Our victories on the Antarctic “front” go on! Even despite the war in Ukraine and still difficult logistics in the world because of COVID-19, the rotation of Ukrainian Antarctic Expeditions took place at Akademik Vernadsky station. Moreover, for the first time in 20 years, it is provided by our own Ukrainian ice-class vessel Noosfera.
Today, April 12, 2022, the winterers of the 26th UAE, who worked for a year in Antarctica, went home. Together with them, a seasonal team, which carried out work throughout the Antarctic summer, is heading to Ukraine. The station was accepted by the team of the 27th UAE which next year will conduct research and continuing series of measurements, most of which have been going on for decades and are the longest in the world.
We remind you that the Noosfera arrived at Vernadsky on March 30. Along with the winterers of the 27th UAE, the ship delivered to the station about 80 tons of various cargoes, plus 140 thousand liters of fuel. Since the water near our island is quite shallow and the vessel cannot come close to the shore, all cargo was transported by small motor boats, as well as a mini-barge, which the vessel is equipped with. The fuel was pumped through a special pipeline. The whole process lasted more than a week, because it was often hindered with the capricious Antarctic weather.
As a result, a year’s supply of fuel, food and household items for polar explorers, building materials and new equipment to continue the modernization of the station were delivered to the shore and much more. In particular, Vernadsky’s fleet was replenished with two new boats, which have already been used for unloading and in future they will be used for marine research, and two snowmobiles (British ones remained at the station were difficult to resuscitate). Also, our polar explorers have finally received “help” in the form of a snowplow – for all the previous 26 years, they cleaned the snow exclusively by hand.
It should be noted that all these items were purchased last year and loaded on the Noosfera before its departure from Odessa in January this year, i.e. before the war.
The rotation ended with the traditional transfer of the station: the base commander of the 26th UAE Bogdan Gavrylyuk handed the base commander of the 27th UAE Yurii Otruba symbolic keys and a trunk that the new expedition should open after six months of wintering. The captain of the Noospfera, Pavlo Panasyuk, and the former British captain of the vessel Simon Wallace, who helped to navigate the vessel from Chile to Antarctica, joined the ceremony. Mr. Wallace expressed his support to our polar explorers and all of Ukraine in connection with the war, wishing peace and victory.
Now the Noospfera with the polar explorers on board is heading to Chile. Along the way, she will make one interesting stop, which we will talk about separately. From Chile, the participants of the Antarctic expeditions will be delivered by plane to Warsaw, and from there by land transport to Ukraine. The Noosfera will not return to Odesa till the end of the war, but will be based in one of the ports of the Southern Hemisphere.
We wish the polar explorers an easy way home and dream that they return to a peaceful, warm and prosperous Ukraine. We thank everyone who is now defending our land from the occupier and enabling our scientists to continue to conduct research important for all mankind, in a small corner of Ukraine in Antarctica🇺🇦
Photo by: Serhii Hlotov, Oleksandr Mylashevskyi, Vasyl Matkovskyi