U.S. breaker to help Russian, Chinese ships stuck in Antarctic ice

WASHINGTON Sat Jan 4, 2014 7:43pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is sending a heavy icebreaker to help free a Russian ship and a Chinese icebreaker gripped by Antarctic ice, the Coast Guard said on Saturday.

The Polar Star is responding to a request for assistance from Australian authorities as well as from the Russian and Chinese governments, the Coast Guard statement said.

"The U.S. Coast Guard stands ready to respond to Australia's request," Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft said. "Our highest priority is safety of life at sea, which is why we are assisting in breaking a navigational path for both of these vessels."

Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy said the Polar Star was expected to arrive on the scene on January 12 and take two to three days to complete its mission.

"You're looking at the Antarctic, which is a challenge in itself. You have weather and you have ice," Conroy said in a phone interview. "But our crews are very well trained and we expect to be successful in this mission."

A Chinese icebreaker that helped rescue 52 passengers from a Russian ship stranded in Antarctic ice found itself stuck in heavy ice on Friday.

A helicopter from the Snow Dragon ferried the passengers from the stranded Russian ship to an Australian icebreaker late on Thursday. The Chinese vessel now had concerns about its own ability to move through heavy ice, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

The Russian-owned research ship, Akademik Shokalskiy, left New Zealand on November 28 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey led by Australian explorer Douglas Mawson.

It became trapped on December 24, 100 nautical miles east of French Antarctic station Dumont d'Urville and about 1,500 nautical miles south of Tasmania.

During their time on the ice, passengers amused themselves with movies, classes in knot tying, languages, yoga and photography, and rang in the New Year with dinner, drinks and a song their adventure.

The Coast Guard's Polar Star is 399 feet long with a maximum speed of 18 knots. It can continuously break 6 feet of ice at three knots, and can break 21 feet of ice backing and ramming, the Coast Guard said.

The Polar Star has cut short its planned stop in Sydney to conduct the mission. It left its home port of Seattle in early December on "Operation Deep Freeze," to break a channel through the sea ice of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica to resupply and refuel the U.S. Antarctic Program's McMurdo Station on Ross Island.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by James Dalgleish and Diane Craft)

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Comments (17)
Philentropy wrote:
Please double check the picture caption…both Bear and Star and listed. Thanks!

Jan 04, 2014 11:38pm EST  --  Report as abuse
I hope that the ship is stuck there all the way through summer into fall/winter. Maybe next summer, IF THE ICE HAS MELTED, they won’t even find the ship because it will have broken open and sank to the bottom. Water is the only substance that, once in a solid state, expands as the temperature decreases. It would be great if they would send ships down there every year to get sunk so that warming fear mongers will have to explain why they need more appropriations.

This whole scam is about getting academic funding and creating a global pyramid scheme using carbon credits.

So…you do think is going to flipping the $100 billion annually to keep poor countries in the away from using electricity and driving a car? YOU. If you are rich enough to own a computer, you are going to be paying the bill. Well, what’s nice is that I guess we will all get more exercise walking our fat butts to and from work. A global IRS…just what the world needs.

On November 11, 2013 Daily Caller Article:
Poor countries pulled out of the United Nations climate talks during a fight over transferring wealth from richer countries to fight global warming.

The G77 and China bloc led 132 poor countries in a walk out during talks about “loss and damage” compensation for the consequences of global warming that countries cannot adapt to, like Typhoon Haiyan. The countries that left claim to have the support of other coalitions of poor nations, including the Least Developed Countries, the Alliance of Small Island States and the Africa Group.

Poor countries have demanded that the developed world give them $100 billion annually by 2020 to prepare for the impacts of global warming, such as heat waves and droughts. Brazil even put forward a proposal last week that would have made rich countries pay for historical greenhouse gas emissions.

Jan 05, 2014 12:28am EST  --  Report as abuse
It would be funny to see this U.S. ice breaker fail and the original boat get crushed as Fall approaches in the Southern Hemisphere.
This GW scheme is about money: carbon taxing all of the inhibits on the planet that eat, poop and breathe. AN EXISTENCE TAX!
On November 11, 2013 Daily Caller Article:
Poor countries pulled out of the United Nations climate talks during a fight over transferring wealth from richer countries to fight global warming.

The G77 and China bloc led 132 poor countries in a walk out during talks about “loss and damage” compensation for the consequences of global warming that countries cannot adapt to, like Typhoon Haiyan. The countries that left claim to have the support of other coalitions of poor nations, including the Least Developed Countries, the Alliance of Small Island States and the Africa Group.

Poor countries have demanded that the developed world give them $100 billion annually by 2020 to prepare for the impacts of global warming, such as heat waves and droughts. Brazil even put forward a proposal last week that would have made rich countries pay for historical greenhouse gas emissions

Jan 05, 2014 12:34am EST  --  Report as abuse
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