Campaign aims to boost maritime awareness in SA

Odwa Mtati
Odwa Mtati

The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) is launching a collaborative maritime awareness campaign aimed at advancing skills development to help grow the country’s ocean economy.

The campaign, which will take place at the East London ICC on September 4, under the theme “Dive In”, will include a national maritime careers expo highlighting careers in both coastal and inland industries.

SAIMI acting CEO Odwa Mtati addressed the media at the Beach Hotel on Wednesday, and highlighted some of the reasoning behind the campaign.

“South Africa has sea territory that is greater than the land mass.

“We need to raise awareness of the country’s oceans environment and the country’s ocean economy,” Mtati said.

He said South Africa had a coastline of more than 3,000km and up to 90% of its imports and exports were moved by sea.

The campaign will see SAIMI put together a task team that will spearhead the campaign, from the SA Maritime Safety Authority, the SA Police Service and the Transport Education and Training Authority, among others.

Various departments including labour, public works, environmental affairs, forestry and fisheries have also pledged their support.

The awareness programme will include activities such as youth skills development, empowerment of women in the maritime sector, engagements with the maritime industry on sector development, and development of small enterprises in the sector.

The campaign will also include a national programme of events such as career expos to introduce the youth to oceanrelated careers.

Keagan Halley, an aquaculture adviser from the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, highlighted one of the plans for getting the public more involved in the marine environment.

“We have a partnership with Mango Airlines and South African Airways to showcase videos that will inform people more about aquaculture,” Halley said.

“We want people to consume more fish, and get into appreciating marine life more.”

Mtati said the oceans economy contributed significantly to the country’s GDP.

“According to a study by the department of environmental affairs, the oceans economy contributes up to R177bn to South Africa’s GDP and will create about one million jobs by 2033,” he said.