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Australian Icebreaker To Attempt To Free Russian Ship In Antarctic

Passengers and crew members aboard a Russian research ship stuck in Antarctic ice for five days are awaiting the arrival of an Australian icebreaker to make another attempt to free it.

The "MV Akademik Shokalsky" has been trapped by ice since December 24.

Two attempts by icebreakers so far have failed to free it.

An Australian ship, the "Aurora Australis," is expected to arrive in the region within hours to make a third attempt.

The 74 passengers aboard include scientists and tourists, many of them Australian.

The Russian Foreign Ministry says there are 22 Russian crew members.

The expedition has been seeking to follow the Antarctic path of Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, who mounted an expedition a century ago.

Based on reporting by AFP and ITAR-TASS