Bernard Polet, Sabine Laruelle, Alain Hubert, Johan Berte - © International Polar Foundation

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Press Conference: First Phase Down

An international press conference was held on Tuesday, March 11, at the International Polar Foundation (IPF), in the presence of Belgian federal minister Sabine Laruelle in charge of Economy, Independent workers and Agriculture, having a trusteeship on scientific research.

After having spent more than four months building the Princess Elisabeth station, Alain Hubert, president of the IPF, gave a first official presentation on the work which has been carried out by the BELARE 2007-2008 team during this past Antarctic summer. Alain Hubert went over the various stages of the expedition and illustrated the difficulties and pleasures that the team came to experience along its way.

"It was just incredible to watch the sun set upon the station's surface. The sun rays burned the bottom of the station as they shone in from bellow and were reflected back by the stainless steel panels. I had never seen the Antarctic winter yet, but I must say that the finished station was absolutely magnificent under this light", recalls Alain Hubert.

Although the station can already be qualified as operational (first scientific research team scheduled in November 2008), the station's interior systems still need to be installed (water treatment, electricity, scientific equipment and interior facilities...). This will be the object of next year's BELARE expedition, starting already November 2008.

Author: IPF

Picture: Bernard Polet, Sabine Laruelle, Alain Hubert, Johan Berte - © International Polar Foundation

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