Through the closure of international flights, the participants of the 25th Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition (UAE) had to leave earlier for Akademik Vernadsky station.
The expedition departed from Kyiv on the evening of March 16, 2020. Director of the National Antarctic Scientific Center Evgen Dykyi explained that the expedition was supposed to go to Antarctica at the end of March, but Ukraine and many other countries, due to the threat of the spread of coronavirus, temporarily shut down international air traffic.
“The 25th expedition should replace its colleagues at the station, who have been working for about a year. Then the ice will cover the water, and we will not be able to make staff rotation at the station, or even deliver food supply and necessary things there. Therefore, it was decided to urgently send the 25th expedition, “– said Evgen Dykyi.
At the same time, he noted that all necessary measures had been taken to protect polar explorers on their way to Antarctica. “First of all, each participant underwent a thorough medical selection – all are healthy, without chronic diseases. Secondly, the center provided them with the necessary means of protection: respirators, glasses, antiseptics, etc. Thirdly, all of them were trained on the WHO recommendations for the prevention of coronavirus infection. The polar explorers who will return to Ukraine after the rotation will also receive training and means of protection,”said Evgen Dykyi.
Security measures at Akademik Vernadsky station have been strengthened, with limited access for tourists and ships. The station has an observation room, a hospital, modern medical equipment that allows making even operations. In addition, the center purchased an oxygen concentrator and medical oxygen cylinders, and has renewed medications.
The doctor of the 25th UAE Igor Deyneka has an efficient algorithm of actions in case of suspected illness for coronavirus infection of one of the members of the expedition. He also has an experience in treating pneumonia during the swine flu A / H1N1 pandemic.
The 25th UAE included 12 participants: 7 scientists (meteorologists, biologists, geophysicists) and 5 members of the life support team (doctor, cook, system mechanic, diesel engineer, system administrator).
The expedition leader is an experienced specialist of the NASC geophysicist Yurii Otruba, for whom this will be the sixth wintering.
Among the 12 polar explorers are two women: Ievgeniia Prekrasna, a biologist, and Anna Soina, a researcher in the field of hydrometeorology and oceanography. Both of them are wintering for the first time, but Ievgeniia has already twice worked at Vernadsky in the seasonal summer team.
Серед 12 полярників – дві жінки: Євгенія Прекрасна, науковиця-біолог, та Анна
The composition of the 25th UAE team was determined at the end of January this year. Almost all participants are under the age of 40, half of them will go to work in Antakrtida for the first time.