Ramboll complete successful Halley VI research station move

22 June 2017 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read
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The British Antarctic Survey Halley VI research station was moved from the Antarctic's Brent Ice Shelf, after rising temperatures saw drastic melting in the ancient formation. Ramboll was hired to plan and execute the emergency move, which was successful, enabling scientists to return to the station from November 2017.

The Halley VI is one of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS)’s major research stations. The station, and its predecessors Halley I – a wooden hut founded in 1956 – have contributed to key scientific discoveries, including the ozone hole, and its rapid expansion from pollution, in 1985. The station today continues its work on atmospheric phenomenon, from space weather to climate change.

Rapid changes to the Brent Ice Shelf, on which the base had its foundations, meant that the station needed to be moved, as a chasm was found to be forming near the station with the summer melt due to worsen the situation during the Antarctic's daylight season.

Ramboll move of BAS Halley VI station deemed success

To coordinate the move, which would require relatively off the beaten track expertise in relatively hostile conditions, BAS commissioned engineering and consultancy firm Ramboll. The firm spent 13 weeks on site to move the station 23 km away from the chasm forming under its legs. This is the first time the building has been moved since its construction in 2012 – though the station itself is designed for mobility, sitting on something akin to spiders’ legs designed to allow relocation.

The successfully moved station will be back to full operation from November 2017.

Remarking on this expedition for the firm, as well as the move itself, Ramboll engineer, Ben Rowe, said, “If you select people with the required mind set and send them on a journey to the Antarctic to achieve one outcome, you witness how quickly a tight knit team can form. I leave Antarctica with a feeling of great privilege to have been part of that, whilst experiencing this dynamic project in this absolutely amazing continent.”

The Director of BAS, Professor Dame Jane Francis meanwhile reflected, “The relocation is a terrific achievement for our operational teams. Everyone who has worked so hard is absolutely buoyant about the success of the move. They talk about the great collegiality, what a great team they made, and how much they will miss working together. They are very proud of what they achieved – and I am proud of them all.”