Thousands of merchant seamen are to be trained to work as navigation and engineering officers for the offshore oil and gas industry as part of a new agreement between a South African and a Singaporean company.

Singapore-based offshore operator RKOffShore has teamed up with South African marine crewing specialist company Marine Crew Services (MCS) to establish a new pool of talent for the industry.

As part of the agreement, up to 2,500 South African merchant seafarers will be trained to work as navigation and engineering officers and deck crew members across the offshore industry.

RKOffShore general manager Jaco Rabie said that South Africa was well placed to become one of the most important sources of suitably qualified staff for deployment across its growing fleet of offshore supply vessels.

RKOffShore runs 16 vessels in the oil exploration business off Saudi Arabia in the Middle East and offshore West Africa. The company said that it aims to expand the fleet to 30 by mid-2010.

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By GlobalData