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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Fishing vessels due for display of flag State on international waters: IMO

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Pretoria: 27 October 2017

Fishing vessels on international waters may soon be expected to display their identities prominently, in the form of flags of States in which they registered, should the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly pass a resolution proposing this at its scheduled meeting in November 2017.

This is according to the IMO in an article published on Thursday reflecting on progress achieved during a five day seminar for Anglophone African countries held in Cape Town a week ago focused on an agreement on global fishing vessels safety being canvassed for ratification and implementation.

The seminar at the Castle of Good Hope from Monday to Friday (16-20 October) was the second for African countries and seventh in the series since the founding of the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement by 58 countries in the same city five years ago.

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Ms Sandra Allnut. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) head of Maritime Technology Safety Division.

Ms Sandra Rita Allnut, the head of Maritime Technology in IMO’s Maritime Safety Division led the IMO team for the Cape Town seminar attended by 10  Africa Anglophone region countries last week, and in her view, the gathering achieved its main objectives.

Earlier seminars organized jointly by the IMO  and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) were held in the Cook Islands (28 August – 1 September 2017), also involving 10 countries in the Pacific region; in Côte d’Ivoire (December 2016), for 12 countries from the Africa Francophone region; in Indonesia (April 2015), for 11 countries from the East Asia region; in Belize (October 2014), for 13 countries in the Caribbean; and in Peru (June 2014), for 12 countries in Latin America.

The aim of these seminars according to Ms Allnut was to promote ratification of The Cape Town Agreement 2012 as a means to bringing into effect the provisions of the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, which was later modified by the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol.

In ratifying the 2012 Agreement, she said, IMO member States would be giving consent to amendments to the provisions of the 1993 Protocol, thereby facilitating their coming  into force as soon as possible thereafter.

In terms of the arrangement this would require at least 22 IMO member States to give effect to the treaty coming into force in no less than 12 months after endorsement.

DSC_1750However, additional conditions include that the agreement ratifying member States operating on the high seas would need to have an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over, collectively.

So far, only seven countries have ratified the Cape Town Agreement: Congo, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway and South Africa and together, they have an  aggregate stock of 884 fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over, operating on the high seas.

DSC_1771 (3)At conclusion of last week’s seminar at Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, an undertaking was given that South Africa, actively and closely working with the IMO, would assist African countries with legal and technical expertise where needed.

South Africa would also share such other expertise as may be necessary including a draft of regulations aimed at giving effect to ratification and implementation of the IMO Cape Town Agreement.

Meanwhile, in an article by the IMO on Thursday, reflecting on the South Africa hosted seminar last week, the organization said moves to promote global safety of both fishing vessels as well as fishing workers were gaining ground in a number of key areas.

DSC_1728According to the IMO, these included the entry into force of treaties under the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the FAO – among these, the ILO’s Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (Convention No. 188) effective 16 November 2017.

The treaty sets minimum requirements for work on board fishing vessels, including hours of rest, food, minimum age and repatriation.

In addition, a number of proposals to address illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, focusing on key areas of vessel identification; flag and port state performance; training and implementation of relevant instruments; and environmental issues were recently agreed by the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III).

In further progress, in late November 2017, the IMO Assembly is expected to adopt a resolution to extend the IMO ship identification number scheme, on a voluntary basis, to all fishing vessels that are more than 12 metres in length and authorized to operate outside waters under national jurisdiction of the flag State.

According to the IMO, the move is anticipated to contribute to the maintenance of a global record on registered fishing vessels.

To read the full IMO report published on Thursday, Click Here

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IMO Africa week-long seminar on member States agreement for the promotion of fishermen safety ends on high note in Cape Town.

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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.

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Sharing notes: (From Left: International Maritime Organization (IMO) representative, Ms Sandra Rita Allnut with South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) deputy COO, Captain Nigel Campbell during last week’s Africa seminar on the IMO  ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’.

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.

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Part of the Castle Good Hope, a venue for the IMO’s Africa seminar on the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ held last week.

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.

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International maritime agreement seminar on safety of fishermen and vessels globally underway in Cape Town

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Cape Town: 16 October 2017

Delegates from several African and European countries have gathered in Cape Town on Monday for a five day seminar to examine and discuss progress towards implementation of an international agreement on safety of fishermen in Africa and other parts of the world.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) hosted seminar underway at the Castle of Good Hope, is being held in the city of the birth of the agreement five years ago, and by which it is named: The IMO Cape Town Agreement of 2012 on the Implementation of the Provisions of the 1993 Protocol relating to the Torremolinos International Convetion for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977.

As many as 58 States attended the founding of the agreement in Cape Town in 2012.

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Ms Sandra Rita Allnut. IMO Head of Marine Technology and GBS Maritime Safety Division

This week, leading the IMO delegation to chair the seminar is London based head of marine technology and GBS in the IMO Marine Safety Division, Ms Sandra Rita Allnut.

According to Ms Allnut in a brief interview before start of the seminar, the agreement is a crucial instrument that will, once fully ratified, be binding on all countries in the interest of ensuring the safety and welfare of fishermen globally.

However, although it breathed life for the first time back in 2012 in Cape Town, it was still in its early stages of development.

For the agreement to come into force, she said; it requires 22 IMO member States to sign it, as well as the registration of 3 600 fishing vessels in the fleet of the contracting states.

So far, she said, only seven countries had ratified the Cape Town Agreement, with only 884 vessels registered. South Africa is among the countries that have already signed.

Once the required numbers were in place, it would take approximately 12 months for the agreement to come to force. After more than 40 years of the IMO trying to have in place a binding agreement with members States for the sake of safety of fishermen worldwide, this was now overdue, she said.

Ms Allnut, explains this week’s week-long seminar in detail in the video below (approximately 5 minutes duration).

Meanwhile, in its welcome of both the IMO and the participating member States in the Cape Town seminar, the South African government said it particularly appreciated the IMO’s return to the country and city for further engagements over the global fishermen safety agreement.

In remarks welcoming the more than 50 delegates early on Monday, Mr Tlou Matlala, Department of Transport (DoT) assistant director; Maritime Policy, Development and Legislation said the gesture reflected on the good relationship the country enjoyed with IMO member states.

For his remarks lasting just over a minute, Click Here

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Cape Town ferry incident under investigation: SAMSA

Update One: 14:06 (Saturday, 16 September 2017)

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Pretoria: 16 September 2017

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident involving a tourists cruise ferry in Cape Town from which about 60 people had to be rescued after it got into trouble off Robben Island on Friday, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has confirmed.

According to Captain Pierre Schutz, a senior ships examiner (deck) and deputy Principal Officer at SAMSA’s Cape Town Office, the incident involving the ferry named Thandi occurred on Friday afternoon, shortly after lunch, while it was returning from Robben Island to the port of Cape Town, with about 64 passengers on board and a crew of five.

Thandi 3The vessel  is owned and managed by Silver Buckle Trade 21, said Capt Schultz.

He said according to preliminary reports, the drama began at about 2pm (CAT) after the ferry, packed with passengers, and sailing over a choppy sea due to a surge of wind over the Atlantic Ocean, began taking water over the bow.

“She was taking water over the bow due to the swell and wind when the port engine room bilge alarm sounded.

“A crew member attended and reported to the skipper that the bilge pump couldn’t cope. A ‘May Day’ (distress call) was raised. At this stage the forward windows of the vessel were apparently broken by wave action. The main life raft was apparently swept away,” said Capt Schultz.

He said at that point, at approximately 2.18pm, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was activated and shortly thereafter, all the passengers and crew were rescued.

“This involved transfer to multiple vessels, principally the Madiba 1 and all passengers and crew were landed at Mandela Gateway by approximately 4pm. SAMSA has initiated a preliminary inquiry to determine the cause of the incident,” said Capt Schultz.

On Saturday afternoon, the vessel remained afloat and had been secured at Murray Harbour, in Robben Island, confirmed Capt Schultz.

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Please note that this article has been updated to correct the number of passengers an earlier version stated as 68. This was apparently due to erroneous inclusion of some crew members of the Thandi’s sister ferry, the Madiba I who assisted with the passenger rescue. 

World oceans are drowning in plastic waste, the shipping industry is not the culprit: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 28 July 2017

The world’s oceans may be drowning fast in a mess of global plastic waste – estimated currently at some 275 million metric tons and in its wake, threatening all life on earth – but the shipping industry on which close on 90% of world trade depends, is not the culprit. Well, not quite.

That is because global shipping practices at sea are highly guarded through a number of international regulations, otherwise known as conventions, and closely monitored by member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) including South Africa, the latter through the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

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Captain Ravi Naicker, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Sea Watch and Rescue national operations manager. Cape Town

This was revealed by SAMSA’s Centre for Sea Watch and Response (CSWR) during a mini conference hosted jointly by the SAMSA, United States Consulate, the International Ocean Institute and the V&A Waterfront held at the Two Oceans Acquarium at Cape Town’s Waterfront recently.

The mini conference occurred within a week of the wrap up of an even bigger oceans plastic waste gathering, the Africa Marine Waste Conference, held over five days in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape in early July, attended by about 250 delegates including a high contingent of scientists from Africa, the US, and Asia Pacific countries.

At the Cape Town event, keynote speakers included Dr Jenna Jambeck, an associate professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Georgia, United States, and director of the Center for Circular Materials Management at New Materials Institute; John Duncan of the World Wildlife Fund and Dr Anthony Ribbink, CE of Sustainable Seas Trust.

SAMSACSWR national operations manager, Captain Ravi Naicker, explained that global shipping involving millions of trade cargo vessels at sea daily – and therefore the most potential culprits for massive plastic and related waste pollution of the oceans – were actually not the culprits.

The revelation came against the backdrop of statistics showing that South Africa ranked No.11 in the world for waste management production and that the country alone was responsible for 12% of global plastic waste and about 2% of total mismanaged plastic waste, leading to between 0.9-0.25 megatons of it ending as marine plastic waste annually.

img_3102-722017With an estimated population of some 12.9-million people occupying the coastal line of South Africa, this amounted to about two kilograms of plastic waste per person per annum.

Globally, the world’s 192 countries situated along oceans and seas across the globe were said to generate as much as 2.5-billion metric tons of solid waste, of which 275-million metric tons was plastic waste and an estimated 8-million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste ended up in the seas in 2010, according to statistics by Dr Jenna Jambeck.

Just over 6-million metric tons of the global (coastal countries) mismanaged plastic waste dumped at seas was currently still floating freely at the surface of global oceans waters, in the process, placing all life both in the oceans as well as on land, at extremely high risk.

According to Dr Jambeck, one of the contributing factors to widespread distribution of plastic waste is that: “In use – (plastic) items that are designed to last forever are only used a short period of time. 40% of plastic production is for packaging – and there are packaging needs for essential foods and things, but I will argue that we should rethink our systems and designs to meet those needs”

a-2Captain Naicker said ocean going vessels globally in South Africa’s oceans space contributed very little to this as waste management on ships was highly regulated.

He said the Africa region alone had about 18 000 vessels traversing its waters annually, with just over 3 000 of these sailing through South Africa’s oceans space equivalent some 1.5-million square kilometers of an Economic Exclusive Zone, from the Atlantic, the Southern Ocean through to the Indian Ocean.

Yet, of 1469 vessels randomly stopped for inspection over a six year period between 2011 and 2017, only 2.5% were detained for violation of environmental management protocols at sea, and only about 0.1% were responsible for garbage and record keeping violations.

SAMSA is the country’s State agency tasked through legislation (the SAMSA Act 1998) with responsibility for ensuring safety of life and property at sea, the combating and prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships, and promoting South Africa’s maritime interests.

Guiding the agency’s activities with regards the first two objectives relating specifically to safety of life and property as well as sound integrity of the marine environment, were six (6) International Conventions for the Prevention of Pollution by Ships (MARPOL Annextures) pieces of legislation binding member port states of the IMO for strict implementation in their respective ocean spaces.

In addition all trade vessels registered (flagged) in countries that are signatories to MARPOL are subject to the legislation and associated regulations regardless of where they sail in the world.

“These clearly state that ships using South African waters have no right to pollute seas while sailing here and that we are entitled to take action against should they fail to observe the law.

“However, member states are also required to provide facilities that enable ships to dispose of waste they cannot manage responsibly on board the vessels.” said Capt Naicker.

For his full presentation (about nine [9] minutes) Click on the video.

To read more on Dr Jambeck’s work, Click Here, and Here

End.

Rescued crew of stricken Greek ship in the Atlantic Ocean on their way to Cape Town

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Stricken Greek bulk carrier, the Antaios. It’s rescued crew currently on their way to Cape Town..

Pretoria: 05 December 2016

The entire crew of a bulk carrier that sent a distress call after reportedly suffering engine fire damage off the Atlantic Ocean has been rescued and is currently on its way to Cape Town, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported in Pretoria on Monday.

The 19 crew were plucked off the stricken Greek bulk carrier ANTAIOS by an ore carrier, the NSU INSPIRE – and now currently on their way to Cape Town Harbour – after their vessel reportedly experienced a fire and flooding in the engine room while sailing from Argentina to Saudi Arabia.

In a statement on Monday, SAMSA said its Centre for Sea Watch and  Response based in Cape Town had received a satellite phone call from the NSU INSPIRE – a 330 meter Japanese ore carrier – reporting  a distress call from the ANTAIOS.

nsu-inspire-2“The 170 meter ANTAIOS had reportedly experienced a fire in the engine room while sailing from Argentina en route to Saudi Arabia loaded with grain. The fire caused some damage which led to flooding in the engine room. When the flooding became uncontrollable, the captain decided to make a distress call and order the crew to abandon ship,” said SAMSA.

SAMSA reports that the dramatic incident apparently occurred in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, in an area some 860 nautical miles west of Cape Town and an area the maritime authority said was  well outside of the striking distance of shore-based rescue facilities.

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Circled in red on the left end of the map is the area on the Atlantic Ocean at which crew of a stricken Greek vessel, the ANTAIOS were rescued on Sunday, according to the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on Monday

“The mayday call was picked by the NSU INSPIRE which was sailing from Brazil to Singapore and China. The captain of the NSU INSPIRE immediately informed the SAMSA CSWR and proceeded to the rescue. In the meantime, CSWR immediately initiated a mayday relay broadcast requesting vessels in the vicinity to proceed to the stricken vessel and render assistance.

“The response to the broadcast was immediate and a total of 24 merchant ships called SAMSA’s CSWR offering their assistance, some were as close as 80 miles from the scene and others as far off as 600 miles.

“Six ships closest to the stricken ANTAIOS were diverted by the MRCC to the position in case the NSU INSPIRE needed help in rescuing the crew.

“Happily, by 20h39 MRCC was informed by the captain of the NSU INSPIRE that his ship had arrived on-scene and had commenced recovering the ANTAIOS crew from the two lifeboats they had escaped to. All 19 crew members were plucked to safety on board the giant 330 meter ore carrier and are currently on the way to be dropped off in Cape Town from where they will be repatriated,” SAMSA said.

SAMSA also confirmed that a local shipping agency had since been appointed by the stricken vessel owners to take care of the crew once they arrive in Cape Town. The crew is expected in Cape Town and about midnight on Monday.

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Arrested Taiwanese fishing vessel released from South Africa

RELEASED: Taiwanese fishing vessel released by South African authorities on Tuesday after it was arrested earlier this month and on inspection by SAMSA, was found to have violated anti-pollution conventions governing management of vessels at sea.
RELEASED: Taiwanese fishing vessel released by South African authorities on Tuesday after it was arrested earlier this month and on inspection by SAMSA, was found to have violated anti-pollution conventions governing management of vessels at sea.

Cape Town:  27 September, 2016

A Taiwanese fishing vessel arrested and detained in South Africa earlier this month has been released, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed on Tuesday.

SAMSA said in Cape Town on Wednesday that the vessel was released after it settled admissions of contravention imposed on it relating to violations it was found to have committed while sailing in the country’s waters on the Indian Ocean.

It had been found non-compliant with International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, (MARPOL) as there was no record in the Oil Record Book of oily waste having been landed ashore or discharged through the oily water separator, a SAMSA statement said.

The arrest of the vessel known as the Chin Jen Wen on 09 September was conducted by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)  after it was spotted through the department’s Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) apparently entering the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from Mossel Bay towards  Cape Town.

DAFF initially suspected that the vessel had not applied for permission to be in the area. Fisheries protection vessels including The Victoria Mxenge were then set successfully on its pursuit and arrest eventually culminating in its detention at the port of Cape Town.

While in detention under the Marine Living Resources Act, according to DAFF spokesman, Ms Bomikazi Molapo; the vessel would undergo a thorough inspection conducted by all relevant law enforcement stakeholders, including SAMSA – the country’s maritime safety authority.

SAMSA sought to ensure that it complied with all relevant international maritime conventions relevant to that type of vessel. SAMSA also used its jurisdiction as a Coastal State to ensure that the vessel was of no threat to the State from a safety and pollution perspective.

Ms Molapo said: “The Minister has undertaken to intensify the fight against any form of illegal fishing in our exclusive economic zone to ensure that our resources are utilized for the benefit of the country to reduce poverty and ensure food security for all. South African waters remain a sovereign jurisdiction and its marine living resources will be protected by the Department”.

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Three more Chinese fishing vessels arrested in South Africa

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East London: 23 May 2016

Three more Chinese fishing vessels have been arrested on South African waters after they were found to have violated laws regulating the country’s territorial waters inclusive of the its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed on Monday.

The three trawlers currently berthed at the port of East London while undergoing further investigation were nabbed at the weekend off the coast of the Eastern Cape in the Indian Ocean during a joint operation with the South African Navy. Their arrest follows that of another Chinese vessel a week ago in Cape Town.

For more on this breaking story, see the DAFF and SAMSA media release earlier today

Three more Chinese fishing vessels arrested in South Africa_ Media Statement.

 

 

South Africa’s Marine and Coastal tourism strategy development gets into full swing

Pretoria: 13 April 2016

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Tourism Lab members are gathered in Johannesburg to thrash out the strategy to unlock the economic potential of the sector.IMG_0720

The formalization of development of a comprehensive marine tourism and leisure subsector strategy for South Africa as part of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) campaign formally got underway in Gauteng this week, where participants from across public and private sectors and related will sit in three groups through the process for about five weeks.

The three groups of the Marine and Coastal Tourism Lab of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) – numbering between 15-20 people each – gathered in Johannesburg on Sunday and began work earnestly on Monday.

The Marine Tourism and Coastal Lab of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) campaign is one of five such other labs that have been operational since launch of the campaign by President Jacob Zuma in Durban on October 15, 2014.

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At launch, according to President Zuma, Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) is in line with the goals outlined in the National Development Plan, to promote economic growth and to boost job creation.

The campaign, pursued jointly between the public and private sector as well as higher education and research institutions, was launched with an economic growth target of five percent per annum by 2019.

South Africa is surrounded by a vast ocean and yet we have not fully taken advantage

According to President Zuma, the basis for pursuit for development and full integration of the country’s maritime economic sector into the general economy was that inherently, South Africa is a maritime country.

“Our starting point,” he said: “was that South Africa is surrounded by a vast ocean and yet we have not fully taken advantage of the immense potential of this untapped resource. The oceans have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion rand to the Gross Domestic Product and create just over one million jobs by 2033.”

IMG_0902Marine tourism meanwhile, ranks among the top four sub sectors of the country’s maritime economic sector projected for phenomenal growth in the next two decades.

It contributed R19-billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013, with projections currently indicating yields as high as R44-billion in 2020 and rising rapidly to R134-billion in 2033, generating between 800 000 and 1-million jobs.

The 2013 projections reflect on marine tourism as likely to be the second largest subsector contributor to South Africa’s GDP by 2033, after marine transport and manufacturing, followed by oil and gas as well as construction.

SAMSA rejoices at the elevation of marine tourism also as an important initial aspect of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy)

A South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) preliminary study conducted in the last three years found that the marine tourism and leisure subsector was extremely diverse, covering a wide range of marine assets and tourism, recreational and leisure pursuits.IMG_0709 (2)

SAMSA in essence kick-started the process of developing an enabling environment towards development of a comprehensive marine tourism and leisure sector strategy that would dovetail for integration into the country’s tourism development programs. As part of the initiative, a year ago the organisation together with private sector partners, launched the country’s first national Ocean Festival held at the Cape Waterfront in Cape Town.

Sitting in Johannesburg from this week, the Marine and Coastal Tourism lab is anticipated to expand greatly on the work already done by SAMSA towards a fully integrated strategy for the country, both coastal and inland.

Reacting to the start of the marine tourism lab, the organisation this week expressed excitement over the development. “We are very excited as this will unveil some of the plans and ensure coherent approach to  addressing problems that are inhibiting us to reach our true potential of being a marine and coastal tourism destination and be counted among the best in the world,” said SAMSA in brief statement.

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) delivery labs are described as designed to “create transparency, debottleneck and help resolve the most critical challenges facing a sector, and hence achieve key milestones faster than in a “business as usual” context.”

“The main goal of the labs will be to produce a highly detailed (3-feet level) and costed implementation plan, including solutions, detailed execution plans with responsible owners across organisations, timelines and targets,” said a statement.

It said the three labs for the Marine and Coastal Tourism subsector would run in parallel, each with 15-20 participants carefully selected from key stakeholder groups (across public, social, private sectors and academia).

“The invited cross-organisational team works full-time in one location for five weeks. The lab will have an open, collaborative, intense problem solving atmosphere, and will be supported by a team of facilitators.”

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