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.

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South Africa remains posed for a pioneering role in Africa’s ocean economy development: SAMSA

Pretoria: 14 March 2017

The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel on arrival Port Elizabeth on Friday after a three month research and training expedition in the Indian and Antarctic oceans with 30 cadets on board.

South Africa is well positioned to play a pioneering role in the African continent’s drive for expansive growth of its ocean’s economy sector, but especially if stakeholders and key role players both in the public and private sector continue to strengthen co-operation and collaboration towards the goal.

That is according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting chief executive officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi in the wake of yet another highly successful collaborative effort that saw a group of Indian scientists along with 30 South African cadets complete on schedule a three-months long research and training expedition both along the Indian Ocean and the Antarctic region.

Crucially, according to Mr Sobantu, the expedition was successfully undertaken aboard the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas, this past week.

After dropping off the Indian scientists in Mauritius a few days earlier, the vessel – under the command of SAMSA – docked in Port Elizabeth on Friday, to a warm welcome by senior officials of several institutions in both the public and private sector. These included SAMSA, the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the Transnet National Ports Authority(TNPA), the National Skills Fund under the Department of Higher Education and Training, recently established bunker services group, Aegean; the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA, the Maritime Crew Services (MSC) and a few others.

The SA Agulhas was acquired by SAMSA in 2011 for training in support of the National Cadet Programme, which is being managed by the Port Elizabeth-based SAIMI.

The training is being funded by the National Skills Fund.

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA greeting the 30 deck and engine cadets that were on board the SA Agulhas in in its three months research and training expedition to the Antarctic region over the last three months
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA greeting the 30 deck and engine cadets that were on board the SA Agulhas in in its three months research and training expedition to the Antarctic region over the last three months

The vessel sailed on 14 December 2016 from Cape Town with 30 cadets under the guide of SAMTRA and MCS.

The group of seven (7) engineering and 23 deck cadets along with two training officers joined the South African crew on a research voyage chartered by India’s National Centre for Antarctic Research.

Her first port of call was Port Louis in Mauritius on Christmas Eve where she took on board the team of Indian scientists and five container loads of equipment. The ship sailed south from Mauritius before heading West of Kerguelen Island and on to Antarctica and back to Mauritius carrying out operations at various scientific stations along the way.

On completion of the expedition Friday, Mr Sobantu said the event was just one to possibly vindicate the brave stance taken by the maritime safety authority  a few years ago to acquire the vessel with the sole intention  of providing a viable yet necessary intervention in the development of a local cadre of seafarers.

More than 350 cadets have been trained aboard the SA Agulhas since 2012 after SAMSA acquired the vessel from the Department of Environmental Affairs and re-purposed the former Antarctic research and supply vessel as a training vessel to support the National Cadet Programme.

The cadet programme enables aspiring sea-farers to obtain the practical sea-time experience required to attain a Certificate of Competency (COC) as either a Deck Officer or Marine Engineering Officer. The COC is an internationally recognised qualification, issued by SAMSA in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Convention on the Standards, Training and Certification of Watch-keepers (STCW), and opens up a global sea-faring career for these young South Africans.

The programme is a skills development initiative linked to Operation Phakisa which aims to grow South Africa’s participation in the maritime economy. The initiative is managed by SAIMI and financed by the National Skills Fund.

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

On Friday Mr Tilayi noted that: “The three-month cruise took the vessel and the cadets all the way down to 68 degrees south where they encountered severe weather. Both the vessel and the cadets passed with flying colours.”

Key to the success, he said, was ongoing cooperation and collaboration among a group of stakeholders, interested parties and the investment community. For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (video), Click Here

Meanwhile, SAIMI chief executive officer, Dr Malek Pourzanjani was also full of praise of the success of the SA Agulhas’ latest venture into a research and training expedition.

“The fact that the Indian government was willing to entrust leading scientists and important multi-disciplinary scientific research to a South African training vessel crewed by South Africans is a tribute to the quality of our mariners and the training offered in South Africa,” Dr Pourzanjani.  For his full remarks, Click Here

Ms Phyllis Difeto, chief operations officer of TNPA was in agreement with her counterparts at SAMSA and SAIMI: “South Africa needs more world class maritime expertise at all levels,” she said, also stressing the need for

ongoing collaboration between TNPA, SAMSA, SAIMI and the private sector to ensure that South African mariners received world class training that would position them well for seafarer work around the globe.

For Ms Difeto’s full remarks, Click Here.

Meanwhile, the cadets on the expedition were full excitement, sharing their experiences as well as hopes for the future as seafarers. Two of the cadets, Afrika Masuku and Sandisiwe Ngcobo spoke briefly before their welcoming audience on Friday, thanking both their trainers and training sponsors for the opportunity. In separate interviews, five other cadets opened up about their experiences as did one of their trainers. For these interviews Click Here.

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Research and cadet training vessel, SA Agulhas back on home soil after successful Antarctica expedition

Port Elizabeth: 09 March 2017

With 30 cadets on board who scored no less than three months of continuous sailing both across the Indian Ocean and to the southern seas, the SA Agulhas, the country’s only research and seafarers’ dedicated training vessel dropped anchor on home sail again in Port Elizabeth on Thursday where it is scheduled to be welcomed with much fanfare.

The stopover at the port of Elizabeth this week to be marked by a formal “welcome back” event early on Friday morning scheduled to be beamed live on national television, will mark the end of a three month research and training expedition involving a group of Indian scientists and about 30 South African cadets that began shortly before Christmas in 2016 and took the group as far as the Antarctica.

The expedition involved the SA Agulhas departing from Cape Town headed for Port Louis in Mauritius where she took on board the group of Indian scientists prior to setting sail on the Indian Oceans towards the Antarctica.

It was the research and dedicated training vessel’s first long journey on otherwise familiar territory around the Antarctica in more than two years – an intervening period she’d been devoted strictly to cadet training and skills development by SAMSA while occasionally anchoring at Quay 500 at the port of Cape Town.

The cadet programme she is still engaged in is now managed by newly established South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, situated in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, and funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training through the National Skills Fund.

Early Friday morning, the crew of the vessel and their seafarer trainees (23 deck and 7 engine cadets) who were part of the expedition  are scheduled to be met and greeted by a number of senior officials of the respective institutions conjoined in the cadet training programme inclusive of SAMSA, SAIMI, the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) and Marine Crew Services (MSC) as well as Transnet and other government officials.

The “welcome back” event is scheduled to start at about 6am and last until about 10am at the port of Port Elizabeth

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New IMO Africa region Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in Kenya a boon for continent’s ocean economy development

Pretoria: Wednesday:  02 March 2017

IMG_1086
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) together with the South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and Department of Transport are poised to play a significant role in the Africa region IMO/European Commission’s new R139-million worth Maritime Technology Cooperative Centre to Kenya.

The choice of Kenya as the host country of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) new regional Maritime Technology Cooperative Centre (MTCC) for the African region is a welcome development certain to further strengthen and enhance ongoing collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation in the continent’s maritime sector development and growth.

This was the view of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) following to confirmation that the IMO awarded the hosting rights of the MTCC to the East African country last month. The Africa host of the new MTCC was announced as the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) together with the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA).

According to the IMO, the new Africa region MTCC will be one of five to be set up from this year in other countries as a part of a European Commission/IMO joint initiative to build capacity for climate mitigation in the world’s maritime shipping industry. They will be developed and funded by the European Commission to the tune of €10 000 000 (R139.42-million) over fours years,

The first two were announced in December 2016 as the Shanghai Maritime University in China (MTCC-Asia) and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (MTCC-Caribbean.)

IMG_2344The European Commission describes the project thus: “This four-year project will enable developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, in five target regions – Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific, to effectively implement energy-efficiency and emissions reduction measures through technical assistance and capacity building. These regions have been chosen as they have significant number of LDCs and SIDSs.”

Following to the issuance of an invitation for expressions of interests by the IMO to member countries last June, 43 countries across the world, including nine in Africa responded. The African countries included South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana, Tanzania, Madagascar and Nigeria.

South Africa’s bid was made jointly by the Department of Transport, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI).

mtcc_africa_2
(Photo, courtesy of IMO)

In a statement last month the IMO announced that: “Under the Global MTTC Network (GMN) project, JKUAT will host MTCC-Africa in collaboration with Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Maritime Authority. The selection of JKUAT followed a competitive international tendering process.

“In the coming months two further MTCCs will be established in other target regions – Latin America and the Pacific – to form a global network of such centres.

“The five regional MTCCs will deliver the agreed project milestones over a three-year period, making a significant contribution to IMO’s continuing, widespread efforts to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of the global energy-efficiency regulations for international shipping.”

South Africa a focal point of the Africa MTCC

With the announcement SAMSA applauded Kenya and immediately committed to “South Africa’s concurrence to act as a focal point for the implementation of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in Kenya.”

South Africa’s inclusion as a ‘focal point’ of the Africa region MTCC to be based in Nairobi was part of a broader arrangement on how the new centre will operate based on IMO requirements.

In correspondence with the Kenyan State Department of Shipping and Maritime Affairs and the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, SAMSA said: “We confirm that we shall undertake the roles listed and required of the Focal Point by the IMO and to do all that will be necessary to ensure the success of the MTCC,” SAMSA said. It added: “Your (Kenyan) nomination of South Africa as a country focal point of the MTCC Africa for the Southern Africa region is testimony that proves a shared desire preoccupation which will serve to strengthen collaboration between our two countries.”

A race against gas emissions in oceans

img_6416The background and rationale to the global MTCC initiative according to the IMO, is that greenhouse gas emissions from shipping are expected to increase, yet developing countries who are increasingly playing a meaningful role in global shipping trade, lack in varying degrees the wherewithal to enhance energy efficiency in their shipping sectors.

“This project, formally entitled ‘Capacity Building for Climate Change Mitigation in the Maritime Shipping Industry’ will enable developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, in the target regions to effectively implement energy-efficiency measures through technical assistance, capacity building and promoting technical cooperation,” said the IMO

New MTCC’s focus areas

Precisely, the network of MTCCs globally, once operational, will focus on:

  • improving capability in the region – by working with maritime administrations, port authorities, other relevant government departments and related shipping stakeholders to facilitate compliance with international regulations on energy efficiency for ships
  • promoting the uptake of low-carbon technologies and operations in the maritime sector through pilot projects
    raising awareness about policies, strategies and measures for the reduction of GHG and other emissions from the maritime transport sector
  • demonstrating a pilot-scale system for collecting data and reporting on ships’ fuel consumption to improve shipowners’ and maritime administrations’ understanding in this regard, and
  • developing and implementing strategies to sustain the impact of MTCC results and activities beyond the project time-line.

The IMO described the JKUAT as “a multi-disciplinary university of global excellence in training, research and innovation that aims to produce leaders in the fields of agriculture, engineering and technology. The university provides degree courses related to maritime shipping and has a track record of engagement in regional maritime capacity building activities.

In addition, according to the IMO; “JKUAT has hosted  numerous conferences, seminars and workshops, and has a long history of collaboration with different organizations focused upon suitable energy solutions and maritime issues. MTCC-Africa will be strategically located at two offices in the Kenyan Coastal region, at JKUAT Mombasa Campus and at the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RMRCC), situated within the Mombasa port facility.”

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

Pretoria: 28 February 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 To view, Click Here.

 

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