The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) has opened a new satellite office in Cape Town inside the Royal Cape Yacht Club, and hopes to further expand with a new office in Durban in the near future, the organisation’s chief executive Malek Pourzanjani has confirmed.

Speaking at the recent formal launch of SAIMI’s new national headquarters in Port Elizabeth, Pourzanjani said the new satellite branches would help fulfill SAIMI’s aim of operating in all of South Africa’s major cities. “This planned expansion will position us well to ensure that we continue to play a vital role in South Africa’s oceans economy,” Pourzanjani said.

SAIMI is a government-funded independent structure set up to promote and facilitate maritime research, education and training by linking industry with educational institutions. It was formally established three years ago following a summit of all maritime stakeholders who identified a need for a more coordinated effort to drive the ocean economy. Key focus areas include boatbuilding, ship repair, marine tourism and harbours. Its core mandate includes facilitating international and African continental co-operation, as well as promoting education options to meet industry needs.

SAIMI’s new headquarters are situated inside the Nelson Mandela University’s Ocean Sciences campus. “We are thrilled to be operating from our first permanent home,” Pourzanjani said, adding that the base on Nelson Mandela University’s Ocean Sciences Campus will allow ease of collaboration and ease of access to the latest in maritime research.

SAIMI also recently appointed a new director of operations, Soraya Artman, to help drive their core mandate. The organisation is currently collaborating with South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to create a much-needed maritime ‘roadmap’ aimed at developing structured financing and other support mechanisms for maritime sector growth.