Oceana Group

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014,

Flagship Projects

Desert Diamond Environment

In 2003 the vessel, Desert Diamond, which operates in the horse mackerel sector, was acquired. Prior to the vessel being introduced into the sector, a development program was agreed upon with government, for the "South Africanisation" of this fishery, which included a detailed skills transfer programme. The group undertook that, in the medium to long term, a combined skills transfer and cadet training programme would be implemented to train South Africans to take over from the foreign crew.

About Desert Diamond

Skills Transfer Programme

In 2003 Oceana launched the South Africanisation programme to transfer expertise from the foreign crew to South African citizens. The programme began with 25 trainees who were all matriculants from previously disadvantaged communities and were mainly unemployed. A commitment to create 123 employment opportunities has been made in order to develop, qualify and replace the majority of the foreign crew by 2010. MFV Desert Diamond was accredited by the South African Maritime Safety Agency (SAMSA) for on board accelerated training programmes for deck officers.

In February 2005 13 trainees completed the Certificate in Maritime Operations (NQL3 learnership) with the Transport Education and Training Authority and all were appointed to permanent positions as category 2 deckhands. Two deck cadet appointees completed the Electronic Navigation Systems Course, Safety Officers Course and Grade 4 Watch Keeping course. In September 2006 13 cadets celebrated their graduation as top level engineering, electrical and deck officers in the maritime industry and two cadets received their epaulettes for Grade 4 Deck Officer Watch keeping.

During 2007 the Desert Diamond continued to make positive strides towards the South Africanisation of the vessel. Currently 68 South Africans and 38 Russians are employed on board the vessel. Certain areas of the vessel are manned almost completely by South African crew. Since July 2006, eight South Africans have been appointed to key positions previously held by Russian crew. These moves have resulted from focused training initiatives designed to accelerate the development of key personnel. In quantifiable terms 22 of the crew are currently completing 'formalised' learnerships whilst other crew members are attending developmental programmes relevant to the fishing industry. Application has been made for accreditation of accelerated engineering and deck training programmes.

South African Flagging

An essential element in the South Africanisation process was the South African flagging of Desert Diamond. This was carried out to match the vessel's bi-annual dry-docking and maintenance programme in May 2006. The technical surveys and repairs were conducted with well-planned efficiency by the Blue Continent Products fleet technical teams in compliance with SAMSA and international regulations. With the change from the Panamanian flag to the South African flag, all employees required work permits or SA citizenship and once this was completed the company met the final hurdle in respect of SAMSA's recording of Desert Diamond onto the local registry by the end of June 2006.

Awards

SAMSA Certificate of Accreditation

Desert Diamond obtained the SAMSA certificate of accreditation for accelerated training programmes for deck officers and is awaiting accreditation from the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sectoral Education and Training Authority for onboard training for apprenticeships in technical fields, eg reefer engineering, marine engineering watch keeping.

Locally Owned Maritime Business Enterprise Award

Oceana won the at the 2005 National Maritime Awards for the Desert Diamond "South Africanisation" programme. This award recognises Oceana's commitment to skills development and job creation in the fishing industry. In addition, one of the trainee deck cadets, Eugene Bergens was one of two nominees as Best Maritime Technical Student.

To read more about these outstanding students and the Desert Diamond success story, read our News Section.

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