Fate of arrested Chinese vessel in Cape Town to be determined soon

Pretoria: 16 May 2016

An image of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186. Courtesy of Independent Online
An image of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186 arrested by South African authorities off the Eastern Cape coast at the weekend now berthed at the Cape Town harbour. (Image courtesy of Independent Online

The fate of the Chinese vessel, Lu Huang Yuan Yu 186, currently docked in Cape Town after being successfully chased and captured by South African authorities off the Eastern Cape coast at the weekend will soon be fully determined by the extent to which it violated both the country’s laws and international conventions.

The vessel is one of several – about nine – possibly from the same company believed to have entered and operated in South African waters illegally about a week ago.

On Monday (May 16) the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed that it had begun investigations of the vessel relating to its conduct in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Captains Karl Otto and Gustav Louw confirmed that SAMSA surveyors boarded the vessel on Monday afternoon and their findings would be shared as soon as they were available.

According to SAMSA, the investigation is looking precisely into the vessel’s seaworthiness inclusive of its condition, its operation certificates as well as those of the crew, the vessel’s manning conditions, as well as its general conduct in South African waters involving its radio availability and responsiveness to South African authorities.

A SAMSA team set out early Monday to investigate the vessel and to make a determination of its overall condition and conduct.

The SAMSA ship surveyors team’s findings will add to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) investigations and findings at the weekend shortly after the cornering and arrest of the vessel in Cape Town.

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

“There was a total of nine crew members on board,” said DAFF’s spokesperson, Bomikazi Molapo, also confirming that no fish was found onboard the vessel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, Ms Molapo confirmed that an alert had been issued to neighboring countries, Namibia and Mozambique to be on the look for the rest of the vessels that have since disappeared. “DAFF has notified and registered an intention to get all the nine vessels red flagged with regional fisheries management organizations,” she said.
End

South Africa’s first black female Ship Captains set to conquer the oceans globally

Three young black South African women blaze the trail in the country’s maritime transport subsector after qualifying as Marine Masters

Pretoria: 06 May 2016

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South Africa’s purposeful drive to transform positively the country’s maritime sector primarily through development widely yet rapidly of a formidable base of human resource skills is yielding significant results.

Latest evidence of this trend is to be found in the successful qualification recently of the country’s first three black women as commercial cargo vessel Master Mariners or Ship Captains.

TRAILBLAZER: South Africa maritime transport subsector pioneer, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi, the first of three black women in the country to qualify as a ship captain, or Master Marine in 2016
TRAILBLAZER: South Africa maritime transport subsector pioneer, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi, the first of three black women in the country to qualify as a ship captain, or Master Marine in 2016

The uniquely historical event occurred after Tshepo Motloutsi, Thembela Taboshe and Pretty Molefe received their colours as Master Mariners in March and April 2016 respectively following to their passing their exams.

The three newest Captains will go into the history books as the first black female Master Mariners in South Africa.

A Master Mariner or Ship Captain is the professional qualification required for someone to serve as the person in charge or person in command of a vessel of more than 3000 gross tons.

Two of the new female Captains Motloutsi and Taboshe are currently employed by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as ship surveyors in Durban, while the third; Captain Molefe is with the National Ports Authority.

According to SAMSA – hitherto the country’s leading agent for human resources skills development in the sector since some 16 years ago – the youthful females’ achievement is significant not only for its historical perspective, but crucially because its advancement to the highest level of their career paths responds positively to a critical shortage of female master mariners or ship captains not only in South Africa, but also worldwide.

In a statement congratulating the three, SAMSA said it was extremely proud of Captain Motloutsi, Taboshe and Molefe’s formidable achievement as, it said: “The journey to qualifying as a Captain is a challenging one more so for female candidates since this is a qualification that is traditionally held by males. The candidates have to endure over 36 months of sea time training before they sit down for the grueling oral examination.”

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi
South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

SAMSA Chief Operations Officer Mr Sobantu Tilayi said the ladies’ progress boded well for SAMSA’s efforts to completely transform the South African maritime sector for the benefit of all.

“We are excited about these two qualifications as they are not only historical but are also in line with the country’s push towards a fully beneficial and representative South African maritime sector. Not only will these two new Captains put South Africa on the map but they will go into the history books as the ladies who defied all odds in a male dominated space”, said Tilayi.

Meanwhile, the increase in qualified cargo vessels master mariners in South Africa comes at a time when the country is also seeing an increase in the number of commercial cargo vessels being registered under the country’s flag, a registration process driven under mandate by SAMSA.

The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.
The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.

Already three vessels carry the country’s flag since August 2015 while an additional 12 is currently having their applications under consideration.

The increase in South Africa registered commercial cargo vessels is a strategic move to expand both training opportunities for the country cadets as well as business trade opportunities.

According to SAMSA, Captains Taboshe, and Motloutsi will remain in SAMSA’s employment while their future in the maritime sector is receiving further consideration.

For a full feature on Captain Tshepo Motloutsi’s and Captain Thembela Taboshe’s journey into South Africa’s maritime transport sector history, after qualifying as the country’s first batch of Black female Master Mariners, please click here.