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Press Release: Cadets’ lives change after Antarctica journey

Media Colleagues

The SA Agulhas arrived in South Africa on Friday. Please find below the press release of the arrival and the stories of the cadets whose lives were changed on the 83 day trip, that saw them traverse the Indian ocean and the Antarctica.

For media queries and interviews contact Farhana Ismail on 0827876987.


Attention: News Editors/Maritime Reporters

Press Release

Cadets’ lives change after Antarctica journey

Port Elizabeth, February 19, 2018: The SA Agulhas is now in the Port of Port Elizabeth after arriving on Friday morning carrying 20 cadets following an 83-day journey covering the Antarctica.

The vessel, which is the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s (SAMSA) dedicated training vessel, sailed to the Antarctica on November 24, 2017, via Mauritius carrying 20 cadets who are enrolled at various institutions pursuing maritime studies.

For the 20 cadets who arrived in South Africa on Friday, they were excited, anxious and said they “had an experience of a lifetime which changed their lives”. The expression on their faces, as they finally docked, spelt joy and relief. Their lives had changed, they said. Given that many were afraid of the ocean, they were now proud to say they “walked on the Antarctic ice”.

The cadets – eight women and 13 men said they welcomed the opportunity to be part of the expedition

The SA Agulhas was chartered by an Indian science team who boarded the ship at Port Louis, Mauritius. During the journey to the “end of the earth” as the cadets describe, they engaged in unique maritime training sessions, with the added bonus of meeting new people from all over the world.

SAMSA Operations Manager for SAMSA’s Maritime Special Projects, Roland Shortt, said the journey of the SA Agulhas was an exceptionally unique experience.

Highlighting how crucial it is to keep the SA Agulhas at sea, he explained the role of the training vessel served to enhance maritime training and also contribution to the development of the oceans economy.

“There is a dedicated cadet training programme on board where they receive direct training as if they were in a classroom. They have dedicated training officers whose sole purpose is to groom, mentor and train the cadets. Their training involves many tasks including bridge watch keeping (navigation), passage spanning, and astronavigation.

“They also get to be trained in the engineering side of the ship. This exposes them to training on maintenance of the ship’s power plant,” said Shortt.

“Unlike putting them in a merchant vessel, where they would be shadowing the officers, in the SA Agulhas they do not merely watch; they are dedicatedly taken through the process, layer by layer,” he explained.

He said the scientific team carried out alot of different areas of research, ranging from atmospheric research which entailed taking air samples, releasing atmospheric balloons.

More research was conducted in the water, taking water samples from the water continuously.

Samples were taken to test for salinity, its temperature, and its density.

Short said once the vessel reached the ice in the Antarctica, other research activities took place.

“They conducted servicing and retrieving of scientific apparatus left in the ocean in-between surveys, generally for periods of about 12 months,” he said.


See below some profiles of the cadets

It was hands on for Clementine Dlamini

Clementine Dlamini (21) is one of the seven female cadets who was on board the SA Agulhas.

Dlamini who hails from Mandeni near Stanger in KwaZulu-Natal is a young and determined cadet. She wanted “a hands-on and unique job,” hence this is the reasons she became interested in the maritime field.

After matriculating in 2013, she decided to further her studies at the Durban University of Technology, where she completed her National Diploma in Maritime Studies (2016).

Dlamini said: “Not many females are doing maritime studies. I wanted to do something different and be a role model to the youth in my area and other females.”

Reflecting on her experiences on board the vessel Dlamini said: “This was my first trip. It was scary at first. But then I got the hang of things and fell in love with the journey. Thanks to my training officers, they made it very easy for us to adjust. They were very helpful.”

Dlamini comes from a family of seven. She missed her family every day, but remained focused on her goal to complete the training.

Speaking about teamwork she said: “We encountered a lot of rough seas, with 40 degrees rolling. When the voyage was challenging, we turned to each other for comfort. We became like family.”

Calling on aspiring cadets she said: “I would recommend that the youth apply for this learning experience. It is very exciting, when you have the love for it”.


We didn’t anticipate the reality of the expedition” – Saluse Tsengiwe

Bravery and courage were some of the traits Saluse Tsengiwe (20) from Cape Town says he acquired from the expedition.

The experience was initially exciting, became sad, depressing and tough. And then it became exciting again when they were told they were coming home, he said.

“I was excited to be part of the expedition, then reality set in as I faced a life without everything I am used to. I adjusted my mind to reach my goal, gained experience and became excited again.

“I became ecstatic when we were told that we are heading back home, but the journey continues for us as our training will continue with other examinations.”

Tsengiwe is a beneficiary of the SAMSA Bursary Fund.  He pursued his maritime studies in navigation at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology after matriculating from Simons town Maritime High School.

 “We were excited about being on international waters, going to Mauritius and then to the South Pole.  We didn’t anticipate the reality of the expedition. The rough waters were tough for me. But I told myself that I’ll endure the challenges and enjoy the experiences that came with it. We also got to see different continents which were breath-taking.”

Tsengiwe said one the reasons for becoming part of the maritime industry was to explore different parts of the world.

Thank you training officers, says Nompumelelo Ngubane

Nompumelelo Ngubane (24) is one of the seven female cadets who was on board the SA Agulhas, hailing from Greytown in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ngubane shared journeying across different continents made her fall in love with life at sea and working in the maritime field.

She is pursuing Maritime Studies at DUT and has completed her Semester two (S2) level.

She said she missed her family but knew that her career was just as important.

“I knew that my career would often take me away from my family,” said Ngubane who lives with her mother and five siblings.

Reflecting on her experience she said: “I learned new things every day. The maritime field is a whole new element of learning about the oceans and the ships. Being on the SA Agulhas allowed me to put into practice all the theory I learnt.”

She says stopping in Mauritius was one of the most beautiful experiences.

“I have bought small gifts for my family from my allowance and was able to explore the island and learnt about a different culture and a new language.”


Issued on behalf of SAMSA by FBI Communications

Follow SAMSA on #SAAgulhas  #SAAgulhas  #SAMSAAntarctica

For profiles and pictures on the cadets go to

For more information and interviews contact Farhana Ismail on 0827876987 and or

For updated information go to



Page: South African Maritime Safety Authority



Website:, News Room Section

Notes to editors


The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), is a South African government agency responsible for the implementation of current International & National Regulations regarding the Maritime industry. It advises Government on maritime issues relating to or affecting South Africa, including but not limited to providing a search and rescue capability, and conduct accident investigations and provide emergency casualty response.


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