China's research icebreaker Xuelong travels between sheets of floating ice in the Southern Ocean, Nov. 25, 2018. Xuelong entered a floating ice area in the Southern Ocean to avoid a cyclone. The ice area is located at 61.55 degrees south latitude and 110.37 east longitude. (Xinhua/Liu Shiping)
China's research icebreaker Xuelong has entered a floating ice area in the Southern Ocean to avoid a cyclone.
The ice area is located at 61.55 degrees south latitude and 110.37 east longitude.
Xuelong traveled between sheets of floating ice, with crushing noise heard when the bottom of the ship hit the ice. The ship has lowered its speed from 15 knots (27.78 km per hour) to 9 knots (16.67 km per hour) to relieve tremors.
The icebreaker is now sailing along the edge of the ice field in order to avoid a cyclone, said Fist Mate Zhu Li, adding that although the floating ice will reduce the ship speed, it will also be able to alleviate threats posed by a strong weather system to navigating safety.
Xuelong will sail out of the floating ice area and into the wide Southern Ocean under favorable weather conditions, and is scheduled to reach the Zhongshan Station in Antarctica on Nov. 30.
Also known as the Snow Dragon, the icebreaker carrying a research team set sail from Shanghai on Nov. 2, beginning the country's 35th Antarctic expedition which will last 162 days and cover 37,000 nautical miles (68,500 km).