New Zealand to build new prefab Antarctic base

Antarctica New Zealand’s rendering of what its new Scott research station will look like
Dutch firm Mammoet is doing the heavy lifting in New Zealand’s plans to revamp its sole Antarctic research base with three prefabricated buildings in January 2027.

Leighs Construction will build the Scott research station as a series of pre-packed modules for client Antarctica New Zealand.

Logistics company BigLift Shipping will take it 3,720km to Pram Point, Ross Island, located in New Zealand’s segment of Antarctica.

The modules will be carried on an MC-class vessel, strengthened to deal with ice and designed to operate in remote areas.

Mammoet’s self-propelled modular transporter in action (Mammoet)

Mammoet’s self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) will move the base onto the ship at the port of Timaru and off again in Antarctica.

The three interconnected buildings will be separated into eight modules, each weighing about 800 tonnes, and will be sealed and welded onto the vessel for the journey.

Reinder de Haan, Mammoet’s transport and logistics head, said the installation method was as robust as possible.

“The versatile SPMTs have tremendous power, yet can be manoeuvred with millimetre precision so that each section of the new station will be perfectly aligned when we set it down,” he said.

Jon Ager, Antarctica New Zealand’s project director for the new base, said it would safeguard New Zealand’s research programme and presence in Antarctica for 50 years.

Construction of the modules will begin at PrimePort Timaru in the summer.

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