The National Department of Transport has, for the first time in the history of the South African maritime transport sector, established an Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg).
“The establishment of IMOrg will enable South Africa to maintain a national system for preparedness and response to major marine pollution, as well as to assess the level of preparedness and response,” the department said.
The IMOrg will also ensure that there is a standardised national approach towards managing oil spills in the South African coastline.
The organisation consists of institutions such as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), National Disaster Management Centre, Petroleum Agency of South Africa, Department of Environmental Affairs and Department of Mineral Resources.
Managing oil and gas spillages
The IMOrg is charged with managing oil and gas spillages, as well as to undertake sea rescue missions for distraught vessels and seafarers within the 2,798km South African coastline.
The IMOrg is chaired by the transport department and has adopted the Incident Management System (IMS) as the preferred model for oil spill response in the marine environment. The use of IMS is promoted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to which South Africa is a member state.
The IMOrg is also endorsed by the Ocean Economy Inter-Ministerial Committee on Operation Phakisa.
The department will put in place a legislative framework to support growth and development in the shipping as wells as oil and gas sectors.