MTCC-Africa region virtual conference on maritime sector energy plan gets underway in Mombasa, Wednesday: SAMSA

Pretoria: 16 March 2021

The Africa region’s challenges and opportunities with initiatives aimed at contributing to reduction of emmissions of obnoxious atmospheric gases, particularly in its maritime environment, and uptake of renewable energy resources as a contribution to climate change mitigation factors will come into sharp focus at this week’s regional virtual conference in Mombasa, Kenya.

The Energy Efficiency Conference and Exhibition (ConfEx) over four days – Wednesday and Thursday this week (17 & 18 March) and on 24 & 25 March 2021, is being organised by the Mombasa, Kenya-based Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC-Africa). All sessions, including the exhibitions, will be conducted virtually online.

According to a preliminary programme,, among key participants scheduled to contribute to the discussions in the first session Wednesday (starting at 14h00 East African Time) is International Maritime Organisation (IMO) General Secretary, Mr Kitack Lim; Kenyan government representatives Mrs Nancy. K Kariguthu and Mr James Macharia (Shipping and Maritime and Transport ministries, respectively), academics including Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology Vice Chancellor, Professor Victoria Ngumi; World Maritime University President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry; International Maritime Law Institute director, Professor David Attard; Maritime Authorities including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as well as officials of MTCC representatives in Africa and Asian regions.

The aim of the ConfEx – originally scheduled for Durban, South Africa in June last year, but scrapped and postponed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic – is to effectively set in motion, alternatively induce progressive pace to an Africa region maritime sector plan of action aimed at contributing to global measures to mitigate against climate change.

The exhibition alongside – targeting the Small and Medium-Term Entrepreneurs with innovations focused on climate change mitigation in the onshore and offshore shipping and maritime industry – is intended to provide “a highly interactive knowledge sharing and business networking platform, with the aim of connecting like-minded individuals and innovative solution providers from around the world.”

In the main virtual online conference, expected to feature prominently are lessons learnt so far in sets of ongoing studies involving current energy use and possible alternatives conducted by the MTCC-Africa at the Ports of Mombasa, Kenya and Port Douala in Cameroon over the last two years and some of whose preliminary findings were published in 2020.

Among these, is an audit report by MTCC-Africa on findings made at the two ports in November 2019. The objectives of the audits on ‘uptake of port energy efficient technologies and operatons’ at the two ports in the given phase were variably to;

  • Determine which of the proposed energy saving measures have been implemented at the Port of Mombasa.
  • Estimate the impacts of the implemented strategies on the energy consumption and emissions at the Port of Mombasa with the assistance of the IMO.
  • Identify the energy saving measures that are yet to be implemented at the Port of Mombasa.
  • Identify the challenges/barriers in implementation of the proposed energy saving measures and proposing measures that can be put in place to ensure that more energy savings are realized as well.
  • Utilizing the Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project Port Emissions Toolkit, provide training on developing an Emissions Reduction Strategy (ERS) to relevant stakeholders at the selected port(s).

Conclusions drawn included that, “…. The solar power generation potential in Africa is quite high. Kenya and the surrounding countries for example have solar irradiation of approximately 2200kWh per m2 per year. Maximizing and optimally utilizing this potential can result in great savings in carbon footprint and stabilization of the power supply systems for the African Ports. Some ports are already taking advantage of this natural asset and have installed grid tied mini solar grids to supplement the local utility supplies.”

Also, with the regulation on reducing the sulphur content of fuel oil used in ships, outside the Emissions Control Areas (ECAs) capped to 0.50% with effect from 01 January 2020, there is an expectation that Authorities will domesticate the MARPOL Annexure VI and implement it, accordingly. This regulation does provide an added incentive for development and implementation of other alternative clean energy by Africa and the rest of the world.

It states: “These requirements all the more makes (s.i.c) the implementation of shore power for visiting vessels very attractive. In addition, studies have confirmed that with a clean electricity mix coupled with installation of solar power plants in ports makes the shore power implementation very viable considering environmental benefits.”

“Whilst these alternative energy sources are a viable way to reduce emissions from ships, their development and implementation comes at a huge financial cost to the shipping industry. It becomes critical that all stakeholders work together to ensure that such technologies are shared, for the better realisation of the initial IMO GHG Strategy with a vision of a decarbonised shipping by the end of this century.”

South Africa, an IMO Member State and a designated Southern African Region Focal Point of the MTCC-Africa wherein it is expected to support the Centre in promoting technologies and operations aimed at improving energy efficiency in the maritime sector, is also lined up to make a contribution to discussion on the first day of the ConfEx, according to SAMSA.

In a recent statement, said SAMSA: “Through technical assistance and capacity building, the MTCC project is there to enable developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing to effectively implement ship energy-efficiency and emissions reduction measures, thereby supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“South Africa is fully behind MTCC-Africa to ensure that it can deliver on its objectives that include; improving regional compliance with existing and future international regulations on energy efficiency for ships; promoting the uptake of low-carbon technologies and operations; and raising awareness on the need to reduce Greenhouse Gas and other emissions from the maritime transport sector

“We urge South Africans and Southern Africans, especially entrepreneurs and innovators to take the opportunity presented by the MTCC- Africa and the IMO, of engaging with global counterparts in the development and promotion of energy efficient technologies that can be used by the shipping industry in transitioning to the decarbonised future. It is also an opportunity for many, to learn about the work that the IMO has continually put in place to deliver on the strategic direction entitled “Respond to Climate Change “, as adopted by the IMO Assembly, during its 30th session in December 2017.”

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South Africa’s maritime sector’s state of readiness for weather induced disasters in serious doubt: SAMSA


Pretoria: 10 February 2018

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has warned that the country is badly equipped to manage effectively weather induced disasters at sea, and that unless serious attention is given to the situation, the maritime economic sector and the country’s economy in general could face serious consequences.

Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Chief Operations Officer: SAMSA

The warning by SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi came in the backdrop of observable dramatic climate changes affecting the country and which saw areas such as KwaZulu-Natal – home to two of the country’s busiest ports in Durban and Richards Bay – battered by severe storms that led to loss of life and damage to property at sea.

Mr Tilayi’s remarks were shared during a gathering of some of the country’s maritime economic sector’s leading players for a SAMSA sponsored event in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.

The purpose of the SAMSA event was to share with industry and government officials the agency’s perspective on issues affecting and impacting the country’s maritime economic sector, inclusive of its own contribution towards the sector transformation and expansion.

This was within context of the State agency’s legislated mandate to among other things,  promote South Africa’s maritime interests domestically and globally.

Among key issues raised by SAMSA’s ‘sector score-card’ on Wednesday evening were;

  • The pace of transformation in the sector with regards development and creation of opportunities for business, job creation and general participation of all South Africans. SAMSA’s view  was that with general economic performance domestically and globally taken into account, the sector’s pace was all too sluggish.
  • Skills development trends: There was progress, but still very limited.
  • Legal challenges relating to manning in ocean going vessels: The sector but particularly the fishing subsector had to get its act together.
  • New International Maritime Organization (IMO) stipulations coming into effect in January 2019 relating to type of fuels to be used by vessels: Role players must act with speed.
  • State of readiness of the country with regards climate change impacting ocean bound trade: The matter can no longer be left to chance.
  • State of relations between South Africa and the rest of the African continent: South Africa is letting itself down unnecessarily, dragging down along with it the rest of Africa
  • Nature of relations among local sector role-players. There is simply not enough ongoing engagement.

durban port stormOn climate change, recollecting the single most devastating weather induced disaster affecting Durban in recent times, Mr Tilayi said the major storm that hit that city in 2017 exposed the poor state of readiness the country experiences when it comes to natural disasters.

On the day of the storm, according to Mr Tilayi, no fewer than six vessels – some fully laden with cargo – ran aground, some momentarily blocking the mouth of the port of Durban.

Had any of the vessels, even a single one, broken its back; the country’s busiest port would have to had to shut down.

“In a meeting with the deputy Transport Minister three days later, I said this country does not have any contingency plans for disasters of this nature,'” he recalled, adding that the weather phenomenon was attributed to global climate change which required that South Africa urgently established early warning systems.

“I still don’t know what we could have done differently to avert the disaster. It a good thing that it did not get worse and harmed the economy,” said Mr Tilayi.

He noted that the disaster still did not spare the oceans’ environment however, as millions of tiny plastic pellets that had escaped from one of lost containers polluted an area of some 1000 km from north of Durban to the south west of the Eastern Cape coastal area in the Indian Ocean, and in its wake, posing an enduring threat to both marine and human life.

A major clean-up had since been launched along the affected coastline with good results, he said.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (30 minutes) on this and other aspects of the state of the country’s maritime economic sector development, click on the video below.

More pictures of guests at the SAMSA Stakeholders’ Dinner at the Mount Nelson Hotel on Wednesday:


For more stories on the event, click here:

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