Fact-Finding in the Philippines
2nd from right is SAIMI national cadet programme manager Yvette de Klerk, and 3rd from right is Nwabisa Matoti, SAIMI coordinator for Operation Phakisa skills development.
In November, SAIMI team members Yvette de Klerk and Nwabisa Matoti spent five fruitful days in the Philippines, gathering knowledge of local education and training and furthering international maritime relations for South Africa.
First on the agenda was a visit to the offices of Klaveness, which is a major training partner in the SAIMI-run national cadet programme. Here the visitors were shown the onshore and offshore services offered by Klaveness, and were also taken through the stages of ship registration at the Marshall Islands Ship Registry Office.
A highlight on the opening day was the tour of the Norwegian Training Centre (NTC), which was established by the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association in 1990 and offers training in diverse areas such as welding, electronics, marine engineering and dynamic positioning.
Of particular interest were the centre’s 30 simulators, as SAIMI is encouraging the establishment of a national simulator facility for South Africa. Simulation training at NTC is offered in everything from offshore to crane, cargo, bridge and engine room training.
The centre also trains cadets from four universities in the Philippines. The newly established Electro-Technical Officer programme, catering to the increasing demand for this role, is something for South Africa to explore.
On day two, the South African delegation met with SAMSA counterpart the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), where issues such as the possibility of South Africans studying in the Philippines, with a SAMSA-endorsed Certificate of Completion, were discussed.
At the Maritime Training Centre of the Philippines, areas of collaboration – such as sending Filipino maritime experts to SA to assist with maritime training and the building of maritime centres – were explored.
The SAIMI team also connected with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which provides policies, programmes and standards for vocational training and skills development in the Philippines. Its services include capacity building at TVET colleges, certification, industry-led standards development and exchange programmes, all of which could prove invaluable to the South African sector.
Attendance of the international CrewConnect conference on day three highlighted some of the practical challenges facing the global maritime industry today including the importance
of practical training on board training ships, occupational stress and seafarer welfare, seafarers versus shore-based employees, safety, and cyber security.
This was followed by a briefing by the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, which featured an overview of South African initiatives in the Philippines, including discussions on cooperation in aquaculture, as requested by SAIMI earlier this year.
This was in preparation for the fourth bilateral forum between the two countries. Here, SAIMI had the opportunity to present its role in driving the skills development aspect of Operation Phakisa and coordinating maritime skills development initiatives in general.
While South African institutions have limited capacity to meet the required training targets, countries like the Philippines could assist in this regard – specifically in the fields of aquaculture, seafarer training and marine manufacturing. Ongoing discussions on possible areas of collaboration will be held in the near future.