King Edward Point (KEP) Research Station is owned by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) and operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
KEP Research Station sits on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, and is a haven for wildlife. The facility located here provides long-term monitoring studies of seals, penguins and other seabirds as well as conducting fisheries research for the GSGSSI sustainable fisheries.
Under the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation (AIM) Programme, which will transform how BAS enables and supports frontier science, Ramboll as Technical Advisors to BAS has provided specialist engineering and consultancy services to design improved berthing and mooring facilities for BAS’s ships, survey boats and GSGSSI’s fisheries patrol vessels. The new wharf will be suitable for berthing the new RRS Sir David Attenborough and mooring smaller boats. A new slipway will provide access to the boathouse and an upgrade to the small boat facility will enable the continued safe and efficient launch and retrieval of the existing small boats that undertake harbour patrols and marine research. Construction will take place between January and June 2020, with construction techniques developed by BAS’s construction partner BAM to minimise disruption to every day operational, commercial and science delivery.
Extensive stakeholder engagement with BAS operational and logistics teams and Masters of existing BAS ships and GSGSSI ensure all user requirements have been considered in the final design solution. Ramboll undertook analysis based on bathymetric and topographic survey information to determine the required extent of the new berth that would give adequate under-keel clearance for the new RRS Sir David Attenborough.
The new wharf
The final concept design solution is a wraparound structure, with a single mooring dolphin. The single mooring dolphin enables the bow of the RRS Sir David Attenborough to moor safely without impeding the existing small-boat operations. The under-keel clearance was further optimized by tapering the berthing face of the wharf, and positioning the mooring dolphin in shallower water, thereby reducing the quantity of steel and rock fill required. The wharf design team has also used offsite prefabrication and optimised resources across the scheme to prevent the introduction of non-native species to the area. An extended slipway also improves accessibility to and from the island for small boats in a wide range of tidal and wind conditions.
Due to the lack of ground information available, an innovative caisson with shallow embedment design was developed using complex modelling software. Interpretation of the existing structure also provided sound evidence to mitigate the geotechnical risks.
The construction works are planned carefully to minimise disruption to the surrounding area. Read the full Environmental Impact Assessment for more details.