The Department of Transport is requesting public comment on the Maritime Transport Security Draft Bill.
The memorandum attached to the proposed law explains the Bill proposes to repeal and replace the existing Merchant Shipping (Maritime Security) Regulations, 2004, made under the Merchant Shipping Act of 1951.
“In replacing the regulations, the Bill retains many of the main elements of the regulations, but it also addresses the international developments and national considerations” the memorandum adds.
“The shape of maritime transport security today is a product largely of the international community’s response to the tragic events of 11 September 2001 in the United States and the underlying threat posed by international terrorism.
The international response has sought to address vulnerabilities across a broad front and, from a maritime perspective, two United Nations’ agencies in particular, namely the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Labour Organisation (lLO), have played (and continue to play) a key role in shaping and influencing the content of maritime transport security measures at the international, as well as a national, level.”
The Bill`s drafters add the draft law will build on the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, both of which entered into force in July 2004.
“SOLAS security measures, while comprehensive in what they cover, have some notable limitations: they do not cover non-trading vessels, domestic-trade vessels, international-trade vessels under 500 gross tonnage, or port facilities exclusively serving such vessels; nor do they cover port-side operations beyond the immediate ship/port interface.”
“The Bill’s main purpose is to safeguard against unlawful interference with maritime transport,” the drafters add in their memorandum.
“It seeks to achieve this purpose by continuing the risk-based and outcome focussed approach, first adopted in the 2004 regulations, of a regulatory scheme centred on the development of security plans for ships, ports, offshore facilities and other maritime transport operations.”
The specific outcomes sought to be achieved remain essentially unchanged, namely:
Ø South Africa’s obligations under SOLAS and the ISPS Code, including those with regard to the rights, freedoms and welfare of seafarers, are met;
Ø the vulnerability to terrorist attack or other unlawful interference of South African ships, ports and other ships within South Africa, and offshore facilities, is reduced without undue disruption of trade;
Ø the risk that ships, offshore facilities and other maritime transport operations are used to facilitate terrorist or other unlawful activities is reduced; and
Ø security information is communicated effectively among maritime industry participants and organs of state with maritime security responsibilities.
Comments can be emailed to [email protected] by not later than 1 April.