This week, the intrepid crew at Casey station cruise magnificent icebergs in peaceful tranquility. A new fuel tank was also installed to service the main power house.

Berg cruises

Of all the Antarctic experiences an expeditioner gets to enjoy whilst in Antarctica, one of the most enjoyable and sought after are the iceberg or ‘berg’ cruises. This year at Casey we have been very fortunate with the weather conditions and the fact we have a willing number of coxswains to drive the boats.

We have managed to stage quite a few berg cruises and a large number of expeditioners have been out. There is considerable effort required to cruise the bergs with preparation of the inflatable rubber boats, ensuring all the safety equipment is on board, that expeditioners are all wearing their Mustang suits and carrying their survival packs. After all that is down, there is a quick safety induction and off we go.

Cruises can last several hours but in such a stupendous environment, time nearly stands still. A highlight is when nearing a berg, we turn off the boat’s engine and just sit there in absolute silence. It is an experience never to be forgotten.

A new fuel tank for Casey

Over summer, the Casey trades team has been busy installing a new fuel tank. The new emergency power house settlement tank is a fully self-bunded, double-skinned steel fuel tank. It is to replace the existing emergency power house settlement tank that will be severely impacted by blizz (blizzard ice) once the new waste treatment facility is built.

The new tank has a maximum fuel capacity of 26400 litres in the inner tank which itself is housed inside the outer 30000 litre tank. The entire contents of the inner tank can be contained within the outer tank if a leak or spill occurs.

The empty tank unit weighs nine tonnes (29 tonnes when full of fuel) and sits on four times pre-cast pedestal footings that weight 2.1 tonnes each, these are supported on two times 600 mm deep poured in-situ concrete footings using 9.6 m3 of Casey batched concrete.

The new tank will be connected to the existing 50 mm fuel line and primarily feed the emergency power house. Also, through a series of valves it can supply the main power house, and can also be fully bypassed if maintenance on the tank itself is required.

An interesting feature of the design is the placing of the tank on pedestal footings. This is to minimise the chance of blizz forming in the lee of the tank by allowing the wind to blow through under the tank, keeping the area clear.

Prefabricated galvanised steel decking, stairs and handrails will be installed over the coming week to complete the project.