Arcticportal News
Xuelong returns after historic voyage
Shipping News
Friday, 28 September 2012 08:20

Xuelong in the port of Shanga after returning home (Photo: Xinhua) Xuelong in the port of Shanga after returning home (Photo: Xinhua)The historic voyage of the Xuelong, the Chinese icebreaker, was concluded yesterday when it returned to Shanghai. Xuelong, or the Snow Dragon, is the first Chinese vessel to complete a high-latitude voyage across the Arctic Ocean.

The Xuelong travelled 18.500 nautical miles during the three month voyage, including 5370nm in the Arctic Ocean.

A statement from the Polar Research Institute of China states that the expedition team has successfully performed various scientific research tasks. A total of 119 crew members were on board.

The researchers conducted a systematic geophysical survey, installed an automatic meteorological station, as well as launched investigations on oceanic turbulence and methane content in the Arctic area.

They also held academic exchanges with their counterparts in Iceland, and the two groups conducted a joint oceanic survey in the waters around Iceland.

The CHINARE5, Chinas Fifth National Arctic Research Expedition, left the Chinese port of Qingdao on the 2nd of July. It arrived in Iceland in August and spent four days in the country, opening the ship to the public both in Reykjavik and Akureyri, as well as co-operating on symposiums in both towns.

"It's the longest Arctic expedition we've ever had in terms of both sailing time and distance," said Chen Hongxia, a professor at the State Oceanic Administration's First Institute of Oceanography, who participated in the voyage.

"Unfortunately we didn't reach the North Pole because Xuelong's icebreaking capability isn't strong enough," said Wang Shuoren, political commissar of the icebreaker.

China is designing a new icebreaker, which is scheduled to go into operation in 2014.



New wind park opened in Norway
Energy News
Thursday, 27 September 2012 15:10

Chairman of the municipal government Svein Ludvigsen opens the wind park (Photo: Ole Ãsheim - Nordlys) Chairman of the municipal government Svein Ludvigsen opens the wind park (Photo: Ole Ãsheim - Nordlys)One of the biggest wind parks inside the Arctic Circle was opened yesterday in Northern Norway. It is located in Vannøya, near Tromsø. The park can produce energy for around 7000 households.

The wind park can produce around 138 GWh per year. It includes 18 wind power generators and a new 34 km long power line. The project was produced by the company Troms Kraft.

The mills are 125m high and have taken 10 years to build.

„Today is a historical day, not only for Troms Kraft but for the owners, Karlsoy and the whole region, company director Anna Maria Aursund said at the opening ceremony on Tuesday. The cost is around 750 million NOK (€100 million).

Troms Kraft also plans to extend the wind park with offshore turbines placed in the nearby waters.

Several wind projects are on the drawing board in neighboring countries Sweden and Finland, including a megaproject in Sweden which will be one of the biggest on-shore wind power parks in all of Europe.


Arctic oil production questioned
Energy News
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 09:50

Oil (Photo: GettyImages) Oil (Photo: GettyImages)

The chief executive of the energy company Total warns against oil drilling in the Arctic. He says that oil spills would destroy the image of companies.

Total has had many oil projects in the Arctic, and still has several exploration projects concerning gas, which the executive, Christophe de Margerie, says is easier to deal with than oil spills.

"Oil on Greenland would be a disaster," de Margerie told the Financial Times. "A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company".

Financial Times states that this is the first time an oil major has publicly spoken out against offshore oil exploration in the region.

Although not mentioning the fragile nature and environment in the Arctic, rather highlighting the image of the company concerning damage in oil spills, environmentalists are happy with the comments.

de Margerie emphasized that he was not opposed to Arctic exploration in principle.

The Financial Times also reports that Royal Dutch Shell had to postpone until next year an attempt to drill into oil-bearing rock off the Alaskan coast after a piece of safety equipment was damaged during testing. It has spent $4.5bn and seven years preparing to drill.

Many companies are exploring and drilling for oil in the Arctic, ExxonMobil, ENI of Italy and Statoil of Norway amongst them, as well as Russian Giants Gazprom.

Total's Arctic projects are concentrated in Russia. As well as its stake in Shtokman, it has interests in a number of onshore developments, such as a big liquefied natural gas venture in Russia's far north known as Yamal LNG. It also operates a Siberian oilfield called Kharyaga.

According to a 2008 study by the US Geological Survey, the Arctic contains just over a fifth of the world's undiscovered, recoverable oil and gas resources.


The first live search and rescue exercise
Other News
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 10:15

From the Sarex excercise (Photo: Arctic Council)From the Sarex excercise (Photo: Arctic Council)The first live search and rescue exercise among the 8 Arctic states, "SAREX 2012", took place 10-14 September in stormy weather and high seas in a remote area along Greenland's east coast. The exercise involved personnel, authorities, airplanes, helicopters and ships from Canada, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and the United States.

The Artic Councils website reports that all the ships, airplanes etc. were regional units normally operating in the High North nationally and in that context the exercise was conducted in a very realistic environment.

Following the Search and Rescue agreement approved at the Ministerial meeting in Nuuk, May 2011, Denmark hosted this major scale exercise to launch a Search and Rescue mission in the High North. The emerging melting of ice and opening of new land and sea in the High North bring tourists and industry to the area.

Every year 40 – 50 cruise ships sail among icebergs in cold waters where the temperature ranges from 0 – 5 degrees. These areas are also remote and far from dedicated rescue resources. The goal of the exercise was to test communications, equipment and procedures nationally and between the participating nations, to address the challenges caused by an influx into remote areas.

The exercise consisted of three phases. In the first phase, Greenland's Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) initiated a full scale search operation with aircrafts, ships and helicopters to quickly locate a missing cruise ship. Once the ship was located all efforts were focused on rescuing the passengers and crew from the wrecked ship. Fire fighters and medical personnel were flown in and parachuted.

Landing in the sea was necessary since no landing elsewhere was possible. On board the cruise ship the situation was chaotic with injured people, people in shock, fire and smoke but in the end all personnel were brought safely to land for further treatment. The last part of the exercise was evacuating a fairly large number of injured people to the nearest hospital in Reykjavik, Iceland around 500 km away.

For Denmark this exercise brings back memories of the loss of the passenger- and transport ship Hans Hedtoft. It disappeared in 1959 south of Greenland after a collision with an iceberg. The only item ever recovered from that was a life buoy which was later found on the coast of Iceland.

All in all the exercise was a success. Many procedures were conducted professionally and proven correct, but more importantly the exercise also revealed areas for improvement both at the national level but also between the nations in a large scale combined operation.

The aim being that the 8 Arctic states will be better prepared should a similar undesirable situation happen in reality.


Arctic Council

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The launch of new First Peoples WWW
2012 Other
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Monday, 24 September 2012 11:14

(Logo: First Peoples Worldwide Website) (Logo: First Peoples Worldwide Website) Today, new and improved First Peoples Worldwide Website was launched with more interactive and better organized content.


The website allows telling the stories of indigenous groups who are strengthening their communities, protecting their homelands, and securing their own futures.


First Peoples Worldwide is the only Indigenous-run, Indigenous-led organization making small, impactful grants directly to Indigenous communities through keepers of the Earth Fund. Over the past five years, the organization has granted US$1.42 million to 163 Indigenous organizations in 53 countries – leveraging over US$15 million!


(Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images)First Peoples Worldwide is the first and only Indigenous organization to use finance- and market-based strategies to solve Indigenous issues.


It is greatly committed to bringing corporate operating policy in line with interests of Indigenous peoples, and to helping companies develop an operational model that recognizes the real social and environmental costs of doing business.


First Peoples Worldwide engages Indigenous communities as part of the Global Indigenous Movement. Through the fieldwork, advocacy, outreach, publications, and videos, First Peoples Worldwide is a leader in promoting Indigenous solutions and innovations.


Please, visit the website for more information and your contribution.






The Fist Peoples Worldwide Website


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