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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.