An icebreaker named the Snow Dragon has drawn close to a ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve, raising hopes a rescue is imminent.
The Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy got stuck in the ice on Tuesday.
The ship was not in danger of sinking, and there were ample supplies for the 74 scientists, tourists and crew on board, but the vessel could not move.
Three icebreakers have been trying to reach the ship since authorities received the vessel's distress signal on Wednesday.
China's Snow Dragon has made it to the edge of the sea ice surrounding the ship, 12 miles away.
But expedition leader Chris Turney says it could still be another day before the Snow Dragon reaches the ship.