Huge turnout for SA Agulhas II tour

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Members of the public turned out in their numbers for free guided tours of South Africa’s polar research and supply vessel – the SA Agulhas II, during an open day in Gqeberha.

“This event provided a fantastic platform for the public to learn about the important research conducted aboard the SA Agulhas II and the critical role it plays as a supply vessel to the three research bases in Antarctica, Marion and Gough Islands in the Southern Ocean," Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy said on Saturday.

The event hosted by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) in the Eastern Cape, drew an impressive crowd of more than 3 000 members of the public who had the unique opportunity to tour the renowned research vessel.  

The vessel arrived at the Port of Port Elizabeth on 16 May and on the 17 May 2024, 1000 learners from 40 schools around the metro were hosted.

 In addition to exploring the SA Agulhas II, visitors on both days were able to engage with a diverse range of exhibits and interactive displays at an expo organised by DFFE and its partners.

The expo showcased the vital work being done in marine research, conservation, and environmental stewardship.

 "We are thrilled with the overwhelming response by the residents of Gqeberha to the SA Agulhas II Open Day in Gqeberha. The open day offered a valuable opportunity for members of the community to gain insight into the cutting-edge research and innovation driving South Africa's efforts in marine conservation,” the Minister said.

The vessel plays a crucial role in supporting research.

“It therefore plays a crucial role in supporting the country's research in Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic Islands and the Southern Ocean. The SA Agulhas II has just completed a relief voyage to Marion Island and is heading back to its home port in Cape Town.

“Through the open day concept, which is usually hosted in Cape Town, thousands of South Africans in different coastal cities have an opportunity to experience and learn about South Africa’s marine research, the SA Agulhas II as a mobile research laboratory and a supply vessel. The ports previously visited by the vessel include, Port Elizabeth (2015), Durban (2018), Dar es Salaam (2018), Comoros and East London (2019),” the department said. –