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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Seventh IMO seminar in SA on fishermen safety globally, hopeful of Africa support.

DSC_1747 (2)Cape Town: 17 October 2017

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the host of this week’s seminar on the ‘Cape Town Agreement’ for the safety and security of fishermen across the globe is confident it will have secured enough support from more African countries by weekend for implementation of the now five year agreement.

Also counting on a more favorable support from fellow African countries is South Africa, the first among seven countries worldwide to formally ratify the ‘Cape Town Agreement’ – named as such as it was founded in the Western Cape city of South Africa by as many as 58 countries in 2012.

DSC_1750.JPGThis week’s seminar that began on Monday and lasting five days until Friday (20 October) at the historic Castle of Good Hope, a stone’s throw from Cape Town’s central business district, is the seventh in a series being held by the IMO worldwide since founding of the ‘Cape Town Agreement’ five years ago.

DSC_1771.JPGIt is the third in Africa – the first having been for French-speaking or Francophone countries, followed by one held for Asian countries.

This week’s gathering, involving about 50 delegates from several African countries in central and southern Africa as well as Europe, is intended for English-speaking or Anglophone countries, said seminar leader, IMO’s head of Marine Technology and GBS Maritime Safety Division, Ms Sandra Rita Allnut in a brief interview on Monday.

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Captain Nigel Campbell

South Africa, the first of the few countries to formally ratify the ‘Cape Town Agreement’ that essentially seeks to enforce measures in IMO member States that will ensure the safety and security of fishermen, inclusive of the vessels they use for trade, has welcomed the IMO’s choice of the country as the venue for the Anglophone countries’ week-long seminar, expressing hope it will provide the platform for greater member awareness and support for the agreement.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Nigel Campbell said the IMO member States’ greater awareness campaign was crucial to African countries ratifying the agreement for implementation soon.

Captain Campell said he believed this week’s session with potential supporters from African countries, would bring closer to an end the strife for greater security of African and global fishing operations personnel safety.

For Captain Campbell’s full remarks, click on the video  below.

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Mr Elcidio Agostinho

Meanwhile, among maritime countries in southern Africa seemingly likely to ratify the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement’ is neighboring Mozambique.

Representative, Mr Elcidio Agostunho, an international relations technician for Mozambique’s National Maritime Authority under the Department of Transport and Communications, said the IMO’s ‘Cape Town Agreement’ was a well-intended instrument likely useful for fishermen everywhere.

He described it as unfortunate that many IMO member States had not ratified it yet in order to ensure implementation, but was hopeful that Mozambique would follow the example of South Africa in giving the agreement the support it deserves.

For his full remarks, click on the video below.

For more videos on the seminar, go to the Audio and Video page.

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