New off-shore bunkering services in SA break the wave for new novice black entrepreneurs

Port Eizabeth: 26 June 2020

The fledgling offshore ships bunkering services established four years ago in Algoa Bay may be beginning to live up to its economic promise, as business opportunities expand to new business entrants, some hitherto with little if any experience in shipping or any related maritime business sector services.

Lacking most in such area of business operations are largely black South Africans whose exposure to, and participation in maritime sector businesses is decidedly limited.

This is so even as South Africa is essentially a maritime country with direct access to three oceans stretching over a 3,200 kilometres coastline bordering a 1.5-million km2 of an ocean water space designated as its Exclusive Economic Zone: – from the Atlantic Ocean in the west, through the Southern Ocean, and to the Indian Ocean in the east.

As such, when black folk make a decisive break into the sector, as has recently a young black budding business entrepreneur from Port Elizabeth, the promise of the country’s maritime economic sector redevelopment and expansion positively contributing to South Africa’s broad economic development through inclusion and wealth redistribution to all, finds realisation.

South Africa’s offshore bunkering services on the Indian Ocean near the city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province was officially sanctioned and set up in 2016, launched successively with two highly experienced major oil ship transfer services suppliers; first the Greece based operator, Minerva Bunkering (formerly Aegean Marine Petroleum, and thereafter, SA Marine Fuels – the latter an all local black women founded company, now part owned by Hong Kong based global oil products group, Orxy Energies.

By end 2019, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), no less than 100 ships on average per month annually had docked near the ocean city since, for bunkering and related services and in the process, fuelling the injection of hundreds of millions of rands into the local economy.

For a while however, associated shipping business services in the new offshore bunkering services subsector remained confined to a few chandlers’ hands – two, according to SAMSA – all of which were long serving and highly experienced maritime sector white owned and managed businesses.

Five years on in early 2020, a local young black man from a Port Elizabeth township, New Brighton, Mr Hintsa, Carlos Mpe broke ground by becoming the first black Small, Micro and Medium Enterprise (SMME) category business owner to gain entry in the provision of maritime sector business services to visiting ships in Algoa Bay.

Mr Mpe who, by his own admission, until very recently, had never before been on a boat at sea in his young life this despite having been born and grew up in a Port Elizabeth township only less than three kilometers from the Indian Ocean, made the breakthough by establishing a small services firm, called Mthi Wembotyi Projects in 2017, and acquiring a year later, a 16-meters long steel boat to render off-port-limits (OPL) ship services to vessels visiting the area.

According to Mr Mpe during an interview, his interest in the maritime sector business services was sparked by the gradual sprawl of big ships of all shapes now regularly putting anchor in the ocean off the coast of Port Elizabeth, mostly for crew changes and bunkering services.

” I was actually jogging down the Brighton Beach one day and saw all these ships that were floating lazily on the ocean and began to wonder what it was they doing there.

“From then on I began researching and soon found out that they are here for bunkering and related services, and I became interested in getting involved,” said Mr Mpe during an interview in Port Elizabeth.

Mr Hntsa Carlos Mpe

Having put his few ducks in a row, including acquiring the OPL boat from a local boat builder, his first real break into actually delivering services came early in 2020 after a local chandler, Vrontado Marine Services, headed by operations manager, James Bilsbury acquired his services.

Mr Mpe had come knocking at his services company’s front door, brokering business and according to Mr Bilsbury, on assessment during a meeting, they were satisfied with his offering.

“We are a ship chandling company which means we supply foreign vessels with provisions, technical, and other stores they might require. These stores sometimes need to be delivered to vessels at anchorage in our bay.

“Carlos called us one day and made an appointment to come and see us about doing some launches together (to deliver our stores at anchorage). He came to the meeting and introduced himself and his company to us.

“We explained in the meeting what we required of him before we can do business together. He met our demands and we have since done two deliveries to vessels at anchorage area using the launch boat called Crest.

“We have done the vessel MAASGRACHT on 28 May, carrying 2.6 tons in seven (7) bulk bags. Then we have done the MANDARIN vessel on the 31 May carrying four (4) tons in 10 bulk bags,” confirmed Mr Bilsbury.

Next for Mr Mpe was a deal with Heron Marine, a bunkering services company contracted to fuel four huge cruise vessels owned by Carnival which were passing the city on their way around the world to disembark thousands of seafarers caught up in the impacts of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the four Carnival cruise ships, the Carnival Dream, required to take bunkers offshore while seat anchorage and this required more services than would ordinarily be the case with onshore refuelling at a port.

Mr Mpe’s role was to help shift to place, in between the cruise ship and the refuelling tanker, a massive barge with fenders, as well as lineup other protection equipment necessary for a safe transfer of oil from one vessel to the other.

“It was quite an exciting thing to do, getting that barge and all other equipment in place for the bunkering service, ” said Mr Mpe.

His engagement by Heron Marine however, was in keeping with the company’s commitment to create and provide business opportunities to emerging small businesses, but especially those from the black SMME sector, according to Heron Marine CEO, Ms Kgomotso Selokane.

“In our commitment to our license requirements, we use local suppliers as much as possible. In this operation specifically we procured the services of a drone operator to take footage of the entire operation.

“However, the pinnacle of our excitement was how we committed ourselves, as an entity, to SAMSA’s SMME Development requirement, as our mooring boat was provided by a local 100% Black Owned SMME,” she said in reference to Mr Mpe’s small firm’s engagement in the special operation.

Mr Mpe says the going has been tough but also rewarding so far, and he looks forward to making more inroads into the sector. However, this be hastened by direct investment into growing the business – something he hopes the business investment sector will be kind to.

“I want to grow this business and become a big business operator,” he said.

Meanwhile, SAMSA has applauded the development of the creation of opportunities for the entrance also of small black business operators in the country’s sole offshore bunkering services sector in the Eastern Cape.

According to SAMSA, a roleplayer and contributor to the implementation of the country’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative lauched in 2014, bunkering in Algoa Bay plays a crucial role for the effective economic benefit of the local economy in Port Elizabeth (PE), Eastern Cape.  It has become an imperative for the local economy and the expansion of maritime sectors in PE.

Ms Bongiwe Stofile. SAMSA Southern Region Manager

SAMSA senior manager for the agency’s Southern Region (Mossel Bay to Port St Johns), Ms Bongiwe Stofile described it as an exciting development.

“This is a great achievement for us and the industry , as such we would like to celebrate it. It hasn’t been an easy process to instil a transformative mind-set in the industry and hence the recognition of first movers.” she said.

It is a view Ms Stofile also shared directly with the two companies that have so far contracted Mr Mpe’s small firm, Mthi Wembotyi Projects.

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A SLIVER OF A SILVER LINING – Covid-19 pandemic outbreak breaks new ground for SA bunkering services firm in PE

Port Elizabeth: 09 June 2020

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in China some six months ago has without doubt brought about the greatest health risk globally and, in its wake, by some accounts, the biggest economic threat and devastation in more than 100 years.

Yet as the old adage has it: ‘every dark cloud has a silver lining,’ so it turns out that the outbreak of the pandemic that’s forced many countries to close their borders, would also lead to new business opportunities for others that were not readily available before, and in the process, giving rise to creative thinking and innovation.

The Carnival Dream at anchor off the coast of Port Elizabeth receiving bunkering services during its last visit to South Africa to disembark cruise liner seafarers.

Heron Marine, a black woman owned bunkering services company based in Port Elizabeth is one such business operator to be presented with an opportunity that would call for its creativeness in delivering services to four huge international cruise vessels it has never serviced before.

According to Kgomotso Selokane, Chief Executive Officer of Heron Marine, four international cruise liners from Carnival, namely, the Carnival Dream, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Ecstasy, came calling into the port of Ngqura in May.

The call into South African ports by these four cruise liners – among several similar – was to disembark the country’s seafarers who – along with the entire cruise line industry– have become economic victims of the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.

Enroute to disembarking crew at Durban and other ports outside of South Africa the Carnival cruise ships required replenishments, among which was fuel for the journey to return home their thousands of seafarers rendered stranded due to closure of the industry worldwide.

Unlike its three sisters, the Carnival Dream – at 130,000gt and 305.47 meters long, with a guest capacity of some 3646 people as well as 1367 crew members – was to be refuelled seat anchorage. That presented some interesting challenges.

According to Ms Selokane, due to the configuration of the vessel and barge, the actual refuelling operation at anchorage required for the first time, the utilisation of a spacer barge with two Yokahama fenders on either side to serve as a bulwark between the company’s bunker barge and the cruise ship. In turn, this required not only tugs to shove and hold vessels in place, but also the utilisation of a mooring boat to layout oil booms to cover stern of the vessel.

Once arrangements had been finalised,  and with a keen eye constantly on the weather conditions as the refuelling had to be conducted in open anchorage , Heron Marine called on, among others,  Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) for assistance with tugs and consulted with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to ensure compliance with the strictest safety standards during the bunkering operation.

The final alignment of all parties and equipment and calm weather conditions allowed for a successful refuelling of the Carnival Dream by one of Heron Marine’s bunkering barges, the Bonaire Trader.

She added: “SAMSA and TNPA’s approvals… demonstrated South Africa’s commitment to implementing the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy’s (CMTP) in making the country an international maritime centre, but more so our contribution to the global maritime economy during these trying times.”

Part of the economic contribution involved the deliberate utilisation of all local based services suppliers for support infrastructure, she said

“In our commitment to our license requirements, we use local suppliers as much as possible. In this operation specifically we procured the services of a drone operator to take footage of the entire operation.

“However, the pinnacle of our excitement was how we committed ourselves, as an entity, to SAMSA’s SMME Development requirement, as our mooring boat was provided by a local 100% Black Owned SMME.

“We would really like to thank SAMSA and the TNPA team for allowing this operation to take place and supporting its precedence as a first of its kind offshore ALGOA BAY or maybe even South Africa. “Working together like this is a true indication of our South African Spirit – not matter what we endeavour,” said Ms Selokane.

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Stimulus packages come under focus for maritime economic sector: Presidency

DSC_8461Port Elizabeth: 09 February 2020

Tracking down a set of stimulus packages earlier announced by government, and the revival of an inter-ministerial committee focused on South Africa’s maritime economic sector are among key issues to be pursued in the short term, according to Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Ms Thembi Siweya.

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Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) Projects Focus: Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Ms Thembi Siweya (centre) flanked by (Left) Eastern Cape MEC for Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism and (Right), Deputy Minister of Public Enteprises, Mr Phumulo Masualle during their visit of maritime economic investment projects in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Wednesday, 05 February 2020

This, she pronounced on at the end of a whistle-stop visit to the Eastern Cape this past week along with Public Enterprises Deputy Minister, Mr Phumulo Masualle, to make an assessment of impacts as well as identify gaps in economic and investment programmes under the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative launched in the area.

In their company were senior officials of the Eastern Cape government, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) the Coega Development Corporation (CDC), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Nelson Mandela Bay local government officials, leaders of business, and others.

The projects visited included the fledgling bunkering services recently established off-shore in the precinct of the port of Port Elizabeth, the planned relocation of a fuel tank farm and a manganese ore dump currently settled at the port of Port Elizabeth, as well as energy generation investment projects currently underway at the Coega Industrial Development adjacent the Ngqurha deep water, also near Port Elizabeth,

The Deputy Ministers also utilised the opportunity of their visit to meet leaders of business in the maritime economic sector with direct and indirect interest in the operations, as well as aspiring and established small businessmen.

The visit took place amid varied concerns involving, on the one hand, groups of  environmentalists in the area worried about the possible highly negative impacts of the new bunkering services to the environment, while on the other hand, small business fears of being overlooked for business opportunities now arising from the bunkering services.

Reporting on their observations after visiting the projects on Wednesday morning, Ms Siweya described the developments as showing good progress while acknowledging the challenges faced by some both in terms of concerns of possible environmental threats as well as difficulties faced by investors and business in general in the sector.

Matters of express concern raised, she said, revolved around poverty of legislation governing the new bunkering services, but also shipping especially terms of tax legislation, and the apparent absence of financial support and incentives to encourage investment in the sector. In addition, constant interaction between government, business and civil society to ensure proper alignment was crucial to success, she said.

Ms Siweya said the country’s maritime economic was among sectors identified under the National Development Plan (2030) as key to economic development and expansion and deliberate focus on it was necessary.

To this end, an inter-ministerial committee established in 2015 and which had since become dysfunctional would be revived, In addition, she said, it had become clear that there was a need for financial support of businesses in the sector in the form of a maritime fund.

In this regard, she said: “In 2018, the President spoke about a stimulus package, and there were departments that received stimulus packages. We are going to follow up on that to establish how far they are… what has been done with the funding.”

For Ms Siweya’s full remarks on this and various other matters, click on the video below.

Meanwhile, at the imbizo attended by no less 150 people at a venue located adjacent the Coega Development Zone, leaders of business in the maritime sector as well as aspirant business people wasted little time expressing their displeasure on numerous challenges which they face and towards which they felt government was failing them.

For a full perspective on the proceedings, invest time on the following video. It is about an hour long but goes a long way in depicting the exchanges as they happened.

Key highlights include the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (video: 55th minute) revealing for the first time in public, the enmvisaged establishment of a dedicated fund in the Nelson Mandela Bay to both fund expenses towards environmental preservation (in the case of an oil spill from bunkering services) as well as  support small and medium businesses operating in the sector.

End.

 

 

 

 

Great teamwork proves key to effective management of oil spill at sea in Port Elizabeth: SAMSA

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File photo: The M.V Chrysanthi SA cargo vessel two weekends ago after an oil spill was registered in its vicinity shortly after a refuelling exercise on anchorage near the port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth.

Pretoria: 17 July 2019

Closer collaboration and speedy reaction by parties involved in the oil spillage at sea near the port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth two weekends ago contributed immensely in ensuring that damage to the surrounding ocean environment, including wildlife, was minimised.

That is an assessment flowing from reports by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)’s in its engagement with several organisations and institutions in the public and private sectors in Port Elizabeth during the management of the incident over the last two weeks, since about 200-400 litres of oil accidentally spilled over into the sea while a foreign cargo vessel was being refuelled.

The oil spillage reportedly occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning (06 July 2019) while the Liberia flagged cargo vessel known as the MV CHRYSANTHI S (IMO No. 952 7441) was being refuelled.

IMG-20190707-WA0009Still ongoing investigations into the incident seemed to indicate that the oil spillage occurred on board the vessel after one of the fuel tank valves was not properly closed, leading to vast amounts of fuel accidentally spilling out onto both the vessel as well as at sea. At the time, the vessel had been with about 1300 metric tons of fuel.

According to SAMSA, the vessel’s crew of 20 seafarers – all of whom remained safe – led by its Captain immediately summoned for assistance, which was duly activated, to contain the spread of the oil in the sea. The shore based oil response team was activated to extract the oil from the sea.

SAMSA said as much as 360 litres of the fuel was eventually extracted from the waters. However, the oil had spread significantly on the ocean to impact wildlife, but particularly sea birds and penguins and about which 114 were rescued and cleaned of oil. The wildlife verified as affected as of Tuesday this week (16 July 2019) included African penguins, Cape cormorants, Cape gannets as well as about half a dozen African penguin eggs.

IMG-20190707-WA0008However, periodic assessments of the sea and coastline, involving aerial and boat inspections had indicated that the coastline had not been affected by the oil spill

According to SAMSA, the cargo vessel involved in the oil spill remained in detention for a period while an investigation was being conducted, and bunkering services were initially suspended, and later partially lifted to daytime only by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

SAMSA said the vessel owners, Golden Flower Navigation Incorporated had through its various agencies, including insurers, since accepted liability for the oil spillage and made the necessary undertakings in compliance with relevant South African laws and regulations as well international conventions related to incidents of the nature, after which the detention of the vessel was lifted and it was allowed to continue with its international journey on Friday (12 July 2019).

cropped-samsa-master-logoSAMSA, South Africa’s agency under the Department of Transport solely mandated with responsibility for prevention of pollution of the seas by ships, said success of the management of the oil spill – a great threat to sea pollution – arose out of close collaboration and teamwork by all the entities involved.

These included the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), TNPA (port managers next to which the oil spill occurred), the bunkering services company involved in the ship refuelling operation, SA Marine Fuels; private sector oil spillage management services company, Extreme Projects; wildlife and environmental groupings, SANPARKS, SANCCOB, and others including the affected vessel’s crew and vessel owners and its agents.

According to SAMSA, a joint operations committee involving various stakeholders greatly assisted in steering management of the oil spill containment and extraction, rescue and clean-up of affected wildlife, regular inspections of the affected oceans environment for traces of oil spread, as well as settlement of costs responsibilities related to damage suffered and operations activated.

A further meeting of the JOC is scheduled for Port Elizabeth later on Wednesday.

End.

SAMSA not apologetic about approach of contribution to Eastern Cape development: Acting CEO

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Pretoria 24 June 2019

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.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting CEO. SAMSA

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.

IMG_2514Working 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.

DSC_0274.JPGBut 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.

DSC_0324.JPGAccording 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.

End

 

 

Ridding South Africa of plastic waste, the next frontier war; declares acting Minister of Environmental Affairs

20180603_134053Port Elizabeth 31 October 2018

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

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Mr Derek Hannekom. Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs addressing guests during the launch of the African Youth Waste Network in Nelson Mandela Bay on Monday, 29 October 2018

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.

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Pupils from Port Elizabeth’s Inkqubela Primary School who were part of youths from a few schools attending the launch of the African Youth Waste Network at the Nelson Mandela University on Monday, 29 October 2018. The four, from their school’s environmental club also performed at the event.

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.

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Mr Mongameli Bobani, Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay (seated, Front Left) was among high profile guests attending the launch of the African Youth Waste Network in Port Elizabeth

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.

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Dr Karl Klingsheim, Counselor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa (seated front centre) was among guests attending the launch of the African Youth Waste Network. Norway is the major sponsor of a comprehensive programme that includes the youth initiative.

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.”

DSC_8121.JPGCrucially, 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.

End

Nelson Mandela Bay welcomes launch of Africa youth initiative against plastic waste in its backyard

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Port Elizabeth: 31 October 2018

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.

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Ms Yolsa Padi. Member of the Mayoral Council for Public Health. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Port Elizabeth)

“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.

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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.

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Ms Iselin Nybø. Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education during a visit to Port Elizabeth, South Africa on 29 October 2018

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.

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Mr Mongameli Bobani, Mayor of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Standing, Right) greeting among others, Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom (seated, Left) during the launch of the African Youth Waste Network in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

African youth set for formal direct role in war against marine plastic pollution: African Marine Waste Network

DSC_4166 (2)Pretoria: 27 October 2018

Engaging Africa’s young people as crusaders in the global war against the menace of oceans and inland waterways plastic pollution takes on a whole new stride forward in South Africa with the launch of the continent’s first African Youth Waste Network (AYWN) in Port Elizabeth on Monday

The launch of the initiative at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) north campus from 9am on Monday is a culmination of a partnership involving local non governmental organization, Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) and the Norwegian government, marked earlier in 2018 with the set up in Port Elizabeth of an African Marine Waste Academy.

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IN PARTNERSHIP:  (Left) Dr Anthony Ribbink, Chief Executive Officer of the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST: South Africa)  and  Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen exchanging documents and shaking hands on an agreement through which Norway  is funding  a first of its kind initiative to combat marine waste in Africa based in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape Province.

According to the SST, South Africa’s lead partner of the Africa Marine Waste Network with 42 member countries,  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.”

 

Derek Hanekom
Mr Derek Hanekom. Minister of Tourism

As an indication of the high significance of the launch of the AYWN initiative, billed guests include senior South African and Norwegian government officials, among them South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Derek Hanekom, his Norwegian counterpart responsible for the Ministry of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø, Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa councillor, Dr Karl Klingsheim, academics from the Nelson Mandela University and Norway’s University of Bergen.

Also attending will be Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, Mr Mongameli Bobani.

Minister Hanekom is billed to share the South African government’s viewpoint on both the scourge of plastic pollution as well as its endorsement of the engagement of young people in the global initiative, while Minister Nybø will share experiences and best practices in thwarting plastic pollution particularly from the marine environment from Norway’s perspective.

For more information on the SST/AMWN and Norwegian government initiatives in the South Africa based war against particularly marine plastic waste, click on the set of stories below.

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

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

Pretoria: 24 September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A victory for SA fishermen!

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

SAMSA PromoGif

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Women the target of new maritime education bursary in honor of Sindiswa Nhlumayo: SAIMI

DSC_4996.JPGPretoria: 16 September 2018

Women education in South Africa’s maritime sector has been given a shot in the arm with the recent launch of a new merit bursary in honour of the late Ms Sindiswa ‘Tu’ Nhlumayo, a former South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) executive and reputably a pioneer in skills development in the sector.

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The late Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo

The new merit bursary known as the Sindiswa Nhlumayo Merit Bursary, conceived, developed and administered by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, was launched recently and is now open for applications until end November.

According to Mr Odwa Mtati, Projects Manager at SAIMI, the new bursary is in recognition and acknowledgement of the pioneering work of Ms Nhlumayo in the field of skills development for the maritime economic sector while at the employ of SAMSA in Pretoria as head of its Centre for Maritime Excellence.

Ms Nhlumayo, also an academic and work performance multi-award winner, passed away in February 2016.

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Mr Odwa Mtati. Projects Manager: SAIMI

Significantly, said Mr Mtati, the new maritime education funding would target primarily women in South Africa as a means to increase their opportunities in the sector. The main reason was the apparently miniscule number of women in the sector, which he said constituted a mere two (2) percent of all workers.

 

“SAIMI is proud to announce the establishment of the Sindiswa Nhlumayo Merit Bursary to enable young black women to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies in maritime-related fields and achieve success in their careers in the oceans economy.

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FOR WOMEN: (From Left) Ms Nozipho Nhlumayo (sister of Sindiswa) and Ms Tanaka Mugabe displaying a certificate in confirmation of the establishment of a new maritime education bursary in honour of the late Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo during launch in Port Elizabeth recently

“The bursary has been created to honour the memory of Sindiswa Nhlumayo and her substantial contribution to the growth of the maritime sector and skills development in South Africa. Her leadership, her passion for the maritime economy and commitment to empowering young people to enter maritime careers, made her a much-loved role model to many,” said SAIMI in a statement during launch of the new bursary in Port Elizabeth two weeks ago.

For Mr Mtati’s full remarks, click on the two minutes video below.

Meanwhile, the SAIMI initiative has been met with excitement and full support by SAMSA, describing it as a necessary and opportune intervention for women in maritime education and skills development, while also a highly significant and appropriate gesture in honour of its former employee, Ms Nhlumayo.

SAMSA is a pioneering founding member of SAIMI which was established in 2014. Key among its activities is the management of the country’s National Cadet Programme.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Chief Operations Officer: SAMSA

Reacting to the launch of the Sindiswa Nhlumayo Merit Bursary for women keen on maritime education and training, SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi said: “Firstly we thank SAIMI for the initiative and we feel honoured to be associated with the name  of someone such as Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo who was a colleague to me and a hard worker.

“The legacy that she left, having worked so hard to try and focus the whole issue of capacity building for the maritime industry, to support the maritime economy, required us to acknowledge her,” he said.

Crucially, it was the targeting of particularly women that the launch of the bursary remains highly significant, he said.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (three minutes), Click on the video below

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