23 Aug 2019

South Africa as member state of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding and MARPOL Annex VI

by Pauline Kumlehn, Partner, Cape Town,
Practice Area(s): Shipping & Logistics |

Port State Control or “PSC” directs the way in which a port state exercises authority over foreign ships when those ships are in waters subject to its jurisdiction. Their authority to do so emanates from both domestic and international law. To this end, states which are parties to IMO conventions are able to verify that ships of other nations operating in their waters comply with the obligations set out in those conventions.

Various maritime nations of the world have concluded nine separate agreements or ‘memoranda of understanding’ in relation to PSC; in this regard South Africa is a member state of the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding (IOMOU). As part of its mandate, the IOMOU seeks to harmonise the adoption of instruments and regulations to promote and maintain safety and security in the region.

As reported in today’s Africa Ports & Ships maritime news, the IOMOU’s Port State Control Committee has been meeting in Cape Town this week.  Included in the agenda will be an analysis of a Concentrated Inspection Campaign or CIC on MARPOL VI, as well as the development of guidelines for MARPOL Annex IV and V for inclusion in the region’s Port State Control manual.

As noted in the IOMOU’s press release issued at the end of July 2018, the key objectives of the CIC on Annex VI which was conducted between September and November 2018 (simultaneously with CIC’s conducted by the Paris MOU, Tokyo MOU and other MOU’s), was to:

  • establish the level of compliance with the requirements of MARPOL Annex VI within the shipping industry;
  • to create awareness amongst ship crews and ship owners with respect to the importance of compliance with the provisions of MARPOL Annex VI and the prevention of air pollution;
  • to underline the responsibility of the port state control regime with respect to harmonized enforcement of compliance with the requirements of MARPOL Annex VI, thus improving the level of compliance and ensuring a level playing field.

It is understood that the results of the inspection campaign will be analysed, presented to the IOMOU Committee and then ultimately submitted to the International Maritime Organization.

Having regard to recent articles regarding South Africa’s stance in relation to implementation and enforcement of Annex VI it will be interesting to see how our authorities address its obligations not only under the convention, but also as a member state of the IOMOU.