Australian Maritime Safety Authority announced that they have asked United States Coast Guard for help with the rescue mission of Chinese and Russian vessels in Antarctica.
One day after a Chinese helicopter rescued 52 passengers from the Russian ship ‘Akademik Shokalskiy’, the Chinese ship, Xue Long itself got trapped in ice and sought help of Australian officials. The ship which has scientists, tourists and journalists on a research trip is trapped in heavy ice floes. However there is no immediate danger, since they have food supplies to sustain for several weeks.
Australian officials said that the United States Coast Guard was asked for help on Friday, who officially accepted the request. The American ship, Polar Star, which was docked in Australia, was released at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday for the search-and-rescue efforts. The ship left Sydney on Sunday with supplies, and it is estimated to take about seven days to reach the Commonwealth Bay in Antarctica.
Polar Star, the American icebreaker was originally working on clearing a navigable shipping channel in McMurdo Sound. The channel was earlier used by ships for delivering food, fuel and goods to the National Science Foundation’s Scientific Research Station. The 400-foot Polar Star with 140 crew members will continue with original mission once the rescue operation is over.