Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The perils of penguin watching

Canada.com reports:

More than 100 penguin-loving tourists, including dozens from Britain, are trapped by ice off Antarctica aboard a Russian icebreaker cruise ship, officials and the tour operator said Monday.

The Kapitan Khlebnikov is in a bay near Snow Hill island, located off the northeastern end of the Antarctic Peninsula, and cannot leave as the bay is sealed off with ice, the Russian transportation ministry said.

"The wind has currently slowed down in the area and the massing of the ice has ended. Everything is calm aboard the icebreaker, nothing is threatening the passengers and crew," the ministry said in a statement.

"When the wind changes to a favourable direction, the icebreaker will head into clear water and on to the port of Ushuaia," at the extreme southern end of Argentina, the ministry predicted.

There were 105 passengers aboard the vessel and the total delay in the ship's scheduled trip could be around two days, it added.

The ship has been at its current location for four days, German Kuzin, an official with the Far Eastern Shipping Company, the ship's owner, said in televised remarks.

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