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Carl Anton Anderson - Founder of Whaling on South Georgia

















































pertel at Dusk

























boiler house exposed

   News and Events 

Duncan Carse
- surveyor of South Georgia died on the second of May 2004.
Duncan Carse survey team

His extraordinary contribution to the Island of South Georgia will remain as amongst one of the most important in the history of the island. His toughness, endurance, single-minded determination, integrity, loyalty and amusing sense of humour will be remembered fondly by many South Georgia veterans.

A full obituary can be read here.


Whaling Museum in Sandefjord Focuses on South Georgia


The Whaling Museum Sandefjord , Norway focus this year will be on the island of South Georgia .  The Norwegian, C.A. Larsen established the Grytviken land station in 1904 under the auspices of the Argentinian company Cia  Argentina de Pesca. The Museum plans to mark the Centennial of the start of the Grytviken whaling station.

The Whaling Museum will focus on the era of modern whaling that followedthrough exhibitions, presentations, articles and interviews.

The exhibition " South Georgia - the island and the people" - will open on 11 June and run for some twelve months or so.

The exhibition will in part tell the story of the whaling period expressing the the experiences of some of the people who worked at Grytviken. The exhibition will include photographs, letters, objects and documents from the museum's collections as well as items on loan from individuals.

The exhibition include the following chapters and themes:

— The discovery of SG
— The whaling shore stations
— Letters of a young worker
— The first clergyman on the island
— Free time pursuits
— The present conditions
— The island's flora and fauna


The Whaling Museum Sandefjord

Sidsel Hansen


Photographic Collection 1926 - 1932

In1983 the whaling museum in Sandefjord received a collection of photographs and glass negatives from the grandson of Theodor Andersson, born 1895 in Jockmock. He worked as a carpenter in Grytviken for six years (1926-1932).

The collection gives a representation of everyday life and activities at the Grytviken whaling station. Many of the pictures depict people in their living quarters from the lowliest standard among the South American labourers to the villa of the manager.

tattoo in progress

These pictures show details of life at South Georgia . The collection represents areas such as:

The production process with whales on the "plan"; the boats; the laboratories; the hydro-electric power-plant; the construction of storage tanks.

The site of KingEdwardPoint; panoramas of the King Edward Cove from surrounding peaks; buildings at Grytviken and KEP.

Sport; different activities in summer and winter such as ski-jumping, cross-country and football.

Theodor Andersson also visited Deception.

The intention is to publish a book, which illustrates life at South Georgia in the period 1926 to 1932 using Andersson's high quality photography in order to provide a fascinating glimpse of the history of Grytviken.

The book is planned to be on sale for those visiting South Georgia and for others interested in polar and whaling history. Proceeds from sale of the book will go to The South Georgia Heritage Trust.Stig-ToreLunde

Institut Minos


South Georgia Commemorative Stamp Issue

The "Aspects of South Georgia" sheetlet - released earlier this year - has been featured as "stamp of the month" in Stamp Mart Magazine, here in the UK. You can read the article :  


Grytviken Clean Up - 2003/4
Report by Gordon Liddle, Operations Manager, GSGSSI

Grytviken from Mt Hodge - end of season.

Work began at Grytviken in September 2003 with a small party of ten men going ashore with considerable amounts of plant and equipment.

Their first task was to build the accommodation camp that would hold the main part of the work force. This was expected to take four weeks and the camp, complete with generators, power distribution, two man cabins, kitchen freezers etc was ready as planned. It took extraordinary efforts by the team to do so as the construction was not as simple as expected and some damage had occurred in transit to the Falkland Islands .

In October the main party arrived, bringing the manpower for the project to about forty. A specialist decontamination unit was built for the asbestos removal team and the real work began.

The intention was to remove asbestos, oil residues, old gas cylinders, possible polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contaminated oils and other hazards from the station site. The remit was to leave it in a reasonably safe state for future visitors and to leave as much of the workings of the station as was compatible with safety.

The work continued successfully from October and a great deal was achieved. It proved necessary, in order to gain safe access to the asbestos, to remove quite a few of the sheds and buildings but by no means all. Where that happened the machinery in the buildings has been retained. This has resulted in the possibility of seeing much of the main part of the processing system from the plan area without having to enter dark and unsafe structures.

The asbestos removal was completed before the end of the season, as planned. A specialist contractor under the supervision of independent and qualified UK inspectors removed the asbestos. Thus the work was done to the highest UK standards and continual air monitoring showed that at no time did any person become exposed to asbestos risk. The asbestos itself was treble wrapped in heavy polymer material and placed in a landfill site then buried to the best UK specification. This had required a recce visit during the previous Austral summer to ensure that a site could be identified that met the required specification.

The areas where asbestos was buried are accurately mapped and marked to prevent any future development that could cause it to be exposed again.

The next major task was to remove all the heavy oil residues from the bulk storage tanks on the station and to raise and clean the ships Petrel, Dias and Albatros.

Once again, specialists were required to work on the ships. Many readers will know that the Petrel had been floated and had subsequently sunk again on several occasions. The Dias had been part submerged for nearly thirty years and the Albatros even longer.

All three ships were raised starting with the Petrel. Her bunkers were basically empty but a small amount of residual furnace oil was removed from her. The big excavator on site was then used to dig away a small part of the shore in front of the normal Petrel position at the former slipway and she was drawn forward until her keel was level with a flat area of sea-bed and her bow hard against the shore.

She was then stabilised by putting beach material around her bow and about a third of her length back. Water was pumped into her so that she lies on the bottom in a fully upright position but always above the highest tide so that her decks can remain above water.

The Dias was next to be raised and this was a much more difficult task due to the very thin plate on her hull and the many holes that were found in her. Divers worked constantly for a week or more to patch her hull sufficiently to pump her and bring her to the surface. It was achieved successfully and her tanks were then cleaned out.

Our salvage consultant on site said she was so thin she could not be towed out of Cumberland Bay; the only other way to move her further is with a lifting ship. I mention this because her history as a steam powered trawler, her active service in the Great War and much in between before her final days in the sealing business and as a supply vessel at South Georgia makes her a very valuable old lady indeed. There are hopes that she could be fully restored in her home port of Hull, (she was built in Beverley, I believe) and various people there are working to discover what the financial implication might be and if money could be found. Ian Harte and Dr Robb Robinson would appear to be the main protagonists in that research. asbestos removal underway

Finally, I was fortunate to see the Albatros come up from the bottom. I like to think of myself as a tough old (actually quite young) former FID of a stoical Scots nature but I confess to some emotion as, after two weeks of patching and hard work by the divers, she was finally pumped out and slowly, so slowly, broke the suction in the mud that held her and gently rose to the surface.

Congratulations are due to Lyle Craigie-Halkett the salvage consultant and to the captain and crew of the salvage tug Luma as there were many problems and moments of concern but all went exactly according to their plans in the end.

Within a few days many tonnes of mud had been removed from her, she was safe for the cleaning team to enter properly and her tanks were then cleaned until there was more grease on a good breakfast. Albatros is so frail that she could barely be moved at all but both she and the Dias are now lying in similar fashion to the Petrel alongside the Harpon Jetty as they have done for years. The difference is that they both sit proud and upright, again on the bottom but always above the highest tides and stabilised by scree quarried from the surrounding slopes.

Dias could be easily freed and moved if that is decided to be desirable and achievable. It should be noted that there is still asbestos inside these ships as cleaning the boilers would require removal of much of the plate of the ship and thus effective destruction.

We did not consider that in any way acceptable so the hulls have been sealed up to prevent asbestos escaping or people getting access to it by going inside. If more remediation is to be carried out this work could be done in a proper dry dock facility.

There is historic correction revealed by this recent work on the Albatros and Dias and that is that neither of them had been deliberately scuppered as has been written in so many books. They had no places where deliberate water ingress could have occurred. It now seems fairly certain that accumulated snow melt caused them to sink.

While the salvage team were working on the ships, the main party ashore were engaged in cleaning out the old bulk storage tanks. These had been emptied to the normal outflow level previously but still had up to a foot of oil in the bottom of them. They are vast tanks and so a foot or so can be many tonnes.

After opening them and air sampling to ensure that men could work in them, teams of very robust chaps got in there and began literally to shovel the thick glutinous mess into wheel barrows, push them toward a hatch and tip it into an open top square tank carried on the forks of a telehandler. This was then taken to the shore, tipped into another tank where it could be heated and pumped in the salvors fuel barge.

This gruesome work was done in almost continual shifts and went on for weeks. It was completed with no complaints from the workers (or not too many) and, despite collapsed roofs, heating coils and other debris, without accident to them or to the environment. We now know that these big tanks are empty of heavy fuel oils. The old oil tailing pits that lay behind them were dug out and the area filled with clean materials.

The last items to be addressed were final asbestos clearing, the old gas cylinders and oils that could have contained PCB's. The oils were tested for PCB's and found to be free of them so that was one major worry removed; the gas cylinders are now vented and empty and we now have a site certified clear of asbestos hazard.

albatross afloat again.

The main contractor on the project was AWG Construction Services (Falklands) Limited. This project was carried out under a partnering arrangement with the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The principal sub contractors were; Layne Boytec as specialist asbestos removers, Thames Laboratories from the UK as specialist asbestos inspectors, Ultragas from Chile as salvors. The salvage consultant was Lyle Craigie-Halkett and the Government representative on site was David Peck, both of whom are Falkland Islanders.


That ends the News Page for May 2004.

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