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China icebreaker fails to reach stranded Antarctic ship

Published on Dec 28, 2013 11:13 AM

SYDNEY (AFP) - A Chinese icebreaker has failed to break through thick ice to free a ship carrying scientists and tourists stranded off Antarctica, forcing Australian authorities to look at other rescue options on Saturday.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is coordinating the rescue of the Russian passenger ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, said the icebreaker came within six-and-a-half nautical miles (12.04 km )of the ship but had to stop.

"The Chinese vessel unfortunately encountered some heavy ice that it's not capable of breaking through," AMSA spokeswoman Andrea Hayward-Maher said.

"So unfortunately it won't be able to continue through to the Akademik Shokalskiy. It's making its way back." "The rescue... unfortunately has stalled."

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