South Africa joins the international community in celebrating its growing cadre of sailors

With about 11000 seafarers now in its name, the country is steadily making progress towards maritime economic sector skills development and thereby creating opportunities  for all.

Pretoria: 29 June 2016

DSC_0288

South Africa’s passionate yet purposeful campaign to enhance greater public awareness towards realization of the relevance and importance of the country’s status as fundamentally a maritime region, and whose global trade is almost completely dependent on the seas around it, continued in Durban at the weekend, with a national event to celebrate the International Day of the Seafarer.

DSC_0274Situated appropriately within the annual Durban International Boat Show and Exhibition held at the Royal Natal Yacht Club, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) driven annual event, hosted in South Africa by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA); drew attention to the country’s 11 000-strong cadre of seafarers and which is steadily growing to take advantage of the numerous opportunities presented by the country’s vast ocean economy.

Over the past decade, SAMSA working closely with a variety of partners both within the private and public sectors, has played an instrumental, if pivotal role as a State organ to drive hard, deliberately and purposefully, a human skills development campaign for the South African maritime economic with much emphasis initially on cadet training, leading to its acquisition and management of the country’s first dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas, in 2011.

DSC_0296As of Saturday, 25 June 2016; there were on record about 11 000 seafarers in South Africa, plying their trade both locally and abroad and with their US dollar denominated income earnings making a contribution to the country’s gross domestic product.

The International Day of the Seafarer, is a global event which according to SAMSA’s Centre for Corporate Affairs was first celebrated in 2011, following its establishment by a resolution adopted by the Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, held in Manila, Philippines, in June 2010, which adopted major revisions to the STCW Convention and Code.

The Day of the Seafarer had since been included in the annual list of United Nations Observances.

IMO related1This year’s theme for the Day of the Seafarer was #AtSeaForAll a notion, according to the centre, that  had a clear link with the 2016 World Maritime Day theme, “Shipping: indispensable to the world”, emphasizing that seafarers serve at sea not just for the shipping industry or for their own career purposes but for all of society, hence they are “indispensable to the world”.

Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) (Photo: IMO)
Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) (Photo: IMO)

In a statement in Sweden on Friday, IMO Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim described the global seafarer celebration on Saturday as an opportunity for communities across sectors to “reflect on how much we all rely on seafarers for most of the things we take for granted in our everyday lives.

He said: “Over one million seafarers operate the global fleet yet billions of people depend on them for the essentials and the luxuries of life. Shipping is essential to the world – and so are seafarers.

“So, this year, on 25 June, the Day of the Seafarer, we are once again asking people everywhere to show their appreciation for the seafarers that quietly, mostly unnoticed, keep the wheels of the world in motion.”

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during celebration of the International Day of Seafarers in Durban on Saturday, 25 June 2016.
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during celebration of the International Day of Seafarers in Durban on Saturday, 25 June 2016.

In Durban on Saturday, SAMSA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the crucial role of South Africa within the world’s maritime economic sector, and the importance of skills development within it, but also the need for recognition and appreciation of contributors to the growth of the domestic maritime sector.

Of seafarers, Mr Tilayi – who had alongside him Captain Thembela Tobashe – one of the first of three black females ever to qualify as Master Mariners – echoed the IMO view, stating: “At the coal face of driving economies around the world and at the forefront supporting international trade the seafarers, whether deck hands, captains of ships, engineers and cadets, galley staff play a very significant role in ensuring the world’s economic growth and sustainability.

20151207_151556 (2) “Seafarers are those brave hearts who risk their lives, give up months of family time and being on land, to go out to sea, to not only support and protect our beloved country and their nations, but also to create an impact on each and every citizen by ensuring international trade, which affects us all. They make sure that the environment is protected, trade is flowing and our communities are able to thrive and develop themselves. It is therefore essential to raise our hands in salutation to these fearless men and women,” said Tilayi.

Mr Tilayi encouraged particularly youth to explore at depth the skills and economic benefits their involvement in the sector might provide them.

For Mr Tilayi’s video presentation in Durban, Click Here.

For Mr Lim’s message, presented at the Durban event by Captain Tobashe, please Click Here

For a select group of photos of the Durban International Boat Show and Exhibition, please Click Here

End.

#AtSeaForAll as SA celebrates its seafarers

CELEBRATING SEAFARERS GLOBALLY: In this file photo Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters is seen with the country's first group of cadets taken on board a Vuka Marine's commercial cargo vessel, the Cape Orchid in September 2015 and who are now part of a growing cadre of seafarers - about 11 000 of them - servicing our oceans transport needs.
CELEBRATING SEAFARERS GLOBALLY: In this file photo Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters is seen with the country’s first group of cadets taken on board a Vuka Marine’s commercial cargo vessel, the Cape Orchid (the first to carry the country’s flag in 30 years) in September 2015 and who are now part of a growing cadre of seafarers – about 11 000 of them – servicing our oceans transport needs.

Pretoria: 25 June 2016

Thousands of South Africa’s online (and off line!) community are expected to join the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on Saturday as South Africa celebrates its more than 11 000 seafarers in observation of the International Day of Seafarers.

14668453815491620875076
The Durban Yacht Club, the venue of Saturday’s International Day of Seafarers for South Africa celebrations hosted by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

In terms of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), focus of this year’s celebration is on drawing and heightening the international community’s awareness and recognition of the critical role played by sailors in domestic and global ocean transport for social, commercial and numerous other purposes.

IMG_0310As such, the campaign’s theme this year is: “At Sea For All” and SAMSA will activate the local version of the global effort in community engagement at the Durban Yacht Club – the venue of this year’s national boat show – at about noon today.

According to SAMSA, the Day of the Seafarer was first celebrated in 2011 following its establishment by a resolution adopted by the Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, held in Manila, Philippines, in June 2010, which adopted major revisions to the STCW Convention and Code.

The Day of the Seafarer had since been included in the annual list of United Nations Observances.

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi
South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

SAMSA said observation of the day provided an opportunity for the public in general to pay tribute to the world’s 1.5 million seafarers “for the unique and all-too-often overlooked contribution to the well-being of the general public.”

“At the coal face of driving economies around the world and at the forefront supporting international trade the seafarers, whether deck hands, captains of ships, engineers and cadets, galley staff play a very significant role in ensuring the world’s economic growth and sustainability,” said SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Sobantu Tilayi.

Therefore, he said; seafarers were the face of the maritime industry and continuously worked hard to strive for excellence.

“Seafarers are those brave hearts who risk their lives, give up months of family time and being on land, to go out to sea, to not only support and protect our beloved country and their nations, but also to create an impact on each and every citizen by ensuring international trade, which affects us all. They make sure that the environment is protected, trade is flowing and our communities are able to thrive and develop themselves. It is therefore essential to raise our hands in salutation to these fearless men and women,” said Mr Tilayi.

IMG_2344Mr Tilayi encouraged the country to get together and acknowledge these unsung heroes. He said as a celebration to the seafarers and their challenging and demanding job, SAMSA continuously aimed to support and provide jobs in the maritime industry both for men and women.

“Our involvement in the Operations Phakisa Oceans Economy Initiative places us at the forefront of ensuring that South Africa produces seafarers of international standards. SAMSA would like to combine this industry where an abundance of jobs are available to combat the country’s current plight of high unemployment,” said Mr Tilayi.

In an appearance on the SABC News Breakfast Show ‘Weekend Live’ early on Saturday morning, Mr Tilayi further elaborated on the event. To listen, Click Here

Day of the Seafarer 2016

Meanwhile the schedule for the day is as follows:

Venue: Durban Yacht Club.

13h00: Army Band to start playing music at the SAMSA activation area.

13h15: Program  director to announce the purpose of the gathering and a few remarks.

13h20-13h30: Army Band to continue playing upbeat music to get the crowd hyped up.

13h30: Program director reads the message of support from the Secretary General of the IMO on the international Day of the Seafarer.

13h35: SAMSA CEO addresses the crowds on the International Day of the Seafarer.

13h45: Program director vote of thanks and introduces the Army band playing the National Anthem.

13h50: Army Band continues playing and the program ends.

End

 

Arrested Chinese fishing trawlers in South Africa released

IMG_2179

Pretoria: 24 June 2016

Three Chinese vessels that were arrested and detained in South Africa have been released, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed on Friday.

The release this week, just over month after the vessels were arrested off the coast of South Africa in the Indian Ocean and detained at the port of East London, occurred after they had fulfilled all requirements.

Captain Nigel Campbell, executive head of SAMSA’s Centre for Shipping and regional manager for SAMSA’s Southern region, said that the requirements included repairs to certain equipment on board the vessels that had been deemed to have posed a threat to the environment, as well as the lodging of deposits for Admission of Contraventions of pollution legislation

According to SAMSA, based on its own investigation; the vessels faced charges by the ocean safety watchdog relating to, among other things; an absence of oil record books, and non-maintenance of certain other equipment essential for the safe operation of the vessels.

On Friday SAMSA said all the issues were eventually sorted out to its satisfaction and the vessels, with its crew of about 96 people were given permission to sail away.

End

Doyen of South Africa’s boating and recreational fishing laid to rest in Midrand

Pretoria: 22 June, 2016

Members of South Africa's boating and recreational fishing community joined the family, friends and neigbors in bidding fond farewell to the late Mr Stanley Wilmot Walter in Midrand, Gauteng on Wednesday
Members of South Africa’s boating and recreational fishing community joined the family, friends and neigbors in bidding fond farewell to the late Mr Stanley Wilmot Walter in Midrand, Gauteng on Wednesday

South Africa’s boating and recreational fishing community bowed its head momentarily in silent prayer at the funeral service of one of the country’s doyen of boating and fishing safety, Stanley Wilmot Walter, held at the Midstream Methodist Church in Midrand on Wednesday afternoon.

Mourners attending Mr Stan Walter's funeral service in Midrand on Wednesday sit quietly while eulogies in his memory are being delivered.
Mourners attending Mr Stan Walter’s funeral service in Midrand on Wednesday sit quietly while eulogies in his memory are being delivered.

Mr Walter, 78, a long serving official of the saltwater and freshwater boating fraternity and who until recently was the National Safety Officer of the South African Deep Sea Angling Association, a qualified boat surveyor as well as an accomplished trainer and curriculum developer in the subsector, died recently after a short illness.

At his funeral service on Wednesday afternoon along with his family including his wife, Tilly, children and grandchildren; were several members and officials of the boating community, among them his close friend, Mr John Pledger, the chairman of the recently established South African Consolidated Recreational Angling Association (SACRAA).

Also represented was the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) with which he worked closely and was a frequent visitor for years.

Mr Walter served South Africa as the country’s commercial (under 9 metres) fishing craft surveyor from 1996 following to his appointment by then Minister of Transport, Mac Maharaj and which service provision was further endorsed by SAMSA in 2009, and the latter for which he conducted periodic workshops for boat surveyors, examiners and pantoon boats.

Mr John Pledger, Chairman, South African Consolidated Recreational Angling Association (SACRAA) and old friend of Mr Walter in reminisce of old days.
Mr John Pledger, Chairman, South African Consolidated Recreational Angling Association (SACRAA) and old friend of Mr Walter in reminisce of old days.

Mr Pledger, formerly chairman (for nine years) of the South African Sport Angling and Casting Confederation (SASACC) with nine different federations controlling 19 different disciplines of angling involving about 29,000 members countrywide, spoke fondly of Mr Walter whom he knew for a long time.

Among highlights of Mr Walter’s contribution to the boating community generally, according to Mr Pledger; was his instrumental role in the establishment of the National Sea Rescue Institute’s Shelley Beach (Durban) base in 1984 and for which he became Station Commander for 10 years, and in which period he devoted more than 3000 hours to night training of station skippers, as well as lecturing, setting and marking of exam papers.

Mr Pledger said in 1985, Mr Walter – whose boating career began in the 50’s at the Hartebeespoort Dam leading to his acquisition of his first Certificate of Competence in 1960, prior to venturing into deep sea fishing in Mozambique in the 70’s and again in the late 90s – also set the first day and night rated exam paper for SADSAA and since then has produced instruction manuals and exams papers for the organisation that were now also used by members of other boating disciplines.

“Stan was a wonderful, honest and hard-working man, and I was privileged to have him as a friend. There is an old saying that you “live every day, but only die once”.

“Stan and Tilly epitomized this old saying as they spent any hard-working hours traversing the country on safety issues, lecturing, visiting important people on safety issues and promoting safety portfolio. They were living every day,’ he said; adding that Mr Walter will be missed not only by his family and close friends but also by SADSAA and all of the saltwater and freshwater boating fraternity.

REMEMBERED FONDLY: (From Left) South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Boating Manager, Ms Constance Nengovhela with the late Mr Walter two months prior to his passing away recently.
REMEMBERED FONDLY: (From Left) South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Boating Manager, Ms Constance Nengovhela with the late Mr Walter two months prior to his passing away recently.

Also paying tribute to Mr Walter on Wednesday, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Acting CEO of SAMSA said the organization and its entire management and staff were saddened by Mr Walter’s passing away, whom he described as  an  ‘industry friend, a colleague and mentor to many especially those within boating operations.’

He said: “He (Mr Walter) will be sorely missed in our Pretoria Office (where) a week would not pass by without him visiting our offices making it a point of meeting with Centre for Boating Manager to resolve any operational safety matters and/or enquire on the status of applications for Certificates of Competencies for the many candidates who were trained by South African Deep Sea Angling Association (SADSAA).

“We thank him for his contribution to the National Small Vessel Safety Regulations, Policies and Strategies as well as his role in ensuring that the same were implemented by the many safety officers who were under his control at SADSAA.

“Words cannot express how grateful we shall forever be to Mr Walter for the time he spent training SAMSA Executives, Managers and Staff on boating safety.”

End

Newly designed SAMSA certificates find proud owners

Pretoria: 20 June 2016

IMG_4747
COMPETENCY CONFIRMED: (From Left) Mr Ryan Smith, Chief Navigating Officer at Smit Amandla Marine in Cape Town receiving recently his copy of the newly designed SAMSA Certificate of Competence from Captain Antoinette Keller, Deputy Principal Officer for the SAMSA Cape Town Office.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) issued newly designed Certificate of Competence for seafarers has begun finding home with the country’s sailors and who are simply almost wholly impressed with its features. The CoC is one of two newly designed certificates launched by the organization a month ago.

IMG_4705 (2)IMG_4707 (2)Modeled on South Africa’s Passport with intricate security features, the new certificates according to SAMSA’s Centre for Seafarers,  are in compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention) and the Merchant Shipping (Safe Manning, Training and Certification) Regulations, 2013, as amended (MS (SMTC) Regulations, 2013.

Chief Examiner at the Centre for Seafarers, Captain Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi says the STCW Convention is one of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) cornerstone convention.

“It is a comprehensive set of international regulations intended to ensure that the highest standards of seafarer competence are maintained globally. The STCW 2010 amendments are intended to ensure that STCW standards stay relevant, so that seafarers can continue to develop and maintain their professional skills,” says Captain Mulaudzi.

IMG_6394To produce the new certificates featuring a set of new intricate security measures – inclusive of a watermark with the SAMSA logo; a background watermark featuring a South African Vessel which is visible when the document is held to the light, as well as hidden elements such as invisible ink and micro-printed text – SAMSA worked closely with the Government Printing Works (GPW.

According to Captain Mulaudzi: “These are all intended to prevent tampering, alteration, forgery and to allow for easy recognition of the genuine items and also to ensure that seafarers’ identities are protected.”

The first proud sailor to lay claim to the new CoC earlier this month is Ryan Smith, a Chief Navigating Officer (<3000GT>) at Smit Amanda Marine in Cape Town, a company he has been with since about 13 years ago.

Smith, a graduate of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and a seafarer who has gone through the ranks on board various scientific research vessels managed and operated by Smit Amanda Marine, as well as the Offshore Division of the company involving various Offshore Tugs, said he was impressed with the overall layout of the new CoC.

“The layout of the new COC is more refined and substantially simplified, with useful additional general information notes at the rear of the booklet,” said Smith.

Being the first seafarer in the country to lay claim to the new CoC will remain a matter of pride for him for a while yet, he mused.

Of his now over a decade old career at sea, Smith quipped: “My most memorable moment in my short career thus far was the salvage of the jack-up rig, Perro Negro 6 which capsized off Angola. At this time I was serving onboard the AHTS Smit Madura, under the command of Captain Toralf Grapow, my friend and mentor, and coincidentally the Master of the very first vessel I joined as a cadet!”

Meanwhile, according to Captain Pierre Schutz, a deputy Principal Officer and a chief examiner (deck) at SAMSA’s Cape Town office, one or two other sailors have since collected theirs as well.

 End

 

South Africa and Norway thrash out strategy for envisaged national maritime sector cluster – a multi-media feature

Pretoria: 14 June 2016

DSC_0142

A week ago Tuesday, more than 200 people from South Africa and Norway’s maritime economic sector gathered in a conference room of the Dolphin’s Leap leisure and entertainment centre on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront to share ideas towards a possibly suitable strategy for establishment of a national maritime economic sector cluster for South Africa.

DSC_0126Among them were senior government officials inclusive of the Department of Environmental Affairs – the lead State department on Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy), the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Science and Technology; thought leaders from academic institutions including the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, researchers from independent institutions and industry leaders in the country’s maritime economic sector.

Also present were provincial Eastern Cape government authorities, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Council as well as local business leaders inclusive of members of both the Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Durban maritime clusters.

DSC_0181Discussions at the forum took two forms; themed speeches and panel discussions interspersed by questions and answers from attendees,

A week ago this blog highlighted some of the key issues raised and discussed, and in this report (because you do not have two days of time to listen to it all!) we present you a virtual experience of discussions of some of the issues in audio and video formats.

To take you back to some of interesting topics covered, Click Here

End

 

 

 

Mandela Bay Chamber of Business excited over maritime sector focus on Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth was South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma’s choice for the 2016 Presidential National Progress Report on Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in April. This week the city hosted yet another national maritime sector event with international flavour. 

Delegates to the two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth this week, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway
Delegates to the two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth this week, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway

Port Elizabeth: 07 June 2016

While national traditional media might be paying little if any attention to it, the Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce (Port Elizabeth) can barely hide its appreciation for the national and international attention the region is increasingly drawing in domestic and international maritime sector initiatives.

The chamber’s chief executive Kevin Hustler was remarking on the staging early this week of yet another maritime sector development oriented event in Port Elizabeth with much international flavour, a two-day seminar on national maritime sector cluster development involving thought leaders mostly from South Africa and Norway.

Dolphin's Leap on Port Elizabeth's beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway
Dolphin’s Leap on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway

The event, at a venue situated along the city’s pristine Blue-flaggedDSC_0148 Humewood beach and about a kilometre east of the port of Port Elizabeth, held under the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) theme, also provided the venue for the signing of a historical bilateral agreement between the Norwegian government and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University that involves the setting up of an academic institute to focus on illegal fishing studies and management strategy development.

Mr Hustler was among about 200 delegates that attended on Monday, alongside which was the city’s Mayor, Dr Danny Jordaan but who could only address the delegates on Tuesday.

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan Right) chatting with Norway ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen.
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan (Right) chatting with Norway ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

The Mandela Bay Chamber represents the largest membership number  of businesses in the city inclusive of three major vehicle and components manufacturers in the city, Volkswagen South Africa, General Motors South Africa and Ford Motor Company South Africa.

The Chamber is also a stakeholder and key role player in the region’s Maritime Cluster set up some four years ago.

To hear Mr Hustler’s remarks during a brief interview during the two day seminar, Click Below

Norway pumps R50-million into South Africa’s fight against illegal fishing

R50-million over five (5) years for new academic centre for fight against illegal fishing in South Africa

Signing a historic bilateral agreement on establishment of a centre to fight illegal fishering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth are (Left) Norway's ambassador to South Ms Trine Skymoen and Dr Sibongile Muthwa, acting Vice President of the NMMU
Signing a historic bilateral agreement on establishment of a centre to fight illegal fishering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth are (Left) Norway’s ambassador to South Ms Trine Skymoen and Dr Sibongile Muthwa, acting Vice President of the NMMU

Port Elizabeth: 07 June 2016

The Norwegian government on Monday signed a memorandum of agreement with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth for establishment of an academic centre at the university that will be devoted to studies and strategy development contributing to the fight against illegal fishing in South Africa and globally.

The agreement involves a R50-million funding over five years provided by the Norwegian government to help establish a core of graduates with knowledge and expertise in the management of illegal fishering as well as contribute to development of effective strategies.

The agreement was signed by Dr Sibongile Muthwa, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the NMMU and Ms Trine Skymoen, the Norway ambassador to South Africa.

For a five minute view of the historic agreement please Click Here

 

Maritime sector industry clustering: from competition to synergy

Port Elizabeth: 07 June 2016

Dolphin's Leap on Port Elizabeth's beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway
Dolphin’s Leap on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway

Establishment of clusters in South Africa’s maritime economic sector could have far more advantages for business owners in the sector than is derived by companies operating in isolation and in silos as is currently the case now. Among other things, the existence of a cluster would rather than eliminate competition, create synergies characterized by greater co-operation with shared benefits along values chains.

This was the strongest sentiment to emerge on the first day of a two day seminar on Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy – Exploring opportunities towards a national maritime cluster for South Africa – attended by a range  of thought leaders from South Africa and on Norway, on the need for development of clusters in the country’s maritime sector.

Delegates to the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) two day seminar currently being held in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
Delegates to the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) two day seminar currently being held in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

Several speakers, among them Ms Judy Beaumont, acting Director-General of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Dr Malek Pourzanjani, CEO of SAIMI and Mr Prasheen Maharaj, CEO of Shipyards said the launch of Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economic in 2014 provided South Africa an ideal platform upon which industry in the country’s maritime economic sector and government could collaborate to ensure rapid and sustainable development of the sector for the benefit of all South Africans.

Crucial to it all, however; was intentional and determined engagement both within the maritime business sector with a view to establishing effective collaborative channels, but also between the sector and the public sector.

Ms Judy Beaumont, acting Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs
Ms Judy Beaumont, acting Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs

Ms Beaumont outlined the nature and purpose of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme as well as the milestones achieved to date since its formal launch in 2014. She described the programme as intended to both develop and transform the sector for integration into the country’s mainstream economy for the benefit of all South Africans.

According to Ms Beaumont, the initiative has certain characteristics among which is the need for speed in implementing identified projects, but also the work undertaken jointly through cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders.

In his adress Dr Pourzanjani said; “This seminar is being held under the banner of Operation Phakisa to explore the establishment of a national maritime cluster. As with Operation Phakisa itself, the success of such a cluster will depend on the involvement and collaboration of all maritime role-players and sectors – it is not something that a single entity or authority can make happen on their own.”

Dr Malek Pourzanjani, Chief Executive Officer of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI)
Dr Malek Pourzanjani, Chief Executive Officer of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI)

According to Dr Pourzanjani, industrial clusters are not a new phenomenon and already exist in some other business and industrial sectors, such the country’s motor manufacturing, tourism and other services industries.

In Europe, he said; the European Network of Maritime Clusters drew its membership from 17 countries and just two weeks ago had met with the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, where optimism was expressed that “maritime clusters are blooming across Europe”.

These maritime industries, according to Dr Pourzanjani accounted for about five-million jobs and just less than five percent of the E.U’s G.D.P.

He said:” The value of clustering lies in their supportive environment for collaboration and innovation, which in turn assists industrial and small business development, employment creation, and overall value-added economic growth.”

Mr Maharaj said a currently dominant sense of self-preservation and advancement among especially what he described as a “few large companies and few Government employees” was not helping South Africa’s cause as the attitude to business development enabled only a handful to live well “while millions of our people are left jobless and poor.”

Dr Prasheen Maharaj, Chief Executive Officer, SA Shipyards
Dr Prasheen Maharaj, Chief Executive Officer, SA Shipyards

According to Mr Maharaj, quoting Algeria president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as newly appointed head of ECOWAS, “Africa is not poor, it is poorly managed.”

He said: “Through Operation Phakisa, the Government is unveiling a new Marine Manufacturing and Industrial policy framework. This policy focuses on opportunity, growth and innovation in niche markets where South Africa can compete.

“It recognizes the value of marine transportation as an important industrial infrastructure, with environmental as well as economic benefits. And it focuses on partnerships, as it is only by working together that we can succeed. So the key to success is collaboration to drive innovation, resulting in greater efficiency and competitiveness.”

The same view was shared by Mr Peter Miles co-founder and executive of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Maritime Cluster established some three or so years ago.

According to Mr Miles, each of the port cities along the coast of South Africa should have a maritime cluster and through which a national cluster could be anchored, with a coordinating role. He suggested also that there should be a fund established to assist the formation and ongoing administration of the clusters.

According to Mr Miles, the funding could be raised through a rand-for-rand contribution from both the public and private sectors.

Meanwhile, a host of Norwegian industry, research and education experts have and continue to share their experience of clusters in that country’s maritime economic sector, with their overwhelming message being that South Africa’s sustainable success with its Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) will depend largely on such collaborative structures.

Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Monday.
Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Monday.

Led by Norway’s ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen, the Norwegian continent includes Ms Anne Lene Dale, Director for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ing Alf Egil Jense of the Norwegian Science & Technology, Dr Aase Kaurin of the Norway Research Council, Mr Svein Fjose of Menon Economic), and Dr Kristin Wallevik, the Dean of the University of Agder.

The two day seminar wraps up with a tour of the port of Port Elizabeth on Tuesday afternoon.

End

 

 

 

South Africa’s battle against illegal fishing given support by Norway

Norway to help set up a Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Port Elizabeth: 06 June 2016

IMG_2179

South Africa’s battle against illegal fishing on its oceans is to receive a further boost in Port Elizabeth today where the Norwegian government will formally sign a bilateral agreement with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) for the establishment of a Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy – to be known as a FISHFORCE.

Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Monday.
Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Monday.

The agreement signing later this afternoon was confirmed by Norwegian ambassador to South Africa, Ms Tine Skymoen at the start of a two day seminar at the coastal city on the establishment of a national maritime cluster for South Africa to support the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme.

The seminar that began early Monday and is scheduled to end on Tuesday afternoon, involves a number of thought leaders on maritime economic development from South Africa and Norway.

The list of participants include Prof Malek Pourzanjani, CEO, South African International Maritime Institute; Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, Director-General, Department of Environmental Affairs; Mr Dumisani Ntuli, Department of Transport; Mr Howard Theunissen (Faculty of Engineering, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University), Dr Yona Seleti, Chief Director, Department of Science and Technology; Mr Collins Makhado (South African Maritime Safety Authority)

Also on the list are Professor Mike Morris (University of Cape Town  PRISM), Professor Justin Barnes (BMA), Mr Peter Myles (NMMC); Prof Nick Binedell (Strategy, GIBS), Mr Mthozami Xiphu of SAOGA, Mr Mike Hawes of SAAR, Ms Vanessa Davidson of MIASA, Mr Louis Gontier of AIMENA and Mr Sobantu Tilayi Acting CEO, SAMSA.

From Norway the list includes Ms Anne Lene Dale, Director for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ing Alf Egil Jense, (Science & Technology Counsellor, Dr Aase Kaurin (Research Council) Mr Svein Fjose, (Menon Economic), and Dr Kristin Wallevik, (Dean, University of Agder).

DSC_0142
Seated during the start of a two-day seminar on strategies for a national maritime sector cluster in Port Elizabeth on Monday morning are from Left: Norwergian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen, Prof Patrick Vrancken of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority SAMSA) and Ms Judy Beaumont, deputy director of the Department of Environmental Affairs.

With the theme of the two-day seminar at the Dolphin’s Leap Conference and Events Centre in Humewood given as  “Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy – Exploring opportunities towards a national maritime cluster”; over two days the group will share ideas and thrash out possible strategies for development of coordinated multi-stakeholder structures to help advance South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme.

In her brief remarks during the opening of the seminar, Ms Skymoen said whenever Norwegian and South African politians and officials met, the Blue Economy and Operation Phakisa were always on top of the agenda and on the basis of which much high level cooperation had developed.

IMG_0297The support to be offered South Africa through FISHFORCE, she said was deriving from this. She described the initiative with the NMMU “as a contribution towards fighting fisheries crime. “

“We will this afternoon sign a bilateral agreement with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on support to the establishment of a Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy at NMMU, called FISHFORCE.

“Through FISHFORCE we will be able to more successfully investigate and prosecute criminals engaged in fisheries crime. This will benefit not only South Africa, but the region and eventually also beyond the continent.”

According to Ms Skymoen, 70% of the world’s surface is covered by oceans, with South Africa and Norway sharing a few commonalities in terms of their geographic positioning as largely maritime countries.

“The Oceans are a vital source of resources and wealth, but we take much less use of them than one might expect their size.

“Internationally, though, there is a growing awareness that the oceans, if managed sensible, represent immense resource wealth and offer potential for economic growth, employment innovation and food security,” she said.

She said the potential for growth was huge as according to the OECD, the blue economy could double by 2030 reaching over three trillion US dollars, with much of that growth projected in subsectors that include acquaculture, offshore wind, fish processing and shipbuilding and repairs.

“Blue economies are fundamental for Africa’s development and prosperity. Thirty nine (39) countries have a combined coastline of more than 47 000km, More than 90% of Africa’s trade is seaborne. Fishing contributes to the food security for more than 200 million Africans. Vast oil and gas potential lies off the coast. In order to unlock the potential, African countries need to develop ocean industries by advancing the role of the private sector and regional integration,” said Ms Skymoen.

Further updates to follow….