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Antarctic mission over as ships clear ice field

Published on Jan 8, 2014 11:48 AM
 
The ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy still stuck in the ice off East Antarctica on Dec 30, 2013. A complex international operation to free it ended on Wednesday when the vessel cleared the ice field, as officials released a United States icebreaker from the rescue. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - A complex international operation to free a Russian ship trapped in Antarctica ended on Wednesday when the vessel cleared the ice field, as officials released a United States icebreaker from the rescue.

The Russian-flagged Akademik Shokalskiy became stuck on December 24, triggering a rescue operation coordinated by Australian authorities which included French, Chinese, American and German agencies.

China's powerful icebreaker Xue Long raced to respond to the ship, which had been carrying 74 people including scientists, passengers and crew, but was unable to break through and became trapped itself.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) confirmed Wednesday that the Akademik Shokalskiy and the Xue Long "have broken free from the ice in Antarctica and are no longer in need of assistance".

 
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