JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.86

SPECIAL FEATURE

Support for Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition
- Shirase, navigating through icy waters -

Support for Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition
- Shirase, navigating through icy waters -
What is Shirase?

Shirase is the only icebreaker operated by the MSDF and used for supporting the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition. The mission is to transport supplies and personnel, and it also supports observations and station setup in the Antarctic. The ship has its home port at Yokosuka.

The transport capacity of Shirase has greatly expanded Japan’s research expedition in Antarctica by enabling the Showa Station to upgrade to modern facilities and by making the construction of the Asuka Station and Dome Fuji Station possible. Initially, icebreaker Soya carried out transport for Japan’s Antarctic expedition. Later these operations were taken over to the icebreaker Fuji and the first generation Shirase. At this point in time, the second generation Shirase is on service.

Support for the current 58th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition began on November 11th, 2016, and is scheduled to end on April 10th, 2017. The ice breaker Shirase is transporting personnel and supplies as well as providing assistance (supporting ship-based observations, outdoor observations, and setting up the land base).

After departing Tokyo on November 11th, 2016, Shirase stopped in Fremantle, Australia to pick up members of the 58th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition, and then headed to the Antarctic. Shirase arrived at fast ice approx. 560 meters off the coast of the Showa Station on December 28th, 2016. Shirase will return to Tokyo via Sydney, Australia.

In the JDF March edition (No. 86), we will take a closer look at the cooperation activities carried out by Shirase this fiscal year.

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