Cape Town - An icon of South Africa’s maritime industry, serving as a critical asset in polar research, the SA Agulhas I will continue on its journey as a platform for further research of the planet.
Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga yesterday handed over the vessel to the country’s German counterparts and JS Maritime, represented by Captain Stefan Bulow, who will be the new owners.
Chikunga said through the re-purposing of the ship, the SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) would be able to assist young people to realise their dreams in maritime.
“The vessel has served the country well and I am proud to be associated with the legend.
“Today’s occasion marks not just a transition of ownership but symbolises our enduring commitment to maritime excellence and innovation driven by strategic partnerships.
“The SA Agulhas has been more than a vessel; it has been a beacon of hope and a testament to South Africa's capabilities in the maritime sector.
“As we turn this page, we are not merely looking back at her glorious past but are firmly focused on the future she heralds – a future where South Africa continues to assert its presence on the global maritime stage.”
Acknowledging the vessel’s historical role, Chikunga expressed pride in the SA Agulhas I, describing it as more than just a ship but a beacon of hope and a testament to the nation’s maritime capabilities. The handover is viewed as a strategic move to ensure the vessel continues contributing to research aligned with South Africa's national interests.
“When I got a briefing from Samsa on the intended future use for the vessel, and upon learning that the vessel will continue as a platform to further the research agenda that informs the future of our planet, I was made proud once more about my association with the SA Agulhas,” said Chikunga.