British Antarctic Territory holds its first same-sex wedding | Antarctica

Two crew members on polar research ships are to become the first same-sex couple to be married in British Antarctic territory.

Eric Bourne and Stephen Carpenter are hoping to tie the knot on Monday, though it may be pushed back due to the weather.

Bourne and Carpenter have been together for 20 years. They work on the royal research ship Sir David Attenborough, one of the most advanced polar research ships in the world, and one that came dangerously and unforgettably close to being called the RSS Boaty McBoatface.

The wedding will be conducted by the boat’s captain, Will Whatley, at the British Antarctic Survey’s main research station in Rothera on Adelaide Island, a site shared with several Adélie penguins and Weddell seals.

The couple are experienced seafarers and have traveled the world together on a number of different ships.

Carpenter said: “Antarctica is such an incredible place. We’ve been together for 20 years, but now we’re both been in Antarctica together, it felt like the perfect place for us to finally tie the knot! We’ve even got the coordinates of the wedding venue engraved. into our rings. ”

Bourne said they were both very proud to be the first. “BAS is a welcoming and accepting employer and we feel very fortunate to be able to live and work in such an incredible community and place together.”

said BAS the couple’s big day “will mark a historic step for diversity and inclusion in polar science”.

We are delighted to wish BAS ‘Eric Bourne and Stephen Carpenter good luck with their forthcoming wedding, which will be the first same-sex marriage in British Antarctic territory. Their big day will mark a historic step for diversity and inclusion in polar science ❄️🏳️‍🌈https: //t.co/eeFJ9cGK6w pic.twitter.com/qOr7Jn9lOR

– British Antarctic Survey (@BAS_News) April 21, 2022

The marriage will be registered with the Government of the British Antarctic Territory (BAT), based in the Foreign Office, and the marriage will be valid in the United Kingdom.

It is the second marriage to take place between BAS employees since the BAT Act was amended in 2016 to make such arrangements easier.

The ceremony will be attended by the 30 crews at RRS Sir David Attenborough, followed by a reception with around 100 staff from the research station. The food will be prepared by the station’s chef, and the facility’s resident band will provide the music.

RRS Sir David Attenborough is a £ 200 million research ship that is part of a mission to investigate whether hot water is melting the glaciers and ice shelves of Antarctica from below. It has a unique “moon pool”, a 4 sqm vertical shaft that goes straight through the ship.

The boat was launched on the Mersey at Birkenhead in 2018 by Attenborough himself, who said the naming was the “biggest honor”.

Before the launch of the boat, a public vote was held to determine a name. More than 32,000 names were performed, including “It’s Bloody Cold Here”, “I Like Big Boats & I Cannot Lie” and “What Iceberg?”.

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Particularly striking was the name Boaty McBoatface, suggested by former BBC radio host James Hand. It received 124,109 votes and 33% of the total votes, by far the largest number. But since the boat is “a serious science ship that required the name of a serious scientist”, the vote was rejected. Instead, a small but very advanced yellow submarine on Sir David Attenborough bears the name Boaty McBoatface.

The weather forecast for Rothera on Monday is a stiffening -2C (28F) and it will feel like -7C, the Met Office said. The couple said they were planning another party for family and friends, this time in Spain.

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