Wednesday, January 01, 2014

China prepares to airlift Russian scientists

The helicopter on board the Chinese icebreaker "Xuelong" is ready to airlift Russian scientists and crew from the ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, trapped in ice off Antarctica.

The 22 crew and 52 scientists and tourists on board the ship welcomed the new year as they awaited rescue.

Singing about their experiences, the crew have been clearing the surface for the Chinese helicopter to land. The icebreaker Xuelong left Shanghai in November on China’s 30th scientific expedition to Antarctica.

It set up an emergency relief group after the Russian ship’s captain sent a formal request on Tuesday for the helicopter rescue. The expedition will airlift trapped passengers when the weather permits. The Russians will be airlifted to the Xuelong in groups of 12.

The powerful Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, which is approaching slowly due to poor weather, will then use its barge to complete the evacuation.




  1. Hopes fade for Antarctic air rescue of ice-bound ship...

    Sea ice conditions in the Antarctic are likely to delay plans to take passengers off an ice-bound ship, officials say.

    Rescue co-ordinators based in Australia said it is now likely the airlift will not go ahead on Thursday as hoped.

    They had earlier been optimistic that helicopter operations would begin soon as weather conditions had improved.

    The ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, with 74 passengers and and crew aboard, has been stuck since Christmas Eve.

    Earlier efforts by three different icebreakers to free it failed.

    The planned rescue on Thursday was to have ferried groups of 12 passengers by helicopter to the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, from where they would be taken by sea to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis.
    Alternative measures

    "Sea ice conditions are now likely to delay today's planned rescue of passengers from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy," said a statement from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC).

    "It is now likely the rescue will not go ahead today."

    The current sea ice conditions "prevent the barge from Aurora Australis from reaching the Chinese vessel".

    The barge is needed because weight restrictions mean the Chinese helicopter cannot land on the Aurora Australis. Landing next to Aurora Australis is "not safe" at the moment, the RCC said.,,,,,,,,

  2. Passenger Rescue at Stranded Russian Ship to Start Soon...

    Maritime authorities in Australia said Thursday that operations to rescue passengers on a Russian research ship trapped by ice in the Antarctic Seawill commence soon, RIA Novosti reports.

    The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said in a statement that weather conditions in the area in which the Akademik Shokalskiy is stranded have improved, enabling rescue operations by helicopter. The rescue helicopter will be dispatched from the Chinese-flagged vessel Xue Long, situated around 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) from the Akademik Shokalskiy, AMSA said. While all 52 passengers are to be evacuated, the 22 crew members will remain onboard. The rescue trips by helicopter are expected to take a minimum of five hours, depending on weather conditions. The team of scientists and tourists on the Akademik Shokalskiy had been retracing a famous Australian Antarctic Expedition from 101 years ago. The fare for tourists was $15,000 apiece, according to the Expeditions Online tour agency website.
    Read more:

  3. Antarctic helicopter rescue of trapped ship passengers delayed due to sea ice...

    (Reuters) - A planned helicopter rescue of 52 passengers on a Russian ship stranded in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve was delayed on Thursday due to unfavorable sea ice conditions in the area.

    The helicopter on the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon had planned to lift passengers from the trapped Akademik Shokalskiy on Thursday and then use a barge to transport them to the nearby Aurora Australis, Australia's Antarctic supply ship.

    "Current sea ice conditions prevent the barge from Aurora Australis from reaching the Chinese vessel Xue Long (Snow Dragon) and a rescue may not be possible today," the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is coordinating the rescue, said in a statement.

    It was not safe for the helicopter to land either on the Aurora Australis or next to the vessel, the agency added.

    "It is now likely the rescue will not go ahead today. The preferred option is to wait for conditions that will allow the rescue to be completed in a single operation to reduce unnecessary risk," AMSA said.

    The Russian ship left New Zealand on November 28 on a private expedition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey led by famed Australian explorer Douglas Mawson.

    It became trapped on December 24, 100 nautical miles east of French Antarctic station Dumont D'Urville and about 1,500 nautical miles south of Australia's southern island state of Tasmania..............

  4. Evacuation of passengers from ice-trapped ship in Antarctica likely Jan 3...

    SYDNEY, January 02, /ITAR-TASS/. Evacuation of passengers from the Russian research ship MV Akademik Shokalsky, which is trapped in thick ice off some 100 km off Antarctica’s Adelie Land, will most probably be done January 3, not January 2, the ship’s captain Igor Kiselyov told Itar-Tass.

    The Akademik Shokalsky has 74 people aboard - a 22-strong Russian crew and 52 passengers, some of them researchers from the Australian Antarctic Expedition and others being accompanying travelers.

    A decision was taken earlier that the crew would stay behind on the ship and the passengers would be evacuated - first airlifted to the Chinese ship Xue Long positioned close enough to the Akademik Shokalsky and then taken by barge to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, currently in the same area.

    “The Chinese ships is separated by a distance of 11.8 miles /about 22 km/ from us, while the distance between us and the Australians is 14.4 miles /about 27 km/,” Capt Kiselyov said. “They are so far staying within the ice cover zone and are trying to get out of it into clear water. Evacuation will begin only after that.”

    “On the basis of information we had at 03:30 Moscow Standard Time /23:30 GMT Wednesday/ I think the evacuation most probably won’t begin today although the situation may change very quickly,” he said.

    Chief of rescue operations at the Australian Maritime Safety Authority /AMSA/, John Young, voiced the hope the operation would begin shortly. He said, however, along with it that a decision of the exact time for the start of the evacuation was to be taken by the captains of the three ships.

    AMSA spokeswoman Lisa Martin told Itar-Tass the helicopter is expected to make a total of seven flights to the Akademik Shokalsky - five flights to evacuate people and two more flights to take away their luggage and equipment.

    Each cruise of the helicopter will last 45 or so minutes and the whole operation will thus last about 5 hours.

    AMSA points out a considerable improvement of weather in the area of the planned operation, with wind slowing down and the visibility improving noticeably.

    At the same time, AMSA staff members decline to say when the passengers might return to Australia. John Young said he hoped his might take place in mid-January.

    When Itar-Tass asked Captain Kiselyov why the crew of the Akademik Shokalsky had refused to evacuate, he said: “Nothing is threatening the ship and it’s functioning in the scheduled mode but we’ve found ourselves in the grips of ice.”

    “We hope for a change of the direction of wind because we’d be able to get out of here independently,” Capt Kiselyov said. “Also, we hope to get assistance from the U.S. icebreaker Polar Star, which will cope with our ice without any problem.”

    John Young told Itar-Tass the Akademik Shokalsky is out of danger and the options for further handling of the situation around the ship do exist but they seem to be far less efficacious than evacuation.

  5. Rescue delayed for icebound ship in Antarctica....

    CANBERRA, Australia: The latest attempt to rescue passengers on board a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for more than a week was delayed again Thursday after sea ice prevented a barge from reaching one of the rescue vessels.

    The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre, which is handling the operation, said earlier on Thursday that weather conditions had improved and rescue flights were expected to commence. A helicopter was expected to airlift passengers to a Chinese icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, and a barge would then ferry them to a nearby Australian vessel.

    But before the rescue operation could begin, sea ice had blocked the path of the barge that needed to make it from the Australian vessel, the Aurora Australis, to the Snow Dragon. Because the Aurora isn't built to handle a helicopter landing, it appeared unlikely that the passengers would be rescued Thursday, the maritime authority said.

    "This rescue is a complex operation involving a number of steps. Operations in Antarctica are all weather and ice dependent and conditions can change rapidly," the agency said in a statement.

    The rescue operation for the 74 scientists, tourists and crew on the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy has been plagued by one delay after another since the vessel became stuck on Christmas Eve. Three icebreakers were initially dispatched to try and crack their way through the thick ice surrounding the ship, but all failed. The Aurora came within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the ship Monday, but fierce winds and snow forced it to retreat to open water. .........

  6. Antarctic ship helicopter rescue begins.....

    The helicopter evacuation of a Russian research ship stranded in Antarctica was launched Jan. 2 after a series of stalled attempts due to bad weather and sea ice.

    "The Chinese helicopter has arrived at the Shokalskiy. It's 100 percent we're off! A huge thanks to all," tweeted expedition leader Chris Turney.

    Turney's post was accompanied by a video showing a red helicopter from the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long touching down on a landing pad marked out on the ice beside the Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stranded in pack ice in Antarctica since December 24.

    An orange-suited rescue crew from the Chinese ship disembarked onto the ice before the helicopter again took off.

    "If it all goes well we'll be off in about an hour's time," Turney said on the film.

    The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said it was still awaiting formal confirmation from the Xue Long that the rescue operation had begun.

    AMSA estimates that the rescue of the ship's 52 passengers, which include scientists, tourists and journalists, will take at least five hours, depending on the weather.

    The group will be moved in five flights of up to 12 passengers, with each return journey to the Xue Long some 10 nautical miles distant expected to take 45 minutes.

    Under the aerial rescue plan outlined by AMSA earlier Jan. 2 the passengers will be moved from the Xue Long to Australia's Antarctic supply ship the Aurora Australis via a barge.

    It will be some weeks before the passengers reach dry land, with the Australis needing to travel via Australia's Casey Antarctic base to refuel.

  7. Helicopter Rescue Begins for Stranded Antarctic Ship ...

    Dozens of passengers aboard a Russian research ship stuck for over a week in the Antarctic ice were preparing to be evacuated Thursday, after a rescue helicopter finally was able to land nearby.

    Video posted on YouTube by Chris Turney, one of the scientists on the ship, showed a Chinese helicopter landing on the ice near the Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stranded since Christmas Eve.

    Fifty-two passengers - including scientists, tourists, and journalists - are waiting to board the helicopter, 12 at a time. After being dropped off at a nearby Chinese vessel, they will be taken by barge to an Australian icebreaker ship, which they will take on a weeks-long journey to dry land.

    Blizzard conditions hampered previous attempts to evacuate the passengers by helicopter. Icebreaker ships from China, Australia, and France have also failed to reach the Russian vessel........

  8. Antarktis-Expedition: Helikopter ist eingetroffen....

    Die Bergung der Passagiere des in der Antarktis festsitzenden Forschungsschiffs "Akademik Schokalskij" ist angelaufen. Der Hubschraubereinsatz habe begonnen, so Expeditionsleiter Chris Turney am Donnerstag. Zuletzt waren zwei Versuche gescheitert, das seit dem Heiligen Abend mit 74 Menschen an Bord im Eis feststeckende Schiff mit Eisbrechern zu befreien........

  9. Helicopter rescue begins for passengers stuck in Antarctic ice....

    (Reuters) - A Chinese helicopter has reached a Russian ship stranded in Antarctica for nine days and is beginning to pick up 52 passengers who spent Christmas and the New Year trapped in ice, the expedition leader said on Thursday.

    The helicopter from the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon will take all the passengers from the ice-bound Akademik Shokalskiy and transfer them to an Australian Antarctic supply ship, the Aurora Australis.

    Chris Turney, the leader of the private expedition, said conditions had improved enough to mount the rescue after days of blizzards, fog and shifting sea ice.

    "The Chinese helicopter has arrived @ the Shokalskiy. It's 100% we're off! A huge thanks to all," Turney posted on Twitter.

    Television pictures showed the helicopter checking out a makeshift landing pad on the ice then apparently picking up the first group of 12 passengers.

    The Russian ship left New Zealand on November 28 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey led by famed Australian explorer Douglas Mawson.

    It became trapped on December 24, 100 nautical miles east of French Antarctic station Dumont D'Urville and about 1,500 nautical miles south of Australia's southern island state of Tasmania.

    Everyone on board was believed to be in good condition and they were never in any great danger.

    The Chinese ship got within sight of the Akademik Shokalskiy on Saturday, but turned back after failing to break through the ice, which was more than 3 meters (10 feet) thick in some place.

    Two other vessels, Australia's Aurora Australis and a French flagged ship, also tried to help but failed to reach the ship because of strong wind and heavy snow.

    Earlier on Thursday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority which is coordinating the rescue, had said the rescue had again been thwarted by ice and bad weather.

    (Additional reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Michael Perry and Robert Birsel)

  10. First 12 passengers from Russian vessel delivered to Australian icebreaker ...

    The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reports the first twelve passengers from Russia’s Akademik Shokalsky vessel have been delivered to Aurora Australis icebreaker, ITAR-TASS reports.

    The Russian captain Igor Kiselev said it was summer in the Antarctica and “at night it is as light as during the daytime,” thus the time of the day did not affect the evacuation, which might take about 5-6 hours.

    The Akademik Shokalsky has 74 people aboard - a 22-strong Russian crew and 52 passengers, some of them researchers from the Australian Antarctic Expedition and others being accompanying travellers. The crew will remain aboard, and the passengers will be evacuated.

    Initially, the plan was the helicopter would deliver people to the Chinese vessel, and then they (in groups of 22) will be taken by a barge to the Australian icebreaker. However, later on Lisa Martin said the helicopter would land on the ice right next to the icebreaker.
    Read more:

  11. All passengers of ice-bound Russian ship in Antarctic rescued...

    All the passengers of the Russian ship Akademik Shokalsky, stuck in the Antarctic since Christmas Eve, have been rescued after a Chinese helicopter delivered them to an Australian icebreaker.

    A total of 52 scientists and tourists have been transported to the Aurora Australis vessel, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which has supervised the rescue operation. ............


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Δημοσιεύτηκε από Geo Kok στις Πέμπτη, 11 Φεβρουαρίου 2021
Δημοσιεύτηκε από Geo Kok στις Παρασκευή, 12 Φεβρουαρίου 2021
Δημοσιεύτηκε από Geo Kok στις Πέμπτη, 11 Φεβρουαρίου 2021
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