General Understanding of the Maritime sector
(1) The purpose of the manual
This work is presented to South Africans as a form of contributing to the education of the youth and anybody else interested in the maritime sector. It is intended to touch almost all topics about the oceans and seas so that young people have a clear direction of avenues and opportunities that can be followed in the sector. Basically, the manual is presenting Oceans and Seas to the people (particularly the previously disadvantaged groups). South Africa consists of nine (9) provinces but only four (4) are located in the coastline. These are Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. All others are landlocked. Consequently, most South Africans understand Oceans and Seas as solely meant for swimming and fishing. Those who stay closer, at least, have an idea of international trade, tourism, mining and aquaculture, though they lack details thereto. Further than that, it represents beauty and all traditional myths and ancient ship wreck stories.
(Indian Ocean: Port of Durban, Photo by AN Sobekwa)
(3) Land-locked countries bordering South Africa: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho
(4) Brief to South African Oceans
Technically, South Africa has no Seas. The water surrounding the world is divided into two types i.e. water around continents, which is called Oceans and that which penetrates the land, called Seas. Examples of world oceans are: Pacific, Atlantic and Indian, Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. On the other hand, well known seas include the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Baltic Sea, Persian Sea, North Sea, Dead Sea, Caspian Sea, Aral Sea, White and Barents seas etc. There are also Channels and Canals and straits like English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Panama and Suez Canals etc.
Some people are so scared of sinking to a level where they don’t visit the coast. Some are convinced that dead people, in the form of ancestors, stay underneath sea water. This kind of understanding is mostly associated with communities that stay further from the oceans and most disadvantaged as far as this vast knowledge is concerned. With the advent of liberation, there is a lot of information that requires unpacking, more especially for youth so that doors for new educational avenues could be unlocked. The manual is presenting informed choice of careers. Opportunities to understand the oceans and seas were never presented to African communities in South Africa, except in a more traditional way.
More importantly, is the fact that people are very scared to swim as they were never exposed to professional ways of doing it. The approach of the manual is therefore, educational in nature. Disadvantaged communities will be formally introduced for the first time to the real beauty and meaning of having three oceans in South Africa. This is, inter alia, a simplified way of understanding the maritime sector. Educational careers, business opportunities, international trade, port services, preservation of ecosystem, fishing, mining and Tourism are presented to the people. Export and Import contracts of doing business, including relevant INCOTERMS and their advantages and disadvantages are introduced but no further details are provided as other manuals will continue from where this one ends. The manual leaves no stone unturned as far as introductory topics are concerned.
(2) Key challenges facing South Africa
As mentioned above, South Africa, like any other country in the world has a shortage of maritime skills, reason being that the sector is not well marketed. This has been noted in those Provinces that are landlocked. These Provinces are disadvantaged by distance from the source of information. Whilst they also beneficiaries of oceans, they are deprived of relevant knowledge. This must be corrected. Oceans are a national property and competency. They don’t belong to any Province. They are owned by the people of South Africa across all social classes. More educational programmes are necessary. This includes teaching oceanography and environmental sciences at basic education level.
(3) Situational analysis in South Africa
South Africa has more than 70 maritime institutions, most of them offering short courses. The only challenge is that they are not well- marketed. One does not need a degree qualification to be a seafarer or to work or open a business in the maritime sector. There is a lot that one can do in a ship. Job offerings are advertised in the media throughout the year, but people are not aware. Government Departments, like Transport are struggling to get qualified personnel that can assist in the development of legislation, policies, regulations, and strategies. Departments end up securing services of consultants who, many a times, do not qualify to deliver on professional requirements of the sector. Many a times tenders are re-advertised due to lack of responses. There is a shortage of sea-farers, surveyors, marine engineers, marine environmentalists, marine biologists, maritime lawyers, maritime transport economists, divers, ship captains and other related categories. The country has challenges everywhere in the sector. This requires urgent attention. The media should play its role in marketing the sector.
(4) Key Objectives of the Manual
o To introduce the maritime sector to the people of South Africa o To elaborate on the ocean’s importance o To present careers to South African youth o To introduce business opportunities to all South Africans o To attract landlocked provinces to the ownership of oceans o To explain the role of the UN in oceans and seas o To familiarize South Africans with the protection of marine environment o To deliberate on how safety and security of life and property at sea is ensured o To present the governance of oceans o To share information with landlocked countries bordering South Africa
Targeted readers are students, potential business owners, artisans/ ratings, policy developers, representatives at international maritime organizations, Government Departments in the maritime sector.