Akademik Shokalskiy

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M/V Akademik Shokalskiy
Akademik Shokalskiy moored in Ushuaia
NameAkademik Shokalskiy
OwnerRussian Federation (Far Eastern Hydrometeorological Research Institute, Vladivostok)[1][2]
  • 2011-2012: Aurora Expeditions, Sydney, Australia[3][4]
  • 2013-2014: Australasian Antarctic Expedition[5]
Port of registry
BuilderOy Laivateollisuus Ab, Turku, Finland[6]
Yard number343[1]
Launched10 March 1982
StatusIn service
General characteristics
Class and typeAkademik Shuleykin-class research vessel,[6] now Polar Pioneer-class cruise ship[1]
Displacement2,140 tonnes[1]
Length71.06 m (233 ft 2 in)[1]
Beam12.82 m (42 ft 1 in)[1]
Draught4.50 m (14 ft 9 in)[1]
Ice classRMRS UL
Installed powerTwo 6ChRN 36/45 diesel engines (2 × 1,147 kW)[1]
PropulsionSingle shaft; controllable-pitch propeller[1]
Speed14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)[1]
Capacity54 passengers[8]

MV Akademik Shokalskiy (Russian: Академик Шокальский) is an Akademik Shuleykin-class ice-strengthened ship, built in Finland in 1982 and originally used for oceanographic research.[9] In 1998 she was fully refurbished to serve as a research ship for Arctic and Antarctic work; she is used also for expedition cruising.[8] She is named after the Russian oceanographer Yuly Shokalsky.[10]

For two weeks from 25 December 2013 Akademik Shokalskiy was trapped in thick ice in Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, while operating an expedition for the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013–2014. The scientists and passengers were evacuated on 2 January.

Use as cruise ship[edit]

The ship has two passenger decks, with dining rooms, a bar, a library, and a sauna, and accommodates 54 passengers.[8][11] She is owned by the Russian Federation's Far Eastern Hydrometeorological Research Institute, Vladivostok and was previously chartered to Aurora Expeditions, an Australian expedition cruise line. It is currently operated by Chimu Adventures an Australian Tour operator departing from Hobart to East Antarctica.[2][8] In 2011, Akademik Shokalskiy sailed cruises along the coast of Russia, including the Northeast Passage, and to East Antarctica.[12][13]

Icebound in Antarctica[edit]

In 2013 Akademik Shokalskiy was chartered by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013–2014 to celebrate the centenary of the previous expedition under Douglas Mawson, and to repeat his scientific observations.[14] The expedition had nine scientific goals related to observations, mapping, and measurements of environmental, biological, and marine changes associated with climate change.[14] On 8 December 2013 the ship, with 74 people on board — four journalists, 19 scientists, 26 tourists, the expedition leader's wife and two children, and 22 crew members — sailed from Bluff in New Zealand to Antarctica.[15][better source needed][16] Around 07:20 AEDT on 25 December 2013, the ship broadcast a distress message after becoming trapped in heavy ice a few miles from the coast of Antarctica, 100 nautical miles (190 km; 120 mi) east of the French base Dumont D'Urville and approximately 1,500 nautical miles (2,800 km; 1,700 mi) south of Hobart.[15] Chinese icebreaking research vessel Xuě Lóng, French research vessel L'Astrolabe and Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis were dispatched by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to assist with the rescue operation of Akademik Shokalskiy.[15]

Xuě Lóng, which arrived first, was prevented by thick sea ice from coming closer than about 6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi) from Akademik Shokalskiy. However it remained in open water nearby as it carried a helicopter, which ultimately was deployed later for the rescue operation.[17] L'Astrolabe also turned back after encountering heavy ice.[17] Aurora Australis, arriving two days later, abandoned its attempt about 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi)[citation needed] from the stranded ship, as the ice was too thick to be broken and because of the risk of also becoming trapped in the ice.[18]

On 2 January 2014, Akademik Shokalskiy's 52 passengers were evacuated to Aurora Australis by Xuě Lóng's helicopter, which transferred them between temporary ice helipads alongside each vessel.[19] The original plan was to helicopter the passengers to Xuě Lóng, then transfer them to Aurora Australis by boat, but the Chinese icebreaker had become trapped by ice.[19] After the rescue, Aurora Australis continued on her original mission to resupply Casey Station, before returning to Hobart on 22 January.[20][21] The 22 Akademik Shokalskiy crew were required by their employment contracts to stay aboard until the ship could be freed.[22]

On 4 January 2014, the American heavy icebreaker Polar Star was dispatched from Sydney, Australia to assist Akademik Shokalskiy and Xuě Lóng at the request of Australian authorities.[23] However, on 8 January the Australian Maritime Safety Authority confirmed that both vessels had broken free and were proceeding to open water, and later the same day Polar Star was released to scheduled duties.[24] On 14 January Akademik Shokalskiy returned to the port of Bluff.[25]

Environmental writer Andrew Revkin criticized the scientists on board Akademik Shokalskiy, stating that "important and costly field research in Antarctica has been seriously disrupted" by an "unessential" mission.[26] He also commended an article by Professor Michael Robinson of University of Hartford, which noted that the expedition aimed to use Mawson's observations as a baseline for their own scientific findings "that will illuminate Antarctica's future, not its past. As such, the voyage will prove to be well worth the time and effort."[27]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Akademik Shokalskiy (810141)". Register of ships. Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b Sreeja, VN (26 December 2013). "3 Rescue Ships To Reach MV Akademik Shokalskiy". International Business Times (US Ed). Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Aurora Expeditions launches their brand new Russian Coast 2011 voyages". Aurora Expeditions. 13 August 2010. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Aurora Expeditions reaches Commonwealth Bay". Aurora Expeditions. January 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Chopper rescue for Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy". news.com.au. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  6. ^ a b Immonen, Pauli; Brooke, Richard; Pajala, Jukka; Lehtonen, Seppo (1987). "Series Research Vessels—Tailored to Customer Requirements". Oceans '87 Proceedings: The Ocean—An International Workplace. Oceans '87. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE. pp. 487–493. doi:10.1109/OCEANS.1987.1160759.
  7. ^ "Ship Information: Shokalskiy". Polar Cruises. 2011. Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d "Akademik Shokalskiy". Aurora Expeditions. 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  9. ^ Wright, Doug (29 November 2010). "Ex-navy vessel in new role". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  10. ^ "Introducing Akademik Shokalskiy" (PDF). The Expeditioner. Aurora Expeditions. August 2010. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  11. ^ "Не удается найти требуемую страницу". www.rs-head.spb.ru.
  12. ^ Hannafin, Matt (24 November 2010). "Aurora Expeditions Introduces New Russian Arctic Cruises". Frommers.com Cruise Blog. Frommer's. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  13. ^ "Antarctica 2011–12" (PDF). Aurora Expeditions. October 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  14. ^ a b "Spirit of Mawson". Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  15. ^ a b c "Antarctic Rescue". Australian Maritime Safety Authority. 30 December 2013. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  16. ^ Pearlman, Jonathan (30 December 2014). "Antarctica ship passengers prepare ice helipad after latest rescue bid fails". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  17. ^ a b Martinez, Michael; Yan, Holly; Yan, Cy (28 December 2013). "Chinese icebreaker turns back from Antarctic rescue mission". CNN. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  18. ^ Phillips, Nicky (30 December 2013). "Aurora Australis abandons attempt to save Akademik Shokalskiy in Antarctica". Traveller. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  19. ^ a b Phillips, Nicky (3 January 2014). "Akademik Shokalskiy rescue: tears of joy as passengers come in from the cold". Traveller. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  20. ^ Australian Associated Press (16 January 2016). "Australian icebreaker heading home". SBS. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  21. ^ Australian Associated Press (22 January 2014). "Antarctic cruise routes face scrutiny". SBS. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  22. ^ Dell'Amore, Christine (4 January 2014). "Antarctic Ship Rescue: 5 Lessons From the Trapped-Vessel Drama". National Geographic. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  23. ^ "US icebreaker heads to Antarctic to help stuck ships". Yahoo News. 4 January 2014. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  24. ^ "Antarctic rescue operations complete" (PDF). Australian Maritime Safety Authority. 8 January 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  25. ^ "Akademik Shokalskiy arrives in Bluff". The Southland Times. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  26. ^ Revkin, Andrew (31 December 2013). "Rescue Efforts for Trapped Antarctic Voyage Disrupt Serious Science". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  27. ^ Robinson, Michael (30 December 2013). "Ship Stuck in Antarctica Raises Questions About Worth of Reenacting Expeditions". National Geographic Daily News. Retrieved 5 January 2014.

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