News & AnalysisAntarctic Science

U.S. Icebreaking Woes Threaten McMurdo Resupply, Research Plans

Science  19 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6045, pp. 927
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6045.927

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Summary

Last month, the Swedish government abruptly ended an ongoing agreement with the U.S. National Science Foundation that allowed NSF to lease Oden, the pride of the Swedish icebreaking fleet and also the world's most capable polar-class research vessel. NSF has used the ship each winter since 2006–07 to clear a path through the sea ice to resupply McMurdo Station, the largest scientific outpost in Antarctica and the hub for U.S. activities on the continent. The Swedish government decided that the Oden needed to stay at home this coming winter after two harsh winters disrupted shipping lanes in the region.