Wednesday, October 16, 2013
OCT 16 CARGO SHIP BECOMES FIRST TO SAIL NORTHWEST PASSAGE
Last week, a ship called the Nordic Orion accomplished what dozens of Europeans explorers have been attempting to do for 500 years. The Danish-owned cargo ship sailed the elusive Northwest Passage above North America, thus connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It was a bit dangerous around Baffin Island, where the cargo ship passed hull after hull of wrecked and frozen three-masted schooners from previous, failed expeditions.
Okay...we here at the DUNER BLOG made that last part up. But we did so the make a point. People have been trying to sail through the treacherous Northwest Passage for a long, long time. From Henry Hudson in the 1500's to George Vancouver in the 1800's, many sailors have tried and/or died in vain. But don't feel bad about John Cabot or Captain Cook. The Nordic Orion's accomplishment last week has nothing to do with exploration and everything to do with Global Warming.
But don't count on any fleets of cargo ships passing by Baffin Island anytime soon. There are many, many complex issues and problems with making the Northwest Passage a heavily traveled route. First of all, there is not a single port along the route. If a ship has a mechanical failure, they are likely to meet the same fate as Henry Hudson. (He was frozen alive.) Environmentalists will remind us about the Selendang Ayu. This Malaysian cargo ship lost power in 2004 and crashed on the Aleutian Islands, causing extensive damage. Not to mention the touchy subject of Arctic sovereignty...