Coast Guard Cutter Sent to Free Trapped Ships in Antartica

Ice caused by global warming entraps second ship:   The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star had been heading to that area anyway, having left its home port of Seattle early last month to eventually break through sea ice and refuel the U.S. Antarctic Program’s McMurdo Station on Ross Island.

Now the icebreaker is retooling to help the Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy and China’s Xue Long due to “sufficient concern that the vessels may not be able to free themselves from the ice,” the Coast Guard said Saturday in a statement.

The Australian agency formally requested the Americans help on Friday. The Coast Guard noted that the governments of Russia and China also asked for U.S. assistance.

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