Pretoria: 17 December 2019
South Africa’s maritime risk management capabilities, precisely in oceans search and rescue as well as oil pollution, are to receive a major financial injection of up to R8-billion, the Department of Transport has announced.
Confirmation of the planned financial injection was made by Mr Mthunzi Madiya, Chief Director of Maritime at the Department of Transport, while addressing a maritime sector stakeholders dinner hosted by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in Durban on Thursday evening.
Mr Madiya said the funding by Government was in response to identified weaknesses in the country’s risk management capabilities, many of which were raised during a maritime sector stakeholders workshop held also in Durban in early 2019.
According to Mr Madiya, the funding will be made available through a Maritime Development Fund. He said a technical committee would be set-up next month (January 2020) to look at funding models.
“The Department of Transport has realised that as a country, we lack the sea rescue and oil pollution control capabilities in the waters. This affects aviation as well as the maritime sector. So, the DG (director general) is spearheading this process whereby we need to look at certain legislation that can be amended so we can be able to find the funding model that will be sustainable that will enable us to build the capacity and capability of this country when it comes to search and rescue, as well as pollution control,” said Mr Madiya.
He added: “We have realised that we are under resourced. The situation is that we have only one pollution tug…based in the Western Cape (and) if something happens on the eastern side of the country such as the Eastern Cape, we don’t have the capability to respond in time,” he said.
For Mr Madiya’s full remarks on the matter, click on the video below
South Africa to host SADC Search and Rescue Conference next February
News of the intended funding injection towards the country’s maritime risk management capabilities last Thursday evening came as confirmation was also made of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states’ five day conference in South Africa next February.
Its aim, the statement said, would be to evaluate and determining the entire region’s state of readiness for maritime and aviation risk mitigation and effective management.
According to the Department of Transport, 17 SADC member countries will gather for the conference in Durban from February 17 through February 21.
Organised jointly with the International Maritime Rescue Federation, (IMRF) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), according to the Department of Transport, the main purpose of the conference will be “to sensitise decision-makers and SAR experts of the need to establish and maintain SAR systems within the Southern African region as well as to explore tangible and innovative ways to improve cooperation in the provision of these services within the region.
“The objectives of the conference are, among other things; to establish co-operative means and develop strategies to enhance SAR capacity and capability within the region.
“The conference will be held under the theme “Embracing Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (AMSAR) Services: first and foremost as a Government and secondly as an Industry Social Responsibility, ” it said.
The department said the conference would further “consider and endorse the draft Terms of Reference (TORs) of the SADC SAR Working Group (WG) with a view to request the 23rd session of the SADC Civil Aviation Committee to approve the draft TORs and formally constitute the WG.”
Low-sulphur ship fuel local legislation to miss 01 January target date
Meanwhile, the maritime sector stakeholders’s gathering in Durban last Thursday also heard that South Africa, contrary to an earlier pronouncement by the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, will not have in place an enabling legislation for the regulation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s new low sulphur regime effective on 01 January 2020.
The confirmation was made by Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer of SAMSA. However, he said, the country would still be able to ensure that vessels traversing the region’s three ocean’s waters would be monitored appropriately as required in terms of the IMO’s Marpol Convention Annexture VI, and in terms of which lower sulphur content for ships fuel becomes mandatory.
Precisely, in terms of the IMO, the new sulphur limit in ships fuel is 0.50% from 01 January 2020. Revised regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships under the MARPOL (Annex VI) were adopted in October 2008 and ratified by more than 65 countries including South Africa.
In terms of this, all sizes of ships sailing on the world’s oceans will need to use fuel oil that meets the 0.50% limit from 1 January 2020. The 0.50% sulphur limit extends to carriage of bunker fuel with sulphur content of more than 0.50% for vessels not fitted with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGSC). The carriage ban will come into effect on 1 March 2020.
In Durban on Thursday evening, Mr Tilayi also announced that South Africa would allow scrubbing (vessels fitted with EGSC) until such time that ongoing studies of its efficacy had become conclusive.
For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on this and various other maritime sector development issues, among them; reasons for the lacklustre development of the country’s ship registry, improved South Africa relations both in Africa and internationally, as well immediate to medium term future prospects of the country’s maritime sector, click on the video below.
At the SAMSA stakeholders’ function in Durban on Thursday evening, this blog also chatted randomly with leaders in the sector and specifically women in maritime for both their company’s highlights of 2019 as well as progress being achieved in the general advancement of women in the sector.
Video interviews of their views will be shared on this platform soon.