Antarctic rescue is an international effort

First listen to December 27th 2013 for background to this story and for important vocabulary.

52 scientists and tourists were rescued by helicopter after their ship was trapped in ice in the Antarctic. Although it was an Australian scientific expedition, passengers came from many countries and included 6 New Zealanders. The expedition started from New Zealand. The ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, is Russian, built in Finland and previously used by a New Zealand company for expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic.

The rescue included a Chinese ice breaker ship and their helicopter, as well as the Australian icebreaker, the Aurora Australis. A French ship was also ready to help. There is an understanding that if any ship gets into trouble in the Antarctic, other countries which are Antarctic Treaty partners, will help.

The Akademik Shokalskiy was trapped in ice for 9 days. It was impossible to rescue the passengers during that time because of blizzards and fog. Finally, a landing place for the helicopter was made on ice near the Akademik Shokalskiy and the Aurora Australis. 12 people were taken by helicopter in each trip. Each trip took about 45 minutes. They were then taken by small boat to the Aurora Australis.

This ship is now on the way back to Australia with 52 extra passengers. They had to leave their scientific equipment on board the Akademik Shokalskiy. This is a disappointing end to the scientific expedition.

The crew of 22 will remain on the ship until the ice melts. The temperatures should start to warm up soon.


  • trapped – stuck, unable to move
  • previously – before
  • an understanding (n) – an informal agreement
  • Antarctic Treaty partners – 52 countries have signed the Antarctic Treaty
  • crew – sailors, cooks and other staff


  1. I first see this web ,I like it.

  2. Now both the Russian ship and the Chinese ship are stuck in ice so an American icebreaker is coming to rescue them. It can break ice 6 metres thick whereas the Chinese ship can only break ice which is 1 metre thick.

  3. Yesterday, the Akademik Shokalskiy arrived back in New Zealand. The ship managed to free itself after several days stuck in ice.

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