The South African Maritime Safety Authority’s (SAMSA) Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town had to spring into fast action early on Wednesday after two crew members of a bulk carrier departing from South Africa for Brunei reportedly suffered serious injuries while sailing through choppy waters on the Indian Ocean.
Working in collaboration with a number of local institutions as well as a medical doctor in the Eastern Cape, the MRCC dispatched a South African Air Force aircraft from Port Elizabeth to pluck the injured crew members from the bulk carrier for medical attention in East London.
In a statement, the MRCC said the rescue scramble occurred early on Wednesday after the bulk carrier, KS Flora, sailing from the deep water port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth and while approximately 81 kilometers south west of East London, on its way to the Maura Port in Brunei, sent and emergency call for assistance with two injured crew members
“Today at 0934 SAST MRCC Cape Town received a call from RSC East London advising of two injured crew members on-board Bulk Carrier ‘KS FLORA’ approximately 81 kilometres from East London. The vessel had left Algoa Bay (Ngqura) bound for Muara Port in Brunei. The two crew got injured due to vessel experiencing bad weather. One crew suffered severe left knee injury and the other suffered severe fracture left foot.
“MRCC then requested our coastal radio station (PORT ELIZABETH Radio) to connect the vessel to the METRO doctor for him to make a medical judgment on the condition of the two crew.
“The Metro doctor advised that one of the crew should be evacuated as soon as possible and he suggested air evacuation due to the urgency in the casualty requiring treatment. The vessel was diverting to East London as it was the closest port from their position.” said the MRCC.
A South African Air Force aircraft dispatched from Port Elizabeth rendezvoused with the vessel during the day approximately 36 kilometres from shore, for evacuation of the injured crew members and who have since been admitted to a hospital in East London.
The MRCC confirmed that the bulk carrier had since returned onto its journey to Brunei.
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South Africa and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will continue engagement with African countries in efforts to have all maritime countries in the region who are member States of the IMO to formally ratify a global agreement established to encourage and enforce the protection of fishermen across the world.
The continued engagement, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), will encompass the provision of particularly technical assistance to those African region countries requiring it – the aim being to secure sufficient IMO member States’ support to enable formalization of the now five year agreement into a convention instrument that will binding on all states.
This was the conclusion of a five day seminar on the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement’ held in Cape Town last week.
African countries represented at the seminar held at the Castle of Good Hope included Mauritius, Seychelles, Uganda, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Somali, Tanzania and South Africa. Among those also invited but did not attend were Angola and Kenya.
The primary focus of the seminar was on establishment of facilitative interventions to enable the implementation and ratification of the Cape Town Agreement 2012 to 1993 Torremolinos Protocol relating to the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels.
At its founding in South Africa five years ago, the ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ involved as many as 58 countries from across the world.
The five day seminar for Anglophone African countries in Cape Town last week dealt with a number of issues concerning the agreement including, the state of marine fisheries globally inclusive of the number of fishing vessels relevant to the agreement (24-meter vessels), the IMO’s work on the safety of fishing, the Cape Town Agreement and challenges in its entry into force, envisaged advantages to the maritime and fisheries sector through the entry into force of the agreement and matters related.
During the ensuing discussions, it emerged that a key constraint for most countries involved in the seminar was lack of administrative capacity, both legal and technical.
The conclusion was that South Africa, a member State of the IMO and an early signatory (one of seven so far) of the agreement, would avail itself to assist those countries requiring it, in direct and close collaboration with the IMO.
According to SAMSA, South Africa is already way ahead in terms of development of draft regulations facilitative of implementation of the IMO ‘Cape Town Agreement 2012’ and will share these with countries in need of such assistance. The technical regulations currently in draft form still, and intended to replace a set of 1968 regulations, are with the Department of Transport (DoT) for consideration and promulgation for public comment.
The South Africa chairman of the IMO seminar in Cape Town, SAMSA deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Nigel Campbell described the event as a success overall, particularly from South Africa’s position as a host country.
AAMA is the coordinating body for the Maritime Administrations in Africa established in terms of the African Maritime Transport Charter (AMTC), while WOMESA is an association of women established under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) with the aim of enabling women to train in maritime and thereby acquire the high levels of competence that the maritime industry demands.
The two bodies reached an agreement during a meeting in Ethiopia in early 2016 to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will facilitate among other things; joint undertakings or close collaboration in a number of activities and initiatives aimed at strengthening the role and impact of women participation in the continent’s maritime economic sector development.
Representing AAMA on the agreement were Mr Benard Bobison-Opoku, AAMA Secretariat and Legal Counsel at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and Mr Collins Makhado, Executive Head of Centre for Industry Development also at SAMSA, representing the Chairperson of AAMA, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele; while Mrs Veronica Maina, Head of WOMESA Secretariat represented the women’s association.
The MoU, soon to be formally ratified; will enjoin the parties to among other things;
Promote general cooperation in the implementation of the broader African maritime development agenda as envisaged in the AMTC, 2050 AIM Strategy (AIM Strategy) and SADC Protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology;
Promote the development of skills on maritime safety, security and preservation of marine environment, under IMO, ILO and other international, continental and regional instruments;
Reciprocate access to each other’s conference platforms and avail opportunities for business to business networking and the participation of its industry constituencies. These include the transformation platforms focusing on African women in maritime, African maritime youth development, enterprise development and job creation, etc.;
Explore current mechanisms/instruments for the provision of financial support to WOMESA local Chapters seeking to engage on potential investments in the maritime sector;
Facilitate access to and availing of experts and contributors to each other’s platforms for strategic conversations; and
Provide financial and non-financial support for the realisation of the objectives of initiatives and programmes as outlined.
The agreement on the MoU was reached between the two bodies during WOMESA’s 7th Annual Conference/ Training, Annual General Meeting and Governing Council Meeting held from 22 to 26 February 2016 at the Adulala Resort & Spa at Debrezeit Babogaya, Ethiopia.
According to a recent WOMESA report on the conference, members of the association came from across 14 countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa region, participated at the event.
The countries included the Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania.
Issues dealt with during the gathering included:
The democratic debate on the grey shades of Maritime Women Leadership
Young women as the new driving force behind maritime and the integrated transport system
Building Africa’s blue economy: Setting common agenda at the regional level
The impact of The Impact of Increasing Vessels Size and Alliance on Port Operations
The role of emotional intelligence in career progression
Impact of gender stereotypes on advancement leadership by women.
WOMESA also conducted an elective conference that saw Mauritian, Mrs. Meenaksi Bhirugnath Bhookhun as chairman of its Governing Council and Tanzanian, Mrs. Hiacinter Burchard Rwechungura as her deputy.
The rest of the council is made up of Mrs Fatma Yusuf (Kenya) as Secretary
Ms. Liyuwork Amare Shiferaw (Ethiopia) as Treasurer, Ms Karine Rassool (Seychelles as Marketing & Communication Officer, Mrs Catherine Wairi (Kenya) and honorary member, and Mrs. Tamanda Kalilombe (Malawi) as Council Member, while Mrs Nancy Karigithu (Kenya) and Mrs Nomita Seebaluck (Mauritius) were also roped in as ‘co-opted’ Council members
Working alongside Mrs Maina as WOMESA’s Secretariat is Mrs.Rosemary Oile as the association’s Programme Director.