Agulhas II docks in EL

Renowned research ship the SA Agulhas II made its maiden dock at the Port of East London recently with an open day for the public.

As a precursor to the media briefing and tour of the ship, community members from ward 47 picked up litter as part of the Good Green Deeds campaign launched in March by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Department of environmental affairs chief director of specialist monitoring services Lisolomzi Fikizolo said that it was important not to litter as it affected the whole ecosystem.

“The science experts onboard the ship run experiments on sea conditions and how pollution has an effect on sea animals,” Fikizolo said.

Guided tours showed off the ship’s state-of-the-art laboratories along with a lounge dedicated to late musical icon Miriam Makeba.

Buffalo City Metro executive mayor Xola Pakati said the vessel provided much-needed practical training opportunities for young students.

“We are confident that this polar research and supply vessel will inspire many in our city through its activities.

“This is because the vessel plays a crucial role in support of the country’s involvement in the Antarctic and the sub-Antarctic Islands,” Pakati said.

Equipment such as the large CTD Rosette collects sea water at depths up to 6,000m using Niskin or GO-Flo bottles. The smaller TraceEx CTD is a compact seawater collection tool designed for deployment in sea-ice and coastal research.

The data samples collected report as accurately as possible as to what is happening in the ocean.

Dozens of school children from in and around East London got the opportunity to explore the ship and were exposed to a variety of career options.

The open day saw scores of people flock to the port to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact and explore the vessel.

Master of the ship Captain Knowledge Bengu is an ice pilot and is licensed to navigate through dangerous waters while ensuring the safety of the crew and ship.

Pakati said the city had entered a memorandum of understanding with the Transnet National Ports Authority to expand the port.

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