Feb 2024 2nd edition

Blue Economy set to create job opportunities for seafarers

Written by Neo Bodumela


Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga has announced a new initiative aimed at enhancing maritime employment opportunities for South African seafarers.

The Minister said the Seafarer Employment and Development Programme (SEDP) will be launched in the first quarter of the new financial year.

It will provide training, mentorship, and job placement assistance to qualifying Seafarers and will serve as an international collaborative maritime research centre to address the ever-evolving needs of the maritime industry, also known as the blue economy.Photo: Unsplashed

“This program is not just about creating job opportunities; it is about nurturing a skilled workforce that will competently navigate the challenges and opportunities of the modern maritime world,” Minister Chikunga said.

She added that the programme will play a crucial role in strengthening the employability of seafarers and providing them with the necessary skills and expertise to excel globally. 

“It is an initiative that underlines our commitment to not only foster growth within the maritime sector, but also contribute significantly to our national economy,” Minister Chikunga said.

In February, the Department of Transport will be convening with industry stakeholders to discuss the workings of the SEDP.

“This gathering will be an opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue, share insights, and collaboratively shape a programme that is robust, sustainable, and aligned with the industry's evolving needs,” the Minister said.

She made these remarks during the handover of the SA Agulhas, a former research vessel, which served as a critical asset in maritime education, training, and Polar research.

“I am happy to confirm that with this handover, we have a firm commitment from our German Counterparts and JS Maritime represented by Captain Stefan Bulow, who will be the new owners that our aspirations for seafarer employment creation will be realised.

“The handover of the SA Agulhas is thus a strategic move on our part, ensuring that this historic vessel continues to contribute significantly under new stewardship while aligning with our national interests,” concluded the Minister.

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