It’s bon voyage for 14 months to Antarctica team aboard SA Agulhas II
The South African National Antarctic Expedition team consisting of 59 members departed from the East Pier Quay at the V&A Waterfront on Tuesday afternoon.
The departure of the ship takes place days after the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Antarctica Treaty by 12 nations. South Africa is one of the 12 original signatories to the treaty, which was signed in December 1959.
Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries technical team member John Skelet said: “The trip means a lot to me, and to add value to the programme is my ultimate goal, and also to assist the new team to understand what the programme is all about.
“My main job will be making sure that the base is run properly, that people on the base are comfortable in terms of electricity, sanitation and water. The other primary task is administration, to make sure that the department’s equipment is protected and safeguarded.”
This Antarctic voyage has a larger-than-normal cargo due to work which will be done on the South African base (SANAE IV) summer station close to the Geman Neumayer research base on Atka Bukta.
Department of Environmental Affairs Deputy Director-General Judy Beaumont said: “Today is a very important day for us.
“The SA Agulhas II is departing on a journey to the Antarctic and she is taking the team with her that will be over-wintering and spending 14 months at our base.”
The SA Weather Service team will be collecting data and tracking and monitoring the weather to contribute to understanding how Antarctic Southern Ocean impacts the global climate system.