Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 22, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Countries meet to strategise on fishing controls for Indian Ocean region

  • ILO adopts standards for fisheries sector

  • MIGHTY SERVANT 3 in Cape Town dry dock

  • Rwanda and Burundi join East African Community

  • Pic of the day – BOW CHAIN

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    Countries meet to strategise on fishing controls for Indian Ocean region

    A group of 50 participants from 13 countries in the Indian Ocean region are strategising on how to toughen up controls in coastal ports in order to better combat illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing during an Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) run workshop which started yesterday in Mauritius (21 June).

    The workshop comes on the heels of a three day international symposium on IUU fishing (18-20 June) organised by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) in partnership with FAO, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC).

    During the symposium, participants heard firsthand from organizations such as the IOTC or the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCMLAR) about new measures they have taken in recent years against IUU fishing in the regions for which they are responsible These include enhanced ‘port state measures’ such as port inspection schemes and information systems, which can be effectively linked to enforcement tools such as blacklisting of IUU fishing vessels, trade measures and requiring vessels to participate in vessel monitoring system (VMS) programs.

    “The IOC already has a robust regional training programme for port inspectors in play,” noted FAO's Judith Swan. “Through this workshop FAO is hoping to follow up on the three days of learning and information sharing at the symposium to help fishing and port authorities compare notes regarding anti-IUU strategies currently being used, add new elements based on what they've just learned, and plan how to deepen their cooperation region-wide, with a particular focus on ports,” she said.

    For the IOTC, the stakes are high. “Unless effective control measures are implemented soon, the sustainability of tuna and tuna-like fisheries in the region might be compromised,” said Alejandro Anganuzzi, IOTC Executive Secretary. “Port state controls offer an attractive option, given their cost-effectiveness.”

    No safe havens for illegal fishers

    Port state controls – which include measures such as requiring boats to radio in prior to docking to report on fishing activities and undertaking inspections to check documentation, catches and equipment – have recently gained attention as perhaps the best way to fight IUU fishing.

    In March 2007, 131 countries attending a high level FAO meeting agreed to start a process leading to the adoption of a legally binding international agreement establishing common control measures in ports where fish is landed, transhipped or processed.

    The treaty will be based on a model scheme for better port state measures developed by FAO in 2005.

    IUU in the Indian Ocean

    IUU fishing in the Indian Ocean includes a range of illicit activities: fishing without permission or out of season; harvesting prohibited species; using outlawed types of fishing gear; disregarding catch quotas; or non-reporting or underreporting catch weights.

    Of particular concern are the western Indian Ocean and the maritime areas along the coast of eastern Africa. There, fishing vessels of various flags have taken advantage of the absence in coastal countries of strong enforcement mechanisms.

    source - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Rome)

    ILO adopts standards for fisheries sector

    Lusaka 20 June 2007 (BuaNews) - The just ended 96th session of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has adopted new standards designed to improve the conditions of over 30 million people working in the fisheries sector worldwide.

    The new standards, contained in a convention, to be known as ‘The Work in Fishing Convention, 2007’, will come into effect when it is ratified by 10 of the ILO's 180 member states.

    The standards contain provisions designed to ensure that workers in the fishing sector have improved occupational safety and health and medical care at sea, and that sick or injured fishers receive care ashore.

    The provisions also state that workers in the sector should receive sufficient rest for their health and safety, the protection of a work agreement and the same social security protection as other workers.

    In a statement receive by ZANIS here over the weekend; the ILO stated that many people who make their living in the fishing sector are paid, in whole or part, based on the share of the catch.

    The ILO said in its report on conditions of work in the fishing sector, that fishing is also one of the most hazardous occupations, which mainly arise from the power of the sea, the nature of catching and processing fish.

    “Fishing, whether industrial or small-scale, is facing the forces of globalisation; fish that was once locally consumed is now often being processed and shipped to restaurants and consumers half-way around the world,” the report stated.

    The ILO said these challenges made it important for fishers, fishing vessel owners, related industries and consumers to ensure that the fishing sector is subject to labour legislation that will protect fishers and help make this essential profession attractive and sustainable.

    ILO Director-General Juan Somavia stated that extending social protection and decent work to fishers is an important part of the ILO's commitment to social justice.

    “In the sector, many people face extraordinary and unpredictable hazards, often working long hours in harsh conditions to bring food to our markets.

    “This new instrument will help protect them against exploitation,” he said.

    The other provisions are aimed at ensuring that fishing vessels are constructed and maintained so that workers in the sector have living conditions on board that reflect the long periods they often spend at sea.

    It also puts in place a mechanism to ensure compliance with, and enforcement of, its provisions by states.

    It further provides that large fishing vessels on extended voyages may be subject to inspections in foreign ports to ensure that the fishers on board do not work under conditions that are hazardous to their safety and health.

    This latter provision aims to help remove from the seas vessels with unacceptable working and living conditions, which operate to the detriment of responsible operators.

    MIGHTY SERVANT 3 in Cape Town dry dock

    The Dockwise semi-submersible heavylift vessel MIGHTY SERVANT 3, which was successfully refloated by Cape Town- based SMIT Salvage in a salvage operation in Luanda Bay, entered the Cape Town dry dock yesterday (Thursday), a few days after having arrived on tow.

    Mighty Servant 3 will undergo a thorough survey in dock to ascertain the extent of the damage after spending the best part of five months under 60 metres of water in Luanda Bay. The vessel sank on 6 December 2006 shortly after floating off the oil rig ALEUTIAN KEY, fortunately with no loss of life or injury as crew were able to abandon ship in safety.

    SMIT Salvage was contracted to refloat the vessel and this was accomplished several weeks ago, after which the ship was secured for tow to Cape Town.

    Ports & Ships hopes to feature the refloating in more detail in the near future.

    Rwanda and Burundi join EA Community

    The central African states of Rwanda and Burundi will become the latest members of the East African Community (EAC) block on 1 July, adding a further 18 million consumers to the EAC and bringing the total population to 120 million.

    The accession to membership was formalised by other members last week, during which Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s head of state said the admission was an important milestone for Rwanda and East Africans.

    “It marks our formal entry into a family of nations with long historical and cultural ties and makes for wider and deeper integration,” he said.

    Burundi’s Nkurunziza said that the admission of the two countries would promote stability, trade and prosperity and was a historic moment for the countries and people.

    But while the move has been applauded by commentators and politicians alike the sense of achievement remains tempered somewhat by the acknowledgement that both countries rank among the world’s most impoverished countries, ranked 158 (Burundi) and 169 (Rwanda) out of 177 nations on the 2006 UN Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index.

    Each state brings extremely low GDPs to the EAC – US $ 800 million for Burundi and $ 1.9 billion for its neighbour and very little in the way of exportable product other than tea and coffee. Despite this however the arrival of two new members has been greeted with enthusiasm by other members and is being seen as helping inject energy and enthusiasm into the region and community.

    Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda said in an interview last week with an East African newspaper that the main objective of his country in joining the community is to pool efforts and invest in essential infrastructural facilities to assist with propelling Rwanda’s economy.

    In terms of the East African Community members share a common external tariff system while internal tariffs are eliminated except for certain Kenyan goods entering Uganda and Tanzania.

    A negative note was added this week by another East African newspaper which suggested that there will be those who will remain sceptical about the chances of each country uplifting themselves economically, ‘given their brutal pasts and a seemingly natural bonding with poverty’.

    Pic of the day – BOW CHAIN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Odfjell’s parcels tanker BOW CHAIN (37,518-dwt) in Cape Town harbour. Photographed by Ian Shiffman

    NB Shipping pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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