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Chinese icebreaker stuck in ice after rescue operation near Antarctica

January 04, 2014, 10:34 UTC+3 Beijing
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Beijing, January 4 (Itar-Tass) The Chinese icebreaker which participated in the operation evacuating people from the trapped Russian ship near Antarctica has got stuck in the heavy ice.
The icebreaker will attempt to get out on January 6, Chinese television reported on Saturday.

The ship cannot continue the expedition because of the heavy ice and the strong wind. The crew is waiting for better weather conditions to start moving, the chief of the South Pole research expedition said, adding that the situation was stable aboard and the crew was safe.

Chinese media said earlier that the icebreaker would attempt to get out of the ice on January 4.

The attempt to manoeuvre in the ice on Saturday morning was unsuccessful, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority reported. According to the AMSA report, the ship has enough food reserves, is safe and needs no help.
After the successful evacuation of 52 passengers from the Russian ship Akademik Shokalsky, the Chinese icebreaker cannot continue moving because of the thick ice cover and a drifting iceberg. The complex tide situation in the region influences movement of icebergs and ice. The ship has to wait until the iceberg drifts away, the captain of the icebreaker said earlier. The iceberg is about a kilometer long.

An Itar-Tass correspondent reported from Sydney earlier that 52 passengers -- Australian Antarctic expedition scientists and accompanying travelers -- their baggage and scientific equipment were evacuated from the Akademik Shokalsky to the Aurora Australis ship. A helicopter that was aboard the Chinese icebreaker was used in the operation. The helicopter took twelve people on a flight. The Russian crew -- 22 people -- have remained board the Akademik Shokalsky. The Russian ship got trapped in the Antarctic ice on December 25.


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