The Italian Antarctic research station Mario Zucchelli is operated by the Italian national agency ENEA. For the supply of fuel and consumables, the station is entirely dependent on ice-strengthened vessels.
BigLift’s Happy Delta was chartered to provide fuel to this extremely remote station, located at Terra Nova Bay in Antarctica.
Since the research station is lacking any port facilities and with the ice edge torn apart in the late summer season, all the cargo had to be transported by barge from Happy Delta to the shore. Therefore Happy Delta not only carried numerous full tanktainers but also a barge with a pushboat from New Zealand to the South Pole.
Once Happy Delta had arrived near the station, the crew lowered the barge and the pushboat into the ice-cold, Southern Ocean and started transferring the tanktainers to the shore one at a time.
During these operations, a wide range of weather conditions were experienced which challenged the crew to the max.
Empty containers were returned to Happy Delta and, together with 12 passengers, the vessel then safely left for New Zealand.