AA News

Türkiye’s 8th Antarctic science expedition returns with valuable insights


The 8th National Antarctic Science Expedition, a team of 24 Turkish researchers, has been completed. Through their studies conducted on the continent, scientists have shed light on the planet’s unknowns.

The team that conducted the expedition returned to the country after a 36-day journey, doing research encompassing environmental and pollution studies, oceanography and hydrography, atmospheric and space observations, geology and geophysics, energy systems, meteorological measurements, and the development of bathymetric maps.

After completing their work on Horseshoe Island, where Türkiye’s scientific research camp is located, the expedition team visited Dismal Island, then crossed the Lemarie and Doumer channels to reach Deception Island. Here, they joined two Spanish scientists aboard the TAE-VIII ship through logistical operations.

Arriving at Livingston Island after a four-hour voyage, a Turkish scientist working at the St. Kliment Ohridski science base owned by Bulgaria also joined the ship.

The science team, which carried out logistical operations at the Juan Carlos I science base owned by Spain on the same island, then sailed towards the Maldonado base owned by Ecuador on Greenwich Island.

After a Turkish scientist working at this station joined the ship, the team reached King George Island, their final stop before Punta Arenas, via a six-hour voyage.

Team’s challenging journey

Planning to return to Türkiye via Chile Punta Arenas, Santiago, and Brazil, Sao Paulo after the first flight from King George Island, the team reached King George Island after a stormy sea voyage.

Due to adverse weather conditions, the team had to wait aboard the Chilean-flagged ship Betanzos for a month as flights were unable to operate. During the waiting period, the expedition team worked on their projects and spent their remaining time reading books and engaging in conversations.

At the Teniente Rodolfo Marsh Martin Airport on King George Island, equipped with a dirt runway where daily flights are operated, flights were unable to operate for days due to foggy weather.

As flights resumed, the expedition team continued their journey from Chile Punta Arenas to Santiago, then to Sao Paulo, Brazil. The team concluded their 14,000-kilometer journey in Türkiye with their final flight from here.

Logistics, navigation, and safety

Captain Dogac Baybars Isiler, deputy expedition leader in charge of logistics of the expedition, expressed encountering numerous icebergs during the voyage, emphasizing the importance of safety measures during navigation.

“This not only signals global climate change but also underscores the necessity of paying close attention to safety precautions during sea navigation.

“The abundance of icebergs in the sea poses a significant safety risk both during the day and at night. To mitigate these risks, navigation is conducted with the presence of both specially illuminated projectors and lookout observers during nighttime,” he said.

Highlighting the critical importance of safety standards in Antarctica, Isiler stated that safety training is provided to all researchers participating in the expedition before and after boarding the ship, emphasizing the importance of navigation safety measures for the ship’s own safety against sea ice and icebergs.

“Observations and navigation safety precautions against sea ice and icebergs are essential for the ship’s safety, ensuring that the entire expedition is completed safely and healthily for all of us,” he added.