SYDNEY, December 29, 5:08 /ITAR-TASS/. The ice-stranded Russian research vessel, the Academician Shokalsky, is waiting for an Australian ice-breaker Aurora Australis, which is due to arrive at around 14:00 Moscow time on Sunday, the Russian ship’s captain, Igor Kiselyov, told Itar-Tass by telephone.
Kiselyov said that the Chinese ice-breaker, Xue Long (Snow Dragon), had failed to break through the ice and was now lying approximately 7 miles away from the Academician Shokalsky.
“I would like to suggest its captain to use a helicopter to fly over the territory and draw an ice map. The thing is that the accuracy of satellite photos is approximately 3-5 miles. But we need more accurate information,” the Russian captain said.”We are maintaining a stable radio contact with the Chinese vessel but we still do not have any communication with the Australian ice-breaker. I assume that when we establish it, we will hold a general council to decide from which side we are going to sail out of the ice field,” Kiselyov went on to say.
“The technical state of our vessel is normal. Everything is working. The weather is also good, a south-eastern wind is blowing with a speed of five meters per second. The temperature overboard is plus 3-4 degrees Centigrade; the visibility is 7 miles,” Kiselyov went on to say.
There are 74 people on board of the Academician Shokalsky, including the Russian crew (22 people) and 52 passengers: a group of scientists from the Australian Antarctic expedition and the accompanying travelers.
“The crew and the passengers are all right. There are no problems,” Kiselyov stressed.