Posts Tagged ‘Akademik Shokalskiy’

Akademik Shokalskiy and Xue Long break free from Antarctic ice

January 7, 2014

Four days after Turney’s tourists abandoned ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese icebreaker Xue Long have broken free from the ice they were trapped in.

BBC:The Russian research ship Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese icebreaker Xue Long have broken free from Antarctic ice where they had been stranded for several days.

The Russian ship’s captain said a crack had appeared in the ice after a change in wind direction. The Akademik Shokalskiy got stuck on 25 December. It has a Russian crew of 22. On Thursday, the Xue Long’s helicopter ferried 52 passengers from the stranded Russian ship to an Australian vessel. The Xue Long then became stuck itself on Friday.

“We’re going slowly and zig-zagging, we’ve already moved more than 20 [nautical] miles,” Captain Igor Kiselyov of the Russian ship told Itar-Tass news agency. “It’s tough going so far, a lot of mist, visibility is no more than 500 metres,” he said. He confirmed that the Chinese ship was also moving and that Akademik Shokalskiy was just north of it. “It may catch up with us – in that case, we’ll follow in its wake. But if not, we’ll get out together, independently,” he said.

All’s well that end well but Turney’s preceding comedy of errors will not be soon forgotten.

It looks like the services of the US icebreaker Polar Star will not be required.

Was all the ballyhoo from the heroic expeditioners truly necessary?

Nature/Turney defend the Ship of Fools and their Antarctic pleasure cruise

January 7, 2014

Chris Turney, his global warming pilgrims (called scientists), his pet journalists and his tourists are due to reach Tasmania on 22nd January after being “rescued” (from what?) after their chartered ship Akademik Shokalskiy (ice-strengthened but no icebreaker) was trapped in the Antarctic ice on December 24th.

Nature (much to their discredit) have hurriedly published a defence by Chris Turney of his tourist trip on his Ship of Fools.  It amazes me that Nature would – so quickly – publish such an obviously self-serving and narcissistic article. Almost as if they had a higher agenda of defending the larger global warming community so grievously opened up to ridicule by Turney and his tourists.

“It was no pleasure cruise” he whines (though he seems to have taken his family along for this jaunt). He claims the ship was an icebreaker – which it was not – and that the event could not have been anticipated  – which it could. He claims to have advanced the frontiers of science – which is mere hyperbole. He even tries to take credit for rekindling public interest! 

“… the value of our expedition must be judged by the quality of the research it always intended to produce, and the remarkable rekindling of public interest in science and exploration that has come with it”.

But his attempt to salvage something from his PR disaster does not go down well judging by some of the comments that his self-serving “defence” elicits:

Roger Corbett 2014-01-07 04:46 AM

How does a couple of hours shoveling snow to get inside Mawson’s Huts reported at the time by Professor Turney become “important conservation work” a few days later? When he is trying to boost the scientific credentials of a tourism exercise. When you are in a hole, stop digging. These little exaggerations add up to make it hard to believe the bigger things. “Never before has a science expedition reached out live to so many people from such a remote location”….er, “one small step for a man…” It’s a definite pattern in the accounts coming from the AAE-2 people. Reading as much as I can, I conclude that the tourism activities delayed return to the ship, despite increasing concern from the ship’s Master. The claims that the weather closed in so suddenly and unexpectedly by Professor Turney are exaggerated (like so many things he says and writes), either to deliberately deflect from his responsibilities as tour leader, or because ego doesn’t allow him to admit it even to himself.

Charles Rotter 2014-01-07 12:41 AM

…  I have been following the writings of the various blogs documenting this trip, and as far as I can tell, the only scientific discovery/conclusion/finding you have documented so far is that, if the food source for a population of penguins becomes much harder to reach due to added physical obstacles, then that penguin population will probably reduce in number. I am in awe at this insight.

Richard Tol 2014-01-06 04:09 PM

The way it turned out, this was indeed no pleasure cruise. At the same time, Chris Turney has yet to answer questions about the research purpose of this expedition. The Spirit of Mawson website is vague and many of the aims listed there cannot be achieved by a single, short trip. The successes listed above are from the first leg of the trip, rather than from the now-infamous second leg. If the second leg aimed to launch Argo floats, why did it sail on? And why were there so many people on board? There were 18 PhD students on the expedition. Only 6 have a research connection with Antarctica (the other 12 studying the North Atlantic, Australia’s coastal waters, brain injury, Iceland, New Zealand’s North Island, urban climates, pedagogy, the Equatorial Undercurrent, pharmaceuticals, time series statistics, microbiology, and Siberia), but only one of those has an obvious reason to visit Mawson’s Huts and even she would have collected more data in the same time had she flown there. Forgive me for asking, what research purposes were served by this expedition? Was this really the best way to spend the available funds?

Consequences of Turney’s Antarctic junket are not yet over

January 5, 2014

The Xuelong is thought to have 111 crew on board while the Akademik Shokalskiy has 22. They are both currently trapped in the ice and the US icebreaker Polar Star is on its way from Sydney to render assistance if necessary. It will take the Polar Star about 7 days to reach the vicinity of the trapped vessels.

Cnut commanding the waves

Cnut commanding the waves

The consequences of Chris Turney’s narcissistic self-image of himself as an explorer in the Mawson mould and his irresponsible, publicity-seeking, junket into the Antarctic are not yet over. His proclamation that the ice should have melted away is reminiscent of King Cnut. Or perhaps like Cnut trying to demonstrate his limitations he was trying to demonstrate the fallibility of climate models which predict the loss of polar ice (and models such as that by his colleague Sherwood). It would be a travesty if the cost of diverting the 4 icebreakers (Chinese, French, Australian and now US) from their normal missions is not charged to Turney, the Climate Change Research Centre of the University of New South Wales and his media sponsors.

Xinhua reports:

BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) — China has set up a leading team to rescue its icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, which has been trapped by heavy floes since it rescued passengers on a Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica on Thursday.

The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) announced on Saturday the team will map out rescue plans and make “all-out efforts” to coordinate rescue operations, despite there is no immediate danger to personnel aboard Xuelong, which has abundant fuel and food supplies. …. 

Xueying 12, a helicopter on board Xuelong, on Thursday successfully evacuated all the 52 passengers aboard the Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy that has been stranded since Christmas Eve to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis.

However, after the rescue, Xuelong’s own movement was blocked by fields of floating ice.

Currently, Xuelong is located at 66.65 degrees south latitude and 144.42 degrees east longitude. It is surrounded by floes up to four meters thick and is about 21 km away from unfrozen waters, according to the SOA.

Qu Tanzhou, director of the State Oceanic Administration’s Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, said the planned expedition by Xuelong is inevitably affected and changes are expected to be made to the vessel’s mission after it gets out of trouble.

“If the ship is stranded for a very long time, which is very rare indeed, then we’ll have to evacuate the people onboard and leave the vessel there,” he said.

AMSA Press Release:

6.30am AEDT Sunday 05 January 2014

US Coast Guard ice breaker to assist ships beset in ice in Antarctica

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has requested the US Coast Guard’s Polar Star icebreaker to assist the vessels MV Akademik Shokalskiy and Xue Long which are beset by ice in Commonwealth Bay.
The US Coast Guard has accepted this request and will make Polar Star available to assist.
The Polar Star has been en route to Antarctica since 3 December, 2013 – weeks prior to the MV
Akademik Shokalskiy being beset by ice in Commonwealth Bay. The intended mission of the Polar Star is to clear a navigable shipping channel in McMurdo Sound to the National Science Foundation’s Scientific Research Station. Resupply ships use the channel to bring food, fuel and other goods to the station. The Polar Star will go on to undertake its mission once the search and rescue incident is resolved.
RCC Australia identified the Polar Star as a vessel capable of assisting the beset vessels following MV Akademik Shokalskiy being beset by ice overnight on 24 December, 2013. RCC Australia has been in discussion with the US Coast Guard this week to ascertain if the Polar Star was able to assist once it reaches Antarctica.
The request for the Polar Star to assist the beset vessels was made by RCC Australia to the US Coast Guard on 3 January, 2014. The US Coast Guard officially accepted this request and released the Polar Star to RCC Australia for search and rescue tasking at 8.30am on 4 January, 2014.
The Polar Star will leave Sydney today after taking on supplies prior to its voyage to Antarctica.
It is anticipated it will take approximately seven (7) days for the Polar Star to reach Commonwealth Bay, dependent on weather and ice conditions.
At 122 metres, the Polar Star is one of the largest ships in the US Coast Guard fleet. It has a range of 16,000 nautical miles at 18 knots. The Polar Star has a crew of 140 people.
The Polar Star is able to continuously break ice up to 1.8 metres (6ft) while travelling at three (3) knots and can break ice over six (21ft) metres thick.
RCC Australia will be in regular contact with the relevant US Coast Guard RCC at Alameda, California, and the Captain of the Polar Star during its journey to Antarctica.

Why was it necessary to rescue the Antarctic wimps’ expedition if the crew can remain aboard?

January 2, 2014

A Ship of Fools and Wimps. And they claim to be invoking the Spirit of Mawson!

The global warmists and their hangers-on have all been rescued from their ship trapped in the Antarctic ice. But the crew remains on board and are prepared to wait it out until the ice lets them go.

Why then did they have to be rescued with the enormous expenditure and diversion of resources that entailed? 

Their travails – if any – pale in comparison to what Mawson encountered 100 years ago.  For these fools to invoke the Spirit of Mawson is a travesty. They were in no danger. Their expedition to prove that the Eastern Antarctic ice was melting has ended up as a fiasco.

What were they being rescued from – except failure and boredomNamby-pamby and spoilt brats and wimps come to mind.

The Australian writes:

Stuck on a ship of (cold) fools

YOU have to feel a touch of sympathy for the global warming scientists, journalists and other hangers-on aboard the Russian ship stuck in impenetrable ice in Antarctica, the mission they so confidently embarked on to establish solid evidence of melting ice caps resulting from climate change embarrassingly abandoned because the ice is, in fact, so impossibly thick.

The aim of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Chris Turney of the University of NSW, was to prove the East Antarctic ice sheet is melting. Its website spoke alarmingly of “an increasing body of evidence” showing “melting and collapse from ocean warming”. Instead, rescue ships and a helicopter, all belching substantial carbon emissions, have had to be mobilised to pluck those aboard the icebreaker MV Akademik Schokalskiy from their plight, stuck in what appears to be, ironically, record amounts of ice for this time of year.

In that lies a hard lesson for those who persistently exaggerate the impact of global warming. We believe in man-made climate change and are no less concerned than others about it. But the cause of sensible policy is ill-served by exaggeration; there is a need for recognition of the science, which shows there are variations in how climate is changing and what the impact is, or will be.

Professor Turney’s expedition was supposed to repeat scientific investigations made by Douglas Mawson a century ago and to compare then and now. Not unreasonably, it has been pointed out Mawson’s ship was never icebound. Sea ice has been steadily increasing, despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s gloomy forecasts. Had the expedition found the slightest evidence to confirm its expectation of melting ice caps and thin ice, a major new scare about the plight of the planet would have followed. As they are transferred to sanctuary aboard the icebreaker Aurora Australis, Professor Turney and his fellow evacuees must accept the embarrassing failure of their mission shows how uncertain the science of climate change really is. They cannot reasonably do otherwise.

But what was the danger requiring them to be rescued? And why are their lives more valuable than those of the crew of the Akademik Shokalskiy?

Chris Turney comes out of this as the Chief Fool and Lead Wimp.The journalists will no doubt wish to treated as brave reporters returning from the war front. The Climate Change Research Centre of the University of New South Wales would seem to have more money than sense.

Spirit of Mawson is dead as Turney and his Antarctic tourists prepare to abandon ship

December 31, 2013

UPDATE! The BBC reports that the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long may itself be stuck in the ice!!


The Spirit of Mawson dies as Antarctic pilgrims/tourists and their great leader – but not the crew – are to be rescued by helicopter

The spirit of Sir Douglas Mawson is well and truly dead.  They have “fresh” supplies for at least two weeks and are well enough stocked to last through the entire summer. But the global warming pilgrims, the tourists, other diverse hangers-on and their tour guide have chickened out as they wait to be removed from the Akademik Shokalskiy by helicopter.

But not the crew.

If Turney is the leader shouldn’t he be the last one to leave the ice?

Chris Turney, the tour guide, describes himself as “Scientist, Explorer and Writer”. Why not “Hero”?

“Idiot” and “Charlatan” also come to mind. 

The Spirit of Mawson: 2013-2014 marks the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by the great scientist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. In a celebration of this remarkable endeavour, the new Australasian Antarctic Expedition (or AAE for short) will follow the route of its namesake, melding science and adventure, to discover and communicate the changes that have taken place in this remote environment over the last hundred years.

Led by Professor Chris Turney and Dr Chris Fogwill, from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, the 2013-2014 expedition will attempt to revisit the site of the original AAE huts at Cape Denison, Antarctica, the enigmatically named ‘Home of the Blizzard’.

But the Spirit of Mawson is not much in evidence here as Turney and his holiday makers plan to scuttle off the trapped ship leaving all the crew behind.

SMHOn Tuesday morning, Chris Turney, who is leading the expedition, said the 52 passengers on board the Akademik Shokalskiy would be flown out by helicopter after it stopped raining. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said all 22 crew members are expected to remain on board.

Authorities decided to resort to the helicopter evacuation after the Aurora Australis rescue ice-breaker was forced to retreat in the face of freezing 30 knot winds and snow showers 10 nautical miles from the Shokalskiy. Thick ice had earlier prevented the Chinese ice-breaker Xue Long and a French ice-breaker from reaching the stranded crew.

“Aurora can’t make it through. Looks like we’re going to be helicoptered out. Just need a clear weather window. Raining!,” Professor Turney posted just before noon (AEDT) on Tuesday.

Australian icebreaker abandons first attempt to reach the global warming pilgrims

December 30, 2013

This was a pilgrimage to the gods of global warming and led by a high priest of the Order of the Melting Poles. But they forgot to placate Uller and seem to have angered the ice-gods.

Ull, sometimes called Uller, ….  was the god of ice and snow, as well as hunters and archery. His following seems to have been overshadowed only by Thor and Odin, as all he had to offer his followers was blizzards and cold. Still, the Norse lived in a subarctic climate, so they tried to placate him instead of follow him. 

The Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis has abandoned its first attempt to reach the tourists on the Akademik Shokalskiy. The 2m+ ice was too thick and threatened to close in behind them and they had to turn back towards open water. The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long was also retreating to open water.

A French icebreaker abandoned its rescue mission on Saturday when it became clear that the ship wouldn’t get any closer than the Chinese boat had. The two remaining icebreakers with one helicopter between them have now to devise a strategy to rescue these irresponsible tourists/pilgrims/idiots led by Chris Turney. The cost according to the SMH is likey to be in the “multi-millions” and according to the Law of the Sea ought to be charged to the operators of this “pleasure” cruise.


But Turney needs to bear his share. As do the BBC, the Guardian and other media tourists. There is a case to be made for a certain amount of pillorying – maybe by reintroducing the stocks just for Chris Turney. The cover-story of this being a privately funded “scientific expedition” is a travesty. Douglas Mawson must be spinning in his grave at these tourists invoking his name and comparing their luxury cruise with his battles for survival.

From the SMH:

  • The Aurora Australis has abandoned its first attempt to cut through the ice surrounding the stranded Akademik Shokalskiy in Antarctica after moving just two nautical miles. 
  • About 6am, the Aurora’s captain, Murray Doyle, began to manoeuvre the icebreaker through thick wedges of consolidated sea ice. But by 9am [midday Sydney time], the master made the call to turn the ship around and move back into open water. “The ice became too thick for us to penetrate. Some of the floes are up to two metres of ice with a metre of snow on top and very compact. There was just nowhere for us to go.” 
  • Captain Doyle also feared that the 55-kilometre south-easterly wind running up the ship’s stern would blow ice in and around the back of the vessel. “It was pushing those same types of floes in behind us,” he said. “If we got into that compact stuff it would have sealed us in, we would have lost our manoeuvreability and we wouldn’t have been much use to anybody. 
  • A low-hanging fog also hampered rescue efforts. “We had no visibility so we couldn’t really see if there was a way through.” 
  • Captain Doyle had informed the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Canberra of the situation. 
  • The passengers on the stranded Shokalskiy would likely be evacuated to the Aurora or Chinese icebreaker the Xue Long, which was also in the area. 
  • “It’s now up to us three ships [the Shokalskiy, the Aurora and the Xue Long] to agree on a [rescue] strategy,” Captain Doyle said. While the Xue Long had a helicopter onboard, it was too heavy for the Aurora’s helideck. “We also can’t use the helicopter at the moment because there is no visibility,” he said. “The helicopter wouldn’t be able to differentiate the horizon from the ice.” 
  • The captain planned to wait until the weather cleared before deciding whether to cut another path through the ice. The icebreak was designed to cut through ice floes of about 1.35 metres, not the thick ice built up in Watt Bay, some of which has grown over several years. “It wasn’t all multi-year ice, there was some first-year ice, which can be thick, especially if it’s old first-year ice,” he said. 
  • The Xue Long, which has been waiting near the Mertz Glacier since Boxing Day, was also making its way back to open water. “They’re trying to make it back into open water so they’re not trapped as well,” Captain Doyle said.

That this is no scientific expedition becomes obvious  from the Guardian report that Janet Rice, the Green party senator-elect for Victoria, Australia, who has been on board the ship since it left New Zealand, said: “I understand why people might be concerned, but the feeling today on board the ship is like a summer holiday when the weather is bad, when you’re stuck inside reading books and playing Scrabble. We’ve been assured that we’re in no danger and it’s just a matter of waiting.”

I wonder if the Green party is covering her costs?

Trapped in the Antarctic ice: Global warming tourists/pilgrims posing as scientists

December 29, 2013

Irony upon irony.

A global warming pilgrimage deserted by their gods.

A climate change opportunist named Turney,

Was the tour guide for an Antarctic journey,

He trapped in the Ice his environmental tourists,

and diverse other journalists and warmists,

For the ice had little time for his dumb theory.

The Antarctic saga continues.

A fossil fuelled cruise ship trapped by heretical Antarctic ice, waiting to be rescued by other fossil fuelled ice breakers or even fossil fuelled aircraft!

Who will pay – I wonder – for the rescue of these pilgrims of the global warming religion?

The Players:

BBC: Antarctic ship: New bid to free vessel trapped in ice

An Australian vessel is en route to East Antarctica in a renewed bid to free a scientific mission ship trapped in dense pack ice since Tuesday.

Earlier rescue attempts by Chinese and French icebreakers were foiled by the thick ice.

However, a BBC correspondent on the Russian research vessel says big cracks have appeared, raising hopes that it may even be able to move on its own.

Seventy-four scientists, tourists and crew are on the Academician Shokalskiy.

The Guardian: Icebound Antarctic passengers face air rescue if ship cannot reach them soon

The arriving icebreaker Aurora Australis is the last chance to open up a passage to open water for Akademik Shokalskiy. 

Passengers aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy, the ship stuck in ice off the coast of Antarctica since Christmas Day, were told on Sunday morning they would have to be evacuated by air if icebreaker ships could not get to them within 48 hours.

The Russian-operated ship has about 50 passengers – including scientists and paying members of the public – and 20 crew on board. It became stuck in the ice near Cape de la Motte in east Antarctica, abouit 1,500 nautical miles from Hobart in Tasmania, after strong blizzards hit the vessel on Christmas Eve. Surrounding pack ice was pushed by strong winds against the Antarctic landmass, pinning the Shokalskiy in place.

On Friday, the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long tried to battle through the thick ice towards the Shokalskiy but had to turn back after 12 hours and within 8.5 nautical miles of the Russian vessel, because the going was too difficult. The Aurora Australis will arrive at the edge of the sea ice, which is about 20 nautical miles from the Russian ship, in the early hours of Monday local time (about 1pm Sunday GMT).

“What we’re depending on is the extra grunt of the Aurora Australis,” said Greg Mortimer, co-leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), which has chartered the ship. “It’s a more traditional icebreaker hull, which is like a bathtub with a big engine inside it – it can push over the ice and lay down on top and work its way like that.”

This handout image released by the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales and taken by Andrew Peacock of shows the ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica (27 December 2013)

Tourists pretending to be scientists (image BBC)

Ironies multiply as rescue ice-breaker is also stuck in Antarctic ice

December 28, 2013

I posted earlier about the irony of the Guardian having to report this story about the lack of the expected melting of ice during the Antarctic summer.

The ironies multiply.

The objective of the tourists, the journalists and the ostensibly “scientific” team was to recreate the journey of Douglas Mawson 100 years ago. They got stuck in 3m thick ice and three ice-breakers have gone to their rescue. The first, a Chinese ice-breaker is now also stuck in the ice. The “scientific” team is led by – wait for it – Chris Turney, a “professor of climate change” at the University of New South Wales in Australia!!

Some immediate questions arise:

  1. Who pays for the rescue ships? (I do hope the Guardian and the BBC and the University of NSW pay their fair share).
  2. If the journey of 100 years ago cannot be retraced because there is more ice now – what does that say about global warming theory and melting polar ice?
  3. What does a professor of climate change do – apart from profess his faith in climate change?
  4. When does “climate change” change from being global warming to global cooling?

CNN reports:

Only at the South Pole: Icebreaker also stuck — in ice — heading for stranded ship

South Pole weather has stymied a rescue by a Chinese icebreaker trying to reach an expedition vessel trapped for the past four days in frozen seas, a ship officer told CNN Friday.

The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, was just six nautical miles away from the rescue, but now it’s stuck in an Antarctica ice floe, too.

The Chinese crew is hoping a French icebreaker 14 nautical miles away will arrive and offer relief, said Zhu Li, chief officer of the Chinese ship.

But it’s likely the French vessel Astrolabe will also be slowed by the polar cap’s extreme frigidity, Zhu said.

Those two icebreakers — plus a third, from Australia — were battling the planet’s coldest environment in trying to reach the stranded Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, whose 74 researchers, crew and tourists remained in good condition despite being at a frozen standstill since Monday. …..

Antarctic sea ice is currently at record levels and global sea ice extent is greater than it has been for two decades. It should be noted that few proponents of climate change yet have the courage to state what is really happening but which is politically incorrect. That global warming has stopped and global cooling has begun and that carbon dioxide emissions are largely irrelevant to climate.

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