A third attempt to rescue the stranded Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy was thwarted by poor weather and visibility, forcing the Australian vessel Aurora Australis to move back into open waters.
This is the third attempt made to save the Shokalskiy, which has been stranded in thick ice in East Antarctica since last Tuesday. The ship is located 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania. Earlier attempts by Chinese and French icebreakers had to be cancelled due to thick ice.
The people aboard the ship, consisting of 74 scientists, tourists and crew, are safe according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and have supplies to last them several weeks.
In the meantime, the scientists have not let the situation bog them down and are continuing to conduct their experiments.
The Aurora Australis came within 10 nautical miles of the Shokalskiy but the weather forced it to back off. The bad weather also meant plans to winch the crew to safety by using a helicopter had to be aborted as well.
The Chinese vessel, Snow Dragon, came within seven nautical miles of the Russian ship before stalling and being forced to return to the open sea.
The Australasian Antarctic Expedition aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy is attempting to follow the route taken by the explorer Douglas Mawson a century ago.