South African Maritime Safety Authority

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is a South African government agency established on 1 April 1998 as a result of the 1998 South African Maritime Safety Authority Act 5.[1] as such it is responsible for the implementation of current International & National Regulations regarding the Maritime Industry as well as upon all recreational marine vessels within its jurisdiction.

SAMSA via the administration and/or management of all things marine related is in effect the governing authority and as such is required to investigate maritime accidents/incidents & to provide various marine related services both on behalf of Government as well as to Government.

Overview of services [2]

To & on behalf of Government:

  • Advise Government on maritime issues relating to or affecting South Africa
  • Administer current legislation & policies, submit additional proposals thereon as & when required so as to flag State Implementation
  • Represent South Africa at international forums, liaise with foreign governments & other International institutions on behalf of South African Government
  • On behalf of the Minister of Transport liaise with other South African institutions & various State Departments
  • Administration of government maritime contracts
  • Provide a maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) capability within the South African area of responsibility - via the management (on behalf of DOT) of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC)
  • Conduct Accident investigations and provide Emergency Casualty Response
  • Control of State Ports, including management of the DOT contracted pollution prevention and response capability

To Maritime Industry (local & International):

  • Conduct Statutory surveys and issue Safety certification of vessels
  • Certification of Seafarers
  • Provide Assistance and advice on maritime legislation
  • Provide advice & grant approval in construction and refitting of vessels, including the evaluation & approval of fittings & equipment used.
  • Consultancy to industry on technical matters, safety and qualifications

To Stakeholders:

  • Safety equipment approval
  • Port State Control Inspections
  • Inspections of ships and cargoes of timber, grain and hazardous goods
  • Accreditation of maritime training institutions and maritime training programmes
  • Monitoring of South African seafarers’ welfare and conditions of service
  • Provision of maritime safety information to shipping & ensuring a reliable radio service
  • Ensuring that navigational aids are in place around the South African coastline
  • Assimilation and maintenance of shipping information and statistics

It is subordinate to the Minister of Transport, who heads the Department of Transport. Despite it being a marine authority its head office is over 500 km away from the nearest ocean in Pretoria.[3]

SAMSA administers the South African ship register.[4]

In July 2012 the authority acquired the former Antarctic supply vessel S. A. Agulhas as a training ship.[5]


  1. "About Us". SAMSA. 1998-04-01. Archived from the original on 2012-07-20. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  2. "Overview of Services". SAMSA. 1998-04-01. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
  3. "Contact Us". SAMSA. Archived from the original on 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  4. "Only foreign ships transport SA's exports". Mail & Guardian. SAPA. 1 October 2013. Archived from the original on 22 January 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  5. "SA Agulhas now a training vessel". DefenceWeb. 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2012-07-17.

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