Wednesday, January 8, 2014


2 Ships Break Free of Ice Before CG Reaches Them


Editor's note: While the USCGC POLAR STAR was still headed to the scene from Seattle the Chinese Xue LONG was able to execute a 100 degree turn in the ice working cracks that had appeared and extracted herself followed 30 minutes later by the original victim of the sea ice the Russian AKADEMIK SHOALSKIY. Vice Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, USCG Pacific Area Commander was probably relieved that the aging POLAR STAR now does not have to be exposed to the risks inherent in the rescue and may proceed directly to her original mission clearing the waters around America's Antarctic station. The POLAR STAR basically went out of active service in 2007 and underwent a refit in 2012 . Since 2007 the United States has been paying Russia about $8,000,000 per season for ice breaker services in Antarctica. That  would come to about $48,000,000 since the POLAR STAR last was able to perform this annual service. The price of  new Icebreaker is about $850,000,000.
The life expectancy of a new Ice Breaker is about 30 years. At the rate that Russia charged us we would pay about $240,000,000 for 30 years of service but our ice breaking service would be good for only the one annual mission , not the on call for any contingency as is the case with a Coast Guard manned and operated vessel. Still one has to wonder, even at twice the price , say $480,000,000 might we get more service for less cost if the Coast Guard operated bare boat chartered ice breakers rather than building our own?  One thing is for sure, `America needs more ice breakers.    


UPI | Jan 08, 2014
"The U.S. Coast Guard praised the international collaboration involved in the rescue of Russian and Chinese ships that were trapped in thick ice off Antarctica.
"We are extremely pleased to learn that both the Xue Long and the Akademik Shokalskiy freed themselves from the ice," Coast Guard Pacific Area commander Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft said in a statement.
"This case underscores the dynamic and harsh operating environment and the necessity for polar-class icebreakers in the antarctic," he said." as posted at Military.Com. Click on here to read more.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Vice Admiral also some complimentary things to say about the Australian Rescue Coordination:"I am indebted to the tremendous collaboration with RCC Australia, other countries that assisted and the National Scientific Foundation throughout this operation," he said, referring to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Center.  "

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