King Edward Point Research Station Modernisation

King Edward Point Research Station Modernisation

The King Edward Point wharf on South Georgia Island in the Subantarctic is being upgraded in 2020 to accommodate the new UK polar research ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough and to provide continued operational support to the Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI).

Construction of the new wharf will take place from the end of January to June 2020. The wharf will be built in a way to minimalise disruption to every day operational, commercial and science delivery.

The UK’s Antarctic infrastructure is being modernised in order to support world-class science for the next generation. The new wharf will enable the new polar ship to berth and undertake critical environmental research in the waters around South Georgia.

KEP New Wharf 270320
Building the new wharf, March 2020

The new wharf was commissioned by the National Environment Research Council and the GSGSSI. The team working on the new wharf consists of a collaborative partnership of BAS, civil engineers BAM and engineering consultants Ramboll and Sweco.

King Edward Point is a marine and fisheries research station. Owned by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and operated by British Antarctic Survey, this facility provides critical research to support sustainable fishing in this important location in the Southern Ocean.

Design features of the new wharf

Visualisation of completed KEP Wharf
Visualisation of completed new wharf at KEP
  • Wrap-around design: extending by 6m to the east and west, and 2m to the north and south.
  • T-shaped design, economical and structurally sound.
  • Three mooring points to maximise the position of the vessel for moving cargo on and off ships
  • Sinker anchor helping larger vessels berth safely
  • Mooring Dolphin (marine structures extending out of the water) and walkway will provide safe access for passengers.
  • Extended slipway for small boats to launch and dock in a wide range of tidal and wind conditions.

Protecting the environment during construction

  • Sustainable design that wraps around the existing wharf, reducing the impact of construction to the seabed and the quantity of resources and materials needed.
  • Monitoring wildlife around the wharf during the construction, ensuring the environment isn’t harmed by vibrations, noise or dust.
  • Stringent biosecurity processes to prevent any accidental introduction of new animal, insect or plant species to South Georgia — Rodent Detection Dogs will be inspecting the cargo ship before it leaves the UK.

The construction works are planned carefully to minimise disruption to the surrounding area. Read the full Environmental Impact Assessment for more details.

Timetable of works (subject to change and dates are advisory)

Pre-construction worksEarly January 2020
Arrival of commercial shipMid January 2020
Unloading and site set-upMid January 2020
Start of constructionEnd of January 2020
Construction completeEnd of May 2020
Team departs King Edward PointStart of June 2020


Find out more about Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation (AIM) Programme. This long-term programme will enable a world-leading capability to ensure that Britain remains at the forefront of climate, biodiversity and ocean research in the Polar regions.

The aims of the King Edward Point research station modernisation project are to:

  • Enable safe and efficient berthing and mooring of the RRS Sir David Attenborough and other ships and the transfer of personnel and cargo
  • Continued and improved capability for launching, mooring and retrieving small boats including RIBs, workboats and survey boats for research purposes
  • Facilitate the continuous presence of GSGSSI officials on South Georgia

Industry project delivery partners

Our in-house project management, operational and logistics teams are working closely with external partners to deliver the modernisation projects at BAS’s Antarctic research stations.

BAM Nuttall

BAM Nuttall is British Antarctic Survey’s construction partner for the Rothera & Islands modernisation projects.

Graham Hopper

Partnership Operations Director

Lloyd Wickens

Construction Manager

Daan Aldenberg

Project Manager

Stewart Craigie

Design Team Leader

Neil Goulding

Procedures Controller


Ramboll is British Antarctic Survey’s technical advisor, supporting a number of projects in the Antarctic.

Dave Grove

Contract Director

Bruce Wulff

Contract Lead

Kate Bunting

Project Manager – Buildings

Luke Bradley

Discipline Leader – Marine

Tony McGlory

Discipline Leader – MEP

King Edward Point – Project Blog

25 February, 2020 by Joe Corner

Joe Corner, BAS Islands Project Manager, is currently overseeing the redevelopment of King Edward Point wharf on South Georgia Island in the Sub-Antarctic. The project will enable the new UK …

Ramboll re-awarded Technical Advisor role

16 January, 2020

Engineering, design and consultancy company Ramboll has been re-appointed as Technical Advisors for British Antarctic Survey (BAS), successfully winning the next phase of work in a series of projects to …

Construction partner announced

4 January, 2017

Construction expert BAM has been chosen to partner with British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to modernise UK Antarctic and other research facilities, enabling British scientists to continue delivering world class research …

King Edward Point Research Station

King Edward Point is primarily a marine and  fisheries research station.   Owned by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) and operated by British Antarctic Survey …