Australian Spirit of Mawson ship trapped in Antarctic sea ice

Posted: Dec 29, 2013 02:44 pm EST


(By Correne Coetzer) The Australian Mawson Centenary expedition lead by Australian Polar scientists, Chris Turney and Chris Fogwill, of the University of New South Whales, together with Antarctic veteran geologist and mountaineer, Greg Mortimer and a group of scientists and adventurers (together 74), are trapped in the Antarctic sea ice. They are on a research expedition on Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic oceanography, climate and biology around Commonwealth Bay, Cape Denison and Mawson’s Hut.


Their ship, MV Akademik Shokalskiy, got blocked by ice which pushed in by a strong southeasterly wind. On Christmas Eve they realized they could not get through, in spite of being just 2 nautical miles from open water, Chris Turney reported. The ship is trapped since then. A Chinese icebreaker, Snow Dragon (Xue Long), who was nearing the pack ice near their location, change course to their rescue, but could not get through the ice, reported Turney yesterday. It is standing by and waiting for another vessel to help. 


Latest news is that cracks are developing around the Shokalskiy’s bow, “We can only hope this helps when the Australian icebreaker, Aurora Australis, arrives in the area tomorrow!”




Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition update 


Expedition pages:

Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition Spirit of Mawson website

AAE 2013-2014 Interpret Science website

Twitter @profchristurney

YouTube Intrepid Science


Follow daily South Pole blog updates with RSS feeds in the News Stream on ExplorersWeb and the Pythom app or click the links below. 


2013 South Pole teams


Unassisted, unsupported:


Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere, UK, UK/FR, Cape Evans return journey

Richard Parks, UK, Hercules Inlet, solo (speed record attempt)

Vesa Luomala, FI, Hercules Inlet, solo

Antony Jinman, UK, Hercules Inlet, solo

Marty and Chris Fagan, USA, Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf start

Juan Menendez Granados, ES, Hercules Inlet, solo cycle


Unassisted, Supported (traverse):


Geoff Wilson, AU, Novo Runway - GSP - Hercules Inlet

Faysal Hanneche, FR, Novo Runway - GSP - Hercules Inlet (aborted)


Assisted, Unsupported


Daniel Burton, USA, Hercules Inlet, cycle

Carl Alvey (ANI guide) and Lewis Clarke, UK, Hercules Inlet

Devon McDiarmid (CA, ANI guide), Joshua Hodgkinson (AU), Arabella Slinger (UK), and Wen Yuan (China), Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf


Assisted, Supported, Motorized


Leverett Glacier start: Doug Stoup (US, guide), Parker Liautaud (UK), car driver, Eyjólfur Már Teitsson (Iceland), cameraman, Paddy Scott (UK) and Nathan Hambrook-Skinner (comms operator). Leverett Glacier


Leverett Glacier start: Maria Leijerstam (UK, Welch, tricycle) and Arctic Truck’s Emil Grímsson  Torfi Jóhannsson (both Iceland).


Partial route:


Walking With The Wounded, last three degrees from Novo side (guides, Eric Philips, Inge Solheim and Conrad Dickinson. Three teams racing to the Pole. Price Harry with them.) Arctic trucks support team: Emil Grímsson, Pálmi Baldursson,Torfi Jóhannsson and Ari Hauksson.




Dronning Maud Land Project  Aleksander Gamme, Espen Fadnes, Kjersti Eide, Jonas Langseth, Andy Kirkpatrick and Ingeborg Jakobsen.


Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition Spirit of Mawson website

AAE 2013-2014 Interpret Science website


Expeditions 7 Novo - GSP - Leverett Glacier return drive: Gísli Karel Elísson (Iceland), plus expedition team


Arctic Trucks


Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa: 

To ALCI /TAC base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo 

70° 46’37”S, 011° 49’26”E 


Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America: 

To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier 

79° 45'S, 083° 14'W


Hercules Inlet is located at 80°S near Union Glacier, 1130 km from the Geographic South Pole.

The bottom of the Leverett Glacier, at the Ross Ice Shelf, is located at about 85ºS, a distance of 550 km from the Geographic South Pole.

The Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) start is 890 km in a straight line from the Pole.


1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.852 km

1 nm = 1.151 miles

1 knot = 1.852 km/h

1 degree of Latitude is 110 km / 60 nm / 70 miles

Sastrugi are hard snow bumps and can be as high as 10 feet

A nunatak is a top of a mountain visible above the snow surface.


South Pole of Inaccessibility 2011-12 position: 

S82°06.696, E055°01.951

Geographic South Pole: 90 degrees South


A "solo" ski requires an unassisted status (therefore no supplies carried by pilots or car drivers, or anything received from any person).




Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition update 


South Pole arrivals and False Record Claims


Cars on Antarctica 


Gamme and team to climb, jump and ski in Dronning Maud Land


The Coldest Place on Earth 


The Cycle Race for the South Pole kicked off


South Pole speed attempt to restart; Kiters in trouble with kites


Antony Jinman with two drones to the South Pole, ExWeb interview


Maria Leijerstam in the Cycle Race for the South Pole


South Pole ski update: Geoff Wilson through crevasse minefields; Waiting game in Punta Arenas


Carl Alvey to guide 16-year-old Lewis Clarke to the South Pole: ExWeb interview


China’s growing presence in Antarctica


ExWeb interview with Lewis Clarke (16): to ski 1130 km Hercules Inlet route 


Novo kite-skiers on Antarctica - Updated


ExWeb interview with Richard Parks, "it took pretty much every bit of physical and mental energy" 


ExWeb interview with Vesa Luomala, "there is no room for underestimating a place like Antarctica"


ExWeb South Pole 2013 interview with Geoff Wilson, "my mind I feel will be the greatest maze of all"


Marty and Chris Fagan, married outdoor team for the past 15 years. ExWeb South Pole interview 


South Pole 2013-14: Doug Stoup and Parker Liautaud for Leverett Glacier route


Cycle South Pole update: testing and innovation


ExWeb interview with Juan Menendez Granados: the greatest challenge


Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition update


ExWeb South Pole 2013 interview with Geoff Wilson, "my mind I feel will be the greatest maze of all"


ExWeb South Pole kick-off interview: Daniel Burton, return cycle journey


ExWeb interview with Eric Philips, three decades of polar experience


Breaking news: Christian Eide bags the South Pole solo speed ski world record


AdventureStats and Rules of Adventure


Adventure Network International (ANI) / ALE

Antarctic Logistics Centre International (ALCI) / TAC


#polar #southpole2013  #southpole2013-14  #antarctica #AAE2013-14 #SpiritofMawson






"Home of the Blizzard", 100 years after Douglas Mawson, following in his footsteps.
courtesy Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014, SOURCE
The Spirit of Mawson AAE 2013-2014 is divided into two legs, The first focuses on the Australasian subantarctic islands. On the second leg a longer, the voyage heads south, deep into the Southern Ocean to Antarctica.
courtesy The Spirit of Mawson Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014, SOURCE
Video: Chris Turney and the fly-by of the Chinese helicopter from the vessel, the Snow Dragon.
courtesy Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014, SOURCE
the Snow Dragon couldn't get through but standing by for other vessel, Aurora Australis, to help.
courtesy Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014, SOURCE
Turney reported, "Following our successful visit to Cape Denison, sea ice remained clear, allowing our science expedition to proceed to the Mertz Glacier and open water polynya on the other side of Commonwealth Bay. Good conditions allowed the team to reach the Hodgeman Islets to continue our science programme and make comparisons to our findings around Mawson's Hut." (click to enlarge trapped ship)
courtesy Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014, SOURCE
Mawson's hut. His aim was explorer unknown Antarctic territory and not to go to the South Pole like Scott and Amundsen.
courtesy Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014, SOURCE
Video: Getting to Mawson's Hut. Using all terrain vehicles known as Argos they drove 65 km over sea ice -- capping half a kilometer of ocean water below -- and forged a route across an uncharted icescape.
courtesy Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014, SOURCE