Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape will again be the receiving and welcoming city to about two dozen of South Africa’s newest cadets to successfully set sail – and venture for the first time into the icy Antarctica territory over the last the last 80 days.
The welcoming back ceremony takes place on Friday morning at the port of Port Elizabeth where the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) along with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the South Africa Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) and various stakeholders, including the media will see the cadets get off their their training vessel, the SA Agulhas on South African soil for the first time since 24 November 2017.
The 20 cadets comprising 19 deck and one engine, left the country on the day to join a group of Indian scientists in Mauritius and with whom they would spend the rest of the time at sea from the Indian to the Southern Oceans for about 60 days.
The cadets under the stewardship of Port Elizabeth based SAIMI are mostly from the country’s two universities specializing in maritime education and sailor development; the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and Durban University of Technology.
During the trip on which their supervision was under SAMTRA officials, the cadets underwent extensive training in their respective streams as part of their academic education towards a set of maritime qualifications including of engineering.
Sea training on board sailing vessels is a vital aspect of their maritime training and education and for which the SA Agulhas, hauled from certain retirement by SAMSA some five years ago, is designed.
After acquisition by SAMSA from the Department of Environmental Affairs, the SA Agulhas was converted into the dedicated cadet training vessel, complete with a state-of -the-art modern simulator that allows the students real time experience of sailing and managing vessels in actual sea conditions.
The trip to the Indian and Southern Oceans over 80 days was the second by the SA Agulhas in 2017 involving, on each of the occasions, the deployment and training of young South Africans cadets in the company of scientists from India.
On their departure in November from Cape Town, the new cadets had high hopes and spoke well of their expected experience during the voyage in the video below.
This blog will again speak to them to find out if their experience matched their expectations. We will share those views on this blog from Friday onward.
Friday’s welcome back event is scheduled to take place at the port of Port Elizabeth from early morning till noon.
Among expected guests are senior officials of both SAMSA and SAIMI, among them Mr Sobantu Tilayi (COO at SAMSA) and Dr Malik Pourzanjani (CEO of SAIMI).
As many as 47 scientists from the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research will rendezvous with the SA Agulhas, South Africa’s research and dedicated cadet training vessel in Mauritius on Monday after the vessel docked at the port of Port Louis early on Monday.
The group of scientists will join the vessel’s 37 member crew and 20 of which sailors are newly minted cadets of the South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) undergoing their first training on board the vessel, on their first ever visit to the Antarctica where the vessel is headed.
SAIMI, based at the Nelson Mandela University, is responsible for the country’s Cadet Training Programme.
The SA crew sailed from South Africa’s shores on the afternoon of the 24th November 2017 for Port Louis in Mauritius under the command of Captain M. Barnes who is accompanied by two dedicated training officers entrusted with ensuring that the training objectives for the cadets are realized. The South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) is in charge of the training on board the vessel.
According to SAIMI in a statement on Monday, as with the last similar scientific research and cadet training sojourn into the ‘end of the world’ undertaken at the same time in 2016/17, from Mauritius the contingent will, in a day or two, head down to Antarctica where the cadets will be spending the Christmas period as part of their compulsory on-board training before they can qualify as deck and engineering officers.
The vessel under charter from its owner, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), will spend time on the 68th parallel, which marks the start of the permanent ice cap.
SAIMI chief executive officer Professor Malek Pourzanjani said in a statement in Mandela Bay on Monday: “This is the second year that the vessel has been chartered by India’s National Centre for Antarctic Research for a multi-disciplinary scientific expendition, and this provided the added opportunity for a training voyage.
“During the voyage the cadets will have a combination of on-board lectures and gain experience working on watches and assisting the crew. They will also be able to watch the Indian scientists, who are studying currents and weather patterns, in action.”
According to Prof Pourzanjani, the group of sailors and scientists are expected to reach Antarctica in around three weeks.
SAIMI profiled the cadets as aged from 20-27, consisting of eight females and 12 males and 19 of whom are being trained as deck cadets and one as an engine cadet. They were drawn from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Durban University of Technology.
Captain Merwyn Pieters and Steven Paulse will manage the training.
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.”
Two 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.
Contributed by Kwanele Butana (Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Cape Town)
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has teamed up with industry and the College of Cape Town (CCT) to launch a project to boost the skills of marine engineering students.
This flagship project known as the Marine Engineering Workshop Training (MEWT), and accredited by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA); is intended to provide training to CPUT marine engineering cadets who successfully passed S1 and S2 in 2016. The training will take place prior to their work-integrated learning sea-going phase aboard internationally owned trading vessels.
“The MEWT is a statutory requirement of the SAMSA Code and the International Maritime Organisation’s international convention governing the standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers to which South Africa is a signatory,” says Pieter Coetzer, Training and Development Manager at the South African Maritime Training Authority (SAMTRA).
Participants include CPUT’s Department of Maritime Studies, the CCT, SAMTRA and the Transport Education Training Authority. The students will be trained on, among others; diesel engines, electrical, fitting and turning, hydraulics, pneumatics, sheet metal work and welding for a period of approximately eight months. Mr Coetzer adds that after the training, the student will be required to work on merchant ships for a further 12 months, and obtain an internationally recognized Certificate of Competency issued by SAMSA.
“This will enable them to work in the international shipping arena as Marine Engineers, and earn a tax-free, foreign currency salary,” he says. The programme also ties in with the Government’s Operation Phakisa, an initiative aimed at tapping into the opportunities the ocean’s economy provide.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) issued newly designed Certificate of Competence for seafarers has begun finding home with the country’s sailors and who are simply almost wholly impressed with its features. The CoC is one of two newly designed certificates launched by the organization a month ago.
Modeled on South Africa’s Passport with intricate security features, the new certificates according to SAMSA’s Centre for Seafarers, are in compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention) and the Merchant Shipping (Safe Manning, Training and Certification) Regulations, 2013, as amended (MS (SMTC) Regulations, 2013.
Chief Examiner at the Centre for Seafarers, Captain Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi says the STCW Convention is one of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) cornerstone convention.
“It is a comprehensive set of international regulations intended to ensure that the highest standards of seafarer competence are maintained globally. The STCW 2010 amendments are intended to ensure that STCW standards stay relevant, so that seafarers can continue to develop and maintain their professional skills,” says Captain Mulaudzi.
To produce the new certificates featuring a set of new intricate security measures – inclusive of a watermark with the SAMSA logo; a background watermark featuring a South African Vessel which is visible when the document is held to the light, as well as hidden elements such as invisible ink and micro-printed text – SAMSA worked closely with the Government Printing Works (GPW.
According to Captain Mulaudzi: “These are all intended to prevent tampering, alteration, forgery and to allow for easy recognition of the genuine items and also to ensure that seafarers’ identities are protected.”
The first proud sailor to lay claim to the new CoC earlier this month is Ryan Smith, a Chief Navigating Officer (<3000GT>) at Smit Amanda Marine in Cape Town, a company he has been with since about 13 years ago.
Smith, a graduate of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and a seafarer who has gone through the ranks on board various scientific research vessels managed and operated by Smit Amanda Marine, as well as the Offshore Division of the company involving various Offshore Tugs, said he was impressed with the overall layout of the new CoC.
“The layout of the new COC is more refined and substantially simplified, with useful additional general information notes at the rear of the booklet,” said Smith.
Being the first seafarer in the country to lay claim to the new CoC will remain a matter of pride for him for a while yet, he mused.
Of his now over a decade old career at sea, Smith quipped: “My most memorable moment in my short career thus far was the salvage of the jack-up rig, Perro Negro 6 which capsized off Angola. At this time I was serving onboard the AHTS Smit Madura, under the command of Captain Toralf Grapow, my friend and mentor, and coincidentally the Master of the very first vessel I joined as a cadet!”
Meanwhile, according to Captain Pierre Schutz, a deputy Principal Officer and a chief examiner (deck) at SAMSA’s Cape Town office, one or two other sailors have since collected theirs as well.
Staying constantly in touch with SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) financially sponsored students at the country’s various education institutions is among key priorities for Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo, the executive head of the organization’s Centre for Maritime Excellence and to which SAMSA’s maritime economic sector education, training and skills development program is entrusted.