A dream comes true as 13 maritime studies students head for Antarctica

Feb 12, 2003
Author: P&S

On Wednesday 19th February 13 young people will realise a dream when they set off from the Port of Cape Town aboard the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism’s (DEAT) Antarctic supply ship, S.A. Agulhas.

They are bound for Antarctica and a chance to realise their dreams of being at sea and visiting this magnificent part of the world. The vessel, managed, manned and maintained by SMIT Marine South Africa (Pty) Ltd, will be journeying towards the German Neumayer Base for the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) of Germany, for the purpose of partial annual supply and transporting summer scientists from both Neumayer and Kohnen Stations.

The thirteen scholars – nine from Simon’s Town School of Maritime Studies in Cape Town and four from Tisand High School Maritime Studies Department in Richards Bay – were offered the opportunity earlier this year as part of DEAT and SMIT Marine’s shared intent of promoting maritime awareness and continuing their support for maritime education and training institutions – an ideal which would not be possible without the support and co-operation, in this case, of AWI.

There is very close co-operation between the South African National Antarctic Program (SANAP) and the German Alfred Wegener Institute who have chartered the ship for this specific voyage.

Without their goodwill the students, the majority of whom are historically disadvantaged individuals, would not have had the opportunity to partake in this voyage.

It will not be all fun and games for the lucky thirteen, who will continue with their studies in all subjects whilst onboard. During the 23 day journey, the young people will be under the supervision of an Instructor from Simon’s Town School and will follow a daily lesson plan, whilst also learning through observation from the master, officers and crew aboard the S.A. Agulhas as they go about their daily routine, from the observed environment as well as from their experiences aboard the ice shelf.

This voyage down south is sure to be a unique experience for all of the students. Those joining the ship from Richards Bay will go from an average 35 degree Celsius summer weather pattern to temperatures of below freezing – probably for the first time in their lives. All will be issued with full polar gear and have undergone full medical exams as a prerequisite for the trip.

The S.A. Agulhas returned to Cape Town at 02h00 this morning (12 February) from her annual Summer Cruise to the SANAE Base.

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