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.
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…China’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 rescue 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.