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Russian Passenger Ship Trapped in Antarctic Ice Flows, Awaits Rescue That's Days Away

The Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy is trapped in ice around Antarctica and is waiting for rescue vessels that are several days away, officials said Wednesday.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating a search and rescue for the ship which is roughly 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Tasmania.

The MV Akademik Shokalskiy is currently housing 74 passengers and sent a distress signal after it became trapped in ice flows.

A British rescue coordination center received a satellite distress signal on Christmas morning from the Russian ship and contacted the Australian authority, which handles the Southern Ocean region where the vessel was stuck, the AMSA revealed in a statement.

The AMSA added that the vessel is now waiting for three other ships with ice-breaking capabilities to reach it, but added that the ships would not reach the Russian vessel until at least Friday.

The AMSA was also able to locate the trapped ship and was revealed to be 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont D'Urville. Unfortunately that base does not have the equipment to deal with this type of situation causing the delay in rescue.

Expeditions Online, a polar booking agent for the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, said on its website that the ship got stuck "part way through her Australasian Antarctic Expedition towards Mawson's Hut at Cape Denison."

"According to reports, nobody is in present danger and three nearby icebreakers are being sent to assist," the Expeditions Online website said.

It described the ship as "a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel" for working in polar regions.

"This class of vessel is world-renowned for polar exploration, because of its strength, maneuverability and small passenger numbers," the company's website said.

Here is a related reporting video:

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