[FOUNTAIN]Teamwork melts adversity

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[FOUNTAIN]Teamwork melts adversity

The expedition to the South Pole by Ernest Shackleton, a British explorer, early in the 20th century is a symbol of the challenging spirit of mankind. Mr. Shackleton was disappointed by the news that his compatriot, Robert F. Scott, had lost a race to the Antarctic to Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian. Moreover, Mr. Shackleton was shocked by the tragic death of Mr. Scott on his return trip and made up his mind to cross Antarctica safely.

As soon as Mr. Shackleton entered Antarctica with his crew in 1915, they were trapped in a gigantic glacier. After nine months of being confined by an ice-berg, they nearly ran out of food and none of their equipment functioned properly.

As time went by, their ship cracked under the pressure of thousands of tons of ice, and they set up camp on floating ice. When the ice-berg they had found refuge on broke apart, they moved to another iceberg in a hurry.

Their main source of food was seal. Fortunately, seals are not afraid of humans and did not hesitate to approach them, so capturing them was easy. The team had to wait for another 10 months after moving to an island before they were rescued. They had drifted 1,030 kilometers. In addition, they had sailed about 1,300 kilometers to a whaling station.

Two years of rough Antarctic exploration impressed the Europeans. Mr. Shackleton received the title of Lordship for his leadership and teamwork and for leaving no one behind.

There is an emergency operation going on to rescue a German ship locked in by icebergs after leaving Novolazarevskaya, a Russian station in Antarctica on June 13. One hundred and seven crew members, including 79 Russian scientists, are on board. Only 30 days of food remain. The ship can no longer navigate because of the continuous darkness and mountains of ice surrounding the ship. South Africa and Argentina have sent rescue teams and an icebreaker after receiving an SOS.

Recently, the number of icebergs has increased and icebergs as long as 156 kilometers and as wide as 36 kilometers have appeared near Antarctica.

Countries that have insisted on vested rights over Antarctica are competitively pursuing exploration and spending heavily on collecting information about the icebergs.

Gathering information is most urgent and the amassed data should be analyzed thoroughly by scientific professionals working together to determine why the icebergs are breaking apart.

The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Choi Chul-joo

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