Palmer station is powered by twin diesel generators, the fuel for which is stored in the big white tanks on the hill. One of our tasks while the ship is here was to transfer over enough fuel for the next six months into our tanks. Because it carries a high risk of spillage, a big no-no under the Antarctic Conservation Act, this was a high stress operation that we've been planning for days. Today we started early.
First we ran a hose from the ships hold, across the gangway to the fixed pipe on station.
Every few feet we placed cut off clamps that could isolate a bad section of hose.
Then, we turned pumps on aboard the ship to push the fuel towards station and took shifts watching the hose. With five people on duty at a time and fueling taking 6 hours, this took almost everyone on station. We watched the hose couplings, we watched the pumps, we walked the hose and inspected where it lay across the gangway.
And, at the end of the day, we had transferred 60,000 gallons of fuel with not even a drop spilled.