An Estonian maritime expedition has arrived in Lerwick yesterday, on one of its first ports of call on a trip to celebrate the discovery of Antarctica 200 years ago.
The 24-metre yacht Admiral Bellingshausen is named after the Baltic German Admiral, born in Saaremaa island, in present day Estonia, and who is credited with leading the first Russian expedition to discover mainland Antarctica in January 1820.
The 2019 expedition will retrace the historic journey originally taken by Bellingshausen’s ship, Vostok, which was accompanied by a second ship Mirny, stopping at extra ports of call along the way. There will be a minimum of twelve crew on board at any one time, with various crew changes planned before the vessel finally reaches Antarctica in January 2020.
The Estonian Maritime Museum has organised the expedition, which set out from Kronstadt in St. Petersburg last month. Alongside professional crew on board will also be maritime rescuers from the Estonian Volunteer Rescue Association, who have trained at the Reval Marine & Offshore Training centre in Tallinn.
The expedition will be contacting members of the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) on its journey, to collaborate around sea safety messages.
While in Lerwick, the crew of the Admiral Bellingshausen will visit the RNLI Lerwick lifeboat station and share their search and rescue experiences with local crew.
Darren Harcus, Coxswain of Lerwick Lifeboat said: “The crew of the Admiral Bellingshausen
have an incredible journey to the Antarctic ahead of them for the next eight months or so. We’re all part of the IMRF, sharing the same interests in saving lives at sea and we’re pleased to welcome the vessel and crew to Lerwick."
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