2017 CAPE ARGUS PICK ‘N PAY CYCLE TOUR – RED CROSS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL


NEWSFLASH

 

Dear Clients, colleagues, friends and acquaintances:

 

It’s that time of year again. Every year since 2012 to date Peter has been cycling the Argus to raise funds for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital ( the Children’s Hospital Trust) – actually in 2013 his daughter rode on his behalf , duly authorised with a written mandate J.

 

Thanks to the generosity of all of you, over the years Peter has been able to raise substantial donations for this worthy charity which provides such essential medical care to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

 

Every year being in contact with the exceptional people (always with broad smiles like their logo) at the Children’s Hospital Trust and being able to contribute towards this worthy cause is an experience which Peter treasures and is a highlight of his year.

 

On Sunday 12 March 2017 he will be  back in the saddle cycling again for The Red Cross Children’s Hospital (The Children’s Hospital Trust). This is yet another plea to all for support of a worthy charity by sponsoring Peter in the cycle of the 2017 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour. Any level of sponsorship would be greatly appreciated as it all counts – we realise things are tight out there but even small amounts all add up in the end.

 

If you are able to sponsor please can you reply to this email with the amount you are pledging and we will contact you “to collect” after Peter has  completed the race.

ARGUS PIC



MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING – REZONING OUR OCEANS ~ JUNE 2016


Marine Spatial Planning – rezoning our oceans 

 

On 24 March 2016 in Government Gazette No. 39847 under Government Notice No. 347 the draft Marine Spatial Planning Bill (“the MSP Bill) was gazetted by the Minister of Environmental Affairs for public comment. This public comment process expired on 23 May 2016.

Marine Spatial Planning (“MSP”) is defined by UNESCO as a public process of analysing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives that usually have been specified through a political process.

 

The intent of MSP is to create and establish a more rational use of marine space by the various users thereof in order to balance the usage requirements on the marine environment and to protect the marine environment, while achieving both social and economic objectives. A brief perusal of past academic papers regarding MSP indicates that MSP has been effectively employed since the 1990’s and various states have been encouraged to adopt MSP in regulating their marine environments. Within the European Union the initial framework for the development of MSP’s was created in 2007 with a Marine Strategy Framework directive issued in 2008 which required member states to develop MSP’s by 2020. There appears to be much support for MSP’s particularly from environmental NGO’s and alternative energy producers with little recorded feedback from the fishing industry. According to UNESCO MSP occurs in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the America’s. Interestingly enough South Africa is listed on the UNESCO MSP list together with Seychelles, Namibia, Cambodia, Thailand, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Isle of Mann, Bahrain, UAE, Israel, Barbuda, Belize, Columbia, Costa Rica, Granada, Mexico, St. Vincent in the Grenadines and various other Islands as all being entities which will have the MSP legislation in place in 2016. The sheer volume of countries ostensibly having their MSP legislation in place in 2016 suggests an International undertaking to do so.

It is also interesting to note that in terms of Operation Phakisa the creation of Ocean Governing Legislation is listed as a key performance indicator (KPI) and in particular the development of MSP legislation is specified. According to the deadline set for Operation Phakisa the draft MSP Bill will be published for public comment by the end of January 2016 and taken to Parliament at the beginning of December 2016 for promulgation as an Act by the end of June 2017. This does not tie in with the UNESCO expectations but is obviously a more accurate indicator of the expected timeline for the promulgation of the Act by Government.

On the whole it appears as though MSP is accepted as being principally environmentally driven hence the bill being an initiative of the Department of Environmental Affairs (“DEA”).

 

The MSP Bill itself was particularly poorly drafted and suggested that the draft was submitted for public comment more in order to comply with the operation Phakisa KPI’s than as a well thought out document. The MSP Bill contained a number of errors and short comings with a particularly poor definitions section which contributes to an overall lack of clarity as to how the proposed end product was supposed to operate and be applied. Amongst the particularly concerning issues that arise in the MSP Bill is the statement that the MSP Act will effectively trump all other legislation when it relates to Marine Spatial Planning. The trumping provision is quite clear, but what the Government will determine to be in conflict with Marine Spatial Planning is not as clear. In addition, and equally concerning, there appears to be very little opportunity for interested and affected parties to object to the development of the overarching Marine Spatial Plan and the MSP Bill itself does not contain any internal appeal procedure. This of course does not allow an affected party (including the Fishing Industry) any voice in the process other than through inclusion in a public comment process. The Fishing Industry has good reason to be suspicious of public commentary processes as it has witnessed how little credence its comments have been given in respect of policies adopted in the 2005, 2013 and 2015 Rights Allocation Processes.

While the contents of the draft Bill are extremely unclear and create much uncertainty, the motivation behind the push for a Marine Spatial Planning Plan is far less unclear. European Union literature relating to Marine Spatial Planning suggests that the primary motivation for the implementation of a Marine Spatial Plan is revenue. The EU indicates that an effective Marine Spatial Plan will result in lower co-ordination costs between Government in all departments, lower transaction costs and, most importantly an enhanced investment climate. In a 2013 European Parliament briefing it was suggested that an effective Marine Spatial Plan could accelerate investments in aquaculture and alternative energy creation of up to €1.6 billion. Closer to home the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS), which was referenced in the Government Gazette, suggested that the Ocean Economy could contribute as much as R177 billion to the economy of the country with an excess of 800 000 jobs being created by 2023.

More concerning appears to be the attitude that the Fishery Industry is at best static, and at worst a declining source of employment and revenue for the country especially in the light of declining TAC’s. The push in the Ocean Economy is clearly high lighting offshore mining and the obvious potential impact of a Marine Spatial Plan would be the designation of certain areas of the ocean as being for the exclusive use of mining. This could very well include traditional fishing grounds which would of course have a derogatory effect on the fishing industry. What is most concerning is that this trade off may be seen by the Government as an acceptable loss given the potential gain.

 

It clearly stands to reason that the fishing industry needs to keep a very close watch on the development of this particular piece of legislation and to ensure that as many safe guards as possible are entrenched in the final Act or its regulations. Many may view the introduction of this bill as a short sighted approach to jeopardize actual existing employment and investments that contribute to the economy of the country in favour of potential investments and jobs that could possibly be created.

Unfortunately the draft MSP Bill has been so poorly drafted that it effectively creates more uncertainty and raises more questions than sound solutions. Let us hope that DEA will consider seriously the comments submitted by various industrial bodies and role players in the fishing industry, and in the future republish a substantively amended and more coherent version of the bill for public comment. Until that time we would recommend that this issue be considered in a very serious light by all the role players in the South African Fishing Industry.



FISHING INDUSTRY NEWS – APRIL 2014


SECTION 13(4) OF THE MLRA – ABUSE OF POWER?

 

Section 13(4) of the Marine Living Resources Act states as follows:

“A permit to exercise an existing right in terms of this Act maybe refused if the conditions of a previously issued permit had not been adhered to”

In a number of instances where this provision has been applied by the Department we are left contemplating whether this provision is being abused or in fact is in breach of rights holder’s constitutional rights.

 

Requests for the return of permits already issued

Certainly a clear abuse of this provision is where the Department requests in writing for a permit holder to return a validly issued original permit quoting Section 13(4) as the section justifying such request.  Section 13(4) only provides for the refusal to issue a future permit but does not give powers to the Department to revoke an already issued permit. In fact, Section 28 of the MLRA provides specifically for the cancellation and suspension of permits. However, this is subject to a specific notice issued to a permit holder which allows a period of 21 days for the permit holder to make representations as to why the permit should not be cancelled, suspended or revoked.  The Minister then has a discretion to either revoke the permit, suspend the permit, cancel the permit, alter the conditions of the permit, or alternatively decide not to revoke, suspend, cancel or alter the permit.

Accordingly, if the Department requests the return of a permit quoting section 13(4) then this request falls outside the powers conferred by such section and is a legally invalid request.

Section 28(4) in addition gives the Minister an overriding power which states as follows”

 

“The Minister may whenever he or she is of the opinion that it is in the interest of the promotion, protection or utilisation on the sustainable basis of a particular marine living resources, at any time by written notice to the hold of a right license or permit, revoke, suspend, cancel or reduce that right license or permit”.

Refusal to issue a permit

When the Department refuses to issue a permit on the basis of Section 13(4) in effect it is stating that in the Department’s view there has been a breach of a previously issued permit. Following from this,   Section 58(1)(a)(ii) of the MLRA provides that a contravention of a permit condition is an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding R2, 000 000.00 or to imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.

Therefore in implementing Section 13(4) the Department makes a decision that a rights holder has committed an offence in terms of the MLRA. Based on this decision the Department then refuses to issue another permit.  A draconian administrative sanction is brought against the rights holder without the rights holder being given the opportunity of defending itself against such charges.

 

Unfair Administrative Action

 Firstly, at the very least the affected rights holder is entitled to procedurally fair administrative action as contemplated under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA). This would include: adequate notice of the nature and purpose of the proposed administrative action; a reasonable opportunity to make representations; a clear statement of the administrative action; adequate notice of any right of review or internal appeal; and adequate notice of the right to request reasons for the decision. In addition it is submitted that the decision maker should also give the rights holder an opportunity to obtain legal representation and/or to present and dispute information and arguments.

Breach of other constitutional rights

Secondly, it is submitted that there is a strong argument that the provisions of sect 13(4) are breach in breach of or give rise to a breach of certain other constitutional rights. In this regard, in terms of Section 35(3) of the Constitution every accused person has a right to a fair trial.  The rights holder would be an accused person in that sect 13(4) relies on an alleged offence under the MLRA for its implementation. The right to a fair trial in turn includes a number of rights. In particular the right of an accused to be presumed innocent, to remain silent, not to testify during the proceedings and not to be compelled to give self-incriminating evidence.

In many cases involving the implementation of Section 13(4) the Department does not institute criminal proceedings (certainly not immediately) and a rights holder is faced with having to either appeal the decision or make written representations to the Department regarding the alleged offence – this would be after the decision to refuse the issue of a permit has already been made.  As such it is submitted that the right holder’s constitutional rights (as referred to above) are placed in breach, including the right to fair administrative action.

Is the aforesaid limitation of constitutional rights justified by the provisions of Section 36 of the Constitution?

Section 36(1) states as follows:

“The rights in the Bill of Rights maybe limited only in terms of law of general application to the extent that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom taking into account all relevant factors, including –

(a)          the nature of the rights;

(b)          the importance of the purpose of the limitations;

(c)           the nature and extent of the limitations;

(d)          the relation between the limitation and its purpose; and

(e)          less restrictive means to achieve the purpose.”

 The argument in favour of limiting a right holder’s constitutional rights (in terms of Section 13(4)) would be that this is necessary in order to protect other constitutional rights.  Such as “the right to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures that:

(i)            Prevent pollution and ecological degradation;

(ii)           Promote conservations; and

(iii)          Secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social developments.”

 

However, the MLRA provides for other means to achieve the protection of the “environmental constitutional right” and therefore there is no justification for the wide draconian powers under Section 13(4).  In particular, as stated previously, Section 28 provides for the revocation of permits which have been issued, and sets out an administrative process which provides for representations to be made and a discretion as to the sanction (if any) to be applied by the Minister.  Furthermore, Section 28(4) already gives the Minister a wide power “in the interests of the promotion, protection or utilisation on a sustainable basis of marine living resources” on written notice to the holder of a permit to revoke, suspend or cancel such permit.

In addition, the enforcement provisions of the MLRA also provide legal means to protect the environment where vessels operating on permits can be detained /seized.  Even in these circumstances the provisions of the MLRA allow for security to be furnished for the release of such vessels.

Conclusions

Bearing in mind these other legal mechanisms available under the MLRA and the severe consequences of a permit revocation on a right holder, it is submitted that Section 13(4) of the MLRA is disproportional in its effect.  In other words the breach of the right holders’ constitutional rights far outweighs the purpose of this section.  Accordingly, the submission is that the limitation of constitutional rights caused by the implementation of Section 13(4) is not justified and therefore the section is unconstitutional.

In summary, right holders faced with notices in terms of Section 13(4) should not react in a knee jerk fashion but should take considered legal advice particularly regarding their rights to fair administrative action and in particular whether their constitutional rights are being breached in the circumstances.



NO CLAIM AGAINST VESSEL FOR LOAN TO VESSEL OWNER


In a previous article published in Fishing Industry News (“Price is King”) we focused on the terms of loan and supply agreements and in particular the importance of price determination.

 

Another equally important issue is how the lender would proceed against the borrower under such an agreement in the event of a breach and in circumstances where the borrower is also the owner of the catching vessel.

 

In brief our courts have the usual Common Law jurisdiction but in terms of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act (AJRA) they also have an Admiralty Jurisdiction in respect of maritime claims. This Admiralty Jurisdiction allows for the arrest of a vessel either to proceed against the vessel in an action or as security for an action against the owner of the vessel. These remedies provided an efficient means for enforcing a claim under an agreement and the arrest requires proof of a claim merely on a prima facie basis.

 

In addition an arrest warrant for a vessel can be obtained from the court within a matter of hours. Once the vessel is arrested it can only be released if it settles the claim, brings a successful application for the setting side of the arrest or furnishes security not only for the capital claim but also for  interest for a 2 year period and for the legal costs of suit calculated to the end of the trial. Ultimately the arresting party is placed in a strong position which could force the vessel owner to reach an amicable settlement in order that the vessel can continue its operations.

 

However to proceed with an arrest of a vessel under Admiralty Jurisdiction the underlying claim must fall into the definition of a maritime claim in terms of the AJRA. The AJRA has a list of various maritime claims against the vessel including a general catch all claim which is stated to be as follows:

 

any other matter which by virtue of its nature or subject matter is a marine or maritime matter, the meaning of the expression marine or maritime matter not being limited by reason of the matters set forth in the preceeding paragraphs;”

 

On the face of it this cover-all definition appears very wide and one would assume that it would cover many different types of claims where a vessel was involved. However recent case law has shown that the courts are interpreting the definition of a maritime claim and in particular under this catch all section on a very narrow basis.

 

In the 2006 case of the MFV “Galaecia” the Durban High Court  held that there was not a maritime claim in a situation where the owner of the vessel had sold a consignment of Patagonian tooth fish to the buyer (being the arresting party). The consignment was seized upon import into the United States and forfeited due to the fact that there was incorrect or faulty documentation submitted by the vessel owner to the purchaser. The documentation related to the catching activities of the vessel. The court held that the contract was simply one of purchase and sale of frozen fish. The court went  further to state that the mere fact that the subject matter of the claim is fish caught by a fishing vessel in the sea cannot in the courts view bring the arresting party home under the provisions of the AJRA.

 

In a more recent  2014 case  in the Durban High Court the arrest of the MFV “El Shaddai” (ironically also a Patagonian tooth fish vessel) was set aside by the court. The arresting party had loaned money to the vessel owner in order for the vessel owner to fund the carrying out of its commercial fishing operations. The agreement also provided for the repayment of such loan out of the proceeds of the vessels fishing operations. Notwithstanding the apparently wide provisions of the AJRA the court interpreted such provisions restrictively and held that the agreement was simply a loan agreement which did not give rise to a maritime claim notwithstanding that the repayment of the loan was to be from the proceeds of the fishing operations.

 

The court in this matter quoted from the textbook “Admiralty Jurisdiction Law and Practice in South Africa” by Gys Hofmeyr and stated as follows:

 

… it is important to note that the special rule and procedures relating to the exercise of admiralty jurisdiction are justified by the need to accommodate peculiarities of admiralty matters. There is no need, nor should there be any desire, to extend admiralty jurisdiction to matters which have what the learned author refers to as no meaningful maritime connection, and by which I would understand him to mean the extension of admiralty jurisdiction to matters which can otherwise easily be dealt with within the usual jurisdiction of the High Court.”

 

In the circumstances, it is clear that lenders under a traditional loan and supply agreement in the fishing industry should not just assume that they have a right of arrest of the catching vessel in the event of a breach. Depending on the circumstances it may be that in future agreements of this nature can be structured in a different way so as to preserve the advantage of having a maritime claim and the remedies that arise there from (i.e. arrest). For instance it may be more prudent to pay for and supply the vessel with necessaries instead of simply loaning funds to the owner to cover operating expenses. The supply of necessaries would constitute a maritime claim and allow for proceedings under admiralty jurisdiction. However, a failsafe method of providing a maritime claim would be for the registration of a marine bond over the vessel which of course is a maritime claim under the AJRA. But a supply of necessaries claim ranks higher against a vessel than a marine bond should the vessel be arrested and sold in admiralty.

 

There is certainly some food for thought with regard to loan and supply agreements and the restructuring thereof to provide for more effective remedies.

 



JULY 2015 ~ VHF RADIO REQUIREMENTS


VHF Radio requirements  –  compliance with the Merchant Shipping Act and Regulations , in light of Marine Notice 4 of 2015.

In 1979, the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue was drafted, which called for development of a global search and rescue plan. In addition a resolution was passed calling for development by IMO of a Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) to provide the communication support needed to implement the search and rescue plan.

The GMDSS was developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the specialized agency of the United Nations with responsibility for ship safety and the prevention of marine pollution, in close co-operation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and other international organizations, notably the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the COSPAS-SARSAT partners. The IMO amended the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention in 1988, and required ships subject to it to fit GMDSS equipment. The regulations governing the GMDSS are contained in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974. The GMDSS requirements are contained in Chapter IV of SOLAS on Radio communications and were adopted in 1988..

Ship distress and safety communications entered a new era on 1 February 1999 with the full implementation of the GMDSS, which is an integrated communications system using satellite and terrestrial radio communications to ensure that no matter where a ship is in distress, aid can be dispatched. Furthermore the GMDSS provides an internationally agreed-upon set of safety procedures, types of equipment, and communication protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft. The system is intended to perform the following functions: alerting, search and rescue coordination, locating, maritime safety information broadcasts, general communications, and bridge-to-bridge communications. Specific radio carriage requirements depend upon the ship’s area of operation, rather than its tonnage. The system also provides redundant means of distress alerting, and emergency sources of power. In addition this system ensures the provision of Maritime Safety Information (MSI), both meteorological and navigational information, on a global basis at sea.

On the 10 March 2015, SAMSA issued Marine Notice No. 4 of 2015, titled “Cessation of 29 Mhz SOLAS Distress Watch Keeping by Telkom Maritime Services”. The marine notice was addressed to all regional managers, principal officers, small vessel skippers and operators, small vessel owners and affected parties and outlines the changes to Maritime Radio SOLAS watch keeping by Telkom Maritime Services and the changes in radio carriage requirements by small vessels ensuing from these changes. The notice provides some background stating that the Department of Transport renewed its SOLAS Service Agreement with Telkom on the 14th January 2014, in terms of which Telkom Maritime Services provides SOLAS distress watch keeping and Maritime Safety Information Services.

The SOLAS Service Agreement will be fully implemented by 01 July 2015 and South Africa shall be declared GMDSS Sea Area A1, which is defined as:

“A coastal area within the radiotelephone coverage of at least one VHF coast station in which continuous DSC alerting is available”.

Consequently, the existing analogue shore based radio equipment will be replaced by digital equipment. The old Voice-only VHF equipment is the traditional type, which relies entirely on the human voice for calling and communicating. Large commercial vessels are already required to carry digital equipment in terms of theMerchant Shipping (Radio Installations) Regulations, 2002. But for small vessels to interact with the digital equipment, a VHF radio with Digital Selective Calling capability is required, which will also ensure interoperability between all vessels. DSC is an advanced, computerized form of VHF and MF radio designed for marine use. They have all of the capabilities of the earlier radios and a number of new features that can add dramatically to the safety aspects and the usefulness of marine communications.

DSC automates many aspects of radio communication, for instance a user can make a distress call without using a handset, just by pressing one button on the radio. A DSC distress alert sent on VHF CH 70 will then automatically supply any shore based rescue centre and other vessels in the area with your identification and your location. In this manner the DSC radio operates much like an EPIRB that sends encoded “maydays” directly to satellites. You can even dial in the reason for the distress call. DSC will automatically repeat the distress call until it is acknowledged, useful in situations where the skipper is disabled.  If no shore-based emergency response station is within range, the DSC distress transmission will bounce from one DSC/VHF-equipped radio to another until it finds a shore-based station that returns an acknowledgement of your distress. By bouncing from one DSC/VHF radio to another, your distress signal can travel long distances, since each radio in the sequence repeats the signal. These digital communications result in visual messages being displayed on a receiver’s display screen similar to information displayed on a computer’s monitor.

If you make a digital call of any kind using DSC, your radio transmits the message on Channel 70; thus relieving congestion on Channel 16. All DSC equipped marine radios can be connected to a GPS, so your radio is “familiar” with your exact location and the exact time and sends out this information with a distress call. This in effect takes the “search” out of ‘search and rescue’.

DSC calls can be made directly to another vessel without broadcasting; thus being more private like a telephone call. As stated earlier, a DSC call does not use Channel 16. If the call is directed to an individual station, then that signal is sent on Channel 70 and only that station receives the call. The call can include the channel number on which you want to hold an ordinary conversation. Channel 70 is only used for digital communication; you cannot use voice on that channel. Furthermore you can store numbers that connect you to other vessels and your radio can keep a log of calls.

Much like a telephone, DSC radios must each have their own “contact” number referred to as the Maritime Mobile Service Identity number (MMSI). The MMSI number is nine digits long. The first three digits indicate the country followed by another six digits which are unique to the marine radio.

The Marine Notice states that Telkom Maritime Services will maintain VHF CH 16 aural watch keeping until April 2018 to allow all vessels to make the transition to DSC carriage. However, 29 Mhz and 2182 khz aural watch-keeping by Telkom will cease with effect from 01 July 2015.

Turning to the legal side of this article, the Merchant Shipping (National Small Vessel Safety) Regulations 2007 (NSVSR) applies to-

(a) every commercial small vessel-

(i) that is registered as a ship in the Republic in terms of the Ship Registration Act, 1998 (Act No.58 of 1998);

(ii) that is required to be licensed in terms of section 68 of the Act; and

(iii) in respect of which a local general safety certificate is required by virtue of section 203 of the Act.”

The definition of a “commercial small vessel” contained in the NSVS regulations read with definition of  a “small vessel” as described in the Merchant Shipping Act means a vessel of less than twenty-five gross tons and of more than three metres in length that is not a pleasure vessel, hence its application to small fishing vessels.

All commercial vessels must be either licensed or registered. Where any South African owned vessel leaves the South African Exclusive Economic Zone (200NM from land) they must be registered in accordance with the Ship Registration Act 1998.

Section 23 of the Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998 provides that no person shall use a fishing vessel or any other vessel to exercise any right of access unless a local fishing vessel licence has been issued to such person. Therefore in order to operate a local fishing vessel in South Africa, the vessel must be registered or licenced with the South African flag state. You must apply for a safety certificate from the South African Maritime Safety Authority and a fishing vessel licence from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in Cape Town.

Item 18, Annexure 2 of the Merchant Shipping (National Small Vessel Safety) Regulations 2007 requires category A, B, C and D vessels, subject to the regulations, to carry a Marine VHF radio or a 29 Mhz radio. These categories of vessels cover those operating any distance from shore to those vessels operating less than 5 nautical miles from shore. However, due to the cessation of the SOLAS watch keeping by the South African coast stations on 29 Mhz it will no longer be appropriate for small vessels to carry 29 Mhz radios as a safety option in terms of the Regulations. Categories of vessels covered by these regulations will now have to be equipped with VHF Marine Radios to comply with the safety requirements.

Moreover, NSVSR regulation 7 mandates that the owner and skipper of a vessel must ensure that items of safety appliances and equipment are provided and maintained on board the vessel in accordance with the requirements of Annexure 2 (as discussed above). Every person who contravenes this regulation commits an offence in terms of regulation 34 and is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months. Furthermore the failure to equip a VHF DSC marine radio on a vessel will result in the vessel being unable to obtain a Certificate of Fitness (COF), and those vessels issued with certificates may have them cancelled by SAMSA. This will result in vessels being confined to port as they may not be operated anywhere in the Republic without a COF and doing so once again amounts to an offence in terms of the NSVS Regulations.

The Marine Notice concludes by stating that, vessels may continue to carry 29 Mhz radios as voluntary fit equipment for intership communications, communications with clubs etc., however, these radios will no longer be appropriate to fulfil the safety requirements of the regulations from 01 July 2015.

In light of this notice we advise that all vessel owners, making use of 29 Mhz radios or old non DSC enabled VHF radios, adhere to SAMSA’s recommendations and replace their radio with a VHF DSC capable marine radio to ensure compliance with the regulations and more importantly to safeguard life at sea.