Rescue Team to Implement Plan to Help Passengers Trapped onboard Ship
An emergency team was formed that will implement the rescue plan of more than a hundred passengers and crew members that are trapped on board the Chinese icebreaker Xuelong that was expected to break free of the Antarctic ice. The vessel was stuck in the ice after participating in the rescue of the Russian icebreaker MV Akademik Shokalskiy that was trapped by an ice floe south of Tasmania
Liu Cigui the State Oceanic Administration told reporters that when the weather conditions are favorable the Xuelong or Snow Dragon will chop slowly through the heavy floes. President Xi Jinping ordered a all out efforts to save the stranded people onboard the ship and has praised the Chinese expedition team on accomplishing the rescue mission even under heavy risks. The ship was trapped on a heavy ice floe about 21 kilometers away from the nearest ice free waters. The ship was blocked off by a heavy drifting 1 kilometer long iceberg and the ship’s captain said that try tried to break out after the iceberg floated away. But the rapidly changing tidal conditions and positions of the ice floes made it hard to navigate.
The US Coast Guard has already accepted a request from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to send its icebreaker Polar Star to help the Russian and Chinese vessels. The Polar Star left Sydney and is expected to take around seven days depending on the weather to reach the scene.
Xuelong was built in 1993 as a cargo ship until it was converted into a polar research ship and recently the country has announced that it was planning to build a new ship with more technologically advanced and bigger than Xuelong.