA HUA HU which reportedly experienced unidentified problems while sailing through South Africa’s Indian Ocean area known as the Wild Coast on Tuesday.

The vessel was believed to have been sailing from Singapore to Angola on the west coast of Africa. SAMSA in a statement on Wednesday said the agency through its Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) based in Cape Town, was coordinating an emergency response to the immobilised large crude carrier, offshore of the Wild Coast near Port St Johns.

“The tanker is safely anchored one nautical mile off Dome Bluff on the outskirts of Port St Johns and being monitored by the MRCC. The tanker is not carrying any cargo. All 27 crew on-board the casualty vessel is reported to be safe and no injuries have been reported,’ reported SAMSA

The agency added that emergency rescue arrangements involved among others, the deployment of a tug owned by AMSOL from Durban. It was expected to rendevous with the stricken tanker at about 8pm on Wednesday.

“She will act as the standby tug until the arrival of the emergency towing tug (ETV), which was deployed from Cape Town this morning with an experienced Salvage Master on-board. The ETV is due to arrive at the tanker within 48hrs.

As part of the rescue effort, no less than five stations of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) along the Indian Ocean coastline, from Durban to East London with rescue swimmers, as well as a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) helicopter would be on standy overnight, should they be needed, said SAMSA.

In addition, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DEFF) had also placed its Tier 1 Oil Pollution Response team and a privately owned Smit International Salvage team were also on alert, ready to deploy from Cape Town.

“SAMSA remains in direct communication with the vessel owner representatives and the master, who is providing their full cooperation to contain the threat to the South African coastline,” said SAMSA

Meanwhile on the west coast (Atlantic Ocean), SAMSA reported two other shipping incidents; one off Cape Town involving a cargo ship that had apparently caught on fire, and another in Saldahna Bay involving a fishing vessel that had run aground after being on caught on rocks at sea near the port.

According to SAMSA, in the Cape Town incident on Monday (25 May 2020), a vessel requested to anchor off port of Cape Town due to fire onboard. “Permission was granted to allow vessel Master and crew to fight the fire under a controlled environment.

“The cause of the fire had yet to be ascertained, but reported to have started from cargo hold number 6. The vessel Master also confirmed an explosion from the ship, resulting in the loss of two containers overboard. The vessel was then escorted by a sister ship MV XIN AN NING to the port of Cape Town.

“A first response team comprising of Salvage Master, SAMSA surveyors and  City of Cape Town Firefighters boarded the vessel via helicopter to complete a damage assessment and determine the safety risk that the vessel posed, after which they agreed that it was safe for the vessel to board in the port.”

Further up the west coast, in Saldanha Bay, according to SAMSA, a “vessel ran aground at the harbour entrance yesterday, with 32 crew members onboard. National Sea Rescue Institute was activated and attended to the incident.

“The vessel is off the rocks and will be towed into port by a harbour tug boat. No oil spill has been reported at this stage, and a pollution boom has been deployed around the vessel as precautionary measure.

“The vessel was successfully refloated and brought into Saldanha and berthed alongside without any pollution incident. The vessel is now under tow, by the SA Amandla Tug, to Cape Town. The estimated date of arrival in Cape Town is 05 June 2020,” said SAMSA.

End.

MRCC Cape Town activates sea rescue after crew of a Netherlands ship fall sick off the east coast of South Africa

BOKA-VANGUARD_heavy_lift_vessel_
(Photo Supplied) An image of the BOKA VANGAURD, a heavy lift vessel when unladen. On Tuesday 08 January 2020 five crew members were evacuated from the vessel and taken to a Durban (South Africa) hospital after they reportedly suffered methanol poisoning on board while sailing from China to Brazil. A sixth crew member had already died at the time of the evacuation.

Pretoria: 09 January 2020

Methanol poisoning is believed to be the cause of the death of one crew member and hospitalization of five others in Durban, South Africa, from a Netherlands ship that was sailing past the country early this week.

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) activated a rescue mission at about 7.51am on Tuesday after receiving a call for assistance from the Captain of the BOKA VANGUARD to help evacuate and seek urgent medical attention for five crew Brazilian crew members who had apparently fallen sick on board. An additional crewman had already died before MRCC was notified.

This occurred while the vessel – described as a heavy lift ship – was sailing on the Indian Ocean, approximately 276 kilometres East from the port city of Durban on its way from Qindao in China to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

On receiving the urgent call for assistance, MRCC said medical and evacuation support was activated involving the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Western Cape Metro Emergency Medical Services, the South African Air Force as well as the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Durban.

At the time of rescue and evacuation of the vessel’s sick crew, all five were in a critical condition with the potential risk of death, said the MRCC. It was reported by the Captain that the methanol poisoning happened during the evening but he only got to know about it that morning.

Both the TNPA and SAAF readied aircraft for use in the evacuation. The Air Force’s resources were utilised as it could carry all five casualties at once, while the NSRI also launched a boat from Durban as an additional safety measure. The MRCC described the sea and weather conditions during the operation as calm with the wind at 13 km/h and with a swell at 1.7 metres

At the time of writing, it could not be established what condition the sick crew were in since hospitalization on Tuesday.

MRCC Cape Town expressed its appreciation for the support provided by the SASAR Signatory Agencies and the contribution to the successful medical evacuation.

 

End

 

22 African countries recommit to working together against oil spills; Cape Town.

GI-WACAF CONFERENCE 2019 WRAP UP

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Deliberations on the last day of the GI-WACAF Conference of 22 African countries in Cape Town on Thursday.

Cape Town: 03 November 2019

Oil spills in the world’s oceans remain a dreaded possibility at all times whether through human handling or natural disasters, and preparedness for such eventuality by both industry and governments in concert are the key prerequisites for successful prevention or effective, and efficient management of such spills when they occur.

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Mr Brian Sullivan, Executive Director; IPIECA

It was for that reason that, according to Mr Brian Sullivan, executive director of IPIECA (International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association), regional collaboration, cooperation and teamwork between and among countries with coastal access was absolutely critical to oil spills combating anywhere at seas across the world.

This, he told about 100 delegates from 22 African countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the last day of their four day conference in Cape Town on Thursday, under the aegis of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) led Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern African (GI-WACAF) Project.

Mr Sullivan’s organisation, IPIECA, established in 1974 with the encouragement of the United Nations Environmental Program, and now with about 65 member companies and organisations, describes itself as ‘the global oil and gas industry association for advancing environmental and social performance..and convenes a significant portion of the oil and gas industry across the value chain, bringing together the expertise of oil and gas companies and associations to develop, share and promote good practice and knowledge.”

IPIECA further describes itself as the oil and gas industry’s ‘principal channel of engagement with the United Nations,’ a position it says enables its members to ‘support the energy transition and contribute to sustainable development.’

IPIECA member companies include BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Total, Shell, Woodside and dozens others.

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Some of the delegates that attended the 8th GI-WACAF Conference in Cape Town a week ago

GI-WACAF on the other hand, launched in 2006, is a regional organisation of 22 African countries on the south, central and north Atlantic Ocean east coast, and was established  to promote and encourage close collaboration between governments and industry to enhance oil spills preparedness, response and cooperation.

The GI-WACAF member countries, among them South Africa, comprise countries among which are signatories to no less than three conventions, such as the Abuja and Benguela Current Conventions – and all of which collaboration and cooperation instruments aspire to similar goals as the GI-WACAF.

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Delegates to the 8th GI-WACAF Conference of 22 African countries in Cape Town from Monday to Thursday last week being taken through a demonstration of an oil spill containment and management.

For all of last week, bar Friday, delegates from the 22 African countries spent considerable time, both in conference at a hotel in Newlands as well as at an oil spill management demonstration site at a lagoon near Cape Town, deliberating over a variety of issues all aimed at strengthening their national systems for preparedness and response in case of an oil spill anywhere in their region.

The intended outcome, according to the IMO and IPIECA, both which directed proceedings of the gathering, would be a further two year agreement on an action plan of defined activities in the period.

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Ms Patricia Charlebois (seated second from Left), an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) taking notes during during a session of the GI-WACAF conference 2019 in Cape Town from Monday, 28 October to Thursday, 31 October.

Split in two groups by language – French and English speaking country groups –  during working groups sessions, such a list of actions proposed to form the two year agreement emerged on Thursday, and would be consolidated and shared among represented countries by the GI-WACAF secretariat in due course.

The issues ranged from legislation, cross boundary co-operation to shoreline waste management and quite a few others.

In closing remarks, Mr Sullivan applauded the participating countries’ demonstrated commitment to the GI-WACAF Project, describing it as encouraging that governments and industry in the region, showed willingness and determination to work closely together in preserving the oceans environment integrity through prevention and combating of oil pollution.

He further noted that the compulsory implementation of lower sulphur oil for ships fuel in January 2020 by the IMO would present its own challenges to shipping and oil industries in general, but expressed confidence that through the established and sustained healthy cooperation and collaboration between industry and governments, the challenges would be overcome.

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Ms Patricia Charlebois. Deputy Director, International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

Both IPIECA and the IMO, the latter through its deputy director, Ms Patricia Charlebois, also expressed gratitude to South Africa, precisely the Department of Transport and its agency, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) for assistance with the conference.

For both Mr Sullivan and Ms Charlebos’s full closing remarks, Click on the respective videos below.

Meanwhile, in an effort to gain further insight into the IMO and IPIECA driven GI-WACAF Project – one of three across the globe – as well as glean an understanding of its significance to South Africa in particular, this blog charted to SAMSA’s key representative at the conference, Captain Ravi Naicker, For the interview, click on the video below and for his presentation to the conference, the next video.

Supplementary to the above, this blog further obtained a series of interviews with both IMO and various other delegates that attended. These will be uploaded as soon as processed.

End