Thursday, February 20, 2014


Powerful Japanese Icebreaker Runs Aground In Antarctica

The Asahi Shimbun has the story as told by Yumi Nakayama 

File:Icebreaker Shirase AGB-5003 07.JPG
THE SHIRASE IN MORE TEMPERATE CLIMES (PHOTO by Tak1701dGNU Free Documentation License.)

Editor's Note 1/9/2015 We have confirmed that after publication of this story the SHIRASE made it back to Japan. We are now nearing the Antarctic mid summer, the typical time for the SHIRASE's support run to Japan's Antarctic station. So far we have not found any reports of the ship's annual departure and we are wondering if the repair to the double bottom has been completed on time for the annual deployment. If any readers have an up date we'd appreciate a comment in the COMMENTS section .

EDITORS NOTE:  This is not another story of an ice breaker getting caught in this season's larger ice pack. While floe ice is visible in the vicinity of the ship the event happened in open water when the ship struck a submerged rock off of the Antarctic coast. The ship, the SHIRASE is doubled hulled and only the outer hull was breached. There is no immediate danger of the ship becoming ice bound but at the last high tide it was not able to get off the rock. The crew is lightening ship and counter ballasting and will try to extricate itself at the next high tide. There are no injuries to report. Such groundings are a real hazard of transit in both Antarctic and Arctic zones both of which are under charted, under surveyed, and mostly unmarked by short range aids to navigation. 

 The complete story with photos and map illustration is available by clicking
 Asahi Shimbun


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