Angola’s formal ratification of a Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement (MSRA) with South Africa recently has finally brought into fruition a 12 years old effort to establish formal cooperation on sea search and rescue operations in Southern Africa among six countries considered vital to the success of the operations in the sub region.
Angola, represented by its ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, formally signed the agreement in London during a meeting with South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula while attending to an International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council gathering on 22 July.
Also attending was the Acting Chief Executive officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Mr Sobantu Tilayi.
The objectives of the Agreement are to ensure cooperation between signatories (South Africa, Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola) by pulling together resource and infrastructure in improving maritime search and rescue in the region.
South Africa signed the Agreement in 2007 in Cape Town, and Angola was the last outstanding of the five other required signatories since then.
The sub regional agreement arrangement among these countries stemmed from a 2000 IMO Florence Conference on Search and Rescue and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System that sought to establish regional maritime SAR arrangements in Africa and invited all African coastal States to agree to the establishment of sub-regional RCCs.
The Africa region would be arranged into five sub regional areas with Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centres (MRCCs).
At that conference, South Africa was identified as one of the five countries to host a regional Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) and in 2007, the IMO formally assigned that South Africa’s MRCC in Cape Town under the control of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as the sub region’s centre with six sub centres cooperating on the basis of multilateral agreements located in the Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and now Angola.
The Africa region’s other MRCCs with a total 26 sub centres are located in Mombasa (Kenya: 2006), Lagos (Nigeria: 2008), Monrovia (Liberia: 2009) and Buoznika (Morocco: 2011), covering all African countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, from Morocco to Somalia, anti-clockwise, as well as the nearby Atlantic and Indian Ocean Island States.
According to the IMO, the centres are intended to work co-operatively to provide search and rescue coverage in what had previously been identified as one of the world’s oceans region suffering most from a lack of adequate SAR and GMDSS infrastructure.
The centres’ sharing of information would also play an important role in the fight against piracy, kidnap and ransom on the high seas – something, which IMO, and the whole maritime community, had pledged to tackle with renewed vigour over the past decade.
South Africa on Sunday joined about half a dozen countries in the world to formally ratify and become part of a key International Maritime Organisation compensation treaty covering the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by ship.
The country’s accession to the treaty was delivered by newly appointed Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula to the IMO during a meeting between him and his delegation with IMO Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London.
The South African delegation led by Mr Mbalula is attending the 122nd session of Council for the IMO that started on Sunday and continues until Friday this week.
Included in Mr Mbalula’s delegation is Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – an agency of government under the Department of Transport responsible for application and enforcement of maritime sector related conventions, treaties and related international oceans’ administration and governance instruments.
South Africa is a Member State to the United Nations’ specialised agency, the IMO as well as a member of the IMO Council. The objectives of the IMO, among other things, are to adopt international standards for maritime security and safety, ensuring the protection of pollution from ships, and to facilitate seaborne trade.
According to the IMO on Sunday, the 2010 Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (2010 HNS Convention) is a treaty which, when in force, “will provide a regime of liability and compensation for damage caused by HNS cargoes transported by sea, including oil and chemicals, and covers not only pollution damage, but also the risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life or personal injury as well as loss of or damage to property.
“An HNS Fund will be established, to pay compensation once shipowner’s liability is exhausted. This Fund will be financed through contributions paid post incident by receivers of HNS cargoes,” said the IMO.
In embracing the treaty, South Africa become the fifth country in the world – or IMO Member State) to join, after Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey
Said the IMO: “As required by the treaty, South Africa provided data on the total quantities of liable contributing cargo. Entry into force of the treaty requires accession by at least 12 States, meeting certain criteria in relation to tonnage and reporting annually the quantity of HNS cargo received in a State.
“The treaty requires a total quantity of at least 40 million tonnes of cargo contributing to the general account to have been received in the preceding calendar year. The total quantity of contributing cargo has reached 9.8 million tonnes.
For Mr Mbalula’s remarks during the deposit of the SA’s accession to the IMO treaty, please Click below.
South Africa’s maritime transport sector is poised for a significant shake-up and shape-up phase over the next few years including the possible corporatization of the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), establishment of innovation hubs, reconfiguration of maritime education and training as well as a push towards domestication of local shipping trade transport occurring along the country’s and southern region coastal areas.
That is according to South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande in an address to delegates to the country’s inaugural maritime transport sector dialogue held in Durban on Thursday and Friday this week.
The gathering at the Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel on the Durban beachfront and with its focus on the maritime transport sector, was the first in a series planned for the country’s transport industry over the next few months and years.
Guiding focus of the maritime transport sector dialogue was the recently promulgated Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP), a product of the National Transport Masterplan (NATMAP) 2050, aimed at facilitating collective pursuit and achievement of maritime sector economic development targets some set under the country’s Operation Phakisa: Ocean’s Economy programme for the next decade.
Among other things, the CMTP requires the Department of Transport to ‘initiate programmes to holistically and coherently grow and develop the South African maritime transport sector.’
On Thursday in Durban, Dr Nzimande who celebrated his first full year as Minister of Transport in February, said several proposals towards fulfillment of the goal were on the table for consideration. Among these was the setting up soon of a Maritime Transport Sector Development Council (MTSD), a development delegates to the dialogue have since endorsed.
Dr Nzimande said the council may be up and running by June 2019, even if on an interim basis pending finalization of its member composition and related matters.
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) corporatisation
However, also on the cards was a contemplated corporatisation of the country’s ports management entity, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), with a view to unlocking vast economic opportunities identified within the country’s ports area of contribution and influence.
Dr Nzimande said “The present policy and legislation of government requires that we corporatize the Transnet National Ports Authority. I will be tasking the National Ports Consultative Committee to advise me on the steps to be undertaken to implement this crucial piece of legislation.
“I know that there is a debate (about this) because there are some people who are not wild about this idea. But a debate is good.”
He said this would take place against the backdrop of recognition that the country’s ports regulator was already doing a sterling job in creating a conducive and investor friendly environment at the ports, and also helping to reduce costs of doing business in the economic zones.
For Dr Nzimande’s remarks on the topic, Click on the 3 minutes video below
Transport innovation hubs
Dr Nzimande said another crucial intervention would be the establishment of transport innovation hubs to facilitate the harnessing of talent and skills in the development of solutions to the country’s transport sector, inclusive of the maritime sector.
Describing this as something ‘very close to my heart’, Dr Nzimande said: “I am really committed into investing in having transport innovation hubs. We are not going to transform the transport sector generally, or any mode of transport, without investment into science, technology and innovation.”
Illustrating the particular importance of this aspect of development, Dr Nzimande drew an example about the country’s rail transport and said it was inconceivable that in modern times, trains in South Africa were still colliding randomly on railways when transport mobility technology had so advanced such that such collisions should be history.
He said the innovations hubs would facilitate the promotion and harnessing of science, technology and innovation ideas for deployment in areas of transport to help improve both functionality as well as efficient services. He said he would set up a task team to explore and pursue the idea towards implementation.
For Dr Nzimande’s remarks on the topic, Click on the 3 minutes video below
Focused education, training and skills transfer
On education and training, Dr Nzimande said empowerment and transformation in the sector was proving futile in the absence of proper and relevant education, training and skills transfer.
He said black economic empowerment was meaningless if it was limited only to shareholding while those sought to be empowered knew next to nothing about managing and understanding businesses in the maritime economic sector.
Towards addressing the situation, Dr Nzimande said his department would engage with various role-players inclusive of the Department of Higher Education and Training, with a view to establishing a dedicated education, training and skills development focus for the sector.
For his remarks on this aspect, Click on the video below:
Domestication of shipping and localization of content
Dr Nzimande also reflected on a number of issues inclusive of the need for a South Africa owned fleet of shipping vessels, as well as an increase in local content in the boat and ships repair and manufacturing subsectors.
On development of locally owned or registered ships, Dr Nzimande said coastal shipping could be supported in various ways inclusive of local mining output, but also the shifting some of the road transported goods onto ships that would service the southern African region.
With regards utilization of local content in ship repair and manufacturing, he said empowerment through shareholding by South Africans in operations that were importing goods that could be manufactured locally actually amounted to dis-empowerment as such schemes derived no meaningful and sustainable benefits for the local economy.
The horrible wet and stormy weather that hit the port city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday resulting in a massive flooding in parts of the city and causing chaos with shipping at the port, will continue to be monitored for its effects on sea traffic, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has said.
In a media statement shared on social media early on Wednesday, SAMSA said after the breakout of the heavy downpour of rain and massive storm that led rapidly to some vessels at the port of Durban breaking loose and drifting dangerously, the organisation – jointly worked closely with the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) round the clock to manage the chaotic situation.
The SAMSA statement released early today reads as follows:
October 10, 2017: Durban, South Africa:
The South African Maritime Safety Authority, working with the Transnet National Ports Authority in the emergency response operations within the Port of Durban today (Tuesday), will continue to monitor Durban’s and the coastal weather and sea conditions.
Chief Operating Officer for SAMSA, Sobantu Tilayi confirmed together with TNPA, SAMSA provided technical support during the multi vessel emergency operation. This was as a result of the major storm that hit Durban at about 09h30 this morning.
Tilayi said: “Our principal officer from SAMSA Durban office, Captain Hopewell Mkhize together with the Port of Durban Harbour Master, Captain Alex Miya convened a Joint Operations Committee which managed the emergency response operations. Five container ships in total were affected. We will continue monitoring weather conditions along the coast and monitor the situation in Durban for the next 48 hours.”
He said the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, has been kept abreast of the emergency response and salvage operations.
An emergency meeting was convened at approximately 11h30 today with Mkhize and Miya to form a joint command and engage on the re-floating for the vessels MSC Innes, SM York, Bow Triumph and SA Shipyard floating dock with the new harbour tug. The meeting also dealt with vessels MSC Susanna and Maritime Newanda that broke moorings and had to be held by harbour tugs to prevent them also running aground.
The vessel, MSC Innes took priority as it blocked the port entrance. It took 5 tugs to re-float the 330-metre long container vessel and once re-floated, she was allocated a berth in the port for damage inspection.
The vessel, Bow Triumph, a 183-metre long product tanker, which was berthed in Island View broke its moorings and ran aground on the sand bank near the Island View Terminal. The vessel was re-floated at 16h30 and it took further effort to clear the anchors which were still stuck. All re-floating operations were completed at 17h30 and the vessel was allocated a berth overnight for damage inspection.
The vessel, MS New York, a 330-metre long container vessel, which ran aground near Maydon Wharf was also re-floated successfully and was allocated a berth for damage inspection. By 7pm tonight the vessel, MSC Susana, which had earlier broke from its mooring ropes, was secured. The Maritime Newanda vessel which broke loose was held by tugs and is currently berthed at Maydon Wharf.
The SA Shipyards’ floating dock and new tug remain grounded on bank. It will be attended to in daylight hours.
TNPA reported that there was a straddle carrier which was blown into the water and remains unsecured. There are also reports that some cranes were derailed by strong winds. Of concern, according to Tilayi, are reports that there were about three containers believed to have been lost into the water with the exact position unknown. These pose a danger to navigation within the vicinity. TNPA confirmed that a search will be conducted in daylight hours.
There were no injuries no pollution reported on all the above incidents. Durban Port was closed due to debris in the water and unknown position of some containers which pose danger to navigation and damages to vessels.
“We are pleased with the overall cooperation from all stakeholders and the swift action to ensure the safety of people and equipment. More importantly is the demonstration of emergency preparedness that was displayed during this major incident. It is the first time that we have had to attend to this number of casualties simultaneously.
“We are pleased by the reaction of TNPA and their handling of the incident. We are increasingly getting confronted with deteriorating weather patterns and can expect similar incidents in the future given the effects of climate change. It was a saving grace that all this took place within the harbour where all resources are concentrated, it could have been worse if it was over a large open sea area. A full SAMSA report will be done once all salvage operations are completed,” Tilayi said.
South Africa’s first three black female Master Mariners (a.k.a ship Captains) received a warm welcome and applause at the country’s Parliament on Tuesday when they were introduced to lawmakers for the first time by the Minister of Transport, Joe Masangwanyi.
Mr Masangwanyi introduced the trio to Parliament during his maiden speech as Transport Minister in which delivered the ministry’s budget for the 2017/2018 financial year.
In his speech during which he also announced an allocation of about R119-million for maritime, Mr Masangwanyi described the Master Mariner qualification obtained by Captains Thembela Taboshe, Captain Tsepo Motloutsi and Captain Pretty Molefe in 2016 as the highest qualification for seafarers, and which enables them to command vessels of up to 3000 tons worldwide.
The three ship captains who made history by being the first black African females to do so, are currently working as ship surveyors for the South African Maritime Safety (SAMSA) at the port of Durban while furthering their academic studies in maritime law.
In the video below, Mr Maswangwayi makes his remarks about the three pioneers from 19:38 minutes to 20:30 minutes.
Meanwhile, a number of SAMSA projects came under the spotlight during the debate including the establishment a year ago of ships bunkering services at the port of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, some aspects of its involvement in cadet training as well as its social responsibility contributions to communities impacted by maritime activities, among them the community of Enkovekuni at uMhlabauyalingana in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as projects earmarked for the Port St Johns community in the current year.
A double-digit increase in the budget allocation by the Department of Transport for maritime sector development in the 2016/17 financial year is yet another signal of Government’s commitment and determination to strengthen focus on the important sector of the country’s economy.
In her budget vote for the 2016/17 financial year presented to Parliament recently, Minister of Transport Ms Dipuo Peters said that the maritime sector’s budget allocation had been raised from R111-million in the previous year to R122-million in the current, an increase of 10%.
This was more than twice the increase the Department of Transport received for its total budget, which rose about 4% from R53.5-billion in the previous year to R56-billion in the 2016/16 financial year.
Naturally, the bulk of the department’s budget allocation went to road transport (R24.7-billion), rail transport (R19-billion), public transport (R11.7-billion), with civil aviation and maritime allocated R253-million and R122-million respectively.
The figures reflect increases of approximately nine (9) percent for road transport, four (4) percent for rail transport, two (2) percent for public transport, 69% for civil aviation and 10% for maritime sector.
According to Ms Peters in her budget vote on May 10, the double-digit budget increase in the allocation to the maritime sector reflects the increasing focus the country now has on development of the sector for transformation and formal integration in the main economy.
She noted specifically the role played by the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in this regard and whose visionary and pioneering role over the last few years had contributed immensely to among others things, the launch of Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy and the latter whose six labs are currently at work developing focused strategies for rapid development of the sector.
Ms Peters told Parliament that: “Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow South Africans; in the last two years the country increased its focus on the opportunities our more 3000km of coastline provide when Operation Phakisa; Oceans Economy was launched.
“This then called for the DoT and other departments to align strategic, legislative, policy and regulatory frameworks. This was done both for governance and economic reasons.
“The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has wasted no time in embracing this groundbreaking economic stream.
“SAMSA has struck a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the Department of Higher Education in a National Cadetship Programme. This has resulted in one hundred and twenty-four (124) cadets being placed on eighteen (18) partner vessels.”
She further noted that the establishment of the country’s Ports Regulator had begun to make positive impacts, noting that: “A strategy to make doing business with our South African ports attractive, has seen zero percent (0%) increase on all cargo dues – thanks to the Ports Regulator South Africa. In support of drought relief and its impact on food prices, maize cargo dues for the first 5 million tons will be discounted by 50% in 2016/17 financial year.”
The South African government efforts to redevelop and grow the country’s maritime economic sector have been given yet another with boost with the formal registration of the first shipping vessel under the country’s flag.
The historical event that took place in China earlier this month and celebrated in Saldanha Bay on Thursday afternoon last week, marked the first time any commercial shipping vessel has been formally registered to carry a South African flag since about three decades ago.
The vessel named Cape Orchard is privately owned by Vuka Marine, a South African joint venture company between Via Maritime Holdings (South Africa) and Hong Kong based Japanese firm, K-Line.
The registered vessel, named the Cape Orchard; was officially unveiled at a ceremony in Saldanha Bay on Thursday afternoon (September 24, 2015) and during which event, the first three South African cadets onboard a South Africa registered vessel were placed– also a historical first.