The ship's hull is breached and storms continue to cause difficulty for rescue operations.

Australian authorities are waiting for a blizzard to ease so they can transport 68 people from an icebreaker that has run aground in Antarctica.

The group became stranded after Aurora Australis broke free from its moorings and ran aground on the West Arm of Horseshoe Harbour near Mawson research station.

No one has been injured in the incident, although the crew of the icebreaker have reported a small hull breach and said the ship is listing.

The ship’s operations manager has said the ship’s list was thought to have developed due to the intense storm conditions.

Operations manager Shaun Deshommes of P&O Maritime told ABC News: “The crew have been able to secure additional mooring lines and, despite the strong winds, the ship is sheltered from heavy swell and remains stable.”

Blizzard conditions and winds exceeding 130kph yesterday broke mooring lines and caused the ship — Australia’s flagship icebreaker — to run aground on its starboard side.

The ship’s crew say they are keeping watch on a small breach in the hull discovered today, according to a statement from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD): “Monitoring … has revealed a breach in the hull into a space that is usually flooded with ballast water. This breach has occurred in an area of the ship that poses no risk to the stability of the vessel or of fuel leaking into the environment.”

Blizzard conditions continue, although the AAD are hoping they will ease overnight. Winds must drop below 55kph before it is safe to attempt to transport the crew, according to the organisation.

It is not known whether the ship will return to service, though the AAD said there will be attempts to refloat the vessel when the weather eases. P&O Maritime, which manages the vessel, advised the AAD that it would take a minimum of three days to fully assess the ship’s condition.

The AAD also said a US LC130 aircraft will take more than 30 expeditioners awaiting transport home from Australia’s Davis research station to Casey research station so they can be flown home on the AAD’s plane. They had expected to return on Aurora Australis.

The Aurora Australis departed Hobart on 11 January 2016 and has been undertaking marine science investigations around the Kerguelen Plateau region. It arrived at Mawson for resupply on Saturday (20 February 2016).

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