US vessel to aid ships stranded in Antarctica

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TAISHAN, China — Australian officials have asked a US icebreaker to help with the rescue of Chinese and Russian vessels that are surrounded by ice floes in Antarctica, according to an announcement Sunday by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The officials said the US Coast Guard had answered the request and was making available a ship to assist the other vessels.

The deployment of the US ship, the Polar Star, for the rescue operation adds to an increasingly complex set of issues for international vessels that have found themselves struggling against unfavorable ice and weather conditions in Antarctica.

The Polar Star had been en route to Antarctica to clear a navigable shipping channel in McMurdo Sound to the National Science Foundation’s Scientific Research Station.

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