Hue Long caught in ice, L’Astrolabe is the main hope for now
Dec 28: Chinese polar research icebreaker Hue Long reported to be stuck in ice too, while approaching research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy, trapped in ice in vicinity of 66 52S 144 19E since Dec 24. Chinese vessel is situated some 6 nautical miles off Shokalskiy, French polar supply vessel L’Astrolabe is some 14 miles off Hue Long, proceeding towards trapped vessels. Australian polar research icebreaker Aurora Australis is yet too far off to be of immediate help. Trapped vessels lay their hopes with either ice floe movements or with French and Australian vessels. No danger to Shokalskiy or Hue Long, Chinese icebreaker has a helicopter on board, a way out in case things will go real bad. French research base Dumon D’Urville with its’ helicopter or helicopters is close enough too, to take part in rescue operation and host people from distressed vessel or vessels. Antarctica is the nature at its’ wildest, once again demonstrating to us how small we’re in comparison.
Finland-built research ship A. Shokalskiy trapped in Antarctic ice, no danger to vessel and people
Research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy reported in the morning Dec 25 13, that the vessel is trapped in ice, in the Mertz Glacier area, some 150 nautical miles off French research base Dumon D’Uberville, some 1500 nautical miles off Hobart, Tasmania. There are 52 passengers and 22 crew on board. It’s not a cruise, it’s privately funded scientific expedition. There is no immediate danger to vessel or crew. Chinese research and supply icebreaker Hue Long (IMO 8877899) is already on the way to A. Shokalskiy, being nearest to the site, ETA Dec 27 or maybe even evening Dec 26. Another icebreaker, Australian Aurora Australis (IMO 8717283), reported to be steaming to Shokalskiy too.
Even if ice situation will dramatically deteriorate and jeopardize vessel and people on board, Dumon D’Urville helicopter or helicopters surely will be able to rescue scientists and the crew. Judging from messages scientists on board send around to friends, relatives and media, they seem to tremendously enjoy the whole story, something like Christmas Adventure.
Research and supply icebreaker Hue long, IMO 8877899, 14997 gt, built 1993, flag China.
Research and supply icebreaker Aurora Australis, IMO 8717283, 6574 gt, built 1990, flag Australia.
Supply vessel L’Astrolabe, IMO 8418198, 1753 gt, built 1986, ice-classed, flag France.