Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




ICE WORLD
Rescued Antarctic scientists back on dry land
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Jan 22, 2014


Scientists whose Antarctic expedition became trapped in sea ice finally returned to dry land Wednesday, apologising for the disruption and facing questions over who will pay for the international rescue mission.

The scientists were among the 52 passengers plucked by helicopter from their stranded Russian ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, on January 2 after Chinese and Australian icebreakers failed to cut through the ice to rescue them.

A helicopter from the Chinese ship transferred them to the Australian ship the Aurora Australis, which docked in Hobart on Wednesday.

The rescue, estimated to have cost up to Aus$2.4 million (US$2.1 million), prompted harsh criticism from some quarters because it diverted resources from scientific programmes in Antarctica's Southern Hemisphere summer.

Expedition leader Chris Turney said the rescue operation -- which included French, Chinese and Australian ships -- had been a great example of the international cooperation possible in the remote and inhospitable Antarctic.

"We are terribly sorry for any impact that might have had on fellow colleagues, whose work has been delayed from the operation, but any experienced Antarctic scientist knows that's an inherent risk," he told reporters.

"We hope they are going to have a good season to hopefully catch up on their work."

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) said its "science season" had been disrupted by the rescue which involved a two-week diversion by the Aurora Australis from its schedule.

The icebreaker had to interrupt its resupply of vital resources to Australia's Casey research station to get to the Shokalskiy.

It had to then return to Casey, with the 52 rescued passengers on board, to complete the delivery of fuel, food and equipment needed for winter.

"We have tried to minimise disruption to our science and other programmes but it is too early to determine in detail the flow-on effects to our programmes," AAD director Tony Fleming said.

The AAD said it would attempt to recoup the cost of the rescue, which is still being determined but estimated at between Aus$1.8 and Aus$2.4 million, via the insurers of the Shokalskiy and the university behind the expedition.

"The government will be pursuing all avenues to recover costs and minimise the burden to the Australian taxpayer," Fleming said.

The Shokalskiy became stuck near Commonwealth Bay, 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont d'Urville, on December 24 and endured a fierce blizzard soon afterwards.

The rescue mission was beset by extreme conditions from the start, with the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long and Aurora Australis both unable to break through to free the stranded Russian ship.

The Xue Long then itself became stuck in ice after helicoptering the Russian ship's passengers to safety. Both it and the Shokalskiy, which had been left with their crews onboard, eventually freed themselves.

Turney, an academic at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said many Antarctic missions became beset by ice. In the case of his expedition, it was a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he said.

"The fundamental problem was there was obviously a massive upheaval of movement of sea ice from another part of Antarctica... we hadn't seen that in any of the satellite imagery before and it caught us," he said.

The expedition was aimed at emulating a 1911-1914 journey by the Australian explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson with the scientists onboard, assisted by the passengers, repeating century-old measurements to discover the environmental changes taking place in the frozen southern region.

They were also looking at the circulation of the Southern Ocean and the sub-Antarctic islands as thermometers of climatic change but the trip was criticised as a "commemorative expedition" with no scientific interest, which Turney rejected.

There was relief on Wednesday as the passengers finally disembarked from the journey which originally set off in late November, and included Christmas and New Year stuck in the ice.

"While we were there for longer than expected, we were in Antarctica and that's really all that mattered," expedition doctor Andrew Peacock told the ABC.

.


Related Links
Beyond the Ice Age






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ICE WORLD
New sea anemone species discovered in Antarctica
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 22, 2014
researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, while using a camera-equipped robot to survey the area under Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf, unexpectedly discovered a new species of small sea anemones that were burrowed into the ice, their tentacles protruding into frigid water like flowers from a ceiling. "The pictures blew my mind, it was really an amazing find," said Marymegan Daly, a ... read more


ICE WORLD
Mayor of scandal-hit Italy quake town withdraws resignation

UK charity expands Philippine anti-trafficking work

Tornadoes, flood, drought cost US billions in 2013

Funding Problems Threaten US Disaster Preparedness

ICE WORLD
Malaysians protest rare earth plant on Australia Day

Potential Future Data Storage at Domain Boundaries

Quantum physics could make secure, single-use computer memories possible

ISS delays planned orbit raise due to space junk threat

ICE WORLD
Australia's drinking water at risk from extreme weather events

Senegal to release Russian trawler in fishing row: Moscow

Romania suspends hydropower projects in protected areas

Streamflow Alteration Impacts Fish Diversity in Local Rivers

ICE WORLD
New sea anemone species discovered in Antarctica

Glaciers may have survived in Scotland more recently than thought

Greenland PM says 'natural' to want independence

Rescued Antarctic scientists back on dry land

ICE WORLD
New Biomolecular Archaeological Evidence for Nordic "Grog," Trade

Receptors that help plants manage environmental change, pests and wounds

Exposure to pesticides results in smaller worker bees

Meltwater from Tibetan glaciers floods pastures

ICE WORLD
"Sedimentary Bathtub" Amplifies Earthquakes

New storm wrecks Philippines typhoon victims' shelters

Strong 6.3-earthquake jolts New Zealand: USGS

Two dead, hundreds evacuated in flood-hit French Riviera

ICE WORLD
11 die in eastern DR Congo landslides: official

Senegal stands firm in Russian trawler row

Point of no return: can peace talks stop S. Sudan's war?

Nigerian military brass sacked after court ruling

ICE WORLD
Calcium absorption not the cause of evolution of milk digestion in Europeans

Study: Chimps can use gestures to achieve specific goals cooperatively

Primates: Now with only half the calories!

Ultrasound directed to the human brain can boost sensory performance




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement