A 24m YACHT carrying members of an Estonian expedition arrived at Lerwick on Aug 14 on a voyage to mark the discovery of Antarctica 200 years ago.
The Admiral Bellingshausen is named after the Baltic German Admiral who led the first Russian expedition to discover mainland Antarctica in January, 1820. Thaddeus Bellingshausen was born in present day Estonia.
The 2019 expedition will retrace the historic journey of his ship, the Vostok, which was accompanied by a second ship, the Mimy. The Admiral Bellingshausen will reach Antarctica next January. The expedition will stop at various extra ports on the way, and there will be a minimum of 12 crew on board, with various crew changes taking place.
The Estonian Maritime Museum has organised the expedition which set out in July from Kronstadt in St Petersburg, Russia, the same port the then Captain Bellingshausen had sailed from in July, 1819. During this 1819-1821 expedition, Capt Bellingshausen circumnavigated Antarctica.
Alongside the crew are maritime rescuers from the Estonian Volunteer Rescue Association who have trained at the Reval Marine & Offshore Training Centre in Tallinn.
On the voyage, the expedition will be contacting members of the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF). At Lerwick, the yacht’s crew visited the RNLI Lifeboat Station and shared their search and rescue experiences.
Darren Harcus, coxswain of Lerwick lifeboat, said: “The Admiral Bellingshausen’s crew has an incredible journey to the Antarctic ahead of them. We’re all part of the IMRF, sharing the same interests in saving lives at sea.”