The South African polar supply ship S. A. Agulhas, scheduled to be retired from active service next month, departed on her final sailing to Antarctica in early December. The ice-strengthened research vessel was built by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at Shimonoseki in 1977 and has served as South Africa’s main polar research vessel for over three decades, while also supplying the three South African National Antarctic Programme research bases located on Gough Island and Marion Island and in Antarctica.

The 111.95m (367.3ft) by 18.05m (59.2ft) ship is to be replaced by a €116 million newbuilding, S. A. Agulhas II, being completed by STX Finland for the SA Department of Environmental Affairs.

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