The vessel arrived at Cape Town Port on Wednesday 13 June, with newly skilled 20 deck and engine ratings trainees, who are part of a new pilot programme aimed at increasing the number of employable South African seafarers.
According to Sobantu Tilayi, COO, SAMSA, the scientific mission was successful and the research obtained would assist in critical experimental analysis.
“The experience of the ratings trainees has fortified their wish to be gainfully employed. This exercise undertaken using young people with no formal education allows us to entrench the ethos of Operation Phakisa to boost the oceans’ economy.”
Tilayi said some of the trainees were as young as 19 years old, having completed matric last year.
“We are serious about addressing the high unemployment rate in this country and offer the maritime sector as a viable employer. No job proved too hard or too menial for these trainees. We at SAMSA are proud of these young people,” said Tilayi.
The ship, which was captained by Captain Daniel Postman, left Port of Port Elizabeth on May 31, 2018 on its charter off the East coast of South Africa for scientific research as part of the SA Environmental Observation Network (SAEON).
The mission was to retrieve data from a number of scientific buoys deployed in coastal waters to monitor the Agulhas current and its role in climate change.
On board were 20 deck and engine rating trainees, and three cadets, who were gaining practical sea-time experience towards their international seafaring qualifications. This was the first exposure for the trainees to the maritime sector who have not had any formal training prior to them embarking on the vessel.
The 20 rating trainees are part of a group of 45 candidates in a pilot project facilitated by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and funded by the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA).
Steven Paulse, training officer on board the SA Agulhas, representing the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) applauded the young trainees on board the mission.
“They were hungry to learn, for education and experience. Captain Postman was very impressed with this intake. Having just been part of the scientific mission, they supported the crew and the scientists themselves.”
On board the vessel, the scientific crew, accompanied by a select group of scientists from the United States of America, were supported by the Department of Environmental Affairs
From here onwards the rating trainees will undergo further training on board the vessel and also in classrooms.