On Wednesday, April 4, 2012, the STX Finland Rauma Shipyard delivered a polar supply and research vessel to the South African government's Department of Environmental Affairs. Newbuilding 1369, S.A. Agulhas II is a multipurpose vessel that, among other tasks, operates as a supply, research and passenger vessel as well as an icebreaker.
Representatives from the client, the South African Government's Department of Environmental Affairs, as well as the Embassy of South-Africa in Finland, The South African Maritime Authority, classification society Det Norske Veritas and STX Finland and the press were there to witness the flag-changing ceremony.
The ice-strengthened vessel is approximately 134 metres long and has accommodation for a crew of 45 and some 100 researchers or passengers. The vessel operates as a logistic support vessel for the South-African research stations on the Antarctica as well as the Marion and Gough islands, and it is capable of carrying out marine and geological sea floor research. The vessel keeps continuous record of meteorological data for weather services in South Africa. In addition, the vessel can operate in international traffic as a passenger ship carrying approximately 100 passengers.
”We are proud to deliver this technically high-class multipurpose vessel to the client. The project has offered valuable experience and expertise in the design and building of demanding polar research and supply vessels to the personnel of STX Rauma shipyard and all our partners involved in the project”, explaind the Director of STX Rauma Shipyard, Toivo Ilvonen.
“It is with honour and pride that we receive the S. A. Agulhas II as planned from STX Finland. An exciting voyage lies ahead of us as we make our way south to the ship’s new home in Cape Town, South Africa. The ship’s sea trials and ice trials went well and she proved to be a good ice going ship. We use the ship to carry scientists and research equipment for the South African National Antarctic Programme in the sea area between South Africa, the Antarctic Islands and Antarctica. The new ship’s ability in ice covered waters will shorten journey times to the Antarctic Ice Shelf and will allow for onboard scientific research in the Southern Oceans during winter months”, said the ship’s Captain Freddie Ligthelm.