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Italian Ship Makes Farthest Southern Journey

Italian ice breaker vessel Laura Bassi carrying scientists researching in the Antarctic, sails near the Bay of Wales, Antarctica, in this handout photo obtained by Reuters on January 31, 2023. (Handout via REUTERS)
Italian Ship Makes Farthest Southern Journey
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An Italian ship in waters near Antarctica has sailed further south than any ship has done before. The ship was able to make it so far south because of an unusual lack of ice in the Antarctic.

The ship, called the Laura Bassi, made it into the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea. The location was confirmed by Italy’s Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics.

The Laura Bassi is carrying scientists researching in the Antarctic. Franco Sedmak is the ship’s captain. He expressed both happiness and sadness when he spoke with Italy’s ANSA news agency.

"I am happy with setting a record, but at the same time I am sad to see that things are really changing here in Antarctica and in the world in general," he said.

Sedmak attempted a similar trip in 2017 but could not make it as far because the ice was too thick. He said this time, there was much less ice.

"I never thought that I would find such a melting of the ice after a few years to be able to go as far south as we managed this year,” Sedmak said.

Satellite images in 2022 showed the area around Antarctica is losing ice very quickly.

Researchers on the ship are studying water temperatures and the health of fish in the area. They took samples as far down as 216 meters to help them get a better understanding of the sea currents. Early results show that the water remained extremely cold and that there is still a large number of young fish.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on a report by Reuters.


Words in This Story

location –n. a place in the world or on a map

manage –v. to be able to accomplish or do something

current –n. the movement or flow of a body of water


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