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The South African Maritime Safety Authority celebrates SA Seafarers
As South Africa prepares to host the country’s first maritime industry conference from July 4 – 6, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is calling on all South Africans to spare a thought for all the men and women who spend their lives at sea in celebration of the International Day of the Seafarer on June 25.
On Monday seafarers from all over the world will be celebrated and honoured for the sterling work they do at sea.
Tsietsi Mokhele, spokesperson for the South Africa Maritime industry Conference and CEO of SAMSA said the conference steering committee wanted to acknowledge the role of seafarers ahead of the upcoming maritime industry conference.“As shipping is responsible for the carriage of more than 90 percent of the world trade, it is the seafarers who ensure the smooth running of the shipping engines and the safe delivering of essential items and commodities that enhance our lives on a daily basis. It is therefore important that we remember our seafarers and the seafarers from across the globe as we prepare to host this conference that is bringing together maritime experts under one roof to deliberate on maritime issues. This is where we will discuss in detail the plight of our seafarers and other issues,” said Mokhele.
Mokhele said more than 700 delegates from South Africa and the African continent are expected to attend the South Africa Maritime Industry Conference to be held at the ICC in Cape Town from July 4 – 6.
Speaking about the International Day of the Seafarer, Mokhele said the decision to honour seafarers was taken in 2010 at a conference in Manila where amendments were made to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers and agreed that the day be marked annually to honour seafarers for their unique contribution to international seaborne trade.
Mokhele said SAMSA established the Centre for Seafarers and Fishing in 2010 to ensure that the interests of seafarers were looked after. This, he said, included keeping seafarers connected with their families while they are at sea.
“The welfare of our seafarers takes priority, these are the people who have sacrificed their lives and quality time with friends and family to bring us the things we have today,” he said.
It is estimated that 90 percent of world trade goes through the sea and is facilitated by 1.5 million seafarers. However in the South African context, where 98 percent of the trade is by sea, there are only 1 500 South Africans farers in the country’s ports. The disparity between the number of unemployed South Africans and the low numbers of seafarers could be curbed if more people were encouraged to take up opportunities in the maritime industry.
Mokhele said he was hopeful that resolutions that will be taken at the conference will help fast track initiatives undertaken to address challenges facing the sector, including increasing the number of South African seafarers.
The conference aims to further create awareness around the maritime industry and highlight opportunities present to enhance the country’s economic growth and development.
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