Oceana won the Locally Owned Maritime Business Enterprise Award at the 2005 National Maritime Achievers Awards Ceremony on 25 October 2005.

Introduced in August 2003 with the launch of Desert Diamond, Oceana’s R72 million 7700 ton horse mackerel factory vessel, the South Africanisation programme involves the transfer of expertise from foreign to South African crew members through onboard and statutory training.

“We are committed to the South Africanisation of the horse mackerel fishery and to working with Marine and Coastal Management in determining the best possible programme to achieve this objective,” explained Oceana CEO Andrew Marshall.

“Our medium to long-term goal is to alleviate the shortage of qualified specialist factory, navigation and marine engineering officers in the fishing industry by training 90 junior and senior crew members. Initially we relied heavily on the skills held by the Russian crew who had the sector specific expertise. But now we are rigorously implementing a combined skills transfer and cadet training programme to equip the South Africans to replace the majority of the foreign crew by 2010.”

By November 2005, 40 of the 99 Russian crew were replaced with South Africans, all of whom were previously unemployed school leavers from disadvantaged communities.

Best Maritime Technical Student
Eugene Bergen of Port Elizabeth, a trainee deck cadet on Desert Diamond, achieved the distinction of being one of the two nominees for the National Maritime Achievers Award for Best Technical Student.

The annual awards were introduced in 2004 by the Department of Transport in recognition of performance excellence in the maritime industry.