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April 25, 2014

UK announces £200 million polar research ship

UK announces £200 million polar research ship

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Friday, April 25, 2014

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UK Chancellor George Osborne today announced a new £200 million research ship to ply Arctic and Antarctic waters.

Cquote1.svg The new vessel will make Nerc’s entire fleet, ton for ton, the most advanced scientific fleet in the world Cquote2.svg

—Nerc boss Professor Duncan Wingham

“One of the final frontiers in the world where there is still much discovery to be done are the polar oceans” said Osborne, explaining “our two current polar exploration ships are nearing the end of their life and need replacing. So I am delighted that we are investing in a new polar research ship to carry cutting edge British technology to put British scientists at the forefront of research in both the Antarctic and the Arctic oceans”.

The icebreaking ship is to belong to the British Antarctic Survey and is funded from a £7 billion pot earmarked for science over the next six or seven years. Osborne told those gathered at Cambridge‘s Laboratory of Molecular Biology today he had “made it [his] personal priority in government to support [scientific] endeavour.”

RRS James Clark Ross, one of two aging ships currently filling the role.
Image: Tom L-C.

Funding body the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) says the current ships, RRS James Clark Ross and RRS Ernest Shackleton, are to carry on operating at least until 2020. They were built in 1990 and 1995 respectively; RRS Ernest Shackleton is a leased Norwegian vessel. The new vessel is intended to be able to stay in the field longer and, unlike RRS James Clark Ross, feature a helipad.

Other specifications include the ability to launch unmanned submarines and scientific gliders, devices towed behind ships to gather data, as well as power through 2m (6.6ft) thick ice at three knots.

Osborne also announced the start of consultations on how to spend the rest of the £7 billion. The announcements come shortly after Nerc completed upgrades to ocean-going ‘bluewater’ ships RRS Discovery and RRS James Cook. “The new vessel will make Nerc’s entire fleet, ton for ton, the most advanced scientific fleet in the world” according to Nerc head Professor Duncan Wingham, speaking to the BBC.



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September 3, 2010

Wikinews Shorts: September 2, 2010

Wikinews Shorts: September 2, 2010 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: September 2, 2010

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A compilation of brief news reports for Thursday, September 2, 2010.

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Shorts: Abbas, Netanyahu to meet regularly[]

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have agreed to meet again in 10–11 days within the region, and every two weeks thereafter, according to U.S. Middle East diplomat George Mitchell. The two leaders are engaged in the first direct talks between the nations in more than two years, hosted by Israel’s ally the United States in Washington, DC.

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In brief: Fuel tanker aground in Northwest Passage[]

Friday, September 3, 2010

No oil is reported leaking from the Woodward’s Oil fuel tanker The Nanny aground in the Northwest Passage off the coast of Nunavut. The 110 metre (360 ft) tanker was carrying 9 million liters (2.4 million gallons) of diesel fuel to remote settlements in Canada’s Arctic regions when it grounded on a sandbar. Last week the cruise ship Clipper Adventurer struck an uncharted rock in the same region, trapping 110 tourists and crew aboard for the two days it took the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker to reach the ship. On August 27th another Woodward’s tanker, the Mokami, ran aground near Pangnirtung.

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Wikinews Shorts: September 3, 2010/Fuel tanker aground in Northwest Passage

Wikinews Shorts: September 3, 2010/Fuel tanker aground in Northwest Passage

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Friday, September 3, 2010

No oil is reported leaking from the Woodward’s Oil fuel tanker The Nanny aground in the Northwest Passage off the coast of Nunavut. The 110 metre (360 ft) tanker was carrying 9 million liters (2.4 million gallons) of diesel fuel to remote settlements in Canada’s Arctic regions when it grounded on a sandbar. Last week the cruise ship Clipper Adventurer struck an uncharted rock in the same region, trapping 110 tourists and crew aboard for the two days it took the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker to reach the ship. On August 27th another Woodward’s tanker, the Mokami, ran aground near Pangnirtung.

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April 20, 2007

Sealing ships trapped in ice off coast of Newfoundland

Sealing ships trapped in ice off coast of Newfoundland

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Sealing ships trapped in ice
Source:DFO

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For the past week, approximately 100 sealing ships have been trapped in ice floes off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. The ships and their crew had been participating in the annual seal hunt off Canada’s easternmost province.

Several of the vessels have been damaged by the ice and supplies are now running low for those sailors awaiting rescue by the Canadian Coast Guard. As of Thursday, 6:00 p.m. EDST, some 20 crew members, out of an estimated 400, had been rescued.

A Coast Guard icebreaker, the Sir Wilfred Grenfell, on mission to free the trapped ships, itself became stuck in the ice. A Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) spokesperson indicated to CTV News that, although the Grenfell had since been freed, another icebreaker, the Ann Harvey, was now trapped. “It’s just such heavy ice that even ice breakers are having trouble,” said Erika Pittman, a communications officer with the DFO.

In addition to the crushing ice, extreme weather conditions have been hampering rescue efforts. Pittman suggested that conditions wouldn’t improve until sometime next week. The amount and thickness of the pack ice, according to Pittman, is the worst it has been for sealers in the past 15 years.

In addition to three icebreakers on hand, the Coast Guard is flying helicopters in to provide food and support to the stranded sailors. Most of the sealing ship captains have refused to abandon their ships, instead staying with them and hoping for a change in conditions or to be freed by the Coast Guard.

“Usually you try to stay with the ship because you think the safety is with the ship because the ship is big, but sometimes it is too late. In this case, we’re hoping that as it changes and the breakers and helicopters are there and we can get them all out,” said Brian Penney, a superintendent with the Coast Guard.

“They’re putting a lot of effort into pulling them out,” said Penny. “But the sheer numbers, it’s a very, very slow process.” According to Penny, approximately 15 of the longliners ships have had their hulls damaged by the ice to the extent that the ships are at risk of sinking.

Critics of the seal hunt point out that the annual hunt is not only “cruel to animals”, but is also a dangerous occupation for the sealers. When sealers have to be rescued by the Coast Guard, “Canadian taxpayers foot the bill,” suggested Rebecca Aldworth, director of Canadian wildlife issues for the Humane Society of the United States.

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March 19, 2006

Second oil disaster in Estonia within two months

Second oil disaster in Estonia within two months

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

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Location of oil spill March 19

Estonian and Finnish oil spill response vessels are working on cleaning up the oil spill caused by the sinking of the Runner 4. The Dominican-registered ship sank on March 6 near the Estonian coast in the Gulf of Finland.

This oil disaster may be even worse than the one of February, which was described by the BBC as the worst oil spill that Estonia has ever experienced. In the February spill, approximately 35 000 birds died. According to The Baltic Times, specialists say that this time up to 40 tons of oil might have leaked into the sea from the Runner 4. The ship was carrying, according to MTV3, over 100 tons of heavy fuel oil and 35 tons of light fuel oil.

The ship Runner 4 sank due to a collision with another ship, in a convoy following a Russian icebreaker. The crew managed to leave the ship before it sank.

On March 13, a week after the ship sank, the Estonian Border Guard sent its multipurpose vessel EVA-316 to the site to start the oil cleanup. Around the same time, the Finnish dedicated to the cleanup the oil spill response vessels Hylje, Halli and Seili. Also, the Finnish Frontier Guard patrol ship Merikarku was sent to the site to conduct underwater robot examinations of the sunken ship. According to the Finnish Environment Institute press briefing on this, [1] Estonia does not have adequate equipment for oil spill response in icy conditions, so help was needed.

The reaction to the disaster is criticized by Jouni Pirttijärvi, an inspector at the Finnish Environment Institute (Ympäristökeskus). He says, according to Finland’s national broadcasting company (YLE), that the countermeasures should have started a week ago, immediately after the disaster, instead of now. He said, “It’s difficult now to get the oil under control. It’s spread all around, and ship traffic is spreading it further. We should have come here a week ago. Then the oil would have been closer to the disaster area [the ship’s sinking site]. We weren’t asked for help [by the Estonians] then, so now we decided to help without asking [before it’s too late].” (Translation from the Finnish-language original). [2]

Finland will be paying the costs of the cleanup, as Estonia did not make an official request for help. The Estonian Border Guard’s representative Helena Loorents says that Finland was not asked for help, as every day spent in the cleaning costs a lot of money. Estonia simply cannot afford this.

According to Urmas Raudsepp, the director of Estonia’s Institute of Marine Research, the oil spill’s location was only found out on Thursday March 16. The Finnish ships had, however, arrived at the site on the day before.

Jouni Pirttijärvi also said that the conditions in the site are bad. The wind is over 17 meters per second (38 miles per hour) and it is raining. The oil spill is moving into waters too shallow for the three Finnish vessels, so they can no longer do their job. Hylje will be heading back to Finland on March 19 and the other two might follow within a few days. According to the Estonian paper Postimees, the oil spill is now a kilometer (0.6 mile) away from the Estonian capital of Tallinn.

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January 26, 2006

New Canadian leader vows to push Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic Passage

Filed under: Archived,Arctic,Canada,Icebreakers,Prime Minister of Canada — admin @ 5:00 am

New Canadian leader vows to push Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic Passage

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Popular Northwest Passage routes through the Canadian archipelago

Canada’s next Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, said that Canada will be deploying three new armed icebreaking ships to patrol the Arctic passage and assert Canadian sovereignty over those waters. Harper also said Canada will be establishing an underwater network of “listening posts” in the Arctic waters.

“The United States defends its sovereignty; the Canadian government will defend our sovereignty,” Harper said. “It is the Canadian people that we get our mandate from, not the ambassador of the United States.”

Harper was responding to comments by the U.S. Ambassador, David Wilkins, who said yesterday; “We don’t recognize Canada’s claims to those waters. Most other countries do not recognize their claim.”

The arctic passage is melting and commercial ships are able to cut 2,480 miles in distance off of the trip from Europe to Asia when compared to using the Panama Canal.

In addition to the icebreakers, Harper announced a $1.7 billion deep-water port.

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December 23, 2005

Canadian Conservatives vow to defend Arctic sovereignty

Canadian Conservatives vow to defend Arctic sovereignty

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Members of a Canadian naval boarding party during a sovereignty exercise in the Canadian Arctic.

The Conservative Party of Canada leader Stephen Harper today made bold claims about the Canadian Arctic region at a campaign stop in Winnipeg, “The single most important duty of the federal government is to protect and defend our national sovereignty.” . The prime minister-hopeful stated, “There are new and disturbing reports of American nuclear submarines passing though Canadian waters without obtaining the permission of —or even notifying — the Canadian government.”

Harper promised a significant increase in military presence in the Canadian region, which has had notable soveriegnty disputes with the United States, Russia, Denmark and Norway. “You don’t defend national sovereignty with flags,” Harper said. “You need forces on the ground, ships in the sea, and proper surveillance.”

Among other promises, Harper stated he would station three armed naval heavy ice breakers in the area of Iqaluit with 500 regular force personnel, recruit 500 more Canadian rangers, and build a new army training center in the area of Cambridge Bay on the Northwest Passage.

File:Stephen Harper voa.jpg

Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

“As prime minister, I will make it clear to foreign governments — including the United States — that naval vessels traveling in Canadian territorial waters will require the consent of the government of Canada,” Harper stated.

The Conservative Party Website states this ““Canada First” Northern Strategy will increase surveillance, navy, army and air force presence”.

The Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservatives’ most powerful rival in the election, quickly posted a rebuttal on their website. They claim Stephen Harpers stated defense budget of $5.3(CAD) billion over 5 years is not enough to afford the two polar icebreakers, which the Liberal party claims will cost $3(CAD) billion with the party estimating an upkeep of $150(CAD) million per year. “Where does Mr. Harper plan to find another $1 billion?” the party asked in their rebuttal.

The Arctic may be an important issue in the future for Canadians, as scientists expect the fabled Northwest Passage of the Arctic to open up for year round shipping by 2050 as a result of global warming. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, trade routes from Europe to the Far East could save 4000 km through the passage, as compared to the current routes through the Panama Canal.

Canada last flexed its muscle in the Arctic in 2004 in its most massive Arctic exercise ever, with six hundred personnel from the three services (army, air force, navy) involved in a large exercise in the Baffin Islands.

Canadians are scheduled to go to the polls on January 23, 2006 in an early election as a result of a non-confidence motion in parliament against the former ruling Liberal party.

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