SAIMI cadets showcase SA Agulhas during PE’s harbour festival
Cadets in training on the SA Agulhas said “it was a privilege” to give guided tours of the iconic former polar research vessel while she was docked in the Port of Port Elizabeth for the PEople’s Port Festival earlier in December.
The PEople’s Port Festival offered an ideal opportunity for SAIMI to showcase the National Cadet Programme (NCP), with the assistance of the 11 cadets on board and SAMSA Maritime Special Projects cadet programme coordinator Mvuyisi Dlakavu.
The cadets said there was enthusiastic interest from the public in touring the helicopter deck, bridge, accommodations and engine control room of the SA Agulhas, escorted by the NCP cadets who enjoyed the opportunity to share their experiences of the maritime industry with young and old.
The ice-strengthened SA Agulhas has a long history as South Africa’s first polar research vessel, built in Japan in 1977 to service the country’s research bases in Antarctica, Gough Island and Marion Island. She was retired from Antarctic service in April 2012 when the replacement vessel, SA Agulhas II, was commissioned. The SA Agulhas was taken over by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to be used in the training of the country’s future seafarers.
The aim of the PEople’s Port Festival was to introduce the community of Nelson Mandela Bay to all the elements of a working port. The South African Navy also had various vessels open for tours, and the MS EUROPA cruise ship also docked in the harbour during the fun-filled weekend.