A third attempt to rescue the stricken research vessel MV Akademic Shokalskiy, trapped in ice off the coast of Antarctica, was again thwarted by high winds and showers of snow, reports NBC News on Monday, Dec. 30. The ship, which carries a Russian flag, has been trapped since Christmas Eve.
This time, the rescue ship managed to creep within ten nautical miles of its target, mired in multi-layers of deep snow and ice. Meanwhile, the sailors and scientists aboard are keeping up their spirits. “It’s all cracking up around here,” came a tweet from a crew member. That joke refers to the sound of cracking ice they are hearing – a sound which may mean the ice is breaking up. If so, the ship may be able to move on its own within days.
But visibility is limited, and the ship is tilting to one side, as ice cracks around the bow. He danger level is high because of the severity of the weather. “From the air, only a very tiny glint of the deep blu sea water is visible,” reported a Chinese news agency. “The whole area around was covered in ice.”
International rescue operations continue, reports the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The Chinese rescue ship Snow Dragon, an icebreaker, reports the situation as beyond its ability to cope, until conditions improve.