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The first African Maritime Schools Wellness Conference is a huge success

Aspiring seafarers from across eight African countries have hailed the first Sailors’ Society’s wellness and mental health conference, designed exclusively for maritime school cadets from across the continent, as a huge success and a must for those facing a life a sea.

In a maritime industry first, cadets from colleges in South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Liberia and Mauritius joined industry experts for Sailors’ Society’s virtual Africa Wellness at Sea Maritime Schools’ Conference on September 21.

The international maritime welfare charity is hosting four virtual events with those in the Pacific and Europe, as well as Africa, being the first of their kind to explore wellbeing and mental health with those embarking on a seafaring career.

Sara Baade, Sailors’ Society’s CEO said: “We are delighted that so many African schools and cadets were able to join our Africa Wellness at Sea Maritime Schools’ Conference. We are hugely grateful to our gold sponsor The TK Foundation, conference series sponsor Inmarsat and technical partner The UK P&I Club, and to our speakers, partners and participants for their help in making it such a success.

“These events equip cadets with the tools and tips to manage and support their own, as well as others’ wellbeing, as they prepare for their careers at sea. They also let seafarers know that Sailors’ Society is here for them and their families right from the start of their careers and can offer support whenever it is needed.”

The four conferences, (India, Africa, the Philippines and Europe), focus on the key issues facing cadets today, including diversity, crises and working at sea during a conflict, and feature interactive sessions and talks from a mix of international and local industry experts.

Ms Zamachonco Chonco, the Acting Chief Executive of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), delivered the keynote speech on the importance of wellbeing and welfare to ensure a bright future in the maritime industry.

Other speakers included special guest speaker Capt. (Dr) Ed Snyders, former Head of Maritime Studies CPUT, who talked about coping with the realities of life at sea, and Sandisiwe Silindokuhle Binda, Second Navigation Officer, Oceana, who shared her insights on bridging the gender gap.

One participant said, ‘Now I know that I am not alone in this career that I have chosen and that there are always people looking out for us.’ While another commented: ‘It has made me confident that I have chosen the right career path.’
Praise also came from the maritime schools. The Namibian Maritime and Fisheries Institute commented: ‘A big thank you to all the speakers and leaders who gave encouraging and motivating speeches, to all on the cadet panel who shared their views and experiences. We have all learned a lot today.’
Source: Sailors’ Society

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