For many of the 20 South African newest cadets that docked in Port Elizabeth on Friday for the first time on home soil since November 2017, missing Christmas with family at home was a completely new experience.
But apparently it did not matter, not really; as after all, they were out charting the course of their future maritime careers over the Indian and Southern Oceans, and while about it, almost reached the ends of the earth.
The group was South Africa’s newest deck and engine cadets from the Cape Peninsula and Durban universities of technology, and were the second most recent group of cadets undergoing their first practical training to sail as far as the Antarctica region over an 80 days period in 2017/8.
Trained under the tutelage of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based in Port Elizabeth – an entity now responsible for the country’s National Cadet Programme – in collaboration with the South Africa Maritime Training Academy (actual training providers on board the SA Agulhas) as well as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (owners of the vessel), the group left South Africa from Cape Town on Friday, 27 November 2017.
The route took them to Mauritius over four days where they picked up a group of about 40 Indian scientists involved in research projects of the oceans closest the sub-continent.
From Mauritius they headed south towards the Antarctica and for just over two months they spent the time on board the vessel, learning the basics of ship sailing – their training split between deck and engine duties.
On return and arrival in Port Elizabeth on Friday morning, they could not wait to share their wealth of experience. Click on the video below.
Among those on hand to welcome the cadets back were SAMSA senior officials; deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Nigel Campbell and SAMSA Maritime Specialist Maritime Projects Operations Manager, Mr Roland Shortt.
Briefly, the officials were most impressed by the group of cadets both in terms of its focus on training as well as general conduct.
For their remarks to the cadets, Click on the video.
Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape will again be the receiving and welcoming city to about two dozen of South Africa’s newest cadets to successfully set sail – and venture for the first time into the icy Antarctica territory over the last the last 80 days.
The welcoming back ceremony takes place on Friday morning at the port of Port Elizabeth where the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) along with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the South Africa Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) and various stakeholders, including the media will see the cadets get off their their training vessel, the SA Agulhas on South African soil for the first time since 24 November 2017.
The 21 cadets comprising 19 deck and two engine, left the country on the day to join a group of Indian scientists in Mauritius and with whom they would spend the rest of the time at sea from the Indian to the Southern Oceans for about 60 days.
The cadets under the stewardship of Port Elizabeth based SAIMI are mostly from the country’s two universities specializing in maritime education and sailor development; the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and Durban University of Technology.
During the trip on which their supervision was under SAMTRA officials, the cadets underwent extensive training in their respective streams as part of their academic education towards a set of maritime qualifications including of engineering.
Sea training on board sailing vessels is a vital aspect of their maritime training and education and for which the SA Agulhas, hauled from certain retirement by SAMSA some five years ago, is designed.
After acquisition by SAMSA from the Department of Environmental Affairs, the SA Agulhas was converted into the dedicated cadet training vessel, complete with a state-of -the-art modern simulator that allows the students real time experience of sailing and managing vessels in actual sea conditions.
The trip to the Indian and Southern Oceans over 80 days was the second by the SA Agulhas in 2017 involving, on each of the occasions, the deployment and training of young South Africans cadets in the company of scientists from India.
On their departure in November from Cape Town, the new cadets had high hopes and spoke well of their expected experience during the voyage in the video below.
This blog will again speak to them to find out if their experience matched their expectations. We will share those views on this blog from Friday onward.
Friday’s welcome back event is scheduled to take place at the port of Port Elizabeth from early morning till noon.
Among expected guests are senior officials of both SAMSA and SAIMI, among them Mr Sobantu Tilayi (COO at SAMSA) and Dr Malik Pourzanjani (CEO of SAIMI).
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has warned that the country is badly equipped to manage effectively weather induced disasters at sea, and that unless serious attention is given to the situation, the maritime economic sector and the country’s economy in general could face serious consequences.
The warning by SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi came in the backdrop of observable dramatic climate changes affecting the country and which saw areas such as KwaZulu-Natal – home to two of the country’s busiest ports in Durban and Richards Bay – battered by severe storms that led to loss of life and damage to property at sea.
Mr Tilayi’s remarks were shared during a gathering of some of the country’s maritime economic sector’s leading players for a SAMSA sponsored event in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.
The purpose of the SAMSA event was to share with industry and government officials the agency’s perspective on issues affecting and impacting the country’s maritime economic sector, inclusive of its own contribution towards the sector transformation and expansion.
This was within context of the State agency’s legislated mandate to among other things, promote South Africa’s maritime interests domestically and globally.
Among key issues raised by SAMSA’s ‘sector score-card’ on Wednesday evening were;
The pace of transformation in the sector with regards development and creation of opportunities for business, job creation and general participation of all South Africans. SAMSA’s view was that with general economic performance domestically and globally taken into account, the sector’s pace was all too sluggish.
Skills development trends: There was progress, but still very limited.
Legal challenges relating to manning in ocean going vessels: The sector but particularly the fishing subsector had to get its act together.
New International Maritime Organization (IMO) stipulations coming into effect in January 2019 relating to type of fuels to be used by vessels: Role players must act with speed.
State of readiness of the country with regards climate change impacting ocean bound trade: The matter can no longer be left to chance.
State of relations between South Africa and the rest of the African continent: South Africa is letting itself down unnecessarily, dragging down along with it the rest of Africa
Nature of relations among local sector role-players. There is simply not enough ongoing engagement.
On climate change, recollecting the single most devastating weather induced disaster affecting Durban in recent times, Mr Tilayi said the major storm that hit that city in 2017 exposed the poor state of readiness the country experiences when it comes to natural disasters.
On the day of the storm, according to Mr Tilayi, no fewer than six vessels – some fully laden with cargo – ran aground, some momentarily blocking the mouth of the port of Durban.
Had any of the vessels, even a single one, broken its back; the country’s busiest port would have to had to shut down.
“In a meeting with the deputy Transport Minister three days later, I said this country does not have any contingency plans for disasters of this nature,'” he recalled, adding that the weather phenomenon was attributed to global climate change which required that South Africa urgently established early warning systems.
“I still don’t know what we could have done differently to avert the disaster. It a good thing that it did not get worse and harmed the economy,” said Mr Tilayi.
He noted that the disaster still did not spare the oceans’ environment however, as millions of tiny plastic pellets that had escaped from one of lost containers polluted an area of some 1000 km from north of Durban to the south west of the Eastern Cape coastal area in the Indian Ocean, and in its wake, posing an enduring threat to both marine and human life.
A major clean-up had since been launched along the affected coastline with good results, he said.
For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (30 minutes) on this and other aspects of the state of the country’s maritime economic sector development, click on the video below.
More pictures of guests at the SAMSA Stakeholders’ Dinner at the Mount Nelson Hotel on Wednesday:
The launch recently of South Africa’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMPT), coupled with the revised Merchant Shipping Act, as well as envisaged full implementation of the National Ports Act (No 12. 2005) can be expected to see rapid transformation of the country’s maritime economic sector, according to the Department of Transport.
Such transformation crucially will involve the deliberate creation of space for all South Africans to participate in the economic sector and with that process, the attraction of new and expanded investment and much needed job creation, Transport Department acting Deputy Director-General, Mr Mthunzi Madiya said in Cape Town.
He was addressing guests to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) annual Stakeholders Dinner held at the Mt Nelson Hotel in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.
As many as 60 guests – most of them major and lead players in the various subsectors of the country’s maritime sector – attended the event.
In his brief address, Mr Madiya said from a government policy development and implementation perspective, the country’s maritime sector no longer had an excuse about why it cannot rapidly transform as well as increase financial investment.
“The responsibility of government is to develop policies. On the 15th of July 2017, Minister of Transport launched the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy. It was a milestone for the sector for various reasons, as we were always reminded that the reason why there was no transformation was because there was no industry policy certainty and therefore we needed a policy.
“South Africa today has the policy that needs to be implemented. We want transformation,” he said, adding that Government was hopeful that the sector would be sufficiently incentivized to not compel the hand of Government to forcefully use the new laws to engender needed transformation.
He said a CMPT strategy would be presented to Cabinet for approval before the end of the current financial year. Once approved, the strategy would allow for the targeting of investment opportunities in especially what he described as ‘low handing fruit’; coastal shipping of particularly bulk and liquid cargo along the country’s 3200km coastline.
Also the revised Merchant Shipping Act of 1951 would be presented to Parliament for formal approval in a few months, he said.
According to Mr Madiya, desperately needed and overdue transformation of the sector to create space for all South Africans would be all encompassing, inclusive of the utilization of the country’s vast ports land.
He said: “The National Ports Act is the biggest instrument to force the industry to transform. We are talking about what is happening in the real estate of the National Ports Authority and the Act responds to this. We feel we need to do something because that’s what the Act says.
“If your tenure comes to an end after 20-25 years, the law says you must vacate the port so that new tenants can come in and Transet has been very clear on this that whoever then participates, must have a minimum of 51% black ownership.
“We hope and we trust that we will be able to use those instruments to make sure that people who had never had an opportunity, are given an opportunity to participate in the ports space.”
Mr Madiya also confirmed the formal approval of the SAMSA Funding Model by the Department of Transport following a month’s long consultative process with stakeholders in the maritime sector.
He said with the approval, SAMSA could now begin to implement it in order to ensure a sustainable source of income going forward.
In addition, he said, a salvage strategy had also been finalized and the department would be engaging with SAMSA on what next was needed to be done to ensure effective implementation.
Further, Mr Madiya reemphasized the crucial role played SAMSA as the Department of Transport’s implementing agency, and that the department would do all in its power to ensure the agency was sufficiently empowered and resourced to pursue its mandate that includes the promotion of the country’s maritime interests locally and abroad.
To listen to the full speech of Mr Madiya, Click on the video below.
Administrative efficiencies at South Africa’s eight commercial ports from Saldanha Bay on the west coast through to Richards Bay on the border of Mozambique will have to stack up significantly and stay stacked up if expected greater productivity by the shipping sector in the country is to be achieved, the South African Ship Operators & Agents Association (SASOAA) has urged.
The message to the country’s maritime sector authorities, among them the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), was shared with maritime sector representatives at this year’s South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) ‘Stakeholders’ Dinner’ held in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.
The SAMSA event held annually at the foot of the Table Mountain in Cape Town to coincide with the congregation of among others, the country’s maritime sector stakeholders in the city for the country’s Parliament’s official reopening in early February every year, is an informal gathering designed to allow for sharing of views on current trends in the sector.
This year’s venue for the SAMSA event was the Mount Nelson Hotel, a stone’s throw from the South African Parliament.
However, the country’s State of the Nation address in Parliament scheduled for Thursday, 08 February 2018, was postponed. The SAMSA event went ahead anyhow.
Addressing more than 50 industry representatives as well as Government officials, Chief Executive Officer of SASOAA, Mr Peter Besnard said it was all very well that the shipping subsector in the country was correctly expected to show more productivity, but that there were creeping constraints, top of which were declining administrative and related efficiencies at the country’s ports.
South African ports are said to have a terminal capacity to handle container traffic totalling 8 013 000 TEUs per annum and just over half of which is available as
Mr Besnard singled out the port of Durban and to a degree, that of Richards Bay; as among ports in the country that were increasingly showing declining efficiencies in ship cargo handling.
According to Mr Besnard, requisite tooling, equipment and manning were increasingly becoming a problem that was contributing to the stifling of the shipping subsector’s greater productivity.
He said as things stood, anything between 14 to 17 days were being lost by the shipping subsector, at great cost, due to creeping inefficiencies where more than 5 000 containers would stand idle and not being attended to as they should be.
“I get reports every morning that between 4500 to 5000 containers stacked underground are ready for collection and they are not moving… those containers are in a congested state, and in next line is that two and half thousand of those containers are unassigned..which means that no truckers are assigned to move them.”
To listen to his full address, Click on the video below.
This is a complete wrap up of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 3rd leg in Cape Town, South Africa two weeks ago. The glamorous global yacht race -a.ka. the F1 Race of the Seas – is currently leaving Melbourne for Hong Kong (Tuesday morning, 02 December 2018) and carries aloft its masts, a crucial message about the increasing swelling of the world’s oceans with micro-plastics.
The theme of the race is Turn The Tide Against Plastics
Cape Town: 03 January 2018
The world’s maritime sector is stepping up its fight against pollution of the seas, with particular focus currently being on plastics pollution of the oceans, and in the mix of tools being deployed in the war is water sports.
At the pinnacle of the world’s water racing sports codes now fully engaged against oceans plastic pollution is the Sweden driven global yacht race, the Volvo Ocean Race; a multi-billion rand oceans yacht race equated to the Formula One (F1) annual car racing event, and run every two years across the world’s oceans over a period of just over 260 days at a time.
The 2017/8 Volvo Ocean Race is currently underway, having kicked off with seven yachts in Portugal in November, with a stopover in Cape Town 20 days ago, and now presently departing Melbourne in Australia for the 6000 nautical miles 4th leg towards Hong Kong, which the yachts should reach in about 20 days (20/1 January 2018).
On arrival in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront for the South Africa leg on November 24, topping celebratory activities to mark the two weeks’ stopover lasting until 10 December, were two, two-day United Nations-driven conferences focused on collaborative efforts for sustainable oceans management
Following to these in the second week, was also a two-day Volvo Ocean Race sponsors’ Oceans Summit on proposed global cooperative actions for the combating of the growing menace of plastics pollution of the world’s oceans that’s said to be increasing at an alarming rate.
Put differently, seven (7) full working days out of 14 of the Volvo Ocean Race stop-over in South Africa from 24 November 2017 to 10 December 2017 were devoted entirely to discussions and information sharing on sustainable oceans management as well as current and proposed actions to combat plastics pollution of the world’s oceans.
Crucially, organizers of the separately staged yet thematic-linked discussion forums were emphatic on the importance of the use of the Volvo Ocean Race as a creative tool to draw the general public’s attention to the oceans management issues, but also as an ideal platform for information sharing particularly about the problems of plastics pollution of the world’s seas.
The Volvo Ocean Race now in its 13th edition since launch 42 years ago is a major drawcard to a global mixed audience of millions of people in 113 countries, and shored up by more than 8000 hours of global television coverage with an average media value of 47.5 euros (2015 values). Corporate sponsors also number in the thousands.
In Cape Town alone, an estimated two-million people take time out to watch the race or visit the yachts’ yard during the two weeks stop over at the iconic V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, located at no more than a kilometre off the foot of Table Mountain, at Victoria Bay.
According to organizers, the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 edition is the first of its kind to focus attention on plastics pollution of the oceans, and its involvement goes beyond providing a platform for publicity and discussion, but also involves direct participation by the racing yachts in collecting scientific data on the extent of the spread of plastics at sea as well as their impact.
A number of scientific consortium are involved in the problem solving endeavor, among them the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), JCOMMPS, UNESCO-IOC, GEOMAR and SubTech.
In partnership, the agencies use the Volvo Ocean Race to collect both meteorological and oceanographic data for a better understanding of oceans weather patterns, but also for the first time, use of instrumentation for the measurement of CO2 as well as collection of samples of microplastics increasingly swelling the seas waters.
In the following three videos recorded in Cape Town two weeks ago, Ms Celine Greuzard, Communications director of the Volvo Group, Ms Anne-Cecile Turner, the Sustainability Programme Leader of the Volvo Ocean Race and Mr Richard Brisius, President of the Volvo Ocean Race explain the rationale of the involvement of the global yacht race in the maritime world’s fight against oceans plastics pollution.
In the following four videos, Mr David Green, chief executive officer of the V&A Waterfront shares his organization’s perspective of and role in the Volvo Ocean Race to South Africa, while Mr Bruce Parker-Forsyth, MD of Worldsport shares the South Africa perspective of the race to local socio-economic development, and Captain Ravi Naicker of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) explains the role played by the State agency in monitoring and combating oceans pollution by ships, in terms of both local legislation as well as conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to which South Africa is a member.
In the next two videos, Dr Ivone Mirpuri of the Portugal based Mirpuri Foundation – and contributor during the Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town Oceans Summit – and Mr Ulrich van Bloemenstein of the Department of Environmental Affairs share their views of the event.
Meanwhile, South Africa which in 2017 became the venue of several continental and global meetings on plastics pollution of the seas, these including an Africa Oceans Plastic Pollution Seminar over five days, should see more increased action in the coming year, according to Ms Silindile Mncube.
She is the South Africa leader of the ‘Let’s Do It’ international NGO involved in plastics pollution combating initiatives.
During the Volvo Ocean Race Oceans Summit in Cape Town, she shared the NGO’s plans to actively getting involved in South Africa and the rest of the continent, with the launch of a dedicated “plastics cleanup day” during 2018.
And finally, in the last three videos below; is an overview of the UN Sustainable Oceans Management two-day conference that also involved a visit to Robben Island….
followed by Mr Adnan Award, South Africa director of the International Oceans Institute (IOI) who gives an overview of the entire oceans management and pollution combating gatherings held during the Volvo Ocean Race’s South Africa leg….
and Mr Rafe Axelson gives local boat building industry’s view of the importance of the race to the sector locally.
For videos of the UN Sustainable Management Conference, Click Here, and for more general videos and photos of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/8 South Africa leg, Click Here.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it will begin investigation into the sinking of a fishing vessel in the Western Cape early on Friday morning and from which about 22 fishermen were successfully rescued.
According to SAMSA in a statement on Friday morning, the incident involving the fishing vessel, Ellis C, owned by the Selvak Investments group, got into trouble and sunk in rough sea conditions shortly after its entire crew of 22 was rescued some 70 kilometers south west of Danger Point off the Cape South Coast.
The SAMSA statement issued about an hour ago read as follows:
Cape Town, South Africa, December 08, 2017: The South African Maritime Safety Authority’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) coordinated the rescue of 22 crew members in the early hours of this morning after their fishing boat encountered rough seas approximately 70km south west of Danger Point off the Cape South Coast.
The fishing vessel Ellis C, owned by Sevlak Investments, sunk after the crew was rescued.
The vessel took in water after wrestling with waves of approximately three to four meters in height and with wind blowing at around 30km per hour.
MRCC received a distress signal at 00h:49am this morning (Friday) via the Maritime Radio Service, that the fishing vessel was taking in water and starting to sink.
MRCC Chief, Jared Blows said they acted promptly to coordinate the rescue. “MRCC also used the Automatic Identification System installed at the centre for monitoring vessels to quickly identify which vessel it was and as well contacted vessels that were in close proximity to the scene.”
“Vessels that were identified to be the closest to the scene were requested to change course to the location to assist.”
First on the scene was the I&J fishing vessel Fuchsia, following was the Realka and finally the Singaporean flagged motor tanker Aral Sea.
The Fuchsia, even with waves breaking over the stern of the partially submerged Ellis S, was able to go alongside it and transfer all 22 crew on board.
The Aral Sea stood by and provided lighting using its spotlights thereby enabling an easier handling of the transfer.
All crew members were brought to safety on board the Fuchsia. The distressed vessel sunk within minutes of them being saved from it.
The National Sea Rescue Institute was initially dispatched to assist. However, nearby ships came to the rescue.
“Rescue efforts concluded at 08:24 this morning when all rescued crew were landed safely ashore in Hermanus.”
The Fuchsia proceeded towards Hermanus with the assistance of the NSRI. The crew of the Ellis S were taken ashore to waiting medical services and other relevant authorities who attended to them.
SAMSA will conduct further investigations as to what caused the vessel to flood and eventually sink.
Durban beaches will be ready for thousands of revelers this festive season after a successful clean-up of millions of tiny little plastic pellets known as nurdles that polutted almost the entire eastern coast of South Africa after the break up of containers containing the pellets during a freak weather storm that battered Durban recently.
This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on Friday in a statement spelling out progress achieved to date with the clean-up.
The SAMSA statement reads:
December 08, 2017: As the festive season approaches, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) along with Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Transnet National Ports Authority (TPNA), and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) are optimistic that KwaZulu-Natal beaches are ready for bathers and holidaymakers.
Authorities have been working tirelessly around the clock to retrieve a total of 2000 bags that were carrying plastic polyethylene nurdles lost from containers following the storm on October 10, 2017 in KwaZulu-Natal.
The storm wreaked havoc causing several deaths in and around the province, as well as extensive damage. It further caused destruction at the Durban harbour when several ships lost their moorings, and four shipping containers fell off vessels.
A Joint Operations Committee, attended by SAMSA, DEA and TNPA has met regularly reporting on the progress of the clean-up. While the Durban Harbour has been declared safe and clean, the authorities are still monitoring the area. So far at least 3,5 tons of nurdles have been recovered.
The clean-up teams have worked around the clock to ensure that the Durban beaches were ready for the festive season.
The JOC confirmed this week clean- up operations will now be concentrated on the north coast as heavy deposits of nurdles were spotted on the Northern lagoon banks.
The MSC has appointed local firm Drizit Environmental who have been storing the nurdles at their depot in Jacobs, Durban, and were using several clean-up teams round the clock.
The clean-up has moved from the Durban beaches, towards the North Coast beaches, namely Clarke Bay, Granny’s Pool (second clean-up), Shaka’s Rock, Thomsons Beach, Mvoti beach, Villa Royale beach, and Ballito main beach.
Areas which have also been prioritized are the Tugela Mouth Lagoon and the Hatchery Lagoon.
SAMSA’s principal officer based in Durban Captain Hopewell Mkhize confirmed that the clean up process was progressing well.
“Drizit has assured us that they will continue in their efforts to ensure that the critical beaches are treated as priority, and that their they are declared safe for use before December 10, 2017.”
Mkhize said the clean-up process will be ongoing. Some areas have been recharged with nurdles and having to be cleaned again. “The situation will be monitored for now before the decision to stop is made.”
Additional resources and personnel provided by DEA have been brought to sites, and are assisting to speed up the clean-up operations. During the clean- up operations different types of plastics, not emanating from the containers, were also spotted.
Mkhize said an ROV Survey was completed to scan the bottom of harbour area to ensure that none of the nurdles bags were trapped underneath. The investigation found nothing.
A model study was further undertaken looking at the currents, the tides, and the wind to confirm the possible places where the bags could have gone. The clean-up teams were busy with the targeted areas and also focusing on the projections of the model results.
SAMSA was overall pleased with the clean-up process and welcomed the efforts by the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working for the Coast program to clean up the shorelines.
The support from volunteer groups who have assisted with the clean-up efforts, and the public at large has been greatly appreciated. There have been reports received of nurdles washing up on beaches in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape. These reports are of great concern and are being addressed, the DEA said.
The Volvo Ocean Race is generally regarded worldwide as the most supreme water sailing sport in the world, and with good reason. Oceans sailing skill and talent combined with the most modern technology in yacht racing over a period of over 260 days at sea at a time, simply positions the sport at the top of rankings of its kind.
For South Africa, the Volvo Ocean Race would mean pretty much very little without its direct participation and contribution, both as a touching point during the race’s course around the world, and for the opportunities it offers for business investment especially in the boat manufacturing and repair sector, as well as the marine tourism and hospitality sectors.
Strategically positioned as the gateway to the southern ocean, South Africa but specifically Cape Town in the Western Cape has, according to organizers and local hosts of the event, always been a welcome sight for sailors and boat crews, not only because of its world renowned beauty and hospitality, but also due to the boat building maintenance and repair expertise in the city.
During a two week stop-over in the Mother City, this time around occurring in the window period of 24 November 2017 to 10 December 2017, the race pumps into the local economy more than R500-million and in the process, creating new and expanded business and job opportunities for locals.
Such job opportunities are what have led to one young South African, a young electrical engineer from Grassy Park in the Cape Flats, Ashton Sampson, aspiring to and eventually joining the VoR Team a few years ago, and never having to look back again.
Sampson dropped in back home this past week with the arrival of the VoR for the South Africa leg (second leg of the race overall) to do what he does best – making sure that the seven yachts are in tip top condition once again, when they sat sail for the third leg of the race on Sunday, 10 December 2017.
The yachts having started arriving on the afternoon of Friday, 24 November 2017, have since been spending time in the dedicated VoR Boat Yard on the south western end of the Table Bay harbor where Sampson and teammates have been working long hours to ensure that the ‘Volvo 65’s’ will be in their best sailing condition to take on the 6 500 nautical mile journey to Melbourne, Australia.
This blog learned that 38 year-old Sampson developed a love for the ocean from a very young age and through hard work and determination, was able to become part of the Volvo Ocean Race team, known as the ‘best of the best’.
Educationally, he is the product of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), one of the top institutions in the country which working closely with other partners including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), produces top notch sailors and other maritime sector related graduates.
Sampson’s is a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering, which eventually led to his being hired and employed by London’s Diverse Yachts in 2009, which he then left in 2015 only to rejoin again in 2017.
“I’ve been passionate about sailing and electronics for as long as I can remember and always wanted to combine the two. I was given the opportunity to join the South African America’s Cup in 2004, which set a path in motion that I don’t regret at all.
“I work very hard and I think I have a good work ethic. I believe this always shows in the quality of my work and people notice this, said Sampson in an interview.
About his direct involvement with the VoR Team, speaking in a remarkably flawless English accent, he said: “We’ve been contracted to the Boatyard, a sub organisation of the Volvo Ocean Race, which has been setup to maintain all systems relating to the fleet.
“For the first edition of the one design fleet of Volvo 65’s in the 2014/15 race, I eventually ended up managing the installation phase of all the electronic systems across the fleet.
‘We were then appointed to maintain the fleet’s electronics as they raced around the world and worked closely with various suppliers. This time round it’s a very similar setup, but we’ve refined the processes.”
In between the times he has left and rejoined his current employer, Diverse Yachts, Sampson worked for the British America’s Cup team, Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing as a systems technician. His rejoining the former employee a few months ago was for serving specifically in the current VoR, he says.
This 2017/18 VoR South Africa leg stop over is not the first for him. He’d been here before, he told a group of local boat manufacturing and maintenance that visited the VoR boat yard a few days after the racing yachts docked.
Describing his love for the F1 of yacht racing, Sampson said: “It takes a lot of professionalism and teamwork to make this race a success, both on and off the water. All the people across the fleet have very high standards and I thrive in this kind of environment. The hardest part is to always plan and anticipate events that the race will throw at you and being fully prepared for it.”
When on dry land, Sampson lives in a small town, Fareham, in the south of England near the coast with his fiancé.
He admits to missing Cape Town and South Africa. “I mostly miss family and friends, but also the many attractions around Cape Town relating to nature; the local fauna and flora, animals, mountain ranges, oceans, inland lakes and friendly people. Cape Town is truly unique in this regard as it has so much to offer and explore.”
To stay close to the sight and smell of the ocean, and which his Fareham abode offers in abundance, Sampson said: “I always live near the coast – I love being around water. My parents and most of my family are based in Cape Town and I generally visit at least once a year. Of course it helps that the race is in my home town. Cape Town is most certainly the best stopover in the world!”
Sampson’s fellow South Africans on the team include Mike Coburn, who is involved in sail making through North Sails, and Simon Botes, who is involved in the hardware (deck gear, winches and more), dealing with Harken.
As many as 47 scientists from the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research will rendezvous with the SA Agulhas, South Africa’s research and dedicated cadet training vessel in Mauritius on Monday after the vessel docked at the port of Port Louis early on Monday.
The group of scientists will join the vessel’s 37 member crew and 20 of which sailors are newly minted cadets of the South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) undergoing their first training on board the vessel, on their first ever visit to the Antarctica where the vessel is headed.
SAIMI, based at the Nelson Mandela University, is responsible for the country’s Cadet Training Programme.
The SA crew sailed from South Africa’s shores on the afternoon of the 24th November 2017 for Port Louis in Mauritius under the command of Captain M. Barnes who is accompanied by two dedicated training officers entrusted with ensuring that the training objectives for the cadets are realized. The South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) is in charge of the training on board the vessel.
According to SAIMI in a statement on Monday, as with the last similar scientific research and cadet training sojourn into the ‘end of the world’ undertaken at the same time in 2016/17, from Mauritius the contingent will, in a day or two, head down to Antarctica where the cadets will be spending the Christmas period as part of their compulsory on-board training before they can qualify as deck and engineering officers.
The vessel under charter from its owner, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), will spend time on the 68th parallel, which marks the start of the permanent ice cap.
SAIMI chief executive officer Professor Malek Pourzanjani said in a statement in Mandela Bay on Monday: “This is the second year that the vessel has been chartered by India’s National Centre for Antarctic Research for a multi-disciplinary scientific expendition, and this provided the added opportunity for a training voyage.
“During the voyage the cadets will have a combination of on-board lectures and gain experience working on watches and assisting the crew. They will also be able to watch the Indian scientists, who are studying currents and weather patterns, in action.”
According to Prof Pourzanjani, the group of sailors and scientists are expected to reach Antarctica in around three weeks.
SAIMI profiled the cadets as aged from 20-27, consisting of eight females and 12 males and 19 of whom are being trained as deck cadets and one as an engine cadet. They were drawn from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Durban University of Technology.
Captain Merwyn Pieters and Steven Paulse will manage the training.