Photo taken aboard the MV Akademik Shokalski off Antarctica. Image courtesy AMSA

Photo taken aboard the MV Akademik Shokalski off Antarctica. Image courtesy AMSA

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating a search and rescue for a Russian passenger ship stuck in ice with 74 people on board approximately 1500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Tasmania.

AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre Australia (RCC Australia) says it remains in regular contact with the vessel, MV Akademik Shokalski, which is experiencing very strong winds and limited visibility. Winds are forecast to diminish on Friday (AEDT), AMSA says.

Three ships with icebreaking capability are enroute to the vessel, including the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) vessel Aurora Australis. The first of the responding vessels is not expected to arrive until Friday night.

The Falmouth Martime Rescue Coordination Centre in the UK received a distress message via satellite from a Russian-flagged MV Akademik Shokalskiy, with 74 people on board, at about 7.20am (AEDT) Christmas morning. The Falmouth MRCC then contacted Rescue Coordination Centre Australia.

The ship is in the Australian Search and Rescue region, 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont D’Urville and is stable.

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