Transcript for The Voyage of the Lee, segment 19 of 21


The Lee has covered more than thirty thousand miles and traveled from the Bering Sea in the north to the Ross Sea in the Antarctic. She has lost the fresh coat of white paint that covered her hull a year earlier but none of her complement of a hundred scientists, technicians, and support staff. The voyage of the Lee has accounted for new geological data, including the discovery of previously unmapped seamounts and active submarine volcanoes, and during her one-year voyage of discovery this floating laboratory has brought together an international group of scientists who will likely work together in the future to better understand the earth's complex and dynamic geological processes.

The spirit of cooperation has been excellent. There's three major countries that are participating in this expedition, and that is Australia, New Zealand, and the United States in cooperation with the countries of Vanuatu, Figi, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea. All of these nations are contributing scientists and other participants for the operation, and as far as I can tell, up to this time there has been excellent cooperation and enjoyment by most of the participants.

And I am enjoying the program as a contributor to its objectives in assisting to aid the island nations of the Pacific. I've also participated in it because it involves scientists in my specialization who aren't terribly numerous in Australia and New Zealand certainly, and they've been glad to include me in the cruise parties because of the capacity that my research has for dating sedimentary rocks such as those that we find on the sea floor.

I think, first of all, you have to realize that, in the South Pacific, the nations are very small. They are very small islands in a large area of sea. These countries are developing countries, and very few of them have any manpower resources whereby they can look at their mineral potential either on land or at sea. Therefore, when we have an offer from the countries such as America and Australia and New Zealand to participate in a joint program of offshore perspective, then I think we must say that we are very, very pleased indeed.

There are two areas of work that we're really interested in here. One is the general geological framework studies, an understanding of better - of how the geology of the area meshes together, understanding of land geology, offshore geology, and indeed that part of the program also deals largely with mineral deposits, hard mineral deposits, and the other aspect is resources, big resources, namely petroleum resources. These little countries down here have a great deal of problem with petroleum prices. They have small export incomes, and petroleum is crippling some of their economies. Therefore, the main thrust of the Lee cruises is petroleum.

I think the S. P. Lee with its expedition in the Pacific, and especially for Vanuatu, is an important one for us. We were fortunate to have traveled on the S. P. Lee to see what was happening onboard, but I think the research by the S. P. Lee would really give us more opportunities to find out what we have in the way of mineral resources under the water, in the way of oil, for instance, or gas or even some mineral that could be, you know, could be under the waters of Vanuatu, but I'm certainly hopeful that this scientific research on the S. P. Lee will get something fruitful for Vanuatu in the future because we really depend on mineral resources in the waters that could be of value to us so that we can develop our nation.