Friday, August 27, 2010

Sea Shepherd confirms the non-existence of Pingvin Island

Pingvin Island on chart AUS452 Australian Antarctic Territory
Cape Rundingen to Cape Filchner overlayed on satellite imagery

From Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

While the Japanese whaling fleet pretends to be doing research, the
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society indulged in a little research of our own today.

We noticed that we would be sailing past the position of an island marked on nautical charts with the notation that there was a lack of confirmation on the existence of the island. Coincidently the path the fleeing Japanese whaling ship
Nisshin Maru took the Sea Shepherd ships, Steve Irwin and Bob Barker, was a course directly to that position where the island is supposed to exist.
The island would be within
Australian Antarctic Territorial waters if confirmed.

Pingvin Island appears on the Australian nautical chart #452 (Cape Rundingen to Cape Filhner). According to the chart, Pingvin Island is three miles long (as measured on the chart) and is situated at 65 Degrees 47 Minutes South and 81 Degrees 55 Minutes East.
The chart depicts the island with an “unconfirmed” status.
We can now say with 100% accuracy that the island depicted on the chart does not exist at the location indicated on the chart.
The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin passed right over top of the location without any noticeable readings on the depth sounder indicating a sunken island or a seamount.

British Antarctic pilot book has the island situated in a slightly different location a few miles away at 65 Degrees 45 Minutes South and 81 Degrees and 48 Minutes East.
We can now say with 100% accuracy that Pingvin Island does not exist at the location stated in the Australian Antarctic Pilot book.
The island does not appear on U.S. Nautical charts

Pingvin Island is depicted on :
  • Australian Chart #452 (Cape Rundinggen to Cape Filhner)
  • Australian Chart #4074 (Cape Darnley to Tasmania)
  • International Chart #72 (Cape Darnley to Tasmania) --> correction INT#74
There are numerous icebergs in the area, and none of which can be mistaken for an island.
The Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker did a radar, depth sounder, and visual survey at 1200 Hours on Sunday, February 21st, 2010.
Photographs were taken with a GPS in the picture of the location indicated on the chart.

Dr. Bonny Schumaker, on the Bob Barker, confirmed the observations of Captain Paul Watson and 1st Officer Lockhart MacLean on the Steve Irwin.

Notes from the Bob Barker from observations by Dr. Bonny Schumaker:

According to our chart on the Bob Barker (AUS452, INT903), Pingvin Island is centered on about 65deg 48'S, 081deg51'E.

--> Position on the Marine GeoGarage (65°47.5'S/81°55'E)

At 1215 (UTC+0800) today, 2010 Feb 21, we passed an iceberg at 65deg 46'S, & 081deg 51.9'E, a position approximately 1.2 nm NW of where the chart indicates Pingvin Island, and at that time we saw nothing else in the vicinity except for this iceberg.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has informed the Australian Hydrographic Service of the observation.

One explanation could be the Antarctic sea ice has expanded over the past 30 years.
(see Links below)

Links :
  • MySailing : All you've ever wanted to ask the Australian Hydrographic Service
  • National Geographic : Why Antarctic sea ice is growing in a warmer world
  • Wired : Global warming protects Antarctic sea ice — But not for long

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