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Chinese Icebreaker Closing In On Trapped Russian Ship

The ship has been trapped in ice since December 25.
A Chinese icebreaker is approaching the place where a Russian research vessel is trapped in ice off the coast of Antarctica.

The "Snow Dragon" icebreaker is expected to reach the trapped "Akademik Shokalsky" late on December 27 or 28, according to Australian maritime officials.

It must break through some 20 kilometers of ice.

The "Akademik Shokalsky," with 74 people onboard, has been trapped in ice since December 25 but is not in any immediate danger.

Despite the predicament, the researchers on board celebrated Christmas and have continued to carry out their experiments, including counting bird populations and photographing sea life through holes drilled in the ice.

"Morale is really good," the expedition leader, Chris Turney, said by satellite phone on December 27.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS