Mpumalanga Province all out to mark World Maritime Day 2018.

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Celebrating World Maritime Day 2018 on Day 1 of the two day event being held at Baadplaas in Mpumalanga Province on Thursday and Friday this week is one of several pupils from local schools who brought their self-built replicas of vessels to the show.

Baadplaas: 27 September 2018

Maritime economies around the world turn their focus momentarily onto the sector globally this week to observe the annual celebration of the World Maritime Day held in the last week of September each year as set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and South Africa joins the activity over two days in Badplaas, Mpumalanga on Thursday and Friday.

Domestically, organized and driven by the national Department of Transport, the World Maritime Day 2018 event in Mpumalanga Province that begun on Thursday morning is the second such to be to held in one of South Africa’s five internal provinces in last few years.

V2033 IMO 70 Logo-English version_NEW_2 f.jpgThe purpose thereof, according to the DoT, is to continue to enhance greater public awareness countrywide about the country’s maritime status and its significance and contribution to socio economic development.

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Transport Department Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga

“Every year, the IMO observes and celebrates the World Maritime Day (WMD). This event usually takes place during the last week of September each year. It is an IMO event that serves to promote awareness and maximize participation of all maritime transport stakeholders in order to promote safe, secure and environmentally sound seas.

“For the year 2018, the IMO Council and Assembly adopted the theme: “IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future”. This theme provides the opportunity to take stock and look back, but also to look forward, addressing current and future challenges for maritime sector.

“In 2016 World Maritime Day was celebrated in the Free State Province and saw participation from the two adjoining provinces of Northern Cape and Eastern Cape. Notably so it was a celebration within the perimeters of the Gariep Dam.

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A unique looking cultural centre in Baadplaas located near the venue of this year’s celebration of the World Maritime Day 2018 in Mpumalanga

“In 2017, the event was celebrated at a coastal town of Port St Johns which was in part celebrating the centenary of OR Tambo. This year, Mpumalanga is hosting the 2018 celebration at Baadplaas Forever Resort,” said the DoT

For a full statement by DoT Deputy Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, click on the three minute video below:

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Dozens of pupils from local schools in Baadplaas attending Thursday’s Day 1 national celebration of the World Maritime Day 2018 in Mpumalanga Province

According to the DoT, this year’s event will be used to profile the World Maritime Day celebration and in the process, raise general public awareness about the maritime sector, particularly the inland communities, raise awareness of the contribution of the maritime sector to the socio-economic lives of South Africans and enhance awareness among particularly school learners from previously disadvantaged communities in the province of Mpumalanga and throughout the country about the career opportunities available in the maritime sector.

Countering what the department describes as a general lack of awareness and ignorance about the maritime sector and which makes it difficult for the public and the media to have interests in the industry, this year’s celebration will focus among other things on South Africa a coastal and a port state, the country’s vision for its maritime sector, its global positioning as a well trusted partner with the IMO and a strategic and trusted partner in the fight against piracy.

Information will also be shared about South Africa preparations to host the 2020 World Maritime Day Parallel Event, the first to be hosted in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Friday’s event will see several senior national and provincial government officials, inclusive of the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, senior management of the South African Maritime Safety Authority and others converge Baadplaas Report for the official function starting 9am through to 2.30pm

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SAMSA firmly puts foot down on SA fishermen safety law compliance: PE fishing firm forced to toe the line!

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File Photo: Fishing vessels berthed at the port of Port Elizabeth

Pretoria: 24 September 2018

Ensuring maximum safety for fishermen crews in South Africa’s commercial fishing sector should be a matter of common sense both from a basic human and business perspective.

cropped-samsa-master-logoThis is particularly so for employers in the sector in view of the stark fact that owners as well as skippers of fishing vessels that flout legislation for the protection of fishermen can face both jail terms of a minimum one year, as well as a fine of up to R40 000 per incident when found in contravention.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) at the weekend following an incident in Port Elizabeth a few days earlier during which a fishing vessel was prohibited to sail after the owners and skipper were established to have contravened sections of the Maritime Occupational Safety Regulations (MOS Regs) 1994.

The contravention concerned, in particular, Regulation 4 of the MOS Regs (1994) relating to compulsory provision of safety equipment and facilities by employers to fishermen whilst at sea.

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File Photo: In the foreground to the left, a fisherman working on fishing equipment at the port of Port Elizabeth

A SAMSA report last week indicated that an ad hoc inspection of the Fv Silver Explorer, managed by Talhado Fishing Enterprises on behalf of M B Fishing Ventures, berthed at the port of Port Elizabeth had found that the vessel’s crew had to personally pay for some of their required safety clothing, which were ‘oilskin pants, trousers and gumboots’.

The report states: “During an ad hoc inspection on the Fv Silver Explorer (on Wednesday morning) everything was found to be in order except that the crew was still paying for their Oilskin pants and oilskin trousers, as well as their gumboots.

“These items are part of their protective clothing as per Maritime Occupational Safety Regulations, 1994, Reg 4 which is for the (vessel) Owners Account. Corrective action was to prohibit the vessel from sailing until the matter was addressed in terms of regulations and proof thereof forwarded to SAMSA.”

SAMSA says that afternoon, Talhado Fishing Enterprises responded with a written commitment to rectify the situation by supplying the involved clothing items at its own expense going forward.

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File Photo: A SAMSA official chatting to fishermen in Mossel Bay

In the written response, among other things, the fishing vessel’s shore skipper, Mr Robert Mentzel said: “This letter serves to confirm that Talhado Fishing Enteprises will cover the cost of protective clothing; 1 x Oilskin jacket, 1 oilskin pants, 1 x gumboots, 2 pairs of socks….from the opening of November 2018

“Initially, the skipper will hand out the PPE on sailing day open season and the crew will hand over the PPE to the skipper on docking day. A register will be kept on board by the skipper to control this.”

After receipt of the commitment, SAMSA lifted the sailing prohibition and allowed the vessel a free run.

However, SAMSA described the outcome of the case, where the company committed to self-finance protective clothing for its fishermen crew, in according with law, as a major milestone in the promotion of and monitoring of compliance with law by the commercial fishing sector with regards to fishermen safety.

In fact, SAMSA said, the Wednesday incident occurred just a one other fishing company, also in Port Elizabeth, had embraced the legal requirement to supply its fishermen crew with personal protective equipment at the fishing vessel owner’s cost.

SAMSA reported that “the company manages 15 vessels with crews of between 20 and 25 persons at R1200,00 per annum per person- which means over 330 crews with a total saving back in their pockets of over R400 000  per year.”

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File Photo: Bags full of ice used for storage of fish in fishing in South Africa’s commercial fishing vessels

According to SAMSA, all licensed fishing companies in South Africa are aware of the MOS Regulations.1994, yet violation remains prevalent in a sector where no less than 3000 fishermen – in the southern region of the country at least – remain exposed to industry practices that leave them financing certain items of their workplace Personal Protective Clothing/Equipment (PPE) contrary to provisions of the law.

In the process, what earnings fishermen made during their employment were significantly reduced, with massive negative impacts to their social lives.

A victory for SA fishermen!

“This is a victory for the fishermen as it will result in a saving for each and every fisherman, with money back in their accounts,” said SAMSA, further noting that enforcement will continue to ensure that all companies adhere to the regulations and that where they are found to have failed, it is made sure that they are “dealt with in accordance with the regulations.”

 

Regular consultations and information sharing continues with the sector about the issues, the latest meeting having taken place in Cape Town in July this year.

According to SAMSA, South Africa as a Member State of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and with close relations with the International Labour Organization (ILO), is not only committed to ensuring compliance with own legislation but also with ensuring implementation of various other international related instruments including the ILO’s Working in Fishing Convention 188 (2007) relating to the promotion of fishermen and fishing vessels safety and working conditions.

 

In fact, the country has been praised globally for its leading role in the promotion of fishermen and fishing vessels’ safety the world over, particularly in the last 13 years and during which period accidents and deaths have reduced in South Africa from double to single digits per annum.

The ILO in particular recently heaped praised on South Africa, but SAMSA in particular for its contribution to the development of the implementation of Convention 188 and which was historically implemented in this country for the first time in December 2017.

South Africa has also been a major contributor to the IMO’s ‘Cape Town Agreement’ On the Implementation of the Provisions of Torremolinos Protocol of 1993 relating to the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977.

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Veteran SA mariner and global shipping and fishing vessels’ safety guru, Captain Nigel Campbell retires: SAMSA

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GOING ON RETIREMENT:  Captain Nigel Campbell (centre with box) being big farewell by senior SAMSA management (From Left) Company Secretary Mr Lolo Raphadu, Corporate Affairs acting head Ms Nthabiseng Tema and Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Port Elizabeth: 14 September 2018

Veteran South African Master Mariner and an accomplished global shipping and fishing vessels and labour safety guru, Captain Nigel Campbell of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) formally went into retirement on Friday, the organization announced in Port Elizabeth.

Capt Campbell who turned 65 years old in September 2018, retired on Friday after 47 years in the country’s maritime sector, primarily as a mariner, then a ship’s surveyor before becoming an administrator for 16 of his 19 years of service at SAMSA – the latter which he joined in 1999, just as year after the agency was established.

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Captain Nigel Campbell (65), Deputy Chief Operations Officer at SAMSA, retires.

At the time of his retirement, he had risen to the position of Deputy Chief Operations Officer but with yet full responsibility for general management of shipping anf fishing vessels matters as pertaining to SAMSA’s sphere of regulation.

Shipping regulation particularly from a safety perspective was an area of his specialization to the extent that he become SAMSA and the country’s constant representative at international meetings involving the London based International Maritime Organization (IMO) as well as at the International Labour Organization (ILO).

According to SAMSA, it was both Capt Campbell’s passion for especially fishing vessels safety and fishermen’s welfare globally that he not only pioneered by also led both the IMO and ILO in development of regulation management of these aspects through instruments including the IMO’s Cape Town Agreement and ILO’s Convention 188, the latter which was officially implemented first in South Africa at the end of 2017.

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Captain Nigel Campbell with his with wife of 37 years, Mrs Mandi Campbell during Wednesday’s formal send-off function held in Port Elizabeth.

Speaking at a send-off function held at the Little Walmer Golf Club in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday afternoon, SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi described Capt Campbell as a doyen of the country’s maritime sector vessels’ safety regulation whose dedication and strength of character saw him achieve far more than could be reasonably expected, both locally and internationally.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi, SAMSA COO, making farewell notes on Capt Nigel Campbell’s ‘Happy Retirement’ card during Wednesday’s sendoff function held at the Little Walmer Golf Club in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday afternoon

He described him as not only one of the most ‘incorruptable individuals’ in his area of operations but also an industry acknowledged strict disciplinarian who would be satisfied only with high degrees of efficiency.

Mr Tilayi also confirmed that while Capt Campbell officially retires, he will remain in touch with SAMSA and industry on a consultancy basis from November 2018.

For his part, Capt Campbell said: “It was an illustrious career which I enjoyed very much.” He thanked SAMSA for opportunities it had given him and wished the agency well into the future as it celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018.

For Mr Sobantu’s full remarks in his reflection on Capt Campbell’s service record and character (4-minutes), as well as Captain Campbell’s and three other’s farewell remarks (3-minutes) click on the video below.

The ILO also weighed on in on Capt Campbell’s official retirement, describing him as a major contributor to oceans transport labour safety regulation.

In a video message shared at Capt Campbell’s send off function, Mr Brandt Wagner, ILO’s head of maritime transport policy sectoral unit, said: “Capt Campbell has a long history of working with the ILO on maritime issues. Some of the highlights of his work is that Nigel served as the chairperson of the Committee of the Fishing Sector at the 96th Session of the international labour conference in 2007 which adopted the Work In Fishing Convention 188.

“It was, to a great extent, due to his leadership that key problems were sorted out, and that the conference was not only able to adopt the Convention, but do so with overwhelming positive votes.

“Nigel chaired the tripartite experts meeting to adopt the guidelines on Flag State Inspections under the maritime labour convention in Geneva in 2008. He also chaired the ILO meetings that adopted Flag and Port State Guidelines based on Convention 188, and also the Global Dialogue Forum on the promotion of that convention..

“But besides chairing everything in sight, largely because he got things done, he helped the ILO with many other events around the world,” he said.

For Mr Wagner’s full remarks (three minutes) click on the video below.

More photos of guests and Capt Campbell’s colleagues at the send-off function.

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Seafarers’ world due for a significant shakeup in South Africa: Department of Transport

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Some of South Africa’s growing cadre of seafarers, young and old, gathered on board the country’s dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas in Cape Town on Monday to observe the international Day of the Seafarer – one three venues in the country where the event was held in three cities simultaneously for the first time. The other venues were Durban and Port Elizabeth. In Cape Town, the event was marked by two distinct activities; while officials from government, industry, education representatives and related held a dialogue behind closed doors, the seafarers took time to have a cake as well as a braai.

Cape Town: 26 June 2018

The seafarers career in South Africa is bound for a major shakeup in the coming months involving three major aspects: a re-look at the status of their qualifications for proper positioning, an overhaul of the process of their intake into the career path, as well as expansion of employment opportunities – the latter expected to involve the establishment of a South African fleet of vessels to do port to port shipments.

The policy shifts by government, driven by the Department of Transport in collaboration with the maritime sector and various others, emerged during observation of the international Day of the Seafarer held in Cape Town on Monday – one of three similar events held also in Port Elizabeth and Durban.

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In dialogue: (From Left) Mr Leon Mouton of the Sea Safety Training Group, Mr Rob Whitehead
President – The Society of Master Mariners South Africa, Ms Leone Louw, a lecturer at Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Department of Maritime Studies and Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Chief Director General: Maritime at the Department of Transport during discussions of seafarers well-being related issues during observation of the international Day of the Seafarers in Cape Town on Monday.

It was the first time for South Africa to observe the annual seafarers’ event at three locations simultaneously on the same day at three venues – the other two being Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Participants at all three events included government and its agencies including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), higher education and training institutions, industry representatives as well as seafarers, among others.

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Mr Dumisani Ntuli. Acting Chief Director General: Maritime; Department of Transport

In Cape Town, Department of Transport acting Chief Director General for Maritime, Mr Dumisani Ntuli said a policy revision was currently underway to shakeup the country’s maritime sector but specifically shipping, with a view to facilitating the establishment of a domestic fleet of vessels to take over port-to-port shipping transport.

Primarily, this was to ensure greater participation of South Africa in the shipping sector involving its own people, but equally important, to create a stable and expanded opportunity for ongoing,  sustainable development of a professional cadre of South African seafarers immersed in an own culture.

However, Mr Ntuli also acknowledged an urgent need currently to both address the issue of already qualified seafarers and whose qualifications as well as related experience do not enjoy recognition by the country’s education system in terms of the South African Qualifications Authority.

He said a task team involving appropriate representations from relevant stakeholders would be set up to fast-track the process.

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Mr Dumisani Ntuli with some of the seafarers that attended South Africa’s observation of the Day of the Seafarers 2018 in Cape Town on Monday.

In tandem, the quality of young people entering the profession would also require a re-evaluation as it was being established that some, if not a significant number of people pursuing seafaring for a career were either ill-prepared or simply not suitable for the type of work.

Currently, it emerged, there was a high drop out rate of maritime sector education students by especially cadets, once they get employed fully at sea.

According to Mr Ntuli, the main goal of all the initiatives was to ensure a stable career path for seafarers and that they are absorbed into the shipping transport industry and remain employed for their working lifetime.

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Having fun: Some of the aspirant seafarers currently undergoing the first ratings training of its kind on board the SA Agulhas at the Cape Sun hotel in Cape Town on Monday for the observation of the international Day of the Seafarer 201 event – one of three held in the South Africa’s major coastal cities for the first time this year since inception of the Day of the Seafarer by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) eight years ago.

With regards the observation of the Day of the Seafarer annually, he said the new format involving the staging of the event in cities across the country’s coastline would remain the feature, primarily to ensure engagement of all stakeholders for a continuous dialogue on matters affecting the sector.

For a detailed presentation of Mr Ntuli’s remarks on this and related matters, Click on the video below.

A full round up of the various participants’ contributions to the discussion at the Cape Town event on Monday will follow soon.

Among the key participants were Ms Leone Louw, a lecturer in maritime studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Mr Rob Whitehead, president of the Society of Master Mariners South Africa, Mr Leon Mouton of the Safety Training Group, Captain Ravi Naicker of the South African Maritime Safety Authority, as well industry and seafarer representatives.

 

Meanwhile, dozens of young and aspirant seafarers attending the event were all enthusiastic about the prospects of their careers given the increasing attention that was now being given to their well-being going into the future.

Among these were Ms Lelethu Ntuzula and Mr Sanele Hlongwane, both in their 20’s – one a deck cadet and the other currently undergoing the first ratings training of its kind on board the SA Agulhas – an initiative of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) together with the TETA, that began three weeks ago in Port Elizabeth.

To hear their views, click on the video below.

Still in Cape Town, about two kilometers or so from the Cape Sun venue of the Cape Town leg of the Day of the Seafarers observation, at the Cape Town harbour, dozens of seafarers, young and old, on board the country’s dedicated cadet training vessel, the St Agulhas, had a cake and a braai, to mark the day, and fun was had by all.

In the other two coastal cities where the event was held, similar sentiment and merriment emerged.

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operating Officer for SAMSA reiterated the authority’s openness to seafarers and informed those gathered that the overall wellbeing of seafarers was their priority.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. COO: SAMSA

Seafarers had to prepare themselves for the challenges associated with working in a diverse and multi-cultural environment, he said.

Some seafarers gathered in Durban asserted that one of the challenges they faced at sea was being perceived as ill-disciplined when they raised labour-related issues with their superiors on-board.

Mr Tilayi said: “It is important for our seafarers to understand that it is the Merchant Shipping Act, rather than the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, which governs the labour rights of seafarers.”

He encouraged seafarers to view the maritime industry in its global context, and consider the norms and standards established in the companies in which they worked.

“We encourage all our seafarers to understand the complexities of the industry they serve,” Mr Tilayi said.

In summary the DoT and SAMSA said the maritime industry had the potential to address the high unemployment rate, and a plan of action was necessary to include the following interventions:

  • Adopt South African models and knowledge to solve the country’s unemployment rate.
  • Develop and own a South African shipping fleet for economic growth.
  • Develop a seafarers’ culture and create employment opportunities for qualified South African seafarers.
  • Develop a career path plan.
  • Build the fishing industry to accommodate SA seafarers.
  • Strengthen the capacity of the SA Agulhas to use it as a training vessel for South African seafarers.
  • Integrate technological advancements in the industry.

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Day of the Seafarer, Monday June 25. Giving recognition where it’s due, seafarers: DoT

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Cape Town: 24 June 2018

The eyes of the maritime sector globally turn their focus on Monday onto the role of one of the most critical key role players in the field, seafarers – upon whose shoulders the movement of ships of all sizes as well as safety of global goods trade rests.

It is observance internationally of the Day of the Seafarer (DosT) in South Africa for the first time, the event led by the Department of Transport (DoT), with assistance by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will be marked simultaneously in the three coastal cities of  Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, beginning from about 9am.

Participants are expected to include several role players in the country’s maritime sector inclusive of government agencies, shipping and related company representatives,  higher education and related institutions, seafarers and others.

And central to the events, in addition to messages both by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Department of Transport, will be a round-table session (Duban) and panel discussions (Port Elizabeth and Cape Town) on matters affecting seafarers.

(For a preview of the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s full message for DosT pre-recorded earlier, and for that of the IMO, Click on the videos below)

According to the DoT, for this reason, the South African Day of the Seafarer event will have as its supportive domestic theme: “A Dialogue with the South African Seafarer on the Day of the Seafarer.”

Reflecting on how the annual observation of the seafarers day came about eight years ago, the department says the IMO designated 25 June as the international Day of the Seafarer “as a way to recognize that almost everything that we use in our daily lives has been directly or indirectly affected by sea transport.

“International shipping transports more than 90 percent of global trade to peoples and communities all over the world and about 20 million containers are traveling across the oceans every day.

“Driven by the IMO together with partner countries including South Africa, this year’s Seafarers Day celebration theme is “seafarers’ well-being”. IMO asserts that the year 2017 and 2018 have seen strong momentum in the industry to address seafarer’s well-being, particularly their mental health.” says the DoT

Also noting that “South Africa, as a member of IMO has traditionally supported and participated in the Seafarers Day celebration,” the department says the country’s approach this year to include a stakeholder dialogue as part of the observation is intended to ensure that seafarers are not just celebrated, but also given opportunity to share their owns views about matters that impact their profession.

“The Department of Transport wants to create a platform to engage with seafarers in order to better understand the challenges they are facing and together to develop responses to the identified challenges. The purpose of participation is to create awareness about the role of seafarers and to inculcate the seafaring culture and excellence in South Africa.

“The IMO encourages governments, shipping organizations, companies, ship owners and all other parties concerned to duly and appropriately promote the Day of the Seafarer and take action to celebrate it meaningfully,” it says.

Monday’s observation of the Day of the Seafarer in South Africa in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban will then have its main goals; the initiation of a dialogue with the country’s seafarers, with the intention to find possible solutions on how to tackle challenges they may be faced with, but also provide ideas and projects to improve seafarers prospects for placement on ships worldwide and related opportunities, says the DoT.

Notably, the DoT says it also wants to focus attention on the role of especially female seafarers and about whom it says, remain under represented in the shipping subsector.

“The Department of Transport will use the Seafarers Day to launch an annual platform of engagement on issues affecting  seafarers including promotion of female seafarers. Shipping is one such wherein women constitute a very miniscule part of the shipboard workforce.

“The Seafarers day is a great opportunity for seafarers and maritime professionals in general from all sectors to promote and raise awareness of the value of seafaring culture and practice including training and development. The industry still foresees a shortfall of skilled, licensed officers and engineers in future years.

In keeping with modern communication trends, two hashtags are being used to highlight the event: #SupportSeafarersWellbeing through dialogue and  #GoodDayatSea

According to the DoT, The first hashtag can be used by shipping companies and others within the industry, “to show how they create opportunities and decent working environment for seafarers and how they address mental health issues among their seagoing staff.

“The second hashtag can be used to engage the general public, to wish them a good day at sea and encourage seafarers to share photos of themselves in a positive work environment.”

Meanwhile, in support of the ‘dialogue’ aspect of the observation, a couple of weeks ago SAMSA launched an initiative involving video interviews with local and international seafarers currently in South Africa, but also a social media initiative encouraging seafarers anywhere else to share their stories.

In the video interview series dubbed: “In Conversation with Seafarers – In celebration of Seafarers’ Day 2018′ 10 seafarers ( five female and five male including three international) shared their joys as well as frustrations that they experience in the profession, yet with most stating that seafaring is remains their first love and so it shall remain for a while yet.

To view the interviews (averaging 15 minutes each) go to the “Day of the Seafarer 2018” page or Click Here.

Of Monday’s Day of the Seafarer observation event nationally, in addition to traditional media coverage, SAMSA’s news information online platforms, inclusive of social media, will share news and information flowing from the events on a regular basis throughout the day. In addition, this blog will provide a comprehensive multi media report, inclusive of interviews with some of the participants, from late afternoon on Monday through to Tuesday.

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Singapore confirms probe into Maersk cargo vessel fire that’s claimed at least one life so far, and a South African missing.

This is a developing story.

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Pretoria: 09 March 2018

While efforts continue to find four missing crew members – one a South African – on board a  Maersk Line container ship currently on fire since Tuesday off the Arabian Sea near Oman, Singapore transport ministry officials have begun a probe in the incident that’s already claimed one seafarer’s life.

The dead seafarer was confirmed by Maersk Line on Thursday as a Thai national and one of 23 seafarers that were successfully evacuated from the ship, the VM Maersk Honam, after a massive fire had broken out on board a cargo hold and went completely out of control on Tuesday this week.

The 27 seafarers on board the ship at the time of the incident included 13 from India, the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).

According to Maersk Line in a statement on Thursday, rescuers were still busy trying to locate and retrieve the four missing crew members even as hope was increasingly fading that they would find them, and if so, still alive.

One of the missing seafarers is a South African from Johannesburg, and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said early on Thursday that it was closely monitoring the situation and was in touch with relevant authorities.

Among such parties to the incident is the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau  (TSIB) operating under the Singapore Transport Ministry and under whose flag the Maersk Line container ship is registered since it was built in 2017.

In terms of the TSIB investigation of the incident now already underway, SAMSA is officially acknowledged as a ‘substantially interested party’ in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident (Casualty Investigation Code)

The code, adopted by IMO Member States in May 2008 as an improvement to a previous code in place since 1997, facilitates for, among other things;  ‘co-operation and a common approach to marine casualty and marine incident investigations between States.’

In Singapore early on Friday, the TSIB in communication with senior SAMSA officials, said it had begun investigation into the Maerk Line container ship incident involving a South African seafarer off the coast of Oman this week, and would keep relevant authorities abreast of developments.

This is a developing story……..

 

 

 

MTCC-Africa gets going with global shipping initiatives against greenhouse gas emissions: SAMSA

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File Photo

Pretoria: 09 March 2018

The Africa maritime region’s contribution to improvement of trade ships’ compliance with international regulations on energy efficiency and particularly the uptake of low-carbon technologies is well underway following to the formal convening for the first time, of members of the Africa region’s Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC-Africa) in Mombasa, Kenya recently.

The MTCC-Africa is a newly launched International Maritime Organization (IMO) and European Commission funded initiative known as the Global MTCCs Network (GMN), with centres also in Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and Pacific regions.

According to the IMO, the initiative funded to the tune of €10 000 000 over four years in 2017 is geared towards building capacity in the targeted regions for climate mitigation in the world’s maritime shipping industry.

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Graphic Illustration: Courtesy of Global MTCC.

In fact, that is its theme: ‘Capacity Building for Climate Change Mitigation in the Maritime Shipping Industry’

This, according to the IMO, comes against the backdrop of scientifically verified mounting concerns that Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from maritime shipping industry will continue to increase globally.

Compounding the problem is that developing countries which continue to play a significant role in international shipping, lack the means to improve energy efficiency in their shipping sectors.

The IMO initiative’s funder, the European Commission states that: “This four-year project will enable developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, in five target regions – Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific, to effectively implement energy-efficiency and emissions reduction measures through technical assistance and capacity building.

“These regions have been chosen as they have significant number of LDCs and SIDSs.”

The Africa region centre, approved a year ago this month, is being hosted jointly by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and the Kenya Ports Authority.

Member countries to the MTCC-Africa centre, among them ‘focus point’ countries including South Africa, gathered in Mombasa for their inaugural meeting in December 2017.

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Representatives of 13 African countries involved with the IMO Globa MTCC Network gathered at the first meeting of the MTCC-Africa branch in Mombasa in December 2017.                                (Photo: Courtesy of Global MTCC Network)

 

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) officials that attended the event along with representatives of 12 other African countries, report that the launch ceremony of the MTCC-Africa was led by Ms Nancy Karigithu, Principal Secretary of Kenya Maritime and Shipping Affairs.

The line-up of speakers included Mr Stefan Micallef, Assistant Secretary General and IMO Director of the Marine Environment Division and Mr Bruno Pozzi, the Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Kenya.

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SAMSA Head Office. Pretoria

Mr Elijah Ramulifho, Senior Manager: Maritime Policy at SAMSA who was one of two officials to represent the agency at the meeting says key issues discussed included; climate change mitigation requirements for shipping lines; laws against marine pollution (MARPOL Annex VI); the greening of maritime shipping through energy efficiency, low carbon technologies and data collection.

“A significant amount of time was spent on break-away sessions where case studies and scenarios were discussed for different African regions. Countries represented included South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Madagascar and Mauritius.

“Country Focal Points (that include South Africa) were requested to make presentations on the respective country’s state of affairs on issues related to MARPOL Annex VI and its implementation, expectations on what sort of assistance can MTCC-Africa bring to facilitate effective and efficient implementation, and any lessons learned during the workshop and/or any experience to share with delegates from other countries and the African region at large,” he says.

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(Photo: Courtesy of  Global MTCC Network)

The MTCC-Africa ‘focal points’ cover the entire continent from the North (Suez / Mediterranean), the West (Atlantic), Central (Landlocked Countries), South African, East (Indian Ocean) and Small Islands States.

The Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Kenya, Mr. Bruno Pozzi told the gathered African country delegates that the region’s participation in the global effort was timely in terms of the established need for collaborative global action against climate change.

“Tragic events induced by climate change are witnessed globally. The European Union knows well that climate change can bring about an unprecedented reversal in the progress towards poverty eradication and can undermine efforts towards sustainable and inclusive development.

DSC_3579a“Africa is particularly vulnerable – droughts and flooding equally testify to this,” said Mr Pozzi further urging that all countries and regions, together with all economic sectors, had a responsibility and were expected to make their fair contribution towards attainment of the climate goals agreed in Paris in 2015.

“The shipping industry is no exception to this. That’s why the European Union supports this centre we are opening today. Mombasa as one of the major ports in Africa is a fitting host city for Africa’s Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre. This opportunity should be seized to the maximum. I invite all African states with maritime shipping activities to collaborate with the MTCC-Africa”.

Going forward over the next three years, Mr Ramulifho says MTCC-Africa will be the focal point for pilot projects slated to promote uptake of energy efficient and low carbon technologies, data collection, analysis and reporting on fuel consumption; and baseline surveys of air quality within African ports.

“Some of the important resolutions included the need to constitute the Regional (African) Steering Committee for the development of Terms of Reference for engagement and future MTCC-Africa activities; need to develop MOUs between all the Focal Point Countries and MTCC-Africa” says Mr Ramulifho.

The next gathering of the MTCC-Africa is scheduled for  Toamasina in Madagascar on 16 – 17 May 2018.

Contact details of the MTCC-Africa:

Physical Address: Jomo University of Agriculture and Technology, Mombasa Campus, JKUAT Main Campus, Office of the Vice Chancellor, P. O. Box 62000 – 00200 Nairobi, Juja, off Thika Superhighway, Kenya

Telephone:  +254 67 5870001-4 Ext 2374/5 or 2335 +254 708 503 849

Email: mtccafrica@jkuat.ac.ke

Websites:  
gmn.imo.org/mtcc/africa/  OR http://mtccafrica.jkuat.ac.ke/

Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 digs deep into world’s oceans plastic pollution

This is a complete wrap up of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 3rd leg in Cape Town, South Africa two weeks ago. The glamorous global yacht race -a.ka. the F1 Race of the Seas – is currently leaving Melbourne for Hong Kong (Tuesday morning, 02 December 2018) and carries aloft its masts, a crucial message about the increasing swelling of the world’s oceans with micro-plastics.

The theme of the race is Turn The Tide Against Plastics

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Cape Town: 03 January 2018

The world’s maritime sector is stepping up its fight against pollution of the seas, with particular focus currently being on plastics pollution of the oceans, and in the mix of tools being deployed in the war is water sports.

At the pinnacle of the world’s water racing sports codes now fully engaged against oceans plastic pollution is the Sweden driven global yacht race, the Volvo Ocean Race; a multi-billion rand oceans yacht race equated to the Formula One (F1) annual car racing event, and run every two years across the world’s oceans over a period of just over 260 days at a time.

The 2017/8 Volvo Ocean Race is currently underway, having kicked off with seven yachts in Portugal in November, with a stopover in Cape Town 20 days ago, and now presently departing Melbourne in Australia  for the 6000 nautical miles 4th leg towards Hong Kong, which the yachts should reach in about 20 days (20/1 January 2018).

DSC_2429On arrival in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront for the South Africa leg on November 24, topping celebratory activities to mark the two weeks’ stopover lasting until 10 December, were two, two-day United Nations-driven conferences focused on collaborative efforts for sustainable oceans management

Following to these in the second week, was also a two-day Volvo Ocean Race sponsors’ Oceans Summit on proposed global cooperative actions for the combating of the growing menace of plastics pollution of the world’s oceans that’s said to be increasing at an alarming rate.

Put differently, seven (7) full working days out of 14 of the Volvo Ocean Race stop-over in South Africa from 24 November 2017 to 10 December 2017 were devoted entirely to discussions and information sharing on sustainable oceans management as well as current and proposed actions to combat plastics pollution of the world’s oceans.

Crucially, organizers of the separately staged yet thematic-linked discussion forums were emphatic on the importance of the use of the Volvo Ocean Race as a creative tool to draw the general public’s attention to the oceans management issues, but also as an ideal platform for information sharing particularly about the problems of plastics pollution of the world’s seas.

DSC_2265The Volvo Ocean Race now in its 13th edition since launch 42 years ago is a major drawcard to a global mixed audience of millions of people in 113 countries, and shored up by more than 8000 hours of global television coverage with an average media value of 47.5 euros (2015 values). Corporate sponsors also number in the thousands.

In Cape Town alone, an estimated two-million people take time out to watch the race or visit the yachts’ yard during the two weeks stop over at the iconic V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, located at no more than a kilometre off the foot of Table Mountain, at Victoria Bay.

According to organizers, the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 edition is the first of its kind to focus attention on plastics pollution of the oceans, and its involvement goes beyond providing a platform for publicity and discussion, but also involves direct participation by the racing yachts in collecting scientific data on the extent of the spread of plastics at sea as well as their impact.

A number of scientific consortium are involved in the problem solving endeavor, among them the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), JCOMMPS, UNESCO-IOC, GEOMAR and SubTech.

 

In partnership, the agencies use the Volvo Ocean Race to collect both meteorological and oceanographic data for a better understanding of oceans weather patterns, but also for the first time, use of instrumentation for the measurement of CO2 as well as collection of samples of microplastics increasingly swelling the seas waters.

In the following three videos recorded in Cape Town two weeks ago, Ms Celine Greuzard, Communications director of the Volvo Group, Ms Anne-Cecile Turner, the Sustainability Programme Leader of the Volvo Ocean Race and Mr Richard Brisius, President of the Volvo Ocean Race explain the rationale of the involvement of the global yacht race in the maritime world’s fight against oceans plastics pollution.

 

In the following four videos, Mr David Green, chief executive officer of the V&A Waterfront shares his organization’s perspective of and role in the Volvo Ocean Race to South Africa, while Mr Bruce Parker-Forsyth, MD of Worldsport shares the South Africa perspective of the race to local socio-economic development, and Captain Ravi Naicker of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) explains the role played by the State agency in monitoring and combating oceans pollution by ships, in terms of both local legislation as well as conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to which South Africa is a member.

In the next two videos, Dr Ivone Mirpuri of the Portugal based Mirpuri Foundation – and contributor during the Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town Oceans Summit – and Mr Ulrich van Bloemenstein of the Department of Environmental Affairs share their views of the event.

Meanwhile, South Africa which in 2017 became the venue of several continental and global meetings on plastics pollution of the seas, these including an Africa Oceans Plastic Pollution Seminar over five days, should see more increased action in the coming year, according to Ms Silindile Mncube.

She is the South Africa leader of the ‘Let’s Do It’ international NGO involved in plastics pollution combating initiatives.

During the Volvo Ocean Race Oceans Summit in Cape Town, she shared the NGO’s plans to actively getting involved in South Africa and the rest of the continent, with the launch of a dedicated “plastics cleanup day” during 2018.

And finally, in the last three videos below; is an overview of the UN Sustainable Oceans Management two-day conference that also involved a visit to Robben Island….

followed by Mr Adnan Award, South Africa director of the International Oceans Institute (IOI) who gives an overview of the entire oceans management and pollution combating gatherings held during the Volvo Ocean Race’s South Africa leg….

and Mr Rafe Axelson gives local boat building industry’s view of the importance of the race to the sector locally.

For videos of the UN Sustainable Management Conference, Click Here, and for more general videos and photos of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 South Africa leg, Click Here.

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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;

 

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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