China’s Icebreaker Enters Floating Ice Field in Southern Ocean

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On November 25, China’s research ice-breaker Xuelong entered a floating ice area in the Southern Ocean as a precautionary measure to avoid a cyclone.

What happened?

The ice-breaker ‘Xuelong’ ventured into an ice area that is located at 61.55 degrees south latitude and 110.37 east longitude. The vessel traveled between sheets of floating ice and crushing noise was heard when the bottom of the ship hit the ice. The ship has lowered its speed from 15 knots (27.78 km per hour) to 9 knots (16.67 km per hour) to relieve tremors.

On November 2, the icebreaker carrying a research team set sail from Shanghai, beginning the country’s 35th Antarctic expedition which will last 162 days and cover 37,000 nautical miles (68,500 km).

Routed due to cyclone

Fist Mate Zhu Li said, “The icebreaker is now sailing along the edge of the ice field in order to avoid a cyclone, though the floating ice will reduce the ship speed, it will also be able to alleviate threats posed by a strong weather system to navigating safety”.

Antarctic expedition

The ice-breaker will sail out of the floating ice area and into the wide Southern Ocean under favorable weather conditions and is scheduled to reach the Zhongshan Station in Antarctica on November 30.

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Source: Xinhua

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