It is pretty much hard work if one participates in the Marine Crew Services seafarer programs, but not all the time. This is what a group of Sonasurf and OPS students from Angola found out when the MCS management recently arranged a fun and educational outing for them in Cape Town.

Says Deanna Collins: "We took the Sonasurf and OPS students from Luanda who are under MCS management during their training on a Sunday afternoon outing to the Tokai forest, one of the pristine forest areas of Cape Town in the Cape Peninsula. This happened prior to their departure for Luanda after successfully completing a year's academic study at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology for the Navigating students and one year practical workshop skills training at Northlink College for the Marine Engineering students."

She says the students achieved very good results during 2008, with an overall pass rate of 95%. "We are very proud of their performance."

The MCS who helped to arrange the day included Ernest Magerman, Corniel Seddon, Wendy Vester, Nicholas Magerman and Andre De Vos.

Ms Collins says the training programme for Angolans which is managed by MCS is a huge success. Earlier, in May and July last year, four Angolan Navigating Cadets under MCS management passed their oral examination at SAMSA, Cape Town and obtained their Deck Officer of the Watch (STCW) Class III foreign-going Certificate of Competency.

"They arrived in Cape Town in October 2004 with little or no ability to speak English, but group committed themselves fully to their studies and successfully passed the one year theoretical phase of their cadetship at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in November 2005 by achieving distinctions in some of the subjects."

They then completed their sea time on tankers through Sonangol and came through their experiential, sea time phase with favourable reports and recommendations from the Master and Senior Officers under whom they served. "Divaldo Manuel, Claudio Afonso, Osvaldo Teixeira and Pedro Uiembe did extremely well and it was a pleasure to facilitate their training."

Two more Angolan Navigating Cadets, Antonio Domingos and Angelo Pedro, were due to complete their sea time towards the middle of 2008.