Wednesday 25 December 2013

M/V Akademik Shokalskiy stuck in Antarctic ice

The expedition ship Akademik Shokalskiy, carrying tourists and scientists aiming to repeat experiments made during Douglas Mawson’s expedition, has become wedged in Antarctic sea ice. Three icebreakers are on the way to the site, approximately 1500 nautical miles south of Hobart at position -66.88 S,144.39 E.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is coordinating a search and rescue for the ship after a distress message was sent by satellite at 7.20am Australian time.

According to reports there are no present dangers facing the passengers on the "Spirit of Mawson - Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-14’’. There are approximately 50 passengers and scientists on board carrying out many of the same experiments done during the expedition led by Douglas Mawson.

Three icebreakers in nearby waters are on their way to help the vessel, although it was expected the fastest would take two days to reach the Akademik Shokalskiy. The ship will likely spend Christmas and Boxing Day stuck in the ice.

The Russian-built ship, left New Zealand on December 9 and has about 50 passengers and 20 crew members. The voyage is part of a research expedition to commemorate the centenary of Douglas Mawson's exploration.

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition leader, Chris Turney, wrote on Twitter: "Heavy ice. Beautiful; light wind. Only -1degC. All well. Merry Xmas everyone from AAE."

NOTE TO NEWS REPORTERS: Expeditions Online is NOT the operator for this vessel but is an independent polar booking agent for this vessel and many other expedition ships.

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