Pretoria - Africa has a responsibility to ensure a smooth, safe and secure maritime industry, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Monday.
Ndebele stressed the need for viable and safe marine services in the continent, adding that for this to be achieved there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed.
These included economic integration, not only of the maritime services within the industry, but also with the other sectors.
The minister said maritime safety and security remained the key foundation for a sustainable industry. "For the fact that the industry is international in nature, matters of safety and security are regulated through international conventions."
For the industry to advance there was a need to go back to the basics. "We will go back to the basics by ensuring that we have all the steps necessary to increase the number of participants especially women in this sector," said Ndebele.
The industry also has a challenge to address the perception that it was not attractive to young people. "In addition government has to create conducive climate to allow the entry of more young people into the industry. Opportunities abound for our children and young people in the maritime sector."
The minister was speaking at the second African Union Conference of Ministers Responsible for Maritime Transport in Durban. The conference is expected to end on Thursday.