Breaking Ice and Records: The Epic Voyage of the Laura Bassi

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2 Nave Laura Bassi nella Baia delle balene – foto Scipinotti_Ferriani©PNRAweb
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by EH

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.

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Edward is a defence consultant working independently for various companies and governments. He has lived in Trieste since 2017 after moving with his family from London. His Roman wife is the Director of TICO Film Production company and works with the Trieste / Friuli film industry on a variety of projects both within Italy and overseas. His children love living in the city, though they lament the lack of large parks in which to cycle and play football. Edward read history at Magdalen College, Oxford during which time he was an RAF reserve officer, and after leaving studied for an MA at King's College London. His primary interests are aviation and history plus a love of film, especially Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Edward worked initially in finance and then at several consulting team and companies specialising in aerospace and defence. Among other positions, he was head of the UK consulting team at Jane's Information Group and during his time there was frequently interviewed by BBC, Radio 4 and other major global TV and radio channels for views and analysis on current global events and industry developments. Currently he also writes articles for various aerospace industry magazines, works with flight simulator game developers and corrects erroneous opinions in the FT comments sections like a Boss.

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