SA Agulhas in the Antarctic

Jan 31, 2003
Author: SMIT Marine SA Africa

The SMIT Marine South Africa managed S.A. Agulhas' annual Summer Cruise, a 72-day voyage, is gradually drawing to a close. Yesterday (30 January 2003), the team began ferrying people and equipment back from the Sanae IV Base in Antarctica by helicopter. A "Cat" train is also on it's way down from the base with cargo to backload. This consists of a convoy of Caterpillar tracked vehicles towing large sleds with cargo on them. The 185 km trip takes about 16 to 18 hours. Weather permitting, the S.A. Agulhas should begin its return journey to Cape Town early next week.

Some high profile visitors paid a visit to the ship on Saturday 25th January. A delegation flew from Cape Town to Antarctica on 25th January for a 3-day visit. The flight from Cape Town to the ice landing strip at the Russian Novolazarevskaya Base takes approximately 6 hours. The passengers included 10 South Africans, 9 Norwegians and a 4 member German delegation. Everybody had to be flown to their respective stations at Sanae IV, Troll and Neumayer.

The S.A. Agulhas' helicopters (a Bell 212 and Bell 206 on charter from CHC Africa) were used to transport some of the South Africans and Norwegians to the ship for a "flying visit" on Saturday night. The delegation spent a short time onboard while the helicopters were being re-fueled after a visit to E Base. During this time they were treated to some refreshments and a very brief tour of the ship.

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