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US taxpayer now joins Antarctic rescue of icebreaker trapped in Australian global warming research fiasco

January 4, 2014

1/4/13, USA to the rescue! US Coast Guard Ice breaker asked to assist Antarctic rescue vessels trapped in ice due to #spiritofmawson fiasco,Anthony Watts, WUWT

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.”…

[Ed. note: US Polar Star was said to be traveling from Seattle at the end of Dec. 2013:

12/30/13, Antarctic rescue mission fails to reach trapped ship,” UK Guardian, Alok Jha

Another option for rescue lays with the huge American icebreaker, the Polar Star, which is currently en route to the Ross Sea from Seattle. It had been due to travel via Sydney but it has now been ordered to sail directly to its final destination. If it was called upon to assist in the rescue effort, it could get to the sea ice edge near the Shokalskiy in eight or nine days.”…]

(continuing press release): “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. Media Enquiries: 1300 624 633″


Among comments at WUWT:


rogerknights says: January 4, 2014 at 5:52 pm
  • Lance Wallace says: January 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm
“The captain wanted to go, as told by an Aussie MP (Green Party of course), but had to lose precious hours while a land party managed to sink one of their classy snowmobiles and delayed getting back to the ship. Everyone else, including the BBC and Guardian journalists and photographer, were on message and not letting this critical information out, but the MP naively spilled the beans.”

Let’s hope that eventually this conspiracy-of-silence coverup is expose–in court perhaps. Once exposed, it will be easy to see that this bunch would engage in the same coverup about larger matters, like the return of sea ice, the Pause, etc. IOW, that they’re basically untrustworthy.”


JerryL says: January 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

“The Russians have nuclear icebreakers that are not permitted in the Antarctic due to International agreements….I used to be stationed on POLAR STAR – during my Coast Guard career.”

Tom J says: January 4, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Is there any chance that we could demand that the cost of sending the Polar Star down there be taken out of the EPA’s budget? If the EPA’s shenanigans in support of the CAGW meme are going to cost us all money in “skyrocketing” utility bills, well, shouldn’t any and all (expletive deleted) expeditions in support of that meme cost the EPA money. A few layoffs should pay for it. What about the universities? A few layoffs there too, could help pick up the tab. And, as far as offsetting the fuel consumption (25,000 hp turbines slurp up the stuff), and thus carbon ‘pollution’ of the Polar Star, well, we could withhold a likewise quantity of fuel from Air Force 1.”


Chris says: January 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm

The Polar Star was already enroute to the Ross Sea for “Operation Deepfreeze”., the annual resupply of McMuardo base. The ship had just pulled into Sydney for a 4 day layover which ended up as 1 day. The US Coast Guard only has 2 icebreakers capable of breaking polar ice. The Polar Star and USCCG Healy which is in Seattle after [spending] most of the Summer & Fall in the Arctic.

The US [government] needs more Arctic icebreakers as they only have 2 right now and the Polar Star just came out of the yards after being rebuilt.”


Ed. note: US Polar Star was said to be traveling from Seattle at the end of Dec. 2013:

12/30/13, Antarctic rescue mission fails to reach trapped ship,” UK Guardian, Alok Jha

Another option for rescue lays with the huge American icebreaker, the Polar Star, which is currently en route to the Ross Sea from Seattle. It had been due to travel via Sydney but it has now been ordered to sail directly to its final destination. If it was called upon to assist in the rescue effort, it could get to the sea ice edge near the Shokalskiy in eight or nine days.”…


Gary Pearse says: January 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Hey, the US started on the rescue at the end of December:

I don’t think Anthony Watts and Joe D’Aleo got enough news credit for this remarkable assistance provided to the Akademik Shokalskiy by them. To me, this is a much bigger story than it got credit for (a few minutes on KUSI TV). Here we have the evil arch-enemy of the of poor(?) criticized AGW scientists jumping into the breach when the ship called for help with weather forecasting in the vicinity of their ship.”…


ImaHippyBurning says: January 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Sure, we’ll rescue your sad pathetic arses, but first you have to come clean on the entire “Money Laundering Fiasco” known as Global Warming or now as you leftist brainiacks are calling it “Climate Change” If you tell the truth about this contrived scheme to steal monies from the West to give to those less fortunate [or simply UN parasites and equatorial dictators, ed.]then we will consider it. Also, you must be willing to pay via your Scientific “Grants” for the entire cost of the rescue mission! Do we have a deal me bucko’s?


Jack Frost says: January 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm

It’s utterly disgusting that these tree-hugger leftist liberal whacko’s on the antarctic cruise ship aren’t footing the ENTIRE bill for their rescue. I don’t mean like the teeny tiny little bit like the Obama’s pay for their lavish safaris, I do mean the WHOLE bill!!! Why do I think it’s working responsible people who will get stuck with the tab???


“Mark McGuire says: January 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Australia is building a bigger ice breaker for an ice-free world:

Russia is building a bigger ice breaker for an ice-free world:

As noted above, America is as well:

The global warming madness continues-

Australian ‘green’ politicians call for a carbon(sic) tax to stop hottest year ever WHILST said carbon(sic) tax is FAILS to STOP hottest year ever even as tax is in operation . When will the carbon(sic) tax stop climate change?”


1/1/14, “Something’s cracking, and it’s not the ice around the warmists’ ship,” Andrew Bolt, Australia Herald Sun

The expedition of warmists now on a Russian ship trapped in ice is called “Spirit of Mawson” in honor of explorer Douglas Mawson who, a century ago, spent two years on Antarctica during which he lost two colleagues on a trek. Mawson himself survived only by eating his huskies and trudging back on feet that had lost the skin of the soles.

Guardian journalist Laurence Topham on the “Spirit of Mawson” now demonstrates how that spirit lives on in this ship of warmists, awaiting rescue by helicopter after a week trapped in ice they’d assumed was melting away:

It is quite stressful… I miss banana and peanut butter milkshakes… I’ve got this really thin, small bed… I’ve hurt my back… I jammed my leg in the door last night… And it’s only going to get worse… Stranded in ice. Oh, God I’m going mad.

Remember, these warmists are as tough as warmists come, as the ABC described a month ago:

STEVE CANNANE, PRESENTER: Could the great British Antarctic explorer Robert Scott have survived his epic journey if he’d chosen his team more wisely? That’s the view of Professor Chris Turney from the University of NSW who is about to lead one of Australia’s largest science expeditions to the frozen continent.

In this second and final preview of his trip, Professor Turney tells reporter Margo O’Neill he’s learnt from the life and death experiences of early explorers like Scott…

CHRIS TURNEY, CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH CENTRE, UNSW: So we’ve got a really good team and hopefully they won’t go psycho on us. (laughs)…

MARGOT O’NEILL: Initially there were few applicants, so Chris Turney re-versioned Ernest Shackleton’s apocryphal advertisement: “Wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition assured.”…

CHRIS TURNEY: It seemed to have gone viral. We were getting a few applications before then and suddenly the blog entry went crazy….

MARGOT O’NEILL: But it’s not exactly a luxury cruise and one of Australia’s Mount Everest heroes and an Antarctic veteran, Greg Mortimer, was brought on to find the right kind of people.

GREG MORTIMER, MOUNTAINEER: People who can grasp the highs and lows of what we’re going to do and it’s quite a big ask, this trip. There has been some whittling going on over the last months and a few people have fallen by the wayside.

MARGOT O’NEILL: Choosing the wrong team member meant the difference between life and death for British explorer Robert Scott. Professor Turney researched the stories of last century’s great ice men and became haunted by their fate.

CHRIS TURNEY: It’s that sort of extreme environment. The smallest mistakes can cascade into a disaster.

The ABC promised an update on the expedition of these rugged and desperately brave warmists to find the truth about global warming:

MARGOT O’NEILL: The expedition sails south tomorrow on a mission to revive the spirit of one of Australia’s greatest scientific explorations for a new generation grappling with climate change.

Lateline will broadcast an update early next year.

Can’t wait. Any guesses on how the ABC will gloss over the embarrassment of Turney’s expedition getting trapped in the ice they claimed was melting?

I’m betting it won’t start the way Tim Blair’s piece does:

IT began as a journey to “investigate the impact of changing climate” and to “use the subantarctic islands as thermometers of climatic change” but more than 70 global warming activists, journalists and crew, led by University of NSW professor of climate change Chris Turney, are now trapped by millions of tonnes of ice after their ship was caught in freezing conditions off the Antarctic coast.


Pierre Gosselin wonders whether this expedition was doomed by wishful thinking and cost-cutting:

The first error expedition leaders made was under-estimating the prevailing sea ice conditions at Mawson Station, their destination. The scientists seemed to be convinced that Antarctica was a warmer place today than it had been 100 years earlier, and thus perhaps they could expect less sea ice there. This in turn would allow them to charter a lighter, cheaper vessel.

This seems to be the case judging by their choice of seafaring vessel. They chartered a Russian vessel MS Akademik Shokalskiy, an ice-strengthened ship built in Finland in 1982. According to Wikipedia the ship has two passenger decks, with dining rooms, a bar, a library, and a sauna, and accommodates 54 passengers and a crew of up to 30. Though it is ice-reinforced, it is not an ice-breaker. This is a rather surprising selection for an expedition to Antarctica, especially in view that the AAE website itself expected to travel through areas that even icebreakers at times are unable to penetrate, as we are now vividly witnessing. Perhaps the price for chartering the Russian vessel was too good to pass up.

What made the expedition even more dubious is that Turney and his team brought on paying tourists in what appears to have been an attempt to help defer the expedition’s costs and to be a source of cheap labor. According to the AAE website, the expedition was costed at US$1.5 million, which included the charter of the Akademik Shokalskiy to access the remote locations. “The site berths on board are available for purchase.” Prices start at $8000!

The expedition brought with it 4 journalists, 26 paying tourists.

Here it seems that the obvious risks and hazards of bringing tourists to the world’s harshest environment in a budget-priced vessel unable to handle ice-breaking may have been brushed aside, or at least played down. Was this reckless on the part of the expedition? That Antarctica is a harsh environment was in fact known to expedition leader Chris Turney: Bild online here quotes Turney: “In the Antarctic the conditions are so extreme that you can never make forecasts.” Is this an environment you’d want to bring unfamiliar tourists in – on a vessel that cannot even break ice?

Joe McConnell, an American ice sheet researcher, isn’t happy that rescuing these warmists is hurting serious researchers:

Greetings from Casey Station on the East Antarctic coast. I’ve just returned from the deep field site at Aurora Basin where the Australians are drilling a new 400-meter ice core which we will analyze in my lab in Reno.

I’m writing with regards to the rescue effort for that tourist ship stuck in the ice near Commonwealth Bay and the enormous impact of the rescue effort on Antarctic science programs. The Australian ice breaker Aurora Australis was here at Casey in the process of unloading the coming year’s supplies for the station, as well as a number of researchers and their science gear for this summer’s activities, when the emergency response request was issued. The Australians shut down the unloading very quickly and left within a few hours after the request arrived but only about a third of the resupply was completed and a lot of that science gear was still on board. Before they left they at least were able to get the passengers including six Aurora Basin researchers off the ship. Otherwise I’d still be at Aurora Basin and would have had to stay to the end of January since my field replacement was in that group.

The short- and long-term impacts on the Australian science program are pronounced as you can imagine and I understand it is the same for both the Chinese and French programs since their icebreakers were diverted, too. I’ll be sitting down to New Year’s Eve dinner in a few minutes with a number of Australian researchers including the director of the Australian Antarctic Division Tony Fleming– many of these guys can’t complete the research they’ve been planning for years because some or all of their science gear still is on the Aurora.

But it would be mean to say Turney’s expedition was more a frolic – or a Quixotic quest – than a serious scientific exercise. Check the number of high-profile researchers he had on board:

MARGOT O’NEILL: Chris Turney’s wife Annette and two children Kara and Robert are also going with him to help blog, Tweet and broadcast about the experience for schools around the world.

ROBERT TURNEY: Dad, on the blog, basically, it’s just: day after day, more ocean.

CHRIS TURNEY: (laughs) Don’t be dreadful! No one wants to read that!

So this is what Robert Turney blogs about instead on the Spirit of Mawson website:

We spent the rest of the day eating, mucking about and enjoying ourselves. There was a small party in the bar and we all had secret santa gifts and I happily got videos of people doing some crazy dancing. During that time I also tried to get a few phone calls out to my friends back in Oz. Turns out Damon was happy and so was my friend Jonathon.

Who paid for all this? Who pays the millions for the rescue?



From Watts Up With That:

The British “explorers” on board the MV Explorer who were “commemorating the Spirit of Shackleton” found themselves repeating HIS adventure when their ship struck a piece of submerged ice and then SANK in the Antarctic in November of 2007! None of the passengers or crew were lost. But HOW AMAZING is it that both the “Spirit of Mawson” trip AND the “Spirit of Shackleton” cruise trips ended in disaster from sea ice?????

I blame all the ice that’s come since global warmism became a religion.”


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