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Ship with 100 tourists stuck in Antarctic ice

world Updated: Nov 17, 2009 23:19 IST

A Russian icebreaker carrying over 100 tourists, scientists and journalists on a cruise around Antarctica has become stuck in the ice but is not in danger, a shipping company said on Tuesday.

The Captain of Khlebnikov icebreaker and the tourists onboard are not in any risk, German Kuzin of the Fareastern
Shipping Company told Russia's Vesti 24 television.

Kuzin said the ship is waiting for a stronger wind to try to begin moving again. He said the icebreaker is about 8
kilometers from clear water near the Snow Hill Island in the Weddel Sea.

Kuzin said the tourists are using the unplanned stop to take helicopter tours of the surrounding area. Russian news agencies said a BBC camera crew filming a documentary about the Antarctic is among the passengers.

"They are implementing the tour program in full," Kuzin said. "The captain reported that the situation on board is normal."

The cruise was advertised as a unique opportunity to watch Emperor Penguins in their natural habitat. The Finnish-built icebreaker has been used as a cruise ship for several years and carries two helicopters.

Natalie Amos, a spokeswoman for holiday tour operator Exodus Travel, said there are 51 British tourists amid the ship's 101 passengers. The British Foreign Office said it was in contact with the expedition organisers.