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Australian Icebreaker Returns After Being Stuck In Pack Ice For Three Weeks

December 12, 2013

By Paul Homewood




The Australian supply ship, the icebreaker Aurora Australis, has finally returned to port in Hobart, after being stuck in the pack ice for three weeks.

The ship had left the Davis Research Station on the Antarctic coast on 12th November, but became stuck soon after, about 180 miles off the coast. It finally broke free of the ice on 3rd December.

It had been due back in Hobart originally on 16th November, but the three week delay has meant that the planned three voyage season has had to be curtailed to two:


Australian Antarctic Division Director, Dr Tony Fleming said that the ship’s delayed arrival and the recent helicopter crash near Davis station have necessitated changes to subsequent voyages and some research projects.

“To ensure the Antarctic season can progress with minimal disruption, we have combined the next two voyages into one extended voyage visiting Macquarie Island before continuing on to resupply Casey station.


The Aurora Australis is described as “Australia’s Antarctic Flagship” by the Australian Antarctic Division, and is a modern icebreaker capable of breaking ice up to 1.23 metres thick.


Aurora Australis (2).jpg

  1. John F. Hultquist permalink
    December 12, 2013 5:25 pm

    “a modern icebreaker capable of breaking ice up to 1.23 metres thick.”

    Maybe they can sue the UN as the ice was thicker than projected.

    I think I see the problem. It is known by 97% of all international travelers that the ice is often 1.24 metres thick.

    Was Al G. on board?

  2. J Martin permalink
    December 12, 2013 7:53 pm

    Perhaps Oz should invest in one of the new Ruski icebreakers, capable of dealing with 3m thick ice.

  3. Joe Public permalink
    December 12, 2013 7:54 pm

    But Paul, only yesterday the Beeb’s ScienceFiction Environment pessimist Mr Amos was reporting:-

    “Esa’s Cryosat mission detects continued West Antarctic ice loss.

    West Antarctica continues to lose ice to the ocean and this loss appears to be accelerating, according to new data from Europe’s Cryosat spacecraft.”

    The ice has obviously not been ‘lost’, it’s just moved around the coast.

  4. Brian H permalink
    December 13, 2013 2:56 am

    Just edging beyond the 2-sigma above normal range. Uh-oh!

  5. Green Sand permalink
    December 16, 2013 11:47 am

    Whilst up north:-

    “Esa’s Cryosat sees Arctic sea-ice volume bounce back”

    “The bounce back in the extent of sea ice in the Arctic this summer was reflected also in the volume of ice.

    Data from Europe’s Cryosat spacecraft suggests there were almost 9,000 cu km of ice at the end of this year’s melt season.

    This is close to 50% more than in the corresponding period in 2012.

    It is a rare piece of good news for a region that has witnessed a rapid decline in both area cover and thickness in recent years.

    But scientists caution against reading too much into one year’s “recovery”……”

  6. BruceC permalink
    December 19, 2013 1:25 pm

    Sorry to resurrect an older post, but being an Ozzie who watches the news every morning before going to work and in the evening when I come home from work and also reads the papers daily, there has not been one single mention of this as far as I am aware. Zip, nada, zilch, nothing.

    BUT………now that we are going to experience a ‘few days’ (maybe only a couple) of [cough] HEATWAVE CONDITIONS (shock horror…..high temps during an Ozzie summer… the life-boats!!), the press and TV are all over it likes maggots on a piece of meat.

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