Friday, December 16, 2011

Icebreaker Requested to Save 100 Whales Trapped in Russia's Arctic

Off the east coast of the Russian Chukotka peninsula, winter has come hard and fast, freezing parts of the Bering Strait. Fifteen miles south of the village of Yanrakynnot in the Sinyavinsky Strait, 100 beluga whales are trapped in the ice.

Hunters have reported that they are in two polynyas and are currently able to breathe freely. However, food and clean water will soon run out, and the whales will likely die of exhaustion or starvation if the ice is not soon broken up.

Roman Kopin, governor of Chukotka, has written letters to the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Emergency Situations requesting an icebreaker to aid the beluga whales. He suggested the marine rescue boat Ruby as a possible source of salvation for the whales.

The icebreaker is a couple of days away, busy helping the Korean cargo ship Oriental Angel, which has run aground on the Gulf of Anadyr. All of its 90 crew members managed to escape on inflatable boats, but there are still 1,100 gallons of flammable liquid onboard the ship.

Meanwhile, Chukotka authorities are busy trying to find out how far away the nearest source of clean water is from the whales.

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