Coast KZN

09 Feb 2018

SA Agulhas on way home after fruitful Antarctica trip

Zainul Dawood (Daily News) Picture: The young cadets who spent the last three months journeying through Antarctica on board the SA Agulhas.

In just over a week the SA Agulhas, carrying 20 cadets who spent the last three months aboard journeying through Antarctica, will dock in Durban.

The SA Agulhas set sail to South Africa from Port Louis in Mauritius on Thursday, after dropping off international scientists who boarded the vessel there last year.

The vessel, which is the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s (Samsa’s) dedicated training vessel, sailed to the Antarctica on November 24.

The vessel was chartered by an Indian science team.

The 41-year-old SA Agulhas has undertaken more than 10 missions to Antarctica.

Captain Michael Barnes is the current master.

Sobantu Tilayi, Samsa Chief Operations Officer, said 47 scientists from the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research joined the cadets on the expedition to carry out oceanographic research.

Tilayi said the cadets on board were mostly maritime studies students from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

The South African International Maritime Institute is responsible for the Cadet Training Programme on board the vessel.

“During the stopover at Port Louis, the vessel carried out minor repairs. A wash-up meeting was held in which the charterers (scientists) expressed their thanks for the support given to them during the voyage, which was a great success,” Tilayi said.

The research team was headed by Dr RK Mishra from Goa, India.

Tilayi said they were proud to have created a platform for young cadets to be trained on the vessel and to gain experience on the open sea.

“She has been doing well on her journey and we are confident that the knowledge that was acquired will benefit the students. Through such missions, we also hope to push for greater employment opportunities for our youth,” Tilayi said.