South Africa makes its contribution to the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2)

21 August 2017


Cabinet has approved South Africa’s participation in the second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) taking place between 2017 and 2020. The IIOE-2 is a multi-national programme related to the collection of basic long-term marine environmental data in the Indian Ocean for the period 2016 – 2020.

The gathering of basic long-term marine data and information will place with the developing nations of the Indian Ocean Rim in a better position to conserve the integrity of its ocean and to find ways to unlock their potential ocean economies. As part of this marine expedition, South Africa will be deploying the SA Agulhas II to conduct marine research while training and building scientific capacity for South Africa and East Africa. This science cruise will be led by scientists based in the Department of Environmental Affairs, who will coordinate research activities with other national departments and East African countries.

In 2015, during its Assembly, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) adopted a resolution to undertake the second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2). It was termed the IIOE-2.The first version of the IIOE occurred from 1960-1965 and benefitted only a few countries, hence the main objective for South Africa’s participation is to ensure that the African continent and the region at large benefit from various proposed initiatives.

In order to get a buy-in from all interested stakeholders such as research agencies, NGOs, universities and government departments, the Department of Environmental Affairs-led National Planning Committee (NPC) was established to consolidate a proposal of RSA’s participation. Cabinet’s endorsement allows South Africa to participate in the IIOE-2 between 2017-2020 through availing research vessels, namely the SA Agulhas II and RV Algoa, as well as other platforms to conduct oceanic research and collect relevant data and information of national and regional socio-economic interest.

Proposed IIOE-2 activities include:

  • Two scientific cruises on board the SA Agulhas II and/or RV Algoa in 2017 and 2018;
  • A high-level delegation of Ministers from the IORA region which will launch the first regional IIOE-2 cruise in Durban, as well as to support South Africa’s Chair of the IORA.
  • Three Centres of Competency will be established by the end of IIOE-2 in various countries across the Indian Ocean, and the proposed centres, include one on Operational Oceanography in South Africa; Marine Biodiversity in Tanzania; and Marine Remote Sensing in Mauritius.
  • The SA Agulhas II will dock in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in November 2017 in time for the 10th Conference of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) to be held between 30 October – 4 November 2017.

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