Verging on becoming the world’s Top 10 maritime nation, South Africa firms up its Oceans Research capabilities through enhanced collaboration.

Docked at the port of Cape Town, the SA Agulhas II, South Africa's dedicated research vessel owned and operated by the Department of Environment Affairs (DEA). Photo: SAMSA
Docked at the port of Cape Town in October 2015, the SA Agulhas II, South Africa’s dedicated research vessel owned and operated by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). Photo: SAMSA

South Africa’s increasing focus on expanded development of its maritime economic sector should soon yield dividends for especially much needed research, and maritime sector education in general.

It is through research, education and skills development that desperately sought-after economic opportunities in the maritime sector can be identified, thereby opening doors for entrepreneurship and business investment, and which in turn should lead to job creation and increased employment, wealth sharing and ultimately poverty reduction.

It is a long held recognition in the country but which has gained more currency and airtime notably since the historic inaugural all-embracing maritime sector indaba: the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC) held in Cape Town in 2012.

20151113_070215Yet, even as broadly acknowledged at the SAMIC four years ago and indeed, in prior and subsequent industry or sub-sector imbizos and related, ocean space focused research in the country has hitherto been sparse and decidedly shallow and isolated, undertaken separately by different groups including mainly the State, education institutions and the private sector, in line with their peculiar interests and goals.

This led summarily to not only excessive costs for individual groupings, compounded by unnecessary duplication in some cases, but also to poor collation, quantification, coding and utilization of accumulated knowledge.

However, a groundswell of events currently clearly suggests that this is about to change, fast.

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