Tokyo, November 13: The icebreaker Shirase, operated by the Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has left for the 59th Antarctic expedition of Japan. Under a lovely blue sky, the expeditors have embarked on their milestone journey from Tokyo’s Harumi pier on Sunday.
Most of the will board the ship in Australia on Nov. 28. Among them will be 10 female SDF officers, making a new record. Eighteen members are already in Antarctica having flown from South Africa on Oct. 28. As this year’s sea ice is comparatively thin according to reports, Shirase is expected to easily arrive in the region.
Among the crew members, wintering party members will conduct a research on global warming and climate change. They will use data from the Pansy large atmosphere radar installed at the base station.
Shirase is a Japanese icebreaker operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan's fourth icebreaker for Antarctic expeditions. She inherited her name from her predecessor. She was launched in April 2008 and commissioned in May 2009 with the hull number AGB-5003. She began her first voyage on 10 November 2009.