Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Australia. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Australia. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Δευτέρα, Αυγούστου 07, 2017

US, Japan, Australia Urge Binding Code for South China Sea

South China Sea
The United States, Japan and Australia expressed "serious concerns" Monday over disputes concerning the South China Sea, while calling for a halt to land reclamation and military actions in the area that could increase tensions or cause permanent environmental damage.

Παρασκευή, Φεβρουαρίου 20, 2015

2 strong cyclones hit remote parts of northern Australia

Two powerful cyclones smashed into northern Australia on Friday, with authorities ordering coastal residents to flee their homes amid warnings the storms' violent winds and drenching rains could prove deadly.

The twin storms, dubbed the ''cyclone sandwich'' by locals, struck early Friday, about 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) apart. Cyclone Lam hit a sparsely populated stretch of the Northern Territory, while the more powerful and potentially dangerous Cyclone Marcia began crossing over small coastal towns along the eastern coast of Queensland state a few hours later, packing wind gusts up to 285 kilometers (180 miles) an hour.

''Over the next few hours, many thousands of Queenslanders are going to go through a harrowing and terrifying experience,'' Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. ''This is a severe cyclone. I want everyone to take all the precautions that they possibly can take.''

About 30,000 people living in the Queensland town of Yeppoon and surrounding areas were expected to experience the worst of the storm. More than 100 schools were closed and nearly 900 residents in low-lying areas were told to evacuate their homes.

No immediate damage had been reported, but officials pleaded with hardened Queensland residents _ no stranger to violent cyclones _ to take the storm seriously. A cyclone of similar strength, Yasi, hit the state in 2011, destroying scores of homes but causing no deaths.

''This is going to be a calamity, there's absolutely no doubt about that,'' Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned that Marcia had a ''very destructive core,'' had intensified rapidly and was likely to cause flooding.

In the Northern Territory, Cyclone Lam struck a remote stretch of coast, tearing up trees and downing power lines, but causing no major damage as it weakened and moved further inland. No injuries had been reported. 


Παρασκευή, Φεβρουαρίου 06, 2015

Australian Black Saturday bushfire victims win $225m settlement

AusNet, An Australian energy company, announced a 225-million US dollar settlement with hundreds of survivors of the infamous Black Saturday bushfires on Friday...
The agreement with victims of the inferno that killed 40 people and destroyed the town of Marysville, north of Melbourne, came on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the fires that killed 173 across the Victoria state.

The fire started around 2:45 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2009, near a disused sawmill in Murrindindi, rapidly became an out-of-control inferno that raced through the Toolangi State Forest. An abrupt wind change then sent the bushfire straight into Marysville.

The settlement was announced an hour before a class action run on behalf of the Marysville victims was to begin in the Victorian Supreme Court.

The class action had alleged the fire was sparked by a break in an electrical conductor on a power pole near the Murrindindi Saw Mill.

The company denied its power poles were to blame.

The no-fault settlement, still to be approved in court, announced that AusNet, which the State Grid Corporation of China has bought a stake in since the 2009 disaster, will pay 195 million US dollars while its maintenance contractor will pay 7.5 million US dollars. The state government will pay 21.75 million US dollars.

"Perhaps not at the moment but in time, the benefits to the Victorian community - particularly those affected by the fires - of a settlement rather than judgments of this court with winners and losers following long trials will be very clear," said Justice John Dixon in court.

The Marysville settlement follows a 370.5-million US dollar agreement in December also led by AusNet for victims of the Kilmore blaze on Black Saturday that killed 119 people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.

    Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
Related 2015:

Σάββατο, Ιανουαρίου 24, 2015

Australia bans waste dumping on Great Barrier Reef

Australia has ordered a ban on dumping dredge waste on most of the Great Barrier Reef, the environment minister said on Saturday (Jan 24), as part of a push to stop the UN declaring the site in danger.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he had ordered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to develop regulations to stop waste from capital dredging being dumped in the park "once and for all". "We are ending a century-old practice of dumping in the marine park," he said, referring to waste created by enlarging shipping channels, berths and marinas.

Conservationists say dumping waste in reef waters damages it by smothering corals and sea grasses and exposing them to poisons and high levels of nutrients.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has threatened to put the reef, which is a World Heritage area, on its danger list. The body has given Australia until Feb 1 to act and Hunt said he would travel to Europe next week to consult on long-term plans for the natural wonder.

Hunt said the government had put together "a strong defence of the management of the Great Barrier Reef ... concluding that it should not be listed as in danger".
The reef also faces threats from climate change, nutrients washing into the sea and the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish, and the government was working on each of them, he added in a statement. But he said water quality was improving, coral-eating starfish were being culled and stricter management regimes have been put in place for shipping and developments, including ports.

"Australians are proud of the reef and it remains one of the great natural wonders of the world," he said. "We are determined to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef not just for the coming decades, but for coming centuries."

The park where the ban will apply almost totally overlaps with an expanse designated as a World Heritage Area, but it does not include most islands and ports, as well as lakes and other waterways in the heritage area.

Environmental groups have urged the minister to go a step further and prohibit the dumping of dredge soil throughout the World Heritage Area, not just within the marine park.
The ban will now be subject to public consultation, with final approval expected by mid-March.


Σάββατο, Ιανουαρίου 03, 2015

Thousands Flee Homes As Wildfires Rage Across South Australia (global warming is making the wildfires worse and more frequent)

Thousands have fled their homes, as several major wildfires are raging across Southern Australia in what officials are calling the worst fires since 1983, the Guardian reports.
Up to 2,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, with more than a dozen aircraft dumping water onto the fires. Firefighters are struggling and said it could take “days to get the situation under control”. Dry conditions, temperatures as high as 40C, and ghastly winds fanning the flames are aggravating the already grave situation, the Guardian said.

Residents in Adelaide Hills, South Australia, are experiencing the worst of the fires, where flames have destroyed five homes and put hundreds of others in danger, said Daniel Hamilton, a spokesperson for South Australia Country Fire Service, the Guardian reported.

Residents of 19 other communities are also at risk, as a predicted shift in the winds later on Saturday could further intensify the flames. The state has declared a major emergency and told residents to leave, as their lives were at risk.

“If you have decided to stay the fire could become incredibly scary and it could make you change your mind and leave. It could be a catastrophic decision to leave late.” – said South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill.

Although Australia faces wildfires every year, this year has seen the outbreak of the largest bushfires in the state of South Australia since 1983. Environmentalists say global warming is making the wildfires worse and more frequent, the BBC said........................http://sputniknews.com/asia/20150103/1016488675.html

Πέμπτη, Δεκεμβρίου 04, 2014

Australian researcher discovers first artwork by early human

An Australian researcher has discovered what is believed to be the first artwork ever created by a human ancestor.
The simple zigzag pattern found on a fossilized shell from the Indonesian island of Java has been dated to at least 430,000 years - 300,000 years older than other markings made by modern humans or Neanderthals, the journal Nature reported on Thursday.

Dr Stephen Munro from the Australian National University said the age and location of the shell suggests the pattern was carved by an even earlier human ancestor known as Homo erectus.

"It rewrites human history," he said. "I guess this brings them (Homo erectus) a little bit closer to us because we can identify with deliberately-made markings."

The landmark find originated in 2007, when Munro took digital photographs of the shells and later, after close examination, discovered one of them had a geometrical pattern engraved on it.

"This type of engraving in the archaeological record doesn't show up anywhere else in the world until about 130,000 years ago," he said.

Munro also said the discovery points to the theory that early humans lived by the sea and ate shellfish rather living on grasslands and hunting game.


Σάββατο, Νοεμβρίου 15, 2014

Obama: US Pledges $3 Billion to Developing Nations for Global Warming Fund

U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that the United States is contributing $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help developing nations deal with climate change.

Obama made his announcement Saturday at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia -- host city of this year's summit of the Group of 20 world economic powers.
The president said the fund will help pay for such necessities as early warning systems and stronger defenses against storm surges. It also will help farmers plant more durable crops and aid developing economies in cutting carbon emissions and investing in clean energy.

Obama said it is not just governments that can fight climate change. He called on citizens, especially young people, to raise their voices, saying they deserve to live in a cleaner and healthier world.

Without mentioning any specific country, the president said effective security in Asia must be based on alliances and international law -- not spheres of influence or big nations bullying the small.

He said the only real source of legitimacy is a democracy and the consent of the people.

Πέμπτη, Οκτωβρίου 16, 2014

Australia targets wildlife extinction

Australia's Environment Minister Greg Hunt has pledged to end the extinction of native mammal species by 2020, with a focus on culprits such as feral cats.

Hunt said Australia had the worst rate of mammal loss in the world and the nation's "greatest failure" in environmental policy was protecting threatened species.

"Our flora and fauna are part of what makes us Australian," he said in a speech late Wednesday.

"I don't want the extinction of species such as the numbat, the quokka, the bilby, on our collective consciences," he said, referring to mammals that are little-known outside Australia compared to other marsupials like the kangaroo.

Hunt said the government had been putting in place a "different approach" to halting the extinction of native wildlife, including the appointment of a Threatened Species Commissioner to spearhead the efforts.

Australia has some 749 species of plants, mammals, birds, frogs, fish, reptiles and other animals listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, with the numbers rising each year, Hunt said.

Over the past two decades, 53 land-based species moved to a higher threat category, but only 15 moved lower.

A study released earlier this year showed Australia's mammal extinction rate was the highest in the world, with more than 10 percent of species wiped out since Europeans settled the country two centuries ago.

  • Feral cats were identified as the main culprit, although feral foxes were also responsible. Other factors contributing to the extinctions include climate change, fire and habitat destruction.

Australian states and territories have separate threatened species lists and are "struggling with similar problems," Hunt said, adding that legislation is failing to arrest the declines.

"I have set a goal of ending the loss of mammal species by 2020.

"What's more, I want to see improvements in at least 20 of those species between now and then," he said.

The measures would focus on major threats such as those posed by feral cats, which number between 10 to 20 million across Australia and kill countless native animals every night.

  • Cats were first introduced to Australia by British immigrants in the late 1700s as domestic pets. But they went wild and spread across the continent over the next 100 years.

One measure under consideration is the development of a "new, humane bait" called Curiosity, which Hunt described as a "potential game-changer."

Apart from tackling the feral-cat threat, Hunt said the government was committing $2.9 million to the recovery of the endangered Tasmanian devil.

Sources: AFP - globaltimes.cn

Τρίτη, Αυγούστου 19, 2014

Completion of Australia’s largest solar plant at risk

Silex Systems, the company constructing Australia’s biggest solar plant, has suspended its funding following reports the national Renewable Energy Target (RET) could be scaled back or done away with altogether.

The 100-megawatt Mildura Solar Concentrator Power Station, a $70 million project in Victoria, was supposed to provide electricity to 40,000 homes. Now Silex Systems has said it is shelving the project.

"There are a number of factors, including low wholesale electricity prices and the uncertainty surrounding the Renewable Energy Target. They're the two main factors," ABC Radio quotes Michael Goldsworthy, the CEO of Silex Systems. 

On Monday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott called for a government review of the RET which could go as far as removing the target completely. Initially the scheme was aimed at reaching 20 percent of all electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020.

The government is expected to cut back the RET scheme with Tony Abbott blaming it for pushing up power prices. 

However research released on Monday by renewable energy advocates showed that power prices would rise if the RET was dismantled. 

Moreover the report says that coal and gas generators will gain $10 billion in extra profits over the next 15 years, with carbon emissions rising significantly as a result. 

The uncertainty over the RET is harming renewables said the Silex chief executive, but added that “concentrated photovoltaic technology has a strong future in delivering clean, low cost energy to supplement base load power in many suitable regions around the world.
READ MORE: Australia becomes first developed country to abolish carbon tax

Τετάρτη, Αυγούστου 13, 2014

Poor outlook warned for Great Barrier Reef (five-yearly review to address UNESCO)

Australia's Great Barrier Reef remains under threat despite efforts to rein in major sources of damage to the World Heritage-listed icon, the government said on Tuesday.

Canberra released a five-yearly review of the reef and moves to protect it, to address concerns raised by UNESCO and persuade the world body not to put the key tourist attraction on its "in danger" list next year. "Even with the recent management initiatives to reduce threats and improve resilience, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor, has worsened since 2009 and is expected to further deteriorate," the government said in its outlook report.

The reef, which stretches 2,300 kilometers along Australia's east coast, is the centerpiece of a campaign by green groups and marine tourist operators aiming to stop a planned coal port expansion that would require millions of cubic meters of sand to be dredged up and dumped near the reef.

The reef has the world's largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 types of mollusc, and is home to threatened species, the World Heritage list says.

The government said run-off from farms, crown-of-thorns starfish and climate change remain the biggest threats to the reef, but acknowledged that shipping and dredging occur in reef areas already facing pressure from other impacts. "Greater reductions of all threats at all levels, reef-wide, regional and local, are required to prevent the projected declines in the Great Barrier Reef and to improve its capacity to recover," the government said.

The government said it would not allow any port development outside long-established ports in Queensland. Those existing ports include Abbot Point, where India's Adani Group and compatriot GVK plan a huge coal terminal expansion, and Gladstone, where ship traffic is set to increase sharply from 2015 as huge new liquefied natural gas plants start exports.

Green groups said the report did not let off the hook the mining industry, which is digging up coal for export, adding to climate change and expanding ports along the reef. "The greatest risk, again, is climate change," said Wendy Tubman, an official of the North Queensland Conservation Council.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has asked Australia to submit an updated report on the state of conservation of the reef, which sprawls over an area half the size of Texas, by next February 1. 

Sources: Reuters -  globaltimes.cn


Δευτέρα, Ιουλίου 14, 2014

Marine experts urge Australians to eat more sea urchins to save environment (is said to contain euphoria-causing chemicals similar to that found in cannabis)

Marine experts are urging Australians to eat more sea urchins and help the environment at the same time, local media reported on Monday.

Australian sea urchin fishermen are doing great business with the Chinese market, but researchers hope Australians can develop a taste for the seafood in order to create more demand, the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) reported.

If there was more demand, more sea urchins would be removed from sensitive reef areas where they are devouring kelp and in turn depleting lobster and abalone stocks.

In Australia, the sea urchin is yet to find favor with locals, but researcher Philip Hayward said they are a tasty treat.

"When they're fresh it almost deliquesces in your mouth, you feel it kind of fizzing and dissolving," he said.

"A Japanese colleague, one of his turn of phrases was 'eating a raw sea urchin was like sharing an intimate kiss with the ocean'."

  • The sea creature is a staple in Pacific islanders' diets, high in omega three, low in calories, an aphrodisiac and is said to contain euphoria-causing chemicals similar to that found in cannabis.
He said given the havoc they cause to reefs, commercial harvesting might prove a far more effective control strategy than the millions of dollars being poured into smashing, baiting and relocation programs.

"The funding that comes for them is for short-term initiatives, but as soon as leave them then they'll start re-growing there," he said.

"You really need an approach which sees people regularly going to actually remove these."

 Sources: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn


Πέμπτη, Ιουνίου 19, 2014

Australia hails Barrier Reef deferral. Environmentalists call UNESCO decision "final warning"

Australia Thursday called a decision by UNESCO to defer listing the Great Barrier Reef as in danger "a win for logic," but environmentalists said it was a final warning.

The UN cultural agency on Wednesday said the reef could be put on a list of endangered World Heritage Sites if more was not done to protect it.

It voiced alarm at a "serious decline in the condition" of the reef, and said "a business as usual approach to managing the property is not an option."

Australia was given until February 1 next year to submit a report on what it was doing to protect the natural wonder. The Queensland state government saw the deferral as "a tick of approval."

"I welcome this decision by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, which gives Queensland a big tick and it gives the work we are doing a big tick," state Environment Minister Andrew Powell said.

"Our strong plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef is already producing positive results, creating a brighter future that Queenslanders and tourists from around the world can enjoy. This decision is also a win for logic and science rather than rhetoric and scaremongering."

The reef is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, but is under pressure not only from climate change and the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, but agricultural runoff and development linked to mining.

  • UNESCO raised particular concerns about the approval in December of a massive coal port expansion in the region and allowing the dumping of millions of tons of dredge waste within the marine park waters.
Green groups said the government was on its final warning, and had "clearly not lived up to the standards expected by the international community."

"The World Heritage Committee has resisted intense pressure from the Australian and Queensland governments to water down its decision on the reef," said WWF-Australia reef campaigner Richard Leck, who is in Doha for the committee's annual meeting.

"Instead, the committee has put Australia firmly on notice to take stronger action to protect the Great Barrier Reef."

"This is a victory for the millions around the world who say our reef is not a dump."

The World Heritage Committee is also due to consider a request from Australia to de-list 74,000 hectares (183,000 acres) of the Tasmanian Wilderness, one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world.

The move, which could give access to loggers, has been denounced by environmental groups and led to thousands protesting last weekend outside Tasmania's state parliament in Hobart.

Sources: AFP - globaltimes.cn


Τετάρτη, Ιουνίου 18, 2014

UNESCO to decide if Australia's Great Barrier Reef is in danger

The United Nations world heritage body UNESCO will decide on Wednesday whether to list Australia's Great Barrier Reef as "in danger."

Concerns were raised in May over the decision to allow dredging near the reef, the ABC reported.

UNESCO recommended adding the reef to the World Heritage in Danger list in 2015, unless the Queensland Government took further action to protect it.

The committee is meeting this week in Doha and Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell is also there to convince UNESCO the reef is not in danger.

"I'm very confident that there won't be a decision at this session," he said.

"We've delivered nearly everything that UNESCO has asked of us, and by next year we'll have done that."

  • However, Josh Coates from the Cairns and Far North Environment Center said despite the action taken by the government to protect the reef, there were an "unprecedented number" of dredging proposals along the Queensland coast.
  • "Those are actually going to be releasing more sediments and more nutrients into the water column, impacting on the reef and their in-shore environments," he said. 
Sources :Xinhua  - globaltimes.cn


Δευτέρα, Ιουνίου 02, 2014

Australia experiences its hottest two years on record

AUSTRALIA — May 2012 to April 2014 was the hottest 24-month period ever recorded in Australia, but that is likely to be eclipsed by the two years between June 2012 and May 2014, according to the Climate Commission’s latest report, Abnormal Autumn.
“We have just had an abnormally warm autumn, off the back of another very hot ‘angry summer’,” Professor Will Steffen of the Climate Council said.
“The past two-year period has delivered the hottest average temperature we have ever recorded in Australia.

“Climate change is here, it’s happening, and Australians are already feeling its impact.”
The average temperature across Australia in April was 1.11°C above the long-term average, the report says, citing Bureau of Meteorology figures.

The average minimum temperature was 1.31°C above normal.
Unseasonable temperatures in the autumn “warm wave” set records, with Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne setting benchmarks for the consecutive number of May days when the mercury reached 20°C or higher.

In its report, the Climate Council says the abnormally warm weather in April and May “are part of a longer-term trend towards hotter conditions in the summer months and more warm spells in autumn and winter”.
It says each of the 12-month periods ending in January, February, March and April this year have been record warm periods for Australia, with May figures on track to also be a new high.
“Such records are consistent with the ongoing global and Australia-wide, multi-decadal trends towards a hotter climate,” the report says.
Meteorologists predict a high likelihood that Australia will experience an El Niño event — characterised by below-average rainfall in the east and south — in coming months.
The Climate Council says an El Niño could worsen the impact of climate change, leading to hotter, drier weather.
The Climate Council is a crowd-funded, independent organisation created by the members of the former Climate Commission, which was axed by the Coalition government when it came to power in 2013. GUARDIAN

Πέμπτη, Μαΐου 01, 2014

UNESCO condemns dredge waste dumping in Barrier Reef waters

UNESCO on Thursday condemned a decision to allow the dumping of dredge waste in Great Barrier Reef waters and recommended the Australian marine park be considered for inclusion on the World Heritage in Danger list.
The decision in January to allow three million cubic metres of dredge waste to be disposed of in park waters followed a decision by the government to give the green light to a major coal port expansion for India's Adani Group on the reef coast in December.
Conservationists warn it could hasten the demise of the reef, which is already considered to be in "poor" health, with dredging smothering corals and seagrasses and exposing them to poisons and elevated levels of nutrients.

In its first comments on the issue, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization "noted with concern" and "regrets" the move, which it said "was approved despite an indication that less-impacting disposal alternatives may exist".
It asked the government to provide a new report to the World Heritage Committee proving that dumping was the least damaging option and would not hurt the reef's value.
More generally, UNESCO expressed concern "regarding serious decline in the condition of the Great Barrier Reef, including in coral recruitment and reef-building across extensive parts of the property".
The body said "a business-as-usual approach to managing the property is not an option".
Given the reef's long-term deterioration, it recommended the World Heritage Commitee consider putting it on its in danger list in 2015 "in the absence of substantial progress on key issues".
WWF Australia spokesman Richard Leck said the government needed to act quickly to prevent the embarrassment of the reef being listed as in danger....................https://sg.news.yahoo.com/unesco-condemns-dredge-waste-dumping-barrier-reef-waters-030016633.html

Δευτέρα, Μαρτίου 31, 2014

UN court rules against Japan’s whaling activities in the Antarctic

UN, 31 March 2014 – The United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled against Japan in a case involving charges by Australia that the country was using a scientific research programme to mask a commercial whaling venture in the Antarctic.
The Hague-based UN judicial arm ordered a temporary halt to the activities, largely involving fin, humpback and minke whales, finding that the Japanese Whaling Research Programme under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA II) is “not in accordance with three provisions of the Schedule to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).”

In May 2010, Australia instituted proceedings alleging that Japan was pursuing a large-scale programme of whaling under JARPA II, and was in breach of its ICRW obligations, as well as its other international obligations for the preservation of marine mammals and the marine environment.
In its application, Australia requested that the ICJ order Japan to “end the research programme, revoke any authorizations, permits or licences allowing the programme’s activities; and provide assurances and guarantees that it will not take any further action under the JARPA II or ‘any similar programme until such programme has been brought into conformity with its obligations under international law.”
Though Japan rejected the charges and countered that its scientific research programme was in line with treaty obligations, 12 of the 16 World Court Judges found that the country was in violation of three ICRW Schedule provisions and, following Australia’s request, ordered that the country “revoke any extant authorization, permit or license to kill, take or treat whales in relation to JARPA II, and refrain from granting any further permits” for that programme.
The Court noted that there are three additional aspects of JARPA II which “cast further doubt” on its characterization as a scientific research programme: the open-ended time frame of the programme; its limited scientific output to date; and the lack of cooperation between JARPA II and other domestic and international research programmes in the Antarctic Ocean.
“Even if a whaling programme involves scientific research, the killing, taking and treating of whales pursuant to such a programme does not fall within Article VIII unless these activities are ‘for purposes of’ scientific research,” explained the ICJ in a press release today, adding that it found no evidence of such purpose in JARPA II.
Judgments handed down by the ICJ are final and binding on the parties.

Κυριακή, Ιανουαρίου 05, 2014

U.S.icebreaker Polar Star to help vessels trapped in Antarctica: AMSA

SYDNEY, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has requested the U.S. Coast Guard's icebreaker Polar Star to assist the Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy and the Chinese vessel Xue Long (Snow Dragon)which are stuck by ice in Antarctica.

AMSA has identified the Polar Star as a vessel capable of assisting the trapped vessels.

The U.S. Coast Guard accepted this request on Saturday and will make Polar Star available for the rescue operation, AMSA said in the latest statement.

The Polar Star will leave Sydney on Sunday after taking on supplies prior to its voyage to Antarctica.

It is anticipated it will take about seven days for the Polar Star to reach the scene, dependent on weather and ice conditions.

The Polar Star has been en route to Antarctica since the end of last year, weeks before the MV Akademik Shokalskiy was trapped in Commonwealth Bay.

The intended mission of the Polar Star is to clear a navigable shipping channel in McMurdo Sound to the National Science Foundation's Scientific Research Station.

Resupply ships would use the channel to bring food, fuel and other goods to the station. The Polar Star will go on to undertake its mission once the search and rescue operation is completed, AMSA said. 


Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 02, 2014

All Passengers Rescued From Russian Ship Stranded in Antarctic

MOSCOW, January 2 (RIA Novosti) – A Chinese helicopter successfully flew to safety all 52 passengers from a stranded Russian cruise ship stuck in Antarctic pack ice Thursday in a long delayed rescue mission, the authority coordinating the rescue said.
The ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, has been stuck in the ice 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont d'Urville since December 24 with its crew of 22 and 52 passengers, many of them scientists.
The helicopter, from a nearby Chinese ship, the Xue Long, landed on the ice near the Russian ship, and then flew the passengers to an Australian ship, the Aurora Australis.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the coordinating body for the rescue, said: “Aurora Australis has advised AMSA that the 52 passengers from the Akademik Shokalskiy are now on board.”

Photos posted on Twitter by a scientist on the ship showed the Russian-built Kamov helicopter touching down on the ice nearby.
The Shokalskiy’s crew of 22 will remain on board, waiting for warmer weather when the ship can make its own way out of the ice.
  • The rescue mission had been put off earlier due to the weather conditions, according to AMSA.
A team of scientists and tourists on the Akademik Shokalskiy had been retracing a famous Australian Antarctic Expedition from 101 years ago.
The agency described the ship, built by a Finnish shipyard for the Soviet Union in 1982 for polar research, as “fully ice-strengthened.”
Updated at 3:40 p.m. with new lead and statement from rescue authority that passengers have been rescued

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