September 15, 2020

National Seafarer Development Programme (NSDP)

SAIMI manages the National Seafarer Development Programme (NSDP), which is currently funded by the National Skills Fund.

It is widely accepted that seafarers are the backbone of any maritime nation as their experience and expertise are a requirement for many functions performed ashore, where they play an important role in maritime administration, planning and policy-making, as well as in areas such as ports management, maritime safety and marine surveying. Efforts to grow the seafarer pool not only enable the crewing of more South-African-flagged vessels, both merchant and government owned (such as DEA and DAFF fleets), but also serve towards an increased source of expertise for the wide range of industry sub-sectors.

The NSDP provides a structured training programme for candidates to obtain their sea-time through agreements with foreign and local shipping companies, enabling them to secure internationally recognised qualifications.  During their time aboard a vessel, the seafarers are taught seamanship and safety culture, best practice, discipline and work ethics, practical application of theory learnt at college, and combine experience and research to complete assignments and gain practical ship maintenance experience.  

Due to the expansion of the categories of Seafarers that have been identified for training, it has become necessary to create a comprehensive and all-encompassing programme, now referred to as the National Seafarer Development Programme (NSDP).

The NSDP includes all categories of Seafarer Trainees, including Deck & Engineer Cadet trainees, and Deck/Engine/Fishing Rating trainees. Further training programmes may be introduced in the future.

The National Cadet Programme (NCP) is a sub-programme of the NSDP but continues to refer to the training of Deck Cadets and Engineer Cadets only. This will ensure that the NCP retains its unique and special status. The NCP covers the practical training phases required for a Deck or Engineer Officer Certificate of Competency (CoC), as Regulated and Administrated by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), upon final completion of all statutory requirements.  

The Deck and Engineer Cadets will qualify with a Certificate of Competency (CoC) as an: 

• Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch (Deck Cadet): 

Final SAMSA/STCW Qualification as Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch (STCW II/1). Applicable to foreign going vessels and unlimited tonnage ships.

• Officer in Charge of an Engineering Watch (Engineer Cadet):

Final SAMSA/STCW Qualification as Officer in Charge of an Engineering Watch (STCW III/1). Applicable to foreign going vessels and unlimited horsepower.


• Sub-programme: National Cadet Programme

• Deck Cadet

• Engineer Cadet 

• Sub-programme: Ratings

• Deck Rating 

• Engine Rating 

• Fishing Rating