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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Antarctic News

U.S. Coast Guard Rescues 26 in Antarctic

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star departs the port of Seattle. photo: USCG

The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued an Australian fishing vessel carrying 26 people that had been stranded in icy Antarctic seas since last week, the Coast Guard said on Tuesday. The crew was saved on Sunday by the Coast Guard cutter Polar Star, which broke through some 150 miles (240 km) of thick ice on its way to the 207-foot (63-meter) Antarctic Chieftain vessel, the Coast Guard said in a statement. The Chieftain had been stuck about 900 miles (1,450 km) northeast of McMurdo Sound since last Tuesday, after damaging three of its four propellers in the ice, the Coast Guard said.

Antarctic Rescue Mission Underway

MV Ortelius (Photo: Oceanwide Expeditions)

Emergency responders have launched an urgent rescue mission to Antartic waters to evacuate a cruise ship passenger who is suspected to have suffered a stroke early Monday morning. Working closely with the U.S. Antarctic Program and the vessel’s operator and crew, Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is coordinating the medevac after receiving a call from the expedition cruise ship MV Ortelius located in the Ross Sea, off the Antarctic ice shelf, 3,600 km south of New Zealand.

Icebreaker Returns from Antarctic Rescue

Polar Star sits on the ice in the Ross Sea near Antarctica while underway in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2015, Jan. 9, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by George Degener)

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the United States’ only operational heavy icebreaker, is scheduled to return to Seattle after a 101-day Antarctic deployment Tuesday. Polar Star’s crew departed Seattle for Operation Deep Freeze 2015, the military resupply and logistical support mission for the U.S. Antarctic Program’s McMurdo Station. Coast Guardsmen aboard Polar Star escorted the cargo vessel Ocean Giant and fuel tanker Maersk Peary to McMurdo Station through ice ranging in thickness from 5 to 10 feet. These logistics allow scientific research to continue in the Antarctic.

Expedition to Glaciers of Antarctic

Iceberg near Pine Island (Photo Jan Grobys)

How has the West Antarctic Ice Sheet changed in response to alternating warm and cold time periods? And what does it mean for the sea level – today and tomorrow? Pursuing answers to these key questions, 50 researchers on board the Alfred Wegener Institute’s research vessel Polarstern are going to depart from Punta Arenas (Chile) on 6 February 2017, bound for the Amundsen Sea – the region of the Antarctic currently characterised by the most massive and rapid loss of ice. In the course of the expedition, the seafloor drill rig MARUM-MeBo70 will be used in the Antarctic for the first time.

West Antarctic Ice Sheet: How Stable is it?

West Antarctic Ice Sheet Photo courtesy   Alfred Wegener Institute

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The result would be a rise in the global sea level by several metres. A collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may have occurred during the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago, a period when the polar surface temperature was around two degrees Celsius higher than today. This is the result of a series of model simulations which the researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute…

Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice at Record Low in January

Photo: © staphy / Adove Stock

The extent of sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic last month was the lowest on record for January, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said on Friday, while concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a January record. "The missing ice in both poles has been quite extraordinary," David Carlson, director of the World Climate Research Programme, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva. "It is a quite strange situation. The month of January was probably the second or third hottest such month on record, but that was not a reliable indicator of the state of the climate, he said.

First Steel Cut for Australia's New Polar Research Ship

Photo: Damen

Marking the commencement of construction of the Damen Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV), a steel cutting ceremony has been held at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania. Damen is constructing the ASRV for Serco Defence, a wholly owned subsidiary of Serco Australia who, in turn, signed a contract with the Australian Government last year for the delivery, operation and maintenance of the vessel. “Cutting the first steel for any vessel is always significant. However, the fact that the ASRV is such a ground-breaker makes this a very exciting moment,” said Damen Project Director Joop Noordijk.

Antarctic Treaty Meeting Urged to Step Up Climate Change Role

Image

As the 2015 Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) opens today in the Bulgarian capital, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) urged the ATCM to take action to promote the crucial importance of climate-related Antarctic research and its role in the Earth’s interconnected climate systems to the climate change community, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in the run up this year’s COP21 climate summit in Paris. ASOC is also calling on the ATCM…

Rapp Deck Equipment for New Krill Vessel

Image: Rapp Marine

Rapp Marine informs it will supply a complete electric deck machinery package for a new 130-meter-long krill vessel under construction for Aker BioMarine at Vard Group AS in Norway. The total contract value is 1 billion NOK (Approximately US$118.5 million). “This is our first delivery to a krill vessel,” said Tor-Idar Øye, Rapp Marine VP Sales. All plans and specifications for the new vessel have been developed in cooperation with fishermen from Aker BioMarine and engineers from Vard Group AS, according to Aker BioMarine.

Paris Climate Summit - A Missed Opportunity

As the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) closed today in the Bulgarian capital, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) called the meeting’s adoption of a resolution on climate change a “missed opportunity” to have a meaningful impact in the run up to COP21 climate summit in Paris. The ATCM, the governing organization for the world’s seventh continent, agreed to a resolution encouraging national Antarctic scientific programmes to work with the international scientific community on the best ways to promote Antarctic climate change research in support COP21 objectives and to support national Antarctic programmes to carry out ambitious science to improve understanding of climate change impacts on the Antarctic environment and ecosystems.

Giant Iceberg Breaks off Antarctica

Thermal wavelength image of a large iceberg, which has calved off the Larsen C ice shelf. Darker colors are colder, and brighter colors are warmer, so the rift between the iceberg and the ice shelf appears as a thin line of slightly warmer area. Image from July 12, 2017, from the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. (Image: NASA Worldview)

One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken away from Antarctica, scientists said on Wednesday, creating an extra hazard for ships around the continent as it breaks up. The one trillion tonne iceberg, measuring 5,800 square km, calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica sometime between July 10 and 12, said scientists at the University of Swansea and the British Antarctic Survey. The iceberg, which is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Delaware or the Indonesian island of Bali, has been close to breaking off for a few months.

ATCM Reaffirm Commitment to Ban on Mining in Antarctic

Image courtesy ATCM

The 29 countries party to the Antarctic Treaty unanimously agreed today to a resolution at the 39th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) stating their “firm commitment to retain and continue to implement…as a matter of highest priority” the ban on mining activities in the Antarctic, which is part of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (also called the Madrid Protocol). The resolution was initiated by the United States to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1991 signing of the Protocol.

Keel Laid for Australia's New Antarctic Supply/Research Vessel

(Photo: Damen)

Construction of Australia's new Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) has taken an important step forward with an official keel laying ceremony carried out at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania. Damen is building the ASRV for Serco Defence on behalf of the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding in the Netherlands is responsible for engineering and project management, and Damen Shipyards Galati will perform vessel construction and outfitting. The ice-breaking ASRV is a multi-mission vessel that has been designed to undertake a variety of roles.

Another Milestone for RRS Sir David Attenborough Build

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce is marking another milestone on the journey toward the completion of Britain’s new polar research vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough being built by Merseyside shipyard Cammell Laird. The last of the vessel’s Bergen B33:45 engines/gensets have been craned into the ship’s hull at Cammell Laird ready to be connected to the RRS Sir David Attenborough’s Rolls-Royce propulsion system. The nine cylinder engines are carefully installed in three separate pieces. The first part of the nine cylinder engine to be craned into place was its double resilient foundation.

Ark Shipping Takes Delivery of AHTS Vessel

(Photo: Offshore Ship Designers)

A new shallow-draft anchor-handling tug supply (AHTS) vessel has been delivered to Russian inland waterways operator and offshore logistics service provider, Ark Shipping. The AHTS Antarctic, designed by Offshore Ship Designers (OSD) in close cooperation with the owner, is partly based on the design of another OSD-designed ship, the Arctic, which was delivered to Ark Shipping in 2012. The DP1 vessel has a Bureau Veritas Ice Class Notation, and is fully equipped to operate in the Caspian Sea, where ice formation of around 80 cm during the winter period is not unusual.

Marlink Delivers Fleet Xpress on Antarctic Support Vessel

La Manche (Photo: Aker BioMarine)

Marlink said it has migrated Aker BioMarine’s Antarctic krill harvester fleet support ship, La Manche, to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service. The system provides a boost to crew communication facilities on board as well as enables vessels to benefit from improved business intelligence and remote access to the vessel’s IT network. The service uses the XChange Universal Remote Access (URA) solution, one of Marlink’s many Value Added Services available on Fleet Xpress. “Fleet Xpress has transformed our communication capabilities aboard La Manche.

US Icebreaker Suffers Flooding, Engine Failure in Antarctic

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star breaks ice in McMurdo Sound near Antarctica (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Nick Ameen)

America’s aging, sole remaining heavy icebreaker suffered several engineering challenges, including flooding and engine failure, on its way to completing a recent mission in the Antarctic, highlighting the U.S.’ need for new polar icebreakers. The 1970s-era U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is called upon each year to aid the delivery of fuel and supplies for National Science Foundation research stations in Antarctica, carving a navigable path through the Ross Sea where seasonal and multi-year ice is sometimes as much as 10 feet thick.

GE Propulsion for Chilean Navy Icebreaker

(Image: GE)

GE’s Marine Solutions was chosen by ASMAR Shipyards to provide the complete scope of an integrated marine propulsion system for the Chilean Navy’s new Antarctic icebreaking Polar Class vessel. It will replace the retired icebreaker to continue the navy’s Antarctic expedition for search and rescue missions, scientific research, logistic support and resupplying bases in the Chilean Antarctic Territory. The 110-meter long vessel will have GE’s full marine propulsion system to power and propel the vessel…

Antarctica’s Ross Sea Gets Protection

Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) today agreed to set aside more than 1 million square kilometres of the Ross Sea Image ASOC

The Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) today agreed to set aside more than 1 million square kilometres of the Ross Sea in recognition of its incredible scientific and biodiversity values. CCAMLR committed to creating a system of marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean in 2009 and has been discussing the creation of MPAs in the Ross Sea and East Antarctica for several years. Claire Christian, director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition…

MAN Powers Antarctic Icebreaker

A graphic of the new icebreaker in the ice (Image: Damen/DMS Maritime/Knud E Hansen A/S).

MAN Diesel & Turbo has been selected to supply the main engines to a new, icebreaking, supply-and-research vessel for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). The 2 × 16V32/44CR main engines – each producing 9,600 kW – were chosen for their highly reliable and fuel-efficient design that will serve in an environment with a demanding operational profile, including temperatures down to -30 degrees and extended mission times. The vessel is being procured by Serco Defence through DMS Maritime (prime contractor) and will be designed and built by Damen Shipyards Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS).

America Needs Icebreakers

USCGC Polar Star (Photo: USCG)

Russia has more polar icebreakers than the rest of the world combined. America has one polar icebreaker and that one is well past its prime. There has been talk of sharing icebreakers. Sharing may work with allies, who are generally on the same page. Sharing will not work with Russia, which views the world as a zero-sum game. In June 2016, Russia announced the launching of Arktika, the world’s largest polar icebreaker. With a full load displacement of 33,540 tons, a length of 173.3 meters and a breadth of 34 meters, it will be capable of breaking ice up to 2.9 meters.

Indonesia Nabs Elusive Criminal Fishing Boat

© Muslim Bin Ahmad / MarineTraffic.com

Indonesia, acting on a request from Interpol, has seized a fishing boat carrying 600 illegal gillnets that can stretch up to 30 km (18 miles) after it evaded capture in several countries, the Fisheries Ministry said. The vessel, the STS-50, had targeted Antarctic toothfish, the ministry said, a cod species that plays an important role in the Southern Ocean ecosystem. Gillnetting, which uses walls of finely meshed nets, has been banned in Antarctic waters since 2006 and is described by Australia as posing a huge risk to “almost all marine life”.

Coast Guard Rescue Underway in Antarctica

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener)

A U.S. Coast Guard crew is en route to assist a 207-foot fishing vessel with 26 people aboard beset in ice approximately 900 miles northeast of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is attempting to reach the crew of an Australian-flagged fishing vessel, Antarctic Chieftain, who contacted Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand Tuesday evening for assistance after becoming trapped in the Antarctic ice. The crew of 40-year-old cutter has reported heavy, snow, wind and ice conditions at times as well as large icebergs along their course.

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