Cape Town: 25 November 2017
For 20 young South African male and female cadets, the journey to becoming qualified and accomplished seafarers in a few more years from now got underway in earnest in Cape Town on Friday when they set sail on board the SA Agulhas for both their first on board practical training as well as for their maiden voyage to the Antarctica region.
The SA Agulhas is returning to the icy region near the South Pole for the second in 2017, carrying on board a group Indian scientists conducting studies on both the Indian and Southern Oceans. The vessel is due to collect the scientists in Mauritius in about three days today.
Once on board, they will sail along with the corps of South African deck and engine cadets – mostly maritime studies students organized by the South African International Maritime Institute from two universities; the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
According to SAIMI, the crusade by the group of cadets is a compulsory on-board training before they can qualify as deck and engineering officers. Among the eight women and 12 men are 19 deck cadets and one engine cadet.
Training will be conducted by Captains Merwyn Pieters and Steven Paulse, who were also the training officers on the December 2016 expedition which accommodated 30 cadets.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for these young people. A training trip like this would normally cost over US$50 000, and they are being afforded this opportunity to learn under some of the most trying conditions,” said Capt Pieters.
“It takes guts of steel to be away from your family and loved ones. For this group, this journey is new to them, and it would come with many new experiences, including building team spirit,” he added.
The research and cadet training voyage is scheduled to last three months at sea prior to their return back to Cape Town early in 2018.
The SA Agulhas, formerly a scientific research vessel, is a dedicated cadet training ship currently under the command of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
On hand to bid the cadets farewell as well as share with them a few words of wisdom on work ethic as well as personal mastery were a number of SAMSA officials, among them Mr Ian Calvert, SAMSA executive manager for maritime special projects based in Cape Town and Mr Phumulani Myeni, SAMSA chief financial officer.
In their company were also relative of some of the young maritime studies students.
Prior to the depature, the cadets had an opportunity to interact with the media, during which they were interviewed about their studies and expectations during the journey.
Professor Malek Pourzanjani, SAIMI chief executive officer said the voyage would be the second training of its kind to the southern Arctic Circle that had been organised under the national cadet training programme managed SAIMI.
During the voyage the cadets would have a combination of on-board lectures and experience working on watches and assisting the crew.
The cadet training would take place alongside a study of the ocean currents and weather patterns to be conducted by the Indian scientists.
According to Prof Pourzanjani, the scientists will come on board with several tons of equipment in Mauritius, before the vessel heads south to the 68th parallel, which marks the start of the permanent ice cap.
They are expected to reach Antarctica in around four weeks. In a statement also wishing the crew and cadets well, SAMSA chief operating officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi said “As SAMSA, we are prooud to be part of this endeavor to train young people and expose them to new opportunities. We are confident that the cadets chosen possess the steely determination and focus survive in the Antarctic.
“The knowledge acquired from this cold journey will benefit South Africa’s growing maritime sector and the entire world.
“It is through such initiatives that we aim to fight the plague of unemployment, create awareness about our oceans and helo contribute towards our oceans economy,” said Mr Tilayi.
For full video (11minutes inclusive of cadets chatting with media) Click Here
For a five minute video (without the cadets media chat), Click Below