Antarctic cruise ship passengers stranded after vessel gets stuck in ice south of Hobart

Antarctic cruise ship passengers stranded after vessel gets stuck in ice south of Hobart

Antarctic cruise ship passengers stranded after vessel gets stuck in ice south of Hobart

Updated 26 December 2013, 6:31 AEDT

Dozens of Antarctic cruise passengers have spent Christmas Day waiting to be rescued after their ship became stuck in ice.

The Russian-built ship is trapped about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, near a French base on the edge of Antarctica.

The ship, carrying 74 crew and passengers, sent out a distress message early on Christmas morning but it will take at least two days for the first of three ice-breaking ships to reach the vessel.

Andrea Hayward-Maher from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority says the ship is in a remote location.

"They're safe at the moment, so that's good news," she said.

"And we're keeping a very close eye on things and we have plans in place if the situation is to become worse.

"The vessel's not damaged at the moment so hopefully we'll be able to get the icebreakers through, or get people out another way, if necessary."