South Africa calls for a single oceans security group for Indian Ocean rim countries. SAMSA

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Delegates from 21 countries attending an International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop on the Djibouti Code of Conduct shipping safety and security instrument held in Durban from 12 to 14 November.

Current groups efforts aimed at strengthening shipping safety and security around Africa’s oceans area a welcome, due development in the fight against piracy and other crimes but risk being seriously undermined by a duplication of efforts , the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has warned.

 
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Mr Boetse Ramahlo, Executive Head: Legal and Regulations Unit at SAMSA

SAMSA’s concerns were shared with about 65 delegates attending the International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop of signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct in Durban this past week. 

According to Mr Boetse Ramahlo, an Executive Head for Legal and Regulations unit at SAMSA, South Africa through the agency’s representation – along with 11 other African countries on the Indian Ocean – is a member to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) while also a signatory to the IMO Djibouti Code of Code.

On assessment, he said, both groupings – with cross membership dominated by countries subscribing to both – offered safety and security programs and approaches with basic commonalities in their approach to crimes affecting shipping.

The situation, he said, not only carried the risk of possible wastage of highly limited financial, human and time resources of member countries, but also held the potential of raising and abating unnecessary competition. 

Mr Ramahlo confirmed that South Africa would soon be also signing the DCoC Jeddah Amendment following to conclusion of necessary consultations in the country. (see last video clip towards the bottom of the article)

“One of the most important principles in the Djibouti Code of Conduct (2009) and its Jeddah Amendment (2017) is the importance of involvement of international support as given the nature and complexity of piracy, no single country can amass the vast resources needed to wage a successful fight against crimes affecting shipping.

“The illegal activities we are out to combat are transnational, and for us to be able to fight them we need regional and international cooperation,” said Mr Ramahlo

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Delegates from 21 countries that are signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop from Monday to Wednesday (12-14 November 2018) in Durban

An absolutely crucial aspect of international support, he said, was that it needed firmly to be informed and driven by regional needs, and that the existence of non aligned groups in the same region yet with the same common goals and objectives would simply weaken such support.

He said IORA had recently established a safety and security unit with more similarities than differences to those goals and approaches envisaged and being pursuit by signatory countries to the DCoC and its Jeddah Amendment

“As South Africa, we are members of both. As functionaries of government, the question now asked by authorities is why is this situation prevailing where members states of these two groups work in isolation.

“We are hard pressed to explain why there is this duplication,” said Mr Ramahlo. To avert unnecessary complications that were likely to rise due to the situation, South Africa proposed that IORA and GCoC signatories should explore, as a matter of priority, the possibility of working far much closely together, he said. 

For Mr Ramahlo’s full presentation on the situation, Click on video below.

GCoC Jeddah Amendment Action Plan developed and adopted

Mr Ramahlo’s remarks came on Wednesday, the last of three full days of engagement and discussions among some 65 delegates a majority of whom were from the 21 signatories of the GCoC, and which activity both the IMO and South Africa as a host, described as having been highly fruitful.

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A break away session by delegates to the IMO DCoC three day workshop in Durban this week.

Key issues included an action plan for development and enhancement of information sharing centres to advance maritime domain awareness among both member countries as well as regional and international role players – this in the interest of strengthening safety and security of shipping around Africa and globally.

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Mr William Azuh. IMO Head of Africa Section of Technical Cooperation

Summing up the progress achieved, Mr William Azuh, IMO’s Head for Africa Section of Technical Cooperation, said both the turn-out of more delegates than anticipated, as well as the intense engagement of everyone contributed to development of an action plan to ensure and effective implementation of a programme for enhanced shared communication and greater marine domain awareness among affected parties.

Describing the action plan agreed upon as only the beginning of a process, Mr Azuh said the IMO held the view that the outcomes of the workshop could be adopted as a template for development of programs for application regional and possibly globally. He urged delegates to continue to share information even with those countries that were not represented.

“Spread the message that this is what we did in Durban, and that we can work together.” he told delegates in a closing address. Mr Williams further thanked both England and South Africa for the support given the event.

(This blog will provide a full outline of the Action Plan adopted at the Durban Workshop as provided in a separate exclusive full length interview with the IMO’s Mr Kirija Micheni

For Mr Azuh’s full remarks, Click on video below

South Africa takes pride in hosting IMO workshop

Meanwhile, South Africa through the Department of Transport and its agency, SAMSA expressed appreciation for the selection of the country as a host of the GCoC Jeddah Amendment Workshop. 

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Captain Ravi Naicker. Senior Manager, Navigation, Security and Environment. SAMSA

Speaking on Wednesday, Captain Ravi Naicker, Senior Manager for Navigation, Security and Environment at SAMSA, contextualized the staging of the workshop in South Africa and explained its perspective as a crucial development in the strengthening of safety and security of shipping along Africa’s oceans.

South Africa for its location at the tip of continent and surrounded by three oceans, the Atlantic to the west, the Southern and Indian Oceans to the south and east respectively, provides a particularly important international shipping passage whose safety and security can’t be taken for granted.

For his full remarks Click on video below.

Equally impressed by the staging of the event in South Africa, thereby providing opportunity to several of the country’s internal security agencies, was the South African Polices Services (SAPS) 

SAPS’s Captain Mandla Mokwana said as part of the border security agencies of the country, the police’s participation at the workshop allowed it opportunity to gain useful information on marine domain safety and security activities taking place in other countries. His full remarks here: 

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BREAKING BREAD: (From Left) Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Deputy Director General, Maritime Directorate, Department of Transport with Mr William Azuh, head of IMO’s Africa Technical Cooperation Unit during  a workshop delegates’ dinner in Durban on Tuesday evening

Meanwhile, in earlier remarks expressed during a welcome dinner for the delegates on Tuesday night at the Durban’s uShaka Marine complex, Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Deputy Director General, Maritime Directorate at the Department of Transport said South Africa took pride in its contribution to both regional and global maritime sector development endeavors linked to its active membership of the IMO.

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The Cargo Bridge – an old vessel whose interior has been converted into a quaint restaurant and which hosted the 65+ IMO Djibouti Code of Conduct Three Day Workshop delegates in Durban from Monday to Wednesday, 12-14 November 2018.

He said the IMO DCoC Workshop in Durban was a precursor to among other events, South Africa’s hosting of the 2020 IMO International World Maritime Parallel event, expected to be attended by as many as 230 countries.

“We would like to see you all return to South Africa for that event,” he said. 

Also speaking on behalf of SAMSA, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operations Officer, said: “It is always a great pleasure for SAMSA to have people that you partner with as a country in the various areas that we interact in. It is important that as a country (South Africa) and  other countries, that we plan such that our economies are always protected.”

Greater awareness coupled with effective communication and sharing of information was vital in that process, he said.

For Mr Ntuli and Mr Tilayi’s full remarks Click Here.

In the video below, Mr Ramahlo who also expressed a word of gratitude both to the IMO and delegates to the conference, formally confirmed South Africa’s readiness to also become a signatory to the DCoC Jeddah Amendment 2017.

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South Africa retains its seat in IMO Council

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Representatives of Member States of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) during their biannual meeting on London this past week. The IMO Assembly meeting began on 27 November 2017 and will wrap up on 10 December 2017. On Friday, the Assembly elected 40 Members States including South Africa that will serve as its Council over the next two years. (Photo: IMO)

CAPE TOWN: 02 December 2017

South Africa has managed to hold onto its seat in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council, the organization confirmed in a statement from London on Friday.

This, according to South Africa’s Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga; means that the country will continue to serve on the body, representative of not only her own interests, but also those of the  Southern African Development Community.

The IMO, made up of about 180 Member States (or countries) is the United Nations specialized agency entrusted with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships globally.

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South Africa’s deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga casting a vote during the elections of the International Maritime  Organization (IMO) Council for the 2018/19 period in London on Friday. South Africa successfully lobbied IMO Member States to help it retain its seat in the council (PHOTO: IMO)

The IMO Council in turn, is the executive organ of the IMO responsible under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the organization. According to the IMO, between sessions of the Assembly that take place every two years, the IMO Council “performs all the functions of the Assembly, except that of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.”

South Africa has served in the IMO Council for a number of years in the Category C slot of Members States.

Designated as Category C Member States are countries denoted as having “special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.”

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(PHOTO: IMO)

The IMO Category C Member States slot constitutes the highest number of countries  – a total of 20 – making up the IMO Council’s 40 members, and each of the countries in the category has to be voted in by other Member States in order to obtain and or retain its seat in the council.

The rest of the IMO Council members is made of up 10 Category A Member States denoted as being those with “the largest interest in providing international shipping services.” The final group of 10 is made up of Category B Member States that are classified as those  countries with “the largest interest in international seaborne trade.”

At this week’s IMO Assembly gathering in London, IMO Member States voted into Category A were China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States.

Voted into Category B of Member States were Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates.

In Category C, for which South Africa bid successfully for retention of its seat, the country was joined by the Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey.

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South Africa’s Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga addressing an International Maritime Organization (IMO) gathering in London on Monday. South Africa was bidding for retention of its seat in the IMO Council.

In her address of the IMO Assembly earlier in the week, Ms Chikunga whose South Africa delegation at the gathering included senior South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) senior managers, among them; chief operations officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; urged IMO Member States to vote South Africa back into the IMO Council in order to ensure that the country continued with its contribution to work of the organization.

Ms Chikunga noted that South Africa was the only country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region of Africa standing for re-election in the IMO Council and in South Africa’s viewpoint, it was only correct that IMO Member States in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceanic states should support the country’s retention as a member of the IMO Council.

“The re-election of South Africa to the Council will ensure that the developing countries in general and the African continent in particular gets a fair voice in the international maritime affairs,” said Ms Chikunga.

Ms Chikunga further highlighted several other factors in which South Africa remains a central player towards the IMO and the world’s pursuit of particularly sustainable development of oceans economies.

In London on Friday, the IMO said elected Member States including South Africa will constitute the IMO Council for the 2018-2019 biennium.

“The newly elected Council will meet, following the conclusion of the 30th Assembly, for its 119th session (on 7 December) and will elect its Chair and Vice-Chair for the next biennium,” said the IMO.

Meanwhile, the organization confirmed that its 30th Assembly meeting in London which began from 27 November will continue through to to 6 December 2017 with all members  entitled to attend.

According to the IMO, “the Assembly normally meets once every two years in regular session. It is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the Organization. It also elects the Organization’s 40-Member Council.”

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South Africa’s bid for retention of IMO seat underway in London

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Cape Town: 29 November 2017

South Africa’s bid to retain its seat in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) General Council got underway in earnest in London on Tuesday after the country’s deputy Transport Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga addressed the assembly during its final gathering of 2017 which ends in early December.

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South Africa’s Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga address an International Maritime Organization (IMO) gathering in London on Monday. South Africa is bidding for retention of its seat in the IMO Council.

The IMO Council whose members are drawn from 40 Member States around the world, is the executive organ of the IMO responsible for supervising the work of the international organization. The IMO Council is elected by the IMO Assembly for two-year terms.

The IMO’s General Assembly meets for its last meeting in 2017 on 7 December.

For IMO purposes, the Africa (sub-Saharan) region is composed of 48 countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and of these, 37 are IMO Member States.

According to the IMO, the Africa region has a combined total coastline of 30,725 km with South Africa, – located epicenter across three oceans, the Atlantic to the west, the Southern in the south and the Indian Ocean to the east – accounting for approximately 10% or 3200 km of that coastline.

In her address of the IMO in London on Tuesday, Ms Chikunga noted that South Africa was the only country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region of Africa standing for re-election in the IMO Council and in South Africa’s viewpoint, it was only correct that IMO Member States in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceanic states should support the country’s retention as a member of the IMO Council.

“The re-election of South Africa to the Council will ensure that the developing countries in general and the African continent in particular gets a fair voice in the international maritime affairs,” said Ms Chikunga.

Ms Chikunga further highlighted several other factors in which South Africa remains a central player towards the IMO and the world’s pursuit of particularly sustainable development of oceans economies.

According to Ms Chikunga, shipping  which is responsible for more than 80% of global trade, continues to play a very critical and prominent role in connecting people worldwide which phenomenon she said placed the IMO at the epicentre of ensuring that such global activities were accomplished seamlessly, without unnecessary hindrances.

She said: “International trade is very central and critical to many African countries, whether landlocked or coastal states. In that regard, the Africa Union took a conscious decision to adopt the 2050 African Maritime Integrated Strategy (AIMS) which seeks to provide a broad framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of the African Maritime Domain for wealth creation. South Africa is actively operationalizing the provisions of that Strategy.

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File photo: Port of Ngqurha. South Africa’s only deep water port located in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

For its role in global maritime trade transport, Ms Chikunga  said South Africa has eight (8) commercial ports that handle in excess of 13 100 international ship traffic a year and approximately 300 million tonnes of cargo annually.

Geographically, along with its own infrastructure, the country was strategically located on one of the major vital shipping lanes  known as the ‘Cape Route’ that connects east and west seas thereby placing the country among critical role-players in world maritime affairs.

These factors according to Ms Chikunga were significant given that the IMO plays a crucial role towards the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially on climate change and gender equality,  and South Africa is well placed to continue to support the initiatives  through collaborative efforts with relevant stakeholders.

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Some of the delegates to this week’s UN led conference on regional collaboration on the implementation of the ‘Large Marine Ecosystem Approach’ currently underway in Cape Town from 27 November – 01 December 2017 parallel the South Africa’s leg of the 2017/8 Volvo Ocean Race hosted at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront from 24 November to 10 December 2017

This she reflected on as a United Nations led conference is underway in Cape Town this week, looking at regional collaborations on the implementation of the ‘Large Marine Ecosystem Approach’ as an instrument towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 14. The conference is being held at the V&A Waterfront parallel this year’s South Africa leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18

In London on Tuesday, Ms Chikunga also impressed on the IMO gathering that  alongside development, there also are  issues of safety and security that are  crucial to orderly management of the oceans.

“In support of international efforts to bring security and stability in the broader Indian Ocean under the Djibouti Code of Conduct, South Africa adopted a Strategy intending to curb acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships. In that regard, South Africa deployed her navy vessels along the Mozambique Channel as a deterrent to acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships in the southern Indian Ocean area,” said Ms Chikunga

In addition she said: “As part of our coastal State obligation, we continue to provide reliable Search and Rescue services to international shipping in our region which extends to the Antarctica.

“Furthermore, South Africa, through partnership with the IMO, has converted her highly reliable Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) to the Regional Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre Cape Town to assist ships in distress in the Region,” she said.

The South Africa bid to retain its seat on the IMO Council occurs as the southern African country prepares to host it’s inaugural IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event in 2020.

That event, tentatively scheduled for Durban, is intended to highlight the significant role of global shipping and the role of the IMO.

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Fishing vessels due for display of flag State on international waters: IMO

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Pretoria: 27 October 2017

Fishing vessels on international waters may soon be expected to display their identities prominently, in the form of flags of States in which they registered, should the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly pass a resolution proposing this at its scheduled meeting in November 2017.

This is according to the IMO in an article published on Thursday reflecting on progress achieved during a five day seminar for Anglophone African countries held in Cape Town a week ago focused on an agreement on global fishing vessels safety being canvassed for ratification and implementation.

The seminar at the Castle of Good Hope from Monday to Friday (16-20 October) was the second for African countries and seventh in the series since the founding of the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement by 58 countries in the same city five years ago.

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Ms Sandra Allnut. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) head of Maritime Technology Safety Division.

Ms Sandra Rita Allnut, the head of Maritime Technology in IMO’s Maritime Safety Division led the IMO team for the Cape Town seminar attended by 10  Africa Anglophone region countries last week, and in her view, the gathering achieved its main objectives.

Earlier seminars organized jointly by the IMO  and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) were held in the Cook Islands (28 August – 1 September 2017), also involving 10 countries in the Pacific region; in Côte d’Ivoire (December 2016), for 12 countries from the Africa Francophone region; in Indonesia (April 2015), for 11 countries from the East Asia region; in Belize (October 2014), for 13 countries in the Caribbean; and in Peru (June 2014), for 12 countries in Latin America.

The aim of these seminars according to Ms Allnut was to promote ratification of The Cape Town Agreement 2012 as a means to bringing into effect the provisions of the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, which was later modified by the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol.

In ratifying the 2012 Agreement, she said, IMO member States would be giving consent to amendments to the provisions of the 1993 Protocol, thereby facilitating their coming  into force as soon as possible thereafter.

In terms of the arrangement this would require at least 22 IMO member States to give effect to the treaty coming into force in no less than 12 months after endorsement.

DSC_1750However, additional conditions include that the agreement ratifying member States operating on the high seas would need to have an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over, collectively.

So far, only seven countries have ratified the Cape Town Agreement: Congo, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway and South Africa and together, they have an  aggregate stock of 884 fishing vessels of 24 m in length and over, operating on the high seas.

DSC_1771 (3)At conclusion of last week’s seminar at Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, an undertaking was given that South Africa, actively and closely working with the IMO, would assist African countries with legal and technical expertise where needed.

South Africa would also share such other expertise as may be necessary including a draft of regulations aimed at giving effect to ratification and implementation of the IMO Cape Town Agreement.

Meanwhile, in an article by the IMO on Thursday, reflecting on the South Africa hosted seminar last week, the organization said moves to promote global safety of both fishing vessels as well as fishing workers were gaining ground in a number of key areas.

DSC_1728According to the IMO, these included the entry into force of treaties under the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the FAO – among these, the ILO’s Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (Convention No. 188) effective 16 November 2017.

The treaty sets minimum requirements for work on board fishing vessels, including hours of rest, food, minimum age and repatriation.

In addition, a number of proposals to address illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, focusing on key areas of vessel identification; flag and port state performance; training and implementation of relevant instruments; and environmental issues were recently agreed by the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III).

In further progress, in late November 2017, the IMO Assembly is expected to adopt a resolution to extend the IMO ship identification number scheme, on a voluntary basis, to all fishing vessels that are more than 12 metres in length and authorized to operate outside waters under national jurisdiction of the flag State.

According to the IMO, the move is anticipated to contribute to the maintenance of a global record on registered fishing vessels.

To read the full IMO report published on Thursday, Click Here

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IMO Africa week-long seminar on member States agreement for the promotion of fishermen safety ends on high note in Cape Town.

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Pretoria: 24 October 2017

South Africa and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will continue engagement with African countries in efforts to have all maritime countries in the region who are member States of the IMO to formally ratify a global agreement established to encourage and enforce the protection of fishermen across the world.

The continued engagement, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), will encompass the provision of particularly technical assistance to those African region countries requiring it – the aim being to secure sufficient IMO member States’ support to enable formalization of the now five year agreement into a convention instrument that will binding on all states.

This was the conclusion of a five day seminar on the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement’ held in Cape Town last week.

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Sharing notes: (From Left: International Maritime Organization (IMO) representative, Ms Sandra Rita Allnut with South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) deputy COO, Captain Nigel Campbell during last week’s Africa seminar on the IMO  ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’.

African countries represented at the seminar held at the Castle of Good Hope included Mauritius, Seychelles, Uganda, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Somali, Tanzania and South Africa. Among those also invited but did not attend were Angola and Kenya.

The primary focus of the seminar was on establishment of facilitative interventions to enable the implementation and ratification of the Cape Town Agreement 2012 to 1993 Torremolinos Protocol relating to the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels.

At its founding in South Africa five years ago, the ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ involved as many as 58 countries from across the world.

The five day seminar for Anglophone African countries in Cape Town last week dealt with a number of issues concerning the agreement including, the state of marine fisheries globally inclusive of the number of fishing vessels relevant to the agreement (24-meter vessels), the IMO’s work on the safety of fishing, the Cape Town Agreement and challenges in its entry into force, envisaged advantages to the maritime and fisheries sector through the entry into force of the agreement and matters related.

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Part of the Castle Good Hope, a venue for the IMO’s Africa seminar on the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ held last week.

During the ensuing discussions, it emerged that a key constraint for most countries involved in the seminar was lack of administrative capacity, both legal and technical.

The conclusion was that South Africa, a member State of the IMO and an early signatory (one of seven so far) of the agreement, would avail itself to assist those countries requiring it, in direct and close collaboration with the IMO.

According to SAMSA, South Africa is already way ahead in terms of development of draft regulations facilitative of implementation of the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ and will share these with countries in need of such assistance.  The technical regulations currently in draft form still, and intended to replace a set of 1968 regulations, are with the Department of Transport (DoT) for consideration and promulgation for public comment.

The South Africa chairman of the IMO seminar in Cape Town, SAMSA deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Nigel Campbell described the event as a success overall, particularly from South Africa’s position as a host country.

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