Despite Rescue, Ice Drama Continues In Antarctica

Update: January 7, 2014: Both trapped ships were able to make their way through the pack ice as it began breaking up today.

XUE LONG photographed in 2008. Credit:Yong Wang, State Ocean Administration of China
XUE LONG photographed in 2008. Credit: Yong Wang, State Ocean Administration of China

All passengers from the ice bound AKADEMIK SHOKALSKIY were transferred safely to the ice breaker supply ship AURORA AUSTRALIS, using the helicopter from the Chinese vessel XUE LONG (pictured above).

AURORA AUSTRALIS. Creative Commons license
AURORA AUSTRALIS in a file photo. Creative Commons license

AURORA AUSTRALIS was set to continue her mission and return to Tasmania with her rescued passengers, when the ice breaking supply ship XUE LONG requested assistance to escape from the ice herself.   On Friday the Captain of the XUE LONG issued a distress call to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.  Captain Wang has serious concerns about their ability to move XUE LONG through the heavy ice. AURORA AUSTRALIS has been placed on standby to assist, and remains in open water off Commonwealth Bay, shortly after being stood down and allowed to proceed on its resupply mission to Casey station.

Photo Credit Chris Turney December 26, 2013.
Photo Credit Chris Turney December 26, 2013.

Meanwhile 20 crew remain onboard the trapped AKADEMIK SHOKALSKIY waiting for the ice to break up.

Martin Cox

Martin Cox

MARTIN COX - Founder and publisher of MaritimeMatters, inspired by maritime culture and technology growing up in the port of Southampton. He works as a photographer in Los Angeles, and his works has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, New York, London and Iceland.Martin is the co-writer of the book “Hollywood to Honolulu; the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company” published by the Steam Ship Historical Society of America. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum has commissioned artworks and collected his photographs.
Martin Cox
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