A Russian expedition ship carrying global warming scientists got stuck in ice earlier this week. Now a Chinese ice breaker sent to rescue the scientists is frozen too just miles away.
Global warming strikes again.
South Pole weather has stymied a rescue by a Chinese icebreaker trying to reach an expedition vessel trapped for the past four days in frozen seas, a ship officer told CNN Friday.
The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, was just six nautical miles away from the rescue, but now it’s stuck in an Antarctica ice floe, too.
The Chinese crew is hoping a French icebreaker 14 nautical miles away will arrive and offer relief, said Zhu Li, chief officer of the Chinese ship.
But it’s likely the French vessel Astrolabe will also be slowed by the polar cap’s extreme frigidity, Zhu said.
Those two icebreakers — plus a third, from Australia — were battling the planet’s coldest environment in trying to reach the stranded Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, whose 74 researchers, crew and tourists remained in good condition despite being at a frozen standstill since Monday.
It all shows that some lands — especially the ends of the Earth — will never be tamed.
The Snow Dragon is in near-constant communication with the Russian exploration vessel and has ample supplies of water, food and medicine — even a helicopter — if the ice-bound Shokalskiy needed them, Zhu said.
The Russian expedition ship is carrying scientists and passengers led by an Australian climate change professor, but they all may have to wait two more days for one or all three icebreakers to free it, said Capt. Wang Jiangzhong of the Snow Dragon…
…The expedition is trying to update scientific measurements taken by an Australian expedition led by Douglas Mawson that set out in 1911.
The expedition to gauge the effects of climate change on the region began November 27. The second, and current leg of the trip, started December 8 and was scheduled to conclude with a return to New Zealand on January 4.