Eugene Bergens, the captain of South Africa’s largest fishing vessel, the Desert Diamond, started as a factory worker with a dream.
West Coast, South Africa (21 February 2020) – Fishing plays a significant role in the lives of South Africans, especially within the communities along our beautiful coastlines where it is the only opportunity and source of livelihood. Whether that be working in factories, working on the boats or benefitting from programmes run by the businesses – fishing is an integral part of their lives.
Oceana Group, the home of Lucky Star, is a leading global fishing company and largest in Africa, and distributes their products to 46 countries globally. It is their philosophy to not only add value for their investors but also to make a positive impact in the communities in which they operate, which they do in several ways.
The group provides several opportunities within their company to benefit South Africa and the communities where they operate. For starters, when the Western Cape was in the grips of the drought, Oceana invested in two desalination plants at their factories in St Helena Bay and Laaiplek.
The factories couldn’t risk water cuts and significantly reduced their water consumption from the municipal grid, enabling the West Coast municipality to increase water allocation for the respective communities while securing jobs. The factories generate about 80% of their water from the desalination plants. This means the strain of water usage has been eradicated.
Another way they work to benefit South Africa is through the South Africanisation programme. This programme has seen the transfer of skills from the Russian crew onboard the Desert Diamond to unemployed South African youth and giving them the opportunity to learn and thrive.
This was the case for Eugene Bergens. He was placed on the Desert Diamond, South Africa’s largest fishing vessel, where he worked hard and sacrificed a lot.
Eugene started working in the vessel’s onboard factory 15 years ago. He would spend time with the then Captain, on the deck, dreaming of being a captain one day. Today that dream is a reality; he is the captain of the Desert Diamond.
Through all these initiatives the Oceana Group is not only expanding their growth in the global fishing arena but is also playing a significant role in South African society.
As part of the #SAINC nation-building initiative, Oceana is joining a network of purpose-driven brands to share stories of positive progress in South Africa. These stories are being featured across social media in small snippets, just like the one below, but you will also be able to watch the full-length features live on television. You will find the airing times below:
22 February 2020 – SABC 2 – 14:30
10 March 2020 – Business Day TV – 16:00
12 March 2020 – Business Day TV – 12:00
Watch a snippet of the story below: