Rescue ship Aurora Australis slowed to a crawl – fighting heavy sea ice to reach open water

Ship with 52 rescued Akademik Shokalskiy climate scientists and tourists is only able to make 1/4 knot (0.29 mph) in heavy ice towards open water. Latest webcam views show all ice all around the ship and no open water ahead.


More webcam views follow.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority Press release: 8.00am AEDT: 3rd January 2014

Antarctica rescue operation now complete

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) can confirm that the rescue operation from the Akademik Shokalskiy in Antarctica has been completed.

RCC Australia was notified at 6.15pm AEDT yesterday evening that the first group of 12 passengers had boarded the helicopter from the Xue Long at around 6pm AEDT. RCC Australia was then notified at 7.30pm AEST that the first 12 passengers had arrived at the Aurora Australis

Five flights were conducted to take the passengers to the Aurora Australis over a distance of about 14 nautical miles. Four flights were undertaken with 12 people each flight, and the fifth flight rescued four passengers. The helicopter landed on an ice floe adjacent to the Aurora Australis.

At 10.05pm AEDT, AMSA was advised that all 52 passengers had been safely rescued and were on board the Aurora Australis.

Aurora Australis advised AMSA that helicopter operations had been completed at about 10.45pm AEDT and all passengers, luggage and equipment had been transferred.

The Aurora Australis will now start heading towards open water. The ship is currently travelling at a quarter knot in heavy ice towards open water. It will take until late evening to reach open water.

The Aurora Australis will then head towards the Casey base to complete a resupply before heading to Australia. The Aurora Australis is not expected to arrive in Australia until mid-January.

All 22 crew members of the Akademik Shokalskiy remain with the vessel.

RCC Australia has overall coordination of the incident as it is in Australia’s search and rescue region and has regular contact with the vessels involved.

The search and rescue operation commenced on Christmas morning AEDT after the Falmouth Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in the United Kingdom received a distress message via satellite from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy. The distress message and subsequent coordination of the incident was passed to RCC Australia, who is the responsible search and rescue authority for this area.


Other camera views.

Port Camera:


Stern camera:




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Bob Diaz

The irony of this whole mess is amazing.

Amr marzouk

Hope the cost of all this becomes transparent sometime.


1/4 knot headway in heavy ice, who will rescue the ‘rescuers’ ?

Stuart Elliot

So the original purpose was to confirm “an increasing body of evidence” showing “melting and collapse from ocean warming” as well as to retrace the steps of the Mawson expedition. I hope they are asked repeatedly whether the mission was a success by their own standards and whether they were prepared for all that ice.


Good luck!

They don’t need a bigger ice breaker; they need a bigger credulity breaker


It’s worse than we thought?


Maybe it’s my eyesight but that sure looks like a lot of ice heading towards the horizon. These visiting journalists and tourists will never forget this lesson. Many will turn into closet sceptics or head off into the kitchen any time someone mentions Antarctic thermal meltdown.


It’s more ironic than we thought!


The rescue ship Aurora Australis has CAGW form….Sept 2012…..
their new 2014 guest will be made warm and welcome as they have already crossed P&Os palm with silver.


At least they can still move. 0.25 knots is better than just the speed of the ice pushing them about.

R. de Haan

The warmist PR machine is grinding:
Just watch the Drudge news lines:
Blizzard to Reach From NYC to Boston…
USA ushers in 2014 with record-low temps…
Chicago Sees Biggest Snowfall In 15 Years…
NFL: Bitter cold coming to Green Bay on Sunday – High of four degrees… Winnipeg deep freeze — cold as uninhabited planet… Frozen Out: 98% of Network Stories Ignore That Ice-bound Ship Was On ‘Global Warming’ Mission…
Don’t you love it…?


I believe you can see about 13 nautical miles across water before the curviture of the earth kicks in if thats correct then there is at least 26 nautical miles of ice visible forward and aft not to mention starboard and port.

Dr T G Watkins

Is the Chinese Sun Dragon stuck? Lots of mileage left in this drama yet.


You couldn’t even write a song about it….maybe


I’m a Climate Scientist / Guardian Reporter “GET ME OUT OF HERE”
Could make good reality TV (Haven’t they’ve got BBC on board ?)
May be Ant & Deck could help (re Celebrity Jungle in UK)


Has anyone ever considered the damage to the sea ice done by these “ice breakers” ?

R. de Haan

What I don’t understand is why a rescue alert is send out in the first place now the complete crew of 22 souls is left behind. It can’t be that an emergence only goes for passengers.
I smell a rat.


So if the Aurora was equipped for helicopters why did it land on the Chinese ship first the passengers loaded onto barges? Or am I mistaken. Doesn’t the “H” on the stern of the boat stand for “helicopter
REPLY: Two possibilities.
1. That helipad couldn’t accommodate the rotor size of the Chinese copter
2. Some silly rule about sovereignty prevented Chinese copter from landing on Australian ship.

1500 feet per hour at what throttle setting and limited by what, due diligence seamanship or hull limitations. 1/4 Kt. is slow but indicative of nothing in an of itself.


Really now. The posters on this thread seem kind of mean spirited. Some folks get caught in a bit of bad-weather and you get all climatey on them.

Bill Illis

Just noting there is time-stamp on the webcam images which allows one to back up and look at the history of the images
The Aurora cycles new pics every 30 minutes (occasionally, it takes 31 minutes).
So, the Bow camera in the head post here has a link/time-stamp of:
Change it to, , and you get the newest image. In this case, it was not 30 minutes but 31 minutes.
The last five digits are the time in 2400 clock, and A is the Bow camera, B is the Stern camera and C is the Port camera.
So, gives you the Port camera 30 minutes ago.
When it flips over the 2400 hour clock into the next day, the 14002 will change to 14003 and the image link will change to /A140030000C.jpg at the end.
Hope that makes sense.

maroon scientists formerly marooned scientists


Forgot the ??s


Brilliant song and video! I am still chuckling. Thanks.

Green Sand

The Aurora Australis does not yet appear to be in a good place:-

Leon Brozyna

It seems that everywhere you look, it’s 52 passengers rescued, as though these were poor victims of a cruise line’s poor planning.
Only here on WUWT (and other skeptic (reality) oriented sites) does reality exist with the clear identification of the essential detail, “Ship with 52 rescued Akademik Shokalskiy climate scientists and tourists”


And the Xue Long? Can they make their way out?

Mario Lento

Let’s see what happens!

stephen says: January 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm “I believe you can see about 13 nautical miles across water before the curviture of the earth kicks in …”
Bowditch APN V.II, Table 8 Distance of the Horizon explanation, page 5, says distance in miles to the horizon is 1.17 times the square root of the height of eye in feet.


The helicopter cannot land on the Aurora, weight and size is an issue as posted by others.

Mario Lento

Frank says:
January 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm
Really now. The posters on this thread seem kind of mean spirited. Some folks get caught in a bit of bad-weather and you get all climatey on them.
Frank, is that your real name or are you Michele Obama talking about non us liberal US citizens?


R de Haan, with only 22 aboard an emergency evacuation can be done much faster than with almost four times that number.
Plus with fewer aboard the supplied will last longer, as will the space available in the sewage holding tank.
Or maybe they’ve just been dumping their sewage into the ocean… I have no idea.

I must be really stupid, for I continuously forget the correct explanation for how global warming continues to cool this poor planet.
Even more, I fail to see any trace of this warming in global temperature anomalies as published by every official weather/climate observing agency.
It was so easy after 1975 and before 1998; temperatures rose with CO2, those were the days!
Oh, now I remember; the heat has taken to hide undetected in the deep oceans, were it cannot be measured. How clever is that?

Green Sand

de_mol says:
January 2, 2014 at 4:24 pm
And the Xue Long? Can they make their way out?

Zoom in to the track, doesn’t look like a ship in clear water!


I hope the get home soon. Expedition leader Turney is going to need at least one lifetime to fulfil his promise to plant trees to completely offset the CO2 emissions of his expedition


Yeah, they can’t find the heat but at least they found the ice.

john robertson

So the Chinese saviours are abandoned in the ice?
If so these activists are sure running true to form.
@ Frank 4.13 You forgot the sarc.
Wait until 2014 as the disinterested public start to realize just how expensive the CAGW scam has become.
Australia is leading the way, the timing of this Antarctic Fiasco is perfect, for the new Government.


Why keep endangering more and more merchant marines and valuable life saving equipment for a few scientists? Give them dog sleds and a dog team to fight their way back. They will get a more detailed view of the melting ice from global warming.


Oh No! More delays?
But the nearest peanut and banana milkshake could now be weeks away!
How much more sobbing anguish can the Clitanic survivors endure?

Steve from Rockwood

Frank says:
January 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm
Really now. The posters on this thread seem kind of mean spirited. Some folks get caught in a bit of bad-weather and you get all climatey on them.
1. The vast majority of posters have commented that they hope everyone returns safely – that is genuine concern and is not mean spirited as you suggest.
2. The irony of the situation is obviously totally lost on you especially given your phrase “a bit of bad weather”.
3. The purpose of the voyage was to show how the Antarctic is being affected by global warming and now even the ice-breakers are stuck in the ice while the world looks on.
Who would have thought a group of climate scientists trying to prove the catastrophe of global warming caused by fossil fuels would be saved by a Chinese ice-breaker and a Russian helicopter. A denier could not have scripted better fiction, only this is real and we are savouring every morsel. Maybe you don’t like the menu (Chris(tmas) Turkey).

Gail Combs

Frank says: @ January 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm
Really now. The posters on this thread seem kind of mean spirited….
I hope you just forget the /sarc tag on that statement.
These self-centered prima donnas cost the Australian tax payers millions, disrupted REAL researchers and may, if thing go bad, have sentenced to death 23 people.
Aphan has documented Prof.Chris(tmas) Turkey’s idiotic moves that resulted in this mess. Note that after getting the ship stuck by ignoring the Captain, he does not even bother to mention much less thank the Captian and crew who are still risking their lives trying to salvage the ship.
For the direct quotes from the diaries showing Prof.Chris(tmas) Turkey KNEW the conditions were bad days before they got stuck and that the ship was stuck because the ‘Tourists’ took an additional two hours getting back to the ship after the Captain recalled them.
From the way the diary reads it seems the message from the Captain wasn’t even passed on!

John M

So who says the Media are ignoring “climate change” in the reporting of this dbacle?
From the AP:

While scientists expect and observe more extreme weather with man-made global warming, some say it’s not quite fair to blame the Antarctic blizzard that trapped the ship on climate change.
University of Colorado ice scientist Waleed Abdalati, NASA’s former chief scientist, cautioned, like many scientists do, that while researchers can spot a trend in extreme weather, they can’t immediately associate an individual event –like a blizzard — with changing climate. When scientists do attribute an individual extreme weather event to climate change, it is usually more than a year later after numerous computer model simulations and then published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Nope, no single weather event can be blamed on climate change (wink wink, nod nod).

Gail Combs

Neo says: @ January 2, 2014 at 4:10 pm
Has anyone ever considered the damage to the sea ice done by these “ice breakers” ?
Yes, I have often wondered just how much of the decrease in Arctic sea ice is due to the increased traffic of the “ice breakers”


When these fossil ‘fool’ losers finally get home can they please be tarred and feathered?

I seem to remember from when I was in the Navy, that the horizon was over 20 miles away from viewing at deck level.
Hmm, 4 hours to go 1 “mile” = 20 x 4 = 80 hours. They can make it faster if the ice starts thinning out. Let’s hope they can make it to open water.
Anyone know if they did the 2 luggage transport rescues?


Frank says:
January 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm
Really now. The posters on this thread seem kind of mean spirited. Some folks get caught in a bit of bad-weather and you get all climatey on them.

Why not? The BBC thought it was climatey. Take a look.

2 January 2014
Antarctic rescue of Akademik Shokalskiy ship completed
The BBC’s Andrew Luck-Baker describes his rescue experience
The Australian rescue operators said the scientists and tourists were now all aboard the ship Aurora Australis.
One of the aims was to track how quickly the Antarctic’s sea ice was disappearing.

Those who live by the climatey will die by the climatey, matey. 😉

Gail Combs

Jimbo says: @ January 2, 2014 at 4:53 pm
When these fossil ‘fool’ losers finally get home can they please be tarred and feathered?
I can just see it now. A mob of irate tax papers with signs reading:
With pictures of a half plucked turkey and bags of feathers to toss like confetti.


And they got stuck in over 3 metres of “how quickly the Antarctic’s sea ice was disappearing.”


So the ice breaker is close to getting trapped in the ice itself? I that like a snow plow getting stuck in the snow?
The irony it burns.