South Africa ship registry bags one more vessel – a further boost to seafarers training

Pretoria: 19 March 2017

Æ: Reproduced and adapted from: Tugs, Towing & Offshore News. 18th Vol, No.23 Dated 19/03/17
Great Manisha
The Greatship Manisha. (Photo: Courtesy of shipspotting.com

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.”

Great Manisha 1Two 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.

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Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) needs real speed, warn investors

Pretoria 14 February 2017

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HARKING FOR HASTE: Mr Chris Sparg (Front Right) MD of Dormac waiting to be seated while Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Second Right) acting CEO of SAMSA and Mr Mavuso Msimango (Centre Back) welcome some of about 60 maritime economic sector principals gathered in a networking session organized by SAMSA in Cape Town last Wednesday evening.

South Africa’s maritime economic sector development programme, Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) will need to speedily live up to its name and ‘hurry up’ sooner than later if it is to draw any significant investment into the sector, in the process laying conducive conditions for business development and job creation, Mr Christopher Sparg, Managing Director of Dormac has warned.

CALLING FOR SPEED: Mr Chris Spark, MD of Dormac addressing a SAMSA Networking Session in Cape Town
CALLING FOR SPEED: Mr Chris Sparg, MD of Dormac addressing a SAMSA Networking Session in Cape Town

He was speaking during a SAMSA organized industry networking session held in Cape Town to coincide with the country’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) presented by President Jacob Zuma in Parliament last Thursday.

Mr Sparg was among 60 odd maritime sector industry principals gathered for the event in Kalk Bay on the eve Mr Zuma’s SONA speech and in which he was expected to share Government’s perspective and goals about the specific programme.

The idea, according to SAMSA was to allow for the sharing of views and engagement with Government policy owners many of who were in the city for the opening of Parliament.

In his speech, Mr Zuma made reference to Operation Phakisa as among key priorities areas of government’s focus in overall economic development activity. Highlights of planned action included the inclusion of marine tourism as part of the package, and also the dedication of Simonstown as the “government garage  for all state-owned vessels, including the maintenance and repair of government-owned vessels, through the newly established South African Navy/ARMSCOR/Denel partnership.”

NETWORKING SESSION:  Mr Chris Sparg, MD of Dormac in conversation with fellow maritime sector industry guests during SAMSA's Networking dinner in Cape Town ahead of SONA 2017
SHARING PERSPECTIVES: Mr Chris Sparg, MD of Dormac in conversation with fellow maritime sector industry guests during SAMSA’s Networking dinner in Cape Town ahead of SONA 2017

From a maritime economic sector industry perspective however, the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014, essentially to speed up processes towards unlocking bottlenecks and creating a conducive environment to increased investment, business development and job creation, was simply not living up to expectations, charged Mr Sparg.

“We’ve yet to experience the speed about which Operation Phakisa was launched” said Mr Sparg, adding that this was leading to uncertainty and frustration among especially those already invested in the local economy.

Mr Sparg leads Dormac Marine and Engineering, a division of Southey Holdings that is a major player in the country’s ship repair, industrial fabrication and oil and gas maritime fields.

For his full remarks, please Click Here

 

 

 

KZN Enkovukeni Community upliftment programme moves a step further after 8 boat skippers complete their training

ASPIRANT BOAT PILOTS: Eight youths (Standing) from the Enkovukeni village of Mhlabauyalingana in northern KwaZulu-Natal with their supervisors during their week long training as boat skippers at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence are (From Left), Ms Vyuswa Mthembu, Mr Khulani Ngubane, Ms Zanele Mgobosi, Ms Ntombikayise Mlambo, Mr Philani Ngubane, Ms Nokuthula Ngubane, Mr Khulani Mike Mthembu and Mr Robert Ngubane. At the front are (From Left) Mr Vincent Zulu (KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board) and Mr Mzwamandla Sosibo (SAMSA)
ASPIRANT BOAT PILOTS: Eight youths (standing) from the Enkovukeni village of Mhlabauyalingana in northern KwaZulu-Natal with their supervisors during their week long training as boat skippers at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence are (From Left), Ms Vuyiswa Mthembu, Mr Khulani Ngubane, Ms Zanele Mgobosi, Ms Ntombikayise Mlambo, Mr Philani Ngubane, Ms Nokuthula Ngubane, Mr Khulani Mike Mthembu and Mr Robert Ngubane. At the front are (From Left) KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Education Projects Specialist, Mr Vincent Zulu  and SAMSA Curriculum Development Specialist, Mr Mzwamandla Sosibo.

Durban: 02 December 2016

A South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) initiative, supported and driven by the Department of Transport, to alleviate the plight of a northern KwaZulu-Natal community forever swamped in water, has moved yet another significant step forward after eight (8) new boat skipper trainees completed their training in Durban recently.

All eight skipper trainees – four males and four females – are from the community of Enkovukeni, at Umhlab’uyalingana and all successfully went through a rigorous training programme at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence in Durban a week ago.

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Rural northern KwaZulu-Natal’s Enkovukeni village’s first ever boat pilot trainees that are part of a SAMSA initiated and Department of Transport driven upliftment initiative are (from Left) Vuyiswa Mthembu, Zanele Mgobosi, Ntombikayise Mlambo and Nokuthula Ngubane. The four who are part of a total eight (8) trainees involved in the programme are due to receive their skipper’s licenses soon.
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If all goes well, these boat skipper trainees from Enkovukeni village at Mhlabauyanlingana in northern KwaZulu Natal, should receive their skippers’ licenses soon. They are (From Left), Khulani Mike Mthembu, Khulani Ngubane, Philani Ngubane and Robert Ngubane

The training, conducted by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board along with SAMSA, is part of a now much broader community initiative launched about three months ago to initially provide water based transport to the Enkovukeni community, a village situated on a thin 5km waterlogged stretch piece of land forming part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park – South Africa’s first world heritage – in the north of KwaZulu-Natal.

Enkovukeni, at Mhlabauyalingana, is practically an island, stretching from Bhanga Neck to Kosi Bay Mouth with the Indian Ocean on one side and the Kosi Bay lake system on the other. The area is virtually only accessible by foot or make shift canoes which residents currently use.

Transport Department Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (in black outfit) and some senior government officials at provincial and local government level in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi on board a boat donated by private sector companies to the water-locked community of Enkovukeni at Umhlabuyalingana on the north coast of KwaZulu Natal on Friday
Transport Department Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (in black outfit) and some senior government officials at provincial and local government level in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi on board a boat donated by private sector companies to the water-locked community of Enkovukeni at Umhlabuyalingana on the north coast of KwaZulu Natal on September 09, 2016

The initiative is part of the Umhlabuyalingana Outreach Project which was initially proposed as a Nelson Mandela International Day project by SAMSA, the latter which drew a partnership with other stakeholders to accelerate delivery of services and bring immediate and long term relief to the community.

Private sector partners now supporting SAMSA and the Department of Transport include Dormac, Subtech, Smith Amandla Marine, Unicorn, SA Shipyards, MIASA, KZN Sharks board, FBI Communications, Viking Lifesaving and Surfing Equipment.

In September 2016 Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiswe Chikunga led the formal launch of the initiative at the village and at which event she handed over the first of four boats earmarked for donation to the community.

img_3960The newly trained boat skippers, all previously unemployed youths from the community will once formally licensed, be charged with responsibility for manning and managing the boats to be deployed with the community, said SAMSA Curriculum Development Specialist, Mr Mzwamandla Sosibo.

Mr Sosibo and KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Education Project Specialist, Mr Vincent Zulu who oversaw the training, were on hand in Durban last Friday to see the group return home after its training.

Mr Sosibo said SAMSA was pleased that significant progress was being achieved with the initiative, but precisely with regards water based transport for the community as this remained the main challenge to address all other problems. For his full remarks Click Here:

img_3959Meanwhile, Mr Zulu said the Enkovukeni initiative constituted an example of the nature of beneficiation communities across the country could elicit from the national Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) initiative launched in 2014.

Of the eight skipper trainees, he said they had an equal obligation to ensure that contribution made to their Enkovukeni community fully benefitted everyone and that projects initiated were jealously guarded and fully supported by the community for long term sustainability. For Mr Zulu’s full remarks, Click Here

Meanwhile, the eight boat skipper trainees said they were “absolutely elated” to have been included in the programme and vowed to give it their all to ensure the programme is sustainable.

For their remarks (averaging one minute each), please Click the pictures below

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South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016: launchpad for new Maritime Research and Innovation Roadmap

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Pretoria: 19 October 2016

South Africa’s recently developed maritime research and innovation road map is anticipated to be among highlights at this year’s South Africa-Norway Science Week scheduled for Pretoria and Cape Town at month end.

picture1The inaugural event to be held in Pretoria on Monday 31 October before moving to Cape Town from Tuesday to Friday (November 01-04, 2016), is a joint initiative between the South Africa and Norway governments. Its aim is to provide a platform for exploration of opportunities for cooperation in education, research and new business development.

This week, in the video below, Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen gave a broad, insightful overview of the event, and about which she said her country was very excited to be part of.

South Africa, a maritime country that doesn’t know it!

For South Africa which has worked closely with Norway on particularly research collaboration on a range of fields since launch of the South Africa-Norway Programme on Research Cooperation 15 years ago; the Science Week 2016 event is said set to provide opportunity for the country to share its recently developed marine and maritime sector research and innovation roadmap.

20161020_082313Funded by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) under the Department of Transport, with partners inclusive of the Department of Science and Technology, and compiled by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) the roadmap document in a book format titled A Research, Innovation and Knowledge Management Road Map for the South African Maritime Sector – Charting a Road to Maritime Excellence by 2030, was published earlier this year following to a lengthy, intensive consultative process involving no less than 400 stakeholders in the country’s maritime sector.

According to editors – all researchers at the CSIR’s Natural Resources and Environment division – Nikki Funke, Marius Classen, Richard Meisser and Karen Nortjie; development of the roadmap was in response to an expressed urgent need for coordinated guidance into research needs in the country’s maritime and marine environments.

According to the researchers, South Africa has 3924 kms of coastline and a “sea-land” area – known as an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – that is three times bigger than its land size (at 1.5-million square kilometers).  The country is also positioned on a major shipping route and has eight commercial ports and 44 non-commercial harbours.

Currently, 58% of South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) is based on trade and 98% of South Africa’s trade volume moves by ships. In addition, the country generates a significant 3.5% of the world’s seaborne trade volume.

However, in spite of these impressive numbers and with 30% of South Africa’s population living on the coast, many South Africans generally do not recognise their country as a maritime nation.

“In order to provide a mechanism through which…. critical questions can be answered, SAMSA, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), appointed the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to facilitate the process of developing a National Research, Innovation and Knowledge Management Road Map for the South African maritime.

“The Maritime Road Map presents a vision for the maritime sector, which is for South Africa to be globally recognized as a maritime nation by 2030. The Maritime Road Map subsequently identifies eight key objectives, which, together with a set of core research, innovation and knowledge management-focused actions per objective, serve to enable the maritime sector to chart a course to maritime excellence in South Africa.

roadmap“The Maritime Road Map therefore sets the agenda for the research, innovation and knowledge management needs for the maritime sector and maps out the direction the maritime sector is required to take in order to address these needs,” so state the editors.

Funke et al further state that the Maritime Road Map is also crucially relevant to the country’s maritime economic sector rejuvenation and repositioning under the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) project launched two years ago and through which the country’s oceans are estimated able to generate up to R 177 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2033 – more than three times the rate of contribution generated by the sector in 2010. As many as 22 000 new direct jobs are projected for 2019 with the figure anticipated to rise to between 800 000 and 1-million new jobs in 2033.

The Maritime Road Map according to the editors, has its scope spread between both the maritime and marine domains, with thematic areas defining the scope involving precisely shipping and transport, marine resources, coast and marine tourism and marine protection services and governance.

As many as 300 guests are expected to attend the South Africa-Norway Science Week 2016 from October 31 to November 04, with a sizeable number of these being from overseas countries including Norway and France.

Keynote speakers will include Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor.

For more information, Click Here

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US Government maintains engagement with SAMSA for possible closer collaboration on marine domain security

IN PURSUIT OF OCEANS SAFETY: Back Row (From Left): Mr Hagen Maroney, US Embassy (South Africa) Environment, Science and Technology Officer; Mr Sizwe Nkukwana, SAMSA Manager for Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy); Ms Ameliah L. Croft, US Embassy (South Africa) Foreign Affairs Officer; Mr  David Moisi, SAMSA Manager for International Relations and Protocol,  and Mr Martin Matlebyane, US Embassy (South Africa) Environment, Science and Technology Specialist. Front Row: (From Left), Ms Rebecca R. White, US Embassy (South Africa) Transportation and Telecommunication Officer, and Professor Jane Lubchenco, US Department of State advisor in Marine Studies and US Science envoy for the Ocean.
IN PURSUIT OF OCEANS SAFETY: Back Row (From Left): Mr Hagen Maroney, US Embassy (South Africa) Environment, Science and Technology Officer; Mr Sizwe Nkukwana, SAMSA Manager for Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy); Ms Ameliah L. Croft, US Embassy (South Africa) Foreign Affairs Officer; Mr David Moisi, SAMSA Manager for International Relations and Protocol, and Mr Martin Matlebyane, US Embassy (South Africa) Environment, Science and Technology Specialist.
Front Row: (From Left), Ms Rebecca R. White, US Embassy (South Africa) Transportation and Telecommunication Officer, and Professor Jane Lubchenco, US Department of State advisor in Marine Studies and US Science envoy for the Ocean.

26 July 2016

Closer collaboration between the United States of America (USA) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on various aspects affecting and impacting the maritime domain remains vital for achievement of common goals, a meeting between representatives of the two parties in Pretoria concluded.

The meeting on Friday (22 July 2016) at the SAMSA’s Head Office in Pretoria, involving members of senior management of the organization, headed by acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; and a US government delegation led by US Department of State’s Science Envoy of the Ocean, Dr Jane Lubchenco, was the second between the two groups in about 12 months.

Accompanying Dr Lubchenco – also a distinguished professor and advisor in marine studies at the Orange State University in Corvallis (Oregon. USA) – were US South Africa embassy officials;   Transportation and Telecommunication  Officer, Ms Rebecca R. White; Environment, Science and Technology Specialist, Mr Martin Matlebyane; and Foreign Affairs Officer, Ms Ameliah L. Croft.

Also present were representatives of the Department of Transport.

Captain Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi, SAMSA Chief Examiner and Ms Esayvani Padayachee, SAMSA Statistics Administrator (Centre for Boating), working on finer details of the meeting's agenda shortly before the SAMSA management and US Government delegation on Friday (22 July 2016).
Captain Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi, SAMSA
Chief Examiner and Ms Esayvani Padayachee, SAMSA  Administration Officer (Office of the COO) working on finer details of the meeting’s agenda shortly before the SAMSA management and US Government delegation in Pretoria on Friday (22 July 2016).

On the agenda were, among others; the progress being achieved with South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) from a SAMSA perspective, the State organization’s role and standpoint on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s Port State Measures Agreement and to which South Africa gained accession in February 2016.

The Agreement on Port State Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, entered into by a number of countries around the world since about 2009, is described by the FAO (UN) as an instrument designed to mobilize countries towards co-operation in the fight against illegal fishing globally.

FAO (UN) states thus: “Port State Measures (PSM) are requirements established or interventions undertaken by port states which a foreign fishing vessel must comply with or is subjected to as a condition for use of ports within the port state.

“National PSM would typically include requirements related to prior notification of port entry, use of designated ports, restrictions on port entry and landing/transhipment of fish, restrictions on supplies and services, documentation requirements and port inspections, as well as related measures, such as IUU vessel listing, trade-related measures and sanctions. Many of these measures have in recent years seen their inclusion and development in international instruments.”

Dr Jane Lubchenko (Left with a scarf) meeting members of the SAMSA management representatives at the start of the groups' meeting on Friday
Dr Jane Lubchenko (Left with a scarf) meeting members of the SAMSA management representatives at the start of the groups’ meeting on Friday

At the meeting at SAMSA HQ on Friday, the discussions touched on how SAMSA played a role in this regard and about which information was exchanged on the effects of a “Safe Ocean Network” initiative linked to the illegal fishing prevention crusade, that serves as a clearing house for information sharing among partners, whether state or individual and independent companies.

The US delegation also expressed interest in SAMSA’s role in the promotion of public awareness about the maritime sector, with expressed keen interest for collaboration and possible partnerships.

The US would also share more information on the increased utilization of certain technologies such as unmanned aircraft (drones) in the promotion of marine environmental safety, while the parties also agreed to cooperation with South Africa’s quest to enhance cruise shipping subsector of the maritime economy sector.

Previously, SAMSA and the US Department of State’s delegation led by Dr Lubchenco last met in Cape Town in July 2015 and during which parties held discussion on a range of maritime domain related programmes and projects towards which they could work jointly.

These included ocean government and community development, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, general safety and security at sea, skills development and technology transfer, research and development, climate change and renewable energy as well as ocean environmental management with regards especially ocean acidification

 Further discussion on these and related matters would continue, the groups indicated.

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South Africa bags one more cargo vessel under its national flag!

Four cargo vessels now in the country’s register, with about a dozen more due for registration in the next few months!

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Port Elizabeth: 14 July 2016

South Africa’s drive to expand growth and economic opportunity in the country’s maritime economic sector is steadily gaining pace with one campaign of the broad Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) strategy – the local registration of trade cargo shipping vessels under the country’s flag, gaining ground.

This became evident in Port Elizabeth this week when on Wednesday afternoon, the fourth so far of an estimated dozen international cargo vessels due for registration, had raised and held aloft at its stern for the first time, South Africa’s flag for its identity.

The MT Lefkas, a bunker (ship fuelling) vessel, is owned by Greek shipping fleet group, Aegean; and will be officially stationed at the port of Port Elizabeth, to supply fuel at sea to vessels sailing along Africa’s southern oceans.

IMG_2466For Aegean, the registration in South Africa of the R200-million worth bunkering vessel measuring some 102.5 meters, with a gross tonnage of 4580; is a kick-off to a medium to long term investment in the country involving a capital layout of about R1.6-billion, and which will involve two more vessels; according to regional manager Mr Kosta Argyros.

He said the MT Lefkas, with a capacity of some 6.8-million litres of oil, will effectively be the runner between the Aegean’s other bigger tanker station offshore along the Eastern Cape coast and passing fleets requiring fuel supplies.

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Mr Kosta Argyros, Eastern Cape regional manager of Greek shipping group, Aegean.

According to Mr Argyros, the positioning of the Greek’s bunkering services vessels in the Eastern Cape coastal area is based also on projections of significant growth in oceans based cargo which, he said, would see an increase of as many as 300 trade vessels in the region in the near future.

However, for South Africa’s broader economy, the addition of the vessel to the country’s steadily yet progressively growing stock of locally registered cargo vessels – now numbering four since September 2015 – will expand opportunities for a whole range of ocean economy businesses, but also critically, provide berths for the training of seafarers.

Mr Argyros confirmed: “The registration of the “MT Lefkas” and other vessels that will follow is significant towards the employment of the South African seafarers. Every vessel has extra accommodation that allows for the training and development of cadets.

“The registration of the vessel is not restricted to the bunkering operation only but also introduces many economic benefits for the people of Port Elizabeth such as surveying, offshore services and crew changes” he said.

WELCOME ON BOARD THE MT LEFKAS: Displaying plaques denoting the formal registration of Aegean's bunkering services vessel, the MT Lefkus under the South African flag in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday are (From Left) Aegean fishing group Eastern Cape regional manager Mr Kosta Argyros, SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, port of Port Elizabeth manager Mr Rajesh Dana and port of Port Elizabeth harbour master, Captain Brynn Adamson
WELCOME ON BOARD THE MT LEFKAS: Displaying plaques denoting the formal registration of Aegean’s bunkering services vessel, the MT Lefkus under the South African flag in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday are (From Left) Aegean shipping group Eastern Cape regional manager Mr Kosta Argyros; SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; port of Port Elizabeth manager, Mr Rajesh Dana; and port of Port Elizabeth Harbour Master, Captain Brynn Adamson.

According to Mr Argyros, these and a whole range of additional business opportunities could generate as much as R5-million for Port Elizabeth’s local economy in a given time period and in the process, create more additional employment opportunities for the local communities, thereby spreading the income benefit.

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Mr Rajesh Dana, Port Manager; port of Port Elizabeth

Port of Port Elizabeth Manager, Mr. Rajesh Dana added: “The Port of Port Elizabeth is proud and honoured to be the registered home port for the Aegean vessel, MT LEFKAS. We congratulate Aegean for the registration of the vessel on the South African flag and look forward to the opportunities that this will present to Nelson Mandela Bay and South Africa.

“This historic event is significant to the Port of Port Elizabeth and South Africa at large as it marks the catalytic growth in the South African Ship Registry and once again highlights Nelson Mandela Bay’s attractiveness as a Maritime City and its potential to exploit the Blue Oceans Economy,” he said.

(For Mr Dana’s remarks, Click Below)…..

20150909_101517_1With the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) charged by Government with responsibility for developing and expanding the country’s stock of locally registered vessels carrying the country’s flag, the organization’s acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi was on hand on Wednesday to witness and welcome the hoisting of the South Africa flag on the Greek owned vessel at the port of Port Elizabeth

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) speaking at an event marking the hoisting of South Africa's flag onto the Greek shipping group, Aegean's bunkering services vessel in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) speaking at an event marking the hoisting of South Africa’s flag onto the Greek shipping group, Aegean’s bunkering services vessel in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

Mr Sobantu said the positioning of the Aegean vessel in Port Elizabeth was with meeting a number of socio economic objectives among which was to strategically expand the location of fuel resources placement in the country, and which up to now, had been largely (66%) confined to the port of Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

Mr Tilayi, flanked by the Mayor of Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay metro), Dr Danny Jordaan and port of Port Elizabeth manager Mr Rajesh Dana, said the development and operationalization of the Ngqurha deep water port also in Port Elizabeth had opened up opportunity for expansion of transshipment of not only South African goods, but that of the whole of southern Africa.

“This helps reposition this whole (Eastern Cape) region to become an important transshipment hub for the entire southern African region.

He added: “Port Elizabeth has a very big potential as a services port for a whole range of maritime economic activities, including cruise (leisure) vessels because of its strategic positioning geographically but also because of the geolocation of the two ports which among other things, enjoy significant protection from weather and ocean currents related conditions,” he said.

(For Mr Tilayi:s full remarks, Click Below)

Port Elizabeth Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan

Also welcoming the Aegean business operation’s location in Port Elizabeth, Dr Jordaan said the development was an indication of the progressive achievement of the objectives of the country’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) initiative launched in 2014, and which he said, placed the Eastern Cape coastal city central to efforts to rejuvenate the country’s maritime economic sector.

Dr Jordaan echoed words of encouragement to especially local business to take advantage of emerging opportunities linked to investment such as that of the Greek shipping company now based in the city.

(For Dr Jordaan’s video clip, please Click Here)

And for the formal flagging of the Aegean owned bunkering services vessel, the MT Lefkas, Click Here)

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South Africa and Norway thrash out strategy for envisaged national maritime sector cluster – a multi-media feature

Pretoria: 14 June 2016

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A week ago Tuesday, more than 200 people from South Africa and Norway’s maritime economic sector gathered in a conference room of the Dolphin’s Leap leisure and entertainment centre on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront to share ideas towards a possibly suitable strategy for establishment of a national maritime economic sector cluster for South Africa.

DSC_0126Among them were senior government officials inclusive of the Department of Environmental Affairs – the lead State department on Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy), the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Science and Technology; thought leaders from academic institutions including the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, researchers from independent institutions and industry leaders in the country’s maritime economic sector.

Also present were provincial Eastern Cape government authorities, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Council as well as local business leaders inclusive of members of both the Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Durban maritime clusters.

DSC_0181Discussions at the forum took two forms; themed speeches and panel discussions interspersed by questions and answers from attendees,

A week ago this blog highlighted some of the key issues raised and discussed, and in this report (because you do not have two days of time to listen to it all!) we present you a virtual experience of discussions of some of the issues in audio and video formats.

To take you back to some of interesting topics covered, Click Here

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Mandela Bay Chamber of Business excited over maritime sector focus on Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth was South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma’s choice for the 2016 Presidential National Progress Report on Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in April. This week the city hosted yet another national maritime sector event with international flavour. 

Delegates to the two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth this week, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway
Delegates to the two-day national maritime cluster development seminar held in Port Elizabeth this week, among them senior government officials, maritime sector industry leaders, academics, research and business people from South Africa and Norway

Port Elizabeth: 07 June 2016

While national traditional media might be paying little if any attention to it, the Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce (Port Elizabeth) can barely hide its appreciation for the national and international attention the region is increasingly drawing in domestic and international maritime sector initiatives.

The chamber’s chief executive Kevin Hustler was remarking on the staging early this week of yet another maritime sector development oriented event in Port Elizabeth with much international flavour, a two-day seminar on national maritime sector cluster development involving thought leaders mostly from South Africa and Norway.

Dolphin's Leap on Port Elizabeth's beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway
Dolphin’s Leap on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway

The event, at a venue situated along the city’s pristine Blue-flaggedDSC_0148 Humewood beach and about a kilometre east of the port of Port Elizabeth, held under the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) theme, also provided the venue for the signing of a historical bilateral agreement between the Norwegian government and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University that involves the setting up of an academic institute to focus on illegal fishing studies and management strategy development.

Mr Hustler was among about 200 delegates that attended on Monday, alongside which was the city’s Mayor, Dr Danny Jordaan but who could only address the delegates on Tuesday.

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan Right) chatting with Norway ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen.
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan (Right) chatting with Norway ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

The Mandela Bay Chamber represents the largest membership number  of businesses in the city inclusive of three major vehicle and components manufacturers in the city, Volkswagen South Africa, General Motors South Africa and Ford Motor Company South Africa.

The Chamber is also a stakeholder and key role player in the region’s Maritime Cluster set up some four years ago.

To hear Mr Hustler’s remarks during a brief interview during the two day seminar, Click Below

Maritime sector industry clustering: from competition to synergy

Port Elizabeth: 07 June 2016

Dolphin's Leap on Port Elizabeth's beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway
Dolphin’s Leap on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront, the venue of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy seminar on clustering in the South Africa maritime economic sector, involving a range of thought leaders from South Africa and Norway

Establishment of clusters in South Africa’s maritime economic sector could have far more advantages for business owners in the sector than is derived by companies operating in isolation and in silos as is currently the case now. Among other things, the existence of a cluster would rather than eliminate competition, create synergies characterized by greater co-operation with shared benefits along values chains.

This was the strongest sentiment to emerge on the first day of a two day seminar on Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy – Exploring opportunities towards a national maritime cluster for South Africa – attended by a range  of thought leaders from South Africa and on Norway, on the need for development of clusters in the country’s maritime sector.

Delegates to the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) two day seminar currently being held in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
Delegates to the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) two day seminar currently being held in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

Several speakers, among them Ms Judy Beaumont, acting Director-General of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Dr Malek Pourzanjani, CEO of SAIMI and Mr Prasheen Maharaj, CEO of Shipyards said the launch of Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economic in 2014 provided South Africa an ideal platform upon which industry in the country’s maritime economic sector and government could collaborate to ensure rapid and sustainable development of the sector for the benefit of all South Africans.

Crucial to it all, however; was intentional and determined engagement both within the maritime business sector with a view to establishing effective collaborative channels, but also between the sector and the public sector.

Ms Judy Beaumont, acting Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs
Ms Judy Beaumont, acting Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs

Ms Beaumont outlined the nature and purpose of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme as well as the milestones achieved to date since its formal launch in 2014. She described the programme as intended to both develop and transform the sector for integration into the country’s mainstream economy for the benefit of all South Africans.

According to Ms Beaumont, the initiative has certain characteristics among which is the need for speed in implementing identified projects, but also the work undertaken jointly through cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders.

In his adress Dr Pourzanjani said; “This seminar is being held under the banner of Operation Phakisa to explore the establishment of a national maritime cluster. As with Operation Phakisa itself, the success of such a cluster will depend on the involvement and collaboration of all maritime role-players and sectors – it is not something that a single entity or authority can make happen on their own.”

Dr Malek Pourzanjani, Chief Executive Officer of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI)
Dr Malek Pourzanjani, Chief Executive Officer of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI)

According to Dr Pourzanjani, industrial clusters are not a new phenomenon and already exist in some other business and industrial sectors, such the country’s motor manufacturing, tourism and other services industries.

In Europe, he said; the European Network of Maritime Clusters drew its membership from 17 countries and just two weeks ago had met with the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, where optimism was expressed that “maritime clusters are blooming across Europe”.

These maritime industries, according to Dr Pourzanjani accounted for about five-million jobs and just less than five percent of the E.U’s G.D.P.

He said:” The value of clustering lies in their supportive environment for collaboration and innovation, which in turn assists industrial and small business development, employment creation, and overall value-added economic growth.”

Mr Maharaj said a currently dominant sense of self-preservation and advancement among especially what he described as a “few large companies and few Government employees” was not helping South Africa’s cause as the attitude to business development enabled only a handful to live well “while millions of our people are left jobless and poor.”

Dr Prasheen Maharaj, Chief Executive Officer, SA Shipyards
Dr Prasheen Maharaj, Chief Executive Officer, SA Shipyards

According to Mr Maharaj, quoting Algeria president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as newly appointed head of ECOWAS, “Africa is not poor, it is poorly managed.”

He said: “Through Operation Phakisa, the Government is unveiling a new Marine Manufacturing and Industrial policy framework. This policy focuses on opportunity, growth and innovation in niche markets where South Africa can compete.

“It recognizes the value of marine transportation as an important industrial infrastructure, with environmental as well as economic benefits. And it focuses on partnerships, as it is only by working together that we can succeed. So the key to success is collaboration to drive innovation, resulting in greater efficiency and competitiveness.”

The same view was shared by Mr Peter Miles co-founder and executive of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Maritime Cluster established some three or so years ago.

According to Mr Miles, each of the port cities along the coast of South Africa should have a maritime cluster and through which a national cluster could be anchored, with a coordinating role. He suggested also that there should be a fund established to assist the formation and ongoing administration of the clusters.

According to Mr Miles, the funding could be raised through a rand-for-rand contribution from both the public and private sectors.

Meanwhile, a host of Norwegian industry, research and education experts have and continue to share their experience of clusters in that country’s maritime economic sector, with their overwhelming message being that South Africa’s sustainable success with its Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) will depend largely on such collaborative structures.

Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Monday.
Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Monday.

Led by Norway’s ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen, the Norwegian continent includes Ms Anne Lene Dale, Director for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ing Alf Egil Jense of the Norwegian Science & Technology, Dr Aase Kaurin of the Norway Research Council, Mr Svein Fjose of Menon Economic), and Dr Kristin Wallevik, the Dean of the University of Agder.

The two day seminar wraps up with a tour of the port of Port Elizabeth on Tuesday afternoon.

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Double digit increase in maritime sector budget allocation is a sign of Government commitment

A commercial cargo vessel entering the port of Port Elizabeth in May 2016.
A commercial cargo vessel entering the port of Port Elizabeth in May 2016.

Pretoria: 03 June 2016

A double-digit increase in the budget allocation by the Department of Transport for maritime sector development in the 2016/17 financial year is yet another signal of Government’s commitment and determination to strengthen focus on the important sector of the country’s economy.

Championing South Africa maritime economic sector skills development: Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters with the country's first group of cadets taken on board Vuka Marine's commercial cargo vessel, the Cape Orchid for a six months sea based training.
Championing South Africa maritime economic sector skills development: Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters with the country’s first group of cadets taken on board Vuka Marine’s commercial cargo vessel, the Cape Orchid for a six months sea based training.

In her budget vote for the 2016/17 financial year presented to Parliament recently, Minister of Transport Ms Dipuo Peters said that the maritime sector’s budget allocation had been raised from R111-million in the previous year to R122-million in the current, an increase of 10%.

This was more than twice the increase the Department of Transport received for its total budget, which rose about 4% from R53.5-billion in the previous year to R56-billion in the 2016/16 financial year.

Naturally, the bulk of the department’s budget allocation went to road transport (R24.7-billion), rail transport (R19-billion), public transport (R11.7-billion), with civil aviation and maritime allocated R253-million and R122-million respectively.

The figures reflect increases of approximately nine (9) percent for road transport, four (4) percent for rail transport, two (2) percent for public transport, 69% for civil aviation and 10% for maritime sector.

According to Ms Peters in her budget vote on May 10, the double-digit budget increase in the allocation to the maritime sector reflects the increasing focus the country now has on development of the sector for transformation and formal integration in the main economy.

logo1She noted specifically the role played by the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in this regard and whose visionary and pioneering role over the last few years had contributed immensely to among others things, the launch of Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy and the latter whose six labs are currently at work developing focused strategies for rapid development of the sector.

Ms Peters told Parliament that: “Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow South Africans; in the last two years the country increased its focus on the opportunities our more 3000km of coastline provide when Operation Phakisa; Oceans Economy was launched.

“This then called for the DoT and other departments to align strategic, legislative, policy and regulatory frameworks. This was done both for governance and economic reasons.

“The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has wasted no time in embracing this groundbreaking economic stream.

SAIMI letterhead“SAMSA has struck a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the Department of Higher Education in a National Cadetship Programme. This has resulted in one hundred and twenty-four (124) cadets being placed on eighteen (18) partner vessels.”

She further noted that the establishment of the country’s Ports Regulator had begun to make positive impacts, noting that: “A strategy to make doing business with our South African ports attractive, has seen zero percent (0%) increase on all cargo dues – thanks to the Ports Regulator South Africa. In support of drought relief and its impact on food prices, maize cargo dues for the first 5 million tons will be discounted by 50% in 2016/17 financial year.”

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