A year ago, the Italian oceanographic vessel Laura Bassi achieved a feat unprecedented in maritime history: it reached the southernmost point ever touched by a ship, setting an absolute world record during the 38th Italian Expedition of the National Antarctic Research Program (PNRA).
On board, technical and research personnel ventured into the uncharted territory of the Whale Bay in the Ross Sea, situated at the latitude of 78° 44.280′ S, to conduct crucial samplings as part of the scientific project “BIOCLEVER.”
This endeavor spotlighted the scientific prowess of activities aboard the Laura Bassi, owned by the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics – OGS. In June 2023, upon returning to Trieste from the groundbreaking mission, the icebreaker hosted the Minister of University and Research, Anna Maria Bernini, during an official visit. In October, President Sergio Mattarella welcomed a delegation from OGS, led by President Nicola Casagli, at the Quirinal Palace.
This year, the OGS vessel embarks on another polar mission, the 39th Antarctic expedition funded by the Ministry of University and Research (MUR) under the National Antarctic Research Program (PNRA), coordinated by CNR for scientific oversight, ENEA for logistical planning at Antarctic bases, and OGS for the technical and scientific management of the icebreaker Laura Bassi. The mission officially commenced on January 6th as the ship departed from Lyttleton Port in New Zealand and is set to conclude around March 2024 upon its return to New Zealand.