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Ship sent to rescue trapped ship also stuck in Antarctic ice

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The icebreaker sent to rescue a ship stuck in the Antarctic ice is also trapped reported CNN on December 28, 2013.

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Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, an icebreaking ship from China, was six nautical miles from the trapped MV Akademik Shokalskiy when it also became trapped in the ice.

"We have been waiting for better weather and ice conditions since last night," Zhao Yanping, second captain of the Xue Long, told CNN. "Xue Long is not moving forward but we're not stuck."

The Australian Aurora Australis, an Australian icebreaker, was dispatched by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and should reach the Snow Dragon and Shokalskiy late Sunday.

Rescue of the Shokalskiy may be a delayed.

"Right now we are waiting for winds to blow ice away so we can move closer," Captain Wang Jiangzhong of the Snow Dragon said. "The current ice condition is exceeding our capabilities to break through further."

Assistance from other icebreakers may be needed to free the Shokalskiy.

"We are in continual communication with the (stranded) ship," he said in a satellite phone call with CNN. "I think it's at least a form of emotional relief for them to know we are nearby to help. We know that they (passengers) are all doing well on that ship."

Despite their situation, the Shokalskiy passengers remain in good spirits.

"The vessel is fine, it's safe and everyone on board is very well," expedition leader Chris Turney, a professor of climate change at University of New South Wales in Australia told CNN. "Morale is really high."

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