Taking a look at a regular task for the mechanics

Pumping fuel

The weekly task of moving fuel around station is often one I don’t look forward to, but it keeps the lights on and our house warm. The Main Power House (MPH) requires a transfer of fuel from the upper fuel farm (one of the two bulk fuel storage areas on station) to the MPH settling tank. Once Wilkins aerodrome starts up they also take a drink nearly every week. Diesel really is the life blood of Antarctic stations.

The weekly fuel transfer takes about an hour to complete for the 3 people involved. We have a dieso on the delivering tank, a dieso on the receiving tank and another doing the 'Johnny Cash'. You might wonder what Johnny Cash has to do with pumping fuel. Well, in order to ensure that no fuel goes where it shouldn’t, one lucky expeditioner gets to 'walk the line', visually checking the pipe work making sure it is all okay. It isn’t mandatory to sing Johnny Cash songs whilst doing it, but it is welcomed.

Picking good weather is the name of the game when going outside to stand around for an hour, but it’s not all bad. When standing on the upper fuel farm operating the pump and dipping the tank, the views can be quite spectacular. It is a nice opportunity to just take it all in.

Sebastian Szymanski, Mechanical Supervisor