Waning piracy threat in African oceans no reason for relaxation: IMO Durban workshop hears

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Delegates from 25 countries that are signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop beginning Monday and ending on Wednesday (12-14 November 2018) in Durban

Durban: 13 November 2018

The virtual elimination of piracy along eastern oceans of the African continent over the last few years – thanks to a concerted highly collaborative international effort – is no reason for the continent to relax.

Other serious crimes involving and affecting international shipping and impacting global trade remain a constant threat and present danger, delegates to a three day International Maritime Organization (IMO) workshop in Durban, South Africa heard on Monday.

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Mr William Azuh. IMO Head, Africa Section. Technical Cooperation Division in Durban on Monday

Mr William Azuh, head of the Africa section of the IMO’s technical cooperation division, told dozens of delegates from countries many of which are signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) that while collaborating actions to deter piracy had largely been successful: “Make no mistake about this, the pirates are not done yet.”

Mr Azuh was speaking during the first of a scheduled three day IMO workshop for countries in Africa that are members of the IMO’s anti-piracy Djibouti Code of Conduct and its revised version, the ‘Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017’.

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), hosts of the workshop along with the Department of Transport (DoT), the DCoC is a regional counter piracy programme with the main objective of repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Aden and West Indian Ocean regions.

However, the revised version – the ‘Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017’ – has since expanded the scope of the DCoC to include all acts of criminality in the maritime environment, including illicit maritime activities such as human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

According to the IMO, the Jeddah Amendment “recognizes the important role of the “blue economy” including shipping, seafaring, fisheries and tourism in supporting sustainable economic growth, food security, employment, prosperity and stability.

DSC_4792.JPG“But it expresses deep concern about crimes of piracy, armed robbery against ships and other illicit maritime activity, including fisheries crime, in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Such acts present grave dangers to the safety and security of persons and ships at sea and to the protection of the marine environment.

Crucially, says the IMO; “The Jeddah Amendment calls on the signatory States to cooperate to the fullest possible extent to repress transnational organized crime in the maritime domain, maritime terrorism, illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and other illegal activities at sea”.

“This will include information sharing; interdicting ships and/or aircraft suspected of engaging in such crimes; ensuring that any persons committing or intending to commit such illicit activity are apprehended and prosecuted; and facilitating proper care, treatment, and repatriation for seafarers, fishermen, other shipboard personnel and passengers involved as victims.”

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MAPPING GLOBAL MARINE DOMAIN AWARENESS: (From Left: Mr Kirija Micheni, Mr Jon Huggins (both IMO DCoC Workshop moderators) and Mr Sobantu Tilayi, COO of SAMSA listening attentively during discussions at the IMO DCOC three day workshop that began on Monday in Durban

The three day workshop in Durban that began Monday morning is the first of its kind for the Africa region aimed at finding agreement and drawing up action plans for establishment of national and regional maritime information sharing centres for improved maritime domain awareness.

Maritime domain awareness (MDA) is described as constituting three aspects; situational awareness, threat awareness and response awareness. For effectiveness to the benefit of a wider community, MDA needs to exist at national (country), regional (continental) and international level.

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Mr Lavani Said (Left) of the Comores and Mr Abebe Tefera Tebeje of Ethiopia (Right front) at the IMO DCoC Three Day Workshop in Durban.

In Durban on Monday, Mr Azuh said the vastness of the global maritime domain was such that no region or country in Africa or elsewhere was totally safe and crucially, no region of the world could act alone in efforts to combat crimes at sea that impact global shipping and trade.

“Without the understanding and effective management of the maritime sphere, we all labour in vain,” he said, adding that maintaining the success achieved to date against piracy in a sustainable manner, was dependent on meticulous implementation of IMO guidance and best management practices.

For Mr Azuh’s full remarks click on video  below.

Mr Azuh’s remarks were shared by Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operations Officer of SAMSA who on behalf of the South African government under the auspices of the Department of Transport, welcomed the delegates to the country.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left), COO of SAMSA with Mr William Azuh, IMO Head, Africa Section. Technical Cooperation Division at the IMO DCoC Workshop  over three days in Durban that began on Monday

Mr Tilayi said it was significant that South Africa was hosting the event relevant to its role in both regional and international maritime matters and precisely those include ensuring safety of people and property at sea.

He said ever evolving advances in communication technology were among tools that needed to brought into the fray towards strengthening safety and security of shipping and South Africa has quite a contribution to make in this regard. He enumerated the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth as among research institutions in the country that were making a significant contribution.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks, Click on the video below:

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Mr Timothy Walker. Senior Researcher, Peace Operations and Peacebuilding at the Institute of Security Studies. Pretoria.

The issue of maritime sector shipping safety and security was a concern not only of countries with direct access to the oceans, according to Mr Timothy Walker, senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria.

Speaking on “Making Safer Seas for Africa” said piracy at sea and armed robbery of ships had a direct and immediate impact on global trade which involved all countries of the world.

But also, he said, inland waters across countries in Africa were not excluded as there vast areas of these waters that were used for shipping and therefore remained attractive to criminals.

For the reason, cooperation to improve security of the marine domain was of equal economic benefit to everyone hence the need for awareness needed to be fully inclusive of interested and affected parties.

Mr Walker’s full remarks:

Meanwhile, after a full first day of deliberations, workshop coordinator, Mr Jon Huggins expressed satisfaction with both the intensity and focus of the deliberations, expressing hope that by day three on Wednesday, there would be clarity on a plan of action forward.

For Mr Huggins’ full remarks, click on the video below.

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Shipping safety and security comes under focus in South Africa at IMO three day workshop in Durban: SAMSA

Durban: 12 November 2018

Strengthening of safety and security of global shipping against all forms of criminal activity at sea through close collaboration and information sharing among maritime states comes under focus in South Africa this week at a gathering in Durban led by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The IMO workshop in Durban over three days from Monday 12 November 2018, and  attended by about 60 delegates from the Gulf of Aden and West Indian Ocean region some of whom are member States, including South Africa, will focus on specifically identified requirements to enhance the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) and its revised version known as the ‘Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017’.

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In Durban, South Africa early on morning, delegates to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) workshop on the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, gathered for a group picture ahead of the three-day discussion beginning on Monday through to Wednesday. IMO workshop is organized and hosted on behalf of the global body by the Department of Transport and its agency, the South African Maritime Safety Authority. (Photo: SAMSA)

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), hosts of the workshop along with the Department of Transport (DoT), the DCoC is a regional counter piracy programme with the main objective of repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Aden and West Indian Ocean region.

However, the revised version – the ‘Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017’ has since expanded the scope of the DCoC to include all acts of criminality in the maritime environment, including illicit maritime activities such as human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

According to the IMO in a statement on its website, the Jeddah Amendment “recognizes the important role of the “blue economy” including shipping, seafaring, fisheries and tourism in supporting sustainable economic growth, food security, employment, prosperity and stability.

Thandi 2.jpg“But it expresses deep concern about crimes of piracy, armed robbery against ships and other illicit maritime activity, including fisheries crime, in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Such acts present grave dangers to the safety and security of persons and ships at sea and to the protection of the marine environment.

Crucially, says the IMO; “The Jeddah Amendment calls on the signatory States to cooperate to the fullest possible extent to repress transnational organized crime in the maritime domain, maritime terrorism, illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and other illegal activities at sea”.

“This will include information sharing; interdicting ships and/or aircraft suspected of engaging in such crimes; ensuring that any persons committing or intending to commit such illicit activity are apprehended and prosecuted; and facilitating proper care, treatment, and repatriation for seafarers, fishermen, other shipboard personnel and passengers involved as victims.”

According to the IMO, of 17 eligible countries to sign the  DCoC and its revised version, several are now signatories. These include the Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Madagascar, Maldives, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen, Kenya and Somalia.

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Ahead of Monday’s start of the three days IMO workshop, SAMSA said delegates will focus on aspects including the promotion of national and regional plans to achieve Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and plans to enhance the DCoC information network to meet the objectives of the Jeddah Amendment to DCoC 2017.

“This includes agreeing on a common action plan for establishment of National Maritime Information Sharing Centres in each of the participating States, strengthening of existing DCoC information sharing centres and options to create synergy with the newly established Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar and the Regional Maritime Operational Coordination Centre (RMOCC) in Seychelles.

“The workshop will also discuss the development of common Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and incident reporting formats to promote interoperability and a regional strategy for information sharing to achieve MDA,” said SAMSA.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Chief Operations Officer. SAMSA

SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Sobantu Tilayi added: “On behalf of SAMSA, Department of Transport and Government of the Republic of South Africa, i would like to take this opportunity to thank the International Maritime Organisation for having requested South Africa to host this important workshop on Regional Information Sharing within the Djibouti Code of Conduct (Jeddah amendment) family.

“It is indeed an honour and a privilege for South Africa to host this workshop here in Durban – our coastal city and home of the biggest port in Africa. SAMSA and DoT, on behalf of Government, are hopeful that South Africa will host a successful IMO DCoC Regional Information Sharing Workshop.”

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South Africa thanks AU for support at IMO Council elections: Chikunga

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South Africa’s Transport Department Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga casting her vote for the country’s retention of its seat in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council during last week’s IMO Assembly elections in London. (Photo: IMO)

CAPE TOWN: 04 December 2017

South Africa has expressed appreciation for the continued support it is receiving from the African Union, this after the southern tip of Africa’s country lobbied successfully to retain its seat in the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Council in London on Friday.

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Gifts and wraps! Some of the items shared with IMO Assembly members by South Africa in London a week ago during its lobby for reelection onto the IMO Council

Despite South Africa having served on the IMO Council and its Assembly since 1995, deriving in part from a relationship established as far as 1948, election for a seat onto the IMO Council is not a foregone conclusion and the 40 Member States that serve on it have to wage a convincing campaign among the 176 countries that make up the United Nations maritime affairs body’s Assembly.

During the IMO Assembly’s  30th Regular Session in London last week, the situation was not any different. The IMO Assembly has been meeting in London since 25 November 2017 and will wrap up business for the session on Thursday this week, (06 December).

Voting to elect new Member States to the IMO Council for the 2018-2019 period took place last Friday – the 5th day of the 30th Regular Session of the Assembly and South Africa emerged among the 40 Member States that will now serve on the council in the next two years.

The IMO Council, – the supervisory structure of the IMO Assembly over two year periods between sessions – is made up of three categories of Member States;

 

Eastern Cape province to host Seafarers Day 2017 celebrations

Cadets on board South Africa’s dedicated training vessel, the SA Agulhas

Pretoria: June 20, 2017:

The Eastern Cape, South Africa’s 2nd largest province by coastline along the Indian Ocean, will be the venue for this year’s local celebrations of the international Seafarers Day on Sunday, June 25.

The Department of Transport (DoT) together with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) have confirmed that the annual event focused on the crucial role seafarers worldwide play in the management of seagoing transport, will be staged at Mbizana in the Eastern Cape, this partly to also honor the country’s current year-long celebrations of the O.R Tambo centennial.

This year’s logo of the international Seafarers Day on June 25

Driven by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) together with partner countries including South Africa, this year’s Seafarers Day celebration theme is; “#SeafarersMatter” .

According to the IMO, the theme is intended as a campaign to engage people responsible for the world’s ports and seafarer centres to “demonstrate how much seafarers matter to them by featuring great initiatives that support and promote seafarer welfare.

“These efforts”, says the IMO; “are presented on a new virtual world map, which showcases best practices and helps celebrate seafarers.”

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Port St Johns coastline, Eastern Cape

In South Africa, the DoT and SAMSA together with the Eastern Cape provincial government will use the event to not only celebrate seafarers worldwide to spread greater public awareness both about the country’s maritime economic sector, as well as awareness about the role of seafarers in that space, but will also seek to connect with communities in the eastern part of the Eastern Cape with a view to establishing community projects to enhance people’s skills for meaningful participation in the sector of the economy.

Towards this end, the parties will launch a series of maritime sector skills development initiatives including the training of about 150 youths in the Port St Johns, Mbizana and adjacent towns in deep sea diving, sea rescue and related skills.

The programme will also see others receive training in basic seafarer skills that will allow them to be placed on cruise vessels around the world.

IMG_5076 (2)The Seafers’ Day celebrations at Mbizana are scheduled to also feature a dozen or so sailors from South Africa including cadets currently undergoing training under the country national cadets development programme.

According to the programme for Sunday, aspects of the country’s maritime heritage as well marine and coastal tourism will also feature as some of the components of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) ocean growth project.

Tributes will also be made to former African National Congress president, the late Oliver Reginald Tambo in whose area of birth the Seafarers Day celebrations will be held at the weekend.

Meanwhile, it was also formally confirmed this week that South Africa will be the host venue for the IMO’s 2020 World Maritime Day Conference by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly in 2020.

More about this Here

World Maritime University president impressed with SA after a week long visit to strengthen relations

Pretoria: 28 February 2017

World Maritime University (WMU) President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (Centre in light blue outfit) with senior members of the South African Maritime Safety Authority as well about a dozen officials many of whom are former post graduate students of the Swedish university during a visit in Pretoria last week
World Maritime University (WMU) President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (Centre in light blue outfit) with senior members of the Department of Transport (DoT), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and about a dozen officials many of whom are former post graduate (Masters and PhD level) students of the Swedish university during a visit in Pretoria last week

World Maritime University (WMU) leader and academic, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry visited South Africa for a week last week and apparently left very impressed with the progress being achieved in relations between her Malmo, Sweden-based educational institution and South Africa.

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World Maritime University president Dr Cleopatra Ndoumbia-Henry (in light blue outfit) arriving for her meeting with the WMU alumni and members of management of SAMSA and the Department of Transport in Pretoria last week Tuesday

Dr Doumbia-Henry whose meetings in the country – from Sunday to Wednesday last week – began with senior government officials, among them Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters and her deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and later leaders of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Transport Education and Training Authority (Teta); said she was particularly impressed by the contribution now being made by dozens of local officials and maritime sector experts who achieved their post graduate education in maritime at the WMU over the last few years.

On Tuesday, she’d spent the better part of the day with at least about a dozen of the WMU alumni at SAMSA’s head office in Pretoria, and during which meeting the group – all of whom work for SAMSA – shared their work experiences and insights back in the country since their graduation in Malmo over the last few years. The meeting was also attended by a group of SAMSA senior management representatives as well as the DoT director, Ts’episo Taoana-Mashiloane

In an interview with this blog, The 10th Province shortly thereafter, Dr Doumbia-Henry was full of praise about the nature and level of the graduates involvement in programmes intended to enhance the rapid yet sustainable development of the country’s maritime economic sector inclusive of environmental protection of the ocean space, safety of personnel in the sector, the upholding of laws relevant to the ocean spaces as well as research and innovation.

(From Left) World Maritime University president Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry with SAMSA Board secretary, Mr Moyahabo Raphadu and Department of Transport director Ms Ts'episo Taoana-Mashiloane
(From Left) World Maritime University president Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry with SAMSA Board secretary, Mr Moyahabo Raphadu and Department of Transport director Ms Ts’episo Taoana-Mashiloane

She confirmed that she was in the country to strengthen relations with both Government – which has been the main supporter and contributor to the annual dispatch of South Africans to WMU since 2012 – as well as tidy up mutual bilateral relations with education and training institutions such as the NMMU, SAIMI and related; and leaders of the first two, Professor Derrick Swartz and Professor Malek Pourzanjani whom she spend some considerable time with between Sunday and Wednesday.

In the following video, Dr Doumbio-Henry fully outlines the purpose of her visit as well as her impressions of the country.

 To view, Click Here.

 

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A community chance for a truce with hippos and crocs in KwaZulu Natal

 SAMSA and Department of Transport kickstart an initiative to assist Enkovukeni Community in KwaZulu Natal with water transport in a symbolic gesture associating with the spirit of Nelson Mandela International Day 

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Enkovukeni village youths have to wade through deep waters of a crocodile and hippo infested river daily just to make it to school.

Pretoria: Friday 19 August 2016

(Please note that this article has been updated to correct place names and geo-location of Enkovukeni)

Forever wading through deep waters to cross a river while constantly having to negotiate inherently pointless truces with feisty hippos and hostile crocodiles could soon be a thing of the past for the community of Enkovukeni  in KwaZulu-Natal.

This could be as soon as next month (September 2016), ahead of the summer rains, when an initiative by the Department of Transport (DoT) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other Maritime partners to alleviate the plight of the community hopefully gets underway.

Ekuvukeni community members risking their lives trying to cross the hippo and crocodile infested Wasbank River
Enkovukeni community members risking their lives trying to cross the a hippo and crocodile infested river.

Central to the initiative conceived this year as a symbol to mark the Nelson Mandela International Day, is the enhancement of general safety and security of the community through provision of water transport for use in navigating a crocodile and hippo infested river adjacent the village.

SAMSA and the DoT said they had secured cooperation with various partners in the private sector to contribute to the initiative called The Umhlab’uyalingana Outreach project, to provide water transport and related resources to the community, and the parties were currently seeking actively to also involve other Government Departments in order to expand and maximize resources to assist the community.

This effectively altered plans to launch the community initiative on Saturday, August 20 as initially planned.

According to SAMSA and the DoT this week, the initiative to render assistance with water transport was decided upon following to news reports that depicted apparently calamitous living conditions facing the Umhlab’uyalingana community emanating largely from dangers associated with its unavoidable use of the Wasbank River.

“The initiative was initially proposed as a Nelson Mandela International Day project in recognition of former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July.  This year, official Mandela Day activities centred around four key areas, namely literacy and education, food security, shelter and infrastructure as well as the environment.

“The community of Enkovukeni has multiple needs and some of them fall within the DoT and SAMSA’s broad areas of operation. The community was profiled as being cut out by a crocodile and hippo infested river from the rest of the community. There is no bridge to cross the river, leaving the community with having to swim across it and face all the attendant risks.

“(But) apart from the basic need for access, the community has other needs that range from food security to basic water safety. The above are the reasons that this community was chosen as a beneficiary,” said SAMSA.

logo1The DoT agency responsible for the country’s maritime safety and environmental integrity added that engagements were currently underway with other Government Departments through the DoT to ensure the initiative had maximum impact.

The idea is to mobilise stakeholders to partner with the DoT and SAMSA in bringing immediate relief to the community by donating boats and other water safety means to cross the crocodile and hippo infested river; mobilise for the donation of basic supplies; create synergies with other partners and stakeholders to bring long term and sustainable relief to the community of Ekuvukeni particularly means of leveraging the tourism potential of the area; and empower the community to develop long term projects that will ensure that basic services are delivered, said SAMSA.

According to SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi the expansion of the initiative followed to needs assessments made with community representatives.

“There is a need for interdepartmental responses into the challenges faced by the community. It is key for us to bring the private and public sector together to focus in on the area and provide the infrastructure required for their lives to be uplifted. We will continue to monitor the progress of the work we have started and in September during the launch, the fruits of this public-private partnership will be realised. An intergovernmental task team will also be engaged to provide the much needed support,” he said.

IMG_0651 (2)Meanwhile, private sector partners confirmed so far according to SAMSA and the DoT include Dormac, Subtech, Smith Amandla Marine, Unicorn, SA Shipyards, MIASA, KZN Sharks board, FBI Communications, Viking Lifesaving and Surfing Equipment.

It was reported that the KZN Sharks Board had allocated two student groups, who this week started with the building of the boats.

The report quoted KZN Sharks Board Education Project Specialist, Vincent Zulu as saying: “We are using an old hull. We will add the rails, compartments, the seating area, steering, and built in oars. The boat would be able to seat 12 people. There are crocodiles and hippos in this dam, and during the raining season water is deep, which means the people have to walk around to find a shallow area to cross the river. The boat would be able to manoeuvre in deep areas and the risk of people being attacked would be minimised.”

As part of the initiative, the board’s Maritime Excellence Centre would also conduct a one week long SAMSA accredited skipper’s course to teach the community how to handle the boats and to help advance their aquaculture skills.

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