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. Cajun boy

    Their are plenty fish in south louisiana and no ice so im good

    December 26, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • justme

      and they're already in oil, just a little more global warming and we're ready to eat. yum

      December 26, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rando

    The comments on this article are proof that so often people comment just for the sake of commenting. There's no way to spin this story – politically, economoically, environmentally, etc. Yet people just come up with $h** to say just to say something. It's a news story about an event. There's no conlcusion to draw from it.

    December 26, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |

      I totally agree. It's getting to be like Facebook. A stupid place .............. for stupid people ................ to post something.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Unyslowly

      But yet you two jacka$$es are allowed to post?

      December 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diz Denooch

      Your random post response for the exact same reasons is also duly noted. As was this response. It's free speech for the sake of "speeching". Might as well use it before the DC fat-cats take it away.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • authorsnote

      Thank you for explaining the true downside of the internet–people posting junk just so it can be read–no matter how stupid it is. Anyone who makes this into political, ideological, ecological argument needs to go outside and play.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sarah


    December 26, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Couch

      They are pumping fuel into its fuel tanks to increase the ships buoyancy rate allowing it to rise and expose the damaged hull for repairs.....not into the hull...

      December 26, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Never amazed at the stupidity of others

      Your stupidity has no bounds I see.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      Sarah, at least STOP screaming your stupidity.

      December 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sarah


    December 26, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Never amazed at the stupidity of others

      From your comments it appears that you abandoned your ship long ago.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nik

    Why in the entire world covered with 70% water, a FISHER boat goes there??? WHY??? And Hope all those rescue expenses paid by fisher and its not a burden on citizens.

    December 26, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Mrdifficult

      The citizens of what, genius? Antartica?

      December 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • A. Non

      Antarctic waters are rich in fish.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Never amazed at the stupidity of others

      Tell me you didn't just type this intentionally.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Minoa

      @ Mrdifficult – Right now the citizens of New Zealand are bearing a big chunk of the cost. The article clearly states that the New Zealand Air Force has been providing supplies and equipment. New Zealand is closest but the trapped ship is in a very remote location, 2000 miles away even from New Zealand. It is surely very expensive for New Zealand to fly their help 2000 miles into such an inhospitable environment.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mrdifficult

      And I'm guessing you always seek reimbursement for charity?

      December 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. edmundburkeson

    This is the first indication I have seen of the polar caps doing anything but what Al Gore allows it to do since climategate. Noone is making this up. This is the reality of bias in the media. We catch glimpses of it when the liberal elite go home for the holidays.

    December 26, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      OK, go back to your booze now.

      December 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • edmundburkeson

      Ever notice how some people are most guilty of what they accuse others of doing bob?

      December 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. edison

    obama and the dems should hurry up and write a stimulus bill to help pay for this. It would create a ton of jobs. What are they waiting for? Unemployment numbers would go down to 7.

    December 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Never amazed at the stupidity of others

      This article doesn't have a thing to do with the US in no way at all yet you found a way to TROLL and put a political spin on it. Do everyone a favor and go outside and play in heavy traffic.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bria

    Regardless of who they are there still human bing's with families,Show some compassion people! Last I checked we all have Heart's,so do they&I thought we did to,Really People,I know where better then the way some of you are talking!

    December 26, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Diz Denooch

    A Russian fishing Antarctica? Uhm...why not just get stuck in the Arctic? Heck, they can practically get the same thing by tossing a line in from a northern beach.

    December 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Minoa

      Reports from other news sources says that an Australian govt agency had hired the Russian fishing ship to catch a certain type of fish as part of a conservation study. I wouldn’t be surprised if Australia ends up paying New Zealand back for the rescue expenses. See

      December 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pat T

    Comments are so much more interesting than the articles...

    December 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. historian

    is this " fishing boat " glowing ? what's the price for fish in this waters- half bil?

    December 26, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. harry potters wife

    Poor fellas regardless of what they were doing there(fishing) those guys deserve help and faith regardless of their race and intentions. These poor people were not able to be home for christmas...hang in'll be nice warm and cozy really soon

    December 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. harry potters wife

    Good luck

    December 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. harry potters wife

    Good puttin it authors note

    December 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. CoryMN

    This sounds a bit like Shakleton's story in "Endurance"–great book!

    December 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • CoryMN

      Ernest 'Shackleton', rather!

      December 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ice

      Shackleton's Endurance makes this story seem like a trip to the mall... Still harrowing and amazing that we can survive, as well as amazing that so much of another world right on our own planet.

      December 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
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