The Maritime Law Association of South Africa held its yearly conference for the year 2022, for the first time in person since the emergence of COVID-19. The conference had its main focus on “Reinventing the Art of War: Sanctions, Security, Law and Policy“.
We received an informative opening address from the Honourable Judge Malcom Wallis, who amongst other amazing work he has done, was Acting Justice in the Constitutional Court. The conference also had insightful speakers such as the Honourable Justice Angus Stewart who is a Federal Australian Judge; Julian Clarke who is a global Senior Partner at INCE, Captain Ken Ellam, Solis Marine, Singapore, and Dumisani Ntuli who is the Chief Director Maritime Transport Policy & Legislation.
Amongst other thought-provoking topics which were discussed for the period of the conference; the Global Senior Partner at INCE, Julian Clarke delivered a rather interesting topic on the role of automation in international trade and possible impacts for carriage logistics operations and global management of cargo. This topic pioneered the conversation on artificial intelligence and the future of automation at terminals and ports. Considering that technology has paved the way into opening new opportunities in the shipping industry and has come with new ways which are efficient and effective, this also sees the rise in questions on how such new opportunities shall be accommodated in legislation.
Another key-note speaker who delivered a topic on the complications arising from large container ship incidents was Captain Ken Ellam who is from Solis Marine in Singapore. Captain Ellam took the conference participants through the history of the container vessel from the early designs which carried less than 5000 TEU up to the current largest container vessels which carries approximately 25 000 TEU. The Captain demonstrated the intensity of the incidents which involve container ships, where for example the vessel would be involved in hogging and or sagging stress and the ever so famous grounding of the Evergreen in the Suez Canal which is believed to handle 10% of the global commercial maritime traffic; and how such blockage shut down traffic of nearly 367 vessels in both directions, for a period of a week.
Ince & Co spearheaded the Ince internship program which offers a four-to-six-month internship at any of its international offices in London, Beijing, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and Shanghai. This offers the successful candidate a chance to engage and gain insightful knowledge and the transformational experience of the practice of maritime law in another jurisdiction.
Furthermore, from Vusi September, the Executive of Corporate Affairs of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA); we received an update on the state of the governing structure of SAMSA and the need to fill the position of Chief Executive Officer as the organisation currently has an Acting Chief Executive Officer. He further mentioned new bills which needed to be revised and be issued for public commentary before their finalisation.
We also had the honour of listening to Mr Dumisani Ntuli of the Department of Transport and heads the Chief Director Maritime Transport Policy & Legislation. Mr Ntuli updated the delegates on the conference which was held by the Department of Transport from the 20-22 of April 2022, which was a Hybrid Mid-term review of the CMTP (Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy), five years after its adoption by the Cabinet. The conference aimed at examining the progress of the implementation of the CMTP and was also aimed at addressing the amount of work which has been done since the adoption of the CMTP in 2020. It further set out to review emerging policies, challenges and trends from the domestic and international point of view.
The Gala dinner on the Saturday night was a chance to relax and connect socially with other delegates. It also included a silent auction to raise funds for the Steven Wallace Trust which funds maritime education for young aspiring candidates.
Finally, we would like to thank the Maritime Law Association of South Africa for hosting a successful conference which was informative and enjoyable after having not had an in-person conference for two consecutive years due to COVID-19.
Dawson Edwards and Associates attorneys