SA establishes pollution prevention strategy

2013-11-30 12:10
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters. (AFP)

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters. (AFP)

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Johannesburg - South Africa has established a pollution prevention strategy to respond to environmental threats and help vessels at risk, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said on Friday.

"High winds and high seas are common in the region, raising the risk of ships accidentally spilling oil, chemicals, noxious liquid wastes and other hazardous substances," she said at the International Maritime Organisation Assembly.

"Currently, slicks brought in from spills in the open ocean by coastal currents frequently spoil our beaches and damage coral reefs. Discharges of contaminated ballast water from refineries add to the load."

SA coastline

Peters said it was estimated that over 30% of the world's petroleum production of about 60 million barrels a day was transported through the waters of the West Indian Ocean region.

Peters said the continuous discovery of mineral resources, including oil and gas, in various parts of the continent attested to the country's strategic importance going into the future.

"For this reason and many others, Africa needs true friends and partners, all with a more transformed attitude than the experiences of the past," she told the assembly.

"The challenge we currently face is to turn this independence [into] economic stability and prosperity in order to secure a better future for generations to come."

Peters said the South African economy continued to ensure that the port system remained competitive and profitable.

She said that combined with the strategic geographical position of South Africa's coastline, the port system had a multiplier effect on the economy of the country and the Southern African Development Community region.

"Regardless of its reputation for stormy waters, the sea route around the Cape is still the main waterway for oil transportation from the Middle East to Europe and North America.

"An estimated 12 000 vessels pass around the South African coastline annually, of which a large number are laden tankers carrying in excess of 30 million dead weight tonnage of crude oil."

South African was the only southern African country to straddle two oceans, she said.

Peters also said South Africa was concerned about the conditions of women at sea as either seafarers or as cadets on board merchant vessels.

"We call on the International Maritime Organisation to not only promote the removal of all gender barriers for entry into the industry, but also the creation of conducive climate for safe and secured participation of women seafarers in all aspects of shipping."

Read more on:    dipuo peters  |  pollution  |  environment

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