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US breaker to help Russian, Chinese ships stuck in Antarctic ice

Published on Jan 5, 2014 6:00 AM
 
Polar Star, the US Coast Guard icebreaker, completes ice drills in the Arctic in this July 3, 2013 handout photo. The United States (US) is sending a heavy icebreaker to help free a Russian ship and a Chinese icebreaker gripped by Antarctic ice, the Coast Guard said on Saturday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States (US) is sending a heavy icebreaker to help free a Russian ship and a Chinese icebreaker gripped by Antarctic ice, the Coast Guard said on Saturday.

The Polar Star is responding to a request for assistance from Australian authorities as well as from the Russian and Chinese governments, it said in a statement.

"The US Coast Guard stands ready to respond to Australia's request," Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft said. "Our highest priority is safety of life at sea, which is why we are assisting in breaking a navigational path for both of these vessels."

A Chinese icebreaker that helped rescue 52 passengers from a Russian ship stranded in Antarctic ice found itself stuck in heavy ice on Friday.

 
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