Chinese Ship Involved In Antarctic Rescue May Also Become Stranded

Global Warming and the Fickle Finger of Fate

Red Orbit

The 52 people transported off of a stranded research ship in the Antarctic will have to wait a little longer to begin their journey home, as the Australian icebreaker carrying them has been advised that it may be needed to help a Chinese vessel also involved in the rescue effort.

Chinese polar resupply ship Xue Long (Snow Dragon), which provided the helicopter used to transport scientists and passengers from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy to the Aurora Australis Thursday, is now concerned that it could also become trapped in the heavy sea ice, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) officials told early Friday morning.  

Therefore, the Aurora Australis has been on standby in case the Xue Long needs assistance. The Australian vessel will “remain in open water off Commonwealth Bay, south of Hobart, as a precautionary measure,” according to Andrew Darby of The Sydney Morning Herald.

AMSA added that there was no immediate danger to the personnel on the Chinese ship, which will attempt to make its way through the ice and into open waters during the early morning hours on Saturday, Rod McGuirk of the Associated Press (AP) explained.

In the meantime, the passengers of the ill-fated MV Akademik Shokalskiy — which had been stranded in Antarctic waters since Christmas Eve — now must play the waiting game one more time.

MAIN STORY: January 2, 2014 @ 9:20 a.m.

The 52 passengers of a research vessel stranded in Antarctic ice for more than a week have been rescued by helicopter and transported to a nearby Australian icebreaker, and other media outlets are reporting.

“It’s 100% we’re off! A huge thanks to all,” tweeted University of New South Wales climate change professor Chris Turney, one of the scientists and tourists who had been trapped on the MV Akademik Shokalskiy since Christmas Eve, according to CNN’s Jethro Mullen.

Rescue efforts were spearheaded by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre. The 22 crew members will remain on the Russian-flagged research ship until the ship can be freed from the ice and piloted home. The vessel is in no danger of sinking and is said to be stocked with several weeks’ worth of supplies.

The first group was transported to “an ice floe next to the Australian icebreaker the Aurora Australis, and then taken by a small boat to the Australian ship,” where the first group arrived at roughly 6:15pm Australian time, explained to Associated Press (AP) reporter Rod McGuirk.

The MV Akademik Shokalskiy had been trapped in thicker-than-expected ice approximately 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont d’Urville since December 24, according to AFP. Several icebreakers tried and failed to reach the stranded vessel, and a helicopter rescue originally planned for Tuesday had to be delayed due to heavy rains, wind and poor sea ice conditions.

AMSA representative John Young told CNN’s Mullen that it will take several weeks before the rescued researchers and passengers will see dry land, however. They are headed for the Australian port of Hobart, but the vessel will need to complete a resupply mission at a base in Antarctica before it can leave the region. Young told reporters that the 52 men and women will likely reach Hobart by mid-January.

In a December 31 blog entry, Turney called the experience of being stranded in the Antarctic ice a “sobering” one. He also called the international rescue efforts “extraordinary” and said that he and his colleagues were “incredibly grateful for all the hard work and effort everyone has provided to assist the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-14 in escaping.”

“The conditions we are experiencing over the Shokalskiy are a result of the frequent and deep low pressure systems that encircle the continent. In combination with a funneling effect from the ice sheet, these lows are producing strong and pervasive winds from the southeast,” he explained.

“The wind is not unusual but what is unexpected is the major reconfiguration of thick multi-year sea ice to the east of the Mertz Glacier. The thick chaotic surface we see around the Shokalskiy is consistent with the idea that this ice is several years old and is considerably more difficult to break through by icebreaker than single year ice,” the professor added.

Turney concluded by noting that morale was “good” and everyone was “working hard to support one another.”


Source: redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online


6 thoughts on “Chinese Ship Involved In Antarctic Rescue May Also Become Stranded

  1. Why don’t they just send Al Gore up there to re-think the situation? Maybe he could bring along Jethro Bodine, the giant brain of the “Beverly Hillbillies” gang to tag along as well.

    1. Naw Mark, Mr. Driesdale – the banker ya lnow – would be a better candidate. Jethrow is too stupid and would take care of hinself . Hell Jethrow would probobly be tough enouph to walk/swim home. LOL

  2. I’m enjoying every minute of this saga. Nothing defines “poetic justice” better than a gang of global warming freaks trapped by ice they were trying to prove wasn’t there.

    The only sad part of this story is that Al Gore wasn’t with them.

  3. Who is going to pay for the loss of the ship the wackos were on?
    The Chinese may lose their icebreaker too.
    Who is going to pay for the loss of that ship?

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