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Sunday, March 24, 2019

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RV Araon

Posted to Maritime Musings (by on September 2, 2014

South Korea’s first research icebreaker

Under the auspices of the Korea Antarctic Research Program, South Korea operates two research stations in the Antarctic.  King Sejong Station, established in 1988, is located on King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, seventy-five miles north of the Antarctic Peninsula.  It consists of eleven buildings and two observatories and supports up to 90 people during the summer months and about seventeen during the winter.  Jang Bono Station, in Terra Nova Bay, Victoria Land, is located on the Antarctic mainland south of Australia.  This station, opened in February 2014, is somewhat larger that the King Sejong Station.  South Korea also operates the Dasan Station on Spitzbergen in the high Arctic.  All of these stations are supported and, to some extent, supplied by the research icebreaker Araon, completed in 2009.  The 6,950 GT Araon is 110 meters in length and has a beam of 19 meters and a draft of 10 meters.  With two azimuthing thrusters and a reinforced hull, it is classed by DNV-GL as Polar Class 10, capable of breaking first-year ice of up to one meter thick at a steady speed of three knots.  In addition to a number of research laboratories, Araon is equipped with a flight deck and helicopter hangar.  It makes annual voyages to Antarctic during the southern summer and occasional voyages to the Arctic.  In addition to supporting the South Korean polar stations, Araon conducts independent meteorological, oceanographic, and biological research.  On 20 August 2014, while in the Arctic Ocean 250 miles north of Barrow, Alaska, one of the Araon crew members suffered a serious head injury.  A US Coast Guard helicopter medically evacuated the crew member to the hospital in Barrow for treatment.