Creating international understanding through peoples diplomacy on sea

German Naval officers reflect about Antarctica and its importance for our society.

“It has been an honour to give a speech for the “Marine-Offiziers-Messe München”, highlighting the importance of Antarctica for us and our planet and to report about the Global Offshore Sailing Team’s Expedition Antarctic Blanc.”

Jochen Werne
Antarctic Blanc Expedition Leader

Having experienced the sea by themselves the retired German Naval Officers enriched the discussion greatly with their own fascinating experiences and personal stories about life on sea and the challenges with the elements.

I’m grateful to Commander ret. Bernd Lehmann and Commander ret. Bernd Chittka for the invitation and the members and guests of the “Marine-Offiziers-Messe München for an outstanding evening and their engagement for our society.

The Global Offshore Sailing Team sailed to the most Southerly partially ice-free place of this planet – the ANTARCTIC continent. The international team remembered all sailors who bravely explored this fragile and dangerous environment.

With this Expedition a platform of intercultural and interdisciplinary exchange for ANTARCTIC enthusiasts such as Historians, Environmental Scientists, Sailors, NGO’s, Navies, Associations or just out of personal interest has been created.

www.AntarcticBlanc.com

TV Broadcast: Monaco Info Environment – Expedition Antarctic Blanc

Pre-Expedition Press Conference Coverage – in French language

Monaco Info reported about the Expedition Antarctic Blanc’s Press Conference at the Yacht Club de Monaco interviewing Expedition Leader Jochen Werne, Environmental Initiatives Coordinator Dr. Benon Janos and Chief Observer David Gamba. The expedition will took place between the 12th and the 27th of February 2018 and was engaged in the commemoration of Antarctic explorers and the support of the United Nations #CleanSeas initiative.

www.AntarcticBlanc.com

Expedition Leader Jochen Werne about Antarctica

Interview über Seefahrt, das Meer und Leidenschaft mit münchen.tv im Deutschen Museum

Es war ein großes Vergnügen gemeinsam mit dem GOST Chief Historian Bernd Lehmann in einem 45-minütigen Interview geführt von Christopher Griebel im Deutschen Museum über viele Facetten der Seefahrt und der zu dem Zeitpunkt bevorstehenden Antarktisexpedition Antarctic Blanc zu diskutieren.

Jochen Werne – GOST Co-Founder & Expedition Leader Antarctic Blanc

Es ist etwas besonderes auf diese Pre-Expedition Dokumentation genau heute am 1. April 2019 zurückzuschauen, an dem Tag, wo eine Delegation bestehend aus Jochen Werne (Expedition Leader), Dr. Olivier Blanchard (Chief Liaison Officer to France) und Dr. Wolfgang Händel (Chief Logistics Officer), französischen Regierungsvertretern in Paris die Expeditionsflagge übergeben werden.

LINK ZUM INTERVIEW

https://www.muenchen.tv/mediathek/video/im-deutschen-museum-2/

Bernd Lehmann – GOST & Expedition Antarctic Blanc Chief Historian

Handelsblatt KI-Summit – Thoughtleaders in AI meet in Munich

It’s a great pleasure having the chance to meet international experts and supporting the Summit as Speaker on AI in Finance and with an evening fireside chat about leadership, transformation and the sea.

HANDELSBLATT KI-SUMMIT

DETAILS & LINK TO THE SUMMIT
Fireside Chat in der Future Lounge about Leadership in times of transformation

KI-INsights Businessguide

Read interviews and articles from experts in the KI-Businessguide published by the Handelsblatt for the Summit and free to download on this website

It was a pleasure supporting the publication with reflection on AI developments in the Financial Industry called: “Google, how are my stocks doing and what to do?” AI in the financial sector – the next big thing?
AI in Finance Session in the Handelsblatt KI-SUMMIT
AI in Finance Session in the Handelsblatt KI-SUMMIT

French government invites Expedition Antarctic Blanc

Initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron, it’s a great honour having received an invitation from the French Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire to hand over the French expedition flag to Mme Sophie-Dorothée Duron, Conseillère Biodiversité Eau Mer in the Cabinet du Ministre

On 1 April 2019 at 4 p.m., Mme Sophie-Dorothée Duron, Conseillère Biodiversité Eau Mer will welcome a delegation from the international expedition Antarctic Blanc, which was successfully carried out with French assistance. The delegation will present the expedition flag, which represented France in Antarctica, as a symbol of remembrance.

French President Emmanuel MACRON personally underlined in his letter of support to the Expedition how important the preservation of our planet’s ecosystem is and how valuable therefore the creation of awareness in the society by the initiative.

Letter from the Elysée Palace supporting Expedition Antarctic Blanc

STORMS AND ICEBERGS

Expedition Antarctic Blanc pursued historical, social and environmental goals. The 12 expedition offshore participants of the initiative, supported by the United Nations and 19 states, crossed on a 20m sailing yacht twice in 12 days, under the toughest conditions, one of the most dangerous sea routes in the world – the Drake Passage, covering 1129 nautical miles (over 2,000km). The journey was marked by the passage of several storm systems in the Antarctic and off Cape Horn, which delayed the return by several days. Winds with up to 50kn, waves up to 8m high and temperatures around freezing point demanded top physical performances from the expedition participants.

INTERNATIONAL COMMEMORATION CEREMONY. Sailing on Historic Routes. The expedition commemorated the researchers, explorers and sailors whose ships had to master the challenging peculiarities of reaching an unknown part of the world. The international team held a commemoration ceremony on the historically significant Antarctic volcanic Deception Island. In the name of all supporting states and the United Nations, a wreath of local ice was symbolically formed and laid down in order to pay international tribute to the achievements in the exploration of this unique continent. The supporting nations are among the signatories of the politically unique Antarctic Treaty of 23 June 1961. Heads of state and government organizations of the 19 nations have expressed their support for this unique, privately initiated expeditions in letters to the leader of the expedition, Jochen Werne, in particular for the execution of the ceremonial act of commemoration.

FRANCE AND THE ANTARCTIC TREATY. France joined the Antarctic Treaty on 23 June 1961 and, with its signature, also acknowledged that “in the interest of all mankind, Antarctica is used exclusively for peaceful purposes and should not become the scene or object of international discord”. France also underlined its commitment to the preservation of this ecosystem as a “nature reserve dedicated to peace and science”.

UNEP CLEAN SEAS INITIATIVE. The main focus of the expedition was to sensitize the international public for the preservation of the unique Antarctic ecosystem and to support the UN initiative Clean Seas to combat plastic waste in the oceans. With Expedition Antarctic Blanc, this important United Nations Environmental Program project is now finding acceptance on all continents of our planet.

CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE ECOSYSTEM. In addition, the expedition supported the University of Connecticut and Northeastern University’s research project on plankton metabarcoding by collecting plankton samples, which could provide a fundamental contribution to obtaining rapid responses to the ecosystem’s response to climate change.

WHALES IN THE ANTARCTIC. With the observation of 18 different whales and the detailed documentation of their position and behaviour, the expedition also contributed to the establishment of the global whale observation platform ‘Happy Wales’. The platform is intended to provide science with in-depth insights into the behaviour and development of the largest mammals on our planet.

CHILD AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT. To promote international children and youth projects, several live broadcasts were held from sea and Antarctica with children of the sailing school of the Yacht Club de Monaco. On their return, the team visited the Cedena Yacht School Puerto Williams, Chile, which is open to children from all walks of life in the southernmost region of our planet, and through sport encourages them to develop their own goals and character traits that are conducive to their personal development. In addition to a donation from the expedition team, the foundation stone was laid for an international exchange and the children were introduced to Antarctica and its significance.

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION. The visit to Paris marks the fifth important reception for Expedition Antarctic Blanc after the reception by Prince Albert II in Monaco, the ambassador of the poles of the Netherlands, Carola van Reijnsoever, in The Hague, the President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen in Vienna and the Private Secretary to Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark Henning Fode.

PRESS INVITATION

  • Following the flag handover on 1 April 2019 at 4 p.m. in Paris, the expedition leader Jochen Werne and Chief Liasion Officer to France Olivier Blanchard will be available to the press for questions and interviews, pictures and filming.
  • On request, the delegation can also attend press events in Paris on this day.
    Accreditation is requested. Please send an e-mail to ExpeditionLeader@AntarcticBlanc.com for this purpose.

Expedition participants – Offshore Team

Jochen Werne Expedition Leader

Marco Schröter Chief Safety Officer

Oliver Picht Navigator & Chief Documentation Officer

Linden Blue Chief Communication Officer

Bernd Görgner Chief Medical Officer

Benon Janos Environmental Initiatives Coordinator

Wolfgang Händel Chief Logistics Officer

Hans Axtner Master of Ceremony

Michael Melnick Chief Sciences Coordinator

David Gamba Chief Observer

Wolf Kloss Skipper and Expedition Yacht Owner

Karl Papenfuss Mate

Comment on the initiator of the expedition – The Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST)

Expedition “Antarctic Blanc” is the continuation of the polar initiative launched in 2016 with comparable objectives under the name “Arctic Ocean Raptor”, but in the Spitsbergen sea area and up to the Arctic pack ice limit. An additional and important aspect was the commemoration of the seafarers of all nations, who fulfilled their seafaring duties during the maritime operations in the Arctic under the mostly merciless weather conditions and partly also lost their lives. In the name of the Norwegian King Harald V and the Canadian government, a wreath was handed over to the lake; further international support for this expedition came from Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and Italy. Founded in 1999 by Jochen Werne and Guido Zoeller, the Global Offshore Sailing Team is once again committed to maritime history and environmental issues with this particularly challenging expedition and its People’s Diplomacy campaign.

Press contact:

Jochen Werne

Expedition Leader

Mail: ExpeditionLeader@AntarcticBlanc.com

“Your adventures serve important purposes.”

This quote by Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen has been chosen by the Hofburg‘s prestigious press corps to introduce the article about the reception for Expedition Antarctic Blanc on the President‘s website.

The GOST delegation consisting of six members handed over with pride in Vienna’s Hofburg the Antarctic Blanc expedition flag to the President Van der Bellen on January 22, 2019.

The ceremony took 30 minutes and the President received an expedition report, watched the official video, signed the flag and had in-depth discussions with the delegates.

The president who himself is greatly engaged in environmental topics and climate discussions worldwide has listened carefully how a private initiative as the Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST) has been able to connect nations, politicians, scientists and the civil society to enter deeper into discussions about  important historical, environmental and societal topics. With its expeditions GOST hereby became an ambassador for international understanding.

President Van der Bellen also took note that Austria’s ratification of the Environmental Protocol is still missing and is now in contact with the Founding Director of the Austrian Polar Research Institute Prof. Dr. Andreas Richter to examine the topic.

The delegation consisted of Jochen Werne (Expedition Leader);Andris Adam (Chief Liason Officer to Austria and Hungary);Götz Credé (Chief Liaison Officer to Belgium, Denmark and The Netherlands);Dr. Wolfgang Händel (Chief Logistics Officer);Prof. Dr. Andreas Richter (Founding Director of the Austrian Polar Research Institutes)Christin Latk (Expedition Support Team – Akademie der Führungskräfte)

Pictures: Lechner/HBF

Austrian President will welcome Antarctic Expedition in Vienna

PRESS RELEASE
January 2019

(translated from German original by DeepL.com)

AUSTRIAN PRESIDENT WILL WELCOME ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION IN VIENNA

On 22 January 2019 at 11 a.m., Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen will welcome a delegation from the international expedition Antarctic Blanc, which was successfully carried out with Austrian assistance. The delegation will present the expedition flag, which represented Austria in Antarctica, as a symbol of remembrance.

POLAR RESEARCH IN AUSTRIA

Austria has a long tradition in polar research, which began with the Austro-Hungarian polar expedition in the 1870s. A milestone in Austrian polar research were the contributions to the International Geophysical Year 1957/58, which formed the basis for a polar focus at the University of Innsbruck. As a result, several renowned scientists carried out research in both the Arctic and Antarctic as part of the programme. After all, the International Polar Year 2007/08 was a great success for Austrian polar research. It strengthened national and international cooperation and led to the foundation of the Austrian Polar Research Institute in 2012.

STORMS AND ICEBERGS

Expedition Antarctic Blanc pursued historical, social and environmental goals. The 12 expedition offshore participants of the initiative, supported by the United Nations and 19 states, crossed on a 20m sailing yacht twice in 12 days, under the toughest conditions, one of the most dangerous sea routes in the world – the Drake Passage, covering 1129 nautical miles (over 2,000km). The journey was marked by the passage of several storm systems in the Antarctic and off Cape Horn, which delayed the return by several days. Winds with up to 50kn, waves up to 8m high and temperatures around freezing point demanded top physical performances from the expedition participants.

INTERNATIONAL COMMEMORATION CEREMONY. Sailing on Historic Routes. The expedition commemorated the researchers, explorers and sailors whose ships had to master the challenging peculiarities of reaching an unknown part of the world. The international team held a commemoration ceremony on the historically significant Antarctic volcanic Deception Island. In the name of all supporting states and the United Nations, a wreath of local ice was symbolically formed and laid down in order to pay international tribute to the achievements in the exploration of this unique continent. The supporting nations are among the signatories of the politically unique Antarctic Treaty of 23 June 1961. Heads of state and government organizations of the 19 nations have expressed their support for this unique, privately initiated expeditions in letters to the leader of the expedition, Jochen Werne, in particular for the execution of the ceremonial act of commemoration.

AUSTRIA AND THE ANTARCTIC TREATY. Austria joined the Antarctic Treaty on 25 August 1987 and, with its signature, also acknowledged that “in the interest of all mankind, Antarctica is used exclusively for peaceful purposes and should not become the scene or object of international discord”. Austria also underlined its commitment to the preservation of this ecosystem as a “nature reserve dedicated to peace and science”.

UNEP CLEAN SEAS INITIATIVE. The main focus of the expedition was to sensitize the international public for the preservation of the unique Antarctic ecosystem and to support the UN initiative Clean Seas to combat plastic waste in the oceans. With Expedition Antarctic Blanc, this important United Nations Environmental Program project is now finding acceptance on all continents of our planet.

CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE ECOSYSTEM. In addition, the expedition supported the University of Connecticut and Northeastern University’s research project on plankton metabarcoding by collecting plankton samples, which could provide a fundamental contribution to obtaining rapid responses to the ecosystem’s response to climate change.

WHALES IN THE ANTARCTIC. With the observation of 18 different whales and the detailed documentation of their position and behaviour, the expedition also contributed to the establishment of the global whale observation platform ‘Happy Wales’. The platform is intended to provide science with in-depth insights into the behaviour and development of the largest mammals on our planet.

CHILD AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT. To promote international children and youth projects, several live broadcasts were held from sea and Antarctica with children of the sailing school of the Yacht Club de Monaco. On their return, the team visited the Cedena Yacht School Puerto Williams, Chile, which is open to children from all walks of life in the southernmost region of our planet, and through sport encourages them to develop their own goals and character traits that are conducive to their personal development. In addition to a donation from the expedition team, the foundation stone was laid for an international exchange and the children were introduced to Antarctica and its significance.

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION. The visit to the Hofburg marks the third important reception for Expedition Antarctic Blanc after the reception by Prince Albert II in Monaco and the ambassador of the poles of the Netherlands, Carola van Reijnsoever, in The Hague. Further visits to Copenhagen, Paris and Madrid are planned shortly.

PRESS INVITATION

  • Following the flag handover on 22 January 2018 at 11 a.m. in the Hofburg, the expedition participants Jochen Werne and Dr. Wolfgang Händel, Liasion Officers Götz Credé and Andris Adam, as well as the founding director of the Austrian Polar Research Institute Prof. Dr. Andreas Richter and Christin Latk from the Expedition Support Team in the Academy for Leadership will be available to the press for questions and interviews, pictures and filming.
  • On request, the delegation can also attend press events in Vienna on this day.
    Accreditation is requested. Please send an e-mail to ExpeditionLeader@AntarcticBlanc.com for this purpose.

Expedition participants – Offshore Team

Jochen Werne Expedition Leader

Marco Schröter Chief Safety Officer

Oliver Picht Navigator & Chief Documentation Officer

Linden Blue Chief Communication Officer

Bernd Görgner Chief Medical Officer

Benon Janos Environmental Initiatives Coordinator

Wolfgang Händel Chief Logistics Officer

Hans Axtner Master of Ceremony

Michael Melnick Chief Sciences Coordinator

David Gamba Chief Observer

Wolf Kloss Skipper and Expedition Yacht Owner

Karl Papenfuss Mate

Comment on the initiator of the expedition – The Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST)

Expedition “Antarctic Blanc” is the continuation of the polar initiative launched in 2016 with comparable objectives under the name “Arctic Ocean Raptor”, but in the Spitsbergen sea area and up to the Arctic pack ice limit. An additional and important aspect was the commemoration of the seafarers of all nations, who fulfilled their seafaring duties during the maritime operations in the Arctic under the mostly merciless weather conditions and partly also lost their lives. In the name of the Norwegian King Harald V and the Canadian government, a wreath was handed over to the lake; further international support for this expedition came from Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and Italy. Founded in 1999 by Jochen Werne and Guido Zoeller, the Global Offshore Sailing Team is once again committed to maritime history and environmental issues with this particularly challenging expedition and its People’s Diplomacy campaign.

Press contact:

Jochen Werne

Expedition Leader

Mail: ExpeditionLeader@AntarcticBlanc.com

Mobile & WhatsApp: +491752315879

Further links:

Website Expedition Antarctic Blanc: www.AntarcticBlanc.com

Government correspondence: http://antarcticblanc.com/about/honorary-supporters

Twitter: @AntarcticBlanc

Instagram: @AntarcticBlanc

Facebook: @AntarcticBlanc

VIDEO.  Official expedition trailer: https://youtu.be/Lx5tM6aiqxA

Austrian Polar Research Institute: http://www.polarresearch.at

UNEP Clean Seas Initiative: http://antarcticblanc.com/environmental-research/un-environment-initiative-cleanseas

Antarctic Treaty & Environmental Protection: http://antarcticblanc.com/environmental-research/the-protocol-on-environmental-protection-to-the-antarctic-treaty

Federal Environment Agency: http://antarcticblanc.com/environmental-research/official-expedition-meeting-with-the-german-environmental-agency-umweltbundesamt

Global Offshore Sailing Team: http://antarcticblanc.com/about/global-offshore-sailing-team

International Maritime Museum Hamburg: www.IMMHH.de

German Society for Maritime and Naval History e.V.: www.marinegeschichte.de

Yacht Club de Monaco: www.YCM.mc

Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club: www.RCPYC.org.uk

Picture credits: Picture 1 & 2 © Expedition Antarctic Blanc / Picture 3 © Dr. Oliver Picht / Picture 4 © Cedena / Picture 5 © Axel BASTELLO / Palais Princier

“You can’t go against the sea; the sea is always stronger”

by Martina Scherf

Original in German published on February 8, 2018 in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator. Photo (c) Dr. Oliver Picht

Munich banker Jochen Werne and eleven friends want to sail from Cape Horn to Antarctica on a sailing ship. It is not only the myth of historical seafaring that drives them.

“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Safe return doubtful. Honour in case of success”. With such words the British navigator Ernest Shackleton 1914 is said to have searched for men for a trip to the Southern Ocean. In the end he was honoured, but before that a dramatic struggle for survival took place. The ship got stuck in the pack ice for months until it finally sank, the men rescued themselves in open dinghies on the sea. An incredible story in which everyone survived in the end.

A trip to Antarctica is still dangerous today. Bitterly cold anyway. “When you approach an iceberg, it feels like putting your head in the freezer,” says Jochen Werne, 46. He knows this feeling. He’s been to the Arctic Sea twice before, all the way up to Spitsbergen. This time he is aiming in the other direction: from Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America to Antarctica. With a sailing ship. On the 12th of February it is supposed to start.

The Drake Strait, named after Sir Francis Drake, the British buccaneer and circumnavigator, is one of the most dangerous shipping routes in the world. In 14 days Werne and his eleven fellow sailors want to pass it there and back with the Santa Maria Australis, a 20-metre-long ship made of aluminium. It belongs to Wolf Kloss, who has his base in southern Chile and regularly sails in the Southern Ocean. Tourism has long since reached even the most remote regions of the world. Two years ago Kloss followed Shackleton’s footsteps to Antarctica on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.

Werne, who has always been the skipper himself on his previous tours, relies this time on the experience of the local skipper. But the preparation and logistics were in his hands, and of course he will be at the helm himself. “The last few weeks I have hardly slept more than four hours a night,” he says. They completed safety training with a life raft on Lake Starnberg. They trained themselves for medical emergencies, studied the weather conditions, drew up a plan for the procedures on board and the supporters ashore.

“We have a dentist with us who has to sew an open leg in an emergency,” he says and laughs. If necessary, a doctor in Germany can advise the colleague by e-mail or satellite telephone. On board, all crew members share the tasks, they go on watch, navigate, collect weather data, take care of the on-board technology, cook and wash dishes. “The youngest is 28, the oldest 78,” says Werne. They are entrepreneurs, bankers, managers, scientists from several countries. There will not only be canned ravioli, Werne emphasizes: “Napoleon already said: “The army marches on its stomachs”. They are not afraid of seasickness. “I also get caught by it every now and then,” he says, “but then you drink a Coke as soon as you can, eat some salt sticks and carry on. Discipline helps over everything.”

Everybody has to do everything – even tricky repairs
Also about extremely tricky situations. Once, years ago, they were lying on a Legerwall with a defective machine in the English Channel. This is what sailors call one of the most unpleasant situations that can happen to them: Wind and current press against the land, but the ship is unable to manoeuvre. “You’re hanging upside down in the engine compartment trying to repair the cooling water circuit, even if you’ve never done this before in your life.”

The focus is on sailing under extreme conditions, but Werne is also concerned with the tradition of seafaring, which he wants to keep alive, and the Corps spirit. With his cruises he wants to pay tribute to the well-known and unknown heroes of the seas. “There are no monuments at sea,” he says. That’s why he has already launched wreaths in various places, in memory of brave men on dangerous missions.

“At sea you help each other,” says Werne. He also sees himself as a peace missionary. For even after the most bitter battles, such as in the Second World War, the opponents often saved each other. He wants to remind us of this. Because they are not allowed to leave anything behind in Antarctica, no flowers, no foreign substances, they will lay down a wreath of ice. “If we make it there, we will hold a worthy ceremony in honor of the seafarers of 17 different nations.” They will hoist the flags and return them to the respective government officials upon their return.

For this purpose, the Munich-based, by profession authorized signatory and marketing director of a traditional Munich bank, has collected accompanying letters from government representatives. Prince Albert of Monaco, who is very concerned about environmental issues, supports the campaign together with the Yacht Club of Monaco. The Spanish king and other dignitaries will also be present.

Environmental protection and remembrance

The environmental idea is also important for Werne. “When you are out there, in the vastness of the ocean, and you see this infinite beauty, you ask yourself: How can man destroy that?”

Werne has therefore also won the United Nations as a partner by promoting its Clean Seas programme. The uninhabited Antarctic, only discovered 200 years ago, is under special international protection. In 1959, in the middle of the Cold War, twelve nations negotiated the Antarctic Treaty. It stipulates that the area south of the 60th parallel is exclusively reserved for peaceful use. And it contains the strictest environmental regulations. Today there are not only numerous research stations, but also a growing number of visitors to the Antarctic. But the international agreement still holds. “This is a unique and wonderful agreement,” says Werne.

The man from Munich and his comrades-in-arms will collect plankton along the way and make it available to scientists. They will observe whales and document all their observations. They will be attending press conferences and writing to governments about the pollution of the oceans. Even plastic waste is now spreading as far as Antarctica, where birds and marine animals are suffocating.

As a child, Werne saw on television the reports of the Frenchman Jacques Cousteau, “and from then on, my mother told me, I wanted to become a ‘deep-sea diver researcher'”. Growing up in southwest Germany, just before the Swiss border, he went to the navy for two years after graduating from high school. The service on the Gorch Fock shaped him for life. But staying in the Navy didn’t seem attractive to him. “I got to know great people there,” he says, “but also some who failed because of the rigid system.” He studied economics and worked for major international banks in London and Frankfurt before coming to Munich. But seafaring didn’t let him go.

In 1999 he founded the Global Offshore Sailing Team with a friend. Professionally successful and internationally networked, he soon found like-minded people with the necessary small change and the equally great enthusiasm for extreme sailing. In 2011 and 2016 they sailed into the Arctic up to the pack ice limit.

The ice is unpredictable

What the violence of nature means in such regions, they experienced very closely. “After a few days of exploring the fog, we suddenly came out of nowhere towards icebergs,” he says. They sought shelter in a fjord, put their ship behind a floating jetty in a small harbour. But the ice followed, pushing into the fjord with mighty force. “We kept watch around the clock and pushed the ice with poles away from the ship.” It still demanded its toll. Crashing it tore the propeller of the engine from the hull, water broke in, they had to scoop for hours.

They will meet icebergs again this time. They hope for a proper distance. The Santa Maria Australis is a comfortable ship, her hull is built of several separate chambers to protect her from water ingress. She is equipped with the latest technology such as radar, satellite navigation and communication and can be followed on the Internet. It has two powerful diesel engines on board, a power generator, several battery systems, a water conditioner that turns seawater into drinking water, and heated cabins. Nevertheless, a trip to Antarctica is no walk in the park. Icebergs are unpredictable.

Erich von Drygalski, the Munich geographer, led the first German South Polar expedition in 1902. His ship, the Gauss, was trapped by ice on 1 March and held 50 miles off the coast for almost a year. Thanks to its rounded hull, it was not crushed but only lifted. The men had enough supplies and used the year for their research. Werne and his friends do not have that much time. But even for them, he says, “You can’t go against the sea, the sea is always stronger”.


Peacefully administering a continent together – an inspiring reality

The Hague, 7 December 2018 – An exciting part of The Netherlands’ 2018 Polar Symposium has been the ceremonial presentation of the Antarctic Blanc expedition flag to the Arctic Ambassador of The Netherlands, Ms. Carola Van Rijnsoever by a delegation of the Global Offshore Sailing.

This special occasion recognized the commitment of The Netherlands in preserving Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science. In addition, it’s has also been an opportunity to remember the explorers, scientists and sailors who set foot on the Antarctic continent to discover and made us all aware how beautiful and equally important this ecosystem and its protection for our planet is.

In his speech, Antarctic Blanc expedition leader Jochen Werne emphasised the importance of the Antarctic Treaty not only for the white continent, but also as an encouraging diplomatic achievement that underscores the human capacity to peacefully find intelligent solutions, even when it comes to jointly administer an entire continent.

He underscored, that by visiting and exploring our planet’s poles, the Netherland’s Polar Programme scientists, in collaboration with the international community of polar scientists have been a great inspiration for future generations of scientists and explorers worldwide. Due to the engagement for the Antarctic, and the establishment of the Dutch Dirck Gerritsz Laboratory at the British Rothera Research Station in 2013, The Netherlands today play an important role for the future of the white continent. By acceding the Antarctic Treaty  on March 30, 1967 with the goal that “in the interest of all mankind Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord”, The Netherlands underlined its commitment as one of the leading countries engaged in preserving this ecosystem as “a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science”. This has been made clear to everyone by The Netherland’s signature to the Antarctic Environment Protocol on January 14, 1998.

After the ceremony Dutch Arctic Ambassador Carola von Rijnsoever also signed the expedition flag underlining the strong commitment of The Netherlands to Antarctica. Prior in this year His Serene Highness Prince Albert II underlined Monaco’s commitment with his signature given in a ceremony at the Yacht Club de Monaco.

In February 2018, inspired by the era of the great explorers, the 12 members of the international Expedition ANTARTIC BLANC set sail to Antarctica through one of the most dangerous seaways on the planet, the Drake-Passage. Their aim was to raise international awareness and draw attention to the essential need to maintain and protect the unique Antarctic ecosystem. On Deception Island, the Expedition recognized the Antarctic explorers and the establishment of the Antarctic Treaty, in a solemn and dignified manner, paying tribute in the form of an international commemoration ceremony. A wreath formed out of Antarctic ice, was laid in the name of 19 nations, which gave permission to officially act on behalf of them. In addition, ANTARCTIC BLANC supported the UNEP’s “Clean Seas” initiative to combat plastic waste in and on the world’s oceans. Furthermore, the expedition gathered data for the University of Connecticut’s and the Northeastern University’s Ocean Genome Legacy Center Research Project for the meta-barcoding of plankton, which in turn could play a fundamental role in providing answers to the ecosystem’s response to climate change.

Netherlands’ Polar Symposium Keynote Highlights

Captured in a video. IMPRESSIONS: Expedition Antarctic Blanc & The Netherlands Polar Symposium Keynote Highlights (Special Video Cut). GOST delegation hands over Expedition flag to the Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken Arctic Ambassador Carola van Rijnsoever. Keynotes held by Carola van Rijnsoever and Jochen Werne, Expedition Leader. GOST Delegation: Bernd Lehmann, Götz Credé, Philippe Quynh Nguyen & Christopher Betjemann III

Read more here