The oceanographic research ship (BIO in its Spanish initials) ‘Hespérides’ set sail from her home port in Cartagena on October 20th to participate in the 28th Antarctic campaign.
15 research projects will be carried out, nine of them financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness. This year’s campaign is expected to last 100 days approximately with participation of 70 scientists from universities from 12 countries.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs contributes to the 2014-15 campaign with four million euros. Of the 15 research projects, nine will be managed and financed by the R&D State Plan, one by the European Union, three by Belgian research institutions (to be conducted at the ‘Gabriel de Castilla’ base), Japan (in the Byers peninsula), and Germany (along with other Spanish scientists at the ‘Juan Carlos I’ base). The other two Spanish projects will be carried out in an Argentinian base in the South Shetland Islands, and on board the German research ship ‘Polarstern’.
The campaign, presented at the Cartagena Military Arsenal, was presided over by the Maritime Action Chief, Vice-admiral Salvador M. Delgado Moreno, and was attended by the Secretary of the State Department for Science, Technology and Innovation, María Luisa Poncela, the President of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Emilio Lora-Tamayo and the Chief of the Spanish Antarctic Base ‘Gabriel de Castilla’, Army Major José Pablo Sánchez de Lacalle. Other authorities included the Government Delegate in Murcia, José Joaquín Bascuñana, and representatives from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Spanish Navy, the Army, the CSIC, and different research centers and universities.
The ‘Hespérides’ is scheduled to arrive at the Antarctic on November 30th when the two Spanish bases there –‘Gabriel de Castilla’ and ‘Juan Carlos I’– will be opened for research activities. The campaign will conclude on March 1st 2015. The ship will spend a total of 160 days at sea and 37 in port.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness has organized this campaign coordinating all participating institutions represented by the Spanish Polar Committee; among them the CSIC’s Marine Technology Unit which manages the ‘Juan Carlos I’ base in Livingstone Island, the Spanish Army in charge of managing the ‘Gabriel de Castilla’ base in Deception Island, and the Spanish Navy which offers the BIO ‘Hespérides’.
The ‘Hespérides’ is the only Spanish ship purposely designed to carry out multidisciplinary scientific research activities in all world seas and oceans. Her complement consists of 61 men and women under the command of Cdr. Javier Moreno Susanna. Apart from her own crew, the ship can accommodate up to 37 scientists and technicians.
Press release, Image: Spanish Navy