MLA Site Additions

  • The Maritime Law Association of South Africa was established in February 1974 as a result of concern among maritime lawyers and the shipping industry that legislation in South Africa regulating maritime affairs did not appear to be keeping pace with developments elsewhere in the world.


  1. Without argument we can claim that the 2016 MLASA CONFERENCE & AGM hosted by the Cape Chapter was one of our most successful conferences particularly from a participation perspective.
  2. The conference kicked off with our keynote speaker on Friday evening none other than Mr Sobantu Tilayi, the acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (an agency of the Department of Transport) who took the time in his presentation to re-affirm the relevance and importance of the MLASA in developing the maritime sector in South Africa in partnership with other role players and in particular the South African Maritime Safety Authority.
  3. The rest of the Friday evening was dedicated to socialising and a scrumptious dinner where there was much catching up between old and new, young and old.
  4. Saturday morning kicked off with the ever interesting and entertaining Michael Heads of P&I and Associates, illustrating recent case studies under SA Ports and Places of Refuge.
  5. Second in line we were honoured once again to be addressed by Ian McClean of Hill Dickinson Solicitors of the UK in a most thorough and enlightening analysis of the legal and Commercial Challenges of Casualty Management in Different Jurisdictions.
  6. After the morning tea, we were greatly honoured to have present Mr Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State Representative: Maritime Salvage and Intervention from the United Kingdom, addressing us on the ins and outs and main responsibilities of his position. This was of great interest to the MLASA particularly in light of South Africa’s accession to the Nairobi Convention on Wreck Removal and its future implementation in South Africa.
  7. Next up was our very own Captain Nick Sloan of Resolve Marine Group known to many as the super salvage master who headed up the salvage of the “Costa Concordia”. Captain Sloan addressed delegates on the challenges of mega ship slavage, both Vale-Max and Ultra large container ships. The breathe taking size and extent of the latest ships that ply their trade on our oceans is impressive but also concerning from a casualty perspective. But with casualty masters the calibre of Captain Sloan in our midst this does alleviate some of our concerns.
  8. Just prior to the adjournment for lunch Ms Siphosakhe Phakathi addressed the MLASA as the first recipient of the Steven Wallace Maritime Trust Scholarship which is funding Miss Phakathi’s shipping master’s degree at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Miss Phakathi certainly demonstrated the calibre of young lawyers and leaders which are coming to the fore in our profession, and the MLASA are most proud of being a sponsor to her studies. Miss Phakathi is starting her candidate attorneyship at Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys during 2017. We wish her everything of the best for her future career.
  9. The real business of day two commenced with a panel discussion headed “The UK SOSREP system for dealing with marine casualties – how it works, how it differs from the South African approach and whether the South African approach can benefit from adopting the SOSREP system either in whole or part”.
  10. This refers again to South Africa’s accession to the Nairobi International Convention on Wreck Removal and in particular whether the legislation incorporating such convention into South African Law should also make provision for a SOSREP along similar lines as the UK. The panellist were of course Hugh Shaw, the UK SOSREP, Captain Rufus Lekala, the Transnet Port Authority Chief Harbour Master, Captain Allan Reid representing P&I interests, again Mr. Sobantu Tilayi, the acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority, Mr. Dumisani Ntuli of the Department of Transport and none other than our new president of the MLASA Mr. Ed Greiner of Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys.
  11. Excellent input and interaction between participants and panellists alike contributed towards meaningful conclusions. This certainly was one of the highlights of a successful conference. In particular it showed great potential for a constructive working relationship between the MLASA, its members, as well as the South African Maritime Safety Authority, TNPA and the Department of Transport.
  12. Our day ended with our prestigious gala dinner for which we must thank the Arabella Hotel and Spa for putting on a splendid occasion. Our 2016 honouree was none other than the legendary Johan Swart whom Professor John Hare (our very own CMI Secretary General) presented a glowing tribute to a most humble but yet hardworking and influential maritime lawyer who has contributed many hours and days of his career to assisting others around him not only in the maritime sector. The MLASA congratulates you Mr. Johan Swart and thanks you for your service and dedication.
  13. The gala dinner also included as a highlight an auction by Ariella Kuper of Clear Asset Management who had managed to obtain some lucrative items to auction which she did in a most professional and entertaining manner, raising a further R25 000.00 for the Steven Wallace Maritime Trust – thanks must go to Ariella for carrying out the auction and also thanks to those that contributed to the wonderful items which were auctioned so efficiently by Ariella.
  14. Sunday morning after the night before is often a slow one but thankfully after breakfast we had a most engaging and interesting presentation by Reshma Athmaran of Transnet Port Terminals. In keeping with the theme relating to maritime salvage and the need for SOSREP’s etc., Ms Athmaran’s presentation was on maritime environmental disaster. It was a stark reminder to us of the need for substantive and precise legislation to provide the legal tools to deal with such events particularly given the harsh sea conditions off our SA coast and our rich marine resources.
  15. The second session on Sunday morning was headed up by Ms Ariella Kuper of Clear Asset Management who presented a very interesting discussion on Judicial Ship Auctions in the 21st century and the need for auctioneers to up their game; in particular to conduct essential research on the maritime asset which is being auctioned in order to achieve effective results – the times certainly are changing.
  16. To add some international perspective, our last session of the day was presented by Professor John Hare our very own CMI Secretary General who gave a CMI report back. Report backs from Prof John Hare of this nature are always grounding and place in perspective the work that is conducted by the MLASA and other MLA’s around the world – thank you Professor Hare for your excellent input and the work that you continue to do in your role as CMI Secretary General.
  17. As usual our conference ended with the Annual General Meeting of the Maritime Law Association of South Africa which was most efficiently conducted with the new MLA Exco being elected and who now comprise of the following:
  18. Edmund Greiner       –     President
  • Gavin Fitzmaurice    –     Vice President
  • Norma Wheeler         –     Secretary
  • Collin Shaw                 –     Treasurer
  • (now replaced by Tamryn Simpson)

Executive Committee:

  • Peter Edwards, Sherry Vermaak, Prof Patrick Franken, Lerato Maboea, Adv Stephen Mullins, Jeffrey Butt and Wesley Wood

Finally, a thank you must go to Gavin Fitzmaurice and the Cape Chapter for organising this 2016 MLASA conference as well as conference organisers Wedgewood South Africa under the guiding hand of Ralph Greiner.

Some photos from the MLASA 2016 conference can be viewed below.



Professor John Hare

Professor John Hare


Panel discussion on the SOS REP system

Nick Sloan of Resolve Marine Group

Nick Sloan of Resolve Marine Group