Indian Ocean rim countries wrap up conference in South Africa on a high note: IOMOU

DSC_304126 August 2019

Delegates to a five day conference of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) Port State Control Committee in Cape Town wrapped up their deliberations on Friday with renewed firm commitments to strengthening co-operation among them in the implementation and maintenance of measures to tighten safety and security of the ocean they share in the region.

The IOMOU which began with only six member States back in 1998 and now boasts no less than 20 members of the countries in the Indian Ocean rim, with more – the latest being Qatar- due to join in, has become a force to be reckoned with in maritime safety and security, according to chairperson, Ms Beatrice Nyamoita.

Countries now already in the fold of the IOMOU include the host of this year’s 22nd meeting of PSC, South Africa,  Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Eritrea, France (La Reunion), India, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen.

The IOMOU on Port State Control has its main function the establishment and maintenance of a harmonised system of port State Controls as envisaged in various instruments under the directive of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and similar such institutions.

The port State control system, according to the IOMOU ‘aims to verify whether foreign flagged vessels calling at a port of a State comply with applicable international maritime conventions.’

DSC_2913Key issues discussed at this year’s annual meeting in Cape Town included the organisation’s new inspection and detention regime, this against the backdrop of challenges particularly with regards human and financial resources.

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Mr Dilip Mehrotra, outgoing Secretary of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) in Cape Town, South Africa between 19-23 August 2019

This blog charted to outgoing IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mohretra, both about his pending retirement after 20 years of service to the maritime sector and eight years as secretary to the organisation, as well as the successes and challenges facing the India Ocean rim countries.

He expressed appreciation for the trust vested in him and confidence in the resolve of the IOMOU to pursue with vigour its programmes to promote and ensure safety of shipping and ocean’s environmental integrity in its region. There were challenges still to be confronted but particularly in terms of increasing the number of skilled port State control officers across the region, as had been tremendous success particularly with ensuring more countries commit to work together.

Although due to retire officially as secretary of the IOMOU, he felt, he said, energetic enough still to transfer back all the skills he’d acquired and continue to share his knowledge and experience.

For the 20 minutes chat, please click on the video below.

In closing remarks on Friday, South Africa’s Department of Transport expressed appreciation for the IOMOU’s choice of South Africa for the week long meeting as well as a venue for its celebration of its 20th anniversary.

‘In South Africa’s pursuit of a safer and cleaner shipping, the Acting Deputy Director General of the Maritime branch of the Department of Transport wishes to thank all attending committee members for their patronage and successful deliberations during the 22nd IOMOU meeting held from 19-23 Auogust 2019 in Cape Town South Africa

“Members can be assured of South Africa and its Department of Transport’s continued support and commitment in compliance to international commitments in ensuring our collective efforts in the jurisdiction of our ocean’s governance, port State control and safety and security,’ said the department in a statement.

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Captain Thobela Gqabu, a South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA Principal Officer for the Southern Region (East London) and South Africa’s representative to the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU”) Port State Control Committee

It further reiterated the country’s support of Captain Thobela Gqabu (a South African Maritime Safety Authority [SAMSA] principal officer for the Southern Region based in East London), on his role as IOMOU vice chairman.

“May we also convey our best wishes to the outgoing secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra and welcome the incoming secretary,’ said DoT.

Meanwhile, this blog also took time out to chat with Captain Gqabu to gain insight into how South Africa’s involvement with both the IOMOU its Atlantic Ocean counterpart in the west, the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding, contribute to South Africa’s maritime interests.

He expressed the view that South Africa’s involvement and contribution is both in its own interest as well as the global community. For the 11 minutes chat, please click on the video below:

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