LEADING INTERNATIONAL MARITIME MAGAZINE

Damen’s first Fishing Seminar success as new leasing fund welcomed by South African fishing community

Damen’s first Fishing Seminar, held in Cape Town, was heralded a great success, with more than 60 participants attending from a broad cross-section of the industry, including the five major South African fishing companies.

Jeremy Marillier, Executive Director of FishSA, the representative of all the main industry associations in South Africa, commented: “The event was a good opportunity for different stakeholders from various sides of the industry to come together - to engage, listen and understand the current operating environment and various push and pull factors such as the cost of doing business, etc. It was a very informative day.” He added that the fishing industry would welcome more information days like these.

The Fishing Seminar, held on 22nd November at Damen Shipyards Cape Town, was also chosen to launch Damen’s new fund, ‘Africa Ship Leasing’. Benny Bhali, Sales and Marketing Executive at Damen Shipyards Cape Town emphasised: “Damen wants to show how it can support the fishing community, both in terms of maintaining the existing fleet and also through the fund, which can help them develop their fleet and potentially replace ageing vessels. I think the fishing industry appreciated our efforts.”

It is worth noting that clearly these issues are of interest in other parts of southern Africa as companies from Namibia and Mozambique also attended, he pointed out. Participants also had a tour of Damen Shipyards Cape Town to highlight the advantages of building vessels ‘in Africa for Africa’.

Mr Bhali said: “We can show shipowners what is possible and how we can help them grow their business. Although fishing companies are awarded their quotas, it is not always easy for them to get local financing for investments in their fleet, so the Damen Fund enables them to tap into the international financing market.”

“The South African government has some important initiatives to help develop the fleet but it won’t be able to achieve its ambitions on its own”, emphasised Mr Bhali. “But by working in partnership with industry and government we can provide creative solutions to move the market forward. Ultimately, I think we have started a conversation with the key players.”

Damen has delivered more than 1,200 vessels to customers in Africa over the years. Africa Ship Leasing was established in May 2018 and is already assisting owners in both Nigeria and Angola. Each lease agreement is tailormade. The customer begins by chartering the vessel for a certain number of years, while at the same time repaying the loan and the applicable interest. They then have the option to purchase the vessel during the tenor of the agreement and the obligation after the repayment period.