When is a sailor on a ‘high’ at sea – SA seafarers’ ask!

DOTS Logo ENG HOR_UN Blue invertedPretoria 01 July 2019

As South Africa joined the rest of the maritime world to mark and celebrate the international Day of the Seafarer as guided by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and organised locally by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) jointly with the Department of Transport (DoT), seafarer’s general welfare was on the menu and there were few surprises about the issues raised or discussed.

Day of the Seafarer 2019_poster_blue landscapeAfter all, the IMO suggested theme for 2019 was #IamOnBoard with Gender Equality.

South Africa’s marking of the annual event this year took the same format as in 2018, with three of the country’s coastal cities, Cape Town (Western Cape), Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape) and Durban (KwaZulu-Natal) hosting simultaneously the event. The idea according to the Department of Transport, is to ensure that as many of South Africa’s seafarers – some based in these cities – participate in the celebrations as well as ensuing discussions.

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The line up of speakers for the marking and celebration of the 2019 Day of the Seafarer in Cape Town on Tuesday, 25 June were (From far left), Ms Faye Kula (indepent professional), Ms Emma Dzinic (naval architect: SAMSA) , Ms Thembela Taboshe (standing: SHEQ Executive Oceana), Ms Leonie Louw (lecturer Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and Ms Yolisa Tshangela (Transnet National Ports Authority). With them (Far right) is Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Deputy Director General for Maritime Transport at the Department of Transport

Indeed, speakers lined up to lead discussions totaled about five people in each of the venues – all selected according to either or both their involvement as well as experience in seafaring or such other field of engagement directly related to or impacts seafaring. Emphasis was placed active seafarers – seagoing or not – employers, as well as education and training providers or professionals.

This blog covered the Cape Town leg of the event and this is where, among a range of issues raised for discussion concerning gender equality and empowerment of particularly women, the question about drug use by seafarers – and precisely the adequacy and appropriateness of rules and regulations governing its management arose.

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Ms Thembela Taboshe

Ms Thembela Taboshe, one of the first three of South Africa’s black African women seafarers to obtain a Master Mariner qualification in the past fives years and now currently serving as a SHEQ Executive for Blue Continental Products at fishing group Oceana, wanted to know what the allowable limit of narcotic drugs could a sailor have on his or her system to be deemed safe or unsafe at work.

She said the question was arising against the backdrop of law reform developments in the country concerning the use of especially dagga or “weed” and which now deemed it no longer illegal for people to use the narcotic drug in the privacy of their own homes.

The law reform was well and good, she said, but it raised a few questions regarding implications of the free, legal use of the narcotic drug.

“This is a matter I’d like to raise and speak with SAMSA and DoT about. We need to actually come up with legislation about how people find out…..what is the allowable limit….what is not. How do we know that a person who is on the 10th day after having taken weed  is actually capable of doing the job?” said Ms Taboshe.

DSC_1179She contextualized the matter as one concerning and with implications for seafarers in general and therefore relevant in terms of gender equality, but also women empowerment.  (Ms Taboshe’s full remarks – average 6 minutes – along with those of the other participants are shared on the Day of the Seafarers page)

The issue climbed quickly into the DoT and SAMSA list of issues requiring address over the next while and  a report back to sailors prior to, or on Wednesday, 25 June 2020 and perhaps soon thereafter.

The DoT’s representative at the Cape Town event, Acting Deputy Director-General, Maritime Transport, Mr Dumisani Ntuli committed the department to do exactly that.

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Mr Dumisani Ntuli

As indicated the drug usage issue by seafarers was among several that led to a robust debate in Cape Town. For a comprehensive multimedia report on these discussions, click here or on this blog’s main menu, click on the Day of the Seafarer‘s page at the top left of the bar.

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Poland’s Dar Mlodziezy crew pay tribute to Nelson Mandela in Cape Town

DSC_6767.JPGCape Town: 17 August 2018

The young crew of the Poland’s centennial independence celebration vessel, Dar Mlodziezy, making a three-day stop-over in South Africa this week, payed a moving tribute to former South African president and international statesman, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela at a brief ceremony held at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on Thursday.

The site of the tribute was the small memory garden at the V&A Waterfront housing the statues of four of the country’s Nobel Peace laureates; Nelson R. Mandela, former Anglican Church Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu, former South African president Frederick W. de Klerk and the late ANC president, Chief Albert Luthuli.

DSC_6771It was a fitting tribute coinciding and consistent with Poland’s own 100th anniversary of the regaining of its own independence in 1918, and which is being marked spectacularly by the round-the-world trip the Dar Mlodziezy’s crew is currently on and which will involve touch-down in some 22 countries in four continents.

The crew of Dar Mlodziezy‘s of more than 100 is made up of a majority of maritime students from the as well as cadets.

DSC_6778.JPGThey arrived in South Africa’s port of Cape Town on Wednesday morning and depart for their sailing trip on Friday afternoon, the next stop being Mauritius in about four days.

In the next video, the commander of Dar Mlodziezy, Captain Ireneusz Lewandowski explains the nature and context of the Polish’s oceans celebratory journey across the world.

After paying tribute to Mr Mandela, also whose centennial – along with former ANC struggle stalwart, Mam’ Albertina Sisulu – is also being celebrated in South Africa; the crew of the vessel hosted a cocktail function on board the Dar Mlodziezy at the V&A Waterfront on Thursday night, ahead of a trip to Robben Island early on Friday and from which they’d sail out of South African oceans waters.

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Poland and South Africa express a collaboration intent on maritime economy development.

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Welcoming Dar Mlodziezy: On board the Polish centennial independence celebration vessel Dar Mlodziezy, are South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (Right) with Poland’s Ambassador to South Africa Mr Andrzej Kanthak (Centre) and Poland’s Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Mr Marek Gróbarczyk (Left) being welcomed by the vessel’s commander, Captain Ireneusz  Lewandowski

Cape Town: 16 August 2018

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between South Africa and Poland in Cape Town on Wednesday marked a turning point in the development and enhancement of relations between the two countries and which will benefit both in the long term particularly with regards maritime sector issues.

This is according to South Africa’s Transport Department deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and Poland’s Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Mr Marek Gróbarczyk during the ceremony of the welcoming to South Africa of Poland’s centennial independence celebration’s vessel, Dar Młodzieży at the port of Cape Town.

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Polland’s centennial independence celebration vessel, Dar Mlodziezy arriving in Cape Town harbour on Wednesday. where it will remain until Friday.

The vessel with a crew of some 250 members on aboard including about 60 cadets, is on a round-the-world trip that began recently in Poland and shall continue until the end of March 2019, with stop-overs in as many as 22 ports around the world.

South Africa was the second stop over on Wednesday, where the vessel will remain at the port of Cape Town in a jetty adjacent the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront at the foot of Table Mountain until Friday.

On arrival in Cape Town late morning on Wednesday to sounds of the South African Navy’s brass band at Cape Town harbour’s cruise terminal, crew and passengers of Dar Młodzieży were formally welcomed on South African soil by Ms Chikunga on behalf of the South African government, along with Mr Gróbarczyk, Poland’s Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Andrzej Kanthak and other senior government officials including South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

Thereafter, the Polish maritime students and cadets who were joined by their South African counterparts from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for a combined group of about 200, were later treated to a braai on board South Africa’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas.

In-between the events, Ms Chikunga and Mr Gróbarczyk signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the basis of which, they said, the two countries would endeavor to enhance co-operation and joint pursuit of socio economic development initiatives but especially in relation to the maritime economic sector.

Areas of likely immediate focus would include ship repairs and maritime education and training, said Ms Chikunga, while Mr Gróbarczyk felt it also an opportune time for the two countries to enhance relations ahead of South Africa’s hosting of an International Maritime Organization (IMO) conference in the country in 2020.

In the video clips below, Ms Chikunga (clip 1 lasting 3 minutes) and Mr Gróbarczyk each explains the genesis of the development and the respective country’s hopes to strengthen relations.

Meanwhile, also in remarks welcoming the group of Polish and South African maritime students and cadets on board the SA Agulhas late Wednesday afternoon, Mr Tilayi described it as important the establishment of sound relations with countries such as Poland which would benefit South Africa’s emergent pursuit of redevelopment of its own maritime economic sector.

For his full remarks, click on the video below.

On Friday, the group will be taken on a tour of Robben Island before the centennial independence celebration vessel set sail yet again, this time for Madagascar.

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SAMSA Cape Town fishing indaba delves into safety matters

IMG_4369aPretoria: July 12 2018.

Safety on board South Africa’s fishing industry sea going vessels is among key operations aspects of the sector that can never be left to chance, delegates to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) hosted ‘Fishing Safety Indaba‘ held in Cape Town heard on Wednesday.

According to SAMSA in statement ahead of the event Wednesday,  held at the Lagoon Beach Hotel in Milnerton, the Fishing Safety Indaba is a part of a series of engagements by SAMSA with its core stakeholders.

662A5691Wednesday’s event – the 6th in the series – was hosted by SAMSA’s dedicated Centre for Fishing  and whose aim according to the agency, is “to promote the updated fishing safety legislative, technical, operational and financial issues and engage the fishing industry on development issues and growing the blue economy.”

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Ms Nondumiso Mfenyana, Manager: SAMSA Centre for Fishing

Ms Nondumiso Mfenyana,  a Manager in the SAMSA Centre for Fishing,  said the Cape Town Indaba was a continuation of a SAMSA’s aim to engage with all sectors of the fishing industry to mainly address issues such as safe fishing.

“The fishing industry is SAMSA’s largest commercial customer, a major employer and contributes both to export earnings and to the GDP of the country. It is important that we ensure regular sittings of this nature in order to keep the industry abreast of developments thereof,” said Ms Mfenyana.

The SAMSA Centre for Fishing is also the secretariat of the National Fishing Forum (NFF) which was established in 2011.

The NFF was initiated to create a platform for stakeholders to share knowledge on common areas of interest, improve collaborations and decision making to avoiding duplication. The forum’s mission is to grow, develop and ensure a competitive South African Fishing industry.

Provisional members were nominated to partake in the steering committee, which was later endorsed as a fully fledges forum at the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC 2012). In turn, the forum has achieved some of its objectives; although still have some challenges that include the funding of its action plan.

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Seafarers’ world due for a significant shakeup in South Africa: Department of Transport

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Some of South Africa’s growing cadre of seafarers, young and old, gathered on board the country’s dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas in Cape Town on Monday to observe the international Day of the Seafarer – one three venues in the country where the event was held in three cities simultaneously for the first time. The other venues were Durban and Port Elizabeth. In Cape Town, the event was marked by two distinct activities; while officials from government, industry, education representatives and related held a dialogue behind closed doors, the seafarers took time to have a cake as well as a braai.

Cape Town: 26 June 2018

The seafarers career in South Africa is bound for a major shakeup in the coming months involving three major aspects: a re-look at the status of their qualifications for proper positioning, an overhaul of the process of their intake into the career path, as well as expansion of employment opportunities – the latter expected to involve the establishment of a South African fleet of vessels to do port to port shipments.

The policy shifts by government, driven by the Department of Transport in collaboration with the maritime sector and various others, emerged during observation of the international Day of the Seafarer held in Cape Town on Monday – one of three similar events held also in Port Elizabeth and Durban.

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In dialogue: (From Left) Mr Leon Mouton of the Sea Safety Training Group, Mr Rob Whitehead
President – The Society of Master Mariners South Africa, Ms Leone Louw, a lecturer at Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Department of Maritime Studies and Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Chief Director General: Maritime at the Department of Transport during discussions of seafarers well-being related issues during observation of the international Day of the Seafarers in Cape Town on Monday.

It was the first time for South Africa to observe the annual seafarers’ event at three locations simultaneously on the same day at three venues – the other two being Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Participants at all three events included government and its agencies including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), higher education and training institutions, industry representatives as well as seafarers, among others.

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Mr Dumisani Ntuli. Acting Chief Director General: Maritime; Department of Transport

In Cape Town, Department of Transport acting Chief Director General for Maritime, Mr Dumisani Ntuli said a policy revision was currently underway to shakeup the country’s maritime sector but specifically shipping, with a view to facilitating the establishment of a domestic fleet of vessels to take over port-to-port shipping transport.

Primarily, this was to ensure greater participation of South Africa in the shipping sector involving its own people, but equally important, to create a stable and expanded opportunity for ongoing,  sustainable development of a professional cadre of South African seafarers immersed in an own culture.

However, Mr Ntuli also acknowledged an urgent need currently to both address the issue of already qualified seafarers and whose qualifications as well as related experience do not enjoy recognition by the country’s education system in terms of the South African Qualifications Authority.

He said a task team involving appropriate representations from relevant stakeholders would be set up to fast-track the process.

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Mr Dumisani Ntuli with some of the seafarers that attended South Africa’s observation of the Day of the Seafarers 2018 in Cape Town on Monday.

In tandem, the quality of young people entering the profession would also require a re-evaluation as it was being established that some, if not a significant number of people pursuing seafaring for a career were either ill-prepared or simply not suitable for the type of work.

Currently, it emerged, there was a high drop out rate of maritime sector education students by especially cadets, once they get employed fully at sea.

According to Mr Ntuli, the main goal of all the initiatives was to ensure a stable career path for seafarers and that they are absorbed into the shipping transport industry and remain employed for their working lifetime.

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Having fun: Some of the aspirant seafarers currently undergoing the first ratings training of its kind on board the SA Agulhas at the Cape Sun hotel in Cape Town on Monday for the observation of the international Day of the Seafarer 201 event – one of three held in the South Africa’s major coastal cities for the first time this year since inception of the Day of the Seafarer by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) eight years ago.

With regards the observation of the Day of the Seafarer annually, he said the new format involving the staging of the event in cities across the country’s coastline would remain the feature, primarily to ensure engagement of all stakeholders for a continuous dialogue on matters affecting the sector.

For a detailed presentation of Mr Ntuli’s remarks on this and related matters, Click on the video below.

A full round up of the various participants’ contributions to the discussion at the Cape Town event on Monday will follow soon.

Among the key participants were Ms Leone Louw, a lecturer in maritime studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Mr Rob Whitehead, president of the Society of Master Mariners South Africa, Mr Leon Mouton of the Safety Training Group, Captain Ravi Naicker of the South African Maritime Safety Authority, as well industry and seafarer representatives.

 

Meanwhile, dozens of young and aspirant seafarers attending the event were all enthusiastic about the prospects of their careers given the increasing attention that was now being given to their well-being going into the future.

Among these were Ms Lelethu Ntuzula and Mr Sanele Hlongwane, both in their 20’s – one a deck cadet and the other currently undergoing the first ratings training of its kind on board the SA Agulhas – an initiative of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) together with the TETA, that began three weeks ago in Port Elizabeth.

To hear their views, click on the video below.

Still in Cape Town, about two kilometers or so from the Cape Sun venue of the Cape Town leg of the Day of the Seafarers observation, at the Cape Town harbour, dozens of seafarers, young and old, on board the country’s dedicated cadet training vessel, the St Agulhas, had a cake and a braai, to mark the day, and fun was had by all.

In the other two coastal cities where the event was held, similar sentiment and merriment emerged.

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operating Officer for SAMSA reiterated the authority’s openness to seafarers and informed those gathered that the overall wellbeing of seafarers was their priority.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. COO: SAMSA

Seafarers had to prepare themselves for the challenges associated with working in a diverse and multi-cultural environment, he said.

Some seafarers gathered in Durban asserted that one of the challenges they faced at sea was being perceived as ill-disciplined when they raised labour-related issues with their superiors on-board.

Mr Tilayi said: “It is important for our seafarers to understand that it is the Merchant Shipping Act, rather than the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, which governs the labour rights of seafarers.”

He encouraged seafarers to view the maritime industry in its global context, and consider the norms and standards established in the companies in which they worked.

“We encourage all our seafarers to understand the complexities of the industry they serve,” Mr Tilayi said.

In summary the DoT and SAMSA said the maritime industry had the potential to address the high unemployment rate, and a plan of action was necessary to include the following interventions:

  • Adopt South African models and knowledge to solve the country’s unemployment rate.
  • Develop and own a South African shipping fleet for economic growth.
  • Develop a seafarers’ culture and create employment opportunities for qualified South African seafarers.
  • Develop a career path plan.
  • Build the fishing industry to accommodate SA seafarers.
  • Strengthen the capacity of the SA Agulhas to use it as a training vessel for South African seafarers.
  • Integrate technological advancements in the industry.

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South Africa’s maritime sector transformation long overdue! Space must open for all South Africans to participate: Department of Transport

 

ships at seaPretoria: 09 February 2018

The launch recently of South Africa’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMPT), coupled with the revised Merchant Shipping Act, as well as envisaged full implementation of the National Ports Act (No 12. 2005) can be expected to see rapid transformation of the country’s maritime economic sector, according to the Department of Transport.

Such transformation crucially will involve the deliberate creation of space for all South Africans to participate in the economic sector and with that process, the attraction of new and expanded investment and much needed job creation, Transport Department acting Deputy Director-General, Mr Mthunzi Madiya said in Cape Town.

DSC_3462He was addressing guests to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) annual Stakeholders Dinner held at the Mt Nelson Hotel in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.

As many as 60 guests – most of them major and lead players in the various subsectors of the country’s maritime sector – attended the event.

In his brief address, Mr Madiya said from a government policy development and implementation perspective, the country’s maritime sector no longer had an excuse about why it cannot rapidly transform as well as increase financial investment.

“The responsibility of government is to develop policies. On the 15th of July 2017, Minister of Transport launched the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy. It was a milestone for the sector for various reasons, as we were always reminded that the reason why there was no transformation was because there was no industry policy certainty and therefore we needed a policy.

“South Africa today has the policy that needs to be implemented. We want transformation,” he said, adding that Government was hopeful that the sector would be sufficiently incentivized to not compel the hand of Government to forcefully use the new laws to engender needed transformation.

He said a CMPT strategy would be presented to Cabinet for approval before the end of the current financial year. Once approved, the strategy would allow for the targeting of investment opportunities in especially what he described as ‘low handing fruit’; coastal shipping of particularly bulk and liquid cargo along the country’s 3200km coastline.

Also the revised Merchant Shipping Act of 1951 would  be presented to Parliament for formal approval in a few months, he said.

According to Mr Madiya, desperately needed and overdue transformation of the sector to create space for all South Africans would be all encompassing, inclusive of the utilization of the country’s vast ports land.

He said: “The National Ports Act is the biggest instrument to force the industry to transform. We are talking about what is happening in the real estate of the National Ports Authority and the Act responds to this. We feel we need to do something because that’s what the Act says.

“If your tenure comes to an end after 20-25 years, the law says you must vacate the port so that new tenants can come in and Transet has been very clear on this that whoever then participates, must have a minimum of 51% black ownership.

“We hope and we trust that we will be able to use those instruments to make sure that people who had never had an opportunity, are given an opportunity to participate in the ports space.”

Mr Madiya also confirmed the formal approval of the SAMSA Funding Model by the Department of Transport following a month’s long consultative process with stakeholders in the maritime sector.

He said with the approval, SAMSA could now begin to implement it in order to ensure a sustainable source of income going forward.

In addition, he said, a salvage strategy had also been finalized and the department would be engaging with SAMSA on what next was needed to be done to ensure effective implementation.

Further, Mr Madiya reemphasized the crucial role played SAMSA as the Department of Transport’s implementing agency, and that the department would do all in its power to ensure the agency was sufficiently empowered and resourced to pursue its mandate that includes the promotion of the country’s maritime interests locally and abroad.

To listen to the full speech of Mr Madiya, Click on the video below.

See also: South African shipowners for port efficiencies

 

 

South Africa shipowners call for port efficiencies

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An international vessel docked at the deep sea water port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth (File Photo)

Cape Town: 08 February 2018

Administrative efficiencies at South Africa’s eight commercial ports from Saldanha Bay on the west coast through to Richards Bay on the border of Mozambique  will have to stack up significantly and stay stacked up if expected greater productivity by the shipping sector in the country is to be achieved, the South African Ship Operators & Agents Association (SASOAA) has urged.

The message to the country’s maritime sector authorities, among them the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), was shared with maritime sector representatives at this year’s South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) ‘Stakeholders’ Dinner’ held in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.

The SAMSA event held annually at the foot of the Table Mountain in Cape Town to coincide with the congregation of among others, the country’s maritime sector stakeholders in the city for the country’s Parliament’s official reopening  in early February every year, is an informal gathering designed to allow for sharing of views on current trends in the sector.

This year’s venue for the SAMSA event was the Mount Nelson Hotel, a stone’s throw from the South African Parliament.

However, the country’s State of the Nation address in Parliament scheduled for Thursday, 08 February 2018, was postponed. The SAMSA event went ahead anyhow.

Addressing more than 50 industry representatives as well as Government officials, Chief Executive Officer of SASOAA, Mr Peter Besnard said it was all very well that the shipping subsector in the country was correctly expected to show more productivity, but that there were creeping constraints, top of which were declining administrative and related efficiencies at the country’s ports.

South African ports are said to have a terminal capacity to handle container traffic totalling  8 013 000 TEUs per annum and just over half of which  is available as
installed capacity.

Mr Besnard singled out the port of Durban and to a degree, that of Richards Bay; as among ports in the country that were increasingly showing declining  efficiencies in ship cargo handling.

According to Mr Besnard, requisite tooling, equipment and manning were increasingly becoming a problem that was contributing to the stifling of the shipping subsector’s greater productivity.

He said as things stood, anything between 14 to 17 days were being lost by the shipping subsector, at great cost, due to creeping inefficiencies where more than 5 000 containers would stand idle and not being attended to as they should be.

“I get reports  every morning that between 4500 to 5000 containers stacked underground are ready for collection and they are not moving… those containers are in a congested state, and in next line is that two and half thousand of those containers are unassigned..which means that no truckers are assigned to move them.”

To listen to his full address, Click on the video below.

More on the SAMSA event to follow….

 

 

 

 

Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 digs deep into world’s oceans plastic pollution

This is a complete wrap up of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 3rd leg in Cape Town, South Africa two weeks ago. The glamorous global yacht race -a.ka. the F1 Race of the Seas – is currently leaving Melbourne for Hong Kong (Tuesday morning, 02 December 2018) and carries aloft its masts, a crucial message about the increasing swelling of the world’s oceans with micro-plastics.

The theme of the race is Turn The Tide Against Plastics

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Cape Town: 03 January 2018

The world’s maritime sector is stepping up its fight against pollution of the seas, with particular focus currently being on plastics pollution of the oceans, and in the mix of tools being deployed in the war is water sports.

At the pinnacle of the world’s water racing sports codes now fully engaged against oceans plastic pollution is the Sweden driven global yacht race, the Volvo Ocean Race; a multi-billion rand oceans yacht race equated to the Formula One (F1) annual car racing event, and run every two years across the world’s oceans over a period of just over 260 days at a time.

The 2017/8 Volvo Ocean Race is currently underway, having kicked off with seven yachts in Portugal in November, with a stopover in Cape Town 20 days ago, and now presently departing Melbourne in Australia  for the 6000 nautical miles 4th leg towards Hong Kong, which the yachts should reach in about 20 days (20/1 January 2018).

DSC_2429On arrival in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront for the South Africa leg on November 24, topping celebratory activities to mark the two weeks’ stopover lasting until 10 December, were two, two-day United Nations-driven conferences focused on collaborative efforts for sustainable oceans management

Following to these in the second week, was also a two-day Volvo Ocean Race sponsors’ Oceans Summit on proposed global cooperative actions for the combating of the growing menace of plastics pollution of the world’s oceans that’s said to be increasing at an alarming rate.

Put differently, seven (7) full working days out of 14 of the Volvo Ocean Race stop-over in South Africa from 24 November 2017 to 10 December 2017 were devoted entirely to discussions and information sharing on sustainable oceans management as well as current and proposed actions to combat plastics pollution of the world’s oceans.

Crucially, organizers of the separately staged yet thematic-linked discussion forums were emphatic on the importance of the use of the Volvo Ocean Race as a creative tool to draw the general public’s attention to the oceans management issues, but also as an ideal platform for information sharing particularly about the problems of plastics pollution of the world’s seas.

DSC_2265The Volvo Ocean Race now in its 13th edition since launch 42 years ago is a major drawcard to a global mixed audience of millions of people in 113 countries, and shored up by more than 8000 hours of global television coverage with an average media value of 47.5 euros (2015 values). Corporate sponsors also number in the thousands.

In Cape Town alone, an estimated two-million people take time out to watch the race or visit the yachts’ yard during the two weeks stop over at the iconic V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, located at no more than a kilometre off the foot of Table Mountain, at Victoria Bay.

According to organizers, the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 edition is the first of its kind to focus attention on plastics pollution of the oceans, and its involvement goes beyond providing a platform for publicity and discussion, but also involves direct participation by the racing yachts in collecting scientific data on the extent of the spread of plastics at sea as well as their impact.

A number of scientific consortium are involved in the problem solving endeavor, among them the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), JCOMMPS, UNESCO-IOC, GEOMAR and SubTech.

 

In partnership, the agencies use the Volvo Ocean Race to collect both meteorological and oceanographic data for a better understanding of oceans weather patterns, but also for the first time, use of instrumentation for the measurement of CO2 as well as collection of samples of microplastics increasingly swelling the seas waters.

In the following three videos recorded in Cape Town two weeks ago, Ms Celine Greuzard, Communications director of the Volvo Group, Ms Anne-Cecile Turner, the Sustainability Programme Leader of the Volvo Ocean Race and Mr Richard Brisius, President of the Volvo Ocean Race explain the rationale of the involvement of the global yacht race in the maritime world’s fight against oceans plastics pollution.

 

In the following four videos, Mr David Green, chief executive officer of the V&A Waterfront shares his organization’s perspective of and role in the Volvo Ocean Race to South Africa, while Mr Bruce Parker-Forsyth, MD of Worldsport shares the South Africa perspective of the race to local socio-economic development, and Captain Ravi Naicker of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) explains the role played by the State agency in monitoring and combating oceans pollution by ships, in terms of both local legislation as well as conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to which South Africa is a member.

In the next two videos, Dr Ivone Mirpuri of the Portugal based Mirpuri Foundation – and contributor during the Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town Oceans Summit – and Mr Ulrich van Bloemenstein of the Department of Environmental Affairs share their views of the event.

Meanwhile, South Africa which in 2017 became the venue of several continental and global meetings on plastics pollution of the seas, these including an Africa Oceans Plastic Pollution Seminar over five days, should see more increased action in the coming year, according to Ms Silindile Mncube.

She is the South Africa leader of the ‘Let’s Do It’ international NGO involved in plastics pollution combating initiatives.

During the Volvo Ocean Race Oceans Summit in Cape Town, she shared the NGO’s plans to actively getting involved in South Africa and the rest of the continent, with the launch of a dedicated “plastics cleanup day” during 2018.

And finally, in the last three videos below; is an overview of the UN Sustainable Oceans Management two-day conference that also involved a visit to Robben Island….

followed by Mr Adnan Award, South Africa director of the International Oceans Institute (IOI) who gives an overview of the entire oceans management and pollution combating gatherings held during the Volvo Ocean Race’s South Africa leg….

and Mr Rafe Axelson gives local boat building industry’s view of the importance of the race to the sector locally.

For videos of the UN Sustainable Management Conference, Click Here, and for more general videos and photos of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 South Africa leg, Click Here.

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Volvo Ocean Race 2017 in SA a platform for global dialogue on oceans economy: V&A Waterfront

DSC_2660CAPE TOWN: 01 December 2017

The two-weeks stopover of the almost year-long Volvo Ocean Race (VoR) at the Table Bay in Cape Town is more than just a prestigious international water sports event, but an opportunity for global engagement among stakeholders and interested parties on how best to develop and grow maritime economies on a sustainable basis.

DSC_2555.JPGAt least that is the view of the V&A Waterfront – one of the host venue sponsors of the VoR 2017/18 South African leg currently underway since about a week ago. Since the seven yachts dropped sails and switched off engines after touching ground at the V&A Waterfront, no less than four significant gatherings inclusive of two interrelated international conferences on oceans governance and sustainability have been held at the venue, with a few more lined up for the second and last week of the VoR 2017/18 leg.

And that is the whole point, says V&A Waterfront managing director, Mr David Green who on Thursday afternoon told this blog that the global event presented South Africa not only a top class water sport event with millions of followers globally, but also a golden opportunity to engage with maritime sector stakeholders and interested parties worldwide on a whole range of oceans related issues, inclusive of environmental management best practices as well as investment opportunities.

DSC_2265.JPGFrom an economic development perspective, apart from the tourism and hospitality subsector that stands to gain a substantial portion of the estimated R500-million the VoR pumps into the Cape Town economy, South Africa’s marine manufacturing industry, but particularly the boat building subsector stands to benefit from association with the event, he says.

For the full three (3) minutes interview click below.

More updates to follow

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South Africa’s bid for retention of IMO seat underway in London

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Cape Town: 29 November 2017

South Africa’s bid to retain its seat in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) General Council got underway in earnest in London on Tuesday after the country’s deputy Transport Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga addressed the assembly during its final gathering of 2017 which ends in early December.

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South Africa’s Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga address an International Maritime Organization (IMO) gathering in London on Monday. South Africa is bidding for retention of its seat in the IMO Council.

The IMO Council whose members are drawn from 40 Member States around the world, is the executive organ of the IMO responsible for supervising the work of the international organization. The IMO Council is elected by the IMO Assembly for two-year terms.

The IMO’s General Assembly meets for its last meeting in 2017 on 7 December.

For IMO purposes, the Africa (sub-Saharan) region is composed of 48 countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and of these, 37 are IMO Member States.

According to the IMO, the Africa region has a combined total coastline of 30,725 km with South Africa, – located epicenter across three oceans, the Atlantic to the west, the Southern in the south and the Indian Ocean to the east – accounting for approximately 10% or 3200 km of that coastline.

In her address of the IMO in London on Tuesday, Ms Chikunga noted that South Africa was the only country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region of Africa standing for re-election in the IMO Council and in South Africa’s viewpoint, it was only correct that IMO Member States in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceanic states should support the country’s retention as a member of the IMO Council.

“The re-election of South Africa to the Council will ensure that the developing countries in general and the African continent in particular gets a fair voice in the international maritime affairs,” said Ms Chikunga.

Ms Chikunga further highlighted several other factors in which South Africa remains a central player towards the IMO and the world’s pursuit of particularly sustainable development of oceans economies.

According to Ms Chikunga, shipping  which is responsible for more than 80% of global trade, continues to play a very critical and prominent role in connecting people worldwide which phenomenon she said placed the IMO at the epicentre of ensuring that such global activities were accomplished seamlessly, without unnecessary hindrances.

She said: “International trade is very central and critical to many African countries, whether landlocked or coastal states. In that regard, the Africa Union took a conscious decision to adopt the 2050 African Maritime Integrated Strategy (AIMS) which seeks to provide a broad framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of the African Maritime Domain for wealth creation. South Africa is actively operationalizing the provisions of that Strategy.

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File photo: Port of Ngqurha. South Africa’s only deep water port located in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

For its role in global maritime trade transport, Ms Chikunga  said South Africa has eight (8) commercial ports that handle in excess of 13 100 international ship traffic a year and approximately 300 million tonnes of cargo annually.

Geographically, along with its own infrastructure, the country was strategically located on one of the major vital shipping lanes  known as the ‘Cape Route’ that connects east and west seas thereby placing the country among critical role-players in world maritime affairs.

These factors according to Ms Chikunga were significant given that the IMO plays a crucial role towards the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially on climate change and gender equality,  and South Africa is well placed to continue to support the initiatives  through collaborative efforts with relevant stakeholders.

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Some of the delegates to this week’s UN led conference on regional collaboration on the implementation of the ‘Large Marine Ecosystem Approach’ currently underway in Cape Town from 27 November – 01 December 2017 parallel the South Africa’s leg of the 2017/8 Volvo Ocean Race hosted at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront from 24 November to 10 December 2017

This she reflected on as a United Nations led conference is underway in Cape Town this week, looking at regional collaborations on the implementation of the ‘Large Marine Ecosystem Approach’ as an instrument towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 14. The conference is being held at the V&A Waterfront parallel this year’s South Africa leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18

In London on Tuesday, Ms Chikunga also impressed on the IMO gathering that  alongside development, there also are  issues of safety and security that are  crucial to orderly management of the oceans.

“In support of international efforts to bring security and stability in the broader Indian Ocean under the Djibouti Code of Conduct, South Africa adopted a Strategy intending to curb acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships. In that regard, South Africa deployed her navy vessels along the Mozambique Channel as a deterrent to acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships in the southern Indian Ocean area,” said Ms Chikunga

In addition she said: “As part of our coastal State obligation, we continue to provide reliable Search and Rescue services to international shipping in our region which extends to the Antarctica.

“Furthermore, South Africa, through partnership with the IMO, has converted her highly reliable Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) to the Regional Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre Cape Town to assist ships in distress in the Region,” she said.

The South Africa bid to retain its seat on the IMO Council occurs as the southern African country prepares to host it’s inaugural IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event in 2020.

That event, tentatively scheduled for Durban, is intended to highlight the significant role of global shipping and the role of the IMO.

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