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South Africa advances its campaign for election to the IMO Council
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South Africa advances its campaign for election to the IMO Council

IMO Assembly underway in London

LONDON: Speaking at the late session on day two of the 33rd Regular Session of the International Maritime Organisation Assembly currently being held in London, High Commissioner of South Africa In London, Jeremiah Nyamane Mamabolo, delivered the country’s general statement in which he highlighted South Africa’s active participation as an IMO Member State.

Concluding his address, he asked delegates to seriously consider supporting South Africa's candidature into Category C of IMO Council later this week.

The Department of Transport (DoT) supported by key maritime stakeholders including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Ports Regulator of South Africa (PRSA), and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is leading an ambitious campaign for South Africa’s election onto the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council for the 2023-2024 biennium.

Noting South Africa’s successful hosting of the World Maritime Day Parallel Event in Durban last year, Mamabolo also underscored the country’s pivotal role in facilitating crew changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The pandemic forced us to agree that seafarers are essential workers and that their welfare and general well-being must be guaranteed. During the pandemic, South Africa was among the first countries to approve and implement crew changes,” he said emphasising nation’s commitment to supporting global trade.  

As an active member of the IMO, Mamabolo stressed that the country has “consistently and diligently” participated in a number of structures including acting in the capacity of President of the 31st Regular Session of the IMO Assembly for 2020/2021 as well as the Vice Chair of the IMO Council from 2005 to 2015.

He also used the opportunity to address the need “to leave no one behind” in the ambitious goals set by the IMO’s Green House Gas (GHG) strategy. “We especially recognise the spirit of cooperation, collaboration, flexibility and compromise, tolerance, mutual trust and understanding in which the IMO GHG strategy negotiations were held,” he said as he congratulated those involved in working towards this achievement.

“We believe (it) sets us all on a clear path to achieving emissions reduction from ships,” he said while cautioning Member States to continue to consider the special circumstances of developing countries.

As a champion of maritime safety with a proven track record of managing and maintaining a robust system of Aids to Navigation, including lighthouses and a fully-fledged Marine Hydrographic Service, South Africa’s delegation in London is intent on reclaiming a position on the IMO Council in Category C.

Competition for a spot in Category C, however, is likely to be the most contested with 25 Member States all vying for one of the 20 available positions.

South Africa lost its seat on the Council in 2021. With key maritime legislation including the Merchant Shipping Act, the Marine Pollution Bill and the Pollution Preparedness Response and Cooperation Bill presently being updated, the country will be aiming to emphasise its readiness to be reconsidered.

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