The Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) hereby wishes to inform all participants, principle investigators and support teams of the arrangements pertaining to the forthcoming Marion Island 2020 relief voyage, which was scheduled to depart on 9 April 2020. As a result of the lockdown from 26 March 2020, as per announcement of the President, the voyage planning and arrangements had to be reconfigured to minimise any risk.

The DEFF as a custodian and key Department of the SANAP program needs to mitigate risks and
ensure that decisions are made in the best interest and well-being of all participants, as well as that of the overwintering teams. To this end, the DEFF together with key partners and specialist advisors has
decided that the voyage will proceed but with a significantly reduced vessel crew and passenger complement. The voyage configuration was premised on the guiding principle of having the minimum
number of essential voyage participants during the relief as well as to overwinter.

The format of the voyage will include an essential support team for logistics, maintenance and overwintering. There will be no field science activities during the relief and overwintering periods. The Department is facilitating quarantine and testing of all voyage participants.

This decision was not taken lightly and should not be construed as a lack of priority assigned to the science activities. This is certainly a tremendous set back for all of us, however we need to do the best that we can under the circumstances, and strive towards positive future outcomes. The parties that will be participating in the voyage will be contacted either directly or through their respective focal points. These would include personnel from Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, SA Weather Service, SA National Space Agency and Ultimate Heli.
The Department would like wish you and your families well.
Stay safe and healthy.
Ms Judy Beaumont
Deputy Director General: Oceans and Coasts
Date: 2 April 2020

© South African National Antarctic Programme • Managed and administered by Antarctic Legacy of South Africa • Photo Credits
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