WATCH: SA Agulhas II returns from 'great expedition' after braving heavy sea ice, freezing temperatures and harsh weather

The SA Agulhas II docked in Cape Town on Friday after completing an "unprecedented" expedition to one of the most remote and inhospitable parts of the planet.

The Weddell Sea Expedition saw leading international glaciologists, marine biologists, oceanographers and marine archaeologists travel to Antarctica to investigate the ice shelves around the Weddell Sea and, in particular, the Larsen C Ice Shelf.

The crew set off from Cape Town on December 6, 2018 and started the expedition from Antarctica on January 1, 2019.

In addition to the main scientific mission, the team also aimed to locate and survey the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship 'Endurance', which was trapped and crushed by sea ice and sank in 1915.

The scientific expedition navigated through heavy sea ice, freezing temperatures and harsh weather conditions to gather new and vital scientific data aimed at improving our understanding of the rich and little-studied marine life of this ecosystem.

It's hoped the knowledge will contribute towards the protection of the region and to inspire young people about science, engineering and technology.

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