The SA Agulhas is South Africa’s ice-strengthened polar research vessel.. The ship recently completed a five day voyage with an all woman crew and on her arrival in Port Elizabeth Harbor was guided into port by a woman harbor pilot.. As part of National Water Week, the SA Agulhas sailed from Cape Town to Durban with an all-female crew recruited from various shipping companies..
Marine pilot Xoliswa Bekiswa, originally from Mthatha but now from Port Elizabeth, is one of 34 women on the SA Maritime Safety Authority’s (Samsa) five-day voyage along the South African coastline with an all-women crew.
The Agulhas departed Cape Town on Monday and made an eight-hour stopover in Port Elizabeth yesterday. It left for Durban where it is expected to arrive tomorrow..
According to Samsa chief executive Tsietsi Mokhele, the voyage is a world first, encompassing female captain, engineers and harbour receiving staff, and is intended to showcase gender transformation in the industry..
While the Agulhas was in Port Elizabeth, school pupils were taken for tours and shown how large vessels are operated and managed..
Bekiswa, who has been piloting ships into and out of the Port Elizabeth Harbour since 2008, said she entered the industry after attending the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, where she saw a display by Transnet’s National Ports Authority (NPA)..
Big up to all the ladies..
PS : Original article published in the Weekend Post (http://www.weekendpost.co.za/article.aspx?id=615415)