SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel enthralls crowds at EL port festival

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Fireworks exploding in the backdrop of the SA Agulhas at the port of East London this past weekend to mark the end of a highly successful port festival hosted by the Transnet National Ports Authority together with partners including the Buffalo City local authority

Pretoria: 29 June 2017

The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, yet again became one of the star attractions at this year’s East London port festival, this barely three months after it had become a major drawcard in another of Transnet’s 2017 Eastern Cape ports festivals held in Port Elizabeth.

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In Port Elizabeth at the end of March, the vessel had just returned from a three months research and training expedition with a group of Indian scientists who’d taken it, along with about 30 South African cadets, to Antarctica.

So it had been in international news headlines leading up to the first of the two port festivals, with thousands of local people in the Port Elizabeth region keen to get on board and view it.

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The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel docked at the port of East London this past weekend while partaking in the Transnet National Ports Authority East London port festival

In East London this past weekend, as it turned out, the public curiosity seemed to not have waned at all as thousands of revelers – estimated at about 23 000 – thronged the vessel during the three day event.

The SA Agulhas, owned by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and now utilised by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, is the country’s only dedicated vessel for the development of seafarers since about six years ago.

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Port festival goers at the port of East London milling around on board the SA Agulhas over two days this past weekend.

It was brought into the service to address in part, the shortage of berths highly necessary for students at universities keen on completing their seafarer training through practical work on vessels at sea.

Since coming into service for the purpose, the vessel has since seen hundreds of young people, male and female, from South Africa and other African countries being taken through the processes that has seen many acquire the practical and work experience necessary to enhance their skills as seafarers.

East London Port Festival A Great Success 3

For East London last weekend, the port festival was returning to the Eastern Cape’s second biggest port city for the first time in five years and according to organizers, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and partners, the intention was to give public exposure and enhance greater interaction between the public and the country’s ports infrastructure and facilities.

Phyllis Difeto, TNPA Chief Operating Officer, said the festival had an underlying strategic focus involving maritime sector related programmes such as the national Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) initiative that seeks to drive economic development, job creation and skills development

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Festival goers at the past weekend’s port of East London port festival being taken briefed in small groups on the nature and function of the SA Agulhas as a dedicated cadet training vessel.

“We want to promote awareness of the ports, recreational opportunities, and career and business opportunities offered by the maritime industry. We want our communities to experience the unique operations in the port, and its exciting people-centred vision,” she said.

Other attractions of the port festival over two days included an SA Navy frigate – the SAS Spioenkop, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) rnvironmental offshore patrol vessel, the Victoria Mxege,  an arts & crafts market and  a wide variety of food stalls, a maritime exhibition including career opportunities, tug rides and family ferry rides, extreme bungee (50m freefall) thrills, helicopter flips  and beer garden with live bands.

For more on the TNPA’s port of East London festival, Click Here

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Immense global economic role of seafarers greatly underrated: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 27 June 2017

An immense economic contribution made by a ‘handful’ of seafarers  in enabling seamless operations in global trade and the general world economy continues to enjoy less public recognition than it should, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

The apparent concern emerged at the weekend as South Africa joined the rest of the world in marking the annual international Day of the Seafarer that fell on Sunday (June 25) in recognition of the group of sailors estimated at about 1.5-million worldwide.

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Nomlacu village in Mbizana, the venue of this year’s South Africa celebrations of the international Day of the Seafarer organized jointly by the Department of Transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

The country’s event arranged through the Department of Transport and SAMSA and themed #SeafarersMatter, was staged at the Nomlacu village of Mbizana, some 65 kilometers inland northwest of the Indian Ocean, in the eastern region of the Eastern Cape Province.

Addressing about 700 guests, among them some 400 high school children bussed in from a number of schools in the district, as well as about half-a-dozen seafarers based in the port city of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal; Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operating Officer of SAMSA said seafarers worldwide  just did not seem to garner any public recognition for their massive contribution into global trade and economic development generally.

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Scores of Mbizana region high school pupils that attended South Africa’s celebration of the international Day of the Seafarer on Sunday

And this was despite the 25th day of June having been marked by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as a day of global recognition for seafarers since seven years ago.

The purpose, according to the IMO, is to “recognize the unique contribution made by seafarers all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole.”

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Chief Operations Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

On Sunday, Mr Tilayi said: “I have argued that seafarers are the most under-celebrated careers, second to teachers. They are the most under-celebrated careers yet these people enable us to live life as we now know it.”

Addressing himself mostly to the youth present, Mr Tilayi outlined the nature and history of the South Africa’s maritime sector, the various careers currently available to choose from, as well as related socio-economic matters.

Mr Tilayi also explained the reasoning behind the staging of the otherwise seashore oriented activity in an inland rural location.

He described it as both about extending awareness of maritime sector careers to all South Africans regardless of location, but also to honour the birthplace of former African National Congress (ANC) president, Mr Oliver, Reginald Tambo in line with the country’s current year-long celebration of the liberation struggle stalwart.

For an edited version of Mr Tilayi’s 30 minutes address (it lasts about six minutes!) please Click Here 

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Liberation struggle veteran and former ANC’s Umkhonto Wesizwe (MK) senior official, General Zolile Nqose.

A lecture on O.R Tambo was delivered by one of his fellow UMkhonto WeSizwe (ANC’s armed struggle wing), General Zolile Nqose

Sailors nod for enhanced maritime careers awareness campaign

Meanwhile, half-a-dozen South African seafarers who attended the event were most impressed with the choice of this year’s Day of the Seafarer event at Mbizana, as in their view, sought to ensure that all youths in South Africa got real time exposure to maritime sector careers from professionals in the field they could easily identify with.

This blog, The 10th Province spoke to two of them, Mr Mnqobi Msane and Miss Sthabile Khambule, and below are clips of their views on this and related matters.

(For Mr Msane, Click Here and for Ms Khambule, Click Here

Education authority excited about his region’s involvement in maritime sector developments

This blog also solicited the views of a local senior provincial education official about his impression of the event held on Sunday. Mr Vuyani Mathwasa, said he was most impressed by the progressive moves towards incorporating his district along the Indian Ocean into the country’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) program.

Port St Johns and adjacent areas along the Eastern Cape’s coastline – the country’s second longest by province – would soon see skills development as well as beach and small vessel harbour infrastructure either installed or upgraded, he said.

To listen to Mr Matshwasa, Chief Education Specialist for the O.R Tambo Ocean District region, Click Here

Meanwhile at the weekend, the IMO also issued video message on the Day of the Seafarer 2017 event,  which was also shared in full at the South African event in Mbizana.

 

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Eastern Cape province to host Seafarers Day 2017 celebrations

Cadets on board South Africa’s dedicated training vessel, the SA Agulhas

Pretoria: June 20, 2017:

The Eastern Cape, South Africa’s 2nd largest province by coastline along the Indian Ocean, will be the venue for this year’s local celebrations of the international Seafarers Day on Sunday, June 25.

The Department of Transport (DoT) together with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) have confirmed that the annual event focused on the crucial role seafarers worldwide play in the management of seagoing transport, will be staged at Mbizana in the Eastern Cape, this partly to also honor the country’s current year-long celebrations of the O.R Tambo centennial.

This year’s logo of the international Seafarers Day on June 25

Driven by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) together with partner countries including South Africa, this year’s Seafarers Day celebration theme is; “#SeafarersMatter” .

According to the IMO, the theme is intended as a campaign to engage people responsible for the world’s ports and seafarer centres to “demonstrate how much seafarers matter to them by featuring great initiatives that support and promote seafarer welfare.

“These efforts”, says the IMO; “are presented on a new virtual world map, which showcases best practices and helps celebrate seafarers.”

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Port St Johns coastline, Eastern Cape

In South Africa, the DoT and SAMSA together with the Eastern Cape provincial government will use the event to not only celebrate seafarers worldwide to spread greater public awareness both about the country’s maritime economic sector, as well as awareness about the role of seafarers in that space, but will also seek to connect with communities in the eastern part of the Eastern Cape with a view to establishing community projects to enhance people’s skills for meaningful participation in the sector of the economy.

Towards this end, the parties will launch a series of maritime sector skills development initiatives including the training of about 150 youths in the Port St Johns, Mbizana and adjacent towns in deep sea diving, sea rescue and related skills.

The programme will also see others receive training in basic seafarer skills that will allow them to be placed on cruise vessels around the world.

IMG_5076 (2)The Seafers’ Day celebrations at Mbizana are scheduled to also feature a dozen or so sailors from South Africa including cadets currently undergoing training under the country national cadets development programme.

According to the programme for Sunday, aspects of the country’s maritime heritage as well marine and coastal tourism will also feature as some of the components of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) ocean growth project.

Tributes will also be made to former African National Congress president, the late Oliver Reginald Tambo in whose area of birth the Seafarers Day celebrations will be held at the weekend.

Meanwhile, it was also formally confirmed this week that South Africa will be the host venue for the IMO’s 2020 World Maritime Day Conference by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly in 2020.

More about this Here

Maritime sector careers awareness crucial for SA youths’ future education choices: SAMSA

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SHARING CAREER INFO: Ms Neziswa Libala of SAMSA engaging with learners about maritime sector careers during an exhibition held in the Koukamma region of the Eastern Cape in May 2017

Pretoria: 05 June 2017

Enhanced general public awareness, but especially among youth, about the multitude of career choices available in South Africa across a wide range of economic sectors remains a crucial aspect to broadening the reach of education, training and skills development.

It was with this in mind that a regional unit of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) based in Port Elizabeth, landed full support to a careers awareness campaign for high schools in the western region of the Eastern Cape mid-May 2017, at the invitation of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.

Targeted were high schools in the Koukamma area, situated in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality along the Indian Ocean coastline south-west of Port Elizabeth.

Koukamma CE 2017 bThe exhibition over two days was held at the Paul Sauer High School hostel hall. In addition to SAMSA, other exhibitors included the Department of Higher Education and Training, Department of Labour, Eastern Cape Health Department, MERSETA, Human Rights Commission, Eastern Cape Ambulance Services, Vodacom, ABSA, Sun International Boardwalk, FAMSA and a few others.

As many 300 learners attended the exhibition and according to SAMSA, the organization took the opportunity to share with the learners information on numerous careers available in the country’s maritime economic sector, a hitherto sector hidden in open view to the majority of people in the country.

“We covered about 250 learners, handing out brochures, together with making them aware of maritime careers. We encountered quite a number of very keen learners, children with math and science, and advised them to keep a look out for the SAMSA Bursary advertisement or email me (snaidoo@samsa.org.za) to enquire about it,” said Ms Saloshini Naidoo, a SAMSA office administrator for the southern region.

Ms Naidoo noted an alarming gap that could prove a significant challenge or even a limitation to some of the learners however – an apparent absence of math and science education at some of the schools.

 She says: “Some of the schools in attendance did not offer math and science to learners,” – this at a time when maritime sector specific education is gaining momentum, however gradually, at all levels of education; from foundational to technical and vocational education and training, and  tertiary levels.

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SPREADING MARITIME CAREERS AWARENESS: (From Left) Former Eastern Cape Premier and current Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) Ms Noxolo Kiviet with SAMSA southern region staffers, Ms Neziswa Libala and Ms Saloshini Naidoo

From a near complete absence of high schools offering maritime sector specific education as recently as five years ago, the Eastern Cape province now has two of these based in East London, while other provinces including Gauteng are engaged in similar initiatives.

A year ago the Free State provincial government also committed to allocating funding to students in that province keen to follow maritime sector careers.

TVET colleges are also currently in the process of being roped in to offer comprehensive maritime sector related education and training courses, with proposed curriculum driven by SAMSA in conjunction with various education and training authorities currently in the process of formal approval.

According to Ms Naidoo however, delivery challenges, inclusive of a critical shortage of maritime sector education teachers, should not hold back creation of greater awareness of careers that exist in the sector. The more people – and particularly young people – are aware so much the better; she says.

SAMSA regularly contributes to maritime sector careers awareness as part of its third objective of its legislated mandate.

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Confirmed construction of a new Durban cruise terminal a boost for South Africa’s marine tourism

World Class Cruise Terminal Durban 3152017. An artist's impression

Pretoria: 04 June 2014

The formal confirmation of the winning bidder to construct a new modern multi-million rand worth cruise terminal at the port of Durban by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) this past week has been roundly welcomed in the country’s marine tourism sector.

Adding to the round of applause at the weekend was the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), a state agency that has been instrumental over the last few years in the drive to promote development of particularly the country’s coastal and marine tourism subsector as a critical part of the country’s economic development agenda.

The reaction came in the wake of TNPA on Wednesday (May 31, 2017) announcing KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd (KCT) as its preferred bidder for the design, development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the new cruise terminal facilities at the port of Durban on a portion of land measuring 27 800 meters at “A” and “B” Berths at point precinct, for a period of 20 years.

KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd is a joint venture between MSC Cruises SA (a subsidiary of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA) and Africa Armada Consortium (a black empowerment partner).

For the full story of the actual TNPA announcement, Click Here, or Here

In Pretoria at the weekend, SAMSA said the formal announcement of the winning bidder for development of the new cruise terminal at the port of Durban was a major boost for the country’s coastal and marine tourism.

“It is an impressive, bold and great step for tourism, and particularly so for the maritime sector and the general oceans economy,’ said the organization.

With coastal and marine tourism now having been included in the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) labs since about a year ago, SAMSA continues to contribute to plans development for the country’s maritime economic sector in general.

“The final formal go ahead given the construction of the new cruise terminal in Durban marks the beginning of more similarly exciting developments the country can expect,” said SAMSA.

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