Home science The ship Laura Passey concludes her summer research

The ship Laura Passey concludes her summer research

The ship Laura Passey concludes her summer research

The Italian research ship Laura Passi has completed a research mission that led it to sail for two months in Antarctica to support research activities on the physical and biogeochemical dynamics of specific areas of the continent.

Returning to the port of Lyttelton in New Zealand, the 39th scientific expedition to Antarctica will set off funded by the Ministry of Universities and Research (MUR) as part of the National Antarctic Research Program (PNRA), managed by the Council National for Research (Cnr) for scientific coordination, by ENEA for the planning and logistical organization of activities at the Antarctic bases and the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics – OGS for the technical and scientific management of the icebreaker Laura Bassi.

The Laura Passey, owned by the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (OGS), made one New Zealand to Antarctica circuit this year, sailing around the Ross Sea with 39 people involved in research personnel and a sailing crew of 23. Members. For the first time, the mission was shared with the New Zealand Antarctic Project consisting of a team of 12 people.

After leaving the port of Naples on November 25, it landed in Lyttelton at the end of December to transport the personnel who carried out the search mission. Once loading operations were completed, the ship departed on January 6, heading to the Ross Sea. He then arrived at the Mario Zucchelli base, where he unloaded the necessary materials and fuel for the Italian Antarctic station and then continued scientific activities, which were particularly intense this year.

The research activities relate specifically to the project “TENOR” (High-Resolution Terra Nova Bay Polynya Experiment), coordinated by Gianetta Fusco of the University of Naples “Parthenope” to study the polynya area (a mirror of sea water devoid of ice and surrounded by a pack of ice) of the Terra Nova Bay .

The “Signature” project (physical and biogeochemical tracking of water masses in the source areas and export gateways of the Ross Sea and their impact on the Southern Ocean), coordinated by Pierpaolo Falco of the Polytechnic University of Marche which aims to analyze from biological, chemical and physical factors the main water masses of the Ross Sea and study their fluctuations spatial and temporal; Finally, the “MORsea” project (Marine Observatory in the Ross Sea), coordinated by Giorgio Budion from the University of Naples “Parthenope” and Pasquale Castagno from the University of Messina to manage the network of marine observatories stationed since 1994 in the Ross Sea. sea.

This year, for the first time, the ship also supported New Zealand's scientific program marine research by hosting 12 researchers from the southern nation on board, an international collaboration that holds special status for the PNRA.

“The campaign of the icebreaker Laura Bassi ended successfully, and thanks to the cooperation between the crew and the technical and scientific personnel on board the ship, we achieved all the planned objectives, obtaining much more data than expected,” explains Franco Corin, Director of the OGS Offshore Infrastructure Management Center. . “We now have about 40 days of navigation to return to Italy, pass through the South Pacific, go around Cape Horn and cross the Atlantic with the wind,” he explains.

The next step will be the return to Italy, to Naples, scheduled for the second half of April, where the ship will undergo a series of construction activities aimed at completing the work begun last year. After that, scientific activities are planned in the Mediterranean, followed by preparation for the next Antarctic mission. It is possible that the route to the White Continent this year will pass through the Cape of Good Hope, given the known problems in the Red Sea.

Icebreaker Laura Passey

Today, N/R Laura Bassi is the only Italian oceanographic research icebreaker capable of operating in polar seas, both in Antarctica and in the Arctic. It was purchased by the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics – OGS in 2019 thanks to funding from the then Ministry of Universities and Research – MUR and works to support the entire scientific community.

The main objective of the Laura Bassi ship is to provide scientific and logistical support to Italian polar expeditions and at the same time allow oceanographic and geophysical research carried out by researchers of the Institute and the national and European scientific community at a global and, in particular, polar level. level.

It is a PC5 A-class icebreaker and was designed as a special vessel that perfectly combines shipping and scientific research capabilities. It has a payload of 4,028 tons, is 80 meters long and 17 meters wide, and has a dynamic positioning system that ensures high maneuverability and accuracy of hovering at a predetermined point within one meter. The particularly strong shell structure allows it to operate in ice-covered seas without fear of structural damage.

Ph.D.: Giacomo Prato, PNRA credits

Cnr press office


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