Home | Media Releases Index page

Media Release

Tuesday, 11 June, 2002

Maritime training to enter new era in Western Cape

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister

Maritime training will enter a new era in the Western Cape next year when contractors complete a new Maritime Simulation Training Centre worth about R28-million at Simon's Town High School.

The training centre will be a gift to the South African nation from the AP Moller/Maersk Group of Denmark. Financing of the project will come from Safmarine, its sister company, Maersk Sealand, and the Danish AP Moller/Maersk Group.

I will be participating in the official sod-turning ceremony, marking the start of the building phase of the project, which will take place at the school today (Tuesday, 11 June 2002) from 14h00 to 16h00. The centre is scheduled for completion in March 2003.

Safmarine has reported that they have discussed the project with the President, and that he has been fully informed about the donation of the facility to the country.

This initiative is an outstanding example of a public/private partnership, involving Safmarine and its international associates, the school and the provincial government, via the Western Cape Education Department and the Department of Transport, Public Works and Asset Management.

It will provide a major boost for vocational training for an industry that is fundamentally important for the economy of the Western Cape.

The facility will provide an important catalyst for the development of our local shipping industry, for the benefit of this province and the country as a whole.

A large number of trainees will also come from other countries. This will consolidate Cape Town's position as a port of note in the shipping world, while providing opportunities for making friends internationally in this industry, and for promoting tourism.

We will welcome students from overseas with open arms. It is extremely gratifying to note that the Western Cape can play a role in helping to develop the human resources needed by the shipping industry internationally.

We congratulate Safmarine and its shipping partners for their foresight in proposing and supporting this initiative.

The centre is precisely the kind of facility needed in the Western Cape, given our strong association with the sea and the shipping industry. It will provide future generations of young people with exciting career opportunities they could only dream of before.

The centre will provide excellent opportunities for promoting equity in the shipping industry. Many of our learners following Maritime Studies at Simon's Town High are from disadvantaged communities. A fair number of these will probably continue steadying at the centre.

The construction cost of the building is estimated at R7-million. The balance of the total amount of R28-million is to be used for the simulation equipment and start-up costs of the centre.

The centre will operate as a Section 21 company nominated by Safmarine, to be known as the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA). SAMTRA will be accessible to the entire South African Maritime Industry, bringing maritime training in South Africa to the highest international standards.

According to Safmarine, maritime simulation centres overseas are currently used by South African ship owners for training their sea-going officers to the standard required by their international counterparts.

The new facility is expected to halve the tuition costs involved in training of this kind, compared training using similar centres overseas.

In addition to this cost saving to our local maritime industry, the money spent on training will be spent locally, and this, combined with the support structures that are required such as accommodation, transport air travel, will boost the local economy, stimulate job creation and attract potential tourism.

Safmarine has supported the Maritime Studies Department for previously disadvantaged pupils at Simon's Town High School since 1995, with the approval of the WCED.

The company's financial support to the school to date amounts to R4.4-million. This includes sponsorship in 2002 worth about R500 000. These amounts do not include the sponsored cost of building a hostel, Lawhill House, of R350 000.

Other Safmarine sponsorships have included sending the head of Maritime Studies at the school to the Lloyds Award Ceremony in London; computers and a printer; annual free coastal voyages on Safmarine vessels for previously disadvantaged pupils from the school; and the supply of marine educational equipment and aids; among other donations and assistance over the years.

Safmarine has expressed its intention of supporting the Maritime Studies Department at the school for another two years. It is intended that SAMTRA will then support the Maritime Studies Department subject to the centre's sustainability, affordability and level of financial support, which will be at the discretion of the board.

The school's governing body, the principal and the WCED have approved the proposed location of the centre in the school's grounds. Safmarine will relocate two netball courts to accommodate the centre, at its own cost. The design of the building is such that the centre will not interfere with educational activities.

While the facility will be a gift to the nation, SAMTRA will sign a lease agreement with the Western Cape Provincial Government for a nominal amount for a period of 20 years.

The dividend on the total investment over this period will include many generations of well-qualified maritime officers and other specialised maritime personnel.

Enquiries: André Gaum,   082-550-3938

Issued by:
The Communications Directorate
Western Cape Education Department
Private Bag X9114
Cape Town 8000
Tel: (021) 467-2531
Fax: (021) 467-2363
Email: pattwell@pawc.wcape.gov.za
 return to: Home | Media Releases Index page