Private sector puts shoulder on the wheel to redevelop South Africa’s fleet of cargo vessels: Vuka Marine

The Cape Acacia, Vuka Marine’s latest addition to the South African Ship Register berthed at the port of Saldanha on Saturday, 20 March 2021 for its cargo shipment of iron ore to Asia.

Saldanha Bay: 24 March 2021

The South African government’s ambitious plans to facilitate for and nurture the redevelopment of a domestically registered national fleet of trade vessels, as outlined in the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP), has the full backing of the private sector, with actual money on the table.

This was again amply expressed as well as demonstrated during the past weekend when one of the country’s trade ships owning company, Vuka Marine, added one more cargo ship – the largest of its class – to the South African Ship Register, this with the full backing of its mining client, Anglo American.

Visuals of the ceremonial flagging of the Vuka Marine owned cargo vessel, the Cape Acacia under the South African ship register at Saldanha Bay, Northern Cape on Saturday, 20 March 2021. The vessel is the 4th to be added to the country’s register by Vuka Marine since August 2015.

Saldanha Bay, the country’s main port for iron ore exports, was the venue on Saturday (20 March 2021) for the ceremonial hosting of the South African flag aboard stern of the newly acquired Vuka Marine ship, named the Cape Acacia. The vessel, a 206,000dwt Newcastlemax, built in 2005, was the 4th by Vuka Marine to be registered under the South Africa flag, bringing into the country’s ship register a cumulative deadweight capacity of 630 000 tonnes since 2015.

It was at the same port venue on the west coast of the Northern Cape Province in 2015 that Vuka Marine also formaly introduced its first ship that year, the Cape Orchid – now retired – and in the process, helping reintroduce large cargo vessels under the South African ship register since the collapse of a domestic fleet of such vessels type in the late 80’s.

All four of the Vuka Marine vessels – including the Cape Enterprise; and the ultramax Windsor Adventure – have Port Elizabeth (a.k.a Gqeberha) in the Eastern Cape Province as their home port – a matter itself described as having a particular significance for that region as well as the country.

At the port of Saldanha on Saturday, where the newly registered Cape Acacia berthed for its first load of iron ore export shipment to China, Vuka Marine senior officials, flanked by their Anglo American counterparts, representatives of the Department of Transport (DoT), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), spelt out their investment vision.

Mr Andrew Millard. Director: Vuka Marine

“We view ships as a catalyst for a broader social impact (particularly job creation) and advancement of national interests – priorities that lie at the heart of National Policy. To this end, Via Maritime Holdings, majority shareholder of VUKA Marine, has been proactive in creating seafarer sourcing channels that apply international standards, best employment practices and are consistent with demand-side requirements. This is work in progress, but we are starting to see successes in the careers of young South Africans who have worked on Vuka Marine ships,” said Mr Andrew Millard, CEO of Vuka Marine.

Vuka Marine, said Mr Millard, was proud to have pioneered the domestication of cargo ships in the country and that his organisation was keen to share its own experiences with the rest of the sector.

Mr Andrew Mthembu. Chairman: Vuka Marine

The theme was further broken down into minute detail by the shipping company’s chairman, Mr Andrew Mthembu. In a 25 minute speech (captured in the video below), Mr Mthembu described it simply as “logical in every concievable way” that South Africa should strive to rebuild its own fleet of trade vessels if its geographical positioning as a maritime country is to be of benefit to all citizens as well as the global community.

For his full views, click on the video below.

Mr Pranill Ramchander, Executive Head of Corporate Affairs at Anglo American concurred with the Vuka Marine officials on the express need for supporting the South African economy through direct investment in shipping and associated infrastructure. Anglo, he said, had over the years demonstrated its commitment to the country and the partnership with Vuka Marine, through business support, was a typical example of such attitude and goal.

Mr Pranill Ramchander. Executive Head: Corporate Affairs, Anglo American

He said: “We highy comment Vuka Marine’s persistance and tenacity in developing and growing the maritime landscape in South Africa over the last few years. Anglo American is very proud to have been part of the journey which for us started in 2014. During that time Anglo transported approximately 15-milllons tons of cargo and contracts, most of it iron ore.

“Vuka Marine deserves credit from all in this room for taking a leading role in championing the agenda for growth of the South African maritime economy,” he said, adding that a strong and effective shipping infrastructure in South Africa would be an asset to a whole range of stakeholders, including job creation and skills development.

For his full remarks, click on the video below

South Africa’s Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula, billed to also grace the event but withdrawing at the last moment due to other pressing commitments, had his ministry’s views shared. In remarks shared on his behalf by DoT Marine branch deputy Director-General, Mr Mthunzi Madiya, he said: “Today is one of the most significant days for Maritime South Africa. When we developed this term, we envisaged a unifying entity that incorporates government and industry, enjoining them through their common interest in the success of the maritime sector. For us this means jobs, employment, influence and meaningful contribution to the economy.

Mr Mthunzi Madiya, Deputy Director-General: Marine Branch, Department of Transport

“I am sure Vuka Marine has similar indicators, perhaps an added few that nay includes profits. Equally Anglo would have their own scorecard that is well served by today’s event if not milestone.”

Mr Madiya said the redevelopment of the country’s shipping fleet was a critical building block to enabling South Africa achieve its goals of becoming a significant international maritime centre, characterised chiefly by an effective maritime sector administration able to facilitate economic growth of the industry.

“We are enjoined into ensuring a South African maritime sector that supports South Africa’s economic development. We have a stated objective, as contained in our Maritime Transport policy, that South Africa WILL be an International Maritime Centre. We have defined the characteristics of this International Maritime Centre as only two elements, a vibrant maritime economy that is supported by a model maritime administration,”he said.

To this end, he announced plans for further continued close engagement with the shipping industry for discussions on a range of issues including enhancement of investments incentives, contribution to greenhouse gas emissions control, skills development and training and related. Further details on the various subsector engagements would be shared with stakeholders soon, he said.

For the full remarks, click on the video below.

For SAMSA, the country’s agency responsible for promoting growth of the local ship register in accordance with its legislated broad mandate to, among other things, ‘promote South Africa’s maritime interests’; the additional cargo vessel into the country’s ship register was a welcome work in progress – occurring amid a whole range of challenges facing both the local and global economies, now compounded by the outbreak and rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now with a team of female leaders for the first time since establishment 21 years ago – Board chairperson, Ms Nthato V. Minyuku, and newly appointed acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Tsepiso Taoana Mashiloane; SAMSA described the private sector’s efforts – as demonstrated by both Vuka Marine and Anglo American as both humbling, commendable and encouraging under current global economic and consequent social crisis, particularly with regards jobs creation.

Among other issues, SAMSA noted as particularly highly significant that Vuka Marine, with its further acquisition of another cargo vessel, made a point of ensuring places for skills development of South African seafarers. With its inaugural iron ore cargo shipment out of South Africa this week, the Cape Acacia is taking with eight (8) cadets for skills development in seafaring over a period of between 6-9 months.

The cadets on board including one 3rd Officer; two able seamen, one deck and two engine cadets as well as two ABs are Loyiso Jantjies, Jethro Kekai, Ludfie Kemp, Sibusiso Khawula, Siphesihle Sibaya, Lunga Dlamini, Aside Shaun Maqubela and Nduduzo Mahaye. According to Vuka Marine, they may be joined by a further two South African seafarers, probably in Asia.

For SAMSA, redeveloping a South African fleet of cargo vessels was necessary partly to address the challenges facing seafarer education and training.

For both Ms Taoana-Mashiloane and Ms Minyuku’s full remarks, click on the videos below.

In the midst of challenging conditions at the port of Saldanha including restrictions related to Covid-19 regulations and compouded by poor weather conditions, this blog sought and managed to secure interviews with at least two of the eight (8) cadets taken on board the Cape Acacia for stints of between 6-9 months honing their seafarers skills.

The two, Loyiso Sydney Jantjies, an Able Seaman; and Lunga Dlamini, a deck cadet; were beyond themselves with joy at the opportunity to sail and gain valuable skills in their chosen careers in the process.

For their remarks, click on the video below.

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Women advancement in SA’s maritime sector on a giant historical leap: SAMSA

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South Africa’s first all female cadets and training officers team before sailing out in Cape Town on 27 December 2019 for a three months research and training sojourn into the Indian and Southern Oceans including Antarctica.

Cape Town: 30 December 2019

Women empowerment in South Africa’s maritime sector took on yet another relatively small but highly significant and historical step forward at the weekend in Cape Town after the country despatched an all women cadet and training officers’ team on a three months voyage to the southern seas.

The 22 women- two officers and 20 young female cadets sailed from the port of Cape Town on Friday night, headed for Mauritius where they will be joined in 10 days by a group of Indian scientists for their three months sojourn into the Indian Ocean and Antartica region.

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The 20 all female deck and engine cadets in full uniform on board the SA Agulhas a few hours before their historical training sojourn which will end in March 2020

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – owners and operators of the SA Agulhas, the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel – and the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) – the country’s agency for cadet training – the latest of three such training opportunities for the country’s cadets out sea was partly made possible by the out hiring of the SA Agulhas ship to the Indian National Centre for Antarctic Ocean Research (ICAOR).

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The SA Agulhas at the port of Cape Town. Owned and operated by the SA Maritime Safety Authority, the ship is South Africa’s only dedicated national cadet training vessel.

Scientists from the ICAOR will be conducting research of the Indian and Southern Oceans waters over a period of two months through to the end of February 2020. During this period, the all female 18 deck and two engine cadets will receive extensive training and earn crucial sea time to advance them through their studies as future mariners.

SAMSA and SAIMI described the send off of an all female cadet team and all female training officers in Cape Town at the weekend  as the first ever such adventure, deliberately aimed at advancing gender parity in the maritime sector through focused advancement of woman.

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From Left: Mr Ian Calvert, executive head of SAMSA’s Marine Special Services with the master of the SA Agulhas, Captain Reagan Paul in Cape Town on Friday 27 December 2019

Two of the 20 cadets will likely qualify for the Officer of the Watch exam after earning sufficient sea time during this voyage. For several of the cadets, this voyage will be the first time away from home and will be their first ever training opportunity at sea.

SAMSA Acting CEO Mr Sobantu Tilayi emphasized the importance of this particular voyage; “It is important that we use every opportunity we get to open up the maritime industry to all and this voyage is proof that South Africa is on-board with the international drive to empower women and is committed to do away with the notion that the maritime industry is a male dominated industry” said Mr Tilayi.

Mr Ian Calvert, executive head of SAMSA’s Marine Special Services, who was on hand to see off the all female training crew said: “Addressing poverty, unemployment and inequality is the responsibility of all South Africans. Further to this, gender parity in the workspace remains of great concern.

“Today, women signify two percent of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers with 94 percent of female seafarers working in the cruise ship industry. There can be no doubt this is a historically male dominated industry, subsequently there needs to be a concerted effort to help the industry move forward and support women to achieve a representation that is in keeping with 21st century expectations.”

According to Mr Calvert, the historical event send off at the weekend, was not just a uniquely South African initiative that was out of sink with the rest of the world, but a significant contribution to global efforts championed currently by international agencies such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Maritie Organisation (IMO).

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True to a call: (From Left) Ms Cher Klen and Ms Samantha Montes, the SA Agulhas training officers for the 2019-2020 historical all female cadet training voyage that began on Friday 27 December 2019

He said: “Through its Women in Maritime programme, under the slogan: “Training-Visibility-Recognition”,  the IMO has taken a strategic approach towards enhancing the contribution of women as key maritime stakeholders. In spite of this, the benefits of these and other initiatives still need to be fully felt in (South) Africa.

“For this particular voyage as a show of our continued commitment to the achievement of gender equality we have specifically dedicated it to the exposure of women in maritime,” said Mr Calvert

DSC_8091.JPGFurther, he said, the initiative was in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, the African Integrated Maritime Strategy, National Development Plan, Operation Phakisa as well as the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy.

“It is an attempt to address gender empowerment and inequalities specifically in South Africa, in the year that the IMO declared The World Maritime Day theme as “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”.

For Mr Calvert’s remarks on the topic, click on video below.

SA Agulhas Antarctica Voyage 2019: First All Female Training Venture

This blog also chatted with some of the youg female cadets as well as the master of the vessel on this voyage, Captain Reagan Paul, to gain their views and expectations of experience during the next three motnhs. The young cadets, Ms Lona Jiba (Eastern Cape), Ms Puleng Ramasodi and Thabango Ngobeni (both from Gauteng), and Ms Sinethemba Mdlalose (KwaZulu-Natal) were beyond themselves with joy at their first sea voyage and particularly on board the SA Agulhas on its journey to the ice mountains of the Antarctica region.

The blog also heard from one of the onboard training officers, Ms Samantha Montes who’s stated other interest during the voyage would be an observation of the implementation of the Polar Code.

For this and more click on the videos below.

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‘South Africa is open for business’: Vuka Marine – owner of now three SA registered cargo ships

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Pretoria: 22 June 2019

South Africa’s ship registry has been given a boost with the registration of yet another vessel operated by Vuka Marine, bringing to close on half a dozen the number of operational ships now carrying the South African flag in world oceans.

The Vuka Marine cargo vessel known as the Windsor Adventure: Port Elizabeth, was formally welcomed into the country’s ship registry at a ceremony held in the city of its registry and home, the port of Port Elizabeth this past week.

DSC_0837.JPGGuests attending included representatives of the Department of Transport (DoT), the Ports Regular of South Africa, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Eastern Cape provincial government, the Nelson Mandela University (NUM), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other business and institutions representatives.

DSC_0764.JPGVuka Marine is a joint venture between Via Maritime of South Africa and K-Line of Japan.  The company is currently moving about 2.5-metric tons of ore per annum, mainly on the first two capesize bulk carriers that it flagged in South Africa in 2015.

The latest addition is the third cargo ship operated by Vuka Marine to be registered under the South African flag and the fifth so far in the registry since launch of the SAMSA driven campaign to revitalise the commercial ship stock registered in South Africa about a decade or so ago – an apparently painstaking venture it has proved to be to date.

At the port of Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, both senior national and provincial government officials attending, including the Eastern Cape’s MEC for Transport, Ms Weziwe Tikana, expressed delight at the growth of ships now coming carrying the South Africa flag, however slow, and also acknowledged the need for speed in adding more into fold of the registry in far higher numbers if the country was to realise its ambitions of developing the country’s maritime economy transport sub-sector, develop skills and create employment.

DSC_0804.JPGIn the videos below, all six speakers – Captain Brynn Adamson (Harbor Master: Port of Port Elizabeth; Mr  Mahesh Fakir (CEO: Ports Regulator SA), Mr Metse Ralephenya (Marine Transport: DoT), Mr Andrew Millard (CEO: Vuka Marine), Mr Sobantu Tilayi (acting CEO: SAMSA) and Ms Weziwe Tikana (MEC for Transport: Eastern Cape) were unanimous in praise of the joint effort and close collaboration being achieved in delivering on the ship registry campaign. They also expressed determination in ensuring that hiccups currently being experienced, especially with taxation and related business costs of ship registration under the South African flag must be resolved.

In their order of appearance, Capt: Adamson said the port of Elizabeth was proud to be the home of no less than four operating vessels registered calling the port their home.

The four include the three operated by Vuka Marine and one other operated by bunking services company, Aegian. For his full remarks, click on the video below.

Ports Regulator, Mr Mahesh Fakir elaborated on financial incentives now approved in preference of vessels coming under the South African flag, as well as necessary operational conditions expected of ships registered in South Africa which he said were consistent with the country’s maritime sector developmental goals.

This was coming against the backdrop that South Africa relies on about 12 000 foreign vessels to carry 96 per cent of its exports to the rest of the world each year, leaving it strategically vulnerable.

On incentives, Mr Fakir said South Africa currently offers up to 30 per cent discount on port dues by ships locally registered. On operational conditions, among other things, he said it was important that vessels carrying trade goods outbound and inbound, as well as personnel manning the vessels, should increasingly be South African.

For more on his remarks, Click on the video below:

“South Africa is open for business….” were the closing remarks of Vuka Marine CEO, Mr Andrew Millard in summation of both his company’s experience and achievements in its quest for registration of its cargo vessels dating as far back as 2009 and one of which only got registered in 2014.

Among notable achievements being increasingly realised was the placement to date of some 50 young South African cadets on its vessels, the absorption of about dozen of these into full-time employment, and a current recruitment campaign for more young trainees known in the sub-sector as ‘ratings’.

He said Vuka Marine was also keen to assist the country’s ship registry through sharing experiences with ship operators keen on carrying the South African flag.

Mr Millard’s views were earlier echoed by the company’s chairman, Mr Andrew Mthembu, who remarked: “We are thrilled to welcome the Windsor Adventure into Vuka Marine’s fleet. This acquisition demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the development of the South Africa’s maritime industry, the national registry, and our seafarer population.”

For Mr Millard full remarks, Click on the video below:

For SAMSA, the campaign to enrol more commercial cargo vessels in the country’s ship registry had proved tedious, unnecessarily at times due to lack of co-operation by some important institutions.

“We are 95% towards setting up everything in place to ensure a smooth operation in  drawing ships into the country’s registry, but that five per cent that’s outstanding is the difference between success and failure'” said SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

Issues involving taxation were among the impediments, but so was more closer co-operation and collaboration necessary from particular the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), he said. For his full remarks Click on the video below.

Ms Weziwe Tikana, MEC for Transport in the Eastern Cape described it as befitting that newly registered vessels under the SA flag had their home in the province. She said the province had the privilege of having the second longest coastline in the country after the Western Cape but had little to show for it so far. However, she said, since launch of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) by government in 2014, the province had resolve to increase its economic contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product based on maritime economic sector growth,

This, she said, was necessary not just for economic growth but also for social transformation and higher participation by all South Africans.

For her full remarks, Click on he video below:

DoT’s Marine Transport directorate official, Mr Metse Ralephenya was full of praise that ‘pressure’ from the department on SOE CEOs involved in maritime transport was truly beginning to pay off handsomely, and vowed on behalf of DoT to ensure that necessary support by government was given.

For his full remarks, Click on the video below.

While being celebrated, the 56 000dwt Windsor Adventure was busy taking on board yet another load of locally mined minerals destined for overseas markets.

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Seafarers’ world due for a significant shakeup in South Africa: Department of Transport

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Some of South Africa’s growing cadre of seafarers, young and old, gathered on board the country’s dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas in Cape Town on Monday to observe the international Day of the Seafarer – one three venues in the country where the event was held in three cities simultaneously for the first time. The other venues were Durban and Port Elizabeth. In Cape Town, the event was marked by two distinct activities; while officials from government, industry, education representatives and related held a dialogue behind closed doors, the seafarers took time to have a cake as well as a braai.

Cape Town: 26 June 2018

The seafarers career in South Africa is bound for a major shakeup in the coming months involving three major aspects: a re-look at the status of their qualifications for proper positioning, an overhaul of the process of their intake into the career path, as well as expansion of employment opportunities – the latter expected to involve the establishment of a South African fleet of vessels to do port to port shipments.

The policy shifts by government, driven by the Department of Transport in collaboration with the maritime sector and various others, emerged during observation of the international Day of the Seafarer held in Cape Town on Monday – one of three similar events held also in Port Elizabeth and Durban.

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In dialogue: (From Left) Mr Leon Mouton of the Sea Safety Training Group, Mr Rob Whitehead
President – The Society of Master Mariners South Africa, Ms Leone Louw, a lecturer at Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Department of Maritime Studies and Mr Dumisani Ntuli, acting Chief Director General: Maritime at the Department of Transport during discussions of seafarers well-being related issues during observation of the international Day of the Seafarers in Cape Town on Monday.

It was the first time for South Africa to observe the annual seafarers’ event at three locations simultaneously on the same day at three venues – the other two being Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Participants at all three events included government and its agencies including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), higher education and training institutions, industry representatives as well as seafarers, among others.

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Mr Dumisani Ntuli. Acting Chief Director General: Maritime; Department of Transport

In Cape Town, Department of Transport acting Chief Director General for Maritime, Mr Dumisani Ntuli said a policy revision was currently underway to shakeup the country’s maritime sector but specifically shipping, with a view to facilitating the establishment of a domestic fleet of vessels to take over port-to-port shipping transport.

Primarily, this was to ensure greater participation of South Africa in the shipping sector involving its own people, but equally important, to create a stable and expanded opportunity for ongoing,  sustainable development of a professional cadre of South African seafarers immersed in an own culture.

However, Mr Ntuli also acknowledged an urgent need currently to both address the issue of already qualified seafarers and whose qualifications as well as related experience do not enjoy recognition by the country’s education system in terms of the South African Qualifications Authority.

He said a task team involving appropriate representations from relevant stakeholders would be set up to fast-track the process.

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Mr Dumisani Ntuli with some of the seafarers that attended South Africa’s observation of the Day of the Seafarers 2018 in Cape Town on Monday.

In tandem, the quality of young people entering the profession would also require a re-evaluation as it was being established that some, if not a significant number of people pursuing seafaring for a career were either ill-prepared or simply not suitable for the type of work.

Currently, it emerged, there was a high drop out rate of maritime sector education students by especially cadets, once they get employed fully at sea.

According to Mr Ntuli, the main goal of all the initiatives was to ensure a stable career path for seafarers and that they are absorbed into the shipping transport industry and remain employed for their working lifetime.

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Having fun: Some of the aspirant seafarers currently undergoing the first ratings training of its kind on board the SA Agulhas at the Cape Sun hotel in Cape Town on Monday for the observation of the international Day of the Seafarer 201 event – one of three held in the South Africa’s major coastal cities for the first time this year since inception of the Day of the Seafarer by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) eight years ago.

With regards the observation of the Day of the Seafarer annually, he said the new format involving the staging of the event in cities across the country’s coastline would remain the feature, primarily to ensure engagement of all stakeholders for a continuous dialogue on matters affecting the sector.

For a detailed presentation of Mr Ntuli’s remarks on this and related matters, Click on the video below.

A full round up of the various participants’ contributions to the discussion at the Cape Town event on Monday will follow soon.

Among the key participants were Ms Leone Louw, a lecturer in maritime studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Mr Rob Whitehead, president of the Society of Master Mariners South Africa, Mr Leon Mouton of the Safety Training Group, Captain Ravi Naicker of the South African Maritime Safety Authority, as well industry and seafarer representatives.

 

Meanwhile, dozens of young and aspirant seafarers attending the event were all enthusiastic about the prospects of their careers given the increasing attention that was now being given to their well-being going into the future.

Among these were Ms Lelethu Ntuzula and Mr Sanele Hlongwane, both in their 20’s – one a deck cadet and the other currently undergoing the first ratings training of its kind on board the SA Agulhas – an initiative of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) together with the TETA, that began three weeks ago in Port Elizabeth.

To hear their views, click on the video below.

Still in Cape Town, about two kilometers or so from the Cape Sun venue of the Cape Town leg of the Day of the Seafarers observation, at the Cape Town harbour, dozens of seafarers, young and old, on board the country’s dedicated cadet training vessel, the St Agulhas, had a cake and a braai, to mark the day, and fun was had by all.

In the other two coastal cities where the event was held, similar sentiment and merriment emerged.

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operating Officer for SAMSA reiterated the authority’s openness to seafarers and informed those gathered that the overall wellbeing of seafarers was their priority.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. COO: SAMSA

Seafarers had to prepare themselves for the challenges associated with working in a diverse and multi-cultural environment, he said.

Some seafarers gathered in Durban asserted that one of the challenges they faced at sea was being perceived as ill-disciplined when they raised labour-related issues with their superiors on-board.

Mr Tilayi said: “It is important for our seafarers to understand that it is the Merchant Shipping Act, rather than the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, which governs the labour rights of seafarers.”

He encouraged seafarers to view the maritime industry in its global context, and consider the norms and standards established in the companies in which they worked.

“We encourage all our seafarers to understand the complexities of the industry they serve,” Mr Tilayi said.

In summary the DoT and SAMSA said the maritime industry had the potential to address the high unemployment rate, and a plan of action was necessary to include the following interventions:

  • Adopt South African models and knowledge to solve the country’s unemployment rate.
  • Develop and own a South African shipping fleet for economic growth.
  • Develop a seafarers’ culture and create employment opportunities for qualified South African seafarers.
  • Develop a career path plan.
  • Build the fishing industry to accommodate SA seafarers.
  • Strengthen the capacity of the SA Agulhas to use it as a training vessel for South African seafarers.
  • Integrate technological advancements in the industry.

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Spruced up SA Agulhas ready for its 2018 scheduled journeys

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Pretoria: 22 May 2018

A newly spruced up SA Agulhas, the country’s only dedicated national cadet training vessel, is back in the Indian Ocean waters alongside the East London dock, ready for its next major operations at sea this year – one beginning at the end of May 2018 and the other, later in the year.

The second major ocean journey for the vessel, scheduled for about late November, will be its third research and training trip along the Indian and Southern Oceans as far as the Antarctica region, carrying on board a group of Indian scientists as well as new cadets from South Africa.

 

In preparation for the two operations, the vessel, owned and operated by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), went into dry dock in East London for about a week in late April 2018, after which some major paint work and refurbishment continued once back on water again at the river port in the last couple of weeks.

According to Roland Shortt, Operations Manager: SAMSA’s Maritime Special Projects, from East London, the SA Agulhas will sail to Port Elizabeth on Thursday  (24 May 2018) where it will then bunker on Monday prior to commencing with its first operation involving deployment of  scientific research equipment to the east coast of South Africa.

The deployment operation will set off  from Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) on the 31 May 2018 and finish up in Cape Town on the 16th June 2018.

To catch a glimpse of thework, this blog (The 10th Province) tagged along to see what was actually going on. We also spoke to the vessel’s commander, Captain Daniel Postman, and its all packaged in this 5 minute video below.

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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.

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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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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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Maritime economy education and job opportunities spread to Johannesburg

Collaboration between the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the City of Johannesburg begin to pay dividends for the unemployed!

BREAKING GROUND: Senior SAMSA officials Collins Makhado (Left) and Benard Bobison-Opoku (Right) with Mayor of Johannesburg City, Parks Tau at the conclusion of a ceremony on Tuesday to dispatch a number of youths for maritime economic sector jobs training. The youth selected youth group will be trained as cadets on international vessels over a period of time.
BREAKING GROUND: Senior SAMSA officials Collins Makhado (Left) and Benard Bobison-Opoku (Right) with Mayor of Johannesburg City, Parks Tau; at the conclusion of a ceremony on Tuesday to dispatch a number of youths from Gauteng for maritime economic sector jobs training. The youth selected youth group will be trained as cadets on international vessels over a period of time.

Pretoria: 07 April 2016

The formal dispatch of a batch of youths from Johannesburg on Tuesday (04 April 2016) for specialized training in the country’s maritime economic sector with the backing of a local government for the first time has clearly signaled the increasing recognition and appreciation by the country of the critical role the maritime economic sector can play in South Africa’s overall socio-economic development.

The event Tuesday, under the banner of a programme known as “Vulindlel’eJozi” was a culmination of collaboration and co-operation that has developed between the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Johannesburg local government, Transnet, Harambee Youth Employment Creator, MSC Cruisers and others on the importance of spreading awareness and opportunity for the country’s youth also in the country’s maritime economic sector.

Orange Farm youths.jpgThe Vulindlel’eJozi programme launched in June 2015, in partnership with SAMSA and others inclusive of the presidential programme – Operation Phakisa,  is designed to empower the youth with entry-level job training and placement in various sectors, online further education and entrepreneurship skills development.

According to Mayor Tau, so far a total 15 124 young people have directly benefited from various opportunities created through the Vulindlel’eJozi programme. include 2 895 candidates who have been placed into opportunities in various sectors of the economy such as early childhood development, hospitality, information technology, retail, financial services and business process outsourcing.

As of this week,  the programme also opened doors to maritime career opportunities for 10 Orange Farm youths who will pursue career skills development enabling them to function profitably in any of a number of maritime economic sector jobs – be it fishing, ship building, marine conservation, cargo handling or the leisure sector.

The 10 youths had reached the final stages of training in swimming and hospitality under the Vulindlel’eJozi programme and had already been through comprehensive medical examinations and a series of interviews with MSC Cruises – one of the most prestigious operators in the world.

Mayor Tau said that there were several South African companies currently being negotiated with as partners of the programme. These include Unilever, Nando’s, Mindworx consulting, Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Standard Bank, FNB, Nedbank, Imperial, Scaw Metals and Burger King.

The aim was to expand opportunities to as many as 200 00o youths.

A linked story: “Cruise ship job opportunities for Joburg youth”