Antarctic News

27 Oct 2020

Arctic Shipping Creates Insurance Headaches as Routes Open

© a_medvedkov / Adobe Stock

When Captain Will Whatley guides a ship through Arctic waters, he is starkly aware of what can go wrong.Double the manpower is needed to navigate. Lookout shifts are kept to just one hour, so sailors don't lose concentration and miss a mass of floating ice. Big icebergs show up on radar, but smaller, truck-sized "bergy bits"—even more dangerous—can be missed, the captain says.The cold can freeze equipment and the earth's magnetic field disrupts compasses. If anything goes wrong…

22 Oct 2020

RRS Sir David Attenborough Starts Sea Trials

(Photo: Cammell Laird )

The U.K.’s most advanced polar research ship RRS Sir David Attenborough left Cammell Laird shipyard Wednesday to commence two weeks of technical sea trials ahead of scheduled delivery to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) in November.“Although the vessel’s construction is now complete, trials are a critical and final part of the program as they allow our engineers and the ship’s crew to put the vessel through its paces at sea,” said Linton Roberts, Director of Operations at Cammell Laird.

20 Oct 2020

Op/Ed: An Antarctic Marine Protected Area is Long Overdue

© Masaya Miura / Adobe Stock

Antarctica, the world’s last true wilderness, has been protected by an international treaty for the last 60 years. But the same isn’t true for most of the ocean surrounding it.Just 5% of the Southern Ocean is protected, leaving biodiversity hotspots exposed to threats from human activity.The Western Antarctic Peninsula, the northernmost part of the continent and one of its most biodiverse regions, is particularly vulnerable. It faces the cumulative threats of commercial krill fishing…

19 Oct 2020

Interview: Bob Merchent, CEO, Halter Marine

Robert "Bob" Merchent, president and CEO of Halter Marine (Photo: Halter Marine)

Please describe your professional background and what attracted you to your current position.In June 2020, I was named president and chief executive officer of Halter Marine. I had been retired around six years. My wife and I bought a piece of property outside of Brookhaven, Miss., and we were enjoying retired life split between our country property and our home in Gautier, Miss. Earlier this year, I was asked if I would consider a consulting role for Halter Marine, which led…

01 Oct 2020

Ecospeed Coatings Chosen for Russian Icegoing Tug Pair

Digital rendering of m/v Polar, one of two newbuild shallow draught anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels that will be coated with Ecospeed

Three years ago, an Ecospeed hull coating was applied on Antarctic, a shallow draft anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessel owned by Ark Shipping Company. The success of this application led the vessel's owner to order the same protection for its next two shallow draught AHTS vessels: Polar and Polus. Building of these vessels will start in 2021 and will again take place at the Atlas Shipyard in Kocaeli, Turkey.Ark Shipping is a Russian river and sea shipping company that has been operating in the transport and logistics market since 1992.

17 Sep 2020

Aker BioMarine's Krill Transportation Vessel Launched in China

Credit: CIMC Raffles

China's shipbuilder CIMC Raffles has launched the Antarctic Provider, a vessel being built for Norway's krill harvesting company Aker BioMarine.The launching ceremony for the krill transport vessel built by CIMC Raffles Offshore Ltd. was held Thursday at CIMC Raffles Yantai base. The 167.6 meters long Antarctic Provider will be used mainly for krill transportation between the Antarctic fishing area and South American ports. It will also provide the fuel supply for fishing vessels…

17 Sep 2020

Norway's Hurtigruten Suspends All Remaining 2020 Cruises

A Hurtigruten ship (File Photo: Hurtigruten)

Norway's Hurtigruten has called off its remaining cruises this year due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Europe and the Americas, the company said on Thursday."Our goal is to resume operations in January 2021," the company said in a statement.The decision affects Hurtigruten's so-called expedition cruises, which often take passengers into Arctic or Antarctic waters, though its business of shipping goods and people between ports along the Norwegian coast will continue.The company was the first cruise operator worldwide to return an oceangoing cruise ship to service in mid-June…

09 Sep 2020

Beca, Vard Marine Join NZ Patrol Vessel Project

Beca Applied Technologies Ltd, with the support of specialist naval architecture company Vard Marine Inc, have been appointed by the New Zealand Ministry of Defense as the Technical Support Partner to the Southern Ocean Patrol Vessel (SOPV) project. Beca and Vard Marine will join the Ministry’s Integrated Project Team providing systems engineering, concept design and technical logistics input for the early stages of the project as the capability is defined and specified.The SOPV project is exploring options for an ice-strengthened offshore patrol vessel for Southern Ocean operations will be navigating the large distance between New Zealand and Antarctica…

03 Sep 2020

Draft U.N. Plan on Ship Fuel Ban in Arctic Seen as Lax

Image by ondrejprosicky/AdobeStock

Draft U.N. proposals to ban the use and transport of heavy fuel oil by ships in the Arctic contain waivers that will allow many vessels to keep sailing without enough regulatory control over their emissions, a study released on Thursday found.Antarctic waters are protected by stringent regulations, including a ban on heavy oil fuel (HFO) adopted in 2011, even though no cargo moves through the turbulent southern waters. For the Arctic, the rules are looser.Environmentalists say HFO produces higher emissions of harmful pollutants, including sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxides, and black carbon.

06 Aug 2020

Australia's New Icebreaker is Being Towed to the Netherlands

Three tugs guide the Nuyina along the Danube River (Photo: Damen)

Australia’s new, nearly completed icebreaker built at Damen's Galati shipyard in Romania is traveling to the Netherlands to undergo final commissioning and sea trials that had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.The Nuyina is currently under a month-long tow from Romania to the Dutch port of Vlissingen, where teams of equipment installers from Western Europe will access the new research and supply vessel (RSV) for final commissioning of essential propulsion, electrical and navigation systems…

05 Aug 2020

SCHOTTEL Supplies Propulsion for New Expedition Cruise Ship

Hondius and sister vessel Janssonius are said to be the first vessels in the world to be built according to the LR PC6 class (Photo: Meike Sjoer)

Following the delivery of the expedition cruise vessel Hondius in 2019, Oceanwide Expeditions ordered a second vessel from Croatian shipyard Brodosplit, due for delivery by the end of 2021.Hondius and the new sister vessel Janssonius are said to be the first vessels in the world to be built according to the LR PC6 class, which meets the latest Lloyd’s Register requirements for Polar Class 6 vessels.SCHOTTEL, which offers a series of ice-strengthened propulsion systems, said it has been selected again to supply highly reliable main and auxiliary propulsion units.

30 Jul 2020

Congress Responds to COVID19 and Other Challenges for the Maritime Industry

© Sono Creative/AdobeStock

In response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Congressional Research Service released a report that stated global economic growth has declined by 3% to 6% in 2020 with a partial recovery predicted for 2021. Also, the GDP of the U.S. has fallen by 5% in the first quarter 2020. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the maritime industry, and seafarers themselves, have not been able to escape the significant effects of this crisis.All sectors of the maritime industry have been adversely affected by the global pandemic.

23 Jul 2020

Scientists Discover First Methane Seep in Antarctic Sea Floor

The white microbial mats seen here are telltale signs of areas where methane may be released from underground methane deposits. Photo courtesy Andrew Thurber Oregon State University.

Scientists have discovered an active methane seep from Antarctica's sea bed that could shed light on the potent greenhouse gas trapped beneath the frozen continent.Marine ecologist Andrew Thurber first glimpsed what a colleague described as a "microbial waterfall" during a dive in the icy waters of the Ross Sea in 2012. What looked like a superhighway of white patches on the ocean floor were clusters of tiny organisms drawn to the methane leak."My first thought was 'wow,' and I was immediately enamored with what this means for science…

25 Aug 2020

Video: Trump Says US is Working to Acquire 10 Icebreakers

President Donald J. Trump speaks during a briefing at U.S. Southern Command headquarters in Doral, Fla. (Photo by Michael C. Dougherty, U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs)

President Donald Trump says the U.S. is hashing out a plan to acquire up to 10 additional polar icebreakers for the U.S. Coast Guard.Trump, who over the years has emphasized his administration's commitment to growing the Coast Guard's icebreaker fleet, outlined the new plans in vague terms within remarks delivered at Southern Command headquarters in Doral, Fla., Friday.The President did not specify how the icebreakers would be obtained, or whether the vessels would be newbuilds…

10 Jun 2020

New Zealand's Largest Ever Naval Vessel Delivered in S. Korea

New Zealand Navy's largest ever ship Aotearoa, built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, is on its way to New Zealand, after Hyundai held a departure ceremony in its shipyard in South Korea on Wednesday.Ordered in 2016, the $493 million Aotearoa is an Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) vessel that will be used to support Royal New Zealand Navy’s combat operations, humanitarian relief functions, and operational and training support.The vessel is built according to the Rolls-Royce Environship concept design, with a wave-piercing bow which reduces resistance and lowers fuel burn.

04 Jun 2020

New Landing Craft Will Support RRS Sir David Attenborough

(Photo: Incat Crowther)

A new monohull landing craft will be one of two support craft on the U.K.'s polar research ship RRS Sir David Attenborough. Designed by Incat Crowther and built by Exeter Fabrication, she packs a lot of functionality into a compact platform.The Incat Crowther 14 Terror will play a critical role in the operations of RRS Sir David Attenborough which, in addition to its scientific role, will support the resupply of the five Antarctic research stations operated by British Antarctic Survey.

12 May 2020

Vestdavit Supplies New Davit for HMS Protector

The Royal Navy polar research vessel HMS Protector is equipped with seven davits from Vestdavit. Photo: Courtesy of the Royal Navy.

Vestdavit is bringing new fast craft handling capability to HMS Protector, the only Royal Navy ship dedicated to Antarctic patrol and survey duties.The advanced icebreaker, which provides a UK presence in the Antarctic and meets treaty obligations on inspections, hydrographical charting and in support of scientific research, is to be equipped with a specially-enhanced PLR-5000 davit from Vestdavit. All seven of the davits onboard HMS Protector have been supplied by Vestdavit.Part of a five-year docking and recertification package undertaken in the UK…

06 Aug 2020

Sea Trials for Australia's New Icebreaker Delayed Due to COVID-19

(Photo: Australian Antarctic Program)

Australia's newly built Antarctic icebreaking research and supply vessel (RSV) is nearly ready to be delivered, but its sea trials have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) said.Construction of the ship commenced at Damen’s Galați shipyard in Romania in May 2017, and the vessel was floated out in September 2018 prior to its scheduled arrival at its home port Hobart in 2020. But delays brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak have derailed…

13 Jul 2020

USCG Polar Security Cutters: The History and Future

Credit: Halter Marine and Technology Associates, Inc.

The good news is that work has commenced on the first new heavy polar icebreaker for the United States Coast Guard in 43 years. The bad news is that when it enters service, projected to occur in FY2024, it will be the first new heavy polar icebreaker for the USCG in 47 years.Meanwhile, Russia has approximately 30 active polar icebreakers, including four that are nuclear powered. Arktika, the first of a new class of three heavy polar icebreakers, has commenced sea trials in the Gulf of Finland, with the other two under construction.

13 Apr 2020

Uruguay Transports Australians, New Zealanders from Virus-Hit Cruise Ship

Greg Mortimer Cruise Ship - Image by Skye Marr Whelan - MarineTraffic

Uruguay started on Friday to repatriate 112 Australians and New Zealanders from a cruise ship hit by coronavirus and stranded in the La Plata River near the capital of Montevideo since March 27, the government said.The operation began in the evening when the Greg Mortimer, an Antarctic cruise ship operated by Aurora Expeditions, docked in the port of Montevideo.The passengers, most of whom have tested positive for the coronavirus, went by bus to a special airport terminal with strict health controls.

08 Apr 2020

Valmet to Supply Automation for Expedition Cruise Pair

Photo: Valmet

Valmet will supply automation and information systems for two luxury expedition vessels being built by Helsinki Shipyard Oy in Finland for Russia’s largest river cruise company Vodohod Ltd.The 113-meter-long and 20.2-meter-wide vessels will have an ice class of PC5 and a passenger capacity of 157 persons. Their draught is 5.7 meters, and cruising speed is 14 knots. The newbuilds will operate both in the Arctic and Antarctic waters as well as in the tropical waters during the spring and autumn seasons.Valmet’s delivery includes a Valmet DNA automation system…

13 Mar 2020

Icebreaker Aurora Australis Begins Final Voyage

Expeditioners holding up flares to farewell the Aurora Australis, as it departs Mawson research station, February 26, 2020 (Photo: Matt Williams)

It's an end of an era for Australia’s Antarctic icebreaker RSV Aurora Australis, which departed Hobart earlier this week for its final voyage after 31 years of service to the Australian Antarctic Program.The ship’s final trip south will be a two-week voyage to resupply sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island and transport expeditioners.“The Aurora Australis has been the backbone of the Australian Antarctic Program for more than three decades, so the vessel has a special place in our history,” said Australian Antarctic Division’s General Manager of Operations, Charlton Clark.“Over its lifetime the icebr

23 Feb 2020

Hurtigruten Makes History in Antarctica

MS Roald Amundsen carries passengers to 70 Degrees South in the Antarctic region, the furthest south of any Hurtigruten expedition cruise ship in the company's 127-year history. Image: Hurtigruten

MS Roald Amundsen, a battery-hybrid powered expedition cruise ship operated by Hurtigruten, has been exploring waters further south than any ship operated by the line in its 127-year history.The world's first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship crossed the Antarctic Circle and kept going, reaching the ice edge at 70 degrees south on Wednesday at 4:14 p.m. on February 19th Antarctica time."Our guests are thrilled! This is what Hurtigruten's expedition cruises are all about, pushing new frontiers and creating unique experiences for guests from all over the world.

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