Women in maritime – what few women there are in the world’s maritime economic sector, all ‘2.2%’ of them – are virtually on their own!
At least that seems to be the overriding view held by African women with keen interest in the maritime economy and a few of whom see the sector as yet another gender based economic zone, primarily and almost exclusively for men by both design and function.
This view emerged strongly, publicly perhaps for the first in South Africa during the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC) 2017 held over two days at the Boardwalk Conference Center in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape some three weeks ago.
Appropriately, the conference deliberations’ structure had deliberately devoted time – just over an hour – to focused discussion on women’s role, participation, empowerment and contribution in the world’s and African/South African region’s oceans economy but with specific focus on African women.
The women present – both speakers and floor participants – expressed appreciation of the fact.
However, the focused discussion held on the second day of SAMIC 2017, ironically involved only women speakers from South Africa and the rest of the continent, and to the women participants in the dedicated slot, the exclusive female-only discussion did ‘not make sense’, they said.
Was it illustrative and indicative of a male-dominated sector passively letting women to ‘sort out your own problems on your own?’ – both on the podium and the floor the question emerged!
Key contributors to the BreakAway Session 3 discussion dubbed: “Increasing the participation of women in maritime industry” involved Ms Hermoine Manuel of Nautic Africa, Ms Angelique Beatrice Touenguene-Nlend of the Women in Maritime Africa (WIMA) organization in Cameroon, Ms Sefalo Montsi-Zuma of Darmen Shipyards (Cape Town) and Ms Asmaa Benslimane, vice-president of the WIMA for Arabic countries, based in Morocco; in that order.
While recognizing efforts being made for women mainstreaming, they were all generally scathing in their assessment of the position and participation of women in the African maritime sector, even as they acknowledged that the responsibility also lay with women to entrench and assert themselves as deserving role-players and therefore equally accountable for ensuring an increase in women participation in the sector.
In the four (4) videos below, an effort has been made to both present their speeches with as little editing as possible except where the use of presentation slides (not all available for this production) required trimming.
The 5th video, captures the ensuing discussions with the audience and which also remained lively and indicative of the interest, but also confusion and dissatisfaction experienced by women in the maritime sector generally.
To view each video, click on the name of the person and for Video 5 click on “Group discussion“
Video 1: Ms Hermoine Manuel speaking on Mainstreaming gender participation in the maritime sector
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
SHARING INSIGHTS: Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of South African Maritime Safety Authority addressing a gathering of about 30 people, a majority of them journalists in Durban at lunchtime on Sunday
Identification and creation of economic opportunities in South Africa’s maritime sector is among key strategies that will attract and enhance the country population’s interest and engagement with the ocean’s economy, according to Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in Durban on Sunday.
Mr Tilayi said this while addressing a group of journalists and some maritime sector specialists at a lunch event held at the Durban beachfront ahead of the Ethekwini Maritime Summit beginning in the city on Monday at the old Durban airport.
The annual summit in Durban is one of two major national maritime sector gatherings in the country in the coming week, the other being the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC 2017) over three days in Port Elizabeth. Eastern Cape; beginning on Wednesday.
SAMIC 2017 scheduled for the Boardwalk Conference Centre in Nelson Mandela Bay and hosted by the recently established South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), will be the second such conference of its kind since the inaugural one held in Cape Town some five years ago.
In Durban on Sunday, the SAMSA lunchtime event, was intended partly to provide an update on some developments concerning the maritime sector as well as share information on a whole range of developmental issues that the maritime authority is engaged with or contributes to, inclusive of the country’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) project launched in 2014.
Mr Tilayi, noting that South Africa is a maritime country endowed with just of over 3200km of a coastline on which sits eight commercial ports, and some 1.6-million square kilometers of an Exclusive Economic Zone spread over three oceans from the Atlantic in the west, the Southern Ocean in the south and the Indian Ocean to the east, yet the average South African still knew little to nothing about the sector; said part of the awareness campaign should involve identification and creation of meaningful economic opportunities in the sector.
This he said, would not only attract the public’s attention but would also ensure meaningful, profitable engagement.
Mr Tilayi’s address covered progress as well as challenges faced on a whole range of issues inclusive of ship registry, seafarer training, maritime sector education and training initiatives, maritime sector related legislation development and related matters.
In addition to his expected contribution at the Ethekwini Maritime Summit beginning on Monday, Mr Sobantu’s next important address will be in Port Elizabeth on Thursday where he is scheduled to deliver a report-back on maritime sector developments related to issues raised by industry since the last industry conference five years ago.