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New South African oceanography research vessel launched

by Selwyn Bergman
on 21 Sep 2007
Oceanography SA
Oceanography SA

Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk launched the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourisms (DEATs) newest research vessel from the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town yesterday.

The new ship, RV Ellen Khuzwayo, measures just over 43 metres and joins the departments two other oceanography research vessels, the Africana and the Algoa. It is intended to replace the Sardinops which has been in use for over fifty years.

The vessel, which cost over R100-million was designed by Norwegian company Skipsteknisk AS and was built by Cape Town based Farocean Marine. It is licensed to carry 23 passengers, and accomodates for 13 crew members and 8 scientists. The ship has a steaming range of 2500 nautical miles and can remain at sea for between 18 to 20 days. It is able to operate throughout the South African 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Ellen Khuzwayo will be deployed primarily to conduct inshore oceanographic research, that includes research on marine living resources such ask rock lobster, linefish, large pelagic fish and seabirds as well as marine mammals and sharks.

The RV Ellen Khuzwayo was named after teacher, social worker, author and prominent figure in the struggle against apartheid, the late Dr. Nnoseng Ellen Kate Khuzwayo. Dr Khuzwayo's autobiography, Call me Woman, speaks about the trials and tribulations of African women under the system of Apartheid. Until June 1999, Khuzwayo was South Africa's longest serving parliamentarian.

At the launch van Schalkwyk said, "We are pleased to honour her in our ongoing commitment to commemorate the significant role of women in our country's history through the naming of our ships."

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