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Consider a marine career – Ngqura marine pilot to matriculants

Aug 14, 2019
Consider a marine career – Ngqura marine pilot to matriculants

Port Elizabeth - Port of Ngqura marine pilotVuyani Ntsimango was a guest speaker at the 2019 matric farewell of Vulingcobo Senior Secondary School in Dutywa on 7 August 2019, where he motivated the learners and outlined some of the marine career opportunities at Transnet National Ports Authority, the landlord of South Africa’s commercial ports.

Ntsimango said South Africa’s maritime sector presents immense untapped opportunities for young people.

“There are exciting career opportunities for the youth to explore in the maritime sector, especially in marine roles such as marine pilots, tug masters and marine engineering officers. To access these opportunities young people need to be aware that Pure Mathematics and Physical Science are required, therefore the right career choices and hard work are the starting point,” he said.

Principal PP Sangqu said: “The presentation was so instrumental in empowering our learners to choose their career path. This effort should not only end at Vulingcobo Senior Secondary School, but should also extend to other schools.”

Ntsimango has worked for Transnet for 11 years. As a marine pilot, his role is to help visiting ships to dock, sail and shift safely in the port and to protect port infrastructure. This work is often carried out during strong winds, heavy swells and rough sea conditions.

“I’m the team leader during the operation. I give instructions to the tug masters, berthing masters and advise the Ship Captain during the manoeuvring,” he explained. He also assists with training junior pilots.

“Some of the challenges include meeting up with a difficult client like the ship's captain. The captains are coming from different nations, cultures and home languages. As you walk into the ship, sometimes they undermine you as a pilot. In these instances, I always make sure I remain calm and do my job professionally until the Captain believes in me,” he says.

Ntsimango holds an Unrestricted Marine Pilot License which allows him to navigate ships of all types and sizes safely into our port waters. He has experience docking and sailing different kinds of vessels such as bulk carriers, tankers, car carriers, passenger liners, warships, fishing vessels, reefers and container ships. His other qualifications include Master Port Operations, a National Diploma in Maritime Studies from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and a Management Development Program and Management Diploma from Nelson Mandela University.

“My Mathematics and Physical Science matric subjects allowed me to have an opportunity to be accepted in the SA Navy in order to be trained as a Combat Officer on-board ships,” he said.

After completing military training at SA Naval College in Gordon’s Bay, he moved to Simonstown for further training including Combat Officer, Astrology Deep Sea Navigation and the Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate (Equivalent to STCW Deck Officer Class 3 Ticket).

“I worked on-board the SAS Drakensberg Naval Vessel. I sailed around the world to a few countries, with highlights including the Caribbean, Jamaica and Haiti La Re-Union Island,” he recalled.

He went on to pursue maritime studies at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and was appointed by Transnet National Ports Authority in 2008 as a trainee Tug Master at the Port of PE until he joined the new Port of Ngqura in September 2009. In 2011 he advanced to complete marine pilot training at the Maritime School of Excellence in Durban. Part of his practical training was completed in the Ports of Durban and Rotterdam.

Ntsimango was born in Port Elizabeth, KwaZakhele Township, and lived with his parents in Zwide Township until the age of seven. He completed his foundation education at Vuyolwethu Primary School, while in the care of his grandmother in KwaTuku C Village in Peddie. He relocated back to Port Elizabeth after passing Grade 7 and completed secondary schooling at Mzontsundu High School in KwaZakhele Township.

He has lots of advice for young people. “Training and education are key. Focus on what you do. You will only earn respect when you respect others. Believe in yourself, never try to be someone else because you are unique. Never judge your destiny by the location of your birth.”

He added: “Your career should be part of your journey to discover your purpose. One tip that can assist you is finding that thing that comes naturally to you, that you are good at. That thing should automatically make you unique because you will excel in it and shine in your own way.”

He also urged the learners to find mentors and to remain teachable, quoting Robert Kiyosaki: "You won't learn if you think you already know everything."

TNPA participates in a number of high school programmes to enhance the teaching and learning of Mathematics and Science, which are critical for maritime and engineering careers. TNPA also exposes youngsters and the general public to the maritime sector, through initiatives such as Take a Girl Child to Work Day, Tomorrow’s Man, various career exhibitions and its port festivals.

It runs a bursary programme for high school learners to study their grades 10, 11, and 12 at Lawhill Maritime Centre in Simonstown, and tertiary level bursaries for studies in Maritime Related Diplomas such as Marine Engineering and Maritime Studies.

TNPA also has an adopted schools programme nationally through which the company invests in infrastructure and teaching programmes at these high schools, then supports some of the top performers for continued maritime studies at high school and tertiary level.

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