Heard Expedition: have boat, will travel

Date: Wed Jan 31 06:57:15 1996
From: pcasier@innet.be (Peter Casier)
Subject: Heard Expedition: have boat, will travel
To: dx@ve7tcp.ampr.org
Reply-To: pcasier@innet.be (Peter Casier)


The first major hurdle our expedition team had to take, was to find a suitable vessel.

"Suitable" meaning within the budget, realistic time schedule, at least two weeks on Heard, place for 20 team members + cargo and no compromises on safety both on the vessel and while landing.

After a long search for the '95 attempt, our experiences with ship brokers in Australia, and another couple of months of looking all over the world after the '95 Heard attempt, we were sceptical to find a ship meeting all our requirements.

After one month of negotiations by fax and telephone, Willy-HB9AHL and I went over to Paris last Friday to meet representatives of the French government and to come to an agreement. We succeeded. As you could read in Bob-KK6EK's announcement earlier this week, we now have the vessel. It is the ideal boat for our team.

It is with pleasure that I give you more details about the Marion Dufresne, the Heard'96-'97 expedition team's ticket to Heard:


The Marion Dufresne has been especially built to the specs of the TAAF/IFRTP (the French Antarctic Institute and administration) to work in the area of Kerguelen, Crozet and Amsterdam. It is a no-compromise vessel which can sail and work under ANY weather conditions in the polar regions. She has the most sofisticated safety features, including polar life crafts and helicopters and all needed electronics. And above all: the ship's crew has been at and on Heard island several times, so they know the waters around 'our island' very well.

General information

The Marion Dufresne II (or just Marion Dufresne, as it is written on her bow) is a brand new boat, which was taken in service on June 23 1995. It replaced the Marion Dufresne (I) which was launched in 1972. It is built by Ateliers et Chantiers du Havre in France, owned by Compagnie Generale Maritime and chartered by TAAF (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises) and IFRTP (Institut Francais pour la Recherche et la Technologie Polaires).

The Marion Dufresne is designed to sail in the Antarctic waters, and very severe weather conditions. She features significant improvements regarding safety and reliability over the current standard level for merchant ships. She is specifically designed as a multi purpose vessel to supply the French subantarctic islands (Crozet, Amsterdam and Kerguelen). As such, she transports mission personnel, tourist passengers and all types of cargo including food and motor-fuel supplies.

As a scientific ship, she is amongst the biggest of the world fleet, featuring:

She is certified by the 'Bureau Veritas' under the following mark: I 3/3 E * Special purpose ship - supply and oceanographic research vessel High Sea - ACA - AUT PORT - F - RMC V - ALM - ALS


* main characteristics:
Length: 120.5 m
Beam: 20.6m
Depth at upper deck: 12.8m
Draft: 6.95 m
Displacement: 10,380 tons
Deadweight: 4,900 tons

* Passengers:

* Freight:

* Handling Gear:

* Lifting gear:

* Propulsion:

* Electricity:

* Equipment:

* Handling and lifting gear for scientific tests:

Bob, KK6EK is updating our expedition scoping document which, in its next release, will feature a picture of the ship. Have a look at this document, which is the backbone of our operation:


Note that safety does not come for free. The charter costs of our vessel is US$200,000 including the landing and pickup.

For the Heard'96-'97 team,