SYDNEY, January 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian research ship Akademik Shokalsky arrived on Tuesday at the port of Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand, after safely breaking free from Antarctic ice on January 7.
The Russian research ship got stuck overnight to December 25. There were 74 people on board — the Russian crew of 22 and 52 passengers, including scientists from the Australian Antarctic expedition and travelers accompanying them.The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long and the Australian Aurora Australis headed for the stranded Russian ship to help it out, but both failed to get through the thick ice. As a result, the decision was made on January 2 to evacuate the passengers. A Chinese helicopter ferried all scientists and travelers as well as scientific equipment to the Australian icebreaker. The crew of the Akademik Shokalsky remained onboard.
News came on the same day that Xue Long had also got stuck in ice. The situation improved on January 7, when the wind changed direction in that area of the Antarctic region and ice began cracking. Both ships began moving towards open waters reaching them on January 8. It is expected that the Aurora Australis icebreaker will bring tourists from the Russian research ship to Hobart (Tasmania) on January 20.