Monday, January 6, 2014
The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker called "Polar Star" is heading toward Antarctica to join in the rescue attempt of Russian and Chinese ships that have become stuck in ice.
The Vancouver Sun reports the Polar Star left Australia on Sunday to help rescue the 120 mariners aboard the Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese ship Xue Long.
A Coast Guard press release states the Australian government requested assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft said of the USCG's willingness to help:
“The U.S. Coast Guard stands ready to respond to Australia’s request.
“Our highest priority is safety of life at sea, which is why we are assisting in breaking a navigational path for both of these vessels.
"We are pleased to learn the passengers of the Akademik Shokalskiy have been transported safely off the vessel. We are always ready and duty bound to render assistance in one of the most remote and harsh environments on the face of the globe.”
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, it should take the Polar Star roughly seven days to reach Antarctica from where it was stationed in Sydney, Australia.
Polar Star's homeport is in Seattle, Wash.