World Maritime University president impressed with SA after a week long visit to strengthen relations

Pretoria: 28 February 2017

World Maritime University (WMU) President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (Centre in light blue outfit) with senior members of the South African Maritime Safety Authority as well about a dozen officials many of whom are former post graduate students of the Swedish university during a visit in Pretoria last week
World Maritime University (WMU) President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (Centre in light blue outfit) with senior members of the Department of Transport (DoT), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and about a dozen officials many of whom are former post graduate (Masters and PhD level) students of the Swedish university during a visit in Pretoria last week

World Maritime University (WMU) leader and academic, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry visited South Africa for a week last week and apparently left very impressed with the progress being achieved in relations between her Malmo, Sweden-based educational institution and South Africa.

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World Maritime University president Dr Cleopatra Ndoumbia-Henry (in light blue outfit) arriving for her meeting with the WMU alumni and members of management of SAMSA and the Department of Transport in Pretoria last week Tuesday

Dr Doumbia-Henry whose meetings in the country – from Sunday to Wednesday last week – began with senior government officials, among them Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters and her deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and later leaders of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Transport Education and Training Authority (Teta); said she was particularly impressed by the contribution now being made by dozens of local officials and maritime sector experts who achieved their post graduate education in maritime at the WMU over the last few years.

On Tuesday, she’d spent the better part of the day with at least about a dozen of the WMU alumni at SAMSA’s head office in Pretoria, and during which meeting the group – all of whom work for SAMSA – shared their work experiences and insights back in the country since their graduation in Malmo over the last few years. The meeting was also attended by a group of SAMSA senior management representatives as well as the DoT director, Ts’episo Taoana-Mashiloane

In an interview with this blog, The 10th Province shortly thereafter, Dr Doumbia-Henry was full of praise about the nature and level of the graduates involvement in programmes intended to enhance the rapid yet sustainable development of the country’s maritime economic sector inclusive of environmental protection of the ocean space, safety of personnel in the sector, the upholding of laws relevant to the ocean spaces as well as research and innovation.

(From Left) World Maritime University president Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry with SAMSA Board secretary, Mr Moyahabo Raphadu and Department of Transport director Ms Ts'episo Taoana-Mashiloane
(From Left) World Maritime University president Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry with SAMSA Board secretary, Mr Moyahabo Raphadu and Department of Transport director Ms Ts’episo Taoana-Mashiloane

She confirmed that she was in the country to strengthen relations with both Government – which has been the main supporter and contributor to the annual dispatch of South Africans to WMU since 2012 – as well as tidy up mutual bilateral relations with education and training institutions such as the NMMU, SAIMI and related; and leaders of the first two, Professor Derrick Swartz and Professor Malek Pourzanjani whom she spend some considerable time with between Sunday and Wednesday.

In the following video, Dr Doumbio-Henry fully outlines the purpose of her visit as well as her impressions of the country.

 To view, Click Here.

 

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Expansion of maritime education and training to South Africa’s TVETs presents innovation opportunities: SAMSA

Pretoria: 27 February 2017

Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: School pupils from one of two High Schools in the Eastern Cape now delivering maritime economic sector dedicated education curriculum
Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Progress Report: School pupils from one of two High Schools in the Eastern Cape now delivering maritime economic sector dedicated education curriculum

South Africa’s expansion of the reach of maritime education and training through extension also to the country’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions beginning 2017, is facing huge challenges, among which is the lack of suitably qualified tutors. But the challenges may thankfully lead to high creativity and innovation.

Mr Edward Pines, Senior Manager, Curriculum Development at South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence.
Mr Edward Pines, Senior Manager, Curriculum Development: South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) .

One such innovative solution, according to Mr Edward Pines, a senior manager for curriculum development at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA); is the likely introduction of online tutoring – or e-learning – for certain maritime education modules, beginning with at least three STCW Modules for marine engineering students.

A week ago Mr Pines’ team had a meeting with Higher Education Department’s chief director of Vocational and Continuing Education, Ms Gerda Magnus  for a discussion of the possible solution, and the talks were ‘very encouraging’ according to Mr Pines.

Chatting to this blog shortly thereafter, in this 4 minute video (Click Here) Mr Pines outlined the proposal and further steps planned to take it to fruition inclusive of a further meeting in March at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology:

Meanwhile, Mr Pines – who turns a golden 77 years old in March, marking his formal retirement – further confirms that final stage of approval of a newly developed curriculum for eight (8) national maritime sector occupational certificate courses is on course.

img_3850The eight national occupation qualifications for which a new curriculum was developed in record time in 2016 include; Port Operations Master, Marine Electro-Technical Officer, Aids to Navigation Manager, Aids to Navigation Technician, Dock Master, Traffic Controller (Vessel Tracking System), Maritime Search & Rescue Mission Coordinator and Diver (Commercial).

According to Mr Pines, the qualifications conceptualized and proposed by SAMSA consistent with the objectives of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) project, and developed with the full involvement of the maritime industry; will once formally endorsed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) greatly enhance the position of holders both locally and for the African region, while providing international recognition.

In this next video (04:25 minutes: Click Here), Mr Pines provides an update of the curriculum’s formal approval process. He also chats briefly about his pending “real retirement this time” from next month, and about which he gives an assurance that there will certainly be continuity at SAMSA with the maritime sector education and training curriculum campaign. He hints on his possible successor.

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CPUT teams up with industry in skills development for seagoing maritime engineering cadets

Pretoria: 27 February 2017

Contributed by Kwanele Butana (Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Cape Town)

TRAILBLAZERS: The Department of Maritime Studies has teamed up with industry and the College of Cape Town to train marine engineering students in workshop skills which are needed before they start working on ships
TRAILBLAZERS: The first group of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) marine engineering students to receive specialized training towards their certification through a new collaborative effort launched in Cape Town between the university and various other institutions.

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has teamed up with industry and the College of Cape Town (CCT) to launch a project to boost the skills of marine engineering students.

This flagship project known as the Marine Engineering Workshop Training (MEWT), and accredited by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA);  is intended to provide training to CPUT marine engineering cadets who successfully passed S1 and S2 in 2016. The training will take place prior to their work-integrated learning sea-going phase aboard internationally owned trading vessels.

“The MEWT is a statutory requirement of the SAMSA Code and the International Maritime Organisation’s international convention governing the standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers to which South Africa is a signatory,” says Pieter Coetzer, Training and Development Manager at the South African Maritime Training Authority (SAMTRA).

Participants include CPUT’s Department of Maritime Studies, the CCT, SAMTRA and the Transport Education Training Authority. The students will be trained on, among others; diesel engines, electrical, fitting and turning, hydraulics, pneumatics, sheet metal work and welding for a period of approximately eight months. Mr Coetzer adds that after the training, the student will be required to work on merchant ships for a further 12 months, and obtain an internationally recognized Certificate of Competency issued by SAMSA.

“This will enable them to work in the international shipping arena as Marine Engineers, and earn a tax-free, foreign currency salary,” he says. The programme also ties in with the Government’s Operation Phakisa, an initiative aimed at tapping into the opportunities the ocean’s economy provide.

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Fire on Korean fishing vessel at port of Cape Town under control: port services uninterrupted

Pretoria: Sunday, 19 February 2017

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Korean fishing vessel, the No.101 GEUMJEONG listing to port as firefighters continued to battle a blaze on board in Cape Town on Sunday.

Port authorities at the port of Cape Town, working closely with the city’s firefighting services team, have managed to keep under control a raging fire that broke out on board a Korea fishing vessel, the No.101 Geumjeong on Saturday morning, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported Sunday.

sam_3528“The fire is under control, but has spread to the back (aft) of the vessel. The City of Cape Town Fire Services are rendering boundary cooling from the quay side and a TNPA tug from the waterside. The vessel is still listing to port and is trimmed by the stern, limiting firefighting capabilities on board,” said SAMSA acting Principal Officer for Cape Town, Captain Antoinette Keller.

According to Capt. Keller, the incident also has had no impact on shipping and posed no pollution risk currently even as pollution equipment was kept on standby should deployment become necessary.

Heavy smoke could be seen from a quite a distance in Cape Town yesterday after a fishing vessel docked at a repair quay caught alight in the early hour of Saturday.
Heavy smoke could be seen from a quite a distance in Cape Town yesterday after a fishing vessel docked at a repair quay caught alight in the early hours  of Saturday.

Capt. Keller said local authorities were alerted to the fire on board the No.101 Geumjeong at about 1.20am Saturday, prompting the City of Cape Town Fire Department to race to the scene – a repair quay at the port of Cape Town – where they were joined by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) crews.

“There is no reported loss of life and all individuals are accounted for. Currently there is no personnel on board and the fire is being addressed via boundary cooling for safety reasons, both from shore side and sea side. The vessels in the immediate vicinity have been safely moved to alternate berths,” she said.

According to Capt. Keller, an investigation will be conducted by SAMSA into the cause of the fire as soon as it has been put out.

Meanwhile in Port Elizabeth, where a cargo vessel had to make an emergency docking earlier in the week after it also caught on fire while sailing towards the Cape Peninsula, mopping up operations continued following to successful evacuation and dousing out of the fire.

Liberia flagged cargo vessel, APL Austria resting uneasily at the port of Ngqrurha near Port Elizabeth yesterday as a mop up phase began after rescue operations succeeded in putting out a raging fire on board the vessel since Sunday afternoon.
Liberia flagged cargo vessel, APL Austria resting uneasily at the port of Ngqrurha near Port Elizabeth yesterday as a mop up phase began after rescue operations succeeded in putting out a raging fire on board the vessel since Sunday afternoon.

“Mop-up operations and discharge of damaged containers are in progress, and causalty/incident investigation is in progress,” confirmed Captain Daron Burgess.

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Fire-ravaged Liberian flagged cargo vessel at port of Ngqurha in mop up phase: SAMSA

Pretoria: 16 February 2017

Liberia flagged cargo vessel, APL Austria resting uneasily at the port of Ngqrurha near Port Elizabeth yesterday as a mop up phase began after rescue operations succeeded in putting out a raging fire on board the vessel since Sunday afternoon.
Liberia flagged cargo vessel, APL Austria resting uneasily at the port of Ngqurha near Port Elizabeth yesterday as a mop up phase began after rescue operations succeeded in putting out a raging fire on board the vessel since Sunday afternoon.

With the fire that raged for days on board the APL Austria docked at the port of Ngqura near Port Elizabeth now effectively extinguished, the vessel’s rescue has entered a mop-up phase during which debris and contaminated water filling up some of its cargo holds will be dispersed with, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported overnight. 

“The good news is that the fire on board is completely extinguished and port operations continued as per normal (with) two additional large container ships docking at the port today (Wednesday) where for a while no ships were allowed into the port while the APL AUSTRIA was on fire” said Captain Daron Burgess, SAMSA’s technical manager for the Southern Region.

Some of the charred remains of containers being removed from the fire ravaged cargo vessel APL Austria docked at the port of Ngqura

According to Capt. Burgess the mop-up involves removal of damaged containers and containment of their content. The teams will also drain out approximately 3000 cubic meters (three thousand) of water, ash and residue inside of No.4 cargo hold of the vessel – a disposal that will be preceded by a scientific analysis of the water to determine its toxicity and related pollutants to the environment prior to dumping.

“The plan is that if the water contains no marine pollutants, then it will be transferred into ballast water tanks on board. However, if containing marine pollutants, we will have to re-assess the situation and most probably will have to discharge ashore in approved receptacles and to be disposed of according to DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) requirements,’ said Capt. Burgess.

Meanwhile, he said; two (2) fire experts had already begun inspecting the vessel to try and establish what caused the fire that ensued on Sunday afternoon while the APL Austria was sailing westward in the Indian Ocean alongside the South African coast towards the Cape Peninsula.

According to SAMSA’s Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town, the Liberia flagged cargo vessel was approximately 30 nautical miles south west of Jeffreys Bay – some 50-70 kilometers west of Port Elizabeth – when it raised an alarm about the fire on board at about 5pm.

A graphic map showing the exact location where the APL Austria was when it was diverted back to Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon after fire was reported to be blazing in one of its cargo holds.
A graphic map showing the exact location where the APL Austria was when it was diverted back to Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon after fire was reported to be blazing in one of its cargo holds.

The MRCC redirected the 72 000 ton, 280m wide vessel back to the port of Port Elizabeth overnight and later had it dock at the port of Ngqura by Monday where rescue operations both on board, on the ground as well as on water, got fully activated; with the vessel’s crew having been successfully evacuated.

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Last night, Capt. Burgess said initial inspection indicated that there was not much damage caused to the vessel itself by the fire. “No visual structural damages to No.4 cargo hold at this stage,’ he said adding that there were still about 16 containers remaining on board (ROB) on deck on top of No.4 hatch – two of which appeared to contain rice (25kg bags) and smoldering. “The plan is to discharge (these) ashore tomorrow and douse with water and de-stuff into skips – no immediate danger,” he said.

“There are also about 10 containers aft of accommodation (not at all related to fire) to discharge to accommodate replenishment of CO2-Room with 400 x 45kgs CO2 cylinders. The area is presently covered by these containers as it is situated aft of the accommodation and underdeck,” he said.

Centre aft pontoon of No.4 cargo hatch which opened up after an explosion on board. An investigation into the cause of the fire is now formally underway according to SAMSA

For continued maintenance of a safe working environment and to prevent any possible pollution of the seawater around the vessel, containment booms would stay deployed while overflows of contaminated water off the vessel would be sampled for analysis.

“All parties are satisfied with the progress of operation,” said Capt. Burgess.

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Fire on cargo vessel at Port of Ngqurha under control: SAMSA

Pretoria: 15 February 2017

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Work to salvage the last batch of about 32 containers in hatch No4 of the fire ravaged Liberian flagged cargo vessel currently docked at the port of Ngqurha was due to begin on Wednesday morning, on condition that the fire in the hold had been successfully extinguished, the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) reported on Tuesday night.

img_6445According to SAMSA, fires in the lower hold No4 of the APL Austria vessel had already been extinguished except for two containers in the cargo holding area that had been packed with candles and which had since melted into wax.

This was despite the No4 cargo hold having filled with water equivalent the height of four containers as result of firefighting efforts that began on board the vessel on Sunday afternoon on the eastern ocean of South Africa, some 30 nautical miles south west of country’s world reknowned surfing mecca, Jeffrey’s Bay.

At the time, according to SAMSA, the 280 metres wide and 72 000 ton cargo carrier was headed west towards the Cape Peninsula.

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After reporting the blaze on board, SAMSA’s Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre (MRCC) based in Cape Town, redirected the vessel back to the port of Port Elizabeth and eventually its current anchor alongside the port of Ngqurha, some 30 kilometres east of Nelson Mandela Bay, where rescue operations continued including the safe evacuation of its entire crew.

On Tuesday night SAMSA reported that as many as 281 containers had been removed from the vessel and that to maintain ongoing stability of the situation, containers forward and aft of No.4 cargo hold on deck were also being discharged to create working space and a fire-break on deck, while contents of burnt damaged containers which were discharged were being de-stuffed into skips ashore.

Burned damaged containers would be moved off site as from Wednesday, said SAMSA. Meanwhile, firefighting services remained on site including TNPA tugs are boundary cooling and on standby.

 

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Blaze on board Liberian flagged vessel in Port Elizabeth contained: Monitoring continues

Pretoria: 14 February 2017

The APL Austria cargo vessel (Photo: Courtesy of
The APL Austria cargo vessel (Photo: Courtesy of

A fire that broke out on a giant Liberian flagged container vessel, the APL Austria while sailing west off the eastern ocean of South Africa on Sunday has been contained, but its situation is still being closely monitored, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reported on Tuesday.

The 71 867 tons, 280 meter-wide container carrier on which fire broke out in one of its cargo holds on Sunday afternoon while sailing 30 nautical miles south-west of Cape St Francis – some 50-70 kilometers west of the city of Port Elizabeth – had to be diverted back to the port of Ngqurha on Sunday night in order for rescue operations including firefighting to be conducted.

With the crew evacuated – an operation overseen by the SAMSA Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) based in Cape Town, throughout Sunday night, Monday and early Tuesday, firefighters both on board and outside the vessel, inclusive of tugs from the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) battled the fire, while efforts were made to remove some of the cargo on board to safety.

A graphic map showing the exact location where the APL Austria was when it was diverted back to Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon after fire was reported to be blazing in one of its cargo holds.
A graphic map showing the exact location where the APL Austria was when it was diverted back to Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon after fire was reported to be blazing in one of its cargo holds.

On Tuesday afternoon, SAMSA Centre for Shipping Executive Head, Captain Nigel Campbell reported that the battle against the blaze was being won progressively.

“It appears that the fire in the hold has been extinguished but the space has not been deemed safe to enter as yet. There are still smouldering containers on deck which are being fought by the fire brigade, a harbour tug is providing boundary cooling. Containers with hazardous cargo are being removed from the area around the fire,” said Captain Campbell.

He added that: “The Joint Operations Committee sits shortly to monitor progress against the plan.”

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Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) needs real speed, warn investors

Pretoria 14 February 2017

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HARKING FOR HASTE: Mr Chris Sparg (Front Right) MD of Dormac waiting to be seated while Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Second Right) acting CEO of SAMSA and Mr Mavuso Msimango (Centre Back) welcome some of about 60 maritime economic sector principals gathered in a networking session organized by SAMSA in Cape Town last Wednesday evening.

South Africa’s maritime economic sector development programme, Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) will need to speedily live up to its name and ‘hurry up’ sooner than later if it is to draw any significant investment into the sector, in the process laying conducive conditions for business development and job creation, Mr Christopher Sparg, Managing Director of Dormac has warned.

CALLING FOR SPEED: Mr Chris Spark, MD of Dormac addressing a SAMSA Networking Session in Cape Town
CALLING FOR SPEED: Mr Chris Sparg, MD of Dormac addressing a SAMSA Networking Session in Cape Town

He was speaking during a SAMSA organized industry networking session held in Cape Town to coincide with the country’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) presented by President Jacob Zuma in Parliament last Thursday.

Mr Sparg was among 60 odd maritime sector industry principals gathered for the event in Kalk Bay on the eve Mr Zuma’s SONA speech and in which he was expected to share Government’s perspective and goals about the specific programme.

The idea, according to SAMSA was to allow for the sharing of views and engagement with Government policy owners many of who were in the city for the opening of Parliament.

In his speech, Mr Zuma made reference to Operation Phakisa as among key priorities areas of government’s focus in overall economic development activity. Highlights of planned action included the inclusion of marine tourism as part of the package, and also the dedication of Simonstown as the “government garage  for all state-owned vessels, including the maintenance and repair of government-owned vessels, through the newly established South African Navy/ARMSCOR/Denel partnership.”

NETWORKING SESSION:  Mr Chris Sparg, MD of Dormac in conversation with fellow maritime sector industry guests during SAMSA's Networking dinner in Cape Town ahead of SONA 2017
SHARING PERSPECTIVES: Mr Chris Sparg, MD of Dormac in conversation with fellow maritime sector industry guests during SAMSA’s Networking dinner in Cape Town ahead of SONA 2017

From a maritime economic sector industry perspective however, the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014, essentially to speed up processes towards unlocking bottlenecks and creating a conducive environment to increased investment, business development and job creation, was simply not living up to expectations, charged Mr Sparg.

“We’ve yet to experience the speed about which Operation Phakisa was launched” said Mr Sparg, adding that this was leading to uncertainty and frustration among especially those already invested in the local economy.

Mr Sparg leads Dormac Marine and Engineering, a division of Southey Holdings that is a major player in the country’s ship repair, industrial fabrication and oil and gas maritime fields.

For his full remarks, please Click Here

 

 

 

Firefighters battle blaze on board Liberian flagged vessel in Port Elizabeth!

The APL Austria cargo vessel (Photo: Courtesy of
The APL Austria cargo vessel (Photo: Courtesy of shipspotting.com)

Pretoria: 13 February 2017

The cause of a major blaze on board the APL Austria, a Liberian flagged cargo vessel now docked at Ngqura harbour, some 30km east of Port Elizabeth, may take time to determine; the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said on Monday as firefighters continued to battle the blaze earlier in the day.

According to Captain Daron Burgess, a Principal Officer for SAMSA’s Southern region; rescue services were set in motion on Sunday afternoon, at approximately 5.49pm, after the SAMSA Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) located in Cape Town was alerted of a fire on board the container vessel.

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At the time, according to Capt Burgess, the vessel was 30 nautical miles South-West of Cape St Francis – some 50-70 kilometers west of the city of Port Elizabeth.

He said when alerting the MRCC, the crew of the vessel had been of the impression that the fire was on the vessel’s “No.3 cargo hold” only to be later established as having broke out in its “No.4 cargo hold”.

The APL Austria built in 2007 is about 280 meters in length overall,  with a beam of about 40m and a gross tonnage of about  71 867 tons and a deadweight of some 72 807t.

“The vessel was instructed to proceed to Algoa Bay anchorage and she arrived at the anchorage area at 02h00 this morning, Monday 13 February 2017. There are several containers containing hazardous cargo on deck above No.4 cargo hold, but fortunately none of them were on fire,” said Capt Burgess.

According to Capt Burgess, relevant senior officials of the port of Ngqurha, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and SAMSA boarded the vessel from about 4am on Monday for an assessment of its conditions while firefighters, inclusive of three TNPA harbour tugs assisted with the firefighting operation by providing boundary cooling.

“Lots of black smoke was emanating from the vessel. The weather conditions have been favourable since the incident occurred, with a light South-Easterly wind. The vessel heaved anchor at about O5hOO this morning and was instructed to proceed further out in the bay to clear the other vessels at the anchorage area. The tugs continued with boundary cooling during the morning hours; during the night the vessel used their on board fire extinguishing media.

“After the fire was relatively under control, arrangements were made to take the vessel into the Port of Ngqura with the Metro Fire Fighters on standby and to deal with the situation upon arrival alongside. The vessel entered the Port of Ngqura at approximately 10h00 this morning. It is not yet clear at this stage what caused the fire. An investigation will be undertaken once the fire is extinguished to try and establish the cause of the fire,” reported Capt Burgess.

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Sustained collaboration remains key to meaningful maritime sector development: SAMSA

Cape Town: 09 February 2017

KEEPING IN TOUCH: SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left) and SAMSA Board Chairman, Mr Mavuso Msimang chatting to one of more than 60 maritime economic sector principals attending a networking session by SAMSA on Wednesday evening.
KEEPING IN TOUCH: SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left) and SAMSA Board Chairman, Mr Mavuso Msimang chatting to one of more than 60 maritime economic sector principals attending a networking session by SAMSA on Wednesday evening. Looking on (extreme Right) is SAMSA Company Secretary, Mr Moyahabo Raphadu

Continued collaboration through regular engagement and exchange of ideas, views and opinions among key role players and interested parties remains the key to any positive achievements in the redevelopment and growth of the country’s maritime economic sector, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

This, according to SAMSA Board Chairman Mr Mavuso Msimang, was the underlying message behind a networking session hosted by the organization in Cape Town this past week, involving more than 60 officials from across subsectors of the country’s maritime sector as well as State departments and organizations.

img_4388Several of the industry principals and government officials were in the Mother City for Thursday’s 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament by President Jacob Zuma.

The networking session, a feature of SAMSA’s stakeholder engagement program, served also this year as a precursor to more robust formal engagements in the next few months among which will be the 2nd South Africa Maritime Investment Conference (SAMIC 2017) currently earmarked for Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape in the first half of this year.

DSC_0148This will occur just over two years after the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014 which event firmly placed the country’s maritime economic sector central to the country’s broad economic development goals.

img_4397On Wednesday evening, Mr Msimang, flanked by some members of the SAMSA board as well as executive managers including acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; hosted the exclusive networking dinner for the maritime sector leaders at the Harbour House restaurant located in the heart of a quaint small fishing habour in Kalk Bay – some 30km south east of central Cape Town.

Global economic uncertainty remains

In his brief remarks to the group, Mr Msimang noted that global economic activity was not at its best and that recent political developments around the world, but specifically the exit of Great Britain from the European Union (a.k.a Brexit) and the recent outcome of the United States presidential elections had added economic risk factors with unpredictable consequences for global trade currently.

img_4407He said the same could be said of South Africa’s own socio-political and economic situation.

Mr Msimang said it was against the scenario that it remained absolutely important that various partners to the country’s maritime economic development sector continue to work closely together in managing and solving emerging challenges as well as in exploring for profit all opportunities.

He said SAMSA appreciated its role as facilitator and committed it that: img_4411“We will endeavor to promote events like this with the hope that the platform provided will enable people to talk and engage much more easily. We will support the industry in its deliberations with various government policy owners as well as playing our part in the governance of the maritime economic sector.”

(For some of Mr Msimang’s remarks, Click Here)

There are reasons for optimism

Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, Mr Tilayi noted that while the country’s maritime economic sector continued to experience a set of problems and challenges requiring sustained engagement with particularly government, there were reasons to be optimistic.

img_4419He said current joint efforts between government and industry could see more positive outcomes achieved, particularly in relation to policy development, ships registration under the country’s flag, a rejuvenation of the country’s fishing sub-sector vessels fleet through recapitalization, as well as renewed impetus in efforts towards the sustained development of the country’s cadre of seafarers and related.

Mr Tilayi emphasized however, the critical importance of continued engagement among key role players in the sector, also stressing SAMSA’s continued facilitation role between industry and government.

(For some of Mr Tilayi’s remarks: Click Here)

Mr Andrew Millard, a director of shipping group, Vuka Marine – Cape Town based owners of the first three shipping vessels to carry South Africa’s flag in 2015 – expressed appreciation of the role played by SAMSA and indicated that while there were numerous challenges facing the sector still, there were also numerous reasons for optimism, particularly with regards expansion of a vessel fleet carrying the country’s flag  – a particular development deemed vital to especially the training of a cadre of South African seafarers.

(For more of Mr Millard’s remarks: Click Here)

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