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Antarctica cruise ship rescue cost $1.8 million

24/02/2014
This handout image released by the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales and taken by Andrew Peacock of www.footloosefotography.com on December 27, 2013 shows the ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica. A Chinese icebreaker was on December 27 closing in on the frozen seas where the scientific mission ship was trapped off Antarctica, as those onboard welcomed the easing of blizzard conditions. The ship, with 74 people on board, has been trapped in ice about 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont D'Urville since December 24. AFP PHOTO / MANDATORY CREDIT: Andrew Peacock / www.footloosefotography.com ---EDITORS NOTE ---- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Andrew Peacock / www.footloosefotography.com" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - NO ARCHIVES - COPYRIGHT NOTICE ON BOTTOM OF IMAGE MUST REMAIN INTACT © Andrew Peacock This handout image released by the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales and taken by Andrew Peacock of www.footloosefotography.com on December 27, 2013 shows the ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica. A Chinese icebreaker was on December 27 closing in on the frozen seas where the scientific mission ship was trapped off Antarctica, as those onboard welcomed the easing of blizzard conditions. The ship, with 74 people on board, has been trapped in ice about 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont D'Urville since December 24. AFP PHOTO / MANDATORY CREDIT: Andrew Peacock / www.footloosefotography.com ---EDITORS NOTE ---- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Andrew Peacock / www.footloosefotography.com" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - NO ARCHIVES - COPYRIGHT NOTICE ON BOTTOM OF IMAGE MUST REMAIN INTACT

The federal government is trying to recoup the nearly $2 million it spent helping rescue passengers aboard a ship that became stuck in sea ice in Antarctica over the summer.

A distress call was sent from a Russian research ship on Christmas Day after it became trapped in heavy sea ice near Commonwealth Bay with a group of scientists, explorers and tourists aboard.

The ship had been undertaking the Spirit of Mawson voyage, retracing Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson's Antarctic expedition.

Several attempts to free the ship were unsuccessful, before the the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis was diverted from a resupply mission to Casey station to assist in the rescue.

Fifty-two passengers were airlifted to the icebreaker, which completed its resupply mission before returning to Hobart nearly three weeks after the ship first became stranded.

Australian Antarctic Division director Dr Tony Fleming said the rescue cost his division around $1.8 million and they were trying to recoup the bill.

"We're having discussions with the insurance companies," he told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Monday.

"It's a complicated process."

AAP

MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica. © Andrew Peacock MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica.
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