Russian and Chinese ships escape Antarctic ice

The two ships got lucky when a change in wind direction resulted in a crack in the thick Antarctic ice, and are slowly making their way out.
By Ananth Baliga  |  Jan. 7, 2014 at 9:57 AM
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The trapped Russian Ship Akademic Shokalskiy and Chinese icebreaker Xue Long have broken free after a crack appeared in the Antarctic ice.

The captain of the Russian ship confirmed that a change in wind direction resulted in a crack in the ice and that they were slowly weaving their way through the ice. He also confirmed that the Chinese icebreaker, which was sent to rescue the Shokalskiy, was also moving and south of the Russian ship.

"We're going slowly and zig-zagging, we've already moved more than 20 [nautical] miles," said Captain Igor Kiselyov of the Russian ship.

He also said progress is slow due to a lot of mist and poor visibility, as low as 500 meters.

The U.S. icebreaker Polar Star was scheduled to reach both ships within the next week, in response to an earlier request by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The Shokalskiy got trapped in the ice December 24 and the Chinese icebreaker confirmed it was icebound last Thursday.

The Shokalskiy has 22 remaining crew members, after 52 passengers were rescued last week. The Xue Long has 101 crew members aboard.


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