SA Agulhas sails home

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Port Elizabeth – It’s a day of relief in the Bay as the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) welcomed 20 cadets on board the SA Agulhas which sailed from Antarctica. 

The crew which left three and a half months ago arrived at the Port of Port Elizabeth just before midday following a whole month stay on the icy island conducting oceanographic research. 

The vessel was chartered by an Indian science team who boarded the ship at Port Louis, Mauritius, with just under 50 scientists from the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research.

Upon arrival Operations Manager of SAMSA Maritime Projects, Roland Shortt welcomed and thanked the cadets saying that they were part of a great progamme that will grow the maritime economy under SAMSA.

Shortt further explained the role of SAMSA as an enabler for marine training opportunities for the youth.

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“SAMSA has a responsibility to help develop the maritime environment and the maritime economy. It is through these socio-economic gains that will help correct the injustices from the past and help fight unemployment, by giving [them] practical experience,” Shortt.

Shortt added that the cadets had more practical experiences and theoretical experience to make them more marketable cadets.

“There were 20 cadets on board, but there were two dedicated training officers whose sole purpose on the ship was to mould, mentor and train the young cadets.  When they were on board they carried out many different roles, from watch keeping, emergency drills, a passage panning, astronavigation and everything needed to make them a well-rounded cadet,” added Shortt.

The cadets on board mostly are maritime studies students from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

One of the cadets, a 20 year old boy originally from the Eastern Cape, said the trip was a mixture of emotions.  

“The trip was basically exciting when we were leaving Cape Town and then it became sad and depressing, it then became tough and then it became exciting when we were coming back home,” said the eager cadet.

Another Cadete, Clementine Dlamini, from KZN said she was grateful for the opportunity and that she hope that other women were granted the same opportunity as she learnt a lot. She however said she missed her family and cannot wait to go home.

Shortt cited the lack of funding as one of the challenges faced by the SAMSA and other enablers but says he is relieved that everyone is safely home.

Naziziphiwo Buso

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