10 September 2003
President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday said Danish investment in South Africa’s maritime industry is an example of how challenges can be tackled in partnership with friends from around the globe.
He was speaking at the official opening the South African Maritime Academy in Simon’s Town outside Cape Town.
The academy is the result of negotiations between Mbeki and a Danish shipping company, AP Moller-Maersk Group and AP Moller Foundation, who donated $3.3-million in aid to the country’s maritime industry.
Africa’s first state-of-the-art maritime institution is housed in a new two-storey building equipped with high-tech maritime simulation equipment.
Mbeki said the academy will enable the country to send highly skilled maritime personnel to sea, matching the expertise of the best in the world.
“I am told that the facilities at this academy are some of the most advanced in the world, with computerised simulations of engine and navigation rooms installed to the value of R18-million,” Mbeki said.
The President thanked the Danish Maritime Institute and AP Moller-Maersk for their commitment in the development of South Africa.
The academy will provide skills training for the broader South African and African maritime industry, including the merchant navy, the harbour craft, as well as the military and fishing industry.
Its mission is to provide simulator training for maritime industry personnel, with special emphasis on safety, vessels, cargoes, and the environment.
The courses include bridge watch keeping, ship handling, crew resources management, crisis and emergency management.
Thus far 70 students have been trained, including 39 from previously disadvantaged communities.