Magdalena Oldendorff Assist Mission

Monday 29, july

Both the icebreaker "IrÝzar" and the "Magdalena Oldendorff" are awaiting the results of the reconnaissance flights and the analysis of ice information with a view to find a new alternative route to reach open waters. In the latest hours, the Master and the Chief Engineer of the "Oldendorff" were received on board the Navy's icebreaker in order to assess future courses of action. The German vessel was also supplied with fuel, lubricants and provisions.

Sunday 28, july


Position:  69║ 56' 7" S   /   1║ 26' 6" W   06:30 (GMT)

According to Argentine Navy both ships are in the same position that yesterday waiting for updated information from ice-scoutting flights.

Almirante IrÝzar and Magdalena Oldendorff

Acknowledgment: to the Argentine Navy for this image

Saturday 27, july

Position:  69║ 56' 7" S   /   1║ 26' 6" W   06:30 (GMT)

After severals days of navigation crossing a heavy ice field both ships arrived at a zone protected from the ice field and sea currents. By means the ice-scoutting flights and the analysis of ice and meteorological conditions they will determine alternative routes. Source: Argentine Navy

Friday 26, july

Position: 69║ 40┤S /  3║ 56┤7" W        07:00 (GMT)

According to the Argentine Navy the Almirante IrÝzar followed by The Magdalena Oldendorff continues her navigation towards a protected zone from wich, through the reconoissance flights, they will try to find leads (navigable passage through floating ice).

The path the icebreaker has cutted   to arrive remains closed by the influence of wind and ice field movement. On board the icebreaker the meteorological and ice situation is evaluating permanently. Also the Almirante IrÝzar is receiving the permanent support of the Argentine National Meteorological Service, National Ice Center (NIC), the Meteorological and Hydrographic Federal Agency, Service of Ice (Germany) and the Russian Institute of the Investigation of the Arctic and Antarctic.

In addition to the technical and operative evaluation that is made on board the Operations Central of the Naval Operation Command (Puerto Belgrano Naval Station) maintains a permanent liaison with the ship to control, to advise and to support in their decisions to the operative commander at sea. Source:Argentine Navy

Thursday 25, july

Position. Long: 69║ 41┤6" S / 3║ 29┤4" W

As the result of observation flights and a favourable change in weather and ice conditions both ships are forcing a way through the ice field to reach Muskegbukta Bay.

Wednesday 24, july

The ships are stopped in their position waiting for more favourable meteorological and ice conditions. The exploration flights continue searching cracks in other parts of the ice to reach open waters. The prognostic indicate a probable field ice pressure disminution on the ship┤s  hulls. If this occurs both ships will manage to reach young ice zones.

Tuesday 23, july

Pos: 69║ 40┤S / 2║ 46┤W, Heading:stopped

Air temp: minus 20 degrees Celsius, ice- Pack: 9/10 tenth, first year, medium and thick ice with some old ice (2 metres). snow over ice:50 centimetres

According to the information provided by the Argentine Navy "the rigorous ruling meteorological and ice conditions  made stop the march of both ships. Meanwhile, the IrÝzar has sent his two Sea King helicopters to continue with the ice-scoutting flights to search  new routes that allow navigation in convoy ". On the other hand it adds that "the pressure that exerts the ice fields that surround them make still more be in danger the result of the operation". A factor to be consider, according to the experts of the Navy, is the different maneuverabilities between both ships to move by Antarctic waters. It is so, according to the Navy informs, "In the fight against the ice, the ship of the Navy has capacity and experience to resist the different adversities that appear which puts it in advantage with respect to the Oldendorff". Source: Argentine Navy



Monday 22, July, 07:00 hs.

Position: 69║ 41┤ 11" S / 2║ 00┤W

The Almirante IrÝzar and the Magdalena Oldendorff were sailing northwards through an ice field of 9/10 tenth (first year) with 70 cm to 200 cm thick and old ice with cords (2 metres). The heading varied according to the navigation possibilities and his speed was 3 knots. The temperature was minus 19.5 degrees Celsius. The severe ice conditions forced both ships to move under normal speed.

Sunday 21, July, 18:00 hs.

The Argentine Navy said that the icebreaker Almirante IrÝzar and the Magdalena Oldendorff were breaking through the ice at a speed of two knots, or nearly four kilometres an hour.The Argentine Navy says frecuent snowfalls mean the icy landscape in ice field with out reference points.

Friday 19, July, 18:30 hs.

The IrÝzar rescued  the Magdalena Oldendorff and both ships initiate the march towards safer waters. Argentine Navy  estimates that the maneuver will last between 15 and 20 days.

The Argentine icebreaker Almirante IrÝzar released the Magdalena Oldendorff of the ice field that retained her and will initiate the march towards safe waters, with the German ship behind his, without having to tow her, informed the Argentine Navy. As the IrÝzar is wider than the Oldendorff he will go first to open a channel to lead her until open waters.This is a typical icebreaker duty but in severe Antarctic conditions.

Before beginning the first maneuvers, the IrÝzar attended by means of cranes the Oldendorff wirh fuel and food. Source:Argentine Navy


Arrangements for providing assistance

Thursday 18, July. The icebreaker remains in the vicinity of the "Magdalena Oldendorff", waiting for favorable weather conditions to start the assistance maneuvers. This morning, the temperature was around 14 degrees below zero and winds SE blowing at 55 km/h.

Wednesday 17,july 10:00 hs (GMT)

Position: 69║ 35┤5┤┤ S  /  1║ 45┤3┤┤ W

The distance between both ships according with the official information correspondent at 10:00 hs. (GMT) was 20 nautical miles (37 kilometers). The IrÝzar was sailing through an ice field of 10/10 tenth (first year) with 70 cm to 150 cm thick and old ice with cords. The heading varied according to the navigation possibilities and his speed was 3 knots. The temperature was minus 20 degrees Celsius and slight and moderate winds from east sector.Source: Argentine Navy

Tuesday 16, july 07.00 hs. (GMT)

Position : 68║ 54┤ S / 1║ 37┤ W / Heading: varied according to navigation possibilities

With temperatures down to about minus 35 degrees Celsius, the ice is already around 2 metres thick, with ridges running as much as three metres deep. The Oldendorff is still some 60 nautical miles (111 kilometers) away.

Speaking via a satellite telephone, the Argentine Antarctic Naval Force commander, CN Ra˙l Eduardo Benmuyal, said he sent his two Sea King helicopters on reconnaissance missions to try to find a route through the ice. There is no   virtually dayligh but the crew spirit is very high. Source: Argentine Navy

Monday 15, july 07:00 hs. (GMT)

Position: 68║ 17┤2Ę S/ 0║ 12┤5ĘW / Heading: varied according to navigation possibilities/ wind Vx.: 12 knots / Air temp.:minus 16.0 degrees Celsius/Water Temp.: without data /Sailing in an ice of 10/10 tenth, without openings, predominating medium and heavy ice with something of old ice (generally more than 2 meters thick). The naval helicopters are exploring the area to observe the fractures and splits in the ice field. The distance between both ships is the same that yesterday (100 nautical miles). In the other hand this afternoon it will be a press conference at the Navy General Staff (Buenos Aires, 15:00 hs local time).Source: Argentine Navy


Sunday 14, july 07:00 hs. (GMT)

Position: 68║ 20┤S / 2║ 1┤W / Heading: West : 4 knots / Wind Vx: 5 knots / Air Temp.:minus 22.2 degrees Celsius / Water Temp.: minus 5.5 degrees Celsius /Sailing in  ice field 10/10.

Thi morning the distance between both ships was 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers)Source: Argentine Navy


Saturday 13, july 09:00 am (GMT)

Position: 67║ 18' S / 3║ 28' E / Heading: South : 6/10 knots  / Wind Vx: 10 knots /  Air Temp. :minus 19 degrees Celsius / Water temp.: minus 5.5 degrees Celsius / Sailing in young ice field 10/10.

The icebreaker Almirante IrÝzar is sailing through a young field ice without icebergs at a speed of 6/10 knots and is using her icebreaker capabilities to cut a path clear for the Magdalena Oldendorff. This morning at 09:00 am (GMT) the distance between both ships was 200 nautical miles (389 kilometers). Due the poor visibilty conditions the glaciological exploration flights were suspended yesterday afternoon.Source: Argentine Navy


Friday 12, july 07:00 am (GMT)

Yesterday the "Almirante IrÝzar" has adopted a clear South course in the ice field towards the "Magdalena Oldendorff". This morning the distance between both ships was 395 nautical miles (720 Kilometers). At the present time the icebreaker with the assistance of two Sea King naval helicopters is developing an exploratory phase aimed to establish the best aproximation way to the trapped ship. Source: Argentine Navy


Thursday 11, july

The icebreaker Almirante IrÝzar is sailing in proximities  of the ice barrier that separates Magdalena Oldendorff from open water. At this moment they must evaluate the best route to cut a path clear into the ice for the other ship.Some factors like teh ice density, its hardness and the possible meteorological and glaciological evolution  must be considered.At the same time the low temperature, ice drift and wind conditions arebeing evaluated to take the best course. Source: Argentine Navy


Wednesday 10, july 07:00 (GMT)

The Almirante IrÝzar Position:S 59║ 30┤/ W 8║ 45┤ // SOG: 12.5 knots

Heading: NW //Air temp: -1.6 degrees Celsius// Water temp:0 degrees Celsius


Weathers with hurricane-like winds and waves of 15 meters were put behind. Yesterday, the Argentine icebreaker entered a new ice field (0 - 10 cm) of three tenth of concentration. The conditions of navigation allowed the crew to carry out a military formation to commemorate independence day. The ceremony was presided by the Commander of the Antarctic Naval Force, captain Raul Eduardo Benmuyal. Source: Argentine Navy


Tuesday, July 9 th


The "IrÝzar" icebreaker continues its course, being its present position of 250 nautical miles (450 km) to the east of the Sandwich of the South archipelago. The arrival of the icebreaker to the North edge of the ice barrier, that has the "Oldendorff" trapped, is predicted for Thursday 11 in the evening, depending on whether the meteorological conditions are favourable and allow to maintain the speed of advance of the ship. This barrier that interposes between the "IrÝzar" and the "Oldendorff", has hundreds of kilometers of wide and it is constantly expanding. The temperature in the navigation route continues descending and the snow falls that cover in white the covers of the ship are numerous. Source: Argentine Navy


Monday, July 8th


Today,  the "Admiral IrÝzar" icebreaker retook his course towards the "Magdalena Oldendorff", as soon as the severe weather in his route of navigation lessened. Its present position is of 400 nautical miles (720 km) to the Southeast of the island of San Pedro, in the archipelago of the Georgias of the South, and the winds in the area are of 20 knots, even though the prognosis anticipates a new decline of the meteorological conditions for today's afternoon.


Yesterday the IrÝzar has arrived at a new ice field of 10 cm thick. The weather conditions   allow the crew to carry out a military formation to commemorate the Independence Day. The ceremony was presided for the Antarctic Naval Force commander, captain Raul Eduardo Benmuyal. Source: Argentine Navy

Meanwhile the Swedish icebreaker Oden reports that his heading is now set directly towards Cape Town and currently due west of the Guinea/Sierra Leone border. The Oden  expects to cross the Equator during Thursday morning. 


Sunday 7, july

Lat 58.30 S / Long 26.37 W - 08:00 (GMT)

Due to severe weather conditions with winds up to 67 knots and waves that reach 15 meters of heith the Icebreaker is adopting courses based on the direction of the storm. The heavy weather is typical for this time of the year for sub-antarctic zones and make difficult the ship┤s navigation. On the other hand Magdalena Oldendorff  has informed that the meteorological and glaciological conditons in her zone do not register any significative change.Source: Argentine Navy

Saturday 6, july

The icebreaker Argentine are 210 nautical miles to the Southeast of the Georgias islands heaving a strong snow and wind storm. The temperatures descend below cero and the iceberg presence is increased. The Argentine ship maintains radial contact with the Magdalena Oldendorff. Source: Argentine Navy


Friday 5, july

The first icebergs received to the Icebreaker Argentine that continue advancing according to her plan in spite of having to support strong winds and visibility reduced by snow and fog.Source: Argentine Navy

Thursday 4, july

Icebreaker Almirante IrÝzar is 530 nautical miles (981,5 km) north of Orcadas Islands and proceeds towards Antarctica where she will assist the Magdalena Oldendorff which is over 3100 nautical miles from the icebreaker.

Tuesday, 2 July, 2002

At present there is still one Russian technician as well as 17 crew members board. The remaining crew will be sufficient to bring the Magdalena Oldendorff off the ice as soon as the Argentinian icebreaker Almirante Irizar has freed the way. The 'Almirante Irizar' has sailed from Bahia Blanca, Argentina, on June 28th and is expected at the border of the ice at the beginning of next week.

The Magdalena Oldendorf has been at anchor since 11th June 2002 in the Bay of Muskegbukta, at the edge of the ice shelf, after supplying several research stations in the South Polar Sea with food and equipment on behalf of the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI). She is managed by the shipping company Egon Oldendorff of LŘbeck, Germany, and was due to take 79 Russian researchers back to Cape Town .


Two  South African helicopters pulled the remaining 18 passengers off the Magdalena Oldendorff during a brief period of good weather and daylight. The rescue operation had been put on hold over the weekend when a cyclone forced the MV S.A. Agulhas to move to north   into thinner ice, 526 kilometres away from the Magdalena Oldendorff and out of sale flying distance.

The ship is relatively safe from floating ice and moving icebergs, as it is protected into the Bay of Muskegbutka . Essential crew members will remain on board the Magdalena Oldendorff until the arrival of the Argentine Icebreaker Almirante Irizar.


Scientists rescued from Magdalena Oldendorff

Monday, 1 July, 2002


The last russian scientists have been evacuated to the MV S.A. Agulhas. The ship is waiting for instruction either to return back to Capetown or either to wait for the Icebreaker A.R.A. Almirante Irizar wich is expected to be next week in operational distance.


Friday, 28 June, 2002

Rescuers are using a break in harsh winter conditions to airlift Russian scientists from the supply ship Magdalena Oldendorff and deliver  supplies to those remaining on board. Two helicopters Oryx flew from the heated deck of South African research and supply vessel MV S.A. Agulhas that has penetrated the ice fields to within 350 kilometres (190 nautical miles) of the trapped vessel, Magdalena Oldendorff.The Icebreaker A.R.A. Almirante Irizar is on its way to Atarctica. Also the Swedish Icebreaker Oden is on its way and is expected to be in the area around 20th july.

More scientists are being airlifted off Magdalena Oldendorff  but rescue flights will have to halt to make way for an advancing cyclone. Rescue mission spokesman Tanya Hacker told BBC News Online that 48 more of the Russian  scientists were being taken off the research vessel trapped by  Antarctic ice.

Added to the 21 removed on Thursday, that would bring the total rescued to 69. Two south African air force helicopters made at least two flights each on Friday from the rescue ship Agulhas, which is about 330 kilometres (180 nautical miles) from the trapped Magdalena.

Temperatures have been down around -20 C where the Agulhas is, and -33 C where the Magdalena is trapped. because of the weather, the Agulhas has had to begin moving north, out of helicopter range and away from Antarctic ice tath has reached 35 cm thick and is thickening about 1 cm a day.

However, the Argentinean icebreaker A.R.A. Almirante Irizar is expected to arrive on 7 July, and should be able to carve a path through the ice to the Magdalena, allowing the trapped ship to follow behind on the way out.       Source: BBC news


Irizar Schedule

The programme provided by the Argentine Navy authorities indicates that by the 8th or the 9th of July, the Irizar will be in 70║S 0║ Longitude. That plan counts with aid of the nature to reach that point as fast as possible. Meteorological reports indicates that at 60║ there are strong storms from W to E every 36 hours.

The Icebreaker A.R.A. Almirante Irizar has a crew of 176 men, including 5 scientists specialized in glaciology and meteorology, 26 members of the  the naval helicopters (pilots, copilots, mechanics and auxiliary personnel). Six expert members of the Argentine Army in patrollings on ice, a complete sanitary equipment, made up of surgeon, anesthetist,dentist, biochemist and personel of the Naval Health and divers specially trained in Antarctic zones. Also is on board a representative of the Oldendorff Company. Source: Argentine Navy