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Friday, January 1, 2016

the 17722 TEU vessel and the desolate Kerguelen islands

I have recently posted about the monstrous  17,722 TEUs capacity  vessel of the CMA CGM Group,   titled ‘ CMA CGM KERGUELEN’  with impressive dimensions- a  length of 1,305 ft. (398m) and a width of 177 ft. (54m) making its maiden voyage.  REad that here .....   17722-teu- CMA CGM Kerguelen    and now here is something on its Name !

The Kerguelen Plateau, is an underwater volcanic large igneous province (LIP) and a microcontinent  submerged in the southern Indian Ocean. It lies about 3,000 km to the southwest of Australia and is nearly three times the size of Japan. The plateau extends for more than 2,200 km in a northwest-southeast direction and lies in deep water.  The plateau was produced by the Kerguelen hotspot, starting with or following the breakup of Gondwana about 130 million years ago. There is a small portion of the plateau that breaks sea level, forming the Kerguelen Islands plus the Heard and McDonald Islands. Intermittent volcanism continues on the Heard and McDonald Islands.

The Kerguelen Islands (officially Archipel des Kerguelen)  is also known as the Desolation Islands,  a group of islands in the southern Indian Ocean constituting one of the two emerged parts of the mostly submerged Kerguelen Plateau. They are among the most isolated places on Earth, located 450 km (280 mi) northwest of the uninhabited Heard Island and McDonald Islands and more than 3,300 km (2,051 mi) away from the nearest populated location.
Map source :

Kerguelen was discovered in 1772 by the French navigator Yves Joseph de Kerguélen-Trémarec, who named it Desolation Island. It has belonged to France since 1893. Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen-Trémarec (1734 – 1797) was a Breton explorer and French naval officer.  In 1767 he sailed near Rockall, or Rokol. Although he may not have approached within sight of it, or even within 150 miles, he published a map of the area in 1771.  In early 1772, he sailed to the Antarctic region, in search of the fabled Terra Australis, where he discovered the isolated Kerguelen Islands north of the continent and took possession of various territories for France. He was accompanied by the naturalist Jean Guillaume Bruguière.

It is stated that in  his report to King Louis XV, he greatly overestimated the value of the Kerguelen Islands; consequently, the King sent him on a second expedition in late 1773 through early 1774, again reaching Kerguelen. By  that time, it had become clear that these islands were desolate and quite useless, and certainly not the Terra Australis. On his return, Kerguelen-Trémarec was sent to prison. During the French Revolution, he was seen as a victim and restored to his position, taking part in the Battle of Groix. He died in 1797 as a Rear Admiral and commander of the port of Brest.

Now the 17722 TEU capacity container vessel stands christened after him.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13th May 2015.

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