Friday, January 23, 2009
This week, the USNS Lawrence H. Gianella has
been in town, offloading the fuel needed to
keep McMurdo and South Pole running for the
This is probably the busiest time of the year
for the Fuels Department. They have to
organize the hose that will be attached to the
ship and be ultra-careful that there are no
leaks in the hose lines. This would create
an environmental disaster.
After the hoses are secured, they are attached
to the intakes at the other end of the Ice Pier.
This leads to a series of pipes that takes the
fuel to it's destinations (most typically large
round fuel tanks either near town or in the pass
between McMurdo and Scott Base). This year it
was discovered that there were 1 million gallons
of fuel too much on the ship. The reason this
occurred is that there weren't enough flights
to Pole this year to carry fuel. A LC-130 can
typically carry 3400 pounds of fuel and when you
cut back on the number of flights, that fuel has
to go somewhere. In this case, a fuel tank
inspector was sent down here from Christchurch to
re-certify several tanks that were no longer used.
Now that million extra gallons has a home. At
the price the program has to spend to bring fuel
down here, a very valuable home indeed.