Hand-over of the SA Agulhas II for the Department of Environmental Affairs
4 Apr 2012
On 4 April 2012, following successful ice and sea trials and finishing of outfitting details, the SA Agulhas II, South Africa newest and modern research and supply ship, was officially handed-over to the Department of Environmental Affairs during a commissioning ceremony on board the ship at STX shipyard, Rauma Finland.
After the Finnish flag was lowered and the South African flag raised, signalling change of ownership of the vessel, the Director-General of Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Ms Nosipho Ngcaba said: “While it is sad that this ceremony also marks the end of an era of service in research and supply in Antarctica and the Southern Islands by the old SA Agulhas, we are proud to receive SA Agulhas II, a new and modern research and supply vessel to carry forward our mandate.”
Also present at the hand-over was Lumumba Lee, the grandson of the late Miriam Makeba. The SA Agulhas II is dedicated to the life and works of Makeba.
The vessel will leave for South Africa on Friday, 6 April and will arrive in Cape Town on 3 May 2012. This will be followed by training and equipment testing cruises. Its maiden expedition voyage will be to Gough Island in September 2012 and will go to Antarctica in December 2012.
“Both the Department of Environmental Affairs and STX are very proud of the vessel which is being delivered on budget and on time. This attests to professionalism with which the build programme has been approached by DEA, STX and other stakeholders,” said Ngcaba.
“The SA Agulhas II will enable to attract international scientists thus creating the potential for us to increase the pool and expertise of the generation of deep sea researchers to unlock the secrets of the planet – Southern Oceans,” Ngcaba said.
This ship is a one-of-a-kind in the world because of its multi-purpose application. It is in essence a cargo and dry bulk carrier (taking supplies to the 3 remote stations), a fuel tanker (taking bulk fuel for the Bases and vehicles and aviation fuel for helicopters); a passenger ship, a helicopter carrier and above all a scientific research platform.
This is the first ship built in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) latest Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Safety Regulations for passenger ships. What this means is that even if the ship encounters difficulties at sea, it will always be able to get home.
She has 8 permanent laboratories and 6 containerised laboratories. The latter can be removed when not required, for example, during a logistics cruise. She is particularly suitable for Oceanography, Meteorology, Climate Change, Biodiversity, Marine Geoscience and Marine Engineering research.
“All of South Africa should join us being very proud of this new ship, a wise and worthy investment of our government, that will create opportunities for our young scientists, but more importantly carry out research that will improve our country’s ability to predict climate change impacts,” said Dr Monde Mayekiso, Deputy-Director General: Oceans & Coasts in the Department of Environmental Affairs.
For further details and images of the new vessel contact:
Cell: 082 898 6483
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
4 Apr 2012
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