US Icebreaker Suffers Flooding, Engine Failure in Antarctic
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.
MSC Supports Operation Deep Freeze
MSC ships underway in support of annual Operation Deep Freeze Antarctica resupply mission. Military Sealift Command-chartered container ship MV Ocean Giant departed Port Hueneme, Calif., loaded with nearly seven million pounds of supplies such as frozen and dry food stores, building supplies, vehicles and electronic equipment and parts, Jan. 17. MSC-chartered tanker ship MT Maersk Peary departed the European area of operations in December, with over six million gallons of diesel fuel, jet fuel and gasoline.
Coast Guard Icebreaker returns from Operation Deep Freeze
The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is scheduled to return to their homeport of Coast Guard Base Seattle at 10 a.m., Friday, March 21, 2014, following a 108-day deployment of Operation Deep Freeze 2014. Polar Star departed Seattle Dec. 3rd, 2013, and made port calls in Honolulu, Sydney, Australia, McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and Tahiti, French Polynesia. Having completed a reactivation that began four years ago, this deployment marks the first time in six years that a U.S. icebreaker has supported Operation Deep Freeze, the U.S. Antarctic Program’s resupply efforts of McMurdo Station, Antarctica. In January, Polar Star departed Sydney to assist in the rescue effort of two ships, the Russian vessel Akademik Shokalsiky and the Chinese vessel Xue Long.
Australian Icebreaker Refloated in Antarctica
Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis was refloated on Friday, two days after running aground in Antarctica while on a mission to resupply the Mawson Station, Australian Broadcasting Corp reported. The ship broke free of its moorings during a blizzard on Wednesday morning. None of the 67 expeditioners and crew on board on the ship, owned by P&O Maritime Services, were injured, according to the Australian Antarctic Division. "Expeditioners on board the Aurora Australis have been successfully transferred by barge to Mawson Station," it said. The Aurora Australis departed Australia's Tasmania island in early January to conduct research on an undersea geological formation. Ships traveling to and from Antarctica often face risky conditions.
Thickness of Antarctic Sea Ice Surpass Expectations
Antarctica's ice paradox has yet another puzzling layer. Not only is the amount of sea ice increasing each year, but an underwater robot now shows the ice is also much thicker than was previously thought, a new study reports. The discovery adds to the ongoing mystery of Antarctica's expanding sea ice. According to climate models, the region's sea ice should be shrinking each year because of global warming. Instead, satellite observations show the ice is expanding, and the continent's sea ice has set new records for the past three winters.
Polar Sea Ice the Size of India Vanishes in Record Heat
Sea ice off Antarctica and in the Arctic is at record lows for this time of year after declining by twice the size of Alaska in a sign of rising global temperatures, climate scientists say. Against a trend of global warming and a steady retreat of ice at earth's northern tip, ice floating on the Southern Ocean off Antarctica has tended to expand in recent years. But now it is shrinking at both ends of the planet, a development alarming scientists and to which a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases…
Diamonds—and Shipping—in Antarctica
Kimberlite deposits, igneous rock formations often containing diamonds, have been discovered in Antarctica, according to a report by Nature Communications. And though no diamonds have been discovered, researchers believe they are there, along with other valuable substances. Gold, platinum, copper, iron and coal have already been discovered in Antarctica, and diamond mining has reached many of the coldest regions globally. So is diamond mining in Antarctica a possibility, and how will it affect the commercial maritime industry? By way of the Antarctic Treaty, mining is currently forbidden in the area, and the ban is expected, though not entirely certain, to be extended to 2041.
Antarctic Treaty Meeting Urged to Step Up Climate Change Role
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…
ROV Winch Supplied for Antarctica Expedition
Antarctica expedition benefits from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) winch supplied by MacArtney Underwater Technology. An icebreaking polar supply and research vessel is to map out underwater conditions in the icy waters in terms of subsurface and marine life. The winch system, which was acquired through Swedish SubSea Solutions on the part of University of Gothenburg, will be put to good use on board South African icebreaking polar supply and research vessel S. A. Agulhas II designed to carry out scientific research and supply to South African research stations in Antarctica.
IMO Secretary-General Visits Antarctica
International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim experienced polar conditions at first hand during a recent visit to Antarctica (8-12 February). Shipping in waters surrounding the two poles has increased in recent years. IMO’s Polar Code entered into force on 1 January 2017, bringing in additional safety and environmental provisions for ships operating in these harsh, remote and unique conditions. Secretary-General Lim was hosted by the Chilean Navy during his journey to King George Island in Antarctica.
Coast Guard Icebreaker Back in Seattle
The Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star returned home to Elliott Bay a day ahead of schedule Tuesday afternoon after a successful voyage to Antarctica to help break a supply channel for U.S. science stations. The 399-ft. long, Seattle-based cutter and its 134-member crew, commanded by Capt. Bruce Toney who usually commands its twin, Polar Sea, scrambled on less than 48-hours notice to leave on Jan. 20 from Pier 36, home of the nation's polar icebreaking fleet. A Russian icebreaker, the Krasin, that the National Science Foundation this year chose to open a channel to supply science stations was confronted by more difficult conditions than expected and slowed by propeller damage.
Antarctic Research Ship Due Home
The SA Agulhas will soon return with the SANAE 49 over-wintering team that has just spent 14 months at SANAE IV, the South African research base in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. The SA Agulhas is South Africa's polar research vessel. She has been in service for almost thirty years and is nearing the end of her term of service. The 6,122 gt Agulhas, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1977, is used to service the three SANAP research bases in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica as well as various research voyages. She spends most of her time out of harbour.
Trapped Brazillian Ship Leaking Oil in Antarctic
Antarctica oil spill: a wrecked Brazilian ship 'Endless Sea', leaks oil, trapped in ice A wrecked Brazilian ship is trapped in ice and spilling fuel in Antarctica, with no hopes of containing the damage until the long South Pole winter eases next October according to a Huffington Post news report. The "Endless Sea" capsized and sank in 12 meters (39 feet) of water last month near where Chile and Brazil have navy bases. The crew was rescued without injury, but poor weather prevented diving below the hull to check the damage. The ship carried about 2,100 gallons of oil but Veronica Vallejos of the Chilean Antarctic Institute said that the extent of the spill is unknown. The worst Antarctic spill to date was in 2007, when a tourist ship went down with nearly 57,000 gallons of fuel.
MSC Completes Annual Antarctica Resupply Mission
Military Sealift Command-chartered container ship MV Green Wave departed McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Feb. 25, after delivering more than 6.8 million pounds of vital supplies in support of Operation Deep Freeze. ODF is the annual Joint Task Force Support For Antarctica mission to resupply the remote scientific outpost. Green Wave followed MSC-chartered tanker MT Maersk Peary, which brought more than 6.3 million gallons of crucial diesel, gasoline and jet fuel to McMurdo Station Jan. 28-31.
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.
Australia’s New Icebreaker Unveiled
The Australian Government has provided the first look at Australia’s new icebreaker, a ship it says will offer scientists unprecedented and extended access to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Upon its commissioning, planned for October 2019, the custom-built ship will be home ported in Hobart, providing a modern platform for marine science research in both sea ice and open water and a moon pool for launching and retrieving remotely operated vehicles. A multi-beam bathymetric echo sounder will enable seafloor mapping…
Mid-winter Air drop for Australian Antarctic Division
A Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft from Number 36 Squadron has successfully performed an air drop mission over Antarctica in support of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) building on the summer drop previously conducted in February 2016. The most recent air drop provides the Royal Australian Air Force with an all-season resupply capability and the ability to provide support to the current expeditioners on the continent. The air drop consisted of pallets containing supplies for vehicles and plant equipment, medical supplies and personal mail.
Survey Capabilities Enhanced with Kongsberg
Permanently installed and portable hydrographic instruments ordered. Kongsberg Maritime is supporting the Spanish Hydrographic Institute in expanding its survey capabilities during the first part of 2012 following official equipment acceptance, which took place 20th December 2011. The leading instrument developer is supplying its sophisticated EM 2040 0.7º x 0.7º multibeam with Seapath 300+ position reference system for installation on H/V Antares, in addition to providing flexible portable shallow water systems based on two Geoswath Plus Compact echosounders.
Polar Sea Arrives in McMurdo
The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea arrived in McMurdo after a 10,200 nautical mile transit from its home port in Seattle, Washington. Polar Sea made stops in Honolulu, Hawaii and Sydney, Australia during its voyage south. The Polar Sea, a 399-ft. polar class icebreaker with a 150-person crew, is recently out of a two-year overhaul. The Polar Sea conducted sea trials in the Arctic this summer to test all the ship's equipment and train the crew prior to transiting to Antarctica to re-supply the McMurdo station for the National Science Foundation. For the past 50 years, Coast Guard icebreakers have deployed to Antarctica in support of the Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica Operation Deep Freeze…
U.S. Icebreaker Deploys to McMurdo, Antarctica
Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star departed Coast Guard Base Seattle for Antarctica, Tuesday, in support of Operation Deep Freeze for the first time since 2006 with the task of resupplying the National Science Foundation Scientific Research Station in McMurdo. For more than 50 years, Coast Guard icebreaker crews have deployed to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze. They will assist by creating a navigable shipping lane through the layers of ice in McMurdo Sound. Approximately eight million gallons of U.S.
USCG Assists Resupply of McMurdo, Antarctica
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star successfully completed its breakout of McMurdo Science Station in Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze Wednesday. The cutter assisted by breaking a navigable shipping lane through 12 miles of ice in McMurdo Sound, encountering ice up to 10 feet in thickness. The shipping channel through the ice created by Polar Star was used by the tanker ship Maersk Peary to deliver approximately three and a half million U.S. gallons of fuel to McMurdo residents, allowing the station to remain manned and ready during the freezing winter months.
US Coast Guard to Free Aussie Fishing Vessel from Antarctic Ice
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter has been diverted from its path to rescue a 207-foot fishing vessel stuck in Antarctic ice, the US Coast Guard announced in a press release today. Antarctic Chieftain, an Australian-flagged fishing vessel with 27 passengers, contacted Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand after becoming beset in ice 900 miles Northeast of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica on Tuesday. The vessel suffered damage to three of its four propeller blades when it became stuck in the ice and lost its ability to maneuver. RCC New Zealand diverted U.S.
Grand Circle Cruises Buys 'MV Corinthian'
Vince Cook, CEO of Grand Circle Cruise Line, informs that the company has acquired the 'M/V Corinthian', a 98-passenger, ocean-going vessel that currently operates in Antarctica. They had chartered the ship for the past year and intend to expand the Corinthian's operations with the launch of three new small ship cruise itineraries in 2015. The ship was acquired for an undisclosed price from Travel Dynamics International, an operator of educational programs aboard small cruise ships…