South Africa bags one more cargo vessel under its national flag!

Four cargo vessels now in the country’s register, with about a dozen more due for registration in the next few months!

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Port Elizabeth: 14 July 2016

South Africa’s drive to expand growth and economic opportunity in the country’s maritime economic sector is steadily gaining pace with one campaign of the broad Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) strategy – the local registration of trade cargo shipping vessels under the country’s flag, gaining ground.

This became evident in Port Elizabeth this week when on Wednesday afternoon, the fourth so far of an estimated dozen international cargo vessels due for registration, had raised and held aloft at its stern for the first time, South Africa’s flag for its identity.

The MT Lefkas, a bunker (ship fuelling) vessel, is owned by Greek shipping fleet group, Aegean; and will be officially stationed at the port of Port Elizabeth, to supply fuel at sea to vessels sailing along Africa’s southern oceans.

IMG_2466For Aegean, the registration in South Africa of the R200-million worth bunkering vessel measuring some 102.5 meters, with a gross tonnage of 4580; is a kick-off to a medium to long term investment in the country involving a capital layout of about R1.6-billion, and which will involve two more vessels; according to regional manager Mr Kosta Argyros.

He said the MT Lefkas, with a capacity of some 6.8-million litres of oil, will effectively be the runner between the Aegean’s other bigger tanker station offshore along the Eastern Cape coast and passing fleets requiring fuel supplies.

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Mr Kosta Argyros, Eastern Cape regional manager of Greek shipping group, Aegean.

According to Mr Argyros, the positioning of the Greek’s bunkering services vessels in the Eastern Cape coastal area is based also on projections of significant growth in oceans based cargo which, he said, would see an increase of as many as 300 trade vessels in the region in the near future.

However, for South Africa’s broader economy, the addition of the vessel to the country’s steadily yet progressively growing stock of locally registered cargo vessels – now numbering four since September 2015 – will expand opportunities for a whole range of ocean economy businesses, but also critically, provide berths for the training of seafarers.

Mr Argyros confirmed: “The registration of the “MT Lefkas” and other vessels that will follow is significant towards the employment of the South African seafarers. Every vessel has extra accommodation that allows for the training and development of cadets.

“The registration of the vessel is not restricted to the bunkering operation only but also introduces many economic benefits for the people of Port Elizabeth such as surveying, offshore services and crew changes” he said.

WELCOME ON BOARD THE MT LEFKAS: Displaying plaques denoting the formal registration of Aegean's bunkering services vessel, the MT Lefkus under the South African flag in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday are (From Left) Aegean fishing group Eastern Cape regional manager Mr Kosta Argyros, SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, port of Port Elizabeth manager Mr Rajesh Dana and port of Port Elizabeth harbour master, Captain Brynn Adamson
WELCOME ON BOARD THE MT LEFKAS: Displaying plaques denoting the formal registration of Aegean’s bunkering services vessel, the MT Lefkus under the South African flag in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday are (From Left) Aegean shipping group Eastern Cape regional manager Mr Kosta Argyros; SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; port of Port Elizabeth manager, Mr Rajesh Dana; and port of Port Elizabeth Harbour Master, Captain Brynn Adamson.

According to Mr Argyros, these and a whole range of additional business opportunities could generate as much as R5-million for Port Elizabeth’s local economy in a given time period and in the process, create more additional employment opportunities for the local communities, thereby spreading the income benefit.

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Mr Rajesh Dana, Port Manager; port of Port Elizabeth

Port of Port Elizabeth Manager, Mr. Rajesh Dana added: “The Port of Port Elizabeth is proud and honoured to be the registered home port for the Aegean vessel, MT LEFKAS. We congratulate Aegean for the registration of the vessel on the South African flag and look forward to the opportunities that this will present to Nelson Mandela Bay and South Africa.

“This historic event is significant to the Port of Port Elizabeth and South Africa at large as it marks the catalytic growth in the South African Ship Registry and once again highlights Nelson Mandela Bay’s attractiveness as a Maritime City and its potential to exploit the Blue Oceans Economy,” he said.

(For Mr Dana’s remarks, Click Below)…..

20150909_101517_1With the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) charged by Government with responsibility for developing and expanding the country’s stock of locally registered vessels carrying the country’s flag, the organization’s acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi was on hand on Wednesday to witness and welcome the hoisting of the South Africa flag on the Greek owned vessel at the port of Port Elizabeth

Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) speaking at an event marking the hoisting of South Africa's flag onto the Greek shipping group, Aegean's bunkering services vessel in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) speaking at an event marking the hoisting of South Africa’s flag onto the Greek shipping group, Aegean’s bunkering services vessel in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

Mr Sobantu said the positioning of the Aegean vessel in Port Elizabeth was with meeting a number of socio economic objectives among which was to strategically expand the location of fuel resources placement in the country, and which up to now, had been largely (66%) confined to the port of Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

Mr Tilayi, flanked by the Mayor of Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay metro), Dr Danny Jordaan and port of Port Elizabeth manager Mr Rajesh Dana, said the development and operationalization of the Ngqurha deep water port also in Port Elizabeth had opened up opportunity for expansion of transshipment of not only South African goods, but that of the whole of southern Africa.

“This helps reposition this whole (Eastern Cape) region to become an important transshipment hub for the entire southern African region.

He added: “Port Elizabeth has a very big potential as a services port for a whole range of maritime economic activities, including cruise (leisure) vessels because of its strategic positioning geographically but also because of the geolocation of the two ports which among other things, enjoy significant protection from weather and ocean currents related conditions,” he said.

(For Mr Tilayi:s full remarks, Click Below)

Port Elizabeth Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan

Also welcoming the Aegean business operation’s location in Port Elizabeth, Dr Jordaan said the development was an indication of the progressive achievement of the objectives of the country’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) initiative launched in 2014, and which he said, placed the Eastern Cape coastal city central to efforts to rejuvenate the country’s maritime economic sector.

Dr Jordaan echoed words of encouragement to especially local business to take advantage of emerging opportunities linked to investment such as that of the Greek shipping company now based in the city.

(For Dr Jordaan’s video clip, please Click Here)

And for the formal flagging of the Aegean owned bunkering services vessel, the MT Lefkas, Click Here)

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South Africa’s first black female Ship Captains set to conquer the oceans globally

Three young black South African women blaze the trail in the country’s maritime transport subsector after qualifying as Marine Masters

Pretoria: 06 May 2016

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South Africa’s purposeful drive to transform positively the country’s maritime sector primarily through development widely yet rapidly of a formidable base of human resource skills is yielding significant results.

Latest evidence of this trend is to be found in the successful qualification recently of the country’s first three black women as commercial cargo vessel Master Mariners or Ship Captains.

TRAILBLAZER: South Africa maritime transport subsector pioneer, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi, the first of three black women in the country to qualify as a ship captain, or Master Marine in 2016
TRAILBLAZER: South Africa maritime transport subsector pioneer, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi, the first of three black women in the country to qualify as a ship captain, or Master Marine in 2016

The uniquely historical event occurred after Tshepo Motloutsi, Thembela Taboshe and Pretty Molefe received their colours as Master Mariners in March and April 2016 respectively following to their passing their exams.

The three newest Captains will go into the history books as the first black female Master Mariners in South Africa.

A Master Mariner or Ship Captain is the professional qualification required for someone to serve as the person in charge or person in command of a vessel of more than 3000 gross tons.

Two of the new female Captains Motloutsi and Taboshe are currently employed by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) as ship surveyors in Durban, while the third; Captain Molefe is with the National Ports Authority.

According to SAMSA – hitherto the country’s leading agent for human resources skills development in the sector since some 16 years ago – the youthful females’ achievement is significant not only for its historical perspective, but crucially because its advancement to the highest level of their career paths responds positively to a critical shortage of female master mariners or ship captains not only in South Africa, but also worldwide.

In a statement congratulating the three, SAMSA said it was extremely proud of Captain Motloutsi, Taboshe and Molefe’s formidable achievement as, it said: “The journey to qualifying as a Captain is a challenging one more so for female candidates since this is a qualification that is traditionally held by males. The candidates have to endure over 36 months of sea time training before they sit down for the grueling oral examination.”

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi
South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

SAMSA Chief Operations Officer Mr Sobantu Tilayi said the ladies’ progress boded well for SAMSA’s efforts to completely transform the South African maritime sector for the benefit of all.

“We are excited about these two qualifications as they are not only historical but are also in line with the country’s push towards a fully beneficial and representative South African maritime sector. Not only will these two new Captains put South Africa on the map but they will go into the history books as the ladies who defied all odds in a male dominated space”, said Tilayi.

Meanwhile, the increase in qualified cargo vessels master mariners in South Africa comes at a time when the country is also seeing an increase in the number of commercial cargo vessels being registered under the country’s flag, a registration process driven under mandate by SAMSA.

The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.
The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.

Already three vessels carry the country’s flag since August 2015 while an additional 12 is currently having their applications under consideration.

The increase in South Africa registered commercial cargo vessels is a strategic move to expand both training opportunities for the country cadets as well as business trade opportunities.

According to SAMSA, Captains Taboshe, and Motloutsi will remain in SAMSA’s employment while their future in the maritime sector is receiving further consideration.

For a full feature on Captain Tshepo Motloutsi’s and Captain Thembela Taboshe’s journey into South Africa’s maritime transport sector history, after qualifying as the country’s first batch of Black female Master Mariners, please click here.

SA Maritime Safety Authority applauded for historical ship registry in 2015

But the organisation will have to do more, fast; as “50 more” are needed: Deputy Minister

Saldanha Bay: December 07, 2015

The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.
The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has received praise from Government for its speedy facilitation of the registration of cargo trade vessels now carrying the country’s flag in the past year.

The accolade came from national Transport Ministry’s deputy Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga during a Presidential Imbizo week event held at the port of Saldanha on Monday.

Speaking during the open imbizo of the maritime economic sector (oil and gas subsector) chaired by the Transport Ministry and attended by the media, to receive reports on progress achieved so far with new infrastructure development being undertaken at the port of Saldanha, Ms Chikunga hailed SAMSA’s pace in achieving the registration of at least three cargo vessels in 2015 under the South African flag.

Ship registry is among priorities identified under Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) launched a year ago.

The first of the three private sector trade vessels now carrying the country’s flag was registered in September 2015, followed soon thereafter by two others.

Chairing the Presidential Imbizo meeting on Monday at Saldanha Bay on behalf of the Depatment of Transport was South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sonwabo Tilayi
Chairing the Presidential Imbizo meeting on Monday at Saldanha Bay on behalf of the Depatment of Transport was South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Ms Chikunga noted how she had put ‘tremendous pressure’ on SAMSA to “deliver” on the goal but went further to describe the feat as exemplary of the high pace denoted by Operation Phakisa (meaning “speed things up”) in implementing timely, programs and processes jointly identified by Government and the private sector as required for the country’s economic rejuvenation and growth, but especially the maritime economic sector.

“We made promises to the people of South Africa. We have to deliver on those.” She said, adding that while the ministry was happy with the development, the country needed more vessels registered.

“We now want to see 50 more registered and we want to know from the institution (SAMSA) how soon can we have that 50 in our books,’ said Ms Chikunga during a media conference.

However, the applause for SAMSA contrasted the mood of both the deputy Minister as well as private sector representatives that greeted a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) report on progress achieved so far with development of the port of Saldanha.

The gathering was the first of several this week during which Government and private sector principals across sectors are meeting to thrash out challenges facing the economy and to come out with clear plans on how best to overcome these.

IMG_1172 (2)Ms Chikunga said the imbizo at Saldanha Bay on Monday had been convened to receive and evaluate reports by both her office as well as concerned maritime sector investors on TNPA’s progress with projects earmarked for the port of Saldanha in terms of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) plans for the Marine Transport and Manufacturing lab – one of five targeted for prioritization in the revitalization of the country’s maritime economic sector.

Precisely, in terms of the MTM lab recommendations, the port of Saldanha was approved by Government for the establishment of a purpose built oil and gas port infrastructure, with TNPA charged with facilitating rapidly not only the development, and unlocking investment in new and existing port facilities around the country, but also with creating and implementing a public procurement and localization programme, as well as developing a strategic marketing campaign and value proposition for target markets.

A composite map of the port of Saldanha reflecting the areas of the planned oil and gas infrastructure to be developed in the next few years
A composite map of the port of Saldanha reflecting the areas of the planned oil and gas infrastructure to be developed in the next few years

According to a presentation by port of Saldanha manager, Mr Willem Roux, the oil and gas infrastructure intended for development at the West Coast port, at an estimated investment of approximately R10-billion, include a proposed Mossgas quay extension, a general maintenance quay, a new oil and gas repair berth as well as an extension of the current iron ore berth.

This would be in addition to a long planned development of an Industrial Development Zone alongside the port.

It emerged at the imbizo on Monday the expectation was that with timely execution of the MTM lab related plan for the oil and gas port infrastructure by the TNPA, at least 3 000 direct and indirect jobs would be created each year since 2014 – a figure said should have doubled to 6 000 new direct and indirect jobs to date.

A round table robust discussion between maritime sector (oil and gas subsector) representatives, South Africa Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, business and civic society representatives duing the Presidential Imbizo Week event of Monday, looking at progress achieved in establishing port infrastructure for the oil and gas industry by Transnet's National Port Authority at the port of Saladanha on Monday
A round table robust discussion between maritime sector (oil and gas subsector) representatives, South Africa Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, business and civic society representatives during the Presidential Imbizo Week event of Monday, looking at progress achieved in establishing port infrastructure for the oil and gas industry by Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA)at the port of Saldanha.

However, tempers flared at times during the imbizo after it emerged that according to TNPA current plans as presented by Mr Roux, the key facilities of the development at the port of Saldanha earmarked for the oil and gas subsector would most likely be ready for utilization by about 2019 instead of the scheduled 2017.

An artist's impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha
An artist’s impression of the new facilities to be developed for the oil & gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

This according to Transnet, was due in part to the need for the relocation of manganese ore from both the port of Saldanha as well as the port of Port Elizabeth to the Ngurha deep water port also in Port Elizabeth. This would take three years through to 2019 to complete, the parastatal reported.

The report did not go down well with neither Ms Chikunga nor the investment, business and local community representatives virtually all of whom saw the performance as ‘slow’.

Speakers all bemoaned what they described as a reflection of South Africa’s apparent inability to stick to undertakings, and instead seemed at ease with moving further time frames for delivery of identified infrastructure development programmes.

Business representatives said this practice did not only paint a bad image of the country in the investment community but was also proving costly to those investors already committed.

Saldanha Oil & Gas 1In addition, local business and civic society representatives were far from pleased that the number of jobs planned for the port of Saldanha infrastructure development were far from being realized – but especially that there were not even figures presented at the meeting to illustrate if any jobs at all had been created, in order to alleviate high unemployment in the community of just over 100 000 inhabitants.

It helped little that TNPA officials cited also ongoing discussions within the institution intended partly at ensuring that businesses currently utilizing the port ,such as mining; were not impacted negatively by the new projects.

An apparently frustrated Ms Chikunga responded: ‘If decisions take 14 months to make…by people sitting together every day, who therefore can organize one another and discuss, what do I say? What report do I take to the President…and you are expecting investor confidence?

“It cannot be that you are taking 14 months to sit and discuss. The second issue for me is that we do not respond quickly as South Africans, why is that? If are you are saying we as the Department of Transport are appointing people who do not know what they are doing, then tell us, so that we can look into the issue!

Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chiikunga (standing) making remarks during the meeting
Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chiikunga (standing) making remarks during the meeting

“We are a country like other countries. We must be able to respond quickly enough as other developing countries are doing. I am talking about Kenya. I am talking about developing African countries. A delay in an Operation Phakisa project has so much impact on other projects..and surely it should be frustrating investors even more because there is money involved,” said Ms Chikunga

Transnet's National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO, Mr Richard Vallihu giving assurances to the meeting about NPA's commitment to stick to deadlines for earmarked oil and gas infrastructure development at the port of Saldanha during Monday/s first of week long Presidential Imbizos
Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO, Mr Richard Vallihu giving assurances to the meeting about NPA’s commitment to stick to deadlines for earmarked oil and gas infrastructure development at the port of Saldanha during Monday/s first of week long Presidential Imbizos

TNPA Chief Executive Officer Richard Vallihu, however assured both Ms Chikunga and the business and local community representatives that deadlines on the projects would be met, and that a substantial number of jobs were assured to be created in this and various other current projects underway, inclusive of the deepening of parts of the Durban port.

With regards community benefits but especially in terms of jobs and related matters, Mr Vallihu said his institution was doing far more, as it had embarked also on investment in schools along its ports intended to offer skills development programmes for labour, specifically youth and women that would be absorbed in the maritime sector.

The imbizo wrapped up with a visit of the earmarked port area in Saldanha designed for oil and gas infrastructure development.

Clip One: Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga outlines the purpose of the Presidential Imbizo (Transport sector/maritime sector)

Clip Two: Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga responding to Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) report on progress achieved to date on the development of port infrastructure for the Oil and Gas subsector at the port of Saldanha

Clip Three: Transnet National Ports Authority CEO responding to concerns raised by both Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and business, investment and local community representatives at the imbizo.

For Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s media conference video remarks, click here

Ship registration gathers speed in South Africa

PRETORIA:  Sunday, September 27, 2015

The South African government efforts to redevelop and grow the country’s maritime economic sector have been given yet another with boost with the formal registration of the first shipping vessel under the country’s flag.

The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.
The Cape Orchid, a Vuka Marine cargo vessel that has made history by becoming the first to be registered under the South African flag since 1985. It is the first of two expected to lead in the campaign by the SA government, assisted by SAMSA to have as many trade vessels as possible registered in the country.

The historical event that took place in China earlier this month and celebrated in Saldanha Bay on Thursday afternoon last week, marked the first time any commercial shipping vessel has been formally registered to carry a South African flag since about three decades ago.

The vessel named Cape Orchard is privately owned by Vuka Marine, a South African joint venture company between Via Maritime Holdings (South Africa) and Hong Kong based Japanese firm, K-Line.

The registered vessel, named the Cape Orchard; was officially unveiled at a ceremony in Saldanha Bay on Thursday afternoon (September 24, 2015) and during which event, the first three South African cadets onboard a South Africa registered vessel were placed– also a historical first.

To read more, click here