Cape Shirreff

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Location of Ioannes Paulus II Peninsula on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands.
Topographic map of Livingston Island with the bases and base camps on the island.

Cape Shirreff is a prominent cape at the north end of the rocky peninsula which separates Hero Bay and Barclay Bay on the north coast of Livingston Island, in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. The cape was named by Edward Bransfield in 1820 after Captain William H. Shirreff, the British commanding officer in the Pacific at that time.

The seasonal scientific field station Doctor Guillermo Mann Base has been operated by Chile since 1991 and the Shirreff Base by the USA since 1996.


Situated on a small, 3.22 km2 (1.24 sq mi)[1] ice-free peninsula forming the northern extremity of Ioannes Paulus II Peninsula, which is protected by the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources Ecosystem Monitoring Programme and requires a permit to enter.[2] It is 24 km north-east of Essex Point, 34 km west-south-west of Williams Point and 21 km north-west of Siddins Point. Lying also 809 km south-south-east of Cape Horn, Cape Shirreff is the locality in the Antarctic Treaty area that is closest to a non-Antarctic territory.[3]


The cape is an important breeding site for Antarctic fur seals

The cape has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports a large breeding colony of up to about 10,000 pairs of chinstrap penguins. Other birds nesting at the site in smaller numbers include gentoo penguins, kelp gulls, brown skuas, snowy sheathbills, Antarctic terns, imperial shags, Wilson's and black-bellied storm petrels, and Cape petrels. The site also contains the largest number of breeding Antarctic fur seals in the Antarctic Peninsula region.[4]

Antarctic Specially Protected Area[edit]

The cape, with nearby San Telmo Island, has also been designated an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA 149) for the diversity of its plant and animal life, especially its penguin and fur seal breeding colonies.[5]


  • Chart of South Shetland including Coronation Island, &c. from the exploration of the sloop Dove in the years 1821 and 1822 by George Powell Commander of the same. Scale ca. 1:200000. London: Laurie, 1822.
  • South Shetland Islands. Scale 1:200000 topographic map. DOS 610 Sheet W 62 60. Tolworth, UK, 1968.
  • Isla Elefante a Isla Trinidad. Mapa hidrográfico a escala 1:500000 - 1:350000. Valparaíso: Instituto Hidrográfico de la Armada de Chile, 1971.
  • Islas Shetland del Sur de Isla 25 de Mayo a Isla Livingston. Mapa hidrográfico a escala 1:200000. Buenos Aires: Servicio de Hidrografía Naval de la Armada, 1980.
  • Islas Livingston y Decepción. Mapa topográfico a escala 1:100000. Madrid: Servicio Geográfico del Ejército, 1991.
  • S. Soccol, D. Gildea and J. Bath. Livingston Island, Antarctica. Scale 1:100000 satellite map. The Omega Foundation, USA, 2004.
  • L.L. Ivanov et al., Antarctica: Livingston Island and Greenwich Island, South Shetland Islands (from English Strait to Morton Strait, with illustrations and ice-cover distribution), 1:100000 scale topographic map, Antarctic Place-names Commission of Bulgaria, Sofia, 2005
  • L.L. Ivanov. Antarctica: Livingston Island and Greenwich, Robert, Snow and Smith Islands. Scale 1:120000 topographic map. Troyan: Manfred Wörner Foundation, 2010. ISBN 978-954-92032-9-5 (First edition 2009. ISBN 978-954-92032-6-4)
  • Antarctic Digital Database (ADD). Scale 1:250000 topographic map of Antarctica. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). Since 1993, regularly upgraded and updated.
  • L.L. Ivanov. Antarctica: Livingston Island and Smith Island. Scale 1:100000 topographic map. Manfred Wörner Foundation, 2017. ISBN 978-619-90008-3-0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ L.L. Ivanov. Antarctica: Livingston Island and Greenwich, Robert, Snow and Smith Islands. Scale 1:120000 topographic map. Troyan: Manfred Wörner Foundation, 2009. ISBN 978-954-92032-6-4
  2. ^ Management Plan for Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 149 Cape Shirreff and San Telmo Island
  3. ^ British mapping in 1920, 1922, 1931 and 1968, American in 1821, Spanish in 1861, Argentine in 1953, 1957 and 1980, Chilean in 1971 and detailed mapping in 2004. Bulgarian mapping in 2005 and 2009
  4. ^ "Cape Robertson, Laurie Island". BirdLife data zone: Important Bird Areas. BirdLife International. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
  5. ^ "Cape Shirreff and San Telmo Island, Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands" (PDF). Management Plan for Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 149: Measure 2, Annex H. Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. 2005. Retrieved 2013-10-02.


Coordinates: 62°27′32″S 60°47′19″W / 62.45889°S 60.78861°W / -62.45889; -60.78861