Germany’s online Bild daily here reports on how a Chinese ice breaker trying to reach the sea ice-trapped Akademik Shokalskiy research vessel was stopped by thick sea ice: “Also The Ice Breaker Gets Stuck!”
The 74 passengers who have now been trapped 4 days in unexpected Antarctic sea ice are made up of scientists, tourists, and crew members. One passenger onboard is a journalist from the UK’s global warming alarmist daily, The Guardian. Some have criticized the expedition as a global-warming publicity junket.
Bild reports that the vessel was on a 5-week expedition to repeat the route of Antarctic scientist Douglas Mawson of 100 years earlier. Ironically, rather than finding warming and open seas, the current expedition has wound up getting trapped by thick sea ice and blizzards that have yet to be penetrated even by modern ice breakers.
Bild writes that the Akademik Shokalskiy got trapped in ice on Christmas Eve and was forced to send out distress signals. Bild adds:
A Chinese ice breaker on its way to the MV Akademik Schokalskiy” had to bail out, it was unable to continue because of the pack ice!”
According to Bild, the Akademik Shokalskiy research vessel had been only a couple of kilometers away from open water before it got stuck. Now even ice breakers cannot get within 6 miles of the vessel.
The Chinese ice breaker came as close as six and half nautical miles of the research vessel, but because of the thick ice it was unable to travel further.”
According to reports, Australian ice breaker Aurora Australis has the best chances of freeing the trapped research vessel, but that the ice breaker “will not arrive the sea ice until before Sunday.” That means the trapped passengers will have to sit tight for at least another day or two.
Frustration taking over
Originally it looked as if the Chinese ice breaker was about to reach the trapped boatpeople. Passenger and spokesman Chris Turney said that the ice breaker would arrive in “2 or 3 hours…if everything goes well”. But that turned out to be wishful thinking. The Chinese ice breaker was stopped by thick sea ice. Disappointment. Bild quotes Turney:
“The bad news is that the ice around our ship now extends out over 20 kilometers.”
Also the once festive atmosphere on the boat appears to be waning with frustration starting to creep in. Bild adds:
Even with Turney insisting that all is fine with the passengers and crew, a bit of frustration can be detected between his lines.”
The trapped boatpeople better start hoping for a little luck. Conditions down there are unpredictable and can get nasty really quickly. One bad storm could spell serious delays and lots of trouble. Moreover, expect the costs of the rescue efforts to run up into the millions.