On 22 August 2019 we alerted clients of the fact that South Africa had yet to promulgate legislation to give effect to, inter alia, Annex VI to MARPOL. On 6 September 2019 the department of transport (“DOT”) published the draft Marine Pollution (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Amendment Bill, 2019 (“the Bill”), for comment. The Bill seeks to give effect to, inter alia, Annex VI of MARPOL, by means of incorporating its terms as an addendum to the Marine Pollution (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 2 of 1986 (“the Marine Pollution Act”). Interested parties have been provided with 30 days within which to provide comment on the terms of the Bill.
If adopted in unamended form our authorities would be entitled to inspect vessels for compliance with Annex VI and if found to be in violation thereof, detain the vessel until compliance is achieved and/or issue a fine to the owner. The proposed amendment to section 3A of the Marine Pollution Act would increase the fine that SAMSA would be entitled to impose from R500,000 (approximately US$34,000) to R3.2 million (approximately US$220,000).
The publication of the Bill is a positive step and, assuming that there are no significant amendments required and the parliamentary process is accelerated, there is a prospect that the Bill could be promulgated and signed into law before 1 January 2020. However, in order to give full effect to the provisions of Annex VI regulations will have to be drafted to provide for, inter alia; the fitting of exhaust gas control systems, the surveying of vessels in order to issue the requisite International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate, the production of a fuel non-availability report (“FONAR”) as well as the maintenance of a register of local fuel suppliers and regulations governing the supply of fuel in South Africa.
At this stage no regulations have been circulated for comment nor has there been any indication on what stance South Africa will adopt in relation to the use of scrubbers as previously reported.