Another setback for ice-stranded Kiwis

The rescue of a ship trapped by pack ice in Antarctica with 74 people on board, including six Kiwis, has suffered another setback.

Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, was on its way to the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, but abandoned the rescue after itself striking heavy ice.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Andrea Hayward-Maher said the Snow Dragon came within 6.1 nautical miles of the stranded ship early this morning before its master decided to turn back.

Everyone on the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been trapped 3000 kilometres southwest of Bluff since Christmas Day, was safe, Ms Hayward-Maher said.

Another ice-breaking ship, Australia's Aurora Australis, is still on its way to the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, and is expected to arrive tomorrow. A French icebreaker, L'Astrolabe, is in the area on standby to help.

In a video posted to You Tube last night, expedition leader Chris Turney said the Snow Dragon could be seen on the horizon over his shoulder.

The video was posted before the icebreaker was itself halted by heavy sea ice.

In the video, Professor Turney said the icebreaker was making steady progress at about 2 knots, and was expected to reach the stranded ship within two to three hours.

"There's a lot of relief amongst the team and there's a lot of happy faces,'' he said.

Professor Turney has not posted another video since the Xue Long abandoned its rescue efforts.

The MV Akademik Shokalskiy left Bluff on December 8 on an expedition led by scientists from the University of New South Wales.

The stranded ship was retracing Sir Douglas Mawson's 1911 Antarctic expedition when it became trapped.

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.

Dr Wilson said on Thursday that everyone on the ship was safe and in absolutely no danger.

Australian authorities said last night that weather conditions improved yesterday, with strong winds and snow abating, and were expected to remain favourable for the next two days.

Is this an oxymoron?

Now two ships are stuck by frozen sea ice, so does this prove their research into the effects of climate change on melting sea ice prooves that it isn't melting just like most average people have been saying about the myth that is man made climate change with no global warming evident in the last sixteen years. (Story updated since comment submitted - Ed)

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