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Australian Icebreaker Tries To Get Through To Stranded Antarctic Research Ship 188

Posted by timothy
from the good-on-'em dept.
The shipload of researchers and tourists stuck in the Antarctic ice are still stuck. A Chinese icebreaker, the Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, has gotten tantalizingly close but was hampered by "unusually thick ice." Now, an Australian vessel, the Aurora Australis, will attempt to rescue the 74 people aboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.
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Australian Icebreaker Tries To Get Through To Stranded Antarctic Research Ship

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  • Vague News (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2013 @05:41PM (#45813693)

    I love how the NYT and BBC reports on this story completely neglect to mention that the stuck ship is full of climate scientists out to gather global warming evidence. Just a complete oversight I'm sure. Also: consensus.

    • Re:Vague News (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2013 @06:03PM (#45813831)

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25540040 ...
      Seventy-four scientists, tourists and crew are on the Shokalskiy. ...
      Despite being trapped, the scientists have continued their experiments, measuring temperature and salinity through cracks in the surrounding ice. ...
      The goal of the modern-day Australasian Antarctic Expedition is to repeat many of the original measurements and studies of the Mawson expedition to see how facets of the environment have changed over the past century. ...

      Completely neglected? Are we looking at the same BBC reports?

      • by dbIII (701233)
        The forgot the term "heathen warlock" or whatever the deniers are calling scientists these days.
        • You actually used the word you are trying to think of - deniers. Those people aren't scientists, they're an experiment. Double blind study. What you need to ask yourself and your denier friends is how much more obvious does a situation have to be before you admit you're wrong?
      • by torsmo (1301691)
        Still, it's taking Xue Long to get them out.
      • by Optali (809880)

        BBC? This is a Liberal TV Station paid by Obama and the Climate Lobby with the only aim of getting the tax money of the hardworking Americans.

    • Vauge conclusions (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sjbe (173966)

      I love how the NYT and BBC reports on this story completely neglect to mention that the stuck ship is full of climate scientists out to gather global warming evidence.

      Just like you are vaguely hinting that locally colder than usual weather somehow is evidence that the climate is not changing. Do you have any conception of the difference between climate and weather?

      • by Kernel Kurtz (182424) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @07:57PM (#45814551) Homepage

        But scientists have been equating ice levels with climate for decades.....

        • Re:Vauge conclusions (Score:4, Informative)

          by dinog (582015) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @08:44PM (#45814839)
          I'll help you finish that thought :

          But scientists have been equating ice levels with climate for decades.....

          ... and the average ice levels have been falling dramatically in most locations over the long term.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            And Gore [pjmedia.com] told us scientists had proof the Arctic would be ice free by 2013.

            Lets tally the results so far:
            AGW correct predictions - 0
            AGW incorrect prediction - 1340

            Well, I'm going to use the scientific method and not listen to people who are ALWAYS wrong when they predict doom and gloom unless I am taxed more.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Remember, boys and girls: melting ice proves that the climate is warming up; freezing ice in midsummer, on the other hand, proves that the climate is warming up.
        • I have seen articles by two different scientists in my local paper... one alleging that our recent floods were proof of global warming... the other claiming proof of global warming in the decade-long drought.

          Rain, snow, ice, drought, wind, hurricanes, no hurricanes, tornadoes, no tornadoes, heat, cold, record highs, record lows -- ALL proof of global warming.

          In fact, it doesn't matter what the weather does. Global Warming (TM) is real because it makes weather change, and the weather is changing, so Global

      • First off, it's not locally vague. It's been documented globally.

        So here is the reason why Global Warming is bullshit science. It has zero ability to be proved.

        Any big storm, earthquake tsunami, hurricane, tornado, snow storm, heat wave, drought = PROOF OF GLOBAL WARMING

        But at the same time, GWA always decry local/regional not equal ...blah blah blah...you're such a stupid denier. Well you know what, we've shown major regional coolings. We've shown planetary coolings. Heck, we chould show you absolute pro

    • I love how the NYT and BBC reports on this story completely neglect to mention that the stuck ship is full of climate scientists out to gather global warming evidence. Just a complete oversight I'm sure.

      On Twitter, Documenting an Antarctic Journey and a Countdown to a Rescue [nytimes.com]

      Four embedded videos from the expedition team. Including a seven minute introduction to the project.

    • by Megane (129182)

      I guess with all the global warming conferences that happened during cold snaps, this just got too boringly regular and isn't news anymore.

      Hypothesis: global warming scientists attract cold weather. This clearly means we need more of them!

    • by Optali (809880)

      And you forgot to think that when it's cold in Antratica the ice is happily frozen on the continent ;)
      And that when the ice is swimming in the water and screwing up ships it's because it is not in the continent any more. How?
      UFO? A million of IPCC minions cutting it into pieces and throwing it into the ocean? Or just plain old melting?

      I assume that it's options 1 and 2, of course. We all know that the Illuminati Pokemon Collectors Club (IPCC) is behind the UFO and is using millions of abducted slaves to br

  • Aurora Australis (Score:5, Informative)

    by bloodhawk (813939) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @05:43PM (#45813709)
    Web cam for Aurora, hopefully will be on when they are getting close http://www.antarctica.gov.au/webcams/aurora [antarctica.gov.au] '
  • The good ship "Paul Ryan", which will anchor safely off the ice pack and send them pictures of the sailors aboard enjoying fine meals and swimming pools to give them incentive to break free of the ice on their own! We do these people no favours, killing them with kindness by "helping" them out of the jam they got themselves in. We can't have these ships oppressing us with their pleas of imminent personal disaster. ...and you thought that this one topic surely couldn't be dragged into American political

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I do wonder who is going to be paying for these rescue attempts.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        A tiny bit of money is not even worth mentioning if you can help someone out with a serious problem.
        Especially if it buys you a lot of positive publicity and goodwill, which you would mostly lose again if you brought up the issue of money.

        That is who it works for people, and it that is also how it works in international relations.
        Therefor the Chinese and Australian taxpayer will likely pay for it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Sailors live with the shared knowledge that they can easily suffer a similar fate. I believe rescue is part of the maritime laws. Even in war, enemies are rescued.

        • by BancBoy (578080) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @07:22PM (#45814343)
          As regards US Maritime law, I can offer this -

          Copy and pasted from http://www.maritimeinjurylawyersblog.com/2013/02/rescues_at_sea_the_united_stat.html [maritimein...rsblog.com]

          According to federal law, 45 USC Section 2304, the master of a vessel must aid anyone at sea who is in danger of losing their lives, as long as such rescue can be performed without serious threat to the master, the master’s vessel, and those on board. However, maritime law is in agreement with common law in that an individual, including a vessel master, has this statutory duty to assist those in peril at sea only when a certain relationship exists, such as carrier/passenger, vessel/seaman, and employer/employee; also, whoever has caused a danger at sea must aid any persons or property they have endangered. Further, whether because of an established relationship or as a Good Samaritan, if an individual attempts a rescue which results in further harm due to negligence, recklessness, or wantonness, he or she may be held liable for damages.
    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @09:13PM (#45814991)

      I think we need to pause and think about the what's really behind the story here:

      The Russians put our camera made by our German scientists and your film made by your German scientists into their satellite made by their German scientists.

      This rescue will end when the a US nuclear submarine pops up through the ice sheet, and a bunch of marines in snow gear jump out. But then a Russian airplane will toss out a bunch of paratroopers in snow gear will land.

      A suspenseful standoff is guaranteed . . .

      This stranded tourists and scientists story is just a cover for the public to hide what is really going on . . .

  • by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @06:09PM (#45813869)
    Naturally, the appearance in the middle of the summer of ice so thick that the icebreakers of multiple polefaring nations cannot penetrate it is proof of anthropogenic warming. You criticize our teachings in any way, and we will beat you to death with our sacred hockey sticks in the East District of Texas. Meanwhile, our last hope is to send in Chuck Norris with a shipload of thermite.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @06:12PM (#45813889) Journal

    I am aware Antarctica is one of the coldest places on earth, yet when I lived 60 degrees away from the equator in Alaska it never got down to 7F (the degree in which salt water freezes) by summer. It would not even hit freezing until September or October?!This is not 90 degrees on the dead center of the geographic south pole or anything and is surrounded by water which moderates the climate.

    The ice should be rapidly melting?!

    • by GumphMaster (772693) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @06:53PM (#45814141)

      The ice-strengthened vessel is within 100nm of Dumont D'Urville with a typical December daytime temperature hovering around freezing (http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDT60803/IDT60803.89642.shtml). This ice did not suddenly appear in clear water because it got cold, the ship was sailing through broken ice floes when weather conditions pushed the ice and the ship into tight formation. The water between the sheets froze and the rest, as they say, is history.

    • by Pav (4298)
      The southern hemisphere is generally cooler. Take for instance the mediterranian climate [wikipedia.org]. In the USA at the same latitude you have California with a roughly equivalent climate. In the south we have Tasmania [wikipedia.org] for example which is significantly cooler.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      There's a lot of sea ice down there. Some of it is centuries old at least.
      • But it is growing.

        60 degrees south is about equivalent to Alaska distance from the equator. It is 20C or 68F on average inland during the summer at this time. Not 7F. The ice which plenty is left at that latitude is still there but is rapidly melting which it does from glacial run off. They do not grow by June which is the same as December down at that latitude.

        In fact with 20 hours of daylight rapid melt would be the logical conclusion as the water would be warming up and not cooling to form thicker ice at

        • Good to hear from a real climate scientist that knows their shit instead of a software developer telling every expert on the subject on the planet that they have got it wrong. Oh wait - looks like I got that backwards.

          This sort of shit is not funny any more and just makes the people spreading it look like morons. They don't seem to understand that their arguments against expertise are undermining themselves unless they are also mediocre at what they do. To the above poster - I suggest leaving it to the
    • It could have something to do with salinity. Typical seawater freezes at about -2 C because of the high salt content, but if the local salinity has dropped because of the introduction of a large amount of fresh meltwater then it might freeze closer to 0 C. Warming could lead to more meltwater, lower salinity and therefore more ice under certain specific conditions.

      The article states that the crew is measuring both temperature and salinity, so we'll find out if the conditions are met and that is a possib

  • I hope (Score:4, Funny)

    by JustOK (667959) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @06:31PM (#45813969) Journal

    I hope they don't get eaten by the polar bears

  • Being serious here, since they are stuck in an ice pack, is it stable enough to get as close as possible then drive out to rescue them? Sure, you will lose the ship as its crushed into oblivion, but you will save the human lives.

    No, i haven't seen overhead pictures, thus the question.

    • Yeah, I was wondering about an air rescue if there are only 74 people on board. I mean, the ice is thick enough to strand a large ship and prevent the passage of an ice breaker, it should easily hold the weight of a large military transport helicopter.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        Range sucks with those things in comparison to the vast distances. You'd probably need an icebreaking aircraft carrier to get it near enough. It's not as if they could just fly one of those things in from Capetown or Hobart and expect it to get there let alone back again.
      • That is likely why, according to TFA, that the Chinese icebreaker - which happens to have a helicopter - is standing by even though it can't ram through the ice.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The ship is not in any immediate danger: it is a Finnish built ship designed to operate in conditions of ice, although it is not an icebreaker itself. It is not being crushed. It's just stuck. The ice is a couple meters thick and the people on the ship could climb off and trudge to safety if there were some imminent danger. If they didn't want to do that -- and it would be hard to fault them for not savoring the prospect of trudging half a dozen miles across shifting pack ice -- they could hitch a ride on t

    • by necro81 (917438)

      is it stable enough to get as close as possible then drive out to rescue them

      The ship got trapped because broken sea ice got crunched together by wind and waves around them, then froze in place. Moving ice does not freeze together into nice smooth sheets that are amenable to driving on. As the wind and waves continue to work, the ice surface will buckle, heavy, split, reform, and generally create a confused mess that make for difficult headway even afoot. Check out some of the pictures from Shackleton' [google.com]

  • by jamesl (106902) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @07:23PM (#45814351)

    The Antarctic Sea Ice Extent is currently more than two standard deviations greater than the 1981 to 2010 average according to the NSIDC.
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_stddev_timeseries.png [nsidc.org]

    Not what one would expect in a warming climate. Or maybe it is ... ex post.
    Antarctica Sea Ice Reaches Record High: Doesn't Refute Global Warming
    http://guardianlv.com/2013/09/antarctic-sea-ice-at-record-high-doesnt-refute-global-warming/ [guardianlv.com]

    • If the earth became a ball of ice. It would still be blamed on global warming. The only possible thing that could disprove global warming is if the earth suddenly went through a 10 year period of zero temperature change in any region. That is about the only thing that could disprove Global Warming.

      And if that happened, we'd have a much worse concern than global warming.

  • Get to da choppa (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hamsterdan (815291) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @08:18PM (#45814661)

    Seriously, anyone thought about rescuing them using helicopters? Rescue the people, worry about the ship later...

    • Seriously, anyone thought about rescuing them using helicopters?

      That has been thought of, and is being considered as the last resort.

      The Chinese ice breaker, the Xue Long (Ice Dragon) has a chopper on board, and the vessel is only some 7KM away from the Russian vessel.

    • Is it trapped forever? Will the ice crush it and cause a nasty little fuel spill? Or is the ship's hull strong enough that it will just be frozen in place either forever or until it can be salvaged?

  • Climate scientists on their way to study Global Warming, get stuck in the ice. They must have kicked a puppy to have karma that bad.
  • Huh...what?

    Global Warming, I thought all of the ice was unusually thin and melting? These must of been pretty dumb scientists. :-P

    • by PortHaven (242123)

      This is what happens when you use GWA computer models on your GPS. But the computer models said this part of the ocean would be ice free by now....

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