The Weddell Sea Expedition

In January 2019 the SA Agulhas II embarked on the Weddell Sea Expedition, funded by the Flotilla Foundation. The ship would be the first vessel to sail in this remote environment since the Polarstern in 2004. The ice-going limits of this PC-5 vessel would be challenged by the effort to navigate through multi-year ice to reach the wreck site of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance. This voyage allowed the unique capture of data, including multiple ice ramming events, during which the SA Agulhas II carved out almost a square kilometre of ice to recover an Automated Underwater Vessel from under a multi-year ice floe. Sensor data confirmed that the hull of the SA Agulhas II is prudently strengthened to DNV ICE-10 and that the limiting factor in her ice-going ability is her propulsion power.