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LONDON, December 16 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian fishing boat Sparta with 32 crewmembers onboard is in distress off the coast of New Zealand and has evacuated some of the crew on Antarctic ice, Reuters quoted New Zealand rescue authorities as saying on Friday.
The 55-meter ship is taking on water and listing 13 degrees around 3700 kilometers southeast of New Zealand. The crew is pumping water out.
NZ rescue centre coordinator Tracy Brickles was quoted as saying the ships capable of breaking through sea ice to Sparta are four or five days away, but in the meantime an American plane from the McMurdo Station research base would fly over the ship later in the day to assess ice conditions.
Non-essential crew members have been put on the ice as a precaution and cargo has been unloaded to lighten the vessel. Weather in the area is calm and relatively mild, Reuters said adding the crew of 15 Russians, 16 Indonesians and a Ukrainian are said to have special clothing and other resources to cope with Antarctica's extreme weather.