BACK TO NEWS: Gaining unique insight into operating in the Antarctic.
Bird Island will be the first of the BAS stations to have new buildings built as part of the modernisation.
Here, Ramboll's Kate Bunting shares insight from her visit to King Edward Point, a South Georgia research station where BAS scientists are also based. Kate undertook site surveys for the redevelopment preparations at Bird Island and a survey of the existing wharf structure at King Edward Point, which is undergoing options appraisal, she also assessed current cargo management practices to review potential operational efficiencies.
Redevelopment at the Bird Island research station will include a new storage building, fuel store, and site wide energy efficiency measures, comments Kate, who visited the station in December 2016. She added “During early discussions with BAS it became clear that they just don’t have enough storage space at the station. Bird Island is typically visited just twice a year with supplies, which means they really have to stock up at first call. There is a huge amount of cargo which needs to be housed at this time. To ensure the storage building meets the needs of BAS personnel, we identified that the new building needs to be around 30% bigger in area than the current storage facilities. The increased space will not only provide greater capacity for storage, but will also enable more efficient access to equipment and supplies”.
During Kate’s trip she undertook an assessment of the location for the new facility. Kate said “We hope to retain the current location by overcoming the sites constraints such as the proximity to Bird Island’s other buildings, existing service ducts running under the building and the adjacent stream. The works and location are also sensitively planned to consider the lives of the other island inhabitants, including the huge numbers of fur seals which breed at the station during the summer season.”
Prior to visiting Bird Island, Kate visited KEP, a South Georgia research station where BAS scientists are also based. She undertook a survey of the existing wharf structure, which is undergoing options appraisal and assessed current cargo management practices to review potential operational efficiencies, Kate said:
“Unlike Bird Island, which can only accommodate the cargo tender, the greater depth in the bay at KEP means the Polar ship can moor up at the wharf. However the RRS Sir David Attenborough is significantly bigger than existing BAS ships, therefore requiring KEP to undergo a wharf upgrade. With the supplies able to be offloaded straight onto the wharf there are also opportunities to speed up the cargo management. Containerised cargo is currently looking most favourable in terms of maximising efficiency of the ship’s time. In order to realise this efficiency, the KEP wharf requires expansion to store all the containers and an equipment upgrade to handle full containers.”