Ship of Climate Fools: The rescue

January 2, 2014

(POWER LINE BLOG) Steve touched on the ship of climate scientists headed to Antarctica in part to document the effects of climate change (f/k/a global warming). They are on a Russian ship now trapped in ice.

by Scott Johnson

The ship is called Spirit of Mawson in honor of explorer Douglas Mawson, whose 1913 expedition experienced its own challenges. Andrew Bolt explains that “a century ago, [Mawson] spent two years on Antarctica during which he lost two colleagues on a trek. Mawson himself survived only by eating his huskies and trudging back on feet that had lost the skin of the soles.” (Don’t miss Bolt’s post, and Peter Ingemi has more here.)

The Spirit of Mawson has been trapped in ice for nine days. A Chinese icebreaker was dispatched to rescue the trapped men. A good CNN story reported that the Chinese icebreaker was also stuck in an Antarctic ice floe.


The Chinese crew was hoping a French icebreaker 14 nautical miles away would arrive and offer relief, according to Zhu Li, chief officer of the Chinese ship. According to Zhu himself, however, the French vessel was likely to be slowed by the polar cap’s extreme frigidity. Is it possible this global warming thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, you’d have to have a heart of ice not to laugh at the plight of the Spirit of Mawson. They are after all to be spared the indignity of rescue by the French. The Chinese are coming through:

A Chinese helicopter has reached a Russian ship stranded in Antarctica for nine days and is beginning to pick up 52 passengers who spent Christmas and the New Year trapped in ice, the expedition leader said on Thursday.

The helicopter from the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon will take all the passengers from the ice-bound Akademik Shokalskiy and transfer them to an Australian Antarctic supply ship, the Aurora Australis.

Chris Turney, the leader of the private expedition, said conditions had improved enough to mount the rescue after days of blizzards, fog and shifting sea ice.

The expedition involves men of deep faith. They believe in global warming down to their frostbitten fingertips. Is there any chance their ordeal has shaken their faith? Judging by such irate believers as the New York Times’s unamused Andrew Revkin, the answer (of course) is negatory, though we await the moving avowals of unshaken belief with which the rescued men can now inspire us.


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