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The S/Y Admiral Bellingshausen, a 24-meter Dutch built Estonian yacht has completed the last leg of its journey to celebrate 200 years since the discovery of Antarctica by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen who was born in Saaremaa, Estonia.

The project began on 11 July 2019 when the expedition left Kronstadt, Estonia and culminated on 28 January 2020 at Maxwell Bay, Antarctica, marking the date when Bellingshausen first sighted the frozen continent in 1820.

The trip was organised by NGO Thetis Ekspeditsioonid and the Estonian Maritime Museum and has traced the same route and stopping points as the original journey.

A party was held to celebrate the occasion, with representatives from the different countries polar bases and Estonian president Mrs Kersti Kaljulaid.

When Admiral Bellingshausen began his journey 200 years ago, the oceans of the world were much cleaner and our fears for the Earth were much smaller. The water in the oceans and the air in our atmosphere do not recognize national borders. Polar areas, the coolers of our world, are also extra sensitive to the changes in our climate. Therefore, they are on the frontline of global warming. The Antarctic Penninsula is one of the places, where the warming is happening very fast. One day the changes may cross the point of no return and drastic fluctuations may make the climate and living environment of our planet considerably different from what we are used to. Climate change concerns all the countries of the world and the solution must also be found together,said president Kaljulaid when she landed on King George Island.

The trip has attracted considerable media attention in the ports of call and countries visited, highlighting the fragile ocean environment and importance of climate change.

Ms Kaljulaid used the project as a platform to speak about maritime issues and the importance of maritime safety.

Maris Pruuli, Boatswain of S/Y Admiral Bellingshausen took the opportunity to thank IMRF Members for their support and vital training in the early days of the project.

Members provided initial training for the crew in July last year, further joint training days followed, and rescue boats have met and escorted the sailing yacht in every port visited. 

The crew have thanked IMRF Members for their time, expertise and friendship.

S/Y Admiral Bellingshausen is now heading to Arctic waters, arriving late summer 2020 to continue raising awareness of the importance of the environment.

Visit www.facebook.com/antarctica200 to read more about the trip.