Prince Of Wales Gives SAMSA Vessel Send Off

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Final Send off for SA Agulhas to Antarctica

Prince Of Wales Gives SAMSA Vessel Send Off

6 December 2012 –

London, UK: The SA Agulhas 1, redesigned as a Dedicated Training Vessel, which is under the authority of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) steamed down the River Thames in London this afternoon (Thursday) after receiving a royal send off from the Prince of Wales, patron of the Antarctic Winter Crossing Expedition 2012.

Accompanied by veteran explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, SAMSA CEO Tsietsi Mokhela and Sindiswe Chikunga, deputy minister of Transport for the South African government, Prince Charles inspected the 62 cadets on board the vessel, as well the Cold Journey team who will be undertaking the expedition to the Antarctica from Durban in early January. On Thursday, SA Agulhas 1 set sail to Cape Town, South Africa, and will be met by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and the team early in the new year.

On board the SA Agulhas the Prince told the explorers: “I can only wish you God speed and every possible good fortune in this wonderful, dotty adventure. I’m somebody who greatly admires the kind of intrepid explorer activity undertaken by Ran and others.”

The young marine cadets were equally noticed by the Prince, who shook their hands and wished them success. The ship now converted into a training vessel with classroom and training equipment was inspected by the Prince.

SAMSA’s Mokhele told reporters as he bid farewell to it that the visit to Agulhas visit to London “exceeded all expectations”. “South Africa was highly acknowledged. This coldest journey adventure is not only inspiring and exciting for scientists, but it has put South Africa on the line sailing into history.”

Mokhele said he was pleasantly surprised that the Prince of Wales knew so much of the vessel. “His interest was about the cadets, and was very complimentary of the South African crew. And the Prince was most impressed with the South African government’s role into science and maritime through the involvement of SAMSA.

“This voyage sends a serious message. Our shipping lines whom we met in London are already considering recruiting our cadets. The large throng of people here on the Thames today is a testament to the value and support they show towards South Africa and its people.”

“Agulhas maiden voyage with 62 trainees on board was a new concept. The arrival of Agulhas into London has put South Africa back into the global maritime market. For the past 20 years, South Africa has been dealing with social issues. Now we are getting in touch with the nature of who we are. We are a marine nation,” Mokhele said proudly.

It was the second time in one week that the Tower Bridge gates opened, traffic was stopped and a loud horn coming from the SA Agulhas 1 bid farewell to London. Now that is “Seeing is Believing” as pasted on the ship.

Pics supplied by SAMSA – Pics can be obtained from:
http://samsasaagulhas.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/royal-sendoff.png?w=640
http://samsasaagulhas.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/opening-tower-bridge.png?w=640
http://samsasaagulhas.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/seeing-is-believing-1.png?w=640

For more pictures on the ships stay in London, go to: www.samsasaagulhas.wordpress.com

For more information please contact:
Issued by FBI Communications in collaboration with Blue Leaf Communications on behalf of SAMSA

Media Enquiries to be directed to:
London, Hamza Tebai (hamza.tebai@fbicommunications.com) or cell + 44 77 1980 2875
South Africa, Silindiwe Dube (silindiwe.dbe@fbicommunications.com) or cell +27 72 744 2865

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