SYDNEY (AFP) – Australian authorities Friday issued a shipping alert over a gigantic iceberg that is gradually approaching the country's southwest coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the once-in-a-century cliff of ice, which dislodged from Antarctica about a decade ago before drifting north, was being monitored using satellites.

"Mariners are advised that at 1200 GMT on December 9, an iceberg approximately 1,700 kilometres (1,054 miles) south-southwest of the West Australian coast was observed," it said, giving the iceberg's coordinates.

"The iceberg is 140 square kilometres in area -- 19 kilometres long by eight kilometres wide."

Experts believe the iceberg -- known as B17B -- is likely to break up as it enters warmer waters nearer Australia, creating hundreds of smaller icebergs in a hazard to passing ships.

Story Link: Australia shipping alert over massive iceberg - Yahoo! News