The MV Akademik Shokalskiy
An icebreaker is expected to reach a stranded Antarctic
research ship with six Kiwis on board late tonight.
The MV Akademik Shokalskiy has been stranded in heavy sea-ice
with about 70 scientists and crew on board since Christmas
Among the stranded passengers are six New Zealanders -
ornithologist Kerry-Jayne Wilson, University of Auckland
doctoral student Colin Tan, historians John and Barbara
Tucker, and two chefs.
The Russian-flagged ice ship, which is stranded about 3000km
southwest of New Zealand, left Bluff on December 8 on an
expedition led by scientists from the University of New South
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is
co-ordinating the rescue, said last night it remained in
regular contact with the vessel.
The ship was stable but had been experiencing very strong
winds and limited visibility. The winds were forecast to ease
AMSA said three ships with icebreaking capabilities were en
route to the vessel following a broadcast to shipping in the
The first of the vessels, the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long,
was expected to arrive tonight.
The MV Akademik Shokalskiy is stranded in Australia's
Antarctic search and rescue area, and the Australian
Antarctic Division has sent its own vessel, the Aurora
Dr Wilson, from Charleston on the South Island's West Coast,
told the New Zealand Herald via satellite phone yesterday
that the crew had a "jolly Christmas" and everyone was happy.
"Everyone is well and the ship is safe and we're in
absolutely no danger at all."