UK-funded ice breaker in ‘elite’ Arctic tourism row

Ernest ShackletonImage copyright

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RRS Ernest Shackleton is normally used for logistics and scientific work in the Antarctic

Concerns have been raised about the participation of a UK science vessel in an Arctic tourist voyage.

Funded by the UK government, the RRS Ernest Shackleton normally carries out support work for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

But this summer the ice breaker has been chartered to accompany a luxury liner’s voyage in the Arctic.

Critics say it’s inappropriate for a vessel dedicated to science to support tourism in such a fragile area.

Global warming has seen a rapid rise in the number of ships travelling through Arctic waters in recent years.

The Northwest Passage – a short cut from Asia to Europe through the Canadian Arctic – first became fully clear of ice in the summer in 2007.

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