Friday, January 17, 2014

Antarctic Researchers Stuck in Ice

Passengers aboard a Russian research vessel (the M.V. Akademik Shokalskiy) were unexpectedly barricaded by ice off the east coast of Antarctica a couple of weeks ago. Their story became international news. Despite being in the middle of nowhere, many of them continued to have contact with the rest of the world via social media. Additionally, throughout the ordeal, photographer Dr. Andrew Peacock was able to capture unique perspectives as one of seventy-four passengers trapped in the middle of a frozen ocean with ice packed tightly around their ship.
The month-long Australasian Antarctic Expedition, which took off from New Zealand on December 9th, wound up getting stuck in the Mertz Glacier region on Christmas Eve. The scientists, students, and fellow travelers aboard the vessel were left staring out at an expanse of white all around them. Peacock's images capture the incredible surrounding environment, as well as life indoors as the passengers await their rescue.
Upon hearing of the dreary situation, China sent an icebreaker (Xue Long) to help evacuate the passengers, though they, too, were met with unfortunate luck as the vessel was unable to get through the packed ice. Luckily, aid arrived for the stranded passengers in the form of a helicopter. Now aboard the Aurora Australis, these individuals are making their way to Australia, expected to arrive on January 20th. The Russian ship itself has just recently docked in New Zealand after having finally broken free on January 7th.

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