South Africa called upon to increase support for Indian Ocean rim countries’ port State controls.

DSC_2913Cape Town: 21 August 2019

South Africa has been called upon to step up and increase its regional support of Indian Ocean rim countries in order to improve the general standard and level of control measures in place to maintain safety and security of the regions’ oceans.

The call has been issued by the chairperson of the 20-member States Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU), Ms Beatrice Nyamoita in an interview on the sidelines of the organisation’s Port State Control Committee meeting currently taking place in Cape Town over five days since Monday this week.

DSC_3041IOMOU member States represented include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Eritrea, France (La Reunion), India, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen.

Also present are delegates from other observer States and organisation with similar status as the IOMOU.

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Ms Beatrice Nyamoita, Chairperson of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU)

The IOMOU on Port State Control has its main function the establishment and maintenance of a harmonised system of port State Controls as envisaged in various instruments under the directive of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and similar such institutions. 

The port State control system, according to the IOMOU ‘aims to verify whether foreign flagged vessels calling at a port of a State comply with applicable international maritime conventions.’

There are no less than 12 of such IMO and related institutions’ conventions and protocols that inform the IOMOU’s port State control activities across the region.

In Cape Town on Tuesday, Ms Nyamoita said while the IOMOU block had made several achievements over the past two decades to both enrol as many Indian Ocean countries into the fold of the IOMOU, and to harmonise adoption of instruments for group of countries activities in promoting and maintaining safety and security of the region’s ocean area by preventing entry of substandard vessels into the region’s sea waters, sufficient capacity remained the major challenge.

She said because of the nature of the training programme required for inspection officers in member States, particularly the long duration and costs involved, many of the countries were unable to develop an adequate number of personnel sufficiently skilled to carry out necessary vessel inspections and surveys.

‘We have managed to ensure the development of standard procedures across the region intended to harmonise and establish uniformity of activity aimed at enhancing safety and securing of people and ships in our our respective ocean spaces. However, the greatest challenge currently facing IOMOU member States with regards port State control is capacity,” she said.

“Most of the member States cannot afford to train enough people. The training takes too long and governments budgets do not give priority to training people for port State control.

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She said currently, the IOMOU relied on support from other MOU organisations across the world, but this was just not enough for development of a cadre of skilled officials required by countries in the region in order to meet their obligations.

Ms Nyamoita said South Africa on the other hand, however, had certain advantages that would be beneficial to the organisation, such as vast experience in maritime matters, as well possessing infrastructure in terms of its relatively higher number of ports in which to conduct vessel inspection. The vast ports infrastructure could be beneficial to IOMOU country’s skills development, she said.

“I’d like to encourage the government of South Africa to endeavour to train the port State control officers and to effectively take control of port State control activities in the region.

“We request that South Africa actually support… because we know that the country has more experience in the region…to undertake the training of port State control officers for countries in the region that are unable to do so themselves. In so doing, this will greatly assist in harmonising the training and activities in the region,” she said.

For Ms Nyamoita’s full interview (9.18 minutes) click on the video below:

Meanwhile, IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra presented his organisational report to the meeting on Monday. His presentation (about 20 minutes) is captured in the video below.

The IOMOU five-days meeting’s agenda this week is looking at a whole range of issues among which is an analysis of CIC on MARPOL Annex VI as well as development of guidelines for MARPOL Annex IV and Annex V for inclusion into the region’s port State control manual; port state inspections carried out by the maritime authorities, short term training programmes and a lot more other issues including the organisation’s online information management system.

This blog will carry more news information about some of these issues as and when such information is shared. Also lined up are two interviews with the IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra who is due to retire, as well as Captain Thobile Gqapu of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). 

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Shipping safety and security comes under focus in South Africa at IMO three day workshop in Durban: SAMSA

Durban: 12 November 2018

Strengthening of safety and security of global shipping against all forms of criminal activity at sea through close collaboration and information sharing among maritime states comes under focus in South Africa this week at a gathering in Durban led by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The IMO workshop in Durban over three days from Monday 12 November 2018, and  attended by about 60 delegates from the Gulf of Aden and West Indian Ocean region some of whom are member States, including South Africa, will focus on specifically identified requirements to enhance the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) and its revised version known as the ‘Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017’.

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In Durban, South Africa early on morning, delegates to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) workshop on the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct, gathered for a group picture ahead of the three-day discussion beginning on Monday through to Wednesday. IMO workshop is organized and hosted on behalf of the global body by the Department of Transport and its agency, the South African Maritime Safety Authority. (Photo: SAMSA)

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), hosts of the workshop along with the Department of Transport (DoT), the DCoC is a regional counter piracy programme with the main objective of repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Aden and West Indian Ocean region.

However, the revised version – the ‘Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017’ has since expanded the scope of the DCoC to include all acts of criminality in the maritime environment, including illicit maritime activities such as human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

According to the IMO in a statement on its website, the Jeddah Amendment “recognizes the important role of the “blue economy” including shipping, seafaring, fisheries and tourism in supporting sustainable economic growth, food security, employment, prosperity and stability.

Thandi 2.jpg“But it expresses deep concern about crimes of piracy, armed robbery against ships and other illicit maritime activity, including fisheries crime, in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Such acts present grave dangers to the safety and security of persons and ships at sea and to the protection of the marine environment.

Crucially, says the IMO; “The Jeddah Amendment calls on the signatory States to cooperate to the fullest possible extent to repress transnational organized crime in the maritime domain, maritime terrorism, illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and other illegal activities at sea”.

“This will include information sharing; interdicting ships and/or aircraft suspected of engaging in such crimes; ensuring that any persons committing or intending to commit such illicit activity are apprehended and prosecuted; and facilitating proper care, treatment, and repatriation for seafarers, fishermen, other shipboard personnel and passengers involved as victims.”

According to the IMO, of 17 eligible countries to sign the  DCoC and its revised version, several are now signatories. These include the Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Madagascar, Maldives, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen, Kenya and Somalia.

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Ahead of Monday’s start of the three days IMO workshop, SAMSA said delegates will focus on aspects including the promotion of national and regional plans to achieve Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and plans to enhance the DCoC information network to meet the objectives of the Jeddah Amendment to DCoC 2017.

“This includes agreeing on a common action plan for establishment of National Maritime Information Sharing Centres in each of the participating States, strengthening of existing DCoC information sharing centres and options to create synergy with the newly established Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar and the Regional Maritime Operational Coordination Centre (RMOCC) in Seychelles.

“The workshop will also discuss the development of common Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and incident reporting formats to promote interoperability and a regional strategy for information sharing to achieve MDA,” said SAMSA.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Chief Operations Officer. SAMSA

SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Sobantu Tilayi added: “On behalf of SAMSA, Department of Transport and Government of the Republic of South Africa, i would like to take this opportunity to thank the International Maritime Organisation for having requested South Africa to host this important workshop on Regional Information Sharing within the Djibouti Code of Conduct (Jeddah amendment) family.

“It is indeed an honour and a privilege for South Africa to host this workshop here in Durban – our coastal city and home of the biggest port in Africa. SAMSA and DoT, on behalf of Government, are hopeful that South Africa will host a successful IMO DCoC Regional Information Sharing Workshop.”

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