Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brazil Belatedly Reveals Fuel Barge Sinking in Antarctica

The Brazilian Commandante Ferraz base fire has been a major Antarctic news story the last few days, but the base is also in the news with the revelation of a potential Brazilian government cover up of a fuel barge sinking in the Antarctic back in December 2011.  The fuel barge sunk near the Commandante Ferraz base.  The barge contains about 10,000 liters of diesel and is in ~40 meter deep water.  After a delay of several months the Brazilians have informed other Antarctic treaty partners and report that there has not been any leakage.

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2 Brazilian Sailors die in Antarctic Base Fire

While tragedy in the Antarctic seems to happen rather regularly, it is often more related to regular medical emergencies being a bigger deal due to remoteness or ship accidents.  However, the most recent major news story out of the Antarctic is the Brazilian Comandante Ferraz base being damaged by a fire.  The fire is reported to have destroyed much of the base.

The fire began in the engine room and the sailors attempted to put it out.  Two died and one was injured.  The rest of the personnel were evacuated to a Chilean base and a C-130 Hercules was sent to return them to Brazil.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Antarctic Lake Vostok Water Finally Reached

For decades the Russians have been drilling through the ice to attempt and reach the liquid water part of Lake Vostok.  Last year they came quite close, but had to stop due to the end of the summer season and their air supply link being stopped by the winter weather.  The first water samples have now been retrieved and eventually the Russians plan to share samples with other researchers to allow for more analysis on this long isolated lake under the ice.

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