SA seafarers’ Competency and Proficiency certificates up for re-validation and conversion: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 18 August 2017

A process for the further standardization and conversion of certificates issued to South African seafarers, including certificates for persons working on fishing and other local vessels is underway, the South African Maritime Safety Authority announced this week.

This followed the issue recently of a Marine Notice (MN) No.16 of 2017 regarding the renewals and revalidation process.

SAMSA says the revalidation now due affects precisely South African seafarers holding Certificates of Competency and/or Proficiency issued in accordance with regulations repealed by the Merchant Shipping (Safe Manning, Training and Certification) Regulations, 2013.

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File Photo

These include groups of certificates in the categories of Marine Motorman, Fisherman, Port Operations and Radio Certificates. In these categories, according to a schedule released with the MN No.16, there are as many as 31 different seafarer operations certificates due for revalidation.

Changes in certificates titles

SAMSA says among highly significant issues with the announced revalidation is that a majority of the seafarers’ certificates are changes in titles, in accordance with Regulations.

The 31 listed certificates for revalidation all carry news titles.

But in addition, says SAMSA, holders of certificates previously covered under Marine Notice 24 of 2016 (Applications for new Manila Compliant Certificates) may continue applying for their certificates as required to keep their certificates valid for service.

Meanwhile, in terms of the requirement now due to for re-validation of certificates in the categories highlighted, SAMSA says seafarers holding the certificates listed shall re-validate at five (5) yearly intervals with applications for re-validation acceptable from six (6) months before expiry.

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Chief Examiner, Mr Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi

“During the application for re-validation/conversion, candidates must select the appropriate new title of the certificate as set out in the equivalency table in Regulation 115 and summarized in the Annexure issued,” says SAMSA’s Chief Examiner – Mr Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi.

“To be issued with the new format certificates, seafarers holding certificates listed in the Annexure of the Schedule posted on the SAMSA website, shall apply using appropriate forms found in all SAMSA offices countrywide, and on the website.

“Information, other than course certificates, submitted as prima facie evidence of the candidate being complied with the requirements for the new certificates must be in accordance with Paragraph 4 of GOP-506 – Revalidation of a Certificate of Competency

“Furthermore, all applications shall be submitted at the nearest SAMSA office, and applications submitted to the Head Office will be assigned to a port office.  Candidates applying shall use the latest forms available on the SAMSA website.”

Mr Mulaudzi says SAMSA will continue to accept applications and process, for first issue of the certificates, under the repealed Regulations, until 31 December 2018, except for Certificates of Competency which require candidates to complete their written examinations at SAMSA.

He says the last application for the Certificate of Competency which includes the written examination is scheduled for 15 October 2018 to allow such to be processed, while the last written examination at SAMSA shall be on or before 25 November 2018

Candidates being assessed successfully during this period shall be issued with the equivalent new format interim certificate as well as the final certificate.

According to Mr Mulaudzi, applications for re-validation and conversion may be made from next Monday, 21 August 2017.

He says, otherwise all certificates to which the issued Marine Notice applies, other than Short Range Radio Operators Certificates, shall remain valid for service until 31 December 2018

“Certificates for Long Range shall remain valid for a period of five (5) years from the date of issue, i.e. not valid beyond 31 July 2022, except that certificates issued on or before 31 December 2013 shall remain valid until 31 December 2018.”

For further info, affected and or interested people may view the MN No.16 on the SAMSA website, or alternatively make inquiries with the Chief Examiner through the following email address: exams@samsa.org.za.

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South Africa remains posed for a pioneering role in Africa’s ocean economy development: SAMSA

Pretoria: 14 March 2017

The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel on arrival Port Elizabeth on Friday after a three month research and training expedition in the Indian and Antarctic oceans with 30 cadets on board.

South Africa is well positioned to play a pioneering role in the African continent’s drive for expansive growth of its ocean’s economy sector, but especially if stakeholders and key role players both in the public and private sector continue to strengthen co-operation and collaboration towards the goal.

That is according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting chief executive officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi in the wake of yet another highly successful collaborative effort that saw a group of Indian scientists along with 30 South African cadets complete on schedule a three-months long research and training expedition both along the Indian Ocean and the Antarctic region.

Crucially, according to Mr Sobantu, the expedition was successfully undertaken aboard the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas, this past week.

After dropping off the Indian scientists in Mauritius a few days earlier, the vessel – under the command of SAMSA – docked in Port Elizabeth on Friday, to a warm welcome by senior officials of several institutions in both the public and private sector. These included SAMSA, the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the Transnet National Ports Authority(TNPA), the National Skills Fund under the Department of Higher Education and Training, recently established bunker services group, Aegean; the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA, the Maritime Crew Services (MSC) and a few others.

The SA Agulhas was acquired by SAMSA in 2011 for training in support of the National Cadet Programme, which is being managed by the Port Elizabeth-based SAIMI.

The training is being funded by the National Skills Fund.

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA greeting the 30 deck and engine cadets that were on board the SA Agulhas in in its three months research and training expedition to the Antarctic region over the last three months
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA greeting the 30 deck and engine cadets that were on board the SA Agulhas in in its three months research and training expedition to the Antarctic region over the last three months

The vessel sailed on 14 December 2016 from Cape Town with 30 cadets under the guide of SAMTRA and MCS.

The group of seven (7) engineering and 23 deck cadets along with two training officers joined the South African crew on a research voyage chartered by India’s National Centre for Antarctic Research.

Her first port of call was Port Louis in Mauritius on Christmas Eve where she took on board the team of Indian scientists and five container loads of equipment. The ship sailed south from Mauritius before heading West of Kerguelen Island and on to Antarctica and back to Mauritius carrying out operations at various scientific stations along the way.

On completion of the expedition Friday, Mr Sobantu said the event was just one to possibly vindicate the brave stance taken by the maritime safety authority  a few years ago to acquire the vessel with the sole intention  of providing a viable yet necessary intervention in the development of a local cadre of seafarers.

More than 350 cadets have been trained aboard the SA Agulhas since 2012 after SAMSA acquired the vessel from the Department of Environmental Affairs and re-purposed the former Antarctic research and supply vessel as a training vessel to support the National Cadet Programme.

The cadet programme enables aspiring sea-farers to obtain the practical sea-time experience required to attain a Certificate of Competency (COC) as either a Deck Officer or Marine Engineering Officer. The COC is an internationally recognised qualification, issued by SAMSA in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Convention on the Standards, Training and Certification of Watch-keepers (STCW), and opens up a global sea-faring career for these young South Africans.

The programme is a skills development initiative linked to Operation Phakisa which aims to grow South Africa’s participation in the maritime economy. The initiative is managed by SAIMI and financed by the National Skills Fund.

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

On Friday Mr Tilayi noted that: “The three-month cruise took the vessel and the cadets all the way down to 68 degrees south where they encountered severe weather. Both the vessel and the cadets passed with flying colours.”

Key to the success, he said, was ongoing cooperation and collaboration among a group of stakeholders, interested parties and the investment community. For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (video), Click Here

Meanwhile, SAIMI chief executive officer, Dr Malek Pourzanjani was also full of praise of the success of the SA Agulhas’ latest venture into a research and training expedition.

“The fact that the Indian government was willing to entrust leading scientists and important multi-disciplinary scientific research to a South African training vessel crewed by South Africans is a tribute to the quality of our mariners and the training offered in South Africa,” Dr Pourzanjani.  For his full remarks, Click Here

Ms Phyllis Difeto, chief operations officer of TNPA was in agreement with her counterparts at SAMSA and SAIMI: “South Africa needs more world class maritime expertise at all levels,” she said, also stressing the need for

ongoing collaboration between TNPA, SAMSA, SAIMI and the private sector to ensure that South African mariners received world class training that would position them well for seafarer work around the globe.

For Ms Difeto’s full remarks, Click Here.

Meanwhile, the cadets on the expedition were full excitement, sharing their experiences as well as hopes for the future as seafarers. Two of the cadets, Afrika Masuku and Sandisiwe Ngcobo spoke briefly before their welcoming audience on Friday, thanking both their trainers and training sponsors for the opportunity. In separate interviews, five other cadets opened up about their experiences as did one of their trainers. For these interviews Click Here.

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Relief for seafarers and administrators after IMO extends new certification deadline by six months to July 2017

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Pretoria: 07 December 2016

Seafarers across the world, including South Africa, are breathing a great sigh of relief after the International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee announced an extension of six months for the issuance of new certificates compliant with the Manila Convention 2010 and which every seafarer needed to have by January 2017.

The IMO’s safety committee has now extended the deadline to July 2017, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confir20151207_151556 (2)med in Pretoria on Wednesday.

SAMSA, the country’s seafarer certificates issuing authority said the reprieve was agreed to with administrators that are party to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers STCW Convention at a five day meeting held with the IMO in London, United Kingdom, a couple of weeks ago.

According to SAMSA, the reprieve came in the wake of growing pressures experienced by seafarers’ certificates issuing administrations worldwide, and against which some appeared unlikely to meet the January 2017 deadline, thereby putting at risk thousands of seafarers’ jobs, with severe consequential disruptions to shipping liners’ operations globally.

SAMSA has since published the Marine Notice 38 of 2016 – Extension of Validity of STCW Certificates, which details the conditions under which the extension applies to seafarers holding South African certificates, as well as South African ships.

SAMSA said according to a previous arrangement announced in May this year, revised certificates covering a whole range of seafarer skills levels were being issued in terms of the 2010 amendments to the STCW Convention (Manila Amendments) effective from May 2016.

IMG_1270Administrators worldwide would have until January 2017 to achieve this as all certificates issued prior to the Manila Amendments, in terms of The Merchant Shipping (Training and Certification) Regulations (1999 as amended) would expire at the end of 2016.

A Marine Notice (No.24 of 2016) to the effect was published by SAMSA on 24 May 2016, advising all affected parties of the need for affected band of seafarers to renew or revalidate their certificates prior to their expiry date on 31 December 2016.

According to the May 2016 notice (published on SAMSA’s website: http://www.samsa.org.za) applicants could use any number of ways to lodge their applications including delivering them in person or via a proxy to any of SAMSA’s offices countrywide, or filing their application online especially if they are out at sea or abroad.

At the time of the issue of the May 2016 Marine Notice, SAMSA anticipated issuing out as a matter of top priority, as many as 2300 Certificates of Competency and about 4000 Certificates of Proficiency compliant with the new Manila Amendments by December 2016.

This would be followed in sequence by as many as 5000 local certificates for fishing and port operations.

However SAMSA, as with several others administrators worldwide; experienced disruptive challenges related specifically to IT systems, and the situation simply piled on pressure.

IMG_4707 (2)IMG_4705 (2)Two weeks ago in London and following to appeals made by seafarers’ certificates issuing administrations worldwide, the IMO’s safety committee agreed to extend the deadline to July 2017.

In a statement the IMO safety committee said: “The Maritime Safety Committee, at its 97th session (21 to 25 November 2016), expressed concern with the implementation of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers {STCW), 1978, as amended, in light of the imminent end, on 1 January 2017, of the transitional provisions laid down in STCW Convention, regulation 1/15.

“The Committee noted that a large number of certificates needed to be issued by certificate issuing Parties confirming that their seafarers complied with the provisions of the 2010 Manila

“The Committee was particularly concerned about, and regretted the fact that, so close to the end of the transitional period, seafarers were reportedly unable to obtain certificates and/or the necessary endorsements required by regulation 1/10 meeting the requirements of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention.

“The Committee, therefore, urged all concerned, including certificate-issuing Parties and Administrations, to do their utmost to ensure that seafarers are issued with the appropriate certificates and necessary endorsements.

IMG_6394“The Committee agreed that, in cases where a seafarer’s documentation complies with the requirements in force immediately before 1 January 2017, but is not in accordance with the requirements of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention, port State control authorities, until1 July 2017, are recommended to take a pragmatic and practical approach during inspections and to notify the ships, seafarers and Administrations concerned accordingly,” the IMO Maritime Safety Committee said

In Pretoria on Wednesday, SAMSA said due to the postponement, certificates previously issued by SAMSA before it commenced issuing the ‘Manila’ compliance certificates would remain acceptable for service for seafarers until 01 July 2017.

“We are fortunate that this pressure on administrations has been recognised by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the IMO during their 97th Session  and extended the deadline for the transitional provisions from 01 January 2017 to 01 July 2017. This gives us an additional six (6) months in which to issue all outstanding certificates,” said SAMSA.

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