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07 Oct - Loading cargo for the journey South

RRS Ernest Shackleton Diary

Position at 1200 (UTC + 1 hour): Alongside in Grimsby, England
Next destination: Portsmouth, England.
ETA: October 09 2001, 1700 UTC.
Distance to go: 299 NM.  Distance Portsmouth to Montevideo 6023.3 NM
Total Distance Sailed this Season: Nil

Current weather:  Part cloudy and clear.  Some sunshine.
Wind:  SSE  x 16 kts
Barometric pressure: 995.2  mb
Sea state:.  Calm,  alongside
Air temperature: 16°C.
Sea temperature: 13.8°C.

The past two weeks has seen the usual pre season work-up for all onboard the Ernest Shackleton as the vessel is prepared for the forthcoming Antarctic season. Following a short refit period in Newcastle Upon Tyne the vessel sailed south to the River Humber and the port of Hull, where further work was completed before moving across the river to the port of Grimsby, which has for a number of years been the port used for the loading and discharging of the BAS vessels at the beginning and end of each season.

Looking aft across the deck with containers stowed. This image is a view looking aft across the deck showing containers loaded on the main hatch. Click to enlarge.

During the period in Grimsby the ship has loaded some 4212 packages,  including 1750 205ltr drums of Avtur,  with  gross weight of 599,695 kgs and a volume of 2063.7 cubic metres.

Amongst this are some 728 packages of foodstuffs for Halley,  weighing 14637 kgs,  593 packages of foodstuffs for Rothera (which will be taken in in March at the end of the season) weighing 13418 kgs and a humble 81 packages of foodstuffs for Bird Island with a weight of 1011 kgs.

The Forward Hold,  with Avtur drums in view. This image shows Avtur drums stowed in the Forward Hold. Click to enlarge.

All of this is packed in such a way that the correct packages are in the best place for access when we arrive at a base.  For example it would be pointless to load Halley cargo underneath the Rothera cargo.  With space onboard limited this is a skilled job for the Chief Officer to arrange.

The Aft hold fully loaded. The Aft Hold full of cargo for the bases.

During the course of Sunday afternoon the BAS personnel who are sailing with the vessel from the UK will arrive onboard and move into their cabins.  For most it will be the first time that they have been onboard the vessel.  Family and friends will be made welcome and a buffet has been put on especially for the afternoon.  Senior members of  BAS HQ staff will also visit the vessel.

The vessel is due to sail on the morning tide on Monday October 08 2001,  initially heading for Immingham to take on bunkers (fuel) and then proceed to Portsmouth Naval Dockyard to load bulk Avtur (aviation fuel used by the bases).  At the time of writing the forecast is not looking too good for a smooth passage to Portsmouth.

All being well the vessel will then depart Portsmouth on Wednesday October 10 2001 and head for Montevideo,  Uruguay with an ETA of  November 03 2001.  This ETA will be updated once the vessel is on passage.

The next update will be written on Sunday October 14.

Mike Gloistein