An update on
Gilligan Professor Turney and his stuck-in-the-ice expedition to Antarctica via The Australian:
A helicopter rescue was planned for the 42 scientists, media and tourists but proved impossible on Tuesday and yesterday because of snow and strong winds.
The 22 crew members planned to stay on board until the ship could be freed.
When the global warming gets tough, the global-warming alarmists get cold feet. Abandon ship!
And from this same article, another “inconvenient truth” — the original Mawson expedition, which Turney is reenacting, had no issues with sea ice:
GRAINY film footage from Douglas Mawson’s epic Antarctic survey and expedition provides lasting proof that when the adventurer’s team reached Commonwealth Bay exactly 100 years ago, it was free of sea ice.
It is a historical fact that some people argue can only add to acute embarrassment for Australian climate scientist Chris Turney, the carbon entrepreneur and head of climate science at the University of NSW, whose Antarctic mission has come to a frozen dead stop.
Turney’s team of embedded global media and paying science-minded tourists has spent the festive season trapped in sea ice instead of exploring what melting ice caps mean for mankind.
Rather than disappearing poles, for more than a week global attention has been focused on the fact that in recent years Antarctic ice has been growing, not shrinking as in the Arctic.
Turney is lamenting that he has become trapped in his own experiment.
Except what Turney embarked on was never an experiment — it was a stunt.
In other news, it looks like the United States Coast Guard is coming to the rescue. The Heavy Icebreaker Polar Star, already on the way to Antarctica to bring supplies to the U.S. research facility at McMurdo Station, is on tap to assist if needed — which is now likely.
Maybe the best punishment for Turney and his ship-of-fools is to make them stay on board until the Americans arrive rather than waste money and risk lives to save his sorry group with a helicopter rescue.
Update: Turney’s not leaving so fast. The rescue plan via helicopter is on hold now that the icebreaker with the helicopter — the Xue Long – is trapped in the ice as well. Here’s the press release from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority advising on the status of the rescue:
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has
been advised this morning that sea ice conditions in the area are likely to delay today’s planned rescue
of passengers from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.
It is now likely the rescue will not go ahead today.
AMSA understands that current sea ice conditions prevent the barge from Aurora Australis from reaching
the Chinese vessel Xue Long (Snow Dragon) and a rescue may not be possible today.
The Xue Long’s helicopter is unable to land on the Aurora Australis due to load rating restrictions. It is
not safe to land the helicopter next to Aurora Australis at this time.
The preferred and safest option at this stage is to ultimately transfer the passengers onto Aurora
All passengers on board the MV Akademik Shokalskiy are currently safe and well. The preferred option
is to wait for conditions that will allow the rescue to be completed in a single operation to reduce
Alternative measures to complete the rescue operation are now being investigated by AMSA and the
This rescue is a complex operation involving a number of steps. Operations in Antarctica are all weather
and ice dependent and conditions can change rapidly. The priority is to ensure the safety of all involved.
RCC Australia continues to be in regular contact with all vessels involved and continues to monitor the
situation. The vessels involved are also in close contact with each other via VHF radio.
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.
Media Note: Media are advised to keep an eye on AMSA’s Twitter feed @AMSA_News for the latest
information relating to this rescue.