Cargo ship drew a crowd as it pulled up to dock encased in sea ice
Like something out of a scene from a famous movie, a ship sailing into a Russian port after an ordeal at sea caught the attention of onlookers -- and its valuable frozen freight was unrecognizable thanks to all the ice.
This cargo ship carrying dozens of cars was spotted buried under snow and ice at this port in Vladivostok, Russia, on Dec. 27, 2021. The frozen cars had to be taken off the ship by crane.
Ocean myths and legends abound and any sailor worth his sea salt loves a good tale from the sea. According to the captain of an icy ship that recently docked in Russia, this story all started with unusually strong winds and low December temperatures.
It wasn't the scene from the "ice passage" between the worlds of the living and the dead in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, but it looked a lot like it. In this case, the vessel was a cargo ship carrying some very valuable freight docking in Russia after traveling from Japan. But it certainly appeared as if it had just sailed through the infamous frozen landscape from the popular movie franchise.
At first, the frozen freighter appeared as a ghostly dot on the horizon, but as it drew closer to the port in Vladivostok, Russia, during the final days of December 2021, a crowd began to gather around the ironically named Sun Rio, a ship that is registered in Panama. The huge ship, along with all of its cargo, was completely encased in a thick coat of ice.
"It's December, and the sea is rough and windy. Seawater splashes onboard and turns into a thick [ice] crust. This year winds are much stronger than usual," 72-year-old Pyotr Osichansky, the ship's captain, said of what caused the spectacle, according to the Daily Mail.
Many people came out to watch the incredible sight of cars, which were all but unrecognizable encased in ice, being lifted from the Sun Rio. "The cars are so caked in ice you can't tell the type of vehicle," remarked one onlooker. Some were coated in ice up to 6 inches thick. As the Daily Mail noted, "vehicles had to be hoisted off the deck by a crane in temperatures of 2 degrees Fahrenheit below zero."
Drone footage showed the Sun Rio covered in ice that glistened in the sunshine, a stark contrast to some of the other vessels that hadn't encountered such harsh winter conditions docked in Vladivostok, a port city in far eastern Russia near the borders with China and North Korea on the Golden Horn Bay.
According to a report from Cold Region Science and Marine Technology, ship icing can be deadly. "For generations, sailors have feared marine icing, or 'white mist,' as it is called." Pounding waves "accompanied by gale-force winds, sheets of spray and suddenly plunging temperatures can be a deadly combination. Without warning, layer upon layer of ice forms relentlessly on anything touched by the spray, rapidly coating the vessel with thick sheets of ice that reduce maneuverability and threaten its stability," the report explains.
Captain Osichansky, however, seemed unfazed and said everything was shipshape.
"It's December, the sea is rough and windy. Water splashes on board, it turns into a crust," he said, according to local news reports, adding that it was nothing his crew shouldn't be able to handle. "Unless this year the winds are much stronger than usual. But sailors are no strangers" to these types of conditions, Osichansky continued, noting that something similar has happened before "and it was OK."
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