Continued engagement and close collaboration remain the key ingredient to redevelopment and growth of the South African maritime economic sector, according to industry players.
This was restated by virtually all invited guests to this year’s SAMSA Annual Stakeholder Event held on the eve of the Government’s State of the Nation Address that marks the opening of the country’s Parliament on Thursday last week.
With South Africa still bogged down under the hard grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, SAMSA’s event last Wednesday evening was held virtually online and for the reason, attracted more people than ever before, as it was also streamed live on social media platforms.
In this report, packaged with video remarks of all the speakers that participated, we aim to present the full version of South Africa’s industry players’s views and responses on a whole range of issues concerning, affecting and impacting the country’s maritime economic sector. and central to whose key message was the need for continued close engagement and collaboration in the sector.
Among the issues, predictably, the outbreak and impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in December 2019, and first experienced in the country from about February 2020, was top most. According to all speakers, the disruptive effect of the pandemic was felt by everyone but especially seafarers and whose struggle with it continues. Emerging strongly in this regard was the high level of cooperation experienced between industry and SAMSA in seeking to ensure alleviation of some of the pressing challenges that faced and continue to face seafarers.
Maritime industry participants, allocated per subsector, featured on topics that ranged from maritime law and regulations review – or poor lack thereof -; maritime education, training and skills development; shipping trends inclusive of South Africa’s plan for rescucitation of a domestic shipping fleet, to current and future ports regulations and plans, seafarers development and challenges, as well as oil and gas industry perspectives and matters affecting fishing.
Also outlined were SAMSA’s strategic objectives over the next five to 15 years within both the context of the country’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy under the Department of Transport as well as the agency’s legislated mandate of ensuring safety of life and property at sea, prevention and combating of pollution from ships and promotion of the country’s maritime interests.
The Department of Transport rounded up the presentations.
The video clips – and whose quality is disappointingly poor largely due to an online video feed that suffered low grade relay – are arranged in the order of 13 of the 14 speakers participating on the day – led by introductory remarks by (now former) SAMSA Acting CEO Mr Sobantu Tilayi. The duration ranges between 4m 30 sec to 15 minutes, with the biggest number averaging under 5 minutes.
Industry responses and remarks
Legal Fraternity: Mr Andre Pike. Head: Ports, Transport and Logistics. Bowmans
Ports RegulatorSA: Ms Johanna Mulaudzi. CEO
Shipping: Mr Andrew Millard, Director, Vuka Marine
Shipping: Mr Ross Volk, Managing Director, MSC Cruises SA
The South African Maritime Safety (SAMSA) has announced the secondment of Department of Transport director, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane, as acting Chief Executive Officer of the agency, with immediate effect.
SAMSA said Ms Taoana-Mashiloane would be replacing Mr Sobantu Tilayi, SAMSA’s Chief Operations Officer, who had acted in the position since 2016.
“Her secondment to lead SAMSA is a transitional arrangement pending the finalisation of the recruitment and appointment process of a permanent CEO,” said SAMSA in the statement in Pretoria on Friday.
The secondment – to be followed soon by a formal appointment of a permanent CEO – according to SAMSA’s Board of Directors, is part of a broader renewed effort currently to stabilise the agency, as well as strenghten its strategic role in the redevelopment and expansion of South Africa maritime economic sector as envisaged in its legislated mandate.
The statement described Ms Taoano-Mashiloane as the Department of Transport’s director for Maritime Industry Development and therefore a long serving and experienced civil servant with broad familiarity with the operations of SAMSA
Her academic qualifications include a Masters of Science degree in Botany & Environmental Management) and an MA in Maritime Safety & Environmental Administration.
“Ms Taoana-Mashiloane is also no stranger to SAMSA as, relative to her position at the Department of Transport, she is well acquainted with SAMSA having worked closely with its management for many years on key programmes; among these the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) periodic audits, the World Maritime Day parallel events – the next scheduled for South Africa this current year – the SA national Inland Water Strategy and the National Ports Consultative Committee.”
The announcement on Friday comes a couple of days after SAMSA held its annual “pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA)” Stakeholders Event staged virtually online on Wednesday evening, involving a number of key maritime sector stakeholders from across the country.
Among these were Mr Andrew Pike, head of Ports, Transport and Logistics at Bowmans, Ms Joey Mulaudzi, CEO of Ports Regulator South Africa, Mr Andrew Millard, director at Vuka Marine, Mr Ross Volk, MD of MSC Cruises SA, Mr Peter Besnard, CEO of SAASOA, Ms Sefale Montsi, Chairperson of AMD, Mr Mthozami Xiphu, Board Chairperson at SAOGA, Mr Odwa Mtati, CEO of SAIMI, Mr Loyiso Phantshwa, Chairman at Fish SA, Mr Kevin Watson, President of SAIMENA, Mr Paul Maclons, CEO of AMSOL, Mr Mthunzi Madiya, and Ms Taoana-Mshiloane on behalf of the Department of Transport.
In her address, SAMSA Board of Directors chairperson Ms Nthato Minyuku described the issue of SAMSA management leadership as among critical issues requiring attention as a matter of priority needed to ensure stability in the agency.
She said: “You would have seen that we are in the market looking for a permanent CEO for SAMSA. This is the first item we have to deliver on. Five years is a long time without a permanent CEO. I would wish to thank the EXCO team that has held SAMSA steady during this period.”
The second aspect to stabilising SAMSA related to its financial position. According to Ms Minyuku, various operational issues now compounded by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in December 2019, had hugely impacted negatively SAMSA’s finances. She said SAMSA was not about to go to the Treasury with a begging bowl, but the situation needed arresting. Part of this was a proposed five (5) per cent tarrif increase over and above that granted during the last financial year.
“In terms of SAMSA resources, we have been hit hard by the COVID pandemic. At some stage, we were contemplating what we have come to refer to as “cash flow day zero”. Although we have successfully evaded this day, we are by no means clear, much less financially sustainable.
“We are fortunate never having had to go to National Treasury to ask for a “bail out” and I must commend EXCO for this achievement. However, in order to keep sustainable, we have had to request an additional 5% tariff increase to the 6% that was already approved by the Minister with the concurrence of Treasury,” said Ms Minyuku.
Regarding the external environment, she said it was SAMSA’s view that the agency’s strategy was fit for purpose. “It is our view that first and foremost, SAMSA must discharge its regulatory obligations and build capacity to sustain our abilities in this regard. We have adopted a model of delivering on our objective of “promoting the republic’s maritime interests” via partnerships.
“These are partnerships that have seen us create hundreds of jobs for rural youths. These are the partnerships that have seen us starting what will be a long and steady growth of our ship register. We continue along this trajectory, to ensure that we use the synergies that exist between you, the industry and us, the government; as well as the various abilities and instruments among the government players.”
On her reflections broadly onto the country and global maritime sector, Ms Minyuku said South Africa was still relatively well positioned geographically to continue to play a meaningful role in the sector, but that the country needed to step up its effort to both cement its strategic role as well as ensure broader society beneficiation.
She pointed to the coming into effect last month of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement and the vast business opportunities it presents to South Africa particularly from a shipping transport perspective.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is poised as likely to …”create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating,’ says the World Bank.
Further, it says: “The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion. It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.”
In this regard, Ms Minyuku, South Africa needed to up its maritime sector development efforts towards especially establishment of, among things, a locally registered and South Africa flag carring fleet of vessels.
Ms Minyuku further applauded South Africa’s endorsement of an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) resolution that declares seafarers as essential workers.
For her full remarks on these and related issues, Click on the video above.
More coverage of the SAMSA Stakeholders Event, inclusive of contributions by industry players, will follow.
An investigation into how millions of nurdles came to envelope the Cape coast, from south of Port Elizabeth through George and nearby towns is currently still underway, while an effort is made to clean the coastline of the small plastic pellets.
This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in a statement in Pretoria on Tuesday. This was a further reaction to reports last month of the discovery of nurdles across the southern Cape coastline – from Fish Hoek in False Bay to Plettenberg Bay and lately, along the Eastern Cape coastline.
According to SAMSA on Tuesday, the source of the nurdles is still unknown but the agency confirmed that this latest incident is not related to the spillage that occured in KwaZulu-Natal in 2017.
“Authorities are working hard to address the nurdles recently washing up along certain regions of the south Western Cape coastline from Fish Hoek in False Bay to Goukamma Marine Protected Area and Plettenberg Bay.
“The nurdles are also reported to be washing up along the Eastern Cape coastline, the exact locations are still to be confirmed.
“The authorities, including, the Departments of Transport, Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, local authorities, NGOs and volunteer groups have all been working consistently to clean up nurdles washing up on beaches,” said SAMSA
The organisation described nurdles as “… small plastic pellets used in the manufacture of plastic products. In the raw stage (pre-moulded and packaged) they are not toxic to touch, but probably shouldn’t be chewed given the unknown synthetics that make up the pellets.
“However, once released into the marine environment they have a high attraction to harmful substances such as land-based pesticides, herbicides, other organic pollutants as well as heavy metals that end up in the ocean. At this stage they are very harmful to life, especially to wildlife when mistaken for food.”
SAMSA said: “The source of the nurdles is not yet confirmed but an investigation is currently ongoing and being led by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). These nurdles are not related to the spillage that took place in Kwazulu-Natal in 2017.
“While the investigation into the source of the nurdles is being undertaken, SpillTech has been appointed to assist and conduct clean-up efforts along the affected sections of coastline. Spilltech will also be storing the nurdles collected through clean-up efforts and are working with authorities, NGOs and volunteer groups to identify collection points and arrange the pick-up of nurdles.
“The extent of the clean-up operation is significant and is anticipated that the removal of nurdles from the affected coastline will continue for some time to come. The authorities and NGOs look forward to working with SpillTech as the lead agent for the duration of cleanup-operations.
“Spilltech can be contacted on 063 404 2128 for information on collection points and pick up of collected nurdles,” said SAMSA
With Covid-19 entry restrictions still on for crossborder travels, the world’s yachting community will find relief in the special dispensation by South Africa allowing them to call into the country’s ports.
That is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Marine Notice No.50 published on the agency’ website on Monday.
The notice titled: “COVID-19: Humanitarian Relief Project to Support Stranded Yachts to enter South Africa during Lockdown Period” dated 4 November 2020 states that, the implementation of the new measures is in recognition that Covid-19 restrictions in the maritime sector, particularly seafaring, have had highly negative consequences for sailors worldwide.
“The issue of stranded yachts has become topical in the past months and it is a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic that had dire consequences for the ocean cruising community. This community utilizes a wide range of yachts and small pleasure craft to navigate their way across the oceans and who primarily sail the world’s oceans as a way of life.
‘As a response to Covid-19, many countries around the world closed their borders and making it extremely difficult for sailors to proceed with their traditional sailing voyage along the Indian Ocean The current weather patterns along the Indian Ocean (are) posing a huge risk to yachts and sailors.
With these and related issues in mind, says the notice: “The South African government is continuously reviewing its processes and procedures to identify challenges within the maritime sphere during the Covid-19 Pandemic. As such, the government has found that there is a need to address the challenges faced by the yachting industry.”
In terms of the new measures, according to SAMSA, “Sou1h A!ica will offer a safe corridor and humanitarian services to yachts stranded along the Indian Ocean from 09 November 2020 to 15 December 2020.
“Yachts falling within this category must only utilise Yacht Clubs wthin the port of Richards Bay, port of Durban (both Indian Ocean) and port of Cape Town (straddles both the Indian and Atlantic Ocean). All yachts will be eligible to receive all services including stores, provisions, refuelling, repairs, maintenance and disembarkation of foreign sailors.”
The SAMSA notice further gives operational procedures on how relevant applications and related matters will be handled by the various government departments and institutions in conjuction with sailing communities organisation, with emphasis that: “these operational procedures are only applicable to yachts that fall within the humanitarian scope as outlined.”
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it has begun a preliminary investigation into the tragic vessel incident that occurred on the Vaal Dam this past weekend and which reportedly claimed the lives of five while two others were injured.
SAMSA in a statement in Pretoria on Monday said: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has commenced with the preliminary enquiry to the cause of the small vessel tragic incident that happened this past weekend on the Vaal River.
“The incident took place on Saturday, 17 October, where a vessel capsized with seven (7) persons on board. Two (2) survivors were picked up by another vessel and after a search, five (5) bodies were recovered by the SAPS (South African Police Services) divers. The casualty vessel was also recovered.
“SAMSA is an agency of the Department of Transport whose mandate includes the regulation of inland waterways (only waterways accessible to the public) within the Republic and to ensure boating safety on our waters.
“Condolences are conveyed to the families of the deceased.”
The global maritime sector’s focus turn to celebrate the world’s estimated 1.6-million seafarers on Thursday, 25 June 2020 – a day declared an International Day of the Seafarer and marked annually- in acknowledgement and appreciation of the role of the labour sector for its contribution both to world trade over the oceans and associated activities at sea.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) along with its Member States, including South Africa, celebrate the day this year with a key theme message; #Seafarers Are Key Workers, conceptualised to advance a growing realisation that the world’s seafarers are essential workers.
In South Africa on Thursday, according to the Department of Transport (DoT) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the country will mark the event Thursday with a virtual session involving invited guests and a panel of about 30 people, and which will be livestreamed to the public between 10am and 12 noon. (For more on this, click on the blog’s Seafarers Day dedicated page Here)
In a statement, the entities said: “The Day of the Seafarer is observed every year on the 25th of June by all IMO member states to pay tribute to millions of seafarers from across the globe, for their unique contribution to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole.
“Each year, the Day of the Seafarer adopts a campaign theme and the theme for 2020 is “Seafarers are Key Workers”. The 2020 campaign seeks to raise awareness of the work of seafarers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to thank them for their contribution. Seafarers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 response, playing an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food, medicines and medical supplies.
Thursday’s virtual session, involving a panel of about six (6) members and up to 30 participants from stakeholders and roleplayers in the country’s maritime economic sector, will be led by Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula.
Other participants scheduled include Master Mariner, Ms Constance Nengohvela, maritime studies educationist, Ms Theresa Williams, marine engineer Mr Khomotso Makgae, Amsol human resource executive, Mr Nceba Mfini, international Transport Workers Federation (ITF) official Mr Steve Yandell, Mr Odwa Mtati, Chief Executive Officer of the South African International Maritime Institute, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, SAMSA acting CEO and others.
In the statement ahead of the event, Mbalula said: “We acknowledge the sacrifices of the seafarers and the adverse effects of the Corona Virus on their personal and professional wellbeing. The outbreak of COVID-19 has exacerbated seafarers’ already difficult working conditions, as it has led to the restriction of port access, crew changeovers and repatriations, in an attempt to flatten the curve.
“Many seafarers have been away from home for months and are uncertain about when they will be able to return home or go back to their international posts, due to global travel restrictions. The South African Government is mindful of this dire situation and is doing all it can to ensure that seafarers are prioritised as the economy gradually reopens”, said the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula.
In South Africa SAMSA, the DOT and other maritime institutions will host a virtual discussion to mark the Day of the Seafarer. The virtual discussion will be held on 25 June 2020, from 10h00 until 12h00, and attended by key stakeholders in the maritime industry. Seafarers will use the opportunity to highlight issues affecting them during the prevalence of COVID-19,” he said.
For more on the programme for Thursday’ event, Click Here
With an increasing number of South Africans reportedly stranded at airports across the world, among these, South African seafarers mainly on board cruise liners, efforts are being made across various Government departments in the country to bring about effective action to their aid.
This is according to the Department of Transport (DoT) in a statement in Pretoria on Monday, expressing the department’s appreciation of the crucial role its agency, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is playing in the effort.
Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula on Monday said hundreds of South African seafarers caught up in the massive storm of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pademic while in service on cruiseliners across world, had been successfully assisted to return.
However, there were still as many as 130 others still abroad in countries such Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Ghana.
According to Mr Mbalula, various Government departments; notably DoT, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), Deparment of Health and SAMSA were closely working together to arrange the safe transfer of the seafarers back to the country.
This was in addition to SAMSA’s work, alongside Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA), in the effective and efficient management of ship traffic along the country’s oceans, some of which sought urgent assistance at the country’s commercial ports for fuel and other supplies replenishments.
The DoT reported no less than 10 such cruiseliners, research vessels and related that had sought assistance at the country’s ports for replenishments since the closure of the country’s borders after the Government’s declaration of a State of National Disaster and introduction of a 35 day national lockdown in last month.
The stringent travel restriction measures imposed in South Africa and elsewhere led to a complete closure of all airports and the consequent grounding of passenger aircrafts globally in the wake of the outbreak and rampant spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic that had infected hundreds of thousands and killed tens of thousands in many countries .
One major cruise liners operator with a significant intake of South African seafarers, MSC Cruises announced shortly thereafter it had halted cruises globally for up to end of May 2020. A statement on its website read: “We at MSC Cruises have decided to further extend the halting of all our new cruise departures fleet-wide through to 29 May, in light of the continued extraordinary circumstances the world is facing in connection with the Covid-19 virus global health emergency.
“We have previously announced the temporary halting of all its ships globally through to 30 April. As governments across the globe have since further strengthened ashore public health and safety measures to protect local populations and contain the further spread of the virus, today’s decision by MSC Cruises to further extend this extraordinary measure aims to mirror and further support the effectiveness of such efforts.”
MSC Cruises further announced compensation packages for its South African seafares – “A voucher for the value of their current 2019/2020 cruise package, which they can redeem in the upcoming local cruise season in 2020/2021 Plus an on-board creditof $50 per cabin to be used on a cruise in the next local South African season 2020/2021″
On Monday, Minister Mbalula said he: “…wishes to commend the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) for its continued work with Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Department of Health in implementing the lockdown regulations, as they pertain to the maritime sector.
“The regulations prohibit cruise liners from docking at any South African Port, changing crew or disembarking foreign nationals. The vessels are only permitted to replenish fuel, stores and provisions and disembark South African crew, returning South African citizens and permanent residents
“SAMSA, an entity of the Department of Transport, is also monitoring the repatriation of seafarers who are currently overseas and waiting for arrangements for their travel home to be finalised.
“To date there are currently about 130 crew members in Sao Paolo, London, Frankfurt, Italy and Ghana. The Seafarers are receiving assistance from their respective employers and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).
For its part, from as early as the second week of March, SAMSA, the country’s Registrar of Seafarers, announced special measures it would implement to facilitate for fast-tracking the speedy assistance of South African seafarers reportedly stranded abroad in a public notice placed also on its website.
Meanwhile, in addition to the half a dozen or so cruise liners and other vessels the country has had to handle during the national lockdown, DoT revealed also a list of those that were managed for Covid-19 infection.
The DoT listed these as including:
AIDAmira – docked in Cape Town on 16 March following a COVID-19 scare involving six AIDAmira passengers and two MV Corona bulk carrier crew, all of whom tested negative for the Corona Virus.
Arcadia – docked in Durban on 26 March. After COVID-19 test results came out negative for 13 asymptomatic individuals on board, the vessel docked to refuel and restock provisions, as well as allow six South African crew members to disembark and return home.
The Queen Mary 2 – docked in Durban on 31 March and disembarked six South African crew members, all of whom tested negative from COVID-19.
MSC Orchestra – currently working with the Department of Health to trace passengers following confirmation of positive test results for two individuals who cruised on 28 February and 16 March.
DoT said one vessel, a South African fishing vessel had its crew also quarantined in Cape Town as per regulations.
“The fishing vessel the CODESA 1 berthed in the Port of Cape Town on 11 April 2020. The Master and crew are all South African. The vessel has been out at sea, did not visit any other country nor port, and provides an essential service, but has been subjected to the 14-days quarantine period on-board upon return as per current regulations,” it said.
Following to concerns and consultations between Government, industry and affected parties, the Department of Transport has announced relaxation of some of the strict restrictions on maritime sector activities, particularly around the country’s ports.
The revised measures aimed at alleviating pressure on particularly trade goods movement and handling as well as personnel such as ships crews were announced by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in a new Marine Notice 21 issued in Ptetoria on Tuesday, as approved by the Department of Transport recently.
In particular, the Marine Notice addresses such issues as crew changes at the country’s commercial ports, revised regulations on the management of cargo vessels as well as the loading and off loading of cargo, all of which faced tough measures before, some of which included an outright ban.
According to SAMSA in the notice, these tough measures had come about as a result of the spread of the corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic globally following its outbreak in China in December 2019.
SAMSA states: “On 23 March 2020, the President of the Republic (of South Africa) declared a lockdown, effective from 23:59 on Thursday, 26 March 2020, for a period of 21 days, to stop the spread of the COVID-19 corona virus until 23:59 on Thursday, 16 April 2020.
“In compliance with the lockdown, the Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) has sent out numerous communications on how the ports will be operating during this period.”
Following the revision of the tough restrictions since put in place at the outset of the national lockdown, SAMSA confirmed the following were now effective:
All South African ports remain open for port operations
Cargo operations will continue in all ports
Stevedore operations will continue in all ports and
All types of cargo will be allowed to be loaded and off loaded (and not just essential cargo).
According to SAMSA: “The Department of Transport recognises that there have been numerous instructions distributed by various entities, causing confusion amongst various entities, service providers and shipping companies. The Department of Transport would therefore like to clarify all requirements during the lockdown period as follows.
SOUTH AFRICAN PORTS
All South African Commercial Ports will remain operational for Cargo Work. These are Cape Town, Saldanha,Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Port of Ngqura, East London, Durban, and Richards Bay.
Following on the initial announcement by the President, there have been changes such as the enablement of the mining companies to approach their regulator Ministry on an individual basis and seek authorisation to continue operations, albeit on a limited basis.
Government has now decided that in the interest of ensuring a functional supply chain across all ports, that all cargoes will be accepted for loading and off-loading. Where possible, essential goods should receive preferential treatment over non-essential goods.
Transnet will be in a position to communicate which of its operations will be reactivated with the relevant customers and logistics partners.
Transnet will reactivate certain of its operations, these would be at a reduced level and not full capacity. The reactivated operations will be dictated to by the applicable regulatory framework, national priorities and contribution to the health of the economy and Transnet’s ability to deploy its resources, having regard to people safety, which is of paramount importance.
Transnet’s current priorities, in addition to all the essential services previously communicated, are: .
The integrated container logistics system mainly around the Port of Durban and the link to the economic hub in Gauteng – ensuring that the complex system remains efficient to enable the movement of priority and essential containerized goods; this includes the movement of non-essential cargo to City Deep, only for purposes of decongesting the Port of Durban, .
The heavy haul rail and ports export system from the Northern Cape to the Port of Saldanha; and .
The domestic and export Coal and other GFB cargo through the Port of Richards Bay.
All other specific approvals granted by Government, which are dependent on the rest of the South African rail and ports system will be considered on a case by case basis, and our ability to respond responsibly will be communicated directly to customers making applications based on Government approvals granted.
Customers are to ensure thatall applications and evidence of approvals are submitted to the Transnet Customer Nerve Center via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Commodity managers and key account executives normally dealing with each customer remains the primary point of contact and channel of communication with all our customers.
The provision of Transnet’s service is subject to customers and their cargo handlers/siding operators taking necessary measures to protect Transnet staff who interface with their operations.
All port personnel (both Transnet, private stevedoring and any other category of employees) must have access to hygiene services, e.g. sanitation, soap and water which each employer shall cause to be provided together with standard operating procedures to ensure the highest hygiene practices.
This therefore means strict adherence to health and safety protocols will not be compromised. Customers must provide Transnet with the Business Continuity Plans (BCP) and update Transnet daily on the status of their employees.
Masters are to ensure that where possible the following standards are adhered to by the ship’s officers and ratings:
Social Distancing maintained (between 1-2 meters between persons) .
Crew to follow hand hygiene protocols i.e. regular washing of hands (20 seconds or more) .
Personal Protective Equipment to be utilised i.e. Face Masks, Gloves, Boiler Suites, Disposable Boiler Suits (where possible), Safety Boots, Hard Hats, Safety Glasses .
Any medical condition that develops during the ports stay are to be reported to Port Health immediately, focusing specifically on the following symptoms:
Consistent Fever (>38.5°C)
Difficulty in Breathing (severe cases)
If any crew member displays these symptoms, they are to be immediately isolated until advised otherwise by Port Health. Failure to comply may result in unduly delays to vessels in port or prevent cargo operations from continuing.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MARITIME NATIONAL JOINT OPERATIONS COMMITTEE (MNJOC) FOR THE COORDINATION OF THE MARITIME SECTOR DURING THE COVID 19 DISASTER MANAGEMENT
The Department of Transport has established a Maritime National Joint Operations Committee in order to coordinate the maritime sector for the period of the COVID 19 Disaster Management.
The MNJOC is linked to the National Command Council and comprises the following entities; Department of Transport, Transnet National Ports Authority, SAMSA and Ports Regulator
All queries related to the maritime sector during this period can be addressed to: email@example.com
Certain tough restrictions imposed on every aspect of life in South Africa on the basis of the country’s recent declaration of a state of National Disaster, as well as a three weeks population lockdown that began on midnight Thursday (March 26), as a response to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, are constantly receiving reviewal, according to the Department of Transport.
For the maritime sector, one such strict restriction is that related to the entry and exit of seafarers and associated personnel at any of the country’s ports, which are virtually closed to all international trade cargo except that deemed to be essential supplies.
In terms of the new special rules, vessels dropping anchor at or near any of the country’s ports are not allowed disembarkment of seafarers and therefore not permitted to change crews, even if the seafarers are South African.
However, in a statement in Pretoria on Friday, Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula said that specific restriction was urgently being reviewed, this coming in the wake of an incident in Durban, where a crew of six (6) South African seafarers on a cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2 (erroneously named as the Queen Elizabeth 2), were disallowed disembarkment, according to the lockdown rules.
“These South Africans want to disembark and return home. However, our regulations do not allow crew changes at any of our ports, even if these are South Africans. The Queen Mary 2 is waiting for clearance to enter the port in order to refuel and take provisions. This is a matter we are urgently considering,’ said Mr Mbalula in Pretoria on Friday.
The confirmation of the reviewal came as South Africa ended its first of 21 days of a national lockdown in terms of a declared State of Natonal Disaster in line with a global scramble to ward off or limit the grossly negative impacts of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic now in its fourth month since its outbreak in China in December 2019.
As of Friday, the start of the national lockdown, South Africa recorded a rising figure of just over 1000 people found infected by the virus as well as confirmation of the death of the first person due to the pandemic.
The Health Ministry in a report on Friday gave a breakdown of the nature and extent of infection, stating that of the total 1170 people so far found to be positive of the Covid-19 virus, those hospitalised (both public and private) included 55 patients in intensive care units and three (3) in ventilations while 31 had recovered.
Of those infected, a total 4407 of those with whom they had been in contact had been identified and of these, 3465 successfully traced for their locations. The ministry also raised alarm that: “There is an increase in the rate of internal transmissions. Patients without a history of travelling abroad have been detected in many provinces.” – a situation giving justification to a clampdown n the movement of people between provinces and districts during the 21 day nationwide lockdown in order to prevent further infections.
Meanwhile, with regards the fate of seafarers, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), announced a raft of measures aimed at assisting the country’s seafarers.
The statement said:
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Republic of South Africa announced measures to combat the spread of the disease by declaring a State of Disaster and putting the country on lockdown effective midnight on 26 March 2020.
“The results of such lockdown is that all businesses are required to close doors except for those offering essential services. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and its stakeholders have been affected by the lockdown as a result only with essential services being rendered. As such, the services for seafarers which are rendered directly by SAMSA and/or its clients/stakeholders may not be delivered during the lockdown, viz:
No training of seafarers for short courses over the period, academic programmes may continue through ‘e-learning’ platforms
No assessments for seafarer certification will be undertaken during this period.
No eye sights test will be undertaken during the period.
The results of this is that seafarers whose certificates expire during this period are not able to attend re-fresher training whilst some are unable to sign-off their vessels. SAMSA has granted a general extension to all certificates expiring during the National State of Disaster as set out in the Marine Notice.
For this purpose, the production of the said Marine Notice shall be sufficient for Seafarers working on vessels trading within the South African Ports.
Seafarers working on foreign vessels may be required to produce specific individual documents expressing the extension of the certificate. To this end, seafarers and the employers may obtain such extension by completing the application forms below.
All extension requests shall be made using the form below;
Users are requested to download the form from the link above and not to share with other persons to prevent missing out on changes that will produce negative results or return incorrect information. The system requires that all fields be completed correctly to ensure that the correct information is distributed.
The South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) has set out guidelines on how management of sea going vessels falling within its scope of activities shall be dealt with, following the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid19), and which partly suspends some of its activities, such as ship surveys for a limited period of time.
The publication of two Marine Notices due for release this week, follows fresh on the pronouncement by the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula on Monday this week on steps the maritime safety agency will embark upon. That in turn came in the wake of South Africa President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa announcing on Sunday a National Disaster declaration aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid19 virus now rampant in just about every country in the world, from its outbreak in China last December.
The first of the new Marine Notices announces the temporal suspension of ship surveys, audits or inspection from this week until 30 March 2020. “As of 16 March 2020, all statutory surveys, audits and inspections will be suspended for a period of 14 days.”
The second notice; “serves to inform vessels, Masters, crew, passengers, ship agents, Stevedores, surveyors, Ship managers, Ship owners and all other stakeholders with additional information in order to manage any suspected outbreak of Covid-19 onboard a vessel in the best possible way.”
In the former notice (temporal suspension of certain services) SAMSA states in part that: “Recognizing that, due to the outbreak of the COvid-19, the industry is facing challenges in meeting statutory requirements stipulated in the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) and other relevant IMO Conventions, SAMSA has decided to provide guidance for dealing with the circumstances for example, extending seafarer periods of service onboard vessels, delaying periods for surveys, inspections and audits in a pragmatic and harmonized approach.
The agency then urges affected parties to read carefully the Marine Notice in order to ensure a clear understanding of its contents and how to enlist help when necessary.
In justification of the termporary suspection of services, SAMSA states: “SAMSA surveyors frequently travel to smaller fishing communities where there are no proper medical facilities in the area, other than a local clinic. SAMSA surveyors may therefore inadvertently spread the coronavirus to a local fishing community when visiting.
“Vessels operating from these communities, whose safety certificates expire before 15 April 2020, may request an extension on their safety certificates for up to 60 days, subject to change.
“In cases where Local General Safety Certificates (LGSC) are already expired, a re-issue of an LGSC will be considered on a case by case basis provided that the previous LGSC has not been expired for more than 60 days. To this end, payment for re-issue will need to be made.”
The Marine Notice then expands on the set of other services affected and provides guidance on how affected parties shall solicit and receive medical and related services under given sets of conditions and circumstances.
In the other Marine Notice, SAMSA provides extensive detail of measures currently being undertaken in South Africa to prevent the spread of the killer CoVid19 and arrangements, inclusive of contact details, to be utilised by affected parties in the maritime sector.
These also include recommended preventive measures against the spread of the virus within South African borders.
Key contact numbers being offered to affected stakeholders are follows:
Meanwhile, the outbreak of the Covid19 virus and its ferocious, insatiable and unstoppable appetite to infect large numbers of people globally at an alarming rate has put paid to South Africa maritime sector’s celebration of the return of the country’s sole cadet training and research vessel, the SA Agulhas, from its historic sojourn through the Indian and Southern Oceans, including Antarctic this week.
Make history of the SA Agulhas’ journey to the ocean region this time around, and which began on its departure on 27 December 2019 from Cape Town, was part of its all female crew of 22 cadets and two female training officers – the first of its kind ever to undertake the journey, along with a group of Indian scientists periodical studying that part of the world.
The SA Agulhas’ historic all female cadet crew and training officers was scheduled to be celebrated during a now cancelled event scheduled for East London, one of South Africa’s major coastal cities on the Indian Ocean, on Friday 20 March 2020.
Now with strict restrictions on people’s gatherings and precisely their close contact in groups, as well as other considerations related to current efforts aimed at prevention of the spread of the Covid19 virus, the reception will no longer take place, confirmed SAMSA in Pretoria this week.