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January 05, 2014 AT 12:43 PM
Australian officials have asked an American icebreaker to help with the rescue of Chinese and Russian vessels that are surrounded by ice floes in Antarctica, according to an announcement on Sunday by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The officials said the United States Coast Guard had answered the request and was making available a ship to assist the other vessels. The deployment of the American ship, the Polar Star, for the rescue operation adds to an increasingly complex set of issues for international vessels that have found themselves struggling against unfavorable ice and weather conditions in Antarctica.