What do you do when you need to replace your crew at short notice? You call Marine Crew Services (MCS), the South African company dedicated to placing South Africans in jobs in the maritime industry.

At very short notice, during a weekend, recently, MCS supplied a relief crew to an offshore vessel berthed at Walvis Bay.

At 0730 on a Saturday morning, Crewing and Training director, Deanna Collins of Marine Crew Services (MCS) received a call from Peter Clifton, the marine superintendent of an anchor handling supply tug, 'Seabulk Tern' at Walvis Bay to assist with immediate crew supply to replace the majority of the vessel's crew.

When asked when the crew should arrive on board, Mr Clifton answered "over this weekend" - a tall order indeed!

At the office by 0800, Deanna roped in her Crew Logistics Manager, Ernest Magerman and by midday they had completed the screening and selection from their database and had rounded up the required crew. All fully STCW certificated, documented and cleared that Saturday afternoon, the MCS crew were mobilized and ready to join the vessel at Walvis Bay.

Flights to Walvis Bay over that weekend were limited but with the "efficient service of our travel agent, Ms Sonnet Pretorius of Griffin Travel, we were able to confirm flights on the Sunday morning for the Bosun, 3 Able Seamen and 2 Oilers, with the Cook flying up first thing on the Monday morning", Deanna Collins says.

Whilst the crew arrangements were being made, a further call was received for assistance to supply a Deck and an Engineer Officer to join the vessel. Deck Officer Oratile Bloem from Taung, in the Northern Cape and Engineer Officer, Nkululeko Mabi from Kwa-Zulu Natal immediately responded and were mobilized. Bloem took the first bus from Kimberley down to Cape Town and Engineer Officer Nkululeko Mabi took the first flight from Durban to Cape Town for documentation and clearance at MCS offices. By Tuesday morning they were on their way to join the vessel at Walvis Bay.

"The willingness and commitment shown by these South African seafarers who were called over the weekend to join a vessel at the eleventh hour is a demonstration that South Africa produces well trained, quality and reliable marine personnel and we are proud to have these seafarers not only in our pool but as an integral part of our team at MCS," commented Deanna Collins.

Marine Superintendent for the Seabulk Tern, Peter Clifton, an experienced Ships Chief Engineer, runs a tight and efficient operation and expects the highest standards from the crews on board vessels under his management. After one week on board, the 'Seabulk Tern' with the South African crew on board and hard at work, was receiving a make over and is already showing a new face!!

Marine Crew Services continues to train and manage seafarers who hail from all parts of South Africa and continues its campaign to find funding to support the training of new entrant Merchant Navy Officers and Ratings for job placements with international ship owners around the world.