Members of the media are invited to join the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, for a tour aboard the Russian research vessel, Akademik Treshnikov, before it sails off to the Antarctica.

Scientific teams from across the globe including South African researchers will sail from the Cape Town Waterfront on 20 December, in an exceptional expedition around Antarctica to investigate the impact of pollution and climate change on the ocean.

Minister Pandor, and the Swiss Deputy State Secretary, DickMarty, will launch the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE) which is expected to end in March 2017, aboard theRussian research vessel, Akademik Treshnikov.

ACE is the first project of the newly-created Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) - a joint venture of various Swiss research and educational institutions that aims to spark the interest of a new generation of young scientists in polar research.

During the expedition, researchers will work on a number of interrelated fields, from biology to climatology to oceanography, for the future of this continent.

According to scientists, a better understanding of Antarctica is critical, as the poles are affected by climate change more than any other region on Earth. Moreover, they play a central role in providing oceans with strong underwater streams that regulate the world’s climate from the poles to the equator.

Members of the media will have the opportunity to tour the ship before it departs for Antarctica.

Members of the media are invited as follows:

Date:               Tuesday, 20 December

Venue:            Cape Town at the East pier, Waterfront

Time:               12:15 – 15:30

For media confirmation, please contact Lunga Ngqengelele on 082 566 0446 or Veronica Mohapeloa on 082 400 5750