- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2013

This time, blame the weather. A new rescue attempt of a stranded Russian ship in Antarctic ice went awry on Monday, as rescuers aboard an Australian icebreaker said a swirling blizzard forced them to return to open waters.

CBS News reported the Aurora Australis was supposed to be breaking free the Akademik Shokalskiy from its ice-encircled bondage, but poor visibility plagued the crew. The vessel only came within 10 nautical miles of the trapped ship, then headed back to open waters.

“The weather condition is not safe for it to proceed, and it’s gone back to open water,” said Lisa Martin, a spokeswoman with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, in CBS News.

A few days ago, a rescue attempt by the Chinese icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, was abandoned when it could not break through the thick ice.

Seventy-four passengers and crew have been stuck on the Russian vessel for a week — and they very well could ring in the New Year from their present spot.

“It certainly looks like they will be there tomorrow,” said Ms. Martin, to CBS News.