Sailors from HMS Clyde helped preserve the wildlife paradise that is South Georgia by clearing up the debris left by a shipwreck.
The crew joined scientists on the remote South Atlantic island, picking up flotsam from a fishing vessel which broke apart near the ‘capital’ Grytviken.
The team clears the beach with the wreck of the Lynn in the background
SAILORS from HMS Clyde helped to protect one of the most fragile environments on earth when they cleared flotsam from a wrecked fishing boat in South Georgia.
For nearly a decade, the Lynn has been grounded in Cumberland East Bay, driven on to the rocks by a storm.
Despite being grounded, the wreck remained intact – until a few weeks ago.
After nine years, the heavy swells took their toll and the Lynn broke into three sections in February – spilling many of her contents and prompting an urgent request from the South Georgia authorities for assistance.
The fishing boat, now broken apart by the elements
What had once been the freezer hold opened up at both ends and exposed insulating foam to the elements.
Waves washed some of it ashore on the nearby beaches at Discovery Point and Dartmouth Point, and more was washed out to sea.
Without taking action, the foam would have broken up into increasingly small pieces – and become a danger to filter-feeding creatures and their predators, which would not be able to digest it.
So on her next routine patrol of the remote island, Clyde’s sailors offered to help out.
The sailors (in blue and white) take on the locals on the 'pitch' with the rusty whaling station behind them
Some 20 sailors – roughly half the ship’s company – joined scientists from the British Antarctic Survey on a clear-up operation.
Together, they collected 15 cubic metres of expanded foam insulation and other man-made debris from the affected beaches.
“The invaluable assistance from members of Clyde's ship's company and their Rigid Raider craft, augmented our own manpower and boat resources such that we were able to collect a large quantity at this critical early point, while the weather was good, and make a huge difference to the pollution problem,” said South Georgia Government Officer Pat Lurcock.
HMS Clyde berthed at King Edward Point
Whilst in South Georgia, the sailors invited the scientists and government officers to a ‘Clyde’s Got Talent’ competition, enjoyed a competitive football match at the former whaling station’s sports pitch in Grytviken and held a service in Grytviken Church.
“I am very pleased that my ship’s company have been able to assist in limiting the environmental impact of manmade debris in an area of outstanding beauty, rich with diverse wildlife and spectacular scenery,” said Clyde’s Commanding Officer Lt Cdr Will Peters.