Update: January 7, 2014: Both trapped ships were able to make their way through the pack ice as it began breaking up today.
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 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.
Meanwhile 20 crew remain onboard the trapped AKADEMIK SHOKALSKIY waiting for the ice to break up.
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.