Connect to share and comment

Rescue of research vessel trapped in Antarctica ice delayed for third time (VIDEO)

Bad weather has stopped a third attempt to rescue a research vessel trapped in the ice surrounding Antarctica since Christmas Eve.

Trapped russian ship 2013 12 29Enlarge
The view from the Australian icebreaker ship Aurora Australis at about 8 p.m. on Dec. 29, 2013, as it neared the Russian research vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been trapped by thick ice off eastern Antarctica since Christmas Eve. (Screengrab)

A third attempt to rescue a ship stranded off the eastern coast of Antarctica has failed because of high-velocity winds and poor visibility.

An Australian icebreaker trying to reach the Russian research vessel had to turn back on Monday again because of poor weather conditions.

Passengers previously waited anxiously Sunday as a powerful Australian icebreaker neared, raising hopes of a rescue for the second time from the thick Antarctic ice that has marooned them since Christmas Eve.

The ice off eastern Antarctica appeared to be softening and cracking up Sunday.

The improving conditions boded well for a rescue, Lisa Martin of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the rescue, told Reuters.

However, bad weather on Monday stopped the icebreaker Aurora Australis 28 nautical miles away from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.

"It's hard to tell if it makes it through," Martin said. "There are snow showers in the area that are causing bad visibility; conditions are deteriorating."

She added, "We are waiting on the Aurora Australis to tell us if it can make its way through the ice. If it can't, then we will be shifting towards the helicopter, and obviously that is weather dependent."

More from GlobalPost: Research vessel trapped in Antarctica ice, rescue ship stalled

The Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon had tried to reach the Russian ship by Friday, but ice and bad weather stalled the ship six nautical miles away from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.

The Russian vessel is carrying 74 tourists and scientists.

It left New Zealand on Nov. 28 on a privately-funded expedition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey led by famed Australian explorer Douglas Mawson.

It has been stuck in the ice since Dec. 24.

The crew of the ship seemed to be faring well and were even able to update their blog as they awaited international assistance. The vessel remains well stocked with food and is in no danger, according to the team.

Geologist Chris Turney of the University of New South Wales has been posting regular video updates to Twitter:

Here's video from the ship posted two days earlier:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/131229/second-rescue-ship-nears-research-vessel-trapped-antarctica-ice