The rescue of passengers, including six New Zealanders, from
a ship stranded in pack ice in Antarctic waters has been
Sea ice conditions are preventing a barge from operating
between two rescue vessels, so the rescue of passengers from
the MV Akademik Shokalskiy may not go ahead today, the
Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA) said.
AMSA said current sea ice conditions prevented the barge from
Aurora Australis from reaching the Chinese vessel Xue Long
The Xue Long's helicopter is unable to land on the Aurora
Australis due to load rating restrictions, and it's not safe
to land next to the ship.
The rescue plan had been to helicopter the 52 passengers to
the Snow Dragon, and then take them by barge to the Aurora
AMSA said all passengers on board the MV Akademik Shokalskiy
were safe and well, and the preferred option was to wait for
conditions that would allow the rescue to be completed in a
single operation to reduce unnecessary risk.
Alternative measures to complete the rescue operation are now
being investigated by AMSA and the ships involved.
The rescue is being managed by AMSA's Rescue Coordination
Centre (RCC Australia).
RCC Australia continues to be in regular contact with all
vessels involved, which are in contact with each other by VHF
The MV Akademik Shokalskiy has been stuck in pack ice since
The 22 Russian crew members were intending to stay on board
to wait for the pack ice to break up after the 52 passengers