A Chinese ice-breaker is expected to arrive tomorrow to rescue the 74
people stranded aboard an ice-trapped expedition cruise ship in
Antarctica, according to the professor organizing the trip.
Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy has been stuck at sea since Christmas
morning, when it was seized by ice on the edge of the continent. The
ship contacted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for assistance,
and three ice-breakers that were in the region are now racing through
blizzard conditions to reach the vessel.
The Chinese ship Snow
Dragon (Xue Long) is expected to reach the ship Friday. In addition, the
French vessel Astrolabe and the Australian ship, the Aurora Australis,
will arrive soon after, according to Chris Turney, a professor of
climate change at the University of New South Wales, Australia, writing
on the expedition blog, spiritofmawson.com.
passengers include 22 crew and 52 tourists, scientists and explorers.
The ship, which left New Zealand last month, is on a special research
voyage to honor the 100th anniversary of famed Australian explorer
Turney, the expedition leader, has been tweeting and blogging the trip. He posted a video on YouTube
on Dec. 26. Speaking over the howling wind, which gusted up to 40 miles
per hour, he assured viewers that all was well. "Everyone is safe, the
vessel is perfectly safe. We just can't make a passage forward," he
On Christmas Day, he tweeted "We're in the ice like the explorers of old! All are well and spirits are high. Happy Christmas."
ship, located about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Tasmania, has
not suffered damage. Morale remains high and passengers have ample
provisions, Turney has written.