A vessel upon which fire broke out at the port of Port Elizabeth on Sunday will remain berthed until an investigation into the cause of the fire has been completed, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed on Monday.
According to SAMSA, the investigation which is already underway follows the breakout of a fire on board the Motor Fishing Vessel Lubbetje, some time on Sunday morning while it was docked at the port of Port Elizabeth.
The fire was successfully put out within hours and, according to SAMSA, only one person sustained minor injuries.
SAMSA Principal Officer (for the Port Elizabeth office), Capt. Neville Noble said on Monday: “I can confirm that SAMSA started an investigation into the fire onboard the Lubbetje yesterday. The fire was extinguished and the vessel is currently not in danger of sinking, but was prohibited from sailing pending further investigation. Received reports indicate that there was only minor injuries.”
According to Capt. Noble, the investigation is being prioritised and it is expected that it will completed soon.
The vessel is a 377 GT (34.87m) local fishing vessel owned by Premier Fishing.
The incident is reported to have not caused any disruption in shipping traffic through port of Port Elizabeth harbour.
The weather did not quite play fairly over the two days of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) festival at the port of Port Elizabeth at the weekend, leading to curtailment of some of the activities.
But it was still great turnout by thousands of people that filled the port for fun and games whose theme centred on greater public awareness and education on maritime issues.
The TNPA port of Port Elizabeth’s 2018 port festival was, as usual, the first in a series reportedly planned for some of the country’s major ports over the next few weeks, including Richards Bay, with the aim being to facilitate greater engagement between the ports and the general public for enhanced understanding and knowledge of aspects that make up the country’s maritime economic sector activities.
This year’s festival in Port Elizabth enjoyed support from a range of stakeholders including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which again featured its vessel, the SA Agulhas – a former research vessel that has been retuned for purposes of servicing the country’s national cadet training programme now under the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI).
Another notable supporter at this weekend’s festival was the South African Navy which provided four of its vessels including two frigades, as well as the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries whose fisheries monitoring vessel, the Ruth First, participated – adding to the great fun many festival revelers, many among them young children, enjoyed.
Also present was the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the Nelson Mandela University and several others.
However, strong winds particularly on Saturday, the first of the two days of the event, proved a major challenge as it forced some of the water sports lined up for the weekend to be suspended – well until Sunday, after the strong winds subsided in the early part of the day.
The launch in Port Elizabeth of a new national ratings practical training for aspirant seafarers is among new and ongoing initiatives to expand the skills base in the country’s maritime sector, thereby giving more youth opportunities, according to the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
Launch of the practical aspect of the ratings training took place at the port of Port Elizabeth on Thursday when the first group of 20 youths – 11 males and nine females – boarded the SA Agulhas to join in on its two weeks ocean sojourn on the Indian Ocean on a scientific research mission.
The SA Agulhas, the country’s dedicated cadet training vessel under the command of SAMSA, will be sailing some 300 km into sea along the eastern coast of South Africa, from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, on a charter to the SA Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), a business unit of the National Research Foundation (NRF).
The scientific research mission will involve retrieval of data from a number of scientific buoys deployed in the coastal waters to monitor the Agulhas current and its role in climate change.
It is the first of two missions in 2018 for the SA Agulhas and for which it was recently dry-docked for fine tuning as well as refurbishing at the port of East London.
The scientific research missions for which the vessel is chartered offer an excellent opportunity also for the country’s growing cadre of young cadets undergoing training to become qualified seafarers.
This time around, focus by SAIMI along with its partners including training services providers, has been turned on practical training for ratings – a new category of skills development for aspirant seafarers that is being piloted and aimed at growing the pool of employable South African seafarers.
The ratings training is funded by the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA). According to SAIMI, the 20 youths that boarded the SA Agulhas on Thursday are part of a group of 45 candidates in the pilot project.
In a joint media statement, SAIMI chief executive officer Professor Malek Pourzanjani said getting a project of this nature off the ground was the result of strong partnerships and collaboration, involving both public and private sector role-players and training providers.
“Special mention should be made of TETA as the funder and SAMSA as the owner of the vessel for providing this valuable opportunity for the trainees to gain sea-time,” he said.
Malcolm Alexander, TETA’s maritime education training and development practitioner, said: “We are pleased to see this pilot training project taking shape with the trainees being able to gain practical experience at sea aboard the SA Agulhas.
“The project expands TETA’s involvement in maritime sector education and training at a practical skill level and is a positive for the maritime sector and oceans economy growth.
“It also grows the pool of South African seafarers available for local and global employment.”
According to SAIMI, the current group of trainees is being managed by the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) and the Sea Safety Training Group.
Marine Crew Services is also a partner to the project, having agreed to place trainees in their managed fleets for further training.
The next phase of the project, according to SAIMI, will entail building the capacity of TVET (Technical Vocational Education & Training) Colleges to offer the training.
Weighing on the project, SAMSA Chief Operating Officer, Sobantu Tilayi described the initiative as forward looking.
“As part of our commitment to address the high unemployment rate, this rating training provides a wider scope of maritime training and skills development.
“It addresses the gap for career opportunities. Young people would be able to find jobs in areas such as maintenance of the vessels, its equipment and gear, in rigging and deploying equipment, and handling and securing cargo.” he said.
Mr Tilayi said the SA Agulhas which SAMSA owns and manages, was particularly well suited for its training role, and its recent refurbishments at the dry dock, was testimony of its strength and calibre.
By supporting the hands-on aspects of maritime training, the project partners are contributing to skills development as outlined in the South African government’s Operation Phakisa plan to fast-track the growth and development of the oceans economy, he said.
South Africa’s maritime industry’s conference over three days in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape wound down on Friday afternoon with delegates having taken account of development initiatives and progress achieved to date, and concluding that the country could do even better than it has so far.
Held at the Boardwalk Conference Centre situated alongside the city’s famous Summerstrand beachfront, under the theme: “Expanding Africa’s maritime industry potential: Implementing the Maritime Agenda”, the indaba attended by about 350 delegates from both South Africa and abroad, involved
feedback on progress achieved with key issues identified as constraints to South Africa’s maritime sector development in the five years since the inaugural industry conference held in Cape Town in 2012,
the identification of investment opportunities currently existing in the sector and how best to unlock these,
trends in domestic and global maritime sector research and innovation, as well as
the crucial aspect of sustained collaboration through partnerships regionally and globally.
Representation consisted of delegates from the public and private sectors, education and research institutions, as well as industry bodies in South Africa, the African continent and internationally.
Public sector contributors included South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande; Eastern Cape MEC for Agriculture Development & Agrarian Reform, Mr Mlibo Qhoboshiyane; Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor, Mr Athol Trollip; Transport Department acting Director: Maritime Policy, Mr Dumisani Ntuli; Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries deputy Director: Investment Promotion, Ms Lisa Geswindt; Department of Public Works deputy Director-General, Mr Dhaya Govender; Department of Trade and Industry chief Director, Ms Zukiswa Ncaphayi and Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation official, Mr Rudhzani Mudau.
Institutional representatives included the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; Transnet CEO, Mr Richard Vallihu; Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) regional manager, Mr Kingsley Dell-Robertson; Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) representative Mr Cyprian Marowa and Coega Development Corporation (CDC) manager for business development, Ms Sandisiwe Ncemane
Industry representatives included Ms Hermoins Manuel of Nautic Africa, Captain Keith Burchell of Burport Marine Consultancy Africa, Mr Adrian Strydom of South African Oil & Gas, Ms Lindsay Falkov of Ernst & Young, Mr Prasheen Maharaj of SA Shipyards, Mr Edward Shalala of Pangaea Commodities, Mr Dave van der Spuy of Petroleum Agency SA, Professor Trevor Jones of the International Bunker Industry Association and Ms Olufunmilayo Folorunso of the African Shipowners Association.
From tertiary education, skills development and research institutions, delegates included Nelson Mandela University (NMU) Vice-Chancellor, Prof Derrick Swartz; South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) CEO, Professor Malek Pourzanjani; Ms Elsie du Toit of Umsholozi TVET College; Mr Malcolm Alexander of Transport Education & Training Authority; Professor Ed Snyders of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology; Professor Charles Okujeni of the Western Cape University; Dr Hisashi Yamamoto of th Global-On-Board Training Centre, Professor Melville Saayman of the North-West University; Dr Marius Classen of the CSIR, and Dr Karl Klingheim of Innovation Norway.
Also present were African Union Commission’s Captain Samuel Kame Domguia and Women in Maritime of Africa (WIMA) vice-President, Ms Asmaa Benslimane.
The conference, taking place in a week of significant political and economic turmoil marked by nation-wide protests over national governance issues amid downgrades of the country’s credit status as ‘junk’; still drew sufficient attention from national traditional media, with coverage on television, radio stations as well as newspapers and related.
In this blog therefore, rather than whip about snippets, we are providing readers both an overview of the conference during the three days, but also, crucially, some detail of some of the conference proceedings in multi-media format in the hope and belief that both regular and new consumers of maritime sector news and information contained here will appreciate. The idea of providing full presentations in virtual raw form, is to give readers as much feel, direct from the sources as is reasonably possible.
Please do note that with multimedia, videos with single delegate presentations of about half-an-hour (30 minutes) or more, are presented to you in packages of 15 minutes each (Part 1, 2 etc) and these are clearly marked on the affected material.
Day One: (Wednesday, on board the SA Agulhas) saw the delegates being treated to a cocktail function hosted by SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Tilayi, on board the SA Agulhas currently anchored at the port of Port Elizabeth since arrival a month ago from a research and training expedition to the Antarctica region.
The cocktail event theme on the evening was on ‘Enhanced Collaboration and Partnerships”
On arrival delegates were treated to a traditional dance by the Imbumba Dance Company.
On the vessel, once settled, delegates were welcomed on board with short remarks about SAMIC 2017 shared between Mr Tilayi (SAMSA), National Skills Fund CEO, Mr Mvusiyi Macikama and Captain M. Mbatha (SA Agulhas). For their remarks, Click Here and Here
Day Two: (Thursday at the Boardwalk Conference Centre)
Delegates began in earnest the indaba deliberations through which during first plenary, they were taken taken through a historical overview of the country’s maritime sector developments initiatives by among others (in order of appearance), Prof Swartz (NMMU), Mr Trollip (Nelson Mandela Bay), Mr Qhoboshiyane (Eastern Cape Government), Dr Nzimande (Minister: Higher Education & Training), Mr Tilayi (SAMSA) and Mr Rudhzani Mudau (Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation).
To listen to each of the speakers, in the respective order, click on the links below
Prof Derrick Swartz. Vice-Chancellor, Nelson Mandela University
Mr Athol Trollip. Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor
Mr Mlibo Qhoboshiyane. Eastern Cape Province MEC for Agricultural Development & Agrarian Reform
Dr Blade Nzimande. Minister of Higher Education and Training
South Africa’s dedicated seafarer training vessel, the SA Agulhas, fresh from a three months long research and training expedition to the Antarctic region, proved the star of the show at the 2017 Nelson Mandela Bay port festival at the weekend after attracting a crowd estimated at no less than 6 000 people by midday Sunday.
“Clearly, this ship is becoming popular among the people. We’ve seen quite a number since yesterday (Saturday) morning at 10 when we opened the doors, and today will be not different by the look of things,” remarked a ranking official who preferred not to be named on board the SA Agulhas.
At the time, throngs of festival goers of all ages were already lined up along the vessel at more than twice its length.
The SA Agulhas was part of a “People’s Port Festival” a two-day annual event sponsored and hosted by South Africa’s ports authority, Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA) that kicked off on Saturday morning with various activities ranging from sports (water and land based), ship tours, cruises to food, music and edutainment and comedy shows.
The port festival is held annually in rotation at all the country’s nine commercial ports to give local communities an opportunity of interacting with some of its activities.
The SA Agulhas, still warming down from its three month’s research and training expedition off Cape Town to Madagascar and the Antarctic region with a group of Indian scientists and about 30 South African cadets onboard in December to March, joined in the festival after docking at the port of Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay) a fortnight ago.
At the start of the show on Saturday morning, the entire expedition crew including the cadets, minus the Indian scientists; were on hand to show off the vessel to thousands of festival goers who queued up on the quay alongside the vessel for almost an hour before the vessel opened its doors for a six hour show on each of the two days.
The tour on board included a brief presentation by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) about the current utilization of the vessel as a dedicated seafarer training ship since its acquisition by the maritime authority from the Department of Environmental Affairs some six year ago.
From here festival goers were taken up through the vessel for a tour lasting about 15 minutes at a time. Despite the steep staircases, festival goers, several with children – some as small as months old – seemed unable to miss out on the opportunity!
On Saturday, an estimated 4500 people had gone through the vessel while more were queued up quite early on Sunday morning, not for a glimpse, but a full ride on the vessel.
For a typical tour experienced by an estimated six thousands people these past two days, Click Here.
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
Organizations involved in the rescue of dozens of penguins caught up in an oil spill along the Indian Ocean coast near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape these last few weeks may be in line to recover some or all of the costs of the operation, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
According to SAMSA Centre for Shipping’s executive head Captain Nigel Campbell this week, a Panama registered Turkish owned vessel found to have been responsible for the disastrous oil spill near Port Elizabeth three weeks ago had been issued with an Admission of Contravention amounting to a total R502 000, in addition to a R1-million provided by the vessel’s insurers for purposes of reimbursing people and or organizations involved in the rescue and clean-up of the sea birds.
More than a hundred penguins inhabiting a small island known as Jahleel near the Ngqurha deep water port some 30 kilometers north east of Port Elizabeth (a.k.a Mandela Bay), were affected by the oil spillage and it took a number of rescue organizations to collect them for cleaning and rehabilitation.
Captain Campbell, in a statement responding to concerns expressed by a senior official of the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA) through a local Port Elizabeth daily newspaper this week, said SAMSA had responded immediately to two oil spillages that occurred in the vicinity.
The first spillage involved an accidental discharge of oil from a vessel loading bunkers and which sparked a concern at WESSA.
However, Captain Campbell to sought allay fears that the recently established shipping vessels’ bunkering service at the port of Port Elizabeth might prove problematic, indicating that the accidental spillage during the bunkering had been quickly cleaned up and was therefore not believed to have affected negatively the environment, but specifically wildlife.
Captain Campbell said: “The spill from the refuelling operation was approximately 100 litres and was cleaned up immediately. Although we are still awaiting the outcome of the testing of samples taken SAMSA strongly believes that this was not the source of the oil on the penguins.
“Some two days after this spill a large oil slick was found in the bay and additional slicks were noted further down the coast as far as Jeffrey’s Bay. Our investigation identified a vessel on passage to Cape Town that had pumped oily waste into the sea over a stretch of approximately 120 nautical miles through a faulty oily water separator.
“The Turkish owned, Panamanian registered bulk carrier was subsequently detained in Cape Town as being unseaworthy. It was issued with an Admission of Contravention of R127 000 for this as well as an additional R375 000 for illegal discharge of oily waste.
“Furthermore the owners, through their insurers were required to lodge an undertaking of R1million to reimburse those parties that reacted to the spill, this would include the cleaning of penguins. The ship was only released from detention when all monies had been deposited,” said Captain Campbell.
Captain Campbell further explained the management of these Admissions of Contravention in terms of relevant legislation. He said the fines were essentially an “Admission of Contravention” in terms of Marine Pollution (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act No 2 of 1986.
“The monies received are deposited into the Maritime Fund which is managed by SAMSA but is controlled by the Minister of Transport.
“In terms of the SAMSA Act, an application to the Minister can be made only for the purpose of furthering the objectives of the Authority (SAMSA) and in this case, this would be ‘to prevent and combat pollution of the marine environment by ships’. The rehabilitation of wildlife would therefore be considered,” he said.
Meanwhile, WESSA chairman of the Algoa Bay (Port Elizabeth) branch, Ms Martheanne Finnemore in her letter published in The Herald; praised both SAMSA as well as the several organizations that responded quickly and decisively in alleviating the plight of the wild sea birds affected by the oil slick.
She said: “Well done SAMSA for imposing a fine of R350 000 on the ship that caused the spillage during the oil transfer. This money should be channelled to those voluntary organizations such as SAMREC (South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre) and to SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) and its facility at Cape St Francis Bay to enable them to continue doing their amazing work in rescuing and rehabilitating these iconic birds.”
Four cargo vessels now in the country’s register, with about a dozen more due for registration in the next few months!
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.
For 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.
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.
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.
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)…..
With 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 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)
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)
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.
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.
The event, at a venue situated along the city’s pristine Blue-flagged 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.
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
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.
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.
She 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.
“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.”