As part of this marine expedition, South Africa will be deploying the SA Agulhas II to conduct marine research while training and building scientific capacity for South Africa and East Africa Picture: Jason Boud

South Africa will be one of several countries lending its resources to the collection of basic long-term marine environmental data in the Indian Ocean.

The department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement that the gathering of the information would help developing nations of the Indian Ocean Rim conserve the integrity of its ocean, while finding ways to unlock their potential ocean economies. 

Cabinet approved the country’s participation in the second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) taking place between this year and 2020. 

The IIOE-2, they said, was a multi-national programme related to the collection of basic long-term marine environmental data in the Indian Ocean for the period 2016 to 2020.

 “As part of this marine expedition, South Africa will be deploying the SA Agulhas II to conduct marine research while training and building scientific capacity for South Africa and East Africa. 

This science cruise will be led by scientists based in the Department of Environmental Affairs, who will co-ordinate research activities with other national departments and East African countries.”

In 2015, during its assembly, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) adopted a resolution to undertake the second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2). 

“The first version of the IIOE occurred from 1960 to1965 and benefitted only a few countries, hence the main objective for South Africa’s participation is to ensure that the African continent and the region at large benefit from various proposed initiatives.”

The country will avail its research vessels, the SA Agulhas II and RV Algoa, as well as other platforms to conduct oceanic research and collect relevant data and information of national and regional socio-economic interest.

The Mercury