Japanese icebreaker Shirase (AGB-5003)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
|Laid down:||15 March 2007|
|Launched:||16 April 2008|
|Commissioned:||20 May 2009|
|General characteristics |
|Displacement:||Approx. 20,000 tons|
|Length:||138 m (452 ft 9 in)|
|Beam:||28 m (91 ft 10 in)|
|Draft:||9.2 m (30 ft 2 in)|
Four propulsion motors, 22,000 kW (combined)
Two shafts; fixed-pitch propellers
|Speed:||19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph) (maximum)
3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph) in 1.5 m (4.9 ft) ice
1,100 tons of cargo
|Aircraft carried:||3 helicopters|
Shirase (しらせ) (Hull number: AGB-5003) is a Japanese icebreaker operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan's fourth icebreaker for Antarctic expeditions. Her predecessor (AGB-5002) had the same name.
She was launched in April 2008 and commissioned in May 2009. She began her first voyage on 10 November 2009 (Japan Standard Time).
In Japanese, the name "Shirase" is written in hiragana. Due to a JMSDF internal naming rule, an icebreaker must take its name from a place. Accordingly, the Shirase is said to take its name from Shirase Glacier. This glacier bears the family name of Lieutenant Nobu Shirase, a Japanese pioneer of Antarctic exploration.
In February 2013, anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society claimed the Shirase was sent to monitor its interference with the Japanese cetacean research fleet. However, according to the National Institute of Polar Research, the icebreaker was in fact far to the west off the coast of Antarctica near the Showa Base, at the time. The Japanese Government subsequently confirmed that the vessel was not involved in any operation related to the whaling program, and that Sea Shepherd's claims were "completely fake".
On 17 February 2014, Shirase ran aground just off the unmanned Molodyozhnaya Station in Antarctica. While the outer hull was penetrated, the vessel is in no danger of sinking and no fuel oil leakage has been reported.
- Yamauchi, Y. and Shigeya, M. (2011): The Icebreaking Performance of SHIRASE in the Maiden Antarctic Voyage . Proceedings of the Twenty-first (2011) International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference.
- "砕氷艦「しらせ」除籍記念特集サイト" [Special site memorializing retired icebreaker "Shirase"] (in Japanese). Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- "世界有数の砕氷船「しらせ」" [The world's foremost icebreaker "Shirase"] (in Japanese). National Institute of Polar Research. p. 1. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- 遠藤知子 (November 2003). "南極観測船しらせ（晴海埠頭）" [Antarctic observation ship Shirase (Harumi Pier)] (in Japanese). Akita Prefecture. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- Andrew Darby "Military icebreaker arrives to defend Japanese whalers". The Age. February 25, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- National Institute of Polar Research
- Shirase runs argound off Antarctica. NHK World, 17 February 2014. Retrieved on 2014-02-19.
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