The SA Agulhas on her last voyage as South Africa’s polar research ship. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The SA Agulhas. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

RENOWNED adventurer and explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is expected in Cape Town within the next 24 hours, after he was forced to pull out of an expedition aptly named "The Coldest Journey" to Antarctica after getting frostbite.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) is on standby to help Sir Fiennes. Samsa’s dedicated training vessel, the Agulhas was the one to take the expedition team along with their equipment to Antarctica.

The vessel returned to Cape Town last week.

Samsa CEO Com Tsietsi Mokhele said the authority’s maritime rescue co-ordination centre was doing all they could to return "Sir Ran" safely and quickly.

The centre would also ensure he received medical attention in Cape Town, Com Mokhele said.

The Coldest Journey has reported that plans to transport Sir Fiennes have been hampered by a blizzard.

Sir Fiennes will be transported by skidoo to the Princess Elisabeth Station about 70km away from his current location, from where he will be flown to Novo to get a connecting flight to Cape Town.

"The Coldest Journey" — a 3,218km trek across the South Pole — would have seen him become the first person to ski across the Antarctic.