The contract is part of a major investment programme to modernise the UK’s Antarctic infrastructure. BAM and Ramboll are also working on a new wharf at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Rothera Research Station, where the first construction has recently been completed (link opens in new tab).
Construction work on the South Georgia site is envisaged to be undertaken between January and May 2020. Site supervision, engineering and project management support is being provided to BAS by its technical advisor Ramboll, which has also carried out the concept design.
The latest contract is the second South Georgia project for the two companies, following last year’s completion of the refurbishment of nearby BAS Bird Island Research Station.
The new contract has been commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI). It is designed enhance the safety and efficiency of ship operations at King Edward Point (KEP) Research Station. The station, owned by GSGSSI and operated by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), provides research to support management of the marine environment and living resources in what is regarded as a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ in the Southern Ocean.
The wharf project, which will carried out to a concept design by Ramboll with engineering design by BAM, will see the existing structure extended to last another 50 years. The contract will also add an additional ‘dolphin’ - an 11m x 11m outpost off the main wharf that will provide the extra capability required to berth the new polar research vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough.
The wharf will also be compatible with the GSGSSI fishery patrol vessel Pharos SG and Royal Navy ice patrol ships. BAS researchers at KEP will use the wharf and slipway to operate government harbour patrol boats, rigid inflatable hull boats, scientific survey boats and workboats.
King Edward Point Research Station lies at the entrance to King Edward Cove, a small bay within Cumberland East Bay, which is situated mid-way on the northern coast of South Georgia. It is about 1,400km south-east of the Falkland Islands. South Georgia is around 170km long and between 2km and 40 km wide, with its highest point being Mount Paget (2,960m) in the Allardyce range. Access to the islands is by ship only.