Ship spends 10th day stuck in frozen waters off Antarctica
A New Zealand Air Force aircraft delivered pumps and equipment to the vessel Sparta after it became trapped in Antarctic ice.
December 26th, 2011
09:35 AM ET

Ship spends 10th day stuck in frozen waters off Antarctica

A research ship has arrived to help rescue a Russian fishing vessel that struck ice and became stuck in the frozen waters off of Antarctica 10 days ago, officials in New Zealand said.

The Sparta hit underwater ice December 16, leaving a one-foot hole in the ship's hull, according to the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center.

The ship has been stranded in an area about 2,000 miles from New Zealand, where the ice has been so thick that rescue ships have had difficulty getting close.

Since becoming stuck, 32 crew members have been working with rescuers to try to patch up the hole to keep the ship from sinking. They had been given tools dropped by a New Zealand Air Force plane, helping them pump out freezing water that was rushing into the ship.

But it has been difficult for the crew to both patch up the hole and pump out water, an official said.

"They are having difficulty in trying to fix a patch to the damaged part of the hull because they need to stop one of the pumps to do this, and then the water level creeps up again," Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Neville Blakemore told the New Zealand Herald.

The research vessel Araon is beginning to pump fuel into the damaged ship in hopes of lifting the bow out of the water enough to expose the damaged area of the hull, search and rescue mission coordinator Mike Roberts said.

Once the ship's hull is out of the water, officials hope that they can weld metal plates to both the inside and outside of the damaged area.

"If successful, the repair is expected to render Sparta seaworthy and able to be escorted by Araon out of the sea ice to open water," the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center said.

soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. banasy c

    Poor guys. So cold. Stay warm fellas. You will be home for the new year. You will be watching Anderson Cooper and you know who on New Years.

    December 26, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Non e' banasy.

    December 26, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Che vuol' dire "spaggatii?" Non lo so.

    December 26, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. mcox

    @banasy c: little testy today aren't we? And it's spaghetti.

    December 26, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. aluntrueoo

    The photo doesn't match the story

    December 26, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      That's because the photo matches the caption.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    banasy n'est pas la' en ce moment. Qui est a' l'appareil?

    December 26, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Polar Bear

    Just wait a couple of weeks. With global warming, that's all it should take to melt all of the ice.

    December 26, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Its the Antarctic, so that means right now its the middle of summer there, Dec 25th here is the equivalent of July 4th there.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. aflyer

    It is a bunch of rooskies for crying out loud! Let them sink if they cannot fix it themselves!! Why does america always have to be the one to come to everyones rescue?!?! Where is russia when one of their boats is sinking?!?! They are a bunch of worthless turds!

    December 26, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • raster1944

      It's called mutual aid. Russian icebreakers went to the aid of Nome, Alaska when oil tankers couldn't get through the ice from the storm to deliver fuel oil to the community for the Winter. Some people have no brains!

      December 26, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • dickhcolo

      aflyer – read the article – it's New Zealand that is ooffering rescue. Rescue at sea regardless of nationality is the norm for human sailors for thousands of years. The real question is what is the Russian ship doing fishing in this pristine area of the world where there is NO "sustainable" catch. The Antarctic Toothfiish, for example, usually sold as "Chilean Sea Bass" takes 17 years bewfore it can reproduce.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      Can't tell the difference between New Zealand and the US?

      Sad commentary upon the state of American school systems.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Beelzel

    "...The research vessel Araon is beginning to pump fuel into the damaged ship in hopes of lifting the bow out of the water"
    Strange, whenever we wanted to lift a vessel higher (ie if run aground or painting) ... we pumped water/fuel/etc out of the vessel. If you add more fuel (7.1 pounds per gallon marine fuel) you lower the vessel into the water.

    December 26, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • HelloKitty

      Pump fuel into the side opposite of the one having the hole. The front of the ship (bow) struck the ice (makes sense since it was moving forward) so they're adding fuel to the other side. One side heavier than another results in the lighter side being lifted relative to the heavier side.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tabitha

    lol beelzel, pumping fuel in lowers the stern and raises the bow!

    December 26, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. opinion8it

    global warming at its worst...

    December 26, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. martha

    People should strand any ship in this place what are they trying to do to these explorers In this area of the world it's so cold it's unreal at times

    December 26, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff S

      Right Martha. Who the heck would want to keep their ship. They are cheap. They should just go buy a new one.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • harry

      It was not the exploration ship that was stranded. How can anyone not comprehend the very FIRST sentence? "a Russian fishing vessel that struck ice and became stuck in the frozen waters off of Antarctica 10 days ago"

      December 26, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      What a great idea, Martha: let a filthy metal (Russian!) ship sink in a pristine Antarctic wilderness, polluting who knows how much water with its gas and oil.

      Think again, genius.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      Martha, you need more friends. Friends don't let friends post drunk.

      December 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sharon

    why is a russian fishing fishing all the way south? They talk a good game and art't good for nothing.

    December 26, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      Because that's where the fish are.


      December 26, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. Pat T

    Reminds me of Shackleton's mess...

    December 26, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      Shackleton died a Popsicle, lead-poisoned and toxic. These guys are Russians...never mind, there's absolutely no difference between them.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      Shackleton? This reminds you of Shackleton? Being stuck for 10 days in Antarctica is NOTHING compared to what Shackleton and his crew went through...

      December 26, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. James

    Why is Russia sending their ships in Antarctica, sounds to me like they want a piece of the antartic pie. Newzealand shouldve torpedoed that ship instead.

    December 26, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Joshua Ludd

      They already have bases in the Antarctic. No one owns or is allowed to own Antarctica. They are there for fishing. Why there? Because so many other areas have been overfished.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
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