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On board the Agulhas on the Day of the Seafarer

25 June 2013 –

Recognising the hard work and dedication in the maritime industry, the South African Maritime Safety Authority today spent a day on board its Dedicated Training Vessel, Agulhas which was in Durban with its cadets and marine officers, captained by Shelton Samuels.

We spent some time talking to the Captain, his Chief Engineer and Senior Deck Training Officer, as well as captured in pictures the precious moments of the day spent on board the Agulhas.

Siyabonga Mthethwa, from Richards Bay, might be better known to the maritime industry and younger cadets as the Chief Engineer on the Agulhas – a big title for someone who is friendly with the cadets as he is to his peers. The 33-year-old began his career in 1999 and has obtained qualifications in mechanical engineering at the Durban University of Technology. He says that working on the Agulhas can be sometimes challenging but it is nevertheless fun and exciting to go through new challenges every day. His core duties on board are to oversee the maintenance and safety control of the ship. Mthethwa also oversees the training of younger engineering cadets on the Agulhas. This is his 14th year working with the marines and fourth year as the Chief Engineer. He also says that the Day of the Seafarer is great in promoting the work they do. “I am grateful to be able to both work with the operations of the ship as engineering is my passion but for me it is also great to be able to oversee and train young minds,” he said.

Lauren Lawson will, in July celebrate her first year as the Senior Deck training officer on the Agulhas training vessel. She has a thriving passion for maritime and teaching younger cadets about the industry. The 32-year-old is formerly from Cape Town and says that maritime was her calling. Her duties are to train the cadets about working on deck, sailing and other matters which include being a ‘people’s person’ and dealing with junior cadets who have just started and sorely miss home. “I have always wanted to travel and explore the world, my career gives me that opportunity but also to train the cadets and see young talent grow as seafarers,” said Lawson. She is the first in her family to have taken up a career in maritime and says that her family is truly very supportive of her unique career. According to Lawson, the International Day of the Seafarer was a huge success and looks at seafarers across the world as ‘family’.

Cape Town born sea lover Shelton Samuels is seen as a role model not only in maritime but to his community as well. Samuels, 36 is the Captain of the Agulhas. His responsibilities include overseeing the entire crew of the ship as well as the operational and navigation of the ship. Quite a challenging job for one, however Samuels says that working on board a ship is something he always wanted to do from a young age. He also considers his father, as his role model as he also worked on a ship. “I grew up near the coast and would see the ships dock and leave, my father worked on ships as well and it was a great fascination for me. It has been amazing to make my childhood dream come true and follow in my father’s footsteps,” said Samuels. When asked his thoughts on the International Day of the Seafarer, Samuels said that he is grateful to be honoured for the tough work they do and would like people to have a great view on seafarers.

Captain Shelton Samuels, Captain of the Agulhas gave a quick rundown to eager and enthusiastic Durban youngsters Amukelani Ngubane and his cousins, Sibusisiwe and Sibongakonke, on the dos and don’ts on how to steer a mighty ship through choppy waters.

While SAMSA CEO Commander spent most of the day talking to young cadets presently being trained on the premier vessel mostly used for scientific research and which will carry out a return expedition to the Antarctica within the next few months as part of the Coldest Journey Expedition.

Issued on behalf of SAMSA by FBI Communications and Blue Leaf Communications

Media queries:
Samukele Ngubane (sam@blueleafcomms.co.za), cell +27785560965
Shoaib Wahed (shoaib.wahed@fbicommunications.com), 031-2085525/cell +27735258723

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