May 12, 2020

2017: Full Speed Ahead

It was full speed ahead for SAIMI this year, with many landmark achievements along the way:


SAIMI coordinates six skills working groups linked to the focus areas of the Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy. Their purpose is to develop and implement the skills plans and targets identified as critical to supporting the economic growth plans developed under Operation Phakisa.

This work is intended to dovetail into a national maritime skills development strategy and implementation plan, which is being coordinated by SAIMI. Work has already started on identifying gaps in skills and qualifications, finding ways to address these, and carrying out an economic analysis of the maritime sector. The final report is expected in early 2018.


A skills audit and needs analysis for the sector was completed, funded by SAIMI and the Agriculture Sector Education and Training Authority. The research found a widespread need for general skills such literacy and numeracy, business and life skills to support development in the aquaculture industry, as well as technical and specialist skills. Also, a need for the development of technical qualifications specifically focused on aquaculture e.g. animal production, aquaculture technician, aquaculture systems design and management, and aquaculture veterinarians. The working group will drive an implementation plan in 2018, providing access to generic skills training and supporting the development of new qualifications to address the identified gaps.

In line with interventions identified in Operation Phakisa, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing has increased the share of bursaries and internships allocated to aquaculture, and an institutional framework for aquaculture skills development has been drafted for discussion.

The labs identified a need to increase the numbers of learners trained at ratings/able seafarer level. Funding has been approved for SAIMI to manage the roll-out of new qualifications for deck, engine and fishing Able Seafarers at Umfolozi TVET College (KwaZulu-Natal) and the College of Cape Town (Western Cape) – to produce 45 able seafarers per annum (15 Fishing, 15 Deck, 15 Engine). The project will help to build TVET colleges’ capacity to offer maritime training modules.

SAIMI made input to the Department of Transport’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy [link to SAIMI website under Resources], which was approved by Cabinet this year. SAIMI is working with the department on an implementation plan to support growth of the industry.

Marine Protection & Governance

A skills audit will commence in early 2018 to identify skills needs, existing training, and gaps in growing the skills base for this diverse area.

Oil & Gas Exploration

SAIMI secured the establishment of a national Research Chair in Petroleum Geoscience and Engineering, in partnership with the National Research Foundation and Department of Science and Technology. Applications from various tertiary institutions have been reviewed, and an announcement on the awarding of the Chair is expected in early 2018.

SAIMI concluded agreements with the Energy & Water SETA and Chemical Industries SETA to collaborate on areas of mutual interest, including research and skills development, and funding the Research Chair in Petroleum Geoscience and Engineering.

A skills strategy roadmap and implementation plan for the sector has been submitted to the Delivery Unit (Dept of Mineral Resources). SAIMI will facilitate implementation.

The Oil & Gas Exploration lab is developing an efficient Incident Management System to coordinate responses by relevant government departments and agencies to incidents such as accidents and spills arising from offshore oil and gas exploration. SAIMI is coordinating and funding the training of an initial 50 officials to support the development of a coordinated and effective system for South Africa. Training is set for January 2018.

Agreement has been reached with PetroSA to use its Centre of Excellence as a vocational centre for scarce and critical skills. 52 learners are currently undergoing 18 months’ artisan training.

The working group is supporting the establishment of SAOGA as a professional body for the sector.

Marine Manufacturing

The National Skills Fund approved discretionary grant funding to the Department of Trade & Industry and SAIMI for a three-year project where 30 disadvantaged learners will be enrolled at False Bay College in the National Certificate in Yacht and Boat Building. Industry partners will provide placements for work-integrated-learning and prospects for full-time employment on completion. The project also involves skills programmes in composite (fibreglass) construction, aligned to the needs of the boat-building industry, for 354 learners.

The working group has initiated a mentorship programme for artisan development. The plan requires a mentor:learner ratio of 2:1, but there is currently a shortage of mentors. The funding proposal has been developed and letters of commitment from industry will ensure that 52 mentors are trained under the first phase.

Maritime Transport

The labs identified a need to increase the numbers of learners trained at ratings/able seafarer level. Funding has been approved for SAIMI to manage the roll-out of new qualifications for deck, engine and fishing Able Seafarers at Umfolozi TVET College (KwaZulu-Natal) and the College of Cape Town (Western Cape) – to produce 45 able seafarers per annum (15 Fishing, 15 Deck, 15 Engine). The project will help to build TVET colleges’ capacity to offer maritime training modules.

SAIMI made input to the Department of Transport’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy, which was approved by Cabinet this year. SAIMI is working with the department on an implementation plan to support growth of the industry.

Coastal and Marine Tourism, and Small Harbours Development, are new areas added under Operation Phakisa in the Oceans Economy, and SAIMI is working with the relevant government departments to support skills development in these sectors.


SAIMI worked with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to complete the Research, Innovation and Knowledge Management Roadmap for the South African maritime sector, which was developed through extensive consultation with roleplayers in industry, academia and government. The roadmap identifies priority areas for research and innovation to support the current and future needs of the industry. SAIMI will be developing a research agenda and inviting applications for projects aligned with these areas. SAIMI and the CSIR have agreed to work together to implement the roadmap and publicise associated opportunities.


For a third year, SAIMI supported the Africa Ocean Governance course offered by the International Ocean Institute – Southern Africa (IOI-SA) to equip public officials and NGOs from South Africa and other African countries with knowledge and skills to operate in the ocean governance space. SAIMI has an agreement with IOI-SA to collaborate in areas related to ocean governance and the oceans economy and will be taking this forward in 2018.


South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC): 5-7 April, Port Elizabeth
Almost 400 delegates registered to attend the conference, which addressed four main objectives:
• Sustaining strategic conversations on developing South Africa’s oceans economy.
•  Profiling and marketing South African / African opportunities for investment.
•  Establishing a national collaborative framework for stakeholder partnerships.
•  Supporting the mainstreaming of women into the maritime sector.

Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) Workshop: 15-16 August, Cape Town
Approximately 70 participants attended the seminar, the first of a series of targeted Professional Development opportunities that SAIMI will host to support the maritime sector. The aim was to provide a platform for understanding the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and how it impacts organisations, employers and employees in the maritime sector, particularly shipping.

Maritime Education and Training in the Digital Era (MET) Conference: 14-16 November, CPUT Granger Bay Campus, Cape Town
The conference provided a platform for stakeholder engagement on the impact of technology on MET institutions, maritime businesses, regulators and authorities, and those working in the sector. The aim was to find solutions for MET in South Africa that are relevant to local conditions and based on international best practice. The conference attracted approximately 100 delegates, with local and international speakers. Excellent feedback was received from stakeholders. Click here for Day 1 and here for Day 2 to view the conference report.


SAIMI successfully obtained SAMSA accreditation for Seafarer Recruitment and Placement Services, which enables SAIMI to place and manage trainees on board vessels directly. This enables all cadets in the programme to be absorbed, and reduces costs to SAIMI.

SAIMI has been accredited as a provider of these Accelerated Onboard Training Programmes:
• Deck Officer
• Engineer Officer
• Able Seafarer – Deck
• Able Seafarer – Deck (Fishing)
• Able Seafarer – Engine


The first new training service provider, Sea Safety Training Group, was appointed, bringing the total to three for the programme.

There are currently 185 cadets in various phases of training, of which 43 have completed their sea time and are preparing for their Level 3 Oral Examination.

On 10 March, the SA Agulhas training ship, with 30 cadets on board, docked in Port Elizabeth on her return from Antarctica. The vessel remained in Port Elizabeth for the TNPA PE People’s Port Festival (25-26 March), hosting hundreds of visitors on ship tours conducted by the cadets, and hosted the welcome function for SAMIC2017 on 5 April. The cadets attended SAMIC2017.

The next intake of 20 new cadets have signed on for the SA Agulhas voyage to Antarctica. The vessel, chartered by the Indian National Centre for Antarctic Research, departed Cape Town in late November. It docked in Mauritius on 4 December, to pick up Indian scientists, and is now en route to Antarctica, where it is expected around Christmas Day. The vessel will spend two months traversing the Antarctic for research surveys before returning to SA at the end of February.


SAIMI participated in international maritime conferences and delegations in order to track global best practice, grow our international networks and source opportunities to support maritime skills development in South Africa through exchanges and partnerships with global maritime leaders.

These included:
• The 2017 World Congress Ocean for Qingdao Forum in Qingdao, China, at the end of November, where SAIMI CEO Prof Malek Pourzanjani presented a South African perspective on the oceans economy. The conference looked at technology and innovation as drivers of the blue economy, and included high-level discussions on international cooperation for a sustainable maritime economy.
• The world’s biggest shipping industry conference, Nor-Shipping, from 30 May to 2 June in Oslo, Norway. SAIMI made a presentation in the conference Africa Session on maritime training opportunities and challenges in South Africa.
• CrewConnect Global Conference in Manila, Philippines, in November – a key forum for the global marine HR and crewing community.
• South African mission to China
• Transas Global Conference in Malta, in March – focusing on the future of technology solutions in shipping.
• ACI HR & Crew Management Conference in October in London, with shipping industry stakeholders focused on the competencies required of the modern seafarer.


SAIMI funded 20 shore-based international trade and shipping learnerships at the Mediterranean Shipping Company’s Maritime School in Durban.


SAIMI sponsored holiday programmes for disadvantaged youths to join Sea Cadets programmes in June/July holidays for exposure to the maritime industry. More to follow in 2018.

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Issued by Issued by Good News Lab PR Agency on behalf of SAIMI

SAIMI CEO: Odwa Mtati – 082 783 6810 Good News Lab: Kim Edwards / 073 236 4351 / 041 582 2684 /

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