Off shore bunkering services, otherwise known as ship-to-ship oil/fuel transfers remain suspended in Algoa Bay near Ngqurha (a.k.a Port Elizabeth) on South Africa’s eastern seaboard as a national incident management structure strengthens its grip on containment measures of an oil spill at sea that occurred at midday on Monday.
This is according to a joint statement by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) and Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in Pretoria just after lunch hour on Wednesday, this following several measures undertaken to contain the oil spill – including an aerial surveillance of the coastal region to be carried out twice a day until such time that the authorities are satisfied it is no longer necessary.
According to the parties, the oil spill in the ocean occurred while two tanker vessels belonging to the same bunkering services firm, Minerva, were conducting an oil transfer at about midday on Monday. It had not yet been established what led to the incident, they said.
On being alerted, however, according to the authorities; the country’s oil spill incident management structure immediately launched an oil spill containment and extraction process in place, which included a suspension of ship-to-ship transfers in the period until further notice.
In the statement on Wednesday, said SAMSA/DFFE and TNPA: “Five oil recovery boats are being used to collect the oil and by Tuesday afternoon all the visible heavy oil had been collected while large patches of light oil sheen were spotted in Algoa Bay.
“A helicopter was used for aerial surveillance and to assist in directing the boats towards the oil sheen for collection. However due to rough sea conditions, the oil recovery was suspended by 15:35. The removal of the oil (soaked) “oil absorbent material” between the two vessels continued throughout the night.
“Aerial surveillance has been increased to two flights per day from today (Wednesday) with a vessel launched (with a) small drone assisting with the clean-up operations and continuous aerial surveillance in the immediate area around the vessel.
“The DFFE offshore patrol vessel Sarah Baartman will arrive in Algoa Bay tonight and will be available to assist with clean-up operations if need be,” they said.
With regards the expanse of the oil spread on the ocean area affected, the authorities said: “Oil spill modelling provided by the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) indicates that the oil will not impact the Swartkops River nor (Nelson Mandela Bay) Metro beaches, but will drift eastward towards the beaches of Woody Cape. Beach inspections were carried out on Tuesday and will continue today.”
On fears about the oil soaking wild sea birds in the area; the authorities said in the statement that: “No oiled birds or wildlife have been spotted so far. However, members of the public are requested to report such (sightings) to SANPARKS or SANCCOB Gqeberha at Cape Recife Nature Reserve on 063 942 4702, but not to approach or try to capture the affected wildlife.
Concerning the immediate fate of the two tankers involved in the oil spill incident, the authorities said the vessels were still alongside each other on location of the incident while a decision was being made on how best to further handle them.
They said: “Although the two tankers are still alongside each other as a preventative measure, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment are evaluating whether it is safe to bring the bunker tanker, MT Lefkas into port today while the motor tanker Umnenga II remain offshore in the bay until a berth is available in the Port of Ngqura. Both tankers are operated by Minerva Bunkering. The exact quantity of oil spilt is still under investigation.
Occurring just 10 days after the country’s multisectoral Interim Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg) under the Department of Transport (DoT) conducted a five day training and live mock oil spillage management exercise near Robben Island, Western Cape, from May 9-13; SAMSA, DFFE and Transnet said Wednesday the unfortunate incident at Algoa Bay this week could not be more appropriately timed as the country was now properly prepared to handle incidents of the nature.
They said: “It is fortunate that the last full-scale joint industry-government oil spill response deployment exercise was held in Cape Town on 12-13 May where the National Oil Spill Response Plan was tried and tested.
“This exercise helped considerably to ensure that the response for the spill in Algoa Bay was managed in the best possible manner and allowed for the quick deployment of resources to contain the spread of the oil and oil spill modelling. An investigation has commenced to ascertain the cause of the spillage. Bunkering operations remains suspended in Algoa Bay.”
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says an investigation is underway to establish the cause of the oil spillage incident during a bunkering service off the port of Ngqhura near Port Elizabeth on Saturday morning,
This follows confirmed reports of an oil spillage at sea while a trade vessel was being refuelled. It was reported that as much 200-400 litters of fuel spilt into the ocean. However, the bunkering services company involved, SA Marine Fuels, soon activated an oil spillage control exercise to contain its spread on water.
A Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries’ statement on Saturday said the vessel involved was the Liberia flag carrying trade ship known as the MV Chrysanthi S. The department said it had been “notified of an oil spill that took place in Algoa Bay in the early hours of Saturday. The incident took place at approximately 04h40 (in the) morning during offshore bunkering operations in Anchorage 1 of the Port of Nqura.
“It was reported that approximately 200 to 400 litters of fuel from the receiving vessel MV Chrysanthi S, flag state Liberia, was spilled into the sea as a result of overflow during the fuel transfer. SA Marine Fuels proceeded to dispatch a commercial oil spill response service provider to mitigate and contain the spread of the spill.
“This incident is currently considered a Tier 1 level incident which does not require intervention from the national authorities as local resources are sufficient. The department will provide assistance if the incident escalates and requires it.”
The department further said weather conditions in the Algoa Bay area on Saturday were hindering operations, which include wildlife assessments.
“However, the situation has been reported to be managed and under control. The oil is not expected to reach the coast and currently moving in an offshore direction. Transnet National Ports Authority, South African National Parks (SANParks), the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and other environmental bodies have been notified and are monitoring the situation along with our department.
” A contingency plan is in place for the Diaz Zone (Algoa Bay) and the Department will activate it should it be determined that oil is likely to wash ashore.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, SAMSA said it had become fully aware of the incident and that an investigation was being rolled out to establish its cause.
The agency in a statement said: “SAMSA with other authorities will conduct a comprehensive investigation of the incident. An inspection will be conducted tomorrow (Monday) to check if the beach and islands are not affected.”
SAMSA noted however at the time of its statement on Sunday, that monitoring of the oil had indicated that there were no oil traces on the water in the areas yet.
In its earlier statement, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries said it was responsible for matters relating to the combating of oil pollution at sea under Section 52(1) of the South African Maritime Safety Authority Act.
The department said: “Specific arrangements and tactics for responding to incidents are contained in a suite of local oil spill contingency plans managed by the department.
The department further added than an Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg), consisting of various stakeholders including the department, had been established through Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy to address South Africa’s oil spill response capability in the marine environment.
“The IMOrg hosted an oil spill exercise in November 2018 testing the response capability in Algoa Bay and is also keeping a close watch of the incident circumstances and status,” said the department.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is not apologetic about the approach of its contribution to economic development in the Eastern Cape insofar as it is consistent with its legislated mandate to, among other things; promote South Africa’s maritime economic interests.
This is according to the agency’s acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi in response to mounting criticism levelled against the agency with regards to its role in the attraction of investment into bunkering services now operational in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, as well as its rural maritime economic development projects involving the basic skilling and recruitment of rural coastal youths into cruise tourism globally.
The latter initiative which has seen more than 300 youths trained and found employment in MSC cruise vessels across the world was launched in the province in 2017 with the financial backing of the Office of the Premier, Eastern Cape, and technical and administrative support by Harambe.
It was initiated in Gauteng in 2016 with the support of Gauteng provincial government and is open to all provinces keen on it.
The bunkering services – essentially an international fuel services station established in the port of Port Elizabeth ocean precinct at the initiation of SAMSA – also began operations in 2016.
Recently, certain groupings, involving mainly environmentalists, have mounted opposition to the venture – now involving three services providers inclusive of a black owned all women company – on fears of possible environmental degradation due to possible oil spillages.
In response during a formal function to mark the registration of a fifth vessel under the South African flag in the port of Port Elizabeth a week ago, Mr Tilayi said the introduction of the bunkering services in the city had been undertaken following careful assessment of its suitability for the international service to trade cargo vessels passing along the southern oceans of Africa.
In addition, he said SAMSA was the country’s agency tasked with prevention of pollution by ships along the country’s three oceans, and also responsible for ensuring the safety of people and property at sea. Therefore, it was incumbent upon SAMSA to make sure there was no environmental threat of the seas by the bunkering services.
Working jointly and closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs, SAMSA had ensured that no danger would be posed by the bunkering services in the Port Elizabeth coastal region beyond pure accidents and which, if experienced, would be managed according to approved safeguard processes already in place.
However, consistent with both SAMSA’s mandate as well as objectives of the Operations Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative launched in 2014, crucially, a major consideration was that the investment into the bunkering services was a necessary economic intervention for especially the region of the Eastern Cape province that had historically been ignored by previous government policies and initiatives.
He said contrary to claims by critics, the bunkering services had yielded positive results as it had to date generated sizeable financial income for the Nelson Mandela Bay region running into millions of rand and created employment for about 300-500 people directly and in downstream businesses.
But in addition, broadly, SAMSA had directed its efforts towards rural coastal areas in the Eastern Cape province to contribute to both skills development as well as jobs creation for youth. This was undertaken through two projects, the SAMSA Rural Maritime Development Programme as well as the Maritime Youth Development Programme.
The RMDP involves three broad areas, basic maritime skills development, fishing and marine tourism. The MYDP is focused on basic skills development and placement of youths on cruise vessels.
According to Mr Tilayi, the targeting of rural coastal areas of the Eastern Cape for these services as opposite to hinterland areas, was deliberate and informed by a defined need to ensure direct participation and beneficiation of the communities closest to the oceans on oceans economy development that was right at their own doorstep.
“It is a great pity, and regrettable that some in the Eastern Cape are finding reasons to look down on and denounce our efforts. But we are not apologetic about our approach to contribution to development of the region and frankly, we would prefer partnerships and collaboration to ensure that people of this region participate and benefit.
“But we are grateful and encouraged that many others in this region, including especially the Eastern Cape provincial government, are giving full support to our endeavours”
For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on the issues, click on the video below.
The development of a cadre of knowledgeable personnel with high expertise in the management of illegal fishing in South Africa and in the rest of the continent has been given a further boost with the allocation of an additional financial support of about R1-million by the Norwegian government.
The additional funding confirmed earlier this week will go to the Nelson Mandela University (NMU)’s Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy (a.k.a FISHFORCE) established in 2016.
The academy was set up at the NMU through a R50-million financial support, over five years, by Norway with the goal of establishing a core of graduates with knowledge and expertise in the management of illegal fishing as well as contribute to development of effective strategies.
On Monday, Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø in the company of South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom; visited the NMU for the signing of a bilateral agreement cognizant of the additional R1-million funding.
Ahead of the signing ceremony, during the launch of an African Youth Waste Network early on Monday, Mr Alf Yngve Frisso, Counselor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa said the additional funding would go towards training of port security officers – a category of key personnel that was not covered in the initial funding bilateral agreement with the NMU.
“These people work 24 hours a day at the ports and a lot of them do not have training in identifying fish species and different types of fishing crimes. The additional funding will go to the NMU FishForce Academy in order to increase and enhance these officials level of knowledge and expertise.” he said.
The beneficiaries of the Norwegian government support would not be limited to South Africans only, but would include other African countries, he said.
For more on this, click on the video below.
Norway commits additional R2.8-million to fight against plastic pollution
Meanwhile, Ms Nybø (38), on her first visit to South Africa, said collaboration between Norway and South Africa on strategic interventions in oceans management and related endeavors remained important to her government.
Addressing guests attending the launch of the youth network, Ms Nybø said she her government was impressed by both the initiative to rope in youth in the war against plastic waste pollution, as it was by the research, education and training undertaken by the Nelson Mandela University.
On plastic pollution, she said given realistic prospects that there would be more plastic at sea than fish in the near future, and that Africa would become the most polluted area of the world and a major contributor to plastic waste pollution, Norway’s government commitment to efforts to eliminate plastic waste pollution would be demonstrated through a direct investment of some 1.6-million Norwegian krone (R2.8-million) over the next three years.
To listen to Ms Nybø’s full remarks (about 08.20 minutes), please click on the video below.
Seventeen years from now, Africa must be rid of the menace of plastic waste infesting particularly the oceans surrounding it, that is the ambitious target the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) is setting itself in the global war against plastic waste.
That is according to its lead member, the Port Elizabeth based non governmental organization, Sustainable Seas Trust, which this week launched an initiative called the Africa Youth Waste Network to rope in the continent’s youth in the battle against mounting plastic pollution all across Africa.
The youth initiative is part of a broader campaign by the SST and AYWN that is financially backed by the Norwegian government and which has already seen the establishment of an African Marine Waste Academy in Nelson Mandela Bay earlier this year.
Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Isebin Nybo together with South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom were among high profile guests in Nelson Mandela Bay on Monday for the launch of the youth initiative.
Other guests included local government officials as well as academics from both the Nelson Mandela University as well as Norway’s University of Bergen.
Some scholarly ongoing research findings shared at the event depicted a dire picture of the highly negative impacts of plastic waste, particularly that which enters the African continent’s oceans.
Among the findings was that not only was plastic waste reaching the oceans now at unsustainable levels, but also that certain fish species were already feeding on it and in the process, posing a real and immediate high risk to both human and other creatures lives that feed on fish.
According to (SST) CEO, Dr Anthony Ribbink, time for talking about the pending disaster was over and target dates had to be set for defined action to show results, hence the group has set 2035 as the year on which Africa will be rid of plastic waste and resultant pollution.
Central to the strategy for cleaning up and eventually eliminating plastic waste will be the engagement of particularly youth across the continent through the newly set up network, combining it with ongoing academic research, but also a development of economic opportunities to both manage and get rid of plastic waste.
Key role players will include municipalities across towns and cities of the continent.
According to Dr Ribbink, the first target African city for the major clean up campaign will be Nelson Mandela Bay whose deadline for reaching a zero plastic waste status has been set even more tighter, as 2021.
“We want to make sure that Nelson Mandela Bay becomes the first city in Africa to reach zero plastic waste by 2021 and the local municipal government has committed to the target.”
He also announced that the African Marine Waste Network with 42 members countries across the continent will hold its second conference in April 2020 and during which concrete plans for the rest of the continent will be shared.
In the video below, Dr Ribbink explains the thinking.
Meanwhile, Ms Alexie Kalenga, coordinator of the AYWN explained the rationale behind the active engagement of especially young people in the Africa war against plastic waste.
She said recent population statistics indicated two critical aspects about Africa’s population: that young people aged between 16 and 25 years hold (225-million as at 2015) constituted about 60% of the continent’s population and about 19% of the world’s population and were therefore the largest majority by far.
But crucially, this figure was projected to almost double to 456-million by 2055, thereby reflecting a rapidly growing population, with huge implications for waste generation and management as, she said, waste accumulation had been proved to be a function of population size.
She said the network was intended to be an active platform for collaboration, resource and knowledge sharing among young people across countries.
“It’s a youth driven initiative that aims at zero pollution and clean seas by 2035.
In the video below, Ms Kalenga shares more detail.
Cleaning up and ridding South Africa of particularly plastic waste that eventually lands up at the country’s oceans to the disastrous peril of sea life, is going to be the next big war to be waged intensely by Government in collaboration with society, says Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom
Mr Hanekom confirmed this while attending the launch of an initiative to rope in and actively involve African youth in the war against plastic waste, as well as the signing of yet another collaboration agreement between the Norwegian government and the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
Both the launch of the African Youth Waste Network by the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) as well as the collaborative agreement signed between the Norwegian government and the Nelson Mandela University on Monday to strengthen and expand education and training related to ocean’s management, are seen as key components to strengthening South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative to rejuvenate and grow the country’s maritime economic sector.
SST is Port Elizabeth based South African non governmental organization that is part of the African Marine Waste Network launched in South Africa in 2017 with 42 member countries across the African continent.
The launch of the African Youth Waste Network (AYWN) on Monday is part of a comprehensive Norway government sponsored program by the African Marine Waste Network, led by SST, to actively fight the scourge of marine plastic waste across the continent.
Mr Hanekom, as acting Minister of Environmental Affairs following to the passing of away of Ms Edna Molewa recently, is currently responsible for the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative launched for years ago.
However, as also Minister of Tourism, effective waste management in the country is a major interest in his portfolio.
Mr Hanekom, in the company of Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybo among others, applauded the launch of the youth network initiative on Monday and expressed appreciation of the Norwegian government’s continued support of both the youth initiative as well as the Nelson Mandela University’s education and training campaigns.
He said South Africa, like most others countries in the world, faced a mammoth task of managing effectively the scourge particularly plastic waste in the country in order to curb and eventually prevent its negative impacts on both the environment as well as people’s health.
With over 50% of all plastic in the country being in the form of single use packaging, Mr Hanekom acknowledged that South Africa had lost momentum in the fight against plastic waste after the initial introduction of levies on consumer plastic bags years ago.
Now, he said, the forward strategy currently under consideration through policy would encompass three components; curbing plastic generation at source, implementing effective ways of plastic usage, and developing meaningful ways of managing plastic waste.
Mr Hanekom said the first component – dealing with plastic at source – would ‘without doubt’ draw the ire of plastic producers who would argue strongly against job losses. However, he said this would not be an unusual argument, as had also been experienced in debates about strategies on renewable energies.
“Chemical weapons are a no-no! Chemicals weapons are not allowed and the whole world is against their production. There is no arguing that, well, we got to continue producing chemical weapons otherwise we are going to lose jobs. It does not work that way.
“You’ve got to bite the bullet at some point, and understand the gravity of what you are dealing with, and say if we can’t continue doing this, whichever angle you approach it from…..that somewhere, we have to take some tough measures.
“You will always lose jobs when you migrate from one sector to another. It is happening with coal mining.”
Crucially, he said, something needed to be done in South Africa to rid the country of mountains of plastic waste now entrapping and eliminating life in the oceans and increasingly threatening people’s lives.
The second component would require actively bringing about public awareness as well as engagement, while the third component would aim at eventually eliminating plastic waste through innovative economic schemes.
Mr Hanekom said: “In the next few weeks, as part of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) we will be launching a national clean up campaign. It will be a big national effort about awareness and about people being actively involved, from the President, Ministers, Premiers and MECs, MPs and all public representatives.
“When this campaign is formally launched by the President, what is going to be expected of all us public representatives at all levels, is to go out there, dirty our hands and clean up the country at the same encouraging communities to actively participate.” he said.
The selection of and launch in Port Elizabeth this week of a continent wide initiative roping in youth into the global war against marine plastic waste has been warmly welcomed by the coastal metropolitan area’s government.
“The launch of this green programme and network is very good news for the city, ‘ said Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (NMBM) Member of the Mayoral Council for Public Health, Ms Yolisa Padi in welcoming the launch of the African Youth Waste Network at the city’s university, the Nelson Mandela University on Monday.
“As our visitors will know, Nelson Mandela Bay has potential as a major tourist destination and a nature lover’s paradise. We are becoming increasingly aware of our vast marine resources and the need to manage these responsibly, as well as of the economic and other benefits attached to an oceans economy.
“In all this, the cleanliness and attractiveness of our city and environment is vital, not only for the health and safety of our residents, but also because we are keen to build our reputation as a major tourist city and a preferred holiday destination.
The launch of the African Youth Waste Network in the region was, however, consistent with global marine and maritime related recent developments targeting the city, inclusive of the first continental African Marine Waste Conference held in the city in July 2017, followed earlier this year by the launch of the African Marine Waste Academy (AMWA) under the aegis of the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) now currently with 42 members across Africa and reportedly growing.
The initiatives, spearheaded by Port Elizabeth nongovernmental organization, the Sustainable Seas Trust and a founder member of the AMWN are financially sponsored by the Norwegian government which early in 2018 confirmed the awarding of about a R1-million to the programme over a 12 months period.
A Norwegian government delegation led by Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø, was among prominent guests at the function on Monday.
In her brief address, Ms Padi who accompanied the city’s Mayor, Mr Mongameli Bobani, described it as Port Elizabeth’s concern “the alarming news daily of the rate of destruction of the natural environment of our planet and its oceans. Current and future governments have no option but to increasingly focus on environmental protection and find better solutions to the issue of waste management,” she said.
In response however, she said the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for its part, was “engaged in a number of cleaning and waste management initiatives to address this.”
“The going is slow but some of our initiatives are starting to show results and to be of benefit to our communities.
“The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality fully supports the launch of the African Youth Waste Network. We know the time to do something is now and it is very right and fitting that the energy, enthusiasm and innovative idea of the youth will be harnessed in the process,” said Ms Padi.
For more on the launch of the AYWN, click on the links below.
An ambitious global initiative to turn decisively the tide against massive volumes of plastics waste entering the world’s oceans around the African continent is formally taking shape in South Africa under the aegis of the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) based in Port Elizabeth.
The network was established in South Africa in 2016 with the support of government and high education institutions, and boasts no less than 42 member countries in the Africa region.
A year ago, it held its first African Marine Waste Conference in the country.
This year, boosted by new funding from the Norwegian government totaling just over a million rand a month ago, the AMWN has not only already established a scientific plastic waste academy launched in Port Elizabeth a week ago, but is also embarking on a three pronged strategy this month involving scientific research of plastic waste, the launch of a community outreach campaign involving both business and communities, as well establishment of an Africa Youth Network intended to engage particularly young people in an education campaign continent-wide against marine plastic waste and oceans pollution.
According to the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) a leading partner of the AMWN initiative based in Port Elizabeth, the youth network “will enable the youth of Africa to communicate and inspire one another and engage with young people everywhere as well as influence adults, especially leaders.”
The formal launch of the Africa Youth Network is scheduled for June 2018 to also mark World Oceans Day on 08 June.
This latter initiative will be preceded by a number of activities among which will be a ‘plastic industries’ workshop in Port Elizabeth on 10 May 2018. The aim according to SST in a statement, is to extract information that will be used to develop an Education Resource Book for sharing among among schools and similar education institutions throughout the African continent.
“Issues of plastics in the environment and human health are relatively new and have not yet entered education systems as they should have, so the need to build capacity in Africa is an imperative we aim to meet.
“There is no existing curriculum on plastics in African schools or governments. Thus we will be developing curricula and educational output in the form of an Education Resource Book. The Resource Book will be all encompassing of plastics, from A to Z, from raw materials to final product and after use processes. This will include the roles of producers, distributors, retailers, consumers and municipalities.
“We will develop the book in an all-inclusive manner, where we have planned workshops with the plastic industry and education and curriculum experts to help guide us. We shall host the initial workshops in May to promote sharing of ideas and collaboration between different organizations.
“The first will be on plastics industries, where our plan is to gather as much information as we can about the plastics industry. Thereafter we shall host a teacher’s workshop, inviting teachers and education stakeholders from across South Africa and Africa,” said the SST in a statement this past week.
The AMWN marine plastic waste initiative in the Nelson Mandela Bay region (Port Elizabeth) – a city settled to the east of South Africa on the southern part of the Indian Ocean and fast developing into a significant shipping services hub – will also involve the clean up of a major river estuary cutting across the city to the Indian Ocean.
The major plastic waste clean up campaign of the Swartkops River estuary is scheduled to start in Spring, from 15 September 2018.
The idea, according to AMWN, is to establish the region as a centre of excellence through ensuring that it is pristine clean of marine plastic waste in five years, thereby demonstrating the viability and importance of the Africa marine plastic waste reduction initiative.
“By 2021, we (the Nelson Mandela Bay region) can be the cleanest in Africa, the most active, best informed communities,” says the AWMN.
Meanwhile, the British government has heaped praise on both the initiative and the supportive roles played by both the Norwegian government as well as the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, the latter which has taken the lead in oceans studies inclusive of scientific research into environmental management of the oceans surrounding the southern tip of the African continent; the Indian Ocean to the east, the Southern Oceans to the Antarctica region as well as the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
Speaking during the formal launch of the AMWN Academy in Port Elizabeth a week ago, British High Commissioner to South Africa, Dr John Wade-Smith said the combination of scientific research, community engagement and business opportunities development was a strategy that provided opportunity for all members of society to engage.
He had particular praise for the Nelson Mandela University for its involvement in the AMWN initiatives. He also shared insights into how Britain was contributing to the global campaign against plastic waste polluting the world’s oceans.
For Dr Wade-Smith’s full remarks, click on the video below.
The global war against oceans plastic pollution has been given yet another boost with the launch of a new plastic waste academy in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, this week.
The African Marine Waste Network Academy, an initiative of the Sustainable Seas Trust and funded by the Norwegian government, was launched at a day long ceremony held at the Nelson Mandela University on Tuesday, 24 April 2018.
The Nelson Mandela University is settled on the seashore of the Indian Ocean, one of three oceans surrounding the country at the most southern tip of Africa – the Southern Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean to the west – and which together combine to form a 3200 kilometer coastline and attaching to which is a 1.5 million square kilometers (km²) of an exclusive economic zone to which South Africa has control.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has direct statutory responsibility for environmental integrity of this vast ocean space particularly in terms of pollution prevention by sea going vessels, inclusive of plastic waste.
In Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, it was announced that the new African Marine Waste Network Academy’s work will involve research, education and capacity building, economic incentives and enterprises development as well as communication and networking.
Guests attending the launch included Norway’s Ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen, British High Commissioner to South Africa, Dr John Wade-Smith, academics from South Africa and Norway among whom were the Nelson Mandela University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Leitch, director of the African Marine Waste Networking group and CEO of Sustainable Seas Trust, Dr Anthony Ribbink and about 70 others, among them government, non-government, business and civil sectors representatives.
In a statement announcing the launch this week, the partners to the initiative described the setting up of the academy for the Africa region as a timely intervention especially in a continent fast assuming the dubious ranking of having the most polluted marine and maritime environment.
Apparently, no less than 700 kilograms of plastic waste was entering and accumulating in the seas on a daily basis, it emerged, with predictions that the mass of plastics in the oceans around the world would exceed that of fish in only 30 years from now.
“Plastic has a detrimental impact on all marine life and our environment and this negatively affects the livelihood of millions of people and society at large. The African Marine Waste Network was established in 2016 to address the issue of marine waste at pan-African level, and aims to facilitate collaboration between people and organizations across borders,’ said the parties in the statement.
In 2017, the city of Port Elizabeth hosted the first ever African Marine Plastic Pollution conference to focus the continent on the problem and in finding solutions going forward. Some 42 African countries since became members of the African Marine Waste Network group.
Last month in Pretoria, the Norwegian government announced a R1.3-million sponsorship for the launch and work of the new academy. This followed an announcement by the Norwegian government of a NOK150-million fund to be dedicated to fighting plastic pollution worldwide. At the time, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Børge Brende said the Africa region would be one of the focus areas of the fund.
In Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, the parties to the African Marine Waste Network Academy initiative explained what the first priorities of the academy would be in the sponsorship period.
Among these will be the launch of a feasibility study in the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) area over a six months period to test ideas and develop proof of concepts.
“The feasibility study will involve cutting edge research to generate much needed data on the amount of waste in catchments, rivers and estuaries in the Nelson Mandela Bay area, deploying drones and other innovative technology to achieve this.
Norwegian ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen said lessons learned through the exercise will be shared “with a view to scale up and roll out long-term initiatives from 2019 to stem the flow of marine debris from Africa and its island states into the oceans.
‘Only by sharing the experiences and knowledge will we be able to find sustainable solutions to global challenges. Dr Ribbink and his team are leading the way to saving the oceans. Norway is proud to be a sponsor of SST and a partner to the African Marine Waste Network. We sincerely hope others too will support their activities,” said.
For a six minutes interview with Ms Skymoen, Click on the video below.
In a separate development, Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) is earmarked as home to Africa’s first Waste Academy.
Pretoria: 22 March 2018
Continued high level research collaboration between South Africa and Norway will see the two countries pumping an additional R60.8-million in 2018 into research focused specifically on oceans and the blue economy in both countries.
This emerged a week ago during the release of a call to researchers, academics and students in both countries to file applications for funding under the programme, now in its fourth phase since about 16 years.
Known as SANOCEAN and based on an agreement ratified between the countries a month ago, the programme is focussed on three areas of research – the oceans/blue economy, climate change and the environment and sustainable energy.
In a parallel development, Norway has committed other funding to development of a plastic waste scientific research and community empowerment initiative that will also involve the establishment of the first of its kind Africa Waste Academy in Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape, over the next five years.
This latter initiative, announced at the Norwegian embassy in Pretoria on Monday, is being undertaken through the Sustainable Seas Trust, a Port Elizabeth-based independent nongovernmental institution headed by Dr Anthony Ribbink as chief executive officer.
The Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) was the host last year of the inaugural Africa Marine Waste Conference in Port Elizabeth – and the first of three held in country in 2017 – and among whose outcomes was the founding of the Africa Marine Waste Network (AMWN) involving close on 40 countries in the region.
This, according to the parties to the latest initiative, comes against the backdrop that marine waste studies worldwide have found that Africa is ‘the second-most littered continent on the planet, with predictions that by 2050, it will take the top spot.’
On Monday in Pretoria, the Norwegian government announced that it would be providing initial funding totalling just over R1.2-million to the Africa plastic waste research and community development initiative.
Norwegian ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen said: “This grant agreement is for a ‘Combating Marine Waste in Africa’ feasibility study, to be conducted by the Sustainable Seas Trust and the African Marine Waste Network on or before 31 October (2018).”
She said further detail on the joint venture with SST and AMWN would be shared in a month’s time during a gathering scheduled for Port Elizabeth.
(For a full interview with Dr Anthony Ribbink of SST and Dr Karl Klingsheim of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa, please click on the video below)
Meanwhile, a few days earlier, Norway and South Africa announced the SANOCEAN initiative, in terms of which ‘approximately 40 million Norwegian krune (NOK) will be available (NOK 30 mill. from Norway and ZAR 15 Mill. from South Africa) for oceans and blue economy research beginning this year.
In terms of the arrangement, no less than 50% of the total funding should go to the South African partner in each of the identified thematic areas of the project, and each of which is intended to stimulate increased research collaborations, and exchanges between Norway and South Africa.
The thematic areas include Ocean Space and the Blue Economy, Environment Climate System and impacts on society, Sustainable Energy, and Filing of research data.
The research project in terms of the agreement ratified on 09 February 2018, runs for six years from this year through to 2023
“The first year (2018) is earmarked for completing the grant agreement(s) with the implementing agencies, prepare and launch the one and only call for grants, assess incoming proposals and allocate grants.
“The next three to four years (2019 -2022) will be the grant implementing period and the final year (2023) for reporting and finalising the programme,” say the parties in a statement
“The new bilateral research co-operation programme aims to strengthen research in these areas in both countries. Ocean space and the blue economy is a strategic priority for both South Africa and Norway as reflected by the launching of Operation Phakisa, which aims to fast-track solutions on critical development issues in South Africa, and the recent White Paper on the place of the oceans in Norway’s foreign and development policy.
“Norway and South Africa also recognise the threat of dangerous climate change and work towards achieving the decisions taken during the 2015 Paris agreement, calling for continued knowledge production on climate change, the environment and renewable energies.
“Research in all these fields should provide a renewed basis for cooperation, innovation, and the pursuit of profitable business opportunities for both countries,” say the parties to the SAOCEAN agreement.
Meanwhile, according to Dr Karl Klingsheim, counsellor at the Norwegian embassy in South Africa, the two initiatives are part of a broader research investment funding by Norway jointly with various parties in which South African in particular can tap in.
He provided the list of research funds available as follows:
SANOCEAN (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/SANOCEAN/1254033164010/p1184150364108?visAktive=true
The goal of the bilateral SANOCEAN research program (“South Africa – Norway Co-Operation on Ocean Research including blue economy, climate change, the environment and sustainable energy”) is enhanced knowledge-based policies and decisions for sustainable development in the areas of oceans and ocean space (blue economy), environment (with emphasis on oceans and pollution), climate change and sustainable energy in South Africa and Norway. Particular attention shall be paid on aspects leading to income generation and provide selling arguments to producers, service providers as well as young entrepreneurs. The research needs to be relevant to South African and Norwegian priorities. On a wider scale, the programme shall aim to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The primary objective of the “Programme for Environmental Research for a Green Transition” (MILJØFORSK) is to strengthen the knowledge base for sustainable development and the transition to a green society. The MILJØFORSK programme is the Research Council’s primary environmental research initiative and encompasses the land-based environment, fresh water and air. The programme will generate new knowledge about biodiversity, cultural environments, ecosystem services, hazardous substances and pollution, among other topics. It will also study pressures on the environment and the relationships between social and natural drivers/responses and measures. In addition, the programme will generate more knowledge about key environmental challenges and provide the government administration, trade and industry, and society at large with a better foundation on which to take decisions to promote a green transition.
NORGLOBAL2 (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/NORGLOBAL2/1254025180071
The primary objective of NORGLOBAL2 (“Norway – Global Partner”) is to produce research-based knowledge of high quality on poverty reduction and sustainable development informing development policies, development programmes, private sector investments and further research. As the world gathers around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), knowledge based on high quality research on international development can be crucial to ensure progress. NORGLOBAL-2 will have a challenge-based approach, where researchers are invited to develop projects that address challenges within broadly defined areas. To ensure research of high quality and relevance, this will usually require co-production of knowledge between researchers in the North and in the South, and the cooperation between several disciplines. Active collaboration is encouraged with researchers in collaborative countries for Norwegian Overseas Development Assistance.
INT-BILAT (open-ended): forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/INTBILAT/1253997815241
“International bilateral research cooperation” (INT-BILAT) offers travel support to expand industry-oriented R&D cooperation with Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa and the US. Bilateral cooperation provides access to global knowledge production and helps to ensure that Norway benefits from the results of international research. Calls for proposals under this activity may address all or some of these countries. They may be directed towards certain target groups and may encompass travel support, fellowships and support for events.
INTPART (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/INTPART/1254007331831
The objective of the INTPART programme (“International partnerships for excellent education, research and innovation”) is to develop world-class research and education in Norway through long term international cooperation. The programme will create a framework for expanding cooperation between research groups considered to be at the international forefront today or that are believed to have the potential to become world leaders in their fields in the future. The programme will help to increase the extent and enhance the quality and relevance of scientific cooperation with selected countries, in particular by establishing strong ties between higher education and research cooperation. It will also pave the way for cooperation with the business and public sectors, when relevant. The programme will ensure that its portfolio covers all eight countries: Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa and the USA, and encompasses both new and established partnerships. (Application must come from the Norwegian partner.)
UTFORSK (deadline 25 September): https://www.siu.no/eng/Programme-information/Cooperation-outside-the-EU/utforsk
The UTFORSK programme aims to enhance long-term cooperation in higher education between Norway and Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia and South Africa. It support academic partnerships based on the mutual, strategic interests of the institutions and aims to enhance the quality of international cooperation in education by encouraging integration with research cooperation and involvement of non-academic partners. The objectives are to establish and strengthen educational partnerships between institutions in Norway and the partner countries through: development and implementation of joint educational activities; increased mobility of students, including internships/work placements; increased integration of higher education and research; and increased involvement of non-academic partners. (Application must come from the Norwegian partner.)
InternAbroad (deadline 25 September): https://www.siu.no/eng/Programme-information/Cooperation-outside-the-EU/internabroad
The objective of InternAbroad is to increase the number of students from Norway who do a credit-yielding internship or work placement abroad, where they get practical experience in a job, enhance intercultural competencies and language skills, and acquaint themselves with work environments and business cultures in a foreign country. As a result, students will benefit from a more relevant education, and companies and organisations will benefit from access to a pool of talented students who may become future employees. The internships may be undertaken in any form of business or organisation, whether it is small or large, private or public, for-profit or non-profit. The internships must take place in one or more of the partner countries: Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Canada or USA. (Application must come from the Norwegian partner.)
ErasmusPlus (open ended): http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/about_en
Erasmus+ will support transnational partnerships among Education, Training, and Youth institutions and organisations to foster cooperation and bridge the worlds of Education and work in order to tackle the skills gaps we are facing in Europe. It will also support national efforts to modernise Education, Training, and Youth systems. In the field of Sport, there will be support for grassroots projects and cross-border challenges such as combating match-fixing, doping, violence and racism. Erasmus+ brings together seven existing EU programmes in the fields of Education, Training, and Youth; it will for the first time provide support for Sport. As an integrated programme, Erasmus+ offers more opportunities for cooperation across the Education link to another EC website, Training link to another EC website, Youth link to another EC website, and Sport link to another EC website sectors and is easier to access than its predecessors, with simplified funding rules.
The PES2020 scheme (“Project Establishment Support directed towards H2020”) is one of several funding instruments employed by the Norwegian Research Council to strengthen Norwegian participation under H2020 and improve returns in the form of greater project funding from H2020. The EU funding arena is highly competitive, and it takes knowledge, time and resources to prepare good project proposals. The PES2020 scheme is designed to relieve some of the cost burden for Norwegian applicants related to the preparation of project proposals. The scheme is also designed to raise the overall competence of Norwegian applicants with regard to participation under H2020, as well as to: enhance the quality of the proposals submitted; increase the number of proposals involving Norwegian participants; and encourage participation of new applicants in EU projects.
A call for funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020: RISE supports mobility and exchange of research and innovation staff, incl. managerial, technical and administrative staff between institutions in different sectors or with research institutions in countries outside of Europe. The RISE scheme promotes international and cross-sector collaboration through exchanging research and innovation staff, and sharing knowledge and ideas from research to market (and vice-versa). The scheme fosters a shared culture of research and innovation that welcomes and rewards creativity and entrepreneurship and helps to turn creative ideas into innovative products, services or processes.
A call for funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020: Individual Fellowships (IF) are awarded to the best researchers at postdoctoral level, of any nationality, for 12-24 months employment in EU Member States or Associated Countries. Fellowships take form of European or Global Fellowships. Global Fellowships have a mandatory 12 month return period. The goal of the Individual Fellowships is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers, wishing to diversify their individual competence in terms of skill acquisition through advanced training, international and intersectoral mobility. Individual Fellowships provide opportunities to researchers of any nationality to acquire and transfer new knowledge and to work on research and innovation in Europe (EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries) and beyond. The scheme particularly supports the return and (re)integration of European researchers from outside Europe and those who have previously worked here, as well as researchers displaced by conflict outside the EU and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. It also promotes the career restart of individual researchers who show great potential.
A call for funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020: MSCA COFUND offers co-funding for regional, national or international fellowship programmes on doctoral and postdoctoral level, where transnational mobility is part of the action. The COFUND scheme aims to stimulate regional, national or international programmes to foster excellence in researchers’ training, mobility and career development, spreading the best practices of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. This will be achieved by co-funding new or existing regional, national, and international programmes to open up to, and provide for, international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary research training, as well as transnational and cross-sectoral mobility of researchers at all stages of their career.
Visjon 2030 (in Norwegian only) skal avlaste risiko i utviklings- og pilotfasen. Bedrifter som søker oppfordres til samarbeid med humanitære organisasjoner, forskningsinstitusjoner eller andre bedrifter for å sikre lokal markedskompetanse og forankring. Partnerskapet skal bidra til at innovasjonsprosjektet utvikler et produkt det er behov for og som lar seg kommersialisere. Vi ser etter bedrifter som kan tilby innovative løsninger knyttet til helse og utdanning, og som kan bidra til å redusere fattigdom i utviklingsland. Søknadsfrist 20. april.
SAIS, the Southern Africa Innovation Support programme, is a regional development initiative that supports the growth of new businesses through knowledge, networks and entrepreneurship. Are you an innovation support organization from research/academia, civil society or perhaps from private sector such as an innovation hub, lab, incubator or accelerators? Do you support entrepreneurs and startups and have partners in the SADC region and beyond? SAIS Call for Proposals in 2018 is open 12.3.2018 – 25.4.2018 and is targeting projects under three thematic areas, Stronger Ecosystems, Scaling Enterprises and Inclusive innovations.
EUROSTARS is the only European funding programme to be specifically dedicated to support R&D-performing SMEs in their innovative R&D projects. With its bottom-up approach, it stimulates international collaborative research and innovation projects that will be rapidly commercialized. A EUROSTARS project must have a civilian purpose and be aimed at the development of a new product, process or service.