Taking steps to realise South Africa’s Seafarer supply potential

South Africa has the potential to become a global supplier of high-quality, highly-skilled ship’s officers.

This is the view of Daniel Ngubane, newly appointed Group CEO of Marine Crew Services (MCS), the Cape Town-based training and crewing specialist which has successfully trained and placed hundreds of South African and African seafarers on local and international vessels since opening its doors in 2003.

“South African seafarers are highly sought after internationally and demand for senior officers is particularly high. This, combined with the country’s world-class training and certification standards, provides an ideal opportunity for South Africa to play a more active role in the global seafarer supply market.”

Mr Ngubane says the South African Government has already taken significant steps, through its Operation Phakisa initiative, to grow the country’s participation in the global maritime economy.

“We believe there is enormous potential for MCS to support Governmental aims by increasing the number of trainee seafarers, as well as the number of training berths made available to them.”

For the past 12 years, MCS has worked closely with a number of international ship owners and managers to provide berths for South African cadets, a collaboration which he describes as ‘highly successful and mutually beneficial ’as it has given them the opportunity to gain sea time while providing vessel owners and managers with additional certified, qualified and English speaking manpower.

One of MCS’s strategic objectives is to increase the number of training berths in 2016 in order to reduce the number of young South Africans who, having completed their theoretical training, are lost to the industry because they are unable to obtain practical, sea time experience.

Operation Phakisa, or the Oceans Economy initiative, is also expected to lead the changes in the South African Ships Register.

According to Ngubane, “The Government, in recognising the potential of the industry, is considering a number of incentives aimed at making the South African ship register sought- after internationally and ultimately, stimulating increased training and employment opportunities for local seafarers.”

MCS, the only private South African manning company with ISO 9001 accreditation has, to date trained in excess of 880 officers, ratings and cadets, among them around 50% are black female seafarers, the highest number of sea-going, black female seafarers in South Africa.

Ngubane also heads Marine Bulk Carriers (MBC), a vessel owner and operator active in the off-shore oil and gas exploration sector and which is due to take delivery of two, 78m, 12 000 horsepower Anchor Handling Tug and Supply (AHTS) vessels during the first quarter of 2016.

Ngubane succeeds Deanna Collins and Jan Rabie who have been at the helm of sister companies, MCS and MBC, since 2003 and who have made a significant contribution, along with co-founder Robert Knutzen, to the growth of the South African maritime industry.

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