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SA Agulhas sets sail with all-female crew

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SA Agulhas sails with an all-female cadet complement. SAMSA SA Agulhas sails with an all-female cadet complement.

South Africa's first dedicated training vessel sets sail for Ocean scientific research voyage 

December 27, 2019

Staff reporter

Cape Town, South Africa: The SA Agulhas, South Africa’s first dedicated training vessel, will be departing on a Southern Ocean scientific research voyage on Friday the 27th of December 2019 with an all-female cadet complement. 

The 20 South African female maritime cadets with various experience and qualifications will spend the next 80 days at sea earning their sea time.

The cadets hail from Kwazulu-Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and the Western Cape. Their mission will be to gain as much experience as they can in an accelerated environment. The cadets will be under the supervision of 2 female training officers who will oversee their intense tuition for the entire voyage.

Two of the cadets will likely qualify for the Officer of the Watch exam after earning sufficient sea time during this voyage. For several of the cadets, this voyage will be the first time away from home and will be their first ever training opportunity at sea.

SAMSA Acting CEO Mr Sobantu Tilayi emphasized the importance of this particular voyage.

“ it is important that we use every opportunity we get to open up the maritime industry to all, this voyage is proof that South Africa is on-board with the international drive to empower women and is committed to do away with the notion that the maritime industry is a male dominated industry” said Tilayi.


The vessel will also be carrying scientists representing the Indian National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR). The primary objective of the voyage is research and scientific exploration. The duration of the voyage is expected to be approximately 80 days.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) unveiled the SA Agulhas as South Africa’s first ever training vessel in support of the National Cadet Programme in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training via the National Skills Fund on the 4th of July 2012 in Cape Town. The Vessel plays a key role in aligning with the Operation Phakisa initiative of accelerating seafarer training and ensuring that South Africa produces world class Seafarers. The SA Agulhas was retired from its service as a research vessel from the Department of Environmental Affairs and acquired by SAMSA for the training of maritime cadets. The vessel has continued to be used for research and as a platform to conduct targeted Maritime Careers Awareness campaigns and hands on training.

Last modified onFriday, 27 December 2019 18:10