ABOARD XUELONG, Dec. 27-- Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, on way to rescue a Russian science ship trapped off Antarctica, has stalled itself since midnight Friday after getting stuck in thick ice only 6.1 nautical miles away from the Russian ship.
"Since the thick ice exceeds the ship's icebreaking capabilities and an upcoming cyclone will exacerbate icy conditions, we have to temporarily stall the ship," said Wang Jianzhong, captain of Xuelong.
The captain told Xinhua that they will stay still and secure ship safety before continuing rescue efforts in favorable weather conditions.
"We will also provide emergency relief and other assistance to the Russian ship to the best of our ability," Wang added.
The stranded Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy can be seen through a powerful telescope on Xuelong. The helicopter aboard named Xueying 12 in Chinese, or Snow Eagle, cannot take off due to poor visibility and heavy snow.
Xuelong will do its utmost to approach the trapped Russian ship in the first place after communication, Wang said.
French icebreaker Astrolabe is also one the way to rescue, but a main engine has broken down due to the extreme weather, making it unable to offer help very soon.
The Russian ship, built in Finland in 1982, is carrying a team of Australian scientists and other passengers to conduct scientific experiments. It is scheduled to return to New Zealand in January 2014.