The agency was responding to an IMO Maritime Safety Committee’s circular to Member States stating the committee’s intention to remove all countries from its Whitelist that were not compliant with requirements of the 1978 STCW Convention as amended.
The IMO’s 1978 STCW Convention stipulates standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.
According to the IMO: “The main purpose of the Convention is to promote safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the marine environment by establishing in common agreement international standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers.”
SAMSA Master LogoSAMSA is the country’s agency responsible for South Africa’s compliance with this and other conventions and similar instruments.
In February the IMO issued a circular expressing its intention to remove from its register all countries that were non complaint with the convention, along with a list reflecting that as many as 87 countries – including South Africa – would be affected.
The circular simply stated the intention but provided no set date for implementation of the action.
In a statement in Pretoria on Thursday, SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi confirmed that the agency was extremely concerned by the development announced by the IMO in February, as it had major implications for the country’s maritime sector.
However, he said; “even as we have a serious situation in our hands, and should never have found ourselves in this position, I am confident that we will act with speed and do so correctly to ensure that the intended action by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee is not finalized to South Africa’s disadvantage.”
The planned response action plan involves three broad activities; the securing of IMO assistance with compilation of the report required in terms of the convention, the hastening of a SAMSA process setting in place a relevant quality management system, and constant engagement with stakeholders.
In the video below, Mr Tilayi speaks at length about the entire saga but also about what SAMSA is already doing to prevent South Africa from being formally delisted possibly later in 2019.