Coast Guard Rescues Australian Fishing Vessel In Antarctica
The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued the crew of a ship that was trapped in the Antarctic ice for nearly a week.
The Antarctic Chieftain, a 207-foot Australian-flagged fishing vessel, called for help on Feb. 10 when it suffered damage to three of its four propellers after becoming beset in the ice roughly 900 miles northeast of McMurdo Sound.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Polar Star, the nation’s only heavy icebreaker, had to cut through 150 miles of ice that was up to 20 feet thick in some areas — at times in whiteout conditions — to reach the Antarctic Chieftain and rescue its crew of 26.
“There were some very happy sailors aboard Antarctic Chieftain upon our arrival,” Capt. Matthew Walker, the commanding officer of the Polar Star, said in a news release. “The ice conditions that we found the fishermen in were dire, more so if Antarctic Chieftain had to stay much longer.”
Here’s an image of the Antarctic Chieftain trapped in the ice:
In an update posted to Facebook last week, Walker described the challenge of just reaching the ship.