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Want a maritime career? Then be prepared to 'marry' the water learners told

By Afikile Lugunya - Jun 28, 2018
Want a maritime career? Then be prepared to 'marry' the water learners told

The International Day of the Seafarer (DOTS) was celebrated in Port Elizabeth on Monday where more than four local schools, including from the surrounding rural areas of Port Elizabeth, were invited to learn more about the maritime industry.

The reason for the workshop was to give awareness to all those that are interested in the career, but don’t know where to turn to.

According to Aubrey Ramahuma, from South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), people must understand that a real passion is needed to secure a career in the maritime field - "it’s not just about making a quick buck".

Also speaking at the event, Lolo Raphadu, also from SAMSA, advised everyone to think and come up with solutions that would eventually lead to South Africa owning their own maritime industries.

“South Africa is a maritime country and that is a fact, but the question is how many do we own? The minute that powers that be; sit around the table and look at this whole thing and decide and come up with a solution on how we are going to acquire vessels, how they will be implemented etc, then there is no reason why South Africans can be unemployed,” he described.

A pupil from Ndyebo S.S.S, Tinotenda Nhodza, said that; “A book I once read said that a sea can contribute millions of jobs and billions of Rands to South Africa’s GDP. So, I think that for everyone there will be a job.”

RNEWS spoke to Mbali Khanyile, who is a Marine Pilot at Transnet National Port Authority and described her journey of becoming a pilot. She talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the job and she also gave details of how aspiring learners can reach towards the career.

Khanyile said that being a pilot entails losing your life completely and you "marry the water while you see your family once in a while".

However, it’s not as bad as it sounds according to Khanyile: “When we go out on the ship, we meet different kinds of people and we learn a lot from them as we also teach them something new about us.”

“As any other job, there are disadvantages as well especially when the weather is bad because it becomes difficult to control the ship,” she described.

“In situations like that, you just have to keep calm and do your job because the safety of the people must be the first priority.”

For all those that want to be ship pilots, Khanyile advised them to focus on maths and science as well as pass their matric very well. Apply to universities and do maritime studies.

“It takes four years, and you have to find a shipping company where you have to do a cadetship which takes about a year.

“After you have finished your cadetship you go to SAMSA where you get your ticket, where you will be given an oral exam and if you pass you get the ticket which gives you a qualification that qualifies you to be a water officer," she said.

“It’s frustrating and you get lucky when you get employed by a company like Transnet because you come back at least once a month."

She added that maritime workers learn on the job and its years of learning, so students have to be 100% sure that this is a career path that they want to follow.

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