IMO audit gets underway
Key areas of maritime administration under scrutiny
SOUTH AFRICA: Key areas of South Africa’s maritime administration will be audited under the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme this week after it was postponed in 2021 due to COVID-19.
Speaking to welcome the international auditors yesterday, Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said; “South Africa’s focus is on fostering compliance with the international maritime conventions and how it meets those obligations, ensuring that our practices align with global standards set by [the] IMO.”
According to the Minister, a pre-audit questionnaire and exercise have already been completed to collect and verify all documents. “All that is left is for the auditors to satisfy themselves on the audit requirements and completeness of South Africa's compliance to international rules and standards,” she said.
The Minister described the gathering as a milestone as the country forges ahead with upholding international standards and compliance in maritime operations.
The team will audit the Department of Transport and its implementing agency and the maritime administration, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
They will also assess the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre supported by Telkom on radio communications, Transnet National Ports Authority, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment, the South African Weather Services and the South African Navy Hydrography Office.
The audit comes less than a month away from the much-anticipated election of IMO Council Members in December where South Africa is aiming to reclaim its position on the Council in Category C.
It also comes at a time when the country is seeking to update key maritime legislation including the Merchant Shipping Act, the Marine Pollution Bill and the Pollution Preparedness Response and Cooperation Bill.
The Minister believes that the legislative process is critical to giving full effect to the convention by accelerating adoption, incorporation into national laws, and development of regulations to mainstream implementation and enforcement of IMO instruments in South African territorial waters.
South Africa’s participation in the IMO, enables the country to contribute to the development of international maritime policies and standards, mainly related to maritime safety, pollution prevention and the welfare of seafarers.
SOURCE: SANews.gov.za - PHOTO: Adobe Photostock