China's Xuelong research icebreaker has entered an area of floating ice in the Southern Ocean to avoid a cyclone.
The ice field is located at 61.55 degrees south latitude and 110.37 east longitude.
Xuelong traveled between sheets of floating ice and a crushing noise was heard when contact was made. The ship lowered its speed from 15 knots (27.78 km/h) to nine knots (16.67 km/h) to limit tremors.
The icebreaker is now sailing along the edge of the ice field in order to avoid a cyclone, according to First Mate Zhu Li, adding that although the floating ice will reduce the ship's speed, it will also alleviate threats posed by a strong weather system.
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 November 30.
Also known as the Snow Dragon, the icebreaker is carrying a research team and set sail from Shanghai on November 2 for the country's 35th Antarctic expedition which will last 162 days and cover 37,000 nautical miles (68,500 km).
(Top image: China's research icebreaker Xuelong in Shanghai /VCG Photo)