Thu, Apr 03, 2014 - Page 10 News List

French polar chief derides Antarctic cruise as a jaunt

An Aussie icebreaker is about 100 nautical miles from a ship trapped in sea ice near Antarctica on Dec. 28 last year.

Photo: EPA

The head of France’s polar science institute voiced fury at the misadventures of a Russian ship trapped in Antarctic ice, deriding what he called a tourists’ trip that had diverted resources from real science.

Yves Frenot, director of the French Polar Institute, said he had no issue at all with rescuing those aboard the stricken vessel. He said, however, the trip itself was a “pseudo-scientific expedition” that, because it had run into difficulties, had drained resources from the French, Chinese and Australian scientific missions in Antarctica.

The Russian vessel, the Akademik Shokalskiy, became stuck on Dec. 24 last year in frozen seas. Its 52 passengers — scientists, tourists and journalists — were later airlifted to an Australian government supply vessel, the Aurora Australis, using a helicopter from a Chinese icebreaker, the Xue Long. But then the Xue Long itself was trapped in the ice, and the Aurora Australis was placed on standby to see if the Chinese ship needed help.

Because of the rescue operations, French scientists had had to scrap a two-week oceanographic campaign, said Frenot.

“But we are relatively lucky,” he said. “The Chinese have had to cancel their entire scientific program, and my counterpart in Australia is spitting tacks with anger, because their entire summer has been wiped out.”

(Liberty Times)






1. jaunt n.

遠足;短程旅遊 (yuan3 zu2; duan3 cheng2 lu3 you2)

例: He took a four-day jaunt to the mountains.


2. misadventure n.

災禍 (zai1 huo4)

例: His vacation turned into a series of misadventures.


3. divert v.

分散 (fen1 san4)

例: The river had to be diverted while the dam was being built.




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