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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 2002-03: VUWAE 47



Reception and planning for your event

This process was complicated due to the size and complexity of the program. We hired Johno Leitch as camp and program engineer and he was involved in planning and the set up of equipment from mid December for this event prior to the other event members starting on the program and arriving in Antarctica. This position required extensive knowledge of Scott Base, trade skills and field experience. In addition to an engineer salaried to the project the Scott base engineering group provided support including building core processing and sea ice mooring equipment, set up and minor modification to a Cape Roberts project drill site lab container for physical properties measurements on the core. A refuelling operation at the Willies field Road transition was co-ordinated by Scott Base Engineers. The plant operators were available to assist with the movement of the equipment and their contribution was a vital part of the operation.

Field training

Members of our event new to Antarctic with "old" members doing appropriate refresher courses undertook field training. We appreciated the flexibility that Antarctica NZ makes available to "adjust" a course to the event's activity that takes into account existing experience within the event. There is probably still some scope in refining this process to include area specific familiarisation where appropriate i.e. a local McMurdo Area road, routes and procedures.

Field party equipment 'shakedown' journey

This was not undertake primarily because the area of activity was primarily close to Williams field and a semi permanent camp was set up for the field operation. A significant part of the science activity was undertaken at Scott Base in tandem with the field operation.

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Delays at Scott Base, whatever the cause

No significant delays occurred except for a storm on 20-21 January when personnel were at both the camp and Scott Base.

Safety and Risk Management processes

I believe that we operated in a safe way, identified risks, which are increased in any large-scale operation that uses heavy equipment and vehicles. Drilling operations also have specific risks including hot water as well as operation of winches and movement near the ice shelf hole where personnel were in safety harness. Travel procedures for our operation were negotiated and agreed to that were more in line with field procedures than Scott Base procedures. The revised procedures made our operation work and we would have required more resources and personnel on Call from Scott Base if we followed Scott base rules. It was clear that with a field activity operating so close to Scott Base that some differences would be apparent to Scott Base personnel. Perhaps further training should be undertaken by Base personnel to allow more flexible procedures to field activities.

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