US to rescue ships stuck in Antarctica

23:47, Jan 04 2014
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The weather has been so bad the team had to put up a tent for communications on the top deck of the Shokalskiy.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The boat stuck in the ice
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The chopper sent out to scope the area after a Chinese icebreaker sent to rescue the team had to abandon the mission.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The work goes on: "Dr Erik van Sebille of the AAE is working with co-leader Dr Chris Fogwill to measure changes in the saltiness and temperature of the ocean near one of the observation sites of the original expedition."
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The boat is well wedged in.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
Professor Chris Turney, leader of the expedition, talking to international media from the top deck of the Shokalskiy.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The stranded MV Akademik Shokalskiy.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
Cara Turney and her mother Annette brave the cold to enjoy the first few minutes of the New Year on the top deck of the ship.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
Bringing in the new year in a tent lashed to the Akademik Shokalskiy's top deck.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
Passengers stamp out a helipad ready for a rescue chopper to airlift them out.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The landing area for the rescue helicopter.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The passengers were flown out in small groups.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
Making a run for the chopper.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
After days of disappointment, the stranded passengers finally get airlifted from the sip.
us ship
The Polar Star is being sent by the US to help free Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon gripped by Antarctic ice.

The United States is sending a heavy icebreaker to help free a Russian ship and a Chinese icebreaker gripped by Antarctic ice.

The Polar Star is responding to a request for assistance from Australian authorities as well as from the Russian and Chinese governments, The US Coast guard said.

"The US Coast Guard stands ready to respond to Australia's request," Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft said. "Our highest priority is safety of life at sea, which is why we are assisting in breaking a navigational path for both of these vessels."

A Chinese icebreaker that helped rescue 52 passengers, including six New Zealanders, from a Russian ship stranded in Antarctic ice found itself stuck in heavy ice on Friday.

The Snow Dragon ferried the passengers from the stranded Russian ship to an Australian icebreaker late on Thursday. It now had concerns about its own ability to move through heavy ice, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

The Russian-owned research ship left New Zealand on November 28 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey led by Australian explorer Douglas Mawson.

It became trapped on December 24, 100 nautical miles east of French Antarctic station Dumont d'Urville and about 1,500 nautical miles south of Tasmania.

During their time on the ice, passengers amused themselves with movies, classes in knot tying, languages, yoga and photography, and rang in the New Year with dinner, drinks and a song their adventure.

The Australian government said it would foot the bill for the rescue, saying it expected the cost to reach A$400,000.

The Polar Star is 120 metres long with a maximum speed of 18 knots. It can continuously break 1.8 metres of ice at three knots, and can break 6.4 metres of ice backing and ramming, the Coast Guard said.

The cutter is cutting short its planned stop in Sydney to help with the mission.

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Reuters