South Africa calls for a single oceans security group for Indian Ocean rim countries. SAMSA

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Delegates from 21 countries attending an International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop on the Djibouti Code of Conduct shipping safety and security instrument held in Durban from 12 to 14 November.

Current groups efforts aimed at strengthening shipping safety and security around Africa’s oceans area a welcome, due development in the fight against piracy and other crimes but risk being seriously undermined by a duplication of efforts , the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has warned.

 
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Mr Boetse Ramahlo, Executive Head: Legal and Regulations Unit at SAMSA

SAMSA’s concerns were shared with about 65 delegates attending the International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop of signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct in Durban this past week. 

According to Mr Boetse Ramahlo, an Executive Head for Legal and Regulations unit at SAMSA, South Africa through the agency’s representation – along with 11 other African countries on the Indian Ocean – is a member to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) while also a signatory to the IMO Djibouti Code of Code.

On assessment, he said, both groupings – with cross membership dominated by countries subscribing to both – offered safety and security programs and approaches with basic commonalities in their approach to crimes affecting shipping.

The situation, he said, not only carried the risk of possible wastage of highly limited financial, human and time resources of member countries, but also held the potential of raising and abating unnecessary competition. 

Mr Ramahlo confirmed that South Africa would soon be also signing the DCoC Jeddah Amendment following to conclusion of necessary consultations in the country. (see last video clip towards the bottom of the article)

“One of the most important principles in the Djibouti Code of Conduct (2009) and its Jeddah Amendment (2017) is the importance of involvement of international support as given the nature and complexity of piracy, no single country can amass the vast resources needed to wage a successful fight against crimes affecting shipping.

“The illegal activities we are out to combat are transnational, and for us to be able to fight them we need regional and international cooperation,” said Mr Ramahlo

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Delegates from 21 countries that are signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop from Monday to Wednesday (12-14 November 2018) in Durban

An absolutely crucial aspect of international support, he said, was that it needed firmly to be informed and driven by regional needs, and that the existence of non aligned groups in the same region yet with the same common goals and objectives would simply weaken such support.

He said IORA had recently established a safety and security unit with more similarities than differences to those goals and approaches envisaged and being pursuit by signatory countries to the DCoC and its Jeddah Amendment

“As South Africa, we are members of both. As functionaries of government, the question now asked by authorities is why is this situation prevailing where members states of these two groups work in isolation.

“We are hard pressed to explain why there is this duplication,” said Mr Ramahlo. To avert unnecessary complications that were likely to rise due to the situation, South Africa proposed that IORA and GCoC signatories should explore, as a matter of priority, the possibility of working far much closely together, he said. 

For Mr Ramahlo’s full presentation on the situation, Click on video below.

GCoC Jeddah Amendment Action Plan developed and adopted

Mr Ramahlo’s remarks came on Wednesday, the last of three full days of engagement and discussions among some 65 delegates a majority of whom were from the 21 signatories of the GCoC, and which activity both the IMO and South Africa as a host, described as having been highly fruitful.

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A break away session by delegates to the IMO DCoC three day workshop in Durban this week.

Key issues included an action plan for development and enhancement of information sharing centres to advance maritime domain awareness among both member countries as well as regional and international role players – this in the interest of strengthening safety and security of shipping around Africa and globally.

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Mr William Azuh. IMO Head of Africa Section of Technical Cooperation

Summing up the progress achieved, Mr William Azuh, IMO’s Head for Africa Section of Technical Cooperation, said both the turn-out of more delegates than anticipated, as well as the intense engagement of everyone contributed to development of an action plan to ensure and effective implementation of a programme for enhanced shared communication and greater marine domain awareness among affected parties.

Describing the action plan agreed upon as only the beginning of a process, Mr Azuh said the IMO held the view that the outcomes of the workshop could be adopted as a template for development of programs for application regional and possibly globally. He urged delegates to continue to share information even with those countries that were not represented.

“Spread the message that this is what we did in Durban, and that we can work together.” he told delegates in a closing address. Mr Williams further thanked both England and South Africa for the support given the event.

(This blog will provide a full outline of the Action Plan adopted at the Durban Workshop as provided in a separate exclusive full length interview with the IMO’s Mr Kirija Micheni

For Mr Azuh’s full remarks, Click on video below

South Africa takes pride in hosting IMO workshop

Meanwhile, South Africa through the Department of Transport and its agency, SAMSA expressed appreciation for the selection of the country as a host of the GCoC Jeddah Amendment Workshop. 

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Captain Ravi Naicker. Senior Manager, Navigation, Security and Environment. SAMSA

Speaking on Wednesday, Captain Ravi Naicker, Senior Manager for Navigation, Security and Environment at SAMSA, contextualized the staging of the workshop in South Africa and explained its perspective as a crucial development in the strengthening of safety and security of shipping along Africa’s oceans.

South Africa for its location at the tip of continent and surrounded by three oceans, the Atlantic to the west, the Southern and Indian Oceans to the south and east respectively, provides a particularly important international shipping passage whose safety and security can’t be taken for granted.

For his full remarks Click on video below.

Equally impressed by the staging of the event in South Africa, thereby providing opportunity to several of the country’s internal security agencies, was the South African Polices Services (SAPS) 

SAPS’s Captain Mandla Mokwana said as part of the border security agencies of the country, the police’s participation at the workshop allowed it opportunity to gain useful information on marine domain safety and security activities taking place in other countries. His full remarks here: 

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BREAKING BREAD: (From Left) Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Deputy Director General, Maritime Directorate, Department of Transport with Mr William Azuh, head of IMO’s Africa Technical Cooperation Unit during  a workshop delegates’ dinner in Durban on Tuesday evening

Meanwhile, in earlier remarks expressed during a welcome dinner for the delegates on Tuesday night at the Durban’s uShaka Marine complex, Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Deputy Director General, Maritime Directorate at the Department of Transport said South Africa took pride in its contribution to both regional and global maritime sector development endeavors linked to its active membership of the IMO.

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The Cargo Bridge – an old vessel whose interior has been converted into a quaint restaurant and which hosted the 65+ IMO Djibouti Code of Conduct Three Day Workshop delegates in Durban from Monday to Wednesday, 12-14 November 2018.

He said the IMO DCoC Workshop in Durban was a precursor to among other events, South Africa’s hosting of the 2020 IMO International World Maritime Parallel event, expected to be attended by as many as 230 countries.

“We would like to see you all return to South Africa for that event,” he said. 

Also speaking on behalf of SAMSA, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operations Officer, said: “It is always a great pleasure for SAMSA to have people that you partner with as a country in the various areas that we interact in. It is important that as a country (South Africa) and  other countries, that we plan such that our economies are always protected.”

Greater awareness coupled with effective communication and sharing of information was vital in that process, he said.

For Mr Ntuli and Mr Tilayi’s full remarks Click Here.

In the video below, Mr Ramahlo who also expressed a word of gratitude both to the IMO and delegates to the conference, formally confirmed South Africa’s readiness to also become a signatory to the DCoC Jeddah Amendment 2017.

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Waning piracy threat in African oceans no reason for relaxation: IMO Durban workshop hears

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Delegates from 25 countries that are signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) three day workshop beginning Monday and ending on Wednesday (12-14 November 2018) in Durban

Durban: 13 November 2018

The virtual elimination of piracy along eastern oceans of the African continent over the last few years – thanks to a concerted highly collaborative international effort – is no reason for the continent to relax.

Other serious crimes involving and affecting international shipping and impacting global trade remain a constant threat and present danger, delegates to a three day International Maritime Organization (IMO) workshop in Durban, South Africa heard on Monday.

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Mr William Azuh. IMO Head, Africa Section. Technical Cooperation Division in Durban on Monday

Mr William Azuh, head of the Africa section of the IMO’s technical cooperation division, told dozens of delegates from countries many of which are signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) that while collaborating actions to deter piracy had largely been successful: “Make no mistake about this, the pirates are not done yet.”

Mr Azuh was speaking during the first of a scheduled three day IMO workshop for countries in Africa that are members of the IMO’s anti-piracy Djibouti Code of Conduct and its revised version, the ‘Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017’.

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 regions.

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, 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.

DSC_4792.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.”

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MAPPING GLOBAL MARINE DOMAIN AWARENESS: (From Left: Mr Kirija Micheni, Mr Jon Huggins (both IMO DCoC Workshop moderators) and Mr Sobantu Tilayi, COO of SAMSA listening attentively during discussions at the IMO DCOC three day workshop that began on Monday in Durban

The three day workshop in Durban that began Monday morning is the first of its kind for the Africa region aimed at finding agreement and drawing up action plans for establishment of national and regional maritime information sharing centres for improved maritime domain awareness.

Maritime domain awareness (MDA) is described as constituting three aspects; situational awareness, threat awareness and response awareness. For effectiveness to the benefit of a wider community, MDA needs to exist at national (country), regional (continental) and international level.

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Mr Lavani Said (Left) of the Comores and Mr Abebe Tefera Tebeje of Ethiopia (Right front) at the IMO DCoC Three Day Workshop in Durban.

In Durban on Monday, Mr Azuh said the vastness of the global maritime domain was such that no region or country in Africa or elsewhere was totally safe and crucially, no region of the world could act alone in efforts to combat crimes at sea that impact global shipping and trade.

“Without the understanding and effective management of the maritime sphere, we all labour in vain,” he said, adding that maintaining the success achieved to date against piracy in a sustainable manner, was dependent on meticulous implementation of IMO guidance and best management practices.

For Mr Azuh’s full remarks click on video  below.

Mr Azuh’s remarks were shared by Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operations Officer of SAMSA who on behalf of the South African government under the auspices of the Department of Transport, welcomed the delegates to the country.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left), COO of SAMSA with Mr William Azuh, IMO Head, Africa Section. Technical Cooperation Division at the IMO DCoC Workshop  over three days in Durban that began on Monday

Mr Tilayi said it was significant that South Africa was hosting the event relevant to its role in both regional and international maritime matters and precisely those include ensuring safety of people and property at sea.

He said ever evolving advances in communication technology were among tools that needed to brought into the fray towards strengthening safety and security of shipping and South Africa has quite a contribution to make in this regard. He enumerated the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth as among research institutions in the country that were making a significant contribution.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks, Click on the video below:

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Mr Timothy Walker. Senior Researcher, Peace Operations and Peacebuilding at the Institute of Security Studies. Pretoria.

The issue of maritime sector shipping safety and security was a concern not only of countries with direct access to the oceans, according to Mr Timothy Walker, senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria.

Speaking on “Making Safer Seas for Africa” said piracy at sea and armed robbery of ships had a direct and immediate impact on global trade which involved all countries of the world.

But also, he said, inland waters across countries in Africa were not excluded as there vast areas of these waters that were used for shipping and therefore remained attractive to criminals.

For the reason, cooperation to improve security of the marine domain was of equal economic benefit to everyone hence the need for awareness needed to be fully inclusive of interested and affected parties.

Mr Walker’s full remarks:

Meanwhile, after a full first day of deliberations, workshop coordinator, Mr Jon Huggins expressed satisfaction with both the intensity and focus of the deliberations, expressing hope that by day three on Wednesday, there would be clarity on a plan of action forward.

For Mr Huggins’ full remarks, click on the video below.

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