THE Hawks training at Richards bay in this file picture to combat piracy on the east coast of Africa. Picture: SANDILE MAKHOBA
Durban - The fight against piracy on the East Coast of Africa is being won, the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s acting chief operations officer, Sobantu Tilayi, said.

In an interview with the Daily News, Tilayi said that through patrols they have been able to decrease pirate activity on the East Coast. This was coupled with other patrol operations conducted by the South African Navy.

He was speaking after a three-day workshop by the International Maritime Organisation was held in Durban from Monday.

The workshop, which included about 60 delegates from countries in the west Indian Ocean region and the Gulf of Aden, which lies between Somalia and Yemen, discussed security issues covered by the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017. This code of conduct is aimed at tackling issues of criminality in the maritime environment which include human trafficking, illegal fishing and piracy among other things.

Some of the signatories are Madagascar, South Africa and Mozambique.

Through joint partnerships with other countries, Tilayi said countries have been able to deal with pirates on the East Coast of the continent.

Tilayi felt this was important as successful economies and strong security worked handed in hand.

He added that improved security meant they would take preventive action as was the case with trawlers fishing illegally.

He said Samsa had chased six vessels last year and had effected arrests on two of them.

“To prevent any of these illegal activities from happening, maritime safety authorities from as far as Egypt constantly share information with each other about activities that happen on the sea. There are still a number of challenges that are being faced from an economic perspective,” he said.

According to Tilayi, the lack of ships carrying the South African flag has been a sore point in the shipping industry for a number of years.

“A ship carrying the flag of a country means a country can get tax revenue from the company and also hire locals from that country, thereby boosting the economy.”

Tilayi said the country had about four vessels flying the South African flag. He hoped that by March next year they would be able to add another two vessels. Samsa was in talks with the South African Revenue Service to create incentives for vessels bearing the South African flag.

Daily News