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

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Pretoria: 22 June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For her full remarks, Click on he video below:

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

For his full remarks, Click on the video below.

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

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Vessel held at port of Port Elizabeth pending fire incident investigation: SAMSA

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SAMSA FILE PHOTO

Pretoria: 18 March 2019

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.

There may be updates to this report.

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Fun, games and maritime awareness and education at Transnet’s port festival

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FUN PE PORT FESTIVAL: The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) owned dedicated national cadet training programme vessel, the SA Agulhas (in the background) alongside the fisheries monitoring vessel, the Ruth First during the Transnet National Ports Auhority (TNPA) port festival in Port Elizabeth at the weekend. The vessels formed part of a fleet of six for the festival, four others coming from the South African Navy.

Port Elizabeth: 03 December 2018

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.

DSC_8780.JPGThis 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.

 

 

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New ratings training expands maritime sector job opportunities for SA youth

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A group of 20 South African youths that boarded the SA Agulhas in Port Elizabeth on Thursday for an onboard practical ratings training – the first of its kind in the development of skilled seafarers. The pilot ratings training involving 45 youths currently is funded by the Transport Training and Education Authority (TETA) and managed by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI). With the ratings trainees (third from Right) is training officer, Captain Steven Paulse.

Port Elizabeth: 02 June 2018

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.

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The SA Agulhas spotting a new coat of paint as well as stock for its 2018 scientific research and training mission in June 2018.

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.

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The new SAIMI ratings trainees boarding the SA Agulhas in Port Elizabeth early this past week.

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.

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

“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.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. COO: SAMSA

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.

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The SA Agulhas exiting the port of Port Elizabeth on Thursday 31 May 2018 on its first of two scientific research and training missions in 2018, this time involving new ratings training of some 20 youths.

 

 

 

South Africa maritime industry’s 2nd conference concludes; the country can do far better.

Port Elizabeth: 08 April 2017

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.

An Overview

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. 

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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.

Traditional dancers welcoming SAMIC 2017 delegates to a cocktail function hosted by SAMSA on board the SA Agulhas on Wednesday.

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

Mr Vusi September (Left) of SAMSA welcoming on board the SA Agulhas some of the SAMIC 2017 delegates.

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Day Two: (Thursday at the Boardwalk Conference Centre)

Some of the more than 20 cadets on board the SA Agulhas afforded opportunity to grace the SAMIC 2017 with their presence. They were lauded as ‘pioneers’ by several speakers, among them HIgher Education & Training Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande

Conference proceedings.

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

(1) Prof Swartz (2) Mr Trollip (3) Mr Qhoboshiyane

(4) Dr Nzimande (5) Mr Tilayi [1] and [2] (6) Mr Mudau [1] and [2]

The presentations above were followed by a breakaway session comprising four groups under the theme: Unlocking Investment Opportunities in the Maritime Sector

  • Business Opportunities
  • Trends, Opportunities and Challenges in SA’s Offsho Oil and Gas Exploration Industry
  • Coastal & Marine Tourism and Small Harbours
  • Fishing and Aquaculture

This blog, the 10th Province, stayed with the last one: Fishing and Aquaculture – a multi-media package soon to follow.

 

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Day Three:

Follow this link: 

 

 

SA cadet training vessel, SA Agulhas steals the show at Mandela Bay port festival

 Port Elizabeth: 26 March 2017

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.

RIDING THE WAVE: Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) (Bottom Left) chatting briefly to some of the 30 cadets on board the SA Agulhas during the start of the Transnet National Ports Authority (Transnet) annual port festival held at the port of Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay) from Saturday to Sunday (25-26 March).

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.

Research and cadet training vessel, SA Agulhas back on home soil after successful Antarctica expedition

Port Elizabeth: 09 March 2017

With 30 cadets on board who scored no less than three months of continuous sailing both across the Indian Ocean and to the southern seas, the SA Agulhas, the country’s only research and seafarers’ dedicated training vessel dropped anchor on home sail again in Port Elizabeth on Thursday where it is scheduled to be welcomed with much fanfare.

The stopover at the port of Elizabeth this week to be marked by a formal “welcome back” event early on Friday morning scheduled to be beamed live on national television, will mark the end of a three month research and training expedition involving a group of Indian scientists and about 30 South African cadets that began shortly before Christmas in 2016 and took the group as far as the Antarctica.

The expedition involved the SA Agulhas departing from Cape Town headed for Port Louis in Mauritius where she took on board the group of Indian scientists prior to setting sail on the Indian Oceans towards the Antarctica.

It was the research and dedicated training vessel’s first long journey on otherwise familiar territory around the Antarctica in more than two years – an intervening period she’d been devoted strictly to cadet training and skills development by SAMSA while occasionally anchoring at Quay 500 at the port of Cape Town.

The cadet programme she is still engaged in is now managed by newly established South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, situated in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, and funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training through the National Skills Fund.

Early Friday morning, the crew of the vessel and their seafarer trainees (23 deck and 7 engine cadets) who were part of the expedition  are scheduled to be met and greeted by a number of senior officials of the respective institutions conjoined in the cadet training programme inclusive of SAMSA, SAIMI, the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) and Marine Crew Services (MSC) as well as Transnet and other government officials.

The “welcome back” event is scheduled to start at about 6am and last until about 10am at the port of Port Elizabeth

End.

 

Penguins rescuers in Port Elizabeth in line for possible compensation

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Pretoria: 01 September 2016

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.

logo1Captain 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.

penguins pe 1“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.”
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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)

End

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