Cape Town - The Norwegian tall ship “Statsraad Lehmkuhl” arrived in Cape Town this morning, its final port of call for the global “One Ocean Expedition” it embarked on in 2021 to raise awareness about the role of oceans for sustainable development and to share knowledge about the status of the world’s oceans.
The expedition is a recognised part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and set off in August 2021 from Norway on a 20-month long “One Ocean Expedition”, a circumnavigation of the globe that brought students, scientists, trainees and professionals together on different legs to explore, collect data and address the most pressing matters affecting the world’s oceans.
Statsraad Lehmkuhl CEO Haakon Valke explained that the ship was converted into a state-of-the art research vessel, collecting high-quality data on CO₂ exchange between the ocean and atmosphere, ocean acidification, the biodiversity of the world’s oceans, and the amount and distribution of human impact on the oceans (pollution, noise, microplastics etc).
The conclusions the students come to will be turned into articles, and published in scientific journals. During the Expedition, the 98m ship sailed 55 000 nautical miles and visited 33 ports. From Cape Town the ship will make its way back to Norway.
From Maputo to Cape Town, South African and Norwegian primary school pupils joined the researchers to learn more about the crucial role of their common oceans.
The Norwegian Embassy said: “Learners from Glenwood High School and Durban Girls’ High School joined the voyage from Maputo to Cape Town.
“This group of young learners has had a unique experience aboard the ship, learning how to use scientific equipment and helping to conduct research. It is also very important for the expedition itself to receive perspectives from the youth.”
Captain Jens Hiorth said: “We have an enormous amount of expertise gathered on board on this leg – experts in waves and ocean currents, satellites, weather, and wind. It is all very interesting.
“One of these, who understands the wind particularly well, has announced that the low pressure/high pressure pattern we are experiencing at the moment is very atypical for the area we are in.”
Onboard the ship, UCT post-doctoral fellow in marine ecology Kathryn Morrissey said: “This is the first time I have been on a sailboat, especially one this large and for multiple days. It is really exciting for me.”
Hiorth said the ship was loaded with people from all corners of the world.