Australia’s icebreaker Aurora Australis in the sea ice of the Southern Ocean during a 2007 expedition. Photo: Sandra Zicus/Antarctic.gov

An Australian icebreaker on a scientific expedition to study sea ice in Antarctica is, well, stuck in the sea ice it is studying.

The icebreaker, a bright orange ship named the Aurora Australis, has been stuck in thick ice, completely unable to move, for more than two days approximately 200 nautical miles from Casey Station in Antarctica.

The Aurora Australis left Hobart, Tasmania for the frozen continent in September with more than 50 scientists on a 7-week expedition aimed at studying the relationship between sea ice and Southern Ocean ecosytems.

The expedition’s work, known as SIPEX 2, was set to begin at the sea ice edge and would eventually penetrate the entire pack-ice zone towards the coastal fast ice. Now, some 80 nautical miles from the Antarctic coast, it seems that the coastal fast ice has won.

The scientists and crew are in no danger and the vessel has plenty of supplies.

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