Antarctic Resupply Guarantees Vital Research on the Ice
Soldiers and logistics specialists from Burnham and Linton military camps start to offload 468 containers packed with science equipment, construction materials and fresh, dry and frozen food and drink supplies from the supply ship Ocean Giant. The supplies are crucial in sustaining scientists and other staff working on the continent over the next 12 months.
January 28, 2016 - New Zealand’s important contribution to scientific research in Antarctica received a boost this week with a 60-strong team from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) unloading a year’s supply of the science equipment, food, and construction materials needed to sustain researchers in one of the world’s most inhospitable laboratories.
Senior National Officer Major (MAJ) Mac McColl said soldiers and logistics specialists from Burnham and Linton military camps have been deployed to offload 468 containers packed with science equipment, construction materials and fresh, dry and frozen food and drink supplies from the supply ship Ocean Giant. A crane and a tractor for Antarctica New Zealand are also to be unloaded.
“NZDF’s support through the Joint Logistics Pool is a lifeline for our scientists and other staff working on the continent. The supplies are crucial for them to get through the season,” said Simon Trotter, General Manager of Operations at Antarctica New Zealand.
MAJ McColl said around 60 of the 468 containers were for Antarctica New Zealand. The rest are earmarked for the United States Antarctic Programme at McMurdo Station.
Once all the cargo has been offloaded, NZDF personnel, assisted by US Navy personnel, will reload the ship with excess equipment, items for repair and waste from the previous 12 months.
MAJ McColl said the entire operation, which began early on Tuesday, was expected to take nine days.
“We have highly trained people to do this operation. Even during summer, weather conditions can be challenging. In addition, we are handling 20 per cent more supplies this year compared to last year,” MAJ McColl said.
“Since 1965, the NZDF has been supporting New Zealand and American scientists as they carry out important research on the ice,” said Lieutenant General (LTGEN) Tim Keating, the Chief of Defence Force.
“We are proud that our partnership with Antarctica New Zealand is contributing to the continued advancement of their work,” said LTGEN Keating, who has just returned from a visit to the icy continent at the invitation of Antarctica New Zealand.
The NZDF provides search and rescue support, air transport, terminal operations at Harewood Terminal in Christchurch and McMurdo, and support for the unloading of the annual container ship. Up to 220 NZDF personnel, including air crew and ground support staff, passenger and cargo facilitation staff, logistics staff, fuel specialists, Army engineers and heavy plant operators, cargo handlers and communications specialists, are deployed during the summer season to support both Scott Base and McMurdo Station.
Antarctica New Zealand manages Scott Base and supports scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, particularly the Ross Sea region.