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Thread: Coast Guard attempts rescue of stranded boat in Antarctica

  1. #1
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    Coast Guard attempts rescue of stranded boat in Antarctica

    This just in...

    Coast Guard crew navigates around icebergs, through heavy snow to reach vessel

    ALAMEDA, Calif. – A U.S. Coast Guard crew is en route to assist a 207-foot fishing vessel with 26 people aboard beset in ice approximately 900 miles northeast of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

    The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is attempting to reach the crew of an Australian-flagged fishing vessel, Antarctic Chieftain, who contacted Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand Tuesday evening for assistance after becoming trapped in the Antarctic ice. The crew of 40-year-old cutter has reported heavy, snow, wind and ice conditions at times as well as large icebergs along their course.

    “We are navigating through heavy pack ice, dodging massive ice bergs that range in size from a Home Depot to some that are miles across, often in low visibility conditions,” said Capt. Matthew Walker, commanding officer of the Polar Star. “The mission…we are now engaged (in) demonstrates the Coast Guard's core mission to save lives at sea - in any continents' waters. Polar Star is proud to be able to assist New Zealand in the rescue of the Australian fishing vessel Antarctic Chieftain."

    The Antarctic Chieftain suffered damage to three of its four propeller blades when it became stuck in the ice and has lost its ability to maneuver. According to Mr. Mike Hill, the manager of RCC New Zealand and Safety Services, the fishing boat’s hull was not damaged and the crew of 26 is not at risk. There has been no reported oil spill or environmental impact.

    RCC New Zealand requested U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, homeported in Seattle, to respond to the Antarctic Chieftain’s position. The 150-person crew of Polar Star was deployed to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, as part of Operation Deep Freeze, which provides military logistical support to the U.S. Antarctic Program managed by the National Science Foundation.

    Polar Star is now about 125 miles from the Antarctic Chieftain. The crew of Polar Star is scheduled to reach the Antarctic Chieftain Thursday at approximately 10 p.m. pacific standard time

    The Polar Star will have to break the ice around the Antarctic Chieftain to reach it. If the vessel’s propulsion is inoperable, the Polar Star may have to tow the vessel from the ice field.

    "Towing is always challenging, this evolution poses more risk because of the harsh weather and extensive ice coverage," said Lt. j.g. Joel Wright, Polar Star’s operations officer.

    Once the Antarctic Chieftain is freed from the ice, the New Zealand-flagged fishing vessel Janas is scheduled to escort or tow the vessel to the nearest safe harbor. Janas is now approximately 750-miles away from the Antarctic Chieftain’s position.

    The Polar Star is the nation’s only heavy icebreaker capable of operating in the thick Antarctic ice for a mission such as breaking out the Antarctic Chieftain or clearing McMurdo Sound for the annual resupply of McMurdo Station. The 399-foot cutter is one of the largest ships in the Coast Guard and one of the world's most powerful non-nuclear icebreakers.

    Maritime New Zealand manages RCC New Zealand, which is responsible for all major maritime and aviation search and rescue missions within New Zealand’s search and rescue region. Maritime New Zealand is responsible for search and rescue, maritime environmental protection, maritime transportation and numerous other maritime missions in New Zealand.

    Pacific Area is the Coast Guard’s regional command element and force provider for maritime safety, security, and stewardship in the Pacific. The Coast Guard’s Pacific Area encompasses six of the seven continents, 71 countries, and more than 74 million square miles of ocean -- from the U.S. Western States to Asia, and from the Arctic to Antarctica.

    For video and photos of Polar Star’s recent operations in support of the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic program in McMurdo Sound, please click here – https://www.dvidshub.net/portfolio/1...r#.VNvpe1qYnGx.

    To review the cutter’s blog posts about their, journey please click here - http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/tag/op...p-freeze-2015/.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
    ...... Vince's Avatar
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    At least it's not Greenpeace. We had to rescue them the one season I was there. Bunch of idiots.
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  3. #3
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    UPDATE...

    ALAMEDA, Calif. – A fishing vessel trapped in Antarctic ice 900-miles northeast of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, for nearly two weeks is free following an international rescue operation that ended successfully Sunday at approximately 8 p.m.

    The Antarctic Chieftain, an Australian-flagged fishing vessel, was rescued by the 150-person crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star. The rescue operation spanned more than 860 miles and required the crew to break through 150 miles of thick Antarctic ice and navigate around icebergs that were miles wide.

    “We are proud of the commitment and dedication of the Coast Guardsmen aboard Polar Star, but most importantly, we are grateful they were able to safely reach Antarctic Chieftain and rescue 26 people in distress,” said Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray, Pacific Area commander. “This was a complex and dangerous rescue mission; however, the crew rose to the challenge, and they exemplify the Coast Guard’s Core Values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty and our service’s commitment to excellence.”

    The crew navigated through difficult weather conditions during the five-day rescue operation including heavy snow fall, high winds and extreme ice conditions. Coast Guardsmen aboard the Polar Star reported whiteout snow conditions early in the operation, and they were required to break through ice that had built up over several years making it extremely thick.

    “I doubt any medium icebreaker could have made the rescue since we had to go on turbine to get through the multiyear ice that appeared to be as thick as 20 feet in places. The amount of icebergs in the region suggested that the area was extremely hazardous to navigation,” said Capt. Matthew Walker, the commanding officer of Cutter Polar Star. “This rescue demonstrates the importance of our nation’s only active heavy icebreaker in the Polar Regions.”

    Antarctic Chieftain damaged three of its four propeller blades in the ice, which required the Coast Guardsmen aboard Polar Star to tow the vessel through about 60-miles of ice into open water. Towing the 207-foot fishing vessel through heavy ice placed varying strain on the tow line, which broke three times during the rescue mission. Once in open water, the Antarctic Chieftain was able to maneuver under its own power. The crew of the fishing vessel Janas will escort the Antarctic Chieftain to Nelson, New Zealand.

    “There were some very happy sailors aboard Antarctic Chieftain upon our arrival,” said Walker. “The ice conditions that we found the fishermen in were dire, more so if Antarctic Chieftain had to stay much longer.”

    Coast Guardsmen reached the crew of the fishing vessel Friday after traveling across more than 150 miles of ice. The fishermen requested assistance from Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand Tuesday evening after becoming trapped in the ice. RCC New Zealand requested U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, homeported in Seattle, to respond to the Antarctic Chieftain’s request for assistance. The crew of Polar Star was deployed to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, as part of Operation Deep Freeze, which provides military logistical support to the U.S. Antarctic Program managed by the National Science Foundation.

    The crew of Polar Star will continue their journey home to Seattle. The Polar Star is the nation’s only heavy icebreaker capable of operating in the thick Antarctic ice for a mission such as breaking out the Antarctic Chieftain or clearing McMurdo Sound for the annual resupply of McMurdo Station. The 399-foot cutter is one of the largest ships in the Coast Guard and one of the world's most powerful non-nuclear icebreakers.

    For photos of the rescue, please click here – https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/antarctichieftain

    For video and photos of Polar Star’s recent operations in support of the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic program in McMurdo Sound, please click here –

    https://www.dvidshub.net/portfolio/1...george-degener

    To read the cutter’s blog posts about their, journey please click here - http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/tag/op...p-freeze-2015/.

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