A unique boat building initiative momentarily turns Benoni, in Gauteng, into a ‘Viking Village’!

Some of Benoni residents dressed as vikings during the official launch and floating of the unique wooden ‘viking’ leisure boat at the Benoni Sailing Club on Saturday

Pretoria: 03 September 2018

Economic and social development opportunities in South Africa’s maritime and marine economic sector remain hugely abundant if only current and aspirant entrepreneurs looked closely enough and made the effort to explore and exploit them.

Furthermore, such opportunities are not even confined to areas closest the country’s three oceans, but can be identified and exploited even in inland areas as was again ably demonstrated in Benoni, Gauteng at the weekend.

The Nordic Sea ‘viking’ leisure boat being officially floated at the Benoni Sailing Club with owner builder Mr Daniel Bungay at the helm.

This was the main sentiment to emerge within the country’s maritime sector at the weekend after the East Rand town of Benoni, a stone’s throw from Johannesburg, was momentarily turned into a “Viking village” when the local sailing club hosted the official launch of a unique ‘viking’ leisure boat conceived, hand-built and floated by resident entrepreneur, Mr Daniel Bungay.

Close on a thousand people turned up for the event at the Benoni Sailing Club on Saturday, many dressed up as Vikings to witness the formal unveiling and floating of the “The Nordic Sea” – an eight to 10-seater boat built with wood by Mr Bungay in just under two months at his home.

‘Viking’ leisure boat owner and builder, Mr Dainel Bungay (centre) celebrating the formal official launch of his new vessel, The North Sea, at the Benoni Sailing Club on Saturday

To ensure compliance with both its construction design and build material suitability and safety, Mr Bungay had roped in the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) for guidance and during the unveiling and launch ceremony on Saturday, the government agency duly handed Mr Bungay his new boat compliance certificate.

According to Mr Bungay, the leisure, paddles driven vessel, will be part of an arsenal in his new business venture, Greenhouse Factory, to provide unaccredited personnel training courses that include team building to companies local and countrywide.

“A dream delivered!” Mr Daniel Bungay, owner of the viking leisure boat, The Nordic Sea, thanking a crowd of about 1000 local Benoni residents for their attendance of the launch event on Saturday.

“It’s a dream come true, I feel delivered. It’s not just a boat, it’s a spirit.” said Mr Bungay in a brief interview. It was a dream about which he said he had worked hard in a very short time to realize and crucially, ably assisted by his wife, Ashleigh.

For Mr Bungay’s full interview click on the video below.

Meanwhile, Mr Imraan Davis, a provincial boat safety surveyor at SAMSA who handed over the boat’s compliance certificiate on Saturday, described Mr Bungay’s wooden boat building initiative as one of a kind, but an entrepreneurial vision realized and in its wake, was demonstrative of the opportunities that exist in the country’s marine and maritime economy sector.

A JOB WELL DONE: Mr Imraan Davis of SAMSA (Left) congratulating viking leisure boat builder and owner, Mr Daniel Bungay during the formal official launch of the small vessel at the Benoni Sailing Club on Saturday.

“It’s the first time I have seen something like this being undertaken inland to be floating today and SAMSA is actually proud to have been of assistance with the initiative,” said Mr Davis during an interview with a local community radio station.

For Mr Davis’ full remarks, click on the video below:

Shortly before formal launch and first floating of the vessel at the Benoni Sailing Club waterway, Mr Bungay shared his vision for the initiative with the local community. For the moving rendition, in a poetic style, please click on the video below:



An R8-billion worth oil rig and ship repair business up for grabs – Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).


Pretoria: 15 February 2016

The current down turn in the world’s economy and whose impact is more pronounced on depressed commodity prices but especially mining and oil, presents South Africa’s maritime economic sector with a golden opportunity to stack up investment in subsectors best positioned to benefit from it, according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele.

An artist's impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha
An artist’s impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

He was speaking during a gathering of some of the country’s maritime sector business and investment leaders organized by SAMSA in Cape Town last week.

According to Mr Mokhele, sub sectors of the country’s maritime economic sector best positioned to benefit from the current global economic downturn, and which has seen South Africa’s currency exchange rate plummeting to over R15 to the US dollar in a period of less a year, were marine tourism and leisure, marine manufacturing but specifically ships and oil rigs repair and related.

Mr Mokhele said South Africa’s maritime sector economic development was now fully on the country’s agenda as illustrated by the launch of the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative in 2014, and therefore had garnered sufficient political will as well as support from infrastructure developers such as Transnet.

“What is still holding us back is the ambition of the industry, the trust levels of the (private sector) industry, those they need to more successful will respond positively to their needs,” said Mr Mokhele.

According to Mr Mokhele, with investors in the maritime sector taking advantage of current of the current global economic conditions, the oil rigs repair and boat manufacturing alone could develop an into an R8-billion worth business in the next five years.

For Mr Mokhele’s full remarks; click here:

More from the roundtable discussions to follow soon…..