As many as 47 scientists from the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research will rendezvous with the SA Agulhas, South Africa’s research and dedicated cadet training vessel in Mauritius on Monday after the vessel docked at the port of Port Louis early on Monday.
The group of scientists will join the vessel’s 37 member crew and 20 of which sailors are newly minted cadets of the South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) undergoing their first training on board the vessel, on their first ever visit to the Antarctica where the vessel is headed.
SAIMI, based at the Nelson Mandela University, is responsible for the country’s Cadet Training Programme.
The SA crew sailed from South Africa’s shores on the afternoon of the 24th November 2017 for Port Louis in Mauritius under the command of Captain M. Barnes who is accompanied by two dedicated training officers entrusted with ensuring that the training objectives for the cadets are realized. The South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) is in charge of the training on board the vessel.
According to SAIMI in a statement on Monday, as with the last similar scientific research and cadet training sojourn into the ‘end of the world’ undertaken at the same time in 2016/17, from Mauritius the contingent will, in a day or two, head down to Antarctica where the cadets will be spending the Christmas period as part of their compulsory on-board training before they can qualify as deck and engineering officers.
The vessel under charter from its owner, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), will spend time on the 68th parallel, which marks the start of the permanent ice cap.
SAIMI chief executive officer Professor Malek Pourzanjani said in a statement in Mandela Bay on Monday: “This is the second year that the vessel has been chartered by India’s National Centre for Antarctic Research for a multi-disciplinary scientific expendition, and this provided the added opportunity for a training voyage.
“During the voyage the cadets will have a combination of on-board lectures and gain experience working on watches and assisting the crew. They will also be able to watch the Indian scientists, who are studying currents and weather patterns, in action.”
According to Prof Pourzanjani, the group of sailors and scientists are expected to reach Antarctica in around three weeks.
SAIMI profiled the cadets as aged from 20-27, consisting of eight females and 12 males and 19 of whom are being trained as deck cadets and one as an engine cadet. They were drawn from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Durban University of Technology.
Captain Merwyn Pieters and Steven Paulse will manage the training.
The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s dedicated cadet training vessel will be heading back to the Antarctica region on Friday, on yet another scientific research and cadet training expedition scheduled to last about three months, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) announced on Wednesday
According to SAMSA in a statement in Cape Town, on board the vessel will be a group of Indian scientists to conduct studies of parts of the Indian and Southern Oceans, and in their company, a group of new South African cadets under the Port Elizabeth based South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), drawn from the Cape Peninsula and Durban Universities of Technology (CPUT and DUT) to undergo seafarer training during the expedition.
The expedition beginning with the SA Agulhas setting sail from Cape Town on Friday, will be the second of its kind in the past 14 months involving the combination of a scientific study and the training of South African cadets.
The last one occurred between December 2016 and March 2017.
According to SAMSA on Wednesday: “The vessel will transverse through the Indian ocean with its first stop in Mauritius, to collect the scientists, and then head south to Antarctica to spend three months on a research mission. For the 20 cadets, recruited for various on board technical functions, this will be their maiden voyage.
“The SA Agulhas is expected to reach Antarctica in four weeks. The cadets, aged between 20-27 years old, fresh from their academic studies from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Durban University of Technology comprise a corps of 19 deck cadets and one engine cadet. Twelve are males and eight are females,” said SAMSA
Management of the training of the cadets has according to SAMSA, again been entrusted The South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) which will work jointly with two deck training officers, Captain Merwyn Pieters and Steven Paulse, who are both experienced in the operation of the vessel and repeat travelers of scientific expedition route undertaken a year.
Remarking about the expedition, SAMSA COO Mr Sobantu Tilayi said: “As SAMSA we are proud to be part of this endeavor to train young people and expose them to new opportunities. We are confident that the cadets chosen possess the steely determination and focus to survive in the Antarctic.
“The knowledge acquired from this cold journey will benefit South Africa’s fast growing maritime sector and the entire world.
“It is through such initiatives that we aim to fight the plague of unemployment, create awareness about our oceans and help contribute towards our oceans economy,” said Mr Tilayi.
Captain Pieters, an experienced seaman with almost 46 years under his belt working on various vessels, said the cadets were enthusiastic and keen.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for these young people – a trip like this would normally cost over $50 000, and they are being afforded this opportunity to learn under some of the most trying conditions. Between the other training officer and I we are honored to pass on our expertise and knowledge.
“It takes guts of steel to be away from your family and loved ones. For this group, this journey is new to them, and it would come with many new experiences, including building team spirit,” said Capt Pieters.
Seafarer training for South Africa and the rest of Africa has been given a further boost following to the signing of a historical memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and Global On Board – an International Maritime Organization (IMO) recognized institution in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Essentially according to the parties, the MoU will enable South Africa and other African countries an opportunity to work with the Global On-Board Training Centre in the identification and placement of cadets on trade vessels globally. SAIMI, based on Port Elizabeth is now responsible for the country’s cadet training management as part of its future objectives that also include research and related matters pertaining to the country’s maritime sector.
With the collaboration established between SAIMI and Global On Board Training Centre, the institution will be joining several institutions in countries including the Admiral Makarov State Maritime Academy and the Admiral G.I. Nevelskoy Maritime University both of Russia, the Dalian Maritime University (China), the Istanbul Techinical University Maritime Faculty (Turkey), the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (Philippines, and the Korea Maritime University (Republic of Korea).
In the video below, the parties to the MoU, Dr Yamamoto and SAIMI chief executive officer, Professor Malek Pourzanjani, along with the witnesses – SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi and African Shipowners Association secretary-general, Ms Olufunmilayo Folorunso, explained the rationale behind the MoU:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The choice of Kenya as the host country of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) new regional Maritime Technology Cooperative Centre (MTCC) for the African region is a welcome development certain to further strengthen and enhance ongoing collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation in the continent’s maritime sector development and growth.
This was the view of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) following to confirmation that the IMO awarded the hosting rights of the MTCC to the East African country last month. The Africa host of the new MTCC was announced as the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) together with the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA).
According to the IMO, the new Africa region MTCC will be one of five to be set up from this year in other countries as a part of a European Commission/IMO joint initiative to build capacity for climate mitigation in the world’s maritime shipping industry. They will be developed and funded by the European Commission to the tune of €10 000 000 (R139.42-million) over fours years,
The first two were announced in December 2016 as the Shanghai Maritime University in China (MTCC-Asia) and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (MTCC-Caribbean.)
The European Commission describes the project thus: “This four-year project will enable developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, in five target regions – Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific, to effectively implement energy-efficiency and emissions reduction measures through technical assistance and capacity building. These regions have been chosen as they have significant number of LDCs and SIDSs.”
Following to the issuance of an invitation for expressions of interests by the IMO to member countries last June, 43 countries across the world, including nine in Africa responded. The African countries included South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana, Tanzania, Madagascar and Nigeria.
South Africa’s bid was made jointly by the Department of Transport, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the South Africa International Maritime Institute (SAIMI).
In a statement last month the IMO announced that: “Under the Global MTTC Network (GMN) project, JKUAT will host MTCC-Africa in collaboration with Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Maritime Authority. The selection of JKUAT followed a competitive international tendering process.
“In the coming months two further MTCCs will be established in other target regions – Latin America and the Pacific – to form a global network of such centres.
“The five regional MTCCs will deliver the agreed project milestones over a three-year period, making a significant contribution to IMO’s continuing, widespread efforts to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of the global energy-efficiency regulations for international shipping.”
South Africa a focal point of the Africa MTCC
With the announcement SAMSA applauded Kenya and immediately committed to “South Africa’s concurrence to act as a focal point for the implementation of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in Kenya.”
South Africa’s inclusion as a ‘focal point’ of the Africa region MTCC to be based in Nairobi was part of a broader arrangement on how the new centre will operate based on IMO requirements.
In correspondence with the Kenyan State Department of Shipping and Maritime Affairs and the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, SAMSA said: “We confirm that we shall undertake the roles listed and required of the Focal Point by the IMO and to do all that will be necessary to ensure the success of the MTCC,” SAMSA said. It added: “Your (Kenyan) nomination of South Africa as a country focal point of the MTCC Africa for the Southern Africa region is testimony that proves a shared desire preoccupation which will serve to strengthen collaboration between our two countries.”
A race against gas emissions in oceans
The background and rationale to the global MTCC initiative according to the IMO, is that greenhouse gas emissions from shipping are expected to increase, yet developing countries who are increasingly playing a meaningful role in global shipping trade, lack in varying degrees the wherewithal to enhance energy efficiency in their shipping sectors.
“This project, formally entitled ‘Capacity Building for Climate Change Mitigation in the Maritime Shipping Industry’ will enable developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, in the target regions to effectively implement energy-efficiency measures through technical assistance, capacity building and promoting technical cooperation,” said the IMO
New MTCC’s focus areas
Precisely, the network of MTCCs globally, once operational, will focus on:
improving capability in the region – by working with maritime administrations, port authorities, other relevant government departments and related shipping stakeholders to facilitate compliance with international regulations on energy efficiency for ships
promoting the uptake of low-carbon technologies and operations in the maritime sector through pilot projects
raising awareness about policies, strategies and measures for the reduction of GHG and other emissions from the maritime transport sector
demonstrating a pilot-scale system for collecting data and reporting on ships’ fuel consumption to improve shipowners’ and maritime administrations’ understanding in this regard, and
developing and implementing strategies to sustain the impact of MTCC results and activities beyond the project time-line.
The IMO described the JKUAT as “a multi-disciplinary university of global excellence in training, research and innovation that aims to produce leaders in the fields of agriculture, engineering and technology. The university provides degree courses related to maritime shipping and has a track record of engagement in regional maritime capacity building activities.
In addition, according to the IMO; “JKUAT has hosted numerous conferences, seminars and workshops, and has a long history of collaboration with different organizations focused upon suitable energy solutions and maritime issues. MTCC-Africa will be strategically located at two offices in the Kenyan Coastal region, at JKUAT Mombasa Campus and at the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RMRCC), situated within the Mombasa port facility.”
World Maritime University (WMU) leader and academic, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry visited South Africa for a week last week and apparently left very impressed with the progress being achieved in relations between her Malmo, Sweden-based educational institution and South Africa.
Dr Doumbia-Henry whose meetings in the country – from Sunday to Wednesday last week – began with senior government officials, among them Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters and her deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and later leaders of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Transport Education and Training Authority (Teta); said she was particularly impressed by the contribution now being made by dozens of local officials and maritime sector experts who achieved their post graduate education in maritime at the WMU over the last few years.
On Tuesday, she’d spent the better part of the day with at least about a dozen of the WMU alumni at SAMSA’s head office in Pretoria, and during which meeting the group – all of whom work for SAMSA – shared their work experiences and insights back in the country since their graduation in Malmo over the last few years. The meeting was also attended by a group of SAMSA senior management representatives as well as the DoT director, Ts’episo Taoana-Mashiloane
In an interview with this blog, The 10th Province shortly thereafter, Dr Doumbia-Henry was full of praise about the nature and level of the graduates involvement in programmes intended to enhance the rapid yet sustainable development of the country’s maritime economic sector inclusive of environmental protection of the ocean space, safety of personnel in the sector, the upholding of laws relevant to the ocean spaces as well as research and innovation.
She confirmed that she was in the country to strengthen relations with both Government – which has been the main supporter and contributor to the annual dispatch of South Africans to WMU since 2012 – as well as tidy up mutual bilateral relations with education and training institutions such as the NMMU, SAIMI and related; and leaders of the first two, Professor Derrick Swartz and Professor Malek Pourzanjani whom she spend some considerable time with between Sunday and Wednesday.
In the following video, Dr Doumbio-Henry fully outlines the purpose of her visit as well as her impressions of the country.
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.
Excited 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.
In 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.
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.
SAMTRA 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.
Establishment of clusters in South Africa’s maritime economic sector could have far more advantages for business owners in the sector than is derived by companies operating in isolation and in silos as is currently the case now. Among other things, the existence of a cluster would rather than eliminate competition, create synergies characterized by greater co-operation with shared benefits along values chains.
This was the strongest sentiment to emerge on the first day of a two day seminar on Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy – Exploring opportunities towards a national maritime cluster for South Africa – attended by a range of thought leaders from South Africa and on Norway, on the need for development of clusters in the country’s maritime sector.
Several speakers, among them Ms Judy Beaumont, acting Director-General of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Dr Malek Pourzanjani, CEO of SAIMI and Mr Prasheen Maharaj, CEO of Shipyards said the launch of Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economic in 2014 provided South Africa an ideal platform upon which industry in the country’s maritime economic sector and government could collaborate to ensure rapid and sustainable development of the sector for the benefit of all South Africans.
Crucial to it all, however; was intentional and determined engagement both within the maritime business sector with a view to establishing effective collaborative channels, but also between the sector and the public sector.
Ms Beaumont outlined the nature and purpose of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme as well as the milestones achieved to date since its formal launch in 2014. She described the programme as intended to both develop and transform the sector for integration into the country’s mainstream economy for the benefit of all South Africans.
According to Ms Beaumont, the initiative has certain characteristics among which is the need for speed in implementing identified projects, but also the work undertaken jointly through cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders.
In his adress Dr Pourzanjani said; “This seminar is being held under the banner of Operation Phakisa to explore the establishment of a national maritime cluster. As with Operation Phakisa itself, the success of such a cluster will depend on the involvement and collaboration of all maritime role-players and sectors – it is not something that a single entity or authority can make happen on their own.”
According to Dr Pourzanjani, industrial clusters are not a new phenomenon and already exist in some other business and industrial sectors, such the country’s motor manufacturing, tourism and other services industries.
In Europe, he said; the European Network of Maritime Clusters drew its membership from 17 countries and just two weeks ago had met with the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, where optimism was expressed that “maritime clusters are blooming across Europe”.
These maritime industries, according to Dr Pourzanjani accounted for about five-million jobs and just less than five percent of the E.U’s G.D.P.
He said:” The value of clustering lies in their supportive environment for collaboration and innovation, which in turn assists industrial and small business development, employment creation, and overall value-added economic growth.”
Mr Maharaj said a currently dominant sense of self-preservation and advancement among especially what he described as a “few large companies and few Government employees” was not helping South Africa’s cause as the attitude to business development enabled only a handful to live well “while millions of our people are left jobless and poor.”
According to Mr Maharaj, quoting Algeria president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as newly appointed head of ECOWAS, “Africa is not poor, it is poorly managed.”
He said: “Through Operation Phakisa, the Government is unveiling a new Marine Manufacturing and Industrial policy framework. This policy focuses on opportunity, growth and innovation in niche markets where South Africa can compete.
“It recognizes the value of marine transportation as an important industrial infrastructure, with environmental as well as economic benefits. And it focuses on partnerships, as it is only by working together that we can succeed. So the key to success is collaboration to drive innovation, resulting in greater efficiency and competitiveness.”
The same view was shared by Mr Peter Miles co-founder and executive of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Maritime Cluster established some three or so years ago.
According to Mr Miles, each of the port cities along the coast of South Africa should have a maritime cluster and through which a national cluster could be anchored, with a coordinating role. He suggested also that there should be a fund established to assist the formation and ongoing administration of the clusters.
According to Mr Miles, the funding could be raised through a rand-for-rand contribution from both the public and private sectors.
Meanwhile, a host of Norwegian industry, research and education experts have and continue to share their experience of clusters in that country’s maritime economic sector, with their overwhelming message being that South Africa’s sustainable success with its Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) will depend largely on such collaborative structures.
Led by Norway’s ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen, the Norwegian continent includes Ms Anne Lene Dale, Director for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ing Alf Egil Jense of the Norwegian Science & Technology, Dr Aase Kaurin of the Norway Research Council, Mr Svein Fjose of Menon Economic), and Dr Kristin Wallevik, the Dean of the University of Agder.
The two day seminar wraps up with a tour of the port of Port Elizabeth on Tuesday afternoon.