On January 5, 2020, India flagged off the 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (40-ISEA) from the Mormugao Port, Goa. The Expedition will have 43 members and the chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin will take the team to Antarctica. On return, the vessel will bring back the members of the 39th Expedition. The Ministry of Earth Science launched the expedition.
i.National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research (NCPOR), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is the implementation agency of the Indian Antarctic Programme. They are responsible for carrying out expedition programs to Antarctica.
ii.Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) has supplied Jet A1 fuel, lubes & Marine Gas Oil (MGO) for the 40th ISEA mission.
iii.On December 4, 2020 the 40th ISEA launched in the presence of Dr M. Ravichandran , Director to NCPOR, Dr E. Ramesh Kumar, Chairman of Mormugao Port Trust, Dr N. Vinod Kumar, Postmaster General, Goa Postal Division, Gurmeet Singh, Director (Marketing) Indian Oil.
i.The Team is being led by 3 Polar Veterans Dr. Yogesh Ray from National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research; Mr. Atul Suresh Kulkarni from Indian Institute of Geomagnetism; & Ravindra Santosh More from India Meteorological Department.
ii.The team also comprises Scientists, Engineers, Doctors & Technicians.
The 40-ISEA will provide to under progress scientific projects on Climate Change, Geology, Ocean Observations, electric & magnetic flux measurements, environmental monitoring, resupplying of food, fuel, provisions & spare.
India’s bases at Antarctica:
India has 3 permanent research base stations in Antarctica – Dakshin Gangotri, Maitri, & Bharati. There are two operational research stations in Antarctica named Maitri & Bharati.
i.Dakshin Gangotri – India’s 1st Scientific base station in Antarctica, it was established as part of Indian Antarctic Programme. It is currently being used as a supply & transit base.
ii.Maitri – also known as Friendship Research Center is the 2nd permanent research station of India in Antarctica.
iii.Bharati – India’s 3rd Antarctic research station in Antarctica.
Indian Antarctic Programme:
i.Initiated in 1981, it is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional program to construct Scientific Research in Antarctica.
ii.The programme is bound by rules of the Antarctic Treaty System, which India signed in 1983.
iii.The 1st Indian Antarctic expedition began in 1981 and it comprised a team of 21 scientists led by Dr SZ Qasim.
Two Special Covers & Cancellation:
On the occasion of 40th ISEA, Dr. N. Vinod Kumar, Postmaster General, Goa released 2 special Covers – 1 to commemorate 40th ISEA & 2nd one to commemorate the four decades of India’s Antarctica programme.
About National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research (NCPOR):
Director – M. Ravichandran
Headquarters – Vasco-da-Gama, Goa
About Ministry of Earth Sciences:
Union Minister – Harsh Vardhan
Headquarters – New Delhi