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January 07, 2014 AT 3:52 PM
A Russian research vessel and Chinese icebreaker stranded in Antarctica have broken free from the heavy ice that gripped them and are making steady progress towards open waters, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said. The Chinese icebreaker became trapped in isolated Commonwealth Bay last week after using one of its helicopters to ferry to safety the passengers of the stranded Russian vessel. Australian rescue authorities advised the two captains to take advantage of cracks in the ice that appeared around the vessels on Tuesday evening. It became trapped on December 24, 100 nautical miles east of French Antarctic station Dumont d'Urville and about 1,500 nautical miles south of Tasmania.