The MV Akademik Shokalskiv departed New Zealand in late November for Antarctica as part of a research expedition dubbed the Spirit of Mawson voyage, to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition.
Passengers onboard the Shokalskiv include scientists from the University of New South Wales, journalists from the Guardian, and tourists.
About 5:00 a.m. on Christmas morning the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in Canberra received notification that the Shokalskiv was trapped in the ice and needed assistance.
Three ships have been dispatched to help free the Shokalskiv, however, the closest ship is at least two days out. One of the ships sent to provide aid, the Aurora Australis, is an icebreaker.
In a statement issued by Andrea Hayward-Maher, a spokeswoman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority the Shokalskiv passengers have nothing to fear.
"It's in quite a remote part of the world," she said. "But we have everyone safe. The vessel isn't in any immediate danger."
"They're safe at the moment, so that's good news," she said.
"And we're keeping a very close eye on things and we have plans in place if the situation is to become worse."
"The vessel's not damaged at the moment so hopefully we'll be able to get the icebreakers through, or get people out another way, if necessary." Hayward-Maher told the ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Company).