Iced-in ship must wait for spring

2002-07-31 08:12

Auckland - A German ship trapped in Antarctic ice will not move for the rest of winter, its owners said on Wednesday.

The Magdalena Oldendorff became stranded in the Bay of Muskegbukta on June 11 with 108 people aboard.

Late in June the South African rescue ship Agulhas was able to lift off 78 Russian researchers and 11 crew.

Then the Argentinean ice-breaker Almirante Irizar managed to punch its way through to Magdalena Oldendorff.

Earlier this week Hamburg's Oldendorff Carriers said both ships tried to break through the 1 100km-wide ice belt but failed to make it.

In their latest statement they say Magdalena Oldendorff will stay in the Bay of Muskegbukta for winter and will not try to get out until October at the earliest.

Almirante Irizar will try to break through the Antarctic ice-belt on her own in order to return to Buenos Aires.

"For all concerned this is the safest solution," Oldendorff spokesman Peter Bagh said.

"The Almirante Irizar has a much better chance to reach the open sea on her own."

The 16 crew and one Argentinean doctor aboard Magdalena Oldendorff would be safe and had plenty of supplies.

Magdalena Oldendorff skipper Ivan Dikiy is quoted in the statement saying the mood aboard was good.

"To support this sweets, cigarettes and sometimes a beer will be provided to the crew."

Crew members have a library and a gymnasium - and 500 video tapes.

Magdalena Oldendorff has a strengthened hull and is ice-class 1A Super certified, which is the highest ice-class according to Lloyd's register.

The bay is considered a safe place due to the low ice pressure and thickness. - Sapa-AFP