Inconvenient truth in the Arctic: Karma

An experienced polar explorer has accused climate scientists who hired a ship now trapped in Antarctic ice of endangering passengers and crew – by carrying out the expedition ‘on the cheap’. Dozens of scientists, journalists and tourists were evacuated by helicopter from the stricken Russian vessel Akademik Shokalskiy on Thursday after it became stuck on Christmas Eve. The ship was being used by the expedition to follow the route taken by Australian explorer Douglas Mawson in 1912. The team intended to repeat measurements Into the unknown taken by Mawson and so study environmental change over the past century. It is estimated the rescue, after several failed attempts, will have cost £220,000, a bill which is likely to be paid by Australian taxpayers. article-2533875-1A6B49B000000578-129_306x464

But their ship is classed as ‘ice-strengthened’, which means it cannot break ice sheets and can operate only in light ice. Robert Headland, of Cambridge University’s Scott Polar Research Institute, blamed the team for not investing in a ship suitable to the ‘easily predictable’ sea ice. 

Mr Headland, who has completed successful missions to where the ship was going, said: ‘The expedition was hopelessly optimistic in trying to carry out this mission on the cheap and has needlessly taken many risks. ‘The team were in an area where it is common for ice to suddenly build up and instead of using an icebreaker, they used an ice-strengthened ship, which is totally unsuitable.’ 

The 22 Russian crew are still aboard and have to wait until the ice thins before they head home. An expedition spokesman said that it ‘involved two years of planning, with excellent preparation. Any risk to lives was minimal’.    A true scientific oxymoron statement…Chinese-ice-breaker-Xue-Long-that-helped-rescue-passengers-stranded-on-the-Akademik-Shokalskiy-vessel-in-Antarctica-is-now-stuck-itselfChina’s Xue Long (Snow Dragon) has run out of ‘puff’ and now requires rescuing… At the request of the Australian, Russian and Chinese governments, the U.S. Coast Guard is now stepping up to help break up ice off Antarctica that has ensnared a pair of ‘rescue’ ships. The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star had been heading to that area anyway, having left its home port of Seattle early last month to eventually break through sea ice and refuel the U.S. Antarctic Program’s McMurdo Station on Ross Island. USCG slugger to the rescue140104-polarstar-hmed-6p.photoblog600 Now the icebreaker has re-organised to help the Russian ship ‘Akademik Shokalskiy’ and China’s ‘Xue Long’ due to “sufficient concern that the vessels may not be able to free themselves from the ice,” the Coast Guard said Saturday in a statement.  The Australian agency formally requested the Americans help on Friday 3rd January. The Coast Guard noted that the governments of Russia and China also asked for U.S. assistance. Though somewhat shorter than the Chinese ice-cutter at 122 meters, the Polar Star is the only active polar-capable icebreaker and one of the world’s most powerful non-nuclear ships, with an ability to crack though 1.8 meters of ice while moving or more than six meters by ramming, according to the Coast Guard.

Oh the irony of it all! First we have a gaggle of climate change scientists who couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. Whose sole aim is to prove that climate change is real, only to fail miserably en-route, by becoming stuck in their freezing nemesis. Then to have their theory come unstuck yet again, by their rescue vessel becoming trapped (by the wrong type of ice) 😉 Benny Hill couldn’t have written this any better! It could only have been capped by having Al Gore aboard as part of the group… Stick the bill for it all to the scientific expedition.

Adding insult to injury are the Russian and Chinese governments having to ask the US for assistance 😉  ‘Semper Paratus’ Coast Guard, show them how its done… Yours Aye.

Take Me Out to to Armed Forces Night

A ballplayer spends a good piece of his life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.Jim Bouton

Petty Officer 1st Class Catherine Kavanaugh of the Coast Guard hikes up her skirt April 13 as she throws out a ceremonial first pitch during ceremonies on Salute to Armed Forces Night prior to the game between the Seattle Mariners against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington.
Petty Officer 1st Class Catherine Kavanaugh of the Coast Guard hikes up her skirt April 13 as she throws out a ceremonial first pitch during ceremonies on Salute to Armed Forces Night prior to the game between the Seattle Mariners against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington.

Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz Has Her Say

Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz
Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz

I am neither agreeing with Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz, nor disagreeing with her below statement. But I am relieved that she is female. It makes what she is saying perhaps more acceptable:

Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz, in an interview with The (New London, Conn.) Day newspaper, attempted to contextualize reports of unwanted sexual advances among recruits.

“At a time when they are exploring their identity, it’s somewhat natural to have people experiment with what it takes to attract a person of the opposite sex,” she said, according to the March 17 article. “If, one time, a guy or gal is clumsy or stupid and tries to touch someone and they’re repulsed, they learn. Someone who goes around and keeps trying many times, that’s a different kind of behavior than someone who is awkward and experimenting.”

That may be the wrong way of looking at it, but I gotta be honest. . .

Petty Officer First Class Russell Matthews Returns

The military is a job, a profession. And at a job, you have to show up for work. It is not hard, but some folks struggle with it. Petty Officer First Class Russell Matthews was either AWOL or had some sort of odd health issue:

Petty Officer First Class Russell Matthews
Petty Officer First Class Russell Matthews

A Coast Guardsman has reappeared after vanishing and being declared a missing person more than three months ago, Honolulu police and the Coast Guard said Tuesday.

Petty Officer First Class Russell Matthews returned home Sunday night, police said. Police say he was incoherent and taken to a hospital for observation.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Gene Maestas said the service doesn’t know where Matthews, a Hawaii-based rescue swimmer, has been and what he’s been doing since his wife reported him missing on Oct. 9.

Coast Guard investigators dispatched to see him confirmed his identity after he called his command from Castle Medical Center in the Honolulu suburb of Kailua, Maestas said. He’s now being evaluated at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

Coast Guard investigators looking into his disappearance won’t question him until he’s released by doctors, Maestas said. But the service will probe the incident.

Strange story. . .

Maritime Lieutenant Scores Olympic Medalist

Michelle Kwan, a two-time Olympic medalist, married LT Clay Pell of the United States Coast Guard. The wedding was the usual star-studded affair:

About 250 guests attended the ceremony, including Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and his wife, Stephani, as well as Olympic champions Brian Boitano, Dick Button and Dorothy Hamill,

Pell, a 31-year-old JAG lawyer and Coast Guard lieutenant, works on the White House’s national security staff.

He is the grandson of the late Rhode Island Sen. Claiborne Pell, who reportedly established Pell Grants to assist college students with in paying their tuition 40 years ago.

Kwan is a public policy envoy with the U.S. State Department and the most decorated figure skater in American history.

She won 43 championships, including five World titles, nine national crowns, as well as the silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics and bronze at the 2002 Games.

Michelle Kwan - a two-time Olympic medalist, LT Clay Pell
Michelle Kwan – a two-time Olympic medalist, marries LT Clay Pell

I wonder if he received a Pell Grant in college? Good job and many blessings, Coastie. (Congrats too, to Michelle Pell for the maritime move. I hear those Coast Guard types are very good at search and seizure operations.)

Filming the Coast Guard

USCGThe official Coast Guard blog just released its videos of the year. And the first place nod went to the crews of Coast Guard Station Coos Bay, Oregon in a video titled Surf’s Up.

Second place went to Train So Others May Live, filmed by Air Station Atlantic City, New Jersey. The video was filmed and edited by Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Williams, and features rescue swimmer Jaime Vanacore as she shows us how she runs her training.

Coast Guard AuxiliaryThird place was taken by the Advanced Rescue Helicopter School which focuses on unique training school out of Air Station Astoria, Oregon. This video was filmed and edited by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nate Littlejohn and shows us how aircrews prepare in the most extreme weather conditions.

Chief Terrell Horne, KIA

I’ve often admired the Coast Guard, they have a challenging mission and are patient with both the civilians they rescue and the criminals they apprehend. But when I read Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III was killed by a drug smuggler, I got angry. The Halibut (a patrol cutter) was rammed by a drug boat and the Chief received a mortal head wound. The sole good news is that they caught the murderers.

Coast Guard Crows Save Russell Crowe’s Day

Two Petty Officers from the United States Coast Guard, Robert Swieciki and Thomas Watson, helped rescue Russell Crowe after he got lost kayaking off Long Island. This truly was a case of the crows rescuing the Crowe. (Or do Coast Guard Petty Officers not call themselves crows, like we do in the Navy?)

Russell Crowe, with Coast Guard petty officers Robert Swieciki and Thomas Watson

I like how the Coasties emphasize that they did not “rescue” Russell Crowe. Sure.

Five Teams, Seven Fights

A Chinese rescue ship participates in a joint drill with Taiwanese Coast Guard boats in the sea between China’s Xiamen and Taiwan’s Kinmen islands Thursday. Chinese government officials for the first time boarded a Taiwan coast guard frigate in a rare joint search and rescue drill involving hundreds of people, Taiwan coastguards said.