South Africa joins the international community in celebrating its growing cadre of sailors

With about 11000 seafarers now in its name, the country is steadily making progress towards maritime economic sector skills development and thereby creating opportunities  for all.

Pretoria: 29 June 2016

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South Africa’s passionate yet purposeful campaign to enhance greater public awareness towards realization of the relevance and importance of the country’s status as fundamentally a maritime region, and whose global trade is almost completely dependent on the seas around it, continued in Durban at the weekend, with a national event to celebrate the International Day of the Seafarer.

DSC_0274Situated appropriately within the annual Durban International Boat Show and Exhibition held at the Royal Natal Yacht Club, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) driven annual event, hosted in South Africa by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA); drew attention to the country’s 11 000-strong cadre of seafarers and which is steadily growing to take advantage of the numerous opportunities presented by the country’s vast ocean economy.

Over the past decade, SAMSA working closely with a variety of partners both within the private and public sectors, has played an instrumental, if pivotal role as a State organ to drive hard, deliberately and purposefully, a human skills development campaign for the South African maritime economic with much emphasis initially on cadet training, leading to its acquisition and management of the country’s first dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas, in 2011.

DSC_0296As of Saturday, 25 June 2016; there were on record about 11 000 seafarers in South Africa, plying their trade both locally and abroad and with their US dollar denominated income earnings making a contribution to the country’s gross domestic product.

The International Day of the Seafarer, is a global event which according to SAMSA’s Centre for Corporate Affairs was first celebrated in 2011, following its establishment by a resolution adopted by the Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, held in Manila, Philippines, in June 2010, which adopted major revisions to the STCW Convention and Code.

The Day of the Seafarer had since been included in the annual list of United Nations Observances.

IMO related1This year’s theme for the Day of the Seafarer was #AtSeaForAll a notion, according to the centre, that  had a clear link with the 2016 World Maritime Day theme, “Shipping: indispensable to the world”, emphasizing that seafarers serve at sea not just for the shipping industry or for their own career purposes but for all of society, hence they are “indispensable to the world”.

Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) (Photo: IMO)
Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) (Photo: IMO)

In a statement in Sweden on Friday, IMO Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim described the global seafarer celebration on Saturday as an opportunity for communities across sectors to “reflect on how much we all rely on seafarers for most of the things we take for granted in our everyday lives.

He said: “Over one million seafarers operate the global fleet yet billions of people depend on them for the essentials and the luxuries of life. Shipping is essential to the world – and so are seafarers.

“So, this year, on 25 June, the Day of the Seafarer, we are once again asking people everywhere to show their appreciation for the seafarers that quietly, mostly unnoticed, keep the wheels of the world in motion.”

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during celebration of the International Day of Seafarers in Durban on Saturday, 25 June 2016.
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during celebration of the International Day of Seafarers in Durban on Saturday, 25 June 2016.

In Durban on Saturday, SAMSA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the crucial role of South Africa within the world’s maritime economic sector, and the importance of skills development within it, but also the need for recognition and appreciation of contributors to the growth of the domestic maritime sector.

Of seafarers, Mr Tilayi – who had alongside him Captain Thembela Tobashe – one of the first of three black females ever to qualify as Master Mariners – echoed the IMO view, stating: “At the coal face of driving economies around the world and at the forefront supporting international trade the seafarers, whether deck hands, captains of ships, engineers and cadets, galley staff play a very significant role in ensuring the world’s economic growth and sustainability.

20151207_151556 (2) “Seafarers are those brave hearts who risk their lives, give up months of family time and being on land, to go out to sea, to not only support and protect our beloved country and their nations, but also to create an impact on each and every citizen by ensuring international trade, which affects us all. They make sure that the environment is protected, trade is flowing and our communities are able to thrive and develop themselves. It is therefore essential to raise our hands in salutation to these fearless men and women,” said Tilayi.

Mr Tilayi encouraged particularly youth to explore at depth the skills and economic benefits their involvement in the sector might provide them.

For Mr Tilayi’s video presentation in Durban, Click Here.

For Mr Lim’s message, presented at the Durban event by Captain Tobashe, please Click Here

For a select group of photos of the Durban International Boat Show and Exhibition, please Click Here

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#AtSeaForAll as SA celebrates its seafarers

CELEBRATING SEAFARERS GLOBALLY: In this file photo Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters is seen with the country's first group of cadets taken on board a Vuka Marine's commercial cargo vessel, the Cape Orchid in September 2015 and who are now part of a growing cadre of seafarers - about 11 000 of them - servicing our oceans transport needs.
CELEBRATING SEAFARERS GLOBALLY: In this file photo Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters is seen with the country’s first group of cadets taken on board a Vuka Marine’s commercial cargo vessel, the Cape Orchid (the first to carry the country’s flag in 30 years) in September 2015 and who are now part of a growing cadre of seafarers – about 11 000 of them – servicing our oceans transport needs.

Pretoria: 25 June 2016

Thousands of South Africa’s online (and off line!) community are expected to join the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on Saturday as South Africa celebrates its more than 11 000 seafarers in observation of the International Day of Seafarers.

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The Durban Yacht Club, the venue of Saturday’s International Day of Seafarers for South Africa celebrations hosted by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

In terms of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), focus of this year’s celebration is on drawing and heightening the international community’s awareness and recognition of the critical role played by sailors in domestic and global ocean transport for social, commercial and numerous other purposes.

IMG_0310As such, the campaign’s theme this year is: “At Sea For All” and SAMSA will activate the local version of the global effort in community engagement at the Durban Yacht Club – the venue of this year’s national boat show – at about noon today.

According to SAMSA, the Day of the Seafarer was first celebrated in 2011 following its establishment by a resolution adopted by the Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, held in Manila, Philippines, in June 2010, which adopted major revisions to the STCW Convention and Code.

The Day of the Seafarer had since been included in the annual list of United Nations Observances.

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

SAMSA said observation of the day provided an opportunity for the public in general to pay tribute to the world’s 1.5 million seafarers “for the unique and all-too-often overlooked contribution to the well-being of the general public.”

“At the coal face of driving economies around the world and at the forefront supporting international trade the seafarers, whether deck hands, captains of ships, engineers and cadets, galley staff play a very significant role in ensuring the world’s economic growth and sustainability,” said SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Sobantu Tilayi.

Therefore, he said; seafarers were the face of the maritime industry and continuously worked hard to strive for excellence.

“Seafarers are those brave hearts who risk their lives, give up months of family time and being on land, to go out to sea, to not only support and protect our beloved country and their nations, but also to create an impact on each and every citizen by ensuring international trade, which affects us all. They make sure that the environment is protected, trade is flowing and our communities are able to thrive and develop themselves. It is therefore essential to raise our hands in salutation to these fearless men and women,” said Mr Tilayi.

IMG_2344Mr Tilayi encouraged the country to get together and acknowledge these unsung heroes. He said as a celebration to the seafarers and their challenging and demanding job, SAMSA continuously aimed to support and provide jobs in the maritime industry both for men and women.

“Our involvement in the Operations Phakisa Oceans Economy Initiative places us at the forefront of ensuring that South Africa produces seafarers of international standards. SAMSA would like to combine this industry where an abundance of jobs are available to combat the country’s current plight of high unemployment,” said Mr Tilayi.

In an appearance on the SABC News Breakfast Show ‘Weekend Live’ early on Saturday morning, Mr Tilayi further elaborated on the event. To listen, Click Here

Day of the Seafarer 2016

Meanwhile the schedule for the day is as follows:

Venue: Durban Yacht Club.

13h00: Army Band to start playing music at the SAMSA activation area.

13h15: Program  director to announce the purpose of the gathering and a few remarks.

13h20-13h30: Army Band to continue playing upbeat music to get the crowd hyped up.

13h30: Program director reads the message of support from the Secretary General of the IMO on the international Day of the Seafarer.

13h35: SAMSA CEO addresses the crowds on the International Day of the Seafarer.

13h45: Program director vote of thanks and introduces the Army band playing the National Anthem.

13h50: Army Band continues playing and the program ends.

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