26 January 2017
About 55 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) drivers and logistics specialists sent to Antarctica earlier this month swung into action today to offload a year’s worth of supplies for scientists working in the Ross Sea region.
“New Zealand has a strong interest in preserving the natural environment and stability in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and the NZDF plays a crucial role in supporting New Zealand’s presence in the region,” Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said.
“With the support provided through the Joint Logistics Pool, the NZDF helps advance New Zealand, US and Italian scientific research on a practical level.”
Lieutenant Commander Ross Hickey, NZDF Senior National Officer in Antarctica, said it would take at least a week to unload the 3000 tonnes of supplies brought by cargo ship Ocean Giant.
He said about 5 per cent of the supplies were earmarked for the New Zealand Antarctic research facility at Scott Base, with the rest going to the US Antarctic research centre at McMurdo Station.
Ocean Giant’s cargo includes food and drink, two new snowmobiles, two tracked snow vehicles, engineering equipment, vehicle parts and timber to help tide over scientists and support staff in Antarctica for another year.
Lieutenant Commander Hickey said that once all the cargo had been offloaded, NZDF personnel would reload the ship with waste and items for repair from the previous 12 months.
The NZDF provides search and rescue support, air transport, terminal operations at Harewood Terminal in Christchurch and McMurdo Station, and support for the unloading of the annual supply ship.
Up to 220 NZDF personnel, including air crew and ground support staff, passenger and cargo facilitation staff, fuel specialists and heavy plant operators support Scott Base and McMurdo Station during the summer season.