Walvis Bay, Namibia, 18 October 2019
Namibia has reached global maritime safety standards by upgrading it’s Navigational Telex (NAVTEX) system. The NAVTEX project is considered a major milestone for Namibia as a coastal State and budding maritime logistics hub.
“I have no doubt that the investment into this state-of-the-art system will not only up our game in safety on our shores but keeps us compliant with international standards,” stated Walvis Bay Deputy Mayor, Penelope Martin-Louw.
NAVTEX, is a navigational system used onboard the vessels to provide short range Maritime Safety Information on coastal waters. NAVTEX forms part of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) which was developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in line with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974, which Namibia is a Party to.
GMDSS was developed to save lives at sea by modernizing and enhancing the maritime radio communications system through satellite and digital selective calling technology.
Unlike the old maritime radio communication services, GMDSS provides a more effective distress alerting system by:
- Increasing the probability that an alert will be sent when a ship is in distress;
- Increasing the likelihood that the alert will be received;
- Increasing the ability to locate survivors;
- Improving rescue communications and coordination; and
- Providing mariners with vital maritime safety information (MSI).
Namibia is located near major international shipping routes and, over the last 10 years, the country has witnessed an increase in both visiting and passing maritime traffic. Namibia is positioned as the logistics hub for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which is home to about 200 million people and contributes about 30% of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Maritime safety and GMDSS, of which NAVTEX is a key component, are therefore critical to the furtherance of our strategic objectives as a coastal State,” mentioned Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Honorable Sankwasa James Sankwasa.
Hon. Sankwasa committed his ministry to continue to place strong emphasis on maritime safety and work with all partners, especially Ministry of Information and Communication Technology and Telecom Namibia, to support and improve maritime safety in Namibian waters through modern engineering and administrative solutions.
“Delivering infrastructure installations and upgrades highlighted on the national agenda across the various sectors of our economy, is a key priority for Telecom Namibia. Not only do we install infrastructure and deliver and maintain networks that ensure the provision of quality services to our clients, but we also enable national and local authorities to deliver on national and international communication obligations, such as the Navigational Telex system we are launching today,” assured Mr. Fernando Somaeb, Chairperson of Telecom Namibia.
Mr. Somaeb further continued, “Telecom Namibia has always strived to provide advanced and reliable services to the Namibian nation and visitors to the country. Neighbouring countries rely on the sound performance of their networks and infrastructure to further provide services to users of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services in their countries. In this case, ships in transit through Namibian waters would have the assurance that their communication would reach the Namibian contact centre.”
Global seaborne trade is expected to triple in the next 30 years, which means Namibia will experiences greater opportunities as a port and coastal State but also greater risks of accidents and incidents at sea. Namibia is well poised to take advantage of future maritime growth.