Old Salt Blog: Polar Star in the Antarctic — Still Hanging On Despite Repeated Breakdowns

Polar Star in the Antarctic — Still Hanging On Despite Repeated Breakdowns

This year on the Polar Star , the electrical system overheated, damaging a switchboard. One of two evaporators failed. A shaft leak stopped the ship, requiring divers to be put over the side to perform emergency repairs. Later, power outages stopped the ship again, requiring a nine-hour reboot of all systems to get the ship back online.

I recently wrote an article about the September 1983 shipping crisis in the Arctic where the Soviet Union managed to amass a fleet of 13 heavy polar icebreakers to escort the icebound ships in within a small part of the Northern Sea Route. Writing a similar article about the current USCG icebreaker fleet would be pretty sad reading: “This time the Americans took it seriously. Instead of sending just one icebreaker, they deployed the whole fleet. Both ships.

let’s only hope that they don’t end up being towed home by some Rooshin!

Both the Russians and the Chinese are there with their ice breakers now in the summer season.
Both would be able and willing to take on the task, if asked. (At a price of course)

Actually it’s quite unlikely the Russians would spare a heavy icebreaker, if not for a publicity stunt, as their fleet is fully deployed in home waters during the northern hemisphere winter. If the Polar Star were to break down and require rescue, I’d probably put my money on the Swedes releasing Oden from Baltic escort icebreaking duties ahead of schedule. After all, she’s been down there before.

Of course, you could always send Aiviq… :smiley:

Oh, and the Chinese research vessel Xue Long is not a real icebreaker. She’s a converted Arctic cargo/resupply ship with a low-speed crosshead diesel engine driving a single CP propeller in a nozzle.

They’ll get back under their own power.