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Russian ship frozen in remote Antarctic: 'Not your everyday search-and-rescue'

A cruise ship will have to wait another day for rescuers after their boat got stuck in the ice near Antarctica. The Russian-operated ship has 57 people aboard, and officials believe they have enough supplies for a few more days.

A Russian passenger ship has become trapped in the remote Antarctic ice more than two days’ sailing away from the nearest rescue vessel, officials said Wednesday.

The MV Akademik Shokalskiy has 74 people aboard including 52 explorers and tourists, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) told NBC News.

The ship is almost 1,500 nautical miles (1,726 miles) south of Hobart, a city on the Australian island of Tasmania.

"It is a very remote location so it is not your everyday search-and-rescue mission,” AMSA spokeswoman Andrea Hayward-Maher said.

The ship is 100 nautical miles east of the French Antarctic base Dumont D’Urville. But all those aboard will be spending Christmas Day and the day after trapped about the ice-locked ship.

Hayward-Maher said she did not believe the people on board were in immediate danger, as any ship going so far afield would have prepared for an already long and arduous mission.

The 71-meter-long Russian-flagged ship sent out a distress signal, which was picked up at 7:20 a.m. Australian Eastern Daylight Time (3:20 p.m. ET Tuesday) by the Falmouth Maritime Rescue Coordination Center, in the U.K.

As the ship is in the Australian search and rescue region, this message was passed on to AMSA, and three ice-breaking ships are currently en route to the Shokalskiy's location.

The U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported that two of its journalists were among those trapped aboard the vessel.

Alok Jha and Laurence Topham had been reporting as part of the Spirit of Mawson, an expedition to commemorate the centenary of an exploration by Australian geologist Douglas Mawson.

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