China commits to build bigger ice-breaker after rescue fail

CHINA will build a new ice-breaker after its current veteran ship the Xue Long or Snow Dragon found itself stranded in Antarctic surface ice after rescuing 52 people - mostly Australians and New Zealanders - who had been stuck on an ice-trapped Russian ship since Christmas Eve.  

The scientists and other passengers from the Russian MV Akademik Shokalskiy are now aboard the Aurora Australis, an Australian ship diverted from its task of delivering supplies to Antarctica. It is now also trapped.  

Now the Shokalskiy, Aurora and Xue Long are trapped and awaiting help from an American behemoth - Polar Star - that will arrive on the scene next week after leaving Sydney on Sunday.  

In response to its 20-year-old Dragon being trapped in the ice, designs were being drawn up for its successor.  

It will be built to open up ice 1.5m thick - meaning if it was available today, it would still be unable to free the Snow Dragon.  


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