Coastal Craft Platform SAEON logo SAIAB logo

The SMCRI supports and expanded on the Coastal Craft fleet developed by the SAIAB through the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme (ACEP). The Platform will consist of at least three (> 9 m in length, but < 25 tons) coastal research vessels based at each of the three Sentinel Sites. The Coastal Craft are fully equipped with state-of-theart scientific instruments for oceanographic work (CTD and ADCP), plankton sampling (plankton pump and bongo nets), benthic surveys, invertebrate collections (ROV and epi-benthic sled), habitat mapping (jump camera), benthic mapping (multi-beam), fishing, diving and sediment collection (benthic grab) and the physical infrastructure required to operate them, such as hydraulic winches, cranes, A-frames and computers. The coastal craft are crewed by a team of dedicated and experienced skippers and marine technicians, thereby allowing the scientists to focus on their research while out at sea. Additional instruments that are too costly to replicate on each vessel will also be available to be shared among the vessels depending on need and include a multi-beam echo-sounder. The three vessels are RV Phakisa (based at the Natal Bight Sentinel Site), RV uKwabelana (currently based at the Algoa Bay Sentinel Site, but will be relocated to the Two-Oceans Sentinel Site) and RV Observer (under construction and will be based at the Algoa Bay Sentinel Site).