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Launch of an expedition to Antarctica

Today, on 11 July 2019, an Estonian sailboat, ‘Admiral Bellingshausen’, will set the sail from Kronstadt to Antarctica to celebrate 200 years from the discovery of Antarctica by the Russian admiral Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who was born in Saaremaa. The next stops will take the vessel to Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad in Russia, Poland, and Germany.

‘The events of launching the vessel will begin with a visit to the Russian Geography Society in St Petersburg, followed by a concert and a church service at St. John’s Church in St Petersburg,’ said the head of the expedition, Tiit Pruuli (Thetis Ekspeditsioonid NGO). ‘We would like to celebrate the beginning of admiral Bellingshausen’s historical expedition with the Estonian and Russian communities,’ said Pruuli.

The schedule on 11 July:

11.00 a.m. Visit to the Russian Geography Society in St Petersburg. At the session beginning at 12.00 p.m., among others, Vice-President of the society, Kirill Tšistjakov, Director of the Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia, Tiit Riisalo, President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tarmo Soomere, and Head of the Estonian Maritime Museum, Urmas Dresen, will speak.

5.00 p.m. A concert and church service and presentation by David Vseviov, professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts, entitled ‘Baltic Germans and Russian expeditions’ at St. John’s Church in St Petersburg.

7.00 p.m. Visit to the cathedral of the Fleet of Kronstadt.

8.00 p.m. Speech by Marko Mihkelson, Vice-Chairman Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu of the Republic of Estonia on the quay of the yacht harbour of Fort Konstantin. Concert of the brass brand Brassical, singing with Marko Matvere.

8.30 p.m. The sailboat ‘Admiral Bellingshausen’ leaves the quay.

Website of the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2134011816897268/

The more than six months long popular science expedition with researchers on board is organised to remember the most important chapters in the history of exploration and to draw attention to the current important topics arising from climate change. ‘We will be able to achieve these goals with our good partners from several places around the world,’ said the co-organiser of the commemorative trip, Urmas Dresen from the Estonian Maritime Museum. ‘There are many exciting and meaningful meetings ahead which will hopefully motivate everyone following the expedition to set high goals and to think about the footprint we leave, as well as to find solutions,’ said Dresen.

The route will continue from Kronstadt in July 2019 as follows:

12.07 from 1.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. Reception on the territory of the waste disposal site of the Port of Sillamäe with local drummers making the mood.

13.07 from 12.00 p.m. to 2.00 p.m. Conversation with Finnish Antarctica explorers on board of the vessel. From 2.00 to 6.00 p.m., the public is welcome to see the ship.

14.07 from 12.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. The vessel will stop at the Seaplane Harbour for the Tallinn Maritime Days. Everyone interested are welcome to come and see the ship.

17.07 at 8.30 p.m. Open meeting of the captains in Roomassaare with a speech by Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia. Leaving to the sea escorted by the fleet of the Moonsund Regatta.

19.07 A visit to the maritime museum in Klaipeda.

19.07–21.07 Stop in Kaliningrad. Opening of an exhibition of the photographs of Enn Kaup and Sergei Vorobjov at the Museum of the World Ocean.

22.07–24.07 Stop in Gdansk, visiting an exhibition of litter in the sea at the maritime museum.

27.07 from 12.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. Kiel City Hall, forum ‘Auf den Spuren des deutschbaltische Erforschungsreisen am Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts’ (Revisiting the Baltic German Explorations in the Beginning of the 19th Century). Website of the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2307706312784815/

The crew is planning to arrive in Antarctica on the 200th anniversary of discovering the icy continent, 28 January 2020. A television series will be filmed of the expedition. The expedition is organized by NGO Thetis Ekspeditsioonid and Estonian Maritime Museum. The initiative is supported by numerous Estonian companies, including Telia, Tallink, Enefit Green, Sillamäe Sadam, GO Travel, Sportland, Alexela, Baltic Workboats, and Postimees Grupp.

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