December 29, 2013

Cruise Ship Trapped in Pack Ice

A Russian research/cruise ship Akademik Shokalskiy. has been overwhelmed by a summer blizzard off Antarctica and has become trapped in thickening ice. The Chinese icebreaker  Xue Long, unable to deal with the thickness of ice around the ship has retreated to open water leaving the cruise ship's only hope the Australian icebreaker Aurora Austrialis which is moving to assist. .

Akademik Shokalskiy stuck fast. Pic via USA Today

UPDATE: It looks like Aurora Australis is also being forced off by the abominable conditions.
This is getting serious.
Two top of the line icebreakers have found conditions too dangerous to proceed. The weather has deteriorated to the point that helicopter rescue is currently unsafe. If the ice is really over 4 meters thick, the cruise ship (which draws 4.5m) is not really floating any more. There is the very real possibility that the ship might be crushed. Complicating matters is the fact that the 'expedition' is a political stunt and PR is everything for the expedition leaders. Reports from the Akademik Shokalski indicate that those being interviewed are in denial of the gravity of their situation.The optics of this incident as well as the political and financial implications for the members of the voyage, may well be influencing them to deny the inevitable until lives are at risk.
Irony is a dish best served cold.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 09:36 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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1 Wasn't the Russian ship carrying Global Warming enthusiasts?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Sun Dec 29 11:28:39 2013 (+rSRq)

2 Yup, it's a bunch of tourists and reporters, led by a warmologer. The ship is reportedly well-equipped and cozy, so they can relax in the bar and ignore the irony.


Posted by: J Greely at Sun Dec 29 11:47:53 2013 (+cEg2)

3 Because Climate Change... and Shut Up.

Posted by: Mauser at Mon Dec 30 01:29:03 2013 (TJ7ih)

4 Of course, I'm sure they are already drafting up press releases blaming the extreme weather conditions on climatic instability fueled by global warming...

Posted by: Siergen at Mon Dec 30 16:13:24 2013 (c2+vA)

5 Climate change, forcing normally docile Ice to attack shipping in Packs!

Posted by: Mauser at Tue Dec 31 07:50:12 2013 (TJ7ih)

6 Shokalsky is probably going to pop up like Fram. The hull ought to be designed with such eventuality in mind.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wed Jan 1 00:35:46 2014 (RqRa5)

7 Good point, but I'm wondering how well they will be able to cool the engine. Perhaps the vessel has air cooled ship service generators.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Wed Jan 1 00:52:43 2014 (DnAJl)

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