International Conventions: Cape Town Agreement 2012 on Torremolinos Protocol for Safety of Fishing Vessels; African Maritime Transport Charter

NCOP Economic and Business Development

13 October 2015
Chairperson: Mr E Makue (ANC, Free State) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Transport (DoT) briefed the Committee on the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 on the implementation of the provisions of the provisions of the Torremolinos Protocol of 1993 relating to the International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977. The purpose of the briefing was to request the Committee to recommend that the Cape Town Agreement 2012 be ratified by tabling it in Parliament in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution. A brief background of what eventually led to the Cape Town Agreement 2012 was provided. In 1977 the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) produced the first mandatory standard for fishing vessels, the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) of the fishing sector. By 1993 for various reasons insufficient member states had acceded to the Convention and it was therefore modified to become the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol. Once again insufficient member states acceded to the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol and in 2008 attempts were again made to address issues which prevented the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol from coming into effect. SA who had been chairing the IMO working group on fishing vessel safety since 2005 was asked to identify legal and technical issues that had prevented the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol from coming into effect. This had led to SA hosting a diplomatic conference in October 2012 that considered the adoption of the Cape Town Agreement of 2012. The changes made to the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol were highlighted. The word “Protocol” had been amended from the 1993 Protocol to read “Amendment” on the Cape Town Agreement. Article 9 on Signature, Ratification, Acceptance, Approval and Accession of the 1993 Protocol had been replaced by a new text as Article 3 in the Cape Town Agreement. Article 10 on Entry of Force in the 1993 Protocol was redrafted as Article 4 in the Cape Town Agreement. The need for ratification was explained. In terms of the constitution international regulations could not be enforced locally unless they were translated into national laws. SA therefore needed to ratify the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 and to translate it into domestic legislation for enforcement. It was explained that the Convention applied to all vessels of 24m in length and over. SA’s fishing vessels had an obligation to abide by the provisions of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) developed policies and procedures for the survey of fishing vessels in line with draft regulations. The fishing industry was consulted widely and was involved in the drafting and adoption of the draft regulations. On consultation, both the State law Advisers Office and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) were in support of the ratification of the Cape Town Agreement 2012.The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry was involved in the development leading up to the diplomatic conference and also supported the Cape Town Agreement 2012. Consultations also took place with the SAMSA, Transnet, the National Ports Authority, the South African Navy, the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Trade and Industry. It was pointed out that the Cape Town Agreement 2012 would bring about additional financial implications to the State as the SAMSA would need to develop procedures to survey fishing vessels. The DIRCO would be required to facilitate the process of depositing the instrument of ratification with the Secretary General of the IMO upon approval of ratification by parliament. The South African Navy had confirmed that there would be no security implications with regards to the Cape Town Agreement 2012.

Members asked if the Cape Town Agreement 2012 only applied to vessels 24m in length or more what happened to vessels that were shorter than 24m in length? The DoT was asked whether such vessels would be excluded from the Cape Town Agreement 2012. Members asked what the timelines for regulations that went along with the Cape Town Agreement 2012 were, given that its ratification was imminent. Members also asked what the state of readiness of member states were to comply with the Cape Town Agreement 2012. The DoT was asked who was to police compliance with the Cape Town Agreement 2012. Were there really no financial implications attached to the Cape Town Agreement 2012? Members in addition asked who was to enforce the implementation of the Cape Town Agreement 2012 and whether there were any costs attached to its enforcement.

The Acting Chairperson read the Report of the Committee, which recommended the House to approve the Convention in terms of section 231(2) of the constitution. 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation to the House.

The DoT continued with the second leg of its briefing which was on the African Maritime Transport Charter. The purpose of the briefing was to request the Committee to recommend that the African Maritime Charter be ratified by tabling it in Parliament in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution. A background to the Charter was provided. The Organisation of African Unity as early as July 1994 adopted the African Maritime Transport Charter. Maritime transport was recognised to be essential for the economic development of the African continent and hence African states needed to collaborate. The African Union subsequently adopted the updated and expanded Charter in June 2010, which included provisions for the security and protection of the marine environment. The Charter fell within the scope of international law encompassing maritime transport and related activities in the coastal, inland waterways, territorial seas including exclusive economic zones of states parties. The Charter aimed at strengthening cooperation amongst member states of the African Union in maritime transport, inland waterways navigation, ports and related activities. It was an instrument of cooperation amongst African nations and embraced virtually every major issue that Africa had been confronted with, which included amongst others the lack of cooperation in maritime administration and port operations, the lack of cooperation in maritime and inland waterways, the lack of cooperation between landlocked states and transit states and the lack of cooperation in infrastructure development, ship building and repairs.

It was pointed out that the Charter was a deliverable of Objective 18 of Operation Phakisa which was an initiative aimed at unlocking the potential of SA’s oceans. Some issues of interest to SA were the need to generate comprehensive maritime transport policies and strategies for Africa. There was also a need to harmonise laws, policies and institutions to facilitate cooperation and collaboration to ensure continental and regional security. Cooperation amongst State parties in areas of maritime safety, marine environment protection management as well as on search and rescue. Port reform was required and port services had to be more efficient to ensure that African ports were competitive. On consultation, the State Law Advisers Office and the DIRCO had both indicated that the Charter was not in conflict with domestic and international laws. The Charter had been circulated for comment to the Departments of Environmental Affairs, Trade and Industry, International Relations and Cooperation, Water Affairs, National Treasury and Public Enterprises as well as to the SAMSA, Transnet and the shipping industry. The DoT would continue to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate implementation of the Charter that would balance SA’s maritime interests.

Article 37 of the Charter encouraged State parties to adopt policies that created opportunities for the advancement of women in the maritime sector. There were no financial implications attached to the Charter at this stage. The Charter had been presented to the Justice, Crime, Prevention and Security Cluster and the South African Navy who both confirmed that there were no security implications.
Members observed that perhaps if the Charter had been in place in the past the enslavement of Africans would not have taken place. The point was also made that perhaps there were no costs for the DoT but that costs would lie elsewhere. Initiatives were in place at places like Saldanha Bay for vessels to be built and repaired. Members emphasised that as the process unfolded there would be further cost implications. A further observation by members was that the oceans economy was not as yet a priority for developing countries. Members felt that there was a need to recognise that the Charter was trying to make Africa more competitive. Members asked whether international agreements were already not covering what the Charter aimed to achieve. The DoT was asked to define and explain what inland waterways were and why they needed to be protected.
The Acting Chairperson read the Report of the Committee, which recommended the House to approve the Charter in terms of section 231(2) of the constitution. 

The Committee agreed to the recommendation to the House for the ratification of the Charter.

The Fourth Term Committee Programme was adopted as amended.

Committee Minutes dated the 22 September 2015 were adopted as amended.

 

Meeting report

Briefing by Department of Transport
The Department of Transport (DoT) briefed the Committee on the Cape Town Agreement of 2012, on the implementation of the provisions of the Torremolinos Protocol of 1993 relating to the International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, 1977. The delegation comprised of Ms Nosipho Sobekwa Acting Director General: Maritime and Ms Mpho Monyane, Deputy Director: Legal Branch. Ms Sobekwa undertook the briefing. The purpose of the briefing was to request the Committee to recommend that the Cape Town Agreement 2012 be ratified by tabling it in parliament in terms of section 231(2) of the constitution.

A brief background of what led to the Cape Town Agreement 2012 was provided. In 1977 the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) produced the first mandatory standard for fishing vessels, the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) of the fishing sector.  By 1993 for various reasons insufficient member states had acceded to the Convention and it was therefore modified to become the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol. Once again insufficient member states acceded to the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol and in 2008 attempts were again made to address issues which prevented the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol from coming into effect. SA, who had been chairing the IMO working group on fishing vessel safety since 2005, was asked to identify legal and technical issues which had prevented the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol from coming into effect. This had led to SA hosting a diplomatic conference in October 2012 that considered the adoption of the Cape Town Agreement of 2012. The changes made to the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol were highlighted. The word “Protocol” was amended from the 1993 Protocol to read “Amendment” on the Cape Town Agreement. Article 9 on Signature, Ratification, Acceptance, Approval and Accession of the 1993 Protocol had been replaced by a new text as Article 3 in the Cape Town Agreement. Article 10 on Entry of Force in the 1993 Protocol was redrafted as Article 4 in the Cape Town Agreement.

The need for ratification was explained. In terms of the Constitution international regulations could not be enforced locally unless they were translated into national laws. SA therefore needed to ratify the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 and to translate it into domestic legislation for enforcement. The Convention applied to all vessels of 24m in length and over. SA’s fishing vessels had an obligation to abide by the provisions of the  

1993 Torremolinos Protocol. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) developed policies and procedures for the survey of fishing vessels in line with draft regulations. The fishing industry had been consulted widely and was involved in the drafting and adoption of the draft regulations. On consultation, both the State law Advisers Office and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) were in support of the ratification of the Cape Town Agreement 2012.The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry was involved in the development leading up to the diplomatic conference and also supported the Cape Town Agreement 2012. Consultations also took place with the SAMSA, Transnet, the National Ports Authority, the South African Navy, the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Trade and Industry. It was pointed out that the Cape Town Agreement 2012 would bring about additional financial implications to the State as the SAMSA would need to develop procedures to survey fishing vessels. The DIRCO would be required to facilitate the process of depositing the instrument of ratification with the Secretary General of the IMO upon approval of ratification by parliament. The South African Navy had confirmed that there would be no security implications with regards to the Cape Town Agreement 2012.

Discussion

 Mr B Nthebe (ANC, North West) was pleased that the briefing had been explicit about the financial implications of the Agreement. He asked if it was correct that the Agreement only applied to vessels that were 24m or more in length, what about a vessel that was only 20m in length, would the Agreement not be applicable to such vessel? Would vessels below 24m in length be excluded from the Agreement? What were the timelines for the regulations that went along with the Agreement given that its ratification was imminent. He asked what the state of readiness of member states were to comply with the Agreement. 

Ms Sobekwa noted that vessels that were less than 24m in length like the 20m vessel given as an example were not always sea worthy. Vessels below the 24m length rarely did fishing far out at sea and the IMO perhaps felt it best to cover larger vessels that were 24m or longer because they ventured into the ocean. Smaller vessels did not venture into the deep ocean. She pointed out that this was her personal view. The accompanying regulations to the Agreement were already developed. The stumble block was that the Convention and Agreement was not of force and effect. Fifteen states needed to ratify the Agreement.

Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) asked who was to police compliance with the Agreement. Could it be correct that there were no financial implications related to the Agreement? If vessels were required to abide by the Agreement who was to enforce its implementation? Would there not be a cost attached to its enforcement?

Ms Sobekwa responded that the SAMSA had the mandate to do inspections over smaller vessels and those that were 24m or more in length, and would ensure that vessels were safe. The SAMSA had to ensure that systems were put in place. The IMO would do an audit of what had been done in SA. The IMO would check up on documentation and procedures.

The Acting Chairperson said the DoT had stated that there would be financial implications for SAMSA. There would be no financial implications for the State and for the navy, so what was the 3600 figure referred to during the briefing? Did it refer to the length of vessels or the number of vessels?

Ms Sobekwa said that the 3600 referred to the number of vessels.

The Acting Chairperson read the Report of the Committee, which recommended to the House to approve the Convention in terms of section 231(2) of the constitution. 

The Committee agreed with the recommendation to the House.

African Maritime Transport Charter
Ms Sobekwa again undertook the briefing.  The purpose of the briefing was to request the Committee to recommend that the African Maritime Charter be ratified by tabling it in Parliament in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution. Background to the Charter was provided to the Committee. The Organisation of African Unity as early as July 1994 adopted the African Maritime Transport Charter. Maritime transport was recognised to be essential for the economic development of the African continent and hence African states needed to collaborate. The African Union subsequently adopted the updated and expanded Charter in June 2010, which included provisions for the security and protection of the marine environment. The Charter fell within the scope of international law encompassing maritime transport and related activities in the coastal, inland waterways, territorial seas including exclusive economic zones of states parties. The Charter aimed at strengthening cooperation amongst member states of the African Union in maritime transport, inland waterways navigation, ports and related activities. It was an instrument of cooperation amongst African nations and embraced virtually every major issue that Africa had been confronted with, which included amongst others the lack of cooperation in maritime administration and port operations, the lack of cooperation in maritime and inland waterways, the lack of cooperation between landlocked states and transit states and the lack of cooperation in infrastructure development, ship building and repairs. The Charter was a deliverable of Objective 18 of Operation Phakisa which was an initiative aimed at unlocking the potential of SA’s oceans. Some issues of interest to SA were the need to generate comprehensive maritime transport policies and strategies for Africa. There was also a need to harmonise laws, policies and institutions to facilitate cooperation and collaboration to ensure continental and regional security. Cooperation amongst State parties in areas of maritime safety, marine environment protection management as well as on search and rescue. Port reform was required and port services had to be more efficient to ensure that African ports were competitive. On consultation, the State Law Advisers Office and the DIRCO had both indicated that the Charter was not in conflict with domestic and international laws. The Charter had been circulated for comment to the Departments of Environmental Affairs, Trade and Industry, International Relations and Cooperation, Water Affairs, National Treasury and Public Enterprises as well as to the SAMSA, Transnet and the shipping industry. The DoT would continue to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate implementation of the Charter that would balance SA’s maritime interests. Article 37 of the Charter encouraged state parties to adopt policies that created opportunities for the advancement of women in the maritime sector. There were no financial implications attached to the Charter at this stage. The Charter had been presented to the Justice, Crime, Prevention and Security Cluster and the South African Navy who both confirmed that there were no security implications.

Discussion

The Acting Chairperson commented that if the Charter had perhaps been in place in the past there would not have been the enslavement of Africans. The remnants of slavery still haunted Africa today. On financial implications, there were already strong initiatives to build and repair vessels in areas like Saldanha Bay. The costs would not lie with the DoT but would lie elsewhere. Down the line there would be cost implications for the Departments of Safety and Security and Trade and Industry but not necessarily for the DoT. The African Union had asked SA to take the lead given its location. 

Ms Sobekwa stated that the Convention would assist with the slavery issue. The building and repair of vessels was what Operation Phakisa was doing. The Charter would assist with this. It had to be remembered that bigger vessels required bigger infrastructure. For example the Suez and the Panama Canals had to be extended. Refurbishment was required and opportunities needed to be created. Vessels had to be encouraged to use the Cape Route.

Mr Nthebe said that as yet there may not be any financial implications but as the process unfolded there would be. Developing countries did not yet appreciate the importance of the oceans economy and it was not a priority for them. Developing countries also lacked organised labour. He asked who would check on compliance with the Charter. The Charter was trying to make Africa competitive.

Ms Monyane stated that training efforts could be strengthened. Vessels needed to comply with safety requirements. It was up to each country to come up with its own regulations. There was a Maritime Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Charter. The Labour Relations Act and the BBBEE Charter would cover persons on vessels.

Ms Sobekwa said the IMO had developed the Convention to deal with huge vessels. Smaller vessels would be covered by regulations specific to each country.

Mr Faber asked what the definition of inland waterways was. In places like China and London rivers were considered inland waterways. SA did not really have inland waterways. He asked why the need for the Charter when there were international agreements in place that covered what the Charter intended to achieve. He asked whether he understood it correctly that SA was to have two ships. What type of ships would they be? Was there a budget to operate the ships? He asked how much work would really be created. The South African government should create jobs and not be employers. He asked whether there would be partnerships with smaller businesses.

Ms Monyane responded that there were no international agreements in Africa that dealt with what the Charter covered. The Charter would also encourage intra Africa trade. The South African government had a regulatory function. Two ships would be registered in SA to assist with Operation Phakisa. Before 1994 SA had fourteen merchant vessels, at present SA did not have one vessel.

Ms Sobekwa explained that inland waterways captured fresh water and not seawater. The DoT regulated vessels in the leisure market. Government under Operation Phakisa would also regulate small and private harbours. International agreements in place related to Europe and not Africa. SA had seas and inland waterways.  The Charter was for the benefit of Africa. As it stood Europe already wished to be in control of the Indian Ocean. African continental agreements were needed. She clarified that the Charter did not call for government to have two vessels; things had not gone that far as yet. The idea was for individual businesses to do their own thing. The government would be regulating. The SAMSA was tasked with the regulatory function. The vessels would fly SA’s flag. 

The Acting Chairperson said Malawi had inland waterways, Lake Malawi looked like the sea, it stretched on endlessly. How were they to be protected? He pointed out that mining companies were polluting Lake Victoria, at the bottom of Tanzania. The Charter aimed to protect these waterways. The Democratic Republic of Congo also had massive waterways. It was thus evident that inland waterways in Africa were very important and needed to be protected. The Charter aimed to do this. 

The Acting Chairperson read the Report of the Committee, which recommended the House to approve the Charter in terms of section 231(2) of the constitution. 

Mr Faber said that he personally was not happy with the two vessels required by the state but did not have a problem with the Charter as a whole.

The Committee agreed to the recommendation to the House for the ratification of the Charter.

Minutes

Minutes dated the 22 September 2015 were adopted as amended.

Fourth Term Committee Programme

The Committee adopted the Programme as amended.

The meeting was adjourned.   

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