‘Time for talking about the importance of South Africa’s maritime economy is over. Let’s work on it!’ urges Transport Minister, Joe Masangwanyi

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Celebrating World Maritime Day 2017. Transport Minister Mr Joe Masangwanyi (Right) chatting with South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) officials, Ms Mapitso Dlepu (Left) and Mr Sobantu Tilayi (second left) and Port St Johns mayor, Ms Lindelwa Rolobile. during a lifesaving demonstration that was part of the day’s activities in the town of Port St Johns. Eastern Cape.

Port St Johns: 28 September 2017

The development of South Africa’s maritime sector is now formally in full swing under the banner of the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative, with billions of rand of State funds currently being invested in particularly ports and related infrastructure.

DSC_1335.JPGHowever, now absolutely crucial is a need to ensure that all South Africans are on board and involved, and central to strategy is a need to both broaden and entrench fully education and skills development of especially the young, Minister of Transport, Mr Joe Masangwanyi told hundreds of people – among them 400 high school children – attending this year’s World Maritime Day celebrations held in Port St Johns, Eastern Cape.

Port St Johns, a little town settled in a picturesque area of South Africa’s Wild Coast along the Indian Ocean, midway between East London and Durban, was chosen by the Department of Transport for this year’s observation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) driven World Maritime Day on September 28 for a number of reasons.

IMG_6162Among these is that the town symbolizes one of the most under-developed areas of South Africa settled along the country’s 3200 km long coastline. It used to fall under the jurisdiction of the former Transkei homeland or Bantustan whose development was simply ignored by the apartheid government.

The town is now among coastal areas of the country earmarked earlier this year as part of a coastal and marine tourism initiative for a rapid development plan over five years beginning in 2017.

Port St Johns also falls under the O.R Tambo District Municipality which is home to former African National Congress president, Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo whose contribution to the country’s liberation struggle is being celebrated in 2017.

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Transport Minister Mr Joe Masangwanyi (centre in yellow jacket) and his deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (in floral dress)  posing for a photograph with State officials and youths recently trained as lifeguards through a SAMSA driven marine skills development programme for youths of Port St Johns and the O.R Tambo District Municipality. The youths were awarded their certificates during the celebration of World Maritime Day 2017 held in the town on Thursday.

The World Maritime Day event held in the town on Thursday (28 September) was the second of its kind with an international maritime theme to be held in the region, the first having been the international Seafarers’ Day held in Mbizana in June.

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Some of the high school children from the O.R Tambo District Municipality region that attended Thursday’s celebration of the international World Maritime Day in Port St Johns on Thursday

Also preceding the event were a number of marine skills and related project targeting close on 300 youths from the region since June this year.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) driven initiatives included a Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) for youths keen on working on cruise vessels; a Corporate Social Investment Youth Skills project for youths keen on sea diving, life-guarding and related), a Coastal and Marine Tourism initiative aimed at facilitating infrastructure development and enhancement, job creation and entrepreneurship.

DSC_1280.JPGAt Thursday’s event, Mr Masangwanyi said these maritime sector related initiatives were a clear indication of Government’s expressed commitment to driving new investment into areas that are both underdeveloped and with great potential to contribute to the country’s economy through business investment and job creation.

According to Mr Masangwanyi, there is no longer a reason why populations of people living in the country’s coastal provinces (Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal) should not be in the lead in the development of the country’s maritime economic sector.

Infrastructure development, education and skills development would be the key drivers for investment; he said.

 “Government has identified the maritime sector as an important sector of the country’s economy

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Some of the 400 high school youths who received maritime education and training guide brochures during this year’s World Maritime Day celebrations held in Port St Johns on Thursday (28 September 2017).

“Various ports across the country are receiving billions of rand in investment to enhance their capacity – facts of which will be fully revealed when President Jacob Zuma reports to the nation about the progress of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) in Durban next month.

“We are not going to leave behind Port St Johns. Among highlights of projects in the area is the expansion of the N2 and which will formally link the town of Port St Johns to increased road traffic between the major cities of East London and Durban. As much as R8-billion is being invested in the Wild Coast road construction project.

“The cabinet has approved the comprehensive maritime transport policy, it provides further opportunity for investment in the country’s maritime transport sector.

“This welcome development indicates that as a country, we cannot remain consumers of maritime services of other countries while we have such coastal heritage.

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Transport Minister Mr Joe Masangwanyi and deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga preparing to handover certificates to newly trained Port St Johns youths equipped with life guarding and deep sea diving skills.

“Gone are the days when our people are consumers. Now is the time that our people should also contribute to productions of services. Gone are the days when our oceans are dominated by big shipping companies from Europe, America and Asia. Now is the time that vessels should be owned and operated by South Africans and in the main, Africans.

“Through the maritime transport and manufacturing projects we will create between 40-56 000 job opportunities, whereby our people will be involved in maritime construction, telecommunication technologies and equipment manufacturing. These will contribute between R21-25-billion to the economy of South Africa. In order achieve these goals within the set timeframes, it cannot be business as usual,” he said.

To listen to his full speech (about 20 minutes) Click on the video below.

A global war on plastic waste may see an end, with South Africa playing a lead role in it: African Marine Waste Conference

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Port Elizabeth: 11 July 2017

An ongoing global strife against marine waste, but particularly plastic waste gradually rendering the world’s oceans a cesspit of debris threatening all life on earth, might soon score some victories and South Africa might have a pioneering role in this regard.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the country will be introducing a technologically advanced plastic material designed to rapidly dissolve in water once sufficiently exposed.

This emerged at the African Marine Waste Conference currently underway in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, involving more than 200 delegates, among them dozens of leading scientists from several African and other countries.

IMG_6403In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Dr Sudhakar Muniyasamy, a senior researcher on polymers and composites at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) revealed that the new plastic material for use in plastic carrier bags used mostly by retail stores would begin distribution in the coming year.

He said two of the country’s major clothes and foods retailers, Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths would be the first participants in the use of the new plastic material.

‘Plastic waste is a global issue and in seeking solutions to this problem, my research team focused on developing a plastic material that when it reaches landfill sites or the marine environment, it is completely biodegradable.

“The research and development phase is completed and we are now embarking on pilot scale production. The technology has drawn the interest of Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay and we are expecting them, maybe next year, to be on the license stage,” announced Dr Muniyasamy.

IMG_6436According to the scientist, once sufficiently distributed for single use plastic carrier bags from next year onwards, the new material should go a long way towards reducing plastic waste both at dumpsites as well as in the marine environment.

He also confirmed that along with the new technologically advanced plastic material, a campaign would be rolled to ensure that manufacturers of all plastic material currently in use meet a set of new stringent standards.

Dr Muniyasamy said South Africa was embarking on the efforts in collaboration with other African countries, among them being Egypt.

For the full five (5) minutes interview, Click Here

Booms, Bins and Bags – a B3 solution to the BIGA problem.

That is a solution driven by Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, a senior marine biology lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal primarily to rid rivers in that province of South Africa of plastic waste often left to float freely by both established waste removal entities of local municipalities, but also by the population generally.

The project according to Dr Robertson-Andersson came to life after she’d transferred from Cape Town to Durban and on approaching the beaches in the city, found them littered with all sorts of plastic waste but especially small items such as bottle tops, straws, earbuds and other smaller broken plastic materials.

In collaboration with others, including independent NGOs, the project involving volunteers collects as much as between 300 and 1300 bags of small plastic waste along rivers such as the Umhlangane and Umgeni per time period.

In a three (3 minutes) video, Dr Robertson-Andersson chats briefly about the project.

 

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Crew of stricken Taiwanese trawler rescued off the Indian Ocean. Warning issued about floating unmanned vessel

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One of two liferafts filled with crew members of a Taiwanese fishing trawler, the Hsiang Fuh No.6 who were rescued at sea in the Indian Ocean after abandoning their vessel  reportedly following a fire breakout on board on Sunday.The 30 crew members are currently on their way to Durban, South Africa

Pretoria: 11 July 2017

Ocean traffic to the east of South Africa on the Indian Ocean north east of Durban has been warned to be on watch for a stranded fishing trawler floating aimlessly, unmanned, after its crew abandoned it following to a fire breakout on board on Sunday.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on Tuesday confirmed that it had coordinated a rescue effort for the 30 crew members of the Taiwanese fishing trawler named as the Hsiang Fuh No. 6, after it had abandoned the vessel reportedly due to fire on board.

According to the website, marinetraffic.com, the Hsiang Fuh No. 6 is a 21 year old fishing trawler, measuring 45.65 meters in length and 8.3m in breadth, with a deadweight of some 489 tons.

In a statement on Tuesday, SAMSA reported that the fishing trawler’s crew, some with slight burns, had been successfully rescued and would be arriving in Durban some time on Tuesday (11 July, 2017).

According to SAMSA, the organization’s Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre (MRCC) based in Cape Town was notified that a container ship, the Ever Diadem, had spotted the Hsiang Fuh No. 6, on fire, and its crew were abandoning ship on two life rafts; about 736 kilometers East-North-East from Durban and some 496 kilometers from the closest shore.

1The rescue coordinating centre requested the Ever Diadem to recover the survivors, with an additional urgent request (MAYDAY) message relayed also to other vessels in the vicinity to assist in the rescue.

Bulk carriers, the Hampton Bay and SBI Antares, responded and the SBI Antares eventually assisted with the rescue.

“All the survivors were picked up – 16 crew by the Ever Diadem and 14 by the SBI Antares. Both vessels are proceeding to Durban to disembark the survivors.

“The survivors, mostly Philippine, Indonesian, Taiwanese and Vietnam nationals are fine with some reported to have suffered burn injuries. The necessary arrangements for the safe delivery and repatriation of the sailors were made and they will be met by representatives of their countries on arrival in Durban.

“MRCC is currently engaged in efforts to evacuate one of the crew that suffered burns from the Ever Diadem, 60 km off Durban. The air medical evacuation shall be done with the assistance of a South African Air Force and NetCare Paramedics,” said SAMSA in a statement.

SAMSA said its surveyors and investigators would meet the survivors on their arrival

The organization further commended  efforts of the Masters and crew of the Ever Diadem and SBI Antares for the valiant effort in saving the lives of the crew of the fishing vessel.

Meanwhile, SAMSA issued a warning to all seagoing traffic in that part of the Indian Ocean to be on the lookout for the stranded fishing trawler.

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Real opportunities in South Africa’s maritime sector will draw people’s attention: SAMSA

Durban: 02 April 2017

SHARING INSIGHTS: Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of South African Maritime Safety Authority addressing a gathering of about 30 people, a majority of them journalists in Durban at lunchtime on Sunday

Identification and creation of economic opportunities in South Africa’s maritime sector is among key strategies that will attract and enhance the country population’s interest and engagement with the ocean’s economy, according to Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in Durban on Sunday.

Mr Tilayi said this while addressing a group of journalists and some maritime sector specialists at a lunch event held at the Durban beachfront ahead of the Ethekwini Maritime Summit beginning in the city on Monday at the old Durban airport.

The annual summit in Durban is one of two major national maritime sector gatherings in the country in the coming week, the other being the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC 2017) over three days in Port Elizabeth. Eastern Cape; beginning on Wednesday.

Mr Tilayi (Right) having a one-on-one meeting with some journalists at a gathering at the Durban beachfront on Sunday

SAMIC 2017 scheduled for the Boardwalk Conference Centre in Nelson Mandela Bay and hosted by the recently established South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), will be the second such conference of its kind since the inaugural one held in Cape Town some five years ago.

In Durban on Sunday, the SAMSA lunchtime event, was intended partly to provide an update on some developments concerning the maritime sector as well as share information on a whole range of developmental issues that the maritime authority is engaged with or contributes to, inclusive of the country’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) project launched in 2014.

Mr Tilayi, noting that South Africa is a maritime country endowed with just of over 3200km of a coastline on which sits eight commercial ports, and some 1.6-million square kilometers of an Exclusive Economic Zone spread over three oceans from the Atlantic in the west, the Southern Ocean in the south and the Indian Ocean to the east, yet the average South African still knew little to nothing about the sector; said part of the awareness campaign should involve identification and creation of meaningful economic opportunities in the sector.

This he said, would not only attract the public’s attention but would also ensure meaningful, profitable engagement.

Mr Tilayi’s address covered progress as well as challenges faced on a whole range of issues inclusive of ship registry, seafarer training, maritime sector education and training initiatives, maritime sector related legislation development and related matters.

In addition to his expected contribution at the Ethekwini Maritime Summit beginning on Monday, Mr Sobantu’s next important address will be in Port Elizabeth on Thursday where he is scheduled to deliver a report-back on maritime sector developments related to issues raised by industry since the last industry conference five years ago.

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