Following on from last year’s magazine update two Malcolm Plant operators have returned to Antarctica for a third season working on the redevelopment of the wharf at the BAS Rothera Research station.

Last year four Malcolm Plant operators travelled to Antarctica where they worked on the removal of the old section of the Rothera Wharf, construction of the new wharf, quarrying operations to infill of the new wharf and all general machines work for the site. The team returned from Antarctica in June this year after the first phase of the Rothera Research Station Modernisation was completed.  

The first ships, including the RRS James Clark Ross, moored at the new wharf in April 2020 to re-supply the station and pick up staff for return to the UK.

At the beginning of January 2021 two operatives, Maciej Siembab and Andrew Graham will arrive back in Antarctica. Due to the coronavirus pandemic both operators had to isolate for two weeks prior to their five-week travel on a vessel to reach Antarctica. This will be both operators third season which will be relatively short compared to their other visits lasting just 10 weeks in total.

Currently the station consists of several separate buildings spread across the site, many of which have reached or are fast approaching the end of their economic life, driving up maintenance costs and reducing organisational resilience. The objective is to reduce operating costs at Rothera whilst maintaining the current level of scientific activity. This will be achieved by replacing aged buildings with modern facilities, creating more flexible spaces and consolidating and rationalising the existing estate.

The Operators will be working on the modernisation project including building the new ‘Discovery Building’ named to commemorate the discovery of Antarctica 200 years ago. All materials required to build the facility will be delivered by ship in containers and erected to a carefully managed programme which ensures the building can meet precise seasonal milestones. This project is expected to be completed by 2023.

Maciej Siembab commented: “I am delighted to be going back to Antarctica it’s a lovely place to be, really quiet and close to wildlife. I feel very privileged to be working here and will definitely be happy to come back here to work again.”