SA Agulhas leaves for Antarctica

Feb 19, 2003
Author: The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism


The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's vessel, SA Agulhas, started a 23-day voyage for the Antarctica today (Wednesday, 19 February 2003) with 13 scholars and their voyage instructor on board.

This voyage, the first to include scholars, is part of the department's programme of promoting maritime awareness and supporting maritime educational programmes.

Speaking on board the vessel before departure, Deputy Director General of DEAT, Mr Horst Kleinschmidt, who recently returned from a four-day visit to the Antarctic, said programmes and initiatives such as this are critical to the education process in ensuring skills development and knowledge empowerment of South Africa's young people.

"This is a unique experience which will take you into an environment that is different from anything you have ever experienced. If it does to you what it did to me then I hope it can set you on a path that will place you in a marine environment", he told the students.

The thirteen scholars, nine from Simonís Town School of Maritime Studies in Cape Town and four from Tisand High School Maritime Studies Department in Richards Bay, will continue with their studies in all subjects whilst onboard and will be under the supervision of an Instructor from Simonís Town School. They will follow a daily lesson plan, whilst also learning through observation from the master, officers and crew aboard the S.A. Agulhas as they go about their daily routine, from the observed environment as well as from their experiences aboard the ice shelf.

This trip has been made possible through close co-operation between the South African National Antarctic Program (SANAP) and the German Alfred Wegener Institute, who have chartered the ship for the purpose of partial annual supply and transporting summer scientists. Their goodwill provided an opportunity for these school children, the majority of whom are historically disadvantaged, to partake in this voyage.

S A Agulhas is managed by Smith Marine South Africa Pty (Ltd).


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