Marion 2020 Voyage – Minister Barbara Creecy – Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (Twitter Feed@EnvironmentZA)

  “Antarctica and the Southern Ocean environments are special outdoor laboratories that provide a barometer against which the rate and effects of climate change and global heating can be measured… the Minister said that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean played an important role in the global climate system, providing an area in which scientists are able to study and understand natural processes that affect the planet.” – 2019/20 Antarctica Season Launch and Seminar in Cape Town

Minister Creecy  provides an update on measures taken in the sector during the national lockdown #Covid19SA Environmentza @environmentza

  • We also wish to inform all participants, principle investigators and support teams of the arrangements pertaining to the forthcoming Marion Island 2020 relief voyage, which will now depart in the last week of April 2020;
  • As a result of the lockdown and as per announcement of the President, the voyage planning and arrangements have to be reconfigured to minimise risks;
  • We have taken decisions which we believe are in the best interest of existing participants and the overwintering team which we need to return from Marion Island to South Africa;
  • To this end, the Department together with key partners and specialist advisors have decided that the voyage will proceed but with a significantly reduced vessel crew and expedition complement;
  • The expedition 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. These would include personnel from the @DepartmentPWI @SAWeatherServic; South African National Space Agency as well as our helicopter crew;
  • This decision was not taken lightly and should not be construed as a lack of priority assigned to the scientific activities;
  • However we do believe it is essential to return the existing expedition from Marion Island as soon as possible and put in place a team that will look after the base until such time as we are able to return to full scientific activity.

Photo Credit: Anche Louw

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