AFRICA WOMEN’S ROLE IN CONTINENT’S MARITIME SECTOR DEVELOPMENT GIVEN A BOOST!

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AAMA and WOMESA reach agreement on a Memorandum of Agreement setting a base for greater and closer cooperation

Pretoria: 01 June 2016

IMG_4696 (2)Efforts to bolster the role and impact of women in the development of Africa’s maritime sector are to receive a further boost following a preliminary agreement between Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) and the Association of Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa (WOMESA) to formalize co-operation in pursuance of programmes to empower women.

AAMA is the coordinating body for the Maritime Administrations in Africa established in terms of the African Maritime Transport Charter (AMTC), while WOMESA is an association of women established under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) with the aim of enabling women to train in maritime and thereby acquire the high levels of competence that the maritime industry demands.

The two bodies reached an agreement during a meeting in Ethiopia in early 2016 to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will facilitate among other things; joint undertakings or close collaboration in a number of activities and initiatives aimed at strengthening the role and impact of women participation in the continent’s maritime economic sector development.

Mr Benard Bobison-Opoku, AAMA Secretariat and Legal Counsel at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
Mr Benard Bobison-Opoku, AAMA Secretariat and Legal Counsel at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
Mr Collins Makhado, Executive Head of Centre for Industry Development also at SAMSA
Mr Collins Makhado, Executive Head of Centre for Industry Development at SAMSA representing AAMA Chairman, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO of SAMSA

Representing AAMA on the agreement were Mr Benard Bobison-Opoku, AAMA Secretariat and Legal Counsel at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and Mr Collins Makhado, Executive Head of Centre for Industry Development also at SAMSA, representing the Chairperson of AAMA, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele; while Mrs Veronica Maina, Head of WOMESA Secretariat represented the women’s association.

The MoU, soon to be formally ratified; will enjoin the parties to among other things;

  • Promote general cooperation in the implementation of the broader African maritime development agenda as envisaged in the AMTC, 2050 AIM Strategy (AIM Strategy) and SADC Protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology;
  • Promote the development of skills on maritime safety, security and preservation of marine environment, under IMO, ILO and other international, continental and regional instruments;
  • Reciprocate access to each other’s conference platforms and avail opportunities for business to business networking and the participation of its industry constituencies. These include the transformation platforms focusing on African women in maritime, African maritime youth development, enterprise development and job creation, etc.;
  • Explore current mechanisms/instruments for the provision of financial support to WOMESA local Chapters seeking to engage on potential investments in the maritime sector;
  • Facilitate access to and availing of experts and contributors to each other’s platforms for strategic conversations; and
  • Provide financial and non-financial support for the realisation of the objectives of initiatives and programmes as outlined.
(Photo courtesy of WOMESA)
(Photo courtesy of WOMESA)

The agreement on the MoU was reached between the two bodies during WOMESA’s 7th Annual Conference/ Training, Annual General Meeting and Governing Council Meeting held from 22 to 26 February 2016 at the Adulala Resort & Spa at Debrezeit Babogaya, Ethiopia.

According to a recent WOMESA report on the conference, members of the association came from across 14 countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa region, participated at the event.

The countries included the Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania.

Issues dealt with during the gathering included:

  • The democratic debate on the grey shades of Maritime Women Leadership
  • Young women as the new driving force behind maritime and the integrated transport system
  • Building Africa’s blue economy: Setting common agenda at the regional level
  • The impact of The Impact of Increasing Vessels Size and Alliance on Port Operations
  • The role of emotional intelligence in career progression
  • Impact of gender stereotypes on advancement leadership by women.

WOMESA also conducted an elective conference that saw Mauritian, Mrs. Meenaksi Bhirugnath Bhookhun as chairman of its Governing Council and Tanzanian, Mrs. Hiacinter Burchard Rwechungura as her deputy.

The rest of the council is made up of Mrs Fatma Yusuf (Kenya) as Secretary
Ms. Liyuwork Amare Shiferaw (Ethiopia) as Treasurer, Ms Karine Rassool (Seychelles as Marketing & Communication Officer, Mrs Catherine Wairi (Kenya) and honorary member, and Mrs. Tamanda Kalilombe (Malawi) as Council Member, while Mrs Nancy Karigithu (Kenya) and Mrs Nomita Seebaluck (Mauritius) were also roped in as ‘co-opted’ Council members

Working alongside Mrs Maina as WOMESA’s Secretariat is Mrs.Rosemary Oile as the association’s Programme Director.

End

Arrested Chinese vessel faces more charges – to remain in custody until fines are paid: SAMSA

Pretoria: 18 May 2016

The Chinese fishing vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186 captured and arrested by South African authorities last weekend after being found to have conducted itself illegally, is to remain in South African custody until all fines imposed on its owners have been settled, alternatively, a court case is instituted, goes on trial and concluded.

An image of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186. Courtesy of Independent Online
An image of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186. Courtesy of Independent Online

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which on Wednesday (18 May 2016) announced to have found that the vessel had contravened environmental laws governing the country’s territorial waters.

In the statement, SAMSA said its investigation had established that documentation of the vessel was  in order. However, it had been found to have violated the country’s environmental laws governing the oceans. SAMSA confirmed that: “the fishing vessel was detained today and two Admission of Contraventions were issued to the master and owner of the vessel.

“The detention and fines were issued because of an unauthorised pump and flexible pipes from the engine room bilges directly over the side and that no Oil Record Book was available on board the vessel.

An image taken by SAMSA investigators aboard the Chinese vessel arrested in Cape Town and which show the condition of some of the water and oil management pipeline on the vessel.
An image taken by SAMSA investigators aboard the Chinese fishing vessel arrested in Cape Town and which show the condition of some of the water and oil management pipeline on the vessel.

“This is a direct violation of our marine pollution legislation. The vessel will only be released once the two non-conformities has been rectified and detention fee paid.

“We still have to wait to see if the master and owner will accept and pay the Admission of Contraventions or prefer to go to court, in which case we will have to lay charges at the police station and allow the law to takes its course,” said SAMSA in a statement.

The organisation further said that the country’s ports authority, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and other relevant authorities had been notified of the detention.

DAFF briefed on findings

Earlier on Wednesday, SAMSA officials also met and briefed the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga of their findings and determination following a visit and on board investigation of the vessel by the organisation’s surveyors on Monday afternoon.

A second image taken by SAMSA investigators aboard the Chinese vessel arrested in Cape Town and which show the condition of some of the water and oil management pipeline on the vessel.
A second image taken by SAMSA investigators aboard the Chinese vessel arrested in Cape Town and which show the condition of some of the water and oil management pipeline on the vessel.

The SAMSA findings and fines will be in addition to a set of others fines imposed on the vessel by other South African authorities including DAFF and SARS.

This followed the capture and arrest of the Chinese fishing vessel with nine crew on board on Friday last week off the coast of the Eastern Cape and berthed at the port of Cape Town.

It and several similar vessels believed to be from the same company, en route to the DR Congo were sought to be rounded up by DAFF officials for inspection following reports of suspicious behaviour, but refused.

According to DAFF, the vessels were initially rounded up and ordered to obey officials, but soon scattered and disappeared, except for the one that was eventually captured and arrested.

A DAFF spokesman, Ms Bomikazi Molapo said: “The crew claimed to have been travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo where they claim they were going to fish and claim to have the necessary permits to do so. We have also established that this fleet of nine vessels is related and belong to the same company.”

Shortly after its berthing at the Cape Town harbour on Saturday, according to DAFF, rummaging was conducted on the captured vessel involving the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South African Revenue Services (SARS) as well as the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

Ms Molapo said while the early investigators found no fish on board the vessel, it had however violated the country’s Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) in that the fishing vessel entered the country’s EEZ without the authority of a valid permit.

“The vessel also contravened Section 56 (2) in that (the) Master or crew member of the fishing vessel in question, did not immediately comply with lawful instruction as given by a fishery control officer and also did not facilitate the safe boarding, entry and inspection of the fishing vessel,” she said.

Due to these violations, DAFF issued a seizure notice that will involve the vessel, its gear and equipment, stores as well as cargo.

In terms of this, the vessel will not be allowed to leave the port of Cape Town or relocate to any other berthing space within the port, unless authorized to do so by DAFF.

According to DAFF, SARS had also fined the vessel R8 000 for tobacco and cigarette related charges. SAPS was also following up and investigating a case involving the keeping of dogs in the vessel.

Centre for Sea Watch and Response had kept an eye on the vessels

A screen image of the tracked route of the 10 Chinese fishing vessels that went past the South African coast and one of which was captured following to violation of some of the country's territorial waters' management laws.
A SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response tracking system screen image of the tracked route of the 10 Chinese fishing vessels that went past the South African coast and one of which was captured following to violation of some of the country’s territorial waters’ management laws.

Meanwhile, it has since dawned that the SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response (CSWR) had actually tracked a number of the vessels as soon as they were within South Africa’s territorial waters on 07 May 2016 and according to its report, the Chinese fishing vessels had left China at the end of March 2016 destined for the Congo in West Africa.

The Centre said it had tracking AIS data for only six of vessels, indicating that carriage of AIS transponders for fishing vessels was a “flag State” requirement and that not all fishing vessels carried these devices.

A SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Rescue image showing the location of the rest of the Chinese fishing vessels along the Namibian coast earlier this week
A SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response image showing the location of the rest of the Chinese fishing vessels along the Namibian coast earlier this week

This notwithstanding, the Centre said it had noted that the 10 vessels were detected by MRCC Mauritius and their National Coast Guard (NCG) aircraft was launched to interrogate (them). Their identities were established as Lu Huang Yuan Yu 185, 187, 197 and 199 and these were heading towards Congo.

Six others, the Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186, 188,189,195, 198, and Xu Huo 9618 were bound for Port Louis, and arrived on 28 April before departing on 01 May after bunkering at outer anchorage.

The Centre said: “The vessels entered SA waters on 07 May; passing through territorial waters off Richards Bay about 19h00 on 08 May, and Durban on 09 May; then Port Elizabeth on 10 May and rounded Cape Agulhas on 11 May, and off Cape Town about 14h00 on 12 May heading toward Saldanha Bay area. This is a distance of about 880 miles in about 91 hours which equates to an average speed of 9,6 knots.

A SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Rescue tracking system image showing the actual route taken by the Chinese vessels since leaving China about two months ago.
A SAMSA Centre for Sea Watch and Response tracking system image showing the actual route taken by the Chinese vessels since leaving China about two months ago.

According to the Centre, the track data of the six vessels indicate that they entered the SA coast near Richards Bay and stayed within the territorial zone all the way and passed Cape Town in keeping with their response to the Mauritian Authority of heading to the Congo.

The Centre said following the attempted roundup of the fishing vessels for inspection by the DAFF’s coast guard vessel, the FPV Victoria Mxenge, about 25 miles SW of Saldanha, the vessels dispersed and eventually continued heading northward towards Namibian waters.

SAMSA said that Namibian authorities had since been informed about the alleged incidents in South African waters.

The latest tracks show eight of the 10 vessels off Angola, outside of their EEZ.

End.