The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), as part of its mandate by the Government, developed a maritime strategy to develop the country's maritime economy. One of the key challenges arising out of this strategy was the current shortage of both sea and shore based human resources required to support the industry. This has been exacerbated by the reduction in South African based shipping companies, an issue which they also intend to address by the introduction of a new tonnage tax regime and related industry incentives.
It is recognised that the shortage of training berths for cadets is the key obstacle to addressing the above mentioned shortage. In response to this, government, through SAMSA, has therefore decided to fully sponsor cadet training programmes on the basis that third party shipping companies will make training berths available, at no real cost to them, to train these cadets on their vessels and once qualified to be free to employ these cadets in their own fleets. This will create employment and increase human capital in the industry.
SAMSA has in turn contracted the South African Maritime Training Academy, a non-profit company that specialises in simulator based training and the management of cadet training programmes, to manage cadets participating in their project.
The intention is to recruit youth from Nautical Colleges who have completed their first year of theoretical studies (for Officer of the Watch level) to induct them with pre sea safety courses prior to them joining the vessels of the companies that are participating in the project in order to obtain their required sea time.
These cadets will either follow a SAMSA accredited accelerated training cadetship utilising the SAMSA onboard training record book or the accelerated training programmes for specific companies that will have to be accredited with SAMSA. Either route shall result in a South African qualification as Officer of the Watch in full compliance with STCW requirements.
Once qualified these cadets are free to join a shipping company of their choice. It is likely that these will seek employment with the companies in which they served their sea time.