SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel enthralls crowds at EL port festival

SA Agulhas
Fireworks exploding in the backdrop of the SA Agulhas at the port of East London this past weekend to mark the end of a highly successful port festival hosted by the Transnet National Ports Authority together with partners including the Buffalo City local authority

Pretoria: 29 June 2017

The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, yet again became one of the star attractions at this year’s East London port festival, this barely three months after it had become a major drawcard in another of Transnet’s 2017 Eastern Cape ports festivals held in Port Elizabeth.

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In Port Elizabeth at the end of March, the vessel had just returned from a three months research and training expedition with a group of Indian scientists who’d taken it, along with about 30 South African cadets, to Antarctica.

So it had been in international news headlines leading up to the first of the two port festivals, with thousands of local people in the Port Elizabeth region keen to get on board and view it.

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The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel docked at the port of East London this past weekend while partaking in the Transnet National Ports Authority East London port festival

In East London this past weekend, as it turned out, the public curiosity seemed to not have waned at all as thousands of revelers – estimated at about 23 000 – thronged the vessel during the three day event.

The SA Agulhas, owned by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and now utilised by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, is the country’s only dedicated vessel for the development of seafarers since about six years ago.

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Port festival goers at the port of East London milling around on board the SA Agulhas over two days this past weekend.

It was brought into the service to address in part, the shortage of berths highly necessary for students at universities keen on completing their seafarer training through practical work on vessels at sea.

Since coming into service for the purpose, the vessel has since seen hundreds of young people, male and female, from South Africa and other African countries being taken through the processes that has seen many acquire the practical and work experience necessary to enhance their skills as seafarers.

East London Port Festival A Great Success 3

For East London last weekend, the port festival was returning to the Eastern Cape’s second biggest port city for the first time in five years and according to organizers, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and partners, the intention was to give public exposure and enhance greater interaction between the public and the country’s ports infrastructure and facilities.

Phyllis Difeto, TNPA Chief Operating Officer, said the festival had an underlying strategic focus involving maritime sector related programmes such as the national Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) initiative that seeks to drive economic development, job creation and skills development

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Festival goers at the past weekend’s port of East London port festival being taken briefed in small groups on the nature and function of the SA Agulhas as a dedicated cadet training vessel.

“We want to promote awareness of the ports, recreational opportunities, and career and business opportunities offered by the maritime industry. We want our communities to experience the unique operations in the port, and its exciting people-centred vision,” she said.

Other attractions of the port festival over two days included an SA Navy frigate – the SAS Spioenkop, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) rnvironmental offshore patrol vessel, the Victoria Mxege,  an arts & crafts market and  a wide variety of food stalls, a maritime exhibition including career opportunities, tug rides and family ferry rides, extreme bungee (50m freefall) thrills, helicopter flips  and beer garden with live bands.

For more on the TNPA’s port of East London festival, Click Here

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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.

South Africa remains posed for a pioneering role in Africa’s ocean economy development: SAMSA

Pretoria: 14 March 2017

The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel on arrival Port Elizabeth on Friday after a three month research and training expedition in the Indian and Antarctic oceans with 30 cadets on board.

South Africa is well positioned to play a pioneering role in the African continent’s drive for expansive growth of its ocean’s economy sector, but especially if stakeholders and key role players both in the public and private sector continue to strengthen co-operation and collaboration towards the goal.

That is according to South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting chief executive officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi in the wake of yet another highly successful collaborative effort that saw a group of Indian scientists along with 30 South African cadets complete on schedule a three-months long research and training expedition both along the Indian Ocean and the Antarctic region.

Crucially, according to Mr Sobantu, the expedition was successfully undertaken aboard the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas, this past week.

After dropping off the Indian scientists in Mauritius a few days earlier, the vessel – under the command of SAMSA – docked in Port Elizabeth on Friday, to a warm welcome by senior officials of several institutions in both the public and private sector. These included SAMSA, the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the Transnet National Ports Authority(TNPA), the National Skills Fund under the Department of Higher Education and Training, recently established bunker services group, Aegean; the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA, the Maritime Crew Services (MSC) and a few others.

The SA Agulhas was acquired by SAMSA in 2011 for training in support of the National Cadet Programme, which is being managed by the Port Elizabeth-based SAIMI.

The training is being funded by the National Skills Fund.

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA greeting the 30 deck and engine cadets that were on board the SA Agulhas in in its three months research and training expedition to the Antarctic region over the last three months
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of SAMSA greeting the 30 deck and engine cadets that were on board the SA Agulhas in in its three months research and training expedition to the Antarctic region over the last three months

The vessel sailed on 14 December 2016 from Cape Town with 30 cadets under the guide of SAMTRA and MCS.

The group of seven (7) engineering and 23 deck cadets along with two training officers joined the South African crew on a research voyage chartered by India’s National Centre for Antarctic Research.

Her first port of call was Port Louis in Mauritius on Christmas Eve where she took on board the team of Indian scientists and five container loads of equipment. The ship sailed south from Mauritius before heading West of Kerguelen Island and on to Antarctica and back to Mauritius carrying out operations at various scientific stations along the way.

On completion of the expedition Friday, Mr Sobantu said the event was just one to possibly vindicate the brave stance taken by the maritime safety authority  a few years ago to acquire the vessel with the sole intention  of providing a viable yet necessary intervention in the development of a local cadre of seafarers.

More than 350 cadets have been trained aboard the SA Agulhas since 2012 after SAMSA acquired the vessel from the Department of Environmental Affairs and re-purposed the former Antarctic research and supply vessel as a training vessel to support the National Cadet Programme.

The cadet programme enables aspiring sea-farers to obtain the practical sea-time experience required to attain a Certificate of Competency (COC) as either a Deck Officer or Marine Engineering Officer. The COC is an internationally recognised qualification, issued by SAMSA in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Convention on the Standards, Training and Certification of Watch-keepers (STCW), and opens up a global sea-faring career for these young South Africans.

The programme is a skills development initiative linked to Operation Phakisa which aims to grow South Africa’s participation in the maritime economy. The initiative is managed by SAIMI and financed by the National Skills Fund.

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

On Friday Mr Tilayi noted that: “The three-month cruise took the vessel and the cadets all the way down to 68 degrees south where they encountered severe weather. Both the vessel and the cadets passed with flying colours.”

Key to the success, he said, was ongoing cooperation and collaboration among a group of stakeholders, interested parties and the investment community. For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (video), Click Here

Meanwhile, SAIMI chief executive officer, Dr Malek Pourzanjani was also full of praise of the success of the SA Agulhas’ latest venture into a research and training expedition.

“The fact that the Indian government was willing to entrust leading scientists and important multi-disciplinary scientific research to a South African training vessel crewed by South Africans is a tribute to the quality of our mariners and the training offered in South Africa,” Dr Pourzanjani.  For his full remarks, Click Here

Ms Phyllis Difeto, chief operations officer of TNPA was in agreement with her counterparts at SAMSA and SAIMI: “South Africa needs more world class maritime expertise at all levels,” she said, also stressing the need for

ongoing collaboration between TNPA, SAMSA, SAIMI and the private sector to ensure that South African mariners received world class training that would position them well for seafarer work around the globe.

For Ms Difeto’s full remarks, Click Here.

Meanwhile, the cadets on the expedition were full excitement, sharing their experiences as well as hopes for the future as seafarers. Two of the cadets, Afrika Masuku and Sandisiwe Ngcobo spoke briefly before their welcoming audience on Friday, thanking both their trainers and training sponsors for the opportunity. In separate interviews, five other cadets opened up about their experiences as did one of their trainers. For these interviews Click Here.

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

Port Elizabeth: 09 March 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IN PICS: The 2016/7 Antarctica research and education expedition of the SA Agulhas

AN UPDATE

Pretoria: 08 February 2017

On Tuesday, the crew of the SA Agulhas – the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel under the command of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – shared more aerial photographs of the vessels’ steady pace through icy waters of the Antarctica as she continues her research and training expedition this week; now on its third month.

For more on the expedition: Click Here

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SA’s dedicated cadet training vessel, SA Agulhas; sails yet again deep into the Antarctica for research and training

BREAKING RECORD: The SA Agulhas, South Africa's dedicated cadet training vessel under the command of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in the icy Prydz Bay approaching the southern sea line with the Antartica region on Monday. The vessel is on a scientific cruise and training expedition between Mauritius and Antartica
BREAKING RECORD: The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel under the command of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in the icy Prydz Bay approaching the southern sea line with the Antarctica region on Monday. The vessel is on a scientific cruise and training expedition between Mauritius and Antarctica since December 2016.

Pretoria: 01 February 2017

The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s only dedicated cadet training vessel under command of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has clocked yet another milestone after reaching its half-way point on Monday in a research survey expedition to the ice cordoned southern seas of the Antarctica, a journey that began just before Christmas last year.

sa-agulhas-2655m-from-sa-2017-01-31_095321Excited officials on board the vessel, among them a group of scientists from India and about 30 South African youths on cadet training, beamed back home a series of photographs of their half-way point journey, indicating the smooth track of the research expedition since about a month ago.

The SA Agulhas left Cape Town 48 days ago on Wednesday (December 14, 2016), headed for Port Louis in Mauritius where she took on board a group of Indian scientists that are part of the research expedition before she headed south towards the Antarctica – precisely the 68th parallel, a circle of latitude that crosses the southern ocean and Antarctica.

img_20170130_132803In the area and along the route, she’d carry out survey work expected to take a few weeks into later this month. On Monday this week, she reached the halfway point from which she will then turn around and head back to Mauritius.

Officers on board beamed the first photographs of the research and training vessel’s encounter with the icy conditions of the region. At the time of the encounter with icy conditions, according to Roland Shortt, Operations Manager/DPA for Maritime Special Projects at SAMSA Cape Town office, the vessel was located in Prydz Bay.

It is 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.

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The group of South African seafarer trainees (23 deck and 7 engine cadets) on board the SA Agulhas on its current Antarctica research and training expedition.

As it were, on departure in December, the vessel had as part of its crew on board as many as 30 cadets in two groups; 23 Deck and seven (7) Engine cadets under the command of Master Mariner Captain D. Postman, Chief Engineer, D Jennings, assisted by Senior Deck Training Officer, Merwyn Pieters and Deck Training Officer, S. Paulse.

According to the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) charged along with Marine Crew Services) with management of the training, since sailing off from Cape Town to Mauritius and from Mauritius to the Antarctic region, the cadets in their respective groups – the Deck cadets split into groups of four (4) for rotation every seven (7) days – have been involved in extensive training arranged in four week cycles.

dsc04890SAMTRA says the seafarer skills development initiative on board the SA Agulhas, in both lecturer format and practical engagement, encompasses Seamanship, Navigation, Bridge Watch and Deck Maintenance, complimented by a range of practical activities intended to both familiarize them in real time with a vessel design and mechanics through to its management under a variety of sea conditions.

The cadets will have four months of intensive hands-on and theoretical training while on board, required to clock up to about 32 hours of lectures a week on board, in addition to project and practical work, according Mr Pieters. This will be achieved due partly to the fact that none of the training is obstructive on board the vessel as the SA Agulhas features a world class simulator enabling exercises to be conducted without interfering with the operations of the vessel.

According to SAMTRA, those who successfully complete the fast-track training programme on board will need to complete another 20 months on board trading vessels before they can sit for their oral exams to complete their qualification, the Certificate of Competency (CoC) issued by SAMSA in terms of the international convention on Standards on Training, Certification and Watch-Keeping (STCW).

The research and training expedition is expected to be completed mid-way through February, with the SA Agulhas expected due back at Port Louis on about February 26, and back in Cape Town sometime midway through March.

On receiving the news Tuesday of the SA Agulhas having reached its half-way point on the journey by entering the Antarctica ice passage, SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi shared a congratulatory message with all the organization’s personnel involved with arrangements of the expedition applauding them for their contributions.
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South Africa joins the international community in celebrating its growing cadre of sailors

With about 11000 seafarers now in its name, the country is steadily making progress towards maritime economic sector skills development and thereby creating opportunities  for all.

Pretoria: 29 June 2016

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South Africa’s passionate yet purposeful campaign to enhance greater public awareness towards realization of the relevance and importance of the country’s status as fundamentally a maritime region, and whose global trade is almost completely dependent on the seas around it, continued in Durban at the weekend, with a national event to celebrate the International Day of the Seafarer.

DSC_0274Situated appropriately within the annual Durban International Boat Show and Exhibition held at the Royal Natal Yacht Club, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) driven annual event, hosted in South Africa by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA); drew attention to the country’s 11 000-strong cadre of seafarers and which is steadily growing to take advantage of the numerous opportunities presented by the country’s vast ocean economy.

Over the past decade, SAMSA working closely with a variety of partners both within the private and public sectors, has played an instrumental, if pivotal role as a State organ to drive hard, deliberately and purposefully, a human skills development campaign for the South African maritime economic with much emphasis initially on cadet training, leading to its acquisition and management of the country’s first dedicated cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas, in 2011.

DSC_0296As of Saturday, 25 June 2016; there were on record about 11 000 seafarers in South Africa, plying their trade both locally and abroad and with their US dollar denominated income earnings making a contribution to the country’s gross domestic product.

The International Day of the Seafarer, is a global event which according to SAMSA’s Centre for Corporate Affairs was first celebrated in 2011, following its establishment by a resolution adopted by the Conference of Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, held in Manila, Philippines, in June 2010, which adopted major revisions to the STCW Convention and Code.

The Day of the Seafarer had since been included in the annual list of United Nations Observances.

IMO related1This year’s theme for the Day of the Seafarer was #AtSeaForAll a notion, according to the centre, that  had a clear link with the 2016 World Maritime Day theme, “Shipping: indispensable to the world”, emphasizing that seafarers serve at sea not just for the shipping industry or for their own career purposes but for all of society, hence they are “indispensable to the world”.

Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) (Photo: IMO)
Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) (Photo: IMO)

In a statement in Sweden on Friday, IMO Secretary-General, Mr Kitack Lim described the global seafarer celebration on Saturday as an opportunity for communities across sectors to “reflect on how much we all rely on seafarers for most of the things we take for granted in our everyday lives.

He said: “Over one million seafarers operate the global fleet yet billions of people depend on them for the essentials and the luxuries of life. Shipping is essential to the world – and so are seafarers.

“So, this year, on 25 June, the Day of the Seafarer, we are once again asking people everywhere to show their appreciation for the seafarers that quietly, mostly unnoticed, keep the wheels of the world in motion.”

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during celebration of the International Day of Seafarers in Durban on Saturday, 25 June 2016.
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during celebration of the International Day of Seafarers in Durban on Saturday, 25 June 2016.

In Durban on Saturday, SAMSA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the crucial role of South Africa within the world’s maritime economic sector, and the importance of skills development within it, but also the need for recognition and appreciation of contributors to the growth of the domestic maritime sector.

Of seafarers, Mr Tilayi – who had alongside him Captain Thembela Tobashe – one of the first of three black females ever to qualify as Master Mariners – echoed the IMO view, stating: “At the coal face of driving economies around the world and at the forefront supporting international trade the seafarers, whether deck hands, captains of ships, engineers and cadets, galley staff play a very significant role in ensuring the world’s economic growth and sustainability.

20151207_151556 (2) “Seafarers are those brave hearts who risk their lives, give up months of family time and being on land, to go out to sea, to not only support and protect our beloved country and their nations, but also to create an impact on each and every citizen by ensuring international trade, which affects us all. They make sure that the environment is protected, trade is flowing and our communities are able to thrive and develop themselves. It is therefore essential to raise our hands in salutation to these fearless men and women,” said Tilayi.

Mr Tilayi encouraged particularly youth to explore at depth the skills and economic benefits their involvement in the sector might provide them.

For Mr Tilayi’s video presentation in Durban, Click Here.

For Mr Lim’s message, presented at the Durban event by Captain Tobashe, please Click Here

For a select group of photos of the Durban International Boat Show and Exhibition, please Click Here

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Maritime economy sector education goes full circle with entry of TVETs

Pretoria: 04 December 2015

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The creep of maritime sector education in South Africa may be decidedly slow, almost imperceptible yet it is an absolute certainty, and it is about to come full circle with the envisaged formal roping into the milieu of the country’s technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in a year’s time.

With TVETs on board, maritime sector-focused public sector education will have reached virtually all relevant levels of formal education structures in the country, from foundational (currently high schools) through to vocational and tertiary levels.

The ‘10th Province’ has it in good authority that TVETs will be drawn into the fray in earnest from January 2017, with the launch of a pilot project involving two TVET institutions in as many provinces; one in  KwaZulu-Natal and one other in the heart of Cape Town, Western Cape.

This follows the completion and approval of appropriate curriculum for a National Occupation Certificate in certain levels of discipline in seamanship that include, “Able Seafarer Engine”,   “Able Seafarer Deck”, “Able Seafarer Fishing”Marine Motorman Grade 2” and “Fishing Deck Officer”

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Setting sails for a brighter future!

Pretoria: Wednesday, 25 November 2015

EXPLORING LIGHTHOUSES: Mr Morakabe Seakgwa (red tie), Senior Manager, Projects Co-ordination at the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence, along with Ms Cloris Ngwenya (seated left at top of the table) SAMSA's CME Co-ordinator, having a leisurely chat with members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce at the Pretoria home of the Philippines Ambassador to South Africa on Monday.
EXPLORING LIGHTHOUSES: Mr Morakabe Seakgwa (red tie), Senior Manager, Projects Co-ordination at the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Maritime Excellence, along with Ms Cloris Ngwenya (seated left at top of the table) SAMSA’s CME Co-ordinator, having a leisurely chat with members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce at the Pretoria home of the Philippines Ambassador to South Africa on Monday.

Deepening South Africa’s efforts towards rejuvenation of its maritime economic sector precisely through expanded education, training and skills development requires as much planning as it does focused engagement with partners, local and international.

It was with appreciation of that reality when early evening on Monday,  a delegation of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) joined a Philippines business delegation at the Pretoria home of the Philippines’ Ambassador to South Africa for a casual yet exploratory chat about possible links that could benefit both countries in the field of maritime.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and appropriately, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco).

Led by its president, Teresa B. Chan, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce delegation had been in the country since November 18, meeting its business chamber counterparts in Cape Town and Johannesburg, before a brief tour of the region ending in Pretoria.

SAMSA’s interest in meeting the business group hinged on its knowledge and involvement in maritime economy development issues, specifically opportunities for cooperation in education, training and skills development and about which the Philippines is acknowledged globally.

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