Clitanic – the movie …

The ship of fools is now just the ship, but the Akademik Shokalskiy is still stuck in the ice.

One of its rescuers, the Xue Long is also stuck but happy that it can hold out until it breaks free.

The Aurora Australis is free and has continued on its way towards Casey Station.

The US ice breaker, Polar Star is heading to Commonwealth bay and may assist both the Akademic S and the Xue Long in due course.

The French vessel Astrolabe was also requisitioned for a week to assist in the rescue mission and can now resume its task of resupplying Dumont d’Urville.

Yves Frenot, director of the French Polar Institute had this to say …

This kind of commemorative expedition has no interest from a scientific point of view,

Because of the rescue operations, French scientists had had to scrap a two-week oceanographic campaign this month using the Astrolabe.

The Chinese have had to cancel all their scientific programme, and my counterpart in Australia is spitting tacks with anger, because their entire summer has been wiped out.

(Antarctica has about 80 scientific bases, of which around 40 are permanently staffed and others manned on a seasonal or temporary basis.

Only three bases are inland; the others are on the coast.)

‘If we want these bases to operate all year round, it is essential to resupply with food and fuel during the brief window of opportunity.

Diverting supply ships to rescue tasks ‘imperilled’ this link.

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