Global celebrations of the Day of the Seafarer on 25 June 2023 – falling on Sunday this year – shifts its focus somewhat from welfare-centric matters towards one key environmental issue of general concern in the maritime sector: sea oil pollution and current as well as future mitigating measures against it.
According to the Department of Transport (DoT), lead organisers of South Africa’s marking of the annual International Maritime Organisation (IMO) event, to be hosted in coastal cities; Durban Gqeberha and Cape Town on Tuesday, 27 June 2027; the theme for this year’s celebrations, as endorsed by IMO is: Marpol at 50 – Our Commitment goes on.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which jointly with the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) will co-host the event in Durban and Gqeberha, respectively, says the theme spotlights the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which covers prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
“It also reflects the IMO’s long history of protecting the environment from the impact of shipping via a robust regulatory framework, whilst emphasizing its ongoing commitment to this important work.
“The theme is also linked to pursuing the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include affordable and clean energy (SDG 7); industry, innovation, and infrastructure (SDG 9); climate action and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources (SDGs 13 and 14); and the importance of partnerships and implementation to achieve these goals (SDG 17),” says SAMSA.
Hosted simultaneously at the coastal cities, with SAMSA in Durban, SAIMI in Gqeberha, and the DoT in Cape Town on Tuesday, the day’s proceedings will, in addition to a key address by the Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga; involve panel presentations and engagements focussing on what the public and private sectors, education institutions and related in South Africa, are doing jointly or individuals as groups, to contribute to the realisation of goals of the IMO Marpol Convention, as consistent also with the UN’s sustainable development goals.
The event, to which seafarers will fully participate and contribute, is scheduled to start at 08h30 and end at 15h00 in all three cities.
The strengthening of women’s grip and hold onto Africa and global maritime affairs is set to receive yet another boost in South Africa with the relaunch of the country’s chapter of the Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa (WOMESA) at Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, this week.
Leading the relaunch of WOMESA South Africa chapter during the event on Tuesday will be South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, accompanied by the Eastern Cape Province Premier, Mr Oscar Mabuyane, the province’s Transport MEC, Mr Xolile Nqatha, Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor, Mr Gary van Niekerk, along with several women of different occupations in the region’s maritime economic sector.
WOMESA, founded in Mombasa, Kenya in 2007; has membership in about 25 countries within the East and Southern African region including Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Thirteen of these countries have formal domestic WOMESA structures or chapters, in the Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
WOMESA projects its vision as one focused on development of the body to be ‘…a key partner for gender inclusivity in the sustainable development agenda of the maritime sector in Africa.’ Towards the goal, WOMESA’s mission is to “…promote active women participation in the maritime sector and contribute to the growth of the industry in Eastern and Southern Africa through pursuance of activities aimed at promoting gender equality.”
In its strategic aim for the five years 2022-2026, WOMESA says it is pursuing 11 objectives, among them the enhancement of training and capacity building, strengthening of mentorship programs, identification and mobilization of fundraising approaches, establishing and nurturing smart partnerships and networks, intensifying the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV), identifying new opportunities for women in the Blue Economy, operationalizing its regional secretariat, establishing new national chapters, enhancing research and development, promoting visibility, intensifying advocacy and awareness as well as undertaking corporate and social responsibility activities.
Undergirding WOMESA’s drive is the IMO’s program on the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector (IWMS) launched in 1989, with a ‘primary objective is to encourage IMO Member States to open the doors of their maritime institutes to enable women to train alongside men and so acquire the high-level of competence that the maritime industry demands.’
The relaunch this week of the South Africa chapter of WOMESA in Nelson Mandela Bay, occurring during the month of May on which Member States of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) celebrate a Women in Maritime Day (18 May), is a culmination of efforts by various players in the maritime sector, including the Department of Transport, the Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA) and others over the last five years, to resuscitate the structure following a collapse of the initiative in the country a few years earlier.
Organisers of this week’s relaunch event, over two-days, on Tuesday and Wednesday; described the resuscitation of the South Africa WOMESA chapter as crucial towards advancement of the body’s vision and mission. “The relaunching of WOMESA (in South Africa) is of paramount importance in harnessing benefits from the IMO and the broader maritime community to empower women in the industry.
“The South African Chapter of WOMESA has been inactive and did not participate in the Strategic Plan 2014-2019. This has left a vacuum in terms of accessing benefits from the IMO and other support partners such as World Maritime University (WMU), United Nations, Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), etc.
“South African women have therefore not been able to benefit from scholarships and training opportunities offered by the IMO and other women empowerment initiatives.,” said the organisers in a statement. Broadly however, a most fundamental issue, they said, was that the role of women in the maritime sector globally was still very narrow as evidenced by their dominance of only one sub-sector: the cruise industry.
“According to the IMO, women currently represent only two percent of the world’s 1,2 million seafarers in a largely male dominated sector, and 94 percent of female seafarers are working in the cruise industry. This shows that a lot more needs to be done to increase the number of female workers across all areas of maritime professions – both shore-based and sea-going,” said the organisers.
Fraternal organisations rendering support to the initiative in both the public and private maritime sectors include South Africa’s Department of Transport (DoT), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TPNA), National Ports Consultative Council (NPCC), South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), eThekwini Maritime Chamber (EMC) African Maritime Solutions (AMSOL), Oceana, Heron-Marine and the local (South Africa) chapter of the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA).
Among other highlights, the WOMESA event will also see a new local chapter leadership elected on the second day of the gathering, and a Memorandum of Understanding finalised with WISTA, on Wednesday.
Proceedings at the Southern Sun Marine Parade Hotel in Humewood, Gqeberha on Tuesday and Wednesday are scheduled to begin a 9am, with the first day punctuated by speeches and statements of support, led by Ms Chikunga, Mr Mabuyane and Mr Van Niekerk.
South Africa may currently be accounting for no more than 0,65% (or 10 671) of registered world’s seafarers (approximately 1,7-million), but its commitment to contributing to their improved work and general social welfare conditions remains unwavering, according to the South African government.
To this end, confirmed South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula; the country has paved the way for all seafarers – domestic or international – to receive Covid-19 vaccination in the country subject to conditions periodically relevant in terms of domestic national lockdown regulations.
Mr Mbalula’s confirmation came in remarks he made in an opening address during the marking of the global celebration of World Maritime Day 2021 on Thursday last week. The Transport Department organised event held online and streamed live on social media occurred in the same week that the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) officially confirmed through a Marine Notice the extension of Covid-19 pandemic vaccinations to all seafarers on South Africa’s waters.
In terms of that Marine Notice (MN 19-21 [C+F+S+P]) dated 23 September 2021, all foreign seafarers in South Africa’s ports are eligible for vaccination, and to which a process guidline is provided. The South African government directive through SAMSA was given in support of efforts by various institutions locally and globally, including the International Maritime Organisation(IMO), the World Health Organisation and related, for seafarers to be prioritised for vaccination against the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his World Maritime Day 221 celebration address to an online audience of about 124 guests, Mr Mbalula said this latest initiative served as an ample demonstration of the country’s full commitment to contributing positively and sustainably to the improvement of the working conditions as well as general welfare of seafarers across the world.
He described as it as befitting therefore that the 43rd ocassion of the world’s celebration of World Maritime Day 2021 as guided by the IMO, to which South Africa is a Member State, was given a theme focusing attention on seafarers: “Seafarers: At the core of shipping’s future“.
Mr Mbalula said South Africa’s geo-location at the most southern tip of the African continent, surrounded by three oceans; the Atlantic to the west, the southern ocean and the Indian Ocean to the east, with a coastline of some 3800km, and an oceans based 1.5-million square kilometers of an Exclusive Economic Zone, made it an undoubted maritime country. For the reason, almost the entire country’s foreign trade depended centrally on shipping, and by extension, on the singular critical importance of seafarers manning those vessels.
“Seafarers play a strategic role in shipping and yet also bare the brunt of challenges facing the sector but especially now during the outbreak and spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. South Africa is among IMO Member States that were first to declare seafarers as essential workers.”
For his full remarks (+-8 minutes), click on the video link below.
For its part, the IMO that was represented by Senior Legal Officer, Mr Jan de Boer, acknowledged with appreciation South Africa’s continued strong support of the United Nations body, even as 250 000 seafarers across many parts of the world are still facing an uphill battle during especially the period of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Mr de Boer, difficulty with crews changes, inability to work and in some instances, cases of abandonment of seafarers were still a massive challenge, as was the need to prioritise seafarers for vaccinations. This occured against the backdrop of a situation where only about 57 of the IMO’s 167 Member States had so far designated seafarers as essential or key workers.
Describing the situation of seafarers worldwide as a “humanitarian crisis”, he said movement restrictions were also still a major challenge this despite the existence of a framework of protocols established as well as resolutions by the IMO and associated organisations in order to help assist efforts towards addressing problems faced by seafarers.
For its part, said Mr de Boer, the IMO has in place a Seafarer Crisis Action Team that seafarers and related may direct inquiries for assistance.
For Mr de Boer’s full remarks (about 5 minutes), click on the video link below.
In SA, seafarers are essential workers
Meanwhile, according to SAMSA; continued engagement with seafarers is vital to ensuring an orderly, inclusive approach to both confronting the challenges facing seafarers as well as working out appropriate measures aimed at improving their working conditions and securing a sound social welfare future.
SAMSA acting CEO, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane recounted various steps the country has undertaken to address especially the pressing problems brought about by the outbreak of Covid-19 in China in 2019.
Over the past year since about May 2020, in addition to an early designation of seafarers as essential workers, the country sought to ensure limited restrictions of both vessels and their seafarers on South Africa sea waters while also making provision for both the extension of their certificates of competency and related, as well as facilitating for the renewal of passports.
Undertaken jointly with various government and private sector institutions in the maritime sector, similar measures relevant to seaferers in the fishing and related sectors such as leisure were also made thereby ensuring that no seafarers were left stranded while in or nearby the country’s borders.
She said: “… It is befitting that the IMO has made a clarion call to all of us to make 2021 a year of action for seafarers, who daily face unprecedented adversity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite their vital role as essential workers supporting global supply chains,
“As of this month, with the South African government having secured enough volumes of Covid-19 pandemic vaccinations for both South Africans and non-residents, SAMSA has facilitated for the vaccination of all Seafarers on our shores.
“We acknowledge that there is still more work to be done especially in ensuring that seafarers are fully recognised as “Essential Workers” in the country. Engagements with our partners are ongoing.”
Further, according to Ms Taoana-Mashiloane, similar to the IMO’s STAC, SAMSA as the country’s registrar of seafarers, also has a dedicated office to seafarers welfare that they can refer issues of interest or concern to, by email: email@example.com
For her full remarks, click on the video link below.
For no less than three hours early on Friday, June 25, South Africa’s role and contribution in the shaping of a fair future for seafarers locally and globally will come under the microscope as some of the country’s stakeholders and interested parties in the general wellbeing of these highly skilled yet generally overlooked oceans-based workers gather to mark the International Day of the Seafarer 2021, under the guidance and leadership of the Department of Transport.
The marking of Day of the Seafarer 2021 takes the shape of an online event – for the second year running, owing to the ongoing rampant spread of the Covid-19 pandemic – hosted by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) from its Pretoria-based Head Ofice on Friday morning.
Starting from 9am and scheduled to last until 12 noon, high profile participants on the programme, according to SAMSA, include Transport Minister Mr Fikile Mbalula and his deputy, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi, the department’s Acting Director for Maritime Branch Mr Mthunzi Madiya, Ms Soraya Artman of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Mr Musa Mbakaza of AMSOL, Ms Silindokuhle Nyoka of Transnet, and Captain Mike Kelly representing The Mission of Seafarers Association, as well as SAMSA acting CEO Ms Tsepiso Taoana Mashiloane and Mr Sibusiso Rantsoabe
Also participating and sharing an international perspective will be Mr Cheah Aun Aun from the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore.
The theme of the 2021 instalment of the Day of the Seafarer as decided by the International Maritime Organisation is a “Fair Future for Seafarers” – the idea behind it being a continued effort to rally individual maritime country as well as international support for measures to improve and enhance the working conditions as well as the general welfare of seafarers globally.
In invitations circulated to maritime sector stakeholders earlier this month, SAMSA said: “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, seafarers found themselves both on the front line of the global response and subject to difficult working conditions. Last year the Day of the Seafarer campaign focused its message around urging Governments to recognize seafarers as key workers and ease travel restrictions for them to facilitate crew changes.
“The 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign will continue to encourage Governments to support seafarers amid the pandemic but will expand its message, calling for a fair future for seafarers. You are therefore urged to join the virtual event where various speakers and seafarers will highlight the plight of our seafarers and the plans that the Government and its partners have to ensure that seafarers are treated fairly,”
At Friday’s event, with just 100 confirmed attendees, expected to dominate the marking of the Day of the Seafarer 2021 are activities and related measures being undertaken by particularly the Department of Transport, its agency SAMSA, as well as industry to advance this cause, this especially against unique challenges by seafarers due to the onset and continued international havoc wreaked by the Covid-19 pandemic since its outbreak in China in late 2019
According to SAMSA, the online event will again be livestreamed on the SAMSA Facebook in order to allow the public access. To connect, please click on the link following link: https://fb.me/e/1UMv7h5fr
This blog will also follow proceedings of the event.
The global maritime sector’s focus turn to celebrate the world’s estimated 1.6-million seafarers on Thursday, 25 June 2020 – a day declared an International Day of the Seafarer and marked annually- in acknowledgement and appreciation of the role of the labour sector for its contribution both to world trade over the oceans and associated activities at sea.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) along with its Member States, including South Africa, celebrate the day this year with a key theme message; #Seafarers Are Key Workers, conceptualised to advance a growing realisation that the world’s seafarers are essential workers.
In South Africa on Thursday, according to the Department of Transport (DoT) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the country will mark the event Thursday with a virtual session involving invited guests and a panel of about 30 people, and which will be livestreamed to the public between 10am and 12 noon. (For more on this, click on the blog’s Seafarers Day dedicated page Here)
In a statement, the entities said: “The Day of the Seafarer is observed every year on the 25th of June by all IMO member states to pay tribute to millions of seafarers from across the globe, for their unique contribution to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole.
“Each year, the Day of the Seafarer adopts a campaign theme and the theme for 2020 is “Seafarers are Key Workers”. The 2020 campaign seeks to raise awareness of the work of seafarers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to thank them for their contribution. Seafarers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 response, playing an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food, medicines and medical supplies.
Thursday’s virtual session, involving a panel of about six (6) members and up to 30 participants from stakeholders and roleplayers in the country’s maritime economic sector, will be led by Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula.
Other participants scheduled include Master Mariner, Ms Constance Nengohvela, maritime studies educationist, Ms Theresa Williams, marine engineer Mr Khomotso Makgae, Amsol human resource executive, Mr Nceba Mfini, international Transport Workers Federation (ITF) official Mr Steve Yandell, Mr Odwa Mtati, Chief Executive Officer of the South African International Maritime Institute, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, SAMSA acting CEO and others.
In the statement ahead of the event, Mbalula said: “We acknowledge the sacrifices of the seafarers and the adverse effects of the Corona Virus on their personal and professional wellbeing. The outbreak of COVID-19 has exacerbated seafarers’ already difficult working conditions, as it has led to the restriction of port access, crew changeovers and repatriations, in an attempt to flatten the curve.
“Many seafarers have been away from home for months and are uncertain about when they will be able to return home or go back to their international posts, due to global travel restrictions. The South African Government is mindful of this dire situation and is doing all it can to ensure that seafarers are prioritised as the economy gradually reopens”, said the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula.
In South Africa SAMSA, the DOT and other maritime institutions will host a virtual discussion to mark the Day of the Seafarer. The virtual discussion will be held on 25 June 2020, from 10h00 until 12h00, and attended by key stakeholders in the maritime industry. Seafarers will use the opportunity to highlight issues affecting them during the prevalence of COVID-19,” he said.
For more on the programme for Thursday’ event, Click Here
Women empowerment in South Africa’s maritime sector took on yet another relatively small but highly significant and historical step forward at the weekend in Cape Town after the country despatched an all women cadet and training officers’ team on a three months voyage to the southern seas.
The 22 women- two officers and 20 young female cadets sailed from the port of Cape Town on Friday night, headed for Mauritius where they will be joined in 10 days by a group of Indian scientists for their three months sojourn into the Indian Ocean and Antartica region.
According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – owners and operators of the SA Agulhas, the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel – and the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) – the country’s agency for cadet training – the latest of three such training opportunities for the country’s cadets out sea was partly made possible by the out hiring of the SA Agulhas ship to the Indian National Centre for Antarctic Ocean Research (ICAOR).
Scientists from the ICAOR will be conducting research of the Indian and Southern Oceans waters over a period of two months through to the end of February 2020. During this period, the all female 18 deck and two engine cadets will receive extensive training and earn crucial sea time to advance them through their studies as future mariners.
SAMSA and SAIMI described the send off of an all female cadet team and all female training officers in Cape Town at the weekend as the first ever such adventure, deliberately aimed at advancing gender parity in the maritime sector through focused advancement of woman.
Two of the 20 cadets will likely qualify for the Officer of the Watch exam after earning sufficient sea time during this voyage. For several of the cadets, this voyage will be the first time away from home and will be their first ever training opportunity at sea.
SAMSA Acting CEO Mr Sobantu Tilayi emphasized the importance of this particular voyage; “It is important that we use every opportunity we get to open up the maritime industry to all and this voyage is proof that South Africa is on-board with the international drive to empower women and is committed to do away with the notion that the maritime industry is a male dominated industry” said Mr Tilayi.
Mr Ian Calvert, executive head of SAMSA’s Marine Special Services, who was on hand to see off the all female training crew said: “Addressing poverty, unemployment and inequality is the responsibility of all South Africans. Further to this, gender parity in the workspace remains of great concern.
“Today, women signify two percent of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers with 94 percent of female seafarers working in the cruise ship industry. There can be no doubt this is a historically male dominated industry, subsequently there needs to be a concerted effort to help the industry move forward and support women to achieve a representation that is in keeping with 21st century expectations.”
According to Mr Calvert, the historical event send off at the weekend, was not just a uniquely South African initiative that was out of sink with the rest of the world, but a significant contribution to global efforts championed currently by international agencies such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Maritie Organisation (IMO).
He said: “Through its Women in Maritime programme, under the slogan: “Training-Visibility-Recognition”, the IMO has taken a strategic approach towards enhancing the contribution of women as key maritime stakeholders. In spite of this, the benefits of these and other initiatives still need to be fully felt in (South) Africa.
“For this particular voyage as a show of our continued commitment to the achievement of gender equality we have specifically dedicated it to the exposure of women in maritime,” said Mr Calvert
Further, he said, the initiative was in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, the African Integrated Maritime Strategy, National Development Plan, Operation Phakisa as well as the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy.
“It is an attempt to address gender empowerment and inequalities specifically in South Africa, in the year that the IMO declared The World Maritime Day theme as “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”.
For Mr Calvert’s remarks on the topic, click on video below.
SA Agulhas Antarctica Voyage 2019: First All Female Training Venture
This blog also chatted with some of the youg female cadets as well as the master of the vessel on this voyage, Captain Reagan Paul, to gain their views and expectations of experience during the next three motnhs. The young cadets, Ms Lona Jiba (Eastern Cape), Ms Puleng Ramasodi and Thabango Ngobeni (both from Gauteng), and Ms Sinethemba Mdlalose (KwaZulu-Natal) were beyond themselves with joy at their first sea voyage and particularly on board the SA Agulhas on its journey to the ice mountains of the Antarctica region.
The blog also heard from one of the onboard training officers, Ms Samantha Montes who’s stated other interest during the voyage would be an observation of the implementation of the Polar Code.
South Africa has been called upon to step up and increase its regional support of Indian Ocean rim countries in order to improve the general standard and level of control measures in place to maintain safety and security of the regions’ oceans.
The call has been issued by the chairperson of the 20-member States Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU), Ms Beatrice Nyamoita in an interview on the sidelines of the organisation’s Port State Control Committee meeting currently taking place in Cape Town over five days since Monday this week.
IOMOU member States represented include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Eritrea, France (La Reunion), India, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen.
Also present are delegates from other observer States and organisation with similar status as the IOMOU.
The IOMOU on Port State Control has its main functionthe establishment and maintenance of a harmonised system of port State Controls as envisaged in various instruments under the directive of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and similar such institutions.
The port State control system, according to the IOMOU ‘aims to verify whether foreign flagged vessels calling at a port of a State comply with applicable international maritime conventions.’
There are no less than 12 of such IMO and related institutions’ conventions and protocols that inform the IOMOU’s port State control activities across the region.
In Cape Town on Tuesday, Ms Nyamoita said while the IOMOU block had made several achievements over the past two decades to both enrol as many Indian Ocean countries into the fold of the IOMOU, and to harmonise adoption of instruments for group of countries activities in promoting and maintaining safety and security of the region’s ocean area by preventing entry of substandard vessels into the region’s sea waters, sufficient capacity remained the major challenge.
She said because of the nature of the training programme required for inspection officers in member States, particularly the long duration and costs involved, many of the countries were unable to develop an adequate number of personnel sufficiently skilled to carry out necessary vessel inspections and surveys.
‘We have managed to ensure the development of standard procedures across the region intended to harmonise and establish uniformity of activity aimed at enhancing safety and securing of people and ships in our our respective ocean spaces. However, the greatest challenge currently facing IOMOU member States with regards port State control is capacity,” she said.
“Most of the member States cannot afford to train enough people. The training takes too long and governments budgets do not give priority to training people for port State control.
She said currently, the IOMOU relied on support from other MOU organisations across the world, but this was just not enough for development of a cadre of skilled officials required by countries in the region in order to meet their obligations.
Ms Nyamoita said South Africa on the other hand, however, had certain advantages that would be beneficial to the organisation, such as vast experience in maritime matters, as well possessing infrastructure in terms of its relatively higher number of ports in which to conduct vessel inspection. The vast ports infrastructure could be beneficial to IOMOU country’s skills development, she said.
“I’d like to encourage the government of South Africa to endeavour to train the port State control officers and to effectively take control of port State control activities in the region.
“We request that South Africa actually support… because we know that the country has more experience in the region…to undertake the training of port State control officers for countries in the region that are unable to do so themselves. In so doing, this will greatly assist in harmonising the training and activities in the region,” she said.
For Ms Nyamoita’s full interview (9.18 minutes) click on the video below:
Meanwhile, IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra presented his organisational report to the meeting on Monday. His presentation (about 20 minutes) is captured in the video below.
The IOMOU five-days meeting’s agenda this week is looking at a whole range of issues among which is an analysis of CIC on MARPOL Annex VI as well as development of guidelines for MARPOL Annex IV and Annex V for inclusion into the region’s port State control manual; port state inspections carried out by the maritime authorities, short term training programmes and a lot more other issues including the organisation’s online information management system.
This blog will carry more news information about some of these issues as and when such information is shared. Also lined up are two interviews with the IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra who is due to retire, as well as Captain Thobile Gqapu of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
Delegates from several African and European countries have gathered in Cape Town on Monday for a five day seminar to examine and discuss progress towards implementation of an international agreement on safety of fishermen in Africa and other parts of the world.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) hosted seminar underway at the Castle of Good Hope, is being held in the city of the birth of the agreement five years ago, and by which it is named: The IMO Cape Town Agreement of 2012 on the Implementation of the Provisions of the 1993 Protocol relating to the Torremolinos International Convetion for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977.
As many as 58 States attended the founding of the agreement in Cape Town in 2012.
This week, leading the IMO delegation to chair the seminar is London based head of marine technology and GBS in the IMO Marine Safety Division, Ms Sandra Rita Allnut.
According to Ms Allnut in a brief interview before start of the seminar, the agreement is a crucial instrument that will, once fully ratified, be binding on all countries in the interest of ensuring the safety and welfare of fishermen globally.
However, although it breathed life for the first time back in 2012 in Cape Town, it was still in its early stages of development.
For the agreement to come into force, she said; it requires 22 IMO member States to sign it, as well as the registration of 3 600 fishing vessels in the fleet of the contracting states.
So far, she said, only seven countries had ratified the Cape Town Agreement, with only 884 vessels registered. South Africa is among the countries that have already signed.
Once the required numbers were in place, it would take approximately 12 months for the agreement to come to force. After more than 40 years of the IMO trying to have in place a binding agreement with members States for the sake of safety of fishermen worldwide, this was now overdue, she said.
Ms Allnut, explains this week’s week-long seminar in detail in the video below (approximately 5 minutes duration).
Meanwhile, in its welcome of both the IMO and the participating member States in the Cape Town seminar, the South African government said it particularly appreciated the IMO’s return to the country and city for further engagements over the global fishermen safety agreement.
In remarks welcoming the more than 50 delegates early on Monday, Mr Tlou Matlala, Department of Transport (DoT) assistant director; Maritime Policy, Development and Legislation said the gesture reflected on the good relationship the country enjoyed with IMO member states.
For his remarks lasting just over a minute, Click Here
The staging of this year’s World Maritime Day celebrations at the Wild Coast town of Port St Johns in the O.R Tambo District Municipality of the Eastern Cape province, by some accounts, arguably proved its worth beyond the simple recognition of the region as among South Africa’s undeserving highly underdeveloped areas, yet with direct access to 800 km of ocean space.
By design, the event on Wednesday (27 September), the first of two days of celebration, provided an opportunity for the AmaMpondo clan to also formally commemorate the 100th year of the sinking of the S.S Mendi – a 4000 ton British steamship that perished off the English Channel in 1917 along with just over 600 black South Africans soldiers, and dozens of whom were from the O.R Tambo District Municipality.
According to historical record, among those who perished during the sinking of SS Mendi were AmaMpondo chiefs Hendry Bokleni, Dokoda, Richard Ndamase, Mxonywa Bangani and Mongameli, and the Reverend Isaac Wauchope Dyobha.
The O.R Tambo district municipality settled along the Eastern Cape’s coastline is named after one of South Africa’s most famous liberation struggle icons and former president of the African National Congress, the late Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo who – along with Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela – was born in Mbizana and whose political contribution to the country’s liberation is also being celebrated in the country throughout 2017.
At last Wednesday’s World Maritime Day event staged at Port St Johns’ golf course, in a uniquely refreshing, educational and entertainingly fun way, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) through its Maritime Heritage project, brought to life the tragic sinking of the S.S Mendi a century ago this year via a docu-drama film – Troopship Tragedy – that was presented by its creator, researcher and narrator; Mr Mzwanele ‘Zwai’ Mgijima of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
The almost hour long movie’s production in 2015 was directed by Marion Edmunds.
For his very presence at the event, Mr Mgijima, a stage actor and storyteller who, during production of the film, traveled from the rural O. R Tambo District Municipality area to England to find the sunken S.S Mendi and bring back to South Africa the spirits of the SA Native Labour Contingent’s members who perished therein, was as much a source of amazement and delight for the approximately 500 school learners and teachers at the event as was the film presentation itself.
The World Maritime Day event, an annual celebration driven by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) was staged in Port St Johns this year through a collaborative effort involving government departments including Transport, Tourism, Basic Education, the Eastern Cape Provincial Government and SAMSA; to also observe the centenaries of the sinking of the S.S Mendi, and O.R Tambo’s birth (were he alive this year).
The inclusion of a maritime heritage aspect followed to last year’s very successful inauguration of the SAMSA Maritime Heritage Project during the 38th World Maritime Day celebrations held at the Xhariep Dam in the Free State, in collaboration with the South African National Heritage Council.
Remarking during last Thursday’s event, Mr Mgijima said: “I hastened to say yes to the invitation because I was going to interact with learners from local schools when watching the film, the SS Mendi Troopship Tragedy”.
“To me”, he said, “this was knowledge dissemination in real time as the film was researched and shot in Pondoland. That, for me, was like going back to the source!
“What humbled me most,” said Mr Mgijima, “was the fact that a group of learners and their teachers came back with their lunch packs to watch the film: they never touched their food while watching it!”
“’I teach them about the Mendi – their forgotten history’ a voice from their teacher.
“It was all silent during the viewing of the film. A dream realized by me that the history has been told through water and land,” concluded Mr Mgijima.
*The South African Maritime Safety Authority has a copy of the movie for its archives.
The development of South Africa’s maritime sector is now formally in full swing under the banner of the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative, with billions of rand of State funds currently being invested in particularly ports and related infrastructure.
However, now absolutely crucial is a need to ensure that all South Africans are on board and involved, and central to strategy is a need to both broaden and entrench fully education and skills development of especially the young, Minister of Transport, Mr Joe Masangwanyi told hundreds of people – among them 400 high school children – attending this year’s World Maritime Day celebrations held in Port St Johns, Eastern Cape.
Port St Johns, a little town settled in a picturesque area of South Africa’s Wild Coast along the Indian Ocean, midway between East London and Durban, was chosen by the Department of Transport for this year’s observation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) driven World Maritime Day on September 28 for a number of reasons.
Among these is that the town symbolizes one of the most under-developed areas of South Africa settled along the country’s 3200 km long coastline. It used to fall under the jurisdiction of the former Transkei homeland or Bantustan whose development was simply ignored by the apartheid government.
The town is now among coastal areas of the country earmarked earlier this year as part of a coastal and marine tourism initiative for a rapid development plan over five years beginning in 2017.
Port St Johns also falls under the O.R Tambo District Municipality which is home to former African National Congress president, Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo whose contribution to the country’s liberation struggle is being celebrated in 2017.
The World Maritime Day event held in the town on Thursday (28 September) was the second of its kind with an international maritime theme to be held in the region, the first having been the international Seafarers’ Day held in Mbizana in June.
Also preceding the event were a number of marine skills and related project targeting close on 300 youths from the region since June this year.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) driven initiatives included a Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) for youths keen on working on cruise vessels; a Corporate Social Investment Youth Skills project for youths keen on sea diving, life-guarding and related), a Coastal and Marine Tourism initiative aimed at facilitating infrastructure development and enhancement, job creation and entrepreneurship.
At Thursday’s event, Mr Masangwanyi said these maritime sector related initiatives were a clear indication of Government’s expressed commitment to driving new investment into areas that are both underdeveloped and with great potential to contribute to the country’s economy through business investment and job creation.
According to Mr Masangwanyi, there is no longer a reason why populations of people living in the country’s coastal provinces (Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal) should not be in the lead in the development of the country’s maritime economic sector.
Infrastructure development, education and skills development would be the key drivers for investment; he said.
“Government has identified the maritime sector as an important sector of the country’s economy
“Various ports across the country are receiving billions of rand in investment to enhance their capacity – facts of which will be fully revealed when President Jacob Zuma reports to the nation about the progress of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) in Durban next month.
“We are not going to leave behind Port St Johns. Among highlights of projects in the area is the expansion of the N2 and which will formally link the town of Port St Johns to increased road traffic between the major cities of East London and Durban. As much as R8-billion is being invested in the Wild Coast road construction project.
“The cabinet has approved the comprehensive maritime transport policy, it provides further opportunity for investment in the country’s maritime transport sector.
“This welcome development indicates that as a country, we cannot remain consumers of maritime services of other countries while we have such coastal heritage.
“Gone are the days when our people are consumers. Now is the time that our people should also contribute to productions of services. Gone are the days when our oceans are dominated by big shipping companies from Europe, America and Asia. Now is the time that vessels should be owned and operated by South Africans and in the main, Africans.
“Through the maritime transport and manufacturing projects we will create between 40-56 000 job opportunities, whereby our people will be involved in maritime construction, telecommunication technologies and equipment manufacturing. These will contribute between R21-25-billion to the economy of South Africa. In order achieve these goals within the set timeframes, it cannot be business as usual,” he said.
To listen to his full speech (about 20 minutes) Click on the video below.