On Friday, Dec. 27, the crew of the research vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy was trapped in the Antarctic ice. The 48 scientists and journalists on board had set sail on Dec. 8 from Bluff, New Zealand, and crossed the Southern Ocean as part of the Australiasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014. They were commemorating the voyage of Sir Douglas Mawson 100 years earlier.
The Shokalskiy’s progress was halted on Christmas Day when the vessel became trapped in the ice, as journalists Alok Jha and Lawrence Topham reported for The Guardian.
Right now the continent has us in its grasp and, though help is coming, the continent will decide when to let us go,” Jha and Topham wrote on Dec. 26.
French and Chinese flagged icebreakers seeking to free the Shokalskiy had to turn back, according to a report Dec. 28 in the International Business Times.
Meanwhile, Jha and Topham continued to post updates.
On Dec. 20, Jha visited the huts Mawson and his crew built at Camp Denison a century earlier. “Mawson’s 1911–1914 expedition successfully charted the Antarctic coastline, investigated the ocean between Australia and Antarctica, and examined Macquarie Island,” the Australian government reported.
Previously, Mawson had explored the Antarctic as a member of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition in 1907–1909 aboard the Nimrod.