The Chinese icebreaker ship Snow Dragon, translated from Xue Long, and the on its way to rescue the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, has been forced to turn around just six nautical miles away from the stranded vessel, announced the Australian Maritime Safety Authority on Dec. 28.

The French ship L’Astrolabe also suspended its rescue mission mid-Saturday.

The Hobart-based Aurora Australis is anticipated to reach the MV Akademik Shokalskiy by Sunday, reported ABC 7 News.

The ice-strengthened Russian-flagged vessel carrying 74 crew, researchers, and tourists has been stranded on the waters of Antarctica, the coldest place on the planet, since Dec. 23, according to multiple media reports.

The ship is about 100km off the Antarctic Coast near the Mertz Glacier Tongue – nearly 2700km south of Hobart.

Everyone onboard the ship – the 22 scientists from the privately funded Spirit of Mawson expedition plus 22 crew and 30 paying passengers – remain in good condition despite being at a frozen standstill since Monday, reported CNN.

At least eight of the tourists appear to be women, according to a photo taken prior to the ships departure, acquired by the San Jose Mercury News.

All of the passengers are reported to be in good spirits given the situation, reported the Mercury.

A distress call was not made by the captain, simply assistance to break out of the icy waters.

The weather is known to be wild in the area. Weather conditions changed suddenly catching the captain and crew off guard. The captain of the ship issued a call for help early Christmas Day.

The Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon was the closest ship – 900km from the stricken Russian vessel when the call for help went out – and immediately began a rescue mission along with the Hobart-based Aurora Australis and the French ship L’Astrolabe, reported CNN.

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