SA Agulhas II to depart for Gough Island

31 August 2016


The Department of Environmental Affairs will once again bid farewell to the SA Agulhas II as she heads for Gough Island, on Thursday 1 September 2016. The vessel is expected to sail from East Pier Quay, in Cape Town at around 14:00 and a short farewell ceremony will be held at 11:30.

Aboard the vessel will be the Gough 62 expedition team, DEA’s supporting team, members from the National Department of Public Works, and scientists from different tertiary institutions and industry.

South Africa’s use of Gough Island is primarily to operate a year round weather observation station, one of three extremely important weather stations globally.  The quality of South African and international weather forecasts relies heavily on the availability of data inputs from the Gough Island region. 

In order for the country to have a good understanding of severe weather events and their impacts on the South African coastline, it is important to maintain the data collection and increase scientific understanding, especially when facing the uncertainties that come with Climate Change. Long term data observations are crucial to pick up climate change impacts and fluctuations. In this regard, 10 drifting weather buoys will be deployed en-route to Gough Island as part of an international agreement.  

Some of the functions that will be performed include collecting diet and blood samples from the various bird species on the island and weather observation through different seasons in the year. There are also oceanographic research projects that will be conducted during this voyage such as the towing of the Continuous Plankton Recorder, in order to measure the distribution and concentration of plankton in the Atlantic basin. 

Date: 01 September 2016

Venue: East Pier Quay

Time: 11:30

For media queries contact:

Zolile Nqayi
Cell: 082 898 6483