Hesperides Heading Home After Antarctic Deployment

The Spanish Navy oceanographic research ship Hesperides concluded her logistic task related to the closure of the Spanish Antarctic Bases Juan Carlos I and Gabriel de Castilla in the course of the 27th Spanish Antarctic Campaign, and headed towards the port of Ushuaia. In this campaign, organized by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the Spanish Polar Committee, many national and international universities and scientific institutions, participated with numerous projects.

Hesperides arrived at the Antarctic continent last December 16 to help open the Bases ‘Juan Carlos I’, operated by technicians of the Marine Technology Unit of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC in its Spanish initials), and ‘Gabriel de Castilla’, managed by the Spanish Army. After allowing the start-up of the scientific projects in both facilities, the ship began her own scientific activity on board. The first one consisted of a multidisciplinary scientific campaign made up of by four projects; ‘CHALLENGE’, a study of invasive species in Antarctic benthic ecosystems led by the University of Barcelona, ‘PERPANTAR’, a CSIC analysis of the behavioral variations of Antarctic penguins, ‘GOLETA’, a study by the University of Granada to analyze the variations of the terrestrial magnetic field due to the effect of the change in permafrost thickness and ‘GALILEO’, led by the Spanish Navy Hydrographic Institute to analyze the signal reception of such satellite constellation in polar environments.

Subsequently, the Institute of Marine Sciences (part of the CSIC) coordinated the ‘POLAR CHANGE’ project to analyze the formation of clouds in polar climate zones and their role in the greenhouse effect, for which it brought together a multidisciplinary group of researchers from fourteen different nationalities. In addition to the scientific campaigns on board, Hesperides provided logistic support in the form of food, material and transport of personnel to both Bases and other foreign stations. In total, the ship has welcomed on board 182 researchers of 19 different nationalities and has crossed the Drake Passage six times travelling nearly 10,000 nautical miles below the 60º South parallel.

Hesperides left Tierra del Fuego today and is now heading towards Uruguay where a new and final project, the ‘SAGA REC’, will start in waters of the Atlantic Ocean between Montevideo and Funchal in Madeira. The ship is scheduled to arrive at her home port in Cartagena by May 19.

Hesperides is integrated into the Fleet’s Maritime Action Force. This ship closely collaborates in the management of the scientific campaigns organized by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, thus contributing to the State action at sea through the Spanish National Research Council.