PRETORIA, South African Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga has appealed to International Maritime Organization (IMO) member States in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Oceanic states to support the country in its quest to retain its position in the IMO council.
The re-election of South Africa to the Council will ensure that the developing countries in general, and the African continent in particular, gets a fair voice in international maritime affairs, Chikunga said when addressing the ongoing 30th IMO Regular Session in London.
According to the text of her address released here, she said South Africa is the only country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) sub-region of Africa standing for re-election in the IMO Council.
South Africa’s 3,000-kilometre coastline, strategically located on one of the major vital lanes popularly known as the ‘Cape Route’ connecting east and west seas, puts her among critical role players in world maritime affairs, Chikunga added, noting that South Africa has eight commercial ports which handle in excess of 13,100 international ship traffic movements per annum and approximately 300 million tonnes of cargo annually.
Our vast ocean carries the economic potential of the Oceans Economy, which South Africa has planned to explore through the Operation Phakisa-Oceans Economy project launched by our government in 2014, she said.
South Africa recently launched the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy Document (CMPT), which seeks to provide the country with guidelines in the pursuit of success in the Oceans Economy.
In support of international efforts to bring security and stability in the broader Indian Ocean under the Djibouti Code of Conduct, South Africa has adopted a strategy to curb acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships. South Africa deployed her navy vessels along the Mozambique Channel as a deterrent to acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships in the southern Indian Ocean area.
As part of the country’s coastal State obligation, South Africa continues to provide reliable search and rescue services to international shipping in the region, which extends to the Antarctica.
Furthermore, South Africa, through partnership with the IMO, has converted her highly reliable Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) to the Regional Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Cape Town to assist ships in distress in the Region, Chikunga said.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK