The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee's Defense Appropriations Bill has included one billion dollars in funding to accelerate construction of a new polar icebreaker for the U.S. Coast Guard, reported Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) confirmed Wednesday that the entrapped Antarctic ships, the Akademik Shokalskiy and the Xue Long (Snow Dragon), have broken free from the ice in Antarctica and are no longer in need of assistance.
A U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker left Australia for Antarctica on Sunday to rescue more than 120 crew members aboard two icebreakers trapped in pack ice near the frozen continent’s eastern edge, officials said. The 122-meter cutter, the Polar Star, is responding to a Jan. 3 request from Australia, Russia and China to assist the Russian and Chinese ships.
Passengers from the MV Polar Star, which suffered a minor incident while cruising along the Antarctica peninsula, were expected to arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina, on Sunday, February 6, 2011.
Polar Star Expeditions reported that following an underwater inspection of the MV Polar Star’s outer hull, it has decided to disembark the ship’s 80 passengers at King George Island in the South Shetland Islands as a precautionary measure before crossing the Drake Passage and returning to Ushuaia, Argentina.
Cruise vessel MV Polar Star with 115 people on board was temporarily grounded Monday morning off the Antarctica peninsula but managed to free itself with no injuries reported and no fuel leaks according to the Argentine Navy.