‘South Africa is open for business’: Vuka Marine – owner of now three SA registered cargo ships

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Pretoria: 22 June 2019

South Africa’s ship registry has been given a boost with the registration of yet another vessel operated by Vuka Marine, bringing to close on half a dozen the number of operational ships now carrying the South African flag in world oceans.

The Vuka Marine cargo vessel known as the Windsor Adventure: Port Elizabeth, was formally welcomed into the country’s ship registry at a ceremony held in the city of its registry and home, the port of Port Elizabeth this past week.

DSC_0837.JPGGuests attending included representatives of the Department of Transport (DoT), the Ports Regular of South Africa, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Eastern Cape provincial government, the Nelson Mandela University (NUM), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other business and institutions representatives.

DSC_0764.JPGVuka Marine is a joint venture between Via Maritime of South Africa and K-Line of Japan.  The company is currently moving about 2.5-metric tons of ore per annum, mainly on the first two capesize bulk carriers that it flagged in South Africa in 2015.

The latest addition is the third cargo ship operated by Vuka Marine to be registered under the South African flag and the fifth so far in the registry since launch of the SAMSA driven campaign to revitalise the commercial ship stock registered in South Africa about a decade or so ago – an apparently painstaking venture it has proved to be to date.

At the port of Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, both senior national and provincial government officials attending, including the Eastern Cape’s MEC for Transport, Ms Weziwe Tikana, expressed delight at the growth of ships now coming carrying the South Africa flag, however slow, and also acknowledged the need for speed in adding more into fold of the registry in far higher numbers if the country was to realise its ambitions of developing the country’s maritime economy transport sub-sector, develop skills and create employment.

DSC_0804.JPGIn the videos below, all six speakers – Captain Brynn Adamson (Harbor Master: Port of Port Elizabeth; Mr  Mahesh Fakir (CEO: Ports Regulator SA), Mr Metse Ralephenya (Marine Transport: DoT), Mr Andrew Millard (CEO: Vuka Marine), Mr Sobantu Tilayi (acting CEO: SAMSA) and Ms Weziwe Tikana (MEC for Transport: Eastern Cape) were unanimous in praise of the joint effort and close collaboration being achieved in delivering on the ship registry campaign. They also expressed determination in ensuring that hiccups currently being experienced, especially with taxation and related business costs of ship registration under the South African flag must be resolved.

In their order of appearance, Capt: Adamson said the port of Elizabeth was proud to be the home of no less than four operating vessels registered calling the port their home.

The four include the three operated by Vuka Marine and one other operated by bunking services company, Aegian. For his full remarks, click on the video below.

Ports Regulator, Mr Mahesh Fakir elaborated on financial incentives now approved in preference of vessels coming under the South African flag, as well as necessary operational conditions expected of ships registered in South Africa which he said were consistent with the country’s maritime sector developmental goals.

This was coming against the backdrop that South Africa relies on about 12 000 foreign vessels to carry 96 per cent of its exports to the rest of the world each year, leaving it strategically vulnerable.

On incentives, Mr Fakir said South Africa currently offers up to 30 per cent discount on port dues by ships locally registered. On operational conditions, among other things, he said it was important that vessels carrying trade goods outbound and inbound, as well as personnel manning the vessels, should increasingly be South African.

For more on his remarks, Click on the video below:

“South Africa is open for business….” were the closing remarks of Vuka Marine CEO, Mr Andrew Millard in summation of both his company’s experience and achievements in its quest for registration of its cargo vessels dating as far back as 2009 and one of which only got registered in 2014.

Among notable achievements being increasingly realised was the placement to date of some 50 young South African cadets on its vessels, the absorption of about dozen of these into full-time employment, and a current recruitment campaign for more young trainees known in the sub-sector as ‘ratings’.

He said Vuka Marine was also keen to assist the country’s ship registry through sharing experiences with ship operators keen on carrying the South African flag.

Mr Millard’s views were earlier echoed by the company’s chairman, Mr Andrew Mthembu, who remarked: “We are thrilled to welcome the Windsor Adventure into Vuka Marine’s fleet. This acquisition demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the development of the South Africa’s maritime industry, the national registry, and our seafarer population.”

For Mr Millard full remarks, Click on the video below:

For SAMSA, the campaign to enrol more commercial cargo vessels in the country’s ship registry had proved tedious, unnecessarily at times due to lack of co-operation by some important institutions.

“We are 95% towards setting up everything in place to ensure a smooth operation in  drawing ships into the country’s registry, but that five per cent that’s outstanding is the difference between success and failure'” said SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

Issues involving taxation were among the impediments, but so was more closer co-operation and collaboration necessary from particular the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), he said. For his full remarks Click on the video below.

Ms Weziwe Tikana, MEC for Transport in the Eastern Cape described it as befitting that newly registered vessels under the SA flag had their home in the province. She said the province had the privilege of having the second longest coastline in the country after the Western Cape but had little to show for it so far. However, she said, since launch of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) by government in 2014, the province had resolve to increase its economic contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product based on maritime economic sector growth,

This, she said, was necessary not just for economic growth but also for social transformation and higher participation by all South Africans.

For her full remarks, Click on he video below:

DoT’s Marine Transport directorate official, Mr Metse Ralephenya was full of praise that ‘pressure’ from the department on SOE CEOs involved in maritime transport was truly beginning to pay off handsomely, and vowed on behalf of DoT to ensure that necessary support by government was given.

For his full remarks, Click on the video below.

While being celebrated, the 56 000dwt Windsor Adventure was busy taking on board yet another load of locally mined minerals destined for overseas markets.

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SA minerals mining industry,Treasury commit to aid efforts to boost domestic shipping development: SAMSA

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Some of the participants at the first South African Shipping Industry Workshop organised by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria on Tuesday, representing trade cargo ship owners, mineral resources mining, policy makers as well as regulatory authorities directly involved with sectors impacting the shipping sector.

Pretoria: 31 August 2018

Efforts by the South African government to hasten the pace of developing the country’s ocean transport sector and precisely through rapid growth in registration of more cargo carrying vessels under the country’s flag, took yet another positive step forward this week following to a historic agreement between shipping owners, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Mineral Resources Council of South Africa to enter formal discussions.

The development came about during the first formal South Africa Shipping Industry Workshop organized by SAMSA and held at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria on Tuesday. Participants included representatives of various Government institutions and departments inclusive of transport (DoT), mineral resources (DMR), Trade and Industry (DTI) Treasury, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) as well as private sector ship owners and the minerals industry representatives under the Mineral Resources Council of South Africa (MRCSA).

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Ms Selma Schwartz-Clausen. Senior Manager: SAMSA

It was the first of a series of workshops planned by SAMSA for the country’s shipping subsector.

According to SAMSA, the issue focused consultations with directly affected and or interested role players in South Africa’s shipping transport subsector both in the private and public sphere, along with important current and potential contributors in the value chain, are an effort to hasten the pace of development of shipping ownership in South Africa to address a range of socio-economic development matters.

These include transformation in the sector through actual increased ownership of shipping vessels under the South African flag by a diverse group of people, increasing the share of rendered services in the subsector, as well as enhance opportunities for maritime skills development.

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Mr Andrew Millard. Director: VUKA Marine

Of the country’s minerals mining sector in particular, according to Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Chief Operations Officer of SAMSA, the drive to draw the sector into the fray comes against the backdrop that much of South Africa cargo for trade export – estimated at 300-millions tons per annum valued at about R110-billion – comes from the sector.

This, he says, is particularly true of manganese and iron ore as well as coal.

Yet, of about 13 000 trade cargo vessels reporting at South Africa ports to deliver imports and ship out local produce annually, only less than a handful of vessels registered under the country’s flag are participating, a clear indicator, he says, that the local economy is barely benefitting its own people through the shipping business as hugely as it could.

This he says, is inconsistent with both country’s National Development Plan (NDP) as well as other socio-economic development needs.

He said while by law, the Government could stipulate what it considers an equitable share of cargo for locally registered ship owners and has occasionally been encouraged to do so, SAMSA felt it prudent to rather first give opportunity for engagement with all stakeholders in discussions and persuasion towards a shared common goal.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Chief Operations Officer: SAMSA

Speaking of Tuesday’s first workshop in the series he said:  “We thought it would be proper for us to get this small grouping of people just so that we begin find that one value proposition for South Africa Inc. We chose stakeholders within the bulk shipping industry such as the cargo owners and ship owners as well as policy makers and regulatory authorities.

“The intention was to find all the impediments in the subsector so that we can move on to find out what it is that we need to do to extract maximum value for the South African economy.

“This is the first of a series that we plan to hold with all role-players in the shipping industry, the next being that involving liquid bulk and also general cargo.

“I am pleased to say that the initiative was indeed worthwhile as we have now agreed with the Minerals Resources Council of South Africa for the first time ever to enter formal engagement with their members about this, but also Treasury committing to a process to clear out all the remaining tax issues affecting the shipping subsector,” said Mr Tilayi.

Meanwhile, in yet another positive development, Mr Tilayi confirmed that the South African Ship Registry could see more vessels registered – with at least two more before the end of 2019. This latest edition would bring to about half-a-dozen ships in the registry, with three others likely to come onto the group early in the new year.

For more on this as well as the views of one of South Africa’s newest ship owner, Thuso Mhlambi, financial director at Linsen Nambi Bulk Services, click on the two videos below (3 and 2 minutes respectively).

Video 1: Mr Sobantu Tilayi

Video 2: Mr Thuso Mhlambi

More videos of the actual discussions on Tuesday will be place on this blog soon.

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Marine tourism jobs boost on the cards for Eastern Cape: SAMSA

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East London: 15 July 2017

Marine tourism but precisely the cruise ships tourism subsector is set for a major boost in South Africa with the setting up of a sea cruise business partnership involving shipping group, Vukani Marine and an international operator, in Port Elizabeth.

An immediate positive impact would be the creation of much needed jobs on cruise ships for local youth, revealed Mr Sobantu Tilayi, chief operating officer at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in East London on Friday.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Chief Operations Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) addressing youths at the launch of the Maritime Youth Development Programme for the Eastern Cape in East London on Friday

Mr Tilayi was speaking during the formal launch of a Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) for the province – a joint youth empowerment initiative between the Office of the Premier of the Eastern Cape, national multi-stakeholder youth empowerment outfit, Harambee; and SAMSA.

At its official launch at the port of East London on Friday, the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) linked project involved about 130 youths from the province who will undergo training in maritime related skills for possible deployment initially on cruise liners around the world.

This is the first marine tourism related initiative of its kind focused on the Eastern Cape Province, with the first batch of about 50 youths likely to be deployed as early as September this year.

Shipping group Vuka Marine is a joint venture between Via Maritime Holdings of South Africa and K-Line of Japan. It is the first shipping group to have its cargo vessels registered under the South African flag – the first of these, the Cape Orchid, flagged in September 2015.

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Some of the 130 youths from the Eastern Cape selected for training in a set of marine tourism skills related to cruise ships under the SAMSA driven Maritime Youth Development Programme during launch of the project in East London on Friday

Addressing the group of youths ahead of the start of their training programme in the next few weeks, Mr Tilayi, in the company of Eastern Cape Premier, Mr Phumulo Masaulle and some provincial senior government officials, Mayors and councilors of the Buffalo City and Port St Johns municipalities and others, said Vuka Marine in partnership with a Hong Kong based cruise ships operator, were planning the establishment of a training and jobs placement operation in Port Elizabeth.

The unnamed Vukani Marine partner according to Mr Tilayi, operates about 720 cruise liners mostly in the Caribbean, with a total crew of about  44 000 people.

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Mr Tilayi during an interview with national television and radio during launch of the Eastern Cape leg of the Maritime Youth Development Programme in East London on Friday. The entire event was broadcast live both on SAFM, SABCTV News, regional and local radio stations.

“They are setting up in Port Elizabeth so that we (South Africa) can have a slice of those job opportunities,” said Mr Tilayi, adding that one of the attractions that were drawing the initiative to South Africa was the country people’s versatility borne of the diversity of the domestic population.

He said South Africans generally spoke English which was the universal maritime language, and that South Africans generally interacted and therefore were more familiar with people of different ethnic groups – a characteristic also deemed as highly important in the maritime transport sector.

“That is the reason why the world is looking at South Africa producing the kind of people needed in that sector, “ he said.

He urged the youths to grab the opportunities emerging with both hands and work hard to profit from them not only for themselves but for the rest of the country.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on the matter, Click Here.

Never should the Eastern Cape remain the backyard of South Africa’s economy

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape provincial government applauded both SAMSA, Harambee and others involved in the Maritime Youth Development Programme initiative for the province.

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Mr Phumulo Masualle. Eastern Cape Premier

In welcoming the initiative, Premier Masaulle described it as an anomaly that the Eastern Cape province endowed with the second longest coastline in the country along the Indian Ocean – about 800km in total – yet benefited far less from its exposure to a maritime economy.

With emerging opportunities he said, it would be consistent with the province’s historical role of supplying labour to industries that its people should again emerge dominant in the further development of the country’s maritime economic sector.

Mr Masaulle urged the youth to set their aims high with a view to filling up and occupying any and all ranks available in the sector.

For his full remarks on the aspect, Click on the video above.

For more audio-visual coverage of the event, go to the Multi-Media page and click either on Photos, or Audio & Video, or otherwise, Click Here.

 

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Sustained collaboration remains key to meaningful maritime sector development: SAMSA

Cape Town: 09 February 2017

KEEPING IN TOUCH: SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left) and SAMSA Board Chairman, Mr Mavuso Msimang chatting to one of more than 60 maritime economic sector principals attending a networking session by SAMSA on Wednesday evening.
KEEPING IN TOUCH: SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left) and SAMSA Board Chairman, Mr Mavuso Msimang chatting to one of more than 60 maritime economic sector principals attending a networking session by SAMSA on Wednesday evening. Looking on (extreme Right) is SAMSA Company Secretary, Mr Moyahabo Raphadu

Continued collaboration through regular engagement and exchange of ideas, views and opinions among key role players and interested parties remains the key to any positive achievements in the redevelopment and growth of the country’s maritime economic sector, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

This, according to SAMSA Board Chairman Mr Mavuso Msimang, was the underlying message behind a networking session hosted by the organization in Cape Town this past week, involving more than 60 officials from across subsectors of the country’s maritime sector as well as State departments and organizations.

img_4388Several of the industry principals and government officials were in the Mother City for Thursday’s 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament by President Jacob Zuma.

The networking session, a feature of SAMSA’s stakeholder engagement program, served also this year as a precursor to more robust formal engagements in the next few months among which will be the 2nd South Africa Maritime Investment Conference (SAMIC 2017) currently earmarked for Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape in the first half of this year.

DSC_0148This will occur just over two years after the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014 which event firmly placed the country’s maritime economic sector central to the country’s broad economic development goals.

img_4397On Wednesday evening, Mr Msimang, flanked by some members of the SAMSA board as well as executive managers including acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; hosted the exclusive networking dinner for the maritime sector leaders at the Harbour House restaurant located in the heart of a quaint small fishing habour in Kalk Bay – some 30km south east of central Cape Town.

Global economic uncertainty remains

In his brief remarks to the group, Mr Msimang noted that global economic activity was not at its best and that recent political developments around the world, but specifically the exit of Great Britain from the European Union (a.k.a Brexit) and the recent outcome of the United States presidential elections had added economic risk factors with unpredictable consequences for global trade currently.

img_4407He said the same could be said of South Africa’s own socio-political and economic situation.

Mr Msimang said it was against the scenario that it remained absolutely important that various partners to the country’s maritime economic development sector continue to work closely together in managing and solving emerging challenges as well as in exploring for profit all opportunities.

He said SAMSA appreciated its role as facilitator and committed it that: img_4411“We will endeavor to promote events like this with the hope that the platform provided will enable people to talk and engage much more easily. We will support the industry in its deliberations with various government policy owners as well as playing our part in the governance of the maritime economic sector.”

(For some of Mr Msimang’s remarks, Click Here)

There are reasons for optimism

Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, Mr Tilayi noted that while the country’s maritime economic sector continued to experience a set of problems and challenges requiring sustained engagement with particularly government, there were reasons to be optimistic.

img_4419He said current joint efforts between government and industry could see more positive outcomes achieved, particularly in relation to policy development, ships registration under the country’s flag, a rejuvenation of the country’s fishing sub-sector vessels fleet through recapitalization, as well as renewed impetus in efforts towards the sustained development of the country’s cadre of seafarers and related.

Mr Tilayi emphasized however, the critical importance of continued engagement among key role players in the sector, also stressing SAMSA’s continued facilitation role between industry and government.

(For some of Mr Tilayi’s remarks: Click Here)

Mr Andrew Millard, a director of shipping group, Vuka Marine – Cape Town based owners of the first three shipping vessels to carry South Africa’s flag in 2015 – expressed appreciation of the role played by SAMSA and indicated that while there were numerous challenges facing the sector still, there were also numerous reasons for optimism, particularly with regards expansion of a vessel fleet carrying the country’s flag  – a particular development deemed vital to especially the training of a cadre of South African seafarers.

(For more of Mr Millard’s remarks: Click Here)

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South Africa’s first registered cargo vessel lends hand to skills development on first day at work

SALDANHA BAY: September 27, 2015

Three South Africa youths made history in South Africa’s maritime economy sector here at the weekend when they boarded the country’s first registered cargo ship since the dawn of democracy.

MAKING HISTORY: (From Left) Samkelo Ndongeni (25) a deck cadet from Ngqushwa near King Williams Town, Thembani Mazingi (24) an engine cadet from Cofimvaba, and Gordon Sekatang (26), also an engine cadet from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, with the Cape Orchid skipper, Captain Edgardo De Asis prior to departure Friday with a trade cargo destined for Asian markets. The trio will remain with the ship for at least six months.
MAKING HISTORY: (From Left) Samkelo Ndongeni (25) a deck cadet from Ngqushwa near King Williams Town, Thembani Mazingi (24) an engine cadet from Cofimvaba, and Gordon Sekatang (26), also an engine cadet from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, with the Cape Orchid skipper, Captain Edgardo De Asis prior to departure Friday with a trade cargo destined for Asian markets. The trio will remain with the ship for at least six months.

Similarly, the city of Nelson Mandela Bay also marked its name in the country’s maritime sector’s history books when it was confirmed as the home of the country’s first registered vessel since 1985. The city is already home to the country’s first higher education and research institute, the SA International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

The youths, two from the Eastern Cape – Samkelo Ndongeni (25) a deck cadet from Ngqushwa near King Williams Town, and Thembani Mazingi (24) an engine cadet from Cofimvaba, and the third from Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Gordon Sekatang (26), also an engine cadet – were taken on board the newly registered vessel at Saldanha Bay Friday for a hands-on ship management practical training scheduled to last six months.

The trio’s first travel aboard the Cape Orchid – a 32 day one way journey went underway at the weekend to China where the 279m long cargo vessel will off-load some 170,000 tonnes of iron ore – the vessel’s first trade cargo from South Africa since its registration under the country’s flag.

To read more, 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