[Picture: tropic maritime photos, Australia]
For more than 30 years, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has not had a registered vessel. The M/V Cape Orchid, a bulk carrier, is its first vessel registered since 1985.
While South African imports $102 billion and exports $97 billion each year, the Cape Orchid is the country’s first registered vessel and is currently transporting iron ore from Saldanha Bay to China.
The 172,600-dwt bulker is owned by Vuka Marine, which is a joint venture between South Africa’s Via Maritime Holdings and Japan-based K-Line. South Africa will also soon register the Cape Enterprise, a 185,900 dwt vessel, which is also owned by K-Line during next few weeks.
The SAMSA and the South African Department of Transport hope that Vuka Marine’s registration will l encourage other vessel operators join the nation’s flag registry. More than 12,000 foreign flagged ships call South Africa each year, which is the gateway for African trade.
South Africans own about 19 vessels including three petroleum tankers, which are all registered in foreign countries. The country’s key ports are Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, and Saldanha Bay. Its prime container port is Durban, which handled about 2,712,975 boxes last year.
SARS plans to operate jet skis (such as pictured above) along its vast river borders. [Picture – SARS]
Last week four Customs officers received their qualifications from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) after having successfully completed their written and practical examinations. The officers who hail from the Northern Cape region will commence active patrol and enforcement operations along the northern border between South Africa and Namibia.
The SARS Water Wing skippers received their SAMSA category R certificates after completing a four-day training course at the Van Rhyn Dam in Benoni.
The officers will from next week begin patrolling the Orange River, the border between South Africa and Namibia, where there are suspected illegal trans-border transactions taking place, especially in abalone, diamonds, narcotics and rhino horn.
“These officials are now qualified skippers with category R licences which will enable them to patrol inland waters such as rivers, dams and harbours. The success of this pilot programme now enables us to actively assist in enforcing the Customs and Excise Act without being totally dependent on other departments,” said Hugo Taljaard, Senior Manager: Detector Dog Unit (Oversight).
He said that although the two jet skis will mostly be used in the Nakop area, they will also be utilised as far as Cape Town harbour in the small craft side of the harbour. There are plans to expand the unit. Customs’ first water wing boat is currently being constructed and more details about its deployment will be communicated in due course. The jet skippers all agreed that it was quite exciting to be part of this pilot programme. “I never in my wildest dreams thought that one day I would be doing something like this,” remarked one candidate. “Having jet skis will increase our visibility and this will serve as a deterrent to illegal trans-border traders,” added another.
Over the last 6 years SARS has steadily been increasing its visible policing and enforcement capability across the country’s vast land and sea borders. The hugely successful Detector Dog programme has attracted much national and regional attention. SARS also has plans to increase its existing non-intrusive inspection (NII) capability. Currently Durban, South Africa’s sole CSI port, is the only port with a dedicated X-ray scanning facility. Source: SARS Communications Division and self.