The International Maritime Organization’s intentions to delist over 80 countries, including South Africa, from its STCW Whitelist has major implications for the country’s maritime sector.
Sobantu Tilayi, the CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), confirmed that the agency was extremely concerned by IMO’s planned action.
“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,” Tilayi said.
SAMSA explained that the planned response action plan involves three broad activities; securing of IMO assistance with compilation of the report required in terms of the convention, hastening of a SAMSA process setting in place a relevant quality management system, and constant engagement with stakeholders.
In February 2019, IMO revealed its plans to remove all countries that are not compliant with requirements of the 1978 Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Convention as amended from its Whitelist. The organization also released a list showing that as many as 87 countries would be affected by the move.
The circular stated the intention but provided no set date for implementation of the action, however, Tilayi commented that the delistings could possibly be undertaken later in 2019.
The 1978 STCW Convention stipulates standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.
“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,” according to the IMO.