Vessel 2: The Evolution

The fuel tanker was pretty much done with its duties here as of a few days ago, but it ran into some minor issues when it tried to actually leave. Last year’s ice pier had broken free of its moorings and drifted out in front of the ship. They had to send some people out to attach cables and retrieve it:

People in survival suits ('Mustang suits' designed to allow a human to survive even in frigid Antarctic waters) attaching cables to the old pier.

The icebreaker Oden escorted the tanker out the next day.

The Oden escorts the tanker out.

Shortly afterward, the resupply vessel–which had been waiting a few miles out, past the edge of the sea ice–came in.

The BBC EMS. Apparently it is quite hard, these days, to find container ships small enough to fit McMurdo's harbor.

The people on station who deal with Stuff have been working around the clock for the last week to get everything off the vessel and reload it with the things that go back to the States. First the folks in supply jobs offloaded what was on the boat–food, parts for vehicles, new equipment, things to sell in the store, more food, and so on. Large areas of the station were roped off as staging areas for all this stuff while people got it where it needed to go.

A central staging area, right outside the Galley.


A thousand people eat a lot of food in one year.


A chart of the off-limits areas, modified slightly by dorm residents.

Then other groups of people swung into gear to get things back onto the vessel–science samples going back to the States (including some of ours!) and all the waste generated by the station in the past year, which will be recycled or incinerated as appropriate. Supposedly they’re done, or close to done, and the vessel will leave this evening, and everything can go back to normal (or as normal as it gets around here.) We’ll see.

My friend Jessie has a great post about the vessel with photos from alternate perspectives and some time-lapse videos of the whole process. Check it out!

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2 Responses to “Vessel 2: The Evolution”

  1. Allan Says:

    From what I saw the moorings were undamaged and working as designed. I was in the “tower of power” disconnecting computers and unexpectedly saw the two fleet ops maintenance dozers race to the bridge. It was not dinner time.

    A few minutes later about 5 pickup trucks with the station management were racing down the hill. You could not see the damage clearly from the pier but from above the pier’s retirement was clear. It looked like a candy bar broke in half.

    They disconnected the moorings and let it drift away from Winters Quarter Bay.

  2. Amber WB Says:

    http://whodunnknit.com/2011/02/11/plarchie/

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