Indian Ocean rim countries wrap up conference in South Africa on a high note: IOMOU

DSC_304126 August 2019

Delegates to a five day conference of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) Port State Control Committee in Cape Town wrapped up their deliberations on Friday with renewed firm commitments to strengthening co-operation among them in the implementation and maintenance of measures to tighten safety and security of the ocean they share in the region.

The IOMOU which began with only six member States back in 1998 and now boasts no less than 20 members of the countries in the Indian Ocean rim, with more – the latest being Qatar- due to join in, has become a force to be reckoned with in maritime safety and security, according to chairperson, Ms Beatrice Nyamoita.

Countries now already in the fold of the IOMOU include the host of this year’s 22nd meeting of PSC, South Africa,  Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Eritrea, France (La Reunion), India, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen.

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.’

DSC_2913Key issues discussed at this year’s annual meeting in Cape Town included the organisation’s new inspection and detention regime, this against the backdrop of challenges particularly with regards human and financial resources.

DSC_2932
Mr Dilip Mehrotra, outgoing Secretary of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) in Cape Town, South Africa between 19-23 August 2019

This blog charted to outgoing IOMOU Secretary, Mr Dilip Mohretra, both about his pending retirement after 20 years of service to the maritime sector and eight years as secretary to the organisation, as well as the successes and challenges facing the India Ocean rim countries.

He expressed appreciation for the trust vested in him and confidence in the resolve of the IOMOU to pursue with vigour its programmes to promote and ensure safety of shipping and ocean’s environmental integrity in its region. There were challenges still to be confronted but particularly in terms of increasing the number of skilled port State control officers across the region, as had been tremendous success particularly with ensuring more countries commit to work together.

Although due to retire officially as secretary of the IOMOU, he felt, he said, energetic enough still to transfer back all the skills he’d acquired and continue to share his knowledge and experience.

For the 20 minutes chat, please click on the video below.

In closing remarks on Friday, South Africa’s Department of Transport expressed appreciation for the IOMOU’s choice of South Africa for the week long meeting as well as a venue for its celebration of its 20th anniversary.

‘In South Africa’s pursuit of a safer and cleaner shipping, the Acting Deputy Director General of the Maritime branch of the Department of Transport wishes to thank all attending committee members for their patronage and successful deliberations during the 22nd IOMOU meeting held from 19-23 Auogust 2019 in Cape Town South Africa

“Members can be assured of South Africa and its Department of Transport’s continued support and commitment in compliance to international commitments in ensuring our collective efforts in the jurisdiction of our ocean’s governance, port State control and safety and security,’ said the department in a statement.

DSC_2992
Captain Thobela Gqabu, a South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA Principal Officer for the Southern Region (East London) and South Africa’s representative to the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU”) Port State Control Committee

It further reiterated the country’s support of Captain Thobela Gqabu (a South African Maritime Safety Authority [SAMSA] principal officer for the Southern Region based in East London), on his role as IOMOU vice chairman.

“May we also convey our best wishes to the outgoing secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra and welcome the incoming secretary,’ said DoT.

Meanwhile, this blog also took time out to chat with Captain Gqabu to gain insight into how South Africa’s involvement with both the IOMOU its Atlantic Ocean counterpart in the west, the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding, contribute to South Africa’s maritime interests.

He expressed the view that South Africa’s involvement and contribution is both in its own interest as well as the global community. For the 11 minutes chat, please click on the video below:

End

 

 

 

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.

DSC_2958
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.

DSC_2905.JPG

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). 

End

 

 

 

 

Indian Ocean rim countries strengthen ring of security in their seas; IOMOU – Cape Town

DSC_3041.JPGCape Town: 20 August 2019

Indian Ocean rim countries, among them being South Africa, are maintaining their resolve to collaborate even closer in strengthening oceans safety and security in the areas of their jurisdiction, it emerged in Cape Town on Monday.

Just over two dozen delegates from about 20 countries of the Indian Ocean rim region are gathered in the city for the 22nd Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) Port State Control Committee five-day meeting that began on Monday and ends on Friday.

DSC_2900
Some of the more than two dozen delegates representing the 20 countries that are member States to the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding whose Port State Control Committee meeting is currently on in Cape Town from 19-23 August 2019

Represented countries include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Eritrea, France (La Reunion), India, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Susan, Tanzania, Yemen and South Africa.

Also in the delegation are observers the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as well as officials from countries with similar memorandum of understanding on oceans governance and safety and security.

DSC_2917.JPG

Led by its chairperson, Ms Beatrice Nyamoita and secretary, Mr Dilip Mehrotra, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) hosted IOMOU Port State Control Committee gathering in Cape Town is also an occasion to mark its 20th founding anniversary, and whose inauguration meeting was also held in South Africa in 1998.

DSC_2932.JPG
LEADING THE IOMOU: (From Left) Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU) Secretary, Mr Dilp Mehrotra with IOMOU Chairperson, Ms Beatrice Nyamoita at the start of the organisation’s five day annual Port State Control meeting in Cape Town on Monday

In welcoming the delegates to the country on Monday, SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi said South Africa was highly honoured to have been selected as the host of the IOMOU on its 20th anniversary, describing the gesture as indicative of the trust and greater cooperation that had been the hallmark of the strong relationship that’s developed among countries of the Indian Ocean rim.

DSC_2985.JPG
Mr Sobantu Tilayi. SAMSA Acting CEO.

Mr Tilayi noted that the IOMOU had not only begun with only a handful of members who have now risen to 20, but also that it had shown firm leadership in ensuring the safe and secure utilisation of the Indian Ocean region ocean waters by vessels fit for the purpose, thereby also enhancing the safety of seafarers globally.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (about 10 minutes) click on the video below.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview (7 minutes), Mr Tilayi explained the role of the IOMOU relative to South Africa’s interests and necessary global collaboration for effective ocean’s governance. For his views, click on the video below.

In her opening remarks, IOMOU chairperson, Ms Nyamoita expressed both delight at the progress being achieved by the organisation in terms of its efforts in ensuring safety of the region’s oceans to both ship owners and operators, seafarers, as well as the safeguarding of the ocean’s environmental integrity.

DSC_2902.JPGHowever, according to Ms Nyamoita, a lot more work still needed to be done especially in terms of placement of officers by member States who were fully skilled and trained in the monitoring of the region’s ocean space. She also urged for more countries to cooperate in the implementation of instruments contributing to both collaboration and effective oceans governance in the region.

For her full remarks, Click on video below.

The IOMOU Port State Control Committee meeting this week will also see the delegates visiting places of attraction in the city of Cape Town, including Robben Island.

Ongoing coverage of the proceedings of the meeting will be made on this blog through to Friday.

 

 

 

Angola finally in the fold for Africa agreement on sea search and rescue cooperation: SAMSA

IMG-20190719-WA0002
Angola’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, formally signing a Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement with South Africa in London during a meeting with South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula in July 2019

Pretoria: 03 August 2019

Angola’s formal ratification of a Multilateral Search and Rescue Agreement (MSRA) with South Africa recently has finally brought into fruition a 12 years old effort to establish formal cooperation on sea search and rescue operations in Southern Africa among six countries considered vital to the success of the operations in the sub region.

Angola, represented by its ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, formally signed the agreement in London during a meeting with South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula while attending to an International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council gathering on 22 July.

Also attending was the Acting Chief Executive officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

The objectives of the Agreement are to ensure co-operation between signatories (South Africa, Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola) by pulling together resource and infrastructure in improving maritime search and rescue in the region.

South Africa signed the Agreement in 2007 in Cape Town, and Angola was the last outstanding of the five other required signatories since then.

IMG-20190719-WA0001.jpg
Angola’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Rui J. Carneiro Mangueira, shaking hands with South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula after Angola’s formal ratification of a Multilateral Search and Rescue cooperation agreement in London recently.

The sub regional agreement arrangement among these countries stemmed from a 2000 IMO Florence Conference on Search and Rescue and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System that sought to establish regional maritime SAR arrangements in Africa and invited all African coastal States to agree to the establishment of sub-regional RCCs.

The Africa region would be arranged into five sub regional areas with Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centres (MRCCs).

At that conference, South Africa was identified as one of the five countries to host a regional Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) and in 2007, the IMO formally assigned South Africa’s MRCC in Cape Town under the control of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as the sub region’s centre with six sub centres cooperating on the basis of multilateral agreements located in the Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia and now Angola. 

The Africa region’s other MRCCs with a total 26 sub-centres, are located in Mombasa (Kenya: 2006), Lagos (Nigeria: 2008), Monrovia (Liberia: 2009) and Buoznika (Morocco: 2011), covering  all African countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, from Morocco to Somalia, anti-clockwise, as well as the nearby Atlantic and Indian Ocean Island States.

According to the IMO, the centres are intended to work co-operatively to provide search and rescue coverage in what had previously been identified as one of the world’s oceans region suffering most from a lack of adequate SAR and GMDSS infrastructure.

The centres’ sharing of information would also play an important role in the fight against piracy, kidnapping and ransom demands on the high seas – something, which IMO and the whole maritime community, had pledged to tackle with renewed vigour over the past decade.

End

 

 

 

Legislation the final cog needed to ready South Africa for new low sulphur ship fuel requirements

DSC_2166.JPGPretoria: 28 July 2019

South Africa will be ready to implement new global ships fuel regulations aimed at prevention of air pollution by ships at sea, but may have to pick up pace putting in place prerequisite legislation to legalise the process.

This was the general consensus view of more than 100 industry and government delegates to a purpose fit two day national consultative workshop in Cape Town this past week.

DSC_2100.JPGAmong those attending were representatives of various sub-sectors of the maritime transport industry, fuel producers and distributors, bunkering services providers, ship owners and shipping agents, cargo owners, academics, various government departments representatives including the Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fishing ministry, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transport, as well as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

IMG_8018
Dr John Calleya. Technical Officer: IMO Sub-division for Protection Measures Marine Environment Division.

Also attending was an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) senior official to provide guidance and insight into the global implementation of the new 0.50% sulphur limit in ships fuel come 1 January 2020.

The new regulations are in terms of the IMO’s MARPOL Convention (Annexture VI) whose goal, according to the IMO is to further reduce air pollution by ships through emission.

The revised regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships under the MARPOL (Annex VI) were adopted in October 2008 and ratified by more than 65 countries including South Africa.

In terms of this, all sizes of ships sailing on the world’s oceans will need to use fuel oil that meets the 0.50% limit from 1 January 2020. The 0.50% sulphur limit extends to carriage of bunker fuel with sulphur content of more than 0.50% for vessels not fitted with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGSC). The carriage ban will come into effect on 1 March 2020.

According to SAMSA, ships must operate using compliant fuels of 0.50% sulphur or less from 1 January 2020 unless they are provided with an approved ‘equivalent’ means of compliance.

In part preparation for the implementation of the new regulations, next January, SAMSA had issued two Marine Notices ( Marine Notice No. 8 of 2019 and Marine Notice No. 9 of 2019 ) to industry, and may yet issue another soon.

At the two day workshop in Cape Town on Wednesday and Thursday this past week, among  issues discussed by the delegates were matters concerning; the availability of fuel that meets the new requirements, the proper handling of ships coming into South African ports without the compliant fuel, the availability of facilities to test fuels in use by ships, the handling of vessels using non compliant fuel but fitted with sulphur reducing equipment. 

Delegates also explored the subject of the coming implementation of the new ship fuel requirements both in its environmental and economics perspectives. All agreed that from an environmental context, these were necessary measures, but with possible economic implications that were not all too rosy, at least in the short term.

Crucially, by the time they dispersed on Thursday afternoon the attendees were generally confident that all key role-players were well positioned and prepared to contribute to the success of the implementation of the regulations from the set launch date of 1 January 2019.

However, a key instrument to knead it all together would be a yet non existent but crucially important piece of legislation to legalise the implementation of the new regulations – a task that is the responsibility of the Department of Transport along with SAMSA.

IMG_8002.JPG
Mr Sipho Mbata. South Africa’s Alternate Permanent Representative to the IMO. London.

This, all delegates were agreed, it needed to be expedited without further delay and South Africa’s Alternate Permanent Representative to the IMO, Mr Sipho Mbata said he believed crafting the legislation would be achievable as it only required the Minister of Transport to facilitate the enactment process.

According to Mr Mbata (who also chatted quite extensively with this blog about the entire Marpol Convention and particularly the relevant annexture to the Cape Town workshop), the most viable approach to passage of the necessary legislation would be in the form of an annexture to already existing law, rather the a bill process that would take anything up to two years prior to enactment.

He expressed confidence that this would not present a problem as facilitation for passage of the necessary legislation only required the Minister of Transport.

DSC_2097
Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Acting Chief Executive Officer: South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

Meanwhile, SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, described the gathering and consensus seeking two day workshop for the maritime transport sector in Cape Town as a crucial step towards an ensuring that all role-players were singing from the same hymn book.

For his full remarks, Click on video below.

IMO representatives, Dr John Calleya, a technical officer in IMO’s Protection Measures for Maritime Environment division described the workshop and level of discussions as highly positive towards ensuring that South Africa would be prepared by the implementation date.

He also expressed appreciation for the industry representation during the workshop. For his full remarks (1minute 45 seconds), Click on the video below:

Meanwhile, in the video below, Mr Mbata gives a full perspective of the endeavors behind the IMO Marpol Convention on the combating of pollution by ships and South Africa’s important role in ensuring its success. Click on the video below.

This news information may be updated with edited video clips of the workshop proceedings including contributions by the various role players, as well floor discussions. These will be uploaded as soon as available.

South Africa’s elderly remain key players in socio-economic development: SAMSA

DSC_1811Pretoria 23 July 2019

South Africa’s elderly population is not without longer a purpose nor a significant continued contribution to the country’s socio-political and economic contribution, and it is only correct that it remains accommodated in programmes to develop the country.

This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which, in partnership with the King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, hosted some 250 elderly people during a function to mark the international Mandela Day at the Mthatha dam on Thursday.

The choice of the massive dam (or lake, by some accounts) for the function was consistent with SAMSA’s expanded mandate to promote the environmental and economic potential value of the country’s inland waterways within context of the development of the country’s maritime and marine economic sector as espoused through the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) programme.

The partnership for the event with the KSD Municipality, and to an extent, the KSD Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was part of a larger SAMSA Corporate Social Investment (CSI) campaign in the part of the Eastern Cape that is part the agency’s rural development programme in coastal areas of the country involving mainly youth skills development and job creation.

As it were, Thursday’s Mandela Day celebration with the area’s elderly, had been preceded by a day long SAMSA initiated and driven youth awareness programme involving more than 2000 high school children who were introduced formally for the first time to maritime sector careers.

In marking Nelson Mandela Day annually, SAMSA has over the last few years not only encouraged its own employees to donate 67 minutes of their own time to worthy causes, but also consistently focused on and donated material goods, mainly warm winter blankets to the elderly countrywide.

The activity also consistently involved the staging of a main function to entertain and dine the elderly our the country’s population.

In Mthatha on Thursday, SAMSA Head of CSI, Ms Mapitso Dlepu said the focus on the elderly was both in appreciation of their massive contribution to growth and development of families and communities, as well continued involved in support of those communities.

Many grandparents particularly in the previously marginalised and poor communities, still continued to play an active role in the rearing of children and in support of their own grown children many of whom face unemployment. Government grants are shared with whole families just to ensure that life remained bearable for many.

DSC_1778.JPG
Ms Mapitso Dlepu. Head: Corporate Social Investment. SAMSA

However in addition, according to Ms Dlepu, it remained sensible that the elderly were not only recognised and acknowledged for their significant continued contribution, but were also kept informed of developments around them.

She said SAMSA’s statutory mandate to promote South Africa’s maritime interest both domestically and abroad essentially involved continuous engagement with communities through information sharing for greater public awareness of maritime sector issues.

Currently in the Eastern Cape, SAMSA is engaged jointly with the provincial government through the Office of the Eastern Cape Premier in an ongoing Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) the both provides basic maritime skills as well secure them jobs on cruise vessels worldwide. Since launch in 2017, no less than 1000 youths from the province have since been assisted this way.

She said it made sense that parents including the elderly were also occasionally appraised of these developments in order to broaden their awareness and solicit support.

For Ms Dlepu’s remarks click on the video below. 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, KSD Municipality Executive Mayor, Mr D.N Nelani told the audience that plans for the transformation and development of the Mthatha Dam into a marine tourism attraction were underway. He said the plans have long been established but little had been achieved to date. This he said, would need to change soon as job creation was among key objectives of both the local and provincial governments.

He said the introduction of cruise vessel services at the massive dam would be instrumental in achieving the goal. For Mr Nelani’s full remarks, click on the video below

Spoken to as they dispersed in late afternoon on Thursday, many of the elderly had high praise for the effort and expressed appreciation that Government and its agencies was consistent in acknowledging their continued existence and contribution.

This blog spoke to a few of them in the following video:

For more pictures and videos of the Mandela Day 2019 function for the elderly in Mthatha, see  below

 

End

 

 

 

 

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

IMG-20190707-WA0007
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.

Bunkering services oil spill in Port Elizabeth under investigation: SAMSA

IMG-20190707-WA0012.jpg
One of early photos of the oil spillage incident during refuelling of a vessel off the coast of Port Elizabeth in the Indian Ocean on Saturday morning.

Pretoria: 07 July 2019

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says an investigation is underway to establish the cause of the oil spillage incident during a bunkering service off the port of Ngqhura near Port Elizabeth on Saturday morning,

This follows confirmed reports of an oil spillage at sea while a trade vessel was being refuelled. It was reported that as much 200-400 litters of fuel spilt into the ocean. However, the bunkering services company involved, SA Marine Fuels, soon activated an oil spillage control exercise to contain its spread on water.

IMG-20190707-WA0007
Spilled oil is visible immediately behind the Liberia flag carrying trade vessel, the Chrysanthi S off the coast of Port Elizabeth on at the weekend. The incident is now under investigation, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) (Photo: SAMSA)

A Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries’ statement on Saturday said the vessel involved was the Liberia flag carrying trade ship known as the MV Chrysanthi S. The department said it had been “notified of an oil spill that took place in Algoa Bay in the early hours of Saturday. The incident took place at approximately 04h40 (in the) morning during offshore bunkering operations in Anchorage 1 of the Port of Nqura.

“It was reported that approximately 200 to 400 litters of fuel from the receiving vessel MV Chrysanthi S, flag state Liberia, was spilled into the sea as a result of overflow during the fuel transfer.  SA Marine Fuels proceeded to dispatch a commercial oil spill response service provider to mitigate and contain the spread of the spill.

“This incident is currently considered a Tier 1 level incident which does not require intervention from the national authorities as local resources are sufficient. The department will provide assistance if the incident escalates and requires it.”

The department further said weather conditions in the Algoa Bay area on Saturday were hindering operations, which include wildlife assessments.

“However, the situation has been reported to be managed and under control. The oil is not expected to reach the coast and currently moving in an offshore direction. Transnet National Ports Authority, South African National Parks (SANParks), the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and other environmental bodies have been notified and are monitoring the situation along with our department.

” A contingency plan is in place for the Diaz Zone (Algoa Bay) and the Department will activate it should it be determined that oil is likely to wash ashore.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, SAMSA said it had become fully aware of the incident and that an investigation was being rolled out to establish its cause.

The agency in a statement said: “SAMSA with other authorities will conduct a comprehensive investigation of the incident. An inspection will be conducted tomorrow (Monday) to check if the beach and islands are not affected.”

SAMSA noted however at the time of its statement on Sunday, that monitoring of the oil had indicated that there were no oil traces on the water in the areas yet.

IMG-20190707-WA0001
More visuals of the oil accidentally spilled on the ocean during a refuelling of a vessel near Port Elizabeth at the weekend. It was estimated that between 200-400 litters of oil spilled over onto the ocean water.

In its earlier statement, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries said it was  responsible for matters relating to the combating of oil pollution at sea under Section 52(1) of the South African Maritime Safety Authority Act.

The department said: “Specific arrangements and tactics for responding to incidents are contained in a suite of local oil spill contingency plans managed by the department.

The department further added than an Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg), consisting of various stakeholders including the department, had been established through Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy to address South Africa’s oil spill response capability in the marine environment.

“The IMOrg hosted an oil spill exercise in November 2018 testing the response capability in Algoa Bay and is also keeping a close watch of the incident circumstances and status,” said the department.

End.

When is a sailor on a ‘high’ at sea – SA seafarers’ ask!

DOTS Logo ENG HOR_UN Blue invertedPretoria 01 July 2019

As South Africa joined the rest of the maritime world to mark and celebrate the international Day of the Seafarer as guided by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and organised locally by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) jointly with the Department of Transport (DoT), seafarer’s general welfare was on the menu and there were few surprises about the issues raised or discussed.

Day of the Seafarer 2019_poster_blue landscapeAfter all, the IMO suggested theme for 2019 was #IamOnBoard with Gender Equality.

South Africa’s marking of the annual event this year took the same format as in 2018, with three of the country’s coastal cities, Cape Town (Western Cape), Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape) and Durban (KwaZulu-Natal) hosting simultaneously the event. The idea according to the Department of Transport, is to ensure that as many of South Africa’s seafarers – some based in these cities – participate in the celebrations as well as ensuing discussions.

DSC_1203
The line up of speakers for the marking and celebration of the 2019 Day of the Seafarer in Cape Town on Tuesday, 25 June were (From far left), Ms Faye Kula (indepent professional), Ms Emma Dzinic (naval architect: SAMSA) , Ms Thembela Taboshe (standing: SHEQ Executive Oceana), Ms Leonie Louw (lecturer Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and Ms Yolisa Tshangela (Transnet National Ports Authority). With them (Far right) is Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Deputy Director General for Maritime Transport at the Department of Transport

Indeed, speakers lined up to lead discussions totaled about five people in each of the venues – all selected according to either or both their involvement as well as experience in seafaring or such other field of engagement directly related to or impacts seafaring. Emphasis was placed active seafarers – seagoing or not – employers, as well as education and training providers or professionals.

This blog covered the Cape Town leg of the event and this is where, among a range of issues raised for discussion concerning gender equality and empowerment of particularly women, the question about drug use by seafarers – and precisely the adequacy and appropriateness of rules and regulations governing its management arose.

DSC_1126
Ms Thembela Taboshe

Ms Thembela Taboshe, one of the first three of South Africa’s black African women seafarers to obtain a Master Mariner qualification in the past fives years and now currently serving as a SHEQ Executive for Blue Continental Products at fishing group Oceana, wanted to know what the allowable limit of narcotic drugs could a sailor have on his or her system to be deemed safe or unsafe at work.

She said the question was arising against the backdrop of law reform developments in the country concerning the use of especially dagga or “weed” and which now deemed it no longer illegal for people to use the narcotic drug in the privacy of their own homes.

The law reform was well and good, she said, but it raised a few questions regarding implications of the free, legal use of the narcotic drug.

“This is a matter I’d like to raise and speak with SAMSA and DoT about. We need to actually come up with legislation about how people find out…..what is the allowable limit….what is not. How do we know that a person who is on the 10th day after having taken weed  is actually capable of doing the job?” said Ms Taboshe.

DSC_1179She contextualized the matter as one concerning and with implications for seafarers in general and therefore relevant in terms of gender equality, but also women empowerment.  (Ms Taboshe’s full remarks – average 6 minutes – along with those of the other participants are shared on the Day of the Seafarers page)

The issue climbed quickly into the DoT and SAMSA list of issues requiring address over the next while and  a report back to sailors prior to, or on Wednesday, 25 June 2020 and perhaps soon thereafter.

The DoT’s representative at the Cape Town event, Acting Deputy Director-General, Maritime Transport, Mr Dumisani Ntuli committed the department to do exactly that.

DSC_1100
Mr Dumisani Ntuli

As indicated the drug usage issue by seafarers was among several that led to a robust debate in Cape Town. For a comprehensive multimedia report on these discussions, click here or on this blog’s main menu, click on the Day of the Seafarer‘s page at the top left of the bar.

End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

DCIM101MEDIADJI_0089.JPG
DCIM101MEDIADJI_0089.JPG

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.

DSC_0815
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