Antarctica: The "Bassi" record, no Italian ship has ever gone so far south


During a sampling in the Ross Sea in Antarctica, the icebreaker "Laura Bassi" of the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (OGS) touched the latitude 78 ° 41.1006S, the southernmost point on Earth ever reached by an Italian ship. The previous "Italian record" also belonged to an OGS research vessel, the "Explora", while the "world record" is held by the cruise liner "The World" which in 2017 went to just over 1 mile further south (about 2 km from the point reached by the Laura Bassi).

The "record" sampling in the Ross Sea was conducted up to the depth close to the bottom of 316 meters as part of the project "ESTRO",  which studies water dynamics in this area. The preliminary analysis of the data revealed the presence at 300 meters of a water mass at a temperature of about 2 ° C below zero, the lowest so far ever recorded in a marine sampling during the 35th expedition.

50 people are on board the "Laura Bassi", 26 among researchers and logistics technicians (including the ENEA expedition leader Riccardo Scipinotti) and 24 crew members, led by commander Franco Sedmak.

The oceanographic campaign will end this week with the arrival of the ship at the Italian station "Mario Zucchelli" in Baia Terranova, where fuel and materials necessary for the operation of the base will be unloaded and scientific samples to be sent back to Italy will be loaded onto the ship. After embarking 12 Italian technicians and 2 Korean technicians, the icebreaker will head north to the port of Lyttelton in New Zealand next week, where it will land around February 20.

The Bassi oceanographic campaign is part of the 35th expedition of the National Research Program in Antarctica (PNRA), funded by the Ministry of University and Research and managed by ENEA for planning and logistical organization and the CNR for scientific programming and coordination.

For more information please contact:

Riccardo Scipinotti, ENEA Expedition leader,

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