SYDNEY, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has requested the U.S. Coast Guard's icebreaker Polar Star to assist the Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy and the Chinese vessel Xue Long (Snow Dragon)which are stuck by ice in Antarctica.
AMSA has identified the Polar Star as a vessel capable of assisting the trapped vessels.
The U.S. Coast Guard accepted this request on Saturday and will make Polar Star available for the rescue operation, AMSA said in the latest statement.
The Polar Star will leave Sydney on Sunday after taking on supplies prior to its voyage to Antarctica.
It is anticipated it will take about seven days for the Polar Star to reach the scene, dependent on weather and ice conditions.
The Polar Star has been en route to Antarctica since the end of last year, weeks before the MV Akademik Shokalskiy was trapped in Commonwealth Bay.
The intended mission of the Polar Star is to clear a navigable shipping channel in McMurdo Sound to the National Science Foundation's Scientific Research Station.
Resupply ships would use the channel to bring food, fuel and other goods to the station. The Polar Star will go on to undertake its mission once the search and rescue operation is completed, AMSA said.
Xi requests safety of staff aboard stranded icebreaker
BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping has requested all-out efforts to ensure the safety of the staff aboard the research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong, which is trapped in heavy ice after its rescue of passengers on a Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica.
Xuelong's rescue mission had been accomplished under extreme risks and has won honor for China and the people, Xi said. He expressed regards and greetings to the 101-member expedition team, and ordered coordinated efforts to help them out of trouble and ensure their safety. Full story
China sets up team to rescue stranded icebreaker
BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- China has set up a leading team to rescue its icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, which has been trapped by heavy floes since it rescued passengers on a Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica on Thursday.
The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) announced on Saturday the team will map out rescue plans and make "all-out efforts" to coordinate rescue operations, despite there is no immediate danger to personnel aboard Xuelong, which has abundant fuel and food supplies. Full story
China's icebreaker Xuelong trapped after Antarctica rescue
ABOARD XUELONG, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- China's icebreaker Xuelong has been trapped by heavy floes since Friday after rescuing passengers on a Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica.
Xueying 12, a helicopter on board Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, on Thursday successfully evacuated all the 52 passengers aboard the Russian vessel Akademik Shokalskiy that has been stranded since Christmas Eve to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis. Full story