World oceans are drowning in plastic waste, the shipping industry is not the culprit: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 28 July 2017

The world’s oceans may be drowning fast in a mess of global plastic waste – estimated currently at some 275 million metric tons and in its wake, threatening all life on earth – but the shipping industry on which close on 90% of world trade depends, is not the culprit. Well, not quite.

That is because global shipping practices at sea are highly guarded through a number of international regulations, otherwise known as conventions, and closely monitored by member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) including South Africa, the latter through the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

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Captain Ravi Naicker, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Sea Watch and Rescue national operations manager. Cape Town

This was revealed by SAMSA’s Centre for Sea Watch and Response (CSWR) during a mini conference hosted jointly by the SAMSA, United States Consulate, the International Ocean Institute and the V&A Waterfront held at the Two Oceans Acquarium at Cape Town’s Waterfront recently.

The mini conference occurred within a week of the wrap up of an even bigger oceans plastic waste gathering, the Africa Marine Waste Conference, held over five days in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape in early July, attended by about 250 delegates including a high contingent of scientists from Africa, the US, and Asia Pacific countries.

At the Cape Town event, keynote speakers included Dr Jenna Jambeck, an associate professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Georgia, United States, and director of the Center for Circular Materials Management at New Materials Institute; John Duncan of the World Wildlife Fund and Dr Anthony Ribbink, CE of Sustainable Seas Trust.

SAMSACSWR national operations manager, Captain Ravi Naicker, explained that global shipping involving millions of trade cargo vessels at sea daily – and therefore the most potential culprits for massive plastic and related waste pollution of the oceans – were actually not the culprits.

The revelation came against the backdrop of statistics showing that South Africa ranked No.11 in the world for waste management production and that the country alone was responsible for 12% of global plastic waste and about 2% of total mismanaged plastic waste, leading to between 0.9-0.25 megatons of it ending as marine plastic waste annually.

img_3102-722017With an estimated population of some 12.9-million people occupying the coastal line of South Africa, this amounted to about two kilograms of plastic waste per person per annum.

Globally, the world’s 192 countries situated along oceans and seas across the globe were said to generate as much as 2.5-billion metric tons of solid waste, of which 275-million metrics tons was plastic waste and an estimated 8-million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste ended up in the seas in 2010, according to statistics by Dr Jenna Jambeck.

Just over 6-million metrics tons of the global (coastal countries) mismanaged plastic waste dumped at seas was currently still floating freely at the surface of global oceans waters, in the process, placing all life both in the oceans as well as on land, at extremely high risk.

According to Dr Jambeck, one of the contributing factors to widespread distribution of plastic waste is that: “In use – (plastic) items that are designed to last forever are only used a short period of time. 40% of plastic production is for packaging – and there are packaging needs for essential foods and things, but I will argue that we should rethink our systems and designs to meet those needs”

a-2Captain Naicker said ocean going vessels globally in South Africa’s ocean space contributed very little to this as waste management on ships was highly regulated.

He said the Africa region alone had about 18 000 vessels traversing its water annually, with just over 3 000 of these sailing through South Africa’s oceans space equivalent some 1.5-million square kilometers of an Economic Exclusive Zone, from the Atlantic, the Southern Ocean through to the Indian Ocean.

Yet, of 1469 vessels randomly stopped for inspection over a six year period between 2011 and 2017, only 2.5% were detained for violation of environmental management protocols at sea, and with only about 0.1% responsible for garbage and record keeping violations.

SAMSA is the country’s State agency tasked through legislation (the SAMSA Act 1998) with responsibility for ensuring safety of life and property at sea, the combating and prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships, and promoting South Africa’s maritime interests.

 

Guiding the agency’s activities with regards the first two objectives relating specifically to safety of life and property as well as sound integrity of the marine environment, were six (6) International Conventions for the Prevention of Pollution by Ships (MARPOL Annextures) pieces of legislation binding member port states of the IMO for strict implementation in their respective ocean spaces.

In addition all trade vessels registered (flagged) in countries that are signatories to MARPOL are subject to the legislation and associated regulations regardless of where they sail in the world.

“These clearly state that ships using South African waters have no right to pollute seas while sailing here and that we are entitled to take action against should they fail to observe the law.

“However, member states are also required to provide facilities that enable ships to dispose of waste they cannot manage responsibly on board the vessels.” said Capt Naicker.

For his full presentation (about nine [9] minutes) Click on the video.

To read more on Dr Jambeck’s work, Click Here, and Here

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Port St Johns thrilled by SAMSA driven maritime youth development programme

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Pretoria: 24 July 2017

Port St Johns, a small coastal town along the Indian Ocean in the Eastern Cape, almost midway between the port cities of Durban and East London, is beyond itself with excitement over a series of programmes intended to equip local youth with maritime related skills and possible creation of badly needed jobs.

The multi-stream maritime related skills development programme also involving a degree of corporate social investment, is driven by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) along with partners including the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Harambee, as well as the Eastern Cape provincial and local municipalities.

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Port St Johns Tourism office block

The basic maritime skills development initiatives relate to coastal marine tourism in two streams; cruise tourism under a Maritime Youth Development Programme, and a Coastal and Marine Tourism and Youth Leadership path involving youth training in sea diving, life guarding, and related skills.

Training under the programmes began in early July involving an initial group of 50 youths in the cruise tourism stream, and about 35 youths in the Coastal and Marine and Youth Leadership stream.

The cruise tourism youth skills development stream, formally launched by SAMSA together with the Eastern Cape Government and Harambee in East London on 14 July, anticipates the placement of the youths on cruise vessels around the world by as early as September 2017, after which a second and third batches of youths will also undergo training.

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A group of Port St Johns youths sitting for an initial written exam as part of an assessment for inclusion in the basic maritime skills development programme

The other stream involving the 35 youths and involving the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, is also already underway with training, with completion also earmarked for August 2017.

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Some of the 35 Port St Johns youths who passed their first written exam to qualify for inclusion in the initial phase of the training programme

Alongside these youths skills development initiatives in marine and maritime related basic skills, is an assessment process of various tourism facilities in the area, inclusive of accommodation and hiking trails for possible assistance in promotion in tourism markets.

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Officials of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Port St Johns Tourism and the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board during a meeting in the town ahead of the start of the youth training initiative

The initiatives come also against the backdrop of Port St Johns, located in an area of some 1,291 km²  that falls under the O.R Tambo district municipalities, having been earmarked as the host for this year’s country celebrations of the World Maritime Day in the last week of September.

IMG_6188When once formally confirmed as host, this little town along the Eastern Cape’s 800km coastline – the second longest of the country’s four provinces bordering the oceans – and known more for its picturesque landscape through which the Umzimvubu River meets the sea, as well as pristine beaches and hiking trails that are a constant hit with domestic and foreign tourists alike, it will be the first time that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) driven annual event is held at a coastal town outside of South Africa’s major commercial port cities.

The staging of the World Maritime Day in Port St Johns in September according to the town’s mayor Ms Lindelwa Rolobile, may also just be the catalyst needed to draw more attention to the area’s potential for bigger contribution to the country’s maritime economic development currently pursued under the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative.  

IMG_6655The town quietly harbours hope for development of a small fishing industry launchpad. There are claims that it had been promised.

However, Ms Rolobile believes that in addition to tourism – in a coastal area also known worldwide for some spectacular shipwrecks over the years, including the sea cruise vessel; the Oceanos – Port St Johns can also be a hub for small to medium sea craft manufacturing.

An elated Ms Rolobile has described the much needed focus in the area by SAMSA as exciting and a long needed intervention particularly with regards youths skilling and possible creation of much needed jobs in an area of the country where youth unemployment is extremely high.

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Ms Lindelwa Rolobile. Mayor of Port St Johns

Speaking during the launch of the MYDP strand of the programme in East London recently, Ms Rolobile praised SAMSA for living up to a ‘promise’ it had made to the town back in 2012.

She also applauded the partnerships the organization has established with various other players in pursuit of realization of the socio-economic enhancement initiatives.

To listen to her remarks, Click Here.

Meanwhile, one of the youths from Port St Johns involved in the marine and maritime basic skills development programme, Mr Siphamandla Masikode, committed to making the best of the opportunities that were emerging for youths in his hometown.

Involved in the cruise tourism skills development stream under the Maritime Youth Development Programme, Mr Masikode said he considered himself lucky to have made it into the first group of 150 youths and hoped he would make it also in the first 50 who started formal training a week ago.

To listen to his remarks, Click Here.

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Marine tourism jobs boost on the cards for Eastern Cape: SAMSA

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East London: 15 July 2017

Marine tourism but precisely the cruise ships tourism subsector is set for a major boost in South Africa with the setting up of a sea cruise business partnership involving shipping group, Vukani Marine and an international operator, in Port Elizabeth.

An immediate positive impact would be the creation of much needed jobs on cruise ships for local youth, revealed Mr Sobantu Tilayi, chief operating officer at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in East London on Friday.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Chief Operations Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) addressing youths at the launch of the Maritime Youth Development Programme for the Eastern Cape in East London on Friday

Mr Tilayi was speaking during the formal launch of a Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) for the province – a joint youth empowerment initiative between the Office of the Premier of the Eastern Cape, national multi-stakeholder youth empowerment outfit, Harambee; and SAMSA.

At its official launch at the port of East London on Friday, the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) linked project involved about 130 youths from the province who will undergo training in maritime related skills for possible deployment initially on cruise liners around the world.

This is the first marine tourism related initiative of its kind focused on the Eastern Cape Province, with the first batch of about 50 youths likely to be deployed as early as September this year.

Shipping group Vuka Marine is a joint venture between Via Maritime Holdings of South Africa and K-Line of Japan. It is the first shipping group to have its cargo vessels registered under the South African flag – the first of these, the Cape Orchid, flagged in September 2015.

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Some of the 130 youths from the Eastern Cape selected for training in a set of marine tourism skills related to cruise ships under the SAMSA driven Maritime Youth Development Programme during launch of the project in East London on Friday

Addressing the group of youths ahead of the start of their training programme in the next few weeks, Mr Tilayi, in the company of Eastern Cape Premier, Mr Phumulo Masaulle and some provincial senior government officials, Mayors and councilors of the Buffalo City and Port St Johns municipalities and others, said Vuka Marine in partnership with a Hong Kong based cruise ships operator, were planning the establishment of a training and jobs placement operation in Port Elizabeth.

The unnamed Vukani Marine partner according to Mr Tilayi, operates about 720 cruise liners mostly in the Caribbean, with a total crew of about  44 000 people.

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Mr Tilayi during an interview with national television and radio during launch of the Eastern Cape leg of the Maritime Youth Development Programme in East London on Friday. The entire event was broadcast live both on SAFM, SABCTV News, regional and local radio stations.

“They are setting up in Port Elizabeth so that we (South Africa) can have a slice of those job opportunities,” said Mr Tilayi, adding that one of the attractions that were drawing the initiative to South Africa was the country people’s versatility borne of the diversity of the domestic population.

He said South Africans generally spoke English which was the universal maritime language, and that South Africans generally interacted and therefore were more familiar with people of different ethnic groups – a characteristic also deemed as highly important in the maritime transport sector.

“That is the reason why the world is looking at South Africa producing the kind of people needed in that sector, “ he said.

He urged the youths to grab the opportunities emerging with both hands and work hard to profit from them not only for themselves but for the rest of the country.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on the matter, Click Here.

Never should the Eastern Cape remain the backyard of South Africa’s economy

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape provincial government applauded both SAMSA, Harambee and others involved in the Maritime Youth Development Programme initiative for the province.

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Mr Phumulo Masualle. Eastern Cape Premier

In welcoming the initiative, Premier Masaulle described it as an anomaly that the Eastern Cape province endowed with the second longest coastline in the country along the Indian Ocean – about 800km in total – yet benefited far less from its exposure to a maritime economy.

With emerging opportunities he said, it would be consistent with the province’s historical role of supplying labour to industries that its people should again emerge dominant in the further development of the country’s maritime economic sector.

Mr Masaulle urged the youth to set their aims high with a view to filling up and occupying any and all ranks available in the sector.

For his full remarks on the aspect, Click on the video above.

For more audio-visual coverage of the event, go to the Multi-Media page and click either on Photos, or Audio & Video, or otherwise, Click Here.

 

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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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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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Parliament congratulates South Africa’s first three black women Master Mariners

Pretoria: 23 May 2017

South Africa’s first three black female Master Mariners (a.k.a ship Captains) received a warm welcome and applause at the country’s Parliament on Tuesday when they were introduced to lawmakers for the first time by the Minister of Transport, Joe Masangwanyi.

Transport Minister, Joe Masangwanyi (2)Mr Masangwanyi introduced the trio to Parliament during his maiden speech as Transport Minister in which delivered the ministry’s budget for the 2017/2018 financial year.

In his speech during which he also announced an allocation of about R119-million for maritime, Mr Masangwanyi described the Master Mariner qualification obtained by Captains Thembela Taboshe, Captain Tsepo Motloutsi and Captain Pretty Molefe in 2016 as the highest qualification for seafarers, and which enables them to command vessels of up to 3000 tons worldwide.

The three ship captains who made history by being the first black African females to do so, are currently working as ship surveyors for the South African Maritime Safety (SAMSA) at the port of Durban while furthering their academic studies in maritime law.

In the video below, Mr Maswangwayi makes his remarks about the three pioneers from 19:38 minutes to 20:30 minutes.

Meanwhile, a number of SAMSA projects came under the spotlight during the debate including the establishment a year ago of ships bunkering services at the port of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, some aspects of its involvement in cadet training as well as its social responsibility contributions to communities impacted by maritime activities, among them the community of Enkovekuni at uMhlabauyalingana in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as projects earmarked for the Port St Johns community in the current year.

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SA cadet training vessel, SA Agulhas steals the show at Mandela Bay port festival

 Port Elizabeth: 26 March 2017

South Africa’s dedicated seafarer training vessel, the SA Agulhas, fresh from a three months long research and training expedition to the Antarctic region, proved the star of the show at the 2017 Nelson Mandela Bay port festival at the weekend after attracting a crowd estimated at no less than 6 000 people by midday Sunday.

“Clearly, this ship is becoming popular among the people. We’ve seen quite a number since yesterday (Saturday) morning at 10 when we opened the doors, and today will be not different by the look  of things,” remarked a ranking official who preferred not to be named on board the SA Agulhas.

At the time, throngs of festival goers of all ages were already lined up along the vessel at more than twice its length.

The SA Agulhas was part of a “People’s Port Festival”  a two-day annual event sponsored and hosted by South Africa’s ports authority, Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA) that kicked off on Saturday morning with various activities ranging from sports (water and land based), ship tours, cruises to food, music and edutainment and comedy shows.

The port festival is held annually in rotation at all the country’s nine commercial ports to give local communities an opportunity of interacting with some of its activities.

RIDING THE WAVE: Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) (Bottom Left) chatting briefly to some of the 30 cadets on board the SA Agulhas during the start of the Transnet National Ports Authority (Transnet) annual port festival held at the port of Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay) from Saturday to Sunday (25-26 March).

The SA Agulhas, still warming down from its three month’s research and training expedition off Cape Town to Madagascar and the Antarctic region with a group of Indian scientists and about 30 South African cadets onboard in December to March, joined in the festival after docking at the port of Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay) a fortnight ago.

At the start of the show on Saturday morning, the entire expedition crew including the cadets, minus the Indian scientists; were on hand to show off the vessel to thousands of festival goers who queued up on the quay alongside the vessel for almost an hour before the vessel opened its doors for a six hour show on each of the two days.

The tour on board included a brief presentation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) about the current utilization of the vessel as a dedicated seafarer training ship since its acquisition by the maritime authority from the Department of Environmental Affairs some six year ago.

From here festival goers were taken up through the vessel for a tour lasting about 15 minutes at a time. Despite the steep staircases, festival goers, several with children – some as small as months old – seemed unable to miss out on the opportunity!

On Saturday, an estimated 4500 people had gone through the vessel while more were queued up quite early on Sunday morning, not for a glimpse, but a full ride on the vessel.

For a typical tour experienced by an estimated six thousands people these past two days, Click Here.

SAMSA and SA National Heritage Council sign an MoU on maritime heritage

Pretoria: 24 March 2017

LOCKING GRIP ON HERITAGE: (From Left), Mr Sonwabile Mangcotywa, CEO of the South African Heritage Council and Mr Sobantu Tllayi, acting CEO of the Maritime Safety Authority during a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony between the two institutions in Pretoria on Thursday.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the National Heritage Council (NHC)  formally sealed their ongoing collaboration on arrangements in pursuit of maritime heritage awareness development initiatives with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Pretoria on Thursday.

The signing of the document marked the formalization of a relationship between the two organizations that has been in the making since about a year ago, following to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) formally having established an ongoing initiative to focus on development and enhancement of the nation’s awareness about its maritime heritage.

At Thursday’s  event, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA and Mr Sonwabile Mangcotywa, CEO of the National Heritage Council (NHR) described the formal ratification of the fledgling relationship as a critical point in both organization’s  common goals towards enhancing co-operation and collaboration in the development and public awareness promotion about the country’s maritime heritage.

“It is imperative and long overdue that we formalise our agreement to co-operate and collaborate through a working arrangement such as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for general cooperation, and proceed to further enter into Memoranda of Agreements (MoA) for specific projects as and when one of the two parties may agree thereto”, Mr Tilayi and Mr Mancotywa said in a joint statement.

The pair described South Africa’s maritime heritage as a “backbone for our commerce, aquaculture, agriculture, arts and culture, sports and recreation, mining and other societal endeavours and pursuits”.

They further concurred that maritime heritage was the bedrock for beneficial partnerships in South Africa, the African continent, the African Diaspora and the world at large, and it was therefore “only natural that the two parties formalise their co-operative agreement to take this important work forward,” they said.

SAMSA and the NHC have been working together on maritime heritage since about a year ago and which partnership culminated in a joint public presentation of the endeavor  during the 38th World Maritime Day in September 2016

SHAKING ON IT: Mr Tilayi and Adv Mangcotywa shortly after signing an MoU in Pretoria on Thursday

Giving context to SAMSA and the HRC’s view of maritime heritage and the processes set in motion to enhance both its development and public awareness, they said that South Africa was the only country on the African continent with access and control over sea waters covering an area equivalent to 1.6 million km² with a coastline of 3924 km – from the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Southern Ocean to the Antarctic and Indian Ocean in the east.

The SA maritime economy contributed R19-billion to the country’s GDP in 2013, with projections currently indicating that it as likely to rise to around R44-billion in 2020.

Against the backdrop, there was “a great potential for this sector to contribute to the economic growth and participation of the majority of this country. Equally, the heritage that is weaved throughout this sector covers many years of history that uncovers how our forefathers utilised these water spaces.

“Shipwrecks like that of the SS Mendi remain evidence of SAs heritage for the world. The maritime sector also ranks high in tourism attraction which is also a good source of revenue and job creation for the country,” they said.

The partnership would see the two institutions, in conjuction with other institutions in the heritage, academic, corporate and related sectors; working together to “draw more African youth, women and people with disabilities to participate in the maritime economy through projects and following careers in the sector. Awareness campaigns will be embarked upon to educate the public about the opportunities in marine heritage as well,” the statement said.

End

 

South Africa ship registry bags one more vessel – a further boost to seafarers training

Pretoria: 19 March 2017

Æ: Reproduced and adapted from: Tugs, Towing & Offshore News. 18th Vol, No.23 Dated 19/03/17
Great Manisha
The Greatship Manisha. (Photo: Courtesy of shipspotting.com

Cape Town based vessels operator, seafarer recruitment and training company, Marine Crew Services (MCS) has responded to the South African Government’s call to increase employment and training opportunities for South African seafarers by registering a modern, multi-purpose platform supply and support vessel (MPSV) on the South African Ships Register.

The 93.67m MPSV, Greatship Manisha, is owned by Greatship Global Offshore Services Pte Limited. MCS has bareboat chartered the 4221 ton vessel to service its two-year contract with PetroSA.

While this is the first vessel to be registered by MCS under the South African Flag, it is not the first time it has employed South Africans on foreign-owned vessels.

“In fact, MCS, as the only private South African manning company with ISO 9001 accreditation, has for the past 14 years successfully trained and placed in excess of 880 South African and African officers, ratings and cadets on local and international vessels, among them the highest number of sea-going, black female seafarers in South Africa,” says Mr Lester Peteni, MCS Chairman.

The company also provides bursaries to Lawhill Maritime Centre graduates to enrol for tertiary Maritime Studies students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

According to MCS, the South African government, cognizant of the important role played by the maritime industry in South Africa – and its potential to provide training opportunities and employment for young South Africans – has introduced a number of initiatives with the aim of growing South Africa’s Oceans Economy under Operation Phakisa.

One of these initiatives – which also forms part of the 2017 Maritime Transport Policy – is to encourage more vessel owners to register their vessels under the South African Flag.

The local registration of the vessel adds to a steadily growing number of ships – four in total – now carrying the South African flag and which development contributes towards addressing a number of challenges facing both the maritime economic sector as well as the general economy.

Among the pressing challenges is the security of trade -estimated at 96% of South African exports – almost wholly dependent on ships owned and regulated in foreign countries.

According to the Maritime Policy (currently in draft format), South Africa’s share of fleet ownership in terms of volume is 2.233 thousand deadweight tonnes (DWT). Ship ownership currently stands at 0.13% of world total. National flagged fleet represents less than 0.01% of world total.

The other pressing challenge is the education, training and skills development of especially seafarers whose complete training requires placement onboard trade vessels.

According to Mr Daniel Ngubane, Group CEO of MCS. “The registration of the Greatship Manisha on the South African Ships Registry, supports this initiative and offers several important advantages.

“These include having the opportunity to provide employment for South African officers and ratings and most importantly, being able to offer young South Africans, who have completed their theoretical training, the opportunity to obtain the required, practical, seatime experience which forms part of their international qualification.”

Great Manisha 1Two South Africans have been serving on the ultra-modern vessel – which was previously registered in Singapore – and the move to the South African Ships Register will lead to a further seven South African seafarers joining the vessel upon registration. “Our aim is to have a 100% South African crew complement on this vessel and this will be achieved as South Africans with the requisite experience and skills in operating this type of vessel become available, “ says Mr Ngubane.

The South African crew complement will also include a Second Officer, Third Officer, Fourth Engineer and 6 ratings. Provision has also been made to take six South African trainee cadets on board once the vessel has been recognised by the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) as a designated training vessel.

The seven years old supply vessel, manned by a total crew complement of 17, will be deployed off the coast of Mossel Bay.

Says Mr Peteni, “Although Singapore is widely considered as a more attractive ships register, the decision to move the Greatship Manisha onto the South African register is not only a perfect example of private companies and government working together to achieve a common goal, but it has been taken in the interests of supporting the growth of the South African maritime industry and Greatship should be commended on supporting this move.”

According to Mr Peteni, South African seafarers are highly regarded internationally and demand for senior South African officers is particularly high.

“Furthermore,” he says: “South Africa offers world-class training and certification standards which not only allows us to employ high quality seafarers on South African registered ships, but also creates an opportunity for South Africa to play a more active role in the global seafarer supply market.

“We at MCS, believe there is enormous potential to support Governmental aims by creating awareness of career opportunities at sea, thereby increasing the number of trainee seafarers, as well as the number of training berths made available to them. Registering this vessel on the South African flag represents a step in the right direction, and we are looking at adding further vessels to the SA Ships Registry in due course,” he says.

For the past 13 years, MCS has worked closely with international shipowners and managers to provide berths for South African cadets, a collaboration which Mr Ngubane describes as ‘highly successful and mutually beneficial ’as it has given them the opportunity to gain seatime while providing vessel owners and managers with additional certified, qualified and English speaking manpower.

End