Society of master mariners south africa

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Minutes of the 71st Annual General Meeting of the Society held at the Lawhill Maritime Centre, Simonstown on the 4th September 2015

  1. Welcome

The President read the Creed and welcomed all present to the National AGM at 09h15 in the 75th year since SOMMSA was established by 2 Durban Pilots in December 1940.

The following members who passed over the side were remembered:

  • Paddy Ramsden

  • Dave Rennie

  • Jan Banach

  • Alan Logan

  1. The attendance register was circulated, the following were present:

MEMBERS: Rob Whitehead, Charles Kingon, Colin Flockhart, Colin Johnsen, Grant Bairstow, Derek Wood, Ian Fishley, Lloyd Merriman, Lance Tiedt, Tony Nicholas, Siegfried Duwe, Graham Emberson, Louis Crole, Pieter Coetzer, Azwimmbavhi Mulaudzi, Dennis Henwood.



HONORARY: Brian Ingpen, Mark Claasen

Noted that the branches were represented as follows:

CPT – R.Whitehead.

PLZ – S. Duwe.

DUR – C. Johnsen.

RCB – D. Wood.

  1. Apologies

    1. The following apologies were received and tabled:

R Terhorst; B Kohler; S Pearson; E Bismeyer; I Little; S Minogue; R Fletcher; A Britz; M Riddell; R Young; E Snyders; E Bremner; K Pletschke; A Till; P Baxter; B Cullen; N Noble; H Schuitemaker; R Farren-Handford; N Campbell; A Reid; G Mannall; J Davies; A Keller; R Terry; J Lamberg; C Kortum; W Dernier; A Pembroke; F Pronk; C Leeraar; K Burchell; K Moran; N Lawson.

  1. Additional items for the Agenda

    1. Colin Johnsen noted that Seafarers did not appear on the Dept of Home Affairs ‘Scarce Skills List’. This to be discussed under Agenda Item 18 – General.

  1. Minutes of the 70th National AGM

    1. No Errors and/or omissions in the minutes were tabled

    2. The minutes were approved on a proposal by D.Henwood and seconded by I.Fishley

  1. Matters arising from the 70th National AGM not listed as Agenda Items

    1. Re 5.2 Shore leave in SA ports. Noted that there still appears to be inconsistency in the application of the regulations in the different ports, and between the different terminals in Durban. It was also believed that the problem was no longer as extreme as before. Resolved that Exco would continue to monitor the situation.

  1. President’s Report

Thank you for providing me with an opportunity to update you with the work of the Society over the last 12 months.

As most of you know this is out 75th anniversary year. Two Durban pilots, Captains George Lindsay and Andrew Reid, formed the Society on the 9th December 1940. Much has changed since then – ships have changed, seafaring has changed, technology has changed, companies have changed and with it the needs of its members have changed.

We as a Society need to meet the demands of these rapid changes if we are to remain relevant and offer members benefits commensurate with the cost of their annual subscription.

The reality of today’s voluntary organisations is that generally people don’t attend meetings – for many reasons. I estimate that of our 170 members - an average of about 15 members attend regular Branch meetings of the Society – less than a 10% attendance rate.

Technology now allows us to keep our members significantly better informed that at any time in our history. 99% of members have email and access to the Internet and we use this extensively as our most effective means of communication. The question remains however – are monthly meetings necessary and should we continue having them?

Despite the low attendance numbers I believe meetings play an important role in the life of the Society. No current technology can offer the benefits of members getting together to discuss issues on and off the record – whether it is fact, gossip or just plain fellowship. Debate clarifies the mind and has an ability to draw out the key issues surrounding a subject.

In my report to the Branch AGMs, I suggested that our Branch meetings generally lack technical content (with the exception of Richards Bay Branch which always minutes really interesting technical content). The Nautical Institute (of which I am a member) is keen to join the Society in hosting joint, bi-monthly technical meetings. This is something I am very much in favour of as there is very close correlation between the interests of both organisations as well as a similar member base. Apart from bringing in technical experts to make presentations, every member has unique experiences that could be shared at these technical meeting.

The often-expressed concern is that not enough members will support these meetings making it embarrassing for the organizer and the guest speaker. By joining up with the Nautical Institute and inviting potential new Society members, as well as members of SAIMENA, the MLA and the Institute of SA Shipbrokers, we should significantly increase support for many of these meetings – particularly if the subject is going to be interesting.

One of the highlights of the last year was the initiative taken by Lance Tiedt and Kevin Moran who motivated for the establishment of an NSRI rescue base in Lamberts Bay – an area prone to marine disasters among the local fishing community. In July last year their efforts came to fruition with the arrival of an NSRI 5,5m RIB and vehicle.

It is nearly 50 years since the Society donated the first rescue craft to the newly formed NSRI in 1967 – a 4,7m inflatable named “Snoopy”. Would it not be appropriate for the Society to mark its 75th anniversary by using the occasion to leave a new waypoint in its history by raising the funds to provide a rescue craft or building for the Lamberts Bay NSRI station – possibly to be named “The Master Mariner base”? Keith Burchell and I have recently met with Dr Cleve Robertson, the CEO of the NSRI, to discuss the Society’s further involvement in this project. I have committed the Society to engaging with the NSRI in the coming year to identify specific aspects of the Lamberts Bay project that we can focus our efforts on.

As you should all know by now, the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF) has discontinued the National Diploma system, which provided the academic component by which youngsters entering the marine profession could eventually achieve a Certificate of Competence (CoC).

As a consequence of this, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) will be replacing their National Diploma courses with B Mar. Eng. and B Naut. Sc. degree programmes while the Durban University of Technology (DUT) will be presenting a Diploma in Nautical Studies. Both of these will be three-year courses.

Many Society members were opposed to these changes given the need for many youngsters to get to sea as soon as possible in order to earn a living. Our experience with bursary applicants to our SOMMSA Bursary Fund as well as from Student Members is that many come from single parent families and are the only breadwinner. Their families are depending on their financial support. There was also a feeling that we are losing the focus on the need for Certificates of Competency and focusing too much on academic qualifications.

Ultimately, after careful assessment, the Society has decided to support both the CPUT and DUT with their new qualification programmes - the key deciding factor for this favourable support being our concern that, without this change, the future of marine education and training at CPUT and DUT could be at risk. Further we understand the need for marine education and training to be financially viable – something proving impossible under the current system.

While we support the need for and benefit to South Africa of maritime diplomas and degrees (and ultimately Masters and Doctorates in these disciplines), we believe the educational institutions must make every effort to accommodate our main concerns, being:

The elimination of obstacles placed in the way of portability of education credits between Universities and/or FET institutions.

Degree and Diploma programmes must be structured to ensure there is complete compatibility with the SAMSA Code and that candidates who need to pursue a Certificate of Competency (CoC) can exit and re-enter the CPUT and DUT systems at the end or beginning of the appropriate semester.

Further we would hope that all the SAMSA Code subjects can be achieved in the 1st four semesters of the new degree programme as is the case with the current National Diploma system.

Members have raised concerns with the Society about their revalidated CoC’s only being issued valid to 31st December 2016. Given that both the DOT and SAMSA were involved in resolving this matter, I wrote to the Minister of Transport explaining the problem and its implications and asking for her intervention.

I am pleased to report that the Society received a comprehensive reply from SAMSA (on behalf of the Minister) in which they shared our concerns and to which they explained the program in place to resolve this matter as soon as possible. SAMSA also advised us that seafarers who have applied for revalidation or have been examined and have been issued affected CoC’s will have their CoC’s re-issued at no charge once SAMSA is able to issue for the period beyond 31st December 2016.

Our Society agreed at our National AGM last year to retain our membership of IFSMA and to increase our declared membership (as defined by IFSMA) to accurately represent the number of serving and previously serving Ship’s Masters. As a result we have to carry the increased cost resulting from this policy. The decline of the Rand as well as the increase in declared numbers has added significant costs to running the Society.

There has been some comment that the increased cost of IFSMA membership, as it impacts on Society membership fees, is becoming prohibitive. If this is the case then we need to consider the cost/benefit of continued membership for the Society.

Various other issues continue to occupy our attention. These include:

The recognition of CoC’s by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) and the recognition by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) of the Institute for Professional South African Mariners, the envisioned professional body for seafarers, together with the associated Code of Ethics, Disciplinary Code and Rules and Regulations.

The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) is facilitating the development of the skills and knowledge base required to ensure the success of maritime economic development initiatives such as Operation Phakisa and the African Union’s African Integrated Maritime Strategy. The Society has an important role to play in ensuring the voice of seafarers is clearly heard as this Institute develops.

One final thought which I also raised at the Branch AGM’s – the Society nominated one of our members, Nick Sloane, for a National Order based on his leading role in the salvage of the Costa Concordia. Nick has recently been honoured in Italy where he was awarded Cavaliere del Lavoro della Repubblica Italiana, one of five Italian knighthoods, and the German Ocean Award which he received in Kiel, Germany.

Despite world acclaim that included extensive television and other media coverage, and despite his nomination for a National Order by this Society and other organisations, the presidency failed to include him among the recipients of any of the National Orders that were announced recently.

Given the Government’s apparent disinterest in properly recognising maritime achievement, I believe it is time the Society created an appropriate national award of its own. I hope this National AGM will approve this proposal.

Once again, our main limitation as a Society is finding members with the time and desire to become involved in the management of the Society and in its projects. With the current few active volunteers we unfortunately have to be selective in choosing where to involve ourselves and limit our activities accordingly to ensure we provide quality input where it is most effective.

I would like to thank all members who have assisted our Branches and the Society over the last year and look forward to your continued support in the year to come.”

  1. Financial Report

    1. The President tabled the draft audited accounts for the year ending February 2015 see Addendum 1.

    2. The audited accounts were confirmed on a proposal by L.Tiedt and seconded by S.Duwe.

    3. The auditors for the past financial year were confirmed to be retained for the present financial year on a proposal by C.Flockhart and seconded by S. Duwe.

    4. The President presented the financial situation for the present financial year.

    5. The President tabled the budget for the 2016/2017 financial year.

      1. After some discussion, it was agreed to set the subs as follows:

Members: ZAR475.00 per annum

Associate and Affiliates: ZAR425.00 per annum

Students: to remain at the nominal ZAR25.00 per annum.

It was further agreed that Student membership should be for a 3 year period only, for the nominal R25 sub.

      1. This 2016/2017 budget proposal was met with unanimous approval.

    1. A proposal from the floor for an Honorarium for Sue Whitehead was declined by the President.

  1. Benevolent Fund Report

    1. The Chairman tabled his report:

As will be seen in the next Agenda item, the financial situation of the Benevolent Fund is sound.

Despite the current economic climate, our main investment is our Old Mutual “Investors Fund” Unit Trust account which increased in value by R87,310.93 during the last 12 months – an average annual performance of 4.97%.

When you consider that our initial investment of R185,980 in October 2001 is now worth R1,843,194 – an average annual growth of 17.9% over 14 years, it cannot be denied this has been an excellent investment for the Fund. Obviously we are at the mercy of the markets which are probably undergoing a correction at the moment but, as a long-term investment, we must be satisfied with the results.

We have recently undertaken to support a deceased member’s widow who is experiencing hardship. I am pleased to report that an appeal by the Fund to the membership, in additional support of this widow, has generate R91,000 in donations into the Fund in a period of 2 weeks. These donations will help the Fund provide an even higher level of support than would have been possible by the Fund alone.

I remind members that the Fund is unable to obtain PBO status due to the narrow definition of its ability to allocate funds. In any event we do not raise any tax liabilities at present due to the structure of our investments.

In closing then I would like to thank the members of the Fund’s Governing Board for their support and advice during the year.”

    1. The Draft Auditor’s Report, attached as Addendum 2, was tabled.

    2. The President advised that the Governing Board of the Benevolent Fund was working on a mandate of up to 7% of the available funds in the year towards any need identified. He asked the AGM for approval of the 7% mandate for the coming year. There was unanimous approval from those present.

  1. Bursary Fund Report

    1. The Chairman, Colin Flockhart, tabled his report:

1. It is my pleasure to give my first annual report as Chairman of the Bursary Fund.
2. Firstly I would like to thank the other board members who have been in place for some time and who have and continue to render sterling service, particularly fund raising.
3. We think it would be opportune to recap on the history of this fund. It had its genesis in an appeal from a student via Richards Bay Branch back in 2006, and the very generous donation by the late Captain Christoff Lueddeke to further the studies of that student, who is now a serving deck officer. The funds left over from that exercise, and a subsequent matching donation by SOMMSA, founded the fund as we know it today. Since that time it has assisted another three students in their tertiary studies at DUT/CPUT, two of which have commenced their seagoing careers. All such candidates are interviewed and monitored, and in some cases mentored.
4. The Fund has been accorded Public Benefit Organisation status by SARS, and accordingly donations to the fund do not attract donations tax, and individuals can obtain a tax rebate on amounts up to 10% of their taxable income before medical expenses in any one year. Corporates are also welcome to donate/sponsor, and a number have done so. To maintain its SARS status the distribution of funds is by regulation approximately 75% of income per year. Where we have not been able to disburse the required amount in a particular year the balance has been donated to Lawhill.
5. The Fund differs from the long established SOMMSA Benevolent Fund, which is aimed at assisting members and their dependents in times of need. Due to its narrow focus on a certain section of the community the Benevolent Fund does not have PBO status.
6. A copy of the founding Constitution is available on request.
7. The Board Members give of their time free of charge, and the only expenses incurred are auditor’s fees. A copy of the latest accounts is available on request.
8. Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to members to donate to the fund and/or consider a provision in their will.”

General discussion followed, this year’s joint fundraising Golf day with the GBOBA would be held on 19 November. Planning was progressing, with some 4 balls and hole sponsorships still available.

The Board would be considering applications for bursaries in the coming months. Colin Johnsen advised that he expected there to be 7 applicants from DUT, and would be instructing them to submit their motivations.

    1. The Draft Audited Accounts are attached as Addendum 3.

  1. Reports from the Branches

    1. Cape Town Branch report tabled by Rob Whitehead:

The Cape Town Branch has met in open session every month except for January this year.

The committee would like to thank all members who have attended meetings. Even though we typically have only a very small percentage of our membership attending, these meetings are always informative and offer a great opportunity to catch up with news of members and maritime issues.

Given the similar make up of the Branch committee and the Executive committee, much of the Society’s business is covered at the Branch meetings so as to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.

One of the main issues that have occupied debate within the monthly meetings has been the future direction of maritime education and training in South Africa. Seafarers are a cautious species and remain wary of “shoreside” manipulation of their work environments and their qualifications.

The Branch has also kept close to developments at CPUT, DUT, Lawhill, the NSRI, the Cape Town Mission and other maritime organisations.

Socially we have continued to enjoy joint-lunches with the GBOBA in the RCYC and I would like to thank the speakers who have provided the occasional talks at these functions.

The annual cricket match against the Marine Engineers has not taken place this year for the first time in over 20 years – but a recent initiative by SAIMENA may revive this popular competition again..

Colin Flockhart organised our annual wreath laying and memorial service for the Merchant Seamen who died during the wars and our thanks must go to him for keeping this great tradition alive.

In conclusion then, I would once again thank those members who have continued to actively support the Branch and our particular thanks to Michele Schooling has always ensured we have drinks and snacks available at meetings. Michele moved to Mossel Bay in July and we have lost her contribution to this important function. However, my wife Sue has agreed to take over the critical role of running the cash bar before and after meetings.”

    1. Port Elizabeth branch report tabled by Graham Emberson:

The Port Elizabeth Branch was established in 1946, six years after the Society was formed in Durban.
Today the branch comprises 14 members, 2 of whom live abroad or out of town. Of the 12 members who reside locally 8 have attended a meeting during the past 12 months and 6 attend meetings regularly. Fifty percent of the “regulars” are over 70 years of age.
We lost Captain Paddy Ramsden who passed away in December
The branch held 9 meetings last year, plus our AGM, each meeting was attended by 3 or more members. Meetings attended by less than 3 members (our quorum) are excluded.
The branch meets at the German Club at 1730 on the second Tuesday in each month. The venue is congenial and the facilities suitable, it is geographically convenient for just over half our regular members who live in the same area, but a long slog against rush hour traffic for the others.
Our meetings are informal, society blazers and ties are seldom worn and we stopped repeating the creed several years ago. Our meetings last about 2 hours. The order of work is masters business first when we discuss the emails and news received from Exco and other branches, followed by a general discussion on nautical affaires. Because over 60% of our regularly attending members are ex harbour service there is a bias towards piloting, tugs etc. these discussions are interesting and stimulating, the two hours passes all too quickly and there is seldom any time left over for small talk.
The branch has a close affinity with the Naval Officers Association of Southern Africa and our members attend some of their functions.
The following functions were attended by our members during the year past:-
Sea Sunday service at St. Mary’s Cathedral

Remembrance Day service at Walmer Memorial

NOASA quarterly luncheons

NOASA Trafalgar Day dinner

Beating the Retreat at Grey High School
A little bit about our active members
Cliff Bragg, retired

Bob Brindle, retired, part time piloting in Richards Bay

Rodney Chalk, retired, part time compass adjusting.

John Davies, retired, now chairman of Mission to Seamen.

Siegfried Duwe, NPA Pilot at Coega and Port Elizabeth

Harry Freaker, retired, part time cargo surveys

Graham Emberson, retired, tug and fishing vessel deliveries

Hans Frahm, retired, part time cargo surveys.

Neville Noble, SAMSA Surveyor.
Items of interest? Not much really. I was cleaning out my garage recently and found the combined Walvis Bay and Port Elizabeth Honours Board hidden behind a cupboard. I rescued this from a Cape Town carpenters shop about 10 years ago. At that time we didn’t know what to do with it and none of our members wanted it in their house (least of all my wife) so I stuck in my garage and forgot about it. I want to clean it up and get it up to date then pass it on to my successor as a sort of “floating trophy that goes with the job” that is unless somebody comes along with a better idea.
I thought it would be a good thing if the branch was publicly associated with a good deed and looked for a worthwhile cause with a marine connection. I thought I found something.
In Port Elizabeth there is a remarkable and once beautiful memorial to the horses that died in the South African war. The statue is a life size bronze of a kneeling cavalry trooper holding up a bucket to his weary horse. The bronze is on a plinth elevated above a public horse trough, both sides of the trough are engraved “The greatness of a nation consists not so much upon the number of its people or the extent of its territory as to the extent and justice of its compassion”
The South African war was extremely costly in horses and mules, I think more than any other war. The Boer Perd became almost extinct and of almost three hundred thousand horses shipped into Port Elizabeth from UK, Australia and South America only a tiny fraction survived.
It was a very fitting memorial, but recently, vandals smashed up the trooper which has now been taken away. The horse got off more lightly, but looks sad and forlorn.
My plan was to start a fund to raise money to repair the memorial and get it moved to a public museum where it could be viewed in safety by appreciative people. I discussed the matter with city councilors, but was warned off --- for political reasons! I haven’t entirely given up on the idea, but I’m keeping my eyes open for something else instead.
That is all I have from Port Elizabeth.”

    1. Durban Branch report tabled by Colin Johnsen:

This year has been busier than the last with five meetings held, a planned joint meeting with SAIMENA on 9 September, and at least two more meetings after that. The electronic format has kept all members in the loop even if they don’t respond or offer opinions on topics raised.
SAIMENA are very supportive of close ties with the Branch and have welcomed the joint meetings. In addition they have continued the tradition of inviting the Durban Branch Master to their annual dinner/dance to propose the toast to the Institute.
Two outstanding issues from last year are: the continued application of immigration regulations to the detriment of visiting seafarers, and the updating of our honours board.
The Senior Port Chaplain of the Missions to Seafarers has promised to inform us of any developments with immigration regulations. From my last discussion with Rev Thami Tembu it appears that the Immigration Service have relaxed their strict application of regulations.
A provider has been found to update the Honours Board for the Durban Branch, and at no cost to the Society. The National Honours Board will be updated when I receive information on the missing years from 2003 to the present.
Two issues of relevance to the Durban Branch have been raised in the President’s annual report to branches. The first is the content of meetings which is not regarded as being technical. Members have been urged to become involved and submit technical articles or proposals for discussion.
The second issue is the development of new qualifications by DUT and CPUT. With reference to the minutes of our meeting 650 and the President’s report I must stress that the development at DUT was crucial for the sustained viability of the Department of Maritime Studies. The new Diploma in Nautical Studies, to be introduced in January 2016, is configured to ensure that students remain at DUT for the full three years and leave with a qualification before entering the industry. It will allow them to follow a sea-going career or a vocation ashore.
At a recent colloquium on foundational teaching I attended it was revealed that the Dept of Higher Education is considering making one third of all three year qualifications into four year programmes. This will be in line with universities in Europe and America where they are addressing the problem of students being ill-prepared for tertiary education.
Currently we have an extended programme of three years at DUT instead of two years, for those students who do not meet all entrance requirements, plus one year of experiential learning (cadetship with a shipping company). This programme runs in parallel with the National Diploma. During our curriculum renewal project for the new Diploma we reached a decision to drop the extended programme in favour of the three year Diploma programme only.
Portability of educational credits between the two institutions offering the academic component of CoCs will be problematic when CPUT introduce a degree programme. However, recognition of prior learning is an established practice and the syllabus content and delivery level of both qualifications will have to be scrutinised carefully. The HEQF (Higher Education Qualifications Framework) dictates that institutions have their own unique qualifications hence the name change for our new qualification from “National Diploma” to “Diploma”.
Jon Lamberg provided a copy of the Government Gazette of June 2014 showing scarce skills determined to be critical for South Africa. Ship’s engineers and sheep shearers make the list but not Master Mariners. This was submitted to Rob for inclusion in the agenda for discussion.
The Durban Branch congratulates EXCO and the Society in reaching the milestone of 75 years and trust that the future will bring greater recognition of the Society’s inherent value.”

    1. Richards Bay Branch report tabled by Derek Wood:

We have had a quiet year which was unfortunately marred by the passing of Gerry Schroeder late last year. Gerry was a very enthusiastic member of our branch who very rarely missed a meeting and was branch secretary for many years. Although Gerry was Marine Engineer, he approached us to join which he did as an affiliate. When volunteers were called for to take up the Secretary’s position, Gerry was first to respond.

We had 9 meetings during the year with only June 2014 and April 2015 being missed due to no quorum. In December we had our Christmas lunch at a restaurant at the Waterfront.

We are down to 6 regular members with Bob Brindle joining us when he is on contract in Richards Bay. Ian Fishley, another one of our enthusiastic members, moved down to Cape Town on retirement. We wish Ian and Margie a very enjoyable retirement in Glencairn. Gordon Oxley is still in poor health and we wish he well in the future.

Our President, Rob whitehead, mentions in his annual report how our industry is changing and that our society needs to meet the changing demands. One of the most debated topics was the change of the training program for deck officers which the society has supported after it was clear that nothing would change the course that the learning institutes were taking. As an example of how training and learning are changing in our modern world, my great niece in Grade R at an age of 6years and 5 months does computer studies.

We thank Rob Whitehead and all the other office bearers in Cape Town as well as those who are managing the Benevolent Fund and the Bursary Fund for the magnificent job they are doing. The main fund raiser has become the Golf Day which appears to be a big success due to their efforts as well as the efforts of the General Botha Old Boys.

I would also like to thank Allan Heydorn for all the work he puts in as Secretary as well as all the members for their attendance and input at our meetings.

In closing I would like to wish the Society all the very best for the Annual Congress and for the year ahead.”

    1. Mossel Bay Port representative Guy Barker advised that he had nothing of substance to add to last year’s report.

    2. Saldanha Bay report submitted by Lance Tiedt:

Lamberts Bay - NSRI Station is now well established and has been active in Saving Lives of the fishermen in the area.

We need to Keep in touch with NSRI and try and get some “Naming Right” either a boat or building ! as once again this station was established due to the efforts of two local Master Mariners, Kevin Moran and Lance Tiedt. We as a Society may have to embark on a fund raising drive to secure such “naming right”

Social: We are now well established in having two social functions each year – Current venue Langebaan Yacht club, this is a bring and braai, in June/ July and November. Numbers averaging around 10 and then partners add to the numbers.

The Society President was able to attend the last Braai in July.

Other: One cadet has been in touch (Mr N B Cele) – regarding his rights as an employee of Sea Harvest – he had hoped to be repatriated to and from Durban on company expense, unfortunately this is not part of his contract nor this Western Cape Based fishing company’s policy of employment, also he was looking for a Deep Sea berth, so I forward his details to MACS.

Port Development – LPG gas facility slow progress, with litigation between the interested parties.

Rig business seems to have stalled, there is one rig in port on the Old Moss Gas quay.

New Crude import/ export facility – nil happening on the ground.”

The AGM then broke for tea, followed by a presentation by Azimbahvi Mulaudzi regarding SAMSA developments and in particular the IPSAM – Institute of Professional South African Mariners.

Brian Ingpen gave a short presentation on the activities of Lawhill Maritime Centre.

  1. Marine Education and Training

    1. Rob Whitehead advised that the draft SOMMSA Marine Education & Training Policy was at an advanced stage, but not yet ready for circulation.

    2. Confirmation if the Policy Document – not available.

    3. CPUT – Lance Tiedt provided this feedback on the 14 Aug 2015 Advisory Committee meeting:

1. Difficulty of Cadets securing berths is a continual problem, I ask myself why are people even following marine courses unless they have prospects of a berth? - so we have the Cadet problem with the guy in Saldanha bay, wanting Deep Sea time but having to sail with a fishing company just to get a a) a Job, & b) some experience, sea time count will not likely to be looked on favourably by SAMSA when it comes to presentation to sit for a Certificate of Competency to sail as OOW !

2. Apparently the College of Cape Town has now received accreditation to present Engineering Workshops. Previously done in Kimberly ?

3. There was a Presentation by MBCC – (Jay Ramkisson ) Maritime Business & Computing College – an FET college operating in KwaZulu Natal – Durban and Richards Bay. Offering course in what I would call “shore support Marine courses” – more in line with Institute of Chartered Shipbroker subjects. Interesting, we no doubt need reputable training for all in the logistics chain including agency etc. Their Courses are approved by ABMA International Diploma and the Office of the Qualifications and examinations regulator – UK the British Examinations Authority?

4. On Prompting from Simon - Apparently the CPUT & DUT do hold award ceremonies where student achievement is recognized. There seems to be no obstacle to the Society making an prize/ award available. Suggest we discuss at next meeting – being well aware of the cost of a “Book” ex UK – Binoculars can be had for about R 1500.

5. Orals exams seem to be a problem – I suggest maybe these should/ could be moderated by serving Masters. Maybe have a serving Master sitting in on the Oral exam as an observer, who could then enter into a discussion post Oral with the examiner? How to set that up though?

6. The Cadet programme is apparently receiving attention at the “highest” levels of government – i.e. Ministerial and DG level – also HED and DOT and Minister of Finance.

7. There was a presentation by Ossie Franks – NMU – SAMI whose role is to Coordinate skills analysis, Promote development of skills. He spoke of transferring the Aguhlas to SAMI. Apparently there is funding available for senior students - Master/ PhD support – this information should be shared with our members and SAIMEA?

8. At CPUT the Degree programme will proceed, but Eddie seems positive that there will be a phase out / in system and they will be able to manage and accommodate the students and solve issues as and when they present during the transition phase which could go on till 2021, considering the start date seem to go backwards.

9. Curriculum Development

New HEQSF degree programmes ( B Naut SC and B Mar Eng ) re- submitted to DHET, Awaiting approval, Implementation deferred to earliest January 2018.

Business plan submitted to ManCom for approval. DMS staff to develop the curricula during 2015 for submission to Academic Planning committee in early January 2016, Then HEQC and SAQA approval.

Survival school – pursuing OPITO accreditation, this would attract foreign students, North Sea workers.

At CPUT - SAMSA accreditation for formal course remains intact.

At CPUT the New Transnas simulator to still be accredited – this could be a possible activity Society Meeting evening – view the operation thereof ?

At CPUT - Student numbers are below the university requirement – 175/ 202 – 27 short.

10. Operation Phakisa – Marine Transport Skills Working Group meeting was to be held the next day in Durban – we should endeavour to try have an independent member attending such meetings – surely there is someone in Durban who is not connected to DUT that could have attended on the Society’s behalf.

11. CPUT will host some conference in 2016 – INSLC – 5/8 September 2016.

12. 24 September 2015 – World Maritime Day.”

Discussion followed on the change to a 3 year degree course with the opinion mooted that private schools could flourish offering education towards a COC only.

    1. Durban University of Technology report submitted by Colin Johnsen:

The Department of Maritime Studies continues to progress well under the leadership of Leon Govender who is encouraging all staff members to improve their qualifications. The DUT has raised the requirements for a lecturer from a master’s degree to a doctorate. This has caused us a problem in filling a vacant post. Current staff members are able to hold their positions until retirement.
The 2014 intake of students consisted of 83 for S1 (including 20 for the Extended Curriculum) and 81 for S3, in the navigation programme. The large number for S3 is a result of our phasing out of the National Diploma.
Of great concern to us is the continued unavailability of SA Agulhas for experiential learning for our students. However, we are grateful for the efforts of SAMTRA and MCS in negotiating with foreign shipowners to take South African cadets, and SAMSA is commended for continuing to sponsor the National Cadet Training Scheme. Addendum 1 shows the difficulty we have with placement in the industry.
In 2014 the Department introduced Saturday sessions for senior students at Boot Camp, a leadership training programme designed to challenge students. Over four sessions students are given various tasks and activities to develop teamwork and leadership skills; and understand conflict resolution, work ethics and altruism.
To address the poor reading and writing skills of students we have made it compulsory that they attend consultations at DUT Writing Centres on campus. Consultants assist with problems such as poor grammar, spelling, referencing and clarity in their assignments.
A highlight of the current year was the (International Maritime Lecturers Association) IMLA 23 Conference, hosted by the Department at the Elangeni Conference Centre in Durban. Over 80 international and local delegates attended the four day conference presentations and workshops.
The income generated from short courses allowed the Department to hold the 2014 annual awards ceremony on 24 October at Docklands Hotel in Durban. Our industry partners, including SOMMSA, provided trophies for deserving students. The SOMMSA award for “Best Overall Seagoing Student – Deck” went to Warren Brown who is currently at sea.
The Department had 39 graduates in 2014 and we expect a larger number this year.
Colin Johnsen

Durban Branch Master
Addendum 1.
Sea-going Placements for 2014: 31
Sea-going Placements for 2015: 21 (Maersk 5; Unicorn 1; SBM 5; TNPA 10)
The department is concerned with regards to the placement of sea-going students. We were requested by SAMSA to increase numbers for a throughput of 240 cadets entering the workplace. This translates to an annual intake of 1000 students. However we cannot place 8 students who have passed all 24 subjects of the ND: Maritime Studies. These students cannot study further as they have one year of experiential learning outstanding and are becoming very despondent. In addition there are a number of qualified Deck Officers who are either unemployed or working on bunker barges as ratings. The department will not increase its intake numbers until the current berth shortage issue is resolved.
This year the department made all S3 students apply to the SA Navy for their 2016 intake as Combat Officers (Navigation). This is a back-up if we cannot place students on commercial ships. These students can eventually transfer to the merchant navy.

General discussion followed on the scarce skills list. Azwi Mulaudzi advised that there was a world wide shortage of 15000 marine officers. The validity of this figure was questioned, considering there appeared to be qualified OOW’s who are unable to find a berth at sea. Let alone the shortage of cadet training berths.

  1. Prizes and Awards for 2015

    1. 2015 Best Learner at Lawhill Maritime Centre. Agreed that SOMMSA would again award a suitable book prize this year.

    2. CPUT prize. Agreed the incoming EXCO would follow up a suitable prize for 2015.

    3. DUT – there is an existing floating trophy to be awarded.

    4. Saldanha Naval Academy. After discussion, the incoming EXCO was charged with following up with Saldanha to revive the presentation of a prize each year to the best navigation student.

  1. IFSMA

    1. After discussion, it was agreed that the declared membership to IFSMA should be set at 50. (seagoing members sailing as Master or shore based members who had sailed as Master and still in full employment.)

  1. Membership report

    1. The President tabled the report:








100 (97)

43 (48)

9 (9)

6 (5)

158 (159)


0 (0)

1 (1)

0 (0)

0 (0)

1 (1)


19 (17)

14 (12)

5 (6)

1 (1)

39 (36)


23 (23)

4 (3)

0 (0)

0 (1)

27 (27)


16 (16)

1 (1)

0 (0)

0 (0)

17 (17)


5 (5)

5 (6)

0 (0)

2 (3)

12 (14)


6 (6)

2 (2)

0 (0)

1 (0)

9 (8)


169 (164)

70 (73)

14 (15)

10 (10)

263 (262)

As can be seen from the table above, our membership has stabilized after several years of growth. However we are struggling to get all members to pay their annual subs.

On the assumption that 50% of current members who have not paid subs yet will pay after the next reminders are sent out, there will be the following numbers who have not paid subs at all:

Members – 28; Associates & Affiliates – 10; Students – 7.

In other words, there are potentially 45 members who have not paid and we need to consider whether to expel them from the Society.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sue Whitehead for taking on the onerous job of Membership Secretary (as well as numerous other tasks she performs on our behalf) and hereby relieving me of a very time-consuming activity.”

Discussion followed on the defaulting members and student membership. Agreed that a final reminder to be submitted to these members, if payment still not received then their membership to be cancelled.

Further agreed that Student members be for 3 years only, at a nominal R25 membership fee.

    1. The President reviewed the current Honorary memberships:

CPT: John Hare; Brian Ingpen; G.Jeffreys; Rev Charles De Lange; Michelle Schooling; Debbie Owen, Sue Whitehead.

DUR: Sean Minogue. Shane Dwyer.

RCB: Padre Mark Classen.

  1. Liason with other organisations

    1. NSRI. The President reported that good communications were being maintained with the NSRI and that the CEO, Cleeve Robinson had been invited to the cocktail function this evening.

    2. SAMSA: A. Mulaudzi had given a brief on the progress of SAMSA during his earlier address.

    3. Missions to Seaman. The future of the premises for the CPT Mission was still in doubt with Transnet. Exco is in regular contact with the rev De Lange to assist as required.

    4. Nautical Institute. The President advised the Southern Africa branch is keen to hold quarterly joint technical meetings.

    5. & 16.6: SAIMENA and MLA: The President advised that SOMMSA was in contact with both these organisations as required, but there was no close cooperation as mooted some years ago.

  1. Branch submissions for Consideration by the National AGM

    1. NIL received.

  1. General

    1. The Scarce skills issue was discussed.

  1. Election of Executive and Office Bearers

    1. The President advised: that no flood of new nominations for Exco had been received, that he had polled all current members and all bar Neil Lawson were prepared to stand again. Rob Whitehead was unanimously approved as President for a further 2 years.

    2. Vice President. Azwi Mulaudzi was unanimously re-elected.

    3. National Secretary. Charles Kingon as a sea going member was effectively only available for half the year. He advised he is happy to stand again, but would equally happily stand aside should a shore based member come forward. Approved unanimously.

    4. National Treasurer. With Neil Lawson standing down, the President would assume the Treasurer portfolio too.

    5. Other members of EXCO. Simon Pearson, Keith Burchell and Dennis Henwood would remain as ordinary members. Tony Nicholas and Lloyd Merriman both indicated they would be available too. Approved unanimously.

    6. Benevolent Fund Governing Board. With Neil Lawson standing down, the Board now comprises Rob Whitehead, Keith Burchell & Charles Kingon. With no further nominations, the board was unanimously approved.

    7. Bursary Fund Governing Board. With Neil Lawson standing down, the Board now comprises Rob Whitehead, Keith Burchell, Charles Kingon & Colin Flockhart (Chairman) With no other nominations, the board was unanimously approved.

  1. Provisional Date and venue for 72st National Annual General Meeting

    1. Proposed for August 2016. Venue to be decided by EXCO in due course, with the desire to hold it in one of the other ports.

  1. Closure

    1. S. Duwe proposed a vote of thanks to Rob Whitehead for his sterling efforts as President. This was enthusiastically supported by all.

    2. The President declared the meeting closed at 1530hrs

Page of SOMMSA National AGM minutes 04-09-2015

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