Most personnel that are given permission to visit Antarctica or Islands either as a staff member of, or by the DEA, are usually responsible for arranging their own transport to the port of departure (Cape Town).
From Cape Town, transport to Antarctica, Marion or Gough Island is by ship – usually the mv S.A. Agulhas II because the ship has to cross international waters, all personnel must be in possession of valid passport documentation, and for overwintering team members travel documents should not expire in advance of the return date (usually 14 months later).
The S.A. Agulhas II is a well-equipped research and supply vessel, measuring 134.2 m in overall length and
21.7 m in breadth, with a draft of 7.65 m, gross tonnage of 12897 ton and net tonnage of 3840 ton. The ship was built by STX in Finland to the latest passenger specifications and to the highest possible standards and is rated as ice class PC-5.
Sleeping quarters are in the form of cabins with single, double or two double bunks, a small table with chairs, a small desk and cupboard. An en-suite shower and toilet are provided for each cabin. These cabins can become quite crowded if personnel travel with large amounts of personal effects. The ship has recreation facilities (bar* and lounges) with a television and a music system. A very small gymnasium is available (for use by passengers and crew), as is a laundry room with washing machines and tumble dryers**. A small library is also available. All meals are provided on the ship (dress code applies at dinner) and a limited canteen*** service is available. Small kitchens in the passenger lounges is available for making tea and coffee at all times.