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. Prince Hunter

    umm...nonyabidness2...wrong side of the world. The belugas are in the Bering Sea, which is in the Arctic. This ship is 2000 miles off of New Zealand, which would be the Antarctic. Geography. It's your friend.

    December 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Common Sense

    Why didnt they hop they ass on the helicopter?

    December 26, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. weather guy

    al gore was half right ,but it's global cooling......

    December 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ted N.

    Aren't there industrial strength "air bags" made of thick rubber or a kevlar material that can be placed under the ship's bow and inflated to raise the bow from the water?

    December 26, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ¿TTUИFFUЯ ( ½ ELF slayer & ½ BUGBEAR KILLER )

    HOW ARE Pen!s pumps going to save the ship?

    December 26, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mcox

    @ banasy: apologies then and happy new year.

    December 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sheila

    So how about just airlifting the people off with that same helicopter, and sacrificing the boat? Gotta be less work for everyone, safer, easier, cheaper...

    December 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. redneckssuck

    Why didn't someone get out and push?

    December 26, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. frank

    why don't they get help from iceland and take the ship to alaska

    December 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    @mcox:
    No worries.
    Happy New Year.

    December 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Puckles

    I am glad they are trapped. I hope they stay trapped a LONG time. MEAT IS MURDER!!!

    December 27, 2011 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. snper505

    Why don't they just call Lizard Lick Towing and have them come get it ??

    December 27, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. ThatOneGuy

    Uuum Global Warming is a real thing for you deniers. Its a slow natural process. We're technically in-between Ice Ages. Humans just speed it up with the crap we pump into the air. As for the article I hope they get it fixed because freezing to death sounds really crappy

    December 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • justbecause

      its actually called global climate change so in another 10 years when the temp starts going down, none of the soap box monkeys will have to explain that in fact, no one really understands a damn thing about this planet and the best we can do is guess.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. alumette

    Great to see the cooperation and efforts to get these guys out of the jam. Nice job. Hope they fix it.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ibrahim

    Hhhhmm so wonders shall never ends......

    December 29, 2011 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
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