Icebergs still threaten shipping


As we approach  the 105th anniversary of the sinking of R.M.S. Titanic, and the death of Joseph Bell and his engineers, it is interesting to note that the threat posed by icebergs is still as evident to shipping as they were in 1912 for Titanic.

This piece by Jennifer McDermott appeared in the ‘I’ newspaper today:

“An unusual number of icebergs – more than 400 have drifted into the North Atlantic shipping lanes over the past week, forcing vessels  to slow to crawl or take detours of hundreds of miles.

In the waters close to where the Titanic went down in 1912, the huge number of ice floes is forcing ships’ captains to be on their guard.

Experts have blamed strong counter-clockwise winds that are drawing the icebergs south, and also global warming, which is accelerating the process by which chunks of the Greenland ice sheet break off and float away.

On Monday, there were about 450 icebergs near Newfoundland’s Grand Banks, up from 37 a week earlier, according to the US Coast Guard’s International Ice Patrol in New London, Connecticut. The average for this time of year is about 80.

Commander Gabrielle McGrath, who leads the ice patrol, said she had never seen such a drastic increase in such a short time.  Adding to the danger, three icebergs were discovered outside the boundaries of the area the Coast Guard had advised mariners to avoid, she said.

Ms McGrath is predicting a fourth consecutive “extreme ice season” with more then 600 icebergs in the shipping lanes.  Transatlantic vessels are being forced to take detours that can add about 400 miles to the trip”




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