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When the SA Agulhas, an ice-strengthened training ship and former polar research vessel, reaches Cape Town on Thursday‚ it won’t just bring with it a welter of fresh data on the Agulhas current and its role in climate change. It will also bring 20 trainees who are the guinea pigs in a new project aimed at growing the pool of qualified South African seafarers. The deck and engine rating trainees boarded the ship of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) in Port Elizabeth two weeks ago‚ and have been gaining practical sea-time towards their international seafaring qualifications. All the trainees are school-leavers with no formal maritime education‚ and are among a group of 45 in a pilot project put together by the South African International Maritime Institute and funded by the Transport Education Training Authority (Teta). Samsa chief operating officer Sobantu Tilayi said: "As part of our commitment to address the high unemployment rate‚ this rating training provides a ...

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