Icebreaker Shirase reaches Japan’s base in Antarctica with new research team

JIJI

The Maritime Self-Defense Force icebreaker Shirase reached Showa Station, Japan’s Antarctic research facility, on Monday.

The ship, carrying 62 members of the 57th research expedition team led by Akira Kadokura, came to a stop at 1:45 a.m. local time about 500 meters from the station.

The Shirase’s voyage was relatively smooth and the sea ice was less widespread than during its visit a year ago. To break through the ice, the ship used a technique called ramming 931 times, pulling back first and then moving forward to ram into the ice ahead.

Unloading the supplies and vehicles was set to begin later Monday.

The Shirase is due to leave the station at the end of January.

Japan’s 57th expedition to Antarctica will officially take over from the current team in late February and spend the next year conducting research.