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 Post subject: SAS Somerset
PostPosted: 04 Oct 2018, 20:16 

Joined: 18 Feb 2011, 20:18
Posts: 148
Location: Stellenbosch
Not good news! ... 611601211/

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 Post subject: Re: SAS Somerset
PostPosted: 21 Feb 2019, 09:50 

Joined: 12 Nov 2011, 02:24
Posts: 1

Some years ago I approached Iziko Museums to lease the Somerset from them. At the time I was very heavily involved in maritime safety and security training and consulting and was doing extensive freelance training through a number of the established maritime training facilities around Cape Town. I identified a need for specific training that was not adequately addressed or offered and my intention was to establish a training centre onboard the Somerset, with the capability of launching various boats and liferafts in a real, shipboard simulation environment. The forward hold would have made a spectacular theoretical training and presentation venue and with all the accommodation onboard she would have been a self contained training hub, right in the most convenient location.

The local museum officials that I dealt with were extremely excited as nobody had shown any interest, the vessel was being broken into periodically and there was evidence of someone living onboard. I had also undertaken to do the topside maintenance and everything that I would have installed would have been done at my own expense and in a manner sensitive to the vessel itself. My approach to them was unsolicited and was not in any way related to a drive by Iziko to find a meaningful application for the vessel.

At their request I prepared a detailed business plan having established a clear market for my services. I detailed the course offering, who the target market was, projected revenue and overheads, employment of previously disadvantaged assistants etc and presented it to my contacts who then took it further within Iziko.

After a while I enquired as to progress and was advised that Iziko senior management had decided to put the use of the vessel out to tender. My business plan was used as the basis for the preparation of the tender specification and I ended up having to tender against who knows whom, to be able to implement the utilisation plan that I had knocked on their door with, which would have meant that their asset would have been preserved at no cost to them and would have become a living visible contributor to the atmosphere in that corner of the Waterfront rather than the sad eyesore that it was and continued to be.

As it turns out, the tender was awarded to some other individual and I was informally advised that I did not meet certain criteria that had been set for the award of the tender. I am pretty certain what criteria those were. As a result I had to make certain career changes as my plans were built around the financial model focused on the vessel and opportunities with the institutions at which I was freelancing diminished.

Six months to a year later I received an email asking me to please resubmit my business plan and proposal as things had not worked out with the tenderer to which the lease was awarded. I was at that stage no longer in a position to continue with the project as I had not pursued relationships with the market that I had established and was in fact on my way to Australia on a two year contract. And from there on she continued to languish where she is. Uncared for, unloved and abused and vandalised.

That this ship is in the condition that it is in is purely as a result of a lack of care, a lack of ethics an a total lack of management concern for a significant part of our maritime history. I have absolutely no doubt that had the business plan and proposal that I was asked to submit been accepted she would have been in a vastly different situation now and we would not be looking sadly on as her final demise is considered.

The thought of where she is now compared to where she could have been is beyond consideration and the thought of her beings scrapped is just terrible.

I would be happy to assist in any way possible to save her and find a way to establish a meaningful future for her and would be very happy to talk to anyone like-minded.

And if it all comes to naught, tow her into the bay and sink her by gunfire as befits a naval vessel with a long and proud service history.

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