The Council for Geoscience (CGS) has today officially launched its survey boat known as the R/V (Research Vessel) Nkosi. The boat was acquired to augment the CGS’ marine geoscience programme which aims to map the South African continental shelf in the highest resolution based on modern technology, at various depth scales. The R/V Nkosi enables for mapping up to a distance of 28 km offshore and/or a depth of 100 m, within the limits of the equipment mounted on-board.
The rationale to invest in the marine geoscience programme is supported by the commitment to boost the country’s blue economy, collect baseline data to interpret numerous relevant themes including quantifying past climatic and environmental change, seismic hazard assessments, alternative sources of energy, and context of seafloor minerals and commodities. The CGS team is working on archives to understand sea-level change in the past to better project forward; beach nourishment and erosion studies; applications of machine learning in a benthic habitat mapping space and we produce seamless onshore-offshore geological maps.
The R/V Nkosi is named after Mr Elijah Nkosi, who was a Technician that worked at the Analytical Services Business Unit for over 20 years undertaking heavy mineral separation for which he was widely accepted as one of the best in world. The research vessel honours his workmanship in the organisation and is a befitting legacy of his excellence. The Nkosi family graced us with their presence at the launch and acknowledged the gesture of naming the vessel after Mr Nkosi.
For the most part of his career, he single-handedly separated most of the zircons (tiny minerals that are most often used for determining the age of rocks) in the country and many other parts of Africa. As testimony to his fine expertise and analytical prowess, not a single contamination was ever pointed to his name throughout his long illustrious career and hundreds of thousands of samples he had processed. Very few, if any, in the geochronology sample preparation space can lay claim to this.
The R/V Nkosi is a 7 m x 2.8 m aluminium monohull boat with Universal Sonar mounts, an R2 Sonic 2024 multi-beam echosounder, and mount and tow points for boomer and pinger sub-bottom profilers, side-scan sonar and a marine magnetometer. This state-of-the-art vessel was fully manufactured in South Africa. Already, since taking ownership of the R/V Nkosi, we have acquired 2100 line kilometres of hydroacoustic data.
The CGS is the national custodian of geoscience information and knowledge, both on- and off-shore, as inscribed in its founding legislation, the Geoscience Act (Act 100 of 1993) as amended.