In support of local players and maritime stakeholders, The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) in collaboration with the Buffalo City Maritime Cluster (BCMC) hosted a Maritime Industry Engagement at the East London International Convention Centre on 30 and 31 March 2022.
The two-day seminar focussed on consolidating the cluster model in South Africa to ensure a sustainable maritime sector through capacitation of the regional clusters’ mandate.
Buffalo City Maritime Cluster (BCMC) Secretariat Thabisa Sigwela said the seminar brought like-minded people together from the regional clusters to replicate success stories and work together to make the South African maritime sector a strong international competitor. The BCMC was established in 2018 to make an impact in the region.
Southern Cross Cruises, Eco Tours & Sailing Academy Owner and Skipper John Barry said he welcomed the fact that all the key players were brought together by the seminar in support of a partnership model, instead of operating in silos.
Barry is involved in various training and empowerment initiatives in the Buffalo City region, including giving learners from George Randell and Ngwenyathi high schools who study maritime subjects, practical exposure and training at sea.
SAIMI CEO Odwa Mtati said the institute is creating various opportunities through its maritime awareness programme, Dive-In, to introduce youth in primary and high schools to different opportunities in the maritime industry. “These include many other careers – not just seafaring – that youth can explore for free on the zero-rated Dive-In website or App. We are also working on supporting a teachers’ qualification for more schools to offer subjects like Maritime Economics and Nautical Sciences,” said Mtati.
Buffalo City Development Agency Director of Investment Promotion & Tourism Oyama Makalima said the municipality has an appetite and interest in bringing investment into East London. “It is a city in motion and willing to support initiatives. The cluster formation will achieve specialisation and give us the competitive advantage, so we are in full support of the initiative,” said Makalima.
Similarly, Border Kei Chamber of Business CEO Lizelle Maurice also shared a word of support during the seminar for the cluster model in the maritime industry, as the related income-generating businesses and employment creation for the residents of the region will help to grow the local economy.