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Wednesday, August 28, 2013
CANADIAN ARCTIC BLOCKED WITH SEA ICE AT BOTH ENDS - 2013 NORTHWEST PASSAGES MAY BE ENDING EARLY
legendary Arctic Northwest Passage has become blocked with 5/10 concentrated
drifting sea ice at both the eastern and at the western ends of Canada’s Arctic Archipelago.
Regent Inlet in position 73.7880535N, -89.2529297W became blocked on 20130827
with 5/10 ice concentration with 7/10 ice pushing. This effectively closes the
2013 Northwest Passage without Canadian Coast
Guard icebreaker escorts for transit. Currently there is a commercial cruise
ship on a west to east passage which will reach Prince Regent Inlet in another
day. It is unknown if there is a CCG icebreaker in the area to provide
assistance since government ships do not provide Automatic Identification
Service (AIS) to public AIS websites. Since one of the Canadian Coast Guard’s
prime missions is to provide icebreaking for commercial shipping it will be
interesting to see if they view this opportunity for good public relations to
help recreational yachts transiting the Northwest Passage.
choke-point stopping marine traffic is on the western Canadian Arctic at Cape
Bathurst in position 70.6672443N, -128.2763672W which became blocked on
20130826 with 2/10 ice concentration and quickly filled with 5/10 ice on
20130827 and today has 8/10 ice pushing towards Cape Bathurst.
There are a
number of yachts known to be in the CambridgeBay area heading west: ACALEPHE (CA), ISATIS (NEW
CALEDONIA), LA BELLE EPOQUE (DE),
LIBELLULE (CHE), NOEME
(FRA), and TRAVERSAY III (CA). PAS PERDU LE NORD(DE) was ahead by 10 days and has already gone on to Arctic
Alaska waters. While BALTHAZAR
(CA) departed from
Inuvik a month ago and is now on the hard in NomeAlaska.
The following yachts are enroute from the west to the east: ANNA (?), rowboat
ARCTIC JOULE (CA), DODO'S DELIGHT
(GBR), EMPIRICUS (USA). rowboat FAIRMONT's
tandem-kayak IKIMAYIA (CA), in Russian sea ice is LADY DANA (POL), POLAR BOUND (GBR), rowboat ROWING ICE (FRA), in Russian sea ice is
TARA (FRA), and a group of jetskis known as DANGEROUS WATERS
reported east of Gjoa Haven.
Several updates on known others: LE MANGUIER (FRA) is wintering over in the ice at Paulatuk. Motor
Yacht Lady M II (MarshalIslands) was escorted by CCGS icebreaker HENRY
LARSEN through BellotStrait eastbound on
20130824. ARCTIC TERN (GBR)
and TOOLUKA (NED)
retreated to the east towards Greenland/Newfoundland away from Bellot Strait on
20130822 with the opinion that the Arctic ice was finished melting and
freeze-up would prevent them from reaching the Northwest Passage finish line at
the Arctic Circle in the Bering Strait.
So now the
real question is if and when the Canadian Coast Guard decides to take early
action to help the above yachts exit the Arctic
before freeze-up or will they wait until it becomes an emergency rescue
operation? Lemons turned to public relations good will is the obvious choice –
what do you think they will do?
CCGS icebreaker HENRY LARSEN entering Bellot Strait