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Antarctic Voyage Echoes History

Mon March 06, 2023 - National Edition
Mammoet


The MC-Class Vessel is an ice-strengthened heavy module carrier, specifically designed to operate in remote and inaccessible areas, like Antarctica.
The MC-Class Vessel is an ice-strengthened heavy module carrier, specifically designed to operate in remote and inaccessible areas, like Antarctica.
The MC-Class Vessel is an ice-strengthened heavy module carrier, specifically designed to operate in remote and inaccessible areas, like Antarctica. Mammoet’s self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) will move the new base onto the ship in Timaru and off again in Antarctica.

The specialist ship that will deliver the new Scott Base research station to Antarctica has been booked for January 2027 — exactly 70 years after the original base opened in 1957.

Antarctica New Zealand and Leighs Construction Ltd are joining forces with global logistics companies BigLift Shipping and Mammoet to transport Aotearoa's new home across the Southern Ocean to the ice.

Antarctica New Zealand Project Director of the Scott Base Redevelopment Jon Ager said the new base will safeguard New Zealand's world-leading scientific research program and presence in Antarctica for another 50-plus years.

"We're delighted to be working with Leighs Construction to harness the knowledge and expertise of BigLift Shipping and Mammoet. These companies have a wealth of experience on complex projects in challenging environments", he said.

BigLift Shipping will sail the prefabricated base from PrimePort Timaru to Pram Point, Ross Island on the back of an MC-Class Vessel in four years' time.

The landmark voyage will echo New Zealand's Antarctic history: the original Scott Base consisted of prefabricated buildings delivered on the HMNZS Endeavour when the research station was established.

Heavy Module Carrier

The MC-Class Vessel is an ice-strengthened heavy module carrier, specifically designed to operate in remote and inaccessible areas, like Antarctica.

BigLift Shipping Commercial and Business Development Manager Mark van den Berg said BigLift Shipping is pleased to be contracted for the ocean transportation of the modules for the new Scott Base.

"We look forward to working with all partners of the Scott Base Redevelopment to make this interesting and challenging project a success," he said.

The vessel will bypass the usual offload point at the United States' McMurdo Station and sail directly to Pram Point, where Scott Base is situated — it's the first time that a ship of this size will moor at Aotearoa's only Antarctic station.

Mammoet's self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) will move the new base onto the ship in Timaru and off again in Antarctica. The three interconnected buildings will be separated into eight modules, sealed and welded onto the vessel for the journey.

Mammoet Global Segment Lead of Transport and Logistics Reinder de Haan said the installation method is as robust as possible, with the highest priority given to safety and operational redundancy.

"The versatile SPMTs have tremendous power, yet can be maneuvered with millimeter precision so that each section of the new station will be perfectly aligned when we set it down," he said.

Supply Mission Complete

The first chartered vessel for the project, BigLift's Happy Delta, arrived in McMurdo Sound recently to deliver cargo for the redevelopment.

"Delivery of heavy plant and machinery is a major milestone for the project. After years of design and planning, it is great to be moving into the most exciting phase of the project for Leighs Construction — the physical works," said Leighs Construction Project Director Iain Miller.

Infrastructure, machinery and equipment were offloaded at McMurdo Station with the support of the United States Antarctic Program and the New Zealand Defence Force.

A comprehensive environmental monitoring program is under way to ensure any impacts to the environment are minimized through the redevelopment.

Construction will begin at PrimePort Timaru mid-2023, allowing three and a half years to build, test and commission the new base before its voyage south.

Mammoet's self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) will move the new base onto the ship in Timaru and off again in Antarctica.

About the Scott Base Redevelopment
  • The redevelopment of Scott Base will replace the existing base with three interconnected buildings and upgrade the Ross Island Wind Energy system.
  • The redevelopment will provide a safe, fit-for-purpose, environmentally sustainable scientific research base that will support New Zealand's presence in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica for the next 50 years.
  • The new facility will be fitted with wet and dry laboratories, science workspaces, biosecurity facilities, event staging, and storage areas. There also is an external deck for testing equipment or preparing samples for shipments and a roof deck for science.
  • In Budget 2021, Antarctica New Zealand was awarded $344 million of funding to redevelop Scott Base and upgrade the Ross Island Wind Farm.
  • The new base can accommodate up to 100 people and will consist of an accommodation, dining and welfare building, a science and management building, and an engineering and storage building.
  • It will be built in the same location as the existing base on Ross Island.

For more information, visit www.scottbaseredevelopment.govt.nz.




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