MV Vasiliy Golovnin Crosses into Antarctic Waters on 43rd Indian Scientific Expedition
By PIB Mumbai
PANAJI | 6th January 2024
The MV Vasiliy Golovnin, an expedition vessel chartered by India, embarked on its journey from Cape Town to Antarctica for the 43rd ISEA Voyage in the early morning hours of December 23, 2023. The expedition is composed of 21 members from India, one from Bangladesh, and two from Mauritius. Air support is facilitated by two helicopters: an Aerospatiale 350 B3 and a KAMOV 32, with a total crew of nine members – led by Dr Yogesh Ray a senior scientist from the Antarctic Operations Group of NCPOR. The voyage is overseen by a team of 42 crew members from M/S FESCO in Vladivostok.
The participants from Bangladesh and Mauritius are part of the commitment from the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India which is providing unique opportunities to scientists from the Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) member as well as observer nations as planned by the Ministry in the year 2023. The First Oceanographers and Hydrographers Conference with the theme ‘Our Future is with Our Oceans’ was conducted under the multilateral forum Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) from 15 – 18 Nov 2022. The participants are excited to be part of the voyage expedition and are ready to face Antarctic challenges.
The vessel is loaded with cargo for the Indian expedition, supplies for Princess Elizabeth Station, Belgian (BELARE) and Progress Stations as well as cargo for Novo Airport, operated by M/S Ultima Antarctic Logistics, South Africa. The Indian cargo was loaded in two stages: first at the port call of Mormugao between November 20 and 24, 2023, and second at Cape Town between December 15 and 22, 2023. In Goa, all containerized cargo, containerized living modules, heavy machinery, breakbulk spares, and vessel fuel were loaded onto the vessel. In Cape Town, station fuel tank containers, specialized reefers containers, fresh supplies, CHP, vehicle spares, top for vessel fuel, and helicopters were loaded.
For this season, fueling was done by Indian Public Sector Undertaking Companies, Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), respectively at Goa and Cape Town ports. For the first time, fueling was undertaken at Cape Town by an Indian PSU. HPCL Aviation SBU played a key role through HPCL Middle East FZCO at Cape Town for supplying the required fuel.
Director NCPOR, Dr Thamban Meloth visited the vessel in Goa, and in Cape Town, the Consul General of India, Cape Town Shri P. S. Gangadhar visited the vessel to gain insights into Indian Antarctic Operations port call activities.
On the voyage, the first iceberg was sighted from 53°24’South and 77°10’East. The vessel entered the Antarctic waters at 17:55 UTC on 3 Jan 2024.