Polar Star Icebreaker To Aid Antarctica Ships Akademik Shokalskiy And Snow Dragon

The Polar Star icebreaker sent by the United States coast guard will attempt to help the Antarctica ship rescue operation.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, some media reports find it ironic that the global warming researchers on the Akademik Shokalskiy found themselves trapped by ice.

While Chinese icebreaker ship the Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, successfully rescued 52 scientists by transferring them to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, the second irony was that they themselves became captured by the same fate as the Akademik Shokalskiy.

The good news is that the 101 crew members aboard the Snow Dragon have plenty of supplies, but according to Coast Guard Rear Admiral Jeffrey Garrett, former commander of the Polar Star icebreaker’s sister ship the Polar Sea, there is still danger:

“The biggest fear is that the ship gets pushed onto shore, or onto a rock… the hull gets punctured, and there is a pollution incident or danger to the crew. The good news is that they’re at the beginning of summer down there, so conditions are going to get better. They’re obviously going to be very careful. You don’t go dashing in there.”

The Chinese and Russian governments requested assistance from the United States. Vice Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander, explained why they were sending the Polar Star icebreaker:

“Our highest priority is safety of life at sea, which is why we are assisting in breaking a navigational path for both of these vessels. We are always ready and duty bound to render assistance in one of the most remote and harsh environments on the face of the globe.”

At this point you’re probably wondering if the Polar Star icebreaker could get stuck, as well. Unlike the other vessels involved in the Antarctica ship rescue operation, the Polar Star’s engine put out 75,000 horsepower, allowing it to ram through a two-story wall of ice and move continuously through six feet of ice at three knots. In comparison, the Akademik Shokalskiy has 3,000 horsepower and the Snow Dragon has 18,000 horsepower engines.

In short, Garrett believes the Polar Star icebreaker is well suited to complete the Antarctica ship rescue operation, saying, “More power, better maneuverability — the chances of the Star getting stuck are much smaller.”