National spotlight turns on Gender-Based Violence at SA’s inaugural maritime sector seminar in Cape Town, Thursday

SAMSA File Photo

Pretoria: 23 November 2022

Gender Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa and globally – now declared a ‘second pandemic’ – continues to draw special focus in the coming week, with Friday, 25 November 2022 marking the start of the United Nations (UN) sponsored “16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children” worldwide.

In South Africa, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) the country’s maritime sector that is a backbone for international trade through shipping transport and related, is a critical economic sector in which thousands of people of all genders work. Yet, even as also known and acknowledged as affected by GBV, it has remained generally quiet about it.

In a statement on Tuesday in Pretoria, SAMSA said that eerie and unjustifiable silence finally gets to an end this year, come Thursday, 24 November 2022 in Cape Town, where the sector will have its inaugural GBV seminar focused specifically on GBV and related relevant sector specific efforts to fight and end it.

SAMSA, a State agency under the Department of Transport is the organiser of the event.

Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga. Deputy Minister of Transport

Leading keynote speakers lined up for the industrial sector pioneering event include Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, World Maritime University President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Ms Lena Dyring of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) as well as maritime academic and veteran female seafarer, Dr Momoko Kitada of the World Maritime University.

According to SAMSA, the purpose of the first-of-its-kind sector-wide seminar is to provide opportunity to the country’s maritime to lay bare publicly the challenges of GBV it is confronted with, and to also outline measures current, or planned towards its stemming and eventually eradication.

“Statistics from various studies conducted so far locally and globally paint a horrific picture of a maritime industry in South Africa and elsewhere, that is rife with deep-seated and widespread GBV and which unsurprisingly, impact negatively particularly women.

“A 2014 survey led by International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and its partners revealed that 17% of women seafarers reported sexual harassment as an issue. The survey report further indicated that women with less power (lower rank) in the workplace were more vulnerable to sexual harassment. This was in line with previous studies done on the subject. Cases of sexual harassment continue to grow worldwide, and South Africa is no exception.

“In yet another most recent study on GBV in the maritime sector whose outcome was shared publicly at end October 2022 in Geneva, from a group of 1128 women interviewed WISTA in 78 countries including 51 in South Africa, as many 60% of the women had encountered gender-based discrimination at work, while 66% of these concurred that their male counterparts resorted to harassing and intimidating female co-workers,” says SAMSA.

The agency further says, with South Africa being a Member State of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the country is among eight (8) Member States tasked by a joint working group involving the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and IMO to not only identify solutions to address seafarers’ issues and the human element, but also to focus specifically on strategies and tactics aimed at addressing sexual assault and harassment in the maritime sector.

The approach is by no means divorced from this year’s national Government’s theme for the 16 Days campaign. The theme for the 16 Days of Activism Campaign for 2022 is: “Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment to build Women’s Resilience against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide: Connect, Collaborate, Contract!”

SAMSA File Photo

SAMSA says: “Thursday’s seminar in Cape Town, therefore, will serve as a launchpad for the SAMSA Maritime GBV Programme now embedded in its five (5) year Strategic and Annual Performance Plan for 2022-25, to effectively raise awareness and promote the mainstreaming of GBV issues within the maritime industry. Stakeholders engaged and involved in the seminar include, maritime welfare community, manning organisations, ship owners and seafarers,” says SAMSA

The seminar will have two parts: the main event taking place on 24 November 2022, with a participation of approximately 100 people in the room and a possibly wider audience both in South Africa and globally to be engaged through livestreaming of the event on several online social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube.

On the following day, Friday 25 November 2022, SAMSA will conduct a GBV educational material distribution to seafarers within the port of Cape Town. The walk-about and engagement with seafarers at the port will involve some of SAMSA’s Executive Management members and selected guests.

End

South Africa, Ghana and Panama find mutual agreement on seafarers certification.

Pretoria: 26 October 2022

Panama and Ghana have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Africa that will for the first time, allow the countries to formerly recognise each other’s seafarers’ certificates under the same condition within which the countries accept all other foreign certificates.

The arrangement signed into operation by South Africa with each of the two countries separately on the sidelines of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE) in Durban recently, is in terms of provisions of Regulation I/10 of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW Convention).

From Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the agency’s Director-General, Mr Thomas Alonsi, led the delegation that included Mr Nana Bokkye-Boampong, acting director of marines services; Dr Richard Lartey, deputy director, planning, monitoring and evaluation; Capt. Clifford Kodjo Adjarko Osei, deputy director of technical services as well as Ms Barbara Oforiwaa Darko, the deputy director of maritime services.

On the Panama bilateral agreement, representing the Panama Maritime Authority were the Director of the General Directorate of Seafarers, Captain Juan Maltez and Panama’s Ambassador and Consul to South Africa, Mr Jorge Ricardo Silen. For South Africa was acting Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA, Ms Zamachonco Chonco.

The signing of the bilateral agreement between the PMA and SAMSA – the South African authority for seafarers’ certification – occurred following representations by the Panama maritime authorities earlier this year calling on South Africa to recognise seafarers’ certificates issued by both countries. Both are members of the IMO as is Ghana.

The basis of the request, according to SAMSA; was that there are over 3000 South African seafarers (certificate and uncertificated) serving on Panamanian ships in various roles.

“Panama Maritime Authority thus requested that there be formal recognition of certificates as required by the STCW Convention, such that those performing functions requiring Certificates of Competencies may be formally accepted on ships flying the flag of both parties.

This led to an interim arrangement being agreed to earlier in the year that allowed seafarers holding certificates issued by Panama Maritime Authority to serve on the South African ships.

From Left: Capt. Juan Maltex, Panama Maritime Authority’s director of the General Directorate of Seafarers and Ms Zamachonco Chonco during the signing of an MoU on seafarers certification in Durban recently. Looking on (standing) is Mr Vusi September, Head of SAMSA’s Centre for Corporate Affairs.

At the Durban International Convention Centre during the signing of the agreement , Captain Maltez described it as “… a clear and concrete manifestation of the commitment of each of the Administrations, to continue strengthening ties, promoting collaboration and guiding future efforts, to work on improving the training of the levels of competence and the certification processes of seafarers, seeking to guarantee the safety of human life and property at sea, maritime protection and the protection of the marine environment.

“On the other hand, the Agreement will facilitate the embarking or contracting of Panamanian seafarers, promoting national labor, so that they can work on board the vessels of the South African Registry,” he said.

In terms of the agreements with both Panama and Ghana, according to SAMSA; the new arrangement is that a holder of a South African Certificates of Competency

  • May now have their certificates recognised and able to find employment on ships from those flags (and vice versa)
  • May now work on ships flying the Ghanaian flag,
  • Seafarers trained at Regional Maritime University (RMU) – one of Africa’s largest maritime universities will have access to employment in Africa’s most technologically advanced economy
  • Have access to employment on one of the biggest Merchant Fleet in the world (Panama)

The MoUs between South Africa, Ghana and Panama are the latest addition in a list of similar agreements now topping just over 30 countries. The list includes Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Hong Kong, Iran, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jordan, Kuwait, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tanzania, United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

End

Boating safety campaign underway nationally on Transport Month: SAMSA

Two of several passenger water vessels inspected by SAMSA surveyors during launch of the Gauteng leg of the National Small Vessels Concentrated Inspection Campaign by SAMSA at the Vaal River on Saturday 01 October 2022

Pretoria: 06 October 2022

Efforts by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and partners to spread countrywide the promotion of small vessels safety on all South Africa’s water spaces, at sea and inland, continues at pace this month, with focus on Gauteng’s major dams, including the Vaal and Haartebeespoort.

According to SAMSA, the Concentrated Inspections Campaign for small vessels safety promotion in the region, scheduled to coincide with the country’s Transport Month – an initiative of the Department of Transport (Dot) – kicked off this past weeked, beginning at the Vaal Dam area adjacent Vanderbylpark in Gauteng.

SAMSA Acting CEO, Ms Zamachonco Chonc (front, second from Right) with SAMSA contingent of ship and small vessels surveyors, headed by deputy Chief Operations Officer, Capt. Vernon Keller (backrow, Right) SAMSA regional manager Capt. Thobela Gqabu (backrow, second from Right) and SAMSA Boating Centre manager, Ms Debbie James (backrow, third from Left).

As an indication of the importance and seriousness of the campaign, at the Stonehaven-On-Vaal in Vereeniging where the campaign kicked off for Gauteng on Saturday, accompaning the contigent of SAMSA’s ship and small vessels surveyors from across the country were the top brass of the entity.

It included the Acting CEO, Ms Zamachonco Chonco; Acting Chief Operations Officer, Mr Vusi September; deputy Chief Operations Officer, Capt. Vernon Keller; SAMSA Boating Centre manager, Ms Debbie James; Regional Manager (Eastern Region), Capt. Thobela Gqabu and Principal Officer for Inland (northern) Region, Mr Imraan Davis.

The Stonehaven-on-Vaal, owned by Ms Rosemary Anderson, is one of major tourism attraction facilities in the area, with several small to medium size passenger water vessels offering cruises on the Vaal River. Incidentally, the chosen venue for the launch of the Gauteng leg of the Concentrated Inspection Campaign is only a stone’s throw way from Lake Deneys Yacht Club – the venue of the launch of the country’s Inland Water Strategy by SAMSA and the Department of Transport this time a year ago.

In a statement on Saturday, SAMSA explained: “In this specific campaign, SAMSA’s focus is to promote maritime safety and maritime interest through engagement with the public, particularly maritime community members such as vessel skippers and owners operating passenger vessels.

SAMSA Acting CEO, Ms Zamacchonco Chonco explaining the rationale for the nationwide small vessels concentrated inspection campaign at the Vaa;l River of Saturday, 01 October 2022
A brief outline by SAMSA deputy Chief Operations Officer: Capt. Vernon Keller
An overview by SAMSA’s Regional Manager (Eastern and Inland Region) Capt. Thobela Gqabu
A perspective on SAMSA boating seafety camapign by small vessels owner and operator, Ms Rosemary Anderson of Stonehaven-On-Vaal

“SAMSA’s mandate has been extended to cover inland waters, which are composed of freshwater. Therefore, SAMSA has an enormous task to ensure that small boats operating in inland waters are safe and operate efficiently as a large percentage of SAMSA’s clientele are small boats. 

“Some of the inland passenger vessels can carry as much as 200 Passengers, therefore it is absolutely essential that SAMSA maintains a watchful eye on these vessels to ensure that they are operated to the highest standards.”

On the significance of the SAMSA small vessels safety promotion campaign relative to the Inland Water Strategy, and the critical need for greater cooperation and collaboration with other State as well as private sectors entities in the sector; SAMSA said: “Our organisation s delighted that the strategy was approved, implemented, and launched last year.

External collaboration

“To date, SAMSA has appointed at least 45 enforcement officers nationally in cooperation with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), municipal officials, and law enforcement agencies. SAMSA appoints these appointees to monitor and enforce compliance on waterways or slips throughout the country. 

“SAMSA is also glad to report that we are continually training external safety officers and external SAMSA small vessel surveyors to ensure compliance of the SAMSA Regulations. SAMSA has recently initiated a compulsory refresher built in buoyancy, passenger boat, pontoon boat and small vessel surveying training course for all surveyors and safety officers to attend.

“With less than 40 SAMSA full time SAMSA surveyors employed, and inland waters being one of the largest areas to cover with the limited resources and capacity, it is essential that the entity ropes in private organisations and other government entities to assist SAMSA to give full and complete effect to the regulations to ensure the safety of people and boats on our inland and coastal waters.

“It was also for that reason the Department of Transport also stated that the only practical way to control boating would be to share responsibility with local authorities and authorized agencies since they are given jurisdiction over specific demarcated section of inland waters

Next up; Free State, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo

“It is a continuous process to train and appoint enforcement officers. As there are quite a lot of small boat activities taking place in the inland region, SAMSA will soon roll out training and appointment for enforcement officers in Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo,” said SAMSA.

This blog also caught up briefly with two of the small vessels surveyors, Mr Vusimuzi Dube and Mr Neerish Sinath; for their views on the campaign in the two videos below.

SAMSA Inland Region small vessels surveyor, Mr Vusimuzi Dube
SAMSA Inland Region small vessels Surveyor, Mr Neeresh Sinath

Battle against forced labour in fishing entering a sharp-edged phase in South Africa: SAMSA

SAMSA File Photo

Pretoria: 26 September 2022

South Africa’s fight against forced labour in the country’s fishing sector is entering an entirely new sharp-edged phase, featuring a broad front of several government departments, all with the goal of eliminating poor employment practices that denude fishermen of their basic right to dignity of employment.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on review of its performance to date with the implementation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Work-In-Fishing Convention, 2007 (C188) which South Africa ratified in 2013 and put into effect eight years later – in the process becoming the first country globally to implement the convention.

The news comes in the wake of a recent meeting and training session in Cape Town involving SAMSA, the ILO, several South African State departments and other agencies, as well as private sector law practitioners.

The meeting was to both evaluate the country’s progress and discuss challenges associated with the implementation of the C188 convention, as well as extend ILO training to both SAMSA surveyors and other State officials on identification of forced labour practices in the fishing sector.

An onboard fishing vessel C188 convention inspection being conducted by SAMSA surveyors on a foreign vessel in Cape Town. (SAMSA File Photo)

According to SAMSA this past week, now with an army of about a dozen fully trained surveyors on Port State Control and the ILO C188 convention’s Forced Labour Indicators, as well as a set of three new regulations about to be passed, to bring to full effect related domestic legislation, the fight is shaping up neatly for a broad sweep in the country’s commercial fishing sector to spot and eliminate poor labour practicies, but particularly forced labour.

In sharpening the edge of the weaponry in the battle against forced labour, SAMSA is being joined by several other State departments, among them the Department of Employment and Labour, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment, Home Affairs (Immigration), the South African Revenue Services and other agencies.

The battle is focused on not only South African fishing vessels, as international vessels operating on South African waters will also be thoroughly scanned and inspected consistent with the ILO C188 convention and related international and domestic instruments.

For a full outline of the assessment of South Africa’s progress in the implementation of the ILO C188 convention and related matters, inclusive of the country’s pioneering role in assisting other countries in ratifying and implementing the convention, this blog conducted a brief interview (15 minutes max), with one of SAMSA’s lead ship surveyors with vast knowledge and experience on the subject, Mr Selywn Bailey.

To view and listen, click on the video below.

Meanwhile, in a different but related environment, a set of South Africa twin architects, both females; are set to make it to South Africa’s maritime history arsenal next month in Durban, where the General Secretary of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr Kitack Lim is scheduled to unveil a new statue the pair were selected earlier this year to draw and erect.

Twin architects of Sesana Studio (from Left), Ms Letlhogonolo and Tlhologelo Sesana

The statue is part of features to mark South Africa’s inaugural hosting of the IMO’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE) over four (4) days in Durban’s International Convention Centre, attended by hundreds of representatives of its 175 Member States, as well as those of the Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA), the latter which will also hold a one day conference a day ahead of the IMO event.

The two events take place in Durban from 11-14 October 2022.

Twin architects, Ms Letlhogonolo and Tlhologelo Sesana of Sesana Sesana Studio in Pretoria were formally appointed by the Department of Transport (DoT) in June this year to design as well as have erected their design of the statue which they have named ‘Ukuhlangana‘.

Their appointment was formally announced in June 2022 Gazette Notice 1133 of 2022 published on 04 June, and confirmed once more publicly, during the launch of the country’s Maritime Industry Development Task Force Network in Durban in August 2022.

To get a sense of what the twin architect were embarking upon, this blog caught with and chatted briefly with the pair.

Click on the video below to view and listen to them.

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Public given second opportunity for comment on revised bunkering Codes: SAMSA

SAMSA File Photo

Pretoria: 12 September 2022

Stakeholders in South Africa’s bunkering subsector have been given yet another opportunity to make comments on South Africa’s Codes of Practice for both bunkering and ship-to-ship transfers (cargo transfers), according to a joint statement issued by the State institutions charged with managing the process last week.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Department of Transport (DoT) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) said they jointly issued the public invitation for further comment on South Africa’s set of Codes of Good Practice for Bunkering Services and Ship-To-Ship Transfers (Cargo Transfer) as part of a process towards their finalisation and publication.

The public call is contained in a Marine Information Notice (MIN 10-22) published on the SAMSA website on Thursday, 08 September 2022. The set of Codes of Practice comprise the South African Bunkering Code of Practice, and South African Ship to Ship Code of Practice for Cargo Transfers.

In the Notice, the public entities jointly state that the reason for the further call is to allow stakeholders an opportunity to make further inputs on the amended and consolidated set of draft Codes of Practices for both bunkering and cargo transfers. The sets of Codes have now been expanded to also cover specifically Ship to Ship Cargo Transfers.

SAMSA File Photo

In the joint statement on Thursday, the entities state: “A moratorium was put in place on the approval of any new permanent service providers in Algoa Bay and whose lifting would be conditional to the completion of the publication of the Codes of Practice, and the completion of an Environmental Risk Assessment by TNPA for Algoa Bay. The DOT, DFFE, SAMSA and TNPA opted to provide industry a combined code of practice where each entity’s approval requirements are consolidated in one place to allow the industry an easy reference guide for these types of operations.

“The codes also provide references to the various sections of legislation that are applicable for each government department and are aimed to show how the DFFE, TNPA and SAMSA aim to work together to approve these activities to ensure a unified approach. The Codes of Practises are not intended to remove any jurisdiction or duties from either the DFFE, TNPA or SAMSA to regulate the industry,” state the entities in the Notice.

According to the statement by SAMSA, TNPA, DFFE and DoT, stakeholders will have until 22 September 2022 to submit their comments. Stakeholders’ comments can be submitted to tsu@samsa.org.za

The final Codes will be submitted to the Department of Transport once completed, say the entities.

End

Recovery efforts continue for remains of a sunken yacht sailor off the Cape coast: SAMSA

SAMSA File photo.

Pretoria: 22 August 2022

Efforts to recover the remains of a sailor whose yacht, named the PANACEA; sank at sea off Cape coast south of Mossel Bay a week ago continue, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

In a statement on Monday, SAMSA said the continuing effort occurs against a backdrop where earlier efforts involving the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and others to recover the yacht with the body of the deceased sailor were thwarted by bad weather.

SAMSA said: “On Saturday 20 August, after the body of the solo sailor was located onboard the yacht adrift at sea, arrangements were prepared for the yacht to be towed to Stilbaai where SA Police officials would board the yacht and recover the body of the sailor.

“The yacht was found to have sustained some damage. While NSRI Stilbaai were towing the yacht weather conditions deteriorated and the tow was released. Further arrangements were made for NSRI Mossel Bay to respond on Sunday during the early morning to tow the yacht to Mossel Bay.

“NSRI Mossel Bay took up a tow of the yacht and while towing the yacht towards Mossel Bay the yacht took on water and sunk approximately 12 nautical miles from Mossel Bay. The SA Police Services and the Police Dive Unit are assessing the situation around the possible recovery of the body of the sailor from the sunken yacht.

“The family has been informed of the matter by the authorities and our thoughts remain with them in this difficult time.”

According to SAMSA in an earlier statement on Saturday, the ordeal of the recovery of the vessel and its sailor began after the yacht with the solo sailing skipper was reported missing after it had left Cape Town harbour on Friday, 12 August 2022, headed for Mossel Bay, but had failed to arrive at the scheduled time.

SAMSA related that: “The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town was made aware of a sailor onboard the yacht PANACEA that had departed Cape Town on Friday the 12th  of August and was headed to Mossel Bay.

“After three days of no contact with his family, the sailor’s mother informed MRCC that she was concerned however not overly so,  as her son was reportedly in no immediate rush to reach Mossel Bay. MRCC Cape Town, out of concern requested Telkom Maritime Radio to broadcast marine messages requesting vessel routing along the south coast between Cape Town and Mossel Bay to lookout for and report any sightings of the yacht and report it to the MRCC.

“On Friday 19th August a report from a passing vessel was received. Due to very bad weather the vessel could not remain on scene. However a different vessel managed to locate the yacht as well, and tried to confirm the safety of the lone sailor without success.

“With the concern and need to establish the safety of the sailor, MRCC Cape Town activated and tasked the National Sea Rescue Institutes’ rescue boat from the Hermanus station to proceed to the area, establish safety of the sailor, and render any assistance that may be required. Following an extensive search lasting well into the early hour of Saturday, morning the rescue boat – having operated for over 10 hours under very difficult sea condition and in near zero visibility – was stood down.

“The South African Air Force at 22 Squadron in Cape town was tasked along with the Air Sea Rescue team from the NSRI to prepare to launch at first light to head to the scene and provide assistance. Due to bad weather the flight departed later than planned and arrived on scene during the early afternoon of Saturday.

“Once on scene a rescue swimmer from the NSRI team was deployed from the helicopter to board the vessel. Unfortunately, the lone sailor was found but deceased. Plans are currently underway to recover the sailor and the yacht,” said SAMSA

In the meantime, the entity expressed condolences to the family of the sailor. Further, SAMSA expressed its gratitude to the crews from the NSRI and the South African Air Force “for the excellent efforts under very challenging condition present during this operation.”

End

South Africa’s budding maritime business chamber formation a vital intervention; industry sector players

Pretoria: 21 July 2022

Current ongoing efforts towards broadening involvement and engagement of business of all sizes in South Africa’s maritime economic sector through a representative national business chamber have received a nod from a number of keyrole players in the sector, among them diverse national institutions as well as industry sector principals.

This emerged this past week during a three (3) days strategy planning session of the budding Maritime Business Chamber (MBC) previously the Eastern Maritime Business Chamber – held at the St Francis Bay Conference Centre in the Eastern Cape province and attended or actively addressed in person or virtually by representatives of several national institutions and businesses across the private and public sectors, including financial institutions.

From the public sector, these included the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence, and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitican Municipality (NMBM).

Financial institutions included the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Absa Bank while private sector institutions included FishSA as well as individual company representatives, among them CEO of Algoa Bay based bunkering services firm, Heron Marine SA, Ms Kgomotso Selokane; and Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, group executive of Johannesburg based maritime sector consulting firm, Elekhom Global.

The event hosts, the MBC are an upsized version of a small business chamber that started off in Gqeberha (a.k.a Port Elizabeth) in Algoa Bay in 2019 as a small, micro and medium entreprises (SMME) organisation with express interest in involvement and engagement for business and other economic opportunities identification and exploration in the region’s maritime economic sector.

Maritime Business Chamber chairperson, Mr Unathi Sonti

According to MBC chairperson, Mr Unathi Sonti last Tuesday in St Francis Bay, through ongoing intense and expansive interaction with various stakeholders in South Africa’s maritime sector mostly across the four coastal provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape), a “clear gap” was identified for an institution of the nature operating at national level, in order to advance the interests of those people and businesses with direct interest but without any formal representation in the sector.

According to Mr Sonti, such business chamber with precise focus on the maritime sector was also vital in terms of the national interest of the country.

The feedback over the past two years culminated in last week’s three days’ strategy session workshop as a formal step towards formal expansion of the maritime business chamber countrywide, he explained. For his full views on the subject, click on the video below.

Mr Unathi Sonti, chairperson of Maritime Business Chamber chatting about the development of a national business chamber for the maritime sector in South Africa

Meanwhile, all the companies and institutions represented at the event at St Francis Bay on Monday to Wednesday last week, expressed a common agreement in terms of their full support of both the idea of a business maritime chamber, as well as the expanse of its reach, domestically and abroad.

In the next three videos below, this blog chatted to at least two of the representatives of five key public sector maritime focused institutions present; SAMSA’s Head for Corporate Affairs and Acting Chief Operations Officer, Mr Vusi September; and SAIMI’s Mr Malwande Nkalitshana.

Mr Vusi September, SAMSA Head for Corporate Affairs and acting Chief Operations Officer; sharing the agency viewpoint on its support for the formation of a national maritime business chamber.
Mr Malwande Nkalitshana of the South African Internaitonal Maritime Institute (SAIMI) also weighing on why a national maritime business chamber matters.

From a private sector business perspective, Ms Selokane, CEO of Heron Marine SA also shared her views.

Ms Kgomotso Selokane. CEO of bunkering services firm Heron Marine SA and patron of the Maritime Business Chamber also sharing her own perspective of the importance of such a structure within context of South Africa’s broad economy and people’s interests

End

UPDATE: Capsized fishing vessel salvaged and returning on tow to Cape Town

Photo Supplied

Pretoria: 30 June 2022

The recovery of a fishing vessel whose 12 member crew was rescued on Sunday this past weekend after it capsized while out at sea near Cape Point, continues, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

The rescued crew was safely returned to shore following to which a salvage operation to recover the vessel, named Restless Wave, was launched.

According to SAMSA, during the early hours of the morning on 26 June 2022 the pelagic fishing vessel Restless Wave capsized while located approximately four (4) Nautical Miles off the Cape of Good Hope.

Photo Supplied

There were 12 survivors recovered and they were landed safely in Hout Bay at 08h00 the same day. No injuries or fatalities were reported and the vessel owners working with salvors set out to recover the vessel and fishing gear.

On Thursday morning, SAMSA said the vessel was being towed to Cape Town Harbour and was expected to be in the Table Bay anchorage around noon. “SAMSA continues to monitor the operation,”said the agency in a statement

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South Africa’s stevedores back in business, applauds resumption of supportive SAMSA periodic safety meetings and workshops!

Cape Town: 20 June 2022

Stevedoring business at South Africa’s coastal areas, mainly the country’s commercial ports, has warmly welcomed the resumption of periodic safety meetings and workshops conducted for their businesses by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).  The gatherings bring together the stevedoring companies, Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) and Transnet Port Terminals (TPT).

This emerged strongly at the third and biggest of these meetings conducted so far this year by SAMSA at the TNPA House at the port of Cape Town a week ago – these being the first in quarterly series since being interrupted by the outbreak of the Covid-10 pandemic in South Africa in February 2020.

The meetings are primarily for safety issues. However, the practitioners in the subsector feel comfortable to bring industry development related issues to the forum.

SAMSA manager for Occupational Health, Safety and Maritime Welfare, Mr Sibusiso Rantsoabe leading a stevedore business safety meeting in Cape Town on Wednesday, 16 June 2022

According to SAMSA manager for Occupational Health, Safety and Maritime Welfare, Mr Sibusiso Rantsoabe, the stevedoring business meetings, now in their 12th year; are held among the main stakeholders with a view to periodically share both general information of good business practices in that specific maritime economy subsector, developments relating to applicable legislation governing both the conduct of stevedoring business, as well as matters concerning the maintenance of good health and safety standards.

Stevedoring essentially involves the loading and off-loading of goods from cargo vessels, as break bulk and containers as well as the conduct of business related thereto.

Generally, says Mr Rantsoabe, as many as 30 registered and licensed companies are responsible for stevedoring at the country’s ports: – from Richards Bay and Durban in the east, East London, Ngqurha, Port Elizabeth in the south, and Cape Town and Saldanha Bay in the west coastline.

In terms of applicable legislation, from a SAMSA perspective, the National Merchant Shipping Act, 1951 is primary; providing for codes of practices and regulations that govern matters of occupational health and safety and cargo handling on board vessels.

It is on the basis of this legislation and codes and regulations that SAMSA also conducts regular inspections as well as audits in the subsector at the country’s ports and stevedore premises, this deriving from its legislated mandate for ensuring the safety of life and property at sea.

Representatives of stevedore businesses at the ports of Cape Town and Saldanha gathered in Cape Town for this year’s first SAMSA stevedore safety meeting.

In Cape Town on Wednesday last week, no less than 14 of these companies were represented at the first Stevedoring Safety Meeting since 2020 and the enthusiasm in the meeting room was palpable.

This was particularly apt given what was described by many as a most torrid time the stevedoring business in the country encountered during the major national lockdowns brought about by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research findings shared by SAMSA at the Cape Town meeting indicated that while the majority (about 95%) of the stevedoring businesses were sparred the spate of Covid-10 pandemic deaths among their employees, however; close on half incurred either a ‘bit more’ or a ‘lot more’ business running costs compared with the pre-pandemic outbreak period.

It also emerged that during the periodically disrupted operations, stevedores were not provided with adequate Personal Protective Equipment, in addition to other associated challenges that included a lack of occupational safety inspections before the beginning of shifts, lack of supervision in instances where foremen and supervisors were not found on board vessels, signallers working without signalling equipment or found not in their correct positions during cargo operations.

However, with Covid-19 pandemic restrictions having slowly been lifted nationally over the past year, and goods shipment worldwide beginning to pick again, the stevedoring business is now almost fully back at work.

At the conclusion of the Cape Town Stevedore Business Safety Meeting, this blog spoke to Mr Whaleed Diedericks, a business owner of Pebblehouse Stevedoring at the port of Cape Town, to solicit his views on the significance and importance of these SAMSA conducted stevedore subsector meetings and workshops. To view, click on the 6 minutes video below.

Mr Whaleed Diedericks, a stevedore business owner at the port of Cape Town sharing his perspective of SAMSA Stevedore Safety Meetings now back on track after a two year absence due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020

Meanwhile, Mr Rantsoabe also took time to outline broadly the developments in the stevedore business from a SAMSA perspective, explaining why the meetings and workshops are pivotal to the success, sustainability as well as growth and expansion of this maritime economy business subsector: To view, click on the video below:

A brief interview with Mr Sibusiso Rantsoabe, SAMSA Manager for Occupational Health, Safety and Maritime Welfare, outlining briefly the significance and importance of the country’s stevedore business focused periodic safety meetings and workshops resumed in 2021 after a break of two years due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Bunkering back in business in Algoa Bay as oil spill clean-up comes to an end: SAMSA

Bunkering services back in business in Algoa Bay, announces oil spill incident management authorities (SAMSA File Photo)

Pretoria: 14 June 2022

The clean up of an oil spill recently in Algoa Bay on South Africa’s eastern (Indian Ocean) seaboard has formally been concluded, with bunkering services (ship-to-ship fuel transfers) back in business, authorities responsible for the incident management – among them being the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – announced in Pretoria on Monday.

“The oil spill clean-up in Algoa Bay has concluded and the incident has been closed and response and monitoring will return to normal status,” read a statement issued jointly by SAMSA, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment (DFFE) and Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

This came almost a week after the lifting of a suspension imposed on bunkering services in the ocean space area following to an incident of an oil spill between two vessels belonging to the same bunkering services company while transferring oil between them on Monday, 23 May 2022.

According to the oil spill incident management authorities, the cause of the oil spill is still being investigated.

Meanwhile, they said: “The conclusion (of the clean-up) follows days of monitoring of the St Croix Island group by the SANPARKS rangers following an oil spill on Monday, 23 May 2022. The last monitoring exercise was done on Thursday, 09 June 2022 and there were no oiled birds reported. The beaches that form part of the Addo Marine Reserve have also been inspected with no reports of oil or oiled wildlife.

“Both vessels have been cleaned and returned to service. A debrief has been concluded with the responders to assess how the response can be improved in the future. An investigation into the course of the spillage is ongoing by the Authorities.”

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