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, reports the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA).
The Aurora Australis, which was tasked by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) to assist the MV Akademic Shokalskiy, is currently located about 11 nautical miles from the Russian vessel in the ice field.
The area is experiencing snow showers, resulting in poor visibility, thus Aurora Australis is travelling slowly due to the conditions to ensure the safety of all on board. It is unknown at this time if or when the Aurora Australis will arrive near the Akademik Shokalskiy due to weather and ice conditions.
RCC Australia says it is in regular contact with the Akademik Shokalskiy and the 74 people on board are reported to remain safe and well with supplies for several weeks.
If the Aurora Australis is unable to reach the stranded passenger ship, it is likely the helicopter on board the Chinese-flagged icebreaker Snow Dragon that remains in the area will be tasked to evacuate the passengers.
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 ice-beset Russian ship.