The Maritime Interview Series, leading up to World Maritime Day on September 28, 2023, aims to better acquaint us with and honour the seafarers on board the S.A. Agulhas II.
The maritime industry connects countries, facilitates economic growth, enables scientific and research expeditions and plays a vital role in our everyday lives. However, the success of this enormous industry would not be possible without the men and women who sacrifice their time on land to serve our maritime needs.
The Maritime Interview Series Part 2 features Mr Siphosethu Radebe, Third Officer of the S.A. Agulhas II.
What does the Third Officer do on the ship?
The Third Officer, also referred to as the Third Mate, holds the position of a certified Officer In Charge of Navigational Watch (OICNW) and serves as an officer under the Second Mate. The Third Officer’s role encompasses a range of crucial duties, from navigational supervision to safety inspections and crew training. When assuming the navigational watch, as the Third Officer, I take charge of the bridge team, oversee the vessel’s maneuvering to maintain safety and course accuracy. The primary responsibility of the Third Officer revolves around ensuring safety on board. This includes conducting thorough inspections of gear lockers, lifeboats, and all equipment, verifying their proper functioning and adherence to safety standards, and overseeing emergency drills. Additionally, as the Third Officer, I play a pivotal role in directing line handlers, supervising cargo watches, managing anchor details, and providing training and guidance to crew members.
Mr Radebe’s Background and Journey into a Seafarer Career
I hale from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and recently joined the S.A. Agulhas II with the vessel managing agent, African Marine Solutions (AMSOL). I obtained my National Diploma in Nautical Studies (previously referred to as Maritime Studies) from the Durban University of Technology (DUT), including in-service training with AMSOL, qualifying me as a maritime officer. I’m a SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) accredited officer after completing several short courses related to health and safety as part of the “Standards of Training and Certification of Watchkeeping” (STCW), as determined by the IMO. My experience as a seafarer extends beyond working on the S.A. Agulhas II, and includes experience on the vessel NOMASA (a Tug that was built in 2006, sailing under the flag of South Africa along the African west coast) and the Fire Fighting Vessel SIYANDA (built in 2010, also sailing under the flag of South Africa). My training included shadowing the First Officer on the S.A. Agulhas II.
What are some of the challenges that you experience in your line of work?
The long working hours and being away from home are challenging. However, this is often compensated by the decent break we receive after finishing a voyage, usually equating to approximately two months at sea and two months at home.
Any advice to someone who would like to pursue this career?
My best advice to anyone interested in pursuing a career in maritime is to work hard in school and be a top archiver, especially in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Part 3 will be shared on 22 September 2023.
Photo Credit: Rabia Mathakutha (South African Polar Research Infrastructure) and Eduan Teich via the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) Archive.
Written by: Rabia Mathakutha, South African Polar Research Infrastructure, 21 September 2023
Edited by: Anche Louw (South African Polar Research Infrastructure) and Ria Olivier (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa)