Minister, Edna Molewa, said the second international
Indian Ocean Expedition, which saw the "SA Agulhas II"
depart from Durban on Wednesday, 18 October, would help
access data that could be used to prepare for
ocean-related challenges in developing countries.
The Minister said this when addressing research
scientists during a send-off ceremony at the Cape Town
Waterfront on Friday, 13 October.
"The Indian Ocean remains one of the least studied ocean
regions and billions of people are relying on the Indian
Ocean, often living under vulnerable community
situations in their countries.
"Our improved understanding of the Indian Ocean, how it
impacts on countries and their people, will allow much
better local planning and implementation of our
programmes for the betterment of the lives of our
"And this improved knowledge has equally important
functions ¡V it will allow countries to better plan for
threats associated with climate change, including storm
surges, sea levels rising and coastal erosion.
The expedition is a multinational programme of the
United Nations Intergovernmental Oceanographic
Commission, which emphasises the need to research the
Indian Ocean and its influence on the climate and its
South Africa's contribution to the expedition is an
African research cruise along the East Coast of Africa
by the SA Agulhas II.
The Minister said the first multidisciplinary
African-led scientific research cruise would see
scientists and students from South Africa, Mozambique,
Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt all collaborate on the
The first International Indian Ocean Expedition took
place in the 1960s.
The Minister said soon, the outcomes of the expedition
would help South Africa and other African governments to
become less dependent on developed countries and
multinational corporations for data.
"It is our hope that South Africa's contribution to this
research platform will stimulate regional interest by
older and especially younger scientific minds. I am
specifically proud of our researchers that will be
working on this cruise with our regional friends," she
Ashley Johnson, the Director of Ocean Research at the
Department of Environmental Affairs, said the voyage,
which would see the SA Agulhas II explore the
oceans between Durban and Tanzania, would be a
month-long cruise with a number of stops.
"What we are trying to do firstly is to get the region
to have a coordinated approach to ocean science. We also
cannot assume that everyone has the same level of
understanding. So, the cruise is ultimately aimed at
trying to build capacity across the region but while you
are undertaking science, what we are trying to achieve
is to get a baseline of information because without the
baseline, you can't do anything else." ¡V Source: