The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) vessel Aurora Australis is continuing to make its way to the Russian vessel beset by ice approximately 1500 nautical miles south of Hobart.
The Aurora Australis, which was tasked by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre to assist the MV Akademic Shokalskiy, was expected to arrive in the vicinity this evening around 11pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).
At 2pm AEDT, the Aurora Australis was located approximately 100 nautical miles from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.
The Rescue Coordination Centre tasked a total of three vessels with icebreaking capability to proceed towards the MV Akademik Shokalskiy on Wednesday morning AEDT (25 December).
The Chinese vessel tasked by RCC Australia remains in the vicinity to assist as necessary. The vessel is equipped with a helicopter and this may be used if the Aurora Australis is unable to break through the ice to reach the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.
RCC Australia is in regular contact with the MV Akademik Shokalskiy and the 74 people on board are reported to be safe and well.
The search and rescue operation commenced on Christmas morning AEDT after the Falmouth Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in the United Kingdom received a distress message via satellite from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy. The distress message and subsequent coordination of the incident was passed to RCC Australia, who is the responsible search and rescue authority for this area.
AMSA, Decembar 29, 2013