VLADIVOSTOK, December 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Australian scientists aboard the Russian vessel "Akademik Shokalsky", which is nipped in Antarctic ice, on Friday carry on Antarctic research according to the program, Yuri Volkov, Director of the Far Eastern regional Meteorological Research Institute, told Itar-Tass.
Volkov pointed out that the expedition aboard the Akademik Shokalsky was to end on January, 2014, with a call at the New Zealand port of Blass "but has got stuck in the ice".
He said the Chinese ship "Xue long" is planning to approach the stricken ship at about 19:00, ship's time, on Friday, and shipmaster of the Russian vessel Igor Kiselyov confirmed this to Itar-Tass. The Australian ship Aurora Australis and the French Astrolabe are also hurrying to the aid of the ship. They all are of ice-breaking class and perform research, supply, and rescue functions in the area of Antarctica.
The Akademik Shokalsky (registry port Vladivostok) got caught by solid ice approximately 180 km east of the French station Dumont d'Urville. The thickness of ice in the area is two to four metres, reports shipmaster Igor Kiselyov. The ship carries 22 crewmembers and 52 passengers. There is no hazard to their lives.