Accountable to the Minister of Transport, SAMSA was established on 1 April 1998 in terms of the South African Maritime Safety Authority Act 5 of 1998 (View Acts).

SAMSA is governed by a Board made up of the CEO and six non-executive members, including the Chair and Deputy Chair, as appointed by the Minister.

The organisation’s objective is to lead and champion South Africa’s maritime interests as custodians and stewards of maritime policy, vigorous promoters of the maritime sector and giving full and complete effect to our obligations for the benefit of all stakeholders.


The Authority championing South Africa’s global martime ambitions.


To promote South Africa’s maritime interests and development and position the country as an international Maritime Centre while ensuring maritime safety, health and enviromental protection.

In line with its objectives, as stated in Section 3 of the SAMSA Act, the organisation’s primary areas of responsibility include:

  • Participating in the development and implementation of national and international maritime safety and marine environment protection standards;
  • Enforcing technical and operational standards for all shipping operations in South African waters and for South African ships anywhere, to promote responsible operations in terms of seaworthiness, safety and pollution prevention;
  • Enforcing training standards and competency of seafarers;
  • Managing the national capability to respond to marine pollution incidents and other maritime emergencies;
  • Operating the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre to coordinate maritime assistance services and to detect, and coordinate the location and rescue of people in maritime distress situations throughout the internationally agreed South African Search and Rescue Region;
  • Overseeing the provision of maritime distress and safety communications services to discharge South Africa’s responsibilities under the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System;
  • Administering South Africa’s voluntary ship reporting system (SAFREP) for identifying and tracking ships at sea for safety purposes and to provide a ships’ database for responding to marine emergencies;
  • Investigating maritime casualties; and
  • Delivering related services including:
  • Public awareness and education in marine safety and pollution prevention;
  • Administration of South Africa’s ship registration system; and
  • Publication of, and access to, ship safety and environmental standards.

SAMSA delivers four main outputs consistent with its mandate and responsibilities:

  • Safety and environment protection standards for responsible maritime transport operations;
  • An infrastructure for monitoring and enforcing compliance with safety and environment protection standards;
  • The capability to respond to marine pollution incidents and other maritime emergencies; and
  • The capability to detect, locate and rescue people in maritime distress situations.

Posted on

November 22, 2013

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