Talk about a white Christmas. Scores of passengers are stuck aboard a Russian ship that became trapped in thick sheets of Antarctic ice while on a cruise to commemorate the centennial of a deadly expedition.
The crew aboard the Akademik Shokalsiy, an oceanographic research vessel built in 1984, sent a satellite distress call early Christmas morning, according to various news reports. The ship is stuck about 1,500 nautical miles from Tasmania, said Andrea Hayward-Maher of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, according to CNN
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CNN reported that 74 people are on board, but ABC put the number at 57, with the latter saying 22 of the 57 are crewmen. The ship was on a cruise to the site of an expedition from 1911-1914 by British explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, ABC News reported
CNN said three icebreakers were en route to help free the vessel, but none were expected to reach the ship before Friday. The independent travel agency and booking agent Expeditions Online said the ship got stuck “part way through her Australasian Antarctic Expedition
toward Mawson’s Hut at Cape Denison.”
The ship left New Zealand on Dec. 9 as part of a research expedition to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Douglas Mawson’s exploration.
The ship is not in any present danger. News reports say passengers and crew are in good spirits.
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